10 Ingredient Jambalaya

I will be honest: this summer hasn’t exactly been a good one for meal plans and new recipes. I was doing really good at trying new things in the beginning but as things got busier and busier I found that easy old crockpot recipes became my best friends. Unfortunately my best friends weren’t always the most exciting. One can only eat so many deconstructed cabbage rolls and pots of chilli before they get kind of sick of what they’re eating. I’m someone who always likes to try new foods and this typically extends to my home cooking as well as eating out. Sadly, there isn’t always enough time.

Monday was another pot of crockpot chilli but since I had absolutely nothing to do on Wednesday I decided to venture out a little bit. I didn’t pick a new recipe but instead decided to try something I haven’t made since the winter months: jambalaya.

I am a glutton for southern style cooking, especially anything with Cajun roots. New Orleans is on the top of my bucket list and it’s not just because of The Princess and the Frog. Jambalaya is one of those dishes I just love to order at restaurants and while I was still in university it was something I learned how to make at home. I’ve experimented with recipes over the years and have finally come up with my fast and dirty way to make a heaping pot of the good stuff. So of course, I figured I’d share it with all of you.

Not so surprisingly I failed on measuring my ingredients so I just kind of eyeballed it the best I could to come up with this simple 10 ingredient list for making my version of Jambalaya.This is a spin off of traditional Jambalaya which uses broth instead of tomato paste.The cauliflower rice was a new test for me in order to lower the carbs and calories in this dish and it turned out great.

  • 1/2 a medium sized onion diced
  • 2-3 bell peppers diced
  • 1 stock of celery diced
  • 10-15 chicken strips
  • 12-15 shrimp
  • 4 turkey sausages (missing in mine this time; the store was sold out)
  • Tomato paste (156ml)
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Cajun seasoning to taste
  • 4 servings of rice or one head of cauliflower (or both)

Directions

Cook your turkey sausages in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (flipping once halfway through). While the sausages are cooking begin to prepare the rest of your ingredients; dicing the vegetables, peeling the shrimp, and cutting chicken strips into bite sized pieces. Once the turkey sausage is cooked cut these into bite sized pieces as well.

If you’re using cauliflower you can either grate it into cauliflower rice like I did or use a food processor (which is probably 10 times easier). If you’re using regular old rice proceed to boil your rice as normal. As you can see I’m pretty lazy (and I suck at cooking rice) so I just use minute rice.

Next, cook the vegetables and meats together on medium heat in a large pot on the stove top, stirring occasionally. After five minutes add the tomato paste. Fill the empty tomato paste can with water and pour this into the pot as well to change the consistency of the tomato paste. Stir the paste and water in until all the vegetables and meats are coated. Proceed to add hot sauce and cajun seasonings to taste. I prefer mine on the spicier side but it’s all up to you.

Finally, mix in cooked rice or grated cauliflower rice. Cook on low for 5 more minutes and then serve.

Prep and everything included this meal should take no longer than an hour to make. The recipe is for approximately 4-6 servings. It did four for us but Matt’s servings are large so it probably could be spread into six especially because we used both the cauliflower and the regular rice. If you give this one a try let me know, and as always if you have recipes to share please leave them in the comments below! I’m off to eat a big bowl of this now so:

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Tasty Tuesday – Shepherd’s Pie

After a weekend of stuffing my face with way too much food I figured it would be good to come back to Tasty Tuesday with a hearty home favourite. To me, Shepherd’s Pie is one of those classic home cooked meals that is just really tasty, satisfying, and actually pretty balanced depending on how you make it. I go for a lot of veggies, a thin layer of potatoes, and enough lean ground beef to get a good serving of protein in. Also, I take out the step of having to worry about gravy by using cream corn instead. It makes for a slightly different flavour combination but it’s definitely still tasty and probably a bit healthier.

So, without any further ado, here’s my recipe for a simple Shepherd’s Pie:

Ingredients

  • Lean ground beef
  • 1 can of cream corn
  • Canned vegetables of your choosing
  • 1/2 sweet potato
  • 1 medium white potato
  • Butter/margarine & milk (to whip the potatoes)
  • Salt, pepper, and other preferred seasonings (I use summer savoury)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and get to work on peeling your potatoes. Normally I just do the regular potatoes on top but to make it a little more nutritious this time around I boiled half a sweet potato as well. I threw the potatoes together in a pot to boil and then tossed the ground beef into a frying pan to brown up. The amount you use is really up to you depending on how meaty you want your pie to be. My beef filled a regular sized frying pan and covered the bottom layer of my long pyrex dish but you can definitely experiment with how much you want.

While the beef and potatoes are cooking you can go ahead and start emptying your cans of veggies into a glass dish. I used a can of mixed peas and carrots and a can of green beans. Wait for your beef to be browned before you mix in the cream corn, this is what you use as the binding agent / sauce instead of gravy. It’s a little bit healthier and a lot quicker. Once the beef if browned mix it into the vegetable medley and pour the cream corn in afterwards. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper, giving it all a nice mix before patting it down into a nearly even layer.

Hopefully at that point your potatoes are boiled and you can strained them to be mashed up and whipped. Mashed potatoes work perfectly fine but if you’re looking for that smoother traditional texture of Shepherd’s Pie you can pull out a beater and whip your potatoes together, adding a little milk and butter as needed. Closer to the end I’ll add a couple shakes of summer savoury to add some extra flavouring to the pie (you can mix your seasoning into your vegetable and meat medley as well, it’s totally up to you).

Once the potatoes are nice and smooth, spoon them out on to the top of your dish, spreading them out until they cover the entire surface. Pop the dish into the oven and then bake for 30-40 minutes. And that’s it!

Make this in a big dish and you’ll have lots of leftovers or you can feed a small army at once. You can also go the extra mile and make it with fresh vegetables instead of canned ones but if you’re looking to cut down some cook time the canned veggies work just fine.

What have you been making this week? If you have any recipes (your own or ones you’ve found) that you think I’d like then please drop them in the comments. And if you try any of my recipes please let me know what you think of them!

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Tasty Tuesday – Pork Tenderloin Salad

For Christmas, Matt’s sister Rae gave us a lovely cookbook with some pretty straightforward meals. The book is really neat and even comes with a corresponding application that will upload the ingredient list of each recipe in the book to your phone just by scanning the image of the dish. It’s not necessarily something I needed but I appreciate innovation so this little add-on amused me.

This is another recipe I’m sharing several weeks down the road so I’m sorry if it’s not the most cohesive but other Tasty Tuesday posts kept getting in the way so this one got put on hold for a little while. But here it is: Pork Tenderloin Salad with “Grilled” Nectarines and a Maple Vinaigrette. That’s definitely a different title than what is in the book but we’re doing my version so just go with it.

This was another one of those recipes where I looked at the ingredient list and went hmmm, probably not. As per usual, it was time to improvise. If you do pick up the book for yourself, you can always follow the straight recipe, I’m going to share what I actually did since the flavour might differ. I’d estimate that this serves 3-4 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 piece of pork tenderloin
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (I used table syrup, it was fine)
  • 1 large nectarine, halved and pitted
  • Enough salad greens to make a full salad (How much is that?!)
  • 1/4 large red onion, sliced

Directions

So the first thing you’re going to do for this recipe is create the glaze. This glaze actually doubles as salad dressing but if you’re like me, you’ll end up using the whole thing on the tenderloin and then having to make a little bit more later (Oops). Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and the maple syrup, stirring it all together until it is mixed in. Bam! Glaze. Reserve half of this mixture for your dressing!

Now, lets cook the meat!

While the original recipe calls for a grill, I decided to use our standalone electric skillet mainly because we only have a little George Foreman panini style grill and it just wasn’t big enough for these pieces of pork. Preheat the skillet to medium heat, greasing the bottom of the pan with a little bit of olive oil and then put in your tenderloins. Pour half of the glaze over the one side of the meat, leaving it to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip the meat and pour the rest of the dressing on. Cover and leave for 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked thoroughly.

These times are mostly guesstimates so just keep an eye on your pork!


You’ll notice I have two pork tenderloins in the picture above but that’s just because I was meal prepping that day. The other tenderloin (and some of the one of the salad to be honest) went into meals with roasted veggies (not a bad idea if you’re looking to get multiple meals done at once).

With your pork all glazed and cooked up, you can start to cut it up into bite sized pieces for your salad but before you do this, cut up your nectarines into slices and place them into the warm skillet. They’ll cook up and take on some of the leftover flavours from the pork which makes them d-licious.

While your nectarines cook up, cut up the pork and the red onion, put it together with your salad greens and then finally top the salad with the warm nectarines and the reserved of the maple vinaigrette. Simple as can be, and now it’s time to eat!

I will be straightforward with you all: I don’t typically like salads as a meal. I wish I was more into them. There are some tasty salad recipes out there but for the most part in my opinion leafy greens, no matter what is amongst them, should be reserved for side dishes. Or dumped in the trash altogether.

This was a nice exception.

The pork made the salad completely filling as a full meal (even for Matt) but it was the nectarines that actually stole the show. They mixed well with the maple syrup flavours in the dressing and they were particularly delicious warmed up. I would make this recipe again, and not just as a side dish. Good job salad, you did alright for yoursef.

So there you have it, another Tasty Tuesday under our belts which leaves me with just one question: what are you cooking this week?

Original Recipe Credit: MYRECIPES EASY MEAL MAKER by MYRECIPES

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Tasty Tuesday – Ham & Egg Roll Ups

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’m not a big fan of eggs but unfortunately eggs are one of those great sources of protein that are pretty easy to work with and of course they’re a lot cheaper than most meats. Now, I love me some devilled eggs and dipping toast into the yolk of a freshly fried egg is absolute heaven but aside from that I’ve really struggled with this ingredient. Still, it pops up in interesting recipes a lot so I’ve mostly learned to get over my indifference and I’ve found ways to make eggs work for me. Today’s Tasty Tuesday is a feature of one of those Casandra-friendly egg recipes: Ham & Egg Roll Ups.

This is another Facebook video recipe that I watched upon scrolling down my dash and just like last time I did a Facebook recipe (Apple Stuffed Pork Loin featured here) I completely lost track of the video and kind of had to make these based on memory, making up my own recipe to go along with what I had in the fridge. So that is what I’m going to share with you!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of sliced ham
  • shredded cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • spinach
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • salt, pepper, and whatever seasoning tickles your fancy

*I made these back in January so I’m not exactly sure on quantities

Directions

The first thing you’ll want to do is scramble your eggs. You can use a little bit of milk to make them extra fluffy but since I had none on hand I just went with it. After the eggs had cooked up a little bit I threw two handfuls of spinach on top to cook down with the eggs. Season as preferred. While the eggs were cooking I preheated the oven to 375, chopped up my bell pepper and shredded a little bit of cheese just to move the process along quicker.

Once the eggs are cooked take 1 or 2 slices of ham (depending on the thickness of the cut) and lay them out. Place two spoonfuls of the scrambled eggs and spinach onto one side of the ham in a line, leaving a bit of an edge to use for rolling. Sprinkled a bit of cheese and throw some of the chopped bell peppers in and then roll away. Place the roll up into a small pan and then continue the process until you run out of ham or eggs.

With the roll ups squished together in a pan they’re ready for the oven! Throw them in and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve!

These little roll ups are of course low-carb and high-protein which is what most of my recipes tend to be. You could pair these with some chopped up vegetables or a fresh salad and you’d have a complete meal. We had these for breakfast and since my breakfasts tend to be smaller I didn’t worry about adding sides. This was a quick recipe and while I haven’t yet made it again I definitely would. If you decide to try it let me know what you think!

What have you been making this week? Feel free to share any recipes in the comments below!

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Tasty Tuesday – Squash Lasagna


Happy Valentine’s Day readers! If I had been writing this blog a few years ago, this post would have showcased some delectable dessert (most likely cupcakes) but instead I’m going to use this Tasty Tuesday to promote one of my healthy meal options. That being said, no need to feel guilty if today is cheat day (it is for me) just don’t let it last all week!

Onto the meal: a couple weeks back, my friend Keeragh turned me onto skinnytaste, a blog which provides a wide range of healthy recipes with lots of different options for special diets (low carb, paleo, gluten free, etc.). I’ve never really been a recipe person but I’ve slowly been working on expanding what I know how to cook and unless you have someone teaching you how to make new dishes, you’re going to need a recipe. Since it seems unlikely that Matt’s going to start schooling me in the kitchen, I had to turn to skinnytaste.

Before we get started, you should know something: I don’t lasagna. It’s too much marinara, I don’t like the noodles and unless you cover it in a lot of extra cheese I’m just not into it. The only lasagna I’ve ever really liked is the seafood one with alfredo sauce that you can get at Nofrills. Despite all that, I saw the Noodle-less Butternut Sausage Lasagna on skinnytaste and I become immediately intrigued. I’m a big squash fan in general and this dish definitely looked divine (mine may not look as pretty but it still tastes great)

After skimming the ingredients and the instructions I made a plan on how to make my own version my cutting away some of the ingredients. On my first try I kept it to 4 ingredients (marinara, squash, cheese, and ground beef) and once it turned out alright I decided to try the recipe again in order to share it with you but I added a few things.

For my version of the Squash Lasagna you will need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 250 grams of ground beef (approximately)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 jar of marinara / pasta sauce (approximately)
  • 100 grams of ricotta cheese (approximately)
  • 50 grams of cheddar or mozzarella cheese (optional)

First things first, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, the first bit of food prep you’re going to do is peel the squash. Yep, peel it. I had never done this before and thought it sounded weird (not to mention awkward to do) but it’s not quite as difficult as I thought it would be. It can be a bit slippery once you’ve peeled enough of it so just make sure you hold on tight.

Once the skin is off of your squash begin to cut even discs from the skinny end towards the bigger end. These discs are going to serve in place of the pasta. I’d suggest not making them too thin so your lasagna will actually hold together but you don’t want to go too thick either because you’ll need enough to do at least two layers (8 pieces in my case).


I cut my slices a little thick this time around so I didn’t have enough to do three layers like I did the first time so instead I just did two and cut up the additional squash including the unused end so I could roast it up for my other meals. No need to waste it!

So next up you’re going to begin layering your lasagna. First, cover the bottom of a glass pan with your squash slices. You’re going to cover these slices with half the browned beef, half of the bell pepper (chopped), half the ricotta cheese, and half the pasta sauce. This is assuming you’re only doing 2 layers like I am, you could split them into thirds if you cut your squash slices thinner. You can also add a bit of shredded cheddar or mozzarella is you’re feeling extra cheesy. After that you’ll put your next layer of squash on top and repeat the process until you’re out of ingredients.


Throw this beautiful pan of goodness into the oven and set a timer for 45 minutes. After the time is up stick a fork in the dish to make sure you can pierce through the squash (if you can’t, return the dish to the oven and check in 10 minute intervals). All that is left is to dish it out or pack it up for later!

I love this dish so much I’m planning on making it again this weekend when Matt’s parents come down for the Marlie’s game we gifted them for Christmas. What meals are you loving right now? Trying anything new? I’m always down to check new things out so if you’ve written a post about it please drop me a link in the comments!

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Tasty Tuesday – Apple Stuffed Pork Loin

Hello everyone! It’s time for another Tasty Tuesday, this one’s coming to you a little later than normal because I wanted to wait until I actually ate some of it before sharing it. You know, just in case it turned out horrible and I was left to write a totally different blog post.

I’ve searched up and down for the video on Facebook that this recipe was inspired by but I can’t seem to find it. From what I recall the video involved making a teriyaki glaze for the pork loin to slow cook in but since I’ve opted for a different glaze, I guess it doesn’t really matter too much whether or not you see the video. Turns out there are lots of different apple stuffed pork recipes out there but this one is mine!

The ingredients you’ll need to replicate this recipe are:

  • Pork tenderloin (2 pieces)
  • 1 apple
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or some other oil to make dressing)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Apple cider vinegar

I’ve never worked with pork tenderloin before so this was a bit of an experiment. I’m really into crockpot recipes right now so I figured I would give it a try. Plus, pork loins were on sale last week at the grocery store we go to so it was budget savvy as well!

To start out, cut up 1 medium sized apple into thick slices. My apple yielded 14 slices (after I had munched on a few of them) so I did 7 slits in each of my pork loins. Then you just slide the apples in the slits (make sure you don’t cut all the way through!) and place these in the bottom of the crockpot.

I did something that I don’t normally do: I measured the ingredients I used! What I used for the glaze is a homemade salad dressing that I make all the time but rather than just throw it together I actually measured it out just in case anyone here wants to try this recipe for themselves.

The dressing is based off of one from Walt Disney World. A couple years back we had lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern and tried the Colony Salad which you can check out here. As far as salads go it was one of the best I’ve ever had so when we got home we looked up the recipe on All Ears since they’re recipes for Disney Theme Parks food are pretty on point. I use this dressing a lot when I’m in the mood for salads, it’s low calorie and really simple to make.

I don’t actually use the full recipe all the time and in this case I brought it down to four ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (canola, olive, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

If you check out the recipe on All Ears you’ll see they use more oil than vinegar but I prefer the sharp taste the vinegar gives it over the oil so I’ve switched things around. Plus I like the thinner consistency but I’m sure it would be good either way!

Once the dressing was made I poured it over the two pork loins, slapped the lid on the crockpot and left it on low for 8 hours. The smell of the apples and the vinegar really permeated the room whenever I lifted the lid to check and I was dying to have a taste of it all day.

Now after having more than just a tiny bite after packing it away, I’m pleased to say it turned out awesome! It’s got a sharpness to it from the dressing and the slow cooker made the meat nice and tender. It shreds apart really nicely but also has a wonderful crispy outside. Definitely a recipe I suggest and one I’ll probably end up making again!

What have you been making lately? Please feel free to share any food posts you’ve made recently and I’ll be sure to check them out!

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