Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forgotten Cookies


* 2 large egg whites, at room temperature *
* 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 2/3 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate **
* 1 cup finely chopped walnuts ***

* I used egg whites sold in the carton

** I prefer milk chocolate chips because semi sweet make them too sweet

*** I usually leave all the nuts out but you can add them


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.) Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar has been added, add the vanilla extract. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry.

I will say it is also neat to add peppermint flavour instead of vanilla and.... crushed candy canes on the top of the peppermint ones... YUMMY! You can do many different variations it is not funny!

Christmas Crunch

Today I took some time to make some Christmas Crunch to snack on over the holidays. The kids are going to love this!

I don't have a recipe per say but here is how I made it.

Purchase a box of Crispix and don't forget to clip the $5 coupon.

Dump out the cereal on your counter on waxed paper.

Add pretzels and M&Ms ... don't ask how much because I don't measure... so I will say until it looks pretty!

This is what it looks like with white chocolate drizzled on the top!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Sandra made this casserole for Ladies' Day Out and, of course, we all wanted the recipe.  Delicious!!

1 can (19 oz/540 ml) stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (120 g) Stove Top Stuffing for Chicken
1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 cup Kraft Mozzarella Shredded Cheese

Preheat over to 400F.  Place tomatoes with liquid in medium bowl.  Add garlic and stuffing mix; stir just until stuffing mix is moistened.  Set aside.

Pleace chicken in 13 x 9" baking dish; sprinkle with basil and cheese.  Top with stuffing mixture.

Bake 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Makes 6 servings.

From What's Cooking, Fall 2006

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

best and easiest peanut butter chocolate squares

This is so simple I don't even look up the recipe anymore!

2 cups chocolate
(you can use squares, wafers, bars, left over easter bunnies or foil wrapped balls)
1 cup butterscotch chips (I prefer 1/2 of a cup or none)
vegetable oil

2 cup peanut butter (smooth is best but crunchy will work)

2 cup mini marshmallows (coloured looks nice)

1 greased cookie sheet

Put a pot on very low heat on the stove empty (this is to ensure there is no dampness in the metal ~ water damages chocolate). Heat pot. Add small amounts of chocolate and stir from the bottom constantly. *** If your chocolate looks grainy, add small amounts of vegetable oil. Cheaper chocolate will need more oil....Just keep adding as needed.

Melt thoroughly with the butterscotch chips (if used).
Add peanut butter. Turn off heat and stir until mixture is smooth.

Pour into a small greased cookie sheet and spread evenly.

Place marshmallows on top of chocolate in rows so when you cut into squares each will get a marshmallow. Press into chocolate.


Cut into squares.

So easy and they are very popular here!

"Bon Appetit!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

chicken soup (curry or not)

I love this recipe because it is sooooo easy.

In a large pot:

1 whole green pepper
1 whole onion
1/2 bag mini carrots
4 stalks celery
8 cups water
boullion cubes or chicken soup mix

Bring to a boil. Puree veggies with soup using an emulsion blender (or blend this after it cools down in a blender), making a slightly thicker soup base. (you can hide lots of veggies in there!)

Put back into large pot. Add 4 tbsp of curry powder if you want. If someone doesn't like curry, sprinkle on individual bowls at serving time.

Add cooked chicken (boneless/skinless) or leftover chicken/turkey....I plan to try this with sausage removed from the casings and fried up too.

Bring to a boil. Add 3 cups of rice to pot. Stir until rice is edible.....THIS WILL HAPPEN! the soup part disappears! I just keep adding water. LOL

This dish reheats well in the microwave and warms tummies when it is cold.

"Bon Appetit!"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Red Pepper Jelly

3-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup minced sweet red pepper
3/4 cup white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
1 (3 oz.) pkg. liquid pectin

Combine first 4 ingredients in a deep 2-1/2 quart casserole.  Microwave at high 8 minutes, stirring after 6 minutes.  (We cooked the the jelly on the stove to a rolling boil)  Stir in pectin; microwave at high 2 to 2-1/2 minutes.  (We cooked on the stove for 2-3 more minutes)  Skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Pour mixture into jelly jars.  Cover with lids; invert 1 to 1-1/2 hours to disperse minced pepper. 

Makes 4 cups.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pineapple Cheese Casserole

A recipe from wonderful friend Charlotte, this casserole is delicious as a side for ham or roast pork.

1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, do not drain
1 cup shredded sharp cheese
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted margarine

Combine pineapple, sugar and flour. Add cheese. Pour in buttered 1 quart dish. Cover with crumbs and drizzle margarine over top. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon and Apple Cider Dressing

10 ounces pre-washed baby spinach
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
3 ounces Canadian bacon, finely chopped (I just used 2 more slices of bacon)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced (1 cup)
1 pound button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Place spinach into a large bowl.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until it is just crispy.  Add Canadian bacon to the skillet and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove meat from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.  Drain any remaining fat from the skillet.  Add olive oil and onions to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, or until onions soften slightly.  Add mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes.  Put onions and mushrooms on top of the spinach.  Add apple cider and vinegar to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high.  Stir to scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cider is reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Whisk in mustard, salt and pepper, to taste.  Pour warm cider dressing over the mushrooms and spinach and toss until the vegetables are well coated.  Sprinkle the bacon on top and serve.

From www.foodnetwork.com

Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2-1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9x5" loaf pan.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.  Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into centre of the load comes out clean.  Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Simple Chilled Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 8

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 cup pumpkin puree
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 tsp pur vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 7" springform pan and line the bottom edge with parchment paper; set aside.

For the Crust:
In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, ground ginger and melted butter.  Mix well.  Tip crumb mixture into bottom of the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom.  Tamp the crumbs down firmly with the bottom of a glass.  Bake until golden brown and toasted, about 7 minutes; set aside to let cool completely.

For the Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1/4 cup softened butter and the cream cheese until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the mixer.  Add pumpkin puree and mix to combine.  Add vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and combine until smooth.  Reduce speed to medium low and add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time; beat until smooth.  Transfer pumpkin mixture to prepared pan, spreading it out evenly over the crust.  Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours, or overnight.  Remove outer ring of pan.  Cut into slices and serve.

Note:  This cheesecake has a lovely texture but it is more savory then sweet.  I enjoyed the tang of the cheese.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Holiday leftover soup!

So everyone has been there. You open the fridge after Thanksgiving or Christmas and find all the bits no one has finished off.
This is what I did.

1 cup of gravy or whatever is left over
1 cup parsnips/turnip/carrots
1/2 cup cream/regular corn
1/2 onion
4-6 cups of mashed potatoes
4-6 cups of liquid
water/broth/consomme (equal to the amount of potato)OR milk for creamier

Now I put everything in the pot on med heat and mashed together (I used a emulsion mixer)be careful if you have used milk as it burns easier! i mixed in:

1/2 head of par cooked cauliflower florets or brocolli florets
1 cup of peas
and 2 cups of ham cubes or turkey cubes

Stir and pour into a crock pot.

Now take the leftover stuffing (if there is any) and cut into cubes. About the size of croutons! Place on a cookie sheet and bake until crispy.

Serve your turkey day croutons with your cream of leftovers soup!

"Bon Appetit!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheeseburger Pie

I made this a while ago, but never got around to posting it.  At least I don't think I did.  If it's a duplicate, I apologize!  But it was really tasty, so here it is:
  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard (you can use  honey mustard if you have a kid in the house who loves it like in our house!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce  
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Thaw one pie crust at room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
  3. Brown ground beef in fry pan.
  4. Add onion and water. Mix well.
  5. Add crumbs, ketchup, mustard, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic and hot chili sauce. Mix together well.
  6. Pour meat mixture into pie shell. Smooth top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. After pie cookes for  25 minutes, take foil off and cover pie with cheddar.
  8. Return to broil until cheese bubbles.
  9. Let the pie stand for five minutes, then slice and serve!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brussel Sprouts WITH garlic

This should have been titled garlic with brussel sprouts. Although not my favourite (I actually LIKE brussel sprouts) this was loved by everyone else.

I used 14-16 small brussel sprouts.
(although larger ones are easier to work with the smaller taste less bitter)
1 tsp garlic
2 tbsp veg oil
leeks or green onions chopped

So as usual, you will trim off the bottom and remove the first 2-3 outer leaves. Place in salted water and boil until tender (NOT MUSHY!) Drain and cut in 1/2.

In a small pan, place oil and garlic at med/high heat. Toss in onions/leeks. Stir fry for a couple minutes, then add sprouts. Fry only until thouroughly mixed. Then turn off heat.

We actually reheated this one and they were VERY well received. Personally I would reduce the garlic to 1/2 tsp.

Nice change.

"Bon Appetit!"

Orange Squash

This recipe appealed to Judy who is currently on a squash kick, but not being a big squash fan, Ididn't expect much. This was lovely. She loved it even more than the squash I stuffed with marshmallows a couple weeks ago!

I will give you the easy way and at the end, give you a quick "presentation" idea we did.

So peel and seed the squash (we used a butternut but the recipe actually called for acorn). Dice and boil cubes. Drain squash and mash.

Now for each squash you have used add:

3 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp butter/margarine
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
3 tbsp orange juice

Mash and bake in oven at 350.

Top with toasted nuts (they called for pecans, I used almonds....whatever)

What we did was hollow out the Squash and used the shell as a serving dish. It looked lovely on the table.

"Bon Appetit!"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Corn Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2-1/2 tsp lime or lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp lard, melted

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Mix milk and lime juice, add to dry ingredients along with egg and lard.  Mix well, but do not beat.  Pour into a greased 11 x 7 x 1-1/2 inch baking pan.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is brown and tests done.  Cool slightly and cut into squares.

About 8 servings.

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
3 ribs celery, small dice
kosher salt (I just used table salt)
1 pound spicy sausage, casing removed, broken into bit-size chunks (I used spicy Italian sausage)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped (fresh from my garden)
10 cups stale cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I will be posting my cornbread recipe next)
2 cups dried cranberries
3-4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade turkey stock from my freezer)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and celery and saute over to medium heat.  Season with salt and cook until the vegetables start to become soft and are very aromatic.  Add the sausage and cook until the sausage begins to brown.  Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes.  Add the walnuts, sage and rosemary and cook for another minute, then remove from heat.

In a large bowl mix together the cornbread, cranberries, and the sausage mixture.  Add chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist, actually wet.  Taste to check for seasoning and season with salt, if needed and transfer to an oven proof dish.  Bake the stuffing until it is hot all the way through and is crusty on top, about 30 -35 minutes.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heavenly Hash Bars

If you like heavenly hash ice cream, you'll like these bars.  And if you are cooking with little ones, there are plenty of steps here that little fingers can get involved in.

This recipe seems long, but it's really very easy.  Only the bottom crust needs to bake, and the rest is just a matter of waiting (which, I'll admit, was a difficult proposition once I saw how good these looked).  

I got this recipe from the King Arthur Flour blog.

1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups (9 3/4 ounces)  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) toasted diced pecans
3 cups (half a 10.5-ounce package) mini marshmallows 
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, or line with parchment and grease the parchment. 

To make the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in the flour. The dough will seem very dry, and won’t seem to want to become cohesive at first. Just keep beating, and it’ll eventually come together.

Press the dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with your fingers or a mini rolling pin (pastry roller). The dough will feel stiff, but just keep pressing on it until you’ve covered the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork; this will keep it from bubbling up as it bakes.

Bake the crust for 35 to 40 minutes, until it’s golden brown around the edges and beginning to brown on the top. Remove it from the oven, and loosen the edges with a heat-resistant plastic knife or a table knife. Make the topping while the shortbread begins to cool.

To make the topping: Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan. Heat in the microwave, or over low heat on a burner, till the cream is steaming and barely beginning to form bubbles. Remove from the heat, and stir. The chocolate will gradually form a lump in the center of the bowl, then will start to expand as it absorbs the cream. Eventually the chocolate and cream will become one; keep stirring till it’s very smooth. If all the chocolate doesn’t seem melted, reheat very briefly, and keep stirring.

Spread the warm chocolate atop the cookie crust. Sprinkle with the marshmallows, then the pecans. Immediately use a knife, or a baker’s bench knife, to cut the bars into squares. You’ll find it useful to run the knife under hot water and wipe it off every several cuts, to keep drag to a minimum. The reason you’re cutting these bars immediately (admittedly, a somewhat messy proposition), is that if you wait till they’re cool the bottom crust is more difficult to cut.

Cover the pan, and place the bars in the refrigerator for about an hour, to set the chocolate. Remove from the fridge, and use a spatula to transfer the bars from the pan to a serving plate.
Yield: 2 dozen bars.

Another macaroni and cheese recipe

My family are all big fans of macaroni and cheese.  And ham.  And butternut squash.  What to do?  Combine the three!  I used a recipe from Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious, as a spring board, although I don't believe in hiding the fact that there are veggies in the food I am serving to my 3-year-old.  She has learned to appreciate the taste of a wide variety of food because we are upfront and enthusiastic about trying them (and she is willing!), not because we trick her into it.  Anyway, I digress...

This recipe was fairly affordable (what's cheaper than macaroni??) and it used up some leftover ham and squash we needed to eat.  The end result was pretty darn great, if I do say so myself.

Servings: Serves 4
Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash and Ham
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat skim milk
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (just cut up some squash and steam or boil it until mashable, drain and puree)
  • Leftover ham (about a generous cup), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (we had mozzarella, so that's what we used.  Remember that the squash wil make the end result orange anyway, so it doesn't matter if your cheese is white)
  • 4 ounces (almost 1/4 cup) cream cheese (next time I think I might use an herb cream cheese)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch paprika
  • pinch pepper
Here's how easy this recipe is:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.

While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, Cheddar, cream cheese and seasonings and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. And ham and stir. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pre-prepared stir fry

The idea of this is you can prep everything ahead of time and clean the kitchen. You will only have a few bowls to wash in the end.

In a pot boil enough rice for your diners.

When rice is done to your taste, rinse quickly in cold water
**This will stop further cooking (and cut down on stach and stickiness).
Set aside until dinner time.

In same pot you cooked rice, on med heat
2 tsp vegetable oil
about 1/2 cup of thin soup noodles 1"ish (or broken spaghetti)
about 1/2 cup chopped almonds, cashews, pecans or pistachios

Essentially you are going to fry these noodles creating vermicelli!
Watch carefully and when you start to see colour, remove from heat
or you will have VERY well done noodles....) and cool/drain on a paper towel.
Set aside until it is dinner time.

On a large plate
dice up a cheap steak into small cubes
**You can use chicken, pork or sausage as well
Set aside until it is dinner time

In bowl #1
diced carrots, corn, water chestnuts
**Any hard core veggies that need extra time cooking
Set aside until it is dinner time

In bowl #2
diced peppers, onions, celery
**Any veggies that cook VERY quickly and loose there crispness if overcooked
Set aside until it is dinner time

In bowl #3
place veggies like bean sprouts or canned mushrooms
** Any veggies that only need to be heated
Set aside until it is dinner time

At this point all prep work is done. You can clean the kitchen, and relax till dinner time. Making this into a dish takes about 10-15 minutes total. Excellent if you are having company.

At dinner time:

In a large pot or wok,
add 2 tbsp oil and heat.
Add meat and stir fry.
Add 1 cup water and the bowl #1 of hard veggies.
Stir fry these on high for about 5 min.

Add 1/2 cup soya sauce
and 1 tsp lemon juice
and 2 tbsp beef gravy mix (powder)
Stir well and reduce heat to med.

Add bowl #2 of veggies
Stir well and stir fry/cook for 2-3 min

Take bowl of rice and start adding
stirring throughout the process
until all sauce has coated the rice.
Turn off heat

Add bowl #3 of quick cook veggies
Stir in and let sit for 2 min.

If serving family style, put entire mixture in a serving bowl
and sprinkle with nut/noodle mixture

If serving individually,
Stir in the nut/noodle mixture

This was lovely the second day reheated as well. the noodles held their crunch!

Serve with egg rolls or fried noodles.

"Bon Appetit!"

Easy Sandwich Loaf Supper

In a bowl:
2-3 cans of tuna, salmon, flakes of ham or flakes of chicken
1/2 chopped onion
4 stalks of celery
and enough mayonaise/salad dressing to completely cover
Mix well and put in fridge for now.

In a large bowl:
4 cups flour
4 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp of shortening, margarine, butter or vegetable oil
2 cups milk
Mix well.
If too wet, add a little more flour (YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TOO DRY!)
If too dry, add a little more milk (YOU DO NOT WANT SOUP!)

Pour mixture out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle. It does not need to be perfectly shaped.
Spread tuna (or whatever) mixture onto the dough and roll the longest end into itself forming a long tube. Do not roll the shorter end all the way down the rectangle! Too many layers does not allow the dough to bake in the center.

Pinch off the ends of the roll, and make thin slices/poke with fork through the top of the roll to ensure the steam can get out.

Beat an egg and a tiny bit of milk and brush all over the roll before baking.

Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

"Bon Appetit!"

Fried Green Tomatoes

We needed a vegetable last night and this one popped into my head at the last second. It is fast and Judy says she loves this....so, add another veggie to her "like" list.

1 green tomato (we used plum)sliced into rings
1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp italian seasoning
***for each person eating

In a hot fry pan add oil and garlic. On med setting place rings of tomato into oil. Sprinkle with seasoning. When tender (about 1/2 cooked through) flip and repeat seasoning. Do not cook until mushy. About 3-4 minutes per side max!

This was so easy and she said it had the texture and somewhat tase of an onion ring.

Next time she wants to try breading them first!

"Bon Appetit!"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Peach Pancake Syrup

15 cups peaches
6 cups sugar
6 tbsp lemon juice
3 tsp vanilla, coconut or brandy extract

Peel and cut the peaches and place them into a food processor to puree in batches.  In a large stockpot, combine the puree, sugar and lemon juice.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes more.  Add the flavouring of your choice.  Fill sterilized pint jars and then process for 20 minutes in a water bath.  Makes 8 pints.

Had pancakes with Peach Syrup for breakfast this morning.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!

From http://wiseanticsoflife.blogspot.com

Pam's Newly-invented Spaghetti Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped carrot
3 chopped garlic
4 cups chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)

Put all these ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.  Near the end of cooking time add:

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 jar Original Ragu sauce

I think all the ladies at Ladies' Day Out enjoyed this sauce on penne with Parmesan.  I know Hal and I did.

"Green Glop"

I'm sure this dish has a more sophisticated name, but in our family it is referred to as "Green Glop" or "Body Filler".  Despite the silly names we've given it, this salad/dessert/whatever is delicious and a Must Have at family gatherings.

1 large Cool Whip
1 instant pistachio pudding mix
1 19 oz. crushed pineapple
2 cups mini marshmallows

Mix together and chill before serving.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blackberries in Puff Pastry

In a large bowl mix 4 cups blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp lemon rind

Mix together and set aside.

Take thawed but cold puff pastry (I used the thawed frozen kind). Roll out on floured serface. I rolled out until I had enough for 3-4 layers of pastry.

Beat one egg with a little water and brush on both sides of pastry.

In a lightly greased square or rectanguar baking pan, pour in the berries. Lay down layer after layer of pastry brushed with egg.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

"Bon Appetit!"

Rhubarb Crumble

4 cups diced rhubarb

Place in a lightly greased square or rectangular cake pan.
*I used a mixture of fresh and frozen.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a saucepan cook until mixture is clear and thick. Pour over rhubarb in dish.

1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup melted butter

Combine and pour over rhubarb.

Bake for 1 hour at 350.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 10 servings.

"Bon Appetit!"

bread crumb coating.

My favourite part of fried chicken or breaded pork chops is the coating. I love it when it is thick and crunchy.

I dug this recipe out of an online site and made it my own.

Crush leftover crackers, plain cerreals (rice krispies and corn flakes) and bread crumbs with some Italian seasonings, garlic powder and S&P. Mix into a large bowl.

In a seperate bowl, just some plain flour.

In another bowl mix 1 cup milk, 2 large tbsp mayo and 1 egg. Mix well.

Dredge thawed meat in flour, then milk mixture, then into bread crumbs.

I was able to do each piece of meat (5 pieces) twice.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hour.

At dinner, fry each piece of meat in a small bit of oil until brown.
Then bake in oven until dinner is resdy to serve.

"Bon Appetit!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Un-Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This is a great option to make if you don't want to spend the time stuffing peppers but still want that stuffed-pepper flavour.  It's easy and pretty quick, and makes a big casserole -- plenty for dinner four four with leftovers.  


1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
2-3 green peppers, chopped coarsely
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
750 ml can of  tomato sauce
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup cooked barley (you could use all rice, but we used the 1/2 and 1/2)
1 cup shredded cheese (we used a combo of mozzarella and parmesan)
salt and pepper to taste

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Meanwhile, Saute beef with the chopped peppers and garlic until meat is cooked through. 
  3.  Add tomato sauce, cooked rice and barley, and 3/4 cup of cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.
  4. Spoon into 2-litre casserole dish; top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
We served it with nothing more than some bread. It was delicious and filling and inexpensive to make.

NOTE:  We also added about 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes from the garden.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gourmet Dinner for Grandma

I spent some time selecting recipes that I felt would be simple enough for a cooking lesson for the grandsons.  They wanted to cook dinner.  Now, like usual with kids, things didn't always go as planned but here goes . . . 

Baked Chicken Superb

1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup melter butter
1 frying chicken (3-1/2 lb), cut up

On a piece of waxed paper, combine potato flakes and grated cheese.  Melt butter in large shallow baking pan.  Roll each piece of chicken in butter and then in potato flake-cheese mixture.  Place chicken pieces in pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in 350F oven for about 1 hour.  Serves 4

So I didn't want to buy instant potato flakes, mostly because I don't like them; we used breadcrumbs.  And chickens were expensive, but chicken thighs were on sale at a good price.  Needless to say we bought the chicken thighs.  I skinned the chicken thighs when we got home because I'm not a big fan of chicken skin either.  So, while I think we tried to stay true to the original recipe, we actually may have improved upon it.  Taylor really enjoyed measuring and breading and chatting with me.  I enjoyed it too.

We were originally going to make Orange Carrots.  Maybe another day.  I wanted to make sure they ate the carrots, so I made Candied Carrots instead.  And I knew at least the older two liked cheesy broccoli so that was our second veg.  Candied Carrots are so easy to make, as Austin found out.  He peeled 6 carrots and then used my crinkle-cutter (I don't know what its really called but it makes a wavy cut through the veg which I like and so do the boys) to slice the carrots.  When they were cooked we added a couple of spoonfuls of butter and a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar and tossed.  Simple.  I decided to keep the cheese sauce simple so opted to buy a packaged mix.  I think the reason Austin chose to do the veggies is because he likes using the peeling knife and crinkle-cutter.  

The Basmatti rice was cooked in my rice steamer.

Cameron made the brownies from a mix.  He stirred it well and then we poured it into a cake pan to bake.  I think Cameron chose to make the dessert so he could lick the spoon.  To finish up the brownie sundaes we placed a brownie in each dish, added a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, a big scoop of marshmallow creme and, of course, topped it all with chocolate sprinkles.

The entire meal was delicious.  I will definitely be using this chicken recipe again.  The chicken was crispy outside and so tender inside!  The veggies were very colourful and tasty.  And the dessert was the crowning glory of the meal.

I have to admit that I just made another sundae to eat with my tea tonight . . . LOL

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pizza Pot Pies

Made these for supper tonight.  Super easy and super delicious!  Next time we make them we are going to customize them with different filling items.  Suggestions were red peppers, pepperoni, meatballs......


Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary leaves
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza Pot Pies:

  • 3 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups diced roasted chicken
  • 2 cups broccoli cut into small, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds pizza dough  **Homemade or store-bought, whichever you prefer/have time for/can muster the energy for
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
**Note that the recipe calls for six 10-ounce ramekins.  We didn't have those, so we used small French onion soup bowls. They worked perfectly! 


For the Tomato Sauce: Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pancetta. Saute until the pancetta is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside.

**  We already had some tomato sauce in the fridge waiting to be used, so we used it instead of making this one, and it was good.  

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the Tomato Sauce, chicken, broccoli, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the ramekins. Roll out the pizza dough and cut circles with a pairing knife that are 1-inch wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin. Brush the top of the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut a small slit in the top of the pizza dough with a pairing knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

The recipe says it makes six if you use the ramekins, but we only got four good-sized soup bowls full.  Hubby and I each ate one and our daugther (preschool age) was served half.  Note that these are VERY HOT when you take them out.  There will be a rush of steam when you cut into the crust.  If you are serving to young children, you may be wise to (as we did) scoop out their portion into a bowl or onto a plate and cool it in the fridge for a few minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chickpea and Pasta Soup

1-1/3 cup chickpeas or Garbanzo beans (dried), soaked in water overnight, then drained
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2-1/2 slices bacon, chopped
1 potato, peeled, whole
3 cups Swiss Chard or spinach, cut into 2-3 pieces
4 tsp olive oil
2-1/2 cups water to cook chickpeas
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water to cook the pasta
1/2 cup mezzi tubetti (pasta for soups)
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Prepare the vegetables : coarsely chop the onion; peel the potatoes, leaving them whole; cut the Swiss chard into 2 or 3 pieces (if using spinach, leave them whole). Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and bacon, then sauté 3-4 min, with occasional stirring. Add the chickpeas and potatoes, then cook 1-2 min with stirring. Pour in the water, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 45 min, until the chickpeas are softened, but al dente (if overcooked, the chickpeas do not fall apart as other legumes, but become "pasty"). If using a pressure cooker, the cooking time is reduced to 12-15 min.
Take the potatoes and about 2 ladles of chickpeas out of the pot and put them in a blender or in a food-mill. Purée the mixture, then put it back into the pot with the soup.
While the chickpeas are cooking, blanch the Swiss chard 4-5 min in a pot of salted boiling water. If using spinach, cook them 3-4 min without adding any water: the water trapped in the leaves after washing them is enough to cook the spinach. Drain the Swiss chard or spinach using a colander, press to remove excess water, then chop them and add them to the chickpea pot.
Cook an additional 2-3 min over medium-high heat, with occasional stirring: the chickpea soup is ready and may be set aside in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
When ready to serve, pour the soup into a saucepan or pot, add about ¼ cup (65 ml) of water per serving and bring to a boil. Add about 1½ tablespoons (10 g) of pasta per serving, cover, and cook about 6-7 min, over low heat. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
Makes 6 servings.

Hal & I REALLY enjoyed this soup.  It was similar to a bean and bacon soup only not nearly as heavy tasting.  Lots of flavour.


Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

1-2/3 cups strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 cup whipping cream 35%

Prepare the mold (I used a loaf pan) by lining it with aluminum foil. Let some foil protrude over the edge to help unmold the ice cream «block» when ready.

Hull the strawberries, halve them lengthwise, then put them in a blender.  Add the strawberry jam and mix at maximum speed until a smooth consistency is obtained. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.  

In another bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the whipped cream to the large bowl and fold it into the strawberry mixture using a spatula.  

Pour the cream-strawberry mixture into the prepared mould. Wrap it with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

About 20-30 min before you are ready to serve, unmold the whole ice cream onto a plate and let it sit for a while at room temperature to allow the ice cream to be softer and tastier when serving. Alternatively, cut out the slices and put them onto individual plates. Return any unused part back into the freezer and let the individual slices sit in the refrigerator for a while (not at room temperature since they will melt faster than the whole block). If desired, you may garnish the ice cream with a few berries.

Makes 10 servings

This very simple dessert was definitely enjoyed.  I added some fresh sugared strawberries and chocolate sprinkles to each serving.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reuben Slaw

If you love Reuben sandwiches you will really love this recipe.  I wish I'd taken photos.  This one was so fun to make with the little grilled Swiss cheese croutons.  The recipe book is called Company's Coming Meal Salads by Jean Pare.  Excellent book

Swiss Croutons:
1 tbsp butter of margarine
6 rye bread slices
3 Swiss cheese slices

Deli Slaw:
1 cup grated or julienned carrot
1 cupt grated unpeeled tart apple such as Granny Smith
1 cup shredded red cabbage, lightly packed
1 cup wine saueerkraut, drained
1/3 cup Thousand Island dressing

113 g (4 oz.) shaved pastrami or smoked meat, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

Spread butter over each bread slice.  Arrange 3 bread slices, butt-erside down, in large frying pan on medium.  Place 1 cheese slice on each.  Top with remaining bread slices, butter-side up.  Cook for about 3 minutes per side until bread is golden and cheese is melted.  Transfer to cutting board.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Cut into 1 inch pieces.

Combine first 5 deli slaw ingredients in large bowl.  Makes 4 cups.  Transfer to 4 serving plates.

Top each plate with pastrami, pickes and Swiss Croutons.

Perogy Salad

Deb gave me a fabulous cookbook for my birthday.  I've already made 2 recipes from it.  Here's my favourite so far.

8 cups water
2 lb bag of frozen bite-sized potato and Cheddar cheese perogies
1 cup baby spinach, lightly packed
c1 cup chopped English cucumber
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup wine sauerkraut, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1-1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill ( or 1/4 tsp dried dill)
4 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled
pepper to taste

Pour water into Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Add perogies.  Boil, uncovered for about 5 minutes until tender.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water.  Drain well.

Combine remaining 8 ingredients in large bowl.  Add perogies.  Toss.  Makes about 7 cups.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

160 g spaghetti
1 large egg
3 slices bacon or pancetta, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Start cooking the pasta according to package directions.

Put the chopped bacon in a nonstick pan and fry until the bacon is crisp.  Set the bacon aside on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Stir the egg in a serving bowl, add salt and pepper, then beat 1 minute with a fork.  set the bowl aside in the oven at a minimum temperature in order to keep it warm.

Pour drained spaghetti into the serving bowl.  Mix rapidly in order to cook the egg and coat the spaghetti at the same time.  Add the bacon, butter and grated cheese.

Serves 2.

I loved this dish.  Hal wasn't crazy about it.  I guess its all a matter of taste.

Tomato and Feta Cheese Salad

Tomato and Feta Cheese Salad

2 tomatoes, sliced
50 g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 black olives
2 tsp dried oregano
ground pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes crosswise into slices approx. 5 mm thick and arrange them in a shallow dish.

Crumble the feta cheese over the tomatoes.  Drizzle with oil.  Add the olives and sprinkle with oregano.  Season with freshly ground pepper.  It is not necessary to add any salt, since the feta cheese is already rather salty. 

Serve at room temperature.  Serves 2.

Hal & I both LOVED this salad.

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
260 g ground beef, lean
ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp water
4 drops Tabasco sauce (optional)
2 hamburger buns

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the onion then cook until it is translucent, about 3 minutes with occasional stirring, paying attention not to let it burn.  Add salt, then reduce the heat, cover and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cayenne pepper then cook with stirring until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the beef then cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it loses its pink colour, about 5 minutes.  It is important not to overcook the meat at this point, otherwise it will end up dry and crumbly.

Season with ground pepper to taste, then add the tomato paste, ketchup, brown sugar and water.  A few drops of Tabasco sauce may be added for extra spiciness.  Cover, then simmer 10 minutes

Spoon the meat mixture onto hamburger buns, then serve.

Makes 2 servings.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

spitted roast beef

So I had many views on how well this would work. I was told (by a butcher) that an inside round would be good. Another butcher said no, that top sirloin would be the right choice. Another said any roast would work, so we are going with both!!! We have bought 2- 3ish ib inside round roasts and 2- 3ish pound sirloin tip roasts. They are spitted and seasoned and ready to go.

Under these roasts in a dispoable roasting pan will be 8-10 cups of beef broth (water and boullion), garlic, 1 large chopped red onion and 2 med chopped white onions, fresh chives and roasted pepper mix.

For the rub, we used a generous helping of paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and red pepper mix with very little salt. We had about 3/4 of a cereal bowl when i was done. I would have added dried chives but we were out.

This is to be put on a rotisserie and cooked on medium for 22 min for every lb. Do not open bbq often as this releases the steamed spices that are marinating the meat.

This was great! Personally I preferred the inside round but both were very tasty. I will be doing this again.

"Bon Appetit!"

coleslaw dressing

2 cups salad dressing or mayo
3 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
1 squeeze lemon juice
a generous helping of celery seed

Mix well and add to 2 bags of presliced coleslaw.

Refrigerate well before serving.

All I can say is yummmmm. Sweet for sure, but yummmmmmm!

"Bon Appetit!"

cucumber salad

I made this one up from many on line recipes, so I will post what the party goers thought of this tonight.

6-8 garden cucumbers (they were fresh so they were smaller)
6 very thinly sliced radishes
thinly sliced onions
1/2 box of grape tomatoes, sliced in 1/2

Refrigerate this concoction for a couple hours before serving.

Add sundried tomato dressing.

Mix well.

I do not like radishes bit really really liked this.

"bon appetit!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rhubarb and Strawberry Sorbet

Tart and delicious.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Sorbet

1-1/2 stalks rhubarb
8 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 cup water
1-1/4 strawberries
1 egg white

Put a metal or glass bowl into the freezer so that it will be cold when filling it with the sorbet mixture.

Wash the rhubarb stalks briefly.  If necessary, the fibrous stings can be removed by pulling them as with celery.  Cut them crosswise into approximately 1.5 cm pieces and place them in a saucepan.  Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and water.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer 8-10 minutes.  Take the saucepan off the heat.

Hull the strawberries and halve them lengthwise, then add them to the rhubarb.  Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth.  With the blender running, pour in the egg white and continue to mix until homogeneous.  You may also beat the egg white in a separate bowl using an electric mixer, then add to the fruit puree and mix well.

Let the mixture cool down about 10 minutes in the refrigerator, then pour it into the prepared container, cover and chill in the freezer.

After about 3 hours, take the mixture out of the freezer and stir it using a whisk.  Return it to the freezer and repeat the same stirring operation after an additional 2 hours.  In order to reduce the standing times between the stirring operations, you may distribute the mixture into 2 smaller containers, rather that just pouring it into 1, so that it will freeze more rapidly.  This is particularly useful when preparing larger amounts.

Take the sorbet out of the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving, so that it will soften slightly.

Serves 5.

Chicken Cutlets Milanese

The chicken was quite delicious and moist.  I think next time I make this recipe I will serve the chicken in a wrap with the Caesar salad.

Chicken Cutlets Milanese

2/3 chicken breast, boneless, skinless (obviously I used a whole breast . . . LOL)
1 large egg
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Tenderize the chicken by flattening the cutlets using a meat pounder.  Slice breast horizontally into 2-3 cutlets.

Prepare 2 shallow dishes:  beat the egg in one, and put the bread crumbs in the other.  dip one cutlet at a time in the egg, let the excess egg drip off before coating the cutlet with bread crumbs.  Turn the cutlets to coat both sides, then set them aside.

Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, taking care not to let them burn.  Add the cutlets and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes on each side.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve on the warmed plates.

Any remaining beaten egg may be cooked as an omelet and served along side the cutlets.

Serves 2

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Smoked Sausage with Lentils

Delicious meal . . . Hal did not like the lentils, which surprised me, until he explained it was too "hot" . . . I must have been a little carried away with the seasonings . . . 

Had some leftover Tomatoes with Oregano to add to the plate and a few raw carrot slices . . . 

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 dried chili peppers, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup green-brown lentils (dried)
2/3 cup chicken broth **
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 smoked sausages
1 tbsp Italian parsley, fresh, finely chopped

** I didn't think there was enough broth in the pot so I added a little extra **

It is not necessary to soak the lentils in advance.

Prepare the vegetables.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the vegetables, sauté 2-3 minutes until they are slightly softened.  Stir in the lentils, cook 1 minute.

Pour in the broth and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked al dente, about 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally and check that the lentils remain moist, adding some more broth or water if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the sausages on a medium-hot grill until brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Alternatively, sauté the sausages in a grooved grill-pan, ten add them to the lentils.  Cover then cook an additional 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley then serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Cabbage and Apple Salad

A delicious salad . . . we really enjoyed the dressing . . . 

2 tbsp white vinegar **
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3/4 cup Savoy or green cabbage, thinly sliced **
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced **
salt and pepper to taste

** I didn't have any white vinegar left so I used apple cider vinegar.  I like my salads lightly dressed so I added an extra handful of sliced cabbage and the leftover 1/2 apple to the bowl. **

Put the vinegar, brown sugar, oil and water in a saucepan.  Heat 4 minutes over medium heat.  Remove the pan from the heat then add the mayonnaise, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.  Set aside.

Prepare the cabbage, green onions and apple and put slices in a salad bowl.  Pour in the vinaigrette and mix well.  Adjust the seasoning.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes 2 servings.