Homemade Baked Chips

Alright, so I know this blog has primarily been dedicated to me showing off (a) all the fancy schmancy dinners I make and (b) the delicious desserts I make to feed my erratical sugar cravings.  But here is something different.  Here, is a Hilary Makes snack.

I had two beets leftover from the borscht I made last month.  Although I was tempted to get artsy and juice them to somehow dye fabric, I decided to do something a little less weird and a tad easier.  The answer?  Make beet chips!  Of course, if I was going to make these, I needed to go all out.  This all or nothing attitude got me a pan full of beet, sweet potato, potato and zucchini chips, all which turned a slight shade of pink after the beet(lejuice) took over the pan.  I shamelessly admit that I give myself a mixed review for these.  The baked sweet potato and potato chips were awesome and crispy.  The beet chips, however, were kind of floppy and chewy and were missing the crunch that I was going for.  I seriously blame my lack of this fantastic slicing tool:

This little kitchen device is called a mandoline (no, this is not the incorrect spelling of a musical instrument, that’s actually what it’s called, I swear!).  I think it just kind of resembles one of those meat slicers that they have at the deli counter in the grocery store.  But apparently it works better than my slicing attempts, and probably could have helped crisp-ify my beets.  I may have to take a trip to my favourite kitchen store and invest in one…

Also, I am totally embarrassed to admit that my attempt at creating zucchini chips also failed, and my dear favourite vegetable was just too watery to be baked.

BUT since the baked potato chips worked out, I figured I would post the pictures and instructions for them, since I very much plan on making them again.

The instructions are pretty complicated, are you ready?

STEP 1: Slice potatoes thinly.
STEP 2: Toss ’em around in a big bowl with some olive oil.
STEP 3: Spread your oiled vegetables out on a parchment paper lined pan and bake at 350 degrees until they start to dry out, about 20 minutes.
STEP 4: Pop your newly baked chips down on a cooling rack and give them a few hours to crisp.

And voila, there you have it.  A quick mid-class snack.

One day I will conquer the beet chips…

Spicy Potato and Lentil Soup

Okay, so you know how a few posts ago I said that my borscht was the cheapest thing I’ve ever made?  Well I lied.  Poor Mr. Borscht didn’t hold his title for very long, and this new soup quickly edged it out in both taste and price.  While I could go on and on about how great this soup was, I think I’ll condense my admiration down to four main points *ahem*:

1. It was SO fast to make.  Since I’m apparently never home for dinner anymore, I decided to make this soup at 9:15 a.m.  Yes, I had soup for breakfast, don’t judge me.  I had to be at school that day for 10:45, so let this tight schedule attest for how quickly this soup cooked itself up.

2. I’m not really a fan of chopping things, so I was relieved when this soup only required two potatoes, a celery stalk, and an onion to be chopped.  BUT HOLY, on that note, I cut up the most potent onion ever!!!!!  Seriously, I was crying like a teenage girl listening to Taylor Swift.  I wiped my eyes on my shirt so many times that my sleeve was partially drenched by the time I was finished cooking.  I need a set of these!

3. This soup just confirmed that my taste buds are way more high maintenance than in my “I’m just going to eat plain rice for supper” days (aka last year).  I was not at all happy with how little cumin and cayenne pepper that the original recipe requested, so I simply added a teaspoon more of the cumin, and about ten pinches of cayenne pepper (versus the original single pinch requested).  Mmmmm, that spice, combined with the explosion of fresh parsley, made my life.  Also, for anyone that is stuffed up or sniffly from a winter cold, this soup is so spicy it is sure to clear your sinuses!  Who needs cold fx, right?

4. Last but not least this soup was, of course, cheap.  I calculated my total cost per serving to be about 80 cents a bowl.  Stellar!!

Recipe: Canadian Living (with a few spicy adaptations by yours truly).

Homemade Beef Stew

Hello everyone, remember me?  I know, its been awhile.  No, my blog is not dying, so for all you shaking your head’s out there, stop it right now!!  Rather, I’ve just been really busy with classes and such.  I had two huge assignments due today and yesterday, and we’ve now started newsroom days for radio, which complicate things a tad more

But enough with my complaints!  Lets get on to what you actually want to read about…

Okay, so at this point I’ve finally accepted that the cold fall weather is here to stay.  Ever since the Halloween blizzard, it’s like some signal went off in my brain making me crave only two things: chili and stew.  Not having made anything decently healthy for awhile, I thought making my mom’s homemade recipe for the latter would be a great way to get my protein and veggie intake.  A more important factor contributing to this decision was that I forgot my grocery list when I went to the store (never a good mistake), and stew is a very good improvisation “I don’t know what the hell I’m buying” dish.

My dear roommate Brittany also coincidentally decided to make stew last night.  Bubbling away on the stove, our stews brewed and sizzled – creating a symphony of smells in our cramped kitchen.  Though the cooking time on a recipe like this is rather long (see instructions below, don’t plan on making this in a rush!), it turned out to be worth it in the end.  My improvised recipe ended up making five servings of warmth and love.  It pains me a bit to type this post, since I’ve now had stew for two meals in a row and am kind of sick of the thing.  Perhaps I’ll move on to chili next and leave my leftovers in the freezer for a bit…

Cute little freezer leftovers

Homemade Beef Stew
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 500 g stewing beef (basically beef cut up in squares at the grocery store, it’s amazingly cheap)
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 cups beef broth, water or a combination of the two
– 4 carrots, sliced
– 2 large potatoes, diced
– 1/4 cabbage, chopped
– 1 zucchini, sliced
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme

The instructions for this one are pretty simple: fry meat with oil until brown.  Once browned, add onion and pour 1 cup of the liquid over the meat.  Bring to boil and let sit simmering for 45 minutes, or until beef is tender.  Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage and remainder of liquid. Let cook for 20-30 minutes.  Within the last 5 minutes of cooking, add zucchini.  Sprinkle with thyme and serve.  Enjoy!

Rosemary Garlic Steak with Potato, Carrots and Shredded Zucchini

The reason for making this dinner was pretty simple: I was craving steak SO badly, haven’t eaten potatoes in half a year and wanted to use up the rest of my farmer’s market carrots.  This meal took about twenty minutes to make, and allowed me to utilize our beautiful non-stick pan as a BBQ alternative.

I know this is a ridiculously short post, but I’m watching this show Hawaii Five-O with my roommate Amanda, and am too distracted by Daniel Dae Kim’s cheekbones to write anymore.  That’s right, Jin from LOST is in a new show.  It gets an A+ already.

Okay, one more Daniel Dae Kim girl crush moment.  Remember when he was in Seinfeld?  So precious!

PS: this dish was adapted from Canadian Living’s Grilled Rosemary Garlic Flank Steak recipe.