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.


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.