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Happy 7th Birthday Closet Cooking

I can't believe that it has been another year already but Closet Cooking now celebrates it's 7th 'birthday'! This last year was a tasty one indeed with Closet Cooking's collection of recipes growing to almost 1900! Closet Cooking first started out as more of a hobby but it has now become my passion and obsession where I get to share some of my tastiest adventures from my closet sized kitchen. I do hope that you have enjoyed my recipes over the last year and I am looking forward to another tasty year!

I leave you now with some of my favourite recipes over the last year:

























75 Cinco de Mayo Recipes

75 Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner!

Cinco de Mayo is a day celebrated in both the US and in Mexico. In the US it originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War and it has since spread. In Mexico the day commemorates the Mexican army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Celebrations in the US typically include Mexican-American culture, food, music and dancing.

Mexican cuisine is definitely one of my favourites and Cinco de Mayo is the perfect excuse to pull out some of my favourite Mexican dishes and to try a few new ones! I am kicking things off a little early this year by testing some new recipes and gathering up a list of some of my favourite Mexican dishes and Mexican inspired dishes to share with you! I must apologize for the length of this list, there are just so many great options starting from breakfast or brunch, to snacks, main courses and sides and lets not forget plenty of salsas, tacos and quesadillas! You really can't go wrong celebrating Cinco de Mayo with tasty food and each of these recipes are sure to please!

Roasted Broccoli, Ham and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Roasted Broccoli, Ham and Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Up next for my leftover Easter ham is something nice and simple and yet oh so good, a grilled cheese sandwich; pure comfort food! Ham and cheese is a fabulous and broccoli and cheese is another, so why not combine the two? That's right a broccoli, ham and cheddar grilled cheese sandwich! I was not about to stop there either, I roasted the broccoli to bring out even more of it's flavour before adding it to the sandwich! I then finished the grilled cheese off with a touch of grainy mustard to give it some bite! Cheese, broccoli and ham is such a magical combination of flavours and it is perfect in grilled cheese form! If you are fresh out of leftover Easter ham you are going to have to run out and get some ham, along with the broccoli, but it is so worth it for these roasted broccoli, ham and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches!

Chicken Carnitas Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Chicken Carnitas Burrito Bowl with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
Whenever I make a tasty Mexican style meat like chicken carnitas I like to make extra to ensure leftovers for things like quesadillas and burrito bowls! Burrito bowls are essentially burritos that are served in bowls minus the tortillas and they are super easy to make! Typically a burrito bowl will start off with rice, but a lighter alternative is a cauliflower rice, followed by beans, vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes, and then finished off with things like guacamole, sour cream, salsa and cheese. Although you can go overboard filling out a burrito bowl it is pretty easy to keep them nice and light, healthy and satisfying and this burrito bowl does it with style! Forget waiting for leftovers! I am going to make another batch of chicken carnitas for more burrito bowls now!

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Carnitas, a Mexican dish where the shredded pork is cooked until slightly crispy on the edges, has to be one of my favourite Mexican meat dishes! When I came across the idea of doing a lighter version with chicken on Jeanettes Healthy Living I knew that I would have to try some chicken carnitas! I pretty much took my pork carnitas recipe and used it for these chicken carnitas and I used the slow cooker to keep things nice and easy. You pretty much just mix the orange juice based cooking liquid, throw it and the chicken in the slow cooker, shred the chicken and broil it until crispy. To help ensure that the chicken stays nice and moist the cooking liquid is mixed in with the chicken before and after it broils. Of course these chicken carnitas can be used in many things like burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, etc. and my favourite way, in simple tacos with fresh diced onions, cilantro and a hit of lime!

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner I have been thinking about Mexican food a lot lately. Ever since I used cauliflower 'rice' in the chicken fried cauliflower rice I have been contemplating other ways to enjoy it! Of course one of the first things that came to mind was cilantro lime rice, one of my favourite Mexican side dishes, which takes boring old rice and gives it new life by infusing it with a hit of fresh cilantro and lime juice! This cilantro lime cauliflower rice is addictively good and so easy to make! You simply rice the cauliflower, saute it until tender and mix in the cilantro and lime! The next time you are making rice for your Mexican themed meal make some lighter and healthier cilantro lime cauliflower rice instead!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Quinoa Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu Quinoa Casserole
First up for my leftover Easter ham was something that I had been wanting to make for a while, a casserole inspired by the flavours of chicken cordon bleu. Chicken cordon bleu is a dish when chicken is wrapped around ham or prosciutto along with a melty cheese, covered in breadcrumbs and baked or fried until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are crispy. This recipe is pretty much like you would expect with chicken, ham, a tasty cheese sauce similar to a mac and cheese sauce and a crispy breadcrumb topping. Normally you would fill out a casserole like this with pasta or maybe even rice but I also like to go with quinoa every once in a while and it works really well in casseroles like this. You could of course also add some vegetables to the casserole to make i a one dish meal but it is great either way. If you are a fan of chicken cordon bleu, mac n cheese and quinoa then this is the casserole for you!

Easter Leftovers Recipes

Easter Leftovers Recipes

As much as I enjoy the roast for a holiday dinner I usually have more fun coming up with tasty ways to enjoy the leftovers! Ham is a common centrepiece of the Easter dinner and there are plenty of ways to make sure that any leftovers do not go to waste. Ham is great in soups, sandwiches and pretty much anything with eggs; speaking of which, there are also plenty of ways to enjoy any leftover hard boiled eggs from your Easter festivities! If you went for something else like a roast turkey or roast beef for dinner, I've got you covered with some tasty soups and sandwiches as well!

I hope that everyone has an amazing Easter and enjoy your leftovers! I know I already have plans for mine!

Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
Looking for a last minute Easter appetizer idea? You can't go wrong with deviled eggs and why not make them a little more interesting by making them with all of the flavours of bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers? These deviled eggs are stuffed with the mashed egg yolks, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon and then they are sprinkled with even more cheddar cheese before some brief time under the broiler to melt the cheese! Who says you can't enjoy one of your favourite game day snacks at your family holiday? These deviled eggs taste just like jalapeno poppers and they will make the perfect addition to any holiday spread!

50 Easter Recipes

50 Easter Recipes

Easter is next weekend and that means that it is time to start thinking about your menu! The Easter long weekend provides plenty of opportunities for feasting whether it be a special long weekend breakfast or brunch or appetizers for an Easter get-together and the big family Easter Sunday dinner. Most of the focus on Easter weekend will go to the Easter Sunday dinner which will most likely be a big meal with the center piece being a roast and it can be a ham, a turkey, beef or even lamb! Of course you will need some tasty sides to go with your roast and lets not forget about dessert! Although I really enjoy a nice big roast for Easter dinner I sometimes like to change things up a bit and a tasty lamb tagine is a great way to go. With the extra time on the long weekend I like to do at least one special breakfast or brunch and there are plenty of great ways to go! No matter what your plans are for your Easter weekend dining, you cannot go wrong with one or more of these tasty dishes!

Greek Style Salad

Greek Salad
With spring here I have been thinking about salads more often and one of my favourites is a Greek style salad! A Greek salad is nice and simple containing tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, feta, onions, and a vibrant dressing. I really like the way the juiciness of the tomatoes and cucumers balance the saltiness of the olives and feta and the red onions provide a sweet and spicy counterpoint. The dressing for this salad is also pretty easy containing olive oil, lemon juice and oregano and the lemony vinaigrette really brightens the salad up.

Note: Traditionally Greek salads do not contain lettuce but it is always nice to add.

California Strawberry Field Trip

California Strawberry Field Trip
At the end of March I had the pleasure of being flown out to Ventura California to tour a strawberry field by the California Strawberries to learn more about California strawberries! Strawberries are one of my favourite foods so it was a thrill to be able to visit a strawberry farm! Although strawberries are grown year round in California I tend to see them as one of the first signs of spring and they are at their peak during spring. Given that it was still snowing here in Toronto the day before I left, I was pleased to see a warm sunny day in California and to be able to tour a strawberry farm while snacking on as many strawberries as I could eat!

Broccoli and Cheddar Quinoa Bites

Broccoli and Cheddar Quinoa Bites
The broccoli and cheddar flavour combo is a great one and this time I use it in some bites sized quinoa cakes. Often when I do something like these I will make them more like a fritter and fry them in oil but it's also fun to bake them in mini muffin pans and it keeps them a little lighter. These broccoli and cheddar quinoa bites could not be easier to make, you simply cook the quinoa, mix all of the ingredients and bake! Not only are they tasty but they are also pretty healthy and kid friendly so the next time you are looking for something to snack on put down the bag of chips and grab some broccoli and cheddar quinoa cakes.

Lemon Ricotta Strawberry Pie with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust

Lemon Ricotta Strawberry Pie with Poppy Seed Shortbread Crust
Although it is still cold here, Spring has officially arrived and what better way to celebrate than with strawberries! California strawberries are available year round but during Spring they are at their peak season and I thought that I would welcome in Spring with a fresh strawberry pie!

I started the pie off with a simple shortbread crust filled with lemon zest and poppy seeds and I filled it with a quick and easy lemon ricotta no-bake cheesecake sweetened with honey. The pie is finished off with a floral like arrangement of fresh sliced strawberries along with a garnish of mint and lemon zest.

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