Monthly Archives: February 2013

roasted green beans and mushrooms


I’ve been obsessed with roasting my vegetables lately. It seems as though they always turn out much tastier than when prepared this way rather than in any other fashion: carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower… you name it, they’re all (to me, at least!) a thousand times more delicious when roasted.

I had green beans and mushrooms in the fridge. I had initially thought of quickly blanching the green beans and then frying them up with some mushrooms. Instead, in a moment of genius, I thought ‘Why not roast them?’,  so I did. I didn’t follow a specific recipe so you’ll have to play it by ear!

I tossed the beans and sliced white mushrooms with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I then sprinkled on a pinch or two of salt and some fresh ground black pepper. I laid them out on a baking sheet – don’t overcrowd your pan like I did:

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and roasted at 450F for about 20 minutes, gave everything a quick toss around the pan and cooked for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!
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bacon mac n’ cheese


We had some family friends over for dinner last night. I wanted to serve up something easy to make, so that I didn’t spend the evening in the kitchen, and more importantly, something that the four kids (ages 5 4, 3 and 2) would eat without complaint. I decided that macaroni and cheese was the way to go. I found some bacon in the fridge and knew for sure I had to use it in my meal! Bacon and cheese? You can’t go wrong! A quick google search landed me on this Michael Smith recipe and since I normally love his recipes, I was going to give it a try.
The recipe was super easy to make and  the end result was smokey and cheesy, and gooey. Everyone gobbled it up, grown-ups and kids alike!

 Bacon Mac n’ Cheese
1 lb pasta, cooked and drained
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 cup water
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup Flour
5 cups milk
1 pound sharp, old cheddar, shredded
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
sprinkle salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
4 slices whole grain bread, torn into large pieces
olive oil to drizzle

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Toss the chopped bacon and water into a thick-bottomed stockpot over medium-high heat. By adding water you allow the bacon to gradually release its fat and brown evenly without burning. Continue cooking until the water evaporates and the bacon crisps nicely.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, but leave the fat. Add the garlic and stir for several minutes to release its flavor. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a roux. Cook for a few minutes more to toast the roux until it browns and you cook off the flour flavour.

Add the milk and whisk until the sauce is smooth again and continue cooking, and whisking, for about 5 minutes or so, until the sauce is quite thick.

Stir in the cheese, Dijon, paprika, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss in the pasta and the reserved bacon, coat them well with the sauce and turn it all into a 9- X 13-inch (3.5 L) casserole or baking dish.

Toss the bread with a splash or two of olive oil, then sprinkle it over the cheese mixture. Bake until it is heated through and the bread is toasty brown, about 30 minutes or so.

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another year comes and goes.


birthday balloonsHappy Blog-iversary!birthday balloons

I can’t believe I’ve been at this for a year now! 120 posts later and I’m still (sort of) going strong! I started this blog to share recipes with friends and family, and maybe a few strangers here and there and overall that goal has been achieved… But I’ll admit to getting excited when I discover a recipe shared on pinterest, or when I receive comments and likes!

I’m looking forward to sharing many more recipes and meal ideas on this blog. Here’s to another year of succesful blogging!

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chicken, chorizo & cheesy cauliflower bowl


I totally stole this recipe from http://www.1227foster.com, gave it a few personal touches and have officially declared it one of my favourite meals. In addition to the original recipe, I decided to throw in some roughly chopped sweet onion, red bell pepper and some smoked paprika. I figured those extra ingredients wouldn’t hurt the Latin flavours of the dish; they didn’t. Although I have no idea what the recipe would have tasted like without them, I feel like the onion and the paprika really enhanced the flavours and the sweet bell pepper was the perfect contrast to the salty and savoury sausage.

Because my gang of meat and potato lovers aren’t quite ready to give up the starchy goodness that are potatoes, I added 2 medium-ish sized potatoes to the cauliflower and mashed those together. I -loved- the addition of the cheese to the mixture. It was perfect and I could have eaten a bowl of just the mashed cauliflower and potato.

Chicken, Chorizo & Cheesy Cauliflower Bowl
1 tbsp olive oil
10 oz (about 2 1/2 links) Pork chorizo (uncooked, not the cured kind)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 diced sweet onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup cream – I used 5% cream
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Salt

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Sauté garlic and onion for 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir.

When chicken is no longer pink, add chorizo and continue to cook until both are done and the chorizo is slightly crispy. Add the bell pepper and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 3 minutes or so.

While the meat cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and cook until tender. Drain the water and mash, adding cream and cheese as you go. Season with pepper.

Serve the potato & cauliflower mash in a bowl and top with the chicken & chorizo mixture. Enjoy!

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pouding chômeur


This is a delicious, ridiculously easy dessert I grew up with back home in Quebec. It literally means “poor man’s” pudding and was created during the Great Depression. It uses ingredients that were easy to come by and rather inexepensive at the time,  hence its name.

It’s simply a very basic batter onto which you pour a maple syrup or brown sugar syrup overtop. As the cake cooks, the syrup sinks to the bottom, creating a seperate layer. While I didn’t serve it this way, this recipe is absolutely delicious served straight out of the oven, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pouding Chômeur
Cake:
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg

Sauce:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Beat the milk, egg and butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until the whole mixture is wet.

Pour into a well greased 13×9 baking dish.

For the sauce, pour all the ingredients into a sauce pan and heat until it almost boils (don’t let it boil!) and pour over uncooked batter.

Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes. Serve as is, with crème fraîche or ice cream.

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creamy tomato macaroni and cheese


Sometimes recipes go really wrong and can only be salvaged by tossing them into the garbage. Sometimes they go wrong, and turn out to be fabulous! This happened to me on Valentine’s day… The Littles had requested mac and cheese as their special Valentine’s dinner and I was happy to comply. I was too distracted trying to keep their sticky little fingers away from this:
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that instead of grabbing a tub of ricotta from the fridge, I grabbed a similarly shaped yogurt container full of homemade marinara sauce. While I was busy craning my neck, telling the kids to get their fingers out of the icing for the umpteenth time, I poured half the content of the container into my cheese sauce.  I paused, gasped in horror then decided to give it a taste. It wasn’t half bad! I took the plung and poured the rest of the marinara sauce in, added some freshly cracked pepper and gave the mac and cheese a new name! The result was a creamy, cheesy macaroni with a hint of tomato flavour. I guess I acquired the taste for tomatoes in my macaroni & cheese from all those years growing up where I’d squirt ketchup all over mine! Let’s just say this version is certainly a little more refined.

Creamy Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

Basically, follow my Homestyle mac n’cheese recipe
and add approximately 1 cup of marinara sauce to your cheese sauce before pouring it over your cooked pasta.

I didn’t bake it this time but just served it as is.

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saucy shiraz shepherd’s pie


Quite the tongue twister, isn’t it? It may be tricky to say, but it isn’t tricky to eat. I devoured my plate and snuck in seconds. I found this recipe courtesy of a Facebook friend and decided to give it a try. I am not disappointed to have tried it at all. Everyone loved it, even the little who currently hates sauce and any food “touching”. I paired it with some green beans almondine which seems like a bit of an odd combination but hey, the beans were on sale up the street!

The other great thing about this recipe? You get to finish the bottle of wnie you opened to cook with! I used a South African Syrah blend: The Wolftrap. I highly recommend it!

Saucy Shiraz Shepherd’s Pie
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and peeled into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp sour cream
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup Shiraz
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium or sodium-free beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cover potatoes and cauliflower with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Boil gently until both potatoes and cook until both potatoes and cauliflower are tender. Drain. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add sour cream, mustard, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mash coarsely and set aside.

Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Crumble lamb and beef into pan and cook until no longer pink. Add onion, garlic, carrot, remaining salt and pepper. Cook until onion softens, about 4 minutes or so.

Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture and stir. Add broth, tomato paste, rosemary and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens.

Pour meat mixture into oven-safe dish (I used Corningware) and top with potato mixture. Preheat your boiler and place dish in the oven. Broil until the top is golden. This would be great in small individual ramekins, too!

Serve and enjoy!

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