Archive for February, 2012

It was 1970’s Casserole night in our house tonight…or so it felt.  I went back to work when my oldest was 11 months old…until my youngest was 12 months old and then everything changed.  Confused yet?!  Me too.  Going back to work with a little one is hard, as any mom can relate and thinking about healthy meals is even harder.  I tried to get organized and meal plan.  I went to the Kraft website and scanned through a lot of their meals as they were quick, simple and my kind of cooking as I tried to figure out life with a toddler.

Pork Chops Casserole is one we tried and enjoyed.  Easy Peasy Ron Weasly…or something like that.  Husband really liked it so it went in the keep file.  In my quest to rid the paper pile clutter it resurfaced last week and went into rotation.

The first time I made it, the recipe told me to use rosemary as “the spice”.  That’s it.  It worked at the time but was rather bland.  Never being one to “follow the rules” I decided I needed more.  More flavour.  More Zing. More something.   So this time I searched through the pantry craving flavour and pulled out what called to me.  Epicure Fajita seasoning and Epicure Cheese, Chives & Bacon Dip.  It was a long shot but why not?  In the end it worked.  Flavour was mild yet noticeable.  Growns up loved it, kids ate the pork chops sans anything else.  That in my books works.  If you make it find the spices that work for you, BBQ, 5 spice blend, chili, paprika – try it, you never know unless you do.

Adapted from Kraft Canada

Pork Chop & Cauliflower Casserole

1 pkg Stove Top Stuffing (any variety will do)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups shredded marble cheese
1 tsp oil (canola or olive oil)
4-5 boneless pork chops
3 cups fresh cut up cauliflower
1/4 tsp each seasoning salt & pepper
Spices – 1/2 tsp of your favourite spice

Heat 1 tsp oil in nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. Season your pork chops with salt and pepper and add to hot pan. Quick sear/brown them on both sides, remove and put into baking dish.

Prepare stove top stuffing as directed on package, set aside.  Layer your cauliflower on top of your pork chops.

Whisk together milk and flour in glass (microwaveable) bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave on high an additional 2 minutes. Stir.  Mix in your shredded cheese and seasonings (salt, pepper, spices). Adjust as necessary – adding more if required. Pour your cheese sauce on top of cauliflower/pork chops.

Finally spread your stove top stuffing on top.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through/bubbling.  Cauliflower should still be crunchy. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes to settle.

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Wow that is a mouthful.  My kids have been participating in the President’s Choice Cooking School (Superstore/Loblaws) since they were both 3 years old.  Inexpensive and fun with food.  Sometimes they find new foods they enjoy, other times not so much.  In the end it’s always about the FUN.  This recipe comes from one of those cooking classes (another paper recipe now officially recycled).

When it comes to muffins I like to make the mini muffin version…easier for little hands to hold and eat.  I found there was too much oil in the original version of the recipe so I’ve cut it back to 1/2 cup.  It’s still too much in my opinion and so next time I may substitute apple sauce for some of the oil.

The photo below is my “Leaning Tower of Muffins”! I chose the flat ones for this shot. Taking food photos is fun, let’s just hope I get better at it!

Adapted from PC Cooking School Recipes

Banana, Blueberry, Cinnamon & Strawberry Yogurt Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups strawberry yogurt
1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large bananas, mashed
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
1-2 tsp cinnamon
Mini Muffin Tins

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly spray mini muffin tins with pam. Combine Yogurt, egg, oil, mashed bananas and blueberries in a large bowl.

In another bowl mix together your baking powder, salt, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon stirring until combined. Add dry mixture into wet mixture stirring until just moistened.

Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Leave muffins in pan for 5 minutes. Take out of pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or cold.

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After a busy Family Day Long Weekend here in Calgary I wanted a relatively simple supper for Monday night since it was weekend wind down night.

I’ve had this recipe filed for a quite some time and while flipping through piles of recipes I came across it. It’s from one of my Sister In Laws.  When she made it for me it was so good I immediately requested the recipe…and then filed it (yikes). Paper piles of recipes….yes it’s true. Back in the day when I lived in Vancouver (early 90’s and slightly before the explosion of online recipes/websites) I used to photocopy or cut out recipes from the Vancouver Province Newspaper. What can I say..the Foodie in me was already emerging. 😉

The photo I took of the chicken is pretty simple. As it was the last day of a long weekend I only had leftovers in the fridge (noodles, potatoes) as accompanients and as such didn’t feel anything looked appetizing enough to be photographed next to my delicious chicken. At least I got the photo before they were devoured!  This recipe has been modified slightly.

Serves 4

Recipe Source: Anita

Honeyed Chicken Teriyaki Bites

3 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless and cut in cubes (1 inch)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt or seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 eggs beaten
Canola Oil for frying chicken

1/3 cup soya sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp sherry (dry)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Aluminum Foil

Prepare a baking pan by covering it with foil and placing a rack on it.

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Put your beaten eggs in bowl.  Start by dipping your chicken pieces in the egg bowl first and then flour. Set aside.

In a small pan over medium heat combine soya sauce, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger. Heat until warm to combine flavours.

In a large pan pour approximately 1/4 – 1/2 inch oil and heat it until hot. Add chicken a few pieces at a time (try not to crowd pan) and cook until brown on both sides. Remove from oil, drain on paper towel for a few seconds and then dip in the glaze ensuring it’s covered entirely. Place each dipped piece on your baking pan with rack.

When all your chicken has been placed on the baking pan, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  Set your glaze aside.

Bake at 250F for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes brush some of the leftover glaze on the chicken.

Serve chicken with rice, couscous, vermicelli or in a wrap.

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I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while (like years).  I specifically bought white chocolate wafers before Christmas so I could make this recipe.  However hosting my first ever Christmas Cookie Exchange and making the usual suspects (Christmas Baking) overloaded us with Christmas goodies and as such…it didn’t happen. 

With four days until Valentine’s Day, white chocolate wafers & leftover candy canes to use up, I decided today was the day to try out this recipe.  And what a great Valentine’s Day treat it turned out to be!  In fact next year I may crush cinnamon hearts instead of candy canes and make it as a class treat for Valentine’s Day!

Peppermint Popcorn Crunch

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Quick, healthy, home-made take out at it’s best. This was a first for me…a recipe presented itself, sounded yummy and I knew I had to work it into the rotation.  Much to my delight it was well received by the family and will stay in rotation.

Serve it with Hoisin sauce (chinese BBQ sauce) or Plum sauce.  Flour tortillas are the wrap of choice instead of the traditional pancakes or crepes.  I also served a side of basmati rice with the Pork allowing the kidlets to add rice to their wraps (which they did) and loved.
Adapted from Everyday Food

Much Ado About Moo Shu Pork

2-3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1-2 tbsp cornstarch
1 lb mushrooms (we used button, but any will work), sliced thin
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup soya sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
olive oil or canola oil
salt & pepper
flour tortillas/wraps, small size
hoisin or plum sauce
cooked white rice, optional

In a nonstick pan on medium, heat a little oil. Add your eggs and without stirring cook until set. Transfer to cutting board, let cool off and then roll into log and slice into thin strips. Set aside.

Place your pork strips into a bowl, season with salt, pepper and add your cornstarch, mixing well. In a clean skillet add a little more oil. Add your pork and saute until lightly browned and just undercooked. Transfer to a plate.

If you need it add another drop of oil and pour in your mushrooms and ginger. Once the mushrooms have started to brown season with salt & pepper. Add your cabbage, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar and pork. Cook, stirring occasionally, a few more minutes or until your cabbage is wilted slightly and pork cooked through. Remove from heat and mix in your egg slices.

Warm your tortillas on a grill, in the oven or in the microwave. To assemble put some sauce on the tortilla, add some cooked rice if you have some and a good spoonful of the moo shu pork filling. Roll up and serve with additional sauce on the side.  Delish!

I thought I had taken a photo of this dish..but can not seem to find one (made it several weeks ago). It’s not exactly pretty to look at but trust me when I say it’s darn tasty!!

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Miles behind on my recipes, yikes. January was a blur as we were sick most of the month.  Bouncing back in February and trying to get caught up on EvErYtHiNg has made life challenging at best. Plus I am trying to make more time for myself (exercising) and not feel guilty about it.

And so I have yet another variation of couscous to share. Bound and determined to get the family eating more grains I keep trying different ways to eat it. I used to try and sell couscous, barley and bulgur wheat as little wee noodles to the kids…ya they caught on 😉

With couscous you can add or delete whatever you like (ie: flat leaf parsley for cilantro).

Couscous with Carrots, Cilantro & Green Onions

1 1/2 cup water (or stock)
1 cup couscous
1/2 carrot, grated
1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley)
2-3 green onions, sliced
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

In a saucepan bring the water to a boil. Stir in couscous, carrot, green onions, salt and pepper. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand approximately 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork, pour into a bowl, mix in chopped cilantro and olive oil. Serve garnished with sesame seeds and more cilantro if you like it!

Here is a photo of the couscous with Carrot, Cilantro & Gr. Onion.  Also on the plate is Carrot & Mint Salad and Crispy Lime Ginger Chicken Thighs (with the skin removed).

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Inspiration struck again.  So many recipes so little time.  I like complete meal ideas…makes it a little easier for me to pull together a meal quickly when time is short. This one takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Adapted from Everyday Food

Crispy Lime Ginger Chicken Thighs

1 tbsp grated ginger, peeled & grated
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp curry powder
4 green onions, sliced thin
Salt & Pepper
6-8 bone in chicken thighs
Cooking Spray (Pam)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Turn oven/broiler on. Ensure your top rack is approximately 4 inches from top heating element.

In a small bowl combine ginger, lime juice, curry powder, green onions, salt and pepper. Mix to form a paste.

Season your chicken with salt & pepper and place on a rimmed, sprayed baking sheet. Gently loosen skin from each piece. Dividing evenly, rub lime ginger mixture under skin.

Place thighs skin side down on baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes. Flip thighs and continue to broil/bake until skin is crisp approximately 8 minutes more. If you have an instant read thermometer it should read 165F when inserted into thickest part of chicken.

Serve drizzled with pan juices, toasted sesame seeds and Couscous with Carrots & Cilantro.

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