Saturday, November 23, 2013

Loaded Baked Potato and Hot Wings Casserole

I saw this recipe on Facebook and kept it so I could try it one day...well that day came this week and BOY am I glad I made this!!!!  We all loved it but it was a bit spicy for the kids without Caesar dressing.  Once they added that, they ate it up!

2lbs chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes
8 to 10 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
1/3 cup of EVOO
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
6 tbsp hot sauce
2 cups grated cheese (I used goat marbled Cheddar)
1 cup crumbled bacon
1 cup diced green onions (I used leeks as that's what we got in our CSA, and lightly sauteed them!)
  • Preheat oven to 500F.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil to hot sauce and mix well.  Add the diced potatoes and toss to coat.  Carefully remove the potatoes trying to retain as much sauce as possible.
  • Place potatoes in prepared baking dish and put into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes.  Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to ensure even baking and crispy potatoes.
  • Add diced chicken to the sauce and toss to coat well.  In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the topping.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and lower the heat to 400F.  Place the diced chicken directly on top of the potatoes and sprinkle the toppings over the entire dish.
  • Return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove and serve with additional hot sauce and/or Caesar salad dressing.
  • ENJOY!!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cheese & Herb Potato Fans

My son Devon saw this recipe in "Taste of Home" magazine and he asked me to make it as a side to our slow cooker roast beef, carrots and parsnips dinner....they are delicious!!  Just make sure that you allow enough time to properly bake the potatoes in the oven as they won't fan out unless they are perfectly cooked.  Use fresh herbs as they deliver the most flavour - we were lucky that all the herbs are still blooming in our garden...but with the change in the weather, it won't be for long!!

8 medium potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used goat marble cheddar)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan or Peccorino cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh chives
2 tbsp minced fresh sage
2 tbsp minced fresh thyme
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.  With a sharp knife, cut each potato into 1/8" slices, ensuring you leave the slices attached at the bottom.  Gently fan potatoes slightly and place into a greased baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, mix butter, salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until potatoes are tender (they will fan out and the skins will look crispy!)  In a small bowl, toss cheeses with herbs.  Sprinkle over the potatoes and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve and ENJOY!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Fettuccini

I made this dish for my friend Anne who sent me a less-than-subtle message on Facebook asking for this dish (in fact she sent me the recipe and said "Make this for me") I did!  Here is a fantastic dish that I served at a dinner party and disappeared in no time!!!

1/2 to 3/4 lb cooked fresh fettuccine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb peeled, deveined raw large shrimp
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp Essence Seasoning (recipe below)
1 1/2 hot or smoked turkey sausages (I used turkey/chicken ones from Costco), diced into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano or Peccorino Reggiano
 Essence Seasoning:
2 1/2 tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat in a large saute pan.  Season the shrimp with 2 tsp of the Essence.  Place the shrimp in the pan and saute until almost done.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
  • Place the remaining oil in the saute pan along with the onion and bell peppers.  Saute, stirring until the onions are translucent (about 3 mintues).  Add the sausage and cook another minute.
  •  Add the garlic to the pan and saute, stirring quickly to avoid garlic burning, for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the thyme, 1 tbsp of Essence and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream to the pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Return the shrimp and pasta to the pan.  Continue to cook the sauce and pasta, stirring occasionally to combine.  Remove from the heat and add the basil and Parmesan.
  • ENJOY!

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This is the SIMPLEST recipe and it is absolutely DELICIOUS!!!  Before I left for work I started this stew and by dinner time we had an amazing dinner that everyone enjoyed.

1 lb stewing beef, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 to 2 tbsp oil (preferably grapeseed or coconut, but olive is fine too!)
28 oz can tomatoes*
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 zucchini diced into 1/2" cubes
4 cups water
1/2 cup red wine
4 beef bouillon cubes**
2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves garlic diced)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 to 1/2 cup couscous (as we don't eat wheat, I used rice pasta, but I am sure quinoa would be lovely too!!)

  • In a skillet, heat oil and brown the beef. Brown in batches to allow for air to circulate around the beef pieces so they brown, rather than steam!
  • Place all vegetables in the slow cooker and add the beef.  Stir to combine.
  • Combine all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl (except couscous) and pour over the ingredients in the slow cooker.
  • Cover.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Stir in couscous.  Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • ENJOY!
*Try for low sodium tomatoes as mine weren't and combined with the bouillon cubes, the stew was on the salty side.
**Homemade stock is best as it generally contains little or no sodium, if using prepared bouillon cubes, opt for low sodium varieties as it isn't impossible to remove the saltiness, but it is more difficult!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Beef & Falafal Patties

This creation came about because I wanted to make a meatloaf, but didn't have any breadcrumbs...I spied a box of falafal mix in the cupboard and this delicious creation was born!!!  I love them served with a salad (such as in the photo with my quinoa salad with cucumber, fresh dill and toasted almonds)  or inside of a pita or wrap smothered in hummus, tzatziki, lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes!!

1 box of falafal mix
1 1/4 cups water
1 large egg, beaten with a fork
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp dried mint leaves
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • Place the falafal mix in a large bowl.  Add water and stir to incorporate.  Let mixture stand for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Add the egg, parsley and mint leaves and stir well.  Add ground beef and mix to incorporate.  
  • Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set the oven to broil.  Shape the beef mixture into 3" diameter patties and place on the tray.  Broil on centre rack in the oven for approximately 5 minutes per side (or until a thermometer reads 160F when inserted into the centre of a patty)
  • Serve as you wish; either in a pita with your favourite dips and veggies, or on a plate with some tzatziki sauce...the sky is the limit!
  • ENJOY!  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tuna Broccoli Casserole

This is a nice variation on a tuna noodle casserole - my entire family loved it and it was super easy to put together!

5 cups uncooked egg noodles (I substituted rice pasta)
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups fat free milk (I substituted goat milk)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup sodium-reduced chicken broth
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided (I substituted goat cheddar)
4 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed (I used fresh and steamed them prior to use)
2 cans of drained white tuna
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (I used all rice bread crumbs)
1 tbsp butter melted
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Cook noodles according to the package directions; drain.  Transfer to a 13" x 9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skill, heat butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until tender.  In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch, milk and seasonings until smooth; gradually stir into the skillet.  Stir in the broth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes until thickened.
  • Stir in 3/4 cup cheese until melted; stir in broccoli and tuna.  
  • Spoon tuna mixture over the noodles; mix well.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Toss bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake, covered with tin foil, for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil covering and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  • ENJOY!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Zucchini & Cheddar Fritters

I found this recipe in 2010 Chatelaine magazine and kept it for zucchini season.  Since we were making chicken schnitzel last night, it seemed the proper time to debut this dish - and we are all glad that I did!!!!  They disappeared in seconds flat!

2 small zucchini
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar (I used goat cheddar)
2 green onions, thinly sliced (I used my garlic scape and spinach pesto)
1 egg white
SAUCE (Optional)*
1 lemon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard (preferably grainy)
  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Do not peel zucchini.  Coarsely grate.  Spread out over paper towels and top with more paper towel.  Press to remove excess water.  Turn into a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle the zucchini with cornstarch and mix well.  Add cheese and onions.  Stir to mix.  Whisk egg white, and stir into zucchini mixture along with generous pinches of salt and black pepper.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the baking sheet, and gently press down to flatten.  Repeat with remaining mixture.
  • Bake on the centre rack in the oven until fritters start to firm up and are golden on the bottom (approx. 15 to 20 mins).  Turn over the fritters carefully at this stage as they are still soft.  Continue to bake until set and golden brown (a further 8 to 10 mins).  Let stand a couple of mins before serving so the fritters will firm up.
  • Meanwhile, squeeze 1 tbsp juice from the lemon into a small bowl.  Stir in mayonnaise and mustard.  Serve fritters with the sauce.
  • ENJOY!
*I didn't bother making the sauce and the fritters were quite delicious as they are!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Salad Nicoise

Since we still had some frisee lettuce and red spring onions from a couple of CSA shares ago, and received new potatoes, green beans and eggs with our share last week, I decided that a salad nicoise was in order!  I love this dish even though it takes a little work because the flavour is outstanding and it is a complete meal!!!

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried (I used Herbs de Provence)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
12 mini red potatoes, cut in half
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 cans of tuna, drained*
1 head of leaf lettuce
Handful of green beans, trimmed and boiled until crisp tender
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges
1/2 cup black olives
  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Whisk together Dijon, tarragon and wine vinegar.  Slowly whisk in oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  • Toss potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 mins, or until tender and browned.  Remove from oven.
  • Toss potatoes with 2 tbsp dressing.  Toss onions with 2 tbsp dressing.  Set aside.
  • Line a large platter with lettuce.  Gently toss the beans and tomatoes with dressing.  Place potatoes, onions, green beans, tomatoes,hard boiled eggs and olives in sections on the platter.  
  • Top with tuna.
  • Drizzle the entire salad with the remaining dressing.
  • ENJOY!!!
*You can also use a fresh tuna steak - simply brush it with 1 tbsp oil and coat with cracked pepper.  Grill on the BBQ for 2 minutes per side on high, or until it is still rare in the centre.  Remove from the grill and slice into thin slices!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Green Curry Chicken with Asparagus

I found this recipe in the "Foodland Ontario" 2013 calendar that I picked up at "Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze" when I got my CSA box.  There are a lot of great recipes in this calendar so if you see one, grab it!
I only had bone-in chicken thighs on hand, so my photo does not look as lovely as the one in the calendar that uses boneless so they can be cut into chunks.  I think next time I will make the effort to use boneless for presentation purposes, but the flavour is phenomenal and it is super-easy to create!

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp green curry paste
2 tbsp coconut oil (or whatever oil you prefer to use for cooking)
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 can light coconut milk
375g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces (mine were a little too big...I was rushing unfortunately!)
1 tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce (I used 1/2 tbsp of each as I have them on hand!)
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp grated lime rind.
  • In a large deep skillet, cook onion, garlic curry paste and oil over medium-high heat, stirring until softened.  
  • Add chicken and saute until lightly browned (approx. 5 minutes).  Add coconut milk, 1/2 cup water and asparagus;  bring to a boil.  Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife tip.
  • Add fish sauce, lime juice, honey and lime rind.  Stir to blend and serve over a bed of rice, or on its own with flat bread for sopping up the delicious curry sauce!
  • ENJOY!  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I found this recipe in "People Magazine" (of all places!?) and it is remarkably easy and delicious!!!  Perfect for the upcoming strawberry season too!!!  As we don't eat gluten, I substituted the flour in this recipe but it definitely didn't affect the taste.

1 cup flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose gluten free)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar), plus 2 tbsp
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp real vanilla extract
8oz fresh strawberries, halved
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.  Either using the wrapper from the butter, or coconut oil, or cooking spray, oil a 9" springform pan.  Set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  • Cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy in a large bowl using a hand mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Using the mixer on low speed, incorporate the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  • Removed pan from fridge and arrange the strawberries on top of the batter, cut side down.  Pour the lemon juice evenly over top the berries.  Combine the 2 tbsp sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the top of the tart.
  • Bake the tart until the edges are golden brown and the centre is set (check by inserting a toothpick into the centre - it should come out clean).  Approx. 45 mins.
  • Remove from the oven and set tart aside to cool.  When cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan, remove the springform side and serve.
  • ENJOY!!!  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I was having a big-time chocolate pudding craving, but since I can't tolerate dairy, thought I would just have to suppress the craving....until I found this recipe in  Viva Magazine!!!  It is so ridiculously simply (only 4 ingredients?!) and healthy too!!

1 ripe avocado
3 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Using a blender, combine the avocado, cocoa powder, coconut milk and maple syrup until smooth.  Refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes.
  • Spoon the pudding into 2 serving bowls and use your favourite topping (shredded coconute, berries, nuts, etc)
  • ENJOY!!!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cheesy Mushroom Enchiladas

For "Cinco de Mayo" we decided to celebrate our adopted country's Independence Day by whipping up a Mexican feast!!  This was one of the menu items and it was delicious and simple - admittedly this is not an original recipe, but rather one from Rachel Ray.  I used the fresh mushrooms and onions from this week's CSA box from Cooper's Farm and the result was heavenly!!!

1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup of EVOO 
2 cups shredded cheese (I used goat cheddar but try monterey jack)
Salt, to taste
1 large white onion, chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp ground cumin
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz), although homemade is best!
8- 6" soft corn tortillas
  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush some olive oil in a 9 x 12 baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the mushrooms are a lovely golden colour. (Approx 15 mins)  Remove from the heat and toss them in a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of cheese.  Season with salt and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, cook the onion in the remaining olive oil over medium high heat, stirring until lightly golden. (Approx 6 to 8 mins).  Add the chili powder and cumin and stir well for 2 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water.  Simmer until the sauce thickens.
  • In the greased baking dish pour 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom.  Coat the tortillas in some sauce to make them pliable and to absorb the yummy flavours of the sauce.  Place 1/3 cup of the mushroom mixture down the centre of the tortilla, roll up and place in the baking dish.  Once you have repeated this with all 8 tortillas, top them with the remaining sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.  Place into the heated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or  until bubbly.
  • ENJOY!! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Curried Crab with Coconut and Chili

So good that Emeli wore it!
The boys digging in like savages!
 Greg and I were watching the "Food Network" and Chef Curtis Stone came on to discuss the best dish he has ever made.  It looked so yummy and easy that we decided to give it a go!  We even went so far as to cover our table with a big sheet of plywood and put kraft paper on top of that for the shells!  Then we invited our friends Mike and Emeli over and feasted!!!!  It is delicious and I think this sauce would be excellent with fish, shellfish, chicken, veggies or even beef!!!!  DO NOT skimp on toasting and grinding the whole spices ~ the flavour that is produced is what makes this dish!!!!

2 1/4 lbs live crab (we used blue crab)
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
Sea salt, to taste
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
5 garlic cloves
1 white onion, chopped
1 large green chile, chopped roughly
1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive)
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
10 fresh curry leaves (didn't have this so I used 2 tbsp hot curry powder)
2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chili powder
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • Place the crab in the freezer for 2 hours, or until it stops moving (this is really a humane way of killing them because they just go to sleep ~ especially if you are squeamish about killing them!  Otherwise buy frozen!!)  Remove the legs and crack them with a rolling pin.  Remove the top fo the shell and clean out the insides with your fingers.  Chop the crab and top shells in half.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns.  Stir constantly until they become fragrant and toasted, approx 3 to 4 minutes.  Cool completely.
  • To make the paste, grind the toasted seeds with a pinch of salt using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.  Transfer this dry mixture to a food processor and add the vinegar, coconut flakes, ginger, garlic, chile and onions.  Blend to form a paste.  
  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over low heat.  Add the paste and saute until fragrant and some of the juices evaporate, approx. 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the tomato, curry leaves, turmeric, chili powder, and a pinch of salt and cook until the tomato are tender and melting into the sauce, approx 5 mins.  Add the crab and 1/2 cup water, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the crab pieces are cooked through, approx 10 mins.  Mix in the coconut milk and simmer for 2 to 3 mins to allow flavours to blend.  DO NOT boil the coconut milk as it will split.
  • Place the crab either directly on your kraft paper or on a big platter and dig in!!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Roasted Broccoli & Red Grape Salad

In the pursuit of cleaning out my crisper drawers, I made this delicious side dish last night...think it is a keeper!!!  Roasting the red grapes with the broccoli draws out their natural sugars - YUM!  Try this and you won't be disappointed!!
6 cups broccoli florets
2 cups seedless red grapes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup low-fat, low sodium mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Toss broccoli and grapes with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, toss and roast for 10 minutes more.
  • Remove from oven and place into a medium sized bowl.  Toss with chopped onion.
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar.  Drizzle over broccoli mixture and toss to coat.
  • Garnish salad with crumbled bacon, if using.
  • ENJOY!           

Easy Carrot Salad

Lately I have had an abundance of carrots in my CSA boxes from Cooper's.  While I have been using quite a few in the slow cooker for roast suppers, there were still some hanging around in the crisper.  So I created this salad last night and it was delicious ~ it is a traditional carrot salad with the addition of tomato and cilantro!

2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used goat yogurt)
1/2 cup sour cream (I just used goat yogurt)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp salt
Handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
  • In a small bowl combine the first seven ingredients (carrots to salt).
  • Cover and refrigerate until chilled
  • Remove from fridge and garnish with cilantro and pepper just before serving.
  • ENJOY!