Quesadillas

I love sandwiches. And really, aren’t quesadillas just a flat sandwich? If you ask me, they’re the best kind. Hot and gooey on the inside, crisp and salty on the outside. Especially along the edges where the cheese escapes and browns a little in the pan. I always eat that bit first.

My favourite way to make these is in a frying pan with butter, but I do try to make healthier choices when I can. So here’s an easy and healthy option for baking the quesadilla that will save you some calories but still give you the crispy and gooey combination that makes this dish so good.Quesadilla 2

I usually use leftover roasted chicken, but sometimes I use thinly sliced breaded chicken breast for the kids.

Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • Tortillas (I use whole wheat)
  • Roasted Chicken, shredded
  • Cheddar, grated (or cheese of your choice)
  • Green Onions, sliced
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole and salsa for dipping

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° degrees.

Quesadilla 1

Place one tortilla on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
Top with sour cream, cooked chicken, cheddar, green onion.
Lay remaining tortilla on top.

Place a second layer of parchment paper then another baking sheet on top of the assembled quesadilla. Use a weight to help press it down. I use my dutch oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.

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Character Inspirations

About a month or so ago, right in the middle of some revisions from hell, I got stuck. I think what drove me crazy was the fact that I knew exactly what I needed to fix. I just didn’t know how to do it. Or anything I’d write sounded awful as I read it back, over and over, until I scrapped most of my new words and started again. My characters needed more, well, everything. Layers, depth, warmth. You name it, my characters lacked it.

Then, while “researching” online as we all do, I came across Polyvore. That’s when I felt it. A flutter of excitement starting in my chest, spreading out until I couldn’t scroll through the options fast enough. The reason I became stuck in the first place was because I couldn’t figure out my heroine’s next step. On this website, I took a minute to revisit Alyssa. I guess it was kind of like filling out those character questionnaires before starting your story.

Back to Work - Alyssa

Only this time, I woke up with my character in the morning. Decided how she might dress. How would she style her hair. What colours would she choose?

I know this all seems really superficial, but it’s not. For example, below you’ll find a character sketch I created for Alyssa and Max’s first run in after years apart. Every choice I made helped me piece together Alyssa bit by bit.

Her blouse and skirt are sexy but at the same time modest. She’s still a little uneasy in her new life, but the structured clothes make her feel like she’s in control. Even though she’s panicking on the inside.

So then I thought, “Hm. I can do this with all my characters, even the secondary ones.”

Next came Emma…and then Elaine.

It’s surprising where inspiration hides from you sometimes. I hope you can always find yours.

Paper Wrapped Corn on the Cob

This is more of a helpful tip than a recipe, but I think it’s worth sharing. My kids love corn on the cob. Yes it’s really simple to make, but honestly, sometimes I feel like it takes so long. Waiting for the water to boil, then another ten minutes to cook.

I’m probably being ridiculous, but there are days where every minute counts and I’d much rather spend my time eating than cooking.

This quick steam technique gets the food on the table in four minutes. The best part, they don’t even have the time to ask, “Mom, is it ready yet?”. Doesn’t get better than that! Well, for me anyway 😉Paper Wrapped Corn

Paper Towel Wrapped Corn on the Cob

First, pull the husk and silk away from the cob, but don’t break it off at the end. Return the husk and silk back in place before wrapping the individual corn in paper towel. Make sure its completely covered with the ends tucked in so the corn steams inside the husk.

Microwave for four minutes.

Be careful when opening the package. The steam gets trapped inside, releases quickly and can burn your fingers. I use the papertowel to grab the husk and pull it away. I can’t say it enough, this gets really hot.

Season with butter and salt and you’re done!

Onion and Tomato Casserole with Whole Roasted Garlic

Have you every been in the mood for a thick, luscious tomato sauce? Something that’s been simmering on the stove for hours and hours, filling the house with aromas that call your entire family to the table? Well, this will get you those wonderful flavours in a fraction of the time.Onion and Tomato

Sliced onions and tomatoes baked in the oven until they break down into a gorgeous golden and cherry red mess. But don’t let the appearance fool you. They taste rich and satisfying especially when piled onto a thick slice of crusty Italian bread.

Just to bump it up a notch, I like to roast whole heads of garlic in the oven to spread over the bread.

Onion and Tomato Casserole
Adapted from Martha Stewart – Everyday Food, May 2011
Ingredients
  • 4 large tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (or I sometimes use cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, arrange tomatoes and onions in rows, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tomatoes are lightly browned and onions are tender, about 45 minutes.
Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil and sprinkle the topping over the casserole. Bake for another five minutes or until topping is golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Whole Roasted Garlic

Garlic Source The Food Network, 2006, Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the top third of the garlic head off so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place the garlic head, unpeeled, into a small ovenproof dish and drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more, until garlic is soft and golden brown.
Serve with toasted Italian bread.

Naan and Whatever Is Left In My Fridge

Naan and Pulled PorkOkay, I’m having one of those nights. I’m hungry. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for. It’s the end of my (grocery) week and I have no clue what I’m making for dinner. I’m sure most of you have experienced this before. It’s like doing your groceries on an empty stomach. Never a good idea. You always come back with five frozen pizzas, a massive jar of Nutella, some insanely sugary cereal and whatever else you happened to walk by.

Once again, I’m saved by one of the blogs I’m following. This time my thanks goes to Go Bake Yourself. She happened to review an Indian restaurant she recently visited. Looking at all the tempting photos of her food I stalled on the one of the Naan Bread. No joke, my brain seriously said “Mmmmm…Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.” That’s what happens on an empty stomach, people.

I thought, “Oooh! I have some on my counter!” And then, “What the heck do I put on it?” Because although I probably would eat it on the couch while watching television, my family seems to want something more substantial.

Sigh. Fine. *Rustles through freezer* How happy am I to find a freezer bag of pulled pork? Ecstatic, because my workload just dropped by ninety percent. Woo! By the way, I make my pulled pork in the exact same way, seasonings and all, as my blade roast.

The great thing about this kind of meal is that you can replace the meat with almost anything you like. Shredded chicken breast, sliced steak, hell I’d go to far as to say grilled and sliced Portobello mushrooms. Why not? Check your refrigerator, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with when you’re hungry enough 🙂

So here’s the big recipe today, I listed the ingredients the way I layered them from bottom to top. Adjust the quantities based on how many sandwiches you need to make.

Pulled Pork on Naan Bread

Ingredients

  • Naan Bread
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Pulled Pork or Shredded Chicken or Sliced Steak, etc…you get where I’m going with this 😉
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Cheddar (or your preferred cheese), grated
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Wedge of Lime, optional

Directions

Pile everything on one side of the bread, squeeze a bit of lime juice on top, fold over and enjoy.

A Little Scattered Today

These toes. I’ve munched on them at least a hundred times today. There are about twenty items on my todo list today and they’re all important.

Only, I’m not working on any of them. Instead I’ve been cuddling my twenty-month old. He doesn’t know why and while he giggles most of the time he’s getting to that “Mommy, stop with the kisses, I want to play with my truck.” place.

Last night too. I read my older boy his bedtime stories. Same as every night but this time with a few more hugs at the end. Until finally between cuddles and squeezes I heard “Mommy, it’s time to get papa. I have to tell him goodnight.”

There’s so much to take care of today, but I can’t. I just keep thinking about yesterday. That little boy waiting at the finish line to hug his dad. My heart hurts.