Cilantro Lime Rice

I'm trying to encourage more vegetarian meals and I've found the most success when I boost the flavour and focus on spice. This rice is a lifesaver because it cooks up easily and is versatile. I make a pot and get at least two hearty, different dinners out of it. One night I'll serve with tacos and the next I'll throw it in burrito bowls. It's also great mixed in with salad for a little heft. 

Ingredients

1 cup rice
2 cups broth or water (or whatever ratio your rice calls for)
zest and juice from two limes
1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 2 heaping Tablespoons after you chop it)
2 green onions, finely sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Prepare rice per instructions. I've prepared brown rice and basmati rice this way and both were excellent. I don't want to tell you what kind of rice to use. Go with your heart.

Mix together lime zest, juice, cilantro, and green onions.

After rice has simmered, before you fluff with a fork, pour lime mixture over top. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Mix well (mixture will be a bit sticky).

Season with salt and pepper.

I like to top this rice with some roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, purple cabbage, and cheddar cheese for a nutritious, filling, vegetarian dinner. 

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The Versatility of Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

I made slow cooker pork carnitas last week and the flavour and versatility have earned them a spot on my rotation of "must-do meals."

I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of the bay leaves. I didn't have any so I omitted them. They definitely would have added more flavour but the recipe didn't suffer from the exclusion. Adding the orange rinds to the slow cooker added a real depth of flavour; I'd hesitate to use bottled orange juice and omit the rinds.

After the shredding step, but before the broiling step, I froze half the meat for future meals. The recipe makes a lot.

So! What did we make with our carnitas? The first night we had tacos. The following night we had taco salads (leftover taco toppings piled on leafy greens with a squeeze of lime juice as dressing). And last night (aka "use whatever's left in the fridge because tomorrow we're going grocery shopping" night) I made this:

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I fried up some leftover carnitas in a bit of olive oil until hot and crispy. I piled it on top of a diced avocado and quartered grape tomatoes while I quickly fried up an egg. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro finished it off. It was quick (it took less than 10 minutes to assemble) and tasty. I will definitely be recreating with roasted sweet potatoes and some sort of black bean / corn fresh salsa in the future.

You can see why I love this recipe, right? One day of effort got me three tasty, nutritious meals AND more in the freezer.

Do you have a slow cooker recipe that makes you feel like a kitchen ninja? Share the love!

Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce

My meal plan went out the window when this oven-roasted chicken shawarma recipe was posted in a food ideas group I'm part of on Facebook. I have no regrets.

I tweaked the recipe very slightly. I only had smoked paprika instead of regular paprika so I used it and cut the quantity down to one teaspoon. I doubled the onions. I cooked it in the oven for 45 minutes to get everything nicely browned and skipped the optional stovetop step (which definitely would have taken the chicken texture to the next level, I just didn't want to dirty another pan). Pro tip: line your baking sheet with tin foil. It's a messy dish.

I didn't feel like cooking a starch, and Shawn has gone low-carb again, so I served it with a bunch of veg. I mixed together a very simple salad of grape tomatoes, cucumber, feta, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. I rounded it out with sliced avocado, olives (for me, Shawn is anti-olive), and an aggressively garlicky sauce. I used greek yogurt so the sauce ended up more dip-like than I wanted but it tasted so good I couldn't complain.

Garlic Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
uice of 1/2 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in the fridge. I made mine when I put the chicken in the marinade so the flavours had a few hours to really meld.

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Rosemary Cheddar Meatloaf

I was not a huge fan of my mom's meatloaf when I was a kid (sorry, Mom!) but it's something I've grown to appreciate as an adult. Probably because I add a whack of cheese to mine and douse it in sauce (like a proper grownup). This recipe comes together quickly but takes some time in the oven so it's not great for a mid-week meal if you're a run-in-the-door-need-dinner-in-20 kind of family. The leftovers heat up nicely though, so it's nice to do for Sunday dinner and have leftovers for Monday. Prop tip: I double the recipe and freeze half (without the cheese) to use for hamburger patties.

Ingredients

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 onion, diced finely (approximately 1/2 cup)
fresh rosemary, finely chopped (approximately 2 tablespoons)
3 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
1.5lbs ground beef
3/4 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
Marinara sauce to serve.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix together all ingredients except ground beef and cheese. Use your hands to incorporate ground beef into mixture.

Press half of the beef mixture into a 9"x5" loaf pan. Cover with cheese and top with remaining beef.

Cook in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Serve topped with warm marinara sauce. Makes 4 servings.