Chili Lime Chicken Burgers & Homemade Buns

IMG_0256

Burgers always remind me of summer. Barbecue season, camping, etc. And even though it’s the middle of January, it’s been uncharacteristically warm in Calgary, so burgers (and even barbecuing, if I had one) are actually super reasonable. Even when they’re flavoured with lime and spices, making them even more summer-y. I think I need to buy a barbecue soon here, now that I think about it.

IMG_0254

 

IMG_0258

These burgers are ridiculously easy, super light and healthy, and so, so flavourful. The buns, of course, take a little more work, but sometimes I just find myself in the mood to knead dough, you know? It’s actually kind of therapeutic (I can’t be the only one who feels this way…) If you’re not crazy , though, you could definitely just buy buns at the store, or even wrap these in some lettuce for an even lighter option.

IMG_0255

Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Makes Four Burgers 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 lb Ground Chicken

1/4 cup Red Onions, diced

1/4 cup Red Bell Peppers, diced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro, minced

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup Lime Juice

1/4 tsp Red Chile Flakes

For serving: homemade buns, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese

1. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.

2. Place all of the ingredients, including the cooked onion mix, in a medium bowl and use your hands to combine well. Divide and shape the meat into four patties.

3. On a barbecue or grill pan, cook for 6 minutes on each side, over medium heat, or until internal temperature registers 175 degrees.

4. Serve, and top with anything you like (but the avocado is super necessary!!)

Homemade Burger Buns

Makes 8 Burger Buns

Adapted from The Kitchn

1 tbsp Active-Dry Yeast

1/2 cup Warm Water

1/2 cup 2% Milk

1 large Egg

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 tbsp White Sugar

1 tsp Salt

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. Add all of the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until it is roughly combined.  Take out the dough, and knead for 10 minutes, flouring your hands/working surface as necessary. The finished dough should be smooth, slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

3. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour until doubled in size.

4. Place the dough back on your floured work surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces, shaping each into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet and let rise until puffy and hamburger-sized, about 30 – 45 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. Bake the buns until nice and golden, about 15 – 18 minutes. Allow buns to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Buns will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month or two.

Fish Tacos with Purple Cabbage Slaw

Fish tacos are kind of all the rage around here lately, aren’t they? (And by here I mean where I live in Canada…) Most restaurants seem to have their own takes on them, and I’m pretty much always tempted to order them when I go out. My favourite are from a place called Añejo in Calgary – they also have fantastic guac and margaritas, if you were wondering.

IMG_7418

I never really thought about making my own, mainly because I’m not very brave about deep frying things. But then I decided that maybe I didn’t actually need to deep fry the fish to make fish tacos. Maybe coating them with a little flour and spices and then cooking it in a pan with just a lil bit of oil would work just as well? (It did.) Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients here – all you need to do is throw together a quick slaw, cook the fish, and then you’ve got yourself a taco bar and your friends/family can build their own tacos with all of the fixings. Simple, right?

IMG_7412

I’d actually never made a cabbage slaw before I made these tacos. I kind of forget that cabbage does not need to be totally coated in mayonnaise in order to make it into a slaw. I actually really enjoyed this one by itself, not only in the tacos. Do you guys have any tips for “shredding” cabbage? A quick google told me that it was easiest not to “shred” it at all, but rather to slice it in a weird way… That’s what I ended up doing, and it worked alright, but I’m interesting in hearing about other methods!

IMG_7422

Fish Tacos with Purple Cabbage Slaw 

Makes about 12 Tacos 

Adapted from The Kitchn

For the slaw:

1 small Purple Cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)

1 small Carrot, grated

3 Green Onions, thinly sliced

1/2 Jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Lime Juice

2 tbsp Mayonnaise (or alternative – vegannaise, lemonnaise)

2 tsp Honey

Salt & Pepper, to taste

For the fish:

1/3 cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika or Chipotle Powder

1 – 1 1/2 lbs White Fish (sole, snapper, tilapia, etc.)

2 tbsp Canola Oil

To Serve:

12 Corn Tortillas, warmed

Torn Cilantro Leaves

Avocado Slices

Lime Wedges

Salsa

Sour Cream

1. To prepare the slaw, place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands to help it release its liquid and begin wilting. Transfer the cabbage to a strainer set over a bowl and set aside to drain for about 15 minutes.

2. Squeeze the cabbage of its excess liquid, one handful at a time, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, green onions, and jalapeño. Toss to combine. Whisk together the minced garlic, lime juice, mayonnaise, and honey. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the cabbage mix and toss to combine.

3. To prepare the fish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow container. Pat the fish dry, then dredge it in the flour mixture.

4. Heat the oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmery and flows to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Add the fish to the pan — if cooking multiple fillets, arrange them in a single layer with a little space between. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, carefully flipping once with a spatula, until both sides are golden brown and the fish is opaque and flakes apart easily in the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a clean plate and flake into large chunks.

5. Serve the fish on a platter with the tortillas, slaw, cilantro, avocado, lime and salsa on the side, letting each diner assemble his or her own tacos.

Loaded Sweet Potato with Red Blanket Sauce

You know those weekends when you escape everything and don’t worry about anything and you aren’t the least bit productive? And it’s great and so much fun but then it’s Monday (well, Tuesday in this case – long weekend!) and you are FREAKING OUT because there are a million things you need to do? Welcome to my life.

IMG_3822

I spent the weekend in rural Saskatchewan – golfing, hanging out at cabins, and eating delicious food with my roommate and her family. Now I’m home and back at work and need to spend every second that I can studying for my Canadian Registered Nursing Exam and figuring out last minute details for my Europe Trip. I am possibly the worlds worst procrastinator, so of course I am majorly cramming for the next two weeks – apparently I did not learn my lesson after four years of doing the same thing for exams in University.

IMG_3821

But back to the recipe. It’s one of my new favourite “delicious but healthy” recipes. If you didn’t know this already, I will never tire of the combination of sweet potato, black beans, and avocado, and I’m really wondering how I didn’t come up with this one myself. I mean, it seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it? I love that you can adapt it to your tastes and depending on what you have in your fridge at any given time.

IMG_3827

And the sauce, you guys. It’s Sarah Britton’s take on a Mexican mole sauce and it is AMAZING. It’s like a smooth, creamy tomato sauce with a bit of a kick and a hint of chocolate, without being overly chocolate-y.  I added it to tacos, draped it over roasted vegetables, and just pretty much used it on whatever I could for a couple of weeks. The loaded sweet potatoes themselves are good, but the sauce really just takes them to a whole new level. I HIGHLY recommend that you make this one!

IMG_3831

Loaded Sweet Potato:

Serves Two 

Adapted from My New Roots 

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1 cup Black Beans

1 Avocado

Optional Toppings:

Cilantro

Green Onions

Corn Kernels

Sprouts

Lime Wedges

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Crumbled Goat Cheese

Sour Cream

Crushed Chili Flakes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick sweet potato a few times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. You will know it’s done when a knife can easily pierce the skin and the center is soft.

2. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and slice each one down the center, almost through to the bottom.

3. Stuff the sweet potato with black beans and avocado, then top with any optional toppings you are using. Pour red blanket sauce over the top, then serve and enjoy.

Red Blanket Sauce:

Makes 2 cups 

Adapted from My New Roots

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 medium Onion, diced

Salt, to taste

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 can of Whole Tomatoes

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

1/4 tsp Ground Chipotle Powder

1/4 tsp Cayenne

2 Dates

2 tbsp Cacao Powder

1 tbsp Nut Butter or Tahini

4 tbsp Water, divided

1 1/2 tsp Lime Juice

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt coconut oil and add all spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add diced onions, a couple pinches of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another couple minutes. If the pot gets dry at any point, add a little of the tomato juice from the can.

2. Pour canned tomatoes into the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Taste, adjusting seasoning as needed.

3. Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender. Add pitted dates, cacao powder, nut butter, lime juice and a couple tablespoons of the water. Blend on high, adding water to thin as needed, until desired consistency is reached.

4. Serve warm over sweet potatoes, or add to tacos, use as a dip for roasted vegetables… Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks.

Blackened Salmon with Mango Avocado Salsa

Why, hello summer! How lovely of you to join us so early this year! (Jk. That was last week. Then it snowed on Sunday. Now its meh. Typical Edmonton…) But just in case it’s lovely wherever you guys are at, here is the perfect recipe for a warm summer evening.

IMG_3812

Confession: I am possibly the worst barbecuer of all time. I don’t actually own one (though I want to!) and I’m honestly not confident that I could even turn one on. And since I have pretty much zero experience cooking on one, I tend to accidentally overcook meat on it and/or mess it up in some other way. Thankfully, I was at my mom’s house and she happens to be quite good at barbecuing. She gets a decent amount of credit for this one turning out so perfectly.

IMG_3817

I love salmon, and it is delicious on the barbecue, especially with this cajun spice rub. I think the spice rub would also work well on chicken drumsticks or thighs… yum. And holy this salsa is insanely good! I was literally eating it by the spoonful after dinner. Overall, this recipe was super easy and not time consuming at all, and I’ll certainly be making it lots (okay, if I had a bbq/could figure out how to use one I would. I’ll make the salsa lots.)

IMG_3809

Blackened Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa:

Serves 4 – 6 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 1/2 – 2 lbs Wild Salmon Fillets

3 tsp Butter

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Oregano

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Chili Powder

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/4 tsp Thyme

1/4 tsp Cayenne

Mango Salsa:

1 large Mango, peeled & diced

1 large Avocado, peeled & diced

1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp Red Onion, diced

Small handful Cilantro, chopped

1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1. If not already cut, slice the salmon into 4 to 6 even fillets.

2. Combine the butter and all of the spices in a bowl. Rub all over both sides of the salmon. Leave at room temperature while the grill heats.

3. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat

4. Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and store in the refrigerator while the fish cooks.

5. Sear the salmon, skinless side down first. Close the grill lid. Cook 1-3 minutes on the first side, depending on how thick the fillets are. (Try not to move them until you are going to flip them over to help keep them in one piece.)

6. Using tongs and a metal spatula in the other hand, carefully turn the fish over, so that the skin side is down, and reduce the heat to medium. For charcoal grills, finish cooking over indirect heat furthest from the coals.

7. Close the grill lid and finish cooking for another 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Salmon should be just barely opaque and will start to flake along the center of the fillet when done. Serve hot with mango-avocado salsa spooned over it.

Black Bean, Corn, & Avocado Bowl

Yesterday was a sad day. Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow announced their separation. And before you roll your eyes at me and label me as some celebrity gossiper, hear me out. I swear I’m not always so obsessive about such things. I don’t read Star Magazine or US Weekly. But Gwyneth happened to announce it on her blog, Goop, yesterday, and I happen to be obsessed with that blog.

IMG_3348

The thing is that Gwyneth is one of those celebrities that you want to like because not only is her acting amazing, but her recipe books are so great and I kind of dig how private she keeps her personal life from the press. And Chris Martin… well, hello. As if I didn’t love them enough already, I happen to have practically met them. As in, I sat within arms reach of them (and Apple and Moses) while I ate breakfast one day in Hawaii. And you know what? They seemed to be some of the more down to earth people at the resort I was at. Also, Chris Martin is even better looking in person, incase you were wondering. So I am honestly a little devastated that they decided to separate, even though Gwyneth says it was amicable. Sad face.

IMG_3346

So what does all of this have to do with food? It’s Gwyneth’s recipe, of course. I had actually planned on posting this yesterday before I heard about the separation and found that her blog had crashed because of the announcement. So unfortunately I couldn’t see the actual recipe, and I didn’t want to guess at it, which is why I waited until today to post it.

IMG_3349

Gwyneth is pretty much the queen of simple, easy, fresh, and healthy recipes. I love both of her cookbooks and her blog and have gotten some of my most treasured recipes from her. This one is no different. This combination of flavours is one of my favourites, and this is so easily put together for a quick weeknight meal (I served it with some fresh tilapia). And aren’t the colours pretty?

Black Bean, Corn, & Avocado Bowl:

Serves two.  

Adapted from Goop

1 can of Black Beans, rinsed

1 ear of Corn, shucked *

1 Avocado, peeled and cubed

1 Lime

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked

1/2 cup Brown Rice, cooked

Sea Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

1/2 small Red Onion, diced

Handful of Cilantro, chopped

1 Jalapeño, deseeded and minced

Sriracha, to taste

1. Pre-heat a grill (or grill pan) over medium high heat. Place corn on grill and cook for about a minute on each side, until nicely charred all around. When cool, carefully slice off the kernels into the bowl.

2. Add the black beans and avocado to the corn. Drizzle the olive oil and squeeze the juice of one lime over the top. Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place equal amounts quinoa and brown rice into two serving bowls or sealable food containers. Add the bean mixture over the top.

4. Place all the garnish ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over the bowls to your liking, serve.

* If corn is not in season, you can use a can of corn, rinsed.

Favourite Lunch: Avocado Toast

Today, I wrote the last exam of my undergraduate degree. In a week, I start my final clinical placement. In a little over two months, I will be done. Where does time go?  I mean, I am SO excited to be a Registered Nurse and there is literally nothing I would rather do and I know I’ll love it so much. But I am also terribly sad that my university life is going to be over… You might have to bear with my ranting and reminiscing about how great these past four years have been a bit over the next few months.

IMG_3103

I decided to share a simple recipe (if you can even call it that) with you today. I eat this pretty much every day for lunch, along with some almonds, chickpeas, a hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, etc. Notice how all the pictures are kinda different? That’s to show how I ate it on different days (smart). The most random combinations of foods are sometimes the best ones, right? Right.

IMG_3084

I actually don’t really know how this recipe came about. I think it started with the avocado on toast, and the sriracha naturally followed. A little olive oil, some salt & pepper… yum. You could mash the avocado, but I like to keep things simple, and slicing it works totally fine.

I actually don’t even know how to describe the taste of this to you, because it just tastes like all of the ingredients combined? But in a good way? (Duh) You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand, especially if you love avocados and sriracha as much as I do, so you should definitely give it a try!

IMG_3067

Avocado Toast:

Makes one serving

1 piece of Bread (preferably a nice, sturdy, whole wheat),

1/2 an Avocado

Sriracha Sauce, to taste*

1/2 tsp Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

1. Toast bread to your liking.

2. Slice half of an avocado four times length-wise, then use a spoon to scoop it from the skin.

3. Place the avocado sections on your toast. Squirt on a little sriracha. Pour on the olive oil (try to do it evenly). Top with salt and pepper. Eat immediately.

* You can also use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, or one of your preference. I just love Sriracha!