Sunday, June 26, 2011

Who Rules The Grill?

I rule the grill! Today the Boy had a double header out in Sanford Manitoba.  It was a bit of a trek but for 2 games of baseball, we don't mind.  (FYI, they won the first game but lost the second game.) This morning before we left the house, I made sure to throw together a marinade for a flank steak I had just begging to be flavoured up.  The fine people behind Canadian Beef have thrown together a great contest for Canadian bloggers called 'Who Rules The Grill?'.  The contest caught my eye on Twitter and I knew I needed to think of something.  I chose a flank steak to toss on the the grill but first I had to marinate it for a while.  As I browsed through my fridge and freezer I found some chipotle peppers and limes...hmmmm think, think think.....

Chipotle Lime Grilled Flank Steak Salad

3 (or 4) chipotle peppers, chopped
1 tbsp (or so) chipotle sauce from the peppers
zest of 1 lime
juice of half a lime
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
1 flank steak, trimmed of excess fat and connective tissue
salad dressing of your choice
Chipotle and lime: the perfect combination!
In a zip top baggie, combine the peppers, sauce, lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper.  Use your hands on the outside of the bag to mix it all up.
The no mess way to mix!!
 Add the steak and once again use your hands on the outside of the bag to ensure the steak gets completely covered in chipotle lime goodness.

Place the bag in the fridge to marinate for the day or overnight.

Heat up the grill and grill your fabulous flank steak for 5 - 6 minutes a side or until medium.  Remove to a plate, cover with foil and allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes.
Give your steak a 1/4 turn half way through cooking to get fabulous grill marks!
 Once rested, thinly slice the steak across the grain.

Slicing across the grain ensures a nice tender steak.
 Serve on top of your favourite salad greens with your favourite fixins' and dressing.

This really was such a perfect dinner tonight. Tasty protein, lots of veggies....oh so yummy! I think next time I will add some cheese of some sort....

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dips: It Takes One to Know One

So while walking with the class the other week, I turned my ankle and fell to the ground in grand fashion! We were only half way to our destination so I pried myself up off the concrete, looked around to see how many students saw and kept walking with the one student who happened to be walking with me.  It was slow going that last 1.5km.  We were heading to the movies.  There is a second run cheapie movie theatre a mere 3km from school so it is a popular spot for June field trips as we can easily walk there.  Once we made it to the mall, the student and I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up some first aid supplies to clean up my knee then met the rest of the class to watch "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2" That movie was great. I truly enjoyed it!  One of the teachers was kind and drove me back to the school after.  Lots of ice, x-rays, and a couple of physiotherapy visits later, it is merely a really bad sprain....we're talking lower ankle, upper ankle, hurts from ankle to knee at times!!! ACK!! The best part (see the sarcasm) is the bruising.  I am fair skinned and bruises show up oh so really does look way worse than it feels....I hope!

I figure no one wants to see ugly ankle pictures so let's get on with the grub!
In our venture to eat healthier we have become dippy with dip!  To be more specific, hummus and tzatziki!  Both hummus and tzatziki are such simple dips and a great way to add some flavour to your veggies, sandwiches, wraps, or whatever it is you want to use them on.  Keep a bin or a zippy top bag filled with cut and ready to go veggies in the fridge and you are set for lunches, snacks, even dinners!
I even made some fresh pita.  After reading this post here at A Little bit of everything, I just had to make it! I haven't made the roasted veggie dip yet, but I plan to!

A few simple ingredients is all it takes!!
Tzatziki (reminds me of my trip to Greece!)  Printable dip recipes

1/2 long English cucumber
1 cup Greek style plain yogurt
1 clove garlic (chopped fine or grated with a micro plane)
salt & pepper
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Grate the cucumber.  If your yogurt isn't very thick, squeeze out the excess liquid.  The PC Greek style yogurt at Superstore is so incredibly thick, I didn't drain the cucumber.

Grate in the garlic, lemon zest (if using), and add the salt and pepper.
Stir in the yogurt.  (Use your judgement here.  If the amount of yogurt doesn't cover all of the cucumber, then add more yogurt.  Consistency is really up to you!)

Let the tzatziki rest in the fridge for a while before eating...if you can wait.

Serve up with pitas, veggies, on sammies, in wraps, by the spoonful....

Hummus (unfortunately I can not find the pics I took of the hummus. I will post them when I find them, or make more and take new photos!)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 to 2 tbsp tahini or peanut butter (optional)
cayenne (pinch or to taste)
1 jalapeno
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
water to thin out if you don't want to use too much oil

Toss everything but the olive oil and water into a blender or food processor.  With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil.  If you are skeptical about using too much olive oil, switch to drizzling in water.  Keep the machine and the liquid drizzling until you reach the consistency you want.  Some people prefer a thick dip and others prefer a thinner dip.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  (Remember, it is easier to add flavour and heat than it is to take it away!!)

Until next time, stay warm and eat well. (And stay on your feet!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Drink Your Cocktails, Cupcake

Did you know it is very easy to add booze to your cupcakes?  It is as simple as brushing on some rum or tequila, or whatever on to cupcakes when they come out of the oven, again before icing, and heck, put some in the frosting as well!
Strawberry rhubarb daiquiri
Remember those amazing strawberry rhubarb cupcakes?? Well, I brushed a batch of these little beauties with rum, twice...then I added rum to the the strawberry meringue butter cream....Yum!! You heard me correctly....just add some liquor to a Swiss meringue butter cream after it is finished and you are set!!

Mango lime margarita
Then there was the wonderful mango lime cupcakes?  Those were brushed with tequila, twice then were topped with a tequila lime icing!!  Tequila lime icing is as easy as switching out the water or other liquid for lime juice and tequila.  A little lime zest never hurts either!!

I took these little gems over to a friend's house to help celebrate her birthday.  I must admit I enjoyed hearing the rave reviews!!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Honey Dijon Chicken

So I had a slight panic attack all started with an afternoon snack with the Boy.  We noshed on some fabulous garlic sausage (from HMG Meats and Deli), cheese, and pickles....oh those pickles.  The pickles were in a bowl....somehow the bowl wound up upside down on my laptop with pickles and pickle juice all over the keyboard.  Ack!!  The Boy should just be kept away from electronics!! It was a complete accident.  What to do, what to do??  First I turned the power off (I am told to take the battery out but I couldn't get the battery out) then put the keyboard portion in rice.  That's right, rice.

Things seem to be working well.  There was one moment of panic when I first turned it on and every now and then the keys won't move too easily but then a piece of rice pops out.  I am still finding some pieces of rice here and there but all is working!!  Whew!!

FYI, this rice trick also worked when my Blackberry fell in a puddle!!

Tonight's easy peasy dinner involved minimal dishes and the BBQ again!

Honey Dijon Chicken, adapted from Food Network.  You will need:
  • Dijon mustard
  • Runny honey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • zip top freezer bag for marinating

First:  In a zip top freezer bag mix equal parts Dijon mustard and honey.  Add some salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Mix it all up and add some chicken pieces, seal up the bag and move everything around so the chicken gets all covered in saucy goodness.

Make a foil pouch and drizzle in some olive oil.  Toss in some veggies.  Tonight I had some baby potatoes so I used those.  You can use carrots, beans, asparagus....whatever you have.   Add a pat of butter for good flavour and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Toss it all on the grill.

I do love a Monday night means I can get my toes in the grass and enjoy some time outside.

It's a new BBQ so I am still learning the hot spots.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

BBQ Season is Finally Here!!

We kicked off the weekend with the most fabulous New York strip steaks ever!!! There is a new fabulous store in the neighbourhood.  I must confess, we bought NY strip steaks last weekend from here and there were also fabulous!! For those in Winnipeg, HMG Meats and Deli (642 Leila Avenue, 339-8406) is THE place to get steaks, pork, garlic sausage....well they will pretty much take care of all your meat needs...(he he).

 One thing I love about BBQ season is cooking everything on the grill.  Wrap it in foil if you must, toss it on the grill.  I did use 1 pot to boil the corn, but I did that outside on the side burner.  Corn is NOT in season at all here and I don't feel bad about boiling this stuff instead of grilling it. I didn't even eat it. I took one bite and...well...ew.

If you don't mind, I think I will just give some pictures of BBQ goodness. After a busy weekend of gardening and watching the Boy play baseball, baking some rye bread, banana bread, and so is time to relax.  Here's to a great week for everyone!!
make a pouch of foil, add a pat of butter, salt and pepper and toss it on the grill!!
Salt and pepper is all these perfectly aged steaks need!!
Potatoes on, mushrooms on, grill marks perfect!
The dissappointing corn looked so good!
Yeah, that's right, there is no green on my plate, wanna make something of it?   Didn't think so!

Oh, and some top notch root beer to top it all off!!
I hope to get back to blogging more regularly.  I think what is going on (besides baseball season) is that after a long, cold winter us prairie dwellars try to spend as much time as possinle outside when it warms up.  In the depths of winter, it is easy to cozy up in a blanket and blog away.  I have been baking and cooking and taking pictures.  I just need to find some time to write.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cilantro Lime Rice: Dinner on The Road

Baseball season is in full swing in the Little Kitchen and this means that at some point during each week there is a need to play away games.  I have been quite on the ball (pardon the pun) with dinners on these nights.  (*pats self on back*)  Tuesday night I even was ahead of the game (groan) and got our 'travel dinners' ready so all we I had to do was heat and go Wednesday evening!!  The boy and his team are to report to the diamond an hour before the game starts to get themselves ready.  This means he has to be there for 5:30 if the game starts at 6:30.  At times, the away games are pretty far from home and require a bit of a drive.  For home games this is no problem as we can even drop him off, come back home and then go back for game time.

A bevy of veggies
For the last couple of away games I have had a travel meal ready for Hubby and I to eat at the game.  The game plan is to assemble and store in the fridge, heat up the meals before leaving, arrive at the diamond on time for the Boy to meet the team, Hubby and I enjoy a meal together at the diamond!  You may be thinking at this time "Hey genius, why not just eat at home before you leave?" I will tell you, when leaving at 4:30 for a game, it is too early to eat.  Yet when you realize that the average ball game can easily last over 2 hours....sigh....too early to eat before we go but too long to wait for dinner.  The solution is here.  Planning and prep work are needed! The effort is so worth it and keeps us from having to stop at drive throughs and gas stations to eat.  (BTW, the Boy eats at home right after school, then again in the car, then again when we get home, then get the idea!)

I even chopped up some veggies to have with hummus as a snack for the ride home.  Of course I had to pack the beautifully different coloured peppers separately so the Boy would still eat the green peppers.  Pack it all together and store in the fridge waiting to be added to the cooler.

Cilantro Lime Rice with Beans
For the rice:
  • 1 small onion, chopped (I used 1/4 of a large white onion)
  • 1 cup bell peppers, chopped (I like using a little bit of each colour, this one was green, orange, red)
  • 1 (or two) jalapeno peppers
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • handful of cilantro, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or butter, or canola oil, or whatever you want to use)
  • 1 cup rice (of your choice)
  • liquid as per rice directions (I use water but stock or broth would be tasty)
Heat a pot over medium heat and add the oil.

Saute the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno until fragrant (NOTE: if you are using a long grain rice, don't over cook the veggies here.  They will cook with in the liquid with the rice and you don't want mushy veggies! If you are using minute rice (because your lovely Hubby did the shopping and the giant box of minute rice was on sale and that is all yo have) then cook the veggies longer as minute rice only takes, well a few minutes to cook.

Add the rice to the veggies and stir it all up.  Now add the water.  Slap on a cover and allow to cook as per any rice package directions and let the rice cook.

Squeeze the lime juice and toss in the lime zest and stir it all in.

Add the chopped cilantro, stir again and enjoy....or spoon into your travel containers.

This rice is just plain yummy.  A bit of heat, lots of lime, and a bit of cilantro...yummy!!!
The I like just plain old baked beans with this but this time I made some re fried bean type dish to go with it.  These beans were darn tasty (and a bit spicy!) but as the rice was also spicy, I opted to have plain old baked beans with my rice and Hubby had the spicy beans.

Re friedish beans
  • 1/2 small onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 or 4 chipotle peppers, chopped fine
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water ( or stock)
  • 1 tbsp oil
Heat a pot over medium heat and add the oil.

Saute the onion until soft and stir in the cumin and the chipotle peppers.
Add the rinsed and drained navy beans, stir it all together.  Let the beans get heated through.

Grab a potato masher and start mashing the beans to your desired consistency.

Serve with the rice. (Or spoon into your travel container with the rice)

Once your containers are full (and everything in the container is piping hot) place the covers on, wrap in a towel and place in a bag. Add another towel if needed to help keep the food hot until eating time!

Note: When making this the night before, make sure you heat up the beans and rice hotter than you think, especially if you are wrapping this up to go.  This way it will stay warm until you eat.

Double up the towel and fold around the hot containers
Tuck a couple of drinks in the bag, some seeds, and you are ready!
Remember to wrap some cutlery in a napkin so you can eat!
 Now as luck would have it, we I packed everything up to go, we even started driving, got on the perimeter highway.  My phone buzzed with an incoming email...the game out in rural Manitoba was cancelled and they would be having a practice at the home field.  The diamond out in Sanford Manitoba is still under water....sigh.  We turned around and came home.
We ate our travel dinners at home, then got into the yard (and the glorious sunshine) to get some work done, the boy went to practice....sigh...

With the weather being nothing but rain and wind, (and the baseball schedule) it has been darn near impossible to tend to the lawn so it did look a little like this: