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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?

Taco Time

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t LOVE tacos?

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We think its safe to say that most of you probably do 🙂  We also think that’s its a generally accepted fact that taco salad is one of the best salads out there!

And while traditionally, taco salads have taco shells crushed up on top of them, we think that’s kind of boring…

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Because why put the taco shells on top, when you can make a taco bowl instead?  Obviously having a crispy, edible bowl filled seasoned ground beef, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, quacomole, and “sour cream” is way better!

And it’s much easier than you think!  So here it goes, some step-by-step pictures!

First, find a few bowls (however many people you’re serving, that’s how many bowls you need!).  Fold the whole wheat tortillas to fit inside the bowls, then find something heavy(ish) to put inside them.  We used two small ramekins here, but if you have pie weights, or something similar, they would probably work even better!

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Second, you have to bake them!  They only take about 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and crispy.  Once they’ve cooled slightly, remove the ramekin or pie weights.

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Now, flip them over and bake them a little longer to crisp-up the bottoms.

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After about 5 minutes, the bottoms should be slightly browned and hard to the touch, which mean’s they’re ready to be filled up with delicious taco salad!

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Just be careful when you crack it open- you might be met with an avalanche of creamy, spicy, full-of-flavour beef and vegetables, guacamole, “sour cream” (aka plain yogurt) and salsa. Oh, and don’t forget cheese! 😉

Really, calling a taco salad a “salad” is like calling the snowy weather we’re having today “Spring”- it’s calling itself one thing and doing something entirely different in hopes that no one will notice- but what’s in a name, really?  Taco salad can be called whatever it wants- its too delicious to argue. Spring on the other hand?  You’ve got some ‘splaining to do…

Taco Bowl Salads

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Prep: 15 min
Bake/cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 large (10 inch) whole wheat tortilla wraps (corn tortillas would work, too)

500g. extra lean or lean ground beef
1/4 large white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. sweet bell peppers, diced
1/2 28-oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cumin
pinch of salt
pepper, to taste
Optional: hot pepper flakes

Toppings:

Salsa
Guacamole
Plain yogurt (aka “sour cream”)
shredded lettuce
Grated cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Fit the wraps into 2 bowls.  Place something heavy (such as a ramekin or pie weights) on top and bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned and crispy.  When they are ready, remove from the oven.  Remove the ramekin or weights and take the tortilla out of the bowl.  Flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes, until the bottoms are slightly browned and hard to the touch.

While the tortillas are in the oven, preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, onions, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the beef is almost cooked. Add the peppers and seasonings and cook until the beef is cooked through, continuing to stir.  Now add the tomatoes and cook until the much of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Divide the mixture between the two taco bowls, and top with whatever toppings you desire!

~twosaucysisters

Do you like tacos?  What are your favourite taco toppings?

A Warm Weather Welcome

Hey all! So we would like to apologize for our lack of posting over the last couple of days, we’re in final exams currently and had two in two days. We’ll be back posting a little more frequently over the next week until we have another two in a row – and then we’re FREE! 🙂

Anyways, the weather is finally getting warmer here, and it’s even been sunny for a couple of days – we were in sports bras on the outdoor track on Monday! We were all pretty excited about it, of course until our coach hit us up with 5k of some serious track work… yikes!

None the less, we decided that we needed to celebrate the warm weather with something bright, flavourful and colourful…

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Black Bean Mango Salsa!

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This stuff is the definition of bright and flavourful! It’s kind of like taking a mini-vacation to somewhere warm and sunny with every bite.

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The sweet, juicy mango and the fresh yet slightly citrus-y flavour of the cilantro balance the tangy tomatoes quite well, and the black beans add a heartiness to the salsa that make for a perfect side-dish or snack!

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We made some home-made pita-chips to dip in ours (we feel a Simple Sunday post coming on…), but any tortilla chips or crackers would work just fine! 🙂

So we hope that wherever you live, spring is starting to come out of hiding, and if it’s not… eat this salsa and head to mexico for a few bites! 😉

Mango and Black bean Salsa

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Total time: 10min
Makes: ~2 cups

Ingredients:

1 28oz can No Salr Added diced tomatoes, drained
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/3-1/2c. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 c. black beans (drained and rinsed if using canned)
1/2 c. diced white or red onion
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
pepper
optional – 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

Directions:

Drain the liquid from your diced tomatoes and add to a medium to large sized bowl.
Chop and peel mango, chop the cilantro and finely dice the onion. Mix into the tomatoes.
If using canned black beans, drain and rinse well. Mix black beans into the mixture.
Combine in a small dish honey, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the salsa and stir thoroughly, until even mixed throughout the salsa.
Stir in jalapeno if desired.
Serve immediately with chips or crackers, or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

~twosaucysisters

What foods transport you to your favourite warm and sunny destination? For us, anything with tropical fruits and/or coconut! 

Breakfast + Dinner = Lunch

One of our favourite foods is pizza, and when we get a  craving for it, just having pizza once won’t satisfy it! The problem is, we make a pizza, have the leftovers the next day, but then what? We are all out of pizza and have no time to make more, so we have to get creative! Often this just means things like pita pizzas or pizza bagels, but sometimes we get a little more extravagant.

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This time, more extravagant meant a pizza-crepe!

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It’s a breakfast-favourite meets dinner-favourite to make quite the delicious lunch!

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Not that you couldn’t have it for dinner, too! Or breakfast, if pizza for breakfast is your thing.

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Another bonus is that these crepes are way faster and easier to make than a pizza (if you’re making your own crust), and they’re also much healthier than most traditional pizzas, especially if you were planning on ordering-in!

And they’re just kind of fun, so why not? Go ahead – wrap yourself up in pizza. 😉

Pizza Crepes

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

Ingredients:

For the crepe:

1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp ground flax
1/8th tsp salt
black pepper
4 egg whites
2/3 – 3/4 c. vegetable stock

For the filling:

Your favourite pizza toppings (in ours are sauteed mushrooms, spinach and peppers, fresh tomatoes and olives)
Your favourite pizza sauce
Cheese of choice

Directions:

Mix the flour and seasonings thoroughly with a wire whisk. Add the egg whites. Slowly add the stock while stirring to avoid clumps. The batter should be a thin, drippy consistency.
Pre-heat a large, greased non-stick skillet over medium heat. Divide the batter in half and pour half onto the pan, swirling the batter around the cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 min, until the edges begin to curl. Flip and cook for another 2-3min. Repeat with remaining batter.
Meanwhile, in a smaller pan, saute your vegetables until they are soft.
Spread pizza sauce down the centre of your crepe. Top with pizza toppings and fold. Top with more pizza sauce, additional toppings and cheese.
Broil for 2-3 min until the cheese has melted.

~twosaucysisters

How do you conquer a craving when you can’t have exactly what you are craving?

Lessons in Curry

A couple of months back, Linsday from Pinch of Yum posted about her favourite lentil recipes, which were all curry (or curry-esque) recipes. We love curry and lentils, so we thought that we would give one of her recipes a try. The problem is, we couldn’t decide which of the 6 recipes we wanted to make, so naturally, we made them all!

Every Monday for 6 weeks we made one of her lentil recipes when we got home from practice, a day we dubbed to be “Curry Monday”. Of course, eventually we had made them all, so what were we to do?

Make our own curry, obviously!

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We’ve made curry plenty of times before, and they we always good, but we found that there was something missing… they didn’t send us to our foodie happy place, nothing so special that we would write down the recipe so we could make it again. Until now!

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So what was it that we did differently? Well, there were a  few things, each that made a big difference:

1. Curry Paste – we currently have a jar of yellow (though it looks red to us!) curry paste, and we’re telling you this stuff is curry-making magic! It may seem expensive, but all you need is a small amount to really take your curry to a new level.

2. We added less spices. I know it seems weird – less spices to a curry dish? But they are supposed to be super-duper spice-filled! We know, that’s what we thought too, but the thing is, curry spices are very strong, and so if you add too many, you just end up with a slightly bitter bowl of curry. Yuck!

3. Added the spices sooner. In the past, we’ve always added the spices much later in the cooking process for fear of the spices losing their flavour. However, while that may be the case with more delicate herbs, not so much with these spices! This time, we added them right off the bat when we were cooking the onions. Cooking or “toasting” your curry spices doesn’t cook off flavour, but more the bitter compounds and flavours that these spices have in their raw state.

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This particular curry also has a special ingredient, one we don’t normally have in the fridge but just happened to be on sale this week.

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Mangoes! 🙂

We don’t know if it’s mango season somewhere, but if it is,  we are very glad it is.

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A full-flavoured, sweet potato and lentil curry with hints of sweetness from the chunks of mango: Dinner time done right!

Sweet Potato and Mango Lentil Curry

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 30min
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

1/2 c. green lentils
1 c. water

1 c. sweet potato, cubed

1/2 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil
1/2 c. white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. bell peppers, chopped
1/2 28oz can of No Salt Added diced tomatoes
1/2 mango, chopped
1 c. spinach
1/3 c. coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp EACH curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg
1/2 tbsp yellow curry paste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put lentils and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25min.
Cook sweet potato in the microwave until soft, about 5 min.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add onions, garam masala, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg and curry paste, and cook until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and peppers and cook for another 2-3min. Stir in tomatoes, mango, cooked sweet potato and spinach  and cook for another 2-3min, until spinach has wilted.
Turn off the heat and stir in coconut milk and cooked lentils and mix until fully combined.
Add salt and pepper and serve over rice of your choice.

~twosaucysisters

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks for when they make curry?

Simple Sunday: Cheater Bruschetta

How many times growing up have you heard the phrase “cheaters never prosper”? Probably more than you can count!  We think it’s safe to say that the general consensus among the population  is that cheating is bad.

But today we’re here to tell you that they’re wrong.

Ok ok, we retract that statement- how about instead we just say they’re not completely right.  Sound better?

Because you see, sometimes it’s ok to cheat!  Sometimes, it’s actually a good thing!  Like with this cheater bruschetta!

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It looks like homemade bruschetta bread, right?  Well that’s because it is- sort of.  The thing is, we love bruschetta bread, but we don’t always feel like going to the trouble of making it from scratch, nor do we always have  a jar of bruschetta mix on hand.  But you know what we always do have on hand?  Salsa!

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We love salsa! So one day, when a craving for bruschetta hit, we thought bruschetta is made of tomatoes, right?  And salsa is made of tomatoes too, is it not?  So why not make salsa bruschetta!

Brilliant!

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Anyone who’s a born-and-raised Italian would probably look at us with mild disgust for even proposing that salsa can be used to make bruschetta bread, but what can we say?  It’s fast and super easy, and it tastes pretty darn good!  If you happen to have fresh tomatoes that you want to dice up and throw on top, be our guest!  And here we’ve used cheddar cheese to top (because that’s all we have in the fridge right now and we’re trying to use it before it goes moldy…) but you can use whatever cheese you like!  In fact, we prefer to top with goat or feta cheese 🙂

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So just to clarify- it is not ok to cheat on a test, or in a sporting event, but it is perfectly acceptable to cheat in kitchen! 😉

Happy Simple Sunday everybody!

Cheater Bruschetta

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Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 4 min
Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

1 whole wheat french bread
1 – 1.5 c. chunky salsa
1/2 c.  cheese of choice

Directions:

If broiling in the oven, pre-heat the broiler.
Slice the french bread length-wise and place on a baking sheet or oven-safe plate. Put under the broiler or on broil setting in a toaster-oven for 2 minutes to lightly toast the bread.
Once toasted, Spread the salsa across the loaf, covering evenly. Sprinkle with cheese of choice and place back under the broiler for another 2 min or until the cheese is melted.
Cut into smaller pieces and serve!

~twosaucysisters

What sort of foods do you “cheat” with? Besides bruschetta, we almost always replace low-fat sour cream or cream cheese with plain yogurt and cottage cheese, because we pretty much never have sour cream and cream cheese on hand but always have yogurt and cottage cheese! 🙂