Apple Chicken Goat Cheese Salad


Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, healthy, easy, < 30 mins, mains
Serves: 4 as mains, 6-8 as side salads | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

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This is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE SALAD. Seriously. Back in Canada I used to go to Montana’s a lot with my friends and I almost never order salad when I’m eating out because I always think it’ll never be as good as a warm cooked meal and not way could it be as flavourful. One night I wasn’t particularly hungry and I was trying to be a bit more healthy since I was training for a marathon so I decided to browse their salads section and ordered the ‘Apple Harvest Salad’. I only chose this one because it had goat cheese in it (and I LOVE goat cheese). When the food arrived, my salad portion was HUGE with dressing served on the side. I was skeptical, but ohhhhh boy was I wrong. That salad changed my world and it actually became my new favourite thing on their menu (other than the goat cheese stuffed chicken breast and Kapow Shrimp). I’d actively go to Montana’s just to get this salad – which doesn’t sound like me at all! Now that I live in Australia, there’s no Montana’s in sight and I decided to recreate it myself! I’d say I did a pretty good job because this salad is FANTASTIC. If you love goat cheese, this is the salad for you! The juicy crisp apple pairs so well with the warm nutty toasted pecans and the creaminess of the goat cheese all tied together in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

I’ve only ever eaten this salad as a main dish because it’s THAT good and there’s no way I could eat it as just a small side dish so I’ve categorized this in both the mains and sides section. If you want to serve it as a side, you might want to consider skipping the chicken so your meal isn’t too bulky. If you’re packing it for lunch, keep the salad dressing separate and pour it on when you’re ready to eat.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Salad:
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 4 cups cooked chicken breast or thigh, chopped to bite-sized pieces – you can use leftover chicken from a roast or make it fresh the way you prefer (see my preferred method to cook chicken breast here)
    • 12 cups of lettuce or mixed greens (enough for 4 main salads)
    • 1 red bell pepper (aka capsicum), sliced (I ran out of peppers in the house and used cherry tomatoes instead in the photos)
    • 1 large apple, sliced
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 140g goat cheese, crumbled
    • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 180˚C (~350˚F) and bake the pecans on the top rack for 5-10 mins and flip over and continue to bake until fragrant and toasty darker brown (another 5 mins). When done, set aside and let them cool then roughly chop.

Optional step: if you haven’t made your chicken breast, you can pop them in the oven with the pecans (see my preferred method). When cooked, slice into strips or bite-sized pieces and let cool.

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients together: pecans, chicken, lettuce/mixed greens, red pepper, apple, cranberries, goat cheese, and fresh ground black pepper. If you want to be fancy you can place the ingredients on top of the salad and serve the dressing on the side.

Make the balsamic vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, honey, salt and pepper) in a bowl and whisk until you get a homogenous mixture. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as needed. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Apple Chicken Goat Cheese Salad

Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, healthy, easy, < 30 mins, mains
Serves: 4 as mains, 6-8 as side salads | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • Salad:
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 4 cups cooked chicken breast or thigh, chopped to bite-sized pieces – you can use leftover chicken from a roast or make it fresh the way you prefer (see my preferred method to cook chicken breast here)
    • 12 cups of lettuce or mixed greens (enough for 4 main salads)
    • 1 red bell pepper (aka capsicum), sliced
    • 1 large apple, sliced
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 140g goat cheese, crumbled
    • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp honey
    • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 180˚C (~350˚F) and bake the pecans on the top rack for 5-10 mins and flip over and continue to bake until fragrant and toasty darker brown (another 5 mins). When done, set aside and let them cool then roughly chop.
  2. Optional step: if you haven’t made your chicken breast, you can pop them in the oven with the pecans (see my preferred method). When cooked, slice into strips or bite-sized pieces and let cool.
  3. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add all the salad ingredients together: pecans, chicken, lettuce/mixed greens, red pepper, apple, cranberries, goat cheese, and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Make the balsamic vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, honey, salt and pepper) in a bowl and whisk until you get a homogenous mixture. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as needed. Enjoy!

Easy Moist Chicken Breast


Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: basics, how-to, healthy, easy
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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Chicken breast is one of the things I always have in my freezer. It goes well with so many things and it’s so easy and quick to make. You can have it as part of a healthy meal seasoned with simple spices and paired with a veg or pack it full of flavour with a kickass sauce and toppings. The most common way I like to use it is in salads. It’s amazing how you can turn pretty much any side salad into a main dish just by adding chicken breast.

Chicken breast often get a bad rep for being dry and bland which is why some people avoid it. There’s not much fat on the meat and thus it’s easy to dry out when cooking. Follow this basic tutorial and I’ll show you how I like to prepare chicken breast so it comes out moist and perfect every time! I use a combination of baking and steaming to ensure the chicken stays moist.

If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Chicken breast – as many as you like, but try not to crowd them too much in a pan so they cook evenly.
  • Olive oil – roughly 1 tsp per breast. You don’t need much oil since you’re steaming.
  • Water – enough to fill 1 cm of the pan
  • Salt & pepper
  • Optional: any seasoning you like – I keep it plain with just salt and pepper if I’m using it as a base with a sauce, but if I’m adding it to a caesar or garden salad, I rub some Italian seasoning or oregano over it.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 180˚C (~350F) and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.

Rinse your chicken breasts and place them in a baking tray. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, any additional spices you like, then rub it all over the chicken breasts on both sides.

Pour 1 cm of water into the pan (it doesn’t have to be exact).

Cover the tray with aluminum foil and make sure the edges are sealed (otherwise steam will escape while baking and could result in a dry chicken). Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-30 minutes. You can check the doneness of the chicken by either cutting the thickest part and if the juices run clear, it’s finished. If it’s pink, then put the foil back on and bake for another 5 minutes. Alternatively you can use a thermometer and poke it into the thickest part of the breast until it reads 65˚C.

*Caution: HOT steam will escape when you unwrap the foil so please be careful when checking on your chicken!

Once your chicken is cooked, serve it on a plate immediately or rest them for 5 minutes before slicing. It’s VERY important not to slice them when they’re steaming hot, otherwise the juices inside the chicken will evaporate and your chicken will be dry. By allowing them to rest, it lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Enjoy!

Tip: if you’re adding this to a leafy salad, wait until the chicken comes to room temperature before adding it in otherwise the heat might wilt your salad leaves.

Summarized Recipe:

Easy Moist Chicken Breast

Date Published: August 10th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 10th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: basics, how-to, healthy, easy
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast – as many as you like, but try not to crowd them too much in a pan so they cook evenly
  • Olive oil – roughly 1 tsp per breast. You don’t need much oil since you’re steaming.
  • Water – enough to fill 1 cm of the pan
  • Salt & pepper
  • Optional: any seasoning you like – I keep it plain with just salt and pepper if I’m using it as a base with a sauce, but if I’m adding it to a caesar or garden salad, I sprinkle some Italian seasoning or oregano over it.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180˚C (~350F) and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Rinse your chicken breasts and place them in a baking tray. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, any additional spices you like, then rub it all over the chicken breasts on both sides.
  3. Pour 1 cm of water into the pan (it doesn’t have to be exact) and cover the tray with aluminum foil. Make sure the edges are sealed (otherwise steam will escape while baking and could result in a dry chicken). Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-30 minutes. You can check the doneness of the chicken by either cutting the thickest part and if the juices run clear, it’s finished. If it’s pink, then put the foil back on and bake for another 5 minutes. Alternatively you can use a thermometer and poke it into the thickest part of the breast until it reads 65˚C.
    • *Caution: HOT steam will escape when you unwrap the foil so please be careful when checking on your chicken!
  4. Once your chicken is cooked, serve it on a plate immediately or rest them for 5 minutes before slicing. It’s VERY important not to slice them when they’re steaming hot, otherwise the juices inside the chicken will evaporate and your chicken will be dry. By allowing them to rest, it lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Enjoy!

Tip: If you’re adding this to a leafy salad, wait until the chicken comes to room temperature before adding it in otherwise the heat might wilt your salad leaves.

Spicy Garlic Miso Green Beans


Date Published: August 9th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 9th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, sides, vegetarian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

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I love cooking with green beans. They’re a common ingredient in a lot of Asian cooking and there’s so many ways you can make them. The flavour of green beans are relatively subtle so I find them fantastic when paired with a bold and flavourful sauce, like in this recipe! These beans are steamed to tenderize, then sautéed in a miso, ginger, and garlic sauce to pack a punch. This recipe is super easy and makes a great quick side dish to pair with a salmon (like my popular maple salmon recipe – click for recipe ) or steak. It only takes 15 minutes to make with minimal clean up :).

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 1/2 Tbsp miso paste
    • 1/2 Tbsp chilli pepper flakes (makes it medium spicy)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 600g fresh green beans, trim off ends

Directions:

In a bowl, make the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, miso paste, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger. Set aside.

In a dry pan on medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast it until light brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil and add in the green beans. Stir-fry for a couple minutes then add in enough water to cover 1cm of the pan. Put the lid on and steam the beans until they’re tender (~5 minutes).

Once tender, remove the lid and bring the heat up to MED-HIGH and continue to stir-fry until the beans are lightly browned. Turn off the heat and add the toasted sesame seeds and the sauce to the pan. Stir quickly to combine. The residual heat from the pan should cook off any liquids. Serve!

Summarized Recipe:

Garlic Miso Green Beans

Date Published: August 9th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 9th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, sides, vegetarian
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • Sauce:
    • 2 Tbsps soy sauce
    • 1/2 Tbsp miso paste
    • 1/2 Tbsp chilli pepper flakes (makes it medium spicy)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 600g fresh green beans, trim off ends

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, make the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, miso paste, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
  2. In a dry pan on medium heat, add the sesame seeds and toast it until light brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil and add in the green beans. Stir-fry for a couple minutes then add in enough water to cover 1cm of the pan. Put the lid on and steam the beans until they’re tender (~5 minutes).
  4. Once tender, remove the lid and bring the heat up to MED-HIGH and continue to stir-fry until the beans are lightly browned. Turn off the heat and add the toasted sesame seeds and the sauce to the pan. Stir quickly to combine. The residual heat from the pan should cook off any liquids. Serve!

Taiwanese Cheese Egg Crepe 起司蛋餅 (Cheese Dan Bing)


Date Published: August 7th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 7th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, snacks
Serves: 4 crepes | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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I’m SO excited to share this recipe with you guys! This is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE Taiwanese breakfast item. I would eat this dish nearly every day in Taiwan for breakfast from Hong Ya Hamburger which is a breakfast shop just outside the alleyway of our home. There are many varieties of dan bing, but NOTHING beats the cheese dan bing. I remember when I was a kid, this one time my mom accidentally ordered a dan bing without the cheese and the shitty younger me threw a hissy fit and refused to eat breakfast that morning (sorry mom, love you!). I also remember my mom trying to make dan bing for us in Canada from pre-packaged wrappers that she found at the Asian grocer, but unfortunately it just wasn’t the same. Trying to recreate a cheese dan bing on my own seemed like a daunting task. I had never had a good dan bing outside of Taiwan. Dare I challenge the Taiwanese street food gods and try it myself where far better cooks have failed? And from scratch?? I guess this is why they call it quarantine cooking. What have I got to lose? After a few attempts from different recipes and many failed gloopy bings, I came across ChooChoo-ca-Chew‘s recipe and it came out near perfect! This recipe is going straight into the top 10 list. I owe this recipe to her blog and I’ve rewritten it with tweaks and notes from my experience cooking these so they can come out perfect for you every time – and of course, lots of pictures to guide you through the process. It’s actually pretty quick and easy to make, but the tricky part is getting your crepe spread out evenly to the right thickness. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze.

What is a cheese dan bing? The direct translation is cheese egg “crepe”. It’s essentially an egg with melty cheese wrapped up in a crepe-like wrapper topped with soy sauce paste. Kind of like a cheesy omelette wrapped in a ‘bing’. Chinese people use the term “bing” as an overarching word for pretty much anything round and flat. Whether it’s cakes, pastries, sweets, or savoury spring onion pancakes, as long as they’re that shape it’s a bing! I’ve used the word “crepe” in the title translation to replace “bing” because in this recipe, this version of a bing is most similar to a crepe. However when I think of crepes, I think of sweet french crepes with chocolate, fruit and whipped cream which, although delicious, just doesn’t fit in here so I’ll continue to call them “bings” for the rest of this post.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

Batter ingredients
  • Bing Batter:
    • 110g (3/4 cup) all purpose flour
    • 30g (1/4 cup) tapioca flour (or potato starch)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 280ml (1 cup + 2 Tbsps) water
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • Assembly:
    • shredded cheese (~1/3 cup per crepe)
    • 1 egg per crepe
    • ground white pepper
    • soy sauce paste to drizzle
      • Soy sauce paste is CRUCIAL to this dish. Soy sauce paste is essentially a thickened and sweeter version of soy sauce that pairs beautifully with the cheesy egg. I always ask for extra sauce when I order dan bing. You should be able to find it from most Asian grocers. It’s on my to-do list to try and recreate soy sauce paste at home, so keep a look-out for the recipe when it’s uploaded!

Directions:

Make the batter: in a bowl, mix the all purpose flour, tapioca flour, salt and egg in a bowl. Add in 1/4 of the water and mix until there are no clumps then add the rest of the water and continue to mix. Set aside.

Note: you can add the spring onions to the batter as well, but I always have trouble having them distribute evenly when cooking so I choose to keep it separate and sprinkle it on instead.

Cook the Bing: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp of oil and swirl your pan around to coat it in oil. Once your skillet is hot enough, add 1/3 cup of batter into the middle of the pan and quickly swirl your pan around to let the batter distribute around the pan evenly. Sprinkle spring onions over the batter.

Once the edges of the bing are lifting from the pan edges (see second photo), flip it over and cook the other side. Continue to cook until you get small toasty brown spots on the bing on both sides. You can use your spatula to compress down areas that are taking longer to cook. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat this step to finish cooking the rest of the bings. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly round or if your spring onions aren’t perfectly distributed – you’re rolling them up in the end anyway!

Note: Like pancakes, the first one might be a dud to get the temperature of the pan right. Don’t get discouraged!

Tip: If you’re making multiple dishes for a meal, you can make the bings first and set them aside until you’re ready for the next step. The next step goes fairly quickly (roughly 1-2mins each to assemble) and you want to serve these hot so I suggest not starting this next step until all your other dishes are ready.

Assemble the Dan Bing: In the same skillet (still on MED heat), pour in one lightly beaten egg into the centre then quickly place one bing ontop of the egg while it’s still undercooked (it’s very important you put the bing on the egg while it’s still undercooked so it sticks together. If you let the egg fully cook, the egg will separate from the bing). Let it cook for about 30 seconds until you’re able to lift and flip the egg with the bing together without it falling apart.

Once flipped over, add shredded cheese in a line in the middle of the egg, then top with a small drizzle of soy sauce paste then a dusting of white pepper. Fold up both sides of the dan bing towards the middle. Press it down lightly for the cheese to stick the layers together then transfer to a plate. Repeat to make the rest of the bings.

Slice into 1 inch pieces and serve with extra soy sauce paste for dipping if needed. Enjoy!

Tip: You can also add additional toppings other than the cheese. Some popular options in Taiwan: corn, ham, pork floss…etc.

Summarized Recipe:

Taiwanese Cheese Egg Crepe 起司蛋餅 (Cheese Dan Bing)

Date Published: August 7th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 7th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, snacks
Serves: 4 crepes | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • Bing Batter:
    • 110g (3/4 cup) all purpose flour
    • 30g (1/4 cup) tapioca flour (or potato starch)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 280ml (1 cup + 2 Tbsps) water
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • Assembly:
    • shredded cheese (~1/3 cup per crepe)
    • 1 egg per crepe
    • ground white pepper
    • soy sauce paste to drizzle

Directions:

  1. Make the batter: in a bowl, mix the all purpose flour, tapioca flour, salt and egg in a bowl. Add in 1/4 of the water and mix until there are no clumps then add the rest of the water and continue to mix. Set aside.
  2. Cook the Bing: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp of oil and swirl your pan around to coat it in oil. Once your skillet is hot enough, add 1/3 cup of batter into the middle of the pan and quickly swirl your pan around to let the batter distribute around the pan evenly. Sprinkle spring onions over the batter.
  3. Once the edges of the bing are lifting from the pan edges, flip it over and cook the other side. Continue to cook until you get small toasty brown spots on the bing on both sides. You can use your spatula to compress down areas that are taking longer to cook. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat this step to finish cooking the rest of the bings.
    • Note: Like pancakes, the first one might be a dud to get the temperature of the pan right. Don’t get discouraged!
  4. Assemble the Dan Bing: In the same skillet (still on MED heat), pour in one lightly beaten egg into the centre then quickly place one bing ontop of the egg while it’s still undercooked. Let it cook for about 30 seconds until you’re able to lift and flip the egg with the bing together without it falling apart.
  5. Once flipped over, add shredded cheese in a line in the middle of the egg, then top with a small drizzle of soy sauce paste then a dusting of white pepper. Fold up both sides of the dan bing towards the middle. Press it down lightly for the cheese to stick the layers together then transfer to a plate. Repeat to make the rest of the dan bings.
  6. Slice into 1 inch pieces and serve with extra soy sauce paste for dipping if needed. Enjoy!

Tip: You can also add additional toppings other than the cheese. Some popular options in Taiwan: corn, ham, pork floss…etc.

Thai Green Curry (Chicken, Beef, Fish or Veg)


Date Published: August 5th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 5th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, asian, < 30mins
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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I can never pass up a good curry no matter the cuisine. I just love the creaminess and the intense flavours. Thai curries hold a special place in my belly, especially the green curry. The green colour comes from the use of the milder green chilli pepper, kaffir lime, cilantro/coriander and sometimes basil. I love the aroma and the fact that I can pack it full of veggies and have it all swim around in the aromatic coconut sauce.

Although the flavours are complex, making a Thai curry is actually really straight forward and simple as long as you have the green curry paste, which is where most of the flavour (and effort) comes from. I was surprised how quickly it all came together when I made it for the first time. You can buy pretty decent packaged Thai curry pastes from pretty much any supermarket these days and for pretty cheap too, but if you’re like me and have the need to conquer seemingly complex recipes, you can make your own with the green curry paste recipe. I’ve written this recipe for the intention of using the homemade curry paste, however if you want to use the canned pastes, you’ll have to “freshen” it up by sautéing in some garlic and ginger to bring the flavours out.

This recipe is easily customizable with any veggies and protein you like and in any proportion. I’ve written it based on my favourite veg to put in this curry but feel free to change it up to your liking. The beauty of this curry is that because of its strong flavours, you can also put in whatever protein you like. I’ve colour-coded the recipes so it’s easier to follow if you want to make chicken, beef or fish. The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s all done in one pot so there’s minimal clean up!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Meat of choice: (optional)
    • Chicken: 400g (~4) skinless boneless chicken thighs (or breast), diced into bite-sized pieces or sliced thinly (depending on how you like it)
    • Beef: 400g, sliced thinly. Any steak cut will be good.
    • Fish: 400g, diced into chunks. Use whatever fish you like. I tend to like using salmon or a white fish.
    • Vegetarian: no need for meat, just add more veggies!
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup homemade Thai green curry paste (click link for recipe)
    • Please note: this recipe was written to be used with the homemade Thai green curry paste. If you want to use canned Thai green curry paste (Maesri is the go-to brand), you’ll need to “freshen” up the paste to bring out more flavour by sautéing one can (114g) it in 3 cloves of garlic and 2 Tbsps of minced ginger. I do recommend making the curry paste yourself if you’ve got time – it’s so much more aromatic.
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 800ml (2 cans) coconut milk
  • Any veggies you like in your curry. I’ve written this recipe based on my favourite veg, but feel free to change it up and do you. Just keep in mind their proportions to the chicken, otherwise you may end up with a veggie curry (which is fine too if you prefer less chicken). These are what I usually add:
    • 1 1/2 cups King oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and snapped in halves
    • 1 cup baby corn
    • 1 1/2 cups eggplant, diced and seared first for extra flavour
    • 1 1/2 cups red bell peppers/capsicum, chopped
    • 10 Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce (or more to taste)
  • Sea salt + black pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste

Directions:

Prepare your protein (if using):

If using chicken:

In medium pot on MED-HIGH heat melt the coconut oil and add in the chicken pieces (you may have to do this in batches if they’re too crowded – see tip*) and cook until lightly brown on the outside. Don’t worry about it cooking all the way through – it will finish cooking in the curry.

*Tip: You want to put the chicken pieces in the pot in a single layer to sear the outside. If you overcrowd the chicken or are overlapping them, you will likely have too much liquid released and end up boiling the chicken. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to cook it in 2 or 3 batches.

After you’ve browned all the chicken pieces, remove them from the pot and set aside.

If using beef:

In medium pot on MED-HIGH heat melt the coconut oil and add in the beef pieces and quickly cook for a few minutes until lightly brown on the outside. Don’t worry about it cooking all the way through – it will finish cooking in the curry.

After you’ve browned all the beef pieces, remove them from the pot and set aside.

If using fish:

You don’t need to do any cooking beforehand. Just have it cut up in bite-sized pieces and add it later on with the veggies.

In the same pot still on MED-HIGH heat, discard any excess liquids and melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Add the green curry paste and stir for a few minutes to toast the paste. When the excess liquid has evaporated and you’re left with a semi-dry paste (see photo above), add in the chicken stock and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to MED, put a lid on and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in your veggies and chicken, beef or fish and continue to cook the curry without the lid for another 5 minutes or until all your protein and veg have cooked. Add in the fish sauce. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. If not salty enough add more salt, add sugar if not sweet enough. Serve!

Tip: If you want to turn this into a soup, add in 1 extra cup (250ml) of chicken stock. Feel free to add in some noodles too!

Summarized Recipe:

Thai Green Curry (Chicken, Beef, Fish or Veg)

Date Published: August 5th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 5th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, asian, < 30mins
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Meat of choice:
    • Chicken: 400g (~4) skinless boneless chicken thighs (or breast), diced into bite-sized pieces or sliced thinly (depending on how you like it)
    • Beef: 400g, sliced thinly. Any steak cut will be good.
    • Fish: 400g, diced into chunks. Use whatever fish you like. I tend to like using salmon or a white fish.
    • Vegetarian: no need for meat, just add more veggies!
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup homemade Thai green curry paste (click link for recipe)
    • Please note: this recipe was written to be used with the homemade Thai green curry paste. If you want to use canned Thai green curry paste (Maesri is the go-to brand), you’ll need to “freshen” up the paste to bring out more flavour by sautéing one can (114g) it in 3 cloves of garlic and 2 Tbsps of minced ginger. I do recommend making the curry paste yourself if you’ve got time – it’s so much more aromatic.
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 800ml (2 cans) coconut milk
  • Any veggies you like in your curry. I’ve written this recipe based on my favourite veg, but feel free to change it up and do you. Just keep in mind their proportions to the chicken, otherwise you may end up with a veggie curry (which is fine too if you prefer less chicken). These are what I usually add:
    • 1 1/2 cups King oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and snapped in halves
    • 1 cup baby corn
    • 1 1/2 cups eggplant, diced and seared first for extra flavour
    • 1 1/2 cups red bell peppers/capsicum, chopped
    • 10 Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce (or more to taste)
  • Sea salt + black pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare your protein (if using):
    • If using chicken:
      1. In medium pot on MED-HIGH heat melt the coconut oil and add in the chicken pieces (you may have to do this in batches if they’re too crowded – see tip*) and cook until lightly brown on the outside. Don’t worry about it cooking all the way through – it will finish cooking in the curry.
        • *Tip: You want to put the chicken pieces in the pot in a single layer to sear the outside. If you overcrowd the chicken or are overlapping them, you will likely have too much liquid released and end up boiling the chicken. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to cook it in 2 or 3 batches.
      2. After you’ve browned all the chicken pieces, remove them from the pot and set aside.
    • If using beef:
      1. In medium pot on MED-HIGH heat melt the coconut oil and add in the beef pieces and quickly cook for a few minutes until lightly brown on the outside. Don’t worry about it cooking all the way through – it will finish cooking in the curry.
      2. After you’ve browned all the beef pieces, remove them from the pot and set aside.
    • If using fish:
      • You don’t need to do any cooking beforehand. Just have it cut up in bite-sized pieces and add it later on with the veggies.
  2. In the same pot still on MED-HIGH heat, discard any excess liquids and melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Add the green curry paste and stir for a few minutes to toast the paste. When the excess liquid has evaporated and you’re left with a semi-dry paste, add in the chicken stock and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to MED, put a lid on and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in your veggies and chicken, beef or fish and continue to cook the curry without the lid for another 5 minutes or until all your protein and veg have cooked. Add in the fish sauce. Taste and adjust flavours as needed. If not salty enough add more salt, add sugar if not sweet enough. Serve!

Tip: If you want to turn this into a soup, add in 1 extra cup (250ml) of chicken stock. Feel free to add in some noodles too!

Chicken Udon Stir-Fry


Date Published: August 4th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 4th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: healthy, asian, mains
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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Japanese udon is one of my favourite type of noodles. There’s so much chew compared to regular noodles and makes it more satisfying to eat. This is a quick and easy stir-fry packed with chicken, cabbage, carrots and udon noodles. The crunchy cabbage and carrots with the chewiness of the udon cooked in a savoury sauce makes this dish so yum and healthy too!

This was actually one of the first things Toby made for me when we were in Bairnsdale together on a vet student placement. We agreed that we’d both start eating healthier and he surprised me with this dinner when I came home from my shift. It was the best thing to come home to especially after a long cold day. ❤️

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 500g udon noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 2 Tbsps ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large (2.5 cups) brown onions, diced
  • 500g chicken mince (or pork mince)
  • 1/4 small green cabbage, diced to 2cm pieces
  • 2 large carrots, julienned or chopped finely
  • 2 Tbsps sesame oil, to drizzle
  • White sesame seeds, to sprinkle

Directions:

If you haven’t prepared you udon noodles yet, cook them according to package instructions, then drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Set aside.

In a small bowl, make the sauce by combining: soy sauce, light soy sauce, mirin, ketchup, and sugar. Don’t worry if you have small clumps in the sauce.

Heat up a wok over high heat and add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil and sauté the garlic, ginger and onion (in that order) for a few minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent.

Add the chicken mince to the wok and use your spatula to break up any lumps and sauté it until the chicken is mostly browned. (You do not have to cook the mince all the way through. It will finish cooking as you add the other ingredients in).

Add the cabbage and carrot to the wok. Sauté for another few minutes until the cabbage is wilted.

Add in the noodles and the sauce. Mix until combined and most of the liquids have cooked off. Turn heat off, drizzle sesame oil over the noodles and mix.

Serve noodles out and sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Enjoy!

Summarized Recipe:

Chicken Udon Stir-Fry

Date Published: August 4th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 4th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: healthy, asian, mains
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 500g udon noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 2 Tbsps ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 large (2.5 cups) brown onions, diced
  • 500g chicken mince (or pork mince)
  • 1/4 small green cabbage, diced to 2cm pieces
  • 2 large carrots, julienned or chopped finely
  • 2 Tbsps sesame oil, to drizzle
  • White sesame seeds, to sprinkle

Directions:

  1. If you haven’t prepared you udon noodles yet, cook them according to package instructions, then drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, make the sauce by combining: soy sauce, light soy sauce, mirin, ketchup, and sugar.
  3. Heat up a wok over high heat and add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil and sauté the garlic, ginger and onion (in that order) for a few minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent.
  4. Add the chicken mince to the wok and use your spatula to break up any lumps and sauté it until the chicken is mostly browned. (You do not have to cook the mince all the way through. It will finish cooking as you add the other ingredients in).
  5. Add the cabbage and carrot to the wok. Sauté for another few minutes until the cabbage is wilted.
  6. Add in the noodles and the sauce (made in step 2). Mix until combined and most of the liquids have cooked off. Turn heat off, drizzle sesame oil over the noodles and mix.
  7. Serve noodles out and sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Katsu


Date Published: August 1st, 2020 | Last Updated: August 1st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, mains, easy, low-cal
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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NOM NOM NOM I LOVE KATSU. When Toby and I head out to a Japanese restaurant, katsu is usually one of our go-to items to order (second to ramen, of course).

If you’re not familiar with katsu, it’s essentially a Japanese version of a schnitzel topped with an iconic tonkatsu sauce. A katsu is made with either chicken (breast or thigh) or a pork cutlet (called tonkatsu). The breading is made with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) rather than traditional breadcrumbs which results in a lighter, flakier, and crispier texture.

I’m not a fan of deep-frying things at home because a) you need to use so much oil, b) it pains me to waste all that oil for one dish, c) health reasons, and d) the clean up afterwards from oil splatters. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the occasional take-away fried foods, but I just really dislike deep-frying things at home. This was the reason why I never tried to make katsu at home and save it for restaurant outings until now! I stumbled across this recipe from Just One Cookbook (which is filled with amazing Japanese recipes btw and defs worth checking out) and I was skeptical if it would be as good as the real deep-fried thing. For the sake of science, experimentation, and the quest to making great food, I made both versions: one deep-fried one and one baked.

I’m VERY happy to report that the baked version was unanimously favoured over the deep-fried version. Who would’ve thought!? The baked version had a crispier texture with better crunch and was (obviously) less oily than the deep-fried version. The colour wasn’t as dark, but that’s easily solved by pre-toasting the breadcrumbs for the baked version.

Overall this recipe was surprisingly easy and quick with very minimal prep work. It’s rare that I can cook up a dish without having to do any chopping. Best of all, it’s also relatively low in calories too (under 300 calories per serving!). This recipe definitely makes the top 20 list in my books.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied (note: one chicken breast makes a pretty large portion once you butterfly it (see finished photo) so I usually aim for 3/4 of a breast per person (unless you’ve got a big appetite) which is why I’ve written 4-6 servings for this recipe)
    • This recipe works well with chicken thighs or boneless pork loin chops as well (pound the chops to ~1.2cm thick)
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 large egg, beaten

Directions:

Rinse and pat the chicken breasts dry. If you haven’t already, butterfly your chicken breasts (see photo tutorial below on how to do this or click here for more detailed instructions). Season breasts with salt and pepper. Set aside.

(If you’re using pork cutlets, score the edge where the fat and the meat meet to ensure your cutlet doesn’t curl when cooking and use a meat tenderizer mallet to pound the cutlets to about 1.2cm thick.)

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil.

Add in the panko breadcrumbs and stir to combine with the oil and toast the panko until golden brown. Put the crumbs in a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Note: When you bake a katsu, the colour of the breadcrumbs doesn’t change much in the oven compared to deep-frying, which is why this step is important to get that delicious toasty crumb.

Prepare three bowls: 1) Flour, 2) Beaten eggs, 3) Toasted panko

Dip your butterflied chicken breasts first in the flour on both sides and shake off any excess flour. Make sure sure you cover every crevice. Then dip it in the beaten egg and finally in the toasted panko, pressing the crumbs in slightly to help them stick.

Set your chicken breasts on wire racks placed ontop of a baking tray and bake in the oven at 200˚C for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken juices run clear or a thermometer reads 74˚C in the thickest part of the breast.

Ready to bake! We made both chicken breast (top rack) and chicken thighs (bottom rack). Both came out perfectly. The breasts were more dense and steak-like whereas the thighs were more moist and chewier. Toby liked the thighs better whereas I liked the breasts. I guess to break the debate, chicken breast is healthier 😜.

While your chicken bakes, you can make the tonkatsu sauce (click to follow link to recipe).

Once your chicken is cooked, let it cool for a couple minutes on the wire rack and serve immediately as whole cutlet or slice it into strips, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce.

Summarized Recipe:

Baked Chicken Katsu

Date Published: August 1st, 2020 | Last Updated: August 1st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, mains, easy, low-cal
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied (or chicken thighs or boneless pork loin chops (pound chops to ~1.2cm thick))
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Rinse your chicken and pat dry. Butterfly the chicken breasts (see photo tutorial above) and season with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.
    • If you’re using pork cutlets, score the edge where the fat and the meat meet to ensure your cutlet doesn’t curl when cooking and use a meat tenderizing mallet to pound the cutlet until about 1.2cm thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
  3. On a pan on medium heat, toast the panko with the olive oil. Stir to combine and toast until golden brown. Then put your panko in a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Place your flour on a large plate or bowl for easy dipping and do the same with the beaten egg.
  5. Now bread your chicken:
    1. Dunk the chicken breast in the flour bowl to cover both sides. Shake off any excess flour.
    2. Next coat it in the beaten eggs.
    3. Finally coat it in the toasted panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs in slightly to help them stick.
  6. Place your katsu onto a wire rack over an oven tray.
  7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes on the middle rack until the chicken is no longer pink inside. If you have an oven thermometer, your chicken should be about 74˚C.
  8. While your chicken is baking, you can make the tonkatsu sauce (click on this link for the recipe).
  9. When your chicken is ready, serve immediately either as an entire cutlet or you can cut them into strips, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce.

Good For You Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola


Date Published: July 30th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 30th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: healthy, < 30mins, quick & easy, snacks
Serves: 8 cups (16 servings) | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

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Ohhh granohhhhla! I love making my own granola. I love the smell that fills the kitchen as it bakes and I love that I can put in whatever I want and feel good about it. I’ve adapted this recipe from Erin Lives Whole which and changed it up to better accommodate my taste (read: making it chocolate!) – don’t worry, I’ve kept all the good stuff in there so I can still enjoy this relatively guilt-free. I’ve also doubled the recipe because Toby and I go through it so quickly.

In the vet world you don’t always get to have your lunch break, so I usually pack a small container in my bag just in case and sneak in bites here and there between consults. It’s perfect to keep me satiated for the rest of the day and I don’t have to worry about heating it up or taking time to prepare it – just add milk! This recipe has saved so many people from a hangry vet 😜.

What makes this granola good for you? The natural and wholesome ingredients! Like most granolas, the bulk of this recipe is rolled oats. Oats is chocked full of fibre and has benefits in lowering cholesterol. It’s also made with coconut oil, chia seeds, honey, and natural peanut butter. Depending on the brand of peanut butter you use, each serving (1/2 cup) is roughly 220 calories. This granola makes a wonderful quick breakfast on the go when topped with some fresh fruit, or a filling snack throughout the day. You can change it up and add extras like nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips…etc. Have it with milk (regular, almond, soy…etc.), greek yogurt, or even sprinkled on top of ice cream. Mmmmmmm.

This recipe is super simple and quick to put together. I’ve added in the weights of each ingredient so if you’re feeling lazy and have a kitchen scale, you can just pour everything in one bowl to the correct weight and mix!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup (280g) natural chunky peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened)*
  • 2/3 cup (220g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (100g) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (620g) rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats)
  • 1/3 cup (26g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsps (47g) chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

*If you’re struggling to locate natural peanut butter or find it too $$$, you can use regular peanut butter but skip the salt and half the amount of honey (110g instead of 220g).

Directions:

Preheat oven to 165˚C (~325˚F). Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: peanut butter, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.

Then add in the rest of the ingredients except for the oats: cocoa powder, salt, chia seeds, cinnamon.

Then add in the oats and mix until fully combined.

Press the mixture into the tray and compress it down (this will help you get chunky clusters).

Bake until golden brown (about 15-20mins).

Let it COMPLETELY cool before breaking apart (~20 minutes). If you try to break it apart too early, it will be very crumbly.

Enjoy! Store in an airtight container for 3 weeks.

Summarized Recipe:

Good For You Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Date Published: July 30th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 30th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: healthy, < 30mins, quick & easy, snacks
Serves: 8 cups (16 servings) | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (280g) natural chunky peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened)*
  • 2/3 cup (220g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (100g) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (620g) rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats)
  • 1/3 cup (26g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsps (47g) chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

*If you’re struggling to locate natural peanut butter or find it too $$$, you can use regular peanut butter but skip the salt and half the amount of honey (110g instead of 220g).

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 165˚C (~325˚F). Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: peanut butter, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.
  3. Then mix in the cocoa powder and chia seeds.
  4. Finally, add in the oats and mix until full combined.
  5. Press the mixture into the baking pan and compress it down with your spatula.
  6. Bake until golden brown (about 15-20mins).
  7. Let it COMPLETELY cool before breaking apart. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Tabbouleh (Mediterranean Quinoa Salad)


Date Published: July 28th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 28th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, healthy, easy, < 30 mins
Serves: 4 as a side dish | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins (20mins including cooking quinoa)

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Tabbouleh (or tabbouli) is a simple mediterranean salad mainly comprised of whole grains, tomatoes and parsley. There are many versions of this salad out there but this one is by far my favourite and simplest. The freshness from the lemon juice and veg pairs really well with a heavy main dish such as a roast lamb. It’s also pretty good as a topping in wraps!

I like to use white quinoa in this recipe for the fluffiness, but you can sub it out for a different whole grain if you like for different textures. This recipe is super simple, healthy and filling. Feel free to add in some baked chicken breast or canned tuna or salmon for an easy lunch.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of cooked quinoa, cooled to room temp (equates to 1 cup uncooked quinoa) – if you’ve never cooked quinoa before, it’s super simple. Just boil 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa until the liquid is absorbed. You can follow this tutorial for a step-by-step guide on how to make quinoa for some guidance if you need.
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped (either curly or flat-leaf)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed – optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1.5 tsps lemon or lime juice
    • 3 tsps ground cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

Directions:

Make the salad dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients together (olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes) and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the salad ingredients together (parsley, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, black beans (if using)). Add your salad dressing and toss everything together. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled in refrigerator.

Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Tabbouleh (Mediterranean Quinoa Salad)

Date Published: July 28th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 28th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: salads, healthy, easy, < 30 mins
Serves: 4 as a side dish | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins (20mins including cooking quinoa)

Ingredients:

  • Salad Dressing:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1.5 tsps lemon or lime juice
    • 3 tsps ground cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 3 cups of cooked quinoa, cooled to room temp (equates to 1 cup uncooked quinoa) – you can follow this tutorial for a step-by-step guide on how to make quinoa for some guidance if you need
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped (either curly or flat-leaf)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed – optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the salad dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients together (olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes) and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the salad ingredients together (parsley, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, black beans (if using)). Add your salad dressing and toss everything together.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled in refrigerator. Done!

Spinach Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese


Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, quick and easy, < 30mins
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

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Blueberries and spinach in a grilled cheese makes this sandwich healthy, right?? This sandwich works with a lot of different types of cheeses but my favourite would have to be white cheddar or havarti. The syrupy blueberries paired with the ooey-gooey cheese is just too good to not try.

Grilled cheese (or toasties in Australia), are THE ultimate comfort food. It’s quick, easy, and indulgent. Nothing beats the ooey-gooey cheesiness of a good crisp grilled cheese.

Making 4 grilled cheeses for lunch!

This post is a continuation of the grilled cheese lunch marathon we had last week. You can read more about it in yesterday’s sriracha butter apple grilled cheese post.

We made:

I came across this recipe back nearly 5 years ago from Amanda k. by the Bay and it’s still as delicious as ever! I’ve since experimented with different cheeses and my favourites so far are a sharp white cheddar or havarti. I tried it with mozzarella recently and although still good, I felt that the bold flavours of the balsamic blueberry overpowered the subtlety of the mozarella.

Unlike my other recipes, I didn’t make a video for these sandwiches since the instructions are fairly straightforward (let me know in the comments if you’d like me to make a video). I was also a little too excited when making these sandwiches and forgot to take some photos of the process 😅. I’ll update this post with more photos the next time I make them again (which probably won’t be long).

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsps brown sugar
  • Mayonnaise for spreading – this is the secret to a crisp golden grilled cheese! Mayo gives a nicer crisp and colour compared to butter.
  • 4 slices of white bread (I like to use sourdough, but whatever white bread you’ve got works)
  • 1 cup of baby spinach leaves
  • Enough cheese for 2 sandwiches – white cheddar, coon, havarti…etc

Directions:

In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the blueberries, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Let it come to a slow simmer and cook until the blueberries have started to soften. Gently crush some of the blueberries with your spatula (don’t crush all of them too flat or else you’ll lose some of that delicious blueberry flavour). When finished, strain your mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool. Keep the drained juices as an option to drizzle with later.

Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread (this will be the outside of the sandwich that you will toast to get that crisp golden colour).

Please use more spinach than in this photo. I forgot to buy some and scrounged up these ones from the garden last minute 😦

Assemble your grilled cheese with the mayonnaise side facing the outside. Add a layer of your cheese, then top it with the balsamic blueberries, spinach, more cheese, and then the other slice of bread (again, mayo on the outside).

(Incase that sentence was confusing, your layers should be: mayonnaise + bread + cheese + balsamic blueberries + cheese + bread + mayonnaise).

Make sure you grill this sandwich right away or else you risk the bread going a little soggy from the blueberry mixture.

Get a pan on the stove on medium heat and once your pan is heated, place your sandwich in the pan (you don’t need any oil in the pan because the mayonnaise on the outside of your sandwich will act as your oil base).

Toast your sandwich until the bread is a beautiful crisp golden brown and the cheese is melty (~3-5mins), then carefully flip your sandwich over and toast the other side. (Tip: if your sandwich is quite tall, you can gently flatten your sandwich as your cheese melts. This will help compact your sandwich and make it less messy to eat.) Once your second side is toasted and your cheese is melted, repeat with your second sandwich and serve immediately! Optional: drizzle your sandwich with a bit of that reserved juices strained from the balsamic blueberries. Enjoy!!

If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Summarized Recipe:

Spinach balsamic blueberry grilled cheese

Date Published: July 24th, 2020 | Last Updated: July 24th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: snacks, quick and easy, <30mins
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsps brown sugar
  • Mayonnaise for spreading – this is the secret to a crisp golden grilled cheese! Mayo gives a nicer crisp and colour compared to butter.
  • 4 slices of white bread (I like to use sourdough, but whatever white bread you’ve got works)
  • 1 cup of baby spinach leaves
  • Enough cheese for 2 sandwiches – white cheddar, coon, havarti…etc

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the blueberries, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Let it come to a slow simmer and cook until the blueberries have started to soften. Gently crush some of the blueberries with your spatula (don’t crush all of them too flat or else you’ll lose some of that delicious blueberry flavour). When finished, strain your mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool. Keep the drained juices as an option to drizzle with later.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread (this will be the outside of the sandwich that you will toast to get that crisp golden colour).
  3. Assemble your grilled cheese with the mayonnaise side facing the outside. Add a layer of your cheese, then top it with the balsamic blueberries, spinach, more cheese, and then the other slice of bread (again, mayo on the outside).
  4. Get a pan on the stove on medium heat and once your pan is heated, place your sandwich in the pan. Toast your sandwich until the bread is a beautiful crisp golden brown and the cheese is melty (~3-5mins), then carefully flip your sandwich over and toast the other side. Once your second side is toasted and your cheese is melted, repeat with your second sandwich and serve immediately. Enjoy!!
  5. Optional: drizzle your sandwich with a bit of that reserved juices strained from the balsamic blueberries.