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Hello everyone!

Thank you for your support and following me this amazing journey I am on.  I am more than a little excited to share some news….. 

…..I’d like to invite you all to check out my new website.  It’s still undergoing some tweaking but going forward this is where I am posting my new recipes, and as such there will be no more posted on this blog as everything is transitioned over.

http://www.bakersbeans.com

Please stop by to say hello and let me know you were there so I can follow you as well!

Salute!

I made this recipe for the first time during a recent Mom’s/Ladies Wine Evening at my place.  Our wine theme for this event was California and so I went with a healthy, bite sized salad.  I’ve been to California many times and it is many things to me (special memories) so I also decided to make some Pico De Gallo & Guacamole to represent all the incredible Mexican food I’ve tasted in Southern California. 

The ladies loved this Lentil Salad and so I’m sharing the recipe.

Note I served this salad in shot glasses. Quite often I serve mini salad or pureed soups in shot glasses when having people over for dinner.  It’s simple and it’s Fun.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Feta & Lentil Salad

1/4 cup slivered, toasted almonds
1 cup dried green lentils
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (or more) fresh oregano, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste (1/4 tsp each)
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Toast your almonds in a pan over medium heat watching and stirring often until they start to brown. Set aside to cool.

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add whole garlic cloves and lentils.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Remove garlic cloves and continue to allow lentils to drain in colander.

Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add lentils, feta, cucumber, onion, parsley and tomatoes stirring to combine.  When ready to serve sprinkle with toasted almonds.

This is one of those recipes I’ve gone past several times…always drawn to the quantity of fresh herbs used.  Rummaging through my fridge recently I discovered I had all the herbs required to make that “Thai Chicken” recipe.  Fortunately I also had some green curry paste and was inspired to add some more flavour to the dish.

Happy to report this recipe got 4 thumbs up…the family loved it.  The kidlets did not complain about the herbs at all even commenting on how much they enjoyed it.  Fresh Tasting & Flavourful.

For this recipe I pulled out of the freezer both bone-in chicken thighs and boneless chicken breasts as they needed to be used up.  I threw them all into the marinade noting the different cooking times for the chicken.  Each morsel tasted equally divine.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame

Thai Inspired Chicken

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp green curry paste
1/4 cup oil (canola or olive)
splash of your favourite hot pepper sauce
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR bone in, skin on chicken thighs

Combine all ingredients except chicken in ziplock bag. Squishy it to mix flavours. If you find it a little on the dry side add some more oil. Add chicken, squeezing to ensure marinade permeates chicken.

Let stand 30 minutes at room temp or longer in fridge to develop flavours. Remove chicken from marinade and discard.

For boneless chicken breasts grill over medium heat approx 12-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

For bone-in chicken thighs grill over medium low heat for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

One of my girlfriend’s came to visit me last weekend.  She lives in Northern BC and we’ve been friends for over 25 years.

I asked her what she wanted for supper on her first night here and to make a long story short we ended up having grilled steak.  No shortage of steak lovers in this family.  I grew up having steak occasionally, although it would always be the same cut of steak with the same BBQ sauce cooked the same way. I swear this is part of the reason I scream for flavour and diversity in my cooking.

Chimichurri sauce originates from Argentina & South America. It is a lovely & tasty accompaniment to any grilled meat. We’ve enjoyed this recipe before and so it was time to enjoy it again.

We grilled some asparagus & mushrooms as a side.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 lbs steak (whatever you enjoy, striploin, sirloin, filet, etc.)
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a plastic ziplock back and squishy to ensure steak is covered. Let marinate on counter for 30 minutes or longer in the fridge.

Remove steak from bag and grill over medium heat to preferred doneness. Serve with Chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
2 tbsp fresh oregano
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

So impressed was I that hubby really enjoyed this salad. So much so he took it for lunch today.  Now if only I could get the kidlets to enjoy quinoa since it is a complete protein and good for you.   Here’s hoping one day!

This is a quick-lunch, side dish or even meal for one. Add some roasted/grilled chicken  if you wish or it as is. Yum.

Quinoa, Cucumber & Mint Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cucumber, quartered and sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Add water, quinoa and salt to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce, cover and simmer until water has been absorbed and quinoa tender (about 12-15 minutes). Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a cup, or small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour it on quinoa and add cucumber, green onions, parsley & mint.  Mix well.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Pairs nicely with grilled meat.

I’ve tried many different versions of chicken fajita’s and always found the flavours are rather bland.  This recipe had the flavours blending nicely and everyone loving this dish.  In fact my dd asked for it for lunch the next day at school (now that is unusual).

Fajita’s for our family are a quick & easy supper on an activity night.  These are truly yummy.

Chicken Fajitas

4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
oil (canola or olive oil)
1/2 cup spanish onion, sliced
1 cup pepper (red, green, orange, yellow), sliced
whole wheat flour tortillas 

Fixins
shredded lettuce
diced tomato
salsa
guacamole
sour cream
hot peppers (banana or jalapeno)
shredded cheese
I also used pico de gallo & chopped cilantro

In a ziplock bag combine chili powder, oregano, salt, cumin, garlic, lime juice and a little oil.  Seal bag and smoosh to combine flavours. Add your chicken and smoosh a little more.  Refrigerate for a minimum 15 minutes or longer if you have time.

Put your onions and peppers in a bowl.  Pour on a little oil and season with salt, pepper and a little cumin.

Take chicken out of marinade and drain.  Put on greased BBQ and grill approximately 6-7  minutes per side on med-high until cooked through and juices run clear.  Remove from heat and let rest under cover.

Meanwhile on a pre heated BBQ grill topper or stove top grill pan add some oil and your onion/pepper mix.  Give it a little more s&p and saute for about 4-5 minutes or under veggies tender crisp. Set aside in a bowl.

Get all your fixin’s ready, heat up your flour tortillas (10 seconds in microwave), slice your chicken, grab some peppers/onions and you are ready to assemble your chicken fajita.

My family loves them!

Chickpeas, also known as: ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea and Bengal gram are very good for you.  They contain Vitamins, Iron, Minerals, Fiber, Calcium and Protein to name a few. For a more detailed breakdown on the nutritional value of chickpeas go to the Nutrient Analysis

You can use them in stews, chili’s, roasted, toasted, pureed, dips, soups, salads…the possibilities are endless.

I recently made this recipe for a BBQ.  Simple and delicious made this salad a winner.

Chickpea & Artichoke Salad

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (or grape), halved
1/2 cup pepper (any colour), diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 jar marinated (in oil) artichoke hearts
salt & pepper to taste

Drain artichokes in a bowl, keeping liquid. Cut into quarters. Set aside.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add artichokes and reserved liquid to bowl. Add a good amount of pepper and sprinkle of salt, tossing to combine.

You can let salad sit in fridge and marinate or you can serve immediately.

Feta and kalamata olives would be a nice addition to this salad.

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