Thursday, April 30, 2009
This super-easy super-tasty dish has become a regular feature at our house. I'm posting it specifically for a friend of mine who wants to learn to cook as I often bring the leftovers to work with me to share with her.
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp curry paste
a couple of dashes of fish sauce*
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 red pepper sliced thinly
1 cup shrimp, thawed (I use the pre-cooked and frozen shrimp)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan. Whisk the curry paste and fish sauce into it. Let boil together for a few minutes (so the paste has disolved and mixed in nicely) and remove from heat and set aside.
Heat cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers to cook to your desired crispyness level (just a few minutes, you don't want to burn the onions). Add the shrimp and coconut/curry sauce. Stir everything together. Add the cilantro just at the end. Serve over basimati rice.
*About the fish sauce. When we first started cooking Thai food, I wondered if this was really neccessary. I guess you can get away without it, but the fish sauce gives it an authentic Thai taste. It's not very expensive and it lasts forever. I bought mine at an Asian food store. Just ask for fish sauce and they will know what you mean and that you are cooking Thai.
Monday, April 27, 2009
While my stomach was out of commission, my boys' were not. My oldest who is 4 has been asking for sloppy joes lately, and while these aren't exactly sloppy joe's, they are a close cousin. This is a great way to use up leftover chicken meat.
Pulled chicken meat (I had 3/4 chicken left over from the crockpot chicken dinner)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cans (14 oz) beans in tomato sauce
1/2 cup BBQ sauce of your choice (I used the Chicken and Ribs flavour)
Pre-heat oven to 300*. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chicken meat, onion, beans and BBQ sauce in and mix together well. Let bake for about an hour and a half. Scoop onto hamburger buns to serve.
My husband changed his a bit for his second helping to make it less kid friendly (a little more kick). He toasted his bun, added some mayonnaise, some Frank's Red Hot Pepper Sauce and some cheddar cheese. He declared them good before, perfect with his additions.
So I've mentioned before that I have a pork intolerance (much to my Nana's disbelief, insisting that of course I could eat her pork chops - no, I can't Nana, really I can't). And I think it's getting worse. Yesterday we went for breakfast at a diner that we love, but hadn't been to in a while. I had my 2 eggs over easy, home cooked potatoes and raisin toast. Yummy right? Yes...until a few hours later. I was sick, very sick. So sick that if I didn't have to conduct in the music festival this week, I would have called a supply teacher in for me today. The culprit? The potatoes were cooked in bacon grease. Yep, my tummy did not like that one at all. So for all of you foodies that cook some really nice looking pork dished out there, I will continue to admire them from afar and figure out if I could make it with chicken instead.
This to me is home cooking. This is my childhood. This was a weekly traditional dish in my house, and it's darned easy. When I was a kid we called it Chicken in a Pot, but that title just doesn't seem kosher to print, so I changed the name.
1 whole chicken (rinsed and dried)
1 onion (chopped)
4 carrots (chopped into medalions)
4 potatoes (chopped into bite sized pieces)
1 tbsp margarine
salt & pepper to taste
dried sage to sprinkle on top
Spray a crockpot with non-stick spray. Coat the chicken with the margarine. Put it in the crockpot. Add the vegetables. Sprinkle everything with a little salt, pepper and sage. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. It's that easy.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Today marks the end of our 6 weeks Biggest Loser Challenge at work and I lost 13 pounds (while still eating all the delicious food you've read about on here), making me the Biggest Loser at work. See it can be done, dieting can be tasty. So I look forward to starting the next round, hoping to continue in my success. See weight loss doesn't look so daunting if I think about it in 6 week chunks. If I can do it again, I'll be down 26 pounds by the time school's out for summer (hopefully fitting into my shorts!). It's kinda nice to have the momentum of this challenge to go into the next one.
And I know, I haven't posted recipes for a few days. I'm still cooking, but I'm at the end of my 2 week cooking run, meaning we're eating up what's left, clearing out for the next shop. I'm so excited to shop this week. I've decided to make a Thai Carrot Salad (which I've never made before, but my favorite Thai restaurant is closed for the next 2 weeks, which saddens me greatly because we were going to go there to celebrate my husband's birthday and had to move the party elsewhere). And if I'm making the Thai salad then I need to make a Thai Curry to go along with it, and I may as well add a Chicken Satay too. Really, I need no excuse to make Thai food, or go for Thai food for that matter, it's just so tasty. Also on plan for the future is my first try at Kafta, which is an amazing Lebanese beef dish.
Meanwhile, I finished up this week with spagetti. An oldie but a goodie.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
As previously posted I grocery shop once every 2 weeks, usually planning on the Thursday before. So I'm a little early with my planning this week, mostly because my fridge was due for a clean-out/food inspection. You gotta love the odd leftovers that you find hiding in the fridge, like a half-eaten container of yogurt that my 4 year old probably started, couldn't finish and put back in there. Anyways, what I found were a huge amount of onions and carrots. I must have 3 bags of onions and 3 bags of carrots (2 large, 2 mini). So I'm wondering how to cook them up in the next week or so. I have a few ideas, Donna recently posted a French Onion Soup recipe that I'd like to try. And I haven't made my carrot-bran muffins in a while (plus I should get a picture of them on here.) But I know even after making those, I'll still need to use up more onions and carrots. So I implore you, the foodies, to hook me up with something good. Please send a link to a delicious treasure that I can try out. I'll post my results with your recipes on here as the next couple of weeks go by. Thank you in advance. Cheers!
Monday, April 20, 2009
I was thinking about my kids being picky veggie eaters tonight and remembered this story:
As a child I remember sitting at the dinner table staring at one brussel sprout. Just staring. Wishing it away. My mom had a "try it, you might like it rule," so I had to take it. My dad had a "if you take it you have to have at least one bite before pushing it to the side of your plate" rule. So here I sat staring down on my plate wondering why I was so polite that I took the brussel sprout in the first place and plotting how to get rid of the distgusting object without actually putting it in my mouth. Everyone else had long ago finished their supper and had moved on to family activities, and here I still sat, in the kitchen, in the dark. I never did eat that brussel sprout. I hid it in the garbage can when I thought no one was looking and ran uptairs to my bedroom before they could check my plate. Wouldn't you know it 20 years later I married a man who believes that Christmas dinner is not complete without brussel sprouts.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
These are in no way the authentic, wonderful samosas that I crave from time to time. These are the cheaters version and a great way to use up filo pastry sheets. They still go great with chicken tikka masala.
4-5 medium potatoes (boiled and mashed coarsely)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup slightly cooked peas
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
1 tsp cayenne
a few shakes of hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp margarine
Pre-heat oven to 400*. Melt margarine in large skillet. Add all the above ingredients mix well and heat thoroughly.
to form into samosas:
Take a sheet of filo pastry. Use a butter knife to cut into 4 strips (width wise). Brush cooking oil overtop of the sheet. Put a spoonful of filling onto the end of each strip and fold up into a triangle, repeat the folds until you reach the top of the strip. Repeat with more filo and filling.
Place samosas onto a baking sheet (you should have enough to fill 2 baking sheets with 12 samosas when finished. Bake for about 8 minutes (filo will be slightly browned). Great when dipped into plum sauce.
My plan for Sunday morning crepes was slightly altered this morning after discovering that my 4 year old had eaten up the peaches for sweet crepes during my sleep in. I quickly changed the plan to savory and the boys enjoyed the adapted version.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each basil, oregano, thyme
2 cups milk
2 tbsp melted margarine
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredient and whisk well together.
Heat an 8-10 inch pan with a little margarine in it over low-medium heat. The pan is ready when the margarine bubbles. Pour 1/4 cup batter into it. Rotate pan so that a thin layer of batter covers the pan bottom. Cook until bottom is light brown (crepe looks cooked through from top). Flip crepe over to brown the other side. Stack the crepes on a large plate with a sheet of wax paper in between each crepe. This makes it easy to fill and roll the crepes to transfer to the serving plates.
-Saute 1/2 cup chopped red onion in a tsp of butter, just long enough to take the edge off the onion.
-1 cup grated cheese
Fill flat crepe with a little onion and cheese, and roll up. Sprinkle cheese on top of crepe.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
All smoothies have the same basic ingredients: yogurt, fruit, milk. I don't know why I don't make them more often, they are so easy. I made them today as I was looking for something yummy for breakfast that my husband (who just had his wisdom teeth out) could eat. The bonus discovery with this was realising that my youngest loves smoothies. I have such a difficult time getting him to eat fresh fruit that I was in shock watching him down this and ask for more. I'll have to start making them regularily. I have a friend who makes hers with spinach and other veggies hidden in so I'll have to start experimenting. This was the fruit version I made today.
5 yogurt cups, 4 vanilla and 1 peach (I used the Activia individual servings)
2 frozen bananas (I cut them into chunks)
1 cup of peach slices
1/4 can of orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup milk
Add all ingredients together into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses to enjoy. This made 2 large glasses plus 2 kid sized glasses.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This is my cake that never goes wrong. I first made it when I was about 12 years old and it's been a success for birthday parties ever since. If you've never had this cake before, let me tell you it is super easy, super moist and super delicious. My friend Debbie says that she looks forward to my kids birthdays and having this cake. It is great served with vanilla ice cream for a treat too.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
5 tbsp cooking oil (I use canola)
Pre-heat oven to 350*. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients. To one well add the vinegar, to another the water and to the third the cooking oil. Mix well.
Spray an 8x10 cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Turn batter into the cooking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
To make the cake into a construction zone as seen above, spread chocolate icing on the cake. Sprinkle Oreo crumbs all over. Dig out a hole in part of the cake. Stick on construction mini cars, cones and signs. Add some of the dug out cake into the dump truck and the diggers. My son and his friends loved this.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
1 large sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp herbs of your choice (I used oregano and thyme last night, but this also works well with rosemary, tarragon and mixed Italian seasoning)
salt and pepper to taste.
Heat oven to 425*. Mix olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper together in a dish. Set aside. Wash sweet potato well. Slice into many medallions. Put medallions into a large ziplock bag. Pour the oil and herb mixture into the bag. Close it up and shake well (until all the sweet potato slices are coated). Lay medallions onto a baking sheet and bake. Turn after 10 minutes. Continue to bake and flip every 10 minutes until cooked to your preference (soft to crispy) - about 30 minutes.
1 tbsp melted margarine
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 large haddock fillets
Pre-head oven to 375*. Mix everything except the haddock up well. Place a large sheet of wax paper onto a baking dish. Rinse and dry the haddock and lay it on the wax paper. Pour the sauce mixture over the fish. Wrap the fish with the excess wax paper and then cover everything with a piece of foil. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes (until fish flakes easily with a fork). There will be a lot of excess liquid when you are finished. Enjoy!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I don't know why this picture is sideways...very strange. Anyways, my pie story. When Jonathan and I were first married, he was very puzzled by my lack of desserts. I like to bake cookies and muffins and things like that, but to me desserts were something saved for special occassions. He grew up in a house where desserts were a regular part of meal life. I remember one Sunday night he grew quiet after dinner until he finally just said, 'Honey, I love your dinners, but where's dessert?'
I just looked at him, 'Um, it's not Christmas or Thanksgiving or anything.'
'So, that's just it'
'But I love dessert, dessert is part of the meal'
And then I realised. He's English. English people have custards and cream cakes and chocolates regularily with their tea. I'm very Canadian. So I started to make dessert once in a while (even attempting a proper custard from scratch once). And he relaxed a bit about desserts not being a regular feature of our household (I usually keep ice cream in the freezer if he absolutely needs that sweet fix after dinner). And because of this I have to remember that since I said I would make desserts for special occassions, I have to follow through. This weekend I was inspired by a few things I had around and made a banana cream pie. Here's something else trivial about me. Though I love to cook and bake most things, pie is not one of those things. I'm not good at it and I have no real intention of being good at it. So I cheat. I buy pre-made pie shells. These were in my freezer for a quiche I never made. The pudding mix was one I bought by mistake when I had wanted instant and bananas we usually have around. All I did was pick up the whipped cream on the way home from church. So here it is, my super easy pie recipe:
Cook one package of Vanilla pudding and pie filling mix (serves 6 or 8) the night before.
Bake 2 pre-made pie shells, following box directions and let cool (they come as a package of 2)
Once the shells are cool, slice a banana into a single layer on the bottom of the pie crust (1 banana per pie)
Divide the pudding into 2 and spread on top of the banana layer. If you are feeling fancy you can add more sliced bananas into a pretty pattern.
Serve with whipped cream.
Mmmmm, this turned out delicious! Absolutely the best lamb I can remember having. I just have to remember that I love slow cooked meat. So tender. Lamb has a tendancy to overcook and become tough easy, but not like this. Here's what I did:
1/2 cup red cooking wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp dried rosemary
Mix these ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
1 lamb roast - I picked a leg roast (no bone), small enough to fit into a crockpot easily
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
Heat a frying pan with at a medium heat with a tsp olive oil. Slice 4 cloves of garlic up into 2mm slice. Poke holes into the meat with a steak knife, insert the garlic slices into the holes. Sprinkle salt and grate pepper all over the roast to season it. Dust it with flour and put in to the heated pan to sear (remember to wear and apron and be ready for spatters!). Turn meat to sear all sides.
Place seared lamb into the crockpot and drizzle your reserved wine mixture over the meat. Place lid on and turn onto low for 8-10 hours.
...or is it quadruple? I'm confused. In any way I'm pleased to introduce you all to another side of me. My friend Jill and I have officially opened Clever Mamas! It's our little place to blog about parenting. I have been enjoying blogging so much. 1st just as me, 2nd as a reader, 3rd on here (where I'm having so much fun getting to know all you other foodies out there!). But the one thing that has been nagging at me is to blog on parenting. Jill and I have been cooking this one up for a while now and we're so excited that it's finally here. Come on over and check us out: clevermamas.blogspot.com
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I love Easter! It really is my favorite holiday. I know I keep going back and forth between this and Christmas, but I think Easter wins out. Less commercial hype and more focus on Christ and His ressurection.
Easter breakfast for me is a no brainer. Scrambled eggs, hot crossed buns, ham for my husband (I can't eat it, pork makes me feel icky), and a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate.
For the last number of years I've cooked Greek style for Eater dinner. Something about Mediterrainean food that just seems so fresh and spring like (even if it is still snowing here) seems to fit Easter so perfectly. I also cook lamb. (As I said, no ham for me). I first had lamb at a church Easter supper about 8 years ago. Oh it was delicious, spit roasted right in the church parking lot. I've been a fan ever since. I usually do oven lamb roasts, but tomorrow I'm trying it in the crock pot. I love meat slow cooked, so I'm hoping this turns out. Recipe and pictures to follow post-Easter.
Other things on my menu that I've posted before:
Plus a dessert that I've never made before and am just guessing how it is made, banana cream pie - we'll see how it turns out tomorrow!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Everyone likes a little recognition once in a while. It's a nice little pick me up. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I realised that someone had given my spagetti sauce a 5 star rating on Spark People's recipe centre. I know I wrote this out before I was adding pictures, I will have to make it again soon and add a picture to it. Thank you mystery food fan!
I had never eaten a bite of squash until 4 years ago. The idea of it repulsed me and to be quite honest I'm not sure why. Somewhere along the journey of my life squash became one of those veggies that made a nice fall table decoration, but you certainly didn't eat it.
Something happened that changed all that...Elijah was born.
When Elijah was about 4 months old I started him on solid foods (that was still the reccommendation then...now it's 6 months). After we got him through all the grains, it was time to explore the world of veggies. I wandered through the baby food aisle, coupons in hand, ready to begin my son on a life long journey that included a love of veggies. I knew he should have a variety of green and orange veggies, chock full of nutrients. So we started the journey:
peas - check
carrots - check
beans - check (notice how I started with the basic of everyman?)
squash - hmmmmm...I know he should eat this, but I don't eat it myself...well, technically I don't eat baby food and it's an orange veggie...
I bought the little jar of squash.
Later, as I was spooning the squash into my child's mouth, curiosity came over me. What exactly was I feeding my son? He seems to like it...maybe it isn't that bad? I dipped the spoon into the puree again, but this time I put the spoon in my mouth instead of his and tasted. Actually, this isn't that bad, for babyfood that is.
The next week on grocery day as I braved the veggie section looking for an accompaniment for roast beef, I was compelled to the squash section. It was calling my name, "Kris, taste me, I'm very delicious." I looked over these veggies with curiosity. There were so many different kinds, which one should I pick. I went with the acorn one.
That Sunday, as I began to prepare supper, I took the squash out of the drawer and looked at it. To be honest, I didn't know what to do with it. I took out my handy-dandy, all-purpose cook book. Cut squash in half, spoon out seeds, bake at 350. Okay, I could do that. Hey, the seeds are like pumpkin seeds...that's a good sign right? 45 minutes later, I was spooning the squash into a bowl, mixing it with a little butter and mashing it all up.
I even braved putting some on my own plate. I tasted it...it was...sweet...really sweet...and creamy too. This was really good. How could I have gone 29 years and never tasted this before? From that moment on squash became a staple in our home. I've even had meals where there's been mostly squash on my plate, I love it so much. I've tried at least 5 different varieties of squash now (acorn, butternut, spagetti and a couple of kinds I don't know the name of) and find them all delicious.
Incidentally, I discovered why I never ate squash growing up...my dad doesn't like it, so my mom never made it.
I was scrambling for a cookie recipe tonight that I had all the ingredients for (kinda hard to make oatmeal raisin without the oatmeal, or chocolate chip without the chocolate chips). In my fluster of 'oh shoot, now what are we going to make' with my little ones, I remembered this little gems of my childhood. My mom kept these as a staple around our house. They make a great breakfast or snack. They freeze well and they are great to bring camping (or make while you are there).
I made an ammended recipe, so I'll write out both. The first is my mom's original. The second are the ones I made tonight. They were a hit with my youngest especially who kept coming back to me saying, 'more cake'.
6 tbsp milk
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup shortening
1 cup currants
1 cup chocolate chips
6 tbsp milk
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
2 cups raisins
Beat eggs and milk together. Combine the rest of the ingredients together with the egg and milk mixture. Drop batter onto your pan by the spoonfuls. Fry on a heated griddle (or frying pan over low-medium heat) about 10 minutes on each side. They make a like a tbsp size pancake.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Good morning to you! This is a Saturday morning staple around our house. It's what Saturdays were made for, a lazy day to stay in your PJ's and linger over the breakfast table. It's also a great way for my youngest (who doesn't eat fresh fruit) to get some fruit into him. This recipe makes a lot, so what you can do is make it all at once and keep the rest in the fridge for easy breakast over the next couple of days. Or save some of the batter to make fresh over the next couple of days. I prefer to make it all at once. It's also great if you are having company for breakfast.
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar (brown or white)
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 mashed bananas*
Heat your griddle or pan while you are mixing up the batter. Use a large bowl. Whisk eggs until fluffy. Add rest of the ingredients except bananas and whisk well. Fold in the mashed bananas. Spray non-stick cooking spray or melt a little margarine in the pan to prevent sticking. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into your griddle (375*) or pan (over low medium heat). Cook on one side until the sides look dry. Flip and cook other side. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.
*Banana tip - freeze your ripe bananas right in their peels. These are great for recipes that call for banana in baking. To thaw, put bananas (peel and all) in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Tear peel apart and the banana slides right in to the bowl. Mash and use in whatever you need.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
1 package of fettucini, cooked
2 tbsp margarine
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 C 2% milk
1/4 C parmasan cheese
1/2 C light sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Cook fettucini noodles as per box directions.
Melt margarine in saucepan under low heat. Crush garlic into the melted margarine (keep heat low so you don't burn the garlic). Add the parsley and basil. Mix well. Quickly stir in the flour to make a nice thick paste mixture. Add the milk and whisk/stir continuously as you raise the heat to a high-medium. Keep stirring as the sauce thickens. (Keep close so you don't burn the milk). Once the mixture has thickened stir in the parmasan cheese (mixture will be very thick at this point - don't worry). Stir in the sour cream (this will thin out the mixture a bit). Grate pepper and sprinkle salt over top to taste. Mix well.
Toss sauce into your noodles. Serve and enjoy!
1 clove garlic
1 tomato - diced
1/4 c red onion - diced
1/4 c fresh cilantro - chopped
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp tex-mex seasoning*
1 squirt lime juice
Peel and pit avacadoes. Mash them well into a medium sized bowl. Crush garlic into bowl. Add the diced tomato, onion, cilantro, mayonnaise, seasoning and lime juice. Mix well.
*Can use seeded jalepeno, or a few dashes of hot sauce instead.