Prosciutto Wrapped Maple Sweet Potatoes

Prosciutto Wrapped Maple Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Fries

Prosciutto Wrapped Maple Sweet Potatoes – come on, that sounds so good!

I’m from Quebec so my side dishes often feature maple syrup. It’s just a perfect ingredient, that’s great in both sweet and savory dishes and I use it frequently.

When I was asked to bring a Thanksgiving side dish recently, I wanted to do sweet potatoes, but not the traditional oversweet version with marshmallow topping that very few people actually like (in my circle anyways). This recipe is perfect as it still features the traditional sweet potatoes but they’re in finger food size in fries wrapped in salty prosciutto then glazed with maple syrup. There’s nothing to NOT like here folks.

The sweet potatoes will be in various size so aim to get to around 24 ‘fries’. If that means less than four potatoes, do less or add more prosciutto and do more fries!

Cooking for a crowd, double the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 4 long medium-size sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 24 fries/wedges
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • 6-8 ounces thinly-sliced Prosciutto
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Sweet Potato Fries

Unbaked Sweet Potato Fries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the sweet potato fries in a large bowl and drizzle them with oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then toss to coat.
  3. Cut the Prosciutto pieces into two long strips. Wrap one Prosciutto strip around each potato fry, tucking the ends under the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  5. Brush the maple syrup mixture over the potato fries and bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Inspired from this recipe.

Short Cut Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Short Cut Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Rice SoupCreamy chicken and rice soup has been a favorite of mine since my youth going to St Hubert restaurant in Quebec. St Hubert is a popular restaurant chain and the rice and creamy chicken soup it makes is pure comfort in a bowl.

This week as I was prepping for my pot of Sunday soup, I decided to make my typical chicken soup, creamy. Then I decided to replace the hand-cut spaghetti (popular at my home) with the rice from a boil-in bag. The result – velvety texture, big chicken flavor and hearty enough to almost use a fork to eat!

The “Short Cut” Part

I had leftover cooked chicken and homemade chicken broth in the freezer so I used that, but you could poach your own chicken to use or simply buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and grab store-bought broth. I’m a big believer in taking shortcuts in the kitchen, especially when they result in the heaven-in-a-bowl that is this Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium-large carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. each dried thyme and sage
  • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 cups diced roasted chicken
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp. corn starch diluted into ½ cup cold water
  • 1 Uncle Ben’s Boil-In Bag rice packet, uncooked OR 2 cups cooked long grain rice

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  2. Add chicken broth, thyme, sage, salt, black pepper and chicken and cook for 10 more minutes.
  3. Add the cream and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the corn starch mixture and stir for 2 minutes until the soup has thickened.
  4. Add the uncooked rice, lower heat to medium-low and cook 15 more minutes. If using cooked rice, reduce the cooking time for 2 minutes.

Serves 6 generously.

Easy Sesame Zucchini – Not Really a Recipe

Easy Sesame Zucchini – Not Really a Recipe

This is the fourth post in my new series called “Not Really a Recipe”. These will be non-recipe posts that just give ideas on how to fix meals that are tasty and require very little work.

I make zucchini as a side dish all the time. I like how fast zucchini cooks and that it has good texture when the outer skin isn’t removed.

One of my favorite way to make a fast side dish to pair with my lunches is a quick sauté of diced zucchini. This helps me get my extra serving of vegetables in and it’d darn tasty.

Simple dice a zucchini, sauté it in a teaspoon of vegetable oil either in a screaming hot wok, a frying pan or a cast iron pan with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper for about 3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan to avoid burning. Once cook, add a teaspoon of sesame oil and a half teaspoon of black sesame seeds and toss to coat. I sometimes also make this on the grill using a grill pan!

As the title of this post says, this isn’t really a recipe, it’s just a tasty way to change up the way you cook this inexpensive and tasty veggie.

Cheers,

Veronique     

Double Avocado Toast – Not Really a Recipe

Double Avocado Toast – Not Really a Recipe

This is the second post in my new series called “Not Really a Recipe”. These will be non-recipe posts that just give ideas on how to fix meals that are tasty and require very little work.

This dish is perfect for lunch, brunch or cut into slices for an appetizer. The dish is made using grain-filled bread that’s buttered and lightly toasted then topped with my Zesty Guacamole recipe, slices of avocado, cilantro leaves and edamame. Right before serving, I squeeze some lime juice on. Simple to make and boasting big, perfect flavors.

Let me know if you try this!

Cheers,

Veronique

Salmon with Avocado Mash – Not Really a Recipe

Salmon with Avocado Mash – Not Really a Recipe

This will be the first in a new series I’m going to do called “Not Really a Recipe”. These will be non-recipe posts that just give ideas on how to fix meals that are tasty and require very little work.

This dish is one I eat often…..blackened salmon topped with my Zesty Guacamole recipe. I use good quality salmon, sprinkle blackening seasonings on it, sear in a very hot cast iron pan, squirt some lime juice on and top with the guac. Simple, low-carb and most importantly, very tasty.

Let me know if you try this!

Cheers,

Veronique

Zoodles Shrimp Scampi

Zoodles Shrimp Scampi

Yes, I’m officially on the zoodles bandwagon. Not familiar with zoodles? They’re made by spiralizing vegetables and using as you would pasta. Many grocery stores even have already-prepared zoodle packages in the produce department – mine does. Zoodles are a good way to reduce carbohydrates intake, thus reducing high blood sugar – it’s why they grace my fridge every week instead of perfectly-cooked pasta.

In this dish, I’ve made a ‘standard’ scampi recipe and topped sautéed zucchini zoodles with it. It’s very tasty and I almost forgot I wasn’t eating delicious, starchy, al dente pasta (yeah, right LOL).

I know many don’t believe in cheese over fish/seafood but, what the heck, if it tastes good, use it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 cups zucchini zoodles
  • Pinch of salt and pepper for the zoodles
  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp. or ½ cup)
  • 2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound of medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and tails removed
  • ½ tsp. each salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional, purist, just omit)

Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the zoodles and the pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan. Set aside with a lid on the pan.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent scorching. Add the shrimp, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes, turning the shrimps periodically. Add the lemon and toss one last time.
  3. Divide the zoodles between two serving bowls, top with the buttery, garlic shrimp and sprinkle each bowl with parsley and cheese (if using).

Serves two.

Cheers,

Veronique

Spinach Dip Mozzarella Sticks

Spinach Dip Mozzarella Sticks

Photo by Etienne

My brother-in-law, Etienne, enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and trying new dishes when at restaurants. I really love that about him! This past week, he decided to try one of those Buzzfeed’s Tasty video recipes for Spinach Dip Mozzarella Sticks. How great does that sound!!? It’s like two of my favorite appetizers in one!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup cooked spinach, drained
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Marinara sauce for dipping, homemade or store-bought

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, spinach, mozzarella, salt, black pepper and garlic powder, stirring until thoroughly mixed. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread it. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the frozen spinach mixture onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment paper. Slice the block into 1-inch wide strips, then slice the strips in half into sticks.
  3. Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Dip the spinach dip sticks into the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, then back into the eggs, and finally back into the breadcrumbs. Set the breaded sticks aside on a plate.
  4. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Fry the breaded sticks for about 30 seconds to a minute, until golden brown.
  5. Cool and serve with marinara sauce.

Serves 15–20

 

Recipe by Tasty.

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

I’m still on my mission to try to stick to vegetarian dishes on #MeatlessMonday and since I’d make a double batch of my Vegetarian Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili a month ago and it was calling my name from the freezer, I decided to use that delicious concoction in a stuffed pepper dish.

Since I defrosted about 3 cups of chili, I used the remaining two cups for a southwestern lasagna and I’ll share that with you next week.

These stuffed peppers are fab as a take to work lunch as they’re really simple to microwave from the office kitchen. They’re also great paired with a salad dressed with some tasty, zesty dressing (perhaps my Easy Greek Vinaigrette) for a light dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red bell pepper (if green or yellow peppers are cheaper, go for them)
  • 1 cup brown or white rice, cooked
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese, plus 2 reserved tablespoons
  • 1 cup vegetarian chili (could be store-bought_

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the pepper stem and cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Remove any seeds and extra membrane from the inside of each half.
  3. Place each pepper halves, cut side down, in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the pepper is cool enough to handle.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, the cup of cheese and the chili.
  5. Spoon the chili mixture inside each bell pepper half and return to the baking dish. Top each pepper half with a tablespoon of cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with a side salad. Yields 2 servings.

 

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Red Bell Peppers
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Ingredients
  1. • 1 large red bell pepper (if green or yellow peppers are cheaper, go for them)
  2. • 1 cup brown or white rice, cooked
  3. • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese, plus 2 reserved tablespoons
  4. • 1 cup vegetarian chili (could be store-bought)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Remove the pepper stem and cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Remove any seeds and extra membrane from the inside of each half.
  3. 3. Place each pepper halves, cut side down, in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the pepper is cool enough to handle.
  4. 4. In a large bowl, combine the rice, the cup of cheese and the chili.
  5. 5. Spoon the chili mixture inside each bell pepper half and return to the baking dish. Top each pepper half with a tablespoon of cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. Serves 2.
Food & Wine Chickie Insider http://www.foodandwinechickie.com/
Cheers,

Veronique

Vegetarian Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Vegetarian Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

Chili CookingWhile winter’s been mild here so far in New Jersey, I’m still craving hearty, comforting food. In my continued effort to ‘prep Sunday – eat throughout the week’, this week, I’ve made a meatless chili that was uber satisfying and can be used in various ways during the week. I used it as dip for chips during the football game and topped a baked sweet potato with it for lunch (see photos).

This chili can be made in the slow cooker too – just throw all the ingredients in the crockpot (except for the toppings) and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth, then more if the chili gets too thick
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed totatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 28-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Toppings (optional) – fresh cilantro, lime wedges, diced avocado, sour cream and cheddar/jack cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute.
  4. Add the butternut squash, the salt and pepper, the chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, corn and black beans.
  6. Bring to a light boil then reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or until the butternut squash is completely tender.
  7. Thin with an additional broth if needed.
  8. Serve with desired toppings, if using.

Serves 8.

Hash Browns Vegetable Frittata

Hash Browns Vegetable Frittata

frittata-cutOn Christmas morning, my mom went all fancy on us and served this delicious frittata. A frittata is an Italian egg-based dish alike an omelet or a quiche without a crust. It was a perfect, comforting dish on a snowy Quebec morning.

I like that it’s vegetable-packed and unlike a quiche, it doesn’t require a pesky crust that needs to be painstakingly rolled out. Mom used bacon (6 slices chopped) and breakfast sausage (6 links chopped) in her version, but meatless is great too!

Feel free to play around with the veggies you use. Asparagus, artichoke hearts and roasted butternut squash would be great and replacing the spinach with kale or arugula would also work. It’s a great way to empty out the fridge!

This frittata was served hot at mom’s house but could easily be served at room temperature if featured at a brunch or breakfast buffet.

Note that if grating your own potatoes, the starchier the potatoes, the crisper the “crust”. Baking potatoes would be the starchiest, followed by Yukon Golds and boiling potatoes as the least starchy. All three would work.

Ingredients:

  • 15-ounce package of hash browns or 4 cups freshly-grated potatoes, dried very well
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (could use white button mushrooms)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 ½ cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon
  • 10 large eggs, beaten well

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 10-inch oven-proof skillet. Spread the hash browns on the bottom and walls of the skillet, creating a “crust”. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges of the hash browns have…browned! Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, the butter, the peppers, onion and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened. Add the spinach and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain excess oil/moisture.
  4. Place the cooked vegetables over the baked crust.
  5. In a large bowl, add the cream, the salt, the pepper and the tarragon to the beaten eggs – whisk for a minute then pour over the vegetables, in the skillet.
  6. Top the eggs with both cheeses.
  7. Place the skillet on a baking sheet (to help with any drips) and bake for 40 minutes, or until the frittata is set in the center.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes and serve, or, cool completely, wrap in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator for a day. If serving the next day, allow the frittata to come to room temperature and reheat in a 250 degree oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Serves 8 generously.