Archive for September, 2011

Girl Guide Cookies

It’s that time of the year again when the Girl Guides sell their cookies. 
Fall is Chocolate Mint Cookies. 
Below is a link showing different recipes using Girl Guide Cookies!  Fabulous!
Support your local Girl Guides…check out the link…and have some fun with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends…..!!

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Mushroom Barley Risotto

Delicious!  Yum!   We love barley and this combination is a winner.  You can mix it up and use a variety of mushrooms or stick with white or brown mushrooms.  Note this takes a minimum of 30 minutes to cook so make sure you pour yourself a glass of wine!

1/4 cup butter, divided
1/2 onion, minced
1 cup pearl or pot barley
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh or dried parsley
salt & pepper

In a saucepan, melt half the butter (med heat). Add onion, salt, pepper cooking until onion is softened. Stir in barley and cook for 1 minute…then add your broth and water bringing to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer just until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat but keep warm.

Meanwhile back at the ranch melt the rest of your butter in a frypan. Add your mushrooms…cooking over med-high heat until they have no more liquid.  Add in your lemon juice and parsley.  Mix to combine.

Add your barley into a serving dish.  Spread your mushrooms on top and you are ready to serve!   This dish goes well with any grilled meat.

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Who doesn’t love a grilled piece of meat?!  Even better is a fresh, tasty salsa to go with it…YUM.  I love pineapple salsa made with fresh pineapple.  There is definitely a time and a place for the canned pineapple but if you can find the fresh for this recipe – use it!  You can either use bone in chops or boneless…we used boneless for this recipe.

Adapted from: Canadian Living Magazine

Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Salsa 

3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 pork chops

Pineapple Salsa:
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced red/purple onion
2 tsp lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup (or less) cilantro (chopped)

In ziplock bag, mix together lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, oil and garlic. Add chops, turning to coat. Let stand for 10-15 minutes on the counter also letting them come to room temperature.

Pineapple Salsa:
In bowl, stir together pineapple, green onion, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro (if using).

Place chops on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside.  Serve with salsa.

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I remember eating puffed wheat as a wee child, but do not remember puffed wheat squares.   Husband does on the other hand and has requested them more than one time.  And so like a good wifey I am making Puffed Wheat Squares for my man!

Recipe Source: The Best of the Best

Puffed Wheat Squares

1/2 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla 10 cups puffed wheat
couple sprinkles cinnamon (my own add in)

Combine butter, corn syrup, sugars and cocoa powder in a pot. Bring to a boil (but do not let burn). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Put your puffed wheat into a large bowl. Pour the hot mixture over the puffed wheat and mix well with a spoon. Press into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Enjoy!

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It’s an interesting dish…one that started out as mushroom & ham pasta.   One day I added carrots and found the sweet crispness added another flavour profile to this dish and from that point on carrots were a must.  This one has been around awhile and is a good go to recipe when you need a quick, easy meal.

Mushroom, Ham & Carrot Linguine

1 lb Linguine
4 tbsp butter
1/2 – 1lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb cooked ham, chopped
2 tbsp parsley (dried or fresh), if fresh minced
1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream (18%)
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
salt & pepper to taste

In a pot start your water boiling for your pasta. When boiling salt and drop your pasta in.  Cook 6 minutes or until al dente.  Drain (reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid), butter and set aside.

In a skillet/pan over medium heat add more butter. When the pan is heated and butter sizzlin saute your carrots for 2 minutes. Next add in your mushrooms and saute them for a couple of minutes…adding a little more butter as needed. Finally add in ham and parsley. Saute until mushrooms and ham have started to brown (approx. 5 minutes).

Stir in cream, half of the parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper mixing until combined.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat to low simmer for a couple minutes.  Put pasta into serving dish, pour mushroom mixture over top, add 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, toss lightly and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.  Serve hot with garlic or cheese bread.

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Back to school, crisp Fall mornings, smell of baking wafting throughout the house – time for muffins.  I like to convert regular size muffin recipes into mini muffins because they fit easier into little hands.  You can make them with liners or without (just remember to spray your muffin tin if you do not use liners). 

This classic recipe calls for brown sugar, which adds moisture and a caramel flavor. It’s a great basic muffin recipe – once you get the hang of it, try stirring in other fresh or frozen fruit (peaches, rhubarb, cranberries, apples), dried fruit and/or grated cheese.

Recipe Source: Dinner with Julie

Brown Sugar Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh or frozen (don’t thaw them) blueberries
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375F and line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently until almost combined; add the berries and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

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I grew up eating roasts that had been over cooked and had absolutely no flavour.  I remember covering it with HP Sauce and trying to choke it down since I was “made” to eat it.   Two things came from this, A) I am not a huge Roast Beef fan and B) I will never force my kids to eat something they don’t like!!

I am however someone who loves to cook and is married to a Carnivore of English decent (think beef & potatoes).    Plus I want my kids to grow up enjoying a wide range of foods.  And so we/I cook Roasts several different ways (indirect grilling, rotisserie, slow cooker, dutch oven) and it always has to have a ton of flavour!

I came across this recipe awhile ago and have adapted it for our family making both with vodka and also red wine.   If you can not find shiitake mushrooms use white or brown button mushrooms…they work just as well!   

Tip.  You can make this recipe and/or any crockpot recipe the night before…get everything ready the night before and put the covered stoneware right into your fridge.  The next morning pull it out..plop it into it’s home, plug it in and get on with your day knowing supper will be ready when you get home.  I did this alot when I worked outside of the house and my first born was in a dayhome!

The flavour in this recipe is supurb.

Adapted from: The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, Judith Finlayson

East-West Pot Roast With Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

1 package dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 beef pot roast (blade), approx 3-4lbs
4 large french shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp gingerroot, minced
salt & pepper (1 tsp each)
8 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1/3 cup vodka
1.5 cup beef broth
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

1. Soak shiitake mushrooms in a hot tub (boiling water) for 30 minutes to plump.  Strain through a sieve or colander reserving liquid.  Pat mushrooms lightly to dry and finely chop.  Set aside.

2. While the shiitake mushrooms are in their hot tub brown your roast over med-high heat in a pan with oil (make sure oil has been pre-heated and is sizzling).  Once all sides on roast are brown deposit into your crockpot.

3. In same pan with oil and roast drippings saute your shallots and cook until soft.  Add garlic, gingerroot, salt, pepper and reserved plump mushrooms.  Cook 1 minute (stirring) then add fresh mushrooms and cook 1 minute (stirring).  Add your vodka and cook 1 minute.  Finally add reserved mushroom soaking liquid and beef broth bringing to a boil.

Tip. If you do not have dried shiitake mushrooms simply mince 4 button mushrooms and use in place of dried ones in recipe.  I also add a splash of worchestershire sauce to the beef broth to give it another flavour boost.

4. Once boiling pour entire mixture over roast in crockpot and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4-5 hours.  Once roast is tender transfer to a plate and using a slotted spoon, remove solids from cooking liquid and arrange around roast.   Cover with foil to keep warm.

5. Almost done….in a pan over medium heat, bring cooking liquid (you get this from the crockpot) to a boil.  Add soya sauce (careful here depending the type of soya sauce it can make it salty), oyster sauce, hoisin sauce.  Cook approx. 5 minutes to reduce and concentrate flavours.  Stir in cornstarch mixture and cook a minute or two until it thickens. 

Serve gravy with roast & mushrooms.  Sides with this dish would be rice, mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles and your choice of veg or salad.

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