Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Yes, I said smashed, not mashed. Everyone has tried mashed potatoes and baked potatoes, but have you tried smashed potatoes?

I love to make this with my dinners. I normally pair it with a meat and some sort of vegetable. They are crispy, flavourful, bite-sized pieces of heaven.

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Here is what you will need:

  • 1 package small/ baby potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Thyme or green onions (optional)

I don’t think it is even possible to use less ingredients, making these tasty potatoes even more delicious for how cost efficient they are! The cherry on top is how quickly you can make them.

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Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees ferenheit. First you want to boil the potatoes to cook and moisten them. Boil for about 13 minutes, or JUST until they become tender (don’t cook too long because they still have to go in the oven).

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  1. Drain and transfer to a baking tray. Make sure to line your tray with tinfoil. Place your potatoes on the tray and use the palm of your hand to press down on them (this is where they get the name, “smashed potatoes”). Break them open by squishing them so they look like cracked patties. You should also let the potato cool before doing this, so they do not crumble apart.Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 5.43.03 PM.png
  2. Drizzle the oil on them with a bit of salt and pepper (along with your choice of fresh herb if desired). Pop them in the oven for 35 minutes and finito, delicious smashed potatoes. The crispiness is what makes them for me because the skin becomes chip-like.

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**You can add bacon, sour cream, salsa, green onion or whatever toppings you would like to amp up that flavour. I can’t promise they will still be considered healthy though.

What toppings or herbs do you think would be tasty on the smashed potatoes?

 

Italian Style Slow Cooker Soup

This is a soup composed of pasta, beans, beef and vegetables. The bold flavours of fresh thyme and basil float through your kitchen while the slow cooker works it’s magic.

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I can’t take credit for this recipe, but it’s definitely one of my favourites. The author is Ricardo Larrivee, an Italian food network star. You should definitely check out some of his slow cooker recipes, they are delish.

I need to point out that if you don’t already have a slow cooker… you need to stop reading this and get to the mall!!! The slow cooker is my best friend and has saved me countless hours of time. If you love eating delicious food that’s simply made, the slow cooker will be a key ingredient in your life. This is the one I have:

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Here is what you will need for this recipe:
-A 6 quart slow cooker (if you have 4 quart just reduce ingredients accordingly)
-2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
-1  lb (454 g) lean ground beef
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-2 stalks celery, diced
-2 carrots, diced
-1 can diced tomatoes
-1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
-6 cups chicken broth
-1 sprig fresh thyme
-1 sprig fresh basil (use dry herbs if you don’t want to spend the money on fresh ones- they do the same trick)
-1/2 cup tubetti or other short pasta (shells, macaroni, etc.)

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, brown the meat, onion and garlic, breaking up the meat and seasoning with pepper and salt. Transfer to slow cooker.19206137_10155903706507565_32455000_n.jpg
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to slow cooker, except for the pasta. Mix, cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours.
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  3. Set the slow cooker to high, add the pasta and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper accordingly.All done! Try to tell me that wasn’t easy-peasy?Anyone else have a go-to slow cooker recipe? If you exclude soup, I would say sloppy joes and pulled pork are my next favourites to make in my Crock-Pot!

 

 

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is great for four main reasons. The first is that it doesn’t use many ingredients, making it very inexpensive. The second is that you can make it as a soup or use it as a pasta sauce. The third is that this recipe is vegan, making it something almost anyone can eat. The fourth is that you feel like you’re indulging because of the creaminess of the butternut squash, but, it is all healthy!

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Here is what you will need:
-2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
-4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 cups)
*You can buy pre-cut butternut squash in packages, which is what I do because peeling squash is the bane to my existence 
-2 medium yellow onions, chopped
-4 garlic cloves, diced
-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
*Alternatively you could add a splash of hot sauce like siracha or Franks
-4 cups vegetable broth
-salt and pepper

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  1. Pour the oil in a large warmed skillet, adding the butternut squash, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes (if you wanted a bit of a kick in your soup). Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.

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2. Add the broth, bringing the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, until squash is soft, about 15 minutes. At this point, I sometimes add a little more vegetable broth if it has reduced by more than half.

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3. Once the squash mixture is done cooking, remove from heat and let cool a little. Add the contents to a blender and puree until smooth. Add some salt and pepper until the flavours sing to you. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more vegetable broth and if it is not thick enough, cook it a little longer on the skillet.

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This is my favourite soup, what’s yours?

 

 

Blueberry Raspberry Honey Rolled Oats

This is a healthy breakfast or snack you can make in 5 minutes and yields about 8 servings. It’s quick, easy and will give you that much-needed boost of energy in the morning.

Once I make the recipe, I leave it in the fridge overnight so the oats can absorb all the yummy flavours. Then I have breakfast waiting for me for the week.

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Here’s what you will need:

-3 cups quick oats (I buy Quaker)
-1 1/2 cups strawberry yogurt
-1 cup orange Juice
-1 apple
-2 tbsp honey
-1/3 cup milk or cream

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  1. Add the oats, strawberry yogurt, orange juice and honey into a bowl. Simple so far, right?
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  2. Rinse the blueberries and raspberries, adding them to the bowl as well. You can really choose any fruits you would like, I just used my favourites. Sometimes I switch it up and add mangos or strawberries.Get creative and try new flavour combinations!

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3. Shred the apple with a cheese grater, taking off the skin prior to shredding. Add it to the mixture and voila, you’re done!

What fruits would you add to your oats? Tell me what you think in the comments.

 

Smoked Salmon Pasta

This is a quick, tasty recipe you have to make for dinner. If you serve this to your friends and family, they will feel forever in your debt. The fresh aromas of lemon, dill and smoked salmon will fill your kitchen.

I came up with this creation on my own and with a bit of trial and error, I think I have mastered it. If you love salmon, pasta, and a creamy rose sauce, this will become a favourite. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 box pasta (farfalle is what I use for this recipe)
  • 1 onion
  •  1/4 cup white wine (I like Oyster Bay, but any will do)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill OR 1 tsp if you only have dried dill
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup tomato or pasta sauce
  • Small package of smoked salmon (200 g)

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  1. First thing’s first! Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add your farfalle pasta with 1/2 tablespoon of salt. The salt gives the pasta flavour. Once the pasta is cooked, strain it. Do this simultaneously as you are cooking your sauce.farfalle
  2. Dice the onion and sauté until golden brown. Add the white whine and bring to a simmer (You can add more if you would like). Then, add the dill. I normally use dried dill because I always have it on me- fresh dill goes bad too quickly for a student.
  3. After about 5 minutes add the evaporated milk. Most recipes use table cream, but I found evaporated milk gives the same creaminess and flavour, without the fat of cream. The evaporate milk I use is 2% fat, while table cream is 18%. That is another reason this dish is great- it tastes so sinful, without the sinning!
  4. Anyways, mix all this together and add your tomato sauce. You want to add just enough to make a rose sauce, so slowly add the tomato sauce in as you stir your mixture. After another 5 minutes, mix in your smoked salmon (cut it into small, pieces first). Simmer until salmon is warm (about 5-6 minutes).

I like to serve lemon slices with my pasta, I love the flavour it brings out! You can also garnish with some fresh dill if you have it.

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I hope you love this dish as much as I do. It’s a quick meal that you can easily make after a long day of work.

xoxo Rachel

Crispy Bacon Grilled Cheese Roll-Ups

I want to start my first post off with a quick, tasty, inexpensive snack that will surely appeal to everyone. I mean come on, who doesn’t love bacon and cheese rolled into gooey heaven?

This recipe takes an ordinary grilled cheese and turns it into a re-invented, spectacular grilled cheese roll-up! All you need is your favourite loaf of bread (I recommend sourdough), assorted shredded cheese since it melts the best and bacon.

From this:                                                       

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To this:

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They make the perfect appetizer or snack and are really fun to create. Not to mention, they are the perfect dipper for soup! It’s a great way to involve the family or have some fun with friends.

How to make 

  1. Cook your bacon as you normally would, but make sure it is still flexible and not crispy. I put the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, but you can pan fry or use a microwave if you would like. Also, I let the bacon cool in paper towels, so there is less fat (makes it somewhat healthier).
  2. Cut the ends off of the bread and use a rolling pin to flatten it.
  3. Place your cheese on the bread and roll it up- I use sliced cheddar cheese, but if you want extra gooey wraps, I recommend shredding your cheese first, so it melts faster.
  4. Tightly wrap the bacon around your wrap and place in a skillet that already has the vegetable oil (or cooking spray) in it. Keep your oven at medium heat and let the wrap cook 2-3 minutes until the bacon is crispy, bread is golden and cheese is melted.

Tip: I add siracha sauce when I add the cheese to give the wrap a kick! You can add anything you would like, such as ketchup or even caesar dressing! Get creative and enjoy!

xoxo Rachel