Yum

Monday, April 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday~ April 30, 2012

Happy Monday!

Well, most of us are feeling much better today. The best news, however, is that Queenie is cast free. Technically she was/is suppose to wear it until Wednesday, but she's been doing so well without it at home and not complaining that her foot hurts (or limping), so Sunday we went all day without it on. She did wonderfully, so I think she's all healed up now. Woohoo!!!


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This week, my Mother in Law is coming to stay for a few days. It'll be nice to have an extra set of hands with the kids. Since Mr.B is in school, I'm sure it will be a nice quiet visit, LOL. So here is what I have planned this week

  • Burgers and Dogs with Potato Salad
  • Vegetarian Tortellini Bake (new recipe)
  • Smothered Pork Chops with brown rice
  • Whole Chicken on the grill, foil wrapped potatoes and vegetables
  • out
  • Baked Parmesan Shrimp with Cranberry Almond Couscous
  • leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Orange Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

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Does your Mom like a special breakfast on Mother's Day? I have to be honest and say that Hubby works most Mother's Days, so I don't get to spend the day with my Mom, as often as I'd like. If I did, I would give her the day off, taking over the responsibilities in the kitchen. For brunch I would probably whip up some bacon, eggs and certainly pancakes; and these would be perfect for such a special day. I love orange cinnamon rolls, so I thought why not try to make them into pancakes. Now I did see this idea on Pinterest and though I wish I could say I came up with this idea, I did not. I'm not sure if my recipe is the same as the original I saw, but I think these were pretty awesome.


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Tender fluffy pancakes with a ribbon of sweet cinnamon sugar butter, topped with a tart cirtus glaze. Need I say more?? The kids really loved the flavours in these and even Hubby said they were good (he's not much of a pancake man). Garnished with fresh fruit these pancakes would be a great addition to any Mother's Day Brunch.


Orange Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
printable version

1 egg
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C flour
3 tsp baking powder
a few drops of orange extract
3/4- 1C milk
1/3 C butter, softened
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1-2 Tbs orange juice

Preheat a griddle pan over medium low heat.

In a bowl, combine the egg, 2 Tbs sugar, salt and oil. Add in 3/4 C milk and orange extract; stir well. Add flour and baking powder, mixing until well combined; adding more milk if needed (do not over stir, it will cause tough pancakes).

In a small bowl, combine the butter, 2 Tbs sugar and cinnamon. Place into a zip top bag. Snip a small hole, in one end of the bag and set aside.

Spray griddle pan with cooking spray and ladle batter onto preheated griddle. Squeeze the butter mixture onto pancake, while going in a circular motion. When bubbles start forming on the pancake and edges are set, flip to cook the other side; about 2-3 minutes. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on second side. Plate pancakes, swirl side up; adding more of the butter mixture into the swirl, if desired.

In a third bowl, mix the powdered sugar with the lemon zest and 1 Tbs orange juice; stir until smooth, adding more orange juice to create a thin glaze. Drizzle glaze over cooked pancakes.


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 This post linked to

Weekend Potluck
Feed Your Soul
Friday Favorites
Sweets for a Saturday

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cinco de Mayo & Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce

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 May 5, is the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. One of the most popular holidays in the U.S. It is said that people celebrate Cinco de Mayo, as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. What ever reason you are celebrating for, you know you definitely need some great Mexican inspired food to make your celebration complete.

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One of our favorite Mexican inspired dishes are Enchiladas. While Hubby is partial to my Cheese Enchiladas, I occasionally like to switch it up a little. About a month ago, I saw this recipe being reviewed on a Cooking forum, where I am co-group owner ~Cooking for your Family. I was instantly intrigued by the green chili sour cream sauce and thought I needed to make these. The kids aren't crazy about enchiladas, though they love tacos, so we turned dinner last week, into a Mexican Fiesta. These enchiladas were really good. I loved that the sauce had great green chili flavour, without being overly hot. I decided to poach my chicken breast in a mixture of lime juice, honey, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne and water. This added great flavour to the enchiladas, since I thought they may be a bit bland without. Hubby said they were good, but still prefers those good ole cheese enchiladas, LOL.


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White Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce
Adapted from Cooking for your Family/ submitted by Rachel
printable version

Ingredients:

8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 7-ounce can diced green chilies

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together 1 cup of the cheese and the chicken. Place an equal amount of the mixture into each tortilla, roll up and place seam side down into a 9 x 13-inch pan.

2. In a skillet or saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Stir in sour cream and green chiles. Pour over the top of the enchiladas; sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Cindy's Notes: Make sure to really season your chicken, when cooking it. Without, I fear the dish would be quite bland.


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This post linked to


What's Cooking Thursday
Full Plate Thursday
Bake with Bizzy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tetrazzini

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Did you know that I love watching food related TV?? When the kids allow it, you can bet that the TV is tuned to the Food Network, The Rachael Ray show, or my new favourite food show, The Chew. What first drew me to even think of watching yet another day time food show, was Clinton Kelley. I just LOVE him and have since his days on 'What not to Wear'. Though I knew he was great with fashion, I did not know he was also great in the kitchen. He, along with Chef Michael Simon, Chef Mario Batali, Chef Carla Hall (from Top Chef) and Daphne Oz (gee... I wonder who she's related to); entertain us everyday with awesome recipes, funny banter and great nutritional info and tips. They often have various celebs making guest appearance and last month, The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, was on to make this awesome chicken tetrazzini. I immediately loved the recipe and I've yet to be disappointed by a PW recipe, so I knew it would be tasty.

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I quickly searched online for the recipe and was beyond the moon, when I had all the ingredients. Those recipes are the best in my book, because I don't have to go out and search for some foreign ingredient, that I may only use once, LOL. I happily made this for dinner and of course being me, I did make a few substitutions. First I decided to use linguine pasta, rather than penne. I didn't have enough penne on hand, and I never use linguine often enough. I omitted the olives, because I didn't have any black olives and Mr.B isn't very fond of olives anyway. I also subbed the panko bread crumbs for whole wheat vegetable crackers, that I mixed with a touch of melted butter and Parmesan cheese. This added a great layer of flavour to the top of the pasta. This was creamy, smokey, cheese and super comforting. Another winner from the Pioneer Woman!!

Ree Drummond's Chicken Tetrazzini
courtesy of The Chew on ABC

  • 1-1.5 Lb penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 Lb white mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 block 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 whole chicken shredded or diced (reserve cooking liquid)
  • 1 cup finely chopped black olives
  • 1-1.5 cups frozen green peas
  • 4 slices bacon (fried and cut into bits)
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Extra broth for thinning
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
 Separate and boil one whole chicken in a large pot of water. Once chicken is cooked, about 45 minutes, remove the chicken from the water. Once cool, remove the skin and reserve. Take meat off bones and shred. Replace bones and skin in cooking liquid and boil for an additional 20-30 minutes. Reserve cooking stock to be used later in the recipe.

Cook pasta until not quite done - al dente according to package instructions (it will finish cooking in the oven.) Drain, rinse, and set aside.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add mushrooms and salt, then saute for a couple more minutes. Pour in the wine and allow it to cook with the mushrooms for several minutes, or until the liquid reduces by half. Sprinkle in flour, then stir the mushrooms around for another minute. Pour in the broth and stir, cooking for another few minutes until the roux thickens.
ingredients 1 block 8 oz cream cheese

Reduce heat to medium low. Cut cream cheese into pieces and add it to the pot. Stir it to melt (don't be concerned if the cream cheese remains in little bits for a while; it'll melt eventually!) Add the Chicken, the olives, the peas, the bacon, and the cheeses. Stir to combine, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Add the cooked pasta and stir it to combine. Splash in more broth as needed; you want the mixture to have a little extra moisture since it will cook off in the oven. If it's a little soupy, that's fine! Add up to 2 more cups of liquid if you think it needs it.

Pour the mixture into a large baking dish and sprinkle the top with Panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown

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This post linked to

Hearth and Soul
Delicious Dishes
What Makes you say Mmmm?
See you in the Gumbo
Tasty Tuesday

Monday, April 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ April 23, 2012

Happy Monday!

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 Well, I am happy to report that Queenie's foot is not broken. However, the orthopedic Dr. thinks she may have torn cartilage in her foot. So, she needs to stay in her air cast/boot, for 2 more weeks, mostly when she is walking. She can take it off to bathe, sleep and/or if she's watching a movie and sitting still a spell. Plus she can now walk in the cast, which means I no longer have to carry her all over the house. So the prognosis is better than we had hoped. The bad news is, we've all come down with a cold. I seriously thought I would escape it, but it finally hit me on Sunday. I'm not a big fan of colds to start with, but Spring/Summer colds are the worse!!

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Since I'm feeling under the weather this week, I'm planning some easy comfort foods. Thankfully this week is going to be a quiet one, so I'm hoping to be able to get a lot of rest, to kick this crud to the curb. Here is my plan for the week
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs, with garlic bread and salad
  • Vegetarian Tortellini Bake (new recipe)
  • Burgers and dogs on the grill with pasta salad
  • Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken (new recipe) with oven roast potatoes and pan roasted broccoli and carrots
  • Chiard
  • breakfast for dinner- eggs, bacon, toast and fresh fruit salad
  • leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reese Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies

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Lately, it seems anywhere you look, there are recipes for over the top desserts. Many of them, often combine two desserts together and you can bet there is some sort of candy or chocolate bar involved. We had some Reese Peanut Butter Cups leftover from Easter, so rather than have them staring me in the face, I thought I'd bake with them. That way I could share what ever I made, with our neighbours. We've come up with an awesome agreement. I bake (one of my favourite things to do) and they eat (so that I don't gain tons of weight, eating all the yummy treats). I wanted to make something sure to make people weak in the knees just thinking about it. These are what I came up with.

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 Reese Peanut Butter Cups are sandwiched between a tender peanut butter cookie layer and a chewy chocolate brownie layer.


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These are amazing!! So amazing , that I must admit to just having one for breakfast. It was followed by a banana and a cuppa tea, so it wasn't all that bad, LOL. Now I just have to get the rest out of the house!! You get the chewy layers of cookie and brownie and then all of a sudden you are hit with the sweet and salty combo of the peanut butter cups. I made mine in mini loaf pans, and cut them in half. One half is more than enough and of course you need to have these with a big glass of milk!!!

Reese Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies
printable version

1 C peanut butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 C flour
1/4 C butter
6 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C flour
2 eggs
10 Reese Peanut Butter Cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 5 mini loaf pans with parchment paper.

In a bowl cream together the peanut butter and brown sugar. Add in the egg and mix until well combined. in a second bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Add to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well combined. Press peanut butter dough evenly, into all 5 loaf pans. Top with 2 Reese Peanut Butter Cups each.

In a small sauce pot, over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat, add in the cocoa powder and mix to combine well. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and eggs, quickly mixing to combine. Mix in flour and salt; until well combined. Pour batter over peanut butter cups and smooth with a spatula. Repeat with all loaf pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brownie batter springs back lightly, when touched.

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This post linked to

Bake with Bizzy
Weekend Potluck
Friday Favorites
Feed your Soul
Sweets for a Saturday
Weekly Round-up
Church Supper

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mac 'N' Cheese with Parsnips and Roast Cauliflower

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 I saw Rachael Ray make this on her show last month. I was really intrigued with parsnips inside the cheese sauce and I loved the roast cauliflower on top. I've loved roast cauliflower since I was little. My Mom would often pan roast it until it was golden and sweet. Sprinkled with a touch of salt, it was cauliflower nirvana. So, I knew I would enjoy the topping. Then in a moment of exhaustion, I decided to change the cauliflower to broccoli, in hopes of avoiding any dinner time stress. While it was still good, I think I would have preferred the cauliflower.

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This pasta sauce is creamy and gooey. You could literally see the cheese stringing as you poured the sauce into the pasta. I did find the sauce to be a little bland though; but that may be because I didn't add that much salt and nutmeg. Regardless, the kids really liked it and were non the wiser that extra nutrition was hiding there, within the cheese sauce. This is a pretty easy, yet delicious recipe, if seasoned properly. I'll be keeping this in my arsenal of weeknight dinners and next time I'll roast up some cauliflower along with some broccoli.

Mac 'n' Cheese with Parsnips and Roasted Cauliflower
Adapted from Rachael Ray

4 cloves garlic, halved
About 1/3 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 head cauliflower or 4C broccoli, cut into florets
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 3/4 cups whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina or Gruyère cheese
1 pound ziti or Italian-style, straight-cut macaroni

Yields: 4-6

Heat oven to 400°F.

In a small pot, combine garlic and oil, heat over low flame and gently cook until garlic is light golden in color and very fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove garlic cloves and reserve.

Pile cauliflower, or broccoli, on baking sheet and dress with lemon juice, about 3-4 tablespoons of the garlic-infused oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread florets out in a single layer. Roast to brown at edges and tender, 20-25 minutes. Cover with Parmigiano-Reggiano and roast 5 minutes more. Turn oven off.

Meanwhile, boil parsnips in salted water to tender, 10-15 minutes. Purée in a food processor with the garlic cloves.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a saucepot, combine remaining garlic oil and butter over medium heat. When butter foams, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute; add stock and milk, and thicken. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; combine sauce with parsnip purée and melt in cheese.

Cook pasta to al dente, drain pasta and toss with sauce. Arrange in a serving dish topped with crispy cauliflower florets on top.
 
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This post linked to

Full Plate Thursday
These Chicks Cooked
Bake with Bizzy
What's Cooking Thursday
Fit and Fabulous Fridays

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Post~ Chantal from Let's Eat

Good morning everyone. Today we are doing something new. I've decided that I wanted to share all the wonderful Foodies, that I've become friends with recently, with you. I would like to introduce you to Chantal, from Let's Eat. Chantal is wonderfully creative and has many talents. Her love for food and life, is what drew me to her and Chantal has graciously agreed to share a bit about herself, and her fabulous recipe for Strawberry Cream Filled Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

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photo courtesy of Chantal @ Let's Eat

Hello everyone, I am Chantal from Let's Eat. I grew up in Montreal and I’m the youngest of 5 children.   I went to French Immersion school and I sometimes struggled with reading English.   So I use to read the Montreal Gazette every Saturday –  - important things like the Ann Landers column, cartoons and the restaurant reviews.  I had and early  fascination for cooking, way before Food Network hit the scene.     My Nan – Sarah Violet Taylor – was  a big inspiration in my love of cooking.   She had 9 kids and there are 36 grand kids.   So time spent with her was very special indeed!  We would bake and share our creations with cups of strong sweet tea in Royal Dalton cups ; )   Every Sunday, my aunts would visit my Nan and we would share baking, tea and lots of conversation!    My British father, Bernard, was also a huge inspiration. He was in the Navy for 12 years and traveled the world.    He certainly encouraged me to try all types of food and showed me how to plate to impress a crowd!  Sadly he passed away 14 years ago, but his spirit lives on and his influence in my cooking realm.   My mom, Brenda, continues to support my passion for cooking and when I was a teenager I would frequently create and make big dinners for our family celebrations.  To this day, my mom is only to happy to hand over her kitchen to me when I visit her in the Okanagan in the summer –she calls me her “private chef!” 


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photo courtesy of Chantal @ Let's Eat
    

 In the early 90’s I moved to North Coast of BC and have lived here ever since and am I very blessed to have a loving and sweet husband Phil and our amazing teenaged sons Ben and Eric as well as two big dogs and 4 cats!   My sons love to cook and bake and have since they were very young.  For over 8 years now, I have operated a licensed family daycare and enjoy working with young children.  I continue to coach youth soccer and enjoyed being a scouting leader in Scouts Canada for many years and teaching Sunday school at my home church, First Presbyterian.    I also enjoy freelance writing via columns, articles and short stories.   I balance work life, family/personal life and  Let’s Eat – sometimes I fully admit it’s not easy!   
 
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photo courtesy of Chantal @ Let's Eat

Let’s Eat began in April of 2007 in column form via the local newspaper The Daily News. I also created Kids Matter, which was featured on the same page as Let’s Eat.   Let’s Eat is now published weekly in the Alaska Highway News in Fort St John and in 2010 my husband and I created the website version of Let’s Eat.   Influenced by my Nan and my mom and aunts, I created a virtual kitchen table for people to come and visit and enjoy great food and conversation via their home computer, Ipad or Iphone. In June of this year, the local TV network in my area will air Let’s Eat cooking videos so another chapter and challenge will begin. 

 
I met Cindy at Hun, What’s for Dinner, last year, via Real Women of Philadelphia (RWOP) online community.  There were seemingly the same group of us always meeting on the threads, chatting, joking around, encouraging – like girls going to the park or mall to hang out!  The beauty was we were from all across Canada and crazy in love with creating RECIPES!  I am truly amazed at the talent of the food blogging community, and Cindy, and her very popular food blog.  We recently formed the Canadian Cookies and having that support and friendship online via a food blogging and so much more is totally amazing!  I don’t know what I would do without them to be very honest. Those women are like family to me and  hence why I refer to them as the Canadian Cookies Sistas!    


Thanks so much Cindy for this guest feature on Hun, What’s for Dinner. I really appreciate and feel very blessed to be part of it. Cheers to all of you and happy cooking ~ Chantal     

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Strawberry Cream Filled Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
 Courtesy of Chantal @ Let's Eat

I love watching Food Network and TLC and I’m quite fascinated by popular shows such as Cupcake Wars, Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes so naturally I had to create my own special cupcake in my small Let’s Eat kitchen. I really enjoy having a nice slice of carrot cake so I thought how can I make that work in a cupcake and make it really unique. I had fun experimenting with some success and some failures all in the quest to find another level of cupcake “yum.”  In my experiments, I added chocolate chips and fresh pineapple to the cake batter along with the other classic ingredients such as walnuts and aromatic spices. I wanted to pick up the volume a bit with the cream cheese frosting so I added melted white chocolate. I was also on a quest to create a really nice cream filling that is inserted into the cupcake and created a dreamy filling that has summer fresh strawberries and fresh pineapple. Enjoy and be prepared to lick your fingers!

Preheat oven to 350

3 cups of all purpose white flour
2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of Allspice
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of grated carrots (organic and with peel on)
1 cup of fresh pineapple finely chopped
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of walnut pieces
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
3 eggs

In a large bowl add the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix well with your hand. In another large bowl, add some of the wet ingredients; the vegetable oil, sugar and mix well. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the grated carrots, fresh pineapple and vanilla- mix well with a spoon. Add the walnut pieces and dark chocolate and blend. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend. Add one egg at a time and stir with each addition.  Pour into well greased muffin tins – about 2/3 full. Bake for 23 minutes. This recipe makes 18 cupcakes.

While those bake, let’s make our frosting.  

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup of Philadelphia Cream Cheese Original brick (slightly softened)
1/2 cup of butter (slightly melted)
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
5 squares of melted white chocolate *(such as Baker’s – place squares in bowl, splash of water and microwave for 50 seconds.

In a large bowl or working with an electric mixer, add all the ingredients and mix for several minutes (on high for electric mixer or hand mixer) for 2 minutes. Creating a nice and fluffy frosting.  Place the frosting in a plastic container with a lid and place in the freezer to chill. 

Filling 

1/4 cup of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
1/4 cup of butter (softened)
1 1/4 cup of icing sugar
2/3 cups of fresh whipping cream
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh strawberry
1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh pineapple 

Working with a medium sized bowl add; cream cheese, butter and icing sugar - blend well. Add the fresh whipping cream and blend for 2 to 3 minutes with a hand mixer or electric mixer. Add fresh strawberries and pineapple and gently fold into filling. Place the filling in a plastic container with a lid and place in the freezer to chill.

When the cupcakes are baked (to ensure they are baked – insert a knife into the middle of one of the cupcakes and make sure the knife blade comes out clean or a toothpick  – totally baked)  Let the cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes and remove from pans.   Working with one at a time, take an apple core remover and insert the middle of the cupcake. Twist the core and remove gently and pull up removing some of the middle. Do not go right to the bottom as the filling will come out!  Repeat with other cupcakes. Working with a small plastic baggie, cut the tip and insert 1/2 cup of the chilled filling. Insert filling in each cupcake. Remove frosting from freezer and frost the cupcakes. Can add sprinkles. Keep cupcakes in the fridge until ready to serve. I enjoy having this cupcake with a large glass of ice tea; lots of ice, cut up key limes, raspberries, blackberries and peaches – a refreshing summer drink.  

So until next time: Let’s Eat!  Check out our website at www.letseatwithchantal.ca for other delicious summer recipes, photos, short stories and more! 




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lemon Cracker Cake

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I use to think that crackers where only for soup, or to go with cheese, but in the last few years I've been seeing crackers popping up in dessert recipes. What about those Saltine Toffee Cookies?? Those are dangerous, which is probably why I've never made them, LOL. About a month or so ago, I saw a photo of this recipe on a Facebook group I belong to- Mom's Recipe Collection. My friend's Mom started the group and just like Jeanine (from The Baking Beauties), her Mom is awesome in the kitchen. The photo that was posted stopped me dead in my tracks and practically had me drooling. Anytime I would check in with the group, the photo would taunt me with it's mouth watering deliciousness. Since my BFF was coming for dinner, last week, I decided to go ahead and make this dessert.
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This cracker cake is very easy to put together. The original recipe calls for any flavour of pudding you'd like. I had some lemon pie filling in the cupboard, so I decided to use that. I also used Dream Whip and think I should have made 2 packets, instead of one (I like lots of whipped cream). I serve the dessert topped with some blueberry rhubarb preserves, I had made last summer. It was just the right amount of sweetness, to compliment the tart lemon filling. This cake was PHENOMENAL!! The crackers softened, but weren't mushy and their texture was a great contrast to the lemon filling and whipped topping. The kids gobbled this up in no time flat, my BFF asked me to write the recipe down for her and she was more than happy to bring any remaining dessert home with her. This was such a hit, I think it will become a staple dessert, when we have dinner guests.


Cracker cake
Adapted from Susan Harder- Mom's Recipe Collection
1 sm box unsalted crackers
1 102 g. box instant pudding, prepared as directed (flavour of your choice)
1 litre cool whip
pie filling of your choice

line a 13x9 pan with a thin layer of cool whip. Layer in the following order.

1. crackers 
2. 1/2 cool whip 
3. crackers 
4. 1/2 pudding mix 
5. crackers 
6. 1/2 pudding mix 
7. crackers 
8. 1/2 cool whip

chill over night-do not cover. Serve with a spoonful of pie filling on top. This cake is nice and light, and looks like phyllo pastry


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This post linked to

Tasty Tuesday
Delicious Dishes
What Makes you say Mmmm?
See Ya in the Gumbo
Gooseberry Patch Recipe Round-up

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ April 16, 2012

Happy Monday everyone!!

I wanted to start off by letting you guys know that I am guest posting today, over at my friend Lyndsay's The Kitchen Witch blog. Head on over to see my top 5 baking tips and to see Lyndsay make one of my favourite muffin recipes. Thanks Lyndsay for this fun opportunity!

Things have been a little rough in the Jamieson household, for the past few days. On Friday, while playing at the playground after school, Queenie jumped off and hurt her foot. I knew it was serious when she wouldn't stop crying and saying her foot hurt. She refused to walk on it and after a nights sleep, she still refused to put any weight on it. After several hours at the Emergency Room, Queenie was outfitted with an air cast and specific orders to NOT walk on her foot; until Wed. Hopefully the Orthopedic Dr will be able to decide whether it really is a fracture or not. So, I've been busy trying to entertain her and carrying her anywhere she needs to go.

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 That being said, I think I'll be planning easy meals this week; since I think I will have my hands full and I may be exhausted, LOL. I have a few meals that I'm bringing over from last week, in hopes of being able to make them this week, on Hubby's days off. Here is what I have planned

  • Pasta Fagioli with homemade bread
  • Sweet Salmon Bake with stir fry veggies
  • Grilled Peameal Bacon Sandwiches, with potato salad
  • Crock pot whole chicken, with mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans
  • Burgers and dogs, with grilled vegetables
  • Creamy Avocado Pasta (new recipe) with a salad
  • Leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for more meal plans for the week.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Finish Quantum Challenge

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Having moved around as much as we have, since getting married 10 yrs ago; we've never had the opportunity to own our own home. One of the downfalls of that is not having the appliances we think are the best and do the best performance. Anytime we move, one of my must haves is a dishwasher. If there is no dishwasher in the house we are looking at, then that house is immediately crossed off the list. I would rather spend time with my kids, than stand in front of a sink full of dishes. Unfortunately, even though we rent houses with dishwashers, sometimes they are pretty old and do not work the best. Which is the case with our current dishwasher. For the first 2 yrs we were living in this house, I was pretty much pre washing my dishes, before loading them into the dishwasher. Pretty ridiculous eh? I had to... with my old brand of dishwasher detergent, if plates weren't nearly spotless before going in, they would come out pretty much the same coming out. Not to mention the food residue that would get stuck on the inside of my drinking glasses and a nasty white film that would cover everything.

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Then about 6 months ago, Hubby bought some Finish Power ball Tabs, on sale and we've been hooked since. That first load of dishes came out so clean and sparkly. Even that annoying white film that was impossible to wash off our dishes, had completely disappeared. I almost cried, I was so happy. With Finish, now a quick rinse is all I need, before loading the dishwasher. Of course there are still things I feel the need to soak before loading them in, since they are super difficult to wash off, even if I would be hand washing. One of those being oatmeal. I've recently fallen in love with oatmeal, but hate washing the pot and bowls afterwards. I usually end up soaking the pot and bowl for the whole day, before wiping off the left behind oatmeal sludge and putting it in the dishwasher. So, I decided to put Finish Quantum to the test.

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Quantum Finish tabs utilize a breakthrough multi-chamber technology that releases each agent when needed during the cycle. Powerful scrubbing micro-bead soften burnt-on food and Powermax Bleach granules attack tough stains like tea and coffee.

Here are some of the dishes I put to the test

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a pot and bowl, coated with leftover oatmeal sludge


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a baking dish and bowl, coated with whipped cream, pudding and blueberry preserves


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dinner plates, one with dried on sour cream and some with ketchup and mashed potato

Pretty nasty right? Before Finish Quantum I would have rinsed and scrubbed these practically clean. And, I have to be honest, I was doubtful about the dishes with the oatmeal and ketchup. Those were often the dishes I would end up re-washing, by hand. But.... look at this!!



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 NO MORE OATMEAL


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NO MORE DRIED ON WHIPPED CREAM, PUDDING OR PRESERVES 



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 NO MORE CRUSTED ON KETCHUP OR MASHED POTATOES 


Mr.B was very curious to find out what I was so happy about. After repeating AWESOME, every time I took one of the test dishes out, he came in to see what was going on, LOL.

If you haven't tried the various Finish Dishwasher products, you are missing out on something fabulous; the end of pre washing dishes, and re washing dishes. All thanks to FINISH QUANTUM!

Disclosure: I am part of the Finish Blogger Program by Mom Central. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bananas Foster French Toast Bake

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Sometimes, I want a grown up breakfast. One that includes flavours and sophistication. Not just cereal, toast or chocolate chip pancakes. While all of those breakfasts are great, making them day after day, weekend after weekend, sometimes get boring. So, this morning I decided to make something more grown up and more adventurous. I wanted something sinful to accompany my french toast. I love syrup on mine, so I thought why not incorporate bananas in there somehow? Then it hit me..... Bananas Foster!!
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A coconut flavoured, rum infused syrup coated tender ripe banana slices. This was the perfect bed in which to nestle the custard soaked slices of baguette. My baguette was a bit stale, so I had been wondering what to do with it. This was the perfect solution. I made my custard last night and let the stale slices of baguette soak in it over night. This morning, all I had to do was make the syrup, pour it over sliced bananas which were in a baking dish and top everything with the custard soaked bread. This smelled so good while it was baking!! Even the kids said it smelled rather tasty, LOL. While Queenie wasn't fond of the french toast (she has texture issues), Mr.B gobbled his right up. My nephew, who had worked all night, was more than happy to help eat the remainder. The syrup was sweet, with a slight coconut flavour. The bananas softened and slightly caramelized, went perfectly with the tender slices of baguette; PERFECT!



Bananas Foster French Toast Bake

printable version

8 slices of baguette, cut 1 inch thick (preferably stale)
4 eggs
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 C milk
1/2 C brown sugar
2 oz coconut flavoured rum
1 Tbs butter
2-3 bananas

In a large baking dish, place the slices of baguette. In a bowl combine the eggs, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined and frothy. Add milk and vanilla and whisk again, to combine. Pour the custard over the slices of bread, turning them to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 1 hr.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small skillet add the brown sugar, rum and butter. Heat over medium low heat, until sugar is melted and all is combined; about 5 minutes. Slice bananas and place them in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Pour warm syrup over top and top everything with the custard soaked bread slices.

With the rack in the upper third section of the oven, bake french toast for 45 minutes to 1 hr; until custard had cooked through and tops of the bread are slightly browned. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.


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This post linked to

Bake with Bizzy 
Friday Favorites
Feed Your Soul
Weekly Round-up
Sweets for a Saturday
Weekend Potluck

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tropical Fresh Fruit Salad

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When I have a ton of fruit in the house, one of my favourite things to do with them, is make a fruit salad. I love how the colours all blend together, to make a rainbow of colour and flavour. I also find fruit salad is a great way to get my kids to eat a few servings of fruit, in one meal. Whether I dress is simply, or try to get a bit more creative, nothing beats a nice bowl of fruit salad with breakfast, or brunch. This particular recipe, I made for our Easter Brunch. I think a fruit salad is a perfect show stopping side, for a get together. I don't know many people who can resist a beautiful and colourful bowl of fruit salad.

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You can throw just about anything in a fruit salad. I've never tried bananas, but I've heard that they are a good addition as well. I went in the tropical direction with this fruit salad, mixing melon with some beautiful tropical pineapple and kiwi. I love using those under ripe kiwi in fruit salad, since the dressing softens them up nicely. To keep with my tropical theme, I decided on a dressing made from fresh orange juice, orange zest, honey and a pinch of cinnamon. De-Lish!!

Tropical Fresh Fruit Salad
printable version


2 C water seedless water melon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 C cantaloup, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 C fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 kiwis, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 C honey
2 Tbs fresh orange juice
zest of half and orange
a pinch of cinnamon

Place all the fruit in a large mixing bowl. In a glass measuring cup, or bowl, combine the honey, orange juice, zest and cinnamon. Whisk to completely combine. Pour over fruit and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and stir before serving.


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This post linked to

Full Plate Thursday
What's Cookin Thursday
These Chicks Cooked
Gallery of Favorites
Fit and Fabulous Fridays
Church Supper

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Skinny Broccoli-Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

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After totally gorging ourselves on Easter chocolate and sweets this past weekend, I thought a nice light and healthy dinner was in order. Since I had some leftover steamed broccoli and cauliflower, from last week, I decided to turn them into a beautiful velvety soup, minus all the fat and calories. Now I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I have been lucky to have 2 children who love to eat their veggies. Never in my life, did I think that my kids would be sitting at the dinner table, gobbling up broccoli soup and asking for seconds. I envisioned my life as a never ending battle, peppered with "eat your veggies", at every meal. Thankfully, this was not the case with this soup.

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Though this soup looks luxurious and creamy, there isn't a drop of cream in it. That's what makes it skinny. The whole thing is made with flavourful homemade chicken stock. That's the trick. If you have an amazing stock, that is full of flavour, you really don't need much else to make this soup shine. Now if you aren't the type of person who makes their own stock, I suggest using the best quality, low sodium stock in a box you can find. The sharp cheddar, Parmesan and a hint of nutmeg make this soup more exciting that just a pot of pureed veggies. I served the soup with croutons I made using some stale Stuffed Potato and Cheese break sticks, from the bakery section at our local grocery store. Even Hubby loved it, which doesn't happen often, if it's not drowning in cheese, or cream, LOL.

Skinny Broccoli-Cauliflower and Cheese Soup
printable version

3 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 C broccoli, chopped (I used a combination of steamed and fresh)
2 C cauliflower, chopped (again, I used steamed and fresh)
6-7 C low sodium chicken stock
1/2 tsp season salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 C extra sharp light Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 C Parmesan cheese

In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add in onion and cook for 1 minute. Add in any fresh broccoli and cauliflower, coat with oil and cook until cauliflower starts to lightly brown; about 5 minutes. Season with season salt, pepper and nutmeg, and add in the chicken stock; just til vegetables are about covered. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are fork tender; about 15 minutes. Once veggies are tender, if you have any steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower, add it in. Cook for another 10 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (you can have it as chunky or smooth as you'd like. We preferred a few chunks, so I did not puree all the way). Stir in 1 C extra sharp Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted and well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding some sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Garnish soup bowls with homemade croutons (recipe follows) and extra shredded Cheddar.

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Homemade Croutons

3 Stuffed Potato and Cheese bread sticks (you can also use regular, or cheese bread sticks)
1/4 C garlic infused olive oil

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Cut bread sticks in half, lengthwise, then cute into half inch cubes; place cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with garlic olive (if you don't have any garlic olive oil, sprinkle bread cubes with 1/4 tsp garlic powder, before tossing) and toss to coat. Spread cubes out evenly and bake for 45 minutes- 1 hr, tossing the cubes around every 15 minutes; until cubes are hard and crispy.

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This post linked to

See Ya in the Gumbo
Hearth and Soul
Tasty Tuesday
Delicious Dishes
Fit and Fabulous Friday 
Bake with Bizzy 
Gallery of Favorites

Monday, April 9, 2012

Meal Plan Monday~ April 9, 2012

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Happy Monday!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their extra long Easter weekend! We had a quiet Easter here, as usual. Hubby had to work all weekend, so we made due by having Easter Brunch, so he could celebrate with us. For some reason this year I was rather disorganized, forgetting key ingredients for my planned dishes for Brunch. So, I made a few swaps and it turned out delicious. The kids (and I) both had way too much chocolate and candy, and enjoyed an hour at the park, before the rain started up. The rest of the day was spent watching movies, snuggling  and nibbling on more chocolate, LOL.

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So, now is time to get back on track and try to get our eating habits on a healthier route. This week's menu will be simple, and full of dishes that we love. My girlfriend is due for dinner on Wed, so I will treat her to one of our favourites- Shrimp Creole, from Skinny Taste. The rest of the week will be busy with school and appointments, so I will try and keep the meals simple, healthy and delicious.

  • Creamy broccoli and cauliflower soup, with grilled cheese
  • Grilled Peameal Bacon sandwiches, with potato salad
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Baked Sweet Salmon with stir fried veggies
  • Ham and Cheese Crepes with a tossed salad
  • Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes, roast cauliflower and carrots
  • Leftovers
Check out OrgJunkie.com, for more great meal plans!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Individual Lemon Cakes

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Sometimes being a food blogger is counter productive. You need to be on top of food trends, creative and you need to post holiday themed recipes, before the actual holiday. Sometimes I think, why am I doing this to myself? Do I really need to make a certain recipe twice? Once before the holiday and then again on the actual day? The answer often is yes. Most of the time the pre holiday recipe is the test recipe. To see if it will be a success, worthy of being served at our holiday table. Which is the case with these amazing little cakes. I wanted little lemon cakes for our Easter Brunch and I had an idea (in my head) of what I wanted them to taste and look like, but whether I could pull it off, I wasn't sure. Now I can't take full credit for this one, I did get help from Tyler Florence. The funny part is, I overcooked his recipe, which resulted in me having to quickly adapt and to turn this into something just as amazing. So, I guess you can say that this is my collaboration with Tyler, LOL.

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As I said, I based these on one of Tyler's recipes I found on line, for baked lime pudding cakes. I followed the directions to a T, but I think since my oven runs hot, I over baked them. They were done in 3/4 of the time suggested and they looked nothing like the photo that accompanied the original recipe. Oh, and I also decided to go with lemon, instead of lime. Since these baked all the way, I decided they would pair nicely with a lemon sauce. Boy was I right. These are light, tart and phenomenal!! Hubby absolutely loves anything lemon, so he was crazy about these. He said he really loved that they were tart and you could tell they were lemon. He often says many lemon dessert recipes are too sugary and that the lemon taste gets lost under the sweetness. Not these babies, they will make you pucker, but leave you wanting just another bite.

Individual Lemon Cakes
printable version

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black berries for garnish

Lemon Sauce:
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 fresh lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 eggs
1 Tbs salted butter

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter and lightly sugar 4 ramekins (approximately 6-ounce size).  In a bowl, combine yolks, milk, lemon juice and lemon zest; let sit 3 minutes, then beat until well combined. Slowly add sifted flour, sugar and salt until just combined.  Beat egg whites with a whisk attachment until you get stiff peaks then combine the two mixtures by gently folding them together, a little at a time.  Divide evenly amongst ramekins then bake in a water bath – set ramekins in a roasting tray and fill with water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake in the oven for 45- 60 minutes until the top springs back when gently pressed and the cakes have a nice golden color.  Allow to cool slightly, then carefully invert onto a plate.

For Lemon Sauce: In a small sauce pot combine sugar, lemon juice, zest and eggs. Over medium heat, whisking constantly, cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Once thick, remove from heat and stir in butter; until completely melted. Spoon sauce over warm cakes and top with a few fresh blackberries.


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This post linked to

What's Cooking Thursday
Full Plate Thursday
Bake with Bizzy
These Chicks Cooked
Bunny Hop Blog Party
Saturday Dishes
Church Supper