Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicken Chow Mein (Jamie's Food Revolution)

I found this recipe in Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook and after the first time making it, became Randy & I's favorite recipe for chicken chow mein. It does take a bit to prep the ingredients but cooks really fast.. so it's best to have everything cut up in advance, ready to go! because you use fresh ingredients ( garlic, ginger, limes, cilantro ) the flavors are light and refreshing... I've used both spinach in it and bok choi.. both are really tasty... and you can get the baby bok choi from Superstore too.

Here is the link to the original recipe: Jamie Oliver's Chicken Chow Mein
Here is the recipe with my revisions:


Ingredients


• a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
• 2 cloves of garlic
• ½–1 fresh red chilli, to your taste
• 2 large skinless chicken breasts
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 green onions
• a small bunch of fresh cilantro
• 1 baby bok choi ( i usually use 3 baby sized ones ) or a couple handfuls of baby spinach
• 100g (2 bundles) noodles.. we use "Wu-Mu Dry Noodle" which we find at Superstore.. this probably would be good with rice noodles 
• oil
• 1 heaped teaspoon corn starch
• 1 tin of water chestnuts ( i've left these out and it still tasted great!)
• 2–3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 small lime


To prepare your stir-fry
• Put a large pan of water on to boil 
• Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic 
• Finely slice the chili 
• Slice the chicken into finger-sized strips and lightly season with salt and pepper 
• Cut the ends off your green onions and finely slice 
• Pick the cilantro leaves and put to one side, and finely chop the cilantro stalks 
• Halve the bok choi lengthways 

To cook your stir-fry
• Preheat a wok or large frying pan on a high heat and once it’s very, very hot add a good lug of oil and swirl it around 
• Stir in the chicken strips and cook for a couple of minutes, until the chicken browns slightly 
• Add the ginger, garlic, chilli, cilantro stalks, and half the green onions 
• Stir-fry for 30 seconds, keeping everything moving round the wok quickly 
• Add your noodles and bok choi to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, no longer 
• Meanwhile, add the cornstarch, water chestnuts and their water to the wok and give it another good shake to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom 
• Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce 
• Halve the lime, squeeze the juice of one half into the pan and mix well 
• Drain the noodles and bok choi in a colander over a bowl, reserving a little of the cooking water 
• Stir in the noodles and bok choi, with a little of the cooking water to loosen if necessary, and mix well 
• Have a taste and season with more soy sauce if needed

To serve your stir-fry
• Use tongs to divide everything between two bowls or plates, or to lift on to one large serving platter 
• Spoon any juices over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the spring onions and the coriander leaves 
• Serve with lime wedges


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Best Ever Meatloaf


Meatloaf night in the Pattison house tonight! For some reason I don't remember loving meatloaf when I was a kid as love as I love it now!!! A great way to use up ground beef... And this recipe has carrots & cheese in it too! This recipe came from my Grandma Lewis... And will be handed down the generations I'm sure of it as a family favorite!

Here is the recipe:

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp salt ( I never use this much... Maybe 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp pepper
3 slices bread, crumbled
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped ( I like to grate it so you don't get any chunks)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Break eggs in large mixing bowl and beat. Add milk, salt & pepper, and bread. Mix well. Add onion, carrots, cheese and beef. Mix well. Pack into loaf pan or shape into a loaf on a baking pan ( I use my pampered chef bar pan) I usually do the baking pan method as you get more crunchy outside on the meatloaf which is my favorite part!

Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp mustard.

This is the topping with the recipe BUT I find it way to sweet so I just put straight ketchup on the top of the uncooked meatloaf.

Fresh Air Flavors
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or cooked all the way through. I find it does take longer to cook... More like 1 hour and 20 mins or even 1 1/2 hours. I also double this recipe up and do 2 and put one in the freezer ( better if you do the loaf pan for the freezer) I love to have meat loaf with garlic mashed potatoes on the side and some fresh veggies... I make my garlic mashed potatoes by leaving the skins on (only the red or yellow skinned potatoes).. Boil till ready to mash.. Then drain water, add some margarine and a splash of milk and about a 1/2 Tbsp or so of "Fresh Flavors" garlic pesto Fresh Air Flavors
This Garlic Pesto is the best ingredient invented! We use it all the time.. more in the summer as that is when we have our fresh beans and zucchini. We saute the beans or sliced zucchini with a little butter and garlic pesto.. best way to eat them! There are many other ways we use it.. I'm sure I'll be posting more recipes that I use it in :)
Mash them all together and serve with meatloaf!



Oatmeal Craisin Chocolate chip Cookies


"Our freezer is out of cookies" Randy informed me last night... So I took the hint and made a double batch of his favorite to restock :) I love this recipe because it has craisin's (YUM) in them and oats which make them healthier right???

Here is the recipe (found on food.com)

Ingredients:
1 cup butter/hard margarine
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups whole oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans ( we rarely put nuts in our baking just cause then Keegan can't take them to school, so I put white chocolate chips in instead of pecans)
1 cup craisin

Directions:
1. Cream butter and sugars until creamy.
2. Add vanilla & eggs, beat well.
3. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
4. Mix well.
5. Add oats, chocolate chips, nuts if using, and craisin's.
6. Stir until well combined.
7. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes until golden brown and not too soft in the middle.
9. Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes then transfer to wire rack.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sick

Since the family has been sick we haven't been really making meals worth posting about :) just Lipton chicken noodle soup.. and toast... Randy has hardly felt like eating anything so I've decided not to take the time to cook a meal that won't get eaten!
Hoping everyone is feeling better soon so I'll be able to start posting again soon!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I made this "cake" on Friday to bring to Mom & Dad's for our little mini vacation... Ended up staying only for 2 nights before heading back home as all 3 of my boys ( daddy included!) have either a fever and/or sore throats & ears!!! The cake was delicious though... Reminded me of a coffee cake.. Perfect to have with a cup of coffee or tea :)

Here is the recipe from Cookin Up North blog:

Cake:
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla


While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

I came across this recipe on Pinterest last week and just had to add it to my meal plan for this week! First, slow cooker (love it!) and it uses chicken thighs which are just plain tasty :) it also has a fairly simple ingredient list so I already had pretty much everything on hand!

Here is the recipe from "Very Culinary" who adapted it from "Six Sister Stuff"

Ingredients:

• 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• salt and pepper
• 1 cup honey
• 1/2 cup soy sauce  (since i find that sauces are too salty for us if i use full amount of soy sauce, i did 1/4 cup soy sauce & 1/4 cup water, you might want to try low sodium soy sauce instead as well)
• 1/2 cup diced onion
• 1/4 cup ketchup
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
• 1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds
• 3 scallions, chopped ( optional )

Directions:
Lightly season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot.

In a medium bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 4 hours. If your like me and have a slow cooker that has no option for just low or high, instead low for 8 or 10 hrs and high for 4 or 6 hours, just put it on the low for 8 hours option and put another timer on for 4 hours... This is what I did and it worked!!

Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. This recipe made lots of sauce!! So if you like saucy chicken, this is the recipe for you!!!!

Cut or shred chicken into bite size pieces. Then in individual bowls, place chicken pieces over cooked rice and spoon some sauce on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

I loved this recipe and will be making it again for sure. As you will see from the picture, I served mine with quinoa instead of rice.... Delish!!! The chicken was saucy and just the right amount of heat from the red pepper flakes.




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kid's Pita Pizza

I'm just having left overs tonight (boring!) for supper but made the boys one of their favorite meals... Pita Pizza! I love this recipe cause it's easier then even the mini pizza's we used to grab in the frozen section all the time at the store and pay too much for... And with these you can add veggies into the sauce so,even though the boys think they are just having pizza, they are getting some extra good stuff in there too!!! The key to this meal to be fast and easy is to have everything made and on hand... If I have a day when I don't have much planned I will make a huge batch of this sauce and put it into 2 cup ziplock containers in the freezer. You also need to make sure you have a bag of pitas in the freezer at all times. I get the 18 pack of whole wheat pita's (Byblos Bakery) from Superstore... They are tasty and last a long time! I just take how ever many I'm going to use like a half an hour before and they are thawed by the time you need them. The last thing/things you need are toppings! My boys like just cheese ( if you know me, you'll know that Keegan, our oldest, is the pickiest eater out there!!) But if you can get some meat & more veggies on there that's awesome!!! My pizza/pasta sauce I found in "the sneaky chef" book by Missy Lapine. I usually double this recipe just cause then I don't need to make it as often :)

Here is the recipe:

Easy homemade pasta sauce:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup orange purée ( will provide recipe)
1/4 cup white purée ( will provide recipe)
1 can, about 28 oz, whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid.
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper

Place oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat. Cook onions & garlic until they are slightly translucent but not brown, stirring occasionally. Mix in orange & white purées, tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 mind until sauce is thickened. Transfer sauce to blender or food processor and purée in batches to purée sauce. Stir in salt & pepper, to taste. Use immediately or store in fridge for up to a week, or can freeze for up to 6 months.

Orange purée:
1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium to large carrots, peeled & chopped into thick slices.
3-4 Tbsp water


In a medium pot, cover carrots & sweet potatoes/yams with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until all is very tender. Drain and put into food processor with 2 Tbsp of water. Purée on high till smooth, no chunks should remain. This recipe should make about 2 cups of purée. Store in fridge for up to 3 days... Or freeze up to 6 months.


White purée:
2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
2 small to medium zucchini, peeled & roughly chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
3-4 Tbsp water, if necessary.


Place cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes until very tender. While waiting for cauliflower to steam, start to pulse the RAW zucchini with lemon juice only ( no water) drain the cooked cauliflower. Working in batches, add it to the pulsed zucchini in the bowl of the food processor with 2 Tbsp of water. Purée on high till smooth. If necessary, add the rest of the water to make a smooth purée. Makes about 2 cups of purée... Store in fridge or freeze.

So for the pizza's... Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place pita's on a baking sheet. Spread desired amount of sauce on each pizza ( some people like more then others ) and then top with whatever your kids will eat! Top with cheese ( with us the topping is just cheese!) then bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. We cut the pizza's into 4 triangles and the boys eat them up! As you can see, it is a bit of work but knowing what your kids are eating is a great thing, I think! Also, if your kids enjoy helping out... This is a great way to let them help by putting their sauce ( pre made) and toppings on their own pizzas. Randy also prefers this pizza from any we buy in the store!



Cohen Loves His Pizza!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart-Shaped Rice Crispy Treats dipped in chocolate

This is our first year having a child at school on Valentine's Day! Well, supposed to be in school... Keegan has been on antibiotics since Monday for an ear & throat infection! So the treats we made today will be a day late but I think the kids will still enjoy them :) I found this idea on a blog "Mel's kitchen cafe" and decided to give it a try.
I made my go-to rice crispy square recipe...

Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup hard margarine - microwave on high for 1 minute or till all melted
then add 32 large marshmallows or 4 cups mini marshmallows - microwave on high 1 minute or till, when mixed with spatula, marshmallows are all melted. Add 5 cups rice crispies - mix till well coated then press into a well greased 9x13 inch pan.

I then let it sit for about an hour to cool.
I then used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes in the rice crispies and put the cut out shapes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Saran wrap. Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, you will get different amounts of hearts... I got 12 hearts out of one 9x13 sized pan. I then melted chocolate wafers ( from the bulk section at superstore) in the microwave and dipped each half of the hearts into the melted chocolate. I then put them back on the lined cookie sheets and, while the chocolate was still melted, sprinkled with heart shaped sprinkles. I then cooled the hearts till the chocolate was hardened. After they were completely cold, I removed them from the sheets, put them each in a candy bag ( found at walmart) and tied the top with string.

Valentine's Day & Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Valentines Day! Hope you all had a wonderful on this day celebrating love :) Randy had the day off so made us baby back ribs for supper which were Amazing! And I made him his favorite dessert, lemon meringue pie! I found this recipe allrecipes.com, called "Grandma"s Lemon Meringue Pie" and have made it a couple times now...

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
2 lemons, juiced & zested
2 Tbsp butter
4 egg yolks, beaten

1 9 inch pie crust ( I used the pie crust recipe I posted previously on my turkey pot pie post) you do need to pre-bake the crust for this recipe

4 egg whites
6 Tbsp sugar

Directions:
1) pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
2) to make lemon filling: in a medium sauce pan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice & zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring consistently until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.
3) to make meringue: in a large glass or metal bowl ( I use my mixer) whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.
4) bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.
Serves 8




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grandma's Brown Bread

Today was a bread making day in our house. I make bread 4 loaves at a time ( that's how much dough my Cuisinart mixer can hold!) and that usually lasts our family about a week... Sometimes a week and a half... The recipe I use was passed down for generations on my Mom's side of the family. It's pretty much the only bread my boys will eat... Yes I am spoiling them :) I will have to teach their future wives how to make it! Although the ingredients are simple.. The instructions for making bread can vary as the bread does need to rise a few times and it really depends on how warm/cool the house is to how fast it will rise I find! As well humidity must play a factor too cause sometimes it takes longer/shorter in the summer then in the winter! So making bread I find is really about practice.. You get to know how it looks "right" before you punch it down and how long it takes to cook by the smell... Not the timer going off!! I'll do my best trying to explain it to you :)
Here's the recipe:

3 cups warm water ( just from the tap is fine if you drink out of the tap)
2 Tbsp yeast

1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
A dash of salt

2 cups brown flour
6 cups white flour

I use my Cuisinart mixer to do all the mixing. So first I put the beater attachment on the mixer. Then put the water & yeast in the bowl. Now it depends on the kind of yeast you use to how long it will take to "activate" usually it takes about 10 minutes.. You want to be able to smell the yeast and it look "frothy" ( maybe next time I'll take pictures of each step!) I then put the oil ( vegetable or canola, no matter) and the molasses ( i find Crosby's Fancy Molasses works the best) in with the water/yeast mixture. Mix the 2 ggs together with a fork before adding to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.. And then a dash of salt. I then turn the mixer on for like 30 seconds to get those ingredients mixed together. Then, still with the beater attachment on, add the 2 cups of brown flour to the liquid mixture and turn on the mixer to mix everything together. After this, remove the beater attachment and put on your dough hook. Then you want to
Add 3 cups of the white flour. Turn mixer and keep on till looks pretty well
Mixed ( will start to get thicker) then add the last 3 cups of white flour and turn mixer on till dough is mixed together and the dough, when being mixed, starts to come off the side of the bowl... You don't want it to be too runny but not too much flour too. I find 6 cups of white flour is usually just the right amount. Once dough is mixed, remove from the mixer bowl into a much bigger bowl. Make sure you put a little oil in the bottom of the bowl use your hands to spread it around the bowl so it won't stick. I use a huge stainless steel bowl my mom passed down to me. This will be the bowl your bread will rise in. I kind of pat it into a round shape then use 2 pieces of Saran wrap to lightly cover the dough so it won't dry out ( make sure no dough is exposed.) now this is the tricky part. Let the dough rise to like double it's size. This could take 1/2 hour, sometimes more... I usually make bread on a day I don't need to go anywhere else. But don't stand over it and watch it... Sometimes I find the times that I forget about it rising for like an hour is the times the bread turns out the best!! So let it rise to double size, punch down ( remove Saran & put oil on hands before punching ) then let rise, punch down, then let rise one more time ( after punching down each time, put Saran back on) After the 3rd rise, get your loaf pans out. I'd give them a spray if you haven't used them before. I use 4 loaf pans only for bread so they don't get ruined by meatloaf or anything else. Using a large knife, cut a chunk of dough off the big dough and form into a ball with your hands. If your picky you could weigh each ball to make sure they all are the same... I don't and they usually are not all the same size but thats just more homemade style :) so put 2 balls of dough in each loaf pan beside each other length ways. Now put a tea towl over the loaves of dough and let rise to double their size one last time. Once they are doubled in size, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the tea towel and place all 4 loaf pans in the oven. I don't know the exact amount of time they bake for.... Once they start smelling like bread ( it fills the house.., the smell of fresh bread!) and if you think they are done just give them a little tap on top and they should sound hollow. Remove from oven and let sit in pans for about a minute, then tap out onto wire racks to cool completely. You will be tempted to cut and eat it right away but the bread will just collapse on you do wait for 1/2 hour before cutting. To store in freezer I get Glad Storage bags, large 3.79L size with twist ties... They come in 50 bags/box. I haven't changed anything as far as adding more brown flour or using more grains in this recipe ... If you do please let me know what you did and how it turned out!

6 week Bran Muffins

This is the best recipe for bran muffins by far that I have come across! I like bran muffins.... No more then a day old though! I love FRESH bran muffins!! Fresh out of the oven, when they are still hot enough for the margarine to melt on them... Oh YUM!!! My Mom had made these for us growing up and until recently I had forgotten about th... It makes a huge batch which you keep in the fridge and then when you want a fresh batch of muffins all you do is pre-heat the oven, scoop the batter into the muffin tin and cook! Easy as that!!! And lots of bran in it too so good for you!!! I found this exact recipe online and they had gotten it from the Companies Coming Muffins cookbook.

The Recipe:

4 cups Bran flake cereal
2 cups All bran cereal
2 cups Boiling water

1 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
4 cups (1 litre) buttermilk
1/4 cup molasses

5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups raisins - depending on how many raisins you like in your muffins.. I put in 1 1/2 cups usually

In large bowl combine cereals and boiling water. Let stand.
In mixing bowl cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Mix in buttermilk. Add molasses. Stir in cereal mixture.

In another bowl combine flour, soda baking powder, salt and raisins. Mix thoroughly. Add to batter. Stir just to combine. Store in refrigerator. I use 4L ice cream pail.., if you make 6 muffins right away then put the rest of the batter in the pail it will just all fit in there! It will keep for six weeks (but won't last that long!) As required, fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan after 5 minutes. ( i usually put a sticky note on the pail with the oven temperature on it and how long to bake for.. Then you don't have to dig out the recipe every time you want to bake some!)
Variation: Brans may be switched to use 2 cups bran flakes and 4 cups all bran cereal. Or you may use natural bran to replace to cereal.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beef & Noodle Casserole

I found this recipe on an easy meal planning site (http://www.easy-meal-planning.com/beef-and-noodle-casserole.html) and after making it the first time put it on our favorite meal list! We are not generally a big casserole loving family but I think because the meat sauce is cooked in the oven for an hour and a half it just makes it taste amazing!!! So yes, it's not a last minute meal to make BUT it makes enough to make 2 casserole dishes full so good for at least 2 meals... I make one for the day of and the other throw in the freezer for a night I don't feel like cooking :)

Here's the recipe:

2 lb ground beef
2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh oregano ( used ground and still worked... Also added a little Epicure Bolonese Sauce mix )
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper
8 oz (1 cup) raw pasta shells - I use Healthy Harvest Multigrain "fusilli" noodles.
3 cups grated cheese - used cheddar & fresh parmesan mixture tonight!

You will need a casserole dish with a lid. It is worth using one that can be used on the stove top as well as the oven to save on washing-up.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C.
Brown the ground beef in 4 - 5 batches. If you attempt to brown it all at once, you will land up with a gray, watery mass. Keep on one side.
Brown the onions until they are a deep caramel color. This helps to give the dish flavor.
Add the garlic, carrots and celery. Continue frying for 2 - 3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
Add the tinned tomatoes and break them up. Add the oregano and beef stock.
Finally add back the ground beef. Place a lid on the casserole dish and bake for about 1 - 1½ hours until the mince is soft and the sauce is rich. Season with salt and pepper.
While the ground beef is baking, cook the pasta. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until it is 'al dente'. Drain and keep aside.
To assemble: add the pasta to the ground beef. Spoon into ovenproof dishes - either one large one (for about 8 people) or 2 smaller ones (each feeding 4 people).
Sprinkle over the cheese. Return to the oven and bake for about ½ hour until the cheese has melted. I only put the cheese on the casserole that I'm going to eat that night... The one that will go into the freezer I wait till I'm going to reheat it before putting the cheese on the top.



So this recipe actually makes 2 of these casserole sized dishes

Pancakes

Keegan requested pancakes for lunch today... So I made up a batch! I got this recipe from my grade 8 cooking teacher... Easiest one I've made and tastes so good! I'm sure I could find one that is a bit healthier but I love this one! One thing I do is if we go camping ( and when I say camping I mean real, camping in a tent, packing all the food in a cooler camping) I mix the dry ingredients together in a container, I mix the wet ingredients together and then when we want pancakes for breakfast... Just combine everything together and grill them up! Just as easy or easier then pancake mix... Except you know everything that I'd in them :)
Here's the recipe:
1 1/3 cup white flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Sift all dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre.

1 1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp oil
1 egg

In a small bowl, blend together these ingredients and mix well.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients all at once. Beat until smooth. Slowly hear griddle, grease if needed. Pour batter onto griddle in about 1/4 cupfulls ( this depends on what size of pancakes you want... )
Bake till the pancakes are puffed, the surface is full of bubbles and underside is golden brown. Turn and bake till the other side is brown. Remove from griddle. Serve with butter or margarine and syrup on them.
The recipe makes enough for a family of four with no leftovers... Since my boys love to eat them for snack, I usually double up the recipe. Also, if you find the batter really thick, add a little more milk and mix till you get the desired consistency.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Puffed Wheat Squares

This recipe is one of my go-to recipes that's fast & easy to make and tastes so good! There are 2 ways to make this... On the stove top or in to microwave... I prefer the microwave as its faster :) I got this recipe from my mom who got it from I don't know who... It's been passed down many years in our family. The kids love it as well as adults :)

Here is the recipe...

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 Tbsp vanilla extract
8 cups puffed wheat

Microwave directions:
Put first 4 ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and put in microwave on high for 4 minutes. While in microwave measure out puffed wheat in a large mixing bowl. When ingredients in microwave are done, take out and add vanilla.. Mix together with a whisk then pour over puffed wheat... Mix to coat all puffed wheat. Put into greased 9x13 pan. When cooled,you can cut into squares and serve.

Stove top instructions:
Combine first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan on the stove top. Cook to boil for about 2 minutes or till medium soft ball stage. Measure out puffed wheat in a large mixing bowl. When stove top ingredients are at right stage.. Add vanilla and whisk together. Pour chocolate mixture over the puffed wheat and mix well to coat all puffed wheat. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and let cool, then cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Easy Pad Thai

Tried a new recipe tonight and it was DELISH!!! Saw this on Pinterest a while ago and finally got around to making it and so glad I did... I couldn't find the wide, flat rice noodles that the recipe calls for so used these rice sticks ( in the picture) they were still good but I think I should have doubled the sauce as there was more noodles for the sauce to coat.... I'm still on the look out for the wide rice noodles it called for :) also, this recipe calls for Sriracha which we have never had in the house before.... But so glad we do now ad it is so tasty!!! Like spicy ketchup!! Here is the recipe... It's from "brownies for dinner" blog.. She has an awesome blog with step by step pictures!

Easy Pad Thai
(adapted from Everyday Food)

Serves 4

8 ounces dried, wide and flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) Sriracha (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, separated and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, light beaten (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer eggs to a plate.
Add noodles, scallion greens, and sauce to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1 minute). Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently.
Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with cilantro and peanuts.

Notes and variations:

As long as you use a gluten-free soy sauce, this is a gluten-free recipe.
Vegetarian, even. Skip the eggs for vegan.
If you’re a carnivore try this: While the noodles are soaking, cut up 1 small chicken breast (or half of one of the colossal ones) into bite sized pieces. Marinate the chicken in a little bit of soy sauce and garlic (or make a little extra of the sauce for the noodles and marinate the chicken in that). OR: use shrimp (marinate same as chicken)… heck, use both. Cook them before you add the noodles to the pan.
Leftovers: heat in the microwave or toss in a hot skillet for a minute to warm the noodles. Not as good as the first day but with a little extra lime juice, it makes a nice leftover-lunch.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Supper flop & Sugar cookies

So I tried a new recipe out tonight that I had found on Pinterest... A parmesan crusted white fish.... It was eatable but not a make again dish so am not even going to post the recipe. On a better note, we're having the valentines day party at playgroup here in town (Cohen and I go as it is in the morning) so I whipped up a batch of sugar cookies this afternoon to take... And cause you need a little icing on sugar cookies ( sugar on sugar = crazy kids) I put a little buttercream icing on them ( I put this on EVERYTHING that needs icing) and these adorable little heart sprinkles... I think they turned out great... And my two cookie testers have them two thumbs up :)

The Best Rolled
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In mixer, cream together butter & sugar till smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder & salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least 1 hour ( or overnight ) I chilled it for about 3 hours and was perfect.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4-1/2 thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6-8 minutes ( I found 6 mins was perfect) cool completely on racks.
Recipe found on allrecipes.com


Buttercream Icing

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup softened margarine or butter
3 Tbsp's cream/milk or water
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all together well... Add more liquid or icing sugar to get the consistency your looking for. I use this all the time for my cakes, cupcakes, you name it! Also good for crumb-coating a cake before putting fondant on it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Asian Short Ribs

Short ribs were another one of the types of meat I had never cooked before moving to Saskatchewan... It's also one of those meats that needs to be cooked for a very long time.... Perfect for the slow cooker! I found this recipe in a Canadian Family Magazine. I did make a few adjustments which I will note in the recipe.

Asian Short Ribs
Serves 6

3 1/2 pounds beef short ribs, cut into
4 oz portions
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp oil

3/4 cup soy sauce ( I used half this amount and substituted the rest with water as it was way too salty with the full amount. If you have reduced sodium soy sauce you might want to use the whole 3/4 cup amount, I haven't tried that before)
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, the tough outside removed, cut into thin slices ( I have never used this anytime I've made it and still tastes good!)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce

2 tsp corn starch

Directions:
1) season ribs with salt & pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a frying pan, brown the ribs in oil over medium high heat. Transfer browned ribs into your slow cooker.
2) combine the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemongrass (if using), ginger, brown sugar, water, orange juice and Hoisin sauce and pour over ribs.
3) set slow cooker to low and cook for 10 hours on low or on high for 6 hours.
4) when done, transfer ribs to a platter and keep warm. Drain fat off the cooking liquid ( I would appreciate any advice on how to do this effectively )
5) place the remaining cooking liquid in a pot. Whisk in corn starch and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened and reduced. Brush over ribs and serve.

We like to eat these with rice ( the sauce is excellent on the rice ) and a fresh green salad.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Slow cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos

Sunday's are busy for our family... Expecially today as it is Superbowl Sunday! So this morning my husband Randy ( yes, this recipe is so easy even a husband can make it) threw this in the slow cooker and by supper time came around... Supper was ready!

Here is the recipe:
1 lb pork tenderloin or chicken ( we've only used pork)
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce, or one 12 oz jar salsa (we've only used salsa)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of salt
3 cloves garlic, minced

Place pork in base of slow cooker. In a small bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients. Pour evenly over pork. Cook on low for 8 hours. When done, shred the pork using two forks, pulling against the grain of the meat. Serve in warmed tortillas with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, grated cheese and sour cream. Garnish with scallions ( I'd even put some cilantro in there too if you have some on hand :)
Recipe from: Can You Stay For Dinner
http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/03/08/slow-cooker-mexican-pulled-pork-tacos/



Friday, February 3, 2012

Beef & Guinness Stew

Before we moved to Saskatchewan I had never even heard of stew beef. Then, we bought half a cow from a farmer that Randy car pools with and got a bunch of cuts of meat that I have never cooked with.. stew beef was one of them! I have found a few recipes that we really enjoy with the stew beef now and it's one of our favorite cuts :) As long as you have a lot of time to cook the beef.. it's nice and tender and has lots of flavor. I found this recipe in one of my most used cook books, Jamie's Food Revolution.. by Jamie Oliver. It does take a long time... 3 hours to actually cook but on a cold February day outside.. there is nothing like stew simmering in the oven to warm the house up and fill the house with mouthwatering aromas! 



Here is the recipe from Jamie's Food Revolution Cookbook:

serves 4-6

2 stalks celery
2 medium onions
2 carrots ( i used the baby carrots and they worked fine.. use more then 2 though!)
olive oil
1 heaped Tbsp of all-purpose flour
1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes
salt & pepper
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 pound diced stewing beef
2 cups brown ale, Guinness or stout ( used Guinness )

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Trip the edges off your celery and roughly chop the stalks. Pell and roughly chop the onions. peel the carrots, slice lengthways, and roughly chop. put a Dutch oven on a medium heat. Put all the vegetables and bay leaves into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for about 10 minutes. add your meat and flour. pour in the Guinness and canned tomatoes. Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon or so of salt and some pepper. Bring to a boil and either simmer slowly on your cooktop or cook in the over for 3 hours ( i used the oven ) Remove the lid for the final 1/2 hour of summering or cooking and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry. When done, your meat should be tender and delicious. Remove any bay leaves and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper. I like to boil some potatoes up and spoon the stew over it then devour :) Warms you up from the inside out! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Turkey Potpie



Whenever we have turkey, wether it be for Christmas or Thanksgiving, we always have left turkey for the freezer. I found this recipe online a while ago... it's simple and easy and tastes SO GOOD! probably because it has pastry ( what pastry doesn't taste good?)  I just learned how to make my own pie pastry at Christmas time.. I had no luck before.. it would always fall apart on me! Then my husband got me a Cuisinart Food Processor for Christmas and it made it so much easier!
Here is the recipe I use for my pie crust ( from the Cuisinart Recipe booklet that came with the processor)

Basic Flaky Pastry Dough: ( this is the 2 crust pie recipe )
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
16 Tbsp ( 1 cup ) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, well chilled
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, well chilled
5 to 8 Tbsp ice water

Approximate prep time: 10 minutes plus 90 minutes resting time
An added step I do is chill the whole food processor before starting in the fridge or outside if it is winter :)
Insert the large metal chopping blade into the large work bowl of the food processor. add the flour, salt and baking powder and process for 10 seconds to sift. add the well chilled butter & shortening. use short, quick pulses until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal and no pieces of butter larger then a pea remain visible, 15-20 pulses. sprinkle half the maximum ice water on the flour and butter mixture, then pulse 5-6 times on the dough setting. the dough will be crumbly, but should begin to hold together when a small amount is picked up and pressed together. add more water, a teaspoon at a time with 2-3 pulses on the dough speed setting after each addition, adding just enough water for the dough to hold together easily when pressed into a ball. do not allow the doug to form a ball in the food processor! add the liquid sparingly so the dough is not sticky. do not over process or the pastry will become tough.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Press together into a ball, then flatten into 2 disks about 6 inches in diameter. wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing. the dough will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days, or may be frozen ( double wrapped ) in the freezer for up to a month; just thaw at room temperature for an hour before using. Use as directed in the recipe.
To bake the pastry blind, roll out pastry 1/8 inch thick to fit pan; crimp and seal edges. prick bottom all over with a fork. chill for 30 minutes. preheat oven to 400 degrees F. bake for 15 minutes.

To make the turkey pie I did no pre-bake the bottom.. just baked it with the filling in :)

So to make the Turkey potpie:

1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups cubed cooked turkey ( i love the dark meat in this )
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 ( 10.75 oz ) can condensed golden mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup frozen cup green beans ( sometimes i will use mixed frozen veggies if i don't just have beans)
1 pastry for double-crust pie ( 9 inches)
1 Tbsp milk

In a skillet, saute carrots, onion, celery, thyme and pepper in butter until vegetables are crisp-tender. in a large plastic bag, combine turkey and flour, shake to coat. add turkey, soup, and beans ( or frozen veggies ) to the vegetable mixture; mix well. Line a 9-inch pie plate with bottom crust. add turkey mixture. roll our remaining pastry to fit top of pie; seal and flute edges. cut slits in pastry top. brush with milk. cover edges loosely with foil. bake at 350 degrees F for 55-65 minutes or until golden brown. serve hot :)




Coconut Chicken Curry Soup


My cousin Jocelyn recommended a blog called
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/
and as I was looking through the recipe index on the site I found this Coconut Chicken Curry Soup....and knew I HAD to try it! We are big curry fan's ( my husband and I ) so any chance I have to try a new curry recipe., I'm right on it :) I always keep coconut milk on hand as it is used in a lot of Indian recipes...

Here is the recipe:
serves: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, (about 3), cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14-ounces) unsweetened light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
¼ cup fresh cilantro
3-4 cups hot, cooked rice for serving
DIRECTIONS:
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it is hot and shimmering. Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Add them to the hot oil. Let the chicken cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and red pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions and peppers are slightly softened. The chicken and vegetables don’t have to be fully cooked as they will simmer and cook further in the next step.
Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, cayenne pepper, brown sugar and curry powder. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, gently, for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve a ladle or two of the soup over a scoop of rice and garnish with more cilantro, if desired.
The only adjustment I made was I didn't have red pepper on hand so just added some chili flakes for a little red... added a little kick too although I used a mild curry powder and next time will use maybe a medium. I would definitely make a batch of naan as well... I think that the naan would be awesome dipped in this soup! 



Here we go!

So I've been asked a couple of times to start a blog about what I'm cooking in my kitchen... so I decided to go for it! I really love trying new recipes out.. and a couple of months ago a friend introduced me to Pinterest which opened up a whole new world of recipes for me to try! We live in a small town in Saskatchewan (when I say small I mean like 1,300 people if that! ) so we don't have much of a variety of places to eat out at... there is a chinese/canadian food place ( quite popular in small town Saskatchewan we've discovered as most towns have at least one!) , a fried chicken place and a couple places that do pizza so nothing spectacular! We moved to Saskatchewan from B.C where there was a wide variety of food choices to eat out at... including Indian, Thai.. ect ect... So since we've moved to Saskatchewan I've found myself looking for recipes that are what we ate out at restaurants... I'm lucky to have a husband who doesn't mind trying new things... and one of my 2 son's at least tries my cooking :) I'm going to post a picture of my meal & the recipe ( most will not be created by me but found and made by me :) I'll also put any adjustments that I did to the recipe. My real passion in the kitchen is baking which I believe I inherited from my Grandma Lewis and my amazing mother. I don't think mom ever bought any baking when I was growing up and I'm finding I'm doing the same with my boys! My husband enjoys cooking as well.. he is the master of the BBQ! I hope my boys will grow up to enjoy cooking and baking as much as we do.. you never know.. they might be the next Jamie Oliver!  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I will have fun posting my latest meal :)

Keegan & I with our aprons on ready to do some baking!

Cohen icing some cookies... some of the icing made it to the cookies ;)