Goodbye summer, hello hearty stews : Tips on buying the right meat

I am sad to say goodbye to summer but as much as I loved the bright and light meals I am looking forward to the hearty meals that cold weather brings. Think of delicious chicken soup, spicy chili served with warm crusty bread or a hearty beef stew with rice...yum. 
The next time you are sulking about cold weather why not head to the market and grab ingredients for your favorite stew, serve it in a cute bowl, grab a soft throw blanket, turn on your favorite TV show and pour yourself a nice glass of red wine. Love it!
Tips on buying the right meat
Always buy fresh meat and make sure the meat is bright red not brown as that is a sign of stale meat. The texture of the meat should be firm and moist, if its silky and slimy it is past its prime. Another great indicator of good meat is smell. If it does not smell fresh do not buy it even if the sale price is tempting. 

If you are not sure what cuts to buy for your stew or braised meat, I have a few examples for you below...happy shopping!
- Short ribs
- Shank
- Oxtail (try it, its delicious)
- Chuck
- Top round 
- Bottom round roast
Stay tuned for great fall and winter recipes like the this delicious beef stew above. 

Coconut curry chicken wraps

Last week I made pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes and this week I am making chicken wraps from leftover roast chicken as part of my no waste campaign. There are so many things to do with left over roast chicken like chicken soup and one of my favorite is chicken wraps. 
I found this coconut curry chicken wrap recipe on whole foods.com and it has become a regular in my kitchen. The combination of green curry paste and coconut elevates the flavor of these wraps.  
Ingredients
2 cups cooked chicken
2 strips cooked turkey bacon diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 green onions thinly sliced
1 handful cilantro
1 avocado diced
1 handful of cherry tomatoes sliced
2 tbsp green curry paste
2/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups lettuce
4 flour tortillas

Method
- Mix coconut milk and green curry paste in a large bowl until smooth then add chicken, bacon, onions, carrots, cilantro and stand for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. 
- Fill warmed tortillas with chicken mixture followed by lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and a little Sriracha sauce if you you like it spicy. 
- These are great with homemade carrot ginger juice and apples for a healthy lunch or just by themselves for a quick dinner.

Left over mashed potato pancakes

If you are not sure what to do with left over mashed potatoes I have just the recipe for you....Potato pancakes. I stumbled across this idea on food.com and now I actually cook extra mashed potatoes just to make this recipe.
It's very simple and great for breakfast the next morning.
                                                                         
Ingredients 
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 scallions thinly sliced 
2 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Olive oil or organic non stick cooking spray 
 Directions
- preheat pan to medium heat and add olive oil.
- Mix all ingredients except oil in a bowl and pour about a 1/4 cup for each cake in the hot pan.
- cook for about 3 minutes each side till cakes are golden brown and crispy.

  - Serve with sour cream, applesauce or bacon and spinach for a filling breakfast.  

Easy curried egg salad sandwiches

To enjoy the last few days of summer, the BF and I decided to spend some time outdoors at the park. There is something about taking a walk or sitting at a beautiful park that makes me feel at peace....I highly recommend it.
 I opted to bring some food and drink and turned it into a mini picnic as well.
If you are thinking of having a picnic and are not sure what food to bring, the easiest option is make sandwiches. A favorite of mine are curried egg salad sandwiches with lettuce and arugula, these are super easy to make and very delicious. 


Ingredients
4 slices of Quinoa bread toasted (substitute with wholegrain bread)
4 large hard boiled eggs (substitute with chicken)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 small onion chopped finely
1/2 tsp grainy mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 medium celery stalk chopped
I tomato sliced
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh chives
salt and pepper

Directions
- Boil eggs for about 10-12 minutes until they are hard boiled. 
- While eggs are boiling mix garlic, mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add chopped onion, celery and herbs in a big bowl. 
- Once eggs are cooked and cooled, roughly chop them and add to bowl. 
- Add curry powder, salt and pepper followed by the mayo dressing and mix gently. 

 - Let egg mixture sit for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop, 
- Toast bread and begin layering the sandwich.
- I like to start with lettuce as it creates a barrier that prevents the egg mixture from leaking into the bread and making it soggy. 
- Place egg salad over lettuce followed by tomatoes then top with arugula. The arugula will create another moisture barrier. 
- Wrap in tin foil or cling wrap and place in a insulated picnic bag. 


Remember to brink something to drink. I made a grapefruit, watermelon juice and added some grapes and water to the picnic bag. 

Easy weekight meal: Tortellini and arugula salad

Since I have a demanding job the last thing I want to do on a weeknight is spend hours in the kitchen and I am sure many would agree. Quick meals are essential during the week and this vibrant Tortellini arugula salad will save you time in the kitchen. The use of fresh herbs and vegetables make this a tasty and healthy option for those watching their diets. 


Ingredients
1 package fresh cheese tortellini
4 handfuls Arugula
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 cup roasted peppers (can be found at whole foods antipasto bar)
2 green onions thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh basil torn
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

- Boil water in a large pot, add 1/2 tsp salt then add tortellini and cook for about 10-15 minutes till pasta is soft and cooked through. 


- whisk together the olive oil , lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside


- Slice green onions, peppers, tomatoes and rinse arugula. 


- Gently mix all the ingredients is a big bowl and sit for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.


- Serve with your favorite grilled meat. I marinated some turkey wings the night before and put them in the oven before I started making the salad. The entire meal was ready in less than a hour.