You know those little soy, chili, plum, ketchup packets that you get with your takeout? Do you keep them? I do. And I have quite the collection built up through the last year or so. One of the things I like to do is use the packets to make dipping sauces, on a “meal for one” kind of day.

So why is it called Jazzy Takeout Sauce? I took a few packets of takeout sauces and jazzed it up. Thank you, Captain Obvious. :P

Here’s what you’ll need for two people… or one, if you’re really into dipping your food into sauce like me:

3 packets of sushi soy sauce
1 packet of chili sauce
1 packet of plum sauce

from your pantry:

juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 superfinely chopped small garlic clove

give it a good mix, heat it up in microwave if you prefer it warm and dip away! It’s got the sweet, salty, spicy, garlicy kick that your tastebuds will thank you for!

My meal for one yesterday was pan-fried dumplings and garlic cabbage. We’ll add it to my list of asian comfort food.

Enjoy!

By request, I’m updating this blog. I’ve been super busy with work and my mini side business that I have very litte time to blog on this site, so here’s an easy recipe you can make for an upcoming dinner party!

On a recent trip down to California, Jen and I bought a salad from Costco that was quite delicious. It was as if Tabouleh and Quinoa Salad had made a baby. It was a tasty baby.

Okay, that sounds bad.

Anyhoo, I decided when I came home, to attempt to make my own version of it based off of what I knew was in it. The final result looks like this….

Here’s what you need to do:

chop, slice, dice, mook the following into itty bitty chunks:

1 small clamshell of grape tomatoes
1/2 english cucumber (scoop the seeds out first!)
1 bunch of fresh parsley
1 yellow or orange bell pepper (if available. I would of added it, but the market didn’t have any ones that looked pretty enough for a salad)

soak 1 cup of DRIED rainbow lentils (or whatever you have on hand) in 2 cups of ice water. We want it to soak up some moisture, but still have a bit of that hearty bite to it. let them soak for about 20 minutes, then drain them. Keep in fridge until ready to mix.

now for our grains and carbs. because we want this to have a little more…. bite to it, cook your grain as follows:

2 cups of quinoa with 1.5 cups of water, with a tablespoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
2 cups of brown rice with 2 cups of water, with a tablespoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

once the grains have cooked and all the water has disappeared, transfer them to baking sheets or glass bowls to cool in the fridge.

once everything is chopped, cooked, drained, cooled and ready to go, mix it all up in a big bowl.

in a bowl, mix the following:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup fresh or bottled lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped

mix it up, and let it sit for a while before you pour over your salad. give it a good mix as soon as possible as the quinoa and the brown rice will absorb the liquid.

serve it up by itself, on a bed of mixed greens or as a side with any sort of grilled meat!

Enjoy!

Hi, my name’s Vee, and I’m a major snacker.

I love my sweets, but present me with a bag of salty snacks, and I’m all over it. Chips, popcorn, pretzels, whatever it is, I’m down.

So, if you can amuse me for a second, imagine here I am… home. alone. and have a hankering for something salty and crunchy… but lazy enough to discourage the action of leaving home…

Seriously, just think about it. I’m sure everyone’s done it once before. Pick laziness over action. Just admit it. You’ll feel better afterwards.

Anyhoo, so I rummaged through my pantry and found a good ol can of chickpeas. And I was inspired by some veggies chips from down south and thought, why not make some chickpea snacks? Wanna see what happened?


Crack open your can of chickpeas and give them a good rinse to get some of that gooey starch out. let them drain for a few minutes while you mix up your spices.


Hello dry spices and other goodies, how do you do? So I’ve got a mix here of the following, in no particular order:

granulated garlic
cumin
black pepper
coriander
fenugreek powder (optional if you can’t find it)
tumeric
ground rosemary
celery seed
salt
cayenne


drizzle in a little bit of your favourite olive oil and give the spices a good mix, let it blend and meld together. Go do a little dance for a few minutes while everything settles together.


Pour in your chickpeas and give it a good mix. Let every chickpea get some of that spice mixture so it can stick.


lay out your chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Feel free to spread them out a bit. Toss them into the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes. What we want to achieve here is for the spices to cook into the chickpea, but take out as much liquid as possible so it dries. If you run this on a convection oven, just keep an eye on it so you don’t end up burning them.


Once it’s all done, they come out nice and toasty brown. you’ll see some have cracked or some have their little membranes seperated. It’s all good. Chickpeas can only take so much heat and pressure before they split.

Cool completely on the pan before tossing them into a container to store or your mouth. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:
1 can of chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon of the following:
granulated garlic
cumin
black pepper
coriander
fenugreek powder (optional if you can’t find it)
tumeric
ground rosemary
celery seed
salt
cayenne
3 tablespoons of olive oil

feel free to adjust the spices to your liking! Make your own spice mixture, too!

If bacon was suddenly illegal, I can easily name 10 people who would cry about it… I would definitely be one of those people.

For people who love bacon, Hubby and I don’t eat it all too often because of the obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean i can’t come up with an alternative, right?

Hence, the “Bacon” Bits.

Wanna guess what they’re made out of before i tell you?

No, it’s not tofu. That’s on my list of to-do’s though… make tofu taste like bacon. it’s do-able. and it’s going to be amazing. trust me. just be patient!

Ready?

it’s made from ground chicken!

Specifically, ground chicken breast! In Chez Wong, we only store one type of chicken meat and that would be the boobs. Boobs are good, right? *looks down* Yes. Yes they are.

Let’s get started! Mucho apologies for the blurriness!

And apologies for the lack of a first photo, but just close your eyes and imagine this:

Rough chop a large chicken breast, and then add it to your favourite food processor. You’re gonna pulse it until you get a super fine puree of chicken. yum. pureed chicken. :P

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Then, in a medium skillet, on medium heat, cook your pureed chicken. If you notice any bits that seem to be in bigger chunks than others, don’t worry about it. while it’s cooking, you need to mix and chop it up some more. I used my wooden flat edge spatula. It worked like a charm.

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While your bits are browning, throw in a little cayenne and just a small pinch of cumin.

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It’s hard to see here, but after giving it a good mix, more browning and chopping, add in a couple tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Do not skimp! You need to use the good stuff!

in addition to the maple syrup, you’re gonna some of this stuff. Does anyone remember that episode of The Simpsons when homer makes a waffle with liquid smoke wrapped around a stick of butter? Sorry. Random thought. Anyway, give your bits a couple of shakes of this stuff. liquid hickory smoke. Who would of thought? You don’t need a lot, so be careful!

Continue to cook, chop and brown your chicken bits until most of the liquid has cooked out, the flavours have absorbed into the meat and voila! “bacon” bits.

I could of allowed them to get a little darker,  but I didn’t want them to get too toasty and burnt. Hubby was quite impressed how these had the crunch and flavour of bacon bits. He mentioned they have a drier texture, but he came back to help himself to a spoonful of it, so I don’t think he’s complaining.

Try it out! I topped it on top of a salad and it was quite delish!

Enjoy!

 

What you’ll need:

1 large chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cumin
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke – hickory (or add to taste)
1/4 teaspoons salt (optional because the chicken breast I used for this was frozen and salted)

 

Summer’s around the corner (I hope) and it calls for lighter foods, right? right?? I sure do hope so! Summer is also great for another thing: Corn. Sweet, peaches and cream corn. Okay, I wouldn’t normally spend more than 30-something centys per cob, but Hubby’s dad bought a package of corn from Costco that’s “guaranteed sweet”. I was a bit hesitant at first, because sweetness in corn is a HUGE thing to guarantee a customer.

But luckily for us, the company was right. these babies were sweet and perfect for the upcoming summer.

okay, enough rambling. Let’s get this going! I have a love for fresh corn. and a love for quinoa. So I thought, why not put the two together in a bright and colourful summer dish? Maybe it’ll inspire the sun to come out.

Just maybe.

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First step, rinse your cobs of corn off and get as much silk off the cobs. You don’t want to get those little stringy bits into your succotash, but then again, it’s not hte end of the world if a few get past you.

Prep Tip: Use a bundt pan when cutting kernals off the cob! It makes a great catching dish. Rest the corn in the center pipe of the pan and use your favourite small knife to cut those sweet babies off. watch it fall into the pan and not scatter all over your cutting board, all over your counter, or all over your floor. Trust me, stepping on kernals, not fun. Sweet squishiness is not a kitchen activity I like to partake in.

Once the kernals are prepped, put them aside.

Oh, brain, how I trust you too much sometimes. Chop some micro chives and an orange bell pepper, set aside and forget to take a photo.

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Frozen peas are more than welcome in this recipe. If you have fresh and have the time to shuck them out, all the power to you! I, on the other hand, can be lazy and just buy my peas pre-shucked and frozen. They work perfectly fine. Just pour them out into a bowl and set aside to thaw just a tad. Don’t rinse them!!

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Chop up a tomato…

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Oh, I should of mentioned earlier, but get your quinoa ready. Most quinoa recipes ask for a 2:1 ratio for water:quinoa. I prefer my quinoa to be a bit less wet and mushy, so I have a 1.75:1 water:quinoa. it works much better for me.

Once the quinoa is cooked through and the wheat germ is exposed. cover and set aside. It’ll continue to absorb any remaining liquids. Don’t forget to fluff!

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in another pan, saute your corn, peas and microchives. I have a lovely set of marble-coated pans where i don’t require any oil in my cooking. NONE! So use oils if you need to, but on a medium heat, the veg will be just dandy.

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as the peas start to “green up”, add your bell pepper

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and your tomatoes… You can’t see it, but here’s where i added my seasoning. Some salt, lots of black pepper, dill, thyme and a  touch of  cayenne.

Give it a good mix and let the spices cook and allow some of the liquids to cook off.

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After about 10 minutes, add your fluffed quinoa.

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Once your quinoa has been given a good fluff and mix, finish it off with some lemon juice. Fresh is best, but bottle is okay by me. It adds a little zing that this dish needs just to bring it to another level.

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Serve it warm, or chill it overnight for a lunch! warm or cold, this dish is delicious! Hubby says it looks like fried rice, but hey, it’s a good alternative, right? You can a variety of vegetables in this dish, it’s up for your imagination, or  what’s available in your fridge! Add some beans, add berries, nuts, whatever you like!

Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

2 cups of quinoa
4 ears of corn
2 cups of peas
1 large orange bell pepper (any colour will work)
1/2 cup microchives, chopped (regular will work, just cut them finer!)
1 medium tomato. finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup lemon juice

 

 

 

I know.

It’s been a while.

It’s not you.
It’s me.

Seriously, it’s all me.
I’ve been busy.
Like, really busy.

I’m sorry. but occasionally, when I remember, I’ll post something up here. If I don’t, you can find me posting at Sweet Stuff.

Sweets are harder to resist, right?

I’m not leaving you. Not forever, at least.

 

Okay, okay…

I know. Not everyone is a Brussel Sprouts fan, but come on… Try one! It’s not that bad…

Especially if you cook it down with BACON.

Unless you’re a vegetarian, then please leave the fatty pork out. It’s still good, otherwise.

Ready?

Are you still cringing?

It’s okay.
Just trust me.
It’s good.

Hubby eats it.
That’s gotta mean something, right?


Peel the outer layers of your brussel sprouts and trim the core. Then cut them in half and set aside. Finely chop up some leek greens and garlic.


In your favourite pot/cooking pan, heat up a couple tablespoons of veggie oil or olive oil. Once it’s heated and ready to go, turn the heat down to medium and dump in your brussel sprouts. If you can get them cut side down, they’ll caramelize nicely on all those little layers.


After a few good minutes of browning, give it a stir and add in your leeks and garlic.


Here’s the bacon. Chop into small pieces.

*Tip: Freeze a pack of plain, good old, thick-cut bacon in a Ziploc bag. When you need small cuts of it, having it frozen and stuck together makes cutting it easier and it lasts a long time.


Add in your bacon to your veggie mix and continue to cook until the bacon fat has rendered down and cooked through. About another 15-20 minutes.

I know, you need a lot of patience to cook this….

Sorry for the lack of photo, but once it’s all done cooking, toss in some black pepper (no salt needed! You got it from the bacon!) and the juice of half a lemon.

Lemon is key.
It makes it zingy.
It makes it delicious.
Like, seriously.


*sigh* delicious.

Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

15 brussel sprouts
Greens of 1 large leek
3 cloves of garlic
2 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
Black pepper
Juice of half a lemon
Cooking oil of choice.

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