Burritos, built from leftovers, the pantry, and the freezer

The easiest way to get your freezer stocked without a lot of extra work is to “feed the freezer”.  Any time you make something that is freezer-friendly, like soup or chili, make double and freeze half.  To keep track of everything, I magnet a sheet of computer labels to my fridge so I can find them easily.  I label my freezer food with the dish and the date (including the year – I found this out the hard way), and when I see a busy night on the horizon, I pull something out of my freezer stash.

You can even do the first part of a recipe and freeze it…. just the boring or PITA stuff like chopping veggies and cooking meat….. then all that’s left to do is assembly on the busy day when you use it

Here’s a recipe for something I almost always have in the freezer – burrito filling.  If I am really pressed for time, I just eat it out of a bowl like chili for an instant meal.  It’s also a great way to use up leftovers.

Burrito Filling

½ to 1 pound cooked meat – fried ground beef, leftover chicken, just about anything

1 jar of prepared salsa (or 1 can diced tomatoes plus Mexican seasonings)

1 can of low-fat refried beans

1 can of black beans, drained (optional)

Chopped bell peppers and/or canned green chiles

Stir all items together in a pot or bowl, and freeze in sealed containers for up to 3 months

To make the burritos:

Thaw filling in fridge or microwave until you can stir it

Place ¼ cup of filling and 2 tbsp. grated cheese on a tortilla and roll it up

Place burritos in a pan, top with salsa and grated cheese, and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and tortillas begin to brown.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole and salsa

Luc’s Garlic Pasta Salad

Serves 6 as a meal or 12 as a side dish

This is a fabulous pasta salad that can be “veggied up” for a healthy meal, or served as is for a rich and satisfying side dish at a BBQ.  Known simply as “that garlic salad”, it was enthusiastically requested at every potluck lunch, summer or winter, at my former place of work.  Thank goodness Luc gave me the recipe before I left!

Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3-6 cloves of garlic, crushed or very finely minced

Combine ingredients in a medium jar with a tight lid, and shake vigorously.  Store dressing in the jar until you are ready to serve the salad, up to two days ahead.

Salad:

900 g fusilli or rotini pasta, cooked and cooled

1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

Top with ½ cup chopped parsley, if you want to get fancy

Optional – peppers, broccoli, snow peas, carrots… just about any vegetable, really

Toss salad with dressing just before serving.  Make sure everyone has some so you don’t offend each other with your garlic breath for the rest of the day.

Double Ginger Crackle Cookies, Sandy Savage

¾ cup shortening
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
½ cup finely chopped VE Crystallized Ginger (about 10 rounds)
¼ cup molasses
1 tbsp VE Ground Ginger
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp each VE Cinnamon and VE cloves
granulated sugar for rolling

In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. In separate bowl, mix together flour, soda, salt and spices; blend into creamed mixture. Shape into small balls 1 inch in diameter. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake in 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t over bake, cookies should be slightly soft when removed from oven. Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely.

Easy Gingerbread Bars

1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 egg
3 Tablespoons molasses
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2 pieces finely chopped Crystallized Ginger
optional: 3 Tablespoons Decorating sugar for sprinkling on top.

Heat oven to 350F.
Combine first four ingredients in large mixing bowl and beat on medium until creamy.
Add next 4 ingredients and beat on low speed. Mix in Crystallized Ginger.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Press mixture onto cookie sheet until evenly distributed and flattened
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.
Cool completely. Cut into bars or use cookie cutters. Makes about 48 bars.

White Chocolate and Dried Cranberry Cookies

½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp VE Vanilla Extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup VE White Belgian Chocolate
1 cup VE Cherries & Berries (or Craisins)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and VE Vanilla Extract
  3. Beat in dry ingredients to form a smooth dough. Fold in VE White Belgian Chocolate and VE Dried Fruits.
  4. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Pumpkin Dip Julie Gorman

1 can Pumpkin
2-3 tsp VE Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 pkg cream cheese
1 c mini marshmallows
1/2 c pecans (chopped)

Mix pumpkin, spice and cream cheese until mixed thoroughly. Place in shallow baking dish. Top with mini marshmallows and pecans. Bake at @350 for approx. 20 min or until marshmallows are toasty. Serve with graham crackers or apple slices.

Orange Raisin Bread

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup raisins (or Craisins or Cherries and Berries
½ cup chopped nuts (Optional)1 UNPEELED orange
¾ cup boiling water
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil

  1. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  2. Cut up orange (leave peel on) and put into blender or food processor with boiling water. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add egg and oil and blend til combined.
  4. Pour into dry ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 50-55 minutes.

Delicious!

Variations: Add a lemon instead of an orange or make it sinfully good by adding VE Belgian Chocolate! Enjoy!

Tasty Technology

There are hundreds of food applications available for the iphone. Everything from where to eat, what to eat and even what not to eat! Here are 3 of the most popular apps around. The only thing these apps can’t do is cook for you. Although it’s probably on the way!

Urbanspoon
We understand you probably won’t eat in every night but when you do decide to eat out, why not try try something new. Urbanspoon uses three factors to classify restaurants: neighborhood, type of cuisine and price. Simply shake your iPhone, and the app spins eventually bringing you to a page with a restaurant’s phone number, address and user reviews. Don’t like the results? Just give the phone another shake. Picky eaters can choose to lock a column in place if you like, limiting choices to a specific neighborhood, type of cuisine or price point. The random element adds in a bit of fun and can inspire you to try a place you’ve never visited before.

Epicurious
Epicurious gives users access to thousands of recipes found on Epicurious.com. The app divides recipes into categories like healthy lunches or decadent desserts. Select the category you want, browse the contents and choose your dish. Each recipe has clear instructions on how to go from raw ingredients to a culinary masterpiece.

Lose It!
Succeed at weight loss with Lose It! Set goals and establish a daily calorie budget that enables you to meet them. Stay on track each day by recording your food and exercise and staying within your budget. Enter food and exercise easily using a searchable database. Quickly re-enter foods and meals you’ve had in the past.

Lose It! is the most complete and streamlined weight loss application for the iPhone.

Do you have an iPhone app you think we should know about?

Help End Breast Cancer while you eat!

On Sunday October 3rd, 2010 thousands of united hearts will walk side by side, connected by the common goal of ending breast cancer and improving those affected by the disease worldwide.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women and although its causes are still unknown
the National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related.
Emerging new research clearly shows us that food and lifestyle choices can make an incredible difference in lowering a person’s risk of breast cancer. This means that now, perhaps more than ever, we can each choose to proactively fight now against breast cancer.

Here are three must-have anti cancer recipes that just happen to be tasty as well.

Broiled Salmon with Balsamic Raisin Syrup and Sauteed Garlic Greens
Inspired by a recipe from The Fitness Kitchen cookbook by Shelly Sinton, the balsamic syrup succulently enhances the presentation as well as the flavor of this omega-3 rich dish. The sautéed greens add color, hearty flavor and a delicious dose of antioxidants and other cancer-combatting phytonutrients.

View recipe

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew
The sweet potatoes are rich in cancer-fighting beta-carotene and other phytonutrients and lentils are packed with fiber. Colorful and delicious, this meal also makes an excellent lunch.

View recipe

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes with Orange Yogurt Sauce
Low in calories and high in fiber, pumpkin turns ordinary pancakes into an extraordinary healthy breakfast! These pancakes will give you a satisfying morning meal all while fighting cancer!

View recipe

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes with Orange Yogurt Sauce

It is estimated that this year, 250,000 new cases of breast cancer (invasive and in situ) will be diagnosed among women in the United States.

Diet is crucial in protecting you against breast cancer.

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes with Orange Yogurt Sauce

For the pancakes:
1-1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons freshly ground flax meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-1/4 cups solid pack pumpkin
3 eggs (or 6 egg whites)
1 cup low-fat milk (try almond or rice milk for a change)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Canola oil

For the sauce:
1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon minced orange zest
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. To make oat flour, place rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until ground. Add oat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, flax meal, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice
  2. to a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, milk and vanilla until well-blended. Add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine.
  4. Preheat skillet or griddle to medium-high heat and brush with canola oil. Pour 1/4-cup batter on griddle and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until edges of pancake have set and bubbles on top of the pancake burst. Flip and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes or until second side is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients. Serve pancakes warm drizzled with sauce. Garnish with extra walnuts, if desired. Enjoy with a side of fresh orange or cantaloupe slices.