Friday Food Fight: Garlic Beef and Asparagus Stir-fry or Bean & Quinoa Tacos?

Welcome to Friday Food Fight, where two recipes duke it out to become my supper.

This week’s contenders:


GARLIC BEEF AND ASPARAGUS STRI-FRY: Stir-fries are always my go-to meal. It’s what I make when I don’t want to think about it too much, and it always comes out tasty. It’s a great way to use up your produce at the end of the week.
*Mum’s tip: this recipe calls for a hoisin sauce marinade, but another great option is to mix your own marinade. Use some sesame oil, crushed garlic, soya sauce, oyster sauce and a touch of maple syrup. (This mix has been tested to perfection!)

1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 pound flank steak, cut against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup Soy Vay Hoisin Garlic Sauce and Marinade
1 pound asparagus, ends removed and cut into 1-inch lengths
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

In a medium bowl, combine the flank steak and 2 tablespoons of the Hoisin Garlic sauce. Allow the steak to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the flank steak and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until mostly brown but not fully cooked. Remove and set aside.

Add the asparagus to the wok. Stir-fry for about 1 minute, then add 1/2 cup water and cover with a lid. Allow the asparagus to steam for another 1 to 2 minutes until tender-crisp and the water is gone.

Return the beef to the wok. Add the remaining amount of hoisin garlic sauce and stir until everything is well-mixed and the beef is cooked through, about 1 minute more. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the cashews. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with rice or noodles.

Recipe courtesy of Appetite for China

BEAN & QUINOA TACOS: A fun twist on taco night! Here’s another way of using your produce at the end of the week. And adding quinoa to the taco mix gives it a really nice texture and taste and adds a healthy element to your meal.
*Mum’s tip: try making your own salsa (this pineapple mango salsa is super yummy!) or guacamole.

1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green pepper seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked pinto beans
1 cup cooked black beans
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
12 organic taco shells
3 cups lettuce, shredded
½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup shredded cheddar
Sour cream, salsa and/or guacamole, optional

Spray a large skillet with olive oil. Add onion and peppers and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for one minute longer. Stir in quinoa, pinto beans, black beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir in lime juice.

Meanwhile, heat taco shells according to package directions. Spoon bean mixture into taco shells and top with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and other toppings as desired.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Quinoa.

*VERDICT*: I’m feeling a little creative and want to build my own meal, so I think I’ll make some tacos tonight! I’ll give that mango salsa a try as well!

What are you making for supper? Tweet me @warriorrenaud, or use the hashtag #fridayfoodfight.

Friday Food Fight: White Bean Chicken Chili or Squash Coconut Curry?

Welcome to Friday Food Fight, where two recipes duke it out to become my supper.

This week’s contenders:


WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI WITH KALE: A nice twist on chili. And a good way to reuse that chicken you made last night! If you have any kale left over, you can make some really yummy kale chips as a substitute for you favorite salt & vinegar.
*Mum’s tip: buying dried beans in bulk can be a lot cheaper. If you plan on cooking with dried beans, prep them the night before by boiling them in water until they’re ready. Just be patient, it does take a bit longer!

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2-3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
1 small red or yellow onion, diced
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (or use 1 can white beans and 1 can bean medley, as I did)
1.5 cups salsa verde
¾ cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 bunch kale, washed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic, ginger, jalapeño, and onion and saute until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Stir in beans, salsa verde, and chicken broth. Reduce heat to low, then mix in cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir in shredded chicken.
Cover and let simmer over very low heat for 45 min – 1 hr. (Chili can be kept at a low heat for a few hours if you have the time – this way, the flavours really mingle and the end result is even tastier!)
Before serving the chili, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large frying or saute pan. Once the oil is hot, add kale and a teaspoon of water to the pan. Saute until kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix kale into chili and divide into serving bowls.
Feel free to garnish as desired, you can add avocado, cilantro, feta, scallions, hot sauce, or whatever you prefer!

Recipe courtesy of popartichoke.

SQUASH COCONUT CURRY: I love cooking with coconut milk, and this recipe really brings out all the right flavours! And I think after this crazy week of snowstorms, it would be nice to cook something that really warms you up.
*Mum’s tip: if you’ve cooked a lot of squash and don’t know what to do with the rest, add it to an omelette! Fry it up with some cinnamon and add a bit of maple syrup. Delicious!

6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon each curry powder and chili powder
½ teaspoon each turmeric and cayenne pepper
5-6 cups peeled, chopped squash (I used kabocha – butternut would be good, too)
1 15-ounce can thick coconut milk
3 tablespoons red curry paste (I used Massaman curry paste)
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
½ tablespoon honey
2 15-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1¼ cup light bulgur, uncooked
cilantro for topping

Cook bulgur according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
Sprinkle the dry seasonings (curry, chili, turmeric, cayenne) over the squash and toss to combine. Pour the coconut milk into the skillet and whisk the curry, peanut butter, and honey into the coconut milk until smooth. Add the seasoned squash and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes (the sauce will thicken).
Add the bulgur to the skillet and mix well, or serve the curry over individual servings of bulgur. Add chopped cilantro just before serving.

Recipe courtesy of pinch of yum.

*VERDICT*: I made some roast chicken earlier this week and still have some leftovers, so I’m going to make the White Bean Chili. Also, this is going to be another busy week, so I might as well make something to last me a few days!

What are you making for supper? Tweet me @warriorrenaud, or use the hashtag #fridayfoodfight.

Monday Movie Marathon: You Crack Me Up


This week’s movie marathon features films that simply make me laugh. A lot. Not that making me laugh is a hard thing, but these do it so well. Even after seeing them a dozen times, they still manage to make my sides hurt.

1. SOME LIKE IT HOT (Billy Wilder, 1959)

Seing Jack Lemon dressed as a woman never ceases to amuse me. This film is so lovely and innocent, you just can’t help but smile the whole way through. And if seeing a rugged Tony Curtis traipse around in a sparkly dress doesn’t do it for you, then maybe seeing Marilyn in all her tight-dress glory will.

2. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975)

This film is definitely sidesplitting! The first time I saw this film was in theatres with my mother during a Monty Python marathon, and the room was in constant laughter. The mix of the cheesy effects and cheeky British humour makes me laugh so hard, I start to cry. If you are ever feeling low, this movie will surely lift your spirits, and will leave you with some unforgettable memories.

3. THIS IS SPINAL TAP (Rob Reiner, 1984)

A mocumentary so funny, I wish it was real. These characters really capture your heart as much as they make you concerned for the sanity of humanity. It might be weird a first, but stick with it. It is so very funny.

4. THE BIRDCAGE (Mike Nichols, 1996)

Hank Azaria alone, as the flamboyant housekeeper, gets you roaring with laughter. And the rest of the cast just keeps that going the whole way through. Robin Williams is no Mrs. Doubtfire, but man, his many Hawaiian and flower print shirts are just as funny!

5. I LOVE YOU, MAN (John Hamburg, 2009)

Time for some modern-day humour, I think. This film definitely delivers. A timeless tale of all those man dates, to find the perfect bromance. There aren’t enough stories like this, and it’s so funny!

That’s it for this week’s Monday Movie Marathon. I hope these films help turn that frown upside down. We all need a little pick-me up once in a while!

What would your picks be? Tweet me @warriorrenaud or use the hashtag #mondaymoviemarathon!