Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crock pot Tuscan Pasta

Since I haven't been feeling too well and Queenie has been more than a handful lately, I've been using my crock pot more often. I'd say about 3 yrs back, I received a file full of crock pot recipes from one of our Cooking for Your Family members. Now and then I browse it, to see if anything catches my eye. This pasta recipe did, since I had a ton of cooked spaghetti in the fridge, that I desperately needed to use up. Plus it uses ingredients that I always have on hand. I made a few changes, to accommodate my ingredients. I used skinless bone-in chicken breast ( straight from the freezer), red pepper (instead of green) and fresh mushrooms (instead of canned). Since my spaghetti was already cooked, I omitted the water and threw the noddles in about 5 minutes before serving, to heat them through. It turned out perfectly! I really enjoyed the creaminess of the beans, with the tart sauce. The kids finished everything on their plates, so that is always a successful meal in this house, LOL.


Crockpot Tuscan Pasta

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast -- cut into 1" pieces
15 ounces red kidney beans, canned -- rinsed and drained
15 ounces tomato sauce
29 ounces Italian-style tomatoes – stewed
2 - 14 1/2 ounce cans
4 1/2 ounces mushrooms, canned - drained
1 medium green bell pepper – chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
6 ounces spaghetti -- thin, uncooked, broken into halves

Place all ingredients except spaghetti in crockpot. Cover and cook on low 4 hours or untilvegetables are tender. Turn to high. Stir in spaghetti; cover. Stir again after 10 minutes. Coverand cook 45 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

OK, so technically it's Tuesday, so sue me, LOL. We had a very busy and exciting weekend, with Mr.B celebrating his 5th Birthday, on Saturday. We didn't do much, due to me not feeling well and Hubby's hectic work schedule. Regardless, Mr.B enjoyed his lunch with Gramma and his Aunt Shannon. Our house is now over run with Star Wars toys, but it's all good. This week proves to be a busy one as well, with my mother in law still here, the kid's check ups and Hubby's birthday on Wed. Our good friend is coming to help us celebrate, and is bringing a cheese cake, so I get out of cake duty, LOL. I'll still be making the Colossal Candied Cookie Cake, since the kids do not like cheese cake. So here is our menu for the week. Hopefully I don't run out of steam by Thursday.....


Monday- Hubby's Chicken and Dumplings
Tuesday- Ham, scalloped potatoes, broccoli and homemade rolls
Wednesday- White Pizza, Cheese Pizza and tossed salad

rest of the week in no order

  • pasta fagioli with fresh bread
  • Italian Chicken, in the crock with angel hair pasta
  • Leftovers

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Creamy Corn Chowder

I'm always on the lookout for new soup or stew recipes. I just love them. So I was delighted to find a whole section of soups and stews in the new cookbook I got. I knew for sure I wanted to try this one out, since it uses ingredients I always have on had. It was really delicious! Creamy and sweet due to the corn and smoky salty, due to the bacon. The thyme added a much needed savoriness to the soup, without overpowering it. Everyone really enjoyed it and it will be going in my make again file, for sure.


Creamed Corn Chowder
Adapted from How to Cook for Crohn's and Colitis by Brenda Roscher

4 slices center cut bacon
1/2 C diced onion
1 C diced celery
1 C diced carrot
2 C peeled and diced potatoes
1-14.5oz can chicken broth
2-14.5oz cans creamed corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 C half and half or chicken broth (optional)

Cook bacon in a large pot or dutch oven, over medium heat, until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Add onion and celery to bacon drippings and cook about 5-7 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add carrots, potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Add corn and seasonings and heat through. At this point the chowder will be very thick. If you like a thinner chowder, add either half and half or chicken broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Crumble bacon and add back to chowder.

Chicken Corn Chowder: Add 2 C roughly chopped cooked chicken with the corn.
Baby Clam Corn Chowder: Add 2-10oz cans whole baby clams and subsitute crushed red pepper, for thyme.

Makes 6-8 servings

I'm linking this post to:

Cookbook Sundays at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen
Recipe Swap Sundays at Remodelaholic

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meal Plan Monday: Feb 15th

This will be a busy week for us. Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday and also the day we are taking Mr.B to Hubby's work, for an early Birthday celebration. Mr.B will officially turn 5, on Saturday. Where has my baby gone?? I have a tentative meal plan set up, but as you know me, it can change at any time. There are a few meals that I'm rolling over, from last week. So here's what's on our menu this week, in no particular order.


Tonight- Orange Chicken, with rice and green veggies

  • Porcupine Balls with a salad
  • Pork Stir Fry
  • Great Northern Bean soup with fresh rolls
  • BBQ Pulled Pork with Scone (Fry Bread) and Mac'n'Cheese
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad and Garlic Bread (Mr.B's Birthday request)
  • Leftovers

Once again head on over to the Organization Junkie for tons of other great menus!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Banana Blueberry Muffins

I still have a few bags of wild blueberries in the freezer. That's what I like about living in Ontario, blueberries grow pretty much everywhere. My Dad picked a ton last summer, and he was nice enough to share some with us. I like to use them in muffins, pancakes, waffles or any desserts really, LOL. I had some bananas in the freezer as well, so I decided to whip these babies up, after someone reminded me of them on Cooking for your Family. These are quick to make and taste wonderful. Fluffy and moist, with just the right amount of sweetness. Before adding the blueberries, I separated the batter in half, and added 1/2 C of chocolate chips to the other half of the batter. The best of both worlds; blueberries with bananas and chocolate chips with bananas!


Banana Blueberry Muffins
Submitted by Dusanka

3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour

Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and egg. Add butter and blueberries. Combine dry ingredients and gently stir into banana mixture. Pour into 12 well-greased muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Feb 8

Happy Monday! After a few weeks of not feeling well, I'm ready to get back on track and start cooking again. Here is what I have planned for this week, but it may change, with DH being home for two days and hopefully cooking, LOL. So here is what's on the menu, in no particular order.


Once again, head on over to the Organization Junkie, to check out Meal Plan Monday and tons of other meal plans.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Peking Pork

About a month ago, we bought a pork leg, since it was on sale. This thing was huge and we ended up freezing quite a good portion of it. Since then I've been trying to think of ways to use it up. I browsed my Crock pot file and saw this recipe. I had originally planned on making it with pork chops, like the recipe instructs, but the chops that I thought were in the freezer, where not there. So I decided to take a chance and use some of the leftover pork leg. It turned out really well. The pork was tender and the flavor was really good. It wasn't very sweet. Actually you can't taste the sweetness at first, then it creeps up on you and you think "wow, this is good", LOL. I served it with some hot white rice and wish it would have had more sauce. So next time I plan on doubling the sauce portion of the recipe.


Peking Pork Chops

6 pork chops, about 1" thick
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
1-2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste

Trim excess fat from pork chops. Place pork chops in crock pot. Combine brown sugar, ground ginger, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, salt & pepper. Pour mixture over meat in crock pot. Cook,covered, on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until tender. Season with: salt & pepper (optional) Serve with:steamed rice and/or Chinese noodles .

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tourtiere- Meat Pie

Tourtiere is a popular dish, which some say originated in Quebec, while others say it originated in France. All I know is that it was and still is one of my favorite French Canadian dishes, that I've learned to make. We have tourtiere every Christmas. Of course my Mom would usually make a dozen or so pies and freeze them, so we'd be able to enjoy some during the winter months. Most tourtieres are made with ground pork, onion and spices ( such as cloves, cinnamon, salt and pepper). Depending on tastes you can mix half ground beef and half pork. That's the way my parents do it. I, on the other hand, always loved my Grandma's meat pie and that is the version I make today. I know it probably seems weird to eat a pie filled with ground meat, but it really is delicious. The combination of spice, mixed with onion and buttery crust is amazing. Now a days people like to add veggies and sauces to meat pie, but a good ole authentic meat pie is just meat and spices.


Tourtiere (Meat Pie)

1 LB of ground pork
1 med potato, grated
1 small onion, minced
1/4 tsp each of cloves, cinnamon and all spice
salt and pepper
pie shells

In a large skillet, begin browning the ground pork with the onion and season with salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Once the meat is mostly browned, add the shredded potato. Cook until meat is no longer pink and taste for seasonings; add more if desired. Drain off excess fat. Make a slury using cornstarch and water. Add to pork mixture and let cook until the meat sticks together. Cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare pie dough, or roll out ready made dough. Place in a deep dish pie plate. Place warm meat into the pie shell and top with second crust. Make a few slits for vents and bake at 350 degrees, until dough is a nice golden brown.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meal Plan Monday- Feb 1st


I'm still not feeling well, but this week I have somewhat of a plan. I pretty much need one, since payday isn't until Friday, so I have to use what I have on hand. We'll see how well I keep to the plan with DH making dinner Tues and Wed, LOL. So here is our plan in no particular order, other than today.

Tonight- Salmon Patties with a roasted grape tomato pasta.

  • Peeking Pork with rice and veg
  • Peameal Bacon Sammies with either pasta salad or potato salad.
  • Breakfast: pancakes or french toast with bacon and homefries.
  • Tourtierre (Meat Pie) and Salmon Pie with a tossed salad
  • Leftovers