Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

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Posts tagged dinner

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Weeknight supper: tamale pie

The weather around here this fall has been strange, but good. It’s been really, unusually warm. Ottawa even broke a temperature record on October 14: a balmy 24.9 degrees! I have to admit that I have been loving the warm fall weather - it can stay as long as it likes!

Despite the warm weather, I’ve still been craving warm, hearty dishes, like this tamale pie. So, what the heck is tamale pie, you might ask? I always wondered the same thing myself, so I finally decided to go ahead and make one. After having made it, I would describe it basically as baked beef chili topped with corn bread: it is delicious! I chose a recipe from the New York Times Cooking website mostly for its simplicity for my first time making this recipe. I also found many others on various food blogs that involved a bit more detail, so perhaps I’ll give one of those a try next time, because there definitely will be a next time!

The recipe came together fairly quickly, and the result was delicious: a hearty chili-like meaty mixture with a crumbly, comforting cornbread topping. What I also love about this recipe is that it is very weeknight friendly: you could make the meat mixture in advance and refrigerate it; then, when you’re ready to eat it, simply make the cornbread batter, pour and bake. Yum!


Tamale pie - serves 6 - slightly adapted from New York Times Cooking

Ingredients

- 1 lb extra lean ground beef

- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

- 1 cup frozen corn

- 1 cup tomato sauce (I used passata)

- 1 cup beef broth

- 1 red bell pepper, diced

- 3 cloves of garlic, minced

- 1 Tbsp chili powder

- 1/2 tsp cumin

- 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder

- salt and pepper to taste

For the cornbread topping

- 3/4 cup cornmeal

- 1 Tbsp flour

- 1 Tbsp sugar

- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1 egg

- 1/3 cup milk

- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

Saute the beef over medium heat until just cooked through. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and continue to cook until the veggies are softened, about 10 minutes. Next, add the beans, corn, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, chipotle pepper powder, salt and pepper, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Next, make your cornbread topping as the oven preheats. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and oil until combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined.

Spread the meat mixture into your 9x13 dish, smoothing the top to an even layer. Pour the cornbread mixture over top (mine didn’t cover the entire meat mixture, but I spread it out as best as I could). Some of the batter might seep into the meat mixture, but don’t fear, it will cook and puff up.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cornbread is gently browned. Serve with sour cream and cilantro if desired.

Filed under food dinner supper recipe New York Times tamale corn tamale pie savoury pie beef ground beef black beans hearty corn bread easy quick weeknight simple supper New York Times Cooking cornbread bell pepper chili powder

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Weeknight dinner: mustard grilled pork tenderloin and stove top cauliflower mac and cheese

I love a good meat marinade. There is just something about knowing that a delicious hunk of meat is sitting in the fridge and absorbing all those delicious flavours. It is the anticipation of what the end result will taste like, all those herbs and spices and various liquids…mmmmm. So when I came across this marinade on the lovely Pink Parsley blog, I was dying to give it a try! 

The ingredients in this marinade are among my favourite things: grainy mustard, garlic and smoked paprika. I had a feeling I would love the results, and I did! Click here to link to Pink Parsley’s original recipe, or see my slightly modified version below. Don’t be afraid to play with the amounts of the ingredients a little bit depending on your taste buds.

I had also been craving mac and cheese, but I wanted to try something a little bit different than what I have made in the past (see here). When I saw this recipe for a cauliflower mac and cheese on Pip & Ebby, I was intrigued, and decided to give it a try. The result was good, but don’t be fooled: this is NOT a luxurious, rich mac and cheese. I knew it wouldn’t be, but I’m convinced that most people’s eyes glaze over when they see the words ‘mac and cheese’ and visions of ooey gooey cheesy deliciousness fills their minds. We enjoyed this cauliflower mac and cheese, but it might not be for everyone. Give it a try and let me know what you think - click here to visit Pip & Ebby’s website to see the recipe. I followed it exactly as described, except that I used tubetti pasta instead of elbow macaroni.

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Mustard grilled pork tenderloin

adapted from Pink Parsley, who adapted a recipe from Bobby Flay: Grilling for Life
serves 2-3

 Ingredients

- 1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard (I used a mixture of whole grain Dijon and honey Dijon)

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

- 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

- 1 Tbs maple syrup

- 1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs

- 1 tsp smoked paprika

- pinch of red pepper flakes

- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

- 1 pork tenderloin

 Directions

Whisk together all the ingredients (mustard through black pepper). Reserve a small spoonful or two of the marinade, then get the meat marinating however you prefer (In a bowl, in a ziplock bag – whatever is easier). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours (I let my tenderloin marinate for the full 4 hours).

Pre-heat your bbq to medium-high. Try to let your tenderloin sit at room temperature for a few minutes while preparing your bbq. Grill the meat, turning every 5 minutes, and brushing with the reserving marinade every time you turn it. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees.  

Remove from heat and cover loosely with foil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Filed under food dinner supper pork pork tenderloin recipe grilled bbq barbecue mustard blog Pink Parsley Pip & Ebby Pip and Ebby mac mac and cheese cheese cauliflower marinade meat

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Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for my family, my friends and so much more. 

I’m also thankful for the amazing freshly prepared foods at Farm Boy, including their mind blowing apple cranberry stuffing, cranberry ginger sauce and turkey gravy. The husband and I made the rest (turkey, mashed potatoes, squash and green beans), but we were happy to have a bit of help from Farm Boy!

Happy thanksgiving wishes to all!

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for my family, my friends and so much more.

I’m also thankful for the amazing freshly prepared foods at Farm Boy, including their mind blowing apple cranberry stuffing, cranberry ginger sauce and turkey gravy. The husband and I made the rest (turkey, mashed potatoes, squash and green beans), but we were happy to have a bit of help from Farm Boy!

Happy thanksgiving wishes to all!

Filed under food thanksgiving dinner supper Turkey mashed potatoes gravy cranberry sauce squash acorn squash stuffing Farm Boy ottawa fall holiday feast thanks beans

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Weeknight dinner: slow cooker chicken carnitas tacos

It had been quite a while since I had used my slow cooker, and I was also craving my homemade corn tortillas, so I went looking for a good slow cooker recipe for chicken tacos. I remembered I had seen an interesting recipe on the Closet Cooking blog, so I decided to give it a try.

What intrigued me the most about this particular recipe was the citrus flavour infusion in the chicken (your choice of boneless skinless breast meat or boneless skinless thigh meat), which is cooked in a mixture of 3/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup lime juice (along with other herbs and spices, of course!). The end result is incredibly tangy and moist! We loved it on our corn tortillas, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, peach mango salsa, lettuce and sour cream (but top them however you like!)

I followed the recipe exactly as described (using boneless skinless chicken breast) except that I skipped the final step of crisping up the chicken by putting it under the broiler, since we were fine with ours straight out of the slow cooker. Head on over to the Closet Cooking blog to see how to make this easy and delicious slow cooker chicken carnitas tacos! (Click here).

Filed under food dinner supper meal chicken slow cooker crockpot taco carnitas recipe blog Closet Cooking citrus orange lime spice

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Weekend baking project: one hour (ish) bread

Making bread is a rare thing in my house. Well, any yeasted bread-type recipe really! (Save for my quick rising pizza dough recipe). Most days I just don’t have the time to wait for the dough to rise multiple times. Its not that I don’t have the patience (because I do), it is more the waiting and timing and scheduling of the rising of the dough. I like to enjoy my weekends, people! 

So when I came across this recipe for a supposedly “one hour” bread, I was intrigued. Could a tasty, good quality loaf of bread really be made in about an hour? I decided to find out for myself.

After assembling all of my ingredients, I got to work. I decided to make this manually (i.e., to not use my stand mixer) for my first try, but I would definitely use the mixer next time. Kneading is tiring for the arms! The dough came together fairly easily and quickly, then it was time to rest for a mere 30 minutes in a warm spot.

After a mere 25 minutes in the oven, I had bread! We waited as long as we could to let it cool before cutting into it, which was tough! This is definitely a dense bread, with an excellent crisp crust. We thought it was great for such little effort and rise time.

You can click here to see the recipe, which I found on the funny Cravings of a Lunatic blog.I followed the recipe and the directions as best as I could, with the only difference being that I added about a tablespoon of olive oil to the liquid mixture before adding in the flour. I believe the key to what enables you to make this bread so quickly is the instant/quick-rise yeast (I used Fleischmann’s). This yeast basically eliminates the need for the first rise according to Fleischmann’s website, which makes sense in terms of how quickly this bread comes together in this recipe.

I would definitely make this again! We gobbled ours up within a few days and it stayed fairly fresh after the first day, which was good. It was also nice toasted when we ate it with some homemade soup. If you’ve ever wanted a quick bread recipe, look no further!

Filed under food bread baking bake recipe cook cooking crumb crust breakfast lunch dinner blog Cravings of a Lunatic one-hour one-hour bread yeast rise Fleischmann's

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Weekday lunch idea: kale, ham, mushroom and feta frittata

I am always looking for ways to spice up my weekday work lunches, so I thought, why not a frittata?

I came across this recipe on the lovely I Breathe…I’m Hungry blog, and loved the simplicity but deliciousness of the ingredients used in this frittata. To round out my lunch, I decided to serve the frittata slice over a bed of chopped kale, which would wilt nicely when microwaved at work. 

The result was great! A filling, healthy lunch that was speedy to make ahead of time, and easy to put together each night for my lunch the next day. I will definitely be making more frittatas for my work lunches!

Kale, ham, mushroom and feta frittata - adapted slightly from I Breathe…I’m Hungry

Ingredients

- cooking spray for the pie dish

- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

- 1/2 cup chopped deli ham

- 4 Tbsp finely chopped kale

- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

- 4 eggs

- 4 egg whites (we buy the ones in the carton, but you can use regular eggs and keep the yolks for a later project)

- 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

- 1/4 tsp nutmeg

- 1/4 cup light feta cheese, crumbled

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions

You have the option to first fry the mushrooms or you can leave them fresh. Giving them a quick fry makes them more flavourful, but it is up to you.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray your pie dish with cooking spray.

Mix the eggs, egg whites and milk in a bowl until the yolks are completely combined. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir again.

Pour into your prepared pie dish (I used a 9” pie dish). Evenly distribute the mushrooms, ham, kale, parsley and feta into the egg mixture. Press the veggies/ham/feta down if they are sticking out too far for your liking.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the mixture is set, and the edges are beginning to brown gently. Serve warm, or cool and cut into four (or more) slices to be used in your weekday work lunches. Serve on a bed of chopped kale!

http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2013/07/ham-cheese-mushroom-frittata-low-carb-gluten-free.html

Filed under food cooking breakfast lunch dinner meal frittata egg egg white kale feta feta cheese parsley ham deli ham recipe blog I Breathe...I'm Hungry I Breathe Therefore I'm Hungry fresh healthy easy easy recipe

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Dinner at Tennessy Willems

It had been quite some time since the husband and I had been back to Tennessy Willems since our first visit last January (see here), so we thought it was time to return. I also thought my mother would really enjoy their pizza, so it was a good excuse to take her there while she was visiting recently.

I was happily surprised by TW’s new tapas menu, which is in addition to their regular menu. There were so many things that I wanted to try! It was tough to choose just one to share with my mother. In the end, we couldn’t resist the chicken liver and foie gras paté, which came topped with a maple jelly and three pickled cherries. Talk about amazing! The paté was absolute perfection, with the salty/fatty/creamyness of the foie gras and chicken liver being cut ever so gently by the sweetness of the maple jelly, and the tartness of the pickled cherries. Also, pickled cherries?? Wow - a pure delight. As well, I can’t forget to give a shout out to the accompanying toast points: they were crusted with salt and pepper, and tasted incredible. The perfect vessels!

A visit to TW would not be complete without having their mac and cheese, so we shared it among the three of us as an appetizer. It wasn’t quite as delicious as I remember it (I remember the tarragon flavour in the sauce being way more pronounced last time, which I loved, whereas it was much more subtle this time), but it was still solid: rich, creamy and oh-so-indulgent.

For our mains, we decided to share two pizzas: the wild boar (with local wild boar sausage, caramelized apple, sage oil and two-year-old cheddar), and the Capricciosa (with fire-roasted tomato sauce, fior di latte, cremini mushrooms, artichokes, Kalamata olives and Pingue’s capicola ham). Let’s start off by saying that TW’s crust is one of the most amazing in the city: that wood-fired smokiness just can’t be beat! The crust is thin, yet light and fluffy (not a thin papery crisp, which I find dissatisfying). The toppings on the wild boar were lovely, with the caramelized apple adding sweetness to the sausage’s saltyness. My mother and I thoroughly enjoyed the Capricciosa, as we are partial to toppings like olives and artichokes, which were ample and tasty.

Overall, it was a great meal (with lots leftover to enjoy the next day!), and the husband and I can’t wait to go back to try even more of their delicious pizzas…I still want to taste the pulled pork pizza!

Filed under food dinner supper Ottawa Wellington West Hintonburg pizza Tennessy Willems restaurant review mac and cheese sausage pizza crust boar artichoke olive sage fior di latte dough fresh wood-fired

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Easy summer supper: caprese salad

I love it when the ingredients for a dish you’ve been craving simply fall right into your lap when you least expect it! That’s what happened when I made this caprese salad while my mother was visiting recently.

I had been craving a caprese salad for a while, but I hadn’t quite figured out how I wanted to pull it all together. Well, my mother helped to clear it all up by bringing fresh tomatoes and basil from her and my Dad’s garden, and a bottle of amazing olive oil from her trip to Spain as a gift to the husband and I.  All I needed was some fresh cheese, and I knew exactly what I wanted: President’s Choice’s new formaggio di bufala mozzarella!

The directions for making caprese are fairly self-explanatory, so I won’t bore you with how I did it. But I will say that I thought that interchanging the green and purple basil leaves made for an even prettier presentation! I also drizzled my salad with some balsamic vinegar and some of the olive oil from Spain. It was delicious! It is one of my favourite ways to enjoy the summer bounty of tomatoes and fresh basil from my parent’s garden. (P.S. - the zinnias in the background are also from my parent’s garden. So pretty!)

Filed under food salad summer caprese tomato basil fresh healthy balsamic olive oil formaggio di bufala President's Choice cheese fresh cheese dinner lunch garden Ontario

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Weeknight summery supper: pork and mango fresh spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce
The husband and I love to order fresh spring rolls when we go out for Vietnamese food, and our love of these delicious rolls inspired me to try to make them on my own. My sister had made them for my family a long time ago, so I had seen it done before, but I still wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I was also inspired by a few of the food bloggers that I follow who had made posts about them in recent months (see here and here).
I knew I wanted my rolls to have some sort of meat in them, along with mango. There is just something about mango that I think works so well in these savoury rolls. I also wanted to add some lettuce for texture and freshness, and vermicelli noodles to make them filling (and vermicelli is a pretty typical ingredient in these rolls).
After preparing my ingredients, I set out to start rolling. It took me a few tries on the first wrap, but I got the hang of it surprisingly quickly, and the rolls came together quite nicely. The husband and I both loved them! The flavours came together wonderfully, and we were so pleased with how they turned out. We have since made them again, and will continue to make them in the future!
Pork and mango fresh spring rolls
Ingredients - for two, to make about 6 small rolls
- 2 to 3 boneless pork chops, bbq’d, cooled and sliced into strips
- 1 Atalufo or regular mango, peeled and sliced into thin, long strips (you will have leftover mango)
- 4 to 6 pieces of romaine or red/green leaf lettuce, washed and de-stemmed
- 1/4 package vermicelli noodles, cooked, drained and cooled
- fresh cilantro, washed and dried (use as much or as little as you like in each wrap)
- 1 package of rice wraps (you’ll have lots leftover for future use)
Directions
Lay out all of your prepared ingredients.  Fill a large, flat bowl (I had to use a frying pan as I don’t have a bowl that large and flat) with very warm water to use to soften the rice wraps. One at a time, soften a wrap, then fill with ingredients (be careful to not over stuff the wraps as you’ll have more difficulty rolling them up. Use a burrito rolling technique for an effective roll.
Once rolled, enjoy immediately or refrigerate. I recommend eating them within the same day, or the next day. 
We love having our rolls with homemade peanut dipping sauce, and I can recommend this recipe that I have tried from the lovely How to Eat blog. Trust me, these wraps just LOVE this dip - don’t eat them without it! Enjoy!

Weeknight summery supper: pork and mango fresh spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce

The husband and I love to order fresh spring rolls when we go out for Vietnamese food, and our love of these delicious rolls inspired me to try to make them on my own. My sister had made them for my family a long time ago, so I had seen it done before, but I still wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I was also inspired by a few of the food bloggers that I follow who had made posts about them in recent months (see here and here).

I knew I wanted my rolls to have some sort of meat in them, along with mango. There is just something about mango that I think works so well in these savoury rolls. I also wanted to add some lettuce for texture and freshness, and vermicelli noodles to make them filling (and vermicelli is a pretty typical ingredient in these rolls).

After preparing my ingredients, I set out to start rolling. It took me a few tries on the first wrap, but I got the hang of it surprisingly quickly, and the rolls came together quite nicely. The husband and I both loved them! The flavours came together wonderfully, and we were so pleased with how they turned out. We have since made them again, and will continue to make them in the future!

Pork and mango fresh spring rolls

Ingredients - for two, to make about 6 small rolls

- 2 to 3 boneless pork chops, bbq’d, cooled and sliced into strips

- 1 Atalufo or regular mango, peeled and sliced into thin, long strips (you will have leftover mango)

- 4 to 6 pieces of romaine or red/green leaf lettuce, washed and de-stemmed

- 1/4 package vermicelli noodles, cooked, drained and cooled

- fresh cilantro, washed and dried (use as much or as little as you like in each wrap)

- 1 package of rice wraps (you’ll have lots leftover for future use)

Directions

Lay out all of your prepared ingredients.  Fill a large, flat bowl (I had to use a frying pan as I don’t have a bowl that large and flat) with very warm water to use to soften the rice wraps. One at a time, soften a wrap, then fill with ingredients (be careful to not over stuff the wraps as you’ll have more difficulty rolling them up. Use a burrito rolling technique for an effective roll.

Once rolled, enjoy immediately or refrigerate. I recommend eating them within the same day, or the next day. 

We love having our rolls with homemade peanut dipping sauce, and I can recommend this recipe that I have tried from the lovely How to Eat blog. Trust me, these wraps just LOVE this dip - don’t eat them without it! Enjoy!

Filed under food dinner lunch snack rice rice wrap mango pork lettuce recipe cilantro blog How to Eat How to Eat blog Annie's Eats healthy easy quick meal meal idea Annie's Eats blog peanut peanut dipping sauce peanut sauce fresh

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Dinner at Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar

While my mother was visiting one recent weekend, we decided to try somewhere new for dinner. I had read about Juniper’s recent menu overhaul (see here), and thought it would be fun to give it a try. The husband and I had been to Juniper once many, many years ago, so it was also time for us to return.

I had forgotten about Juniper’s great the atmosphere. It is so big and bright from all of the floor to ceiling windows. We were promptly greeted and seated when we arrived, and that great service continued through the evening.

We decided to order a couple of appetizers to start, but before that came an adorable and tasty amuse bouche, a meaty strudel. I love amuse bouches; they are such a treat and I find that very few restaurants do that anymore. For my appetizer, I ordered the crispy lamb dumplings, which were so rich and delicious. The husband had the inverted poutine, which he liked for its unique take on the classic Canadian dish. My mother had the gazpacho, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

For our mains, I absolutely had to have the scallops with bacon-garlic scape risotto.  Wowsers - this was magical! The dash of chimichurri added an insanely fresh and tangy flavour to the whole dish. The scallops were perfectly cooked, of course! The husband had a few of the small plates for his main dish, including the pulled pork grilled cheese with onion rings and the sous vide pork ribs with fries. He enjoyed both - the ribs were very tender and flavourful. My mother opted for the cornish hen, which came with a very spicy slaw and rice. She enjoyed it but the spicyness of the slaw was a bit of a challenge.

For dessert we decided to share the brownie with ice cream. Juniper’s menu overhaul included switching out expensive, large desserts for smaller, reasonably priced dessert bites (most are just $5). Indeed, the brownie was small, but it gave each of us two bites or so to satisfy our sweet craving, and that it did! 

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner, and would return. The food was delicious, the service excellent, and the ambiance lovely!

Filed under food Ottawa dinner supper restaurant Juniper Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar Westboro Wellington West dining fine dining lamb scallop risotto cornish hen pulled pork grilled cheese fries onion rings chimichurri brownie chocolate dessert main appetizer

8 notes

Lunch at Fiazza

While doing some shopping in the Byward Market on recent weekend, the husband and I were in the mood for a snack. We decided to try the brand new Fiazza, a casual, custom pizza restaurant.

The restaurant is pretty big, occupying the space of a former bicycle shop. To order your pizza, you line up (in the manner of Mucho Burrito or Subway) to choose either one of Fiazza’s specialty creations or to pick your own toppings. For our first time, we decided to go with one of Fiazza’s specialty pizzas (which range in price from $7.95 to $12.95), the Sicilian, which came topped with local spicy Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and a mix of Fiazza’s cheese blend and blue cheese.

We watched our pizza being prepared right in front of our eyes, and then off it went for a quick bake in the incredibly hot oven (we could see the temperature gauge and it was set to around 500 degrees). As we proceeded to the cash to pay for our pizza, we noticed small containers of aioli (presumable for dipping) in the self-serve bottled drinks refrigerator, and added one to our order (for $2.95).

Our pizza came out beautifully: it was perfectly cooked for our taste, and the toppings were ample. The sausage had a bit of kick to it and the blue cheese added a fantastic tang. We realized as we were eating it that this was the exact same pizza we had shared in South Beach, Miami earlier this year, so we had some fun reminiscing about our trip and our delicious eats. But I can’t forget about the aioli: WOW! It was perfect! Super garlicky, creamy and everything an amazing aioli should be.

Overall we really enjoyed our pizza at Fiazza, and the ample open air seating area which was great for people watching. The self-ordering and pick up system allows you to have a quick bite if that is what you need, but there is still the option to linger. We can’t wait to return to try their other pizzas!

Filed under food lunch dinner supper pizza Ottawa restaurant new Byward Market dough toppings cheese self-serve Fiazza fresh Sicilian blue cheese cheese blend sausage Italian sausage local review food review

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Weeknight dinner: Cheesy chicken and broccoli bake
Have you ever actually made one of the recipes that is on the back of a milk carton? I had not until just recently, when an abundance of leftover 3% milk was sitting in my fridge begging for a purpose. I had bought it for when my niece was visiting, and it had ended up not being completely used while she was here.
I had no idea what to use it for, as neither the husband and I would drink it straight up, and since I no longer take milk in my coffee, I couldn’t use it in that way. So when I noticed the recipe for a cheesy chicken and broccoli bake right on the carton, I thought, why not?
The result was comfort food heaven! A rich, cheesy sauce coated the chicken and broccoli  to make for a hearty and comforting dinner. We served it over a bed of rice to help absorb the extra sauce.
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Cheesy chicken and broccoli bake
Slightly adapted from Sealtest
Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: about 6 servings
Ingredients:
- 4 cups (1 L) cooked chopped broccoli
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) butter
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour
- 2 packets (4.5 g each) chicken stock powder (I used OXO)
- 2 cups (500 ml) homogenized milk
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1.5 cups (375 ml) grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put broccoli in 9” (23 cm) square baking dish. Arrange chicken slices on top. 
To make the sauce:
Make a roux: melt butter in saucepan. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add bouillon cubes, milk, mustard and dried herbs. Heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.
Serve over your favourite starch!

Weeknight dinner: Cheesy chicken and broccoli bake

Have you ever actually made one of the recipes that is on the back of a milk carton? I had not until just recently, when an abundance of leftover 3% milk was sitting in my fridge begging for a purpose. I had bought it for when my niece was visiting, and it had ended up not being completely used while she was here.

I had no idea what to use it for, as neither the husband and I would drink it straight up, and since I no longer take milk in my coffee, I couldn’t use it in that way. So when I noticed the recipe for a cheesy chicken and broccoli bake right on the carton, I thought, why not?

The result was comfort food heaven! A rich, cheesy sauce coated the chicken and broccoli  to make for a hearty and comforting dinner. We served it over a bed of rice to help absorb the extra sauce.

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Cheesy chicken and broccoli bake

Slightly adapted from Sealtest

Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Serves: about 6 servings

Ingredients:

- 4 cups (1 L) cooked chopped broccoli

- 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed

- 1/4 cup (50 ml) butter

- 1/4 cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour

- 2 packets (4.5 g each) chicken stock powder (I used OXO)

- 2 cups (500 ml) homogenized milk

- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard

- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs

- 1.5 cups (375 ml) grated sharp cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Paprika to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put broccoli in 9” (23 cm) square baking dish. Arrange chicken slices on top. 

To make the sauce:

Make a roux: melt butter in saucepan. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add bouillon cubes, milk, mustard and dried herbs. Heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.

Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Serve over your favourite starch!

Filed under food recipe sealtest milk broccoli chicken cheese cheddar roux dinner supper Sealtest agropur easy cheesy rich comfort food

7 notes

Weekend dinner: Cilantro and lime marinated chicken fajita kebabs

The husband and I are loving kebabs this summer! They have been an easy, delicious and quick weeknight meal for us to simply put together and toss on the grill. So far this summer we have kept things simple, which has allowed for us to be able to whip them up so quickly, so recently I decided we needed a bit of a flavour punch for the meat. I was thinking a marinade for the meat would be the perfect way to spice things up. I found this recipe on one of my favourite foodie sites, Serious Eats, and decided to give it a whirl.

If you want to save time and make kebabs on a busy weeknight, with a little bit of prep, making kebabs is a breeze. I like to cut up my veggies (usually bell pepper and onion) into 1 inch pieces in advance to save some time. As well, I get my wooden skewers soaking in the morning, and let them soak all day. You don’t have to do this but I find it really helps to prevent the skewers from burning up. All they really need is a good half-hour soak in some cool water, and you can soak them leading up to dinner time if that works better for you. I like to lay them out on a cookie sheet and add water until they float a little bit. Then I use a heavy mug to press them down into the water until they are completely submerged.

For this particular recipe, due to the timing of the marinade (the recipe indicates to marinate the meat anywhere from 1 to 5 hours), we decided to try it on a weekend so as not to over-marinate the chicken. The result was amazing! The chicken was tender and jam packed with flavour from the cilantro and lime.

I followed the recipe exactly as noted on Serious Eats except for that we used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of thighs, so click here to head on over to their site for the recipe. Happy kebab-ing!

Filed under food dinner supper kebab kebabs chicken recipe cilantro lime Serious Eats bbq barbeque

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Weekend dinner: homemade flour tortillas and slow cooker pineapple pulled pork

After making homemade corn tortillas for the first time a while back (see here), I decided it was time to try making homemade flour tortillas. If I had a preference I would say that I personally prefer the real corn tortillas - I grew up on flour tortillas and I just like the different flavour and texture of the corn tortillas. But the husband is a big fan of flour tortillas (especially the ones like from Lonestar Texas Grill here in Ottawa), so we got to work to give them our best effort.

I figured that making the tortillas would be fairly simple, but I didn’t realize the many recipe variations that existed, especially when it comes to choosing the third key ingredient in the tortilla recipe: the fat/oil. From lard to bacon fat to many different types of oils, there are many variations. I researched a number of flour tortilla recipes online, but finally settled on the one from the lovely Table for Two blog (click here to link to her site and see her recipe). I liked that she used vegetable oil, which was a simple ingredient and something that I already had on hand. I followed the recipe exactly as written in her blog post, and the tortillas were amazing! We ended up freezing about half of the batch of tortillas for a future use, and I can tell you that they froze very well.

What better way to use your newly made delicious homemade tortillas than to stuff them with some delicious pulled pork? After our trip to Miami earlier this year, we have become enamoured with tacos ‘al pastor,’ which is a Mexican dish of pork marinated in a mixture of dried chilies, spices and pineapple. We wanted to make our own take on this dish, so we concocted a recipe for herbs and spices to go with our boneless pork rib roast in the slow cooker.  It turned out great! We loved the sweetness imparted by the pineapple and the gentle hint of spice from the chipotle powder. We also added some Bullseye hickory smoke bbq sauce for a delicious smokey flavour. Below is our recipe - enjoy!

Pineapple pulled pork (our take on tacos al pastor) - serves many, many people

Ingredients:

- 1 4lb boneless pork rib roast

- 1 yellow onion, diced

- 1 398 ml can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)

For the sauce mixture:

- 1 tbsp dried oregano

- 2 tbsp brown sugar

- 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) chipotle powder

- 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) chili powder

- 1 tbsp smoked paprika

- 1 tbsp minced garlic

- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

- 3 tbsp lime juice

- 1/4 cup pineapple juice (from the can)

- 1/4 bbq sauce (we used Bullseye old west hickory smoke)

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare your slow cooker. Lay diced onions in the bottom of the crock, and set the pork on top of the onions. Salt and pepper the pork to taste. Cover the pork with the pineapple tidbits; what you can’t fit on the pork, lay around it on the bottom on top of the onions.

Make your sauce: combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Pour over top of the pork.

Cook on low for a total of 8 hours.  At 7 hours, start shredding/pulling your pork and mix everything around so that it can cook in the juices for the last hour or so.

Serve in your flour tortillas and top with salsa, lettuce, sour cream and cilantro.

Filed under food dinner supper tortilla flour flour tortilla homemade tortilla press tacos pork pulled pork slow cooker pineapple crockpot recipe onion blog Table for Two

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Dinner at the Rex

I first went to the Rex a while back for lunch, and totally loved it (see here). I knew I had to go back to try their weekend dinners, which feature a different themed menu each Friday and Saturday nights.

The husband and I happened to stumble on a perfect night for our taste buds, which was a World Cup theme, featuring all the great flavours of South America. The weekend menu at the Rex features two appetizers, two main dishes and two desserts: the three course meal for one is $35 - a great deal for such amazing food!

Considering there is only two choices for each course, the husband and I ordered one of each and shared everything. The appetizers were the perfect start to the meal: an Albacore tuna ceviche on sweet potato chips for me, and black bean, corn and cheddar empanadas for the husband. Both were amazing!

Next were our main courses, which we shared equally. My favourite of the two was the spice rubbed chicken breast served with grilled baby red potatoes which were tossed with chorizo, goat cheese and baby spinach, all drizzled in a roasted garlic jus. The chicken was ridiculously moist and tender, and I adored the flavour that the chorizo imparted in the mixture with the potatoes and spinach. The second main course was the striploin steak served with frites and a mixture of grilled king oyster mushrooms and zucchini, all with a side of chimichurri aioli. The steak was cooked perfectly, and the frites were crispy and light. My favourite part of the steak dish was the chimichurri aioli - wow!

I couldn’t wait to taste dessert; the words ‘dark chocolate,’ ‘dulce de leche’ and ‘coffee’ all in one description make my heart (and my taste buds) sing. Obviously my favourite dessert of the two was the dark chocolate cake with dulce de leche frosting and coffee ice cream. The cake was rich and moist, and the frosting and ice cream added sweetness to counter the gentle bitterness of the dark chocolate. I also enjoyed the second dessert, a rum and strawberry sorbet with candied lime zest and fresh mint; it was like an explosion of fresh flavours on the tongue.

Overall, we had a great time at the Rex for dinner.  Service was excellent and attentive, and while the portions are a tad on the small side, we both left feeling full. We can’t wait to go back!

Filed under food dinner supper Ottawa restaurant Little Italy appetizer main course dessert review chicken steak tuna tartare empanadas The Rex tuna ceviche black bean cheddar corn potato chorizo chocolate dark chocolate sorbet strawberry mint lime coffee ice cream