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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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Summer’s End

Hi everybody- Long time no see!

Between being away up north in Magnetawan all last week with no access to internet (or showers, we might add…) and moving into our new house in London this week (also with no internet access yet- thank you Starbucks for your free wifi!) we have basically fallen off the face of the planet.  The blog planet, that is!

We have also done hardly any cooking over the past few days (unless you count thawing muffins in the microwave as cooking…) so we are seriously lacking in blog topics and recipes to share with you.  But being that it is the start of the new school year and we are currently feeling rather nostalgic about the summer, this is the perfect time to do a summer recipe recap post!

So, without further ado, we give you our favourite recipes from this summer…

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Blackened Salmon

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Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

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Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

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Strawberry Asparagus Corn Salad with Chicken

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Quinoa Pesto Tabouleh Salad

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Easy Greek Salad

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Basil-Sage-Arugula-Walnut Pesto

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Tzatziki Hummus

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No-Bake Chocolate Lavender Tart

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Freezer Bars

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

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Peach Crumble Bars

So as you can see, we spent some time doing a little grilling this summer, enjoyed all the delicious fruits and veggies that summer has to offer, and apparently really enjoyed making chocolate-peanut butter-banana everything (which we honestly didn’t realize until writing this post- evidently we’re a little obsessed).

It was a fantastic summer and we’re sad to see it end, but we’re looking forward to a great 4th year here at Western University and another great season with the Mustangs!

Our posting may still be a little sporadic over the next little while as we continue to get settled in, but we’ll try to check back with everyone in a few days!

~twosaucysisters 

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?

If You Can’t Take the Heat… Turn off the Oven

We’re not sure what the weather’s doing over in your neck of the woods, but here in Ontario we just came out of a 2-week long heat wave.  We’re talking 107F.  And this is not a dry heat, this is a hair-frizzing pore-clogging kind of heat that basically renders sweating useless.  (Not that our bodies got that memo- every time we came in from a run we looked like we had just gone swimming fully clothed- how’s that for a pretty picture for ya?)

Anyways, we think it goes without saying that in that kind of heat turning on the oven is completely out of the question.  Even barbecuing seemed like a bad idea, so we were really at a loss as to what to make for dinner for our family.

We’d also like to take this moment to blame the heat wave for our decided lack of posts lately.  We’ve hardly been doing any cooking so we really haven’t had much to share with you guys.  Because you can only post so many salad recipes.

Anyways, we’ll stop making excuses for ourselves and continue on to the good part!

As we said in Tuesday’s post , we had a delicious recipe that uses our pesto coming your way, so here it is…

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Quinoa Salad!

Ok, so right after saying that we didn’t want to start throwing a whole bunch of salad recipes at you what’s the first thing we do?  Give you a salad recipe.  But this is a quinoa salad, so it’s a little different and doesn’t really count.

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We discovered quinoa for the first time a few years ago and basically become obsessed with it.  We started putting it in almost everything we made so it found its way onto the dinner table several times a week.  It became a running joke in our family that if you didn’t know what was in something, it was most likely quinoa.  It got to the point where every time we made anything everyone would ask if there was quinoa in it.

We suppose it was a tad excessive…

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So while the quinoa-craze of 3 summers ago has passed, we still do like to break it out every once in a while.  And it was the perfect thing in this heat wave because it’s a great source of protein that can be cooked in 10 minutes on the stove-top.  Minimal prep and minimal heat required.  Which means more time in the pool- the only suitable place to be during weather like that!

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We had a wicked storm last night that took some of the heat away, so we will most likely be turning on the barbecue again, but you can be sure that if another heat wave like that hits we will be making this salad again!  In fact, even if it doesn’t get so hot, we will probably make this tasty dish again anyways 🙂

Quinoa Pesto Tabouleh Salad

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Prep: 20 minutes
Rest Time: at least 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 c. quinoa (any colour)
2 c. water

1 recipe of Sage-Basil-Arugula-Walnut Pesto
1c. bell peppers (any colour), diced
1/2 large seedless cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Directions:

Place the quinoa and water in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil, uncovered.  Once the water has started to boil, place the lid on top and turn the heat to low.  Allow the quinoa to simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn of the heat and allow to sit on the burner for another 6 minutes.  Remove from the burner, take off the lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Combine the veggies and chickpeas in a large bowl.  Add the quinoa and stir to make sure the vegetables are evenly distributed.  Add the pesto and stir well.  Place in the fridge and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, so the quinoa has a chance to cool and the flavours have the chance to mingle.

Optional: add some chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, or feta cheese to the salad.

~twosaucysisters

What kinds of things do you make when you’re in the middle of a heat wave?

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?

On the Creamy Side

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This, friends, is the meal our family had the other night, and yes, it was just as awesome as it looks! Pulled pork, collard greens, creamy coleslaw and pumpkin corn bread- we truly feasted that night!  You see, whenever we come home for an extended period of time we like to start off the time with a bang and make a meal that wows the crowd.  This, of course, is sometimes a problem because with our busy schedules we obviously can’t keep this up on a daily basis. Then we’re left wondering what to make for dinner for the next few days because we can’t think of anything to top it!  And trust us, this one will be hard to beat!

In an attempt not to overwhelm you with awesomeness, we will be bringing you this meal in stages, starting with the coleslaw!

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We had half a head of green cabbage sitting in our fridge with the intention of using it for Heather’s Meatless Monday link-up, but then we ended up working for two days at 7:30 in the morning shoveling dirt clogs off golfing greens, so we just didn’t end up getting the recipe onto the blog in time.  Oops!

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Anyways, there’s really not a whole lot to say about this coleslaw, other than that it’s creamy, tangy, and delicious!  It’s a great side dish for and backyard summer barbecue (which are starting to happen all around the neighbourhood- we can’t walk out of the house without smelling someone’s grill-tastic dinner!) because it’s cool and creamy, which is exactly what you want in a summer salad!

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It’s also much healthier than a traditional coleslaw, thanks to some good ol’ plain yogurt!

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It may seem like an oxy-moron to say that this salad was both creamy and crunchy, but there really is no other way to describe it!  Add a little zing with some mustard and you’re on your way!

So today was coleslaw, tomorrow’s collard greens, and then we’re on to the grand finale!  Start gathering your ingredients now, folks, because by the time we’re finished you’ll have the makings for an a-maz-ing meal!

Creamy Coleslaw

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Prep Time: 20 min
Total time: 50 min
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1/2 large head of green cabbage
1 large carrot

1 c. plain yogurt
1/4 c. +2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp celery seed
pepper, to taste

Directions:

Shred cabbage using a grater or mandolin if you have one.  Peel and grate the carrot.  Toss both in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, vinegar, honey, mustard, paprika, celery seed and pepper.  Add this to the cabbage and carrots and mix until fully incorporated and there are no dry spots.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.  This salad can be made a day in advance if you wish.

~twosaucysisters

Do you like coleslaw?  What do you make when you’re trying to create a memorable meal for loved ones?