SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN CASSEROLE
This dish is not only delicious but it also looked so nice. It is a side dish, but I used it as the main course and with some steamed vegetables and a green salad on the side it was a filling and lovely meal.
Couple of notes to go with it:
- I would use half a sweet potato per serving for a side dish and a whole if used as a main course if that gives you a better visual how much you need
- If you have a mandoline, it is a perfect tool to cut the sweet potatoes with.
- The time in the oven is depended on the thickness of your sweet potato slices. Make sure the potatoes are done before serving.
- Interlocking the pieces of sweet potatoes makes the casserole not only look nice, it also makes the sweet potatoes cook faster.
- If the cheese you use is very salty, be careful with the amount of salt you use on top of the casserole before the first baking.
I really liked the subtle flavors of the herbs with the beans and sweet potatoes. I saw a picture of a dish like this on the internet, and I had to try to re-create it, and I admit, I was happy with the results. I hope you are as well.
'Till next time
ORANGE CHICKEN WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR
I saw the funniest thing on Instagram the other day about people wanting just the recipes from a food blog, not the life story of a blogger. "Get to the recipe first" - well, that's just fine with me, so from now on, I will be posting the recipes at the top of the post, and comment only if there are some notes I wanted to pass on.
If you want to make this tasty dish meat-free, use white, hydrated beans instead of chicken. That will add to the cooking time considerably if the beans are not ready cooked. You can also do this in a slow cooker with the beans, but then leave the honey and butter to be added just minutes before serving. With the chicken, it takes less than 30 minutes to make this dish, so I don't think a slow cooker option is necessary, but if you decide to do that, remember that honey and butter right before getting ready to serve.
Hope you'll enjoy this quick yet flavor rich dish!
'Till next time
There seems to be some kind of problem with downloading spring this year. Every time I think now the warmer weather will come, the sun is out, I don't have to have four layers of clothing anymore, and there is snow... But, we deal, and we move on, there's always tomorrow, right?!
This cabbage stew with pork is a perfect dish to make on those unexpected cold days. It is easy to set going, and then it simmers by itself for a couple of hours at the low heat, letting all the ingredients and flavors to immerse and deepen so you get that deep burning taste of this delightfully delish dish with lots of fiber.
It is a great meal as it is, or you can serve it with noodles or rice if you so choose to. The vegetables you use on it is up to you, the more colorful, the better, always. I didn't add any liquid to it, what liquid it does have come from the vegetable themselves. I used pork in the stew, but of course, you can make it without it as well. Or use poultry instead. Just check the taste as you let it cook, to make sure it has enough flavor in it.
As the eternal optimist, I have faith the spring will come, and the sun will shine, and the new, fresh veggies will come to the markets soon...
'Till next time
CABBAGE STEW WITH PORK & VEGGIES
To survive a hectic week ahead, I often start my meal planning the previous week by preparing a casserole type of dish that gives me meals for a couple of days if so needed. It takes off the stress of meal planning and prep from the everyday fumble and can be a make or break a deal how the week starts to roll off. To fix the casserole on Sunday while making the Sunday dinner, might be a brilliant idea to save time and stress, but making it on Monday and knowing Tuesday and maybe even Wednesday are already taken care of, you are off to a great week. And, while at it, if it is doable, make two casseroles, and put the other one into the freezer for that really bad, busy, I got no time or desire to cook days that might come ahead of you.
I have shared many casserole recipes with you over the years so you can just go to the 'search' bar and write casserole in it and it will give you links to the recipes.
This recipe is an old classic, that I grew up with. It has developed and come more healthy, or colorful, over the years. If you translate the name directly to English 'Temptation' describe it well, as it is a true form of tempting comfort food in a casserole dish that has that creamy, delicious texture and flavor.
It is easy to make, it does take an hour in the oven, but it is worth that time to wait. You can make it with fish, like here is used salmon. You can use marinated fish, smoked fish, sardines from the can, or pickled fish like gravlax. Or you can use ham, turkey, or chicken if you happen to have leftovers and want to utilize them well.
For the recipe itself, you can go with just sliced, diced, or julienned potatoes and onions. Or you can get a bit more flavor to it and add a variety of root vegetables.
Also, you can use just cream like I did this time, or you can add a bit cheese, like Gruyère, that has a creamy and nutty flavor if the cheese is young but more complex flavor if the cheese ages over five months.
Layering the ingredients you ensure that each bite is filled with the flavors, textures, and the comforting goodness of the tempting casserole.
I hope you are having a fabulous week, that you are enjoying April, and that there is no more snow in your yard... The spring will come!
'Till next time
CREAMY SALMON CASSEROLE WITH ROOT VEGGIES
For a while now I have been playing with an oven dish with root vegetable recipe. I just got back home from visiting my parents and while there, my mom started to tell me about this new root vegetable dish she does... Too funny!
There are a lot of similarities to the one I had been playing with, so for now, I just share my mom's amazing baked root vegetable dish with sweet and sour chili sauce, that will melt in your mouth but leaves a sweet kind of gentle burn in the aftertaste, like a reminder that you just consumed something delicious.
This dish was served on the side of some spicy chicken tenders, baked in the oven next to the vegetables. I had some turmeric, smoked paprika, a dash of ginger powdered, another dash of cinnamon, and salt and pepper, mixed with oil and rubbed on the chicken before setting it on the pan and baking it. The pieces of chicken were so large, and the pieces of vegetable small, so that they were done at the same time, in about 45 - 50 minutes in the 350F/175C oven.
I hope you enjoy this dish, it has all the colors of the spring! Hopefully, the snowing and root veggies will soon change into sunny days and fresh vegetables from the garden...
'Till next time
BAKED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH CHILI SAUCE
I love how this fresh and filling, colorful avocado-tuna salad worked out. I admit I am not the biggest fan of avocado, but I really did enjoy this salad, and it was good for the next day as well.
The salad can be used in various ways, even as a filling for a layered sandwich if you chop the ingredients small enough. You can do a fancy setting for a Sunday brunch by serving it from the shell of the avocado with toast, or you can set in a buffet table for a lunch party to be enjoyed with a side of a good artisan bread.
I hope you enjoy it!
'Till next time
AVOCADO TUNA SALAD
Nothing better in the heart of the winter than a big bowl of soup, that will smooth you all the way to your soul! Soups are a fast and easy way to fill you up, they can be reasonably priced, depending on the ingredients you use, and it is a great way to ease your weekly stress, to make a big pot ahead of time to use for a couple of days after hectic days of life.
If you have a small household - or for any other number of reasons - those pre-washed and cut vegetable bags many grocery stores sell can actually reduce the prize of the meal, cut the time you prepare the meal considerably, and cut the food waste you produce. Sometimes buying every item of the vegetables and then using just quarter of it, and having the rest in your fridge for a week until you get rid of it, can get costly, and definitely wasteful. Also, these pre-cut bags are a great for the disabled, who can not stand long enough to wash and cut veggies, who have problems holding a knife, or any other obstacles with the food preparation. This is not an ad for anything, I just recently had a conversation with someone who questioned the pre-cut fruits and vegetables being sold, and I just wanted to point out that there actually is a number of reason for people to use them, and they definitely have a great purpose for many.
So if you need to, or want to, buy pre-cut veggies for this or any other recipe, just so you can cook home, you have my blessing, go forth and cook for your heart content!
'TIll next time
CHORIZO SOUP WITH LENTILS
This mouth-watering salmon recipe is a great weeknight dinner treat or a Sunday dinner idea. You can put the marinade on the salmon ahead of time, then just add the goat cheese slices on the top of the fish right before putting it in the oven.
The zucchini pasta with peppers that I shared previously is a great side dish for this fish. To prep ahead of time you can cut all the vegetables ahead of time, and sauté them while the fish is in the oven.
Or you can go a more traditional route with mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, potatoes au gratin, and so on.
To get the best results, use a strong tasting mustard in the marinade for the fish. The honey will balance its sharpness, giving the taste of the baked fish a great balance. Don't forget to salt and pepper the salmon before the marinade.
I hope you'll enjoy this salmon recipe as much as we did.
'Till next time
HONEY-MUSTARD SALMON WITH GOAT CHEESE
The heart of the winter is here, and this year we have freezing temperatures with tons of snow. While it is pretty and all, I am already looking forward to the spring and colors, and warm weather.
To bring some of those colors on my plate, I made the zucchini pasta, with a little twist that brought into it some nice heat taste and, color wise.
I added a seeded and chopped chili pepper into the zucchini, and to bring more color, I added some bell peppers. Instead of boiling them, I sauteed them in a pan with a little garlic. If you want more color to your product while it is on the saute pan, use half butter with half oil instead of all olive oil.
To add flavor to the veggie pasta these are many different choices to use, with salt and pepper, to get variety. From red or green pesto to red curry paste, to home-made or store-bought dressings, the possibilities are endless.
This is a great side dish or to be used as the main item of the meal. The Parmesan crusted deep fried brussels sprouts would be a great addition to a meat-free meal.
Hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
'Till next time
VEGGIE PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI AND PEPPERS
I have to admit that I fell in love with the flavors on this dish, and with the ease of making it. It all comes together in a large frying pan, paella pan, or something similar. Gotta enjoy the great one-dish meals that make the cleanup time a breeze.
The hotness from the chili pepper is softened with the cream at the end leaving just a pleasant heat. I loved the different colors from the Bell peppers, but of course, you can use just one color of them if you'd rather do that.
This dish can easily be served as a vegetarian dish, just leave out the chicken. Or fry and serve the chicken on the side for those who want to eat the meat. Also, Parmesan-coated chicken strips on the side is a great alternative.
With the prep for the meal, you can cut the vegetables ready to go ahead of time, and then there is just bringing it all together before serving, in about 30 minutes.
There are tons of different kinds of pasta out there that you can use in the dish. For the younger eaters, the smaller sized might be the most convenient.
You can make a twist to the recipe by adding a teaspoon of shredded ginger with the veggies, using coconut cream instead of the regular one, and serving the meal with a squeeze of lime juice.
I am really excited to share this recipe with you and I hope you love this dish as much as I do
'Till next time
CREAMY MEXICAN STYLE PASTA WITH CHICKEN
Dear followers, we have nearly survived January. Like my old teacher used to say 'you survive January then rest of the year is a piece of cake'. Well, it is the last day of January, the daylight hours are getting longer, the spring is closer, the temperatures will soon rise again, and summer will come... I am trying to convince myself here, sorry. To celebrate, I decided to bake, not quite a cake, but delicious homemade rolls, that brings to my mind home, childhood, and all the warm and fuzzy feels.
The recipe is simple and even forming the rolls is easier when you finish the dough with the oil instead of adding it to the water. Instead of using sugar to feed the yeast, I used the acacia-honey. I also used steel-cut oats, because that is what I have at home for the porridge. There is a wide difference between the amounts of flour to add. This is because in different altitudes you might need more or less flour. The important point is to leave the dough soft before rising it. Add the flour carefully with a little bit at the time.
The dough makes 16 pieces. This bread is tasty for breakfast, for a snack, for a lunchbox, with a soup or a stew... Here is the recipe for the vegetable soup I made for dinner with the rolls.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and the hope that arrives with the beginning of February...
'Till next time
FINNISH OAT ROLLS
I think potatoes have been given a bad rep for no reason because as they are, with the skin on them, they actually have several health benefits we can take advantage of. It is what we put on it that is often the problem, not the delightful veggie in itself.
One medium-sized (150 g / 5.3oz) skin-on potato has:
Up here in Northern Europe, we have some best-tasting potatoes in the world. The small, long, oval-shaped potato has so much taste if you ever get a chance to sample them, jump right in! Thomas Keller in his master class says the following about the delightful treats growing in Lapland:
Originally they peeled the potatoes, and yes, they might look a prettier if they are peeled, but you would lose most of the benefits of a potato by taking the skin off. I just washed the potatoes well and left the skin on.
I served the Hasselback potatoes with herb crusted pork loin and some carrots, a retro dish for sure, but so tasty and delightfully handy to make when you can just prepare everything ahead of time, put them in the oven all at the same time and in about hours time you have a great meal ready to be served.
I hope you enjoy them! Till next time
For those flavor loving readers, the recipe for spicy roasted chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans) should fit the bill. I tried these for the first time recently and absolutely loved them. They can be served as a perfectly healthy snack, just cooled off a bit, as they a crunchy, spicy, and so so good and easy to make.
Or you can serve them as the side, the carb of the meal, as I did with tangerine roasted turkey breast and raw shredded carrots. The carrots were a delightful, fresh tasting addition to the meal, balancing the hotness of the beans, making it all around a well balanced and healthy meal. I had added some spices to the turkey breast as well, cinnamon, coriander spice, paprika, and chili, with salt and pepper of course, and the slices of the tangerine on the top of the turkey breast, into a roasting bag, and in the oven.
Hope you enjoy these meal ideas and get to roast some beans this weekend. The fun part of it is, there really isn't any fancy ingredients, most of the spices are in your cupboards, or are easy to find in a grocery store.
Til next time
SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS
The Finnish pancake, the one big whole deep baking tray of it at once, brings back sweet childhood memories by just having the scent of it baking in the oven in my kitchen. In Finland, it is used as a dessert or an evening snack. The special tradition of serving pea-soup for lunch on Tuesdays and having a slice of pancake with strawberry jam as a dessert is in the memory of most of the Finnish school kids.
But not only as a dessert, this can be used as a breakfast as well. You can make the mix a night before and have it in the fridge overnight, and then just pour it into a pan and bake in the morning while getting ready for the day. The mix is a bit thicker in consistency than a waffle dough, and the results will melt in your mouth.
Traditionally the pancake slices are served with strawberry jam, but my personal favorite is very cinnamony applesauce on top of it. And on a special occasion, a spoon of whipped cream to accompany it.
I have cut the amount of sugar to half from the original, traditional recipe. I don't think it is necessary to put that much sugar into it if you serve it with sweet jam on top.
I hope you'll enjoy this childhood treat of ours.
Till next time
THE FINNISH PANCAKE
These little meat and rice filled pastries are absolutely perfect during the holiday season because you can use them as a snack before the big meal is ready if someone comes hungry, you can use them in a brunch table, as an evening meal by making them a bit bigger in size, or a lunch pie with a fresh salad on the side. In bite-size, these make a great potluck item as they can be served hot or 'cold' (meaning at the room temperature). And on New Year's Eve, these just the thing you might want while waiting on the fireworks.
SAVORY MEAT TURNOVERS