If you’re like me, you love and hate cooking at the same time. All the dishes and ingredients that are needed and involved to cook a meal make it a real hassle. Especially if you’re busy and have no time to cook. My love for cooking, though, is because I’m a huge foodie – I LOVE to eat! I was so disappointed in my eating habits that one night in December, I found myself wanting to eat healthier and cleaner. Of course, given the pandemic, it was hard not being able to go out and exercise, let alone cook and eat healthy when you had no idea what to make.
Thank God for cookbooks! I placed an order on Amazon for a few cookbooks and because I’m an amateur when it comes to cooking, I wanted a book that would be easy to follow, with great recipes I’d like to go back to.
In my search, I found two really great resources that I decided to try: Dinner’s in the Oven by Rukmini Iyer and A Man, A Pan, A Plan by Paul Kita, the Food and Nutrition Editor of Men’s Health. There are quite a few recipes to try in these cookbooks from breakfast foods to dinners and desserts. There are even a few for the vegan enthusiasts as well.
In no particular order, here are 3 great and easy-to-make recipes from these cookbooks.
BELL PEPPER BEEF STIR-FRY – A MAN, A PAN, A PLAN BY PAUL KITA
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- - 1 TBSP CANOLA OIL
- - 1 GARLIC CLOVE, THINLY SLICED (OR MINCED GARLIC)
- - ¼ MEDIUM RED ONION, CHOPPED
- - 1 BUNCH ASPARAGUS, WOODY ENDS REMOVED, CHOPPED
- - 2 CUPS OF BABY CORN
- - 1 RED BELL PEPPER, DICED
- - 1 LB SIRLOIN, CUT INTO BITE-SIZE PIECES
- - 2 TBSP OYSTER SAUCE*
- In a large non-stick pan, add the oil, garlic and onion. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent – about 3 minutes.
- Add the asparagus, corn and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the asparagus is just tender, another 3 minutes.
- Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Stir in the oyster sauce and serve immediately.
* Oyster sauce can be found in the International aisles in grocery stores, or if you’re lucky, on top of the frozen fish freezer bunkers. My girlfriend and I looked FOREVER for this.
SIMPLE ROASTED CHICKEN & BELL PEPPERS – DINNER’S IN THE OVEN BY RUKMINI IYER
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- - 4 LARGE BONELESS SKIN-ON CHICKEN BREASTS
- - 2 RED BELL PEPPERS, SEEDED AND CUT INTO ½ INCH (OR 1.5CM) SLICES
- - 2 YELLOW PEPPERS, SEEDED AND CUT INTO ½ INCH (1.5CM) SLICES
- - 2 RED ONIONS, CUT INTO EIGHTHS
- - 6 CLOVES OF GARLIC, SMASHED
- - 6 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME OR ROSEMARY
- - SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
- - OLIVE OIL
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the chicken, bell peppers, onions, garlic and herbs in a very large roasting pan. Sprinkle evenly with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Drizzle generously with olive oil and give everything a good mix with your hands.
- Place the pan in the oven and roast for 35 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through the peppers are caramelized. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.
- - To add a smoky Spanish note, add 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika to the dish before roasting. This enhanced the dish so much!
- - We also added feta cheese for extra flavour and cheesiness. Highly recommend it!
STEAM ROASTED SALMON & BROCCOLI WITH LIME, GINGER, GARLIC & CHILE - DINNER’S IN THE OVEN BY RUKMINI IYER
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- - 1 SMALL HEAD BROCCOLI, CUT INTO SMALL FLORETS
- - 2 CLOVES OF GRATED GARLIC
- - 2 TABLESPOONS OF SESAME OR VEGETABLE OIL
- - 4 SALMON FILLETS (APPROX. 1 ¾ POUNDS (800G) TOTAL)
- - 2 SCALLIONS, THINLY SLICED
- - 1 INCH (2.5CM) GRATED GINGER
- - 1 FRESH RED CHILE*, THINLY SLICED
- - 2 TBSP OF FISH SAUCE
- - ¼ CUP (60ML) VEGETABLE OIL
- - ZEST AND JUICE OF 2 LIMES
- - ½ CUP(3G) FINELY CHOPPED FRESH CILANTRO
- - 6 TBSP (55G) OF ROUGHLY CHOPPED PEANUTS**
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the broccoli in a roasting pan or large baking dish. Scatter over the grated garlic, drizzle with the sesame (or vegetable) oil and toss well to mix.
- Place the salmon fillets in the roasting pan, cover the pan tightly with foil, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through to your liking.
- Meanwhile, mix the scallions, ginger, chile, fish sauce, vegetable oil, lime zest and juice, cilantro and peanuts together. Taste and adjust the fish sauce and lime juice as you wish.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and generously coat the salmon with some of the dressing. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the broccoli and serve immediately.
*I used red bell peppers instead of chile as I’m not a huge spice person. I sliced the peppers into little quarters or even slices and they still taste really good with the dish.
** A really good way to chop peanuts is to just use a tablespoon and crush them underneath. It’s fast and efficient!
BY: JOSH WELSH