Friday, 29 July 2011

Full Of Beans

It's Friday and the long weekend is finally here! It's going to be a busy one for sure.  But before I go and start doing weekend things I just really wanted to share this green bean recipe with you guys today.  It was a really nice change up from the millions upon millions of Asparagus spears we've been eating this summer.  It makes a really nice side dish.  Hope you enjoy!

What you need:
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

    In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until beans are tender.

    Thursday, 28 July 2011

    An oldie, but a goodie!

    Well, seeing as it's Thursday and I feel like this long weekend is taking forever to get here I thought I'd let you all in on a long loved recipe to help pass the time.  This is a recipe that I've been making for years and I actually made a big batch last night to the surprise and delight of T.  for this treat you only need 4 ingredients and minimal cooking skills.

    Cornflake Peanut Butter Chews
    That's it! that's all it takes......well, you also need a bit of butter.

    Here's what you need:
    1/2 cup butter
    8 cups mini marshmallows
    2/3 cup peanut butter
    8 cups cornflakes

    Here's what you do:
    Melt the butter and the marshmallows stirring until all the lumps are gone.
    Add the peanut butter and stir until incorporated.
    Remove from heat and add the cornflakes stirring until everything is coated.
    press evenly into a square or rectangular baking dish allow to set and cut into squares


    Wednesday, 27 July 2011

    I Had No Idea!

    Cesars......(as in the drink), are Canadian!  I had no idea, am I the only one?
    I have these two friends that every time I'm over there they offer to make me a Cesar.  I usually accept.....I mean come on they're delicious! I've seen them pre mixed a the liquor store, but as is always the case they taste better when you make them yourself.  So last weekend K&M were coming over for a BBQ and I decided I'd give em a whirl.  I Wiki searched the recipe.....which is how I came to learn that this delicious vodka/tomato based drink was Canadian......from Calgary actually.

    Anywhoo, I had all the ingredients with  2 substitutions ....instead of Tabasco I had garlic Thai chili sauce and instead of Clamato juice (clam/tomato) I had only garden cocktail. I followed the recipe using my two substitutions and the result was: DISGUSTING/BLEK/NASTY
    Apparently it's the Clamato that makes the drink......So I went out and made sure to have the Clamato there in time for the BBQ and then just to be safe I had K go over all the steps as I mixed the drinks.
    This time: YUMMY!

    Here is the ingredient list as well as the directions which I have actually cut and pasted from the Wiki page.  Please take notice at the bottom of the instructions where it says: "the Clamato may not be substituted"....I swear I did not see that notation before, and it turns out it's a pretty important one!

    Commonly used ingredients
    • 6 oz. Clamato Juice
    • 1–1½ oz. Vodka
    • 2 Dashes hot sauce
    • 4 Dashes Worcestershire sauce
    • Celery salt
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • Lime wedge
    • 1 Crisp celery stalk
    PreparationRim glass first with Lime wedge and then with celery salt.
    Basic preparation of a Caesar follows the "one, two, three, four" rule. The recipe calls for 1–1½ oz of vodka, two dashes of hot sauce, three dashes of salt and pepper, four dashes of Worcestershire sauce and topped with 4–6 oz of Clamato and served with ice. The ingredients are poured into a glass rimmed with celery salt or a mixture of salt and pepper and garnished with a celery stalk and lime. The Caesar is an unusual drink in that it can be mixed in bulk and stored for a period of time before drinking.
    Though it was not one of Chell's original ingredients, Tabasco sauce is a frequent addition, as is horseradish.  Vodka is occasionally replaced with gin, tequila or rum, though the Clamato may not be substituted.[3]

    Saturday, 23 July 2011

    Friday night Thai

    I've been getting a lot of must try recipes from friends lately, which is fabulous! keep em coming guys! Anyway, most recently my friend shared this Thai Chicken with Peanut sauce with me which she got from her new Trish Magwood cookbook. (for those of you wondering Trish Magwood is a Canadian chef who had.....perhaps still has, an awesome show on the food network called Dish.)

    This recipe makes me want to buy this book!  I haven't yet, but once I do there will be a flurry of post updates let me assure like this make me want to cook.  The recipe is simple (just chopping and stirring) no crazy techniques or anything.  All ingredients can be obtained at a regular grocery store.....which is a nice perk when you are exploring different ethnic flavours and styles of cooking...... who wants to be running around all over town trying to find some obscure ingredient which you only need a teaspoon of anyway!

    1 14oz can of Coconut milk
    zest and juice of 1 lime
    4tsp fish sauce
    2tbsp crushed peanuts ( I used chunky peanut butter)
    2tsp brown sugar
    1 tsp red curry paste
    4tsp chopped fresh cilantro or basil (I used basil)
    1 green onion thinly sliced
    2 cloves of garlic minced
    salt and pepper to taste
    approximately 2lbs of skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
     Fish Sauce
     Chunky Peanut Butter
     Red Curry Paste
     Mmmmm Garlic
     All minced up!
    Fresh Basil from my Patio
     Peanut Sauce is ready and waiting!
    slicing the chicken breasts into strips

    Here's what you do:
    1.  Mix together the Coconut milk, the lime zest and juice, the fish sauce the ground peanuts (I used peanut butter you can also leave the nuts out all together if you want), the brown sugar, the curry paste, the fresh basil, the sliced onion, the minced garlic as well as season with salt and pepper to taste.  place bowl in the fridge until ready to use.  
    2.  Slice your skinless boneless chicken breasts into thick strips. 
    3.  Once the chicken is sliced thread it onto skewers (if using bamboo or other wood skewers it's a good idea to soak them overnight otherwise they'll just go up in flames on the BBQ)
    4.  Grill the chicken skewers for 5-7 minutes per side until chicken is no longer pink in centre
    5.  Plate for serving.   
    All prepped and ready for the BBQ
    Mmmm, can't you just smell the charcoal?

    I wasn't really sure how to plate this, in the end I layered the skewers over a bed of rice and drizzled the peanut sauce over top......but aesthetically, it was a miss.  don't get me wrong the taste was great!  So I ended up re plating it on to one big family style platter rice on bottom, chicken removed from skewers layed over top and the peanut sauce poured on top of that.  still not an aesthetic home run but decent enough for just T and I.
     If you give it a try let me know what you think!
    Hope you enjoyed the post!

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    Beating the Heat!

    Whoever invented the splash pad is a genius!  Wednesday H and I decided to pay Oma and Aunty L a visit.  H started his afternoon with a dip in the pool followed by some splash time at a really neat playground right near Oma's house 
     H doesn't even notice that the water is straight from the hose and therefor ficking freezing
     Timid at first but he got the hang of it.
     everyones just trying to stay cool!
    H had a blast!
    My little water baby!

    Thursday, 21 July 2011

    Potato Salad

    After my last potato salad post where I was trying to re-create the deliciousness that I had experienced in Munich. A friend sent me one of her own potato salad recipes and I decided to give it a whirl. Do you know what I love about this's so whole......all of the ingredients are real, meaning no mayo or anything!  

    Don't get me wrong I do use mayonnaise and all kinds of other condiments and sauces but I like it when I can avoid it.  I feel you are truly making something from scratch when all of your ingredients are whole real foods and it makes the final product that much more special.  And yes  I am aware that you can make things like mayo yourself from scratch (I've done this successfully once or twice before) and then insert it into your recipe, it's just not always so logistically realistic.  As much as I love to cook I don't want to be a slave to my kitchen!

    But I digress,  the recipe was a success and worth a share.

    4 potatoes boiled and sliced (sadly I did not follow the sliced instruction and instead chopped my potatoes but feel that the flavour is too delicate and was lost on my chunks of potatoes....I will definitely slice them next time) 
    4 hard boiled eggs chopped
    1 onion finely chopped and sauteed in butter
    in a small bowl mix together:
    2 tbs sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp flour
    1 tsp dry mustard
    Mix and add:
    4 tbs. cream (I used full fat whipping cream)
    3 tbs. vinegar
    Mix and add warm sliced potatoes, eggs, and Sauteed onion and mix again.

    Wednesday, 20 July 2011

    Broccoli Casserole

    Last night we were having BBQ for dinner and I decided to make broccoli casserole to go with it.  We also tried out a friends potato salad recipe but that will be for the next post. Both T and H really liked the surprise considering the amount of cheese in this recipe(cheese makes the world go round in our house)
    (the naked uncooked casserole before any cheese or paprika)

    • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    • 4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
    • 8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    • salt to taste
    • ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 pinches paprika

    Here's what you do:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, egg and onion.
    3. Place broccoli into a very large mixing bowl.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape soup-mayonnaise mixture on top of broccoli, and mix well. Sprinkle on cheese and mix well. Spread mixture into prepared baking dish, and smooth top of casserole. Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika.
    4. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour in the preheated oven


    Wednesday, 13 July 2011

    Turkey Shepard's Pie

    A couple of days ago I took a giant turkey breast out of the freezer and I had big plans for it, but as so often is the case....... life happens.  Well that turkey breast sat there for two or three days.  At the end of another busy day after opening the fridge I realized that I would have to do something with that pretty lil piece of meat or it was going to have to be tossed.  Food waste is not something we take lightly in this house and so despite the fact that cooking was the last thing I wanted to be doing at that moment I pulled out my slow cooker.  To  prep the Turkey I rubbed it down with onion powder and garlic powder and a small amount of the soup bullion mix (making sure to also rub it under the skin). I placed the large breast in the slow cooker and added just enough water to cover the bottom of dish. I removed the turkey after about 6 hours and hit up allrecipes.  I found a turkey Shepard's pie recipe that looked good and decided I'd give it a whirl. 
    This is a definite comfort food! and so Delicious!
    Here's what you need:

    • 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
    • 3/4 cup turkey gravy * I make my own from the juice released from cooking the turkey and whisk it with a tiny bit of cornstarch to thicken it*
    • 1/2 cup chopped onions
    • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
    • 2 cups prepared stuffing *you can use home made(see recipe below) or store bought* 
    • 2 cups whole kernel corn
    • 2 cups warm mashed potatoes *see recipe below*
    • Here's what you do:
      1. In a greased 2-qt. baking dish, layer the turkey, gravy, mushrooms, onions, stuffing and corn. Top with potatoes. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until edges of potatoes are browned.

      It is actually that simple!

      Mashed Potatoes
      You'll need 6 medium-large potatoes peeled and chopped.
      Throw them into a pot of salted boiling water and leave them be for about 20 minutes or until tender.
      Remove from heat and drain.
      Add 2 tbsp of butter and a 1/4-1/2 cup of milk, season with salt and cracked pepper and then mash away!
      once you have reached the consistency you like add 1 cup grated mozzarella, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3 cloves of garlic minced, and 1/4 cup of finely diced shallots stir to incorporate


      • 1 loaf sliced bread
      • 3/4 cup butter
      • 1 onion, chopped
      • 4 stalks celery, chopped
      • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • 1 cup chicken broth
      • * you can also add chopped dried cranberries if you like to give it a bit of sweetness
      • What you need to do:
      1. Let bread slices air dry for 1 to 2 hours, then cut into cubes.
      2. In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.
      3. bake in a buttered casserole dish at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes.

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    Lamb chop BBQ with the Fam!

    This past Sunday we decided to have a little family BBQ.  My Dad had suggested we do lamb, since it had been a while.....probably about a year since any of us had eaten lamb.  Dinner ended up being a group effort and it was a fun afternoon.
     Dad did the meat and the salad, I did the sides (Grilled asparagus, Zucchini squares, and Grilled/marinated Portobellos)with a little help from Lil A who came up with the Portobello recipe
     It all came together nicely and by the end of it we were all sooooooo stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

     (please see previous post for zucchini square recipe)

    (Isn't eating out side so great!)

    Grilled/Marinated Portobello Caps

    • 3 large portobello mushrooms stems removed
    • 1/2 cup canola oil
    • 1 small chopped onion
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 balsamic vinegar

    • Here's what you need to do:
      1. Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
      2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
      3. Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
      *We set up the shrooms in little tinfoil bowls and allowed some of the vinegar to drizzle over the side and then popped them on the grill as is (in their homemade little bowls) so that the balsamic on the bottom would thicken and make a nice sweet syrupy gravy.

    Squares were a hit!!!!

    (don't they look yummy!)

    This post is a continuation of Zucchinis out the Wazoo.  Last night I had the opportunity to try the Zucchini squares recipe and Mmmmmm Mmmm Mmmmm they were yummy.  A nice blend of zucchini and Parmesan cheese mixed with onion garlic and bit of parsley.  Definitely an easy recipe worth recommending.  Only thing I wasn't crazy about is that the recipe calls for Bisquick mix.........but the girl who posted the recipe said her grandmother always used to make these and because it was her grandmothers recipe she didn't want to mess with it and she was posting it as is........Fair enough......I feel family recipes need to be respected, even if they're not my family recipes :-)

    Here's what you need:

    5 eggs, lightly beaten
    ½ cup vegetable oil
    ½ cup grated Romano cheese
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
    ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
    2 cups Bisquick
    3 cups thinly sliced zucchini......I thinly sliced about 1 cup of zucchini and Grated the other 2 cups
    Here's how you do it:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
    2. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, Romano cheese, parsley, salts, oregano and garlic powder. Whisk in the onion, and then the Bisquick. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the sliced zucchini, being careful not to break up the slices. Turn the mixture into the pan and smooth the top.
    4. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool to warm room temperature before serving.
    5. *optional* I sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top of the zucchini squares and then let them cool

    For any of you wondering I got this recipe off of Food Buzz.  There are a ton of other food blogs there.  I came accross one blog called the browneyedbaker and she had posted this recipe which she had found going through her grandmothers old recipes

    I hope you enjoyed the post......stay tuned for the third zucchini recipe coming up in the next couple of days!

    Saturday, 9 July 2011

    Zucchinis out the Wazoo!

    I've been getting a lot of Zucchini in my produce deliveries lately and so yesterday I got online and found 3 recipes I want to try.
    Recipe 1. Zucchini Loaf
    Recipe 2.  Zucchini Keftedes with Feta
    Recipe 3. Zucchini Squares

    I've only done the zucchini loaf so far but it was a success I think.  it was my first time trying this recipe.....I found it on AllRecipes and I was pretty happy with it!  I only modified the recipe slightly to suit my own tastes.
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
    • 3 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups grated zucchini
    • 1 cup chopped Almonds.....or any nuts you like......or leave them out, they are completely optional.

    • Here's what you need to do:
      1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
      2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
      3. Beat eggs, oil, apple sauce, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
      4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

    The bread is nice and moist and sweet.   The flavour is a little Cinnamon heavy perhaps, but I like Cinnamon and tend to have a heavy handed with this ingredient.

    I think I'll try the Zucchini squares tonight or tomorrow! Stay tuned for more photos and the other two recipes.