Sambal Chili and Garlic Chicken

Insanely easy and flavourful chicken marinade.

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Ok guys we eat a lot of chicken in my house. I’m sure you do to! It’s just such an easy, healthy and affordable protein. I’m a chicken breast fan, but my husband is partial to thighs. Since he’s such a dark meat fan I’ve had to figure out ways to prepare them that keep us both happy. I only eat chicken thighs if they are smothered in sauce or marinated and super tender! I’ve got a few favourites in my repertoire. I’ve shared how I make BBQ chicken with chicken thighs before. Today I’m sharing an asian inspired marinade.

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This marinade is one of my favourites. What I love about it is not only does it taste delicious but it has just enough sugar and sweetness to caramelize on the chicken. It creates the best crispy outside and a tender delicious chicken. So what’s in this marinade?

  • Soy Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Brown Sugar
  • Sambal Oelek

Most of these things you probably have in your pantry except the Sambal Oelek. It’s an Indonesian chili paste. I love it because it’s not too hot and has an amazing flavour. It’s available at most grocery stores in the asian food section (next to the Sriracha!).

So give this marinade a try. I promise this will give improve your weeknight chicken dinner!

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Sambal Chili and Garlic Chicken Marinade

Yields: 1 Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce (I like low sodium)
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Sambal Oelek
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tsp Fresh Ginger
  • 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

Directions:

Roughly chop ginger and garlic and to a small bowl. Add the remainder of the ingredients to the bowl. Whisk to combine. Place chicken in an air tight container or zipper bag. Cover with marinade and place in the fridge. Marinade for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.


Spaghetti & Meatballs

Flavour packed meatballs smothered in tomato sauce served on top of spaghetti.

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I am constantly searching for dinner ideas that can be made ahead and frozen. Freezer meals save me during the week. I love spaghetti and meatballs. It’s such a classic comforting meal.

I like a flavour packed and tender meatball. I fill my meatballs with ground beef, sausage, herbs and parmesan cheese. They are baked not fried. I like to bake mine on a wire rack so that excess fat can be rendered off. This makes the meatballs really tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

This recipe makes 24 meatballs, so I freeze what we won’t eat and pull the meatballs out portion by portion as we need them. It’s perfect since I always have spaghetti and pasta sauce on hand. Add a side salad and you have a complete meal in 20 minutes. I don’t know about you but I need more meals like this in my life!

As for the sauce. I keep it super simple fresh and flavourful. I like the meatballs to shine in this one. They have such a delicious flavour I didn’t want a heavy marinara sauce to overpower it. If you want to keep it super simple buy a really good marinara sauce doctor is up with garlic and seasonings, tell everyone it’s a family recipe. But if you have the time make your own sauce… it really is better.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Yields: 24 meatballs

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Milk (Use whatever you have on hand – I used 2%)
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Spicy Italian Sausage, removed from casings

Sauce:

  • 2 28 oz Can Whole Plum Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up!), place a wire rack into the baking sheet. Spray the wire rack with cooking spray. Set

In a large bowl mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, milk, tomato paste, salt, pepper and eggs. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add ground beef and sausage. Gently mix all ingredients until combined (you can use a spoon, but your fingers are best.. I know it’s gross, but worth it!)

Roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls (about 1 ounce each). Place on the prepared wire rack. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauce pan on low. Add garlic to the pan cook for 30 seconds until fragrant and softened. Add tomato paste, heat through for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer sauce over medium low heat for 10 – 15 minutes. Use a potato masher to crush the plum tomatoes. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes.

Once the meatballs are cooked through add them to the sauce. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and toss pasta with tomato sauce.

Serve spaghetti in bowls topped with meatballs. Garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.

Spaghetti and Meatballs - Yum! Classic comfort food!
Spaghetti and Meatballs - Yum! Classic comfort food!

Winter Grain Salad with Glory Dressing

Simple delicious whole food ingredients smothered is the best dressing ever invented.

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Happy Saturday guys! I’m popping on here today to share a staple salad and a dressing that can be used to make just about anything taste delicious! This recipe is actually adapted from a recipe my husband got from an old roommate. Many years ago my husband, then boyfriend made us glory bowls for dinner. It was one of the first dinners he ever cooked for me. At this time I was still living at home and honestly hadn’t cooked much, he was the better cook back then. I watched him prep the ingredients, cook rice, grill chicken and make the most amazing dressing. I was so impressed! Since then his recipe for glory dressing has evolved and the scrape of paper the recipe was written on is scribbled with notes and splattered with soy sauce. Isn’t that a sign of a well loved recipe? I think so.

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The best thing about the recipe I’m sharing today is how customizable it is. Today I’m sharing a simple but hardy salad full of whole grains and delicious vegetables. I’ve added grilled chicken, crispy tofu, sliced steak and soft boiled eggs to this salad to round out the meal. You can also switch up the vegetables, add cucumber and pickled red onion, or ad roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes. The world is your oyster. This is really just a jumping off point for your own creativity!

Now the dressing, it’s made up of olive oil, tahini, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic and sesame oil. I recommend making this dressing in a blender or a magic bullet. You can make it by hand, but I like the magic bullet because it emulsifies the oil and makes the dressing super creamy. Also you can skip the step of chopping garlic, because lets be honest chopping garlic is the worst!

Once the dressing is made pick your favourite grain and veggies toppings, assemble and smother with dressing. You won’t regret it!

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Winter Grain Salad with Glory Dressing

Yields: 2 cups dressing & 4 salad bowls

Salads:

  • 3 cups Brown Rice, cooked
  • 4 Cups Spring Mix
  • 2 Carrots, raw grated
  • 4 Beets, cooked sliced
  • Optional: chicken, steak, crispy tofu, soft boiled egg

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons Tahini
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

Directions:

Add dressing ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth and emulsified.

Place a bed or rice into bowls or on plates, top with spring mix, sliced beets, grated carrots and optional protein toppings. Drizzle dressing over the salad. Serve immediately.

Dressing keeps up to week in your refrigerator.

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Winter Grain Salad with Glory Dressing - YUM!
Winter Grain Salad with Glory Dressing - YUM!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

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I’ve been trying to cook less during the week. Life is just so busy and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. So I’ve been cooking big batches of food and reheating leftovers. Making up pans of lasagna and enchiladas to get us though busy weeknights. Of course another great time saver is the slow cooker. I will admit I don’t utilize mine as much as I should. I mostly use mine to batch cook soups, stews and sauces. It really is satisfying to come home from work and smell dinner cooking away.

One of my favourite recipes for the slow cooker is vegetarian chili. I love this recipe because it’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s flavourful. This recipe doesn’t require browning or sautéing. You can literally just dump everything in the slow cooker and let it do it’s thing.

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For this chili recipe all you have to do is chop your vegetables, blend one can of tomatoes and add everything to the slow cooker. It really is crazy how simple that is.

Once your chili is ready it’s time to add toppings! I like sour cream, cheddar cheese and green onion. Tortilla chips or Fritos (YUM!) are also great on top. I also like to serve my chili with a bun or some cornbread to round out the meal.

It’s seriously so delicious and couldn’t be easier! It also screams fall and football Sundays. I love throwing all the ingredients in the slow cooker running my Sunday errands, going on our weekly walk and coming home to a perfect Sunday dinner. A perfect Sunday dinner that makes enough leftovers for Monday and even more for your freezer! I mean isn’t that what we all need?

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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 White Onion, diced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, diced
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Chipotle in Adobo Sauce, chopped
  • 2 Tsp Adobo Sauce
  • 2 15 oz Cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz Can Red Kidney Beans, rinsed
  • 1 15 oz Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 15 oz Can Pinto Beans, rinsed
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop onion, carrots, celery, red pepper, garlic and chipotle pepper. Add to the slow cooker. Pulse one can of the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until tomatoes break down and the mixture is thick. Add the pulsed tomatoes and the can of un pulsed tomatoes to slow cooker. Drain and rinse kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans. Add beans and corn to the slow cooker. Add vegetable broth, adobe sauce, chili powder and cumin to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours. Before serving add salt and pepper if needed.

 

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Korean BBQ Beef

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My favourite thing to order at our local Korean restaurant is BBQ beef. I love to make it at home because ground beef is cheap, it’s delicious and only takes 20 minutes to make. This recipe has become a weeknight staple in my house.

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The sauce for the beef is made of just a few simple staples. Soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. It seriously could not be simpler. I like to serve this over rice with a side of steamed snap peas.

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Korean Beef

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Tsp Grated Ginger
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 Green Onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

In a small bowl mix together sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic. Heat a nonstick fry pan over medium high heat. Brown beef in until cooked through, drain excess fat. Add sauce and green onions to the pan and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Adapted from, Damn Delicious

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