Monday, November 14, 2011

Quick Biscuits (cheater kind) lol

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 can pillsbury buttermilk biscuits
Preheat oven to 425 F. While oven is heating place butter in 9-inch cake pan and put in oven to melt. 
Remove from oven and add herbs and cheese and stir into butter.

Cut biscuits into halves and swish around in herb butter to coat all sides.
Put pan back into heated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes

Easy Bread Machine Bread

1 1/8 cup tap water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons white sugar
2  5/8 cups all purpose flour
3/8 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter

Place ingredients in your machine as per manufacturers instruction. The order listed is how I do it :)

Choose bake setting and 4 hours later we have fresh bread...yum!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

A classic recipe that I never tire of making

250g pack of cream cheese, at room temperature
4 green onions, thinly sliced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
15-20 small-medium white mushrooms, remove stems and wipe with damp cloth to clean

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place prepared mushrooms on foil lined cookie sheet.

Place cream cheese in a bowl and with a wooden spoon stir and mash till smooth and creamy. Add in cooked bacon and green onions and stir to combine.

Using a small spoon fill the mushrooms and place on foil lined cookie sheet. Be sure to fill them nice and full so you may use less mushrooms.

Bake for about 15 minutes or till the filling is bubbling and the mushrooms have turned a light brown.
(They will release moisture and then begin to brown)

Parmesan-Butternut Squash Gratin

Parmesan-Butternut Squash Gratin

1 butternut squash (2 1/2 lb)
1/4 cup butter
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Peel, halve lengthwise and seed squash; cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange with slices overlapping slightly in bottom of baking dish.
In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Add garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft and butter is infused with garlic flavor. Do not let butter brown.
In small bowl, mix bread crumbs, cheese and 1 tablespoon of the butter-garlic mixture.
Brush squash slices with remaining butter-garlic mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and bread crumb mixture.
Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with fork. Increase oven temperature to 425°F; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned.

Before serving, sprinkle parsley over top.
Makes 6 servings (1/2 cup each)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creamy Chipotle Chicken (in the crock-pot)

Servings: 4
"An easy, creamy chicken dish made in the slow cooker gets a smoky kick from chipotle peppers. It's nice to serve with hot cooked rice."

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
( I puree the tin of peppers and sauce and place in a jar. It keeps in the fridge for months. For this recipe I use 3/4 teaspoon. The seeds have been left in so it's quite spicy)

Cast of Characters for the Creamy Chipotle Crock-pot Chicken..I do love alliteration :)

Place the butter into a frying pan and melt over medium heat. Add the olive oil. 

Add chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Once they are browned lightly on both sides remove and place in slow cooker. 


Add the cream cheese cubes, stir to melt, then add the cream of chicken soup and chicken broth, and the chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce mixture. Stir or whisk the mixture gently until smooth. Add the garlic and then pour over the chicken. 

Stir to mix in the chicken. Cover, set the cooker to Low, and cook for 4-6 hours. 
Chicken is done when separates easily with 2 forks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Split Pea and Ham Soup

I have not posted many soup recipes as I don't really follow a recipe when making soup. I use other recipes as guidelines, but for the most part I just "wing it!" lol

When I cook a bone-in ham I always freeze the bone to make soup with. If you don't have one you can substitute ham hocks from the grocery store.This recipe is fairly loose :) You might need to adjust amounts to suit the size of your ham bone.

Start by making a flavourful stock.
Place ham bone in large stock pot and add 12 cups of water.
Then add the following ingredients:
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, again, roughly chopped
1 onion, with the skin still on, quartered. If it's dirty rinse it off. Leaving the skin on darkens the colour of the stock
2 garlic cloves, sliced
several peppercorns or fresh pepper if that's all you have
1 bay leaf

Allow to simmer uncovered for about 2 hours till liquid has reduced by about 1/3. Remove ham bone and discard. Strain stock and throw away vegetables.
Place stock into large bowl or measuring cup and set aside. You should have about 8 cups total. If not, add water or chicken stock to make 8 cups

Now lets make the soup :)
In same stock pot heat
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of butter
then add
3 large carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
Cook, stirring till onions are translucent
Add 2 cups green split peas and the stock.
Add some salt and pepper to taste...

1 cup of ham to add after blending (if you choose to blend)

Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and cook stirring often for about 1 1/2 -2 hours or till peas are soft. Remove bay leaf and throw away.
The soup can also be eaten as is, or you can place in blender or use immersion blender right in stock pot. It's very versatile.
Once you have finished blending, if you chose to do so, then add in about 1 cup cubed ham. Again, more or less depending on what you have. Simmer till ham is warmed through. I like to garnish the bowls with a few croutons and a little fresh parsley.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Skor Chocolate Toffee Bars

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle brand)
2 tbsp butter 

1 (270 g) pkg Hershey's milk chocolate chips
1 (200 g) pkg Hershey's Skor toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Cream first 3 ingredients until well blended and mixture comes together.

Press evenly into a 9X13 cake pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden.
Cool on wire rack while preparing filling.

Heat sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbsp butter in heavy saucepan, stirring constantly over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened.
Spread over baked base.
Bake 12-15 minutes longer, or until golden.

Sprinkle milk chocolate chips evenly over top. Bake 2 minutes more, or until chocolate is shiny and soft.
Remove from oven. Spread chocolate evenly.

Sprinkle Skor Toffee Bits on top, pressing lightly into chocolate.

Cool completely. If necessary, chill just to set chocolate before cutting into bars.
Store at room temperature.

Freezes well

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bacon Jack Chicken Sandwich

Easy and tasty

8 slices bacon
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons poultry season ---(equal amounts of sage, thyme and oregano)
4 slices pepperjack cheese
4 hamburger buns,
4 leaves of lettuce
4 slices tomato
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
12 slices dill pickle

1.Preheat a grill for medium heat.
2.While the grill preheats, place the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan, and drain on paper towels.
3.Rub the poultry seasoning onto the chicken pieces, and place them on the grill. Cook for about 6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink in the center. Top each piece of chicken with 2 slices of bacon and 1 slice of pepperjack cheese. Grill for 2 to 3 more minutes to melt the cheese.
4.Place each piece of chicken on a bun, and top with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle slices before serving with your favorite condiments.

Classic Alfredo Sauce

Cream, butter, garlic, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese make a classic Alfredo sauce for a variety of dishes."

1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) I often use fresh basil instead

1.Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through. 

Stir in herbs and toss with 1lb cooked fettuccine.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Home made stocks

There is nothing better when making soup, than using stock you made yourself!

Step one:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

I use a large roasting pan and put in the specific beef or chicken. depending on what type of stock I am making. My roasting pan is 12x18 inches and 3 inches deep.

I put in 2 large carrots scrubbed (not peeled) cut in half and 3 celery stalks cut in half. I quarter 2 large onions. I like to leave on the skin as it adds colour. I wash the onion as well as I can but if the skin looks stained then I would peel the onion. I add about 5 cloves of garlic. again I don't peel just rinse under the tap. Then drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over all the vegetables and bones. Do not cover. Put the pan in the oven for about 45 -60 minutes or till the vegetables have softened and the bones look browned. This will be more obvious with the chicken parts than the beef bones as the chicken parts have more fat etc to turn golden.

Step 2:

Remove pan from oven and place on stove top. Mine covers two burners. Put as much water in as you can and not have it spill over. I use about 16 cups. So make sure you have a large roasting pan. Add a couple of bay leaves and a huge pinch of thyme, and about 10 whole pepper corns Bring to a slow boil and simmer it for 60 to 75 minutes or till you can see that some of the liquid has evaporated. Remember do not cover or it will not evaporate.

Step three:

This is the messy part:o). With a slotted spoon remove the bones and vegetables. I like to put a colander in a large bowl and put the bones, vegetables into there. That way I can keep the liquid that drips off them. Once you have removed most of the stuff I then dump them into a garbage bag to get them out of the way for the stock. I lift the cooled pan and pour the stock though a strainer into a large HUGE measuring cup. (I use an 8 cup and a 4 cup but I sometimes need to use two 8 cup ones)Today I got 12 cups of liquid and had to use two measuring cups . I usually strain it a couple of times in a very small sieve type strainer to get rid of all the little bits of stuff.

Put it in the fridge to cool and clean up the mess that you will have made. Remember it's still worth it.

Step four:

Later that day, or the next day with a spoon, remove the fat that will have risen to the top and hardened and throw it away. I then figure out what I am using it for. My favourite winter soup recipes all use about 4-6 cups of chicken stock so I would put 4 cups into two Tupperware containers and then put the rest into ice cube trays that I bought just for stock. When they are frozen I would push them out into a zip bag and use for stir fry's and sautéing vegetables like I me mentioned earlier. Remember to write with a sharpie pen what's in it as the stocks can look alike. I use chicken stock more but always have beef ready in the freezer for shepherds pie or making a roast etc.

It is important to remember that you put no salt in this. You will need to add salt in order for it to be tasty the key is that you get to decide how much and not someone else. That is the attraction for me. My family have been eating a low sodium diet now for a couple of years so they have gotten used to less salt. Just add a bit as you cook and then you will know if you need more. Remember that even if you add 2 teaspoons to a four cup amount of stock that is still about a third of what would be in store bought stock. The roasting of the bones adds a great colour and intensify the flavour.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes from the Microwave

These golden brown, creamy potatoes are quick and easy. Making the cream sauce before assembly ensures a smooth scallop.
Recipe from a very old Canadian living gas station magazine

3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
4 medium Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated  Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese or cheddar if you prefer
sprinkle paprika

In an 8 cup (2 L) microwavable dish, melt butter at HIGH for 30- 50 seconds; whisk in flour, salt and pepper and dried mustard powder. 

Stir in milk

Then microwave uncovered at HIGH for 3-5 minutes, until thickened, stirring twice. 

Stir in parmesan cheese.

In an 8 cup (2 L) microwavable casserole layer a bit of sauce, potatoes, onion and sauce, making 3 layers of sauce and 2 layers of potatoes.
 Ending with generous amount of sauce. 

Cover and microwave at HIGH for 18-22 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

Sprinkle grated cheese onto top and broil on high 3-5 minutes, or till lightly browned.
Sprinkle with a little bit of paprika if desired. (about 1/8th teaspoon)

Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup butter, melted....just do it:)
2 cups home-made or good quality store bought pasta sauce (PC Tomato Basil is nice)
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese....(sold in a ball and is soft)

Between sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken with flat side of meat pounder or with rolling pin until 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Cut lengthwise on diagonal into 4- x 1-1/2-inch (10 x 4 cm) strips. In bowl, whisk eggs. In shallow bowl, combine cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and paprika.

One at a time, dip chicken strips into eggs, letting any excess drip back into bowl. Dredge in cheese mixture, coating generously and pressing to adhere. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate, layered between waxed paper, in airtight container for up to 24 hours. Or freeze for up to 2 weeks; bake frozen, adding 5 minutes to baking time.)

Arrange on greased baking sheets; drizzle with butter. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven until golden, crispy and no longer pink inside, about 15 minutes.

While chicken is baking, warm the sauce gently and slice the cheese.

Place warmed sauce in casserole dish ( reserve a few spoonfuls to place on top of chicken) and then set cooked chicken on top. Add the reserved sauce and then the cheese slices. Broil till the cheese is just melted.....only a few minutes.
I serve with Fettuccine Alfredo

Baked Potato Soup

Servings: 4

3 bacon strips, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, cooked, cooled slightly, peeled and cubed
1 cup half-and-half cream
18th teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce OR 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Shredded Cheddar cheese/chopped green onion/the cooked bacon
Minced fresh parsley

1.In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and then if you wish use an immersion blender to puree do so now, then add cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil.
Serve and garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tacos in Pasta Shells

"Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with a rich, spicy blend of cooked ground beef, cream cheese, and taco seasonings are baked with taco sauce and topped with cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream. "

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
4 oz plain cream cheese
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (recipe below)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
18 jumbo pasta shells
2 cups taco sauce ( I used a mixture of taco sauce and salsa)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large skillet, brown beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add cream cheese and taco seasoning and half of the green onion; mix and simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. 
Allow shells to cool on wax paper or foil. 
Keep them from touching each other or they'll stick together

Fill shells with beef mixture and arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish; pour taco sauce over shells. 

Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove dish from oven and top with Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onion and tortilla chips.
Then return dish to oven to cook for 15 minutes more.

Top with sour cream and serve.

Taco Seasoning Mix

Combine in air tight jar or container:

2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon KOSHER salt

(Use 3 Tablespoons of mix with 1 cup of water and 1 pound of ground beef)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tortellini in Creamy Rosé Sauce

2 spicy Italian sausages
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, use home made-even better
1 cup pasta sauce
1/2 cup water (I use white wine)
1 pkg. (350 g) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1/2 cup (1/2 of 250-g tub) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan Cheese

Remove ground sausage meat from casing and saute in large skillet on medium heat. Breaking it up with fork or spoon. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 15 min. or until sausage is fully cooked and onions are tender. Stir in broth, pasta sauce and water. Bring to boil.

Add pasta; stir. Cover; cook on medium heat 5 min., stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese spread; cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until completely melted. Cover; cook 5 min. or until pasta is tender; stirring occasionally.

Stir in spinach; cook, covered, 1 min. or just until wilted. Remove from heat; top with Parmesan.

Mississippi Mud Pie

1- 100g pkg of ground almonds
1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter softened
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
1 c. icing sugar
1 container of cool whip, divided.
1 instant choc. pudding
1 instant vanilla pudding
3 c. milk

Heat oven to 350`. Mix ground almond and flour with 1/2 cup of butter. Press into 9x13" pan. Bake crust for 25 min. Let cool.

Mix 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese with 1 cup of icing sugar. Spread over crust. Next spread half of the container of cool whip over the cream cheese.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bacon Topped Meat-loaf

Yields: 8 servings

1/2 cup chili sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
4-6 bacon strips

1. In a bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with bacon.
2. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 70-80 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Drain; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Monday, May 9, 2011

my "new" favourite lasagna :)

I'm so excited about this recipe for 2 reasons. 1, because it tastes amazing and 2, because I get to use my brand new kitchen aid baking set :)

1 pound hot Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine OR water :(
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup chopped FRESH basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped FRESH parsley, divided
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound FRESH mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and wine (or water). Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
To assemble, spread just enough meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish to lightly cover. Arrange 3 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with layers.. ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese slices, meat sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.