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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?

Pesto to the Rescue

Every summer, we grow our own vegetable garden, and along side the garden we grow herbs in pots.  And every year we have grand ideas of how we are going to use these herbs in all of the dishes that we make.

And every year we end up with several pots of herbs that we barely touch.

This summer we are on a mission to change that!

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What requires a whole bunch of herbs, but is still easy to make and doesn’t require cooking (It’s hot. Who wants to turn on an oven, or even a stove-top!)?

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Pesto, that’s what!

And since we’re really indecisive and couldn’t decide which herb we wanted to include, we threw a few different ones in and hoped for the best.

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Lemon Basil, African Blue Basil, Sage and Arugula.  You want flavour?  You got it!  Paired with some toasted walnuts, garlic and a little lemon juice to finish it off- you will want to spread this stuff on everything.  But be sure to make a double-batch, because we’ve got a delicious summer meal coming your way that features this magnificent spread, and you’re going to want to use every last drop! 😉

Don’t have lemon basil or African Blue basil?  No problem!  Regular basil works just fine.  Don’t have an herb garden?  We’re betting you have a neighbour or two who would be happy to share their bounty with you 🙂

So go ahead and use 10 minutes to make this- then go and enjoy that summer sun!

Basil-Sage-Arugula-Walnut Pesto

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Time: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1/2 c.

Ingredients:

1/2 c walnuts, toasted
1/3 c. basil leaves
1/4 c. sage leaves
1/3 c. arugula
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Directions:

Put the walnuts, basil, sage, arugula, salt, garlic and lemon juice into a blender or food processor.  Blend on high until the mixture becomes mealy and starts to form a paste.  With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil.  If your pesto is still too thick after adding all of the olive oil, add the tablespoon of water.  Blend until the mixture is somewhat smooth. (it will still have some texture).  Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

~twosaucysisters

Do you have an herb garden?  How do you use up all of your herbs?

Simple Sunday: It’s All Greek to Us!

Apparently our tzatziki-hummus from Thursday’s post got us craving Greek food, because we’re back again today with another little taste of the Mediterranean. This time it’s in the form of a salad that’s delicious, healthy, and as always- simple 🙂

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And yes, that is the same blue bowl and blue napkins from our other Greek-themed photo shoot.  What can we say? When you find something that works you stick with it, right?

Well, that and you can only have so many blue bowls in your cupboard…

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But enough about bowls, let’s talk about salad!  Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, some pungent black olives and salty feta cheese. Talk about yum!

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Those of you who have had some experience with Greek food (or at least Greek Salad) will notice that we left out one very key ingredient: red onion.  The truth is, no one in our family is a real fan of red onions.  In small quantities they’re ok, but for the most part we all find they just leave an overwhelming onion taste in our mouths that lasts forever.  But of course, if red onion is your thing, we definitely encourage you to add it in to the mix!

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The dressing for this salad has only a handful of ingredients, making it a snap to prepare so you can spend the rest of the time working on the chicken souvlaki feast you’re going to serve it alongside.  At least that’s what our family did, and is highly recommended!

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Oh, and remember that Greek-inspired hummus we mentioned?  That would go pretty well with this, too.  Just sayin’ 😉

Easy Greek Salad

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

3 ripe tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 cup pitted black olives
1/2 large red onion (optional)
1/2 c. reduced-fat feta cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano

Directions:

Dice the tomatoes, cucumber and onion (if using) into bite-sized pieces and place in a medium-sized bowl.  If desired, cut the olives in half or leave them whole and add them in as well.  (We cut some of them up and left some whole).  Crumble the feta cheese and add it to the bowl as well.  Stir everything together until it is all evenly mixed.

In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and oregano.  Shake vigorously until everything is mixed together well.  Pour the dressing over the salad and stir gently to make sure all the ingredients have been evenly coated with the dressing.  Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.  The salad will keep in the fridge for a couple days. (And even gets better as it sits).

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried Greek food?  What is your favourite Greek dish?

Party Pleaser

What’s creamy with spice and all kinds of things nice?

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Salsa-chipotle Hummus, of course! 🙂

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We made this hummus a few weeks back when we went to Toronto for two of our good friend’s birthdays, and it was a huge hit! So naturally, 3 weeks later, we’re finally getting around to giving you the recipe! 🙂

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We’re certain that you’ll love it just as much as everyone did at the party!

p.s. This hummus is FABULOUS made with black beans instead of chickpeas! 🙂

Salsa Chipotle Hummus

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Prep time: 10min
Makes: ~2cups

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. salsa
1 or 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1 clove of garlic
hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: 

Put olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, water, salsa, chilis, garlic and spices into a food processor and blend until creamy, about 1 min. Add chickpeas and blend until smooth.

~twosaucysisters

Simple Sunday: Noodle Dilemma

Is it just us, but are we the only ones who no matter what we do, we can never seem to cook the right amount of pasta? It’s not the short noodles (go ahead, have your laugh) that are the problem- you know, the penne, rigatoni, farfalle- they’re easy because all you have to do is measure the amount you want.  But stuff like spaghetti, fettuccine, vermicelli- they don’t make measuring cups for those!

Inevitably we always end up cooking more than we need, and are left with an awkward amount left over that’s not quite enough for a serving- so what are we to do?  Save it, cook more and have pasta again the next night?  While that seems logical, what would most likely end up happening is we’d end up cooking too much again, and then we’d just have to eat pasta every night for the rest of our lives! Ok, that may be a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

But necessity is the mother invention, and we have come up with a solution to our pasta dilemma!

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You know those crispy noodles that you always get when you get a salad at Wendy’s?  Well these are kind of like them, only healthier!

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And, if you don’t count salt and pepper (because they don’t really count, do they?) than these only have two ingredients!  Gotta love that, right?

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So what do you do with this bowl of crispy, crunchy noodles? Well, as we mentioned already, they make fantastic salad-toppers!

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But that’s not all they’re good for!  In fact, you might just find yourself reaching for these when you’ve got the munchies- they’re surprisingly addictive!  And they keep well, too- we’ve had ours in the pantry for about a week and-a-half now and they’re just as crispy as if they were fresh out of the oven!

Hey, you never know- you might end up liking these so much that you cook extra pasta on purpose! 😉

Noodle Crisps

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Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10-20 min

Ingredients:

Leftover [whole wheat] pasta noodles (however much you have)
Olive Oil- 1 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
Salt- 1/8 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
pepper- to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Toss the cooked and chilled pasta noodles in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy (some of them may be quite dark).  If they are not crispy enough, continue baking them for 5 minutes at a time or until they are done.

Eat as a snack, use as a crunchy salad-topper, or come up with your own fun uses for them!

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you have leftover pasta noodles?

Guest Post: Jason from Blog Carnival

Hey everyone! 

So a little while back, Jason from Blog Carnival emailed us offering to write a guest post for us! He had a lot of really good ideas for this post, but finally settled on something that we LOVE to do here at Two Saucy Sisters – Easy Substitutions that Don’t Cut Out Flavour!

As we’ve said on the blog before, simply swapping out one ingredient for another  can take a once unhealthy dish and make it a health superstar! Of course, when it comes down to it, if it doesn’t taste good it doesn’t matter how good-for-you it is, you won’t want to eat it! So, without further ado, here’s Jason with some simple substitutions that keep your dish tasting awesome! 🙂

When I am cooking and baking I tend to get a little crazy with my substitutions. I have to admit
that I am not the most well prepared cook. I tend to find out that I am out of an essential part of
my recipe halfway through the mixing process. Oh no! Beyond that I have also been trying to
cook healthier meals with less fat because a member of my family has some health issues. If you
are like me, then here are some helpful substitutions that you can use when you are in a jam or
just when you want to cut calories:

1. Vanilla for sugar – I don’t know how I go through sugar so fast, but it seems like I
need to pick up a new bag every time I go to the store. When I was baking the other day
I found myself lacking in the sugar department. Instead of freaking out I just used less
sugar and added more vanilla flavoring. Adding just a teaspoon of vanilla can help you
to cut out almost half of the sugar called for in a recipe. Now, I am not advocating this in
very delicate dishes, but for your average dessert you can make the switch with no cutting
down on flavor.

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2. Apple sauce for butter or eggs – Butter cannot be substituted for all the way, but you
can cut out half. If a recipe calls for two sticks of butter try adding one stick and a half
of a cup of apple sauce. While you do need some butter for the recipe to be successful in
most desserts, you can easily cut it down with applesauce. Just don’t try this in a white
or yellow cake because the apple flavor will come through! You can also substitute apple
sauce for eggs, but again I would go for half and half. A quarter cup of applesauce makes
up for one large egg.

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3. Neufatchel cheese for cream cheese – Think of this as light cream cheese. It has less fat
but tastes exactly the same. Super easy and it can be found in almost any grocery store
right next to the cream cheese. I use it on my bagels and never miss the extra fat.

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4. Low fat cottage cheese for ricotta – Although cottage cheese tends to be a little thinner
than ricotta you can still use it in many recipes. You can thicken it up with a bit of flour
or corn starch if you would like, but I find that the thinness doesn’t bother me. Using low
fat cottage cheese can save you a lot of calories with no effort or loss of taste! If you want
you can add cinnamon, lemon, or other flavors to spice it up a bit.

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5. Olive oil for butter – I love making recipes with phyllo dough. Spanakopita is my
absolute favorite dish. However I did not like using all that butter to make the layers nice
and crispy. That is when I discovered you can use olive oil instead. Just a few drops can
cover a whole sheet. Be careful to use only good quality extra virgin oil or it will give it
a slight olive flavor. If you do not have that available you can also do a half and half mix
for the best flavor to fat ratio. Olive oil lets the phyllo get nice and toasty and makes your
dishes look beautiful!

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These are just a few of the ways that you can use healthy and tasty substitutes without having to
go out of your way or change the flavor of your dish. There are many more out there, so the next

time you are looking to cut calories or just missing an ingredient take a minute to see if there is a
healthy and easy alternative!

Author Bio: Jason Miner plays a vital role for http://www.blogcarnival.com. He is an expert in writing
topics of different categories. He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this
an even better place for bloggers.

Thanks so much Jason! What a great post, we certainly learned a thing or two! 🙂 Make sure you all head over to Blog Carnival and check it out – it’s pretty cool!

And to anyone else who thinks they want to write for us, shoot us an email at twosaucysistas@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you! 🙂

~twosaucysisters

Hummus Hiatus

It has been 33 days since we last posted a hummus recipe.  33 days!  We think that’s a record for us!  Some of you were probably starting to wonder if we were okay!

Well, you needn’t worry yourselves- we are just fine, and we’ve been eating plenty of hummus (we’ve just been going back to the basics lately- now there’s a throw-back for ya!)

But in case you were all starting to feel hummus-deprived, we are back after our hummus hiatus with another delicious rendition of our favourite dip the best food ever.

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This time around we looked Eastward for some inspiration and made a Curried Hummus!  We suppose that makes it more middle-eastward, but we won’t get too picky about details.

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But seriously, our hats go off to the people of the Middle East!  Boy do they know how to cook!  We don’t even know if they have a word for “bland” in their language, because they probably never use it- everything they make has a positively magical blend of spices that makes every single one of their dishes burst with flavour!

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And that is precisely what we were going for with this hummus- bold and spicy with enough flavour to send your taste buds into over-drive.

And you know what?

We think we nailed it 🙂

Curried Hummus

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Total Time: 10 min
Makes: approx. 2 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp red curry paste
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
Hot pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or a high-powered blender and process until smooth.  Add up to 1/4 cup extra water if it is too thick.  (Tip- this hummus tastes even better the next day, so if you’re making it for a party, we recommend putting it together the day before)

~twosaucysisters

Do you like Middle-Eastern cuisine?