Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ever Since I Was A Little Girl I Looooved....


OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES!  My mom would buy packs of oatmeal raisin cookies at Buns Masters, they were nice and crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle.  That was what I was going for with these and I they were. 

I packaged up some of them to give to my hair stylist, whom I hadn't seen her for a while. They don't appear to be very kid friendly though.  My younger brother is at my house for a sleepover, he had one bite and asked for a different dessert. He had cup of ice cream instead, that has been in the freezer for a a long time, apparently that is better than my homemade cookies.  Oh well, I liked them!  I hope you like them to.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup raisin
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine white and brown sugar with butter until light and fluffy
  3. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine.
  4. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Gradually add flour to butter mixture.
  5. Stir in the oats, raisins and nuts
  6. Drop dough by the tablespoon full onto a baking sheet separated by about 2 inches.
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly then remove from sheet onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 24 cookies.
ENJOY!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Can Lasagna Really Be Good Without Meat?

I started making this lasagna Thursday night and halfway through I realized it was getting late.  So we ordered a pizza instead and ate the lasagna tonight.  So I finished putting it all together before the pizza arrived.  The recipe makes 2 pans medium sized pans, so I put one in the freezer and the other in the fridge.  The lesson here is that this is not a .quick weeknight dinner but it was really nice to have it ready for dinner tonight and just pop it into the oven to bake, especially on a Friday after working all week.  You'll notice the addition of a Friday night MUST in the picture....mmmm Grasshopper!

The lasagna was tasty, my husband didn't even complain about the lack of meat.  Although, I wont lie, it would have been even better with beef or even veal in the marinara.  I mostly liked the spinach layer over the squash.  I think the squash was a little over powered by all of the other flavours.  But it was a great healthy lasagna, ONLY 235 calories per serving.  I look forward to taking the other pan out of the freezer in the future.  I'll be sure to let you all know how the frozen lasagna works out.



Butternut Squash Lasagna
Makes 2 lasagnas, 6 servings per pan ONLY 235 calories per serving!

Ingredients
·       Cooking spray
·       3  cups  chopped onion
·       1 lb  fresh spinach
·       Salt, Pepper and fresh grated nutmeg to taste
·       1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
·       1/2  cup  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
·       1  teaspoon  salt
·       1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
·       2  large eggs
·       750ml carton 1% cottage cheese
·       4  cups  diced peeled butternut squash
·       6  cups marinara (see below)
·       12  oven-ready lasagna noodles
·       1  cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté spinach wilts. Combine mozzarella, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs, and cottage cheeses in a large bowl.
  3. Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on high 5 minutes or until tender. Or in a large skillet sauté over medium with ¼ cup water until tender, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Coat the bottom and sides of 2 (8-inch-square) baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup marinara in the bottom of prepared dishes. Arrange noodles over sauce to cover the bottom of the dish, you may need to break the noodles up to make them fit. Spread 1 cup cheese mixture, in each dish, over noodles. Arrange 1 1/2 cups squash, in each dish, over cheese mixture; spread 3/4 cup sauce, in each dish, over squash.
  5. Arrange another layer of noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup cheese mixture over the noodles. Arrange 1 1/2 cups onion spinach mixture over cheese mixture and top with ¾ cup sauce.  Repeat in second dish
  6. Arrange a final layer of noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup marinara evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients in remaining pan. Cover each pan with foil.
  7. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  8. To freeze unbaked lasagna: Prepare through Step 6. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.
  9. To prepare frozen unbaked lasagna: Thaw completely in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover lasagna with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly.
ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Chicken and Mini Cabbage

I have not made chicken in  a long time.  The last time I ate it we bought two bone-in chicken breasts at the Metro in town and grilled them under the broiler. They were TERRIBLE!  WHY?  Because they were not HAPPY chicken.  By that I mean some kind of farm raised, antibiotic free, free range and/or organic chicken.  For a long time our grocery store did not offer any of these options for chicken. Yesterday I saw it for the first time so I picked up a package of bone-in chicken breasts.  I prefer buying chicken that is still on the bone because it's cheaper and I find the bone helps the chicken stay moist and flavourful. 

Tonight I rubbed the chicken with a little olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  I popped them under the broiler for 5 minutes on each side. Then turned the oven down to 400 and cooked for 20-25 minutes more, until they reached an internal temperature of 160 to 165. 

While the chicken was cooking I put together a side dish, Brussels Sprouts.  I love brussels sprouts, they have a ton of flavour and can be prepared in so many different ways.  They are good pan fried with some bacon, steamed and drizzled with lemon, or baked and tossed in a white wine, mustard and mushroom sauce.

When the chicken was done cooking I let it rest for about 7 minutes, this is really important, it helps to keep the juices in the chicken.  I put a generous portion of the brussels sprouts on the plate and topped it with the chicken.   I really like the chicken, it was much happier then the last chicken breast we had.  I will definitely make the brussels sprouts again, I love the combination of white wine and Dijon mustard.  Although, I'll be honest, the brussels sprouts were slightly over cooked.  The recipe below has a reduced cooking time so if you decide to give the recipe a try 20 minutes in the oven should do the trick.

Here's what I did for the sprouts,

Mychelle’s Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1lb Brussels Sprouts trimmed and halfed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with 2 tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the Brussels sprouts into preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until they are tender.
  3. Meanwhile in a pan melt butter over medium heat until hot and add diced onions and garlic.  Sauté onions until soft and just starting to turn brown. 
  4. Add white wine and simmer until alcohol burns of and wine reduced. 
  5. Add Dijon and sour cream stirring to incorporate. 
  6. Stir mushrooms into mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. 
  7. Remove Brussels sprouts from the oven and add to the pan with creamy mushroom mixture.
  8. Serve immediately.


ENJOY!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh Baby, Rolo Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is genius, make a chocolate chip cookie dough then stuff it with a Rolo.  You just can't go wrong. I found this recipe at a blog filled with great recipes like this one, My Baking Addiction. Check it out, you wont regret it!

The recipe specifies using a cookie scoop, I happen to have one and I love it.  It's a great gadget to add to any kitchen.  Cookies end up coming out all the same size which doesn't really matter but every time it makes me happy when I see them come out of the oven so perfectly.  It also helps with even cooking.  I did have to cook the cookies a little longer than the recipe said, probably about 2 minutes longer.  Sometimes that happens, times can vary from one oven to the next.

Steps two and three tell you to roll the dough into a ball and flatten in your palm.  Then you stuff a frozen rolo inside and roll it back up again.  Doing this reminded me of making hamburgers and stuffing them with cheese, but instead it's a cookie.



The cookies are a nice and big size and I really liked the addition of chopped pecans.

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields | about 30 cookies
From My Baking Addiction


Ingredients
1 ½ cups unsalted butter; softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
30 Rolos; frozen at least 2 hours


Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed or with spoon until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chocolate chips and pecans.
2. Measure dough using a medium cookie scoop (about 1.5 tablespoons). Roll into a ball and then flatten in the palm of your hands.
3. Place a frozen Rolo in the centers of the flattened dough balls and form dough back into a ball around the Rolo.
4. Place Rolo stuffed dough balls into the freezer for 15-20 minutes before baking.
5. On cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place dough balls 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.  (I had to cook 2 minutes longer)

 
I brought a couple of these to work and my co-workers really enjoyed them.  I like them a lot as well, I've eaten two today and I don't usually eat much of my baking.....and I'm starting on my third right now....hehe
Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stir-Fry Is A Little Like Soup

This morning the hubby and me decided to go for breakfast in town and something terrible happened.  Our regular breakfast joint is CLOSED!  There are not to many options out where we live so it is pretty disappointing.  I don't usually mind making breakfast at home but once and a while it doesn't seem worth getting all the pots and pans dirty first thing in the morning.  We ended up going to another restaurant that isn't nearly as good in my opinion because the homefries are deep fried.  I hate when they do that!


Since breakfast was not so healthy I decided I would clear out some of the veggies in the fridge and make a stir fry.  I make a lot of stir fry because its quick and I love all the vegetables I can cram into them. Like soup I never make the same stir fry twice and its a little hard to follow any sort of recipe because I just use what I have and what I feel like putting in.  I'll try this time though, if anyone tries the recipe I hope it works out for you.


Stir Fry
Ingredients
Sauce
1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1-1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup homemade or lower-salt canned chicken broth
2 Tbs. dry sherry
1 Tbs. Asian chilli paste
1 Tbs. sliced scallions (white and green parts)
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
4 Thai chillies
Stir-Fry
1/2 lb. cubed tofu
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Ground white pepper
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1 cup sliced mushroom
1 cup diced onion onions
1 cup snow peas
2 Tbs. very thinly sliced scallions
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic
Large handful of Thai Basil
Directions
For the Sauce:
In a measuring cup, combine the cornstarch with the soy sauce, whisking to blend. Then whisk in the chicken broth, sherry, chilli paste, scallions, honey, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic and chillies.
For the Stir-Fry:
Heat a 12-inch skillet or a stir-fry pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. of oil, swirl to coat the pan evenly, and heat until the oil just barely begins to smoke, about 30 seconds.
Add the tofu and sear for about 1 minute stirring occasionally
Add the onion and fry for about another minute. Add the red bell peppers, mushrooms, and snow peas and cook stir constantly for about 1 minute.
Add the scallions, ginger and garlic and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. If the bottom of the pan looks like it's starting to burn, add a little water and scrap the bottom of the pan
Pour the sauce into the pan, stirring well to coat evenly, and cook until it thickens.  Add the basil and stir just to heat through. Serve immediately of rice.
 Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Can't Get Mail Anymore...and Blueberry Muffins

We live in an old home that is over a hundred years old on over an acre of property.  We moved here just over 2 years ago.  The drive to and from work take longer than it used to but we just love living out in the country.  Sometimes it smells like cow manure and sometimes it gets a little cold in our old house but we like it just fine. However, today someone ran into our mailbox and just drove away....grrrr.  And since it's winter and the ground is frozen it will be a little tricky getting a new post in the ground.  I made myself feel better by making some Blueberry Muffins, at least thats my excuse:)


Me and this recipe go way back.  I first started making these muffins when I was in second year at Queen's University.  Tonight I decided to bake them as a treat for some family members that have diabetes.  I calculated the nutritional information for the muffins since watching your sugar, fat and calories are an important part of a diabetic's diet.  They came in at only 145 calories, 4g of fat, 175mg of sodium and 7g of sugar.


Usually I am not a big fan of muffins because I don't find they are good enough for the 200+ calories they usually contain.  But these muffins I don't mind because they are delicious and well worth all 145 calories.



Blueberry Muffins


Ingredients
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberry (I often add extra because I love blueberries)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Grease 12 muffin tins and line with cupcake wrappers
  3. Sift into a large bowl the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl combine yogurt, orange juice, egg, oil and vanilla.
  5. Make a well in the flour and add the wet mixture.
  6. Stir until just combined.
  7. Fold in blueberries
  8. Spoon batter into muffin tins, sometimes a sprinkle a small amount of sugar on top for a little extra crunch.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.
ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Quickie! Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

Tonight’s dinner was an unexpected surprise.  My husband came home and one of the first things he said was, "So what's for dinner?"  I gave him two ideas, Linguine with Lemon-Garlic Shrimp or a Tofu Veggie Stir Fry.  He chose the linguine and we were very happy with the choice. 

The recipe comes from Jan/Feb Fine Cooking magazine, here's the link, Linguine with Lemon-Garlic ShrimpThere are only 10 ingredients in this recipe and it didn't take more than 5 or 6 minutes to put together once the linguine is cooked. 

First the butter is melted and garlic and chillies are added until the garlic starts to brown.  Then in goes the shrimp and they are cooked until they turn nice and pink.  Isn't it gorgeous!
Then I added the liquids and reduced them down for a minute or so
The rest if the ingredients are added along with the pasta for a beautiful end result

My husband called this an all-time favourite so it will definitely make its way onto the menu again.  It was so easy and full of flavour.  Next time I think I might add a handful of fresh basil to toss in just before serving. 
ENJOY!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Broccoli and Potato Soup on a cold day...mmmmm!

A nice warm soup on a cold day has to be one of my most favourite meals to eat and to cook.  Over the years I have learnt that no two soups are EVER the same and I never end up following a recipe when I make soup. I bought a head of broccoli on the weekend and I have been talking about making a broccoli soup for a couple of days.  I usually have to do a little convincing when I want to put soup on the menu. My husband isn't a huge fan of soup and usually prefers more of a stew than a soup.  This one is a potato base to it is nice and thick, it passed the test.

I tried a couple of new tricks while making this soup.  I learnt them from Chef Michael Smith from the food network show Chef at Home.  The first is to grate the potato instead of cubing it before it is put into the pot with sautéed onions and chicken broth.  This is a great way to speed up a weeknight meal, since the grated potato cooks a lot faster than bigger cubes.  The second technique was to use the broccoli stem for the soup puree but leave the broccoli florets whole and adding them to the soup a just before serving.

Here you can see the nice big chunks of broccoli floating around in the soup.....delicious!
                 
My husband and I enjoyed the soup, it was a nice light weeknight meal.  Great for a cold night out in the country. 

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 head of broccoli, stems chopped and florets set aside
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Directions
  1. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Add garlic and cook for another minutes.
  4. Add stock, grated potato and broccoli stems
  5. Season to taste
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes and broccoli are soft.
  7. Add cinnamon and check seasoning.  Remove from heat and puree using a hand held blender.
  8. Return soup to heat and add broccoli florets and cheese.  It will take about 5 minutes for the florets to warm and cheese to melt.
  9. Serve!
Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Get a Loaf of This....Stout and Cheddar Meatloaf

If you're the type of person that worries about eating healthy all of the time you might want to stop reading.  BUT if you are the type of person that likes eating delicious food then read on!  This recipe is on the cover of Fine Cooking magazine this month so it has been calling to me since I first laid eyes on it. 

Now I know I said in my last post that a lot of my recipes are my own or revisions of recipes I have read.  A lot of them also come from magazines, especially Fine Cooking because they really know what they're doing over there.  So to avoid copyright infrigement I will be posting a link to recipes on the Fine Cooking website when I use their recipes.  This is okay with Fine Cooking according to their website.

Stout and Cheddar Meatloaf is bursting with flavour.  There is a lot of prep involved in making the meatloaf but the end result is worth it. Here is how the meatloaf looked before it was cooked, (yes it's wrapped in bacon)



When it came out of the oven,

And finally, on the plate

As a side I roasted potatoes, turnips and parsnips tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  It was in a 425degree oven for about 40 minutes. 

My husband and I really enjoyed our meal.  I`m pretty sure this meatloaf will make it onto the menu again in the future.  I hope you give it a try!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nothing Crumby About It! This Crumb Cake was Yummy


So this is it...my first post.  I have to admit I am a little nervous and also VERY excited.  I can't wait to share what I cook on a weekly basis.  Most of the time I'm not even quite sure why I decide to cook or bake something, maybe this blog will give me a chance to find out.  Yesterday I got home from work and I was on a mission and when that happens everyone in the house knows to just let her do what she wants to do:)  Earlier that day I decided I would make Crumb Cake.  I have never made or eaten crumb cake before so I'm not sure how close to the real thing I got but I thought it tasted pretty good. 

Since there are only two of us at home I share everything I bake no matter how delicious it may be.  We try and stay active but I get my bake on about once a week, I don't think anyone's waistline can handle that.

My recipes usually comes from magazines or the web and if I am lucky enough from a family secret.  I make every recipe my own often with variations in ingredients, instructions and cooking methods.

This recipe was very different from what I am used to but turned out great.  The cake was more of a sticky dough before I put it in the pan so I had my doubts.  It worked out well and had a great flavour and texture.  I might try using the cake part of the recipe for a Birthday cake in the future.

Streusel:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
To Make the Streusel:
  1. Melt the butter in a smallsaucepan, set aside.
  2. Whisk the sugars, cinnamon, salt and butter in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir flour into mixture with a spoon until dough forms.
  4. Set aside to cool to room temperature, continue with the cake.
To Make the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour an 8 inch square baking pan, set aside.
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed in a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer.
  4. Cut butter into 10 pieces and add one at a time with mixer running. Continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
  5. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk and beat until light and fluffy.
  6. Transfer batter to baking pan and spread evenly. You will think that there is not enough batter but do your best to spread it around the pan evenly, I promise it will work out.
  7. Break apart topping dough into pea-sized pieces and distribute evenly over the cake dough. Do not press into the dough.
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes.
  9. Cool on a rack at least 30 minutes.
Everyone that tried the Crumb Cake said they like it.  The most surprising review was from a three year old boy who ate two pieces.  I enjoyed the cake, especialy with a delicious latte to go with it.
Enjoy!