Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans: A Super-Quick and Easy Side Dish!

A taste of spring in the winter months!

I love green beans. They’re fresh, they’re green, they have a satisfying, crisp crunch to them, they’re full of protein, and hey, they’re healthy! So I thought I’d make a green bean dish today: Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans. They’re a taste of spring (or summer) in this cold February month.

With only three ingredients, this dish goes from fridge to table in 10 minutes…including prep time! Yes, it’s that fast! Who doesn’t want a quick and fresh side dish that is full of flavour?

Let’s get to making some!

LEMONY PAN-FRIED GREEN BEANS

  • 3 handfuls of green beans (about 12 oz, or about 350 g.)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Heat oil in a frying pan. Wash green beans and cut off ends. Toss green beans into the frying pan, along with 1 tsp. of lemon zest. Put a lid on the pan (otherwise hot oil will splash out, especially when you put in the freshly washed green beans). Fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the beans are cooked to your desired preference. Put beans on a serving plate and sprinkle remaining lemon zest on top. Et voila, you’re done!

This is a vegan recipe, but to be honest, I think it would be even better if it was pan-fried in butter. Just think how delicious that would be! That said, as healthy as green beans and lemon zest are, the fact that oil (or butter) is used, means that this is not as healthy as steamed beans would be. But hey, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a bit!

Speaking of switching things up, I was reading an article about mixing brownies and croissants together. Sounded…interesting. But now I’m thinking of the different types of mashups I could make. Brownies and bread pudding? Too rich, I think. Hmm. Brownies and…what? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Blue Velvet Pancakes, or some sort of Brownie Mashup. Preferences?

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! Plus, at Foodie Friday!

Quick & Easy Orange & Lemon Scones, Biscuit-Style

A ray of sunshine for brekkie, no matter the season!

I like my scones kind of like biscuits, as opposed to the more solid pucks that are sometimes sold as scones. So this recipe is actually an adaptation of a biscuit recipe. Like biscuits, the less you handle scone dough, the fluffier they are and the more they rise, so be sure not to over-mix.

And, like biscuits, you can put the scones in the oven with the sides touching, for soft sides, or on their own, for crispier sides. I think scones should have crispier sides, so I put them without touching, but you do what you like!

This recipe is very adapatable. You can put in other sorts of candied citrus, and use a mix of lemon, lime, or orange peel. I just suggest that you use organic produce to get the zest, as nobody wants zested pesticides.

FYI, the butter is grated so that you handle the dough less when incorporating the butter, and so that the butter can be cold when the dough is popped into the oven. Both of these things make for a fluffier scone.

QUICK & EASY ORANGE & LEMON SCONES

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. cold butter, grated
  • 1 c. yoghurt
  • 1/3 c. chopped candied orange peel (I made my own and stored it in sugar)
  • 3 tbsp. sugar (I used the sugar I tossed the orange peels in, for extra citrus flavour)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon or lime zest (I used a combo of both)
  • 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar (optional)

Glaze

  • 1/4 c. icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients except for the yoghurt and turbinado sugar (and obviously not the glaze ingredients, either) together. Stir in yoghurt, until just mixed in. Gently pat into a round on floured surface. Cut into 8ths and place on an ungreased cookie tray. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.

Bake at 450 degrees until golden on top, about 8-10 minutes.

Optional glaze: mix lemon juice and icing sugar together and drizzle over warm scones. Enjoy the scones warm, cold, or toasted with fresh butter or some homemade jam!

Time for eating!

Given the use of candied orange peel, this makes for a sweeter scone, so if you’re more of a hearty breakfast eater, this is likely more of a dessert scone for you. Luckily, I like my sweets (*regular blog readers gasp in faux surprise*) so I enjoyed these for breakfast!

Next Post: A green bean side dish. Maybe with lemon zest? I’ve got a bag of crisp green beans in my fridge that is calling my name. Yummy, crisp, fresh green beans!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade! As well as at Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!

Dutch-Style Mashed Potatoes, Two Ways: How to Eat the Rainbow w/o Giving Up Carbs

Dinner is served, packed full of nutrition!

Today’s  recipe is actually two recipes, for “hutspot” and “stamppot”. Um, say what? Those are just the Dutch names for two different types of mashed potatoes, both yummy and both full of vitamins, nutrients, and most importantly, packed full of delicious flavour!

Want to learn how to make Dutch-Style Mashed Potatoes? Read on!

MASHED POTATOES W/ CARROTS & CARAMELIZED ONIONS (aka ‘Hutspot’)

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes

Saute onions and carrots in butter until onions are caramelized and carrots are fork-able. While they are cooking, microwave the potatoes (or you could bake them in the oven, but that takes longer and I like to get dinner on the table asap!). Scoop out the potato flesh and mash it together with the sauted onions and carrots until chunkily mashed. And…done! 

This is a savoury mashed potato dish, with a hint of sweet from the carrots. So yum!

Legend has it that when the Dutch routed the Spanish colonizers from their land back in in 1500 and something, the Spanish left so quickly that they left their vegetables still cooking over the fire. The Dutch found it, mashed it up, and voila, a new national dish was born.

A variation on the same thing is mashed potatoes with curly-leafed greens (lettuce, endive, kale). I know, it doesn’t sound delicious, but trust me, it is! If you (or your loved ones) don’t like salads, this is a great way to get them to eat their greens — just pour some gravy on top! How to make it? Read on!

KALE MASHED POTATOES (a variation on ‘Stamppot’)

  • 5 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 head kale 
  • 1/2 c. milk

Wash kale and strip off stems. Chop the leaves finely and throw out the stems. Bake potatoes in microwave. Scoop out the baked flesh and mash in the chopped kale and milk. And…done! You could also use a hand-held blender to quicken the process, which is what I did. Just be sure not to over-process it, as no one wants uniformly green mashed potatoes. 

My mum always served these dishes with pan-fried roasts so that there was always lots of gravy to spoon over the mashed potatoes. Even though I no longer eat meat, I have to say, the memory of those meals still makes my mouth water. These are definitely delicious ways to add more veggies into your diet, and I plan to make them more often. Try them out — you won’t regret it!

I served the mashed potatoes with a slice or two of Canadian bacon, some warm kale chips, and a few sweet potato fries. The DH said “Now THIS is a meal!” So yay for yummy meals and especially for ones chock-full of a variety of vegetables!

BONUS KALE CHIP RECIPE: Wash and dry kale. Tear the leaves off the stems and discard stems. Sprinkle a little bit of oil on the leaves and rub in. Bake in a 350 degree oven until crispy, and serve lightly salted. They’re not potato chips, but they’re still sure to be a hit with people who are picky about their veggies. Or you could eat them all yourself. Not that I did that. Nope. (I just ate most of them.)

Next Post: Hmm. Good question. I’m feeling lately like I should up my protein intake, so maybe something like that. Any special requests? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Happiness is HomemadeMeal Plan Monday, Full Plate Thursday, and Foodie Friday!

Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread: A Stir-and-Dump Recipe

Full of a mixture of five grains and seeds, plus a touch of honey!

Today’s recipe? Honey & Whole-Grain Quick Bread! For long-time readers, you’ll know that in addition to my love affair with chocolate, I also love bread. But I also try to be healthy. So, I developed an easy recipe for a whole grain bread that will have you thanking the bread gods (and possibly me) for your free pass to eat copious amounts of carbs.

This is what I call a ‘Stir-and-Dump’ recipe, in that you basically stir all the ingredients together, dump it in a pan, and away you go! That’s right, it’s a one-bowl recipe! AND it’s a quick bread, so there’s no waiting for the bread to rise, then punching it down, then letting it rise again. As much as I love yeast breads (my Pesto Swirl Bread, for example), I also love having a loaf of bread ready for dinner in only 45 minutes.

And the short-cut to make this delicious bread? A hot-grain cereal! I used one that had three different types of whole grains in it: steel-cut wheat, rye, and whole flax. And because my bread recipe adds in oatmeal and cornmeal, it’s suddenly got a mixture of 5 whole grains and seeds! See? Healthy!

Let’s get our bread on!

HONEY AND WHOLE GRAIN QUICK BREAD

  • 1/2 c. hot grain cereal, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. oats
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. yoghurt (I used my homemade yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp. honey

Mix the cereal, cornmeal, and boiling water together. Let sit for 15 min. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle a few oats on top of the loaves. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top of the bread is nicely browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling tray to cool fully before slicing. And then enjoy your freshly baked Honey and Whole Grain Bread!

By the way, if you use steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats, just be sure to add them in to the other whole grains in the beginning, so that they can soak for 15 min. as well.

Honey and whole grains, in muffin form!

This recipe will make two small loaves, or one small loaf and a half dozen muffins/buns. I think the buns are great when served warm and with maple syrup! They end up tasting a bit like oatmeal pancakes — yum! I also plan to use any leftover bread to make homemade French Toast with; with more maple syrup, because I’m Canadian, eh!

Next Post: Greens! All the greens. I’ve got some purple leafy kale in my fridge that I want to do something with. Or maybe I’ll mix up some Glazed Orange Scones with the candied orange peel I made last night. Or maybe share my 10-Minute Mesquite Sweet Potato Mash? Let me know your preference in the comments!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Foodie Friday, and Happiness is Homemade! Plus at Full Plate Thursday!

Skittles-Flavoured Tutti-Frutti Popcorn! (w/ Bonus VEGAN Version!)

A rainbow of flavour in every bowl! That’s what I’m talking ’bout!

How did I come up with this TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN recipe? Well, when I was younger I used to love the multi-coloured and multi-flavoured popcorn one could buy at the popcorn store in the local mall. My sisters and I would buy it as a gift for each other on birthdays. Somewhere along the line, I stopped eating it, why I don’t know. (Adulthood, maybe? Eh.) Then last week someone gave me a whole bunch of skittles packages and I was trying to figure out how to use them. Suddenly it hit me…I could make TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN at home! Childhood regained!

This TUTTI-FRUTTI popcorn reminds me of the double-glazed kind I would buy at the local popcorn shop, glossily glazed in mouth-watering sweetness, yet with a hint of tartness and lots of crunch. One batch is just enough for a v. indulgent Netflix binge-watching session for one, or perhaps a couch and movie night for two.

Have I piqued your interest yet? Let’s get to making some!

TUTTI-FRUTTI POPCORN 

  • 10-12 c. popped popcorn (about 1/2 c. unpopped + 1/4 c. oil)
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. butter plus 5 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ c. corn syrup
  • 7 regular-sized packs of skittles (or approx.. 1/3 c. skittles of each flavour)
  1. Melt and mix brown sugar, corn syrup, and ½ c. butter over medium to high heat and stir until boiling. A light sauce will form (as opposed to butter running separate from sugar. You’ll know what I mean when you see it). Continue stirring caramel sauce and let it boil until it has become a slightly thicker caramel sauce.
  2. Put 1/5th of the caramel mixture in a separate pot and add in one flavour of skittles plus one tbsp. butter. Stir over medium heat until skittles have dissolved into the caramel and it has become a homogenous sauce (it will take a bunch of continuous stirring and smushing of the skittles). Stir in 2 c. of popcorn, until thoroughly coated, and spread on a half a cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven. Do the same with the remaining 4 flavours, one at a time.
  3. You’ll end up with two cookie trays in the oven, one with two flavours of popcorn on it, and one with three flavours of popcorn on it. Every time you add one of the 5 flavours of popcorn to the oven, stir the other colours to re-coat with flavoured sauce (it has a tendency to melt off). Be sure to keep the flavours of popcorn separate on the trays.
  4. Once all the flavours are made, bake both trays in the oven at 250 degrees, for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie trays. Once cool, break up any chunks that have formed, and mix together in a large serving bowl. Then…dive in! Try each flavour separately, then try them together! You really can taste the separate flavours. Yum-o!

Often I bake and cook and bring in my creations to my workplace, or send it in with the DH to his, but this? This popcorn is all mine, my friends!  I’ll be honest, the process is a bit finicky to do with all the different flavours, but the final result is worth it.

Yum, yum, YUM! (Is all I have to say.)

BONUS VERSION: If you use a vegan margarine instead of butter, it’s…VEGAN because skittles are vegan. (Did you know that? I didn’t until recently.) Impress your vegan friends and be the life of the vegan party. Or just eat it because something this delicious will probably not make it out your door, just sayin’!

NEXT POST: I’m thinking either Cinnamon Swirl Bread (yes, I’m all about the swirl lately) or maybe something with veggies. I could do with some nice green veggies right about now! Mmm…nutrients. Veggies may not sound delicious when compared to candy-covered popcorn, but I always feel better after eating a veggie-based meal, and that sense of well-being and vitality is just as great as a bowl full of candy popcorn. (Yea or nea? Let me know in the comments!)

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday (x2) and at Happiness is Homemade! And at Full Plate Thursday! Plus, at Southern Bite!