Welcome fall!

Cooler days, darker mornings, sweaters, boots and everything pumpkin.  We are officially in fall, which means moving away from the grill and bringing out that crock pot.  I find the change of seasons exciting, especially trying new recipes that incorporate seasonal produce.  The recipes I’m sharing highlight apples and pumpkin, both staples in autumn menus.

Happy cooking,
Sara

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Eat your greens!

Heading into the summer months it is nice to make a meal that doesn’t involve turning on the stove or oven.  Enter the dinner salad.  Now, you may be thinking that greens will not make you feel full or even satisfied, but I beg to differ.  Topping your salad with a protein, either chicken, fish, tofu or cheese will turn your usual lunch meal into dinner.  I find feeding children salad, or maybe just lettuce very challenging.  My son still will not eat lettuce.  He will however eat all of the salad components, just on a plate minus the greens.  Below I am sharing some of my favourite dinner salad recipes:

Happy chopping,
Sara

 

Ole!

Cinco de Mayo is this Friday, and really who doesn’t love a little Mexican fiesta to start their weekend?!  Some of my oldest and most favourite recipes are Mexican inspired.  From starters to salads, here are some recipes to please every palate.

Layered taco dip: I know that everyone has been to a party and had this dip.  I make this dip to feed a crowd and it never disappoints.  Start by spreading a layer of refried beans as the base for the dip.  I use a large round platter, so that there is room to add chips along the side.  Next, cover the beans with guacamole, this can be bought or home-made. The third layer is a mixture of sour cream and taco seasoning.  I buy the seasoning from Trader Joe’s in the U.S.A. and bring it home with me.  If not buy one that is MSG-free and low sodium.  The final layer is cheese.  You can buy a Mexican blend or shred cheddar and jack cheese.  I like to top the dip with sliced tomatoes, jalapeños and cilantro.
Guacamole:  Making guacamole is very simple, and requires basic ingredients.  I make it the same every time, but it always tastes a little different.  Mash three avocados, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Squeeze the juice from one lime over top and add a large heaping spoonful of sour cream.  To give it a little zip I use Frank’s RedHot sauce (10 dashes) and then a spoonful of salsa.  Serve as an accompaniment to nachos or as a starter with taco chips.

Burritos from the Best of Bridge, this may be one of my most favourite recipes of all time!  Serve with a green salad.
Enchiladas also from the Best of Bridge Ladies, I serve this with a salad on the side.
Chicken fajitas from @marthastewart I make this recipe all of the time.  Instead of broiling the veggies and chicken on two separate pans, put all of it on one pan it works just as well.
Sloppy Joe tacos from @gimmesomeoven I have shared this recipe before, but it is a kid favourite.
Baked tacos with hard shells from @byjillee my mom swears by this recipe.  The beef filling for these tacos is delicious.
Fish tacos and the best sauce from simply-gourmet.com I have made these with fresh halibut and they were outstanding.
Black-bean tostadas with corn relish from @marthastewart this is another recipe that I have shared before.  It is a great vegetarian option, especially when corn is in season.
Chopped chicken taco salad from @howsweeteats I really enjoy a chopped salad, especially if someone else makes it for me!
Cilantro lime chicken salad with mango avocado salsa from @cafedelites this is a recipe that I have never made but looks great.
Churros with chocolate sauce from @justataste
Lime margarita from @epicurious

Cocina feliz,
Sara

Bring in spring

With spring in the air and summer just around the corner it is a great time to add some new ingredients into your evening meals.  At this time of year I am always looking to add some seasonal ingredients into my meal plans.  Currently, asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb are just hitting their peak.

Asparagus is an easy add to any meal, roasted, baked or even barbecued it is a perfect side dish to any protein.  I like to bake mine at a high heat with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and some grated lemon rind.  Another delicious topping to roasted asparagus is feta cheese and sliced grape tomatoes.  Here are a few more asparagus recipes: roasted garlic asparagus,  sautéed asparagus and grilled balsamic asparagus.

Most often we think to use strawberries in desserts, but topping some spinach with sliced strawberries is a wonderful flavour combination.  I found a great recipe for a strawberry spinach salad from @cookinglight.  The recipe called for chicken as well but we ate ours without.  I also added blackberries as they are also in abundance at this time of year.  Instead of making a dressing for the salad you let the berries sit in a mixture of oil and vinegar and then add it to the salad.  To finish it off you sprinkle with feta and pecans.  I decided to candy my pecans and the salad turned out amazingly!  Here is another great looking strawberry salad recipe.

I love rhubarb!  For me simplicity is the key, I love stewing rhubarb and using it as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.  Another great idea for rhubarb is baked in muffins with cinnamon sugar topping.  A recipe that I have been wanting to try is strawberry rhubarb crisp bars from @smittenkitchen.  If you are looking for something different, then give Jamie Oliver’s meringue with rhubarb and cream recipe a try.

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

Easter feast!

How are you spending your Easter weekend?  Will it be a large gathering or something small with family?  For the past couple of years I have hosted Easter, last year we had Easter lunch and the year before dinner.  Lunch was easier and less stressful than dinner, and we had more time to spend visiting and catching up.  This year we will be out-of-town for Easter, so I am unsure what it will look like.  I have pulled some recipes together that will help you create an amazing Easter meal.

Baked ham from @williamssonoma this is the ham that I made a few years back, it turned out delicious!
Honey-Mustard glazed ham from @chowhound
Scallop potatoes from @natashaskitchen I have also made these potatoes, not low-fat but a must have.
Potatoes Anna from @neighborfoodie a different and slightly lighter take on potatoes.
Roasted carrots from @pioneerwoman
Rosemary roasted carrots from @ohmyveggies just a slight twist on the original.
Kale salad from @gimmiesomeoven
Broccoli salad from @natashaskitchen
Strawberry shortcake cheesecake from @lifeloveandsugar I made this cake a few years ago and it is a great spring dessert.
Lemon icebox pie from @lifeloveandsugar how can you go wrong with a lemon dessert in the spring?
Strawberry rhubarb crisp from @cookingclassy why not use some in season fruit to complete your Easter meal.

Hoppy Easter,
Sara

Weekly meals April 3- April 7

Meal updates from last week:
As the meals I posted were ones that I have made before I do not have any updates, but I would love to hear from you, to see what you made and what you liked.

We are still away on holiday so meals are very unplanned.  This week I am sharing with you salads that can be a served as meals.  With warmer weather coming, salads are a great alternative to a meat and potatoes dinner.  With children, I usually deconstruct the salad and serve the ingredients separate.  I have made all of the salads listed below, and can say that I will make all of them again.  Enjoy!

BLT salad from @marthastewart as I have said before this salad is amazing!  We will usually have this salad at least once a month.
Thai cashew coconut rice with ginger peanut sauce from @hostthetoast we have had this salad many times and it is delicious every time.
Buffalo chicken salad from @smellslikehomeblog this is an amazing salad, full of bold flavours.
Bbq chicken COBB from @closetcooking this is a similar salad to the one above, but the cilantro lime ranch takes it to another level.
Greek chicken souvlaki salad from lemonsforlulu.com this is one of my all time favourite salads!  Add some pita bread and it is a well-balanced meal.

Happy cooking,
Sara

 

What’s for lunch?

Lately I have been in a lunch rut.  It seems that I get everyone else their lunch, but when it comes to mine I’m at a loss.  I stand and stare into the fridge, trying to come up with something exciting to eat.  This week I decided I needed to get out of my funk.  On Monday I cooked one cup of quinoa, so that I would have it on hand when lunch rolled around.  I decided to make myself a quinoa salad bowl, and here is how I made it:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of roasted butternut squash (I used pre-cut frozen squash, roasted in the oven with olive oil)
  • 1/2 of sliced apple
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 feta cheese

    Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and top with a honey dijon vinaigrette: 1 tbsp dijon mustard, juice from half a lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, salt and pepper, place all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.  Pour desired amount over your salad.

This bowl has a perfect mix of soft, crunchy, salt, sweet and tart.  I think that I am finally out of my lunch rut!

Happy cooking,
Sara