Fish Curry No. 2

The first fish curry I made was absolutely delicious, but it was expensive because I ended up using a whole bag of frozen sole fillets to do it, (which could’ve made 2-3 meals instead of just one) and that put me off making it again anytime soon.

But today I had just three fillets in the freezer, and a bunch of veggies that do well in stews, so I decided to give it a whirl. The end result was delicious and something that you could make weekly, and feeds a crowd (or at least you for several days).

Other pros: it was super easy, very little mess (just one pot! plus another for rice, but I mean, if you really want you can make that in the microwave, so hakuna matata), and it was filling and warm and absolutely lovely to have at the end of a long, fall day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can tomatoes (you can use crushed for this one, I won’t get mad at you, but it will still be better if you blend a can of whole tomatoes. The texture is better).
  • 1 can coconut milk (very different from the trendy drink coconut water. Do NOT use coconut water, or I will get mad at you and you will have to order pizza for dinner because you just ruined your curry).
  • 3 fish fillets (I used sole; any whitefish will do).
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • As many garlic cloves as your little heart can take, sliced thinly
  • Curry powder, coriander, salt, and pepper to taste
  • Also healthy squirts of lime juice and sriracha
  • and a couple drops of Chinese fish sauce for depth.

Method:

  1. Dice your onion and slice your garlic
  2. Get a heavy-bottomed stock pot on the stove and drizzle some olive oil in the bottom (if you have ghee and you’re really into this, you win, that’s what you want to sauté your onion and garlic in), and sauté the onion and garlic until they become soft and fragrant.
  3. Add your spices to create your flavour base.
  4. Then add the peas, and sauté until they thaw; then add the mushrooms. Let this all meld together for 5 minutes or so. Adjust your flavour base to your liking.
  5. Add your blended tomatoes and coconut milk.
  6. Add lime juice, sriracha, and fish sauce. Turn down the heat and let simmer, stirring every so often. Use this downtime to attempt to do a reading, or at least make your rice.
  7. Once it has reduced and the curry has thickened up nicely, spoon it over your rice (or sautéed spinach if you’re low-carb) and enjoy!

THE BEST BURGER YOU WILL EVER PUT IN YOUR FACE.

Guess who’s back, back again…

Sorry if I’m a little cocky, but I believe this is the best recipe I’ve ever come up with, and I hate to brag, but I’ve come up with some really good fucking recipes. 

I know the picture sucks, but hey this isn’t a photography blog, it’s a blog for BITCHIN’ RECIPES THAT STUDENT COOKS CAN MAKE EASILY. And this recipe in particular is a fantastic student recipe, for a few reasons:

  • It’s extremely cheap and yields a HUGE amount. Leftovers for days.
  • It’s delicious. I’d make them for my super picky brother and I bet he’d love them.
  • It’s easy to make.
  • Easy to modify for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Also customizable according to what you have in your fridge. Veggies or cheese that need to be used, stat? Throw them in.
  • It’s healthy .
  • Can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, or all three.
  • It’s portable. You can take it to work or class easily. 

And with no further ado, I give you:

QUINOA SAUSAGE BURGERS

Again, I apologize for the picture but hey, I took it with Photobooth okay, my camera is still out of commission.

This recipe yielded 14 burgers, all the size that you see in the pan. I ate 2 and was stuffed, and let me tell you, I can eat a LOT.

Also, if you’re not a big veggie eater this is a great recipe for you, because you can sneak in a bunch of veggies and you’ll never know. I personally despise carrots but I needed to use some up and I just grated them right in and couldn’t taste it at all. Perfect.

INGREDIENTS: (Note, the ones that are non-negotiable will have a * beside them)

  • 1 package quinoa, cooked and slightly cooled* (about $2.50 in grocery stores. Follow the cooking directions on the package, it’s dead easy to make)
  • 3-4 tbsps all purpose flour*
  • 2 eggs*
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (can be omitted, but I highly recommend using it. If you’re veggie/vegan, throw in some daiya)
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1 big handful baby spinach, wilted or steamed (I just threw it in with the quinoa near the end)
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsps sour cream (didn’t need it but made them nice and moist)
  • 1/2 a package of lean ground pork, cooked and slightly cooled. If you want to make it veggie, just add more quinoa or more vegetables.
  • Garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and sriracha to taste.

Directions:

This is how easy these are.

  • Boil 2 cups of water in a pot for the quinoa. Once it’s boiling, throw in the quinoa and let it cook for 15 minutes on med-low. You don’t need to stir it or anything, just let it go. Once all the water is absorbed, it’s done. (Protip, use chicken stock or throw in a stock cube for really good flavour). These directions are on the box.
  • While that’s cooking, throw your optional ground pork in a pan and let it brown. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and give it time to cool. Same deal for the quinoa.
  • Protip: A few strips of bacon crumbled into the pork wouldn’t be a terrible idea either.
  • While they’re cooking, shred your veggies. I used carrots and spinach but I feel like zucchini, swiss chard, onions, and just about any other vegetable would work well too. If it normally needs to be blanched, just blanch or steam it before you work it into the mixture.
  • Next, grate your cheese, if not already done.
  • Combine the quinoa, veggies, cheese, ground meat, eggs, flour, and spices in a large bowl. Mix well. 
  • Get a pan with some olive oil on medium-low heat. Taking a 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill it with the mixture, drop it in the pan, and press down with a spatula.
  • Cook for 4 minutes and then flip. Cook on other side for 4 minutes. These little babies hold together so well that even an idiot flipper like me can flip them. Probably the reason why I love them so much. 
  • I fit 3 in a pan at a time, so it took a while to cook them. If you are pressed for time, get 2 pans going at once and it’ll save you half the time. Look at me doing math.
  • Once they’re done cooking, DEVOUR AND ENJOY.

Topping suggestions:

  1. Slice of tomato
  2. Slices of avocado
  3. Traditional burger condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, etc)
  4. Lettuce and/or more baby spinach
  5. Bacon strips
  6. Sauteed mushrooms and/or onions
  7. Or what I did, which was a mixture of sriracha and sour cream. GENIUS. With or without buns, these are great. They don’t even need buns, truthfully, but hey, whatever floats your boat. GO NUTS and make them the way you want to!

Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, life has been utterly crazy. But, I promise, at the beginning of June when I go back up to Ottawa and start cooking for myself again, there will be lots of great, new recipe posts!

Thank you so much for sticking by me. You guys are the best!

Love,

Sara

Sriracha-Honey Glazed Broiled Pollock

Sriracha isn’t a hot sauce. It’s a way of life. 

My favourite sauce/glaze/marinade is a simple combination of sriracha + honey + oyster sauce + lemon juice. It takes care of the spicy, salty, sweet, sour, and garlicky components right away. If you want to make it a little fancier, you could add rice vinegar for a splash of brightness or peanut butter for a more savoury sauce, but plain and simple is the way for me.

I love those bags of frozen fish fillets that are like 3 or 4 bucks. A healthy, starving student’s best friend. There’s enough to feed two people AND still have lunch for tomorrow. Or you can keep it in your freezer and pull out one at a time. Either way, they’re gold. I’m buying more today.

Ingredients:

  • Pollock fillets (or any other white fish. Actually, you could pretty much use this recipe for any meat, the cooking time would just be different).
  • 2 tbsps oyster sauce (the one bad thing about oyster sauce is the high sodium content. Try to find one that has a lower amount of sodium. I have regular and vegetarian oyster sauce. The vegetarian one has less sodium and it still tastes really good).
  • 2 tbsps sriracha
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven and turn on the broiler.
  2. Defrost the pollock fillets in the microwave and drain off as much of the water as you can. You’re going for a nice crispy surface, not a soggy mess, although that can happen very easily. 
  3. Place fish in a roasting pan with a little olive oil or Pam on the bottom. Spoon the glaze over the fish. Drizzle a little extra honey and sriracha on top, if desired (this will achieve some more caramelization. You can also do this mid-way through)
  4. Broil for  7-10 minutes, making sure they’re cooked completely.

Serve with rice or salad. I made this last night with paprika dusted cauliflower and a big veggie-spinach salad. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland!

Spring Citrus Berry Spinach Salad

Spring is in the air! I absolutely CANNOT stand spring (I generally dislike slush and wetness and ALLERGENS) but I have the craziest bout of spring fever right now.

This salad is the perfect accompaniment to my spring-craziness. It’s fresh and light and so simple to throw together, I literally made and ate it in the 20 minutes I had before class.

Please excuse my webcam, but I thought a shitty webcam picture would be better than no picture at all, right?

There it is in all it’s glory, guys and gals.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw baby spinach
  • 1 medium naval orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 a cup blueberries
  • 2 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled (you can substitute for deli turkey, cooked chicken, shrimp, crab meat- the list is endless).
  • Dressing is 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (although your favourite vinegar will work.

Toss and combine and EAT.

Quinoa “Risotto” with Sausage and Mushrooms.

Confession time;

Last year I didn’t even know how to PRONOUNCE quinoa. I had it for the first time in the cafeteria thinking, “this is what all the fuss is about? Yuck. I’m out.”

That was also way before I started becoming much more health conscious and started looking for ways to get more protein and fewer carbs into my life. Don’t let quinoa fool you; it’s still a carb even though it’s a seed. In fact, one 1/4 cup serving of quinoa has 170 calories, 31g carbs and only 5g protein. But it’s still better than white rice, so I digress.

Kev was craving risotto the other day.

I love risotto.

So do the men in my life.

I love cooking for the men in my life.

See a theme here?

Quinoa was on sale at Loblaws the week before reading week, and I did that thing where I absent-mindedly impulse buy things that I don’t need. So I bought it. Kev and I were in Loblaws again yesterday wondering what to make for dinner when I saw a bunch of gorgeous organic sausages on sale (I LOVE SAUSAGE. Always have. Take that any way you want), and I remembered the awesome sausage risotto I made for him last year.

But, I didn’t want to make and eat the huge caloric mess that is arborio rice. So right there, in the meat aisle in Loblaws, I put two and two together, and quinoa sausage risotto was born.

The mushrooms were a glorious afterthought because that is my secret way of (cheaply) stretching a meat recipe that makes it plentiful without sacrificing any of the flavour or adding more calories. Button mushrooms are between $2.00 and $2.30 a package and can make any recipe feed at least 1 or 2 more people. Trust me, I do it a lot. It’s smart. 

My baby turned out deliciously. My first time cooking quinoa was a total success. It was creamy and fluffy and flavourful and filling and it didn’t taste like a “healthy dish” like some of the other things I’m partial to making (here’s looking at you, Andre).

This got rave reviews from the boys and was eaten in about 4 minutes flat. Of course, we were all starving, but that’s another story.

Quinoa “Risotto” with Sausage and Mushrooms- Feeds 4 to 5 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (1 cup) quinoa
  • 3 pork sausages (we used honey garlic, but spicy Italian would be amazing too. The only reason we bought the honey garlic in the first place was that they were on sale). Take the sausages out of their casing and crumble them.
  • 1 package sliced button mushrooms, chopped to smaller pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • As many cloves of garlic as your poor breath can take. We used 6 I think. Chop finely. 
  • 1 hearty tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth. Non-negotiable. If you use water, it will lack so much flavour.
  • 3 big tbsps parmesan cheese. Also non-negotiable.
  • Black pepper and crushed chili peppers to taste. 

Method:

  • Chop onions and garlic finely.
  • Get a large, heavy bottomed pot or saucepan on medium-high heat. Heat 1 tbsp of oil and sautee onion and garlic until fragrant and onions are translucent.
  • Pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth and get it to boil.
  • Once boiling, stir in the 1 cup of quinoa. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • While that is going on, chop your mushrooms and crumble your sausage. Get a frying pan nice and hot, and brown your sausage crumbles. Drain off excess fat and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are done. Add chili and black pepper at this stage.
  • By this time, your 15 minutes of simmering the quinoa should be up. Stir and fluff quinoa. Add in your sausage crumbles and mushrooms, as well as the 3 tbsps of parmesan. Stir in everything. Let sit for 5 minutes for quinoa to settle and flavours to combine. At this point, if you prefer, add a pat of butter too, for extra smoothness. We didn’t, but I’m sure it would’ve made it even better. I mean, it’s butter.
  • Spoon into bowls and top with extra parmesan cheese before serving if desired. Tuck in! Perfect for a cold end-of-winter-night. 

Healthy Stuffed Peppers- No rice!

This one I sort of invented on the fly, tweaking my mom’s classic, delicious stuffed pepper recipe to make it much more healthy and virtually no-carb. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bell peppers, any colour
  • 1 package extra lean ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 large onion
  • Several cloves of garlic, as much or as little as you want
  • Olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • 4-5 tbsps light ricotta cheese
  • Tomato sauce (make your own if you can, or use store bought if you have to)
  • 4 tsps parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste.

Method:

  1. Start by hollowing out the peppers by slicing the tops off and taking out the seeded heart. Save the tops and dice them finely to add to the filling mixture. Dice onions and garlic finely.
  2. Sautee the peppers, onions, and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan until onions are soft and translucent. Add ground chicken/turkey and cook till no longer pink; stir in ricotta cheese.
  3. While that’s going, get a large pot of water boiling and blanch your hollowed peppers for 5-10 minutes to just take the crunch off them.
  4. When the peppers and filling are done, get a baking pan and stand the peppers upright inside it, filling each with an even portion of the chicken/turkey filling. Top each with 1-2 tbsps tomato sauce.
  5. Bake at 350 for at least 25 minutes. 
  6. At 25 minutes, take them out and top each with 1 tsp shredded or grated parmesan cheese. Place under broiler for 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy! These are a wonderful main dish and can be served with salad, sautéed broccoli, or whatever you like.

Easy, healthy Beef Dhansak.

Kev introduced me to the glorious world of Indian food last year when we first started dating. His favourite dish is beef dhansak. A few days ago, I was talking with Kev and Andre and they both said they could eat spicier food than I could.

So obviously, challenge accepted.

I made this at Andre’s house on Saturday night for a crowd of boys. Not only did I kick everyone’s butt at the spicy food contest BUT the beef dhansak was delicious.

Ingredients:

  • One package of stewing beef chunks, cut to bite-size pieces (if not already so)
  • 1 can no sodium diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans light coconut milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 package mushrooms (totally optional. I love mushrooms so I threw them in)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice (OR, do what I did and substitute lemon/ lime juice + honey for sweetness. I completely forgot to get pineapple juice at the store. It still turned out really well).
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Garam masala (all spices are to taste. Use as much or as little as you like).
  • Curry powder
  • Fresh Thai birds-eye chili peppers. As many as you like. I think I used about 20. I’m not even kidding.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil or ghee if you can get it. 
The thing about this recipe is that it takes a long of time. You have to let it simmer and thicken. The longer you let it simmer, the more developed the flavours will be, I promise.
Method:
  1. Chop onions, garlic, and chilis. Sautee them in the olive oil (about 1-2 tbsps) until soft in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add all spices. Don’t be afraid to tweak the seasoning throughout. 
  2. Add mushrooms and continue sautéing.
  3. Add the can of tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and pineapple juice. Simmer and reduce for as long as you can let it, preferably over an hour. Stir occasionally.
  5. Once the curry is nice and thick, add the beef and cook for 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Serve immediately with rice and/or garlic naan. 

Oven roasted Pesto Chicken- in your dorm room!

I wish my camera wasn’t still out of commission.

People are constantly surprised by the things I make in my dorm room. Cooking de-stresses me so much, I love it. And last week I definitely needed a de-stresser. 

This recipe is light, yet hearty and filling, and great for entertaining. The pesto has a lot of olive oil in it, but it’s good, healthy fats. 

Oven Roasted Pest Chicken (Topped with Roasted Tomatoes and Mozzarella)

Ingredients:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1-1.5 per person
  • Pesto (made with basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add pine nuts if you want. If you don’t have a food processor, feel free to use store bought).
  • Tomatoes, sliced thinly.
  • 1 small handful light mozzarella per person.

Method:

  1. Season your chicken breasts and cut into smaller ‘fingers’ if you desire. This will allow the pesto to cover more of the chicken and really sink the flavour in.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I used a toaster oven. Anything is possible. You could also grill this recipe too.
  3. Spray the bottom of your baking pan with Pam and spread a thin layer of pesto on it. Lay the seasoned chicken breast pieces on top. Spread more pesto to cover each piece of chicken thoroughly.
  4. Cover with foil and roast at 350 for 25 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, get your tomatoes and mozzarella ready. At 25 minutes, take the foil off the chicken, and quickly top with the tomatoes and mozzarella. Put the dish back in the oven and broil for 5 minutes so the tomatoes roast and the mozzarella melts and bubbles.

Serve and enjoy! 

This weekend was a COOK ALL THE THINGS! type weekend.

Thursday night: Oven roasted pesto chicken topped with roasted tomatoes and melted mozzarella

Saturday night: Super spicy homemade beef dhansak with rice and salad

Sunday morning: French toast with caramelized bananas.

Sunday night: Stuffed peppers with ground chicken and ricotta cheese

Recipes to come!