Archive for January, 2009

I’m all about my crockpot and really into soups these days (I try to do one a week). I guess I want our kids to be exposed to more than I was as a child (no offense campbell’s) and learn difference flavours and textures (even if they are fussy right now I’m not giving up). I love having a big pot of soup made and some yummy crusty bread/rolls to accompany it.

This month so far we’ve had success with our Pizza Soup, Hamburger Soup and a Minestrone Soup (with napa cabbage). It’s also nice that my dayhome kids are great eaters and so I can happily experiment more regardless of how our kids eat!

Crockpot Black Bean Soup

6 slices – bacon, chopped
1 – onion, finely chopped
2 – stalks celery, finely chopped
2 – carrots, finely chopped
2 – cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp – thyme, dried
2 tbsp – cumin seeds
1 tbsp – oregano, dried
2 tbsp – tomato paste
6 cups – chicken stock (or approx. 2 tetra packs for a little more)
3 cans – black beans, rinsed & drained (I use canned – easier!)
1/3 cup – fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sour cream, salsa

Cook your bacon until crisp. Remove from pan to drain and set aside.

Drain most of bacon fat leaving a little behind – add your onions, celery, carrots and cook until soft. Add garlic, thyme, cumin seeds, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne if using. Stir for 1 minute. Add tomoto paste, stirring to combine. Transfer to crock pot and add bacon, stock and beans. Mix well.

Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

Before serving stir in lime juice and puree soup in batches. Pour into bowls and add optional garnishes.

The nice thing about most crockpot recipes is they can be prepared the night before and stored (in crockpot stoneware) in the fridge overnight. The next morning you take out stoneware, put in crockpot base and turn on. Simple!

Sidenote: Whenever meat is involved in your recipe brown it first before adding to the crockpot to seal in flavour and juices. Doing this even if the recipe doesn’t call for it enhances the flavour of your dish.

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Yes it is true, 2 recipes in one day!! I’ve been behind on my recipes amongst other things. Having kids here all day makes me pretty exhausted by the time dinner is done and kids are in bed. So here is a great kid recipe..and the adults love it too!

If your anything like me you have small appliances coming out the ying yang and really don’t need another one. So a great way to make a panini style sandwich is to use 2 pans. One to put the sandwich in and a heavy one to put on top and “press” the sandwich down. Sometimes it takes a couple of times to get it figured out but when you do…Presto you will have a panini style sandwich without the panini maker!

So here it goes…all amounts are approx. only. You can add or minus less as per your palates.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Panini

4 slices – ww bread (or your favourite bread)
1/4 cup – peanut butter (approx.)
2 ripe – bananas
2 – eggs, beaten
2 tbsp – milk
2 tsp – br. sugar
1/4 tsp – cinnamon

Preheat grill or fry pan. Spray with a little pam. Spread peanut butter evenly over all 4 slices of bread. Top 2 of the bread slices with banana; top with remaining bread.

Whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon. Dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture (french toast style) until coated on both sides. Place in pan and top with heavy pot/pan. Grill a couple of minutes per side pending your grill/fry pan.

Great for breakfast or lunch!

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When I worked full time outside of the house, I used to find a lot of great, simple and easy recipes from Kraft. Now not so much as I enjoy putting more effort into meals as time allows. Once and awhile however I do get tired of cooking and want something easy and quick (besides pizza – which our kids don’t like anyhow!). So this is one I found on Kraft and as usual modified slightly.

Spaghetti Pie

1/2 lb – lean ground beef, cooked & drained
1 cup – your favourite homemade or store purchased pasta sauce
3 – eggs
1 cup – parmesan cheese, grated
3 cups – long noodles (spaghetti, linguine, spaghettini, fettucine), cooked and drained or leftovers
1 cup – mozzarella cheese, shredded
dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano – whatever floats your boat)
salt & pepper to taste

1 lightly greased pie plate (9 inch)

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Mix meat and pasta sauce.

2. Beat eggs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and a pinch of dried herbs in large bowl. Add pasta incorporating everything well.

3. Spread pasta mixture into bottom and up side of pie plate. Top with meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozza cheese. At this point you can add more cheese on top (provolone, more mozza, parmesan) if you wish.

4. Bake 20 minutes or until mozza is melted and bubbling. Let stand and cut in wedges to serve.

Serve with a green salad or some veggies and you have a quick, easy and inexpensive meal!

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This is a great way to use leftover turkey. My kids loved this!
This recipe makes approx. 5-6 sandwiches so adjust your ingredients accordingly for less.

Grilled Turkey Salad Sandwiches

1 1/2 cups – chopped cooked leftover turkey
1/3 cup – raisins
1/3 cup – diced celery
1/4 cup – slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup – mayonnaise
6 – slices cheese (your favourite)
12 – slices bread (your favourite)
1/4 cup – butter, softened

Butter your bread (one side each piece). Mix turkey, raisins, celery, almonds and mayonnaise together. Spread turkey mixture on opposite side of buttered piece of bread (like your making a grilled cheese). Add one slice cheese and another piece of the buttered bread (butter side out). Cook in frypan or griddle grilled cheese style. You could also use a Panini maker or just put a heavy pot/pan on top of the sandwich while it’s lightly browning to get a panini like sandwich.

Brown each side and serve for lunch or dinner!

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