Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas

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I keep craving Mexican lately! Seriously, I’ve been eating an avocado a day for like two weeks,  I’m always in the mood for tacos, and I found myself daydreaming about a margarita today. Maybe I’m subconsciously needing a vacation? I don’t have any plans to head to Mexico any time soon, but I am going to Hawaii (to visit family) in a few weeks, and I honestly can barely wait. I know I was on vacation for like two months in the summer, but I really feel in need of a beach to sit on, ya know?

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Have you ever heard of a flauta? I hadn’t, before these, but they’re basically the same thing as a taquito. My mom used to buy boxes of taquitos in high school, which were delicious, but also probably terrible for me. These guys are much more healthy, but equally yummy. They would be a perfect appetizer if you’re having some friends over, or you could have them as an entree, perhaps with a little salad.

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Sweet Corn and Green Chile Baked Flautas

Makes 12 Flautas, using Standard Flour Tortillas

Adapted from Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F*ck

1 tsp Olive Oil

1 cup Yellow Onion, diced (about 1/2 an onion)

2 tsp Chili Powder

3/4 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Salt

4 – 5 cloves Garlic, minced

3 cups Pinto Beans, canned or cooked

1 4 oz can Mild Green Chiles

Juice of 1/2 a Lime

1 cup Sweet Corn Kernels

1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated

12 Flour Tortillas (I used whole wheat)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large cooking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add in the chili powder, cumin, salt, and garlic, stir to combine, and cook for about another minute. Remove from heat.

3. Throw the beans, green chiles, and lime juice into a large mixing bowl. Mash together using a potato masher of the back of a fork. It’s okay if there are some whole beans left – texture is good! Fold in the sautéed onion mixture, the corn, and the grated cheese, combining well.

4. Warm the tortillas in your microwave. Spoon about 2 heaping tbsp of the bean filling and spread in a nice line on the left side of the tortilla from top to bottom. Roll the tortilla up from left to right, then place seam-side-down on the baking sheet, keeping about an inch between each flauta. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beans.

5. Lightly coat flautas with some cooking spray (or brush with a little olive oil) and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the flautas over, then return to oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes under both sides are crispy and golden brown. Serve warm, preferably with some delicious homemade guac.

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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Simple Guacamole

I am officially done school for the semester! I have almost an entire month off until I begin my final semester of school, ever. I will be back and forth between my parents houses over the break. My mom lives about an hour and a half away, along with most of my siblings (I have a big family!) My dad has a place about 45 minutes from mine, so I will spend some time there, but he actually lives in Hawaii most of the time, so I get to spend the last week of my break in Kona. I can’t wait to relax in the sun all day and to explore the island a little more! I LOVE Hawaii – but who doesn’t?

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As usual, today’s recipe has absolutely nothing to do with anything that I have talked about thus far. I stumbled upon it maybe five years ago, when I was just starting to get into cooking. At the time, it seemed like a strange combination (okay, it still kind of does – but trust me) but everyone ended up loving them. I’ve been making them every few months since then.

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I love cumin, and I love cilantro. I use them a lot in cooking, and this recipe is a winning combination of both. They are easy enough for a week night, but I like to make a big batch on the weekend and freeze them for lunches. I will not claim that this guacamole is authentic by any means, just so we are clear.  However, it uses ingredients that I usually have on hand, it is quick to make, and it is really good.

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos:

Adapted from Allrecipes

Makes 6 burritos, or 12 mini burritos 

1 large Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into chunks

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

1/2 an Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

3 cups Black Beans

1/2 cup Water

1 tbsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Cumin

2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped

2 tsp Prepared Mustard

1 pinch Cayenne Pepper

1 tbsp Soy Sauce

6 Tortillas or 12 Mini Tortillas

1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1. Put the chunks of sweet potato into a medium sized pot. Add in enough cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and transfer potatoes to a bowl. Mash.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Cover a standard baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and sauté onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add in beans, and using a potato masher, try to mash the beans. You don’t have to get ’em all, but try to make it so it is kind of a paste, if that makes sense. Gradually stir in water, heat until warm. Remove from heat. Add in chili powder, cumin, cilantro, cayenne, prepared mustard, and soy sauce. Stir until well combined.

5. Divide the sweet potatoes and the black bean mixture evenly between the tortillas. Top with cheddar cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito-style, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350, flipping halfway through. Serve.

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Simple Guacamole:

Serves 1 or 2 

1 Ripe Avocado

1 tbsp Sour Cream

1/2 tsp Lime Juice

1/2 clove Garlic, minced

Salt, to taste

1 pinch Paprika

1. Mash the avocado.

2. Add in the remaining ingredients except the paprika and combine well. Serve garnished with a light dusting of paprika.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Southern Alberta and British Colombia are having extreme snow storms today. In Red Deer (where I am from) the college is actually closed – super rare, for a province where snow is more than expected. University of Alberta (where I go) is not closed. I walked to class today. I am currently watching the weather network, trying to mentally prepare myself for the week ahead. Brrr. Needless to say, I am very thankful for leftover soup.

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(My parents house… ah!)

It occurred to me that pretty much every week (at least in the winter) I make a huge pot of soup and then eat it for at least 3 days, and store the rest in the freezer. I did not realize that this is a thing that I do, but I am super okay with it.

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I am kind of in love with this soup. It is perfectly spicy and there are so many flavours and textures that just work so well together. This one is going into my regular rotation for sure.

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Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, it is super easy and ALL of the garnishes are so worth it.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Serves 8 & freezes well 

1 whole Chicken, cooked & shredded*

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 cup Yellow Onion, diced

1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, diced

1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced

1/4 cup Yellow Bell Pepper, diced

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 500 ml can Diced Tomatoes with Spicy Red Pepper

4 cups Chicken Stock (or Bouillon)

3 tbsp Tomato Paste

4 cups Hot Water

1.5 cups canned Black Beans, rinsed

3 tbsp Cornmeal

For the Garnishes 

Red Onion, diced

Avocado, diced

Cheddar Cheese, grated

Tortilla Chips, crumbled**

Sour Cream

Cilantro

Lime Juice

1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in onions, 3 kinds of peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add in the spices and shredded chicken, and stir well.

2. Add in canned diced tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

3. Mix cornmeal with about 2 tbsp of warm water. Add mixture into soup, then continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

4. Turn off heat, and allow to sit for another 20 minutes before serving.

5. Ladle into bowls and top with red onions, avocado, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice. (Best enjoyed while wrapped in blankets and watching Netflix, obviously)

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* Alternatively, you could bake two chicken breasts in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees and then shred.

** Rather than crumble tortilla chips (I cannot buy them on account of I will eat them all in 2 days…) you can make your own tortilla strips. To do this, I spread about 1 tbsp (maybe less) onto both sides of a single tortilla, cut it in half, and then cut each half into small strips. Then, bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.