Monday, 30 September 2013

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are so easy to do.  I rolled mine in ground almonds instead of the coconut due to my coconut hater in the house.  These taste much better the second day.

1 can sweetened condensed milk 300ml
36 graham wafer squares or 2 1/2 cups crumbs
1 pkg chocolate chops 350 g

If using squares, crush until fairly fine.  Mix the sweetened condensed milk, crumbs and chocolate chips.  Form into balls.  Roll the balls in coconut and place on wax paper until set.  Store in sealed containers. No cooking required.  Makes 48 balls

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fresh Orange Chicken Salad

I love Chicken Salad and this is a great version.  Quite often I find it isn't worth my time to make a salad dressing but this is an exception.  Make sure you try the salad dressing, it is light but with lots of flavour.  Use a good quality whole grain or multigrain bread for the croutons.  From Canadian Living Magazine.

1 1/2 cup cubed multigrain bread
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 orange
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch each salt and pepper
3 cups romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
225 g boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled and sliced

On baking sheet, toss bread with 2 tsp of the oil.  Bake in 375F oven, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut top and bottom off orange; slice away peel and white pith.  Working over bowl, cut between fruit and membranes to release segments into bowl; set aside.

Squeeze 2 tbsp juice from remaining membranes into separate small bowl; whisk in remaining oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

In salad bowl, layer lettuce, onion, olives, reserved orange segments and chicken.

To serve, add dressing and croutons.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Potato Gnocchi

I have tried gnocchi from the grocery store and liked them so I wondered if making them from scratch would be worth the effort.  It definitely was!  These are not difficult and tasted so much better than what I could buy commercially.  Do not cook too many gnocchi at once.  They should have plenty of room to bob about in the boiling water.  From Food and Drink Magazine Spring 2001.

3 medium baking potatoes
1 egg
2 tbsp butter at room temperature
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
Salt and freshly round pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped chives

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Prick potatoes and bake one hour or until very tender.  Halve and scoop out flesh while hot.  Pass through ricer or mash.  Add egg, butter and mix well.  Add cheese and enough flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.  Season.
  2. Let cool slightly.  Take half the dough and roll on well floured surface into a 1 inch rope.   Cut into 1 inch pieces and place onfloured baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  They may be cooked immediately or kept refrigerated for several hours.  Once cooked they must be eaten immediately.
  3. To cook, bring a large pot of water ot boil.  Add salt and reduce to simmer.  Add about 20 gnocchi and stir.  Once they rise to top cook for another minute.  Remove with slotted spoon and place in warmed serving dish.  Toss gently with olive oil.  Repeat with remaining gnocchi.  Top with chives.
Serves 6

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Ultimate Lasagna

Got this recipe from Canadian Living Magazine…a really yummy family friendly recipe.  Like any lasagna it takes some time to prepare…but it is worth it.  I like that this recipe doesn't just use a commercially made tomato sauce but prepares one from tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Fresh garden tomatoes could be used instead of the canned if you have them available.

12 lasagna noodles
1 tub (475 g) extra smooth ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 cans each (156 ml) tomato paste
675 g lean ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes (each 796 ml)
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

  • In Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, celery, carrot and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste.  Add beef; cook, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, wine, bay leaves oregano, salt and pepper; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 40 minutes.  Discard bay leaves.  (Make ahead; let cool for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.)
  • Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles for 2 minutes less than package directions for al dente.  Drain; lay noodles, without touching, in single layer on tea towel. ** I always make a couple extra…mostly because I usually end up breaking or destroying one or two of them.
  • Stir together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  **make sure you use the extra smooth ricotta for this and don't buy the pretend Parmesan..I know it is cheaper but it doesn't work as well as the real stuff.
  • Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce.  In 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread one third of the remaining meat sauce.  Arrange 3 noodles over top; sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.  Top with half of the remaining meat sauce, 3 noodles, ricotta mixture, 3 noodles, remaining meat sauce, then 3 noodles.  Top with reserved meat sauce, then remaining mozzarella cheese. (Make ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Unwrap before baking.)
  • Cover with foil.  Bake in 375F oven for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes.  Loosely cover with foil; let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Smoked Salmon Roll-ups

Delightful and so easy!

4 oz cream cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 green - spinach flavoured tortillas
6 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced

  1. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, onions and dill.  Spread mixture evenly over tortillas.
  2. Layer salmon over cream cheese.  Roll up tortillas.  Cut each tortilla into 4 pieces.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

No Knead Cranberry Focaccia

From Food and Drink Winger 2012.  This worked really well and is a relatively simple bread.  I like the cranberries but they could be switched with dried sweet cherries or a dry fruit of your choice.

True focaccia is not just flatbread, but a light loaf with an airy network of bubbles.  The trick to developing this texture is to ignore traditional bread making techniques.  This slow rise dough requires no kneading, has reduced yeast and is quite moist; the salt is added at an unusual time.  Mix by hand since a machine such as a stand mixer with a dough hook or a food processor is not suitable.  Machines cause gluten to develop, something not desirable for the texture of this mildly sweet bread that is perfect for brunch or sweet snacking.

1 tsp instant or traditional yeast
1 1/2 cups water, just warm to the touch
2 3/4 to 3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins or finely diced dried apricots
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp coarse sugar such as organic

  1. Proof yeast by sprinkling it over water in a large mixing bowl and setting it aside for 5 minutes.  Then stir to dissolve yeast.  Meanwhile, line a 9 inch round or square cake pan with aluminum foil, extending up and slightly over side.
  2. Add 2 3/4 cups flour all at once to proofed yeast; stir with a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon until flour is absorbed.  Dough should be sticky, but not wet.  Stir in additional flour if needed.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let rest for 1 hour or until doubled.
  3. When dough has doubled, sprinkle salt evenly overtop; stir in thoroughly let rest 10 minutes.  Then add cranberries and currants; mix well into dough.
  4. Brush some melted butter over pan bottom and sides.  Scrape dough into pan.  Using buttered fingers, pat out to cover pan bottom completely; top is rough in appearance. Brush with remaining butter.
  5. Adjust rack below oven centre; preheat oven to 375F.  Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 30 minutes in warm spot on top of or near warm stove (not over oven vent!) or until focaccia top is about 1/2 inch above pan sides.  Then uncover; sprinkle top evenly with coarse sugar.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until richly golden.  Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.  Using foil edges, lift loaf from pan.  Remove foil and continue cooling bread on rack.  Cut warm loaf into wedges or slices to serve.  

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Spanish Hot Tenderloin

The family really enjoyed this one.

2 large pork tenderloins
Salt and cayenne papper
2 onions
1/4 lb mushrooms
1 lb potatoes, peeled and grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 to 5 tbsp grated medium to sharp cheese
1 to 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Cut each tenderloin into fairly thick slices and flatten with a heavy spoon or mallett. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper; brown them on each side in butter or olive oil.  Arrange slices closely together in a greased ovenproof dish.  Finely dice onions and mushrooms; fry them for a few minutes.  Add grated potatoes; stir for about 4 minutes.  Add more salt and cayenne to taste and then add the cream.  Toss until blended; arrange on top of meat.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and parsley; drizzle generously with melted butter.  Bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve with a green salad.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Pork Tenderloin Casserole

Simple and very tasty.

3 pork tenderloins (if you can't find any just use pork chops)
397 g sliced mushrooms
12 slices bacon
4 good size tomatoes
Paprika, salt and pepper to taste
250 ml whipping cream

Brown pork tenderloin whole; cut into 5 cm pieces.  Add paprika, salt and pepper.  Crisp in pan the bacon and mushrooms.  Add whipping cream and tomatoes and place all ingredients in casserole dish.  Cook in 350F oven for 45 minutes.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Stuffed Zucchini

Love sauteed onions with anything!  A simple recipe that you can mix up with different herbs or switch the rice for quinoa.

8 zucchini
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked rice
Fresh basil, thyme and summer savory
1 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup tomato/pasta sauce

Slice zucchini in 1/2 lengthwise.  Scoop out flesh.  Place flesh in colander.  Sprinkle salt on shells and flesh.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Rinse zucchini.  Place shells in greased baking pan.  Squeeze water out of flesh.

Saute onion, zucchini and garlic in oil or butter.  Add fresh herbs.  Mix with rice and place back into shells.  Top with bread crumb/cheese mixture.  Dot with butter.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350F.  Serve with your favourite tomato sauce.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


A healthy, hearty salad.

1 can chickpeas, drained, reserve liquid
1 large onion chopped fine
1 inch cube ginger, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp oil
Chopped green coriander for garnish

In a wok or skillet, heat oil on medium high.  Saute onion, ginger and garlic until golden.  Add spices; stir.  Add crushed tomatoes and salt; stir.  Add chickpeas and stir.  Reduce heat.  Add reserved liquid.  Turn to low heat; cook, covered for 15 minutes.  Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.  SErves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Hot Chicken Dip

An easy dip for crackers or veggies.

2 (5 oz) cans flaked chicken, drained
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Mix chicken and cream cheese.  add remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle with slivered almonds.  Bake 20 minutes at 350F in oven proof serving dish.  Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Scallop Skewers

So easy and very tasty!  From Food and Drink Holiday 2000.

36 thin slices prosciutto
36 fresh scallops
36 cherry tomatoes
36 wooden skewers

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly chopped marjoram
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Thread each skewer with a slice of prosciutto, a scallop and a cherry tomato (or double up).  Whisk together ingredients for dressing.  Pour over skewers and refrigerate up to one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.  Place skewers in single layers on baking sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes, turning half way through.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Chocolate and Orange Trifle

This is based on a recipe from Food and Drink 2000.  A delicious and elegant dessert.

1 chocolate cake
2 oranges
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8 oz white chocolate

  1. Slice cake 3/4 inch thick.  Line a bowl (glass preferably) with the cake.  Peel oranges and remove pith.  Place orange sections over cake.  Pour Grand Marnier over cake and oranges.  Cover and leave to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Bring cream to boil.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted.  Transfer to a bowl and leave to set in refrigerator for 3 hours or until it holds its shape.  Remove from refrigerator and whisk until thick and the whisk holds a soft peak.  Spoon onto oranges, completely covering them.  

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Orchard Chicken and Bacon Pie with Scalloped Potato Crust

This was flavour fabulous!  Everything I love including some extra wine to drink!  From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.

1 tbsp olive oil
4 slices thick cut double smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced diagonally
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup late harvest Riesling or other fruity white wine
1 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 large Northern Spy or Gala apple, peeled, cored and cut into 16 wedges
2 tbsp each cornstarch and cold water
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard

1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

  1. For filling, heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add bacon and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Pour off and reserve all but 1 tbsp fat from skillet.  Season chicken thighs well with salt and pepper.  Cook thighs, in batches, for about 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.  Remove thighs from skillet, cut into 2 inch pieces and set aside on a second plate (separate from bacon).
  3. Add an additional 1 tbsp fat to skillet if necessary and reduce heat to medium.  Add onion and carrot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft but not brown.  Add garlic and bay leaf and cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil.  Stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Boil for about 2 minutes or until wine has reduced by about half.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  Return chicken to skillet, along with any juices that have accumulated on plate.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Add apple to skillet and simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until chicken thighs are no longer pink inside and carrot and apple are tender.
  5. IN a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water.  Add to skillet and bring to a  boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and is smooth.  Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.  Stir in bacon, tarragon and mustard.  Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.  Spoon chicken mixture into a shallow 8 cup baking dish.  If you're not completing the pie immediately, cover and refrigerate it until ready to proceed, removing it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before adding the scalloped potato crust.
  6. For scalloped potato crust, preheat the oven to 425F.
  7. Slice potatoes very thinly.  In a large saucepan, combine stock, cream, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and add potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes.  Rearranging potatoes gently once or twice until potatoes are tender but not broken up.
  8. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove potatoes from saucepan and arrange more or less in an even layer on top of chicken mixture,  discarding bay leaf.   Put dish on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until potatoes are golden brown and chicken mixture is bubbling.  Let stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with parsley before serving.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Chocolate Snowballs

Super easy and really tasty.  I didn't roll them in the icing sugar so they really didn't resemble snowballs, but you could roll in sprinkles, nuts, or whatever your favourite is.

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup icing sugar

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together.  Mix in flour, cocoa and nuts if desired.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Put on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Alow to cool and roll them in icing sugar.