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Easy Mexican Meals for Busy Days – Guest Post

So we’re basically the laziest bloggers ever! After not posting for more than a month, what’s one of the first things we do? Put up a guest post! But Allison has been waiting patiently for so long now, we just had to post one! We really like the topic, too, because really, who doesn’t like Mexican food? We’re sure your family will love her recipes too! Take it away, Allison!

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I love Mexican food. Tex-Mex really. Since I am a native Texan it only makes sense that I

would love those flavors. However it is not just the taste of Mexican food that I love. I also love

it because it is so easy and quick to put together. Not only that but Mexican food is infinitely

customizable. From vegetarian versions to kid friendly meal ideas, Mexican food is great for any

occasion. Here are a few easy Mexican meals you can make in a snap:

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Tacos

Tacos are a family get-together favorite because they are so adaptable. No matter what taste you

have or what veggies you like you can be sure to load up a taco that is to your liking. Kids love

to use just the basic meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato combo but you can spice it up with salsa,

add some smooth guacamole and more. Here is a basic recipe that your family is sure to love:

Ingredients:

10 Small Corn Tortillas (Taco Shells) Soft or Hard

1 lb.Ground Beef (or Turkey or Refried Beans or Ground Chickpeas)

1 pkg.Taco Seasoning or 2 tbsp. Flour(Optional)

2 cups Shredded Cheese

1 jar Salsa (or Pico de Gallo)

1 cup Diced Tomatoes

2 cups Shredded Lettuce

½ cup Sliced Mushrooms

¼ cup Sliced Ripe (Black) Olives

1 cup Diced Onion

¼ cup Diced Green Bell Pepper

½ cup Sour Cream

½ cup Guacamole (or Avocado Slices)

Directions:

Tacos are easy because they are so versatile. You can assemble them ahead of time or allow

everyone to create their own. First you start with the meat. Ground chuck has the best flavor for

tacos. If you do not wish to use meat you can also use refried beans or ground chickpeas. Brown

the meat and pour off the grease. For a strong Mexican flavor add taco seasoning. For a less

spicy flavor add the flour. Make sure the flour is stirred into the meat well before serving. You

can also do without either. Next you need to prepare the shells. Crunchy shells can be purchased

next to the salsa in the international aisle. They need to be baked until crispy. Soft shells can be

purchased near the bread and must be fried before serving. Using a non-stick skillet spray the

pan with oil and cook each side until lightly brown. Shells will start to bubble when cooked. Let

everyone assemble their own flavor combinations. Or if you want to you can pre-make the tacos

by taking the uncooked crunchy shells, filling them with meat and cheese, and then baking ,

closely packed, in a casserole dish.

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Burritos

I love the chunky, crispy goodness of a burrito. A great meal to eat on the go it is also a tasty

dinner treat that you can whip up in no time flat. Although this recipe is able to feed up to ten

people, you can cut down the ingredients and just make one or two. You can even turn it into a

fun party meal by letting everyone make up their own and then baking them all together.

Ingredients:

10 Large Flour Tortillas

1 can Refried Beans or Ground Chickpeas

2 cups Spanish Rice

1 lb. Ground Beef (or Ground Turkey or Shredded Chicken)

1 pkg. Taco Seasoning or 2 tbsp. Flour (Optional)

2 cups Shredded Cheese

1 can Whole Kernel Corn (Drained Well)

½ cup Roughly Chopped Tomatoes

½ cup Roughly Chopped Mushrooms

¼ cup Whole Ripe (Black) Olives

1 cup Roughly Chopped Onion

¼ cup Roughly Chopped Green Bell Pepper

½ cup Sour Cream

½ cup Guacamole (or Avocado Slices)

1 jar Salsa (or Pico de Gallo)

2 cups Shredded Lettuce

Directions:

Burritos are both similar and different than tacos. First of all, after you cook the meat (following

the directions for the taco meat) you do not cook the shells. Flour tortillas for burritos are larger

than taco shells, about the size of a large dinner plate. Burritos are cooked fully assembled.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take the flour shell and start in the middle. Make sure you

leave room on the ends and sides. Do not overfill. Spread the bean paste first and then top with

meat and rice. Sprinkle on a thin layer of cheese and add the vegetables, excluding the lettuce.

The veggies should be rather large so that they will not get too soft in the baking process. Wrap

the burritos by folding in the top and bottom first and then wrapping the sides. Hold closed with

a toothpick. In a large casserole dish, place the burritos so that they are touching but not packed

too close. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for twenty minutes. Take off the foil and bake for

five to ten more minutes or until the shells turn golden brown. Serve with lettuce, sour cream,

avocado, and salsa.

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Corn Bread Casserole

This is another great meal for big crowds or hungry teens. This one is a hit and so simple to

throw together. With only a few ingredients you can make this up in minutes and have dinner on

the table. It is also very affordable and filling for those days that you need to stretch the budget.

Feel free to add in more veggies if you would like, but remember that salsa has lots of veggies in

it too!

Ingredients:

2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (2 Eggs and 2/3 cup Milk)

1 can Creamed Corn

1.5 lbs. Ground Beef (or Turkey)

1 cup Diced Onion

½ cup Diced Carrots

1 16 oz jar of Salsa

4 cups Shredded Cheese

Directions:

This tasty casserole makes enough for a crowd! It is very easy to make too. Preheat your oven to

350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 casserole dish. Prepare the Jiffy as directed and then stir in the can

of creamed corn. Set aside. Brown the meat, onions and carrots until cooked through. Drain off

grease. Add the jar of salsa and mix well. Pour meat mixture into casserole dish. Sprinkle on half

the cheese. Over that, pour half the Jiffy mix and spread until the meat mixture is well covered.

Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and then pour on the rest of the Jiffy mix. Spread until Jiffy

mix reaches edges of pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the cornbread is fully cooked.

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Mexican Casserole

Also known as Mexican lasagna, this tasty recipe can easily be supplemented by extra veggies

depending on what flavors your family likes. I love it because it is a great one pot meal that

freezes well too. Make a couple of batches of this and freeze one for later. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients:

1 lb. Ground Beef (or Turkey)

1 cup Chopped Onion

2 tbs. Taco Seasoning (Optional)

2 ½ cups Salsa

1 canBlack Beans or Red Kidney Beans(Rinsed and Drained)

¼ cup Italian Salad Dressing

1 can of Whole Kernel Corn (Drained)

¾ cup Sour Cream

6 Small (8 inches) Flour Tortillas

2 cups Shredded Cheese

1 cup Shredded Lettuce

½ cup Chopped Tomato

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 casserole dish. In a large skillet brown the

meat and onion until cooked through. Drain off the grease and add the taco seasoning if desired.

Stir in the salsa, beans, corn, sour cream, and dressing until well mixed. Pour 1/3 of the meat

mixture into the casserole dish and spread thin. Take two flour tortillas and tear into bit sized

pieces or leave whole and spread over the meat layer. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat

until all layers are complete. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Serve with lettuce and tomatoes.

These tasty Tex-Mex recipes are sure to become a hit with your family. Why not try out

something new and see how easy it is to have a great meal on the table in minutes!

Author Byline:

Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it

allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering

her writing career with http://www.nannyclassifieds.com. She can be in touch through e-mail

allison.nannyclassifieds@gmail.com.

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Thanks so much Allison! We hope you all enjoy her recipes as much as we did!

~twosaucysisters

Holiday Recap

Over the Christmas holidays, we pretty much dropped the ball with the whole blogging thing. Originally, we thought we’d have plenty of time once exams were over to give you guys some quality recipes, but we couldn’t have been more wrong! Our holidays were jam-packed from start to finish! We didn’t even have time to do too much baking or cooking let alone blog about it. At first, we were a little worried about it, we didn’t want to let down our readers or be forgotten in the blog world. We quickly realized, however, that there was no point in worrying about it. The holidays are a time to relax, rejuvenate and spend time with family and friends – and spend that we did! We will start at the beginning:

After our last exam, our Mom came to London, where we order pizza from Panago. They make seriously good pizza! Their multigrain crust is delicious, no too thin and not too thick. They have 6 categories to choose from: Frugal Favourites, Vegetariano, Carne, Pollo, Oceano, and Create your own. They have 5 crust options (including gluten-free), really cool sauce ideas (hello sweet+smoky tropical, chipotle cilantro, coconut curry and BBQ!), plenty of cheese options and tons of toppings! Needless to say, it was delicious!

After coming home for a couple of days, we actually headed back to London because a couple friends who have been in British Colombia and England were going to be in town, so we went to see them. It’s always fun seeing friends you haven’t seen in a long time! 🙂

Once we got back from London for the second time, we had a lot of work to do – last-minute Christmas shopping and holiday bread baking type work! We are always in charge of baking the rolls for our Dad’s family’s Christmas lunch/dinner.

DSCN4345Multigrain and white! (Gotta please everybody.)

Christmas day in our house always starts with a light breakfast of homemade bread, fruit salad and yogurt. We like to save room for all the food that’s coming! Once we open gifts with just our parents and brothers, we head over to my Aunt’s house for Christmas lunch.

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Hot Apple Cider, Egg Nog, punch and grapes before lunch, followed by a HUGE lunch – turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, brussel sprouts, bean salad, corn and peas, rolls, orange-glazed sweet potatoes (definitely remaking this gem!), cranberry sauce, pickles, turnip (not a fan), cole slaw…. it goes on and on! Unfortunately, this is when our camera died, so the rest of the day went un-pictured. But don’t worry – there were LOTS of desserts! 🙂 Mince pie, cheesecake, chocolate pudding cake, key lime pie, candy cane ice cream, some sort of chocolate square and more. We always like to go for a walk with our Dad after (get those digestive juices going!) and then later on we had a “dinner” of cheese and crackers, leftover turkey, fruit and cookies. Lots and lots of cookies! Our Aunt is kind of a master baker – nothing she ever makes is short of amazing!

Boxing day is our Christmas dinner with our Mom’s side of the family. This year it was particularly special, because for the first time in probably 18 years, all three of our mom’s brothers were here at the same time. We have an uncle in New York, one on Victoria Island, B.C., and another in Golden B.C. It was so special to have all of them here, including two of our cousins from B.C., and of course my mom’s sister and her family who still leave here in Ontario.

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Grandma and all of her children! :)

Grandma and all of her children! 🙂

And of course, we ate lots of food, too! We had regular and bacon mashed-potatoes, candied yams, biscuits and rolls, two kinds of cranberry sauce, our cheesy brussel sprouts, turkey, stuffing, our Christmas Salad… food food food!

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And wine. 🙂

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Fielding Estates Fireside White – a blend of several of their best whites, it is so good! And also Angles Gate Cab-Merlot. Huge fans of Angles Gate, also!
To finish it off, dessert!

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Kawartha Dairy ice cream – I don’t know where my Aunt got it, but it’s seriously some of the best ice cream ever! We always get it at training camp every year, we didn’t know it was available in Southern Ontario! No Christmas dinner would be complete without our traditional eggnog trifle, and these pink squares are a requirement every year. We don’t actually know what they are called, we just know that they are pink and they are delicious! We made our own peppermint chocolate version of these brownies (unreal!), lots of cookies and Misty Mints. Because who doesn’t love misty mints?

The rest of our holiday was family family family… and running. We went shopping, ran, watched movies, ran, went to cousin’s hockey games, ran, ate dinners, ran… you get the picture! On one of our cousin’s last night, we went to John and Son’s Oyster House in Toronto where we tried oysters and Lobster for the first time! The Oysters were good, however we think we’ll have to have them a few more times before we’re used to the texture. The lobster, however, was divine! We were a little squeemish about the little claws sticking out, but the actual meat was so tasty! We are fans of the lobster.

john and sons

Before we knew it, it was New Years Eve! Us, our brothers and cousin decided this year to join a few friends of ours down in London to celebrate. We had a potluck to which we brought turkey chili, gluten free corn bread, hummus and veggies, and gluten free sugar cookies. We promise we will re-make the sugar cookies and take pictures for you, because they were awesome! 🙂

After New Years, things were pretty low-key, still lots of running and hanging with the family that was still in Ontario. On our cousin Geoff’s last night, a group of us headed to Pepperwood Bistro in Burlington for a farewell dinner. We are 100% going back to this restaurant. It. Was. Unreal! It was so good, in fact, that we are not going to say much about it in this post, because it deserves it’s own! Another restaurant review is coming right up!

We came back to London on Sunday evening, and second semester started the next day. The first dinner back is always a little sad, because we’re missing our dad and brothers dinner conversation and our special girls-night dinners with our mom. One of our teammates had a brilliant idea, however, that saved us from this heartache! She suggested a team dinner at our favourite restaurant – The Works! This time we ordered the Stockyard burger and the Olive Oyl, both elk patties and on whole wheat buns. The Olive Oyl had warm spinach, fresh tomato, garlic, feta and black olives. It was very tasty and we’d recommend it to any olive lover! The Stockyard, however, was on an entirely different level. Crusted with peppercorns, with a dijon-haze sauce and melted swiss cheese, it was heaven in a burger! It was so peppery – almost spicy! It was definitely right up there with the Sweet Ride and Hunka Hunka Burnin Love.

So that’s the long and, well, long of our Christmas holidays! While we miss our family, we do love it here in London and are really excited about out classes this term, as well as the Track season ahead. We have our first track meet this weekend, wish us luck! 🙂

~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?

Meatless Monday Gets Fall Inspiration

Happy Meatless Monday, everybody!

We were really excited about this week’s edition of Meatless Monday, because we’ve always wanted to try Israeli Couscous, but just never gotten around to it.  Thanks to Heather, though, we finally had the perfect excuse to make the special trip to the bulk barn to buy some!

And of course, given our current Fall-themed obsession, what was included in our couscous dish?  Pumpkin, of course!  (Nothing is safe from the pumpkin takeover…)

Pumpkin Israeli Couscous Risotto!

This dish was extra-special, because since we are home right now for Thanksgiving, we got to share it with our family!  Now that we live away from home at school, we don’t get the opportunity to cook for our family as often as we used to, so whenever we come home we try to do something a little extra-special for them.

We’re not trying to toot our own horn here, but this risotto turned out amazingly well!  Our family loved it!  It was everything a risotto should be: creamy, chewy, and packed with flavour.

We love risotto.  In fact, it may just be one of our favourite side-dishes!  Unfortunately, we don’t make it very often because it is rather time-consuming.  And not the throw-it-in-the-oven-and-wait-forever-for-it-to-cook type time-consuming, but the stand-over-the-stove-and-stir-until-your-brain-goes-numb type of deal.  Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration, but risotto does require constant supervision, and isn’t exactly a 20 minute meal.

But our family is worth the extra prep-time 🙂

And of course, the deliciousness of this risotto speaks for itself!

Obviously,traditional risotto is made with arborio rice, and obviously we didn’t make ours that way! (we don’t think pumpkin is a traditional ingredient to add to risotto, either!)

But Israeli couscous works fantastically well in place of the rice, and pumpkin is good in everything, so it was a win in every corner!

So without further ado, we give you the recipe.  And then don’t forget to head over to visit Heather at Better With Veggies to check out what all the other participants managed to come up with!

Pumpkin Israeli Couscous Risotto

Time: 30-40 min

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. Israeli Couscous
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
3 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

Directions:

Heat the olive oil of medium-high heat and add the onions and the garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the couscous and cook, stirring frequently, for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the cider vinegar and cook until all of the vinegar has been absorbed.

Begin to add the stock, one cup at a time, stirring frequently.  Each time you add a cup of stock, cook and stir until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next cup.  This is the time-consuming part of the process, but very necessary!

Once all of the stock has been added, stir in the pumpkin and seasonings, and cook until heated through.  Turn off the heat, stir in the Parmesan or nutritional yeast, and serve!

Step-By-Step:

Step 1: Sweat your onions

Step 2: Stir in the couscous:

Step 3 and 4: Stir in the vinegar, then begin adding stock, stirring until fully absorbed:

As for the rest- we think you can handle it on your own 😉

~twosaucysisters

Do you like risotto?  Do you enjoy cooking for your family?  What are your favourite things to cook for them?

Thanksgiving Thanks

This weekend in Canada, it is Thanksgiving. We know for many of our readers in the states, this holiday doesn’t come around for another few weeks, and we’re sure many of the countries that our readers are from don’t have a Thanksgiving, but it’s that time of year here and what kind of bloggers would we be if we didn’t write about it? 🙂

Thanksgiving is one of our favourite holidays. It’s fall and the leaves are gorgeous, and the Niagara Escarpment looks beautiful this time of year!

 

Our favourite sport is in season, also: Cross Country! 🙂

 

If there’s one thing that we are thankful for, it’s Western cross country and all the fabulous friend’s we’ve made and the fun times we’ve had. University would not be the same without it!

The other great thing about Thanksgiving is the time we get to spend with our family! We don’t get the chance to come home much during the school year, cross and track (and school…) keep us pretty busy! This is really the first weekend we’ve been home since going back to school, and boy is it good to be home!

We seriously miss our family when we’re away! We have the best Mom, Dad, and brothers in the entire world. You can try and argue, but you are wrong! 🙂

We are super thankful for our family and the continual support that they provide every. single. day. Our family is always there to pick us up when we’re down and are our biggest fans. They encourage us in everything we do. We couldn’t have picked a better one if we tried!

Of course, thanksgiving wouldn’t be thanksgiving without a big family dinner! Turkey and pumpkin pie to be precise. Mainly the pumpkin pie part. 🙂

This thanksgiving was a bit different for our family this year. Normally, our entire dad’s family gets together at our Aunt’s house and has a big turkey dinner. This year, however, our Grandma decided to give our aunt a break, and we went out to dinner instead! We went to Betty’s Restaurant in Chippawa, Niagara Falls. To be perfectly honest, not much on the actual menu appealed to us.  This restaurant caters more towards an older demographic and young children, so we didn’t find it had an overly exciting menu. They do, however, serve a Turkey dinner every Saturday, which, being Thanksgiving, was just fine with us!

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, maple-butternut squash, and your choice of salad or soup (un-pictured). Cranberry sauce came in a little container on the side. It  was pretty yummy, what you would expect from a turkey dinner. Our only two  issues with this meal was the menu said Turkey dinner special served with soup and dessert, with no other description of what was coming with the meal, and the plate came with already poured gravy.  We like gravy, but we’d prefer to pour it ourselves, so that it wasn’t all over everything, you know? Perhaps if the menu had a more detailed description of the meal, we would have known to ask for it on the side.

Now, apparently this place is famous for their pies. Normally, we are both more cake, cookie and squares kinda girls, but there are 3 pies that we LOVE: Apple, mince, and of course PUMPKIN! Betcha’ never would’ve guessed that! 😉 So of course, after hearing the extremely lengthy list of pies that Betty’s had to offer, we chose pumpkin!

It definitely hit the spot! 🙂

Other highlights of our thanksgiving included:

A visit from our long-time friend Olivia

Going to Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club in the Falls with our brothers

Bad pic, sorry!

A long run with our beautiful Mom

A workout with this girl

and lots of hugs from this guy!

We’ve also been doing a lot of cooking, and have a fabulous recipe for tomorrow’s Meatless Monday that you’re sure to love! Our family raved about it. 🙂

So, happy thanksgiving to all of our fabulous readers! Because of all the things we mentioned that we’re thankful for so far, we haven’t mentioned YOU! We really wouldn’t have a blog without you, and we’re so happy that you’ve been enjoying the recipes and other posts we’ve been putting on here. Please feel free to comment anytime with questions, anecdotes, ideas, suggestions, stories, whatever! We’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

-twosaucysisters