Tag Archives: mango

Melty Mango

28 Apr

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Remember that case of mangoes I bought? They’re all gone, by the way. The last of the fresh ones was in the fruit salad I ate Easter morning. I used the last frozen chunks in some ban-ango soft serve Tuesday night. But, due to Easter and other food goings-on, I didn’t share with you all of my mango experiments.

Of course, I did the things you’d expect with mango – like making smoothies, or mixing it with yogurt for breakfast. I also made a few more unconventional combos. The picture above is one such creation. What you see is the mango and the light English muffin. What’s hiding is the melted light brie cheese in between the two. To make this breakfast, I just toasted the English muffin, then sliced an ounce of light brie over it, topped with mango slices, and microwaved for about 30 seconds. I served it with extra mango on the side. I love any brie and fruit combination (really, any fruit and cheese combo is good in my books), so it was no surprise that this was totally delicious! I think the combo would also be great for lunch, grilled in a panini.IMG_0815

The mangoes also found their way into supper – on a BBQ chicken and mango pizza. Crust – usual suspect. My sauce was mainly BBQ sauce, mixed with a little salsa. I topped it with chopped mango, onion, red and green peppers, one cooked PC Blue Menu Herb and Garlic Chicken Skewer (chopped up) and an ounce of the light brie again, sliced.

I loved the sweet and slightly spicy combo of this pizza. The brie wasn’t really the star (I would have had to used a lot more to get the flavour to come through). I think if I was making this again, I’d probably just use cheddar. Still, it IMG_0816was a really tasty (and colourful) pizza. My sides were kale chips and a spicy/sweet slaw, also with mango in it (going with the theme).

So mango (and any other fruit) is not just for breakfast any more. Think outside the box – you’d be surprised what flavours go together! Do you have any unusual flavour combos you love? What flavours do you like to pair with fruit?

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It ain’t always pretty

27 Apr

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I’ve said it before: I hate to let food go to waste. So that means that sometimes, meals are planned around what needs to be used up in the fridge. At times, it also means that I have to use ingredients that may be past their prime. I try my best to shop according to our needs, but sometimes, I buy more than I need, or plans change, and I just don’t use up an ingredient that I planned to. I’m not one to throw out food just because it doesn’t look it’s best. Limp veggies, mouldy food, or something that may smell a little “off,” can often be used, after a little work. Monday’s supper was one that included 2 such ingredients: broccoli slaw mix that was starting to go slimy, and 1/2 cup cooked quinoa that had a slightly undesirable smell to it.

So what dish did I create to incorporate these ingredients? This culinary triumph doesn’t exactly have a name. My inspiration was a sloppy joe stir fry recipe in my latest Hungry Girl cookbook with turkey and broccoli slaw mix. I defrosted 1/2 pound ground turkey I had in the freezer and got to work!

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I sautéed the thawed ground turkey with the salvageable broccoli slaw (there was a little corner of it that was pretty nasty…Confused smile), a clove of chopped garlic, one chopped onion  and some chopped red pepper in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, I tossed a couple of cups of peeled, cubed, butternut squash with some Epicure salsa seasoning, garlic salt and cumin and roasted at 425 for about 45 minutes.

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After the veggies and turkey had sautéed for a few minutes, I added my sauce ingredients – part of a can of diced tomatoes, salt, and the ingredients pictured at right: a few squirts each of ketchup and BBQ sauce (both light), a few drops of liquid smoke, Epicure nacho cheese, pueblo bean and salsa seasonings, cumin and brown sugar twin (oh, and also a tablespoon of tomato paste).IMG_0909

I reduced the heat and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes. Then I tasted, adjusted seasonings (added a bit more of some of the above ingredients) and stirred in the quinoa, and let it simmer some more.

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At the last minute, I stirred in the roasted squash chunks and about 1/4 cup frozen corn. The roasted squash chunks are purely optional, they just add a different texture/flavour component and bump up the veggies. I let everything get heated through and dinner was served!

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This Sweet ‘n Smoky Turkey Skillet (what, can you think of a better name?) may not win any awards, but it was actually pretty tasty. And I was glad to use up some stuff in the fridge without throwing it out. Once the slightly slimy slaw and queer-smelling quinoa were cooked up, you’d have no idea they were past their prime (honest, I swear)! I’ve found that with slightly old ingredients, particularly produce, it’s best to cook them up with other stuff. That masks any defects that would stand out if you ate it fresh. Another “old-food camouflage” trick I did this week was by making an Asian slaw in my lunch with coleslaw mix that was ever-so-slightly brown. It didn’t look usable, but when mixed with dark balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, you couldn’t tell the difference. Now, I’m not saying you should cook this way when you’re having company, but for you and your family, it’s a great way to use up ingredients.

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Monday’s dessert also used up something in the fridge – mango curd from my Easter cake (this was not at all past its prime, so I used it straight upSmile). I thawed some frozen raspberries, stirred in one sugar-free vanilla pudding cup and swirled in a couple tablespoons of the curd on top….YUMMY! It was a great, spring-y fresh dessert. And although the mango curd is a little decadent, in small amounts, it can totally fit in to my normal, healthy diet.

What about you? Do you throw out ingredients the second they even have a hint of going bad? Or will you go to any length to use up the food in your fridge? Any good tricks for covering up food that’s past its prime?

Think BIG

20 Apr

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I love food a lot. I love eating a lot. I love eating a lot of food. But conventional diet wisdom says that you have to cut back on portion size in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, portion control is important, and I am by no means telling you to go out and eat huge portions of whatever you want with reckless abandon. But, if you’re eating the right foods, you CAN enjoy LARGE portions while not being large yourself. Case in point: my lunchtime salad and dinnertime dessert from Sunday. You have to be careful with large salads when dining out – usually they are bulked up with calorie-laden options like croutons, fatty meats, loads of cheese, mounds of nuts and unhealthy dressing. But when veggies and lean protein are the stars? You’ve got a bulked-up meal that won’t bulk you up!

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I made a simply AMAZING grilled veggie Mediterranean salad for lunch on Sunday. Only, the veggies weren’t grilled – they were broiled. I’ve been discovering recently that the broiler is a HUGELY underrated kitchen tool. If the weather is icky (as it was on Sunday….grr), it’s a great way to get that nice charred flavour while still staying indoors. Just line your pan with aluminum foil, and clean up’s a breeze. My “grilling” veggies of choice were red pepper, onion slices, eggplant slices, and one portabello mushroom cap. I sprayed them with a light mist of nonstick spray on both sides, then sprinkled with some garlic bread seasoning. I broiled until they had some nice colour on one side, then flipped and broiled the other side. In the back left of the above photo, you’ll also see a Boca bruschetta mozzarella veggie burger that I bought in Buffalo (LOVE these things…why oh why can’t they come to Canada?).

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The cold components of my salad were the greens (a mix of spring mix and Romaine), chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, one canned artichoke heart, and some capers. I made a quick dressing out of balsamic vinegar, fat-free Italian salad dressing, Dijon mustard, a bit of juice from some canned tomatoes, a touch of sweetener and some Epicure Marinara sauce seasoning. I sprinkled a bit more seasoning on the salad, along with some garlic salt and pepper. After topping the cold salad with the dressing, broiled veggies and burger (which I had chopped up), I added a bit of low fat crumbled goat cheese.IMG_0804

YUMMY! Such a great flavour combo. I love salads that combine hot and cold, don’t you? Once the weather is more favourable, I’ll probably be doing this on on the grill. This salad is large and in charge – no mid-afternoon hunger pangs after eating this guy, that’s for sure!

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I liked this salad so much that I decided to recreate it for Tuesday’s lunch (I was sort of annoyed at myself for not doing it at the same time on Sunday and saving the prep, but oh well). I did everything the same, except to switch it up just a bit, I cooked 2 PC Blue Menu Herb and Garlic Chicken skewers (under the broiler) for my protein option, and used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic for a change. Other than that – the salads were identical – big and beautiful!

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Now I don’t just believe in going big where the main course is concerned – believe me, I want to eat as much as I can when dessert is involved. That’s why I love banana soft serve (and all it’s spin-offs) so much. You can eat a HUGE bowl of the stuff, because you’re basically just eating a bowl of fruit. The latest creation? Barango Soft Serve (banana, raspberry mango).

My method was basically the same as with the banango version, with slightly different ingredients. I have some raspberry sorbet that had been in the freezer for way too long, and and some nice ice crystals on it. I thought this would be a good way to use it up.

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So, into the mini processor went 1/2 frozen banana, in chunks, 1/4 cup raspberry sorbet and about 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks. I added just enough almond milk to get things going and help it blend smoothly. I processed until smooth, scraping down the processor and stirring as necessary.

Another yummy (and large!) creation! But again, the banana really takes over. Even though there’s only half a banana in that big bowl, it was the main flavour. Other than a slight pink colour, I wouldn’t know the raspberry sorbet was even in there….still delicious though!

Do you have any favourite meals that are large and in charge, but won’t cause a calorie overload? Do tell!

Mexican and Mango

19 Apr

IMG_0797After all that moving on Saturday, my mom and I needed some sustenance. So we decided to stop for dinner on the way home at Lonestar Texas Grill. We knew it would be packed, being Saturday night after all, so we put our name on the waiting list and made our way to the bar. We found a spot at the end of a long table, my mom was seated, but I had to stand. Tables and booths in the bar are first come, first served, so we kept our eyes peeled.

We ordered drinks (diet Coke and water for me) and then they brought us the usual free chips and salsa. Now these chips are made fresh in the restaurant, and the salsa’s nice and chunky, but I exercised some MAJOR willpower. I ate a few small nacho fragments, but really didn’t dig into the basket…I was SO proud of myself! I was thinking about it, and chips and salsa, even if they’re really good chips and salsa, are still just chips and salsa. I can have them anytime, anywhere. So why blow a bunch of calories before I even get my meal on something that’s pretty run-of-the-mill? Plus, I had indulged the night before and have more indulgences coming up, so I did NOT need the extra calories.

We ordered while we were still standing/sitting at the long, crowded skinny table, and chose to share an order of steak fajitas. I was a little nervous when they brought out the fajita add-ons that I’d have to eat standing up! Thankfully, a booth right next to us cleared out, and we pounced on it (I tell you, the killer instincts are right on when it comes to food). Not long after, the tell-tale sizzle alerted us that our fajitas were a-comin’.

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I really enjoy fajitas, and if they’re on the menu at a restaurant, I always almost order them (sorry for the not-so-stellar photo). Unless they’re cooked in a crazy amount of oil or sauce, they’re an easy do-it-yourself healthy option when dining out. I ALWAYS limit myself to two tortillas per sitting (the tortillas at Lonestar are REALLY good, and when visiting the website, I discovered why – they’re cooked fresh to order)! I never use the sour cream, cheese, rice or guacamole that comes with the fajitas (well, ok, I had a tiny dab of guac on SaturdayWinking smile). I load up my wraps with lettuce, salsa, veggies and meat and enjoy. I usually eat some extra meat after I’m done my allotted two wraps, which fills me up with protein but not the added carbs and calories of more tortillas.

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The Lonestar fajitas also come with a side of beans, which I had a couple of bites of. All in all, this was a satisfying meal out that was without regret. Since I was smart at the restaurant, I could even have an HG vanilla milkshake and then later on some popcorn to snack on when I got home…SCORE!

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Onto the mango portion of the post (you didn’t think I’d forgotten about my mango stash, did you?). Last week, I froze some mango chunks and finally got around to trying Katie’s ban-ango soft serve. For my version (makes one serving), I combined 1 frozen banana, in chunks with between half and one cup of frozen mango chunks and a couple of splashes of almond milk. I processed in my mini food processor until nice and smooth.

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The results? Just look at this big beautiful bowl of delight. That’s one thing I really like about this stuff – BIG PORTIONS! I eat low fat ice cream and frozen yogurt, and love every bite of my tiny half cup serving, but sometimes, you just need a BIG bowl of dessert, ya know? My only complaint was that it wasn’t as mango-y as I would have liked. Even with that beautiful orange colour, the banana was still the dominant flavour. It was still absolutely delicious though.

There is more mango mania on the horizon, so stay tuned!

Mmmmmango!

15 Apr

You knew it was coming. I bought 7 mangoes.IMG_0757 Now what to do with them? Here are only a couple of the multiple mango meals I’ve consumed (and have yet to consume) this week….they’re still ripening, so as of today, I’ve only cut into 3. That means 4 to go…and I am SO up for the challenge!

I’m not posting all of my mango mania in one post, I want to space it out…so for today we’ll go with yesterday’s breakfast and lunch.

Yesterday’s breakfast was a mango-strawberry SIAB. Here’s how that one went down. I microwaved 3/4 cup frozen strawberries for 30 seconds, just to thaw every-so-slightly, for easier blending. I hadn’t planned to repeat this trick with the 1/2 IMG_0756cup frozen mango chunks, but they were ROCK-solid, so I had to nuke them a bit just to get them out of the container. I put my partially thawed fruit into the blender with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, a splash of vanilla and a touch of Splenda then blended away. The mix went into a bowl, and was topped with the usual suspects: 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt blobs (a great flavour/texture contrast) and 1/2 cup of my old standby: Costco cereal. A couple pieces of the mango didn’t blend in smoothly, but i actually enjoyed the few chunks as a textural contrast. Mmmm…what a great way to start my day! Side note: I know my breakfast photos aren’t always the greatest, but when I’m getting ready to go out the door to school, optimal photography is not a priority. It’s more like, make breakfast, get the food in my face, and try to grab a photo that at least illustrates what I ate. So, sorry, but you’ll have to take what you get!

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Onto lunch….oh lunch, SO good. I made this salad the night before (naturally), and was so excited to eat it (you know you’re a nerdy healthy food blogger when you get super-excited about a salad you packed in your lunch). This baby did not disappoint.  The photos just do not do it justice. See this salad? It had loads of veggies (lettuce, broccoli slaw, white and green onion, bell peppers, celery, IMG_0750broccoli…think that was it) and mango chunks, and diced deli turkey….and I topped it off with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It definitely generated some buzz (and I think maybe even salad envy) in the staff room yesterday. You know, as a supply teacher, that you have a good lunch when teachers who you don’t even know are commenting about IMG_0748it. Smile

The salad was enjoyed with a cheese string (first nutrition break snack), and then another 1/2 cup mango chunks (why not, right?) and 2 tropical yogurts…perfect compliment to the fresh mango.

I wish that cases of mangoes were $4.99 more often…but then again, they wouldn’t be such a treat if that was the norm. I’ve got more mango meals to post, and more I want to try out….I’m thinking they’d be great in a sweet and sour stir fry, or mixed into salsa as a topping for chicken? Again, if you’ve got any great mango ideas….post ‘em for me! Like I said, 3 down, 4 to go!