Some fall yummies…

November 16, 2011

Although the sun has been shining, it is COLD outside. I’m not a huge coat wearer, I usually just slip on my vest, but lately I’ve been remembering to bring my jacket along to combat the cold. I’ve also been making lots of yummy fall recipes that will warm you to the core. (Oh and PS: most of these recipes are quite budget friendly, especially if your hubby lets you get away with serving a meatless soup for dinner!!)

Please please give one of these a try, you will not be disappointed ­čÖé

*Turkey Chili┬á– Yum, yum! I shared only a few days ago on here, but this is a reminder to go make it!!

*Creamy Cauliflower Soup:┬áOne of my favorite food blogs, Annie’s Eats, didn’t let me down with this delicious soup. Cauliflower was on sale a few weeks ago for $0.79 a head, so this was a SUPER economical dinner choice! Do NOT skip the Dijon Mustard, at first I was┬áskeptical┬ábut it is SOOO good.

*Bacon Mushroom and Brocoli Quiche – This is the most adaptable recipe EVER! Use what you have in the house, even if you just opt for cheese and bacon or ham, so good. This recipe also freezes great. I usually bake it as usual, and then freeze it, however, I’ve heard you can freeze an unbaked one as well. They reheat awesome, and are perfect for those long days with the kiddies.

*Cream of Asparagus Soup: A favourite at our house. We had it for dinner tonight, and for the first time in weeks, Lucas gobbled up dinner without any prompts. Needless to say this is a near miracle for this kid ­čÖé

*Homemade Sandwich Bread: If you are looking for a go-to bread recipe, look no more, this is the ONE! The Hungry Mouse gives a fantastic step by step blog post on how to make this bread that it is almost error-proof. I’ve been meaning to substitute whole wheat flour for at least half of the white flour, but I haven’t been willing to sacrifice that oh so yummy slice of white bread fresh from the oven. I’ll let you know how it fares..

*Cheddar Bacon Dip: Okay, okay, so this totally doesn’t fit the whole cold weather food, but this is perfect dip to have on hand while watching TV at night, or hosting friends, it’s YUMMY! My favourite thing is that basically all the ingredients are straight from what I usually have in the fridge – the best kind of recipe.

Have a good evening! The couch and my book are calling my name ­čÖé

 

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In the past few weeks, I’ve been taking Lucas and Caleb to Strong Start, an early learning program run through the public school system. They LOVE it!! Thanks to Karin for inviting me to the Aldergrove program. Since then, we found one operating in the school just down the street.

Lucas has completely warmed up to the idea of going to school, and he especially loves that Mommy gets to stay and it isn’t a drop off program. It’s the perfect way to expose the boys to structured play and a new social setting. They really have to practice following the class rules, sharing, being polite, using their manners, and sitting and listening during circle time.

The thing I love most about the program is that it’s a drop in program, meaning you come when you can. It runs Monday-Friday 8:30-11:30. It’s the perfect morning out, and when we having nothing to do, we can head over there to break up the day.┬áI definitely recommend finding one in your area!! Oh and did I mention it’s FREE!! So nice now that most activities for kids in our area require me to pay for both Lucas and Caleb!

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe, but this one was a must share! I had pinned on pinterest a couple of different chili’s recipes. I’ve been wanting to try one in the slow cooker for quite some time, and today was the perfect day. I was able to throw it in the slow cooker first thing this morning, and all day got to enjoy the yummy smell.

It’s simple, easy, and completely customizable for your likes and dislikes. I’m sad to admit my kids were huge fans. I’m not sure if they were just having an off day dinner wise, after a busy weekend with rushed dinners, or if they just weren’t loving chili. But, I know I can’t please everyone, all the time, and Harold gave it two thumbs up!!

Turkey Chili in the Slow Cooker

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, fried
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 can tomato paste
1 tbsp corn starch mixed with a bit of water
Seasoning salt or salt and pepper to taste.

Fry ground turkey. I purchased my turkey from Costco in the states, and found it nice and lean, and didn’t drain any of the liquid. Add onion, celery, tomatoes, beans, chili powder, and cumin to the crock pot. Add meat, stir.
Put on low for 8 hours.
About 1 hour before serving add the can of tomato paste, as well as the corn starch mixed with water.

Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

Baked Oven Fries

August 4, 2011

Me and my boys love fries. Any kind: from a fast food restaurant, from the freezer, in the deep fryer, in the oven. We like them any way. Lucas loves dipping them in ketchup, and Caleb loves gumming them to death. When we go out for dinner, the first thing we do is order a side of fries. This side is usually large enough to keep both boys, happily occupied while we enjoy our dinners.

Over the past year or so I have probably tried 3 or 4 different make your own fries recipe, and nothing has even come close to our favorite. This recipe proved to me that I can make fries at home, and have them taste so delicious, you can’t help but make more.

The only down falls is that I found this recipe quite tedious…it will take about an hour from start to finish, with steps to take every 10-15 minutes or so…and it’s not a great recipe for a hot summer day, because a 475 degree oven is HOT! But I promise, hunker down and make them and you will not be disappointed.

I also think the trick to these fries is to follow the instructions to a tee. And, be sure to wear an apron, or a shirt you don’t care about, I learned the hard way. When moving the fries from the bowl to the baking sheet, splatter, splatter, splatter, ergh!

Baked Oven Fries
Adapted from Annies Eats

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges (I used about 5 or 6 medium-sized potatoes and it worked perfectly)
5 tbsp. vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
┬ż tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
┬╝ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Directions:
Pre heat the oven to 475˚ F.  Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl.  Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes.  Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet.  Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this).  Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Drain the potatoes.  Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels.  Pat dry with additional towels.  Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry.  Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.  Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes.  Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer.  Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes.  Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

I have had a lot of “duds” come through my kitchen lately. Recipes that seem to hold a lot of promise, but usually don’t hold up to be tried again. However, this recipe is the exact opposite, just thinking about this recipe is making my mouth water. I have made it two times in less than a week using different meats, and both were delicious.

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Loin

1 (2 pound) boneless pork loin
1 teaspoon ground sage ***I did not use sage, I didn’t have it
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water ***I also omitted the water, both my meats were going into the slow cooker a bit frozen

Glaze
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:
Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine first two ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Stir corn starch into water and add to vinegar mixture. Add soya sauce. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

***I followed this same recipe a second time except I used Chicken Thighs. After the chicken was cooked in the slow cooker, I placed it in a baking dish and coating with glaze and popped it into a 375 degree oven. After 5 minutes, use any glaze at the bottom of the dish and scoop back onto the chicken. I like my chicken a little bit crispy and after 10 minutes or so, it was exactly that.

Go! Make it for dinner tonight! You will not be disappointed ­čÖé

I originally wanted to post this on Harold’s birthday yesterday, but planned on sharing a new recipe at the same time. I just couldn’t share until I had actually made and served this dish, and can tell you in advance it got a two thumbs up.

First off, I’m wishing my dear husband a very happy 27th birthday! He’s such a great man who blesses my life every single day. He is so loving, kind, compassionate, understanding, funny, and exceptionally helpful. I hope that he had a great day, and I’m looking forward to celebrating many more in the future.

My man, is a pasta man. He isn’t a picky eater at all, and 99% happily eats whatever I make from mac n’ cheese from a box, to gourmet pastas. When we first started dating, more often than not he ordered pasta while dining out. Since we’ve been married, he more often chooses a hamburger. I’d like to think he feels that restaurant pasta just can’t measure up to his wife’s amazing cooking!! (Haha, pat on my back!) This dish is a chart topper.

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman’s blog. I follow 10+ food blogs online and absolutely love perusing their websites and tagging recipes that I hope to try in the future. I had heard GREAT things about this blog, but had yet tried to make any of her recipes. More often than not I was missing one, two, or many of the ingredients. However, when planning Harold’s birthday meal, this was my first stop! I knew I could find something that would knock Harold’s socks off.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
  • 1 pound Fettuccine
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • ┬Ż whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • ┬Ż cups White Wine
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.

Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.

Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan.

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy!

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and chow down!
Recipe from: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/04/cajun-chicken-pasta/

This past week I experimented with a Chicken Braid. After posting a meal planning question on FB, I was introduced to them. I love finding new and creative ways to serve the same ol’ chicken and veggies. I especially loved how pretty this presented and how deliciously yummy it tasted.

As always, I almost never stick to the original recipe. I have a hard time not adding things I have in my fridge, or substituting for things I don’t have. This time was no different, although, the first go around I stuck pretty close to the recipe. This is my version, adapted from allrecipes.com

I have made this recipe twice now. The first time I followed the original recipes suggestion to use Pillsbury Crescent dough (approx $1.80 on sale at Superstore). After unrolling the dough, you needed to pinch together the perforations to make one single piece of dough. I found this really finicky after wards when trying to braid the dough, as my pinching didn’t hold. The second time around I purchased puff pastry dough (in the freezer aisle, $4.00 for two 10″ sheets), and found it way easier to work with. The end result was a much prettier looking braid and even more delicious and flaky tasting dough. Next time I’m going to give making my own dough a whirl!

Chicken and Broccoli Braid
1-2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat (***this is a great day 2 meal, use whatever leftover chicken you have from day 1)
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup diced onion
1 box puff pastry  or 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white, beaten
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F).
  2. In a large bowl, toss together chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, red bell pepper, garlic, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, dill weed, salt, and onion.
  3. Unroll puff pastry dough, and arrange flat on a medium baking sheet (***if using crescent dough – pinch together perforations to form a single sheet of dough) Using a knife, cut strips approx 1 inch apart and about an inch long in towards the center, starting on the long sides. There should be a solid strip about 3 inches wide down the center, with the cut strips forming a fringe down each side. Spread the chicken mixture along the center strip. Fold the side strips over chicken mixture, alternating strips from each side. The above recipe will make two braids.
  4. Brush braided dough with the egg white. Bake in the preheated oven 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Serves approx 5-6 adults.

The thing I love most about this recipe/concept is that it is a super flexible. You can throw in whatever you have in the house, making your own filling combination. I bet a pizza variety would be yummy with tomato sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, cheese…mmm, I think that is next on my list! I’d love to hear if you found an award-winning combination!

Enjoy!

 

Lately I love to cook once at the beginning of the week and produce several meals. It is sometimes hard to recreate dishes using similar ingredients, but this one is so simple and budget friendly, you hardly have to think!

Side note: Please keep in mind that we have 2 adults and 1 toddler eating dinner…so 1 x 2.5kg roast goes a LOOONG way. That being said, I did serve the Shepherds Pie and Beef on a Bun on the same night and fed 6 adults and 1 toddler. Hopefully that gives you an idea of how many you can expect to feed. I also served a side salad.

Meal #1: Roast
On Day 1, place roast (mine was a 2.5kg boneless beef blade roasts which were on sale this week at Superstore for $1.98lb) in slow cooker. Add about 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper, and two beef bouillon cubes. Let cook for approximately 8 hours on high. Serve for dinner with a side of yummy mashed potatoes (make sure you make extra mashed potatoes for 2nd dish), a veggie dish or a salad. Your family won’t be able to wait for dinner when they get home because the delicious aroma in your home will tantalize their taste buds.

After dinner while your kiddies or husband are doing the dishes ­čśë , cut up leftover roast and make sure you reserve all that wonderful beef juice. Just so everyone is aware, my Food Safe certificate is completely non-existent. I’m not sure what the rule is for storing/reheating meat, in this case beef. Typically my rule of thumb is approximately 3 days in the refrigerator, and I only ever reheat once (so if there are leftovers from Meal #2 or #3, I don’t keep them). Let me know if I am totally out to lunch!?!

Meal #2: Shepherd’s Pie
This is so simple you don’t need a recipe. Just eyeball it using as much meat/potato ratio that meets your fancy. Layer a 8×8 casserole dish with approx. 2 cups cut up roast and 1ish cups of reserved liquid. Top with left over mashed potatoes. Top with 1/2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. Cover and refrigerate. Ta-da…meal number 2. This was the really simple one, but also a great crowd pleaser for those kiddies who love simple food.

Set aside remaining meat and juice in a Tupperware container until you are ready to whip up Meal #3.There is probably a million different ways you can put this together. I like having dinner made well in advance of 5 o’clock, so I opted to saute and warm everything up on the stove, and then threw it in the slow cooker for the remaining 1 1/2 hr to let it continue to simmer. Do whatever works for you!

Meal #3 – Beef on a Bun
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter/margarine/oil
S&P
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 cups (approx) reserved roast (with liquid)

  1. Cut up 1 medium onion, approx 1/2 cup celery, and fry in 1 tbsp of butter, seasoning with S&P, until onions are clear, and celery nice and soft. Turn pan down to a low heat. In a small bowl mix ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, vinegar,  and Worcestershire sauce, and add to onions and celery. Heat until warm. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Add meat/liquid to the same pan you used for the onions and celery and heat until warm. (I didn’t have a lot of time to let it warm up completely in my slow cooker, so I gave it a head start on the stove). Add to slow cooker. Turn on high for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Until bubbling and nice and hot.
  3. Serve with dinner rolls.

Hopefully everything above makes sense. I didn’t really follow any recipes, so ensuring I typed out everything correctly is tough. I have checked and double checked, but if something seems wrong…let me know ­čÖé

How’s that for one day cooking…enjoy!!