7 Layer Dip

7 Layer Dip

With the big football game this weekend I thought that I would try out some snacks for the big day. On the top of my list was the 7 layer dip which I had been wanting to try for a while. The 7 layer dip consists of seven layers as follows: refried beans , guacamole , sour cream, salsa , cheese, black olives, garnishes such as green onions. I looked at a bunch of recipes and I decided to go with the 7 layer dip by Elise on Simply Recipes . I liked the sound of serving the refried beans warm with the cheese melted on top. Between the refried beans, guacamole and salsa in a more standard recipe there are a lot of duplicated flavours. I liked that Elise's recipe called for simply sliced avocado instead of guacamole and chopped tomatoes instead of the salsa. Besides, it is less work to chop an avocado and a tomato that it is to make guacamole and salsa. :) Even though I made my own refried beans , the dip came together in almost no time. The 7 layer dip was so good!! I had a hard time not polishing it all off in one sitting and then I skipped dinner after. I really enjoyed the warm spiced refried beans and the melted cheese was nice and gooey and good. The rest of the flavours melted together to form a medley of warm, spicy, cheesy, hot, cool, refreshing and even crunchy from the tortilla chips that I served it with. It made me think of a deconstructed refried bean taco in dip form. I can't wait to make this again!

Sweet Potato Poutine

Sweet Potato Poutine

It had been far too long since I had last had poutine and I was craving it! Poutine is a Canadian dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy. How can you go wrong with French fries, cheese and gravy? The sauce or gravy that was leftover from braising the pot roast that I had made earlier was really tasty and I was thinking that it would be perfect to use to make some poutine. I headed out to the cheese monger at the St. Lawrence Market as soon as possible to pick up some fresh cheese curds imported from Quebec which are supposed to be very good for poutine. I had been wanting to try a sweet potato poutine and since I had really enjoyed the baked sweet potato wedges that last time that I had made them I decided to go with therm instead of French fries . My baked sweet potato wedge poutine turned out great! The baked sweet potatoes wedges were crispy on the edges and soft and warm and good on the inside. The cheese curds melted nicely but not too much on the sweet potato wedges and smothered in the super tasty gravy. The sweetness of the potatoes went really well with the saltiness of the cheese and gravy. Each bite transports you to another place, a place of complete enjoyment and contentment. I will have to make poutine more often, though not too often. :)

Note: One of the tricks to making good poutine is to assemble it while the fries and gravy are still piping hot so that the cheese curds begin to melt.

Pot Roast Mushroom Soup

Pot Roast Mushroom Soup
Follow Me on Pinterest

The next stop for the pot roast leftovers was a pot roast mushroom soup that I had come across on chaos in the kitchen a while ago. I liked the sound of using the super moist, tender and flavourful beef in a soup and adding one of my favorite foods, mushrooms, had me completely sold. I liked the simplicity of the recipe so I left it mostly as is, though I did add some thyme which I always enjoy with mushrooms. The pot roast mushroom soup came together quickly and easily and turned out great! The beef could only get even more tender after simmering it again and it went really well with the mushrooms that were sauteed in butter. The soup was nice and tasty and full of flavour. Most of the leftover pot roast was covered in some of the tasty sauce that it was braised in so that added even more flavour to the soup. I served the pot roast mushroom soup with some cheesy toasted garlic bread .

Pot Roast Sandwich Smothered in Gravy with Melted Swiss Cheese and Horseradish Mayonnaise

Pot Roast Sandwich Smothered in Gravy with Melted Swiss Cheese and Horseradish Mayonnaise


Before I had even made the pot roast I knew that my first use for the leftovers would have to be pot roast sandwiches smothered in the tasty sauce from the braising. I think I might have been looking forward to the leftover sandwiches more than the actual pot roast itself. I could not see making this sandwich without a melted gooey cheese and I ended up going with some swiss. To melt the cheese I assembled part of the sandwich and placed it under the broiler with the cheese on top. To finish the sandwich off I was thinking about a horseradish and mayonnaise sauce. Horseradish goes well with beef and I thought that it would add a nice bite to the sandwich that would help balance out the cheese and gravy. The sandwiches turned out a little messy but they were so good!! Tender moist braised beef in a tasty gravy with gooey melted cheese is such a great combo. I also enjoyed the horseradish and mayonnaise flavour combo and it worked really well in the sandwich. I will be eating a few more of these sandwiches before the leftovers are gone.

Pot Roast

Pot Roast

One of the things that I like about the winter is that I don't have to think twice about having the oven on all hours of the day. During the summer I try to avoid turning the oven on for any reason but the winter is the perfect time for cooking meals that require a lot of oven time. I had been wanting to try cooking a pot roast for a while and this weekend I finally got around to it. Since a good pot roast requires a lot of oven time to properly roast so it is a nice weekend project. A pot roast is cooked in a liquid to keep the meat nice and moist and it is the perfect opportunity to add some flavour. I cooked the roast in red wine and beef broth along with some herbs and other seasoning. One of the things that I liked about the pot roast was that I could throw some vegetables into the pot with the roast for a super simple side dish that did not dirty any new dishes. I added the vegetables to the pot when the roast was almost done as they would have been mushy if they had been in the whole time. The pot roast turned out pretty good! The beef was nice and moist and tender and falling apart good and the sauce or gravy was nice and tasty and full of flavour. I wanted to work a green vegetable into the meal so I served the pot roast dinner with some peas with pancetta and shallots . The best part of the pot roast is all of the leftovers and I am now looking forward to using them in new and interesting ways.

Roasted Squash with Gorgonzola and Maple Syrup

Roasted Squash with Gorgonzola and Maple Syrup

A while ago I made and a roasted butternut squash and caramelized onion pizza with gorgonzola and crispy fried sage and I really enjoyed the roasted squash and gorgonzola flavour combo. Manggy left a comment on that post suggesting a maple syrup and squash combo which sounded nice and I was thinking that combining roasted squash with gorgonzola and maple syrup would be a good idea. Since I had some gorgonzola for the mushroom and blue cheese sauce for my steak dinner I thought it was the perfect time to try out the new side dish. The roasted squash with gorgonzola and maple syrup turned out well. Roasting the squash brought out its sweetness when combined with the maple syrup was the perfect balance to the tangy gorgonzola cheese. The flavour of the maple syrup also worked well with the flavours of the gorgonzola and the squash. The gorgonzola was particularly nice in this dish as the heat from the roasted squash started to melt the cheese and it became nice and creamy.

Herb Roasted Onions

Herb Roasted Onions

These herb roasted onions by Ina Garten recently made their way around the food blogging sphere and I immediately bookmarked them to try later. While I was looking for side dishes for my steak tenderloin in a mushroom and blue cheese sauce I came across the bookmark and decided that it was time to try them. I really enjoy roasting vegetables of all sorts and I was looking forward to roasting onions with a tasty vinniagrette. This recipe is pretty straight forward, no muss and no fuss. Roasting the onions brought out their natural sweetness and the tangy vinniagrette both highlighted it and contrasted it very nicely. I am pleased to have found another really tasty way to enjoy onions!

Steak Tenderloin in a Mushroom and Blue Cheese Sauce

Steak Tenderloin in a Mushroom and Blue Cheese Sauce

I recently came across the concept of steak with blue cheese that sounded like a really nice combination. I had heard of this in the past but that was back when I did not fully appreciate a good blue cheese. Now that I have been enjoying blue cheeses I could not resist one of my favorite treats, a nicely seared medium rare steak, with blue cheese it quickly made it to my meal plan. While I was searching for recipes I came across one that combined another of my favorite foods, mushrooms that had me sold immediately. I eventually ended up going with this recipe for steak in a mushroom and blue cheese sauce . The only real change that I made was swapping the rosemary for some thyme which I think goes better with mushrooms. For the blue cheese I went with a nice creamy gorgonzola dolce. The steaks cooked easily and quickly and the mushroom and blue cheese sauce was nice and straight forward to make. The results were absolutely amazing!! There was a nice slightly crisp crust on the outside of the steaks and the insides were nice and moist and tender and perfectly medium rare. The mushroom and blue cheese sauce was nice and creamy and tangy and oh so lick your plate clean good! I will definitely be making this mushroom and blue cheese sauce again! I served the steak in the mushroom and blue cheese sauce with some herb roasted onions and some roasted squash with gorgonzola and maple syrup .

Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang

Out of the many recipes in my ever growing 'to try' list, the one that had been calling my name lately was the beef rendang. Beef rendang is an Indonesian dish that is basically beef braised in coconut milk and spices. I enjoy braising meat and I just had to try braising with coconut milk. I was not sure what cut of beef I would get when I went to the butchers; I just knew that I wanted something that was nicely marbled so that it would become tender and full of flavour. I ended up getting some short ribs that were inexpensive and looked nicely marbled. I had not used short ribs before but they looked like they would work nicely in the rendang. The beef rendang was pretty easy to make though it did require several hours of braising so it is probably best for weekends. While the beef was cooking my place was filled with the amazing aroma of coconut and the spices. By the time the beef was done braising it had absorbed all of the flavours from the spices and it was really tasty! The short ribs had braised well and the meat was nice and moist and literaly falling apart tender. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the coconut and spices worked in this savoury beef dish. I served the beef rendang simply on rice with some toasted coconut.

Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes

Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes

Despite the fact that my weekend was pretty busy, I managed to find the time to make a nice breakfast. I have been enjoying pancakes for breakfast on the weekends recently and this weekend apples were on my mind. I was thinking that pancakes with apple pie flavours would be great! I decided to go with a healthier recipe and made the batter with whole wheat flour and ground up rolled oats. While I was thinking about oats my mind wandered to apple cinnamon oatmeal and apple crisp with a rolled oat topping and I thought why not add some whole rolled oats for some additional texture? Speaking of texture, I wanted there to be nice big chunks of apple in the pancakes so I added some sliced up apple. I also wanted to maximize the apple flavour so I added some apple sauce. It was the perfect excuse to make some more roasted apple sauce . Of course I could not forget the cinnamon and I rounded the pancakes out with some ample syrup. But I did not stop there; I also topped the pancakes off with some caramelized apples and maple syrup. The apple and cinnamon oatmeal pancakes topped with caramelized apple turned out great! The were nice and moist and light and fluffy and good! I really liked the chunks of apple in the pancakes and the overall texture of the pancakes was rally nice. These pancakes were definitely full of apple flavour. I can't wait to make these again!

Green Beans in Tahini and Yogurt Dressing

Green Beans in Tahini and Yogurt Dressing

I wanted to round my roasted lamb in coffee sauce meal off with a green vegetable and I was thinking about green beans. I had been wanting to try a tahini and yogurt dressing that I had come across a while ago and I thought that it would go well on the green beans. The tahini dressing reminded me of hummus with the chickpeas replaced by yogurt which sounded good. The dressing was pretty easy to make and you can make it anywhere from as thick as a dip to as thin as a salad dressing by adding olive oil or water. I went for a thicker version so that it would stick to the steamed green beans. The tahini and yogurt dressing turned out nicely. It was quite tart, which was expected with the plain yogurt and the lemon juice, but it was a nice tart that I quite enjoyed. The creamy tartness provided a nice contrast to the slightly sweet and juicy green beans and also went well with the other flavours in the meal. I am thinking that this dressing would also work well in/on a whole grain salad.

Harissa Roasted Squash

Harissa Roasted Squash

I like to have a nice collection of quick, easy and tasty side dishes on hand and I am always on the lookout for more. A while ago I came across this one for harissa roasted squash on What do I want to cook today? that sounded like it fit the bill perfectly. I had picked up some harissa a while ago but I had only used it once and I was looking for new ways to enjoy it. Harissa is a red sauce from Northern Africa that is made from chili peppers, garlic and other various things. This side is really easy, you just peel and cut the squash, toss it with some oil and the harissa and pop it in the oven to roast. Roasting the squash brings out its flavour along with its natural sweetness which went really well with the spicy harissa. I served it with my roasted lamb in coffee sauce dinner and it went well with the lamb. Overall I was quite pleased with this quick and easy side dish and I will be making it again.

Roasted Lamb in Coffee Sauce

Roasted Lamb in Coffee Sauce

I am not really a coffee drinker but I do like the smell of coffee and I enjoy coffee flavoured deserts. When I came across this recipe for roasted lamb in a coffee sauce on Cook Sister! I was intrigued. I had never had coffee in a savoury dish and I just had to try it. It was also the perfect excuse to enjoy some more lamb! I was able to pick up a small, already boned and tied, leg of lamb from a local butcher which made things much easier than they could have been. I also had to pick up some coffee beans as I had never had need of them before. The recipe was nice and easy and required very little effort and the results were spectacular! The coffee sauce tasted amazing! The lamb was perfectly cooked with a golden crust and it was a nice medium rare in the middle. The coffee sauce went really well with the lamb and the mustardy crust on the lamb was nice and tasty. I served the roasted lamb in coffee sauce with some harissa roasted squash and some steamed green beans with a tahini and yogurt dressing .

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
With the really cold weather setting in I was in the mood for a nice warming soup and as luck would have it I had a lot of the Asian style chicken broth leftover from when I made the Hainanese chicken rice. (The Asian style chicken broth is basically the broth leftover from poaching a chicken along with some garlic, ginger and green onions. You can then simmer the chicken bones in the broth to give it an even stronger flavour.) Whenever I eat out at Chinese restaurants one of the things that I like to order is the hot and sour soup and I had been wanting to try making it at home. I figured that the Asian chicken broth would work well in Chinese hot and sour soup and that the hot and spicy soup would be perfect for the deep freeze that we were in.

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Farro Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Farro Salad

I have been on quite the whole grain kick lately. With lettuce and other summer vegetables that commonly go into salads a bit more expensive now, I have really been enjoying the more wintery vegetables in whole grain salads as a nice alternative. There was one cup of the farro left in my cupboard just asking to be eaten and I knew that it was time for another farro salad. I have just been looking for excuses to roast cauliflower ever since I found out how good it was when roasted and I was thinking that a roasted cauliflower farro salad would be perfect. The next thing that came to mind was adding some tasty roasted red peppers which are always a favorite. I like roasted red peppers so much that I roasted a bunch of them in the fall when they were in season and froze them for later. Now it is pretty convenient to be able to just thaw them out and use them when needed. I finished the salad off with some onions, chickpeas, walnuts and a simple vinaigrette. The roasted cauliflower and red pepper farro salad turned out great! The chewy farro went well with the roasted cauliflower and the roasted red peppers and feta added a ton of flavour. I enjoyed the salad warm the first night and the leftovers were just as good straight from the fridge.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Over the last while I have come across several posts for Hainanese chicken rice which have sounded really good. Hainanese chicken rice is a Chinese dish that consists of a poached chicken along with rice that is cooked in chicken broth. Chicken rice is commonly served with a chili sauce and other condiments to dip the chicken into. Every time I come across chicken rice I have heard nothing but good things about it and it seems that it is very popular in several Asian countries including Singapore where it is considered a national dish. I liked the simplicity of the dish and I was looking forward to trying a poached chicken as opposed to a roasted chicken which I am more familiar with.

The Hainanese chicken rice was pretty straight forward to make though it did take a bit of time. First you poach the chicken and only then can you make the rice using the liquid that the chicken was cooked in. You have to wait for the chicken to cool so that you can strip the meat from it so that you can use the bones to make the simple chicken soup. I liked that this meal used so much of the chicken all the way down to the bones and the water that the chicken was cooked in. The Hainanese chicken rice turned out pretty well! The chicken was nice and moist and tender and good. I served it with the chili sauce and some ginger sauce and some cucumbers and tomatoes. The cucumbers and tomatoes were a nice cool relief from the heat of the chili sauce. The rice that was made in the chicken broth was nice and creamy and flavourful and it also provided some relief from the chili heat. Overall it was a really tasty and filling meal.


Egg Enchiladas in Pipian

Egg Enchiladas in Pipian

I had some pipian leftover from my turkey and pipian meal and I was wondering what I could use it for. The idea that most interested me was using the pipian to make some egg enchiladas for breakfast. It had been a while since I had last had enchiladas and I could just imagine them with a nice layer of golden brown melted cheese on top of the egg filled tortillas covered in moist pipian. I like h savoury foods for breakfast and the pipian egg enchiladas sounded like a great idea. I decided to keep it simple and I just scrambled the eggs (though you could easily use chopped hard boiled eggs) with some green onions for the filing. The enchiladas were pretty easy to make though they did need to bake for a while so they were not a quick breakfast, but perfect for a weekend. I still had a bit of pipian left and spread it out on the plates before serving the enchiladas on top. The egg enchiladas were nice and moist and the pipian worked well with the eggs and of course the cheesed helped as well. It was certainly a tasty breakfast!

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

Mexican (or Spanish) rice at its base is onions, garlic and rice that is cooked in chicken stock and tomato sauce. It is great just like that but you can change it up by adding extras if you want. I like to add things like green or red peppers or beans. If what I am serving the rice with is hot and spicy I tend to leave it at that and enjoy the rice as a welcome relief from the spiciness of the main dish. If the main dish is not too spicy then I like to add more heat and spices such as chilies, chili powder, cumin, etc. to the rice to add some more kick and flavor to the overall meal. I also commonly like to use brown rice instead of plain old white rice to get a bit more fiber in my diet. Although this rice is easy enough to make on the stove top, you could make it even easier by cooking it in a rice maker if you have one. That way you are free to work on the rest of the meal without being distracted by checking on the rice. What I like most about Mexican rice is that cooking it in the chicken stock and tomato sauce makes it nice and creamy and full of flavour. This version of Mexican rice went well with my turkey pipian meal .

Pipian

Pipian (Salsa Verde with Pumpkin Seeds)


Recently I had come across several posts about pipian which was new to me and it sounded and looked really good. Pipian seems to be similar to a salsa verde with the addition of ground pepitas (pumpkin seeds), radish leaves, romaine lettuce and a touch of cinnamon. I liked the sound of the ground pumpkin seeds in a salsa verde and since salsa verde is one of my all time favorites and I knew that I would have to try it. I held off on making it as I had some trouble finding the tomatillos and the green pepitas but as soon as I did it was on the menu.

With the holidays just behind us, turkey was still on my mind and I thought that a poached turkey breast covered in pipian would be a nice way to try it. To round off the meal I added a bit of red to the plate with a simple Mexican rice . Since I had used the radish leaves in the pipian I served the radishes on the side.

Mushroom and Thyme Farro Salad

Mushroom and Thyme Farro Salad

Lately I have really been enjoying exploring whole grains and one of my favorites so far has been farro. Farro has a really nice chewy texture that goes well in salads and I am always looking for new ways to use it. A while ago I came across a recipe for mushroom and thyme farro salad on Kalyn's Kitchen that sounded really good and it also included one of my favorite foods of all time, mushrooms. I bookmarked it immediately to try. Since then I have made it no less than three times and I rarely have time to make repeat dishes. As I go I have been tweaking it by adding things like feta and toasted walnuts. I am constantly trying to add green vegetables to my meals and the last time I made this dish I added some steamed spinach with great results. Although I really like to fry mushrooms I was thinking of roasting them the next time that I make this to concentrate even more mushroom flavour into the dish. Maybe some chickpeas would be nice next time as well... I guess that is one of the great things about salads, that you can change them each time to suit your cravings or just so that you can use what you have on hand at the time.

Vietnamese Caramel Shrimp (Tom Rim)

Vietnamese Caramel Shrimp (Tom Rim)

It had been too long since I had last had shrimp and I was craving some. I remembered seeing a recipe for caramel shrimp a while ago when I was looking for recipes for the kabocha simmered in caramel sauce that sounded good. Apparently simmering or braising in nuoc mau (Vietnamese caramel sauce) is fairly common in Vietnamese cuisine. Generally if you want to add some sweetness to a recipe you just add some sugar but why not take the opportunity to add some flavour at the same time by using caramel instead of sugar?

I am getting better at making caramel the more I make it and this time it came together easily and without any problems. The caramel shrimp was nice and quick and easy to make and turned out great! I really enjoyed the sweetness and saltiness of the sauce on the succulent shrimp and there was just the right amount of heat. The caramel flavour in the sauce worked really well! I served the caramel shrimp on coconut jasmine rice and the rice soaked up all of the extra sauce and became super tasty. I will definitely be making this again though I think that next time I will add some lime juice for a touch of tartness.

Turkey and Cranberry Sushi

Turkey and Cranberry Sushi

I had just a bit of leftover turkey left and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. A while ago I had come across a post about turkey sushi on Beach Lover's Kitchen that had sounded really interesting. I always enjoy eating sushi out but I had only tried to make it at home once before and it was just a simple cucumber sushi. It was the perfect chance to try making sushi at home again even if it was not a more classical sushi. I still had some cranberry sauce left and there was no question that that would go into the turkey sushi and I thought that I would finish it off with some creamy avocado. I still need more practice rolling sushi but despite the fact that the turkey was not in the center of the roll the turkey and cranberry sushi turned out really well. The cool, creamy and savoury avocado and mayonnaise went surprisingly well with the sweet and tart cranberry sauce and turkey. The seasoned rice and nori finished it off nicely for a light great tasting meal.

My turkey leftovers are all gone now but I had a great time with them. I think that I might have even enjoyed the leftovers more than original meal. I am looking forward to the next time I have roast turkey.

Turkey, Cranberry and Blue Cheese Wrap

Turkey, Cranberry and Blue Cheese Wraps

So far this last weekend of the holiday block has been a busy one. Luckily I still have some leftovers to make some quick meals. Over the holidays I came across a cranberry blue cheese that I really enjoyed and I was thinking that I would like to try combining some of the leftover cranberry sauce with blue cheese. I remembered seeing a cranberry, blue cheese and turkey wraps a while ago that sounded nice. The wraps were nice a quick to assemble and tasted great. The cranberry and blue cheese combo was just as good with cranberry sauce it was in the cheese that I had tried. I really liked how the sweet and tart cranberry sauce worked with the tangy blue cheese and the turkey fit in perfectly as well.

Baby Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms

Baby Bok Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms

I like to try to include green vegetables in my meals whenever I can and I really like mushrooms. When I came across this dish for baby boy choy with shiitake mushrooms that combines the two I bookmarked it immediately to try later. Given the Asian flavours and the fact that mushrooms go really well with steak, I thought that it would make a perfect side for the sichuan peppercorn steak . This side dish was a breeze to pull together; you simply saute the shiitake mushrooms, add the liquids to form the sauce and pour it over the steamed baby bok choy. The shiitake mushroom sauce was really tasty and good. It had a nice spicy heat that went really well with the mouth numbing sichuan peppercorns on the streak for a one two punch! It was nice having a bite of steak followed by a bite of the spicy mushrooms. What a tasty way to enjoy your green vegetables. I will definitely be making this again.

Sichuan Peppercorn Tenderloin Steak

Sichuan Peppercorn Tenderloin Steak

For my new years day dinner I wanted something tasty and yet easy to make. I had picked up some beef tenderloin a while ago when it was on sale and I cut it into steaks and froze the extras for later. I was thinking that a steak dinner would be nice and I remembered the steak in green peppercorn sauce that I had recently tried and enjoyed. Thinking about the peppercorns reminded me of sichuan peppercorns that I had discovered in 2008. Sichuan peppercorns have an amazing aroma and a mouth numbing property that is really nice. I was thinking that a simple sichuan peppercorn steak would be just the thing for my new years meal. I seasoned the steaks with some salt and crusted the steaks with both sichuan peppercorns and black peppercorns and seared them quickly on both sides. The sichuan peppercorn steak was nice and juicy with a crunchy crust that was both spicy and mouth numbingly good! I served the steak with some baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms .

I hope everyone is enjoying new years day!