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All Dressed Up

Even though it’s starting to get a little colder (you have no idea how much it pains us to admit that!) we here at Two Saucy Sisters still believe that it is never too cold for a big ol’ salad!

That being said, there are definitely a lot of ways to change up a salad to make it more seasonable.  Adding cooked, cubed sweet potato or squash adds a nice Fall flair, as do some crisp apple slices.  Pair that with some toasty walnuts and creamy goat cheese and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty fall-ified salad!

But of course, salad just isn’t salad without dressing, now is it?  You could just go with your usual oil-and-vinegar combo, but why not make it a little more special?

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Something you may not know about us is that the house we live in (when we’re not at school) is actually a more than 100-year-old fruit farm.  Most of the orchards are gone now and we only have about 3 acres of the original land left, but we do have a few pear trees that still produce fruit every year.  So, you can imagine that when our gracious father picked us a whole bunch of them, we needed to figure out a way to use them up before they got too ripe.  Who knew the answer would be salad dressing?

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Yup- we made a pear vinaigrette!  It’s a little sweet, it’s a little savoury, and it makes the perfect topping for a Fall-inspired salad!

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This works really well if you just so happen to have a couple slightly over-ripe pears in your fridge.  If you don’t, just leave a pear out on the counter for a day or two and you’ll be ready to make this tasty dressing.  It’s simply a matter of throwing the ingredients in a blender and you’ve got yourself enough dressing for several salads in mere minutes!

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So now you have no excuse not to eat your greens 😉

Happy Fall Salad-Eating!

Pear Vinaigrette

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1 ripe pear
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp white vinegar
dash of salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 c. olive oil

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender except for the olive oil, and blend until the pear has been pulverized.   With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Blend for another minute or two to ensure the pear is fully blended and everything is combined.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. (Just be sure to set it on the counter a few minutes before using it, and give it a stir before pouring)

~twosaucysisters

Do you ever make fun salad dressings?  What’s your favourite way to jazz-up a salad?

Sloppy Lentils

We mentioned before when we made Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes last August that Sloppy Joes were always a favourite meal growing up. Really, they’re a saucy, sloppy mess of a meal – what kid doesn’t love that?

The last time we made them, we decreased the beef and added lentils to lighten them up a bit and pack in some of the fibre and other nutrients that lentils have to offer. Well, we’ve done it again, but this time, we’ve taken out the beef entirely and made a completely vegetarian version of the classic!

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And of course, we packed it full of veggies for an additional nutrition bonus!

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Now, we know what some of you may be thinking “What? No beef?!?” but seriously, guys, don’t knock it ’till you try it! The flavour is all there, and the lentils add a great texture all their own, it’s really quite delicious.

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Meatless meals are also a great idea if you’re trying to watch your saturated fat intake, or just squeeze some extra veggies in. And they can be just as tasty as their meat containing counter parts!

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So take a leap of faith with us here, guys, we promise you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

Lentil Sloppy Joes

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Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 c. brown lentils
1 1/4 c. water

2 tsp olive oil
1/4 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. bell peppers, chopped
1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
2/3 c. frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

For the Sauce:

1/3 c. tomato paste
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 drops of liquid smoke
3-4 tbsp tomato juice
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
pepper, to taste

2 whole wheat hamburger buns

Directions:

Put water and lentils into a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 25min, or until fully cooked and most of the water has been absorbed.
Heat oil on a  pan over medium heat. Dice onion and add to pan, cooking until translucent. Mince the garlic and chop the peppers and mushrooms and add to the pan along with the frozen veggies.
Add the smoked paprika and cook until tender-crisp, approximately 4-5 min.
Add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. (Option: finely dice the chili and stir all sauce ingredients together in a bowl).
Once the lentils and veggies are done cooking, stir the lentils into the vegetables and mix well. Pour the sauce over the mixture and stir until evenly coated.
Divide the sloppy joe mixture over two warm hamburger buns and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

Do you have a favourite classic recipe that you’ve changed to make healthier? What were some of your favourite meals as a kid? We were huge fans of eggs and toast or cereal for dinner, but we also loved mashed potatoes and whenever our Dad did burgers on the bbq!

A Sticky Situation

The other day while we were browsing through Food Gawker (what else would you do with your free time?) we came across a recipe for sticky chicken.  It looked delicious, and of course we instantly knew that we wanted to make our own version for dinner that night.

There was only one problem- we had no chicken!

For those of you who have cars and are thinking why don’t you just make a quick trip to the grocery store? We agree, what a novel idea!  However for us, a “quick trip” to the grocery store means waiting for the bus, riding the bus, grabbing that one package of chicken, and then waiting for another 20 minutes for the bus to come again.

No thank you.

We also try to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store in one week to save money (student budgets don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room).

So instead we improvised, and used tofu!

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This turned out to be a delicious compromise!  Piled on top of some sauteed julienned vegetables and brown rice, this meal was a snap to prepare and completely satisfied our craving for sticky chicken!

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As we’ve said before, we are not vegetarians, but we love vegetarian cooking, and we especially enjoy making vegetarian versions of traditional meat dishes!  And while this recipe doesn’t have that coveted crispy skin that people love about sticky chicken, the tofu itself is nice and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

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Smother the whole thing in a sweet-and-savoury sticky sauce and you have a winner winner chicken tofu dinner!

DSCN4524So maybe we’ll pick up some chicken on our next grocery trip and try making the real thing, but for now, we’ll just enjoy our vegetarian version! 🙂

Sticky Tofu

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Prep Time: 10 min + 20 min marinating
Cook Time: 20 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 a 420g package of firm tofu, pressed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 c. water + 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1-2 tsp dried rosemary
1 large clove garlic, minced
pepper, to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients (except tofu) in a seal-able container.  Slice tofu into slices that are about 1/2 a centimeter thick.  Place slices in the marinade and put a lid on the container.  Slowly and carefully turn the container over a couple times so that every piece of tofu is covered in the marinade.  Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes so the tofu can soak up the flavours.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Remove the tofu from the marinade and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for 10 minutes on the other side, or until the tofu is browned and crispy on both sides.

While the tofu is baking, place the sauce in a small pot or pan and place over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.

We placed our tofu on top of cooked brown rice and sauteed vegetables, then drizzled the sauce over top, but you can pair it with anything you like!

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you want to make a meal but you’re missing the main ingredient?  What is your favourite meal to vegetarian-ize?

The Last of the Cranberries

So we know Christmas is over now, and most of you have probably had your fill of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably eaten your fair share of cranberry sauce and other cranberry-themed dishes as well.

But we’re really hoping you have room in your hearts (and stomachs!) for one more cranberry recipe.

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Because we made this super-yummy slow-cooked cranberry pork that we really want you to try! 🙂

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We’re banking on the hope that you might still have some leftover cranberries kicking around in your freezer for this one 😉

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Normally neither of us are huge fans of pork, but take a nice lean cut and toss it in the slow-cooker and what you get is a tender, flavourful piece of meat that even the most adamant pork dislikers will approve of!

And the cranberry sauce coats the meat and is so good.  It’s quite tangy, but you can add more honey to suit your tastes.

We promise you, this recipe is worth digging out those leftover cranberries for!  And since it’s a slow-cooker recipe, it doesn’t require a lot of work on your part, so you can get started with all those new-years resolutions you’ve made for yourself 😉

Slow-Cooker Cranberry Pork

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Prep: 10 min
Cook: 6-8 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 small pork chops (or 2 large ones) with the fat trimmed
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. diced white onion
1 c. frozen cranberries
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together the corn starch, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Toss the pork chops in this mixture and place in the slow cooker.

Mix the cranberries, onion, apple cider vinegar, and honey together, pour it into the crock pot and stir.

Turn the slow-cooker on low and cook for 6-8 hours.  When the pork is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker.  Pour the sauce into a pot and place it over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low until the sauce thickens, about 4-5 minutes.

Place the pork on a bed of greens (such as wilted kale) and pour the sauce over top.

~twosaucysisters

On the lighter side…

Lets look at the components of a Christmas dinner:

Turkey
Stuffing
Gravy
Creamy, decadent mashed potatoes
Cheese-covered brussel sprouts
Buttery rolls
Dessert-like sweet potato casserole
Dessert
Dessert
Dessert

Do you sense a theme here?

Christmas dinner specializes in all things rich and decadent, which are delicious, but can also get quite heavy. So why not lighten things up a bit?

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We’ve come up with this Christmas-themed salad which is a great addition to your holiday spread, but not to your waist-line!

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What makes this a seasonal salad? The roasted chestnuts, dried cranberries and juicy clementine segments, that’s what! We had never had roasted chestnuts until now – we feel as though we can finally fully appreciate the Christmas Song.

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Of course, one of the key parts of a salad that really takes it to another level, brings all of the components of a salad together but still lets each topping shine, is the dressing!

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Cranberry Vinaigrette!

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With only five ingredients (6 if you include water) this is extremely easy to make, and it’s the perfect Christmas dressing!  It’s tart but with a slight sweetness, and just look at that bright red colour!  As we always say, food tastes better when it’s pretty 🙂

Cranberry Vinaigrette

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Time: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1 c. frozen cranberries
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar + 2 tbsp water
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. water
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place cranberries in a small pot and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to split.
Allow the cranberries to cool slightly, then place them in a blender along with the apple cider/water mixture, maple syrup and water. blend until the cranberries are all chopped up and everything is fully incorporated.  With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper, blend, and then taste it and adjust to your liking.

When this dressing is poured over a bed of greens, roasted chestnuts, clementines and dried cranberries, Christmas magic happens.  And all you have to do is assemble the ingredients…

…pour on the dressing…

and you’re ready to go!  Easy, healthy, delicious.

Christmas Salad

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Time: 10 min (not including roasting time)
Serves: 4+

Ingredients:

1 bag of greens (we used a spinach/arugula mix)
1/2 large white onion
5-6 white button mushrooms
3-4 clementines
10-15 chestnuts, roasted*
1/2 c. dried cranberries

Directions:

Put the greens in a large bowl.  Slice your onion into very thin shavings.  Thinly slice the mushrooms, peel the clementines and separate into segments and roughly chop the chestnuts.  Place all ingredients on top of the greens and serve with the dressing on the side.

~twosaucysisters

What kinds of foods do you often eat at your Christmas dinner?

Study Breaks

As I type this post, I’m listening to Christmas music! I know, I know, It’s exams Julie, you should be studying! But you see, I am a firm believer in taking breaks and relaxing a little during exam time. I’m not one of those people who can sit down for six (or more!) hours straight and study. I max out at two hours, and then my brain starts to get all fuzzy and I can’t absorb anything. This exam period I have two types of study breaks: Running ones and blog related ones. I obviously adore my running breaks, for the getting to see my friends part just as much as the actual run itself! I also love my blogging breaks, as they result in something like this:

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Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash!

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Or as I like to call it – Squash stuffed with Christmas! Seriously, I have fallen in love with cranberries! They are tangy, ever-so-slightly sweet and bursting with flavour. To me, they are one of those flavours that sort of embody Christmas. Like eggnog, peppermint and clementines, they have a way of getting me in the spirit!

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Delicious! Unfortunately, I have procrastinated long enough – back to studying!

Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash

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Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 acorn or peppercorn squash
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
dash salt
pinch pepper

1/2 c. red lentils
1/2 c. millet
3 c. water

3 c. kale
1/2 c. cranberries
1 pear
1/4 c. onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 c. walnuts

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375F.  Cut your squash in half, drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the squash cut-side down on a tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Place the red lentils, millet, and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentil an millet is cooked and most of the water is soaked up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat a drop of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion, pear, and cranberries and cook until the onion is translucent and the cranberries begin to split.  Add the garlic and kale and saute for another few minutes until the kale begins to wilt.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and dash of salt and cook for another couple minutes.

When the lentils and millet are finished cooking, add them to the pan with the cranberries, onions and kale and stir to combine.  Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and and the liquid is evaporated.

Place the walnuts on an oven-safe plate and place in the oven for the last 10 minutes of cook-time with the squash, watching carefully so they don’t burn.

When the squash are done, remove them from the oven and flip over.  (be careful- they’ll be hot!)  Fill each half with as much filling as you can fit.  (you’ll have leftover filling, but don’t worry- it makes for great leftovers on top of salad!)

Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and an extra drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.

~Julie@twosaucysisters

What do you do when you take study/work “breaks”?  What kinds of foods get you into the Christmas spirit?

Best-Dressed

Remember a couple days ago when we posted about the delicious apple butter-baked tofu that we had for lunch?

Well of course, we didn’t just have a plate full of tofu for lunch!  While that would be tasty, we would really miss our veggies.  Because seriously, what is a meal without veggies?  Boooorrinng!

No, we did not just eat tofu for lunch.  We put that tofu on top of big, veggie-and-fruit-packed salads!  You know how we love our salads!

And where would a salad be without a delicious salad dressing?  Nowhere.  Because c’mon, a dry salad?  Really?  We may be a little outspoken here, but even two veggie-loving crazy runner-girls think that the idea of a dry salad is a little on the bland side.

But salad dressing doesn’t have to be unhealthy.  It can be low sodium and low in trans and saturated fats.

It can also be sweet and tangy and outrageously delicious 🙂

Yup, we’re talkin’ apple-butter balsamic vinaigrette!  Honestly, if you read our post about apple butter tofu and you still haven’t gone out and gotten yourself a jar of apple butter, we strongly urge you to do so.  You won’t regret it!  We could put this stuff on anything and we’re sure it would be delicious!

Which leads us to our next question- is there anything that balsamic vinegar doesn’t pair well with?  Fruit, veggies, meat, bread, the list goes on and on and on…

So if you haven’t had lunch yet and you’re staring at your fridge and scratching your head, we have a simple solution for you.  Grab some apple butter, make a big salad, and dump this dressing all over it.

And come thank us after 🙂

Apple Butter Balsamic Vinaigrette

Time: 5 min

Make: about 1/4 c.

Ingredients

2 tbsp apple butter
2.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp water
pinch of salt
3 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

In a jar, combine first four ingredients and shake to mix well.  Add in olive oil and give the jar another good shake to mix in the olive oil.

~twosaucysisters

What is your favourite salad dressing?