Christmas Leftover Winter Ragu

Winter Ragu – Candy Coated Culinista

Have leftover Christmas meat and looking for a way to use it up. Make this winter ragu.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time:
Cook Time: 2 hours
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Ingredients
• 1 red onion
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 carrot
• 1 leek
• 1 stalk of celery
• 1 sprig fresh rosemary
• Olive oil
• 1 fresh bay leaf
• ¾ cup + 5 tsp Chianti
• 2 x 14oz can of plum tomatoes
• 14oz leftover cooked meat
• Extra virgin olive oil

Assembly
1. Peel onion, garlic, carrot, wash and trim leek with celery and pick rosemary leaves and
2. Finely chop all adding to a large casserole dish over medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a bay leaf.
3. Cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.
4. Now turn heat up to high and add in wine and let cook down for a few minutes and add tomatoes.
5. Fill each can half way up with water and swirl around and pour into pan.
6. Roughly chop or tear leftover meat, stir well and bring to a boil; breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
7. Reduce down to low heat and continue to simmer for 1 hour to 1 and a half hours, or until thick.
8. Taste and season with salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil to finish.
9. Serve with pasta, rice, polenta, potatoes or chunks of crusty bread for dipping.

Tips
• Use leftover meat of if Christmas was so good there were no leftovers, then use fresh ground beef.
• Serve with fried or creamy polenta, pasta or rice.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I swapped out the wine for de-alcholized wine and it tasted just as rich and bold and the hue was a treat. Season with salt and pepper at the end; giving the ragu time to marry completely first.

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Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce – Candy Coated Culinista

My love of Greek food never fades and yet I have never made chicken souvlaki at home.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Tzatziki Sauce

• 1 cup Greek Yoghurt
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 clove garlic
• ¼ of English Cucumber
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
Chicken Souvlaki
• 3 chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp sea salt
• Black pepper, to taste
• Tomatoes
• English cucumber
• Red onion
• Kalamata olives
• Romaine lettuce
• Mozzarella cheese
• 6 Greek pitas

Assembly
Tzatziki Sauce

1. In a food processor add yoghurt, lemon, garlic, cucumber, sea salt, dill and pepper and blend.
2. Pour into a container and let chill.
Chicken Souvlaki
1. Make marinade of lemon juice, garlic, oregano, sea salt and black pepper.
2. Cut chicken breasts into cubes and pour marinade over top and place in fridge for 3 hours to marinate.
3. Using a cast iron skillet pour extra virgin olive oil into pan and cook chicken cubes, 3 minutes per side or until cooked through thoroughly.
4. Serve pitas warmed and add toppings along with tzatziki and mozzarella.

Tips
• Tzatziki can keep for a few days.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a messy but delicious meal and I’ve never had a chicken souvlaki that wasn’t messy so I know I did this right. I especially loved the sauce that was extra garlicky and had a wonderful kick. The chicken was moist and succulent.

Romanesco Steaks with Romesco

Romanesco Steaks with Romesco Sauce – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s BBQ season; but what about all on you vegans and vegetarians. Here is one dish that is substantial and you won’t be envious that you aren’t apart of the BBQ season.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 8-10 min. per side
Difficulty level is: Easy

Inspired by: Food 52 Any Night Grilling

Ingredients
• 1 head of Romanesco
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 2 large red bell peppers, halved, cored and seeded
• 2 fresh chilies
• ½ red onion, cut into thick wedges
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 2 plum tomatoes, halved
• ¼ cup skinned roasted hazelnuts or almonds
• 1 tsp sherry vinegar, plus more as desired
• 2 tbsp freshly chopped thyme or marjoram leaves
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 clove garlic or 1 tsp smoked garlic (from book)
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Ground black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Remove leaves and trim stem of the Romanesco leaving the core intact.
2. Place on a cutting board and slice in half.
3. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Prepare charcoal grill to medium-high heat and coat the gill pan with extra virgin olive oil over high heat using a paper towel. If you are using a grill basket allow to heat for 5 minutes prior to use.
5. In a bowl lightly toss bell peppers, chilies and onions in olive oil.
6. Place over grill on in grill basket turning and rotating for 6 to 7 minutes for the onions and continue to char the red peppers.
7. Cover peppers in a kitchen towel (to make it easier to remove the skin)
8. Grill tomatoes and when cooled enough remove skin also.
9. Using a food processor add peppers, chilies, onion, tomato along with nuts, thyme and paprika and salt into a thick puree. Drizzle in olive oil as you go.
10. Grill Romanesco rotating them to prevent excessive charring. The exterior should be just tender.
11. Serve in a pool of the romesco sauce and sprinkle with flaky salt id desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The original recipe called foe cauliflower; which I’m not fond of. I did plan on using cauliflower; but I came across the Romanesco a cousin to the cauliflower and said maybe this is better. The sauce was also supposed to be a harissa; but another recipe I made had way too much sauce left over and I hate wasting. So this is how I got here; I loved it, a red sauce is very complimentary to the green veg and it all worked out well. Romanesco still tastes like cauliflower to me and it was just ok.

Asparagus & String Beans with Smoky Romesco

Asparagus & String Beans with Smoky Romesco – Candy Coated Culinista

Having a BBQ? Try this interesting grilled appetizer for your guests.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Food 52 Any Night Grilling

Ingredients
• 2 bunches asparagus
• 1 pound, green, purple or yellow wax beans (preferably a combination)
• 1 thick slice country style bread
• 2 large red bell peppers, halved, cored and seeded
• 2 fresno chilies
• ½ red onion, cut into thick wedges
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 2 plum tomatoes, halved
• ¼ cup skinned roasted hazelnuts or almonds
• 1 tsp sherry vinegar, plus more as desired
• 2 tbsp freshly chopped thyme or marjoram leaves
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 clove garlic or 1 tsp smoked garlic (from book)
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Ground black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Prepare charcoal grill to medium-high heat and coat the gill pan with extra virgin olive oil over high heat using a paper towel. If you are using a grill basket allow to heat for 10 minutes prior to use.
2. Snap ends of asparagus and trim beans and set aside.
3. Grill the bread over direct heat until grill marks appear, about one minute per side.
4. In a bowl lightly toss bell peppers, chilies and onions in olive oil.
5. Place over grill on in grill basket turning and rotating for 6 to 7 minutes for the onions and continue to char the red peppers.
6. Cover peppers in a kitchen towel (to make it easier to remove the skin)
7. Grill tomatoes and when cooled enough remove skin also.
8. Using a food processor add peppers, chilies, onion, tomato along with nuts, thyme and paprika and salt into a thick puree. Drizzle in olive oil as you go.
9. Grill asparagus and beans and serve warm or at room temperature with romesco.

Tips
• Sprinkle some flaky finishing salt and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipes was super simple and very easy to complete. The only thing here is you have to be a fan of romesco. I had heard of romesco before; but never had tried or made it. It reminds me of a salsa or pesto of sorts. Typically it is served with meat or fish; but today it’s served with grilled veggies and totally works. I added some finishing salt and it really rounded out the taste of the veggies.

S is for … Soba Noodle Salad

S is for … Soba Noodle Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Buckwheat noodles I wonder how these taste? This cold Soba noodle salad is a vegans or vegetarian heaven; but for me I was looking for the protein.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 7 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad

• 2 bundles of soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
• Half a small red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 medium carrots, shredded
• ½ English cucumber, julienned
• Handful of spinach
Dressing
• 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
• 1 tbsp honey
• 3 tbsp anchovy or fish sauce
Garnish
• 1 sprig green onion, chopped
• Handful of peanuts, chopped

Assembly
1. Using a medium saucepan bring water to a boil and widely spread one bunch of soba noodles in water.
2. Cook in the boiling water for seven minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile prepare the red onion, carrots, English cucumber and spinach and set aside in a bowl.
4. In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together.
5. Once the soba noodles are cooked, drain and rinse in cold water three times and plate.
6. Place the vegetables on top and then drizzle with dressing.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
My first thoughts were, this is so tasty but near the end I was thinking, this is in need of some protein like chicken. The flavours were there, but for a meat lover like me I still wanted some protein.

Heirloom Tomato & Purple Pepper Salad with Marinated Onions

Heirloom Tomato & Purple Pepper Salad with Marinated Onions – Candy Coated Culinista

Another trip to the Farmer’s Market with wonderful results.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr. to
Difficulty level is: Easy

Marinated Onions slightly altered from No Crumbs Left

Ingredients
Marinated Onions

• 1 medium red onion, sliced
• ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp dried basil
• Chives, small bundle finely chopped
• 1 tbsp fresh thyme
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Heirloom Salad
• Heirloom grape tomatoes, sliced
• Heirloom Purple peppers, sliced
• Red bell peppers, sliced

Assembly
Marinated Onions

1. Thinly slice onions and place in a small bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix oil and vinegar and herbs and pour over onion.
3. Ensure the onions are submerged and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Heirloom Salad
1. Slice grape tomatoes in half and slice peppers, keeping their full shape.
2. Place tomatoes and peppers along with onions (not including the marinated oil) on a platter and serve.

Tips
• Marinated onions keeps for two days unrefrigerated.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The original recipe called for just oregano and the use of red wine vinegar; but I had just used both these up. (just my luck) so I worked with what was in my pantry. I didn’t slice the onion as thinly as I hoped; but I still turned out great.

Zucchini & Fennel Spinach Pesto Salad

Zucchini Fennel & Spinach Pesto Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

I was given the hugest Zucchini I have ever seen from a co-workers garden and now. I could cradle the thing like a new born baby if that give you any indication of size. Since I clearly have zucchini for the week and for weeknight dinner with friends I figured a new recipe was in order.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Pesto

• 1/2 cup fresh basil
• 1 cup fresh spinach packed
• 2 tbsp pine nuts
• 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
• 2 clove garlic, rough chop
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salad
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
• ½ small fennel, thinly sliced
• 4 medium sized zucchini, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
• ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• ¼ Yellow bell pepper, diced
• ¼ Orange bell pepper, diced

Tips
• Serve with grilled chicken breast for added protein and pour leftover pesto sauce over top of the chicken breast.

Assembly
Pesto

1. In a food processor place basil, spinach, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and blend until finely chopped.
2. With the machine running pour in the extra virgin olive oil until pesto is uniform and set aside.
3. Squeeze lemon juice at the end and stir in with a spoon.
Salad
1. Slice red onion..
2. Using a mandolin slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons and fennel thinly into strips.
3. Halve the grape tomatoes and dice yellow and orange bell pepper.
4. Place all ingredients into a bowl add pesto and incorporate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This salad was delicious and flavourful. I was surprised how tasty the spinach pesto was considering I couldn’t find arugula at the supermarket. I even went to the expensive fancy grocer to collect it and there was no arugula to be found. Considering the ingredients for this recipe aren’t the cheapest and I got the zucchini for free this would be perfect for a dinner party or with guests and these are some quality ingredients being used; don’t save it just for yourself.

Garden Zucchini – Candy Coated Culinista

Mango Salad

Mango Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Mango salad has always been a favourite of mine since I first tasted it many years back being surrounded by so many Filipino co-workers. Back then I thought mango salad was only a Filipino thing; but since I have learned it is also a Thai dish and this is the probably the only way you can get me to have chilies in anything I consume.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 mangoes, sliced into match sticks can be green or a little more ripe, your preference
• ¼ red bell pepper, sliced
• ¼ green bell pepper, sliced
• 1/2 medium red onion. Sliced
• Cilantro, handful
• 3 leaves of romaine or a leafy lettuce, chopped
• 1 green onion, chopped
• Freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
• Sweet Thai chili sauce, to taste

Assembly
1. Prep all the vegetable & fruit and place into a large bowl.
2. Squeeze in lime juice and add sweet chili Thai sauce and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Sweet, spicy and full of mangoes; I mean how can you go wrong. Whether you prefer the mango more green or a little more ripe it’s just a great salad with a slight kick.

Spring Asparagus Medley

Spring Asparagus Medley – Candy Coated Culinista

An easy peasy evening spring vegetable medley to accompany a chicken or beef dish.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
• 20 Asparagus; hard bottoms cut off
• 5 button mushrooms, sliced
• 10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
• ½ small red onion, sliced
• Celery salt, to taste

Assembly
1. In a large frying pan pour olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add asparagus, mushrooms. Tomatoes, red onion and fry for 5 minutes until tender.
3. Add celery salt.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
A simple yet satisfying spring dish. This would be a great side dish for a springtime BBQ. Crunchy asparagus, and softened mushrooms, tomatoes and onions is a great combination.

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp lemon juice
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp agave nectar
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 small honeydew melon, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
• 1 golden kiwi, halved and sliced
• ½ English cucumber, cut into chunks
• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 cup black olives, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp finely chopped dill
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Assembly
1. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper until emulsified.
2. In a large bowl add honey dew, golden kiwi, English cucumber, red onion, black olives and dill.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad and mix.
4. Finally top with crumbled feta cheese and give one last quick mix and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of my most creative salads to date. The combination of fruits and vegetables and it being both salty and sweet was very delicious. I would make this for a dinner party in a heartbeat.

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