Sunday, February 26, 2012
Eggrolls are one of those things I've been meaning to try making for a long time but just never seem to get around to it. Then I was in the grocery store and noticed egg roll wrappers, so I grabbed some on a whim and decided to make eggrolls at last. I kept them simple this time, but I might experiment with different flavours next time around. I've seen Southwestern eggrolls around the blogosphere that look quite yummy too. These vegetable egg rolls turned out pretty well for a baked version, although I'm ashamed to say I actually enjoy the greasy fried ones a little bit more. I know you've probably lost all respect for me now; it's just that I found the baked egg roll wrappers don't have the same texture or flavour as the fried kind. Don't get me wrong, they're still yummy and a much healthier option, so I'm okay with it. The boys were okay with them too, especially with the homemade sweet and sour dipping sauce. I used sweet chili sauce for dipping mine, but that's too spicy for the boys so they stuck with the other sauce. Cole said he really liked the middle of the egg rolls but didn't like the outer shell so much because it was "kind of crunchy." He suggested I make them with tortillas next time. I think that might work too!
Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp grated ginger
2 cups prepackaged broccoli slaw
2 cups bean sprouts
1 can (227 ml) water chestnuts, chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
18 (approx) egg roll wrappers
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, broccoli slaw, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool slighty. Place a couple tablespoons of the mixture in the middle of an egg roll wrapper and wrap it like a burrito (there should be wrapping instructions on the egg roll package if you're not sure). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the egg rolls seam-down on the sheet. Brush with sesame oil. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for about another 5 minutes. Serve with sweet chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water
In a saucepan, combine rice vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and soy sauce. Heat to boiling. In a small bowl, mix together cornstach and water. Add to saucepan. Stir until thickened, then remove from heat.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I know it's lame but I watched that movie a lot when I was a teenager and it has unfortunately been etched into my brain now. Sorry to subject you to that. Anyway...Shakshuka (or Shakshouka) is a Hebrew meal of eggs poached in a chunky tomato sauce with peppers and spices. I saw Smitten Kitchen's version on Pinterest and I was intrigued. I've adapted it to be much milder because my kids won't eat anything spicy. You could call this Shakshuka for wimps. It still has great flavours, just not spicy in any way.
I uncover the pot and make spaces in the sauce for the eggs to sit. I can fit 5 nicely in my skillet.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
For years I bought pancake mix and never really thought of making it myself. The store-bought mix seemed good enough and a lot faster. Then I ran out of mix one day and had to make pancakes from scratch. That's when I discovered that homemade pancakes are delicious, and really very simple to make, especially if you make a big batch of mix ahead of time. I just keep it in a jar and it's ready to use on Saturday mornings when we have our traditional pancake breakfast. The great thing about pancakes is that they're so versatile. Start with this mix as a base and then experiment with adding in other tasty ingredients. One of our favourite combinations is blueberry and banana. What kind to you like?
Homemade Pancake Mix
Adapted from All Recipes
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
In a large bowl, mix ingredients well. Store in an airtight container or bag in a cool dry place.
3/4 cup milk
1 cup homemade pancake mix (recipe above)
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and egg. Stir in pancake mix until just combined (do not over mix). Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter on a hot and lightly greased griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to form in the batter, then flip and cook until golden.
- Mashed bananas
- Chopped strawberries
- Shredded apple or pear
- Pumpkin puree
- Cottage cheese (this may sound odd to you but it's delicious in pancakes!)
- Splash of vanilla extract
- Dash of cinnamon
- Chia seeds
- Ground flax seeds
- Chocolate chips
- Peanut butter
Since Valentine's day is coming up, I made these heart-shaped Banana Nutella Pancakes with raspberry syrup.
If you have a metal heart cookie cutter,you can cook the pancakes right in the cutter, like so:
Make sure to grease the inside of the cutter so the pancake doesn't stick to it.
Another tip I have for pancakes, if you have kids that need their pancakes cut up, is to use a pizza wheel.
It makes perfect bite-sized pancake pieces every time.
My kids are very particular about how they eat their pancakes. Both of them like this method of cutting with the pizza cutter. Cole likes to dip his pancakes in syrup, so I always give him a little bowl of syrup for dipping. Bennett prefers it if I pour the syrup right on top of his pancakes. I usually use pure maple syrup or a fruit syrup, but sometimes I make a blueberry sauce for them instead (either blueberry banana sauce or a quick microwave blueberry sauce).
So good luck with your own pancake-making. I hope I've provided some helpful details to show you how easy and tasty pancakes can be when you make them from scratch. Of course, there's nothing wrong with using store-bought kinds now and then too. I particularly like Sunny Boy Spelt and Coyote Flax Seed.
Monday, February 6, 2012
I wasn't expecting to win anyone over with this recipe. My boys hate sweet potatoes, Cole hates spinach, and Tony isn't all that fond of quinoa. I made it anyway because I love all of those things. Surprisingly, everyone ate this stew without complaint. I think it was the chickpeas that did it, or as Cole would call them, "Chickadees." Both kids seem to like chickpeas a lot, so in the process of eating the chickpeas they inadvertently ate some of the other ingredients they normally wouldn't eat and discovered it wasn't so bad. According to Cole, this was pretty good "Chickadee Stew." I certainly enjoyed it, and Tony did too. It has a nice blend of spices in it, and while the peanut butter may seem like an odd choice it actually worked really well in this dish. It's similar to African Thai Stew, which I like to make quite often. In fact, I had set out to cook that very meal when it turned into this instead. Sometimes my recipe-meddling turns out badly, but in this case I'd say it was a success.
Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew
Adapted from The Dinner Fix: Cooking for the Rushed (African-Thai Stew)
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
2 celery sticks, sliced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup quinoa
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp peanut butter
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and celery. Cook for a few minutes until softened. Add broth, sweet potatoes, cumin, curry, chili powder, chickpeas and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooked through. Add spinach, peanut butter and stir well. Cover again and cook until spinach has wilted. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Goulash is basically a stew seasoned with paprika, often served with pasta or potatoes. I like that this version is done in the crockpot, because I love using my crockpot whenever possible. It's nice to prepare a meal ahead of time and just forget about it until dinner-time rolls around. All you need to remember with this recipe is to add the flour and water to thicken the sauce and then add the sour cream right before serving to make it nice and creamy. You can skip the sour cream if you're not a fan of it. This stew will still taste wonderful without it. I've made this goulash several times now and it seems to be pretty popular with my family...for the most part. Cole thinks it's a little spicy, but he thinks everything with the least bit of spice is spicy so I wouldn't put too much weight on his opinion. No one else thought it was spicy. I used mild salsa too, but that was still apparently too much for him. You could substitute tomato sauce instead of the salsa and cut down on the paprika if you're sensitive to spice like Cole. I love smoked paprika though, so I won't be cutting that down. It gives this dish such a beautiful smoky flavour that goes so well with the pork. If you haven't tried smoked paprika before I urge you to give it a try. It's delicious!
Adapted from Canadian Living: The Slow Cooker Collection (Smoky Pork Stew)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 lb boneless pork shoulder blade roast, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup salsa
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp smoked or regular paprika (I prefer smoked)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sour cream
Place all ingredients except for flour and sour cream in the crockpot and stir together. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours, until meat is tender. Skim off any fat from the top. In a small bowl, combine flour and 1/4 cup of cold water. Move the meat out of the way and whisk the flour mixture into the sauce. Stir well and cook on high heat until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Serve over pasta or cooked potatoes.