Friday, July 30, 2010

Grilled Monterey Pork Chops

I have awful luck picking produce I am not familiar with. Items such as mangos, or avocado. I know how to pick them, but it seems like the cosmos are against me and they ripen questionably fast, or start rotting from the inside. In the case of my avocado, it ripened in the blink of an eye and I desperately needed to use it, refusing to throw it away. So I searched over at Cooking for your Family and found a pork chop recipe, that had an avocado/tomato relish. I quickly modified my menu to fit this in. I'm pretty glad I did, since I really enjoyed the chops. They were tender and I really enjoyed the tangy-ness of the lemon pepper and ranch dressing, with the buttery avocado and fresh tomato. The only change I did was use marble Cheddar, instead of Jack cheese, since we didn't have any. The kids enjoyed their dinner, but I did serve them all the components separately. It was iffy with the avocado. Queenie loved it, while Mr.B was unsure if he liked the texture or not. I did use baguette (from the previous post), so I had to cut the chops, to fit the bread. All in all it was a good dinner!


Grilled Monterey Pork Chops
Submitted by Sandy


1 small tomato, seeded, chopped
1/2 small avocado, seeded, peeled, chopped
1 T ranch salad dressing


1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp dried basil leaves, crushed
4 (1/2-inch thick) boneless pork loin chops


4 slices (1/2-inch thick) French bread
4 tsp butter, softened
1/8 tsp garlic powder

4 (3/4-ounce) slices Monterey Jack cheese

1. Prepare grill; heat until coals are white.
2. Combine all relish ingredients in small bowl; mix lightly. Cover; refrigerate until serving time.
3. Combine lemon pepper and basil in small bowl. Rub both sides of pork chops with seasoning mixture. Combine butter and garlic powder. Spread 1 side of bread slices with garlic butter.
4. Place chops on grill. Grill, turning once, until desired doneness (10 to 12 minutes). Top each chop with 1 slice cheese. Meanwhile, place bread slices on grill to toast. Grill bread until it is toasted and continue grilling pork chops until cheese melts (1 to 2 minutes).
5. To serve, place chops on top of grilled bread; top with relish.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

French Baguette

Last night I stumbled upon a recipe, that I decided to try for dinner, tonight. It called for French bread and I really didn't feel like running to the store to buy some. So, I did an online search and found a recipe for French bread, or baguette. I was super excited, since I love baguette and have never made it before. I cut the recipe in half, threw all the ingredients in my bread machine this morning and set the dough setting. Two hours later, the dough was ready to roll out, form and let rise a 2nd time. Once the bread was baking, I knew that it was going to be one of the best loaves I've ever made. The smell was unbelievable. I think it turned out really well for a first try. The outside is crispy, while the inside is pillow-y soft. The way a baguette should be. We ate 3/4 of it for dinner and I can't wait to toast some up in the morning, to have with homemade strawberry jam!!!


French Bread
Submitted By: Jenn Hall via All recipes.com

6 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
4. Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
5. With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.

Bread Machine Method: place ingredients in pan according to manufacturer directions. Set to dough setting and continue from step 3.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Meal Plan Monday~ July 26

I'm late, I'm late!! Hubby being off this weekend threw me for a loop, so it did not feel like Monday today. I totally forgot about posting my meal plan, or even making one for that matter. So once the kids were in bed, I settled down and decided what I would try to make for dinner this week. Try you ask?? I'm in a weird sort of mood, where I don't know what I want to eat. Plus lately, half the time the kids won't touch what I make, even if we've had it many times before. So I've got the kitchen blahs..... Hopefully I get over it soon and can look forward to getting in the kitchen and making dinner! So here is what is on the menu this week, in no particular order.


  • Grilled chicken breast with baked potatoes and tomato cucumber salad
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup
  • BLTs with fresh berries
  • Chicken Slouvaki (store bought) with Greek salad
  • Chicken club sandwiches with avocado, sauteed green beans
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and cheese omelets with Hollandaise sauce on top. Toast and fruit on the side
  • Leftovers

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Potluck Sunday~ Apple Streusel Muffins

I made these this morning, for breakfast. Quennie decided to sleep in (a rare occurence), so I took the opportunity to bake something yummy for us. These are really good. Moist and chewy, not too sweet with a hint of apple flavor. The kids loved them and ate 2 each. I really liked the crunchy streusel topping. I did make them a tad healthier, by adding 1/2C of whole wheat flour. I'm sure you could even substitute apple sauce, for the oil and make them super healthy. Perfect for breakfast, or snack!!


Apple Streusel Muffins
Adapted from Company's Coming, Most Loved Treats cookbook


1/4 C brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs margarine or butter, softened


1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
2/3 C milk
1/4 C vegetable oil
3/4 C shredded cooking apple (such as McIntosh), packed

Topping: Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center. Beat egg, milk and oil in a small bowl. Add apple and stir together. Pour into well and stir until just moistened. Grease 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Fill cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle topping over batter in each cup. Bake at 400 degrees fro 15-20 minutes, until golden and wodden pick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes, before removing from pan, to a wire rack to cool. Makes 12 muffins


Make sure you head over to Mommy's Kitchen, to see what other great recipes are being shared for Potluck Sunday!!

I'm also submitting this recipe to Brenda's Canadian Kitchen, for Cookbook Sundays.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Garden Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill

I saw this recipe in our local news paper. Since it used dill and I had some in the fridge, I decided to try it. I'm not a big fan of pasta salad with tuna, since I always find it tastes too fishy. I have to admit that this recipe is really delicious. I really love the flavors of the dill and lemon, with the cucumber and tuna. It tastes fresh and light, not fishy at all, even the next day. I think this is a great alternative, to your usual pasta salad. I did only use 1 C of pastina. I originally planned to use orzo, but forgot that I had used it all up and hadn't added it to our grocery list. I also omitted the peas, since Hubby loathes peas. I didn't serve it on greens, or garnish with tomato, since I was too lazy, LOL. Queenie enjoyed it (especially the cucumber and red pepper) and Mr.B didn't even want to try it. He isn't a big fan of pasta salad. My Mom enjoyed it and she isn't big on tuna either. So, if you are looking for a fresh twist on a summer favorite, give this a try.


Garden Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill
Adapted from the Barrie Examiner

2 C small dried pasta
1-7oz can of water or oil packed tuna, drained
1 C finely diced English cucumber
1/2 small sweet pepper, diced
1/2 C sweet peas
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 Tbs chopped capers
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 C chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 C grape tomatoes, quartered
lemon wedges
Boston lettuce

Cook pasta in a medium saucepan of salted water, until al dente. Drain, rinse slightly and drain again. Cool completely.

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice and zest, dill, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine pasta, tuna, cucumber, peppers, peas, onion and celery. Pour in dressing and toss thoroughly. Spoon pasta salad into Boston lettuce cups and garnish with tomatoes and lemon wedges. (Or line a bowl or platter with some greens and place salad on top and garnish with tomato and lemon.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meal Plan Monday~ July 19

Good morning!! I'm in such a good mood today, since my babies are coming home! I'm expecting them around lunch time, so I'm busy tidying up a bit, before they come destroy the place, LOL. I've missed them so much, but I think I've missed cooking a bit more. I'm glad to get back on track, start meal planning again and get into that kitchen. Though it was nice to just eat what ever, when ever, I did miss the feeling I get when I place nutritious meals in front of my children. So here is our menu for the week, in no particular order.


Head on over to OrgJunkie.com to browse a ton more great meal plans for the week.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Potluck Sunday~ Best Ever Banana Bread

I was cleaning out the freezer this past week, and found a ton of bananas stashed way in the back. I was planning on baking something for my girlfriend, whom we were going to visit, so I figured banana bread was the way to go. I wanted to try a new recipe, since my Mom's recipe never turns out the way it does when she makes it, and that just makes me mad, LOL. So, I looked through my new cookbook and found this recipe. Wanting to know if it really was the best ever, I eagerly mixed all the ingredients together. 90 minutes later, I was sampling a warm slice slathered with butter. I must say that it's pretty darn good. Even at room temperature, it is super moist and soft. It is a tad sweet and that is after cutting the sugar down 1/2 C. So, I'm not sure if it is the best ever banana bread, but it is super delicious.


Best Ever Banana BreadAdapted from Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook

2 ripe medium bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 C plus 1 Tbs buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan, Whisk bananas and eggs in a large bowl to blend. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to blend well. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake bread intil top is golden brown and splits slightly and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1hr and 20 mins. Cool in pan on rack 20 mins. Turn bread out onto rack and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*This recipe does not double well. To make two loaves, you'll need to make 2 seperate batches of batter.


Make sure to head over to Mommy's Kitchen, to check out what everyone else is bringing to Potluck Sunday!
I'm also submitting this recipe to Brenda's Canadian Kitchen, for her Cookbook Sundays.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meringue Cake

This is one of my Memere's ( pronounced may-mehr) recipes. My Mom made it a few times, when I was little and it was one of my favorites. I was feeling nostalgic, the other day, with the kids gone and time to myself, so I dug up the recipe and made it. This is a seriously sweet dessert, but so different and delicious. The cake is moist and pairs nicely with the soft meringue, with a crunchy top. My girlfriend really enjoyed it, though Hubby thought it was too sweet, LOL.


Meringue Cake

2 egg yolks
1/2 C milk
2 Tbs butter
3/4 C sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder


2 egg whites
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the eggs yolks. Add sugar and mix well. Mix flour with baking powder and add alternatingly, to wet ingredients, with milk. Pour into a greased 9X13-inch baking dish. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add the brown sugar, mixed with vanilla, beating to stiff peaks. Spread over batter and bake for 30 minutes, until cake is cooked through in the center. If meringue begins to brown, cover with foil and continue baking.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meal plan Monday.. where have you gone?

Some of you may have noticed, I did not post a meal plan for last week. Well, I am not posting one for this week either, LOL. The kids are away, DH works evenings, so I'm basically cooking for one. Wait.... eating alone. So, I haven't really been in the cooking mood and I've been taking advantage of being able to eat what I want, when I want. So, dinners have consisted of pasta, pancakes, eggs and toast, cereal and of course the yummy Chicken Manicotti, from the previous post. This week will be much the same, unless I get a particular craving for something. Watch for new Meal Plans next week, since the kids are coming home this weekend. YAY!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creamy Chicken Manicotti

I first had this, a few years ago, at my Mother in Law's house. I really liked the flavors and that it wasn't your traditional Manicotti, so I asked her for the recipe. I've made it once before, but it didn't go over to well with Mr.B, so never made it again. Since I'm kid free for a week or so, I decided to make a pan, to have something I could just heat up for dinner. Cooking for one isn't any fun, so this would be the perfect dish, to tide me over for a few days. I really like the tangy cream cheese, paired with the savory pimentos and broccoli. Everything pairs so nicely and it really doesn't take much time to assemble at all. This is definitely on of my 'when the kids are not home' favorites.

(the ones in the photo look a little dry, but that is after sitting for almost 30 minutes, while I was on the phone with my Mom. I promise these are creamy and saucy!)


Creamy Chicken Manicotti

8 oz manicotti shells, cooked al dente
16 oz chive and onion cream cheese
1C milk
1/4C Parmesan
2C chopped chicken, cooked
10 oz frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
4 oz pimentos, drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13-inch oven safe dish. In a medium saucepan, heat cream cheese and milk, over med-low heat, until cheese melts. Stir in Parmesan and pepper, until smooth. In a large bowl, combine 3/4 C of the cheese sauce, all the chicken, broccoli, pimentos and salt; mix well. Spoon filling into cooled manicotti shells and place them in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, until heated through.

This post is being linked to Mommy's Kitchen, for Potluck Sunday.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Easy M&M Cookies

I made these last Friday night, to take to my parents, since we were dropping the kids off for a few weeks. I wanted to bake a treat for them, but was out of flour, so what was I to do. I remembered someone reviewing these on Cooking for your Family and I have tons of cake mix in our cold storage room, so I gave them a try. All I can say is YUM!!!! These are soft and chewy. The vanilla flavor from the cake mix is to die for and goes super well with the chocolate from the M&Ms. We pretty much inhaled them, for dessert, Saturday night, LOL. My Mom even asked for the recipe, so she can make these, for her church's next bake sale.


Easy M&M Cookies
Submitted by Amy – amylz

1 White Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 ¼ cup plain M&M’s

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl until mix is dissolved. Mix M&M’s into dough. Drop balls of dough onto greased baking sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

French BBQ Chicken

I came up with this recipe on Canada Day. I knew I wanted to grill chicken, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to season it. After looking in the fridge and spotting a bottle of French dressing I had purchased for a previous recipe, I decided to use it as a marinade. The results were fantastic. The chicken was moist and sweet, with a hint of smoky BBQ flavor. I can't say enough about indirect heat grilling. It's wonderful!! It does take longer than usual, but the results are worth the wait. The chicken is always so moist and tender, without the burnt and dry outer skin. The kids also loved this chicken and the leftovers were turned into a quite yummy chicken salad.


French BBQ Chicken

4 chicken breasts (bone in and skin on)
1/2 C French dressing
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 C favorite BBQ sauce ( I used Bulls eye original)

In a small bowl combine dressing, garlic powder and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 6 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove the chicken breasts from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken, bone side down, over Indirect Medium heat until the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink at the bone, 30 to 40 minutes. An instant read thermometer should read 165 degrees, when inserted to the bone of the thickest part of the breast. Baste with your favorite BBQ sauce while grilling. Serve warm.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!! ~ Strawberry Cobbler

Happy Birthday Canada! No big celebrations here today, since Hubby is working tonight. The kids and I will enjoy something on the BBQ, eat outside and perhaps venture to the park, after dinner.

I wanted to post a great strawberry recipe, that I made a few days ago. This would be a perfect dessert for any BBQ, so I thought it would be a great Canada Day post. Someone posted this on Cooking for your Family and since I'd just gone strawberry picking, I decided to give it a try. Boy am I happy I did! It's SO good!! The cake is moist, with a touch of syrup and the almond extract adds a wonderful flavor to the berries. Seriously, Hubby and I ate about half of it, the first day, LOL. The kids don't care much for it though, but I don't mind, since that means there is more for me to enjoy.


Strawberry Cobbler
Adapted from Culinary in the Desert

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and 1 cup granulated sugar. Beat in milk and butter. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Scoop mixture into a 9" square baking pan (or other 2-quart baking dish) coated with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, along with water, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in strawberries to coat. Immediately pour hot mixture over the batter in the baking pan.

Place into the oven and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Makes about 9 servings.