Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

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 We recently went to visit my parents, at their camp and spent 2 fun filled weeks with them. Upon our return, Hubby had stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things, but we still didn't have much in the house. I had to get dinner on the table, with what I had in the house, so I quickly searched online for a chicken thigh recipe. The photo that accompanied this recipe, at For the Love of Cooking, is what caught my eye and I quickly decided that this would be gracing our dinner table. We never buy red wine vinegar, so I decided to use Balsamic vinegar in it's place.


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The kids helped me make the marinade and they kept commenting on how delicious it smelled. After a couple of hours in the fridge, the chicken was ready for the skillet. The smell, as I was browning the chicken was deliciously intoxicating. There was the sweetness of the balsamic, paired with tangy lemon and savory garlic. A-MA-ZING!! The chicken was so tender and the flavours were so delicious and complimented each other well. The kids gobbled their chicken up in no time and even asked for seconds; which barely happens with Queenie. A beautiful quick and delicious way to cook up chicken thighs.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs
Adapted from For the Love of Cooking

  • boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any fat
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients together in a large zip lock bag. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large OVEN PROOF skillet over medium high heat. Coat the skillet with  2 Tbs olive oil. Once the skillet is hot, lay the chicken thighs smooth side down in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and place in the oven. Cook for 8 minutes or until cooked through. Let the meat rest for a few minutes.

Cindy's notes: I used Balsamic vinegar, in place of the red wine vinegar and bone in, skinless chicken thighs.



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Monday, July 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday~ July 30th

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Happy Monday!!

Boy it's been a while since I've sat to write my weekly menu. For the past 2 weeks, the kids and I have been with my parents; first at camp, then at their house. The kids really enjoyed our camping adventure and we found out that Queenie is like a fish in the water.
 

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The weather was beautiful and the nights were hot. It was a little too much for a few nights, since we are so use to central air, LOL. We managed, had fun and Mr.B caught his first fish!!! After camp, we spent a few days at my parent's house, and my sister and new nephew came to visit. He is so cute, calm and happy; he reminds me of Mr.B, when he was a baby.


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So now that we are home, it's time to get back into some sort of routine. Well, with dinner anyway. Things are a bit tight this week, since it's the end of the month, so I'm trying to get the most out of the ingredients I do have. Here is what I have planned

Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for tons of great meal plans!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gluten-Free Caramel Apple Cake & a Giveaway

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 I am so excited to have received my copy of Gooseberry Patch's the Harvest Table cookbook. Why you might ask?? Well, it's because my recipe for Brown Sugar-Bacon Squash, is included in the cookbook. This is the first recipe that has been chosen from Gooseberry Patch and my second recipe ever published. It's exciting and I feel honoured that they decided that my recipe was the perfect addition for this cookbook. With Fall quickly approaching, I am thrilled to have the chance to read all the recipes and to bookmark those that I'd love to try. This cookbook has it all- Thanksgiving dishes, Halloween treats and wonderful Autumn dishes, from appetizers to desserts. To celebrate my being published, I thought I would make a recipe from the cookbook and give one of my readers the chance to win a copy of the Harvest Table.


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One of the recipes that caught my eye was this Caramel Apple Cake. The title alone made me stop to read the recipe and when I saw how simple it was to make, I decided to try it. Just a handful of ingredients, are turned into a sinful dessert. I decided to use a gluten free cake mix, since I had one on hand. Since I never buy apple pie filling, I decided to take some Granny Smith apples and make my own (I'll include the recipe below). This cake is phenomenal!! So tender and full of amazing warm flavours. I loved the sticky sweet caramel topping and I paired it with a perfectly whipped vanilla bean whipped cream. Superb!!!

Caramel Apple Cake
 adapted fromGooseberry Patch the Harvest Table- submitted by Liz Davies


This scrumptious dessert is a family favorite all year 'round. It's oh-so easy to make too.

18-1/2 oz pkg yellow cake mix
21- oz can apple pie filling
2 eggs, beaten
12-oz jar caramel ice cream topping, divided
Garnish: vanilla ice cream

Grease and flour a 13"x9" baking pan and set aside. In a bowl, combine dry cake mix, pie filling, eggs and 1/4 C caramel topping. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for one to 2 minutes, until blended. Pour batter into baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Pour remaining caramel topping over cake and spreak evenly. Serve topped with ice cream. Serves 8 to 10.

Cindy's notes: I used a boxed gluten free cake mix. I also made my own apple pie filling (recipe follows)

Apple pie filling:
3 large Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/3C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until apples are tender.

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To win a copy of Gooseberry Patch's the Havest Table, simply use the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will run from July 28 to August 5th at 11:59pm EST. Open to Canadian and U.S residents only.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Southwestern Pinto Bean Burgers

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 I am always intrigued by bean burger recipes I find. This particular one caught my eye, while I was browsing the Recipe Review thread, over at Cooking for your Family, a cooking forum I am co-group owner of. I liked this recipe because it was simple and used ingredients that we always have in the house. I also loved that I didn't have to saute the vegetables, before adding them to the bean mixture and loved the idea of the sweet corn mixed in. These were super simple to make and came together in the matter of minutes. A quick trip to the freezer and they are ready to cook up.


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The burgers were really sensational. I made half the recipe and came away with 3 pretty nice sized burgers. I cooked one up for myself, and froze the remaining patties (between layers of parchment), for later use. The rest of the family aren't really crazy about bean burgers...... or so I thought, I came home the other night and found that both burgers had been cooked and eaten, LOL. They are tender, with a nice crispy outer crust. The flavours mingle well with the creamy beans and sweet corn. They have just the right amount of heat and have an extra bite of heat, thanks to the Chipotle mayonnaise. I decided to top mine with some ripe avocado, that I tossed with lime juice and sprinkled with salt, and some cilantro. A perfect burgers for those meatless nights!!!

Southwestern Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle mayo
Adapted from Cooking for your Family via Cooking Light
printable version

1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeƱo pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Remaining ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves

--- To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Assemble burgers.


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Friday, July 20, 2012

BBQ Cola Beef Sandwiches

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With Summer here, I've got BBQ on my mind. When I'm super busy and don't have to time to even think of getting into the kitchen to make dinner, I turn to BBQ sandwiches, that I can make in the crock pot. I love throwing my selected cut of meat into the crock pot, with some seasonings and letting it get all fork tender and delicious. A touch of our favourite BBQ sauce is all that's needed to transform the crock pot results, into something sensational. Thought I usually go with chicken or pork, when I make crock pot BBQ sandwiches, this time I went with beef. The boys really love beef and I don't cook with it very often, so this was sure to be a special treat.


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A nice cheap cut of beef is perfect for this, since it gets shredded, once cooked. I decided to try a take on the Root beer Pulled Pork, for a few months ago, and go with a Cola BBQ Beef. Use what ever cola you prefer; I used Pepsi, since that's what is always in the house (now all you Coke drinkers.... don't go judging me, LOL). This turned out wonderfully.  To increase the cola flavour, I took the drippings and reduced them down, until nice and thick, to mix back into the beef with our favourite BBQ sauce. The kids really loved this, which surprised me, since BBQ anything is never one of their favourites. I left the remainder for the boys (Hubby and my nephew), when the kids and I left for our vacation. No word yet as to whether they liked it or not, but I'm pretty sure it didn't last long in the fridge.

BBQ Cola Beef Sandwiches
printable recipes

1-3lb chuck roast
1 can of cola (I used Pepsi)
2 Tbs Cajun seasoning
1/2 C ketchup
1 tsp salt
1-2 C BBQ Sauce (I used Bull's Eye Original)
sandwich rolls, or hamburger
Sliced dill pickles

Rub chuck roast with Cajun seasoning and salt and place in a 6 qt crock pot. Slowly pour in the cola and ketchup, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs.

Remove beef and shred with two forks. Pour remaining cola mixture into a small sauce pot, bring to a boil and reduce until thick. Return shredded beef, thickened cola mixture and BBQ sauce, to the warm crock pot. Mix well, to coat beef with sauce and cola mixture. Serve on buns with pickles.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grilled Corn Salad

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 Boy is it hot out! Even though we do have air in the house, I don't really like to heat up the house more than I need to. So, during the summer, I love to serve salads with our dinners. I'm always looking for something to serve, when we have Mexican inspired main dishes and since I had some cobs of corn leftover, I decided to turn them into a salad. I lightly grilled them, until the kernels turned a nice golden brown and caramelized. Then I removed the kernels from the cob, tossed them with beans and tomatoes and made a wonderful dressing, full of Tex Mex flavour.

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This salad was amazing. I loved the sweet corn, paired with the fresh tomato and creamy beans. The tangy, sweet and savory dressing, made all the flavours shine and didn't overwhelm them. The kids thought it was silly that I turned corn into a salad, which they absolutely loved. Make sure to make this salad a bit in advance, so the flavours of the dressing have a chance to mingle with everything and soak in, leaving you with the best possible flavour.

Grilled Corn Salad
printable version

4 ears of cooked corn on the cob
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper

Preheat your grill, to medium high heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until kernels begin to turn golden and caramelize. Cool slightly. Using a sharp knife, remove kernels from cobs, by standing the cob on it's flat end and carefully running the blade of the knife down the cob from the top. Discard cobs and place kernels in a bowl.

Add beans, tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl, with the corn. In a resealable jar, combine the lime juice and zest, olive oil, honey, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Seal and shake vigorously, until everything is well combined. Pour over corn mixture and gently toss until everything is coated with the dressing. Refrigerate at least 1 hr (more if possible).

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Best Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles

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Nothing is better on a Sunday morning than a nice big breakfast. Usually it's pancakes or waffles and since we had a ton of fresh blueberries, the kids asked for blueberry waffles. I remembered seeing a recipe that claimed to the the best blueberry waffles on Fatty Sumo, so I decided to give them a try. I really like that these waffles use half whole wheat flour. Makes them a bit healthier and you can't even tell it's in there.

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These waffles are really good. They brown up nicely, are big and the buttermilk makes them super fluffy and crispy on the outside. We loved the sweet blueberries, studded through them and how they added sweetness, without making the waffles too sweet. Topped with additional fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup from Quebec, these waffles are an amazing breakfast. The kids gobbled them up and Mr.B wanted a third waffle. Unfortunately we all loved these so much, we ate the whole batch in no time.

 
Best Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles
 Fatty Sumo- adapted from Epicurious.com (Gourmet | June 2005)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • oil spray for waffle iron
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs in another bowl, then whisk into flour mixture until just combined.  Add blueberries to mixture and combine.  Spray hot waffle iron lightly with oil and pour a slightly rounded 1/2 cup of batter into each waffle mold (see cooks’ note, below). Cook waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Top with fresh blueberries and maple syrup.




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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Texas Cheeseburger Sliders

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When we lived in Houston (about 8 yrs ago), I quickly realized that Mexican food had a definite place in that state. I loved being able to find a taco stand, and buy some authentic Mexican food. Our favorites were Tamales and anytime we would drive by a certain corner store that happened to double as a Mexican take out, we would grab some to take home. I found this recipe through Better Homes and Gardens, and I can see why they call them Texas Cheeseburgers. They have great Mexican flavors running through them. I decided to turn this recipe into sliders, since the kids are more likely to try new burgers if they are cute and tiny. I did switch up some of the flavours, by subbing some green chiles for poblano. I didn't want these to be too hot for the kids. I made up some patties for them, then added a few good shakes of hot sauce, for the rest of us.


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These were super moist, tender and juicy. I loved the spicy chiles and hot sauce, paired with the subtle creamy Jack cheese. I decided to serve these on homemade scones, but they would also be good on biscuits, or even slider buns. We topped ours with nice thin sliced tomato and avocado, which I had dressed with lime juice and salt. Pickled jalapenos would have also brought a nice bite to these burgers. Super simple and super delicious!!

Texas Cheeseburger Sliders
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
printable version

1/2 small onion, grated
1 can green chiles
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
1-2 tsp hot sauce (we like Frank's), optional
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
slider buns, scones or biscuits
Assorted condiments such as tomato and avocado, grilled red onion

Mix the onion, chiles, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl; add ground meat and mix well. Shape mixture into 16 patties about 3/4-inch thick. Place on a tray; cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Place patties on the lightly oiled rack of the grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 8 to 12 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 160 degree F, turning burgers once. Top burgers with shredded cheese during the last 1 minute of grilling.

Toast slider buns on grill rack, cut sides down, about 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Serve burgers on buns with desired assorted condiments. Makes 16 slider burgers.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bacon Potato and Leek Fritata

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Being a food blogger has really pushed me to try foods I never would think of trying. Leeks are one of those. I wasn't intimidated with leeks, it's just I never found a reason to want to try them. After all they are just huge green onions right?? Then last Fall, I made an amazing soup, that contained leeks and I was hooked. I buy them regularly now, and love them sauteed and golden. So, when I bought some this past week,  I had planned to somehow incorporate them into a fritata, for dinner. I had some leftover bacon in the fridge and wanted to make the fritata heartier, so I decided to add in some finely chopped potato. De-lish!!!

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The creamy potato, smoky bacon and mild onion-y leeks pair wonderfully with the fluffy eggs. The kids really enjoyed this and Hubby lucked out and arrived home, just as we were finishing up dinner. So he was able to eat this fritata, while it was still a bit warm (way better than reheated in the microwave). We all really loved that this was a complete meal, but we didn't feel weighed down by it. This would be fabulous for a brunch, or even sliced and packed up for a picnic with the family.

Bacon Potato and Leek Fritata
printable version

6 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large leek, sliced and rinsed of all dirt
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
6 large eggs
1/4 C half and half
1/4 C fresh grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

To clean leeks: chop off tough dark green tips and root end of the leek. Cut the leek in half, length wise, then finely slice into half moons. Place leeks in a large bowl of water and swish them around, to loosed the dirt and seperate the layers. Carefully scoop up the leeks, floating on the top of the water and transfer to a clean towel; pat dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in top half of the oven.

In a medium cast iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat. Once the bacon starts to render it's fat and brown slightly, add in the potatoes and leeks. Cook, until potatoes are tender and bacon is crisp. Lower heat to medium low.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the half and half, salt and pepper, until well combined. Slowly pour the eggs over the potato, bacon and leek mixture, in the skillet. Stir to evenly distribute the filling and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cook on the stove top until bottom begins to set; about 5-10 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven, on the top rack and continue cooking until the eggs have set up and the cheese has browned slightly; about 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing.


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Monday, July 2, 2012

Meal Plan Monday~ July 2, 2012

Happy Canada Day!!

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Actually Canada Day was yesterday, but we were in the U.S, visiting Hubby's family. Crazy aren't we?? We had a blast, ate until we were too full and enjoyed sleeping in, yesterday morning (nothing like waking up to the smell of bacon cooking!!!). We came home last night and we got to see an awesome fireworks display put on by Paramount Canada's Wonderland. We drove right by, so the fireworks were right over us at one point. The kids were so excited, LOL.

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Hubby had the weekend off and is off again today, so we are planning on setting up the pool and just relaxing again today. The kids let us sleep in until 10am, so I'm really enjoying our summer vacation :o). Nothing planned this week, we'll just go with the flow, since Hubby is working. Maybe the kids and I will hop on the city bus and venture down to out Waterfront Park and go swimming and enjoy a picnic. Here is what I have planned for this week

  • Cajun soda can Chicken, Italian Sausages, foil packet broccoli and red pepper and potato salad
  • Summertime Spaghetti (brought over from last week) with a Tomato Mozzarella Spinach Salad
  • Texas Cheeseburger sliders with homemade salsa and chips (brought over from last week)
  • Grilled Ratatouille with Chickpeas and homemade Naan bread
  • Classic BBQ Chicken Drumsticks (new recipe) with leftover potato salad
  • beef and veggie kabobs, with grilled corn on the cob
  • leftovers
Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, for tons of other great meal plans!!