Living Lou https://www.livinglou.com Cooking through my twenties with simple, fresh and flavourful recipes Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:17:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 Baked Croissant French Toast https://www.livinglou.com/baked-croissant-french-toast/ https://www.livinglou.com/baked-croissant-french-toast/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:00:50 +0000 https://www.livinglou.com/?p=10268 Enjoy a special weekend brunch with this recipe for baked croissant French toast with lemon zest, cinnamon and chocolate. Brunch is one of those meals that everyone loves, but I’m going to be honest and say that I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to brunch. I know, it’s a polarizing opinion to have as a [...]

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Enjoy a special weekend brunch with this recipe for baked croissant French toast with lemon zest, cinnamon and chocolate.

Croissant baked french toast made with Bauli chocolate flavour croissants. | livinglou.com

Brunch is one of those meals that everyone loves, but I’m going to be honest and say that I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to brunch. I know, it’s a polarizing opinion to have as a millennial foodie. There are a few reasons for this though, mostly, it’s because I’m not a big breakfast eater in general. But I also like to take things slowly on the weekend, and I don’t always want to cook a big brunch, and I definitely don’t want to drop $40 on it either.

My weekends always start with a big pot of coffee and then when it does include breakfast, the next questions is, sweet or savoury?


I’m usually a savoury girl, but every now and then when I’m craving something sweet, I usually end up making French toast or pancakes, two of my childhood favourites. Not only are they delicious dishes, but they also hit that nostalgia “flavour note” as well.

Croissant baked french toast made with Bauli chocolate flavour croissants. | livinglou.com

And yes, I think that “nostalgia” is an ingredient in a lot of my favourite recipes, and I’m sure it’s an ingredient in a lot of yours as well. That’s one of the best things about food, it can take you back to different times in your life. There is an episode of Netflix’s Chefs Table where renowned chef, Grant Achatz, takes you through the creation of one of his dishes based on the concept of “nostalgia”, talk about creativity. If you haven’t had the chance to watch that yet, please add it to your list (I’ve watched the episode twice).

Back to this recipe, I love using croissants for French toast because they are able to absorb so much flavour and liquid, plus these Bauli croissants have an incredible chocolate filling, which is the perfect compliment to the lemon zest and cinnamon in the custard mixture.

Yields 4 servings

Baked Croissant French Toast

1 hr, 10 Prep Time

50 minCook Time

2 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 6 chocolate flavour Bauli croissants
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In an 8x8 baking dish, whisk eggs with milk, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla. Dip croissants into mixture to soak up liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove plastic wrap from dish and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Serve with icing sugar, maple syrup and blueberries.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Bauli – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this recipe for baked croissant French toast. 

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Cheesy Truffled Scrambled Eggs https://www.livinglou.com/cheesy-truffled-scramble-eggs/ https://www.livinglou.com/cheesy-truffled-scramble-eggs/#comments Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:40:23 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10245 Elevate your breakfast with a restaurant-worthy recipe for truffled scrambled eggs made with Black Truffle Monterey Jack cheese from Bothwell Cheese. Scrambled eggs can seem like such a basic way to eat eggs. It’s the dish that is always available at a breakfast buffet and also, the only kind of eggs I used to eat [...]

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Elevate your breakfast with a restaurant-worthy recipe for truffled scrambled eggs made with Black Truffle Monterey Jack cheese from Bothwell Cheese.

Elevate your breakfast with a restaurant worthy recipe for truffled scrambled eggs made with truffled Monterey Jack cheese. | LivingLou.com

Scrambled eggs can seem like such a basic way to eat eggs. It’s the dish that is always available at a breakfast buffet and also, the only kind of eggs I used to eat as a kid. But this scrambled egg recipe is not your typical breakfast dish! They are completely elevated by two simple ingredients–and the best part? You just make the eggs how you normally do, and then add the truffled cheese and green onions at the end.

Yes, Black Truffle is the truffled Monterey Jack cheese that takes these scrambled eggs from drab to fab! The cheese of the month from Dairy Farmers of Canada is a super flavourful Monterey Jack studded with flecks of Italian summer black truffles from Bothwell Cheese in Manitoba. If you’re a fan of truffle, then this is the cheese for you!

Elevate your breakfast with a restaurant worthy recipe for truffled scrambled eggs made with truffled Monterey Jack cheese. | LivingLou.com

When using a cheese (or really anything with black truffle–truffle oil or truffle salt, for example), a little can go a long way. Truffle is one of those flavours that you want peppering the background, it’s not usually the star of a dish per se, but when there is truffle present in a dish, you will know it. Truffles have a very earthy, pungent aroma, that you’ll find usually added to an Italian pasta or risotto.

Monterey Jack is a semi-soft and creamy cheese with a mild flavour, which makes it the perfect vessel for the black truffles. It’s also a great melting cheese, so you can grate it and add it to any baked pasta or use it in the place of cheddar in macaroni and cheese.

Elevate your breakfast with a restaurant worthy recipe for truffled scrambled eggs made with truffled Monterey Jack cheese and green onions. | LivingLou.com

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about truffles, and she said that it’s a flavour in so many of her favourite dishes, but it took her a while to put a finger on exactly what it was that was making the dish so delicious. That’s what I think is the secret of cooking with truffles!

This is an example of an easy way to use high-quality ingredients to take a simple dish to new levels! The green onions add the perfect tang and balance to the earthy aroma of the truffled cheese.

Yields 4 servings

Cheesy Truffled Scramble Eggs

5 minPrep Time

2 minCook Time

7 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp grated Black Truffle Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/8 tsp salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium bowl.
  2. Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add egg mixture, and cook. As eggs begin to set, gently stir to scramble.
  3. When almost all the liquid has been cooked and eggs have thickened, stir in cheese and green onion.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this recipe for cheesy truffled scrambled eggs. 

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Turkey Pot Pie https://www.livinglou.com/turkey-pot-pie/ https://www.livinglou.com/turkey-pot-pie/#comments Tue, 10 Oct 2017 18:04:56 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10229 Turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a delicious turkey pot pie with carrots, parsnips, peas and a delicious and easy puff pastry crust.  For the first time ever, I was away for Thanksgiving. We’ve always done the big holidays at home–I’ve never been away for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But I want to focus on Thanksgiving because I just [...]

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Turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a delicious turkey pot pie with carrots, parsnips, peas and a delicious and easy puff pastry crust. 

Turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a delicious turkey pot pie with carrots, parsnips, peas and a delicious and easy puff pastry crust.

For the first time ever, I was away for Thanksgiving. We’ve always done the big holidays at home–I’ve never been away for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But I want to focus on Thanksgiving because I just love everything about celebrating it in Toronto. The chill in the air, the smells that takeover the house, the leaves changing colour, those festive (and slightly cliche) table settings with funky gourds, and of course all of our Thanksgiving traditions. And obviously the food, but that’s a given.

This year, the timing just worked out for me to take a little vacation right around Thanksgiving. It’s my first full week off in about a year and a half. Which is way too long. This is something I have to do a better job of prioritizing going forward. Having time off to relax, even just to stay in Toronto, or to travel and explore a new place is so good for you. I finally feel refreshed and I feel like I can create again, which is pretty important for someone who does this blogging and recipe developing thing.

Pro-tip, don’t go that long without a week off, ever.

Turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a delicious turkey pot pie with carrots, parsnips, peas and a delicious and easy puff pastry crust.

My turkey pot pie (or you could use chicken and make a chicken pot pie) is a little bit different from your classic pot pie recipe. I use a combination of onion, carrots, parsnips and peas for the filling–no celery here! I actually am not the biggest fan of cooked celery, and I think the sweetness from the parsnips really take this pot pie to the next level.

I worked on this recipe for a while to get the perfect creamy consistency for the filling. There is nothing worse than a pot pie with a runny filling, or a filling that splits! The trick is to cook the vegetables first, then remove them and dump them right into the pie plate along with the turkey and then to make your roux, which is equal parts butter and flour.

The trick to making a perfect roux is to melt the butter completely and then add the flour in one addition, whisking the entire time to avoid lumps. You basically have to keep whisking the sauce so that it doesn’t get lumpy and doesn’t burn. It only takes about 6 minutes, but watch carefully. You keep whisking it for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour and then add your liquid in multiple additions. This mixture cooks down for about 6-7 minutes until it’s nice and thick.

When you add the liquid mixture to the veggies and turkey, you’re going to think ‘There is no way there is enough liquid in here, this pot pie is going to be dry!’, but guys, do not panic. This is the consistency that you want!

Yields 6 servings

Turkey Pot Pie

15 minPrep Time

48 minCook Time

1 hr, 3 Total Time

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4.5 based on 2 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cups leftover shredded/cubed turkey or chicken
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or turkey broth)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place leftover turkey or chicken in a standard sized pie plate, set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and parsnip and cook for 3 minutes. Add peas and 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook for another minute. Add vegetables to turkey in pie plate and wipe pan clean.
  3. Add remaining butter and melt. Add flour in one addition, whisking constantly, cook roux until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add broth in two additions, whisking constantly. Add half and half, continue to whisk.
  4. Cook liquid for 6-7 minutes, whisking constantly until thickened. Add dried thyme and remaining 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook for another minute.
  5. Pour liquid mixture over vegetables and stir to coat--it will seem like you need more liquid, but this will result in a creamy and delicious pie!
  6. Cover with puff pastry, trim excess from edges. Mark an X in the centre of the pie. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes. Cover with foil halfway through to avoid burning.
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Let me know if you give this leftover turkey pot pie a try in the comments below.

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Miso Roasted Sweet Potatoes https://www.livinglou.com/miso-roasted-sweet-potatoes/ https://www.livinglou.com/miso-roasted-sweet-potatoes/#respond Thu, 05 Oct 2017 01:58:30 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10230 Miso roasted sweet potatoes are simply baked in the oven and brushed with a mixture of miso paste, water and sesame oil and caramelized under the broiler. As a naturally curious person, one thing that is really important to me is to feel like I’m always learning. Since I graduated university and have stopped being in a school environment where [...]

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Miso roasted sweet potatoes are simply baked in the oven and brushed with a mixture of miso paste, water and sesame oil and caramelized under the broiler.

Miso roasted sweet potatoes with sesame oil. | livinglou.com

As a naturally curious person, one thing that is really important to me is to feel like I’m always learning. Since I graduated university and have stopped being in a school environment where learning is literally your job, I’ve had to take this into my own hands. While there definitely a few things I don’t miss about school, I really do miss learning all that fascinating/random/bizarre content that you learn knowing that you’ll likely never use it again. (Like that ‘history of jazz’ class I took during my senior year).

I feel like developing recipes and running a blog means that you are always learning. On the food side of things, I’m learning new cooking techniques, flavour pairings and reactions. Like this recipe, sweet potatoes and miso are a classic flavour pairing, as is sesame and miso paste, but when you combine all of them together, the sweetness of the sweet potatoes with the salty-savoury flavour of miso paste pairs perfectly with the bitter notes of toasted sesame oil. I also added a little cayenne for a tiny bit of a kick.

Finish off with some green onions for a bit of texture and fresh flavour and you are all set with a side dish that hits every single note. A side dish that is worthy of a unique Thanksgiving dinner spread.

Miso roasted sweet potatoes with sesame oil. | livinglou.com

On the blog side of things, the learning also never stops–learning how to grow your traffic and social media, the algorithms keep you on your toes because they change constantly. I always joke that while having a website can feel like a second full-time job that can drive me crazy at times, it’s also what keeps me sane (and I love it).

If anything, the hardest thing is that I want to spend even more time on this space. I want to spend more time learning and being immersed in the food blog world, but as I’m sure you know all too well, there are a finite number of hours in a day. I find that I’m at my best in the morning, so maybe it’s about reclaiming those morning hours and dedicating them to my blog again.

My biggest challenge at the moment is sitting down and focusing on one task at a time. There are pins to schedule on Pinterest, tweets to answer, Instagram stories to post, recipes to test and photograph. There is so much to do on a daily basis that I find I’m falling behind on the actual writing side of the blog, and sitting down to write a blog post after being awake for 15-hours isn’t really working for me right now.

But you know what we do with things that aren’t working? We take a closer look and see how we can make changes to make it better.

Yields 4-6 servings

Miso Roasted Sweet Potatoes

5 minPrep Time

55 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced all over with a fork
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • sesames seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven until soft, about 40-45 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, whisk miso with water, sesame oil and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Split sweet potatoes lengthwise and return to baking sheet. Evenly spread the miso mixture on the cut side of each sweet potato. Turn on the broiler, and broil sweet potatoes for another 3-5 minutes or until miso has begun to caramelize, watching carefully to avoid burning.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion.
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Let me know if you give these miso roasted sweet potatoes a try in the comments below.

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Kale and Farro Stuffed Delicata Squash https://www.livinglou.com/kale-and-farro-stuffed-delicata-squash/ https://www.livinglou.com/kale-and-farro-stuffed-delicata-squash/#comments Sun, 24 Sep 2017 16:18:13 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10200 Farro, kale and sausage come together perfectly in this hearty stuffed delicata squash, topped with Canadian Le Gré des Champs cheese. It’s time to get back on that comfort food train, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off fall than with stuffed delicata squash with gooey, melted, Canadian cheese. Fall is [...]

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Farro, kale and sausage come together perfectly in this hearty stuffed delicata squash, topped with Canadian Le Gré des Champs cheese.

Farro, kale and sausage come together perfectly in this hearty stuffed delicata squash, topped with Canadian Le Gré des Champs cheese. | livinglou.com

It’s time to get back on that comfort food train, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off fall than with stuffed delicata squash with gooey, melted, Canadian cheese.

Fall is by far my favourite season for cooking. We can finally entertain the idea of turning on the oven and spending a Sunday with a sauce bubbling away on the stove.

Le Gré des Champs is this month’s featured cheese and its the namesake cheese of Quebecs Au Gré des Champs. With a floral, hazelnut-like flavour, I knew this cheese would pair perfectly with my favourite grain, farro. Farro has a nutty flavour and chewy texture that works perfectly with the sweetness of delicata squash.

Farro, kale and sausage come together perfectly in this hearty stuffed delicata squash, topped with Canadian Le Gré des Champs cheese. | livinglou.com

This recipe comes together in a few steps and it may appear to be a little bit more involved, but I promise, it’s worth it. Start by roasting the squash in the oven and cooking farro (farro is cooked the same way you cook pasta), while those two things are happening, you work on the filling.

Sauté some onion and garlic, add mushrooms and hot Italian sausage and then right at the end throw in some bitter kale and stir in the cooked farro. This mixture gets stuffed into the delicata squash and topped with a generous sprinkling of cheese—you can even add more cheese, I think it’s the best part.

Farro, kale and sausage come together perfectly in this hearty stuffed delicata squash, topped with Canadian Le Gré des Champs cheese. | livinglou.com
With many cold months ahead of us and tons of squash to eat, it’s important to have different techniques and methods for preparing these dishes and playing around with different cheeses is the perfect way to elevate any favourite fall dish.

Yields Serves 4

Kale and Farro Stuffed Delicata Squash

15 minPrep Time

28 minCook Time

43 minTotal Time

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4 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 4 oz sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup grated Le Gré des Champs cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook farro according to package directions reserving 1/3 cup of water, set aside. Preheat oven to 425. Brush squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Roast squash for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add remaining oil and onion, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for another 4 minutes. Add sausage meat, crumble and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add kale and cooked farro. If it starts to stick, add a few tablespoons of reserved farro water to loosen brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sage. Stuff ½ cup of mixture into each squash, sprinkle evenly with cheese.
  4. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this recipe for stuffed delicata squash.

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Balsamic Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and Potatoes https://www.livinglou.com/balsamic-jalapeno-roasted-chicken-and-potatoes/ https://www.livinglou.com/balsamic-jalapeno-roasted-chicken-and-potatoes/#comments Wed, 13 Sep 2017 04:07:34 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10190 This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe.  I wasn’t too excited about September being here until today. I know, we’re basically halfway through the month, so I’m a little slow on the uptake. I took a look at the current vibe of my homepage and realized that it [...]

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This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. 

This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. | livinglou.com

I wasn’t too excited about September being here until today. I know, we’re basically halfway through the month, so I’m a little slow on the uptake. I took a look at the current vibe of my homepage and realized that it still has all the summery vibes and very little fall happening. Not good! After all, fall and winter are my favourite seasons for cooking. This chicken and potatoes recipe is the perfect fall recipe and it incorporates two of my favourite ingredients to work with; jalapeno and balsamic vinegar. My love for this combination, comes from my dad who is obsessed with all things jalapenos.

Whenever I ask my dad for his advice or thoughts on a recipe, he’ll always answer ‘How about adding some jalapenos?’. For a while, he was serious, but now it’s become more of a joke. The brownies I’m working on? Jalapenos are the missing ingredient according to my dad.

This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. | livinglou.com

While jalapenos don’t work in every recipe, despite what my dad thinks, they do really work here. The jalapenos get delightfully crispy in the oven, and this is a mild enough pepper that instead of adding a ton of heat, they also add depth of flavour to this dish. You’ll be surprised by the amount of flavour in this dish when you look at the ingredient list, but you guys, this is what I’m all about. I’m always trying to create dishes with big flavour.

Plus, if you’re a city-dwelling, long-hour working millennial gal like myself, this is the kind of meal you can make on a Sunday and eat throughout the week. this has been my dinner for three nights in a row, and I’m not tired of it at all. Plus you can save the chicken bones and make a delicious chicken broth.

This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. | livinglou.com

The trick to this dish is in the timing, I cook my potatoes for 10 minutes in the oven before adding the chicken–they take a little longer and the last thing you want are undercooked potatoes or overcooked chicken. No thank you. While your potatoes are cooking, I sear the chicken–this is where the golden and crispy skin coes from and the additional flavour. Don’t skip this step!

Then whisk together a quick sauce and pour it all over the chicken and potatoes, into the oven it goes and 30 minutes later dinner is on the table.

Yields Serves 4

Balsamic Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

15 minPrep Time

55 minCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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4.5 based on 2 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs small new potatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken drumsticks
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In an oven proof baking dish, toss potatoes in 1 tsp of olive oil. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt, and roast for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk jalapenos with garlic, 5 tsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, dried thyme and 1/4 tsp of salt. Set aside.
  3. Season chicken with remaining 1/4 tsp of salt. Meanwhile, heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Sear chicken, in two batches, skin-side down for 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  4. Arrange chicken on top of potatoes, pour jalapeno mixture on top. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and potatoes are done.
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Let me know if you give this recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes a try in the comments below.

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One-pot Couscous with Shrimp, Zucchini and Corn https://www.livinglou.com/one-pot-couscous-with-shrimp-zucchini-and-corn/ https://www.livinglou.com/one-pot-couscous-with-shrimp-zucchini-and-corn/#comments Fri, 25 Aug 2017 04:23:04 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10156 A quick summer meal! This recipe for one-pot couscous with shrimp, zucchini and corn is fresh and flavourful with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.  One pot dishes are all the rage on the internet, but I’ve found that a lot of them aren’t really the best quality. (Honestly, call me crazy but I don’t want to have boiled [...]

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A quick summer meal! This recipe for one-pot couscous with shrimp, zucchini and corn is fresh and flavourful with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. 

One pan couscous with shrimp, corn and zucchini. | livinglou.com

One pot dishes are all the rage on the internet, but I’ve found that a lot of them aren’t really the best quality. (Honestly, call me crazy but I don’t want to have boiled meat in my one pot pasta). I started working on this recipe way back at the beginning of May and it was the first summer recipe I created and I think it might be my favourite. I’ve been waiting until August to post this recipe because corn, zucchini, tomatoes and basil are all in season (finally!).

I have hit a serious, serious case of writer’s block. I think this might the worst block I’ve had in a couple of years (or maybe ever?). I spent a long time trying to figure out what I was going to write about in this post, but honestly, I think I need to write about this block to actually work through it. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint why you’re having a creative block, but after spending a ton of time creating, I know myself well enough to know what’s going on.

One-pot couscous with shrimp, corn and zucchini. | livinglou.com

Stress = writer’s block. Exhaustion = writer’s block. If I look back on old posts, I always had writer’s block during exams, when I was A) exhausted and B) stressed out. Which is basically what I have been feeling like all summer. If I look back on May-August, there has been a lot of change and a lot of extra stress in pretty much all areas of my life. By the time Friday hits, I feel like I’m running on empty. When you run a blog (on top of working long hours) there really isn’t a ton of time to take breaks, but you have to take them for your own sanity.

I’ve learned what I need to do in order to feel balanced and centred when things rev up a notch (or seven). But I have totally failed in taking my own advice because I’ve been burning the candle on both ends for far too long (ahem, for 4-months straight). It can be so hard to carve out the time, but I know that I feel more rested and have more clarity in pretty much everything.

One-pot couscous with shrimp, corn and zucchini. | livinglou.com

Sometimes I just want to know what it feels like not to be tired all the time, you know? I realize that 90% of the population probably feels the same way and I’m not alone in this by any means. But when you don’t even have time to grocery shop for three weeks you know it’s hit a bit of an extreme.

The best thing about this one-pot couscous recipe is that it is so incredibly fast to make because each ingredient individually takes minutes to cook. Shrimp cook up in just a couple of minutes, couscous literally takes five minutes to cook and then finely chopped zucchini, cherry tomatoes and corn are all basically done before you have a chance to blink. I’m telling you, this recipe has been a staple for me throughout this fast-paced summer.

My plan for this weekend involves a lot of resting and relaxing. I think it’s time to recharge before the fall, don’t you?

Yields 4 servings

One-pot Couscous with Shrimp, Zucchini and Corn

15 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 340g / 12 oz raw frozen shrimp, shelled and thawed
  • 225g / 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 cob of corn, kernels only
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side until opaque and light pink. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, add tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down and garlic is fragrant. Add zucchini and 1/4 tsp of salt, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add corn, continue cooking another minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low, pour in water, couscous and remaining salt. Cover and steam couscous for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in basil, lemon and reserved shrimp.
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Let me know if you give this one-pot couscous with shrimp a try in the comments below.

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Cheesy Corn Fritters https://www.livinglou.com/cheesy-corn-fritters/ https://www.livinglou.com/cheesy-corn-fritters/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 01:03:32 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10141 Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. To me, August always reminds me of corn. I remember driving through small towns and by cornfields on the way up north to the cottage where I would spend weeks during the summers. At the beginning of [...]

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Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. | livinglou.com

To me, August always reminds me of corn. I remember driving through small towns and by cornfields on the way up north to the cottage where I would spend weeks during the summers. At the beginning of the summer, the fields would be high, but as we neared August, the first roadside corn stands would dot the two-lane highway. Eating a buttery cob of corn, sprinkled with salt is my first really significant food memory.

I’ve always had a thing for salty, savoury foods. I think that’s why I’ve been drawn to good cheeses for as long as I can remember. For this month’s Dairy Farmers of Canada Cheese of the Month Club, the featured cheese is Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from Cows Creamery and it is the perfect pairing for sweet corn.

Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. | livinglou.com

As someone who is learning a ton about Canadian cheese, what I find fascinating about this particular cheese, which is different from our previous cheeses, is that it is the perfect representation of how the right environment can have a huge impact on flavour.

This cheddar cheese comes from Cows Creamery in Prince Edward Island, and the natural salt air and iron-rich red soil are two of the major components that add to the full-bodied flavour. It’s kind of like tasting wine, once you have the flavour notes in the back of your mind, you notice them even more.

I was recently talking about cornbread with a friend of mine (I know what you’re thinking, yes, we had a conversation about cornbread). He mentioned a new recipe for a cheesy cornbread he was making and that’s when I had that ‘a-ha!’ recipe moment, cheesy corn fritters.

Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. | livinglou.com

By adding grated cheese directly into the corn fritter batter, these fritters have a crisp bite on the outside and a distinct cheesy flavour. Paired with jalapenos and green onions, these cheesy corn fritters have become my new August favourite.

There are a couple of secrets to frying delicious fritters, first is baking powder. I found that this helped the outside crisp up beautifully. The second tip is not to skimp on the oil, I always add about a ¼ cup in a large frying pan to start, and then watch the pan and add more as you see fit for the next batch.

I found that if you add all the oil at the beginning, it ends up getting too hot for the second batch, and the fritters will burn on the outside before they are fully cooked through.

Yields 6 fritters

Cheesy Corn Fritters

10 minPrep Time

24 minCook Time

34 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup corn kernels (about 2 large cobs)
  • 1/2 cup grated Avonlea clothbound cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp canola oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir corn with cheddar, green onion, jalapeno, flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk in egg and milk.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 4 tbsp of canola oil, when oil is almost at a ripple, spoon 1/4 cup portions of batter into pan. Spread the batter out with a spoon to form 3 inch fritters, turn heat down to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove fritters to a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Add remaining oil and repeat with remaining batter, you should have 6 fritters.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this recipe for cheesy corn fritters.

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Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Maple Syrup https://www.livinglou.com/grilled-salmon-with-dijon-and-maple-syrup/ https://www.livinglou.com/grilled-salmon-with-dijon-and-maple-syrup/#comments Fri, 04 Aug 2017 09:00:01 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10126 Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. I think people are often intimidated by grilling fish. Cooking salmon on the barbecue? A lot of us out there would rather roast it in the oven–more control, right? Wrong. Barbecuing salmon is probably the [...]

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Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer.

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. | livinglou.com

I think people are often intimidated by grilling fish. Cooking salmon on the barbecue? A lot of us out there would rather roast it in the oven–more control, right? Wrong. Barbecuing salmon is probably the simplest (and most delicious) way to serve it.

Doesn’t fish stick easily? Will I overcook it? What if it falls through the grill? What if it burns before it finishes cooking? 

Stop. Take a deep breath. Grilling fish is so easy. I promise. The secret to cooking it perfectly is a very hot grill, and just a few minutes per side. I’m literally talking 3-4 minutes per side. But watch closely, nobody wants overcooked grilled salmon!

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. | livinglou.com

This grilled salmon starts with a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy marinade. With ginger, sesame oil and garlic, this marinade has a bit of an Asian twist to it. The sweetness comes from maple syrup, which adds caramel-like notes to this dish, and the spicy notes come from Heinz Dijon Mustard.

There are a few ingredients I reach for all the time in my kitchen, and Dijon is one of those. It works as an emulsifying agent in dressings and marinades. Emulsifying is when you force two liquids (that wouldn’t usually combine) to bind together–think oil and vinegar. Emulsifications need a binder, and Dijon is my go-to in classic vinaigrettes, another example would be an egg yolk in homemade mayonnaise.

It also packs a ton of flavour and zing to basically any dish. Plus Heinz’s mustard is made with No. 1 grade Canadian mustard seed–I always love supporting our Canadian farmers.

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. | livinglou.com

Last weekend we had our first really hot weekend in Toronto. I know, at the end of July it felt like summer hadn’t even really arrived yet. I knew I wanted to fire up the grill so I decided to make this Dijon maple salmon, and it is so good. So good in fact, I actually made it with trout the next day! Both options are delicious.

Yields 4 servings

Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Maple Syrup

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade with ginger and garlic this is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer.

5 minPrep Time

8 minCook Time

13 minTotal Time

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5 based on 2 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. Heinz Dijon Mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon or trout fillets (1 lb./450 g)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • Green onion and sesame seeds for serving

Instructions

  1. Mix first 6 ingredients until blended.
  2. Heat barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush fish with oil.
  3. Grill 4 min. on each side or until fish flakes easily with fork, brushing frequently with syrup mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and sesame seeds, serve.
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by KraftHeinz Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this grilled salmon with Dijon and maple syrup. 

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Slow Cooker Pork Ribs https://www.livinglou.com/slow-cooker-pork-ribs/ https://www.livinglou.com/slow-cooker-pork-ribs/#comments Sun, 30 Jul 2017 20:48:33 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10107 Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce are made in the Crockpot and then finished off under the broiler for the ultimate ribs recipe. Honestly, if you’re not making ribs in the slow cooker, this recipe will change your life. I swear, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and loaded with flavour. I’ve had [...]

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Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce are made in the Crockpot and then finished off under the broiler for the ultimate ribs recipe.

Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce. | livinglou.com

Honestly, if you’re not making ribs in the slow cooker, this recipe will change your life. I swear, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and loaded with flavour.

I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with ribs over the years, but I think I’ve finally cracked the code and fallen in love with this crowd-pleasing favourite. It starts with a dry rub that is made with a combination of chili powder, salt, paprika and my secret ingredient, dried mustard powder. The mustard powder adds a bit of a tang to the rub and balances with the sweetness from the paprika.

Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce. | livinglou.com

There are dry rubs out there with hundreds of ingredients, and you can get as complicated as you like, but I’m all about simplicity. Big flavour is a given, but a small ingredients list is a must. This has always been my style; simply, fresh and flavourful, but as I mentioned in my last post, I’m even more inspired after working my way through the Chez Panisse cookbook. I’m not quite finished yet (who has a ton of time for reading these days?) but I’m really loving this little culinary deep-dive I’m doing right now, I was inspired by this piece on must-read cookbooks in the New York Times.

These pork ribs and definitely simple and flavourful, I’m not sure that you can really describe ribs as fresh, but you could easily serve this with a salad and call it a day! This recipe also has a homemade barbecue sauce, which may sound like an unnecessary step, but this sauce takes just five minutes and is 100% worth it. You could use your favourite bottled barbecue sauce, but I think you should live a little and make your own. The secret ingredient for the barbecue sauce is liquid hickory smoke. If you can’t find liquid smoke, you could always add a teaspoon or so of smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder or chipotles in adobo sauce.

Try this with: Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese

Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce. | livinglou.com

When you think slow cooker, you probably don’t immediately associate it with the summer. But the truth is, other than a barbecue, a slow cooker should be your best friend in the summer. You don’t have to heat up your kitchen with the stovetop or oven. While a slow cooker does become hot to the touch, it doesn’t actually heat up your kitchen. It’s magical! Plus, you can set it and forget it, and head out for the day and come back to dinner that’s ready to go.

When I was testing this recipe, I tested making ribs both on high for four hours and on low for eight. They were both delicious, but I actually preferred the 4-hour ribs! Once they are done, I brush them with barbecue sauce and then they get broiled in the oven for a few minutes.

Yields 4 servings

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

10 minPrep Time

4 hrCook Time

4 hr, 10 Total Time

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4.5 based on 2 review(s)

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Ingredients

  • 1 rack of pork ribs (side or back are fine)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dry rub:
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • BBQ sauce:
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp reserved dry rub
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions

  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs and trim off any excess fat. Mix spices together for dry rub, remove 1 tsp and reserve for BBQ sauce. Rub remaining spice rub all over both sides of ribs.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of water to slow cooker, then add ribs. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. (I prefer to cook on high for 4 hours).
  3. In a small pot heat all ingredients for BBQ sauce over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 mins, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat
  4. Carefully remove ribs from slow cooker, discard excess fat + liquid. Brush with BBQ sauce. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and broil for 2-4 minutes (check frequently as it can burn quickly depending how hot your broiler is).
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Let me know if you give these slow cooker pork ribs a try in the comments below.

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