Vinegar Slaw and Tuna Salad Sandwiches

The past two weeks have flown by and at the same time seemed endless. My husband’s been traveling, work has been insane, the kids forgot how to relax with the warmer weather and we’re planning a move. My energy levels haven’t been this low since the kids went through their newborn months. All this time I was riddled with guilt that I wasn’t keeping up my blog. Hopefully I haven’t completely alienated you.

Slaw

I’ve had this post on my mind almost the entire time I’ve been missing. The cravings started with a visit to Sassy Earl Grey and the hunt for her post on homemade pita bread.

Unfortunately my battle with yeast recipes continues (I’ll share my disastrous Mother’s Day Breakfast Bun recipe with you another time…you know, for your amusement!) so I haven’t tried to make my own pita bread yet. But I will! It might take me a few tries before they actually turn out edible but I’ll do it!

With everything that’s been going on lately, I’d been in the mood for a sandwich. Nothing fancy or complicated. Something I could throw together and to be honest something comforting. I’ve always been obsessed with sandwiches. I was never happier than when I opened my lunch bag to find my mother had packed a sandwich for lunch. Especially a tuna sandwich. To this day, I swear, no one makes a tuna sandwich like my mom) Now you’re probably thinking, “Who cares? It’s just a sandwich.” But to me, it feels like home.

Tuna Sandwich

Vinegar and Oil Coleslaw
Adapted from Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1 sack, 16 ounces, shredded cabbage mix for slaw salads
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and pepper

Directions
Mix vinegar and sugar. Add oil. Add cabbage to dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss with fingers to combine. Adjust seasoning. Let stand 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve.

Tuna

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of olive oil-packed tuna
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • 4 green onions sliced, whites and light green parts only
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Boston Lettuce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pita Bread (or your favourite bun!)

Directions
Combine tuna, cucumber, green onion, mayonnaise in a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile half the mixture into each sandwich with a few leaves of Boston lettuce.

I don’t know why, but the last time we had this I added a few Ms. Vicky’s Salt and Vinegar chips and some of the coleslaw into my sandwich. The added crunch was great!

Bite

Udon Noodle Soup with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

So, I’m completely addicted to this soup. With summer around the corner, I’m getting a little worried. I’m not a huge fan of soup in the summer, but there’s something about this one. I think I can actually see myself eating it year-round.

The plan was to post my version of Bok Choy and Mushroom Soup, which I typically make with rice noodles. One visit to the Cured by Bacon blog and I’m realising how much better my soup can be. First the chili oil…then a Kaffir lime leaf…by the time I hit poached egg I was done for. I had already planned to substitute the rice noodles for udon so reading his post was perfect timing.

Udon 1

Note: I couldn’t find the lime leaf so I used the zest of one lime instead. It still infused the lime flavour nicely.

Udon Noodle Soup with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
Adapted from Cured by Bacon

Ingredients

  • 3 oz udon noodles
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup of bok choy, sliced thick
  • 1 lime, zest and sliced into wedges
  • ½ cup sliced button mushrooms
  • ½ cup sliced shitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 cube of fresh ginger (peeled 1″ square piece)
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions

In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the sesame oil up to a shimmer on medium high heat. Toss in cube of ginger, and the two cloves of crushed (but still whole) garlic.
After cooking for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce and throw in the lime zest. Stir for another minute.

Udon and Mushroom Soup

Next, toss in the mushrooms and bok choy and coat them thoroughly in the garlic oil. Sauté until softened about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Once brought to a simmer, place in the package of udon noodles and cook thoroughly at a low boil for approximately 10 minutes, or until noodles are fully cooked and slippery. Turn of the heat and portion out into your bowl(s), being careful not to include the garlic or ginger.

Top each bowl of udon noodle soup with a pinch of chopped cilantro, a teaspoon or more of chili oil (to taste) and one poached egg.

Poached Egg
From Cured by Bacon

This was my first ever poached egg! She wasn’t too pretty but I’m still proud that I managed to keep the fragile egg intact until I placed it over my soup noodles.

Poached Egg3

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Directions

In a 2 quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

Crack an egg into a bowl, once assured that the yolk has not broken and that no shells have dropped in, gently slide the raw egg into the slightly simmering water.

There will be excess whites that float to the top and essentially separate from the poached egg party, and that’s okay, you didn’t want them to come anyways.

Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the egg out of the water after the whites have set, but the yolk is still giggly and runny inside. Once ready, using the same slotted spoon, remove the poached egg and set on a dry paper towel for the white to continue to set and the egg to dry a bit after its bath.

When the rest of the udon noodle soup is ready, place the egg on top and dig in. The yolk will add a rich creamy element to the fresh bright broth.

Poached Egg2Poached Egg4

Taco Salad

I have to admit I had my doubts about this one. There are a lot of steps and in the end it’s still just a salad right? Well, I’m happy to report that it was worth the work. Most of all I was surprised how awesome the sour cream drizzle was when it blended with the meat mixture. Everything worked so well together and I didn’t even miss the crisp taco shell. I did however toast some Greek pita bread in the oven, cut it into wedges to serve along side.Taco Salad

Believe it or not, with all the steps noted below, I didn’t include a few items because I figured I didn’t need them. So if anyone is interested, just click on the original link to the recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry and there are additional recipes for Chunky Avocado Salsa and Tortilla Bowls.

Taco Salad
Adapted from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry via Food Network Canada

This is a multi-step recipe. Spiced sour cream may be made a day in advance, but the taco beef is best if made fresh.

Ingredients

Taco Beef

  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Spiced Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated lime zest

Salad

  • 12 cups chopped romaine or mixed lettuces
  • 1 cup canned corn, drained
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 cup packed shredded light sharp (old) cheddar cheese (4 oz/113 g)
  • 3-4 Green Onions, sliced

Taco SeasoningTaco Seasoning

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Taco Beef
Cook beef, onions, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeno in a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir often and break up large pieces of meat as it cooks. Do not drain. Sprinkle taco seasoning over beef, then add broth and ketchup. Mix well. Reduce heat to medium and let mixture cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Spiced Sour Cream
Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salad
To assemble salad (either individual servings or on a large platter), layer ingredients in the following order: lettuce, hot beef mixture, corn, black beans, cheese, sour cream drizzle, avocado, cheese, sour cream drizzle, green onion.

Taco Seasoning
Makes enough seasoning for this recipe. You may wish to double the recipe and store the leftover seasoning in an air-tight container for future use.

Scallop Po-Boys with Garlic Aioli

I love seafood, but I don’t get to make it too often because my family is picky when it comes to fish (shellfish or otherwise)

I took a chance with this one but my husband ended up loving it! Maybe it had something to do with the frying, or the garlic aioli, but whatever it was…scallops!Scallop Po-Boy

Bay Scallop Po-Boys with Garlic Aioli
Adapted from Everyday Food, July/August 2008

Prepare this New Orleans-style classic with record-breaking speed: Scallops are naturally moist, so you can skip the usual egg in the breading.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound bay scallops, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Directions

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, teaspoon paprika, and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Set spicy mayo aside.

In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, flour, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika; season with salt and pepper. Add scallops, and toss to coat.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Working in two batches, fry scallops, tossing occasionally, until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to a paper-towel-lined plate; season with salt.

Dividing evenly, spread inside of buns with spicy mayo. Top with a lettuce leaf, then scallops. Serve po boys immediately, with lemon wedges.

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

There’s something about the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. I just can’t resist it. I love the way the skin gets all golden and crispy. I place my chicken on a raised roasting rack above a bed of potatoes and carrots. As the chicken roasts they get basted with all the goodness from above until they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside.Roasted Chicken

My husband is so careful. He always chooses the breast meat and peels the skin of his piece. Fine by me, since I’m more that happy to eat the thigh, leg and the golden skin he doesn’t want. Mind you, these days my boys have figured out how great chicken legs are so I haven’t had them in a while, but it’s worth the sacrifice.

Now if only I could get them to eat the roasted vegetables…

Note: When I purchase a smaller chicken, I quarter the lemon to get it to fit inside the cavity. Also, in the original recipe, she indicates 1-1/2 hours cooking time but I’ve always had to leave mine in about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Oven temperatures vary a little, so make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the chicken.

Rosted Chicken and Vegetables
Adapted from Ina Garten – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Beer bottle or Chicken Stock, for basting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions and carrots in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Once the chicken has been in the oven about 30 minutes, baste the chicken and vegetables with a bit of beer (or chicken stock). Move the vegetables around a little, just to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Repeat this process every 20-30 minutes. Once your chicken reaches the desired golden colour tent with foil and continue roasting until cooked through.

Roast the chicken for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

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.

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!