Monday, December 7, 2009

Cereal Jumbles

I was invited to a cookie swap at Annie's last week. Am I ever glad I went. I received some really delicious cookies.

But what to make? I had to get out one of my old cookbooks and come up with a sure-fire cookie recipe. What better way to remember which recipes are best than to look for the pages with the most spills on them . . . LOL . . .

And that's how I chose this recipe . . .

Cereal Jumbles
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 well-beaten egg
1-1/2 tbsp milk
1 cup sifted enriched flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup finely cut dates
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flakes**

** I went to 3 different stores and could not find any wheat flake cereal. I ended up using Presidents Choice On Track cereal. It was a good decision. And I've been really enjoying eating the leftover cereal. **

Cream shortening; add sugar gradually, and blend. Add egg and milk. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture. Add vanilla, dates, and nuts. Crush cereal flakes slightly. Drop cookie dough from teaspoon into crushed cereal flakes and roll so that balls of dough are entirely coated. Top with nut meat halves, if desired. Place about 3" apart on greased heavy baking sheet. Bake in hot over (400F) about 12 minutes. Makes 2-3 dozen.


Note: The next time I made these cookies I was in a rush and just dumped the cereal into the cookie dough. Tasted just as good and a lot less work.

Lightened-Up Cream of Mushroom Soup

Lightened-Up Cream of Mushroom Soup - Recipes - Food - Canadian Living

Posted using ShareThis

I made this soup the other night using white mushrooms I found on the "hardly used nearly new rack" at Superstore. I'm not a fan of mushroom soup but I really enjoyed this one. Hal is a fan.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Toffee Squares

These squares turned out wonderfully. I made them for a cookie exchange with the ladies. YUMMY!

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 15 x 10-inch pan.

Combine the oats, sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt and mix well. Press the mixture into the pan, using your lightly greased hands to help the process along.

Bake the squares for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

In a medium saucepan set over very low heat, melt the chocolate and shortening together, stirring constantly until smooth. Spread the mixture evenly over the oat base and sprinkle on the chopped nuts. Cover very loosely and chill the squares in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares. The easiest way to do this is to use a chef's knife to cut the bars into long strips while they're still in the pan and then transfer each long strip to a cutting board to cut into bite-sized pieces.

VERDICT: Very pleasing treat.. great for a cookie exchange as one tray made over 6 dozen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Basic roll from the breadmaker

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 tsp yeast

Add in order and turn on machine. Allow dough to finish mixing and rise. Roll dough into balls and arrange on oiled cookie sheet and let rise again (double in size) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I have a love hate relationship with yeast! Is it too old? Did I buy the wrong kind........on and I have a trick I found online!

Unsure about your yeast? The above recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of water....only add 1 cup at the start. Make the 1/2 cup warm water and soak your yeast in it! Not ovenight, just while you are putting the rest of the ingredients into the breadmaker! If the yeast is still a grain in the water, it is no good. If it is goopy (technical word) the yeast is good. Add the water/yeast combination and wahoo! Press start. This works in any recipe (so far).

Don't need 16 buns right now? Here's a tip (again stolen from online!)
Place what you will need on the greased cookie sheet to rise as above.

Form the rest of the balls and place on seperate cookie sheet. When they have risen, place the whole sheet, uncovered into deep freezer. Allow to freeze solid THEN place into a bag. Take buns out to thaw as you need them....we did this and had homemade buns and burgers on New Years Day one year.....rave reviews from our guests....

This tip is especially helpful when there are only 2 or 3 of you in the house!

"Bon Appetit!"

Basic White Bread for a breadmaker

Have you ever been pleased you remembered to pull out the breadmaker and make a loaf especially for a meal you are making, and when you opened the lid found a doughy lump of goo or a dried out rock hard mass?


Until I became less scared of the stupid machine's "warnings" of not correctly entering the items etc.

So here is a simple bread recipe:

1 1/4 cups of water
2 tbsp powdered milk (I used milk)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/4 tsp yeast

Simple right?
Put the items in the breadmaker in that order and turn it on.....well....not if you are me, and instead of using the 1 cup measuring cup, I used the 1/4 cup and counted out the number I needed....9 right?
hmmmmm no! it was suppose to be 13!
13 of the 1/4 cups = 3 1/4 cups NOT 9!

Giant error and soup in the breadmaker
(thank goodness I only use mine to mix not bake! LOL)

Ok so what do you do? If I add the flour I will have to remix (therefore overworking the dough) If I don't I might as well toss the mess and start again.

So I added the extra cup of flour and hoped for the best.

Now I remove my dough from the breadmaker divide into 2 and place the masses onto 2 greased cookie sheets and semi-shape them into Italian loaves. I then place it into my oven that is not on!!! because there is no breeze to cause problems, no bugs to land in it etc.

I allow the masses to rise for... (lets be honest now) until I remember there is dough on the sheet! LOL I have been known to leave it overnight (wow is that bread fluffy!) THAT alone is the reason I now use cookie sheets and not loaf pans....if I forget, I do not have dough everywhere in my oven!

I bake it until just before I think it is done (very light brown) and turn off the oven (again lets be honest!) its in case I forget its in there! LOL It continues to bake while the oven is cooling off.

Point in fact, I am currently eating the loaf of bread I screwed up,
and it is lovely!

"Bon Appetit!"

A funny thing happened on the way to the breadmaker!!

Hey I am adding a new label today for breadmakers! I am finding more and more people who are disappointed with the outcome of their breadmaker....I have found a couple tricks and hope to learn a few more from people on this blog!

Happy baking

"Bon Appetit!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Great Soup Recipe!

This is from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski. Don't be discouraged by the length of this recipe. It doesn't take very long to make this great soup, and it's really worth the effort.

Rome on the Range
Roasted tomato and red pepper soup with mini meatballs

8 large plum or Roma tomatoes (about 2 lbs/907 g)
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp each minced fresh thyme and fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning)
2 cups beef broth, divided
1 cup V8 juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (or 2 tsp dried)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp each salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz (340 g) extra-lean ground beef
1/4 cup minced shallots or onions
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Coarsely chop tomatoes and combne with red peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a very large roasting pan or on a very large rimmed baking sheet. It's best if vegetables are in a single layer.

Place roasting pan in oven on middle rack and roast vegetables for 15 mins. Remove vegetablese from oven and give them a quick stir. Return pan to oven on middle rack and turn on the broiler. Broil vegetables for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Combine all meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Using your hands works best! Form 48 mini meatballs using 1 tsp or so of meat mixture per ball. Set aside.

Remove vegetables from oven. Transfer half the vegetables to a blender or food processor, along with 1 cup of beef broth, and puree until smooth. Transfer pureed vegetables to a large soup pot. Chop remaining vegetables into bite-sized pieces (if any tomato or pepper skins come loose, discard them) and add to pot, along with remaining beef broth, V8 juice, basil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring soup to a boil. Add meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Taste soup and add more salt and pepper if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: calories, 184; total fat, 7.8g; saturated fat, 3.3g; protein, 15g; carbs, 16g; fiber, 2.9g; cholesterol, 64mg; sodium, 440mg

THE VERDICT: Hubby and I both really liked it. Serving it to Miss Muffet for lunch, and will report back with her findings :)

Update: Little Miss (2 years old) loved this soup! Definitely a keeper. Make this one!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Squash-tastic Shepherd's Pie

I've recently become a tad obsessed with Hungry Girl. Not heard of her? Well, crawl out from under your rock and listen up: She's great! Her cookbooks and website are full of interesting, healthy, low-fat recipes....and they all contain the Weight Watchers points you'll need to know if you're counting that sort of thing.

One caveat: HG recipes do tend toward some ingredients I wouldn't use, like artificial sweeteners, but you can swap in real sugar or, in many cases, leave it out entirely. This was my first day cooking her recipes, and I have to say I can't wait to make more!

This was dinner tonight:

Squash-tastic Shepherd's Pie (from HG's Hungry Girl cookbook, page 278)

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 lb raw extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of onion powder
  • dash of black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fat-free gravy
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 tbsp light whipped butter or light buttery spread
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the squash in a large microwave-safe dish with 1/2 cup of water. Cover bowl and cook squash in the microwave for 12 to 14 minutes, until squash is soft.
Meanwhile, in a medium pan over medium heat, cook onions until slightly browned (2 to 3 minutes).
Add the turkey, minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper to the pan. Stir well. Cook until meat is browned.
Drain any excess liquid from the pan. Place meat/onion mixture in a casserole dish. Pour gravy evenly over the mixture. Spread the mixed veggies on top and then set dish aside.
Once squash is cooked, drain excess water and mash well. Add butter and salt to the squash and then mix thoroughly. Layer the mashed squash on top of the veggie layer. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (until crust looks slightly crispy).
This was YUMMY! Filling, tasty, healthy and family friendly. Can't wait for the leftovers tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops

Did you see that several supermarkets have pork roasts on sale this week? Mom & I picked up 6 roasts for $1.89 and $1.99 per pound at Metro and spent today cooking. I hope you enjoy the 6 recipes I am posting: Dijon Pork Chops, Sweet-n-Sout Pork, Pork Rice Skillet Bake, Herbed Pork Chops, Provencale Pork, and Stuffed Pork Chops. I did a lot of cutting to turn the roasts into dozens of pork chops and Mom chopped and stirred and packed like crazy. We knew we'd done a good job when my nephew (her grandson), Scott, walked in after school and you could see his eyes glaze over as he smelled the aromas coming from the stove and oven. He went home with a stuffed pork chop, scalloped potatoes and Provencale Pork. I have since heard that he really enjoyed his supper . . . LOL.

On the subject of the cookbook we used today, "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough, I have to say I love this book . . . perhaps a little too much. It is now covered in olive oil and white wine and who knows what else. Don't worry Pam D., you will be getting a brand new copy of this book . . . LOL . . . On the down side, the editor or proofreader of this book needs to be fired. I have found several mistakes that have been a little frustrating like ingredients missing from the shopping list or extras added that aren't needed and sometimes the recipes have things out of order. But that's okay because the recipe results make up for most shortcomings.

6 servings

6 thick-cut pork chops (about 1-inch thick)
1/2 cup wild rice mix
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sherry
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 teaspoons pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1-1/2 cups fat-free beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Cook wild rice mixture according to package directions, substituting 1/3 cup sherry for 1/3 cup water in directions. Heat butter in skillet; stir in mushroom slices and onions, cook until softened. Remove from heat. Stir 1/2 mushrooms into wild rice mixture. Slice a pocket in each chop. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons wild rice/mushroom mixture into each chop. Close with toothpicks. Rub pepper and paprika into chops. Broil chops on broiler rack 5-inches from the heat for 15 minutes (turning halfway through). To make sauce, in saucepan stir together broth and cornstarch. Add remaining sauteed mushrooms; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon sherry.

In my opinion: Well a few things didn't go quite right with this recipe. We were using pork roasts and slicing into pork chop sized pieces. Unfortunately pork-roast-style chops don't always lend themselves to having pockets sliced into them. And we also didn't have a package of wild rice mix so we used a rice vegetable mix and just followed the package directions. Since the pockets were not very big we just stuffed with rice (no mushrooms) and used all of the mushrooms in the sauce. Now after all that I have to say the chops and sauce turned out gorgeous and were enjoyed by my nephew, Scott. Also, we used cremini mushrooms, because they are firmer and more flavourful than white mushrooms.

Recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Provencale Pork

6 servings

2 pounds boneless pork chops, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, sliced
1 (15-oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Trim excess fat off pork chops; slice into thin strips. In large skillet over medium heat, melt half the butter. Add slices of pork; cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink. Remove meat from skillet; set aside. Stir onions into juices remaining in pan; cook until just tender. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and mixed herbs to pan. Heat to boil; reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. In casserold dish, layer pork, sauce and potatoes (end with potato layer). Brush top of potatoes with melted butter; sprinkle with parsley. Cover casserole dish with a lid and bake at 350F for 1 hour.

In my opinion: Beautiful!! While we were at it, Mom sliced up some extra potatoes and onions and made scalloped potatoes.

Recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Herbed Pork Chops

6 servings

1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fennel, crushed
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons basil
6 pork chops

Combine together in a small bowl: wine, fennel, marjoram, basil, salt and garlic: blend well. Set aside. Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Cook pork chops over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Turn chops, add wine mixture. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until pork is no longer pink.

In my opinion: This recipe was elegant, aromatic, attractive and so quick and easy!!!!! The aroma from the wine and the fennel were absolutely fabulous!!!!!

This recipe from "Frozen Assest Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Pork Rice Skillet Bake

6 servings

6 pork chops
1 package brown and wild rice mushroom mix
2 cups water
1 large tomato, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over high heat; place chops in skillet; cook 2 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from heat. Remove pork chops from skillet; set aside. In a casserole dish, stir together drippings from browning pork chops, the wild rice mix and 2 cups water. Arrange slices of tomato and onion in a single layer over rice mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup parsley. Arrange pork chops over top. Cover. Bake in 350 F oven for 40-50 minutes, or until pork is no longer pink in centre and rice is cooked.

In my opinion: We put the parsley on top of the pork chops because it was prettier. This recipe is quite simple, and looks and smells wonderful.

Recipe is from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Sweet-n-Sour Pork

6 servings

3/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons catsup
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg, beaten
6 boneless pork chops, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, cut into thin wedges
1 large gree pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
2 cups canned pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup water

In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and the vinegar. Stir in 1 cup water, sugar, catsup, soy sauce and cayenne; set aside. In small bowl, beat egg. In separate bowl, place remaining cornstarch. Dip pork chunks in egg; then dip into cornstarch. Over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Add meat to hot oil and saute until golden brown on the outside and no longer pink inside (stirring contantly); remove meat from pat using a slotted spoon. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and 2 tablespoons water to pan; saute for 1 minute. Stir sweet-n-sour sauce into pan with vegetables. Cook stirring constantly until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Add tomato and pineapple.

In my opinion: This recipe is very easy to make and looks and smells wonderful. Hal had a bowlful for his lunch and really enjoyed it. I did cheat a bit when making it. We were making a double batch and it was taking forever to dip each piece of pork so I poured the egg into the bowl of cubed pork and tossed it well. Then I added the cornstarch and tossed the pork until it was all well coated.

This recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough.
Le dîner est servi . . .

Dijon Pork Chops

6 servings

1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 pork chops
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

In pie plate, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, oil and pepper. Mix well. Set aside. Spread both sides of pork chops with mustard; press chops into bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. Spray rack in broiler pan with cooking spray, arrange chops on rack; broil 5-6 inches from element until cooked (5-6 minutes on each side).

In my opinion: These chops are so simple and the aroma . . . fabulous!!!!!

Recipe from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Monday, November 2, 2009

Need a special dish for a pot luck?? Check this out . . .

I haven't woken up Taylor from his nap to taste test this one yet. I think it tastes really really good. It looks pretty good too. And it was quite simple to make.

Tortilla Casserole
6 servings
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 (15-oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 package taco seasoning mix
6 corn tortillas
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
4 oz (1 cup) grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray nonstick skillet with non-stick cooking spray. heat over high heat until hot. Add ground beef; brown 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring constantly. Drain well; return beef to skillet. Add beans, tomatoes, chilies and taco seasoning mix; mix well. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spray 12 x 8 (2-quart) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each tortilla in half; place 6 halves in bottom of sprayed baking dish, overlapping slightly. Spoon half of beef mixture evenly over tortillas. Spoon sour cream over beef mixture; spread evenly. Top with remaining 6 tortilla halves and remaining beef mixture. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Cover; let stand 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Per serving: 324.9 calories; 10.8 g fat; 23.8 g protein; 34.2 g carbohydrates; 45 mg cholesterol.
Le dîner est servi . . .

Macaroni and Beef

Taylor and I really enjoyed taste-testing this recipe. I used Unico Scoobi Doo macaroni for a little extra excitement. And it is soooooo simple to make.

Macaroni and Beef

6 servings

6 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz (1 cup) reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, grated

(I substituted 1/4 cup of homemade pesto for the basil)

In large skillet, brown ground beef, onion and bell pepper until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are softened. Add tomato sauce, basil, thyme and pepper, Stir frequently over medium heat until heated through. Remove from heat. Add macaroni; stir to combine. Sprinkle cheese over top.

Per Serving: 292.2 calories; 10.3 g fat; 21.3 g protein; 28.3 g carbohydrates; 43 mg cholesterol

Le dîner est servi . . .

Pizza Burgers

These burgers didn't make it into the freezer . . . they were lunch . . . and very yummy!!!!!

Pizza Burgers

Serves 6

1 pound extra-lean ground beef (I think I would have liked bigger burgers so maybe 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef would be better)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup muchrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
4 oz (1 cup) fat free mozzarella cheese, grated
1 tbsp parsley
6 hamburger buns

In skillet over medium-high heat, saute mushroom slices in butter. Remove from heat. In large bowl combine beef, salt, pepper and oregano. Form beef mixutre into six equal patties. Cook patties in non-stick skillet for 3 minutes (or until cooked through). Spread each patty with 1 tbsp tomato sauce and 1 tbsp mushrooms. Divide cheese evenly between patties. Serve sprinkled with parsley in hamburger buns.

Per serving: 217.1 calories; 13.1 g fat; 21.0 g protein; 3.5 g carbohydrates; 56 mg cholesterol

Le dîner est servi . . .

Beef Loaf

Beef Loaf

8 servings

2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups zucchini, shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
4 tbsp skim milk
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage

Spray medium skillet with cooking spray. Heat and add onions. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until golden brown. Add carrot, zucchini and garlic, stirring contantly until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat. Set aside. In small bowl, combine bread and milk. Let stand five minutes. In large bowl, combine beef, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, cooled vegetables and soaked bread. Shape into loaf. Place into centre of 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Per serving: 206.4 calories; 10.3 g fat; 13.7 g protein; 15.1 g carbohydrates; 105 mg cholesterol.

This was very simple to make, smells wonderful, and tastes good too. I did make one substitution. There is a typo in the recipe book's shopping list so I did not have the zucchini for this recipe. So I went through the freezer looking for something green and vegetable-like . . . peas. I think it worked out just fine.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Meatballs and Sauce

Remember the good ol' days when ground meat was cheap??

This morning I began the "Ground Beef Mini-Session" from Frozen Assets Lite & Easy by Deborah Taylor-Hough: Meatballs and Sauce, Beef Loaf, Pizza Burgers, Macaroni and Beef, and Tortilla Casserole. My son, Tim, and grandson, Taylor, have been my taste testers today. All the meals have been well received so far. Taylor wanted to take a nap, but he has requested a wake up call when the Tortilla Casserole comes out of the oven so he can taste test it as well . . . LOL.

Meatballs and Sauce

Serves 6

1 cup dry bread crumbs
3/4 cup skim milk
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
1-1/2 cup grated zucchini
3/4 cup apple juice (or white wine)
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp oregano
32-0z. canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup water.

Mix bread crumbs and milk. Let stand 5 minutes. Add beef, zucchini, 2 tbsp apple juice, cheese, tomato paste and 1 tsp oregano. Mix well. Form into 36 equal meatballs. Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat. Add meatballs, cook over medium-high heat, turning as needed, until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes). Remove meatballs from skillet; set aside. In same skillet, cook remaining apple juice over medium-high heat, scraping brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add tomatoes, remaining oregano and water. Reduce heat to low; add meatballs. Simmer, covered, 30-40 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.

Per serving: 270.8 calories; 11.5 g fat; 15.8 g protein; 26.8 g carbohydrates; 40 mg cholesterol


Le dîner est servi . . .

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Courtesy of Kraft's Whats Cooking Fall 2008

1 - 540ml can of undrained diced tomatoes (I used herbed)
1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix
2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2lb of diced chicken or turkey
1 tsp dried basil leaves (I omitted because my tomatoes were spiced)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozarella)

Mix first 3 items until stuffing is moist.
Layer into a lightly greased casserole dish:
1/2 stuffing mixture, chicken/turkey, basil, cheese, 1/2 stuffing mixture.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Serve with green salad or soup......

"Bon Appetit!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hoping to do a little "Shrinking" next week...

So, in an effort to try to prevent my legs from turning blue as a result of too-tight jeans, I'm trying to keep my diet in check. No, I'm not swearing off of all of the things I love, but we'll just have a more on again, off again relationship rather than a steady thing. And I'm on a mission to find healthier versions of the things I love the most, which is why I have become a fan of the Hungry Girl daily e-newsletter and other healthy-but-realistic recipe sources.

To that end, I've chosen Eat, Shrink and Be Merry by the Podleski sisters and the Hungry Girl cookbook for recipe sources for this weekend's/next week's cooking. Here are a few recipes I'm hoping to try from the ES&BM cookbook. I'll post some from HG later tonight (It's on my bedside table and frankly I don't feel like going to get it). Will post the actual recipes as I try them.

Na-cho Ordinary Taco Salad (page 39)
The Squash Court (Butternut squash soup with orange and ginger)
Livin' on the Vedge (roasted veggies with lemon couscous)
Loaf Potion #9 (cranberry-orange loaf with zucchini, carrots and walnuts)

Sounds yummy, right? Here's to a healthy week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spinach Couscous Salad

I love this recipe:


1 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. couscous
1/2 c. Italian salad dressing
2 c. shredded fresh spinach
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 of 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
Spinach leaves

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to boiling; stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add salad dressing. Cover and chill for 2 to 4 hours or until completely chilled.
Before serving, toss couscous mixture with shredded spinach, tomatoes and water chestnuts. Serve on spinach leaves. Makes 8 servings.,1843,155162-246194,00.html

Le dîner est servi . . .

Black Bean and Rice Salad

I made this salad for Paula's baby shower a couple of weeks ago because I thought it would go nicely with the spare ribs that Deb was bringing. I was right.

1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked long-grain rice, chilled
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 to 3 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
fresh chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish, if desired

Combine beans with rice, green and red bell pepper, tomato, and green onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, mustard, sugar, cumin, and pepper. Add dressing to beans and rice and stir gently to blend ingredients. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve chilled. Serves 6.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chili Tortilla Stack

The proportions in this recipe depend on what you have in your fridge, how big the dish is you are making this in, and your preferences, so I'll just list the ingredients and once you read the instructions you'll be able to gauge how much you'll need. Or, you could do what I did and use up stuff from the fridge!

I used:

1 package small flour tortillas (about 8)
1/2 to 3/4 of a 14 ounce can refried beans (I used vegetarian)
2-3 cups your favourite chili recipe or canned chili (I used my own homemade chili)
2-ish cups shredded cheese (I used marble)
1/2 cup corn (thawed if frozen, drained if canned, left alone if fresh!)
Jar of salsa

Optional, for garnish (but they make it really, really good)

Diced tomato
Chopped green onion
Ranch dressing
Shredded iceberg lettuce

In a casserole dish, layer:

Tortillas (torn to fit)
Refried beans

Repeat layers until your dish is full or your ingredients run out, whichever comes first. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbling and layers are warmed through.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing into wedges. Top each piece with chopped tomato, green onion, and shredded lettuce. Drizzle with ranch dressing, and enjoy!

Cheeseburger Pie

This is a hit with my entire family (OK, so there are only three of us, but one of us is 2 years old, so I consider this a victory).


1 frozen pie crust
1 pound extra-lean ground beef (or use regular and drain it after you brown it)
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup crumbs (cornflake, bread, cracker...doesn't really matter)
1/2 cup ketchup (or bbq sauce, or 1/4 cup of each)
squirt of mustard (any kind; we often use honey mustard)
salt, pepper and Mrs Dash Italian flavour to taste
1/2 tsp (or more if you like it spicy) crushed red pepper flakes or chili sauce
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar or mozzarella cheese


Thaw pie crust at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Brown ground beef and onions in a skillet until meat is cooked through and onions are soft. Drain off excess fat if necessary. Add water and mix well to combine.

Add crumbs, ketchup, mustard and seasonings. Mix together. Pour mixture into pie shell and smooth top. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes, give or a take a few.

After 30 minutes of cooking, remove foil and sprinkle cheese over top of pie. Return to oven for five minutes, or just until cheese bubbles. Allow pie to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

You really don't need much else with this other than a salad, but I have been known to choke down a few fries or some mashed potatoes alongside :)

Rat-a-too-ille...leftover style

So, Thanksgiving dinner is over. You forgot to cook the squash, there are leftovers everywhere and no-one wants anymore turkey. This is what I did, loosely based on a recipe.

Step #1 Ingredients:

1 stalk of celery (leftovers from the veggie tray)
1/2 bag of mini carrots (leftovers from the veggie tray)
3-4 slices of ham (leftovers)

***Grate these three items, I used my food processor,
and then add

salt & pepper
1-300ml box of Knorr red pepper/tomato soup

***mix well and pour into greased casserole dish.

Step #2 Ingredients:

1 chinese eggplant (on its last leg)
1 zucchini (use it or toss it)
1 purple pepper (or green, red, orange)
1 red onion
1 green onion
1 peeled butternut squash (par cooked in microwave)

***I would in the future add 3-4 potatoes thinly sliced too!

I used my food processor to thinly slice these veggies.
Layer one veggie at a time on top of the ham/carrot
mixture in the casserole dish.

Step #3 Ingredients:

1 can of diced tomatoes (or fresh leftovers)

Cover the top of the casserole with the tomatoes and juice.
Top with leftover potatoes if you have some.

Bake at 350 for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 1/2.
Uncovered if you'd like thicker, covered if you would like it soupy.

*** I think this could be done in a crock pot too!

Serve with fresh bread.
Judy says she really can taste each vegetable
but they all blend and that gives it a great taste.
She says make it again.....
Now sit back with Remy and the Disney movie and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cheddar, Cauliflower & Potato Soup

This is a super easy soup that my kids love. It is from a dairy ad in Canadian Living from ages ago. Add a crusty bread and salad and it's a perfect light dinner or lunch.

4 cups cauliflower (about 1 small head), chopped
1 cup potato, diced
20 oz. chicken broth (either homemade or canned condensed)
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
2/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
3 Tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded medium (I use old) cheddar cheese

Cook cauliflower and potato in broth until tender. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, melt butter. Over medium heat, saute onion until tender with thyme. Stir in flour and cook one minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in cauliflower, potato and chicken broth. Remove from heat, add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Season to taste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Yummy and even better the next day!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mushroom Chicken Couscous

also from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy: by Deborah Taylor-Hough

I had a tough time picking which recipes to test today. This recipe book is a true gem.
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 tbsp margarine
1 large onion, chopped finely
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup reduced-fat chicken broth
3 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 cups skim milk
3/4 cup reduced-fat chicken broth
1-1/2 cups couscous
cooking spray
fresh cilantro springs (optional)

Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Pound with a meat mallet until 1/4-inch thick. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch wide strips.

In medium bowl, stir together cornstarch, 1/4 cup broth, sherry, soy sauce and cayenne.

In large skillet or saucepan, melt margarine over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring frequently; remove from heat. Remove onion mixture from skillet; set aside. Spray saucepan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat; add chicken. Cooking, stirring gently and frequently, until chicken is no longer pink. Add onion/mushroom mixture to cooked chicken; pour in cornstarch mixture and stir constantly over medium-high heat until sauce is thickened slightly and bubbly. Remove from heat. Cool. Place in labeled freezer bag; freeze.

To Serve: Thaw chicken mixture. In large saucepan, stir together milk and 3/4 cup broth; heat to boiling. Stir in couscous, voer pan and remove from heat; let sit for 10 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Heat chicken mixture over medium heat in large skillet until heated through. Fluff couscous. Serve chicken beside couscous. Garnish with cilantro.

Per Serving: 317.7 calories; 3.4 g fat; 25.9 g protein; 44.4 g carbohydrates; 37 mg cholesterol.

Changes I made: I substituted apple cider for sherry and chili powder for cayenne, but only because I didn't have the sherry and cayenne. I cooked the couscous and froze the couscous and chicken in individual serving dishes.

This dish is lovely. The apple cider gives it a nice fruity finish.
Le dîner est servi . . .

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups onion, chopped
8 cups reduced-fat chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
2 large carrots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup celery, chopped
5 oz. dried wide egg noodles
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cupes (about 2 cups)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium-sized tomato, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

In large pan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, garlic, thyme, pepper, carrots, celery and chicken. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until carrots are barely tender and chicken is no longer pink (less than 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in zucchini, tomato and parsley. Cool. Pour into labeled freezer bag; freeze.

To Serve: Thaw. Place in large pan or Dutch oven; add noodles. Heat over medium heat until heated through and noodles are cooked through.

Per Serving: 230.3 calories; 2.9 g fat; 33.6 g protein; 29.1 g carbohydrates; 58 mg cholesterol.

Changes I made: I added the noodles and continued cooking until the vegetables and noodles were cooked.

Really delicious. Easy. Saved two bowls of soup for lunch tomorrow . . . yummy!!
Le dîner est servi . . .

Chicken Pasta Italiano

6 oz bow tie pasta, uncooked
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small red pepper, cut into thin strips
2 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/8 cup Parmesan chees

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chicken slices; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, zucchini, red pepper, frozen peas, salt and Italian seasoning. Cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes. Cool. Place into labeled freezer bags. Freezer.

To Serve: Thaw chicken mixture. Cook bow-tie pasta according to package directions. Heat chicken mixture in large skillet over medium heat until heated through. Toss together pasta and chicken mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Per Serving: 197.7 calories; 3.1 g fat; 13.0 g protein; 29.6 g carbohydrates; 19 mg cholesterol.

Changes I made: After adding the vegetables I cooked them well. I cooked the pasta. I tossed the pasta with the chicken mixture and then packaged in freezer bags. I tossed in a pinch of grated Parmesan, sealed the bags and put them in the freezer.

This one was a toss-up. I absolutely loved it, in fact I think it is my favourite of the 5 recipes I made this evening. Hal did not like it.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Chicken Vegetable Skillet

I went shopping this afternoon and purchased everything I needed to cook and freeze FIVE entrees:
Old-Fashioned Chicken and Rice
Chicken Vegetable Skillet
Chicken Pasta Italiano
Chicken Noodle Soup
Mushroom Chicken Couscous

Chicken Vegetable Skillet

from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easty" by Deborah Taylor-Hough

6 tsp olive oil
1 pound potatoes, sliced thin
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup carrot, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
3 tbsp fresh parley, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add potatoes and chicken; cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring constantly. Transfer mixture to another container and set aside. Using same skillet, melt butter and stir in onion, green pepper, carrot slices and garlic; cook over high heat until just barely tender. Add potato-chicken mixture to vegetables in skillet. Stir in tomatoes, and remaining spices. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are just barely starting to get tender (cook potatoes completely if you are serving right away). Remove from heat. Cool in refrigerator. Place mixture into labeled freezer bag; seal and freeze.

To serve: Thaw. Heat in large skillet over medium heat until heated through.

Per serving: 254.8 calories; 11.3 g fat; 17.0 g protein; 22.8 g carbohydrates; 35 mg cholesterol.

Le dîner est servi . . .

Old Fashioned Chicken and Rice

from "Frozen Assets Lite & Easy" by Deborah Taylor-Hough

2-1/2 cups canned fat-free chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups long-grain rice, uncooked
1 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 (6-oz) jar sliced mushrooms, undrained
1 tsp pountry seasonings

In large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring broth to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and return to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover tightly and cook 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and rice is tender. Cool. Place into labeled freezer bags; freeze.

To serve, thaw. Place into large skillt; heat over medium heat until heated through.

Per Serving: 301.9 calories; 1.7 g fat; 30.2 g protein; 43.3 g carbohydrates; 53 mg cholesterol.

Quick and easy and tastes delicious.
Le dîner est servi . . .

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

The first good thing about this recipe is that it is easy. It's made in the slow cooker, so once you do the initial prep you don't need to do anything else until about three hours later, at which time you just puree and store. Anyway, the next good thing about this recipe is that it makes your house smell AWESOME while it's cooking. Imagine the best, cinnamon-y-est apple pie you've ever had, and then imagine that smell wafting through your house all day. Delicous! And the final good thing about this recipe is that it makes delicious apple butter. Since it's apple season, you probably already have all of the ingredients in the house to make this.

OK, so here goes:

14 cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (it doesn't matter how you chop them, they turn to mush in the slow cooker anyway)

2 cups sugar (I used brown sugar because I think it tastes better)

1/2 tsp cloves (ground, not the kind you stick in a ham!)

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

** or, one part allspice and cloves to three parts cinnamon....add as much as you like, but go easy on the cloves or else it will taste medicinal.

Dump everything into the slow cooker, stir, and leave it alone (on HIGH) for about three hours or until apples are very soft.

Then, either puree directly in the slow cooker with an immersion blender, or remove to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Don't worry if it looks like it's runny; it will thicken as it cools to a nice, spreadable consistency.

This is lovely on toast, with a piece of sharp Cheddar cheese.


Rhubarb muffins

I found this recipe in the
Company's Coming Easy Entertaining
Hardcover 1998 edition page 59.

1/3 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup sour milk
(milk plus 1 tbsp lemon juice)
2 1/2 cup fresh rhubarb cut to 1/4"
(if frozen thaw completely and drain)
OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup walnuts
1 2/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Beat together oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Add egg and milk. Mix.

Stir in flour, soda, powder and salt. Stir just to moisten. Add rhubarb and nuts. Stir lightly to mix.

Fill paper lined cups to almost full.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. As soon as removed from oven, sprinkle with baking sugar crystals (decor only).

Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Makes 2 doz medium size muffins.

Judy and I liked them. They are light and fluffy. Not a lot of rhubarb flavour, but the rhubarb was the last picking of the year. (a lot of green)

1 muffin= 238 calories, 3g proten, 9.6g total fat, 35g carbohydrate, 171g sodium

"Bon Appetit!"

2 for 1 Eighteen Hour Stew

This is a great freezer recipe.....because I can NEVER just cook small, I have given in and accepted my overcooking issues. So now I prepare one to eat and one to freeze.

Step #1

2 flank steaks (fast fry is fine) cut into small bite size pieces
6 (breakfast) sausages cut into small pieces
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Mix dry ingredients in a large ziploc bag. After the meat is cut up, dredge in flour mixture, remove from bag and set aside.

Step #2

Prepare these items and set aside, ready for step #4

6 medium potatoes peeled and diced
1 red onion
sliced into pieces appropriate to family tastes
1 cooking onion
sliced into pieces appropriate to family tastes
1 cup corn (frozen or canned)
**creamed corn will work in a pinch
1 cup green beans (frozen) or peas (frozen)
2 cups of thinly sliced carrots
1 cup of diced turnip
1/2 of a diced green pepper
2 celery stalks
sliced into pieces appropriate to family tastes

OPTIONAL: 1 cup mushrooms (fresh or canned)

Make this stew your own...add veggies your family likes (parsnips etc.). Veggies that can overcook easily like zuchinni, eggplant or cabbage should be added after the first 8 hours of cooking.

Step #3

1/4 cup cooking oil
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 box of liquid beef broth
2 cups water

In a VERY large pot, pour 1/4 cup of oil. When oil is hot, add meat dredged in flour. Fry the meats until they are browned....a thick coating will gather on the bottom of the pot if you do not stir from the bottom as it cooks.

When meat is cooked, add canned tomatoes, water and beef broth. Bring to a boil, stirring to mix in the flour residue, which will thicken your stew.

Step #4

Add all items (veggies) from step #2 into the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil.

Step #5

Transfer whatever fits into your crock pot, for your dinner.
***leave some head room...this gets very liquidy for a short time.
Whatever does not fit can be frozen and cooked at another point for another meal.

Cook the stew in the crock pot on low, covered for the first 8 hours. Stir well and remove lid for the duration of cooking time.
I cooked our stew for 18 hours, start the crock pot before you go to bed.
You can taste test your hardest vegetable for your "done time".
(I always check the turnip).
Stir well whenever possible.
The flour can create a crispy rim, stir back into stew.

This is a crowd pleaser at our house...and I serve with crusty bread.

Judy really liked this, she said it had lots of flavours, and 2 bowls was definitely enough!

"Bon Appetit!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Slowcooker Turkey Tortilla Soup

First this could be chicken tortilla soup just as easy. I made our tortilla soup with leftover turkey breast from our weekend meals.

Shred or dice up turkey
1 can corn
1 quart tomatoes (canned by me)
1 can tomato paste plus 3/4c water
1/2 quart jarred salsa (or small jar)
2 cups beans (I used navy beans but you can use canned ones too)

I put in all ingredients in the slowcooker added some cumin and garlic to taste. Cooked on high for 5 hour.

I served it with shredded cheese, dollop of sour cream on top with tortilla chips (homemade) but you can use store bought.

UPDATE: Since I am getting asked about the chips in the soup... I thought I would let you all know how I did them... I took a tortilla and cut it into slices with my pizza cutter... put some oil in a pan... and put the tortilla in the oil to brown them up... I think it might be easier to brown the tortilla up first before cutting next time... but is turned out well and EVERYONE at my house loved this soup! it was even better the next day.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

I thought people knew this!

If you peel and core an apple too early for a recipe,

put it cut up in a bowl of 7up, canada dry or any clear pop and it will not

Friday, September 25, 2009

Apple Crisp

This recipe is perfect to use up damaged, aged or over ripe apples. (or fresh!)

(Base recipe that can be doubled if you'd like! We always double the topping.)

6-8 apples

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp soft margarine/butter
1/2 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
**1/2 cup raisins are optional

Step #1

Grease one casserole dish (according to how much you want)

Step #2

Peel, core and slice apples and drop into greased dish.

Step #3

In a bowl mix the rest of the items until crumbly. Pour over top of the apples.

Step #4

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.

Serve this dish warm with whip cream or ice cream.
Farm kids will remember being served this with milk over it! (John)

Again Judy(12) made this dish for us. It was awesome! We used about 8 Ginger Gold apples and we doubled the topping. The result was delicious.

"Bon Appetit!"

Dredged Veggies

Judy(12) wanted to try making breaded raviolli. We had an abundance of chinese eggplant and zuchinni as well.

2 eggs
bread crumbs
salt & pepper
assorted veggies or raviolli

Using 2 eggs with a bit of milk, whisk together a base coat.

Mix together 1 cup flour, 2tbsp flour, salt & pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Dip thin slices of veggies into egg mixture and then into bread crumbs.
Set aside.

Throw pasta (in bulk) into egg mixture that is left.
Pour leftover breadcrumb mixture into a plastic bag.
Drop coated pasta into bag and
then shake until all bread crumbs are used up.
(shake and bake)

Drop items into deep fryer, leaving room for them to move a bit.
(Not too many at once)

Remove when golden brown.
Serve with spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce.

This is a nice appetizer and a good use for leftover pasta
(we never cook the whole bag of raviolli/tortellini anymore,
so we can make these with any italian meal).

John, Judy and I liked the deep fried eggplant and the deep fried tortellini. The zuchinni was too wet.

"Bon Appetit!"

Stuffed Shells in Fall Veggie Sauce

This started out as plain stuffed shells, then we spotted all the veggies in the drawer and came up with this version of a classic in our house.

Step #1

2 tbsp oil
2 tsp minced garlic

1 cup of liquid
(tj or consomme or soup mix or water)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp Italian seasonings (oregano, basil)
salt & pepper

6 diced tomatoes
1 diced eggplant
2 small diced zuchinni
1 cup thin strips of green pepper
2 med size wedges of onion
2 stalks celeriac or celery pieces
**add mushrooms if desired

In a large pot brown garlic in oil.
Add liquids and spices. and bring back to boil.

Mix, in the rest of the items as listed. Boil down to a thick sauce. Stirring regularly.
**Not too long! You don't want mush. Pour into a large lightly greased lasagna dish.

Step #2

1 box jumbo shells

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 box of jumbo shells. Reduce heat and cook until JUST tender. Drain and set aside individually to cool.

Step #3

2lb ground beef
(or pork or turkey or chicken)
small amount of mincd onion
(or onion flakes or onion soup mix)
250g cottage cheese
2 eggs
salt & pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
(or oatmeal or cracker crumbs or crushed corn flakes)

Mix in a large bowl.
Note: If the mixture is VERY wet add more bread crumbs.

Make a ball the size of a large meatball and stuff into cooled shells. Repeat.
Place into lasagna pan on top of veggies. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. When you remove this be careful! We had a lot of clear liquid. We poured off some before adding the spaghetti sauce.

Step #4

1 cup shredded cheese
1 can spaghetti sauce

Sprinkle shredded cheese over shells. Pour 1/2 to 3/4 jar of your favourite spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce over the shells. (to taste)
Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Step #5

parmesan cheese

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with salad of your choice.

Judy(12) made this recipe alone tonight, and served it with caesar salad, dredged veggies and sparkling apple juice. John loved this meal. I enjoyed it too and Judy is still eating!

"Bon Appetit!"

TIP #1

Do not store with onions, the gas given off by onions accelerate the decay of potatoes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Apple Raisin Cake

I stole a recipe off an online site and modified it to suit what I wanted to use up!

In a large bowl mix:

3 large eggs
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of oil
2-3 cups of applesauce (sweetened)
1 tsp baking soda

Sift together
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon ****if your applesauce has none
1/2-1 cup of raisins

Fold into egg mixture. Stir until blended well. Pour into a greased cake pan.
I used a 9x12. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cooked thoroughly in the center. (use toothpick to check)

While cake is baking,
In a small saucepan:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water

Bring to a boil. DO NOT STIR! you can swirl the liquid but not stir.
Allow it to continue to boil. The sugar will eventually start to turn golden brown.
Turn down heat and let it continue to boil down. Add a bit of milk or cream as you begin to whisk the mixture. Add 3 tbsp of applesauce, whisk bring back to a boil and turn heat off. This will seperate slightly.

Let this cool, stirring occasionally while cake bakes.

When cake is out of oven, remove from pan. Let cool a little. Pour mixture over cake. Sprinkle with nuts (I used almonds, cause that is what I had!)

MMMMM! This smells like oatmeal cookies when it is cooking....and tastes amazing!

"Bon Appetit!"


These are the "BEST" chocolate chip muffins EVER!!! That coming from a girl who routinely DOES NOT eat chocolate chip muffins often.

Because neither of my children like anything in resemblance to a sandwich subs, excluded, it has been customary to send them muffins in their lunch.

Only problem, Dalton will not venture out of the norm and relies on the old standby... a CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN.

I soooo hate the taste of grocery store muffins and looked to searching out a respectable version Dalton would love.

Within minutes I happened apon the blog by Poornima Nair called
Tasty Treats.

Here in all it's glory, is the recipe for the best Chocolate Chip Muffins ever...

tandc 202



1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (at Dalton's request I used half white & half dark chocolate - though next time he's requested I use only dark chocolate chips.)

Pre heat the oven to 375˚F. Line 12 muffin cups or grease the cups.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt and keep aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs with a balloon whisk for 2 mins. Add the milk, butter and vanilla extract and stir.
Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix lightly just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Do not over mix the batter.
Spoon into the muffin cups and bake for 20-22 mins till done.

NOTE: I baked mine for 19 minutes at 350F; yeilding 16 muffins.

Apple Galette

I had some leftover homemade applesauce. I wanted to make something creative and found a recipe for an apple galette (which means flat cake). I do not make a good pastry, never have...thats John's job! I went ahead and tried it anyway..... original recipe taken from Country Woman Sept/Oct 2006 pg 51.

The crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of cold butter
2 tbsp of shortening
5-7 tbsp of cold water

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Gradually add water tossing with fork until a dough ball forms.

***To eliminate my usual errors, I used my breadmaker to make the dough...very successful. I started with the liquids and butter and added the rest of the items and let the machine mix it till dough ball formed! Roll out on floured surface, into a semi round shape...perfection is not necessary! When it is a thickness you are happy with (not too thin), transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet.


1/2 cup apricot jam (I used apple jelly)
3 tbsp orange marmalade (I used plum sauce)
4 1/2 tsp water

Heat above 3 items on stove until melted and of medium thickness and drizzle 3/4 of the glaze onto dough keeping about 2" away from the edge.


6 med peeled and chopped apples
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

** I used about 2 1/2 cups of homemade chunky applesauce, which is pretty much what they are making!

Combine items and pour into center of pastry. Fold up approx 2" of pastry around eges leaving the center of the "pie" open.


beat 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp of water and brush your pastry.

Bak at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

Slide galette onto wire rack to cool. Brush reserved glaze over filling.

Serve with ice cream.
Yields 10-12 servings.
This was lovely, but if any of the filling gets out on the pan, you will have burnt bits around the edge...thank goodness I baked it on paper. Messy cleanup, so make sure your paper extends the full length of your pan.

"Bon Appetit!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lemon Cheesecake

Started as a food event by Nicole from For the Love of Food, this is the fourth time I've participated in Taste and Create.

It’s whole purpose was, and has been, to create a community of bloggers who test each others’ recipes and share links. The participants of the event are paired together and have to try a recipe from each other's blogs.

The blog partner given to me this month was ..... Veronica, from
La Recette du Jour who resides in France.

Unknown to me, cooks in Europe measure dry ingredients by weight, not volume (i.e. cups). so many of her recipes use European standards for measurement; weights are in grams or kilos, volumes are in litres, centilitres, or millilitres, and oven temperatures are in Celsius.

Fortunate for me, Ivy from Little Ivy Cakes had used the same recipe in a previous Taste and Create and converted the measurements to American standards...THANK YOU!!!

I had previously posted
a poll asking of which you would choose:
Cheesecake Re-Arranged or Lemon Cheesecake. It was a close finish 6 to 4 for the Lemon Cheesecake.

That said, John was vying for the Cheesecake Re-Arranged which previously unknown to him called for "gelatin" to which he despises. That and the fact I tried with avengence to find SHEETS of gelatin to NO avail and came up empty handed, that recipe will have to wait.

Awww well, I L♥VE all things LEMON and wasn't in the least bit apprehensive to try her Lemon Cheesecake.

Notes on record for this recipe included:
Ivy: The cheesecake was really good but a little soft in the middle. I in turn cooked the cheesecake for the required hour at 280 F degrees before increasing the temperature to 300 degrees F for an additional 15 minutes.
Veronica: Despite all my precautions, the first time I made this the top collapsed into huge crevasses as it cooled. I had some mascarpone in the fridge, so I whisked it to loosen it up and spread a very thin layer over the top of the cake before covering with lemon curd. This worked perfectly as camouflage, even after an hour's journey in the car.

the bottom crust:

1 1/4 cup shortbread biscuits (I used Arrowroot's)
1/2 cup butter

the filling:

1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup caster sugar & 1/4 cup granulated sugar)
3 eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of half of it
3/4 cup lemon curd

-Preheat the oven to 350F. Have a large spring-form pan ready

-Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush with a meat tenderizer or roll with a rolling pin. Don't reduce them to powder leave some biggish lumps, otherwise the base will be too stodgy. Melt the butter, mix with the biscuits, then spread the mixture over the base of the tin, patting it down firmly,

-bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 280 F.

-Meanwhile, put all the cheese in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 30 seconds to make it smooth and light. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs, one by one, followed by the lemon zest and juice.

-Swirl in half the lemon curd

-Pour into the tin and bake for about an hour (I baked for 1 hour at 280F and an additional 15 minutes at 300F). The filling should be only just set and still a little bit wobbly in the middle. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in it to cool.

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-When it's completely cold, unmould it and put it on a plate.

-Spread the rest of the lemon curd over it and decorate

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Juice of 2 lemons
1 large strip lemon peel
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbs. butter cut into little pieces

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until mixture thickens and starts to bubble a little(5 mins), mixing occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat immediately and press through a sieve. Stir and then store in a container. Chill at least 1-2 hours before serving. I stored mine in the fridge until I was ready to use.

Aside from Dalton (my picky eater)... Dakota, John and I LOVED it. Dakota even went on to declare it being "a little taste of heaven", and somewhat "similar to Lemon Meringue Pie, 're-arranged'"

That said, I was impressed with how EASY this cheesecake was to make and how well it held up, without crumbling apon being sliced.

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This recipe is a DEFINITE keeper

I can't wait to see what next month's taste and create dishes up.To check out the original recipe on

Veronica's blog... click here


Ivy's blog (with step by step tutorial)... click here

Check out the other entries for this month's Taste & Create here.

If you would like to join in on the fun, check out the How it Works!

I found a neat site.

This was a fun site to look at too!

"Debbie's Yelling at Me to Post This" Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Okay so I actually made this for work, but when I sent over a sample to my official taste-tester around the corner, she literally yelled at me on the computer to post the recipe! So, Deb, here it is:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic (from a jar is fine)
14 ounces chicken stock
1 cup plus 1/4 cup milk, cream, or some combination of the two (use cream! It makes it sooo yummy)
salt and pepper to taste (go heavy on pepper, it makes it!)
2-3 large baking potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
8 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup sour cream


  1. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp but tender. Add broth, milk or cream, and about 2/3 of the chopped potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Slightly mush up the potatoes with the back of a spoon.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook reserved potatoes in microwave until very tender.
  4. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Add in cooked potatoes, all but about 2-3 tbsp bacon, 3/4 cup cheese, and all bout 2 tbsp green onions.
  5. Cook until cheese is melted. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
  6. Divide among serving bowls and top each serving with remaining bacon, cheese, green onions and a dollop of sour cream.
Makes about 4 servings