My Kitchen Go-To: Quick and Easy Shakshuka

Quick & Easy Shakshuka

Quick & Easy Shakshuka

This, right here, is what I like to make when I’m in a bit of a kitchen rut and have no idea what I want to eat for dinner… or breakfast… or lunch… or when I’m having people over for brunch… Really, it’s an anytime dish that is way too easy to make.

Quick and smokey shakshuka with feta and lemon-y, parsley-y couscous is as easy as chopping a few things, boiling water, heating some sauce, and poaching some eggs. A delish anytime meal, lickety-split.

Quick and Easy Shakshuka

Serves 4 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons white wine, optional
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 – 796ml (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, divided
2 cups couscous
4 - 8 eggs, depending on how hungry you are
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onions.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the finely minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so just to cook off some of that raw garlic hit. Stir in the smoked paprika, chili flakes, and cumin and allow the spices to toast for about 1 minute or so. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, if using, or add two tablespoons of water.

Add the halved cherry tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down a bit.  Add the canned tomatoes and stir well to combine.  Cover the pan and lower the heat.  Allow the sauce to simmer away for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, set your kettle to boil and pour your couscous into a heatproof bowl.  When the water has boiled, pour 2 cups of boiling water onto the couscous, season with salt and pepper, stir, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow this to sit for about 8 to 10 minutes while you finish up your shakshuka.

Using a spoon, make slight wells in the tomato sauce and crack an egg into each.  Cover and cook the eggs over medium-low heat until the whites are firm and the yolks are just slightly cooked but still runny, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Fluff your couscous with a fork, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining parsley, and divide between four plates.  Top each plate with an egg or two plus a good dose of that sauce and scatter with crumbled feta cheese.

*Personally, I’m a big fan of leftover shakshuka for breakfast after a late night out with too much wine

The Sauce Fiend Chronicles: kinda classic Pesto

Basil, Parsley, & Arugula Pesto

Basil, Parsley, & Arugula Pesto

Pesto is one of those things I make when I’m feeling rather Bilbo Baggins-esque.  You know that scene, in the book and the movie, where Bilbo is running about trying to find snacks for Gandalf?  A zillion things on his mind, from birthday parties to food to, you know, Isildur’s Bane aka the One Ring?

 …I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean:
like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.

 Ok, ok, maybe not everyone has pretty much all of LOTR memorized but you get it, right?!  When you’re so busy that your brain is pretty much constantly out to lunch and your to-do list seems insurmountable?  It’s those days that I reach for the food processor and whip up a batch of pesto.

The wonderful thing about this sauce is that it takes about 5 minutes to throw together and every bite is as fresh as summer giving you an extra pep in your step that is so needed in those oh-so busy times.

Basil, Parsley & Arugula Pesto

Serves 4, with some leftover for lunch

2 cups loosely packed basil
1 cup loosely packed parsley
2 cups loosely packed arugula
½ cup grated pecorino cheese
3 tablespoons walnuts
1 - 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
500g dry pasta

Place all of the ingredients other than the dry pasta in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender and pulse until well combined.  Set this aside and cook the pasta in heavily salted boiling water until al dente.

When the pasta is cooked, scoop about a cup of the starchy water from the pot and drain the rest.  Transfer the pasta back into the pot and pour on the pesto.  Stir until everything is evenly coated, adding about ½ cup or more of the reserved cooking liquid to thin the pesto out as needed.

Serve topped with a few shavings of pecorino, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and a squidge of lemon juice to brighten everything up.

It's always a good time for Granola

Nutty Coconut Granola

Nutty Coconut Granola

Oh, how I love granola.  It’s crunchy, nutty, super easy to make and, with a little imagination, can be used in so many different dishes.  In addition to being a breakfast staple, I like to make an extra sweet variety to use in desserts as well as savoury renditions to be scattered atop salads, fish, or anything else that can use a good “crunch”.  The moral of the story here is that I personally believe granola should be its own food group and be added to pretty much everything.

Here is my take on traditional breakfast granola.  It’s heathy, high in fiber, and oh-so-good on yogurt, with fruit, or just out of hand.


Makes about 10 cups

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup cashews
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
¼ cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup ground flax seed
1 tsp salt
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup + 2 tbsp canola oil
½ cup hot tap water
1 cup dried fruit, optional

Preheat your oven to 300F and lightly grease two half sheet pans.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, cashews, almonds, shredded coconut, brown sugar, flour, flax seed, and salt.  Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, combine the maple syrup, vegetable oil, and water.  Quickly whisk and pour over the dry ingredients, stirring well.

Divide the granola mixture between the two prepared half sheet pans and spread into an even layer.  Pop into your preheated oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking to ensure that your granola is perfectly golden brown all the way through.

Remove the granola from the oven and, if using dried fruit, distribute between the two pans now.  Allow the granola to cool on the sheet pans, break up a bit, and store in an airtight container to enjoy for breakfast or whenever you’re feeling a bit snacky.