Artichoke Dip

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This is my absolute go to/must serve appetizer! I make it pretty much every time we entertain or if I am asked to bring an appy to a gathering. It is super easy and quick to make and always a hit! As my friends may know about me, I love to make sure my meals are nicely seasoned…with this dish it is no different. While it is unremarkably different from most Artichoke dip recipes out there, I add some extra seasonings to elevate it from the standard. I hope you enjoy it 😊

 

Ingredients:

1 8oz Pack of Cream Cheese (softened)

1 Cup Real Mayonnaise

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 14oz can Artichokes (I usually dice up my artichokes so they aren’t huge pieces)

1 TSP White Pepper

2 TSP Garlic Powder

1 TSP Dried Oregano

½ Tsp Italian Seasoning

How To:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine all ingredients above and mix thoroughly.
  • Place the mixture into an oven safe dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Easy & Fresh Bruschetta

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Ever since I was little I have LOVED tomatoes. Being a picky eater as a child I quite literally survived my elementary school years eating tomato and cheese sandwiches. This wasn’t for a lack of trying on my parents part for me to try new lunches and food…I simply refused to eat anything else. Sorry mom!

Now that I am all grow up, I still LOVE tomatoes and even grow them in my garden 😊

From time to time I get a craving for Bruschetta so I figured I would share my take on it with all of you.

Ingredients:

1 White Baguette

5-6 Roma Tomatoes (any other tomato will do as well but these are my favourite choice)

2 TBSP Sweet Onion (finely diced)

1 – 2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

½ Red Pepper (finely chopped)

Handful of Fresh Basil (Chopped)

¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan

1 TSP White Pepper

1 TSP Dried Oregano

Salt to Taste

1 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

How To:

  • Dice and chop all your ingredients.
  • Place your tomatoes in a strainer and squeeze out the juices so the bruschetta is not watery.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Slice your Baguette and toast in the toaster, or if you prefer, pan fry it until golden brown in a pan with butter.
  • Place topping on baguette slices and enjoy 😊

Prawn & Zucchini Scampi

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Looking for a quick and easy dinner option? Look no further. From start to finish this meal takes under an hour to make! It is served with a light yet creamy white wine sauce with a hint of lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 375g Pasta of your choice (I used 1 pack of linguine)
  • 20- 30 Raw Prawns (peeled & de-veined)
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Medium Shallot
  • 1 Medium Zucchini
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • Juice from 2 ½ Lemons
  • ¾ Cup Water
  • ¾ Cup Dry White Wine
  • ½ Cup Whipping Cream
  • ½ Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Seasoning Salt
  • ½ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp White Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Oregano
  • ½ Tsp Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh Chives and Parsley to garnish
  • Fresh Parmesan for Garnish

How To: 

  1. Peel your prawns, if you did not purchase de-veined ones you will need to do so now.
  2. Cook your pasta according to instructions on box, depending on the type of pasta you choose the cooking time varies. TIP: Once your pasta is cooked, strain and run under cold water to prevent it from sticking together. Set aside.
  3. Dice your shallot, zucchini and pepper and set aside each one separately.
  4. In a large skillet, melt your butter on high heat and add the shallot. Lightly brown the shallot then add your green peppers. Let them cook approx. 3 minutes until they are getting softer.
  5. Add your water and zucchini and mix. Cook for approx 4 minutes until zucchini is starting to get soft.
  6. Add your garlic, paprika, seasoning salt, black pepper, white pepper, oregano & Italian seasoning. Mix everything together and cook for another minute or 2.
  7. Add your lemon juice and mix.
  8. Add the prawns and mix. Let them cook for about 2 minutes or until they turn pink.
  9. Add your wine and mix. Cook everything with a cover on for about 5 minutes to allow the wine to evaporate a bit.
  10. Add in the cream and mix. Lower heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Add your pasta and combine everything.
  12. Once everything is combined serve and garnish with chives, parsley & Parmesan.

 

Coconut, Ginger Lime Chicken

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Coconut, Ginger Lime Chicken

Wow, talk about a long hiatus from posting anything! For those of you who used to follow me… my sincere apologies, for anyone seeing any of my posts for the first time…Welcome! 🙂

A lot has happened over the past two years. I quit a horrible job, started a new amazing job, got settled, then subsequently lost track of time. To keep things interesting me and the husband decided to buy a detached house before the market in the Lower Mainland made it impossible to own a house. We got in the market just in time but still over paid…that is another story all together. Last year, we got ourselves into a full scale renovation of said over-priced house. That was an adventure to say the least! Once the dust settled, we had turned an un-kept, filthy house that was stuck in 1995 into a place we could call home. Surprisingly, there was only one major melt down during the entire process.  In the end, I got my dream kitchen and our marriage came out stronger. We turned a delivery of 220 boxes from Ikea into something spectacular! Here is a quick before and after:

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Our Kitchen…Before & After

So now that you are all caught up…on to the cooking and food 🙂

Ingredients: 

  • 6 Chicken Breasts (cut into 1″ strips)
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 9 Garlic Cloves (grated)
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Ginger (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • Juice from 2 Limes
  • 1/4 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 2 Lemongrass Stems (cut into 1″pieces)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth (no msg)

Toppings: 

  • Cashews
  • Roasted Sesame
  • Fresh Cilantro

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

How To: 

  1. Place your Coconut Oil and Chicken Pieces into a cast iron pot. Cook on high until chicken is lightly browned. (about 8 minutes)
  2. Add in your broth and the rest of the ingredients . Mix well and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn down the heat to low and cook covered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Scoop out your chicken strips and dice/shred them up on cutting board.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove and discard the pieces of lemongrass.
  6. Return the now shredded chicken to the broth mixture.
  7. Let it cook on low for about 20 minutes to allow the chicken to take on even more flavour from the broth mixture.
  8. Top your chicken with the toppings and serve over rice or quinoa.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Honey & Thyme Golden Beets

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Golden Beets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing our new favorite Paleo Side Dish! This was a totally random dish that I made the other night to go with our left over Risotto. Let me tell you…they were wonderful! My husband had to restrain himself from eating all of them in order to have a few left over for his lunch. They were very simple and easy to make and can go with so many different meals due to their gentle flavors. These wonderful and highly nutritious beets will definitely be making a regular appearance as a side dish during dinner time.

Ingredients:

  • 5 – 6 Medium Golden Beets (trimmed & peeled)
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp Honey (use organic if possible)
  • 4 Cups Water

How To:

  1. Slice your beets into 1/4 ” slices.
  2. Place beets flat into a large and deep skillet. (mine fit in 2 layers)
  3. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves and drizzle in the honey.
  4. Add the water over the beets to make sure they are all submerged.
  5. Place a lid on the skillet and begin cooking. Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat to medium/high.
  6. Cook the beets partially covered for 25 – 30 minutes. Check and stir them gently occasionally. Once they have softened they are ready.
  7. Remove from the heat and let them sit in the juice for a few minutes.

* This amount of time will still leave the beets sightly hard and crunchy, if you prefer them softer simply cook a bit longer.

Serve and Enjoy

Portobello Mushroom & Herb Risotto

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Portobello Mushroom Risotto

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot believe I have never attempted a Risotto in this house before. After watching the show Chopped on the Food Network and learning what definitely not to do I set out to make my own. It is in fact super easy and while it takes a bit of time to make it is totally worth it!. This can be a meal in itself or serve it up as a very filling side dish. Either way you will have leftovers if you are cooking for just two people.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Cups Chicken Broth (I used low sodium, No MSG)
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 1 Medium Shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp White Truffle Oil
  • 2 Tsp Pepper
  • 3 Medium – Large Portobello Mushrooms (chopped)
  • ½  Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (if you use dried Thyme use 1 Tbsp)
  • ¼ Cup Italian Parsley (chopped)
  • ¼ Cup Chives (chopped)
  • 5 Tbsp Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

How To:

  1. In a pot bring your broth to a boil and set it aside.
  2. In a skillet, melt 2 Tbsp of butter then toss in your mushrooms.
  3. Drizzle the truffle oil over the mushrooms while they cook.
  4. Add in the pepper and thyme and combine. Allow the mushrooms to cook down for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside and cover.
  5. In a large pot melt the remaining butter with the olive oil. Add in the shallots and garlic and allow them to cook until golden.
  6. Add the rice and combine until the rice takes on a golden color as well.
  7. Pour in the wine and allow it to cook down.
  8. Add in 1 large ladle of broth and stir. Reduce the heat to medium. Once the liquid is cooked down add in another ladle of broth. (I had to add another ladle in every 3-4 minutes so keep the pot of broth close by)
  9. Continue stirring occasionally and adding the broth in in increments until all the broth is used.
  10. This process should take 20 – 30 minutes. By the end your rice will be perfectly soft and cooked.
  11. Once the rice is ready, add the cooked mushrooms with all their juices, parsley, chives and Parmesan, stir to combine.
  12. I served ours with some fresh chives and Parmesan on top but this is optional.

Chicken, Chorizo & Prawn Paella

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Paella

 

 

 

 

 

 

As promised here is my Paella recipe. This dish has it’s origins in Spain, more accurately, Valencia, located on the east coast of Spain. Paella also happens to be one of my father’s favorite dishes. I have vague recollections of this dish from my time in Spain but whenever my father reminisces about living in Spain, somehow Paella always manages to get mentioned. There are many different ways to go about making this dish. You can go the all seafood route, a meat and vegetable route, or the one I took which is a mix of all the above. So there you have my inspiration for last nights amazing meal, a walk down memory lane which started  off with me trying to figure out what to do with the boring looking chicken breasts I had defrosting in the fridge. I hope I did this fantastic dish justice. This recipe does take a bit more time than most of my other recipes, you will need approximately 2 hours but it is worth it for how much leftover food you have so do not be scared of all the ingredients and steps below 🙂

Helpful Tip: I put all the dry seasoning & spices in a small bowl so I could simply pour them in together and not have to fiddle around with various containers while cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 10 – 15 Raw Prawns (peeled)
  • 3 Chicken Breasts (cubed)
  • 2 Medium Chorizo (sliced) – I took mine out of the casing first
  • ½ White Onion (chopped)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ½ Red Peppers (chopped)
  • 4 Medium Carrots (sliced)
  • 1 (796ml) Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Pinch Saffron
  • 2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1 Chicken Stock Cube
  • 2 ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Turmeric
  • ½ Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cups Frozen Peas
  • ½ Cup Italian Parsley (chopped)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lime Wedges for Seasoning at the end

How To:

  1. In a large deep skillet or paella pan, melt the butter with the olive oil, toss in the onion and fry on high until it is slightly golden.
  2. Add in the garlic, carrots and red peppers then saute for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the chicken breast and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until you can’t see any pink on the chicken.
  4. Pour in the entire can of tomatoes followed by the chorizo and stir until combined.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, add in the paprika, chicken cube (crumbled), garlic powder, turmeric, cayenne and saffron stirring constantly to combine it all.
  6. Pour in the rice. Cook for about 5 minutes to allow the rice to be coated in all the sauce. Stir constantly.
  7. Add in 3 cups of the boiling water slowly and stir carefully to combine everything.
  8. Cover the pan and cook on low – medium for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  9. Add in the leftover 1 cup of water slowly and combine.
  10. Cook for another 20 – 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  11. The rice will get plump and slowly start to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan. This is totally fine and adds a great flavor to the dish, just don’t let it burn completely and stir every so often.
  12. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, toss in your raw prawns and place the cover back on to allow the prawns to cook. (approx. 5 mins)
  13. Once the prawns are pink, toss in your parsley and frozen peas. Stir to combine evenly.
  14. Once the peas are defrosted and hot your dish is ready. Add Salt & Pepper to taste.

I served mine up with some fresh lime wedges to squeeze on the dish at the table. It adds a great little burst of flavor. 🙂 Enjoy.