Greek Dinner

For this week our task was to cook a full Greek dinner. The meal consisted of tzatziki, pita bread (from scratch!), chicken souvlaki, lemon roasted potatoes, Greek salad and Kourabiedes (Greek cookies). The safety for the recipe is oven, stove, knife and BBQ. The product standards for the pita bread was round and golden brown. The product standards for the potatoes were for them to be soft, thin and flavorful. The product standards for the chicken souvlaki was tender and moist. The product standards for the cookies were golden-brown and chewy. I divided the tasks into three days to make it more manageable. On Friday I baked the cookies. I made the dough, rolled it into balls and when it was done baking and cooling I rolled it in powdered sugar. Kourabiedes are also known as Mexican snowball cookies.

On Saturday I made the tzatziki, prepped the potatoes, chicken and some of the Greek salad. For the potatoes a sliced them lengthwise and put them in a glass baking dish with yellow mustard, lemon juice, paprika, oregano and chicken broth. I partially cooked them for 30 mins and then put them in the fridge for the next day. I marinated the chicken in the same sauce as the potatoes. For the Greek salad I chopped my red and orange pepper, red onion and cucumber.

The next day (the day of the dinner) I had lots to do! It was a lot less stressful though because of all the prep I did the days before. I prepared the rest of the ingredients for the Greek salad and put it in the fridge until I was ready to combine and dress it. I made the dough for the pita bread (it was my first time making pita bread), let it rise for 1 hour and then I pan fried it. I wanted to challenge myself with cooking my chicken so I got my Dad to show me how to use the BBQ. I skewered the chicken and put it on a ceramic tray and cooked it in the BBQ. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The potatoes were what I struggled with the most. I followed the instructions but they weren’t done after the 20 mins of cooking them the second time. They ended up taking an extra hour and they were still a little hard. The final results were amazing! My favorite part was the pita bread and tzatziki, it tasted just like at a restaurant. The time it took for everything was so worth it! I would rate this 4.5/5 stars because the recipes were successful except for the potatoes. I would rate this 5/5 for nutrition because it includes all of the food groups.

Mushroom & Thyme Risotto

This week we were given the task of making risotto. The safety for this recipe was stove nd knife safety. This is my first time making Risotto so I watched three different videos beforehand so that I could get a better idea of how to make it and learn some helpful tips. One thing that I learned was to keep a pot of hot stock right beside the pot with the risotto in it. By adding hot stock, instead of cold stock, it keeps the rice at the proper cooking temperature. I also learned to use a wide pot/pan so that the rice cooks evenly and I learned to make sure that you don’t brown the rice. I started by sautéing shallots in butter, then I added the rice and stirred until it was coated. For this recipe you use Arborio or Italian Short Grain rice. It is shorter and wider than other rice’s. I added my chopped mushrooms and rosemary with about 3/4 cup of stock. The key to making risotto is to stir, stir, stir! Once the liquid evaporated I added a bit more and repeated this until the rice was cooked. The actual cooking process took about 30 mins. Near the ends I added butter, fresh grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice, My mom made a chicken breast for dinner so that is what I served the risotto with. I topped it with more freshly squeezed lemon juice and more cheese. It was so good and it fit the product standards of being creamy and the rice not being mushy or too hard. I definitely surprised myself. I am planning on making this again very soon!

Bruschetta and Beef Stroganoff

For this week we were challenged to make a more difficult meal (or something we hadn’t made before). Yesterday was my parents anniversary so I offered to make an appetizer and dinner for them. I chose to make bruschetta for the appetizer and beef stroganoff for the main meal. The safety for these recipes was stove, knife and crockpot safety. The bruschetta was very simple but so flavourful. I diced up some red onion, tomato and basil and mixed it with a little olive oil, salt and oregano. The recipe called for celery but I chose not to add it. I toasted the baguette and rubbed it with some fresh garlic. I spooned the tomato mixture on top with some crumbed feta cheese. I served it with some balsamic vinager on top. I was surprised at how flavourful it was with so little ingredients. I cooked the beef stroganoff in my crockpot for 5 hours. This made the beef “melt” in my mouth. Before I put the beef in the crockpot I browned it in a frying pan and added it in along with all of the ingredients. I served it over egg noodles and zucchini on the side. It was delicious, but next time I would add sautéed garlic and I would sauté the onions before I added them to the pot. The product standards for the bruschetta was to have golden brown toast and it to be flavorful. The product standards for the beef stroganoff was to have tender beef and a flavorful sauce. The two recipes both met all of the product standards. I would make this again, especially because I know how to use the crockpot now.

Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas with Cashew “cheese” Sauce

For tonights dinner I wanted to make a vegetarian dish. I saw this recipe in a youtube video a couple weeks ago and I wanted to try it out. The safety for this recipe is knife, stove and blender safety. I liked this recipe because the filling of the quesadilla is made from chickpeas instead of chicken or cheese. The sauce I made is a Mexican “cheese” sauce. It was made from cashews which give it a creamy texture. The first thing that I did for this recipe was soak the cashews. I put them in a bowl with boiling water for one hour to “cook” and soften them. While the cashews were soaking I prepped the rest of my ingredients. It saves a lot of time if you measure everything first, instead of doing it as you go. For the chickpea filling, I started by melting butter and adding Franks red hot sauce, garlic powder and brown sugar. I added a bit less hot sauce since I don’t like it too spicy. I set it aside and sautéed my onions and garlic and then added the chickpeas and the butter sauce with one green onions. For the cashew sauce I added the cashews, plain yogurt, salsa, veggie broth, cumin, chili powder and paprika. I didn’t add the nutritional yeast that it called for because I couldn’t find any at the store. I blended all the ingredients together and it turned into a thick and creamy sauce. I spread the sauce on my tortilla and then added the chickpeas and cooked it in the pan until both sides were golden brown. This tasted so much better than I thought it would. It was so flavour fun and it had the perfect amount of spice. The sauce was a great replacement for cheese, I didn’t even miss it. This recipe is 5/5 for sure and will totally make it again. It definitely met the product standards for being golden brown and having melted cheese with bold flavors!

Mexican Chicken

For dinner tonight I made Mexican stye chicken. The safety for this recipe was oven, stove and knife safety. I made this once a long time ago with my mom. I got this recipe from my hairdresser and it is delicious! I like it because there aren’t a ton of ingredients in it, but just enough to make it very flavourful. This dish has the perfect balance of spicy, sweet and acidity. I started off with my mise en place ( which is French for “set up”). I measured out all of my ingredients and sliced the peppers and the onions. Then a cut my chicken into cubes. I have started to get more comfortable working with raw poultry which was my goal when I started this course. Next I sautéed my chicken with garlic, salt, pepper and chili powder for some heat. When the chicken was cooked I set it aside. In the same pan I sautéed the peppers an onions then I added black beans, brown sugar, salsa, crushed tomatoes and some red wine. Then I put all of it in a glass dish in the over for 30 mins. I decided to use up some leftover rice that I had in the fridge that I made last week. When I make this recipe again I would add a little bit more salt.

Chicken Parmesan

Tonight for dinner I made chicken parmesan, rice and a roasted bell pepper, shallot and spinach salad. The safety for this recipe was stove, oven and knife safety. Chicken parmesan is one of my favourite meals to eat for dinner. I’ve only had it a couple times and it has always been at a restaurant so I thought that it would be fun to make at home. First I patted the chicken dry and then coated it with mayonnaise and breaded it with panko breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning. At first I thought that it would taste weird with mayonnaise instead of and egg but it gave it flavour and made it moist . Next I shallow fried the chicken in a bit of oil just until each side was golden brown. I put it on a baking sheet and coated it with marinara sauce and sprinkled it with some parmesan cheese. I broiled the chicken in the oven for 7 minuets until the cheese was golden brown and the chicken was cooked inside. For the salad I made a vinaigrette with red wine and rice vinegar, oil, dijon mustard, a bit of sugar and salt and pepper. I used a mix of iceberg lettuce and spinach and topped it with roasted red peppers and shallot (I roasted them in the oven for 5 minuets with some oil). I learned that a shallot is essentially just a small onion. My biggest challenge with this recipe was cooking with raw poultry because it isn’t my favourite thing to cook. The chicken parmesan was so delicious and I will be making this again soon. I would give this recipe and the overall experience a 5/5 because it was easy to follow and the chicken turned out perfectly!

Chili Home Lab

Yesterday I was already planning on making chili for dinner and Ms. Bolli mentioned during our online meeting that she had a chili recipe for anyone who wanted it. The safety for this recipe was knife and stove. I got to practice my knife skills while I chopped all of the ingredients. Chili is one of my family’s favourite meals and it’s easy to make with ingredients that you probably already have at home. I wanted to make it a bit healthier so I used ground turkey instead of beef. I think that it tastes pretty much the same but my Dad still thinks that beef is better. I had to make a few adaptations to the recipe and added some of my own things as well. I like to add lots of veggies so along with the red pepper, onion and beans that it called for I also added mushrooms and celery. The recipe did call for zucchini, but I didn’t have any. For the beans I used red and white kidney beans and black beans for some variety. I didn’t have all of the spices that it called for, so I just made do with what I had in my pantry. I did a lot of tasting and seasoning to make sure I got the flavours that I wanted. My favourite part about making this was toasting the spices. Before I cooked anything else I added some oil to the pot and toasted the spices for about one minuet. It made the house smell so good! Once it was done cooking I topped it with some cheddar cheese and served it with some baguette that I toasted with olive oil and rubbed with fresh garlic. I would give this meal 5 stars because the recipe was a easy to follow and it was delicious! When I make this again I would add some hot sauce or more chili powder to give it a kick.