Friday, December 24, 2010

Chili Pepper Olive Oil

Looking for a few last minute Christmas gifts? Does your recipient like to eat or cook? (Who doesn't like to eat!)  If so, here is an idea that is quick, easy and sure to please!

I did a lot of reading online before attempting this and have used a number of techniques from all over to make this spicy and attractive oil.Start with a glass bottle of oil...I used olive, but you can use pretty much any cooking oil you like, just not extra virgin olive oil as the heat and chili will destroy subtle flavours. Might as well save your cash in this case and get regular olive oil.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicken with Wine and Mushrooms

A quick and easy week night dinner. Chicken breasts are sauteed in a tangy wine and butter sauce and tossed with sauteed mushrooms. Serve over mashed potatoes with the side veg of your choice!

This recipe will serve two but you can scale it to serve as many as you like!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rosemary Garlic Salted Amish Dinner Rolls

I wanted to make rolls to serve with a roast chicken dinner and was having trouble finding a recipe that didn't have milk as an ingredient (I was out!)

This recipe, described as an Amish bread recipe worked with what I had at home. I topped the rolls with rosemary butter before baking and brushed the tops with garlic butter before serving.

This recipe yields 2 loaves of bread or about 16-20 rolls depending how large you make them!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Easy Mushroom Risotto

I searched the web for an easy risotto recipe and was confronted with similar yet slightly differring instructions. The recipes called for anywhere from 6-10 cups of stock....1-2 cups of rice....cheese and vegetables in the rice, vegetables in the stock....all with different cooking times...what to do but experiment! With delicious results!

Note - Due to differing liquid amounts I found when searching for recipes online, I prepped 10 cups of liquid for 1 cup of Arborio rice.  I used nearly all 10 cups, freezing the rest for another use.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thai Coconut Curry Sole

This is a really simple, one pan recipe for a mild, thai curry sole. I obviously used filets of Sole in this recipe but you could just as easily use Tilapia, Basa or any white fish...or even shrimp!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This recipe is so easy -- you can even make it in the food processor if you have one!  Serve as-is or ice with cream cheese frosting if you wish.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicken with Orecchiette Pasta

Shaun and I saw a similar recipe on the Food Network show 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate" but made with rabbit. In ours we substituted rabbit meat for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. This recipe would work well in a slow cooker after the chicken is browned. Otherwise, let it simmer on the stove for an hour to tenderize the meat.

Date Night Cioppino

Perfect for a special occasion or any night you feel like indulging in a delicious bowl of seafood.  Simmered in a rich broth mussels, shrimp, lobster and flaking white fish are served with crisp French baguette toast for dipping.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weight Watchers Pad Thai

Using the old Weight Watchers points system this recipe has 5 points per serving. I haven't calculated the new Points Plus - but either way, this makes a light, healthy version of an old favourite.

I was originally put off by the ketchup in this recipe, if you read this and thought the same, don't be afraid to try it. It's a decent rendition and quick to come together!

Recipe originally found HERE.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Spaghetti with Lemon and Anchovy

Don't worry, this isn't fishy! The anchovy paste adds a salty richness to the pasta sauce. Anchovy paste is also a great addition to a basic fresh tomato sauce for the same reason.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicken Bacon Pizza

A different spin on pizza - quick and easy to make at home.  Start with fresh pizza dough, we buy ours pre-made locally, and a ball the size of a grapefruit covers a large cookie sheet.  heating your oven as high as it will go, in our case 500 degrees celsius, produces a crust with a crisp bottom and delicious chewy texture.  Chicken and basil are an interesting spin on a classic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shaun Cooks! Penne with Shrimp, Fresh Tomato and Chorizo

A new seller at the St. Norbert Farmers Market is making pasta this year and I found penne flavoured with keylime and chili.  I left it up to Shaun to create a sauce to marry with this unusually flavoured pasta!  He cooked fresh tomato, sweet white onion and chorizo down with a spash of white wine to create a base for shrimp.  The light sauce lets the subtly flavoured pasta shine through!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Slow Cooked Grilled Pork Tacos

It seems like were wrapping everything in tortillas lately, must be the summer weather!

We came across these pork side ribs at the store and could believe they were only a couple dollars a pack -- but I had idea what to do with them and a search of the internet was no help. I could see they were fattier than regular ribs but from what I could find on the internet said the meat was tender. I wanted to grill the ribs but knew the flair ups would be disastrous...what to do...what to do...

I decided to simmer the ribs, tenderizing the meat and rendering off some of the fat. I added some flavour to the water then when they were cooked tossed them in a simple sauce before lightly grilling the ribs to caramelize the sauce and add a smokey flavour to the meat. When they were off the grill I pulled the meat off the bone and wrapped it in soft home made flour tortillas!

As a bonus, I think the whole meal (not including pantry staples) cost about $3 per serving or less!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Catie's Citrus Chicken

 After much anticipation here it is. The recipe you've all been waiting for....CATIE'S Chicken! I'm calling this recipe Catie's Citrus Chicken because it can really adapt to whatever you have in your fridge. The original recipe calls for orange...and Catie used Mango Pineapple Veggie Juice and I used Mango Orange so feel free to experiment...any citrus based juice should work well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Four Meat Pizza - Pizza for Men!!

Using the pre made fresh pizza dough from De Luca's makes making home made pizza a cinch.  Simply spread out your dough and layer on your toppings.  We found the cutest heart-shaped salami this week and knew just what to do with it.  Pizza!  

I find heating the oven as hot as it will go yields the best results - for me that's 500 degrees (though I have my suspicions it actually gets that hot).  The pizza cooks in about 15 minutes this way with a nice chewy crust, crisp on the bottom and soft and chewy in the middle and the cheese perfectly browned on the top - nothing better!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Butter Basted Baby Carrots

I was lucky enough to find these multicoloured baby carrots at this farmers market this weekend.  Sweet and tender in purple and orange.  These are so fast and easy to cook and they require little prep - I don't even peel them before tossing them in a hot frying pan with a little butter.  No brown sugar glaze required here, these baby's are super sweet and tasty.  If you can find them, snatch them up - they are great like this, served raw in crudit├ęs or salad or simply blanched - a great early summer treat.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lemon Basil Chicken Carbonara

Last night I stuck two chicken breasts in the fridge to defrost and I figured if they will be sitting in the fridge anyway they might as well be sitting in something tasty. 

I am a huge fan of lemon...anyone who knows me also knows I will take lemon over chocolate any me crazy. I like that lemon is a food chameleon, it moves easily from vinaigrette, to marinade, to dessert and back, it's all purpose. I'm also a huge fan of basil and though not as multi-faceted as lemon is a wonderful compliment in a marinade (it's also in abundance, languishing unwatered in a pot on my balcony - begging to be picked). So with basil and lemon in hand I marinade my chicken and cook some pasta!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Twice Baked, Stuffed Baked Potatoes

What follows isn't exactly a recipe and you really don't need one to make these just start with baking, if you can avoid the 2 pound, 5" monsters Shaun picked out at the grocery store (I pause to note that I did ask him to choose the smallest potatoes he could find from the bin and this is what we got) you won't have to bake them as long as I had to...these bad boys took an hour and a half!

Stuffed with cheese, yogurt, onion and bacon - crispy skin on the outside and creamy mashed potato within, what could be better than this!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chicken Pizza with Basil and Onions

This is so fast and easy I'm not sure I'll ever order delivery again!!! I buy pizza dough by the bag at De Luca's. They sell whole wheat and regular in a bag...a dough ball is just about the size of a grapefruit and is large enough to cover a standard cookie sheet! They sell the dough for $2.50 per bag and you can toss it in the freezer for when you need it. Then, when I want to make pizza I take it out, defrost in the fridge and I'm good to go!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Peas, Pesto and Pasta

The basil plants on the balcony are going a bit crazy. I've been plucking off their flowers and have been rewarded with an abundance of leaves! I really love pesto in moderation but there is something very strong about the bottled stuff and on a bowl of pasta I find it over whelming so I thought I'd try making my own with basil, lemon, parmesan and of course garlic!

I used substantially less oil than traditional pesto in this recipe.  I have also added a few tbsp of vegetable broth to the mixture to make up for the lack of oil.  If you prefer a more traditional consistency, feel free to up to oil amount as you blend.

This recipe makes enough pesto for one generous plate of pasta for one as a meal, however, you could easily serve this as a side dish with a light protein like fish or chicken if you wish!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grilled Flank Steak Tacos with Spiced Tomato Rice, Fresh Guacamole and Home made Flour Tortillas

This meal has made the top ten best things we've eaten at home...(don't ask me what else is on that list cause I can't tell you...ha ha) but this was just divine We have never cooked a flank steak before and wasn't sure where to begin...the only thing I knew was to 'cut it across the grain' after cooking to ensure it would be tender (and tender it was!), juicy, flavourful. We could have eaten the whole thing...but restrained ourselves...just barely.

We wrapped out grilled steak in home made tortillas with spicy tomato rice and guacamole, but this steak would be great with a big heap of garlic mashed potatoes or in a sandwich too. I can just as easily see this piled on a crusty roll with provolone cheese and grilled onions!

Mom's Meatloaf and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

There is nothing like meatloaf, for some, it's the ultimate comfort food.  This is a simple, easy to put together recipe that never fails.  Serve with mashed potatoes or the Roasted Rosemary Potato recipe that accompanies.  Serve with a salad for a delicious, comforting meal.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spicy Tomato Rice

Shaun makes this spicy tomato rice as a side dish all on its own or as a filling for chicken enchilada or burritos.  It comes together quickly and is easily adapted to any seasoning you may like to use!  Shaun uses a cajun seasoning blend here but you can use any pre-mixed seasoning mix you like.

Add cooked sausage, chicken, or pork for a complete meal!

Teriyaki Grilled Steak

This is a really great, flavorful marinade that can be used on any cut of beef. It would also be wonderful on pork tenderloin or whole chicken pieces - just adjust your cooking time and marinading time accordingly.

Good Eats Soft Pretzels

This is a recipe for pretzels I first saw on Good Eats it may seem labour intensive...I mean, a fifteen minute drive to the mall yields a hot fresh pretzel as well..but hey, it's raining...and where's the fun in that!?

Historically, pretzels were immersed in a bath of water and lye and there are several recipes on line tha still call for a lye bath in the process of pretzel making.  Here, the lye bath is replaced a safer and easier baking soda boil and this step cannot be skipped.  The boiling process is what gives pretzels their distinctive chewy texture and crust.

Also, the Good Eats recipe linked calls for pretzel salt.  I could not find any where I live, and have to admit, did not look very hard, I used coarse salt in its place with excellent results on the fresh pretzels.

The pretzels are best hot and fresh as the salt has a tendency to dissolve in storage in a container (perhaps the pretzel salt doesn't do this!)- but if you are not salting them, you may have better luck with storing them.  These also freeze well and reheat in the oven or microwave for a hot, fresh pretzel whenever the craving hits.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

St. Norbert Farmers Market

Mom and I spent the morning at the farmers market in St. Norbert today. It's early in the season so not a ton of veggies to be had but plenty of lettuce, herbs, onions, fresh baby potatoes and the odd bunch of early baby beets. Not to mention the various food and craft vendors...especially the spring roll vendor...mmm...Shaun, though he can't for any money be dragged from bed to the market itself, is happy to put away a to-go container of these hot, crispy treats!

One surprize this year was the organic free range eggs, by the dozen or the flat which mom and I snapped up...splitting a flat of mixed brown and white beauties....$7.50 for 30 eggs.

I also came across something else I hadn't seen at the market before...garlic flowers...or scapes I've heard them called. These slim greens are the curling stalk and flower of the garlic plant. Generally, or so I've heard, these are removed to focus more of the garlic plants production into the the bulb below the soil. The scapes have a milk garlic flavour without the puncent heat of the bulbs. They can be served sauteed, grilled, picked...or try this recipe for pesto!

Here is a look at my farmers market treasures!



Spring Onions:


Spring Rolls!

THIS is what an egg should look like! Look at that bright yellow yolk for chickens eating what chickens are supposed to eat! ...whatever that is...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coconut Ginger Cocktail

You can make a thousand different cocktails with this base recipe. Simple Syrup. Basically you dissolve 1 part sugar into 1 part water. This process is made even easier with the introduction of heat. But, if your going to the work of making your own simple syrup why not infuse it with some flavour too! Like Ginger and Lime!
Coconut juice can be found in the Asian section if any grocery store, in this recipe I've used the sweetened variety (if the variety you choose has pulp - strain it out) but you can use unsweetened if you wish. Add the spirit of your choice to this tropical cocktail for a delicious, refreshing summer beverage!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sticky Chili Chicken

I'm on a sweet and spicy kick this week and once again I know exactly what I WANT to eat....crispy, juicy 'nuggets' of chicken tossed in a sweet, spicy sticky that the chicken is almost candied! Mmmm...

The Half Moon Drive In

It's summer and I want a hot dog!   And not just a hot dog....a Half Moon Drive In hot dog!
Shaun has been talking about the half moon for a year now ever since a trip there last summer so off we went to Lockport for a hotdog and fries.
Here we are pulling up...
Doesn't Shaun look impressed.....
How Retro is this?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Orange Ginger Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Shaun and I wanted something a little lighter for dinner today and after getting a PILE of chicken breasts from a friend that was moving (yay!) I thought a spicy chicken stir fry was in order. My chicken breasts were frozen and defrosted in the marinade which I have a feeling added a bit more liquid to the final product. If you are using fresh chicken you might need to add a bit of water or broth to the final marinade so you have more sauce for your rice.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cinnamon Sugar Butter Cookies

I wanted to make cookies and had an image in my mind of what I wanted to make....a buttery sugar cookie, rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. I found this recipe..but didn't have the required amount of brown sugar called for.

A few substitutions and we have these...

The Naked Burger

I came across an argument on Burger Lab that stated a perfectly wonderful burger could be made with nothing but good ol'beef and S&P. No egg, no crumbs, no fancy seasoning...nothing.

The article says a lot of other stuff too, great stuff, like grinding your own only do I not have a meat grinder...oh wait...yes I do...but still..who has the TIME? Well...yes, but still......there is a certain lazy factor in place I used plain old ground beef for these burgers. Please feel free to grind your own! or use supermarket fare...either way, this makes a great burger!

Start with ground beef -- no particular amount here because, well...there's no real recipe! (I think I used about a pound for three burgers).  Salt your patties liberally before grilling (and not before) for a delicious, no fuss, no muss, all around delicious burger.
One more note -- the Burger Lab also says to form your patties with a slight divot in the centre to prevent "meatball burger".  I've done this and it works every time!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

This is my favourite pie crust/pastry recipe. I use this pie crust recipe for sweet and savoury pies as well as individual chicken pocket pies!

Start this recipe by making the pastry as it needs to chill for a while. The pastry can even be made the night before and allowed to chill over night.

This pie crust is made easier by a food processor, if you don't have one it can be done by hand too with the aid of a fork or pastry cutter.

Filled with an easy chicken stew this makes a warm, comforting winter - or anytime - meal!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Black Bottom Cupcakes

It's Shaun's birthday and that means he gets to take cupcakes to work! Now, light fluffy cake and pouffy icing doesn't a manly cupcake make; and Shaun would insist it's bad enough to carry a cupcake carrier to work with him without there being frou-frou cupcakes inside....a serious insult to his manhood I'm sure.

So here we are...the manliest cupcakes in the world. Even their name screams of manliness...the Black Bottom Cupcake...sounds sinister doesn't it?

What we have is dark Devils food cake, no icing on these cupcakes...(real men don't eat icing)...and a little dollop..oh, excuse me...a robust blob(!) of cream cheese filling (cream cheese is ok apparently being the stuff many a chip-dip is made from). Just don't tell him there are mini chocolate chips mixed in...if he asks I'll tell him it's poison. Manly Poison.