Saturday, October 16, 2010

Creamy Turkey & Apple Chili

As it is harvest time here and we just had Thanksgiving, I had apples and turkey a-plenty!  This recipe is one that I have made for years and love.  It is deceiving because it appears to be just creamy and bland...but it really packs a lovely heat which is surprising and delicious!!  I made a double-batch for a dinner party we had last night and everyone loved it!!

1/4 cup EVOO
2 lbs of turkey meat, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
Dash of cayenne (if you like it a little on the hot side!)
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 apples, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 onion, diced
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups homemade chicken broth (or turkey)
3/4 cup milk
Two 15oz cans of white kidney beans, chickpeas, or Romano beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Asiago cheese
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the turkey, chili powder, cayenne (if using), and cumin.  Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 mins.  Transfer to a bowl.
  • In the same pot heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil.  Add the apples and onion and saute until soft, stirring constantly. Approximately 6 mins.  Add to the turkey mixture.
  • In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Whisk in the chicken (or turkey) broth and milk until thickened, approx. 3 mins.
  • Stir in the turkey-apple mixture and beans.  Bring to a simmer, then stir in the cheese.
  • Serve with cornbread muffins, tortilla chips, or crusty bread!
  • ENJOY!!!

Acorn Squash Soup with Bacon

In our CSA boxes we have been receiving a lot of squash lately (which makes me SO happy!)  As I had 3 white acorn squash hanging about I decided to try this recipe which I found on  All I can say is YUMMY!!!  Greg and I had two full bowls each and the kids gobbled theirs up too.  The bacon isn't necessary, but it did make a nice contrast to the sweet and slightly spicy soup.

1 small onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
dash cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
3 cups mashed cooked acorn squash
salt and pepper to taste
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion and celery in butter. Stir in flour, bouillon, dill, curry and cayenne until blended. Gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the squash, salt and pepper; heat through.
  • In a blender or food processor, process the soup in batches until smooth. Pour into bowls; garnish with bacon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Smashed Rutabagas with Ginger-Roasted Pears

I pulled this recipe out of a magazine ages ago and it has become a regular side dish at our table!  I must admit that the kids aren't so fond of them, but any adult I serve it to usually goes back for seconds!!

Rutabagas are the larger, waxed root vegetable that you will find in the markets - the flesh is an orange colour.  Turnips are small (size of a beet), white with a purplish colour to one end.  The flesh of a turnip is white. These two are often mistaken for each other!

4lbs rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
3 firm Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4" cubes
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
  • Boil rutabagas in a pot of boiling, salted water until tender (approx. 35 mins)
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Combine extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), lemon juice, ginger and sugar in a large bowl.  Add pears and toss to coat.  Spread evenly on the lined baking sheet and roast until tender, turning pears frequently, about 35 mins.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Drain rutabagas and return to the same pot.  Mash to a coarse puree.  Stir over medium heat until excess moisture evaporates, approx. 5 mins.  Add cream, butter, and thyme.  Mix in pears and any juices from the baking sheet.
  • Season with salt and pepper. ENJOY!
This dish can be made a day ahead and transferred to a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover and chill.  Bring to room temperature and rewarm at 1 minute intervals in the microwave, stirring often.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas & Pecans

Although I am not a huge fan of French toast, my family definitely is and we had our friends Dave, Siobhan, and their kids staying over for I chose this recipe from Canadian Living because it looked delicious and would feed a crowd at breakfast ~ we paired it with bacon and sausages and it was fantastic!!!

1/3 cup chopped pecans
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups 5% cream or milk
 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 loaf of egg bread
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp butter
6 firm peeled bananas, halved crosswise and lengthwise
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • On a baking sheet, toast pecans in 325F oven for approx. 6 mins.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.  Cut egg bread into 3/4" thick slices; dip into egg mixture until soaked.
  • In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat and cook the slices, in batches and adding more butter as needed, until golden, approx. 3 minutes.  Transfer to 2 rimmed cookie sheets.  Bake in the oven at 350F until puffed and heated through, approx. 8 mins. Place in a large 9" x 13" casserole dish, and set aside.
  • Caramelized Bananas:  Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt half of the butter over medium high heat.  Fry half of the bananas, turning once, until golden and tender, approx. 3 mins.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining bananas.
  • In the same skillet, bring maple syrup and brown sugar to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 2 mins.  Stir in bananas; simmer for 1 minute.
  • Spoon over the French toast and sprinkle with the pecans.
  • ENJOY!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mum's Pork Sausage Stuffing

When it comes to turkey stuffing I have tried other recipes, but find myself returning to the stuffing that my Mum always made.  It's comforting and delicious!  In fact it's so good that my friend Dave who detests mushrooms, absolutely loves it!!

This will stuff a bird that is between 12 to 16lbs - if your bird is bigger, double the recipe.  If it doesn't all fit inside the cavity, put the extra stuffing into a couple of layers of cheesecloth, draw all the ends together and tie with kitchen twine to create a bag of stuffing.  Lay this in the roasting dish next to the bird and allow it to cook with the turkey and absorb all the lovely juices!!

2 cups of quartered white button mushrooms
1 onion, finely diced
1 tube of pure pork sausage meat (you can find this in your grocer's freezer)
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp ground sage
1 loaf of white bread
  • In a large skillet with fairly high sides, heat onion and sausage meat and saute until sausage is no longer pink.  Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms cook down and the meat is crispy brown.
  • Meanwhile using a food processor or blender, make bread crumbs out of the loaf of white bread and place in a large bowl.  Season with the black pepper, parsley and sage.  Add the cooked sausage mixture and all the oil (although I am a fan of removing any excess fat from the skillet with most recipes, this one requires the fat to bind the meat and bread mixtures together - no one said this was healthy and frankly why we only have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas!!)
  • Combine the meat and bread mixtures well and let cool to room temperature before stuffing the bird.
  • Once the turkey is cooked, scoop out the stuffing and place in a separate bowl to enjoy!
*Although I love this with my turkey dinner, it is equally as nice cold and placed inside of a turkey sandwich!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Meat Loaf

This is one of those comforting dishes that is easy to make, is delicious with a side of garlic mashed potatoes, or in between some crusty bread as a sandwich the next day! 
1 tbsp EVOO
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps or button mushrooms
1/2 cup minced onion
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped, drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 lb lean ground beef or pork
Topping ~
4 tbsp chili sauce or ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Approximately 5 minutes.  Stir in vinegar; reduce until evaporated, about 30 seconds, cool slightly.

  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine egg with bread crumbs, tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix in the mushroom mixture and ground beef or pork. 
  • Pack into a 1.5L loaf pan, mounding on top.

  • Topping ~ In a small bowl combine the chili sauce with the mustard and thyme.  Spread over the top of the meatloaf.

  • Place meatloaf into a 350F oven until a meat thermometer registers 170F (75C).  Approximately 45 to 50 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes upon removing from oven.  Slice and serve!

Blushing Apple Sauce

I have never made homemade apple sauce, but in my pursuit of eating as 'clean' as possible I attempted it this year.  The kids have been begging me to make my own for a while and after our excursion to "Siloam Orchards" where they grown heritage apples and use only organic sprays (and it is truly organic because for the first time in 12 years, Greg's been able to eat an apple without having to use his epi pen!), I decided to go for it!  I first went on to where I tend to search for recipes and found one that called for apples, water and sugar...then my friend Moira Sanders gave me a signed copy of her newest cookbook "The Harrow Fair Cookbook: Prize-Winning Recipes Inspired by Canada's Favourite Country Fair" ( and her maternal Grandfather's recipe for blushing applesauce was so simple I just had to try it - and it is delicious too!!

12 large red-skinned apples
1/2 cup water

  • Wash the apples thoroughly.

  • Quarter the apples and remove the cores.  Roughly chop the apples and place them, and the water, in a large pot.  Cook over medium heat until the apples soften and become sauce - approx. 30 minutes.

  • Push the sauce through a strainer or food mill to remove the skins.

  • You can either preserve the sauce by canning them (I used 125mL jars and send one a day in each of my children's lunch pails), or placing in a container in the fridge, where it will store for a week or two, or in the freezer for up to 3 months!

Baked Farfalle with Prosciutto and Mushrooms

This is one of those comforting type of pasta dishes that can be frozen and reheated or just eaten immediately because it smells soooo good!  Personally I find there are fewer seductive savoury flavours than the combination of cremini mushrooms, whipping cream and prosciutto together!!!  Try this with a glass of crisp white wine and you'll know what I mean!

1 tbsp EVOO
4 oz prosciutto, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 250g)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 can (28 oz/796mL) of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup whipping cream
5 cups farfalle pasta (bow tie)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute prosciutto until golden, about 5 minutes.

  • Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, basil pepper & salt; saute until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes.  Add wine and boil until almost no liquid remains, about 1 minute.

  • Add tomatoes, stir in tomato paste and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add cream; simmer until thickened (approx. 5 mins) *At this point you could cool the mixture for 1/2 hr and then refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hrs if you want to make ahead*

  • In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook farfalle until tender but firm, approx. 10 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.  Add sauce and parsley; toss to coat.

  • Transfer to a 2.5L baking dish, sprinkle with Parmesan Reggiano and bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly, in a 375F oven.

  • ENJOY!!

Trinidadian-Style Chicken

I created this dish a while ago and then when I went searching on my blog for the recipe, I realized that I never posted it - and that is a HUGE oversight because this dish is packed with flavour and definitely one I want to repeat!  The recipe comes from "Everyday Exotic" which is hosted by Chef Mooking.

Amise marinade ~
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch parsley, leaves & stems, roughly chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Trini Style Chicken with Plantain ~
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
Amise Marinade (above)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, small dice
1 green chili, sliced in half lengthwise (optional, but worth it!)
1 semi-soft plantain cut in half, lengthwise and chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup cilantro, leaves picked off stems
Pickled Topping ~
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 shallot, sliced in 1/4" pieces
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced in 1/4" pieces
1 tbsp sugar

  • Amise Marinade ~ Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.  Place in a large bowl or container, and set aside.

  • Trini-Style Chicken with Plantain ~ Marinate chicken in 1/2 Amise Marinade for a maximum of 24 hours.

  • In a large skillet, heat sugar and vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Swirl until sugar caramelizes and turns brown, approx. 7 to 10 minutes.

  • Add chicken, skin side down.   Allow chicken to brown on all sides, approx. 5 minutes.  Add onions, chili, plantain, tomato and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir.

  • Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the remaining 1/2 of the Amise Marinade, stir and reduce to medium heat.

  • Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, season with salt and remove from heat. 

  • Garnish with cilantro and pickled topping before serving!

  • Pickled Topping ~ In a small pot, heat white wine vinegar, water and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil.

  • Add shallot, jalapeno and sugar, remove from heat.

  • Season with salt, hold in vinegar for 10 minutes.  Discard cinnamon stick and strain liquid, reserving pickled shallots and jalapenos.
*Plantains look similar to bananas, but are larger and generally darker in colour (sometimes a deep brown - which means they're ripe!)