Posts tagged dinner
Posts tagged dinner
Weeknight supper and stocking the freezer: red lentil-pumpkin soup
There was a second large can of pumpkin puree lingering in my pantry for the last month or so. I had initially bought two cans in a burst of pumpkin excitement earlier this fall, but only ended up using one of them (see here, here and here).
I wanted to try something different with this second can; I had it in my mind that I would attempt to make something savoury with the puree (and of course something baked too). I came across this recipe for a red lentil-pumpkin soup and I knew it would be perfect! It would also be great for my quest to stock my freezer with homemade lunches for the winter. Click on my photo above to link to the original recipe, or see my adapted version below.
I was very impressed with this soup! It is hearty and has great flavour. It is very gingery (due to the freshly grated ginger that you add right at the end) so if you’re not a fan of ginger, you will not like this soup. But I love it so this soup was perfect for me! I topped mine with some cilantro and a dollop of 0% plain greek yogurt. This recipe could also easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Red lentil-pumpkin soup - serves 4 (Adapted from myrecipes.com)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup dried small red lentils
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Heat a large pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes (take care not to burn the garlic).
Stir in 3 cups broth, lentils, chili powder, salt, cinnamon and paprika; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Puree the mixture - blend until smooth. (Either place the lentil mixture in a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender - I used the immersion blender and it worked fairly well but was not perfectly smooth, which was fine for me).
Return lentil mixture to pan over medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth, 1 cup water, and pumpkin to pan; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in ginger and lemon juice.
Top with fresh cilantro, a dollop of greek yogurt and some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) if desired.
Don’t you love it when a gift gets put to good use? My bff sent me this photo of her enjoying my birthday gift to her, which was a bottle of 2009 Wildass Red. She and her mother-in-law made a lovely supper to accompany the wine, pairing it perfectly with lamb chops! Happy Birthday, lovely! xoxoxo
The most perfect mini corn breads to accompany a southern BBQ-style lunch from @DoubleDsBarBQ - always a delicious meal!
I had the absolute pleasure of attending a ladies’ night at a friend’s house this weekend, and she spoiled us all with this amazing raclette for dinner!
Among the bounty of perfectly chopped and presented veggies (I loved the asparagus! Such a genius idea), we were spoiled with huge fresh tiger shrimp, succulent marinated beef and proscuitto. Not to mention the plethora of cheese! Gruyere, Swiss, and, of course raclette cheese made for a tasty supper. Thank you again to our gracious host for such a lovely evening! xo
Weeknight supper: chicken enchiladas
I’m still on the hunt for a good, simple enchilada recipe. I liked this one that I tried in 2011 (see here) from the Food Network’s Janet and Greta Podleski of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, but I’m always tweaking.
This newest version comes care of myrecipes.com, a website that I have been loving lately! The criteria that I’m looking for in an enchilada recipe is that it is simple, (fairly) quick, and uses ingredients that I’m likely to have in my pantry/fridge and doesn’t specifically call for “enchilada sauce” as it is near impossible to find this in Ottawa! This one delivers! Click on my photo above to link to the recipe. I would make this again - it turned out great!
Stocking the freezer: chickpea and roasted squash chili
As I mentioned here, I have been having fun with coming up with ways to use up the butternut squash I got from my parent’s garden during a recent visit.
Since there is no convincing the husband to eat any kind of squash, I knew this was going to be a fantastic opportunity for me to stock my freezer with some healthy lunches.
I had come across a recipe for a black bean and squash chili on the Serious Eats website a while back (click here for the original recipe), and realized it was the perfect way to both use my butternut squash and stock my freezer with ready-made lunches for my work week.
I altered the recipe quite a bit, so below is my adaptation. This turned out wonderfully! It is a hearty, healthy meal, and a perfect lunch for a cold winter day. It can also very easily be a vegetarian or even vegan dish by using vegetable broth (instead of chicken or beef). As I mentioned in my post about butternut squash soup, they key to amazing flavour is to first roast your squash!
Chickpea and roasted squash chili (adapted from Serious Eats)
- 1 can (540 ml/19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used President’s Choice no salt added chickpeas)
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into bite-sized chunks (about 2-3 cups)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used an orange one)
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. herbes de provence
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups beef broth (or you can use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian)
- freshly cracked pepper and sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss squash chunks in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in an even layer on a shallow roasting pan/cookie sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, onions and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, herbes de provence and cook for a minute or two but be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the beef stock, chickpeas and squash. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. If desired, mash a few of the chickpeas to thicken the mixture (I left mine all whole).
Serve topped with diced avocado!
Weeknight supper: chipotle chicken chili
As I try to expand my knowledge and experience in the kitchen, I’m constantly faced with ingredients with which I have never worked. A great example of one of these ingredients is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
I’m slightly ashamed to admit that my first ever cooking experience with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce was just one short year ago! The first challenge was simply finding the ingredient in a grocery store, which was a bit of a challenge and took a few tries at a few different stores. The internet helped me to get a sense of what I was looking for: most chipotle peppers in adobo sauce come in a small can, sometimes with a pull-tab top.
For the recipe that I was making at the time, I was to puree the whole can of peppers in their sauce to make a paste. One of the first things I learned about chipotle peppers in adobo sauce after getting them home and opening them up is that they are very, very spicy! A little bit goes a long way (if you’re using a puree like I did) in a recipe. The second thing that I learned is that you will have lots left over. So, what to do with the rest of it? And that’s what brings me to today’s post.
I put the rest of mine in a glass Tupperware into the freezer, and have been slowly chipping away at it since, adding it to various recipes throughout the year (one surprise: it worked very well in chicken burgers!) until I finally used up the last bit of it in this chipotle chicken chili.
Today’s recipe comes from one of my all-time favourite blogs, Bev Cooks (click on my photo above to link to the original recipe on her site). I made the recipe exactly as indicated except that I did not add the can of pinto beans (I didn’t have any); I added about a tablespoon of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (instead of three minced chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce); and I added one chopped red bell pepper. Her recipe also calls for beer, so I used a bottle of Bud Light Lime! This is a great recipe: it was very easy to make and it has everything that I keep as pantry staples which I love. The husband loved it too!
Best of all, I can finally wash the Tupperware that was sitting in my freezer holding the chipotle pepper puree for the last 12 months! Now that is something to be happy about! Hahaha.
Dinner at Luxe Bistro
I was at Luxe for dinner about a year ago this month celebrating the husband’s birthday. It was our first time at Luxe and we had an excellent meal. So when my bff suggested celebrating her birthday at Luxe one recent weekend, I knew it was going to be a night to remember!
With seven ladies in our party, we were given one of Luxe’s corner booth tables, which, in my opinion, is one of the best seats in the house. Our first order was to get the birthday girl a drink, so we ordered a bottle of wine to her liking: the only malbec on the menu, this. It was delicious - velvety smooth and easy to drink.
For my meal, I wanted to experience a different side of Luxe’s menu (I had the bouillabaisse last time), so I opted for two appetizers for my meal. I started with the tuna crudo (my first photo) from Luxe’s cold seafood bar. Thick, luscious pieces of fresh tuna came drizzled in yuzu ponzu sauce and topped with crispy fried ginger and a few thin slices of radish. I savoured every single bite of this dish! It is one of the best raw tuna dishes I have ever had, and it was a perfect portion size. I would eat this again in a heartbeat!
For my main dish, I ordered the steak tacos from the appetizer menu (my second photo). Described as Asian stir-fried beef topped with pickled daikon and carrot, fresh jalapeno, sour cream, cilantro and lime, these were just as tasty as they look! I’m not sure exactly what the “Asian” flavours on the beef were, but it was incredibly rich tasting. The richness of the beef paired with the pickled daikon and carrot was delightful.
And if you think at this point I hadn’t had enough - you’re right! My other bff and I decided to share a dessert, and we were not disappointed. Simply named chocolate spring rolls, this dessert (my third photo) is comes exactly as described! Light and crispy spring rolls filled with dense, dark chocolate ganache. The rolls were served with two dipping sauces for further indulgence: banana Anglaise and caramel. To finish off my meal with the perfect touch, I had a cappuccino; it is my favourite way to end the night!
Overall, we had a fantastic time at Luxe, and everyone, the birthday girl included, enjoyed their meals immensely. Our servers were fun and attentive, and helped to make the birthday girl’s night perfect. I would highly recommend Luxe for a night out!
Weeknight supper: roasted butternut squash soup
After returning from a recent visit to my parent’s house with a bag full of butternut squash from their garden, I was thrilled with all of the possibilities of things to come. Soups, stews, chili - I was looking forward to eating some delicious butternut squash!
What’s more classic than butternut squash soup? It is an easy (and delicious) way to use up oversize butternut squash. To make my soup even more tasty, after peeling and chopping the squash into one inch chunks, I tossed it with olive oil and smoked paprika and roasted it in the oven. I have discovered that roasting veggies for a soup (especially something like squash) is almost essential: roasting departs an incredible depth of flavour that just cannot be achieved by a quick pan saute prior to adding the broth to make the soup.
The result was a rich, flavourful and healthy soup! Click on my photo above to link to the recipe that I used from myrecipes.com. The only changes that I made to the recipe were to roast the squash tossed in olive oil and smoked paprika (instead of simply adding it to your stock pot) and I used 1% milk instead of half and half cream. This is definitely now my go-to butternut squash soup recipe!
I love relaxing Sunday nights. Spending mine making spaghetti sauce for a quick week night dinner tomorrow night!
Weeknight dinner: chicken chipotle chowder
My cravings for soup, stew and chili are endless lately! We had our first (wet) snowfall in Ottawa this past weekend, and I was not the happiest of campers to see my old foe Mr. Snowflake. I know it is futile to complain about the weather so, with that, I’ll end my weather-related rant.
Now on to the good stuff: the soup! I used to be intimidated by the thought of making a chowder-type soup. My impression was such that these kinds of soups were complicated to make and heavy, but I’ve learned that this is not the case at all! Best of all, I think I’ve found a new favourite recipe, which is this chicken chipotle chowder. This recipe comes from the fantastic Our Best Bites blog, and you can link to the original recipe by clicking here.
What’s not to like about this soup? Lean chopped, cooked chicken breast, diced red potatoes, black beans, corn and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for that smoky kick: it is a meal of a soup! I added a diced orange bell pepper for an extra veggie infusion but otherwise stuck to the recipe as directed and was thrilled with the results. I really like that low-fat milk (I used 1%) is used in this recipe instead of cream: I guarantee that you will be satisfied by the creaminess of this soup!
Some snippets from a night to remember! Celebrated my bff’s birthday in style (and with delicious eats!) at @luxebistro last night. This malbec was a dream on which to sip! More to come on what I ate and why I loved it!
Weeknight supper: slow cooker sweet and sour chicken
Once again, it had been quite a while since I last used my slow cooker, and, what with the cold weather finally settling in around here, we were in the mood for something warm and hearty.
I made this exactly as described in the recipe (except I used a yellow bell pepper instead of a green bell pepper), but, due to our schedule, I had to cook it for longer than indicated. So, although totally delicious, I would recommend to cook it for a maximum of six hours on low heat.
We served ours over a bed of basmati rice, and sprinkled on some freshly chopped green onion and sesame seeds for garnish. I would definitely make this again - the chicken was incredibly tender, and the pineapple added a nice sweet flavour.
Be sure to check out the whole slow cooker recipe collection on Cooking Light`s website; I know I have a few more lined up in my recipe queue!
Weeknight supper: lasagna soup
I love my subscription to the Food Network Magazine. Some may find the magazine a bit silly, but I enjoy its cute monthly recurring sections and the various seasonal features.
The October 2013 issue of the magazine featured a section called "Soup for Supper," which immediately intrigued me as I am pretty obsessed with soup. In sticking with the magazine`s character, the Food Network chefs modelled the soups in the article after everyone`s favourite dinners, including lasagna.
This soup has all the things I love about lasagna - the hearty tomato sauce, the sharp taste of parmesan cheese and soft, supple noodles - but in soup form. I also love that the typical ground beef found in lasagna is replaced in with flavourful Italian sausage in this recipe. I was very happy with this soup and would definitely make it again! Click on my photo above to link to the recipe on the Food Network`s website.
The husband’s find: Big D’s Dog House
Who knew I might eventually get my husband just as obsessed as I am with trying new things? Well apparently I at least have him interested as he discovered a food truck that he himself wanted to try: Big D’s Dog House and Poutine Emporium.
I must tell you that, besides pizza, hot dogs and poutine are some of the husband’s favourite foods. So, when he discovered Big D’s, it seemed to be made just for him!
Big D’s just opened in mid-September, so it was brand spanking new when we dropped in for dinner one night last week. At the window was this wonderful lady who turned out to be the owner’s mother! She helped the husband decide what to order from their seemingly giant menu, which is basically dogs and poutine, but with various combinations of interesting toppings.
The husband settled on the junkyard dog, which came topped with bacon, beans and cheddar cheese, and the kicked up mac poutine, which came topped with Kraft dinner, jalapeno cheese sauce, and the usual cheese curds and gravy. He really enjoyed both! He said that the dog was perfectly cooked and that the toppings were delicious. He also said that the kicked up mac definitely had some kick to it, with just a small hint of heat. The fries were golden and the cheese curds plenty!
After just about finishing all of that, the husband still had a bit of room left so he decided to try one more of their dogs, the Coney Island. This dog came topped with Coney Island meat sauce, raw onions (which he politely declined) and spicy mustard. I actually tried a bite of this one as I was intrigued by the Coney Island meat sauce; it was delicious!
Overall, Big D’s had great food, and excellent service. The owner, Dennis Colette, came out to talk to us to ask us about how we found the truck, and for our feedback on the food. It was lovely to be able to talk to him a little bit and hear the passion in his voice for food and for opening the truck. We both enjoy supporting local businesses as much as possible, and judging by how much the husband loved his meal, we will soon be back.
Visit the truck on Twitter at @BigDsDogHouse.