Quick Tuna and Corn Pasta – Hot or Cold

tuna corn pasta mayonnaise mustard salad

Welcome back to foodNowYes with an open-minded student dish that can be served hot or cold. Comforting spaghetti is mixed with canned tuna, canned corn, and a few condiments you already have in the fridge to quickly give you a meal at the end of a long day or for your bagged lunch the next day. It has a weight and richness reminiscent of pasta carbonara, alfredo, or traditional pasta salad, but in actuality it is not nearly as heavy or dairy-soaked. The key to making this dish make you feel good afterwards is to not eat too much of it and to eat it with a big, leafy salad.

In a different light: this is my lower-cal take on Mama June’s tuna noodle casserole. Or: I hate macaroni salad, but this improved version is lighter and not as creepy-looking.

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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Fusion, Pasta, Recipe, Salad, Seafood


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No-Browning-Required Slow Cooker Cabbage ‘Roll’ Soup

slow cooker cabbage roll soup

Here is a beautifully lazy and delicious soup that consists of the ingredients one would use to make slave-away-all-day cabbage rolls. One could brown the meat before stuffing the slow cooker for the day, but it’s not necessary. The meat will fully cook when left in a slow cooker for the day. Plus, if one searches for ‘traditional cabbage roll’, one will see that the resulting recipes call for filling cabbage rolls with raw meat before baking. Therefore this recipe is… more… traditional?

I’m tired.

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Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad with Goat Cheese, Arugula, Walnuts, and Cranberries

wild rice and quinoa salad with goat cheese, arugula

This ‘grain’ salad is great as a meatless summer lunch or dinner. You could also serve it as a starter or side for a more elaborate dining experience. The sweetness of cranberries and the tanginess of goat cheese build on a starchy base of wild rice and quinoa, with the bonus texture and pepperiness of arugula. It has a good blend of oils from the walnuts and olive oil to give you nice hair and skin.  It’s packed with protein without being too hot and heavy, which hopefully will not worsen your current stick-to-your-seat and leave-a-sweaty-bum-print situation brought upon by the summer weather.

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Slow Cooker Ratatouille, for the 21st Century Peasant

slow cooker ratatouille

I’m back again. Hugs of reassurance to you if you missed me.

I suppose we have an animated film to thank for a generation of young Americans that know how to pronounce the word ‘ratatouille’ at least somewhat correctly. Some portion of that cohort also knows that ratatouille is a vegetable dish of southern France. A quick Google search will tell you that there are many different ways to prepare ratatouille, e.g. carefully layered and roasted, sautéed then simmered, or slapped together into a slow cooker before leaving for the day. Well boy howdy guess which category this recipe falls into.

Ratatouille can be eaten as a meatless main by itself, or with bread or polenta. It can also be served as a side to accompany… I guess a piece of grilled fish or a nice big sausage.

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No-Browning-Required Ground Beef and Chipotle Slow Cooker Chili

slow cooker chili no brown beef chipotle beans

There exist reasons to brown meat before stewing/braising/whatevering it, but they are not all necessarily legit. There is no need to pre-cook meat when it will be immersed in near-boiling liquid for several hours. Similarly, browning meat will not retain its moisture if it is to be surrounded by even more moisture for a long cooking period. If one is using a fatty cut of meat or ground meat of a high fat percentage for a soup or stew, that fat can be skimmed off of the surface during simmering, if desired. Or, resolve that issue by using leaner meat.

There is one good reason to brown meat before slow-cooking it: the Maillard Reaction. To grossly simplify, it means proteins + sugar + heat –> various dark, delicious, aromatic compounds. Ultimately there is a definitely a difference in flavour between a chili whose meat and onions were browned before slow-cooking verses a straight-up boiled chili. But if you don’t have the time/patience for this step, I suggest a pseudo-substitute here. A combination of chili peppers in adobo sauce and ketchup provides a flavour that is similar (but of course not identical) to the smoky sweetness of browned meat.

This recipe is for a northern North American chili/English chili con carne for the slow cooker (by that I mean it is cheap and contains beans). Browning the ground meat before slow-cooking would be a wonderful bonus, but it is not required to produce a perfectly edible and tasty weeknight meal that is bold with different flavours.

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Colourful Quinoa and Vegetable Salad with Aromatic Carrot Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

quinoa vegetable salad with carrot dressing

That carrot dressing. You know what I’m talking about, at least if you live in/around a somewhat large city in North America. The chunky, refreshing dressing is common atop green salads at Japanese-inspired restaurants and is a welcome change from rich cream dressings.

Here I have applied one variation of carrot salad dressing to a quinoa salad to yield a quick, meatless dinner and/or an energizing lunch for the work/school day. The ‘complete’ essential amino acid profiles of the quinoa and edamame plus the vitamins and minerals of the fresh vegetables (some technically fruits) make this filling salad an eye-catching and balanced meal.

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Product Review: the Breville YouBrew coffee machine

Breville YouBrew light-up console

Welcome to my review of the Breville YouBrew coffee machine! I have owned mine for over 6 months now. Please read on to learn more about my experiences and opinions on this product.

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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Appliances, Coffee, Product Review


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