Friday, September 24, 2010

Seriously Delicious Indian Cauliflower and Tomato Soup

OK - I hadn't planned on making this today, but instead was going to concoct a cauliflower artichoke soup (which I'll do later), but the store I went to didn't have artichokes.  Alas, a big can of shiny crushed tomatoes smiled at me so I thought, why not! OK.  I am now enjoying the most delicious, the most healthy antioxidant soup you can imagine. And not only that, on a rainy cold Vancouver afternoon such as this, it's exactly what my cold body not to mention soul needed.  Here's what I did:

Boil one head of cauliflower and then once cooked, set aside the flowerettes, reserving about one cup of the water to cook one whole chopped onion and the spices (1 tsp. of Madras curry, 1/2 tsp. of Turmeric, 1 tbsp. of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. of cilantro leaves, 1/4 tsp. of Cumin and finally 2 tbsp. of Indian Masala spice).  You can use all of these spices, or use what you have in the cupboard.  I do however think that the curry and turmeric, garlic and Masala are key to this soup). 

While the spices and onion are melding, pour 1/2 a large can of crushed tomatoes and the cauliflower into a blender and blend until smooth and nice and pulpy.  Add to the pot of simmering onions and spices, and then add two cartons of chicken stock.  Stir together and taste to add a little more of this and a little more of that!  I found myself adding, a little more garlic, curry, Masala, etc.  Do not be afraid to add what you like.  Additionally I added two little packets of Sugar Twin to bring all the flavors together.  Finally, garnish with cilantro leaves.  Yum Yum Yum!!!!!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oven Shake and Baked Buttermilk Chicken with Tri-Coloured Nugget Potatoes

I racked my brain yesterday for something to make for my family's dinner and buttermilk drumsticks came to mind.  Buttermilk, especially if the chicken is marinated in it over night, or at least for several hours, tenderizes the meat.  The other quick ingredient I've been using lately and my kids love it, is Southern Fried Shake and Bake breadcrumbs.  It's so quick and easy and considering I'm not a huge fan of the taste of drumsticks, these two ingredients really do a nice and delicious job. 

1 litre of buttermilk, 1 pack of drumsticks (mine had 11 in it), and Shake and Bake!  Now put the drumsticks into a large bowl that will fit into your refrigerator and pour the entire litre of buttermilk over the chicken (rub it in the chicken if you don't mind, but don't worry if you don't) and put into the fridge, overnight, or in my case it was just for four hours.  When you are ready to bake, remove and shake each drumstick as you take it from the bowl and dip into Shake and Bake bag making sure you coat the chicken, then lay each drumstick on a lightly Pam sprayed cookie sheet.  Cook for about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  I served the chicken with these gorgeous tri-coloured nugget potatoes I've been buying (purple, orange, and yellow) together with a leafy pear salad.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Orange Ginger Beef Stew

Quite simply the most spectacular take on stew I've enjoyed in a while:  Olive oil, 2 lbs. stewing beef, salt and pepper, 2 onions peeled and chopped, 1 bag of small nugget potatoes - 4 cups,  (I used a bag of frozen European brand frozen potatoes) 1 small knob of ginger, thinly diced, 2 cups of organic beef broth, 2 cups of orange juice, 2 cups of orange marmalade, a generous splash of soy sauce, 1 heaping tbsp. of five spice powder, 4 green onions chopped, and a handful of cilantro leaves.

Preheat a large pot over a medium high heat and add olive oil so the pot is covered.  Season beef cubes with salt and pepper and garlic salt or whatever spices you like and add to the hot pot and sear on all sides.  Remove from the pot and put aside.  Then add onions and ginger and saute until nice and brown, but not too brown. Then add orange juice, soy sauce, marmalade, five spice, onions, cilantro leaves, beef, oh yes, and beef broth, salt and pepper, garlic if you like too, and begin simmering.  Finally get 1/2 cup of flour and put into a separate bowl.  Add three cups of the hot stew broth to the flour and whisk until it is smooth paste.  Then stream the flour/broth mixture into the stew and stir like crazy so no lumps form.  Then add potatoes and simmer for 1 hour with a tight lid so beef gets nice and tender.  Heavenly!

Taste and season as you like and dunk hunks of bread into it to taste!  Serve with rice, or serve over bean sprouts and spinach.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Succulent Slow Cooked Short Ribs

It's the perfect time of year to whip out your slow cooker.  You can even stick "frozen" meat in it, and it will come out gorgeously tender.  The broth I put in with the short ribs is unmeasured, but it was lovely and subtle In flavouring.  The ribs came out gloriously tender and were delish.  Normally I would have thrown some red wine or beer in the broth, but you know...kids.....I didn't want to possibly have to eat all those delicious short ribs by myself!  So the first thing you are going to do, is throw some flour into a bag with a little salt and pepper and drench the short ribs, a few at a time and put into a buttered pan and brown them.  Once nice and brown, put into the slow cooker.  For the broth I used what I had and improvised and I suggest you do too!  In a bowl mix together 3/4 a carton of chicken broth, and if you have it, use beef broth, though the chicken was really nice too.  Then mix in 1/4 cupish of ketchup, 1/4 cupish of brown sugar, about 5 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, and about the same in soy sauce, and then 1 tbsp. of minced garlic.  Give it a little taste, then add whatever more you like, just as long as it's not too salty.  Here's the thing.  Slow Cookers are a la magic.  You can make so many succulent recipes in them.  My short ribs came out perfect.  I cooked them all day - put them in at 11 in the morning, and we ate about 7 at night.  Just check the ribs ever now and then and move them around so the sauce gets every inch of them.  Oh yes, I also enjoyed an entire bottle of 2008 Marechal Foch from Lang Vineyards.  So delish.  So divine!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Point Creamy Alfredo Chicken Dinner

Put oven at 400 degrees.
I'm back to WW.  Yes, I am.  Here is a delicious little succulent dinner I made last night.  I cooked up a frozen chicken breast so then I knew exactly how many points it was, which was two.  Then I poured 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes over cooked chicken together with 1/4 cup of creamy roast pepper alfredo sauce and put back into the oven to warm through.

For a side dish I made about 3 cups of Europe's Best mixed green and yellow beans and boiled in a pot until just al dente.  Once you drain the beans, add 1/2 tbsp. of lemon juice, a pinch of parmesan seasoning, salt and pepper and toss.  Put your whole gorgeous dinner on a plate and chow down.  Only four points!  I just about added cheese to my chicken, but didn't and saved my calories for dessert later.  XOXOXO

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