Category Archives: recipe

Chicken Paprika

CHICKEN PAPRIKA (based on a recipe from Eve Langlais)

3 chicken breasts or 6 thighs (deboned)

3 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic

1 small or half a medium onion

2 – 3 teaspoons paprika

2 chicken broth bouillon cubes

3 cups water

1 cup sour cream (can be lactose- or fat-free)

2 tbsp flour (can be gluten-free)

Cube the chicken and brown in olive oil with minced garlic and onion (a stove-top casserole dish works well). Add paprika, chicken broth bouillon cubes and water. Let it boil down for about 1.5 hrs at a medium heat (until most liquid has evaporated.) Remove from heat and add sour cream and flour.  Goes very well with rice.

Rolled Shortbread

This is a very fast recipe to make, and you probably have the ingredients in your house already. If you need to kill an hour or two, you should get something tasty out of it.

(If you are on a holiday baking kick, try my Candy Cane Cookie recipe.)

ROLLED SHORTBREAD

1 cup salted butter, softened (or margarine)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
(if using unsalted butter, add 1/3 teaspoon of salt)
Sprinkles and coloured sugar (optional)

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour. Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters (or cut squares with a knife).  Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes.  (If your cookies are more than 1/4″ thick, you may need to bake longer.) Let cool on tray for 3-5 minutes before moving carefully to cooling rack.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Decorate with sprinkles or coloured sugar before baking, or frost cookies after they have cooled.

What tea problem?

DSCF1024I see no problem with this picture at all. I fully admit to being a tea snob.

You know those times when you run out of everything at once? The laundry soap, Kleenex, toothpaste, dogfood, and Kraft Dinner? That happened to me a week before Christmas, only I ran out of all my teas at the same time. It was terrible – I had to make do with the old tea bags I had at the back of the cupboard. TEA BAGS, can you imagine my horror?

Anyway, I had to hold out till after Christmas because I knew my lovely parents were giving me a gift card. I made it to the store yesterday and was finally able to stock up. In case you are wondering, here is a list of what I’m drinking these days. They are all black, with one exception.

Top Row:  Honey Black (a new-to-me tea, I can’t wait to try it), Assam Banaspaty (classic, long time favourite, strong and clean flavour), Kenyan Tinderet (newer favourite – full, earthy flavour), Guangzhou Milk Oolong (mellow)

Bottom Row: Glitter and Gold (long time favourite, sweet and spicy), Kashmiri Chai [GREEN] (brand new favourite, fresh and spicy), Irish Breakfast (used to drink it bagged, haven’t tried it as loose tea), English Breakfast (used to drink it bagged, haven’t tried it as loose tea).

This is nearly a pound of tea leaves (about 400 grams). I should be good till June.

Tips for making apple jelly

1. Don’t worry if your “apple juice” (strained water and juice from cut apples) is cloudy. It will clear up a lot as it boils off. Be sure to skim the foam – that helps too.

2. Take the juice and sugar up to a hard boil, not a simmer, or you will be boiling it for an hour.

3. Do not leave the stove when it is at a hard boil because if it boils over you are going to have hardened/burned apple jelly on your ceramic stove top and it is horrible to clean. Really, really stinking horrible.

4. Prep your jars and lids first because when it’s time to go, you don’t have a second to waste.

 

Beans!

beans 1Beans are my favourite fresh from the garden vegetable. They are delicious and easy to cook. In fact, I even blanched and froze some green beans last year, and it was like having fresh beans all winter.

This year, because of my broken foot, I didn’t get my garden in until July 2. Realistically, that is too late for anything. But beans grow and mature so quickly, I had time to get them in. So I did. I planted an entire garden plot full of nothing but green beans.

In nursery school, beans are what the kids plant to learn about how things grow. Mostly, because beans are very quick to sprout. Give it 1-2 weeks, and they are up. And you can watch them see too, they do it so quickly.  The above picture is was taken about noon on Tuesday.  The picture below was taken at 9am on Wednesday.  Honestly, it’s pretty cool to watch.

beans 2There is one problem with planting an entire box of seeds at the same time, and not staggering them by three weeks like I intended. They are all going to ripen at the same time. So, in about 5 weeks, if you are in my end of town and want some fresh beans, stop by. Even with all the blanching I’m going to do, I’m going to have lots left over.  Lots.

Roasted Veggies

IMG_1754But, Moooooom, I don’t like vegetables.

You’ll like these ones, kid.  These are not your diced and processed Jolly Green Giant frozen mixed veggies. This is the good stuff, with taste and texture. It’s not the typical microwaved mush you are used to.

Here we go.

ROASTED VEGETABLES (use any combination of the following)

8 Brussel sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

4 carrots, peeled and cut into thumb-sized pieces (split in half if too wide)

1/2 onion, cut into wedges and roughly separated

1/2 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into thirds

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1/2 head of broccoli, cut into florets

8 baby potatoes, cut in half

1/2 sweet potato, cut into 1cm thick rings

Whole mushrooms

Peppers, chopped into thumb-sized pieces

Zucchini, cut into 1cm thick rings

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

***

Put all veggies in a bowl. Pour olive oil over everything and toss well to coat. Place flat on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes. Gently flip veggies at 20 minute mark.

You will never want to microwave vegetables again.

Christmas to do list #3 – Candy Cane Cookies

009_IMG_1553This is the recipe of legend, people. I based a book around it, coincidentally called Candy Cane Kisses. (And the book is free today and tomorrow, by the way, if you don’t already have a copy.)

These cookies taste like a pepperminty dream and making them is a … less pleasant dream. But I promise you they are worth every single fiddly minute.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened017_IMG_1561
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp peppermint flavoring
½ tsp red food coloring

Mix first 4 ingredients together well. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Divide dough into two equal portions. To one half, add almond flavoring. To the other half, add the peppermint flavoring and food coloring. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (This is where Lindsay, my heroine, went wrong and it was definitely based on real life.)

Roll 1 tsp of each color dough into ropes about 5-6 inches long. Lay side by side. Pinch ends together. Twist to form a spiral. Keep dough and rolling surface cool. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and shape to form a cane. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes until pale gold. Cool on baking sheet 2-3 minutes then remove. (Transfer with care; these cookies are delicate.) Makes about 2 and a 1/2 dozen.

Based on recipe from “Company’s Coming: Cookies” by Jean Pare, 1988

Christmas to do list #1 – Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

010_IMG_1554Christmas isn’t Christmas without holiday baking, so let’s start with something very popular and very easy to make – Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares.

Unfortunately, these probably can’t be sent to school with the kids because they do contain nuts, but they are fine for home and work potlucks. My sister was looking at doing a version with Wow-Butter (it’s a soy peanut butter replacement that kids can take to school) but we don’t have a verdict on that version yet.

These are very easy to make and a good way to get the kids involved in baking.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

1/2 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

1-300 gram bag of butterscotch chips

1-200 gram bag of mutli-coloured mini-marshmallows (you can use white but why be plain?)

Melt the butter, peanut butter and butterscotch chips over a low heat. Remove and let cool a little as to not melt the marshmallows. Pour in marshmallows. Coat thoroughly. Press into a 9″x13″ pan. Chill in fridge for 1 hour. (You can line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal.) Cut and serve.

Sausage and Peppers

IMG_0870I probably should have posted this a couple weeks ago with the weather we were having but it still works now. Here is another good recipe for teens to start out with. It’s a simple, hearty meal that is great for cold days.

DSCF09414 small to medium potatoes
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb/500 g mild Italian sausage
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 onion
mushrooms – 1 cup fresh or 1 can sliced (optional)

Cut potatoes into thin wedges. Toss with olive oil, oregano and paprika. Put a single layer in a large casserole dish or 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

Cut sausage into bite size pieces and fry at low to medium heat. Cut onions and peppers (and mushrooms) into thin slices or small pieces and add to frying pan. Cook till sausage is no longer pink.

Pour sausage and pepper mixture over potatoes and bake for another 25 minutes. Serves 4.

This recipe is easily halved. If you buy a 1 lb package of sausage, freeze half immediately. After cutting up the peppers, freeze half of each. The texture is fine when they are thawed and fried.

Apricot Chicken

DSCF0904I am a firm believer that every teenager should leave home knowing how to cook at least three “company” meals – as in, something they can make for guests.

This is one of the first ones I learned. It has four ingredients. It goes wonderfully with Minute Rice (either the microwave-cup kind, or the kind where you boil water, add rice, remove from heat, and stir) and frozen veggies (also microwaveable). This is super simple to make and gives you all of the food groups but still make a balanced meal.

Apricot Chicken (serves 4)

1 pkg chicken (1 tray of thighs, about 12 – or one tray of breasts, 4 cut into halves)

125 mL (1/2 small jar) apricot jam

125 mL (1/2 small bottle) Russian or Catalina salad dressing

1/2 package of dried onion soup mix.

Put chicken into a casserole dish in a single layer. Mix jam, dressing and onion soup mix in a bowl and pour over chicken. Bake at 325F for 50 minutes. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

To save time, you can use a bigger casserole dish and  cook 2 trays of chicken. This uses the whole jar of jam, bottle of dressing and soup mix packet, leaving no leftovers. This chicken freezes like a dream  and can be stored in individual servings.