Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crockpot Cheesy Potato Leek Soup w/ Bacon!




This recipe was modified slightly from a recipe that I have seen circulating around Facebook. Its from Betty Crocker. While I haven't tried this for myself - I don't really see what could possibly go wrong. All the ingredients sound good, no? 

Here is the link to the original recipe; http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-cheesy-potato-soup/9a278ca4-42b0-4259-8941-5805d9aacb7f


Now here is my version:


  • 1 package frozen hashbrown potatoes
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans cheddar cheese soup
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 leeks thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 package of bacon, diced, fried and drained
  • pepper to taste


In a 7 qt slow cooker - combine the  potatoes, the onion, leeks, bacon, garlic and grated cheddar cheese. Mix with a large spoon to incorporate. 

In a large bowl or stock pot - combine the 2 cans of soup, chicken broth and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture over the other ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir again. 

Cut your cream cheese into cubes with a large knife and drop into your soup mixture. Place the lid on the crock pot and set to cook on LOW for about 4-6 hours. 

Garnish with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, green onions or leeks and bacon crumbles. Optional. 


Banana Muffins - Tried and True!







I have a family recipe for banana bread/muffins that I actually memorized I make it that often! 

You can add any add-ins you may like - chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins. Alternately you can spice it up with some cinnamon or nutmeg if you like, or even some cocoa powder - its up to you!

I use very basic no name ingredients most time - budget friendly. You can use whatever brand you like. I also opt for margarine instead of butter; again that's just a personal preference. I find the muffins end up more moist this way. You can certainly use butter if you like. 


  • 5 overripe bananas
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine 
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 tsp of artificial vanilla flavoring)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup add-ins (optional)


Sift your flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder and set aside. 

In a separate bowl, mash your bananas. Add the beaten egg, brown sugar, vanilla and the margarine. Whisk to incorporate all ingredients, or mix with a wooden spoon or spatula. 

Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix well. Line your muffin pans with paper liners or lightly grease and flour a loaf or cake pan. I find the 11x7 inch glass casserole dish works nicely, or a meatloaf pan. You can use whatever you have on hand - just watch the oven after about 20 minutes and make sure you are poking with a knife or toothpick to check when it comes out clean!!!

Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 16-20 minutes for muffins. A loaf pan takes about 30-40 minutes and an 11x7 casserole or cake pan takes about 25-35. It really all depends on your oven. 

I use a counter top convection toaster oven combo. It cooks really fast. About 15 minutes for 6 muffins. But I have to do 2 batches. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lasagna Roll Ups

I have to say that I LOVE pasta in all its many forms, but my all time favourite has to be lasagna. My son has followed in my footsteps as a lasagna connoisseur and requests it often. Making regular lasagna homemade and from scratch is very time consuming - so many people opt for the store bought frozen variety. Also, if you are only feeding a small family like in my instance, you will find yourself with at least half a casserole dish leftover.



This recipe I am about to share rolls lasagna noodles into individual servings. You can scale the recipe down or increase it if you want to do some big batch cooking and freeze some portions for later use. Either way, it is economical, family friendly, and easy to prepare. So I share with you.....




Lasagna Roll Ups!

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup seeded diced tomatoes
1 cup prepared pasta sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
2 tsp dried italian seasoning
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/4 cottage cheese, drained (or ricotta)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Directions:

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Set aside in colander.

In a large skillet, fry beef, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomatoes, and pasta sauce. Add salt, italian seasoning and cayenne; simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon half of the meat sauce into a greased casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and onion powder. Spoon approximately 1/4 cup of cheese filling on each noodle.  Carefully roll up and place seam side down over meat sauce. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving

If you double the recipe you can freeze cooked portions in containers for reheating at a later date.

Chicken Curry in a Hurry!

Today I woke up and took some chicken thighs and drum sticks out of the freezer. I had bought them on sale and I thought I would browse some recipes online to see what inspired me.  One of the first things that popped up was "Chicken Curry". YUM! Most of the recipes called for chicken breast, but a few of the more authentic sites, use the bone-in, skin on chicken, as it imparts more flavour into the dish.  So after taking a little of this, and a little of that from a few different recipes; I give to you -


Crock Pot Chicken Curry



Ingredients:

1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (any variety - I used Empire)
1 large onion, quartered
4 plum tomatoes, halved
5 cloves of garlic
4 large potatoes (any variety, I used russet)
1 lb of chicken drums (bone-in, skin on)
1 lb of chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup curry paste (I used a variety called Wonder Chuck - which I found at a local West Indian Market)
1.5 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to season the chicken
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of sour cream or coconut milk (optional)

Directions:

Peel and cube the potatoes and place on the bottom of a 5-7 quart slow cooker. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium high heat and brown all of the chicken pieces on both sides. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes.




In a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, ginger, garlic cloves, onion, apple, and curry paste and pulse until you reach the consistency of salsa - (the onions, garlic apple and tomatoes should be minced at this point - see photo)





Taste your mixture and if you want a bolder curry flavour, you can add more curry paste at this point. Pour over the chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker and set to low. Cook for 4 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Resist the temptation to stir, as this will cause the chicken to fall off the bone, and you will be stuck fishing bones and cartilage out of your curry.




If you like a creamy curry, and are fond of the coconut flavoured variety - follow these next steps. Remove the potatoes and chicken from the crock pot and set aside. Add sour cream or coconut milk to the crock pot and stir to combine.



Serve the chicken and potatoes over jasmine or basmati rice, top with the sauce from the slow cooker, and soak up all the flavourful juices with some Naan bread if desired. Voila - Chicken Curry.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Crunchy Bean Sprout Salad

Many people have not ever tried a bean sprout in their life - and I cannot believe that!! Bean sprouts are deliciously crunchy, full of vitamins, and an excellent addition to salads and stir-fries. Here is a little side salad I came up with the other day when I saw that the bean sprouts that I had bought were on the last day or so of use before they became wilted and sad looking. In case you are unfamiliar with the term "julienne" it just means cutting your veggies up into fine little strips like matchsticks. Similar to a coleslaw. Hoisin sauce is an Asian condiment, similar to soy sauce but very thick and kind of sweet. A bottle will go a long way, and is a wonderful addition to rice dishes, stir-fries, meat marinades, etc.



Bean Sprout Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups of bean sprouts
1 cup of each of the following vegetables - julienned
celery
carrots
cucumber
red or white onion

Dressing:

1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
dash of  hot sauce (optional)
cracked pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl combine all of your veggies. In a separate bowl make your dressing by whisking the ingredients together until well incorporated. Keep the salad and dressing separate until ready to serve. If you dress your salad too early - you will draw out all the moisture of your vegetables and it makes it kind of watery. I would say 20 minutes before serving time is ideal to dress your salad :)

Cinco De Mayo - Baked Enchilada's

Since tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo I am going to post a Mexican inspired recipe for baked Enchilada's. I have to give my cousin's wife Deena credit for this recipe because she made them for us one day for dinner and my husband asked me to duplicate the recipe. She used corn tortillas instead of flour - which are tricky to find, as only a few selected stores sell them around here. But now that I have tried them, I won't go back to flour.

 I looked all over for the canned Enchilada sauce that she used, but I couldn't find one so I turned to Google for help. This sauce recipe takes a little of this, and a little of that from a couple of different web recipes. But it is a winner! My hubby and even my kids gobbled it all up.




Baked Enchilada's


Ingredients:

(Meat Filling)

1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1 package Taco seasoning
1 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
cracked black pepper

Directions:

In a large skillet fry ground beef until no longer pink, drain and return to pan. Finely dice a medium sized onion and add to ground beef and saute for about 5 minutes or until onion starts to become translucent. Add Taco seasoning, water, garlic powder, and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes on medium low heat, until sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool.

(Enchilada Sauce)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 package Chili seasoning mix
2 cups chicken stock
10 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine flour and oil and stir until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add packet of chili seasoning and cook for one minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Set aside to cool.




Assembly:

12 corn tortillas
Beef mixture
2 cups shredded cheese (any kind)
Enchilada Sauce

Arrange the tortillas on a flat surface and divide the beef filling equally among the 12 tortillas. Add a pinch of cheese, and about 2 tbsp of Enchilada sauce to each one and roll up. Place seam side down in a large casserole dish. Top with remaining Enchilada sauce, and remaining cheese on top. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


Back in Action! Won ton Ravioli

I just realized that I haven't made a blog post since March!! Wow... I have so much catching up to do. First on the list is a recipe that has become my husbands new favourite thing for me to make - Won ton Ravioli. These cute little pasta-like packages taste incredibly like homemade, and can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. I am going to give you the recipe for 2 of the fillings I have made so far, but really the options are endless. Today I made a mushroom and bacon filling, and a few weeks ago I made a 3 cheese filling. Even my picky little boys devoured them. This recipe yields 30 large filled ravioli, but you can easily double it for a larger family.




Won ton Ravioli

Ingredients:(Mushroom Filling)

1 package of square won ton wrappers
1 cup of button mushrooms
1 small onion
1/4 cup of crumbled bacon (previously pan fried and drained on paper towel)
1/2 cup cream cheese
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the mushrooms and onion into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Alternatively you can dice it finely with a knife. Add the onion/mushroom mixture to a bowl which contains the softened cream cheese and crumbled bacon. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.



Ingredients: (Cheese Filling)

1 package of square won ton wrappers
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella (or any other kind of cheese you desire)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Egg Wash:

1 slightly beaten egg
1 tbsp of milk

Directions:

Whisk egg and milk together well and brush on 2 of the 4 sides of the won ton wrapper. This acts as a glue to seal the edges together and then you crimp them tightly with a fork.

Assembly:

Arrange the won ton wrappers on the counter. I usually do 12 at a time. Brush 2 of the 4 corners with the egg wash mixture and place a tsp of the filling in the middle of each wrapper. Bring the 2 corners together to form a triangle and pinch the air out with your fingers. Be careful not to pinch the filling too close to the edges or the won ton will not seal properly, and will break open when you immerse it in the boiling water. Crimp the edges with a fork.

Cooking:

Bring a large stock pot of  salted water to a full rolling boil. Carefully boil small batches (about 6-8 at a time) for approximately 5 minutes. (Al Dente) Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a casserole dish or large bowl. At this point you can add any sauce you would like, or just drizzle with olive oil and fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.



Monday, March 5, 2012

Pretzel Buttons - Holiday Themed

So in my post about Valentine's Day a few weeks ago I mentioned making Pretzel Buttons!! They were a huge success so I am trying them again - but this time they are themed for Easter and have a post of their own to make it easier to find in the recipe collection.

The options for this recipe are endless, because instead of Hugs or Kisses chocolates, you could use Rolo, or Skor pieces, chocolate chips of any flavour, etc. Also you can top them with different candies as well - Smarties and M&M's are just a few - you could also use Jelly Beans, Mini Eggs, Gummie Bears.... the list goes on. Be creative and HAVE FUN!!!


Pretzel Buttons

Ingredients:

Waffle Pretzels
Hershey's Hugs or Kisses (or any other kind of chocolate)
Smarties or M&Ms (or any other kind of candy)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 F. Very low setting, as you don't want the chocolate to melt completely - you want it to HOLD its shape but start to have a very glossy, shiny look to them.


Arrange Waffle Pretzels on a baking sheet and top each one with a Kiss or Hug. Bake in oven for 3-5 minutes. (WATCHING ALL THE TIME)


Remove from the oven - and VERY carefully press one Smartie or M&M on top gently. Don't press too hard or your fingers will be covered in chocolate and you will end up with a puddle instead of a nice round circle.


At this point you want to firm up the chocolate again - so stick the cookie sheet into the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to harden everything up.

I store mine in the fridge, but they also keep well at room temperature...(as long as your kitchen or house isn't really warm)