Archive for the ‘Favourite Recipies’ Category

I <3 Asparagus

I like to consider myself a dedicated food lover, meaning from time to time I get on a kick with one or three different

foods and I pretty much spend the next few weeks/months feasting on the widest variety of tasty recipes also dedicated to my foods of choice.

I am currently on such a kick…….an Asparagus kick at the moment. So in honour of this amazing vegetable, and all the beautiful things that you can do with it, I have created a Pinterest board dedicated to my love of asparagus.

So hop on over to my Pinterest I ❤ Asparagus Board and check out all the great Asparagus recipes like:

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks 

or

Roasted Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

And if you are not totally turned off of my passionate love for this beautiful green veggie,  pop back on tomorrow to find out my other favourite food of the moment and I’ll let you know the amazing recipe I’m trying tonight to combine two seemingly unrelated foods…….Bon appétit

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All You Need Is Love…..And Chocolate

The other day, one of the guys I worked with, asked if I knew of a good bakery. My answer was, of course, “The bakery of Karen!” So I pulled out my favorite chocolate cake recipe and went to work, hoping he would opt for my home made delight.

When we moved into my GodParents house last October, one of the things I inherited was a massive pile of cool books. I tend to gravitate to church or school cook books, because they are filled with amazing ‘tried and tested’ recipes.

Imagine my surprise when my godmother picked up the cook book only to exclaim, “that’s my mom’s recipe!” since then I’ve kept this recipe close to my heart as I’ve never come close to a chocolate cake quite as good as this.

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While dinner was cooking, I threw the batter together and made not only this individual sized master piece, but also copious amounts of mini cupcakes………another house hold favorite.
I got up at the crack of dawn to try my hand at decorating, only to realize a few baking truths:
1) Unless you have a very stiff plastic bag, it’s best to have actual cake decorating tools. My first few attempts proves just how much I needed the metal decorating tips. In the end I opted for a more simplistic approach, which turned out to be very pretty.
2) When the icing recipe said use a paste food coloring……and they knew what they were talking about. My icing ended up a little more runny than I has hoped for, making decorating that much more difficult.
3) My pink icing picked up a few of the crumbs from where I cut the cake to level it out, although its less than perfect, it gave the icing a strawberry look which I like quite a bit.
I ended up with a cake I seriously want to keep….and eat! Maybe if I’m lucky he’ll opt for a bakery cake!

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The Search For Allergy Friendly Foods

Over the course of the past few months, my boyfriend and I have been weeding out foods that aren’t working for us. We both seem to have food allergies, and without going and getting tested for the whole kit and caboodle, we’ve simply kept track of what we eat and how we feel afterwards.

We’ve narrowed out the following foods, much to my chagrin:

  • Beef
  • Processed ham, possibly all pork
  • Cheese
  • Pea’s (Ask my mother, I’ve been “claiming” to be allergic to pea’s since I visited my grandmother at 6 years old)

While this may not seem to be a lot, it was still a bit of a lifestyle change as beef and pork are two of the cheaper meats, and the ones I grew up with as a child. Almost every year, my family would purchase a quarter of a cow, and we would receive a large package of a variety of cuts of meat. This was common for our area, as in the heart of farm country; butchers featured fantastic prices on beef due to its abundance.

So, as much as I love the Better Homes and Garden’s Budget Cook Book, I was running out of recipes for Chicken and Fish, and decided to branch out. I picked up the Cheap. Fast. Good! Cook book by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.

This book has a ton of great tips and recipes, my next meal plan features all of their recipes and although we haven’t had many yet, what I have tried is quite tasty.

The beauty of No-Recipe Recipies

Nothing is more chaotic than real life, take mine for instance. Starting a small business is crazy, so much of your time is eaten up by one aspect of the business or another; while I’m not complaining (having work is better than no work), I’ve had to rework my life once more.

The key for me is flexibility, yes some days I want to get creative and build beautiful, tasty meals from one of my cook books, however the reality is that sometimes I don’t have the time to think that far ahead. In times such as this, I fall back on the no-recipe recipies, to make fast, affordable meals that don’t stress me out.

Last night while battling the computer gods, I decided on grilled chicken ceasar sandwiches. By grilling the SuperStore no-name Chicken breasts on my new grill, and adding cesar dressing, parmesan and grilled onions with a side of asparagus cooked in olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan, I was able to eat a tasty, some what healthy meal in under 30 minutes.

If anything, not having a recipe inspires me to be creative. So the next time you’re strapped for time and don’t know what to cook, open up your pantry and experiment with what you have inside. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or time consuming, you just have to use your imagination.

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Despite what you might think, I have not dropped off the face of the earth…..I have however spent a great weekend with my sister Hope, who after being discouraged from dying the stuffing blue, was a fantastic cooks assistant.

I’m sure that you will remember my very awesome $250-spent-at-Superstore turkey, well this 13lb baby was the first turkey cooked in my own home. I was very excited by this, even though the majority of people didn’t understand because I have done dinners like this before; however never with only my limited cookware and without a guru to see me through it.

It was however an unmitigated success, I was thrilled. Although we didn’t have a camera on hand, which really upset me, it went something like this.

Hope made the stuffing, sans blue dye. Seasoned with sage, thyme, marjoram and rosemary, we threw in the standard of onions, some red pepper finely chopped and green onions for colour.

The Turkey cooked for 4.5 hours at 350 and was seasoned with sage, thyme and rosemary. The rosemary for me was quite a change, it gave both the bird and the stuffing an amazing smell and of course, it is for remembrance, which for Thanksgiving, seemed appropriate.

To go with all of this we opted for mashed potatoes with Classico’s Alfredo Sauce, which were phenomenal. Candied Yams and california veggies with shredded cheese. I thought this would be more health conscious than cheese sauce. And gravy of course.

The candied yams were really easy, boil your yams for 15-20 minutes, after cutting them of course. In a sauce pan boil 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 brown sugar for 3 minutes. Drain and place yams in baking dish, add sauce and bake for 1/2 hour. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Dinner was a success, the turkey was cooked, I only burned myself once and desert was a hit. The pumpkin pie recipe was pretty simple, a can of evaporated milk, 1 cup pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and garlic, baked at 425 for 15 minutes and then at 350 for 45 minutes. The strawberry jello pie with graham cracker crust and whipping cream was a big hit too.

Whipping cream is one of those things we all seem to buy in those pre-whipped cans, myself however I prefer to opt for the un-whipped carton of whipping cream and whip it myself. Just add a bit of sugar and pull out your hand-held mixer…you will save money and have a much tastier alternative.

All in all dinner went off without a hitch, we had enough to feed all 7 attendees, with enough left overs for me to attempt turkey soup.

 

Wish me luck.

 

Those who can’t do….get take out

So, I am bad for getting consumed in one aspect of my life and not focusing on all of the others. It’s times like this I find we eat out, or badly more often….of course this is usually the time we can least afford it. I know there are things I can do to make dinner easier, but that usually involves an initial sacrifice to the Time Gods, which easily enables me to procrastinate.

However, today I took the time to make that sacrifice, and I’m sure tomorrow I will be grateful.

On today’s menu was Chicken Alfredo Pot Pie on page 200. I’ve now made this pie twice, once right after my last post, and then again today. Both times I doubled the recipe prepared to make two pies. However I realized that the Pillsbury pie crust I purchased may say 2, however that means the bottom and top of one pie.

Having the bottom and top on this particular pie makes it a breeze to put onto plates. Using the ready-made pastry is easy and stress free, which is nice because I’m usually so worked up by the prospect of overworking the dough, that I overwork the dough.

I opted for the Classico Roasted Red pepper Alfredo, much to my families delight, it was a bold flavour that worked well with the Sage. However I did add the McCormick’s garlic and herb seasoning to the Chicken as it was cooking. The only other change that I made was to add fresh garlic and diced onions to the chicken as it was cooking. Personally, if I have onions, I through them in.

The end result was a hearty, veggie filled pie that we all loved. Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower were a nice change from the standard meat pie veggies like peas and corn. The pie took all of 20 minutes to make and 12 minutes to cook, couple this with an extra for the freezer, or my parents and you have my new favourite save-time-during-the-week-dinner.

So for all of you busy ladies and gents out there who greet hump-day with a bag of McDonald’s, try putting this gem in your freezer and let me know how it works for you!

**Note, believe it or not, I did take photos…..however I must remember to delete old photo’s off or it won’t save the ones I take…(Slaps forehead with the palm of her hand)**

A little spice making pork oh-so nice

Tex-Mex Pork and Corn Soup

There is something therapeutic in cooking for me. Perhaps its the 1950’s housewife in me, or just my overwhelming urge to feed people. Saturday was no different for me. This is one of my big cooking days, although it was not as big as others, it was quite productive and satisfying in the end.

On the table for this night was the Tex-Mex Pork and Corn Soup found on page . I really enjoyed this soup, not only eating it, but learning to make it. Although, as would be expected I changed it little, it was fun, easy and a new way to serve up pork. The more that I try to steer away from red meat’s, I find myself grateful for soups that allow me to prepare for the week ahead and it’s lunches.

To accompany our soup, I made one of my all time favourites from childhood, Corn Meal Muffins. I pulled a recipe off the internet, however I was not happy with it. So I will not share it with you today and while I continue looking for one that I like, please feel free to send me your recipes, should you wish to share.

Now the recipe called for Pork Tenderloin, however I’m sure it’s no surprise by now that I bought a pork roast that fit into my budget. This took longer to cut up, as there was more fat than would be on tenderloin (I believe it’s said to be the leanest cut of pork), however it really paid off. I managed to put aside the fatty bits to spice up my dog’s dinner for a few days, and the pork pieces were moist and lovely.

While the recipe didn’t call for any spices on the meat, which you cook up first, I chose to add a little of the No-salt McCormick Garlic and Herb Seasoning that I have as a staple in my kitchen. Then once those were cooked, I took the onion, corn (they said frozen, I used a can) , added frozen carrots that were nearing freezer burn, and tossed them together with two cloves of garlic diced. The smell was heavenly.

The recipe called for 14 oz of chicken broth. I had one of those tetra packs of Campbell chicken broth so I poured that and one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with spices together in a pot. The recipe only calls for a tomato or two, however I thought this could help me stretch a meal that served 5 into at least 8, and I seem to have succeeded.

In order to keep the Tex-Mex feel and not end up with a tomato soup, I added double the amount of salsa, and twice as much Cilantro. The end result was a rich, full-bodied soup that was filling, colourful and a perfect complement to the corn meal muffins.

****Tip of the day: Did you know that Coriander and Cilantro are the same plant??? I didn’t, my cooking Guru informed me yesterday that Cilantro is the name for the leaves of the Coriander plant, and we use the seeds to make Coriander spice.****