Monthly Archives: September 2012

(healthier) boeuf bourguignon


Last Christmas I made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe: lardon, butter and all that delicious fat! I even made it the night before to make sure all those flavours had the chance to intensify and harmonize! How can you go wrong? You can’t obviously. The recipe’s quite labour intensive and you sadly can’t eat that stuff every day. That recipe is tucked aside for special occasions.  I have discovered, however, a slightly healthier (healthier that is, if you don’t serve it with cream laden mashed potatoes… -innocent whistle-)  version that is pretty tasty! A colleague shared it with me this week and I’m glad I tried it! I was not disappointed!

Boeuf Bourguignon

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt, divided
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 1/4 lbs stewing beef
3 slices bacon, chopped and divided
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
8 cups button mushrooms, halved (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 package frozen pearl onions

Combine flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large ziplock bag. Add beef, seal and shake to coat.

Cook half of bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon, set aside. Add half of beef mixture to drippings in pan, cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan, cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining bacon and beef mixture.

Add chopped onion, carrot and minced garlic to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in wine and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add bacon, beef, remaining salt and pepper, mushrooms, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves and pearl onions. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook for another hour or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve beef over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice.

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slow cooker apple butter


I love fall. I love fall fashion, I love fall weather, I love fall sights and smells. More importantly, I love fall food. Obviously, that means apples. So I  decided to try my hand at apple butter this year and made my first batch in the slow cooker today! I halved the recipe I found because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out and more importantly, I’m not sure how many people in the house will be eating any! I don’t can (yet!)  and I didn’t want to be stuck with too much or risk it going bad! I ended up with a little under 2 cups of the stuff and it’s absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to eat it on toast, or use it in that awesome pork chop recipe I’ve posted before. That is, if I don’t eat it up by the spoonful first.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
2 quarts (about 8 cups) apples, chopped (I used MacIntosh since they were the only ones on sale!)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
A dash of salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Place the apples in the slow cooker. Toss to coat with the lemon juice.

Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over the apples and stir well.

Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Reduce setting to low and cook for another 7-9 hours.

If you like a thick apple butter, remove the lid and cook on high for another hour or so to allow the extra liquid to evaporate.

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tomato pizza sauce


I recently realized that while I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat more whole foods, I’ve been resorting to pre-made processed stuff for things that are relatively easy and inexpensive to make. Pizza sauce is one of them. Why do I go to trouble to make my own batches of pizza dough and make great, wholesome pizzas if I’m going to buy the jarred or canned sauce to top it with?

I decided to give making my own sauce from scratch a try. It was a relatively painless process. A few minutes to get water boiling to blanch my tomatoes and to chop up all the ingredients. The rest of the cooking process was a walk in the park! The sauce is delicious and I can actually see myself using it as a base for various pasta sauces, too.

Tomato Pizza Sauce
5 or 6 vine ripened tomatoes, blanched, skinned and roughly chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
Pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in a sauce pan. Fry the onion, garlic and oregano, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes, vinegar, tomato paste, salt, pepper and sugar. Simmer until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender and blend until smooth. I separated the sauce in 1/2 cup portions and froze the leftovers.

Oh! and Mommy got a new toy! I took the plunge and got an entry-level dSLR (thank you Wal-Mart anniversary sale!) I’m thrilled with my purchase. I’m by no means an expert photographer and I still shoot in automatic or preset modes, but I’d been seriously disappointed with the image quality of my old camera; I’m totally blown away by the crispness of the images on the new camera. I mean look! I took these pictures all by myself. Wheee!

I’m in love.

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honey lime grilled chicken marinade


Barbecue season is slowly drawing to an end and I’m trying to milk it as long as I can! I tried out this marinade and was impressed by the results. The chicken was moist and the flavours were just right. It would probably be great cooked under the broiler when it’s too cold and miserable out to use the grill.

Honey Lime Grilled Chicken Marinade
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine lime juice, oil, honey, thyme, rosemary, garlic and pepper. Pour it over chickens in a ziploc bag. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours up to overnight. Grill until done and juices run clear.per

To get your chicken to cook evenly, pound slightly the chicken until it’s evenly thick. Place the chicken on a lightly oiled, hot grill. Close the lid and cook for 6 minutes. Turn and close the lid again for another 5 minutes.

Despite my meat looking it died a horribly painful death by fire, it was so tender and juicy. I promise!

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apple cinnamon muffins


My eldest started senior kindergarten at a new school last week. Where has my baby gone? :(

The morning of his first day, it dawned on me that perhaps this school did not have a snack program as his previous school did. I scrambled through the kitchen, searching for a half decent snack to send to school with him and settled on goldfish, cheese, a box of raisins and some water. Upon his return from school, Mr. T demanded “a cereal bar and a box of juice” for snack next week. If anyone knows me, I couldn’t comply with such a heathen request. Thus, I spent the weekend baking various snacks for him, including these muffins and granola bars (the recipe for which I will share at a later time).

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
1 1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar unpacked
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups apples, peeled and chopped finely

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oats. Stir and set aside for 20 minutes.

Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the honey, egg, applesauce, butter and vanilla. Add this mixture to the oats and stir. Add oat mixture to flour mix and stir until dry ingredients are all moistened. Fold in the chopped apple.

Divide butter into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

** This recipe made 16 muffins for me…

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roasted tomato and red pepper soup


I’m sure most of you have caught on to my love of soup. It is, after looking at many of my recipes, pretty obvious! I love the simplicity of making soup but the complexity of flavours that it can have. I also love that I can, unbeknownst to the boys, hide all sorts of veggies and various ingredients in the meal and get them to eat!

With tomatoes being in season, I was in search of a new tomato soup recipe to add to my repertoire. I found this one in a cookbook and gave it a whirl. Delicious!

Recipe inspired by Looneyspoons’
Rome on the Range

Soup
8 plum or Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 large red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 cup low-sodium V8 juice
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Meatballs
1 lb (450 grams) extra lean ground chicken (turkey or beef are fine, too)
1/3 cup shallots, minced
1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large roasting pan. Make sure the veggies are all on a single layer.

Place roasting pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, stir and return to oven. Turn on the broiler and broil for 10 minutes.

While the veggies roast, prepare your meatballs. Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well. Using your hands, form into small, mini meatballs using approximatly 1 tsp of meat mixture for each ball. Set aside.

Remove the veggies from the oven and place in large soup pot. Add the beef broth and V8 juice. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables and broth until smooth. Add the basil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir. Add the meatballs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

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