Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Envy Salad

Growing up this was a recipe that Mum always brought to pot lucks every where we went. As I got older I made this for different occasions. I know of two people that if left alone with it and a spoon, they would eat the entire thing with no problem.One of them even passed on the habit to his daughter.



Ingredients

Lime jello powder (large package)
8oz cream cheese
1tsp vanilla
2Tbsp sugar
1 1/2cup boiling water
Small can of crushed pineapple
8oz of lemon/lime pop  I've used one of those mini cans before, less waste.

Directions

Dissolve jello in hot water. Add softened cream cheese & beat with mixer. Drain liquid from pineapple can before adding. Add remainder of ingredients and set over night.

**So you know, there is a very good chance there will be more than will fit in the jello mold container.

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese filling

One of the recipes that we used in the recipe swap. So moist. And if you don't have a 9x13 baking sheet, tin foil will work wonders to make the proper size and just put it onto the larger baking sheet. Found on Allrecipes.com originally.





Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes.

3. Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.

4. Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

5. When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap.

Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

Pumpkin Gnocchi


  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Portion size 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) pine nuts
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • cups (500 mL) roasted pumpkin purée or roasted squash purée, (see Perfect Puree, below)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour, (approx)
Preparation

In large bowl, stir together pumpkin purée, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and nutmeg. Using wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups (500 mL) of the flour. Stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup (60 mL) at a time, to make soft, sticky dough that pulls away from bowl but still sticks to spoon and fingers.

On well-floured surface and with floured hands, roll dough into log; divide into quarters. Gently roll and shape each quarter into 3/4-inch (2 cm) diameter rope. With sharp knife, cut each rope diagonally into 3/4-inch (2 cm) pieces.

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi, in 2 batches and stirring gently, until floating; about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, scoop onto large serving platter.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook pine nuts until lightly toasted and butter just begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add sage leaves; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape over gnocchi; toss to coat.

Additional information : Perfect Puree
When choosing a cooking pumpkin, look for sugar pumpkins. These little gourds are firmer and sweeter than those grown for jack-o'-lanterns. The roasting time will vary depending on the size and age of the pumpkin or squash.

Halve and seed pumpkin or squash. Prick skin all over with fork. Roast, cut side down, on rack on foil-lined baking sheet in 350°F (180°C) oven until flesh is browned and tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool. Scoop out flesh and puree in food processor. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 48 hours or freeze for up to 3 weeks.

2 lb (1 kg) sugar pumpkin yields about 1-3/4 cups (425 mL) puree.

2 lb (1 kg) butternut squash yields about 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) puree.

from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/pumpkin_gnocchi.php

4 Layer Pumpkin Dessert


4 Layer Pumpkin Dessert




Total Time: 30 mins
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins


First Layer

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour

Second Layer

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Cool Whip

Third Layer

2 cups whole milk, cold
2 (3 ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding
1 cup fresh pumpkin
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Fourth Layer

4 ounces Cool Whip (remainder from 8oz container )

Directions:

First layer: Mix all 1st layer ingredients together, press in 9x13 dish. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Cool.

Second layer: Gently mix together all 2nd layer ingredients. Place on 1st layer and refrigerate.

Third layer: Mix all together all 3rd layer ingredients and spread over second layer. Cool until set.

Fourth layer: Spread remaining cool whip over top. Refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blackberry Compote


I played with all kinds of words like filling, curd, topping, jam....and this is exactly what I meant. 
A compote is an easy fruit topping that can go over waffles (hmmmmm) cake, ice cream.....whatever.
It has an exquisite sweetness and bulk of the berry. Almost jam, but not quite so thick. Takes only 20 minutes!






3/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 
2 cups frozen blackberries 
1/2 cup sugar 
Pinch cinnamon 
Pinch ground cloves

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the orange juice with the cornstarch. Set aside.

Put the blackberries in a small saucepan with the sugar, the remaining orange juice, the cinnamon and cloves.

Bring to a simmer over low heat and continue simmering 1 minute.

Stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the compote.

Simmer, stirring from the bottom until thickened, or about 3 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


We served this after a pasta dinner over lemon poppyseed cake with fresh whipped cream.




"BON APPETIT!"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Seed Pesto



1. Clean the seeds. The annoying-but-necessary task is that you have to meticulously clean the seeds until there are no signs of pumpkin guts. After picking off the strands, give them a GOOD rinse with water in a colander.

Some say that sugar pumpkin seeds yield much crispier seeds than carving pumpkins.

2. Boil for 10 minutes in salt water. I added the pumpkin seeds to a medium-sized pot of water along with 1 tsp salt. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat. This method helps make the pumpkin seeds easier to digest and produces a crispy outer shell during roasting.

3. Drain the seeds in a colander and dry lightly with a paper towel or tea towel. The seeds will stick to the towel, but just rub them off with your fingers. Don’t worry, they don’t have to be bone dry – just a light pat down.

4. Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (I only needed to use about 1/2-1 tsp). Massage oil into seeds and add a generous sprinkle of fine grain sea salt. Try to spread out the seeds as thin as possible with minor overlapping.

5. Roast seeds at 325 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir.

6. Turn off oven and let roast for another 8-10 minutes (if your oven temp is off, this could vary a lot!). During the last 5 minutes of roasting, remove a few seeds and crack open to make sure the inner seeds are not burning (you don’t want the inner seed brown).

7. Cool a couple and pop them into your mouth to test. They are ready when the shell is super crispy and easy to bite through. The inner seed should have only a hint of golden tinge to it. They should not be brown.

****There is no need to remove the outer shell; it’s quite possibly the best part.





*******************************************************************

Pumpkins are cheap right now..... You can always toast the seeds to make this pesto later. 
This simple and healthy pumpkin seed pesto recipe is delicious. Pesto can top a piece of fish, tossed into hot pasta, or stirred into a soup.
Pumpkin seeds are one of nature's most nutritious foods, and this delicious pesto recipe is a great way to eat them!

****By the way, don't worry, most grocery and bulk stores now sell these roasted and ready to use.

Makes 1 1/2 Cups of Pumpkin Seed Pesto


1 cup pumpkin seeds shelled, roasted
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic



Combine the pumpkin seeds, Parmesan, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse on and off, for about 20 seconds, until the seeds are almost ground.

1/4 cup italian seasoning (or 3/4 cup freshbasil leaves and 3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cups olive oil

1/2 cup veg oil
salt to taste

Add the above 4 items and pulse on and off for about 40 seconds (you may want to scrape down the sides with a spatula in between pulses), until all the ingredients are combined. The mixture should be more like a course paste than a liquefied sauce, so be careful not to over-process.
Transfer to a bowl, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt. 
***Be sure to taste first, as the pumpkin seeds may have been well salted when they were roasted. 

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two days.

"BON APETIT!"

Creole Style Celery


Well, when you think of a side dish does celery come to mind???
Not for me. This is an item reserved for recipes and salads (and cheese whiz!)





As my previous posts have done this week, I am using up bits and pieces of leftovers in my fridge, freezer and baking cupboards! So I was happy to find yet another recipe for this week that would accomplish doing this.




1/4 cup margarine
2 medium / large carrots chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup of water or chicken stock
1 tsp garlic powder

  • Sautee slowly until carrots are tender. Covered. **Add 1/4 cup of liquid if more is needed.

1 cup chopped onion
3 cups celery (mine was pretty beat up...the tail end of a head of celery)

  • Add to the pan. Continue to sautee until celery is tender. Covered.

1 package of  sweetener **no sugar so I used a substitute (1/2 tsp sugar)
1/4 tsp thyme (we used italian spice)
1 tsp salt (omitted)
1/2 can of diced tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes diced)some juice removed.

  • Add remaining ingredients. Simmer slowly uncovered.

****you can use 3 cups of swiss chard in place of the celery too!





***cross your fingers on this one John hates celery! But it smells awesome. If no one likes it, its going to make a GREAT base for stew.


"BON APETIT!"

Side note. The family LOVED this change up from peas etc. Both of them used it with sour cream on top of their french fries (looked like a plate of loaded fries)

Peanut Butter / Banana loaf with crunchy topping

So, I was emptying my baking cupboard (as I do every November) and found some muffin mixes. 
Today's easy dessert is made from a banana muffin mix.

I am calling it the ELVIS special.




1 - 220g banana muffin mix
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup of peanut butter (all I had left in the conatiner)

Mix well and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Remove immediately to cool. (I use glass loaf pans so mine keep cooking if I do not)

1/3 container of vanilla icing (its what I had left or make some)
I used a 1/4 cup "sweet caramel sprinkle" from Pampered Chef I had
http://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=16633&catId=12
(nuts, toffee chips and cinnamon)

Mix well. 

Put cake back into the baking pan when cool.
Ice right in the baking dish.

This was an amazing surprise mix of tastes. Definite do over.

Could definitely used an over ripe banana but I didn't have any!

"BON APPETIT!"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Simple apple sauce cake.

I love clean out the fridge day. ESPECIALLY after holiday dinners. You always find leftovers like cranberries or apple sauce tucked in tupperware on the shelf. Try this easy use it up dessert.

1 small cake mix (bagged like at dollar store)
leftover applesauce (to replace the water)
1/3 cup oil (or as directed)
2 eggs

Mix well. 
Pour into greased pan. 
Sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Bake at 350 till done. 

Dessert tonight! Ice the top or serve with cool whip or ice cream.





"BON APPETIT!"

Mexican Spirals and Cheese

I have to tell you there was a lot of odd mix this, set this aside, now put together kind of steps but this smells amazing. I cannot wait until supper....

40 minute prep time, but I made it early so all I had to do was heat it for the 45 minutes before supper!






















rectangular baking dish (grease if not a pampered chef dish)

*****Recipe calls for 8oz cooked chorizo out of casings to be cooked in the onion and peppers, but we substituted 2 chicken breasts (I boiled boneless skinless ones and diced them up)

In a large bowl mix: 
2 cups diced tomatoes (had to use canned this time)
1/2 diced green pepper
1/2 diced red pepper
1 can of black beans (drained)

In a frying pan sautee:
1 slivered onion
1/2 diced green pepper
1/2 diced red pepper
1/2 cup water
pepper to taste
1 med fresh poblano pepper *seeded and chopped (we omitted)

Add diced chicken (or chorizo) to frying pan and stir well. Pour everything into the bowl of tomatoes etc. and stir well. Set aside.

In a large pot, boil 1 900g bag of pasta. 
We used spirals, the recipe called for rigatoni...choose your favorite. 
Drain. Set aside. 

In the frying pan add and keep stirring from bottom: 
3 tbsp butter (I used margarine)
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder (we used chilli flakes)

Make a rue and then add all at once:

2 cups milk
2 cups of montery jack cheese

When sauce starts to become thick and creamy. 
Pour into your large bowl of chicken/tomatoes/beans. 
Stir well. 
Add pasta. 
Stir well. 

Pour into casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes if eating immediately.
Bake at 325 for 45 minutes if making ahead.

Pico De Gallo to serve with dish (salsa)

In a medium bowl stir together 1 med tomato chopped, 1 small red onion chopped,, 2 tsp fresh snipped cilantro, 1/2 tsp lime peel, 1 tbsp lime juice and 1/4 tsp salt. Gently stir in 1 ripe avocado (halved, seeded, peeled0 chopped

We served this with a green salad and fresh bread.

"BON APPETIT!"





Thursday, October 24, 2013

Potato bake with mustard and cheddar



So, I adapted this recipe to items I knew I had on hand and could replace in the printed recipe. It looks incredibly yummy!
Although there is a big prep time, it takes as long to cook as a small roast, so they are finished at the same time.

I use a food processor to do my thin slicing but you do it the way you are comfortable with.

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a baking dish. Set aside.

2 pounds thinly sliced potatoes (5-6 cups)
1 pound thinly sliced carrots (1-2 cups)
1 large onion thinly sliced

Set these aside until it is time to assemble.

2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup sour cream (they called for whipping cream)
3 tbsp of dijon mustard
3/4 tsp of italian seasoning (it called for thyme)
3/4 tsp salt (omitted)
1 tsp black pepper

In a large measuring cup mix above items.

1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese
1/4 cup flour

Mix lightly and set aside.

1cup fine soft bread crumbs
1 tbsp melted butter

Mix together and set aside.

Ok, now you are ready to assemble!

In greased pan, lay 1/2 the thinly sliced potatoes and 1/2 the onions. 
Pour 1/3 of the liquid over top. 

Lay sliced carrots next. 
Pour another 1/3 of the liquid over it.

Sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese.

Add the other 1/2 of the thinly sliced potatoes and onion 
Pour the rest of the liquid over top.

Sprinkle with the last of the cheese.

Bake for 35-40 minutes covered. 

Remove lid and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake another 15-20 minutes.

If desired serve topped with parsley.

"BON APPETIT!"




Monday, October 21, 2013

Eggs for DinnerCasserole

So we tried this as it was written. I have altered the recipe (in red) so it is 100% better! Although our first attempt was all eaten.


Grease one 13x9 baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

1 cup of bacon bits (real)
1 1/2 cups canadian bacon cubed
1 (large) slivered onion
1tbsp butter


Melt butter in frying pan and sautee onions. Add bacon and cook for about 5 minutes. Set aside while doing the next step.

8-10 eggs beaten
1 cup skim milk (I used 2%)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (2 tsp)
2 tbsp chives
1/2 green pepper diced or shredded (1 whole)
1 whole red pepper diced or sliced
2 cups shredded cheese (strong flavored like old cheddar)
3 cups of grated potato or thawed hash browns (uncooked) (stick to 3 cups)

In a large bowl combine ingredients above, then add bacon mixture to bowl. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

You may choose to sprinkle more cheese on top at this point.

Bake another 10 minutes or until the casserole is firm.

Serve with toasted english muffins (we used french bread) and SALSA.

***NOTE we agreed mushrooms and/or diced tomato would have been a great addition to the egg mixture.

"BON APPETIT!"


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

McDonald's Apple Pie (the deep fried one)



Hands down, the best part about eating at McDonald’s as a kid was the end of the meal, when it was time for the deep-fried, flaky apple pie.
Although the fast-food chain swapped the fried treat in 1992 for a healthier baked version, in honor of apple season, we’re bringing back the original, courtesy of Australian YouTube chef David Chilcott, a.k.a., the One Pot Chef.

Chilcott launched his career in 2007 after a workplace injury left him with lots of free time. His passion was cooking, so he decided to start a YouTube channel sharing favorite recipes, such as Nutella brownie cupcakes, pizza-filled Hot Pockets, and Asian-style chicken noodle soup, made quick and simple. Today, he shares his recipes three times a week on his wildly popular YouTube channel, where fast-food lovers can also learn how to re-create McDonald's Sausage McMuffin, oven-baked Chicken McNuggets, and Snack Wraps.

Chilcott says his apple pies are meant to be an occasional treat, but you (and your willpower) can decide how often to indulge.

One Pot Chef’s McDonald’s Style Apple Pie:
Serves 8.

Ingredients

3 green apples
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
One box of ready-rolled puff pastries (our pick: Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry)
2 or more cups canola oil or other cooking oil (enough to submerge the pies)

Instructions

Peel the apples, chop into small pieces, and place in a pot. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until mixed.

Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes (or until apples have softened). Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.

With a sharp knife, cut two sheets of ready-rolled pastry into 4 strips each. With your finger, lightly wet the edges of each strip.

Place 2 teaspoons of the apple mixture on one half of each strip. Fold the pastry over, and press a fork into the edges to create little grooves around the pie. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok or deep-fryer. To gauge whether it's hot enough, dip a small piece of puff pastry into the oil. If the pastry sizzles and browns in 10 seconds, it's hot enough.

Fry the pies in the oil, two at a time, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes (or until golden), gently flipping for even coverage. Once pies are golden, gently lift them out of the pan with a slotted spoon, allowing the oil to drain into the pan; then place on a plate lined with paper towels.


Enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Individual Hamburger Casseroles

Or as I also like to call them, Mini meatloaf. This dish has been a staple since I was a kid. I even used it for a Food's class project. Everyone in my family loves these tiny treats and if it could make more than 8-10, I'm sure we'd all eat more than we should.



Ingredients

1lb ground beef
2 tbsp minced onion
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg- slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
Dash of sage
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp dry mustard
Dash of nutmeg

Makes 8-10.

Directions

Heat oven to 350F. Combine ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, egg, milk, sage, salt & pepper. Pat mixture into un-greased muffin tins. Make a hole using the small end of a wooden spoon in the center of each. Combine brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and nutmeg and place some in each. Bake for 25mins.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mediterranean Sausages **with grapes?????

Ok. This is weird for even our cooking group. BUT I just gotta try it!

Preheat oven to 350. 



1 1/2 pounds of red seedless grapes (we used a cereal bowl full and I think that is way more than needed)
1 16 oz tube of polenta cubed (we used par cooked turnip cubes)
1 onion sliced into thin wedges
1/2 thinly sliced (or diced) green pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp fresh rosemary (used 1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning)

2tbsp olive oil

In an ungreased baking dish add the first six items and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss gently.

6-8 sweet/hot italian sausages

Using a fork, prick each sausage in several places. Add to baking dish pressing lightly into mixture.

1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (2tbsp wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp sugar heated = 2 tbsp balsamic)

Bake covered for 1/2 hour and 1/2 hour uncovered or until sausages are cooked. Drizzle with vinegar and toss gently. 

I served this with an orzo and rice mixture, I made up with fresh celery and onions from leftovers.

"BON APPETIT!"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Macaronni and Crab Bake

So back to the recipe book I traveled, and I (and John and Judy) really wanted to try this. In my opinion the recipe called for a lot of waste and needed a kick. I will post my suggestions below.



This photo was taken just before I baked it. It smelt yummy and this dish was filled AFTER 3portions were given away in tupperware, and 4 side servings had been eaten!!!!!!!!!!!

It make A LOT. My advice is to cut the recipe in 1/2. Unless you are cooking for more than 8 people.

The cheese they chose, AND the one I used had very little flavour as well. I will make this again as I did enjoy it, but all who have tried it said it was lacking.....something.






nonstick cooking spray
large casserole dish

Spray your pan and set aside. Preheat oven (if cooking immediately) to 350.

900g package of shell macaronni

Boil pasta and drain. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

1/4 cup margarine
1 medium onion sliced thinly (or diced if you prefer)

1/3c flour
3/4 tsp salt (we omitted)
1/2 tsp pepper (we would add 1 tsp)

4 cups milk
1 pound (450g) of brie/camembert rind removed and coarsely chopped

2 6oz cans of crabmeat drained

In a large skillet (or a pot that will hold 4+ cups of liquid, melt butter. add onions and stir well under tender. Stir in dry ingredients. Add milk all at once to make a rue. Stir constantly from the bottom until it begins to get thick. Add cheese and stir until melted. Pour mixture over pasta and fold in the crab meat. ***note we think a bag of salad shrimp should be added too.

Mix well and pour into prepared baking dish. 

3-4 slices of bread ripped into small pieces or 1 cup of bread crumbs
1 tsp seasoning (italian or spicey your call)


Sprinkle on top and cover. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour with the last 10 minutes uncovered to brown the top. Serve with fresh crusty bread and a salad. 

NOTE:
Opinions given while trying this: 1 vote for a different stronger cheese like an extra old white cheddar, 2 votes for cayenne pepper added to sauce, 1 vote for horseradish, 1 vote tomatoes in sauce. we did try a bit with curry but the spice took over the crab flavor.

As you have to remove the rind, there is a LOT of wasted cheese when using this kind!

"BON APPETIT!"

Mashed Baked Potatoes with Garden Confetti

So after another Kitchen Girls night, this was my recipe from the wonderful one pan cook book.

Potatoes Ingredients
Non-stick cooking spray
5lbs red skin potatoes (About 15 medium)
1 8oz package regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, cut up and softened
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups half &  half, light cream or evaporated fat-free milk

Garden Confetti Ingredients
3Tbsp butter
3 Medium carrots, shredded
1 small red sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 small green sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic minced

Directions
1. Scrub potatoes thoroughly with a brush; rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Prick potatoes with a fork. I put them in the microwave on the potato setting for the full amount of time.
2. To make mashing easier, transfer half into a large bowl (cut larger pieces into half or quarter.) Use masher or electric on low speed.
3. Once all potatoes are mashed, combine into one bowl and add cream cheese and pepper. Gradually beat in the half and half (or whatever you end up using) to make mashed potatoes light and fluffy. (I used evaporated milk and it gave the potatoes a nice thick texture.) Transfer mashed potatoes to a pre-sprayed 3qt baking dish. Top with garden confetti.
4a) You now have two options. This recipe is one that can be done prior to the night you are going to eat it. If that is the plan, cover with foil and chill for 2-24hrs. Once you pull it out, bake at 325F covered and then another 1-1 1/4hrs to make sure that it is heated through.
b) If you are planning on eating it right sooner than two hours, preheat oven to 325F. Bake for 1hr uncovered.

Garden Confetti Directions

In a large skillet melt 2Tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Add shredded carrots, red pepper and green pepper. Cook for 4mins before transferring back to bowl. In skillet add 1 Tbsp of butter to sautee onions and garlic for 3-4mins. Once cooked mix veggies together. For taste add 1/2tsp of dried thyme or rosemary.
Once mixed, spread amount over the top of the mashed potatoes.

Makes 10-12 servings in 3qt pan. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Orzo and Provolone Meatballs

Judy decided this was a recipe she'd like to try, and it was fabulous. It is definitely a "make this again".



nonstick cooking spray
rectangular baking dish

Preheat oven to 400 (we only use 350) and lightly spray baking dish. Set aside.

1 cup of diced pancetta, bacon or ham
1 cup of diced onion
2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
1 cup of wine or apple juice





In a large skillet cook the meat over medium heat until brown and crisp. remove meat from pan leaving drippings for use. Add onion to drippings and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic. Add wine and stir the mixture including the browned bits on the bottom. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2. Remove from heat.

4 cups chicken broth
16 oz / 2 cups orzo pasta

In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Stir in orzo. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow orzo to absorb liquids.

1 cup provolone cheese (shredded or diced)
1/2 cup of diced peppers (we used green)
1 cup cream
1/4 tsp salt (we omitted)
1/4 tsp pepper

12 meatballs (we used frozen)

In a large bowl mix: orzo, wine/meat mixture and the first 4 items listed above. Pour into prepared baking dish. Place meatballs into mixture.

1 cup panko bread crumbs (we used normal)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp italian spice

Mix and sprinkle over casserole.

2 tbsp olive oil
OPTIONAL snipped parsley

Drizzle over top and bake for 25 minutes.
Decorate with parsley.

This was delicious cold (as I was not here for supper).....so I can imagine it was even better hot!
Served with garlic bread and caesar salad. Yup we are garlic lovers in this house, we just don't breathe on each other!

"BON APPETIT!"



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crab Cake/Stuffing

What started out as crab cakes ultimately became like a delicious stuffing that you can use as a main or side. If you'd like to make crab cakes follow the recipe I found on the Food Network website or follow my side steps. The choice is yours.


Crab Cakes

1 pound (454 g) lump crab meat, well drained*
1 ¼ cups whole wheat cracker crumbs, divided
¼ cup finely minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley**
1 egg
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise (not fat free)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning***
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon each butter and light olive oil to sauté


Creamy Lemon-Dill Seafood Sauce (good with any type of fish)


½ cup light sour cream (3% or 5%)
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon each Old Bay Seasoning and hot horseradish
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

*I picked up the crab meat by the chunk in two packages. I suggest if you're purchasing this way to quickly put it through a food processor otherwise it is very difficult to pack in cake formation.
** If you don't have parsley on hand but have dried basil, I put in 1/2 tsp of the basil.
*** I've never heard of Old Bay but Disney Deb and I figured out what was in the seasoning. I added a few dashes of black pepper and paprika to the mix.

Now here comes the split. Since it was difficult to make cake formation I went my own route and made what looks like stuffing. Below I will post that but also after the actual crab cake instructions.

My Crab Stuffing

1. Combine crab meat, 3/4 cup cracker crumbs, red pepper, green onions and parsley in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest and pepper. Add wet ingredients to crab meat mixture. Stir gently using a spatula until well mixed. Once mixed add in remainder of cracker crumbs.

2. In skillet, pour 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil until coated and heat on medium. Pour entire mixture into skillet.

3. While skillet heats up, in small bowl combine all of sauce ingredients. May want only 2tsp of Dijon as it can get quite tart. Also add just a 1/4 tsp of horseradish.

4. Cook on crab mixture for 7-10mins or until meat and cracker bits are slightly brown.

5. Remove from heat and serve with sauce over top.

Now for the actual directions I'll leave the website url to make it easier for you to go from here... to there. Hope you enjoy.

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/crabsolutely-fabulous-crab-cakes/9158/
Chocolate bars should be a a food group! I love them! It is also apple season and the perfect time to incorporate them into any recipes we can! While this isn’t your typical “Salad” ................... This recipe is awesome! I know there are many different versions out there, this whips up in a matter of 10 minutes and then chills until ready to serve. Thanks to Charlene who made this and it was amazing!





INGREDIENTS






INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk vanilla pudding packet, 1/2 cup milk and cool whip together until well combined.
  2. Chop up apples and Snickers into bite size pieces.
  3. Stir chopped apples and Snickers into pudding mixture.
  4. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

    "BON APPETIT!"

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homemade Chewy Granola bars


 


Prep Time: 15 minutes   
Cook Time 25 minutes 
Total Time 40 minutes
Chewy and healthy homemade granola bars, totally customizable.
Author: 
Recipe Type: Baking
Serves: 12-20
Ingredients
 2 cups (160 g) oats
 ½ cup (96 g) sugar
 ½ tsp. salt
 ¼ tsp. cinnamon or other spices as desired (cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
 2½ cups additions: dried fruits, seeds, nuts, flax meal, bran cereal, puffed rice cereal,                 crushed pretzels, chocolate chips … the combinations are endless!
 ⅓ cup (60 g) peanut or other nut butter
 6 Tbsp. (89 ml) olive oil – canola oil, other oils, and melted butter will work here as well
 ¼ cup (60 ml) honey, maple syrup, or Agave syrup
 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) water

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Depending on desired thickness, line a square (8×8 or 9×9) or rectangular (9×13) baking dish with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper with non-stick cooking spray, oil, or butter. Thicker bars are a little more decadent, if you’re planning on using this as a dessert.

2.Process ⅓ cup (27 g) of the oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

3. If necessary, chop up dried fruit and nuts. Raisin-size pieces are fine, but dried apricots, or apples, let’s say – should probably be chopped.

4. Stir together all dry ingredients (oats, ground oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon, fruits/nuts/seeds).

5. Whisk together wet ingredients – oil, honey, peanut butter, and water.

6. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, then spread in the pan. Press firmly into the corners and edges so the top is even.
7. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Thicker bars will likely take longer, so you’ll need to watch them, depending on how much batter you’ve spread in what size pan. The edges will become deep golden and they may feel underdone in the center, but that’s okay.  They’ll firm quite nicely as they cool.

8. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes, then take them out of the pan using the parchment. Let cool completely before cutting.

3 Cheese baked macaronni

So growing up, this was a staple in our menu plans. Homemade mac and cheese. Mom served it with boiled eggs and hers was always topped with home canned tomatoes..... 







I continued this tradition with Judy although our recipe is a little different. This recipe caught my eye and I just had to try it. They tote it as a "grown up version" of mac and cheese.








1 - 900g package of penne pasta
1 greased casserole dish or small roasting pan

Boil pasta and drain, set aside in an oversize bowl. 

Next: get these items measured and ready as a rue needs constant watching and stirring.

2 tbsp butter (I used margarine)
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp minced onion (I used Sunset Gourmets "oh onion")
2 tbsp dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper (I used 1/4 tsp)

3 cups milk

2 cups (8oz) swiss cheese crumbled ****reserve 1 cup for topping
2 cups (8oz) cheddar cheese crumbled
2 cups (8oz) havarti or gouda cheese crumbled ****reserve 1 cup for topping

In a saucepan over med/high heat, (I used the pasta pot), melt the butter and then add the next 5 items. Whisk briskly and quickly. Add milk and whisk some more. TURN OFF HEAT NOW! Add cheese and stir until it has all melted.

Pour sauce over pasta in the large bowl and mix well. Pour into greased dish and top with reserved cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Broil for 3-4 minutes to brown the top if desired.

Makes 12 servings.

"BON APPETIT!"


Stuffed Pork Chops



What a deal!


On the almost new/never used reduced area of the meat section, I found bbq thick pork chops for 1/2 price.

Pork Chops are John's go to meal. He loves them. I love stuffed pork. Judy hates stuffing.

Tonight I decided to try something a bit different!





3 - 1" or thicker pork chops (1/2 frozen if possible as they are easier to work with)

Take a very sharp knife and slit a hole into the meat making a pocket in each.
Set aside to continue thawing while you make the stuffing etc.

I use a rice cooker. Thanks to Pam, I asked for one, and thanks to Mom I have one.
Use whatever method makes you happy.

2 cups rice
4 cups water
1 package of Knorr beef vegetable soup mix

Italian seasoning
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Cook the rice, and set aside approx  1 1/2 cups in a mixing bowl. Set the rest aside as a side dish for either this meal or tomorrow nights! Into the bowl I added the Italian spice and bread crumbs (which I make from the last bits of crackers, garlic bread and crusts from our regular loaves) Mix well. make small balls and stuff the meat. Each of mine stood up like a U on the cookie sheet. I added some water to the pan, and baked for 45 minutes covered with foil at 350.

We served this with "grown up mac and cheese" and brussel sprouts, warm buns and apple sauce. We kept the rice for another meal!

"BON APPETIT!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

the BEST gravy ever (so far this year) and roast beef dinner

2 cups of boullion liquid (I used beef)
1 tsp minced garlicc
2 tsp worchesteshire sauce
2 lg tbsp dijon mustard
1 packet of gravy mix (I had one laying around)

Mix and set aside.

french fry cut 3 large fresh carrots (with skin)
1 small roast
black pepper
1 med onion (cut up to size prefered)
1 cup edamame beans (frozen) or peas
1 pckg sliced mushrooms (optional)

In a small roasting pan I laid the carrots out on the bottom.

Take the roast and slice like bread, but not all the way through. 
(just down to about and inch from the bottom)

Place roast slices down on carrots.

Sprinkle with garlic pcs. and pepper to taste. 
***I DO NOT use salt because the boullion is always salty enough.
Cover with beans and mushrooms.

Pour liquid mix over the meat and cover. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with bread, mashed potatoes and corn. 

The gravy was so good it immediately became a shepherds pie for this week.

"BON APPETIT!" sorry none left!

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Cream

I'm not a fan of whip cream so I used French vanilla ice cream.  The recipe doesn't say to peel the peaches but you really should to make them easier to eat.

http://www.soscuisine.com/en/recipes/view/grilled-peaches-with-cinnamon-cream?sos_l=en&gpr_id=5362

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Cream

ratingratingratingratingrating 24 Reviews 95% would make this recipe again 
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Preparation 10 min / Cooking 10 min
$1.02 per serving / $0.86 with specials
210 calories per serving  [See all nutrition info]

RECIPENUTRITION INFOREVIEWS (24)MY NOTES (0)

Ingredients

2peaches, or nectarines$300 g
1/2 tbspbalsamic vinegar8 mL
1 tbsphoney$22 g
1/2 tbspcanola oil$8 mL
1/2 tspground cinnamon2 g
1/4 cupwhipping cream 35%$65 mL

Before you start

A hand-held or stand mixer will make things easier for this recipe.

Method

  1. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. If the pit does not pull out easily, use a small, sharp knife to cut around it.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, oil, and half of the ground cinnamon. Dip each peach half into the mixture and transfer it, cut-side down, to a medium hot grill. Cook until the cut side is golden and juicy, about 3-4 min. Turn the peaches and cook them an additional 3 min or so until the skin side is soft. The exact cooking time will vary with the size and ripeness of the peaches.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Transfer the peaches to individual serving plates. Portion out the cream on top of the peaches. Drizzle any remaining vinegar-honey mixture over each peach, dust with the remaining ground cinnamon, and serve.