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.

Cast Iron Jerkish Pork Chops with Pineapple & Tomato Salsa

Cast Iron Jerk Pork & Pineapple & Tomato Salsa - Candy Coated Culinista

Cast Iron Jerk Pork & Pineapple & Tomato Salsa – Candy Coated Culinista

Now I may not like Jerk, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know jerk and this is why this recipe is being called Jerkish pork chops and not Jerk pork chops. I’m not Jamaican; however I have many Jamaican friends and I have tasted many a Jerk dish and if I can tolerate this dish and not complain about the spice then it’s well just not the Caribbean Jerk I am accustomed to and perhaps a Canadianized version.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly altered from Chatelaine

Ingredients
Jerk Pork
• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1 tbsp canola oil
• 1/2 tsp all spice
• 1/4 tsp dried thyme
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 2 boneless pork chops
Pineapple & Tomato Salsa
• ½ pineapple, cored & diced
• 1/8 cup red onion, diced
• ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1 tbsp canola oil
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• Pinch of ground cumin

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Preheat cast-iron skillet on high heat.
3. Using a food processor blend jalapeno, lime juice, canola oil, all spice, thyme and salt until well combined.
4. Pour into a bowl and coat pork chops and set aside.
5. In a medium size bowl put pineapple, red onion, tomato, lime juice, canola oil, sea salt, and cumin and toss.
6. Sear pork chops on all sides until a golden crust is achieved.
7. Move pork chops to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
8. Plate and serve

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The original recipe called for grilling the pork, but I didn’t want to use my indoor grill, so I opted for my cast iron skillet and sear the pork on all sides and then baked it the rest of the way through. I found the pork moist and succulent with a touch of heat. I really loved the pineapple salsa and I added some tomatoes as I felt salsa need tomatoes to be called salsa. I will make this recipe again for sure as it’s not well just jerkish.

Skillet Chicken Pepperoni Pizza

Chicken Pepperoni Basil Crustless Pizza - Candy Coated Culinista

Chicken Pepperoni Basil Crustless Pizza – Candy Coated Culinista

This fancier weekend chicken pizza dish is crustless and perfect dish.

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

Ingredients
• 4 skinless chicken breast, cut in half
• Kosher salt
• Black pepper
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp margarine
• 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
• ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 can crushed tomatoes
• Balsamic vinegar
• ½ green pepper, diced
• ½ small red onion, diced
• Handful of basil, chopped
• 100g mozzarella shredded
• 75g pepperoni, sliced
• Handful of whole basil for topping

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Cut chicken breast in half to make them thinner.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a 9” cast-iron skillet, heat oil and margarine over medium-high heat.
5. Add the chicken in a single layer and sear until both sides are brown and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
6. Using the skillet add garlic, anchovy and red pepper flakes, sauté for 1 minute.
7. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, green pepper, red onion, basil and cook for 5 minutes.
8. Add chicken back to the skillet and top with mozzarella, pepperoni and whole basil and let cook for 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and slightly browned.
9. Serve.

Tips
• Serve with pasta if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of my favourite dishes I’ve made. It was saucy and tasted just like pizza just classier.

Chicken Pepperoni Basil Crustless Pizza - Candy Coated Culinista

Chicken Pepperoni Basil Crustless Pizza – Candy Coated Culinista

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Cinqo De Mayo: Chorizo & Chicken Tortilla Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

Feeling in a Mexican mood, but not in the typical way I thought let me try to make a Mexican inspired soup. With Cinqo de mayo this week I thought a Mexican dish should be made.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 40 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Soup
• 5 chicken thighs
• 1 tbsp vegetable olive oil
• Cumin
• Chilli powder
• Cayenne pepper
• Red pepper flakes
• Paprika
• Garlic powder
• Sea salt
• 2 chorizo sausages
• 1 large onion, diced
• 1 large green pepper, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 796 ml can of tomatoes, rough chopped
• 900 ml vegetable stock
• 3 tbsp tomato paste
• 4 cups water
• 540 ml black beans
• 540 ml chic peas
• 340 ml corn
• Handful of cilantro, rough chop
• 1 tortillas , cut into strips and fried
Garnish
• Sour cream
• Diced avocado

Assembly
1. In a frying pan over medium-high heat fry chicken thighs and season with cumin, chilli powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, and sea salt until cooked.
2. In another frying pan over medium-high heat frying chorizo sausages until cooked.
3. Using a large stock pot with a little vegetable oil sauté onion, green pepper and garlic for a minute or two and add in the tomatoes.
4. Add water black beans, chic peas, corn and cook over medium high heat for 60 minutes; stirring occasionally.
5. Shred the chicken and break the chorizo into pieces and add into the stock pot in the last 30 minutes.
6. At the last minute add cilantro.
7. Cut tortilla in small strips and fry until just crispy and put on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
8. Ladle soup into a bowl and add some diced avocado and tortilla pieces and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Even though there were lots of spices I found this recipe lacked flavour and I couldn’t get it to be as seasoned as I’d like. Next time I will have to over season to get this to where I want it to be or perhaps I was feeling a little under the weather and the seasoning was fine.

Tomato Mushroom Chicken and Pasta Bake

Tomato Mushroom Chicken & Pasta Bake - Candy Coated Culinista

Tomato Mushroom Chicken & Pasta Bake – Candy Coated Culinista

Sometimes it baffles me how picky people really are. I mean with so much different types of foods available to us how you can only eat a handful of foods, especially when you have no food allergies of dietary concerns. When these people enter my life I always advise them to beware if I’m going to be making you meals be prepared to find new produce because it’s not going to kill you and I’d of course never give you anything that would cause you harm. This meal doesn’t contain anything out of the ordinary yet for some reason items here are not commonly eaten if you can believe that. Everyone is different right.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Tomato with Basil and oregano Soup
• 1 soup can of water
• 2 ½ cups rotini pasta
• 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
• 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
• 1 green pepper, finely chopped
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Oregano, to taste
• Italian seasoning, to taste
• 1 cup mozzarella cheese
• 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a casserole dish mix soup and water together.
3. Pour pasta and vegetables into the dish and mix well.
4. In a bowl season chicken with sea salt, pepper, oregano and Italian seasonings and place on top of pasta.
5. Sprinkle cheese over top of chicken followed by parmesan cheese.
6. Bake for 45 minutes until pasta is tender.
7. Broil cheese at 450°F for 5 minutes until cheese is a golden brown.
8. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe couldn’t be any simpler and that is a perfect meal. Compliments were positive all around from “I loved it” to “man that was some good food you cooked” followed up by what else can you cook lol. Needless to say I sent them home with a serving for later consumption.

Tomato Mushroom Chicken & Pasta Bake - Candy Coated Culinista

Tomato Mushroom Chicken & Pasta Bake – Candy Coated Culinista

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale - Candy Coated Culinista

Sausage & Pepper Soup with Kale – Candy Coated Culinista

When September rolls around Mother Nature can be so unpredictable. The mornings and nights are so cold and the mid-day is still summer weather; how is a person to dress? I find myself wearing a leather jacket to work to keep the chill off; but then when my work day is done I am walking home with my coat in my hand. This brought me to this recipe as I like the idea of sausage and peppers; yet I don’t really care for the actual dish at all. I thought since the nights are getting colder maybe I could invent a new dish from an old classic.

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• canola oil, for cooking
• 1 small red onion, medium chop
• 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 medium yellow potato, peeled and cut into cubes
• 796 ml canned whole plum tomatoes
• 900 ml Beef stock
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Canola oil, for cooking
• 4 mild Italian sausages, removed from the casings
• 1 ½ cup kale
• Green pepper, diced, to garnish

Assembly
1. Over medium high-heat pour canola oil in a pot along with onion and garlic and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.
2. Add potato, tomatoes, beef stock, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
4. Using an immersion blender, puree until soup is smooth and continue to simmer.
5. In another pan pour canola oil over medium-high heat and cook the sausage until browned.
6. Add the sausage and kale into the soup and cook until kale is wilted.
7. Serve

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
So flavourful and easy to make and I finally got to use my new Cusinart Teal Enamel Dutch oven. I loved how the onions and garlic caramelized in the pot so fast. The addition of kale along with the crispness and crunch of the green pepper garnish made this whole dish come together. I even have leftovers to freeze for an even colder day.

C is for … Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes

C is for … Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes - Candy Coated Culinista

C is for … Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes – Candy Coated Culinista

Alphabet Soup: C is for … Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: min. 35 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 large vine tomatoes
• Sea salt
• 1 ½ cup vegetable stock
• 1 cup couscous
• 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 spring onion, chopped
• ½ cup golden raisins
• 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
• Handful fresh mint leaves, rough chopped
• 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Salt to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Thinly slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.
2. Sprinkle the inside generously with sea salt ad turn upside down on a plate lined with paper towel for 30 minutes. (This step will allow the moisture to be drawn out from the tomato; otherwise you will have soggy couscous.)
3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
4. Using a small saucepan bring vegetable stock to a boil.
5. Add in 1 cup of couscous, stir and cover.
6. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes.
7. Fluff with a fork.
8. Add in the carrot, spring onion, raisins, celery, mint leaves, parmigiano reggiano, olive oil, salt and black pepper and combine.
9. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray.
10. Spoon couscous mixture into tomatoes and fill to the top and place in the baking dish.
11. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until tomato skin starts to split open and soften.
12. Serve and eat immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a new favourite recipe of mine and I will be making this one again in the very near future. I wasn’t so sure if I’d like this as I thought it would be soggy, but it wasn’t at all. Even Mr. C. who can’t stand cooked tomatoes loved this. The softness of the tomato, yet it still need to be cut with a knife along with the crunchy toasted couscous with cheese. This was a great combination and I even saved a tomato for the next day and it wasn’t soggy at all and tasted the same as the day before.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta Gnocchi - Candy Coated Culinista

Ricotta Gnocchi – Candy Coated Culinista

I buy ricotta from time to time for very specific recipes, but then I have so much leftover ricotta I just don’t know what to make with it, as I find ricotta to just be a boring cheese. I always say I will use it in another recipe, but then it always gets tossed out. This time I had a goal to use up all my ingredient loose ends and I did.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 2 to 3 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Gnocchi
• 1 ½ cup fresh soft Ricotta cheese, water squeezed from it
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup parmigiano reggiano
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tbsp fresh thyme minced
• Zest from 1 lemon
• ½ jalapeño, finely diced
• Handful of cilantro, finely diced
• Green onion, sprig of
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 egg
Butter Basting
• 2 tbsp butter
Tomato Sauce
• 1 canned tomatoes, crushed
• Handful of parsley, garnish

Assembly
Gnocchi
1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together by hand until well incorporated and dough comes together.
2. Sprinkle a clean pastry board with flour and roll dough into 6 even pieces.
3. Gently roll each piece into a long slender rope, about ¾” wide, and cut with a knife.
4. Generously flour a baking sheet and place the gnocchi on and shake until coated.
5. Freeze if desired. (See tips below).
6. Boil a large saucepan of salted water and cook gnocchi until it begins to float, 2 to 3 minutes.
7. In a large frying pan melt butter and pour gnocchi over top and brown.
Tomato Sauce
8. In a medium frying pan pour the crushed tomatoes in and let reduce.
9. Once tomato sauce has reduced, gently stir in gnocchi and top with fresh parsley and serve.

Tips
• Be careful to not overwork the dough.
• Gnocchi can be frozen. After step four is completed place the tray into the freezer for two hours and then transfer to a zip lock bag and continue to follow the instructions at a later time when ready to consume.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never been a fan of gnocchi and I love potatoes; but I just seem to find it to be very bland. The ricotta gnocchi however was flavourful and light and came together so easily I was quite impressed. I even froze some for later.

B.K.T. (Bacon Kale & Tomato) Salad

B.K.T. (Bacon Kale & Tomato) Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

B.K.T. (Bacon Kale & Tomato) Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

This robust and flavourful salad is a tasty salad that I like to enjoy after those indulgent weekends.

Inspired from Salad Samurai

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad
• 5 slices bacon ( bacon)
• 1 bunch Kale
• 1 sprig green onion
• Generous handful of spinach
• Handful of grape tomatoes, halved
• 2 carrots, shredded
• ½ English cucumber, large dice
• Handful of Cranberries
• Handful of Walnuts
Dressing
• 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• Black pepper to taste

Assembly
1. Using a large frying pan, fry bacon until cooked.
2. Drain bacon on a paper towel and cut into pieces.
3. Strip the kale leaves and tear and dry and place in a large bowl.
4. Add in the spinach, tomato, carrots, cucumber, cranberries and walnuts in and mix.
5. In a medium size bowl vigorously whisk the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
6. Pour over salad and mix until coated.

Tips
• Substitute bacon with soy, tempeh or tofu bacon.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I love a good salad and this one is at the top of my list. Kale is a little on the chewy side, but I still enjoyed the flavour profile. Sweet, salty and contrasting textures and flavours. For once I was trying to find a bacon substitute and surprisingly I couldn’t find Tempeh, I don’t even know what it is really, so I added what I know and love bacon.

Homemade Tomato Sauce II

Homemade Tomato Sauce II - Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade Tomato Sauce II – Candy Coated Culinista

I was in an experimental mood and decided to revamp my Homemade Tomato Sauce recipe.

Yield/Serving: almost 1 litre
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 3 carrots, rough chop
• 8 Roma tomatoes, rough chop
• 1 bulb plus 7 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 small onion, rough chop
• 6 stalks of celery, rough chop
• 2 small red pepper, rough chop
• 2 small orange pepper, rough chop
• 2 small yellow pepper, rough chop
• 227g whole mushrooms, rough chopped
• 1 cup wine vinegar
• ¾ cup tomato paste
• 2 tbsp basil
• 2 tbsp sea salt
• 2 tbsp ground black pepper
• 796ml canned tomatoes

Assembly
1. Put olive oil into a pot and let heat up on medium high heat.
2. Add the carrots and let the cook until they are lightly browned.
3. Now add all the other vegetables along with the wine vinegar and tomato paste and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Puree the vegetables with the immersion blender.
5. Add the basil, salt, black pepper, canned tomato and let cook for 30 minutes.
6. Stir frequently as it will bubble.

Tips
• Freeze remaining in some Mason Jars. Remember to leave some space for expansion. (use mason jars or any thicker walled glass jar that can take the freezer temperatures
• You will need an immersion blender.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe had an earthier taste to it. The mushrooms and the garlic attributed to this and it has a lot more vegetables than a store-bought tomato sauce, which always makes me happy.

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