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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?

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Just Peachy!

It’s August in Ontario. Know what that means?

Peach Season!

One of our absolute favourite times of year, especially living in an area that is well known for the peaches that grow here. We even have a festival specifically for them, where they serve the world’s best (yes, we said it) peach sundaes. In fact, the peaches here are so good that we only eat peaches this time of year. To buy some overpriced  picked-way-before-it’s-ripe peach that’s shipped thousands of miles and isn’t even that good of peach would be doing this magnificent fruit such injustice!

No, we will only eat fresh Ontario Peaches. Call us princesses, we don’t care!

We’ve made Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal, Fish Fingers with a Peach Dipping Sauce, a Peach Blondie Breakfast Parfait, Peach Pancakes a La Mode, Peach Raspberry Overnight Oats, Peach Salsa, Peach-Tomato Chutney and so much more! But for today’s post, we thought we’d play up the sweeter side of a peach…

DSCN6329So we made Peach Crumble Bars!

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Using an old date square recipe, we came up with a healthy treat that’s not only delicious, but actually stays together!

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Now don’t get us wrong, they are still Peach Crumble bars, meaning the crumb topping can get a little messy. Unlike many date square recipes we come across, however, they are not dry or overly sweet.

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This recipe took more than one trial to get right, and frankly, we’re proud of the results! The first time we made them, they were a little too salty and just a tad on the dry side – neither of which stopped our family from gobbling them up anyways! We knew that with just a couple minor tweaks here and there, they would be perfect!

DSCN6319So go buy yourself some fresh, local peaches and celebrate the season with a peachy treat! 🙂

Peach Crumble Bars

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Prep time: 20-30min
Bake time: 30-35min
Makes: 12 bars

Ingredients:

6 ripe, medium sized peaches
2 tbsp honey

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. ground nuts (we used almonds and walnuts)
2 c. oats
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. + 1tbsp honey or maple syrup
1/2 c. + 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Peel and slice the peaches. Toss with honey and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Melt the coconut oil and combine with honey or maple syrup. Mix into the dry ingredients until there are no dry patches and you have a somewhat crumbly mixture.
Remove 2 cups of the crumble mixture and set aside.
Spread the remaining oat mixture in the bottom of a greased 9X9inch square baking pan. Using the back of a lifter/spatula, press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Pour the honeyed peaches over the top and spread evenly across the pan. Take the reserved 2 cups of oat mixture and sprinkle it evenly over the top.
Bake for 30-35min, or until the crumb begins to turn a golden brown.

~twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite way to enjoy fresh peaches?

**ps- we will be away all this week at Cross Country Training camp, so we apologize in advance if we do not respond to any comments/questions right away, we will be sure to read them as soon as we return!  Have a great week everybody!

Masters of Disguise

Vegetables are good for you.

Duh

Obviously, one of the best ways to get a nice big helping of veggies is to nice, big salad.  But not everyone loves salad- we get that.  So what are all the non-salad lovers to do?

Disguise their salad in the form of something else…

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Something like pasta!

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Zucchini-noodle pasta, to be precise.  With diced tomatoes and pesto sauce.  And delicious turkey meatballs, of course!

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This is basically summer on a plate, people!  Because if you’re like us, you have a garden bursting with zucchini and tomatoes.  If not, you probably have a neighbour who would be happy to give you some.  At the very least, you most likely have a farmer’s market or grocery store near by that would be practically paying you to take them if they sold them for any cheaper!

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It really is amazing how noodle-like zucchini becomes when you slice it extra-thinly.  Whoever came up with the idea originally (because we are definitely not reinventing the wheel, here!) is a genius, and our hat goes off to him (or her!).

This is also a great dish for people who are trying to cut back on their carb consumption.  Of course, it also tastes really great with a crusty, multigrain loaf of bread on the side, too- which is obviously what we did.  (What can we say?  We are girls who love our carbs!)

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It is also a snap to prepare.  You can make the pesto up to a day or two beforehand if you wish, and you can cook the meatballs while you slice the zucchini.  Once each element is ready, its just a matter of throwing everything together!  Simple as that.

So is it pasta, or is it salad?  You could call it whatever you want- we’re going to call it delicious 😉

Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the Pesto:

1 c. basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp parmesan or nutritional yeast (optional)

For the Meatballs:

2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp onion flakes
black pepper

For the Pasta:

3 large zucchini
3 tomatoes

Directions:

For the Pesto:

Lightly toast the walnuts and set aside to cool.  Mince the garlic and add it to a blender or food processor along with the basil, lemon juice, salt and cheese (if using).  Add the walnuts and begin blending.  When the walnuts have been ground up, start slowly adding the oil, with the motor running, until you have a smooth consistency that is neither too thick nor overly runny.  You may have to stop the motor to scrape down the sides once or twice.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

For the Meatballs:

Using your hands, mash up the turkey so that you can form it into clumps that stick together.  Roughly chop the basil leaves and add them to the turkey mixture along with the other ingredients.  Taking about 1.5-2 tbsp of the mixture at a time, form the turkey into small balls.  Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them so that they brown on all sides.  Place a lid over the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through.

For the Pasta:

Using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, slice or peel the zucchini length-wise into wide, very thin strips, stopping when you get to the center where all the seeds are.  Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.  Pour the pesto into the zucchini noodles and toss to coat all the strips evenly.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

When everything is ready, divide the zucchini evenly among 6 plates.  Top with diced tomatoes and meatballs, and serve.

(You can have the meatballs heated up or served cold, it is up to your own personal preference)

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried zucchini noodles?  What creative ways do you like to make sure you’re eating enough vegetables?

Simple Sunday: Another Summer Salad

This morning we were reminded just how much we love the Summer.  We went for a run and it was just so beautiful outside we felt like we could have run forever.  And we have to say that so far this has been one of the best running summers we have had in a long time.  Yes, the heat wave we had a couple weeks ago was a bit much (although we refuse to complain!), but that has gone away and left us with beautiful days like today.

But Summer isn’t just awesome because of its blue skies and warm temperatures.  The abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found at local stands on just about every corner cannot be discounted!  We know we’ve mentioned this many times before and we don’t mean to be repetitive, but every time we eat a fresh tomato from our own garden, or snack on juicy cherries from just down the road, we can’t help but be reminded of how delicious the summer is!

Which is why we made this salad- to showcase the season’s best!

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This salad brings together what in our minds are sort of like the three “stages” of summer produce.  First comes the asparagus in the spring (which is basically like early summer in our opinions!), then you start to get into more of the actual summer months and get strawberries, and then of course the summer is capped off with delicious, sweet corn.

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Of course, there are a million other fruits and veggies that make an appearance during those times, too, like fiddle heads and leafy greens in the spring, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and apricots mid-summer, and peaches are starting to hit the stands now too! 🙂

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Add some chicken and a little tahini drizzle and you’ve got yourself and easy, delicious and fresh-tasting summer meal!  And feel free to change it up a bit, too- local strawberries might be a little tougher to find now, but cherries are out full-force and would work wonderfully in this salad.  The idea is to use whatever summer produce you can find.

We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are, and be sure to hit up your local farmer’s market to take advantage of all this awesome food nature has to offer!

Strawberry Asparagus and Corn Salad

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c. strawberries, sliced
1 c. corn (fresh or frozen)
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

For the tahini drizzle:

3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp water

Directions:

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper and bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until done.  Alternatively you can barbecue the chicken over medium heat for 20-30 minutes if you prefer.

Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, or grill over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add a small amount of olive oil.  Add the garlic and corn and saute until the corn begins to blacken a bit.  Turn off the heat and add the strawberries so they cook down just a little bit and release some of their juices into the corn.

Cut the asparagus into bit-sized pieces and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and stir until everything is combined.  Slice the chicken and divide the salad onto separate plates.  Place the chicken on top and finish with the tahini drizzle.

For the Tahini Drizzle:

Combine all ingredients except the water and stir until fully combined.  Slowly add the water until the mixture is drippy but still slightly thick.  Drizzle over top of salad.

~twosaucysisters

What is your favourite part about Summer?  What is the weather like where you live?  How do you like to take advantage of these beautiful days?

Pizza Party

We grew up in a busy household.  With four kids, all of whom were involved in sports, music lessons, clubs, etc., and two full-time working parents, you can imagine things got a little hectic once in a while!

But our mom was a real champ, and always made sure we had a healthy, home-cooked dinner on the table for us.  You can probably all understand, though, that by the end of the week she was pretty tired of thinking up of something for dinner.  So she started a tradition that made Friday night pizza night!  Obviously this idea was not met with any resistance from us kids, because lets be real- who doesn’t love pizza?

Of course, the pizza we had on these nights were of the store-bought variety since making pizza from scratch would kind of defeat the whole purpose of not having to cook that night, but that didn’t bother us one bit.  Heck, if our mom wanted us to eat pizza every Friday night we sure weren’t going to complain about it!

This tradition has continued over the years, and while we don’t have pizza every Friday, we still like to bring it back once in a while.  But we like to do it with a little bit of flair 😉

We consider ourselves pretty lucky because our family isn’t stuck on classic pepperoni and cheese- they like to get a little more adventurous with their pizza, which is much more fun for us!  So for our pizza night, we made not one, but two pizzas!

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For the first of these two pizzas, we capitalized on our family’s love of Thai food, and made a Chicken Satay Pizza.

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When we told our brothers what it was, they shrugged and said “We don’t know what ‘satay’ means, but it tastes like Thai food on a pizza!”. Well said, bros, well said.

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This particular pizza is also a bit of a “rebel pizza”, because it breaks pizza rule #1: Cheese! This pizza has no cheese whatsoever. We know, we know, what’s a pizza without cheese? Normally, we’d agree, but you’re just going to have to trust us on this one – this pie doesn’t need it! In fact, we don’t think our brothers even noticed it was missing. 😉

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Chicken Satay Pizza

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes: 1 large pizza (8-12 slices)

Ingredients:

1.5-2 lbs whole wheat pizza dough
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced
parsley

1/3 c. all-natural (no salt or sugar added) peanut butter*
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp siracha (or other hot sauce)
1/4 c. water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a large pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Roll out the pizza dough until it fits the size of the pan.  Brush with olive oil.

In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice and siracha.  Stir until smooth.  Slowly add the water, stirring until the sauce becomes smooth and drippy.  Spoon about 2-3 tbsp of the sauce onto the pizza crust.  Top with chicken and vegetables.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with remaining sauce.  Return to the oven and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and the bottom of the pizza is firm.  Top with parsley.

*You can use whatever peanut butter you have on hand, however it might change the consistency of the sauce a bit, and your sauce will probably taste a little sweeter.

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And now on to pizza #2: Caramelized Onion BBQ Chicken Pizza!

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We really can’t say enough about this pizza!  It is a little more work than the satay pizza, but oh man it is 100% worth the effort!

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In fact, this was probably the favourite of the two if you asked our brothers.  Us? We’re still on the fence, but that’s not really surprising, now is it? 😉

Caramelized Onion BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes: 1 large pizza (8-12 slices)

Ingredients:

1/2 large white onion
1.5 tbsp olive oil

1.5-2 lbs whole wheat pizza dough
1-2 tsp olive oil

1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 c. extra-old cheddar cheese
Cilantro

1/2 c. diced pineapple
1/2 c. tomato paste
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
4 drops liquid smoke
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp molasses
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat 1.5 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.  Slice the onion into thin strips and add to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 20-25 minutes, until the onions are browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are caramelizing, prepare your sauce.  Add all sauce ingredients (pineapple, tomato paste, etc.) to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a large pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Roll the dough into a large circle to fit the pan.  Brush with a little olive oil.  Spread the sauce over the pizza, top with chicken, caramelized onions and cheese.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and is firm on the bottom.  Top with cilantro.

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As you can see, we didn’t include a recipe for pizza dough.  Truth is, we did in fact make our own dough, but it didn’t turn out exactly the way we wanted it to, so you’ll have to wait for the perfect whole wheat pizza crust 😉  For now, feast on pizza made with store-bought dough! It’s all about the toppings anyways, right?

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So the question is… creamy, peanut-lime taste-of-Thailand?

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Or sweet-and smokey back yard barbecue?

You decide.

~twosaucysisters

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 New Take on an Old Favourite

Back on the Christmas holidays, we gave you all quite a few hummus posts, and we promised that we would stop posting hummus after hummus recipe and bring back some variety! Of course, we did just that, having posted about waffles, chicken pot pies, a delicious salad, and a quick and easy dessert, but you couldn’t expect us not to eventually post another hummus recipe, could you? After all, hummus is one of our favourite foods, and this recipe is too good not to share! In our defense, this hummus is different from the ones we’ve posted in the not-to-distant past. Why? Because it’s made of black beans!

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Essentially a black bean version of our sundried tomato hummus, except this one has a special addition that really makes it sing!

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Make that two special ingredients: Salsa and Lime Juice! They both add that extra bit of zing (and spice!) that gives this hummus it’s kick. Of course, if you have a palate that prefers foods on the milder side, you can use a mild salsa. We, of course, like it hot! 😉

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So if you, like ourselves, are die-hard hummus lovers, but would like to change it up and add some variety to your routine, try this black bean hummus! We promise it won’t let you down, or leave you  missing your regular chickpea hummus, either.

Sundried Tomato Black Bean Hummus

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Time: 10-15min
Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. black beans (if using canned, rinsed and drained!)
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained (reserve the oil!)
scant 1/4 c. sundried tomato oil
1/8 c. lemon juice
1/8 c. lime juice
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp your favourite salsa
2-3 Tbsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put all ingredients into food processor and blend until completely smooth.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried a hummus made from a different bean other than chickpeas before? What’s the most interesting hummus you’ve ever made? We love experimenting with different types of beans when it comes to hummus. Probably our two most interesting would be our Beet Bean Dip and our Peanut Thai hummus.