Living the Plantlife

photo 3So I want a garden. I want to grow squash, peppers, strawberries and zucchini. I want to grow corn and potatoes, regular and sweet, and I want to grow tomatoes and jalapenos and even herbs.  I want to grow everything. All my own stuff. Two problems: 1. I kill everything, and 2. I live in an apartment with no yard to grow a garden.  But this year I decided I just HAD to grown SOMETHING.  And after promising myself that I would not forget to water my beautiful plant babies, I decided to buy some cherry tomato plants and a few jalapeno plants.  I also decided to to grow come herbs: coriander, parsley, basil lettuce leaf, rosemary and chives.  Since I don’t have a place to put a garden, I borrowed a few planter pots from my boyfriend’s mom (she is my teacher in this whole… “growing thing”) and put four small jalapeno plants in one pot, four small tomato plants in another, and all five of my herbs into the third.  My tomato and jalapeno plants have yet to sprout, and according to their little plant information sign thingies, tomatoes take about 60 – 65 days to mature and jalapenos take 60 to 80 days to mature.  So I should see some tomatoes around the end of July and the peppers probably closer to the end of the summer.

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 I am super duper, over the moon ecstatic about my mini garden.

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When my boyfriend and I {hopefully} buy a home next year, we will plant a big garden with as many veggies as possible.  And eventually, we want to build a greenhouse when we can grown our own produce all year round. Of course, that’s a stretch from my three potted veggies and herbs, but we’ll get there one day.  For now, I’m just working on not accidentally killing the plants I have now. I can rarely keep plants alive inside my home, but I think the reasoning for that I don’t care enough to remember to water them… and then they die.  Which, is sad, I don’t want to be a plant murderer, I want to be a plant grower, a gardener, a herb whisperer, a seedling soother, a shrub nourisher.  I want to be like professor sprout from Harry Potter, just a total boss when it comes to gardening.

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I of course, had to purchase a bright pink watering can. Because, you know, it’s pink, and pink water cans water plants more efficiently. Everyone know that.

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 Now, onto the recipe I’m going to share.  The recipe is simple, quick, excellent for a weeknight meal, and contains loads of fresh rosemary from my herb garden.  I can across this recipe at bakedatmidnite.com while browsing Pinterest and tailored it a little based on the veggies I have in my house.

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Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Vegetables

serves two

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into small pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms, cut into strips
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil for browning chicken
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

to make the sauce

  • 2 large rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and add to the skillet, browning on both sides.  This should take 5 to 8 minutes per side.
  2. Add all vegetables to a large bowl and toss in 2 tbsp. olive oil. Spread the veggies evenly over the bottom of a n oven safe baking dish. Top with brown chicken.
  3. Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken and vegetables.  Add another few rosemary sprigs (whole) on top if desired, and bake at 400 F degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

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So, super fantabulous right? Love love love this recipe and it’s great because it doesn’t really require much effort, making it a perfect weeknight dinner.  I like to add a little more wine to the mix as well.  After I pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies, I dump a little more wine over the chicken and veggies so that the veggies are almost completely immersed.  This helps ensure the veggies will soften a little more.  Ken likes his veggies a little firmer so this time around I didn’t do that, but I prefer a softer veggie.  I love the fact that I can use a little bit of what I’ve grown in this recipe.

I absolutely wish I had the ability to start my big gigantic vegetable (and maybe fruit?) garden this year, but I guess I’ll just have to wait until my and Ken have a backyard to plant one in.  Happy baking!

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Garlic Lime Chicken Salad with Bacon, Goat’s Cheese and Arugala

There are alot of things that can make a salad great.  I think a great salad requires some sort of cheese, some bacon {DUH}, grilled or sautéed chicken slices with a wonderful sauce or marinade {no poached, boiled, or seasoning free chicken for this girl}, and an extremely tasty {preferably homemade} dressing.  This salad has all those things, as well as a rainbow coloured assortment of veggies. Yummy!  I’ve developed a love for salads recently. They’re just so darn good, and I like how light I feel after I eat them, but yet full and satisfied.

Now, the first thing I want to say, is that yes, I know, i have been writing that much, and the reason for that is: 1) I suck and I’m lazy; 2) aside from this salad and a delicious BBQ chicken pizza I’ll share next week, I have made nothing new and exciting; and 3) I wish I could say it’s cause I’ve been busy, but I’ve been playing video games and reading books like it’s my freaking job, and I’ve just plain and simply made no time for writing.  So, I apologize for that, but after a trip to the Dominican, countless hours of video games, and six whole books later, I’m back!  My trip was magnificent by the way.  Truly fantastic. I’d go back in a heartbeat. And the food…oh the food. It was so great. And there was alot of it. And I mean alot. And the booze was also plentiful. I came back feeling a little bloated. So I made this salad to make myself feel better, a little lighter.

photo 2So whats in it? Well, as the title suggests, I marinated the chicken in a garlic and lime concoction that included four {minced} garlic cloves, a little salt and pepper, 1/2 cup lime juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  I essentially mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl, plopped in 10 oz of raw, slice chicken strips, and let sit for about a half hour covered in the fridge.  Then, i added the chicken to a skillet, along with a few large spoonfuls of the leftover marinade, and cooked covered on medium heat, flipped every few minutes, until the chicken was cooked through.  Then I removed the cover and cooked until the juice of the marinade were gone and the chicken began to brown.

While cooking the chicken, I also cooked four slices of bacon (two for each person, but cook only one for each person if you want to cut some calories).

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Once all the meets were cooked, I placed both the chicken and bacon atop a bed of fresh spinach, lettuce, arugula and red cabbage.  I added a few hunks of goat’s cheese and then made a homemade honey dijon dressing that included honey dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil, white rice vinegar and celery seed.

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Garlic Lime Chicken Salad with Bacon, Goat’s Cheese and Arugala

makes two dinner sized salads

Ingedients

for the chicken marinade

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

 for the salad

  • 10 oz. chicken breast, sliced
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into strips
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 oz goat’s cheese

for the dressing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add sliced chicken and allow to sit for about 30 minutes covered in the refrigerator.
  2. Strain chicken from marinade and add to a skillet along with a few large spoonfuls of the marinade.  Cook on medium heat, covered and flipping occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Uncover the skillet and continue to cook until all extra marinade juices are gone and the chicken begins to brown.
  4. Divide the salad ingredients between two plates and top with the cooked chicken.
  5. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and divide into two, drizzling over the salads.  Top with goat’s cheese (1 oz. per salad).

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I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, salad is an amazing thing to eat during the week, because it takes very little time and effort, and trust me, I am not one who likes slaving away in the kitchen during the work week. So, try this and add a little salad inspiration to your week!

The “Sort of” Skinni Taco Salad

photo 1I freaking LOVE tacos.  The taco seasoning, the soft shells, the cheese, everything.  Tacos are amazing, especially when they’re loaded with salsa, hot sauce, and jalapenos.  Since I’m sort of on a salad kick this week, I thought I would make a sort of skinny taco salad.  I used to make taco salads all the time, but in all honesty they were NEVER as good as the one I’m about to share today.  The first thing I want to stress about tacos, is the importance of making your own taco seasoning. Why? Because a. when you make it yourself, you can choose to eliminate the salt if you want; and b. because when you make it yourself, you don’t add any unwanted ingredients, additives or preservatives, such as Maltodextrin.  Taco seasoning is SUPER easy to make, and requires very few ingredients.  I’ve found quite a few versions of it, but I find this one tastes REALLY close to the Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix.  I got this receipe a while back from Food.com while searching for a recipe for ground chicken tacos, and simply omitted the salt.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Mix all spices together, add to warm water, and stir until the mixture is completely combined.  And there you have it! Four ingredients and water.  It’s that simple! Neat right?  I’ve you don’t fear salt, add 1 tsp. of it to the mixture, it gives it that extra little something.

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I like a lot of different things on my tacos, but I’d have to say that my basic taco staples are usually lettuce, jalapenos, onion, green or red peppers, cheese (duh), salsa, hot sauce, and sometimes sour cream and guacamole.  For this recipe, I decided to omit the guacamole and I also decided to omit the hot sauce since I was using fresh jalapenos rather than the jarred, pickled kind.  Fresh is much spicier, especially if you keep the seeds in there.

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Making this salad is incredibly simple.  It’s takes very little prep time and very little cook time.  First you brown your beef.  I add the jalapenos and sliced onion in with the beef and fry everything up together.  Drain your beef mixture with a strainer and then add it back into your skillet.  Pour the taco seasoning and water mixture into the skillet and mix until everything is coated.  Continue to cook until you reach your desired consistency, about 5 minutes.  I don’t like the mixture to be very runny to begin with, but as a salad I want it to be especially thick.  When your beef is close to being done, set your oven to broil and pop two pitas in the oven.  I use this as the base of my salad.  broil for about 3 minutes or until the top of you pita has browned.  Place your pita on a plate and top with beef and all your favourite taco ingredients. And BAM! That’s it.

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The “Sort of” Skinny Taco Salad

makes 2 dinner sized salads

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of beef
  • homemade taco seasoning
  • 2 cups lettuce
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 large red or green pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 oz cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. salsa
  • 1 tbsp. fat free sour cream
  • 2 small whole wheat pitas

Cooking Directions

  1. Add beef, onion and jalapeno to a skillet on medium heat and cook until beef is browned.  Drain the beef mixture and then return it to the skillet.  Pour the taco seasoning and water mixture over the beef and stir, ensuring all the beef is well covered.  Continue to cook until the water and juices have almost all gone and the taco beef mixture is thick.
  2. Set your oven to broil and bake pitas for about 3 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  3. Place pitas on a plate and top with beef and all other ingredients.

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It’s easy right? If you want to get more creative take a few homemade or store bought flour tortillas and place them in an upside down muffin tin to make taco bowls.  I haven’t tried this exactly yet, but I have done something similar when I’ve made homemade hard taco shells by hanging the tortillas over the racks in my oven and baking them for 10 minutes.  Click the picture below for a quick how to from EatingWell.com.

OT8380_Ardito

 

I’m sure you’re wondering why i called this the “sort of” skinny taco salad…. well, it’s pretty calorie dense for a SALAD… any salad that’s over 400 calories seems to be a little… less skinny than others.. but no matter. This salad was frigging good. Try it. Right now. Seriously.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Spicy Avocado Ranch Dressing

GAAAAAH! Okay, it’s been a month since I’ve posted anything, and, it’s not that I don’t love you guys, honest I do, I’ve just been lazy in the kitchen department and haven’t made anything new or worth writing about.  However the past few days I’ve become motivated to get back in the kitchen and make something new, tasty and healthy, the latter likely having to do with the fact that I am going to be sitting on a beach in the Dominican in less than a week.  Let me tell you, I am shit at dieting. I suck.  I eat healthy most of the time, but I often overeat and drink on the weekends.  I’ve lost about 10 pounds, definitely not the 20 I had originally intended… but I just can’t help it, food is SO GOOD.  Nonetheless, my eating habits can be problematic, and my lack of physical activity.  But I’ve started running and it’s making me feel a little better.  Anyways, I’m sure you’re all like, “That’s a really sad story Kelsey Bakes, but lets get to the recipe part.”  Well okay then, I will! Because I’m avoiding carbs like it’s my freaking job right now (not actually, I’m just reducing them a little), I thought  I would test out a few new salads this week.  I started off with my Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing and then moved on to the yummy recipe that I’m going to share with you today.  Trust me, you’ll love it, even my boyfriend Mr. Skeptical liked it.

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The first thing I like to ensure when I make a salad is that it is as colourful as possible.  Lots of colours not only means lots of healthy vitamins and nutrients, but it means lots of taste too.  For this salad I added corn, red onions, red cabbage, spinach, romain lettuce, green peppers and julienned carrots.  I really can’t stand a bland salad.  I mean, what’s the point?  I vowed to start a Salad Revolution and dammit I’m going to do it! I’ve been on a HUGE red cabbage kick lately, and so has my boyfriend.  After begging me to to put any cabbage in his salad, because it was “disgusting” I chopped it up and threw it in anyways, and now he’s begging me to put more in.  Win.

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I can be very weird about chicken.  It can’t be too moist or juicy because that makes me feel like it’s undercooked and then I get all nauseous and want to puke.  It also can’t taste too chewy – it just freaks me out. The chicken has to be perfect.  I’ve found that if I cook the chicken in my skillet, covered, until it’s nice and tender and then remove the lid and let the juices evaporate that the chicken gets a really great texture.  For this chicken, I sliced up some boneless skinless chicken breast and added about 1/4 cup of wing sauce (I used Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce) to a large skillet.  I cooked covered for about 7 minutes, flipping as needed, and then removed the lid for about another 2 to 3 minutes.

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For the Spicy Avocado Ranch Dressing, I combined 1/2 an avocado, 6 tbsp. of Kraft Fat Free Ranch Dressing and 1 tsp of Sriracha Sauce.  You can add more Sriracha if you want more spice.  I simply used a whisk to mix it all together and then drizzled it over the chicken and vegetables.

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Buffalo Chicken Salad with Spicy Avocado Ranch Dressing

makes 2 dinner sized salads

Ingredients

FOR THE SALAD

  • 10 oz. of Chicken, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup of red onion
  • 1 large julienned carrot
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup green peppers, sliced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup red cabbage

FOR THE DRESSING*

  • 6 tbps. of fat free ranch dressing
  • 1/2 an avocado, mashed
  • 1 tsp. sriracha or hot sauce
    *note that this makes quite a bit of dressing, I jarred mine and saved it for my lunchtime salad the following day.

Cooking Directions

  1.  Pour wing sauce over chicken strips and cook in a skillet on medium heat, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes, flipping as needed.  Once the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, uncover the chicken and continue to flip for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Combine all vegetables in a large bowl and then divide between two plates.
  3. In a small bowl, combine avocado, ranch and sriracha until they are well mixed.
  4. Top your salad mix with half of the buffalo chicken and then drizzle the Avocado Ranch dressing on top.  I used about 2 tbsp of the dressing.

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And that’s it! Pretty easy right? I enjoy making salads during the week because they take barely anytime and very few dishes… and they make me feel a little skinnier in the morning.. hehe. Happy cooking!!!

Crunchy Thai Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing

photo 4I’m not much of a salad person.  I never have been.  Well perhaps that’s not true, let me rephrase that.  I’m not a meat salad person.  Give me a salad with beans and chickpeas and lentils, mixed with fresh veggies, or a spinach and fruit salad mixed with crisp spinach leaves, juicy strawberries and some kind of nuts, like almonds or walnuts, and then top it with a vinaigrette, and i’m S O L D sold. But for some reason, when you add meat to the mix, weather it be chicken or beef or fish, i just can’t do it.  It almost makes me nauseous. I have been on a quest to find the right Chicken salad.  I HATE fruit and meat combos (most of the time) so that was definitely out.  I made a mango barbecue chicken salad a few months back and I almost threw up trying to digest it.  Meat just freaks me out sometimes. I’m always concerned that i will get salmonella, or mad cow disease, or die from all the hormones and antibiotics hiding in there.  Sometimes meat just isn’t appetizing to me. But I like the taste of meat, and I’ve tried the vegetarian thing – just not my thing.

So what is a girl to do? Do I force down yet another boring unappetizing salad? Do I settle for a less than tasty dinner just because I’m trying to eat healthy and lose a few pounds? NO. I REFUSE to continue to eat less than tasty things just because they’re “healthy”.  NO. I will NOT sacrifice taste for fewer calories. NO. I WILL find a chicken salad that I love and can digest without wanting to eat an entire pizza to wash down the awful taste and cleanse my palette from the bland taste that is chicken salad.  I have challenged that bland chicken salad to become something more.  Something more than unseasoned chicken on a bed of greens. I REFUSE to settle for something less than extraordinary.  I want to be inspired by my salad. I want some SERIOUS salad Swag and some UNBELIEVABLE dressing. I want my salad to blow my mind.  To blow my tastebuds’ mind. I daresay, I have started a salad revolution.  Welcome to the uprising of the not-so-boring, unbelievable tasty, salad of awesomeness.

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I decided to go for a Thai themed salad.  I love Thai sauce.  It’s so damn good.  I used the President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce as the coating for my chicken.  I diced up 10 oz. of Chicken into strips, placed it in a skillet with about 1 – 2 tbsp. of the Chili Pepper Sauce, and cooked on medium, covered, until the chicken was no longer pink inside.  Flip the chicken every few minutes.  The sauce is thick and will begin to caramelize.  Once the chicken is cooked to your liking, remove the cover and allow any remaining juiced to evaporate.  This will also give your chicken time to brown slightly, and gives it a nice “from the grill” taste.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of your salad.  I used sliced cabbage, julienned carrots, romaine lettuce and thawed frozen corn.  I also prepared my own spicy Sriracha dressing using olive oil, soy sauce, Sriracha Sauce and the juice of one lime.  To top off the salad, I added some crunch and sliced up one of my homemade flour tortilla wraps  into skinny strips and toasted them in the oven.

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Crunchy Thai Salad with Spicy Sriracha Dressing

makes two dinner sized salads

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 10 oz. of Chicken, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp. of your favourite cooking sauce
  • 1 6-inch tortilla, cut into strips
  • 1 romain heart, slices
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large carrot, julienned

For the dressing

  • 1-2 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce (depending on your desired level of spice)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp.  reduced sodium soy sauce
  • the juice of one lime

Cooking Directions

  1. Place chicken strips in a skillet on medium heat.  Add 1 – 2 tbsp of your favourite cooking sauce, like President’s Choice Memories of Thailand Fiery Chili Pepper Sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Once chicken is cooked through, cook for an additional 1 – 3 minutes to brown the chicken and allow the sauce to caramelize.
  2. Prepare the rest of the salad while the chicken is cooking.  In a large bowl, add sliced cabbage, romain lettuce, julienned carrot and the thawed corn.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour about 1/2 the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Place the sliced tortilla wrap on a baking sheet and broil until crisp, about 2 minutes.
  5. Divide the cabbage mixture between two places and top each with one half of the cooked chicken and half the toasted tortilla wrap slices. Pour the remaining dressing over each plate and enjoy!

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My boyfriend found the sauce to be a little too spicy for his liking – I used 2 tbsp of Sriracha in the dressing I made.  So i agreed to tone it down the next time I make this.  This salad was so good, that I actually made more and took some for lunch the next day.  I’m very happy about how well this turned out.  It was not gross, or bland, or boring.  It was full of flavour and the crunchy tortilla added a great texture to the salad.

So.  People. I urge you to get some salad inspiration.  Join the revolution against plain, unsavory salads! Happy Cooking!

Bacon Ranch Barbecue Chicken Burgers

photo 2Okay…. so apparently I’ve been a little obsessed with burgers lately.  Perhaps it’s because I’m being hopeful that spring weather will soon be upon us – we got snow yesterday… April 2nd… and I’m feeling a little depressed about it.  The weather forecast, however, does look promising and I don’t see any below zero degrees Celsius in the next week.  Pray that the weather network isn’t lying, and that the temperature will warm up, bring rain, and get rid of the six-foot snowbanks that encompass every street in the city.  To me, burgers are something that you eat in the summer, you barbecue them on your patio, or at camp, the sun beaming down on you – seriously, I’m getting sick of this snow, maybe if I keep cooking summer foods mother nature will get the hint and bring me some double digit temperatures.

So the recipe I’m going to share today is great because not only does it taste fantastic, but it’s also relatively healthy, like most of my recipes.  Burgers are typically a little higher in calories, since they usually are accompanied by a bun, some sauces, and in my burgers, cheese and turkey bacon, but trust in me when I say that this is well worth it.  Each burger patty will run you just over 300 calories – the rest depends on what toppings you would like to add.  For this burger I added a slice of turkey bacon to top my ground chicken patty, as well as a slice of mozzarella, some fat free ranch salad dressing, a few lines of Sriracha (because I love me some spice) and a few slices of red onion.  I served it, of course, on a whole wheat Ezekial bun and ate it with a cucumber and tomato Greek style salad.

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For the patties I combined ground chicken, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and some PC Chicken Barbecue Sauce – but you can use any sauce.   I mashed all the ingredients together with my hands, and then formed the mix into four 4 oz patties.  I cooked the burgers in a skillet, covered, for about 6 minutes on each side, then topped them with bacon and cheese, re-covered, and then cooked for an additional 30 seconds (or until the cheese has melted).  I pretty well cook all my burgers the same way – in a skillet, as I am not allowed to have a barbecue, and for about 12 minutes.  I then topped the burgers with Kraft’s Fat Free Ranch Dressing – I love this stuff because it’s creamy and thick and doesn’t really taste like fat free.  If you’re looking for a taste that’s closer to the full fat dressing, you can always go for the Calorie-Wise Ranch Dressing from Kraft – it pretty well tastes exactly like the full fat version.  I of course, made it spicy, and couldn’t resist adding a little Sriracha Sauce.  I developed this recipe by working off this one from JuliesEatsandTreats.com.

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Bacon Ranch Barbecue Chicken Burgers

makes four 4 oz. burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 4 slices of cheese (I used Mozzarella)
  • 4 tbsp ranch dressing (about 1 tbsp per burger)
  • Sriracha Sauce (if you like it spicy)
  • Other garnishes of your choice – tomatoes, onion, spinach, etc.
  • 4 Burger Buns

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs, spices and barbecue sauce.  Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Divide the chicken mixture into four and make four equally sized patties (they should be about 4 oz. each)
  3. Place in a skillet and cook covered on medium heat for six minutes.  Covering helps your burger get an even cook.  Flip and repeat.
  4. Add bacon slices and cheese to each burger patty, cover, and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted.
  5. Remove burger patties from heat, serve on a bun and top each burger with ranch dressing, Sriracha, and you favourite burger garnishes.
  6. Eat it!

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I promise that you will LOVE this burger.  It’s got a great taste and I LOVE adding the spicy Sriracha to give it a kick.  I promise I will make something else other than burgers at some point – they’re just so easy and versatile – meaning that they’re great for a weeknight dinner.  For more burger ideas please see my Burger Lover board on Pinterest.  Happy Cooking!!

Sriracha Bacon Cheese Burgers

photo 4I like everything spicy, so of course, adding Sriracha to essentially every meal is a must – once I discovered it, I just couldn’t get enough!  I like the kind of hot that causes your lips to burn, you know, the kind that you should probably follow up with a glass of milk… or Pepto, depending on how much heat your gut can take.  After rumaging through my freezer I discovered that the only meat I had on hand was ground beef, and since that said beef was so conveniently sitting beside a bag full of burger buns, I felt that some sort of food god was telling me to cook me some burgers. And I listened.  As you might remember, I am a HUGE burger lover, so once I decided a burger is what my belly wanted, I had to make something new, something I hadn’t tried before.  After a few nights of Thai stir-fry, I decided I was going to incorporate some serious heat into my burgers, Sriracha style.

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I did a little bit of Pinteresting, and discovered a few recipes that I based this burger off of.  The first thing I noticed is that most of the recipes I found has a little bit of soy sauce in them, but were otherwise pretty basic – beef, Sriracha, salt and pepper, and onion.  I omitted the salt (you get enough of that form the soy sauce) and added 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1 egg.  I added about 1/8 cup of diced red onion into the recipe.

photo 1In terms of toppings, and I think the title of this post says it all, I added cheddar cheese and sliced turkey bacon (you can use any bacon, of course, but I imagine thick cut would taste the best).  I also topped the burger with some sautéed red onion and, you guessed it, just a few lines of even more of that spicy Sriracha sauce.

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I cooked the burgers in a skillet since I’m not able to have a barbecue in our building – and to be honest, with the dumping of snow we just got, you couldn’t pay me to barbecue outside right now.  I cook my burgers on medium heat for about 6 minutes per side, with no oil since even extra lean ground beef has enough fat to make some grease in the pan.  Once cooked through, I remove the burgers, drain the grease in the pan, and then return the burgers to the heat.  I then add the bacon, cooked and sliced, the sautéed onion, and then top it with cheese and cover for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  I like adding the cheese AFTER I put on the toppings – I find all the flavours blend a little better.

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Sriracha Bacon Cheese Burgers

makes five 5 oz. burger patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 slices of sharp cheddar
  • 5 slices of cooked bacon
  • sliced, sautéed onion for garnishing

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients other than cheese, bacon, and extra onion.  Using your hands is the best approach.
  2. Form the beef mixture into five 5 oz. patties.  Cook in a skillet (or BBQ) on medium heat, for about 6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink inside.
  3. Garnish each burger with bacon, onion and then cheese.  Cover for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute or until cheese is melted.  Serve on a bun and top with more Sriracha sauce if desired.

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 This is probably my favourite burger so far – but you know me, I’ll probably say that about the next one, and the next one, and the one after that.  I like eating my burgers on Ezekial Buns – I find they’re not too doughy and not too big for the patties – I can’t stand an oversized bun it’s like it overpowers the taste of the patty.  Anyways – I urge you to try this one.  It’s honestly fantastic.  Happy Cooking!

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Ground Chicken Feta Burgers

Annnnd it’s the first day of spring, and up here in the great white north we just got majorly dumped on by a pile of unwanted snow.  Thanks mother nature, but if you could cut the crap, that would be great.  Anyways, I am a HUGE burger lover.  I love burgers, they’re freaking amazing.  And I don’t discriminate – I like beef burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers and veggie burgers; I like beer burgers, cheddar burgers, jalapeno burgers or any combination thereof.  I like avocados, tomatoes, onions and peppers on my burgers; I like ketchup, barbecue sauce, ranch and mayo on my burgers.  Please keep mustard and relish away from my burgers.  I also of course, like all types of cheese on my burgers.  Last night I was in the mood for a burger, but not a beef burger, so I settled on a chicken burger, made with ground chicken, feta cheese, breadcrumbs, and some spices.  I topped it with Swiss cheese, mashed avocado, spinach and sautéed red peppers and served it on an Ezekial bun (English muffin to be exact).

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This recipe is SUPER simple.  It took about 20 minutes from start to finish.  I have to cook all my burgers stove top, since I’m not aloud to have a barbecue in my apartment building.  When I cook stove top burgers, I usually cook them in a little bit of olive oil (cooking spray if I’m making beef burgers), covered, and for about 6 minutes on each side over medium heat.  If i’m melting cheese on the burgers, I will turn down the heat to medium low, add the cheese, and cover for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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I love experimenting with all the different flavours you can pack into a burger – you can add so many things to the patty, sauces and toppings that it’s like you’re eating a different burger everytime!  If you LOVE spicy as much as I do, check out my Cheddar and Jalapeno Beef Burger here.  I topped it with turkey bacon and a ranch sauce, and served it on a whole wheat bun.  Although, these Ezekial buns are pretty great and I don’t think it’s going to be the last time I buy them.

 Ground Chicken Feta Burgers

Ingredients

makes 4 large patties

  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 1/2 tsp cilantro
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • whole wheat buns (I use Ezekial)
  • Swiss cheese (1 slice per burger)
  • garnishes of your choice: spinach, avocado, onion, peppers, etc.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients to a large bowl. I usually use my hands when doing this, as I find it’s much easier than a spoon or spatula type utensil.  You may omit the egg.
  2. On a flat surface, form 4 large patties.  Place in a lightly oiled skillet on medium heat and cook for 6 minutes, covered.  Flip and cook for another 6 minutes.
  3. If you are planning on adding cheese, add it after the 12 minutes of cook time, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted.

Ground chicken does not have a lot of fat, so it is necessary to add oil, butter or cooking spray to your pan.  I find it’s often difficult to cook homemade beef burgers stove top as much of the fat accumulates and I of course always get splattered with it.  Cooking these was nice because there was almost no fat whatsoever – it was a nice change.  I love avocado and sautéed veggies on my burgers – except beef where I prefer a cheese and bacon kind of approach.

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You can visit my burger lover board on Pinterest for more burger ideas and to see my burger making bucket list that I plan on taking on this summer.  I am a huge fan of big macs so I am dying to try a copycat version of it.  I hope you enjoyed the recipe – happy cooking!!

Parmesan Dijon Chicken With Fettuccine Alfredo and Sautéed Vegetables

I’m pretty in love with parmesan cheese.  I love it on my my pasta (all types of pasta) and sometimes on my meat, usually my chicken.  I love adding it to sauce, and have no objections to eating it by itself.  I like it in Caesar salad, and cold pasta salads.  I like it here and there and everywhere, I would eat it with a fox and I would eat it in a box. I would eat it on a train and on a plain, in a house or with a mouse.  Excuse my Dr. Seuss quotations… but I really do feel… passionate about parmesan cheese.  I’m THAT girl at the restaurant who, when the waiter says, “Parmesan Cheese or Fresh Cracked Pepper Miss?”  I say, “ABSOLUTELY!!” And then they say, “Okay, let me know when.”  And I don’t say when, and the Parmesan cheese just keeps piling up and piling up. But I just don’t say when.  And finally, I say it, but only because the people I’m dining with look at me like I’m a freak and the waiter is annoyed and I don’t want them to spit in my dessert.  SO I think we’ve determined that I love parmesan cheese and that I like using it in my recipes, which is what I did.  I made a Parmesan Dijon Chicken and served it with Fettuccine Alfredo and sautéed red onion and spinach.  It was fantastic.

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I first chopped up the chicken into strips. I brushed each strip front and back with Dijon mustard, and then pressed each piece into the shredded parmesan cheese, coating the entire surface of each chicken strip with the cheese.  Next I melted 1 tbsp of butter in a skillet with 1 tbsp of oil.  I laid each piece of chicken down in the pan and cooked them on medium heat.  After about 5 minutes I flipped the strips and let them cook for an additional 5 minutes and until the chicken was no longer pink inside.

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I made the Alfredo sauce during the last few minutes that the chicken was cooking.  I melted 2 tbsp of butter with 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream in a skillet over medium heat.  Once the mixture started to chicken (about 4 minutes) I added 2 cups of whole wheat fettuccine noodles and turned the heat to medium-low.  I added another 1/3 cup of heavy cream and 2/3 cup of parmesan cheese.  This is meant ot be served immediately so make sure you time it that this is the last step you must complete before serving your meal.  I laid the chicken strips on top and added some sautéed onion and spinach – mushrooms and asparagus are also a great addition to this dish.  I drizzled a little bit of the Alfredo sauce on top and sprinkled with yet, more parmesan cheese.

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Parmesan Dijon Chicken With Fettuccine Alfredo and Sautéed Vegetables

Serves 2

Ingredients

for the chicken

  • 10 oz chicken, cut into strips
  • Dijon mustard
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup to coat all the chicken)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil

for the fettuccine Alfredo

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups whole wheat fettuccine (you can use up to 4 cups if you are serving more people)

Cooking Directions

  1. Brush both sides of each chicken strip with Dijon mustard and then press into shredded parmesan cheese until entire piece is coated.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter and add olive oil.  Ensure pan is well coated.  Place the strips in the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Make the Alfredo sauce by combining the butter and 2/3 of the cream into a skillet on medium heat.  Warm for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mix starts to thicken.
  4. Add the noodles and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the parmesan cheese and the rest of the cream (1/3 cup).  Serve immediately.
  5. Top with the chicken and sautéed vegetables of your choice.

So there you have it! It’s super easy.  This took me about 20 minutes from prep time to eat time, and there’s nothing I like more than a tasty, quick and easy recipe on a weeknight.  I’ll be signing off for a bit… I have my final exam this Thursday and then I’m done school until the summer. Woohoo! Wish me like. Happy Baking!

Oven Baked Chicken Chimichangas

I need to share a new recipe that I discovered a few weeks ago.  It quickly became a household favourite – meaning my boyfriend begs me to make these at least twice a week.  Chimichangas.  So good I could die.  Chimichangas are essentially deep fried burritos and can be filled with anything from beef and beans to chicken and veggies – anything you can think of really.  For these tiny tubes of tastyness, I stuffed my homemade flour tortillas with salsa, spinach, a few spices, cheese, and a whole lot of chicken.  I top them with some homemade guac and some Sriracha sauce and voila – a quick and easy Mexican dish that everyone will absolutely love – and to top it off, these are baked, not deep friend.

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I made these using my smaller tortilla wraps, where I divide my regular tortilla recipe into 16 rather than 12.  But you can easily buy a pack of tortilla wraps at the grocery store if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own.  The first step is to cook your chicken.  I do this by cutting my chicken into small cubes and placing it in a skillet with a little bit of water.  Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.  Next, I mix together the salsa, spices, spinach and cheese.  Mix in the chicken and stir until all ingredients are combined.  For the spice, I use Oregano and Garlic Powder, as well as a little Cumin so that it has that “Taco” taste to it.  I like using medium salsa over mild as it adds a little kick to it.

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Once you have your mix, lay out your tortillas and place a few dollups of the mixture in the centre of the wrap.  About a third to half cup of the mixture depending on how large your wraps are.  This mixture usually lets me make 7 to 8 chimichangas.  Fold in two of the edges and then roll up the wrap.  Place seam side down on a parchment paper lined pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush each chimichanga with a little bit of melted butter, and then toss in the oven at 425 F Degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.

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Oven Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 jar of salsa or picante sauce
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 8 tortilla wraps

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F Degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine salsa, spinach,oregano, garlic cumin and cheese.  Add chicken and mix well to incorporate.
  3. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the chicken salsa mixture to the centre of each wrap.  Fold in two edges and then roll up the wraps.  Place on the baking sheet stem side down.
  4. Brush each chimichanga with melted butter.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve with guacamole, hot sauce, sour cream or more salsa.

I find that if I put too much cheese in these it has a tendency of seeping out of the wraps while cooking and this can make the bottoms a little soggy.  Letting these sit for a few minutes after taking them out of the over, while difficult because they smell so darn good, is a good idea – these are extremely hot inside and I’ve burned my tongue on more than one occasion, so be careful!!  These are a little over 300 calories each depending on what you serve them with.  They’re pretty filling, so I like to have 2 as a meal.  This recipe is a must try – yummy! Happy Baking!