Friday, November 29, 2013

Beef and Barley Soup

Enjoy a bowl of steaming soup on a cold winters day :)


1/3 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1/2 of a 540ml tin chopped tomatoes (I use aylmer accents)
I put the rest in a freezer container and use the next time I make this soup.
1/3 cup of pearl barley, rinsed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup corn
6-7 cups good quality beef stock
(I like a good amount of broth to vegetables. The barley will absorb a bit as it cooks. If you prefer less broth, more chunks, then add 5 cups of broth)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot of your choice brown the beef till slightly crunchy. (Once the beef has soaked in the broth for an hour or so, it will re-hydrate and add a wonderful deep flavour to the soup)

Then add in the onions and stir for a few minutes till translucent. Add in the carrots, celery and potatoes. I grate in the garlic cloves and add the barley, bay leaf, tomatoes, salt and pepper.


These are the tomatoes I use. That's the container ready for the freezer for next time :)

Slowly pour in the beef stock. I recommend this brand if you don't have home made.

At this point I cover it and bring it to a boil. Then I turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I move the lid off slightly so that some of the steam can escape. I also add the corn in at this time.

Sometimes this soup simmers off and on for 3 hours. Other times it's cooked in 60 minutes and served :)

This soup can be frozen and reheats well. It can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for 3 days.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

This is one of my favourite recipes and I'm salivating just preparing it and writing about eating it. 
Sadly, that will be hours from now :(
Make sure you use the type of BBQ sauce you like. I'm not a fan of very smokey sauce and my choice reflects that. 
I've chosen to use a pork roast here BUT, you can use 6 pork chops instead.


So you will require BBQ sauce, water, seasoning of your choice, 
1 large onion, sliced
 2 lb pork roast or 6 pork chops...

In a measuring cup mix the following ingredients:

1 cup total BBQ sauce 
(I used 3/4 cup of Diana Honey Garlic and 1/4 cup Bull's Eye Chicken and Rib)
1/2 cup of water

Rub the chops or pork roast with a seasoning of your choice. I use my own Memphis rub (recipe to follow)or you can use a store bought pulled pork seasoning. 
Today I used Club House Roasted Garlic and Pepper and used about 1 Tablespoon

Pour about half of the BBQ sauce and water mix into the bottom of the crock-pot; add in half of the onions and the pork roast (or 3 of the chops)
Next, add the rest of the sliced onion (and the last 3 chops if using them) 

Pour over the remaining sauce...set the crock-pot to slow for 6-10 hours. 

The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops or roast. Slow cookers vary too much for me to give you an exact time.
Once the pork is easily shredding with a fork its time to eat!!! 

I transfer the pork and onions to a large bowl. Then in small batches I put it in my food processor and give a few pulses...Don't be shocked...just don't puree it please!!

Then back into the slow cooker to be reunited with the sauce :)
Serve on fresh rolls of your choosing. 
You can add lettuce and sliced tomatoes if you like.

Here is the rub recipe that can be used in many other recipes.

Memphis Rub

In jar or container combine the following spices:

2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoons kosher salt (less than half if using table salt, which I DON'T recommend)
3 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

This is HOT, use with caution :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Peanut-Butter Bars

Thanks to Allison Dale for sharing this yummy recipe.

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch square pan with canola cooking spray. 
(I'm doubling recipe and using 9 by 13)

Combine peanut butter and honey in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high flamed. Whisk until melted — three to five minutes.

Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.

Add in oats. 

I measured the oats into a large mixing bowl and poured the hot mixture over. 
This was easier as I'd doubled the recipe.

Press into prepared pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. I'm baking the doubled recipe for 15-20

Let cool completely and cut into squares.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Smokey Chipotle Meatloaf

Trying a new meatloaf recipe tonight....hope its tasty :) 

Recipe adapted from several I read on various web sites

This serves 3-4 and can be easily doubled. 
Just modify the cooking time.

1 egg
3 Tablespoons of Bulls Eye BBQ sauce (I used the chicken and rib flavour as its what we had) 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon of pureed chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup of dry oatmeal

Combine all these ingredients in a large bowl then add in
1lb ground beef

Place into a loaf pan and prepare topping in a small bowl

1/4 cup of the bold BBQ sauce
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Pour and spread over meatloaf and bake in preheated oven @ 350 for 30 minutes OR till instant read thermometer gives you a reading of minimum 160F  (70C)

Can be assembled ahead of time..covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated till ready to cook. Make sure to let it sit out for about 15 minutes to come to room temp OR plan ahead to cook it longer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Maple-Glazed Rutabaga

Thank you to Conor (and his fancy Galaxy cell phone in HD) for the 1st and last pictures. Superior to the ones in the middle taken on my iPhone 3! sniff sniff

This is a tricky recipe to share as it relies more on you the chef observing the saute pan and acting accordingly, than specific measurements :)
Having said that you will require the following ingredients:

Serves 3-4
1 small - medium rutabaga..NOT turnip
1/2 a small onion, diced very small
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (I grate garlic into dishes)
freshly cracked back pepper
1/2 - 3/4 cup of good quality chicken stock
3-4 Tablespoons of REAL maple syrup
2 Tablespoons butter :)

Here is a link to learn the difference between turnip and rutabaga :)

I like to use home made broths and stocks but realize that's not possible for everyone. 
Try to buy Knorr Homestyle Gel packs. They are 4 to a pack and each gel pack gives you 3 1/2 cups of rich stock. They are gelatinous and therefor reduce and thicken in a cooking preparation like home made does. You can freeze any stock/broth you don't need.
This image is of the sodium reduced. I keep it on hand when I don't have any home made ready. 

Peel the rutabaga the way that suits you. I hold it in my hand. Once it's peeled, clean any bits up with a paring knife. I find it's easier if I cut off the root end and the top, making a flat surface. Then cut it in half to lay flat on your cutting board. I cut half rings, then fingers, then dice. Whew! Still with me??!! Hope so :) Remember that the size of your circle (ring) will determine the thickness of the end dice. 

There's NO RIGHT OR WRONG!!! Don't sweat it.

In a large saute pan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic and stir. Allow to cook, stirring often, till the onions are translucent. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Add in the rutabaga and stir well to coat in the melted butter mixture. Unfortunately the amount of vegetable here is rather small. I had chosen a small rutabaga to begin with and after I cut into it there was a rather large bad area that had to be thrown out. Also this pan is 12 inches making it look like even less veg. But it will cook and reduce faster as there is only one layer of vegetable...This is good!

Next pour in the chicken broth and the maple syrup. Start with the least amount given.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat slightly to keep at a simmer. Stirring often.
The idea with this recipe is to have the sauce reduce and thicken to a syrupy glaze that coats the vegetables, while at the same time having the rutabaga cooked to perfection. It's not difficult, just requires your patience and attention. If you should happen to taste the liquid, remember that as it thickens the maple syrup flavour will intensify. Don't be tempted to add too much more than recipe instructs as you can end up with a glaze that is too sweet.It should take about 20 minutes for a very small dice to be done.
Can you see here how the sauce is evaporating and leaving a sticky glaze?
I added a little more stock and syrup at this point.

Here you can see the colour change from white/cream to a golden yellow... :)

Once all the cubes are golden yellow its ready to enjoy.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Room Scents

Seems like we're reverting back to natural ways to scent and deodorize our homes. So many people are finding that they have allergies to the chemicals in manufactured sprays and candles.
The following "recipes" are by no means earth  They are simple and smell yummy. Enjoy

Once I had enjoyed this for a few hours I let it cool and then poured it into a glass jar to save till next time. Put a pretty ribbon on it and share with a friend :)

Put 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan
add in 1 lemon, sliced into rounds (about 6)
2 sticks of fresh rosemary broken up (about 6 inches total)
and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for as long as you wish. Once the water starts to evaporate you must top it up with hot tap water. Remember to cool before transferring to another container to store.

Today I'm simmering orange slices and cinnamon sticks.
3 mandarin oranges, sliced
2 cinnamon stick broken in half
4 cups of water

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

This recipe is from my friend Norma. She bakes delicious desserts and decorates cakes like a pro :)

4 eggs
2 cups white sugar (gasp)
16 oz of PURE pumpkin (not pie filling which has the spices added already)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons  baking soda
2 teaspoons  baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon table salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 400
Makes 24 or more

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and beat till smooth. Set aside. In another bowl combine the next 5 ingredients. Add the wet to the dry stirring well as you go to combine. I often use the hand mixer to better incorporate the ingredients. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into lined muffin tins and bake for 14-20 minutes. This will depend on your oven and how much batter you use for each muffin. They are done when the tops spring back up when you lightly press on them with your fingertips.