Monday, November 26, 2012

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple

Recipe #97: Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple

Well, my only class today got cancelled so instead of working on an assignment that is due in a few days, I decided that I would put that off in favour of finally doing something culinary with the pineapple and yams that have been staring accusingly at me for a while now.

In a fit of what can only be described as "what WAS I thinking?", I recently bought two yams. Yams? I don't even really like yams. He doesn't care for them either, if memory serves, so why did I bring them home? Oh, right - the new What's Cooking magazine showed up in the mail the other day and I thought the above recipe looked good. Lucky for me, it IS good!

Tasty on Instagram!

I'm not quite sure how their suggested 4 sweet potatoes equates to about 2 lbs/900g. My two monsters weighed roughly that combined although I ended up using only about 1.5 yams after cutting off the parts that got fed up with waiting to be eaten. I didn't buy pre-cut pineapple to be sure to have 3 cups since it was more cost effective to buy a whole pineapple and use whatever it gave me (I estimated 1 1/2 cups). Next time, I'll buy 2 pineapples - the more, the merrier! I had to rehydrate my brown sugar with hot water in the microwave to get it to crumble enough to use; I used butter instead of margarine; and I added the suggested 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper for kick. I happened to have olive flavoured cooking spray on hand so I used that for the baking sheet.

Aside from having to hack up the yams (about as much fun as washing all the dishes...), this recipe was simple to make. I ended up with about a 2:1 yam to pineapple ratio in the end, and it has a nice shot of taste to it with the added pepper. Better still, it is a simple and delicious way to get some extra vitamins into me, especially if he won't eat any. Bonus: I LOVE HOT PINEAPPLE!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Get Well Soon Chicken Improv Soup

Recipe #96: I made up my own!

I've been feeling rather run down and lousy for the past day or so. It probably doesn't help that:
a) it's the end of the semester (and my degree!!!)
b) I work in a hospital and a fitness centre, and am a full-time student (3 extra-germy environments)
c) I keep encountering people who were sick with "that thing going around"

That being said (and the kale needing to be eaten), I thought I would invent myself some variation on chicken soup so that I would hopefully boost my immune system and start feeling better. What better reason to clean out the fridge that to make up a recipe as I go?

Cleaning out the fridge is good for me!
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion (because you were tired of looking at it and it needed eating)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or finely chopped because the mincer was in the dishwasher and you didn't feel like cleaning it again)
4 cups cauliflower in bite-sized pieces
1 can (540 mL/19 oz) white kidney beans (or equivalent), rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup small bows pasta
2 farmer's market medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped baby carrots
6 stalks celery hearts, chopped
2 1/3 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock (because it was in the fridge and needed to be used up)
3 2/3 cups organic vegetable stock (because the beef stock in the fridge had gone off and you only had vegetable in the cupboard)
2 cups water (or more in lieu of stock)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp squeeze tube basil
1 tsp squeeze tube oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups organic baby spinach
71g/2.5 oz cooked chicken, shredded
4 cups farmer's market kale, stems removed, chopped well

I can't swear to it because I was multi-tasking while watching college football, but I'm pretty sure the cooking process for this soup went something like this:
1. Chop/dice everything that needs to be smaller.
2. Heat the oil in a big pot on medium-high; cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes until they start to burn and/or smell really good; turn the burner down to medium.
3. Add the celery and carrots; stir.
4. Add 1 cup of stock when the vegetables start smoking; wait until it boils.
5. Add more stock until you think you have enough; then, add the cauliflower, tomato, spices/herbs and mushrooms; stir.
6. Add water and chicken randomly; remember to add beans; stir.
7. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring periodically. Taste occasionally because you are starving and it smells good.
8. Add pasta, kale and spinach, stir.
9. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring and tasting occasionally until pasta and vegetables are tender to your liking.
10. Mangia, mangia!