Tag Archives: easy

Apple Sangria

Apple Sangria

This fall, I’ve been obsessed with apples and have been enjoying them more than I ever have before. I’ve found myself trying to incorporate them into as many different recipes as possible, but this recipe for Apple Sangria might just be the best idea I’ve had yet. I created this recipe two weeks ago for Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-laws house. Most guests would typically show up with dessert or an appy to share, but not me. I’m the family member that shows up with three jugs of sangria. Some would argue that that might make me the favourite 😉 I brought a tomato zucchini casserole to share, as well, but the sangria was the star for sure.

Typically from Spain or Portugal, sangria is usually made with red wine, a sweetener, cut up fruit and finished with a splash of brandy. For this recipe, I decided to use the same basic method, but used white wine instead. I also added a couple little extras to change things up a bit. When you go to make this (and I promise, you’ll want to) you don’t need to spend a lot on the bottle of wine. You’re going to be playing around with it, so just choose something that’s inexpensive, but that you still enjoy the taste of. Also, sangria takes time to allow the flavours to blend together. I like to leave it for at least 24 hours, but 48 hours is even better. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

2 apples, sliced

1 handful of fresh sage

1 bottle of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

1 Cup apple juice

1 oz brandy

1 Cup sparkling wine

In a large pitcher, toss in the apples and sage. Add the white wine and apple juice and gently stir it all together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Just before serving, gently stir in the brandy and sparkling wine.

This week I’ll be sharing this recipe at the Fiesta Friday blog party and Fabulous Foodie Fridays. Join me in checking out some truly delicious recipes.

 

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Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself lacking inspiration in my cooking. I’ve been falling back on a lot of past favourites or quick, easy to throw together dinners. I’ve actually found myself feeling a little blah about cooking, which rarely happens to me. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been busier than normal. I also think that the turn in the seasons is making me feel a little more sluggish than usual. Whatever it is, it seems to have passed in the last couple of days and I’ve been playing around with a couple new recipes, starting with this gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes.

The idea for this recipe came to me last week when I had the opportunity to visit a local family farm for an incredible farm to table feast. Hosted by Hills Foods, the event was attended by notable, local chefs, food purveyors, foodies and media, and had a strong focus on local, sustainable and ethical food. You can read more about my visit here.

Although the feast was almost entirely meat-centric, there was one side dish that caught my attention; a delicious gnocchi prepared with peas and oven dried tomatoes. This recipe is my attempt to re-create the dish at home.

1 package potato gnocchi

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp oregano

1/4 Cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes, until they begin to float to the top. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and oregano. Saute for a few minutes until beginning to turn opaque. Add the gnocchi, making sure to spread them evenly around the bottom of the skillet (you may need to do this step in two batches). Cook for about 5 minutes, gently tossing or stirring part way through, until the gnocchi are lightly crisp. Stir in the peas, sun-dried tomatoes and salt to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings as a side dish.

 

 

 

 

Applesauce Muffins

Applesauce Muffins

Can you believe it’s the first day of Autumn?! What happened to September?! It’s not like I didn’t see the warning signs; apples at the market, the arrival of pumpkin spice lattes and the need to wear a cozy sweater in the morning, it’s just that I kept telling myself that it was still summer. I was convinced that everything was just early this year. Apparently I was just late :/

Since it is Autumn, though, and since I found myself with an abundance of fresh picked Honeycrisp apples from the market, I felt a strong urge to make something with them. Applesauce seemed like the best place to start. It’s hard to imagine anything more comforting than the smell of applesauce stewing on the stove. It’s basically Autumn in a pot. Once the sauce was made, I started dreaming of all the ways I could use it. I have a few ideas in mind, but because muffins are a weekly staple at our house, they’re the first thing that the applesauce was added to. They’re easy to make and a deliciously healthy option to quickly throw into my kids lunch bags. I hope you enjoy these Autumn inspired applesauce muffins 🙂

Applesauce:

1 1/2 Cups  sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced (I prefer Honeycrisp or galas)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup water

Simmer over low – medium heat until softened. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. I like to leave a few chunks in it, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, then go for it. Set aside to cool.

Muffins:

2 Cups whole wheat flour

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 Cup milk

1 Cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. Add the milk and applesauce and stir until well combined.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the applesauce mixture and stir gently until just combined.

Evenly divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 

 

Bacon corn chowder

Bacon corn chowder

Bacon corn chowder

 

“Mom, how much longer until the corn is ready” asks my 7 year old as we drive by the corn fields. This was back in March, and again in April, and again in May, etc, etc….you get the idea. For all the fun summer brings, it’s the taste of fresh, locally grown corn on the cob that my 7 year old longs for the most. Well, maybe not the most, but certainly the longest. Once corn season arrives, he can’t seem to get enough. We all love fresh corn on the cob, but it’s his, apparently endless, appetite for it that rarely leaves me with any leftovers to work with.

Last week something strange happened…I ended up with 3 beautiful leftover cobs to play with. There was also something else strange happening. After several months of hot, dry, near drought like conditions the skies opened up and the rain started to fall. With cooler, autumn”y” (made up word, but I’m sticking with it) weather appearing out of nowhere and a few cobs of corn in my fridge, it only seemed right to make a chowder. Or chowdah, if you’re like my husband and like to pretend you’re from Boston. Seriously. Every time :/

This bacon corn chowder was the perfect way to warm up on a cold, rainy night. I you enjoy it!

Oh, and one last note: If you’re not a fan of bacon (I promise I won’t judge you), or you wanted to make this a vegetarian friendly chowder, you can easily leave it out. You can also substitute frozen corn if you can’t get your hands on any fresh cobs.

375g package of bacon, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

1 Cup onion, diced

1/2 Cup shallot, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Cup potato, diced

3 Cups chicken broth

2 Cups heavy cream

3 Cups corn (about 3 cobs)

1/4 Cup chives

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Leaving the drippings in the pot, remove the bacon and set aside.

Add the onions, shallots and garlic to the pot. Saute for a few minutes until just starting to sweat. Stir in the potatoes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Next, stir in the chicken broth, immediately followed by the cream. It’s important to add the cream immediately, before the broth gets too hot, to avoid separation and curdling.

After the broth and cream have been added,  stir in the corn and the reserved bacon. Bring the chowder to a simmer over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking for 10 – 15 minutes until everything is heated through. Garnish with the chives. Serves 4 – 6.

 

 

 

 

Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Grilled chicken wraps

Grilled chicken lettuce wraps

I don’t know about you guys, but this summer has gone by in a flash for me. We’ve been keeping pretty busy and have had a bit more time away than usual, which was wonderful, but I always find that, no matter how fun a vacation is, it’s always really great to be back home. With school starting in just less than two short weeks, it’s great to be able to settle back in and start getting prepared for the chaos that comes with getting two little kids ready for school each day. After being away in Portland last week and eating out for every (delicious) meal, it’s also great to get back in my kitchen.

The recipe I’m sharing today was well received by everyone in my house, including my 4 year old. When she’s the first one done dinner, you know it’s gotta be great. It’s not that she’s picky exactly, she just doesn’t do dinner. At least not while sitting still, nor in a reasonable amount of time. She’s more of grazer and could happily snack all day long. I can’t really complain though, she gladly eats almost any fruit or vegetable I give her, which makes my world a little easier than most parents. Setting the meal up as I’ve pictured above allowed the kids to choose which vegetables they wanted to include and, for my daughter, made her feel like she was at a snack buffet. Maybe that’s why she ate so well.

I hope you enjoy these grilled chicken lettuce wraps as much as we all did 🙂

 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2″ piece of ginger, minced

1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 Cup tamari (or other soy sauce)

1/4 Cup brown sugar, plus 1 tbsp reserved

2 tsp fish sauce

1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 lbs chicken breast

1/2 Cup carrots, julienned

1/2 Cup red peppers, julienned

1/2 Cup cucumbers, julienned

1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned and separated

Whisk together the first 8 ingredients. Set aside.

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place in a shallow bowl or casserole dish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken and toss, ensuring that the chicken is evenly coated. Set in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-4 hours.

After the chicken has been allowed to marinate remove it from the fridge and begin preheating the bbq. Thread the chicken onto skewers, reserving the marinade, and place it on the grill for 15 – 20 minutes until it’s been cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, pour the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan. Whisk in the reserved 1 tbsp of brown sugar and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

Serve the chicken alongside the julienned vegetables, lettuce and sauce.

 

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