Z is for … Zucchini & Tomato Ratatouille

Z is for … Zucchini & Tomato Ratatouille – Candy Coated Culinista

Who knew a stewed vegetable dish from very humble beginnings could look so elegant and enticing.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy, time consuming

Ingredients
• ¾ cup tomato sauce
• ½ white onion, finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 medium yellow zucchini
• 2 medium green zucchini
• 5 roma tomatoes
• 2 tbsp herbs de provence
• 2 tbsp sea salt
• 2 tbsp black pepper

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Pour tomato sauce in a smallish square casserole dish and spread out thinly.
3. Finely chop and mince garlic and stir into tomato sauce.
4. Pour extra virgin olive oil into tomato sauce and stir.
5. Trim the ends off the zucchini and roma tomatoes.
6. Cut vegetable 1/16” thick (very thin slices) and separate into three bowls.
7. Start layering a green zucchini, yellow zucchini and roma tomato and alternating around the casserole dish. Overlap each piece a little and allow some to be visible.
8. When each layer is completed into the middle sprinkle some herbs de provence, sea salt and black pepper.
9. Repeat step 8 until all vegetable are used up.
10. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the inside surface of the dish, and place and press down on top of the vegetables.
11. Bake for 55 minutes,

Tips
• Ensure the zucchini and roma tomatoes are roughly the same width.
• Use a mandoline if you own one.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This dish tasted amazing and the vegetables weren’t too soft. I added the herbs du Provence as I thought this simple recipe could use some added spices. I love how the end result looked. Just looking at the layered vegetables and the time and patience it took to thinly slice the vegetables by hand made me feel quite cheffy.

Z is for … Zucchini & Tomato Ratatouille – Candy Coated Culinista

Shrimp with Kerkennaise Sauce

Shrimp with Kerkennaise Sauce - Candy Coated Culinista

A dish so divine it could only come from the Kerkennah Islands.

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

From The New Rules

Ingredients
• 2 plum tomatoes, cut into large chunks
• 1 Fresno chilli, stemmed, quartered and seeded
• 1 medium garlic clove, smashed and peeled
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp caraway seed, coarsely ground
• 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 23 scallions, white parts cut into 1-inch pieces, green thinly sliced, reserved separate
• ¼ cup lightly packed flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
•1/3 cup pitted green olives, chopped
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• kosher salt and ground black pepper
• 4 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
• 1 ½ pounds extra-large shrimp, (tails left on), deveined and patted dry

Assembly
1. Using a food processor combine tomatoes. Chili, garlic, coriander, caraway, vinegar and scallion whites and pulse until finely chopped, About 10 pulses.
2. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in scallion greens, parsley, olives, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of oil.
3. Set aside at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
4. Taste ad season with salt and pepper.
5. Season shrimp with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
6. Using a non-stick pan over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of oil.
7.Add shrimp and cook until a golden brown, about 2 minutes and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 seconds until shrimp is opaque.
8.Transfer to a serving dish and spoon sauce over shrimp and serve sauce on side.

Tips
• Sauce taste better the second day when it has time to marry

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The rule for this recipe was “Stick with single-sided searing” as to not overcook and finish off cooking with the residual heat. I would make this recipe again just for the sauce. I could see this sauce over any protein really. I even caught myself numerous times enjoying the sauce by the spoonful. So much so that I this tis makes an amazing gourmet salsa. Which will be showcased at my super simple Superbowl meal this Sunday. I didn’t shell my shrimp as I though a more rustic look made sense to me. I picture fresh caught shrimp clean and deveined and served au natural.

Salmon Salad

Salmon Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Clean eating at its finest. Such a simple and wholesome recipe that is great for lunch or dinner.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad

• Salmon fillet
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Dried oregano, to taste
• Dried basil, to taste
• Green beans, trimmed, handful
• 12 Gem baby potatoes, halved
• 8 Grape tomatoes, halved, handful
• Spinach leaves, stems removed, handful
• Orange bell pepper, sliced
• Cilantro, removed from stem
• 8 Klamata olives
• 1 tsp Capers
• ¼ of Red onion, thinly sliced in half moons
• ¼ of an English Cucumber
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
• 2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from 1 lemon
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 tbsp poppy seeds
• Pinch of sea salt
• Pinch of black pepper

Assembly
Salmon Salad

1. Using a frying pan pour a little extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
2. Season salmon with salt, pepper, oregano and basil.
3. When oil has reach temperature place salmon fillet skin side down about 80% of the way, then flip using a spatula, and cook the flesh side the remaining way through.
4. Place on a plate and set aside.
5. Using a small pot filled with salted water over high heat, steam green beans and then immediately place in a ice bath and set aside.
6. In a medium sized pot of salted water over high heat, boil potatoes until cooked through.
7. Prep tomatoes, spinach, cilantro, olives, capers, red onion and cucumber.
Lemon poppy Seed Dressing
1. In a small bowl pour in all ingredients and stir well together.
2. Let chill in fridge for 1 hour.
3. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This takes a little time to assemble; but this is a great healthy recipe that I will make time and time again. Fresh salmon served on a bed of veggies with a citrusy homemade dressing is just sublime.

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.

Deconstructed Levantine Fattoush with Chickpeas (Pita Bread Salad)

Deconstructed Levantine Fattoush with Chickpeas (Pita Bread Salad) – Candy Coated Culinista

This is salad with a twist. I love to make this recipe when I want something light yet flavourful. Fattoush is an Arabic dish that likes to make use of pitas that have gone stale. So when I came across this recipe it was right up my alley as I hate wasting food. You can use any vegetables you want or have on hand; which is why I love this recipe so much.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad

• 270g chickpeas rinsed & drained (half a can)
• 175g of grape tomatoes. Halved
• 1 green onion, finely sliced
• Radishes, trimed and thinly sliced`
• ½ English cucumber, quartered
• Romaine lettuce, shredded
• Kale leaves, shredded
• Handful of spinach, rough chopped
• 1 sprig of mint, chopped
• 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
• Pomegranate seeds, (optional)
• Carrot ribbons, (optional)
• Handful of whole black olives, (optional)
• Mini pita’s
Vinaigrette
• The juice of 1 lemon
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tsp sumac
• 125 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
• 10 ml (1 teaspoons) fresh mint, chopped
• 5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) fresh thyme, chopped
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste

Tips
• Serve pita on the side so you can have non-soggy leftovers or toast them in oven at 350°F for 5 minutes if desired to warm them up.
• Add chicken breast for some protein.

Assembly/Method
1. In a bowl, combine all the salad ingredients.
2. In another bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients.
3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and combine.

My thoughts
This is a quick, fast and always tasty recipe. Now I must admit I have only even made it once with stale pita’s. Pitas never go stale in my house because I love a carb. Every time I make it, I find another ingredient to add in like the optional ingredients listed above. I have been making this recipe for 5 years now and now that I am starting to enjoy chickpeas I thought this would be the perfect recipe to incorporate them into as it works with Middle Eastern dish. The combination of ingredients add a freshness and that lemony sumac is splendid.

Gluten-Free Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

You have guests coming over the weekend and you want to make something warm and comforting; but keeping yourself on a budget try this heart-warming soup.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 45 min. to 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• ½ lbs, ground beef
• ½ lbs, ground pork
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp fried basil
• ½ tsp red chilli flakes
• 12 oz can of Crushed tomatoes
• 900 ml or vegetable broth
• 2 sprigs of basil leaves, chiffonade
• Handful of Italian parsley, torn
• 8 – 10 gluten-free lasagna noodles, broken
• ½ a link if pepperoni, sliced
• 1 cup fresh spinach
• 1 cup baby kale
• Mozzarella shredded, optional
• Parmesan cheese, optional
• Basil, to garnish

Assembly
1. Using a medium sized Dutch oven pour olive oil into pot and allow to heat up over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden.
3. Place ground beef and pork in and cook until brown adding in sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, red chilli flakes.
4. Pour in the crushed tomatoes followed by the vegetable broth and bring to a boil and then reducing to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add in the pepperoni slices and lasagna noodles and let the mixture simmer for 25 minutes until cooked.
6. Add spinach and baby kale in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
7. Serve garnished with fresh basil and shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Tips
• Use canned whole tomatoes and blend quickly in a food processor if you are unable to find crushed tomatoes.
• When reheating add more vegetable broth.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I never thought of making a lasagna soup but I was craving lasagna and didn’t want to do all that work and well we are in the midst of an extreme cold weather warning. So this really hit the spot and everything came together very easily. My taste testers enjoyed and even left with some soup for home. This was surprisingly flavourful and such a great treat on a cold day. I actually made three recipes at once with the same ingredients more or less. I made my Italian Meatballs (a request for me to make), my skillet chicken pepperoni pizza and then the soup. I managed to make 3 recipes for under thirty-five dollars and had about thirteen servings; which was amazing. This was my first bigger meal prep as I don’t really like doing mass meals for the week and I had meals to carry me though some lunches and dinners; which freed up time for me to do things I enjoy like ice skating at night.

Asparagus Stuffed Chicken

C.C.’s Savoury Stuffed Chicken – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 3
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 3 chicken breasts, sliced halfway through breast but not to the end of the breast
• Sea salt
• Black pepper
• Season salt
• Dried basil
• Dried oregano
• Garlic powder
• Onion powder
• Greek spices
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 button mushrooms, sliced
• 12 asparagus, bottoms cut off
• 6 grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise
• 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice into chicken breast lengthwise down the middle; but not all the way through.
3. Season chicken breasts with spices.
4. Place asparagus, grape tomato, mushroom and sprinkle some mozzarella cheese inside the chicken breast.
5. Heat large frying pan over medium-high heat and pour olive oil in.
6. Once oil is hot sear top and bottom of the chicken breast.
7. Place chicken into a roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have always wanted to make a stuffed chicken and I’m happy I finally have. I have learned that I was too generous with the filling and next time I will scale back a touch. Other than that this was beyond delicious and fresh.

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

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