Posts Tagged onion

Vegetable & Bean Soup with Roasted Squash

Vegetable, Bean & Roasted Squash Soup | Gorging George

Oh lordy. How naive I was last month when I thought I was back on track with blogging! How quickly I forgot that these wee people need an abundance of attention from their mas and pas. However, here I am, after many attempts, writing again. I spent yesterday evening prepping meals for part of the week – it was a glorious feeling. I haven’t even thought about meal prep since Norah’s birth; as I’ve said before, it’s been a helluva lot of frozen pizzas and take out in this neck of the woods the past 5+ months. But Norah has been sleeping much better at night and has even graced us with some better napping throughout the day; so the heck with “sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps” my new motto in this household is “cook and eat when the baby is occupied with slumber!”

Since we’ve been eating so much junk, I’ve been attempting to eat “healthier” the past few months. We used to eat fairly balanced week-to-week prior to my pregnancy: lots of veggies and whole grains would compensate for fat-&-carb-&-alcohol laden indulgences. But the scales have been tipped on the indulgence side for quite a while; and I can’t seem to get back. I’ll admit (to probably a few skeptical readers) that I just recently joined Weight Watchers in order to “teach” myself some portion control again. Don’t worry though … this website isn’t going to undergo yet another change (after being gluten-free for over a year). The recipes here will continue to just be tasty dishes I want to share; whether they’re “healthy” or “indulgent.” Plus my plan is to only be part of the program for 3 months – I figure that should be enough time to get on track, plus summer will be here. And this girl wouldn’t consider tracking “points” when frosty beer season is upon us! (Finally I can drink real beer in the summer after going two without!)

I was motivated to join Weight Watchers mainly after seeing my sister-in-law have great success on the program after only a few weeks (check out her beauty-ful blog A Touch of Lush). She’s now been on Weight Watchers for almost 3 months, and she’s still enjoying it. I know she liked making things from the blog prior to starting WW, so I made up this recipe with her mind. It’s a tasty vegetable soup with a hint of umami flavour from roasting the squash. Plus, I would assume the soup would only be worth 1 or 2 points (from the beans and cheese), seeing that vegetables are worth 0 points. I could probably figure out the actual points and share; but like I said, this isn’t a blog about healthy eating. And don’t worry my regular readers: I’m just sending you a hint of where my current eating habits are right now. Next time I promise something dripping in butter.

Vegetable, Bean & Roasted Squash Soup | Gorging George

Vegetable & Bean Soup with Roasted Squash

1 acorn squash
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
19 oz beans of your choice (I used mixed beans)
4-5 cups kale, chopped
parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Peel the squash and discard seeds. Cut into 1/2″ cubes. Toss the squash with 1 tsp each salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the stock, water and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the beans and kale; simmer soup for 30 minutes.

Add the squash to the soup and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.

Serve soup hot or warm with parmesan grated on top.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Tequila Lime Bison Tacos

Tequila Lime Bison Tacos | Gorging George

Tomorrow is Earth Day; and just like last year, I thought I’d share a dish that’s as local as I’m prepared to eat while living in the subarctic. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to eat locally, or that I dislike any of the food that we can get around here. But, as I pointed out before, this land is fairly barren 8 months of the year, with the exception of fresh-water fish and wild animals that roam the north. There’s no access to fruit and vegetables that were grown within a 100-mile radius of our home. So we combine produce from the southern States, Mexico, and South America with meat from Alberta and sometimes local fish and game.

So here is my closest approximation of a “Local Taco” – using only 1 local ingredient: Bison. And I’m okay with that. Bison is a delicious wild meat, that doesn’t have much of a gamey taste to it. Plus it’s fairly lean, making it a healthy alternative to beef from time-to-time. However, there is absolutely nothing else included in this taco that was grown or produced anywhere near where I live. I’ll take the compromise and walk to work as much as possible. Plus, we live in the Land of the Midnight Sun – which means for quite some time around the summer months, we have no need to turn on our lights. You’re welcome Mother Earth.

Tequila Lime Bison Tacos | Gorging George

Bison Steak Tacos

This marinade would work well with various proteins. So if Bison isn’t a local meat near you, you could substitute beef, pork, chicken, shellfish, or any fresh or salt-water fish – hell, I won’t even judge if firm tofu is a local ingredient for you. Just reduce the marinade time to 1 hour if you’re using seafood, as the lime juice will end up cooking it eventually if left too long. 

Steak Marinade
1 lb bison steak
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice – about 1 lime
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili flakes

Pico de Gallo
2-3 roma tomatoes
1/2 jalepeno
1/2 white onion
juice from half lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

6-8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
sour cream

Slice the bison steak into thin strips, against the grain. Combine the steak and remaining marinade ingredients (garlic through chili flakes) in a zip-top bag. Marinade in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

About a half hour before you’re ready to cook the steak, prepare the Pico de Gallo. Dice the tomatoes, mince the jalepeno (remove the seeds and insides of the jalepeno if you want it less spicy), and dice the onion. Combine the vegetables along with the lime juice, salt & pepper together in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat a grill pan or heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the half the bison on both sides for approximately 3 minutes a side (or less if you prefer the bison more rare) – remove the cooked bison to a plate and keep warm. Continue with remaining bison. Meanwhile cook tortillas according to directions.

When everything is cooked, serve the bison steak on corn tortillas with sour cream, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and shredded Monterey jack cheese.

Makes 6-8 tacos.

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Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash

sweet potato & bacon hash

So it’s the week leading up to Superbowl Sunday. And everyone is currently sharing their go-to snack dishes du jour. I thought about giving you a scrumptious tiny dish you could eat with one hand, while never taking your eyes off the game commercials. (Let’s get real: 85% of us are watching the game for the commercials) But then I thought about all the recipes that get neglected this week. Namely breakfast. It seems like something that’s frequently forgotten. I speak to numerous people who eat a granola bar on the way to their car in the morning; or who simply skip breakfast altogether (how. do. you. live?). I don’t understand why people never take the time to really consider what they are ingesting in the morning, let alone search out and make delicious recipes to devour before starting your day. I guess I was guilty of this as a teenager: I used to be one to grab a shake or pop tart before starting school for the day … but I barely made it to lunch without the giant head nods in class; running low on energy before stuffy a greasy, nutrient-deficient piece of pizza in my gullet.

Now I know better. Plus I couldn’t make it an hour into my day without munching on something protein and carb filled. My legs would go weak; my head would go foggy; and my stomach would feel as though it was eating itself from the inside out. Oh; and then the Hulk-Rage would come out (want more info on this? Ask my nearest, and dearest … Kyle used to carry an emergency snack-pack to ward off this hunger induced rage ). Once I became more in tune with my physiology and what my body was trying to say, I eat excellent breakfasts nearly every day. Smoothies chock full of fruit, almond milk, and chia seeds; eggs with tomatoes and avocado on toast; protein bars filled with oats, dried fruit, nuts, and peanut butter. And then there’s the weekend. Oh joy! When breakfast turns to brunch. When laid back mornings turn into near lunch-time escapades in the kitchen; the stomach slightly quieted by a small bowl of yogurt while Kyle and I putter around each other (because breakfast making is always a a loving waltz in our home).

This hash would be a perfect part of your post-Superbowl morning. After a few too many beers and far too much spinach dip. A dish that just greasy enough to fuel your appetite, but is also healthy enough to counter-act the previous evenings indulgence. The sweet potato is soft on the inside, with a crispy, porky exterior. There isn’t tons of bacon, but just enough to feel satisfying. The best part: this tastes just as delicious re-heated the following day; so you can whip up a batch early Sunday to enjoy Monday morning. Top this off with a fried egg or two, and you have yourself a breakfast fit for a football champion.

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash

1 large sweet potato (about 1 lb)
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped

Cut sweet potato in half, then peel. Cut each half into 1″ thick slices. Place the slices of sweet potato into a pot of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water (unless you have hands of steel and can man-handle the hot potato). Cut the 1″ slices of sweet potato into 1″ strips. Then cut the strips into bite-size cubes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a heavy bottom saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the bacon is crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Place the butter in the pan, and once melted, add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent (approximately 3-5 minutes). Add the cubed sweet potato, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir everything to combine, then get the sweet potatoes into a single layer and allow to fry for 2-3 minutes, then flip/stir and allow to fry for another 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sweet potato are crisped up to your liking, add in the reserved bacon, stir everything together, then remove from heat. Top with the chopped chives.

Serves 4. Delicious served with an egg or two cooked to your liking – I like mine over-easy; Kyle takes his over-medium.

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Salmon & Quinoa Cakes with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Hoping everyone south of the border enjoyed their Thanksgiving weekend. Up here in Canada’s North, Kyle and I have started a tradition of recording the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (since we both typically work Thursdays), and playing it on the weekend while we trim the (faux) tree and decorate the house. And this weekend was no different. Our first time decorating the new home was lots of fun – although we are noticing that with extra space you need extra “stuff.” So, we may have to get up early boxing day to take advantage of sales in order to beef up our Christmas decor for next year. 

This past week, Kyle was out of town. And when he’s gone, I barely cook … and if I do, it’s typically something that Kyle doesn’t really care for; such as this recipe (which I actually did make and devour a few days ago). However, there was lots of leftover salmon and quinoa in the fridge from the last dinner we enjoyed before Kyle left. I ate it for lunch a few days in a row, but quickly tired of it. So one evening this week I decided to try my hand at some gluten free salmon cakes. I have missed making my typical salmon cakes; loaded with fresh, soft white bread to hold the mix together and create a fluffy cake. As I have discussed before, pre-made gluten free bread leaves much to be desired … and I have yet to find anything that would mimic the fluffy texture of white bread. And for that reason, I have not made salmon cakes since before May when I found out I’d have to give up gluten.

All that changed this week though. When I eyed up my leftovers and the contents of the fridge (because it was a coooooold winter night, and I sure as heck wasn’t going out to the grocery store), I whipped up these gluten free, tasty cakes. The leftover quinoa stood in for the bread that I previously would use. While it didn’t provide the same fluffiness, it proved to be a welcome substitute. The quinoa became super crisp on the outside after a quick pan-fry; and the middle had the characteristic crunchy and “popping” texture of cooked quinoa. And since quinoa has only a slight nutty taste, it was a great blank canvas for the garlicky sautéed vegetables and fleshy pink salmon. I dare say I may have enjoyed these even more than my gluton-filled white bread version from salmon cakes past.

Salmon & Quinoa Cakes

This recipe likely only makes enough for 2 people … although it could potentially be stretched to serve 3; so remember to increase the ingredients if you’re planning to cook this for a crowd. You will notice there is broccoli in the photos even though I do not call for this flowery green vegetable in the recipe. This is because my leftover quinoa was from Heidi Swanson’s Double Broccoli Quinoa recipe. You do not have to use this to make your cakes – it can be plain or any leftover cooked quinoa you have in your fridge. Although I do recommend making the aforementioned quinoa recipe as soon as you can – it’s so darn tasty that the only reason there was leftovers was due to the large amount it makes!

1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup red onion, fine diced
1/4 cup celery, fine diced
1/4 cup peppers, fine diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup cooked salmon
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 egg
1 Tbsp gluten free flour (I used a pre-made mix)
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, celery, peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes, or until softened. Season the onion mixture with the salt and pepper; set aside to cool.

Once cool, combine the onion mixture and remaining ingredients in a medium-bowl. Thoroughly mix. Line a baking sheet with wax paper (or foil or parchment paper); start making “cakes” out of the mixture, using about 1/3 cup for each cake. Place the cakes on the wax paper as you go. When they are all made, place the salmon cakes in the fridge and allow to set for about 15 minutes.

Heat the Tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat (time-saving tip: just use the same pan you used to saute the vegetables). Place 3 salmon cakes in the hot pan; cook for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until golden-brown. Remove the cakes from the pan and continue with the remaining salmon cakes.

Serve hot or warm with Chipotle Tartar Sauce (or your sauce of choice).

Makes 5-6 salmon cakes.

Chipotle Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp minced dill pickle
1 tsp chopped capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 – 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (use less if you want this less spicy)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with salmon cakes or your favourite fish or seafood.

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