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Archive for the ‘Simple’ Category

So impressed was I that hubby really enjoyed this salad. So much so he took it for lunch today.  Now if only I could get the kidlets to enjoy quinoa since it is a complete protein and good for you.   Here’s hoping one day!

This is a quick-lunch, side dish or even meal for one. Add some roasted/grilled chicken  if you wish or it as is. Yum.

Quinoa, Cucumber & Mint Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cucumber, quartered and sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Add water, quinoa and salt to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce, cover and simmer until water has been absorbed and quinoa tender (about 12-15 minutes). Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a cup, or small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour it on quinoa and add cucumber, green onions, parsley & mint.  Mix well.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Pairs nicely with grilled meat.

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I’ve tried many different versions of chicken fajita’s and always found the flavours are rather bland.  This recipe had the flavours blending nicely and everyone loving this dish.  In fact my dd asked for it for lunch the next day at school (now that is unusual).

Fajita’s for our family are a quick & easy supper on an activity night.  These are truly yummy.

Chicken Fajitas

4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
oil (canola or olive oil)
1/2 cup spanish onion, sliced
1 cup pepper (red, green, orange, yellow), sliced
whole wheat flour tortillas 

Fixins
shredded lettuce
diced tomato
salsa
guacamole
sour cream
hot peppers (banana or jalapeno)
shredded cheese
I also used pico de gallo & chopped cilantro

In a ziplock bag combine chili powder, oregano, salt, cumin, garlic, lime juice and a little oil.  Seal bag and smoosh to combine flavours. Add your chicken and smoosh a little more.  Refrigerate for a minimum 15 minutes or longer if you have time.

Put your onions and peppers in a bowl.  Pour on a little oil and season with salt, pepper and a little cumin.

Take chicken out of marinade and drain.  Put on greased BBQ and grill approximately 6-7  minutes per side on med-high until cooked through and juices run clear.  Remove from heat and let rest under cover.

Meanwhile on a pre heated BBQ grill topper or stove top grill pan add some oil and your onion/pepper mix.  Give it a little more s&p and saute for about 4-5 minutes or under veggies tender crisp. Set aside in a bowl.

Get all your fixin’s ready, heat up your flour tortillas (10 seconds in microwave), slice your chicken, grab some peppers/onions and you are ready to assemble your chicken fajita.

My family loves them!

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This pizza recipe brings back memories from my days living in Vancouver.  I made it quite a few times since it was easy and I like easy. Fresh seasonal fruit, with a tasty cream cheese icing on a shortbread base makes for a perfect summer dessert.

Little hands can easily help with this recipe.

 

Fruit Pizza

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup butter, softened

Icing
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Glaze
1/3 cup Apricot Jam
1 tbsp water

Fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl until it comes together and you can form a ball. Press onto bottom of pizza pan. If you lay parchment down first it will allow you to remove pizza easily to a cake platter.

Bake for approx 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Tip: On a hot summer day you can cook the crust on your BBQ instead of turning your oven on.

To make icing beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread evenly over pizza crust.

Arrange your fruit on top.

Mix together apricot jam & water. If you wish you can run it through a sieve to remove chunks of apricot. I left the apricot pieces in this time.

Pour glaze over fruit and serve.

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With activities taking up several evenings during the week I am always on the look out for a quick, affordable and nutritious meal.  Pork Chops can be fried, grilled or broiled quickly and a lean protein our family enjoys.

Adapted from Atco Blue Flame

Maple Soy Pork Chops

2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oil
1-2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
3 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 boneless pork chops

Add all ingredients except pork chops into a ziplock style bag. Mush it up to combine. Add your pork chops, seal bag and squishy bag to ensure chops are coated evenly.

Marinate for a minimum 30 minutes. Longer is better.

Remove pork chops from bag and grill over low heat on BBQ until done, about 30 minutes for thicker chops.

In the photo I paired my pork chop with balsamic & basil grilled veggies. Will post that recipe soon.

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I thought yesterday’s pizza creation was pretty tasty and since today is pizza day for lunch, the inspiration carried over and I wanted to create another yummy pizza.

I always use pita pockets to make pizzas for lunch for the kids.  They are the perfect size for little hands/people and hold the ingredients well.   Looking around my kitchen for inspiration I discovered some uncooked squash that needed to be used up.  Not enough time to grill it, I steamed it instead.  Being a lover of all things squash but never having had it on pizza I was up for the challenge.  I looked through the fridge and fished out some basil and goat cheese.  A new recipe was born.

Note: If you like goat cheese but do not care for a lot of pepper buy a plain or perhaps herb goat cheese and omit the additional cracked pepper I added at the end.

I can honestly say I had a Clinton Kelly moment when I took my first bite.  (If you ever watch The Chew….love that show…whenever Clinton tastes something he adores he becomes incoherent).  Yes I felt that way, this pizza rocked my socks off.  Trying to figure out what to call this pizza was my biggest challenge. 

If you are up for a new pizza and like the ingredients…try it, you will not be disappointed.  I didn’t calore count this one but I’m pretty sure since there are fewer ingredients it is well under 500 calories.

Squash & Goat Cheese Pita Pizza

1 Byblos Garlic Greek Pita Pocket
1-2 tbsp Soft Unripened Peppercorn Goat Cheese, broken up
Olive Oil
2-3 sprigs Fresh Basil, chiffonade
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash (grill or steam), chopped into smaller pieces
1-2 tbsp Asiago Cheese, shredded
Cracked Black Pepper

Drizzle a little olive oil onto your pita. Spread with a pastry brush.

Next add your cut, cooked butternut squash and your goat cheese. Sprinkle on your basil and some Asiago cheese.

Broil on pizza stone for 2-3 minutes or until Asiago cheese melts a little and edges of pita brown. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes.  If you do not have a pizza stone a pizza pan or cookie sheet works just as well.

Just before serving (to myself) I added additional Asiago & basil on top and some fresh cracked black pepper.

For me this taste combination was a winner…one the next time the family wants pizza for supper…I will happily oblige.

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There are many ways to make Bruschetta and all of them equally divine.  My first time sampling these delicious little bites was in the early 90’s when my boss’s wife made them for a function she was hosting at her house.  I called them Kathy’s Crostini’s when she gave me the recipe.  She added goat cheese to hers which is equally delicious. Over the years the recipe has changed. Husband loves Bruschetta and orders it often as an appetizer when we eat out. 

I recently made Bruschetta the same night we had Arugula & Prosciutto Crostini knowing he would prefer the Bruschetta.  Bonus points for wifey ;).

My version goes like this….

Simple Bruschetta

2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 large, ripe tomatoes (red, orange, yellow, mixed)
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade/sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1 baguette or focaccia, sliced 1/2 inch
olive oil (extra)

Preheat oven to 400F. Ensure top rack is moved up in oven. Place sliced baguette on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Put in oven and toast 4-5 minutes or until starting to brown. Turn them over, drizzle a little more olive oil and give them another minute in the oven. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a bowl mix together tomatoes, garlic, basil, 1-2 tbsp olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and salt. Mix and taste for seasoning. Add in a little more salt as needed. Set bowl aside until ready to serve.

When ready to serve put bruschetta mixture on toasted baguette pieces and serve immediately.   This also pairs nicely with a Moscato D’Asti (wine).

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I did not grow up eating apple pies. I like them, I do not love them and as such I can admit I do not make them….Sam I Am. Enter husband. He very much likes apple pie.

I love to search the web for recipes.  In doing so I came across a recipe to make an apple pie in a cast iron pan. Brilliant. Even more enticing was the caramelized goodness underneath the actual pie. This recipe entered the rotation and tonight it was created much to everyone’s delight.

Due to my son’s obsession with scrambled eggs every morning I ran out of eggs and was not able to make the egg white wash for the top.  Didn’t affect anything other than browning on top of pie.

Also the original recipe called for 4 lbs mixed apples. I used approximately 10 cups mixed apples (green, macintosh and a wrinkled gala thrown in for good luck). You could use a little more if you have them.

Another confession – I also cheated and purchased a double pie crust instead of making from scratch (shoot me now).

If you do not love apple pies, this recipe will have you reconsidering that thought. Simple Apple Goodness.

 

Adapted from Southern Living

 

Cast Iron Pan Apple Pie

10 cups cored, peeled & chopped apples (green, gala, macintosh)
1-2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tenderflake deep dish pie crusts (or your own homemade)
1-2 tbsp white sugar
2 egg whites

1 x 10-inch cast iron pan/skillet
Vanilla ice cream or whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350F.

Peel & core apples. Slice into thick wedges and place in a bowl. Toss with cinnamon & sugar, set aside.

Melt butter in cast iron pan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring until sugar mostly melted (a few minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

Place one of your pie crusts in cast iron pan over brown sugar mixture. Pat down a little. Pour in your apple mixture. Top with second pie crust. Whip up your egg whites a little with a fork. Brush on top of pie. Sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp sugar. Cut slits on top of pie crust.

Bake in oven for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly. Cool a little before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipping cream or a spoon.

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Making lasagna is easier than you think…do not be intimidated.  Get your ingredients ready and put aside a little time (love) to make the lasagna and you will be so happy you did….there’s nothing like a home made lasagna.  Right now H does not like lasagna but that is ok. I still make it a couple times a year because the rest of us love it. 

I’ve been making this lasagna for so long without a recipe I had to measure out the ingredients so I could blog about it.  And here we go….

Simple Lasagna

1.5lbs ground beef
2 jars of your favourite pasta sauce OR 4 cups of homemade tomato sauce
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (or more if you love mushrooms)
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 container ricotta cheese (500gr)
2 cups or more mozzarella, shredded
1 cup provolone, shredded or slices
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
1 package oven ready lasagna noodles
salt & pepper
1 head garlic
1-2 cups fresh spinach, washed & chiffanade (chopped)
Hot pepper flakes
Olive Oil
Pam

Use either a 9×11 baking dish or 9×13. Spray with pam.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Slice the top off your garlic and place in either a garlic baker or on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. Wrap foil around garlic to seal or place lid on garlic baker and put in oven for approximately 45-50 minutes or until garlic soft.

In a sauce pan over medium high heat add your oil. Drop in your mushrooms and saute until nicely browned.

In a heavy pot add another glug of oil (1 tbsp) and add your diced onions. Once the onions have cooked for a couple minutes add your burger. Cook until burger is browned (fat released from burger will also cook away). Always cook your burger until browned as the browning adds incredible flavour to the meat. Add your sauce, oregano, basil, roasted garlic and season with salt & pepper. Mix well. If your mushrooms are ready toss them in too. If you like hot pepper flakes now is the time to add them (1/2 tsp to start). Let the sauce simmer at least 30 minutes to combine flavours. 

Here is my mini chef H adding the sauce on the noodles.

In a bowl add all of your ricotta cheese. Mix in your fresh spinach, 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella and a dash of salt & pepper. If you do not like spinach substitute parsley.

You are now ready to assemble the lasagna. I start with a ladle of meat sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Spread it around. Then add a layer of your ready to bake lasagna noodles. Another layer of meat sauce on top of the noodles…you want them to be covered so don’t be stingy here. Then noodles. At this point (I call it mid point) you are ready for your ricotta mixture. Spread it all over the noodles evenly so you have a nice layer of ricotta cheese. And then another layer of noodles. Spread more meat sauce on the noodles. More noodles go down and finally your last layer of meat sauce. If you have leftover meat sauce don’t worry as it can be frozen and used in a pasta dish layer. On top of the last layer of meat sauce spread out your mozzarella. We tend to use alot…even cheddar at this point. Add your provolone and parmesan.

Photo: Lasagna all assembled with slices of provolone on top.

Tent with aluminum foil (allowing air for lasagna to breathe) and bake about 45 minutes. Then take the foil off and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit on counter 15-20 minutes to settle. Serve and enjoy.

Photo: Lasagna resting and ready for eating.

Photo: Lasagna plated.

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This easy peasy recipe has become one of our family favourites. It is quick & simple to make and delicious. In addition, the nice thing about this recipe is it is very interchangeable.

I don’t have a recipe that I follow so it varies each time. At present I typically use 3 chicken breasts, so adjust your quantities accordingly to the amount you will need. I further make my own tomato sauce, but you can use your favourite jarred sauce as well. And instead of shake & bake you can use crushed corn flakes, bread crumbs, etc.

Simple Chicken Parmesan

Enjoy!

3 – chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)
1 – approx. 700 ml homemade tomato sauce or 2 jars of your favourite sauce
1 – cup grated cheese (we stick with mozza, provolone or a blend & parmesan)
1 – package shake & bake (or any type of breading)
1 – egg, beaten
Splash of Olive Oil
Dried Oregano
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Warm tomato sauce. Spoon a little tomato sauce on bottom of greased (pam) casserole dish.

Mix together shake & bake, a sprinkle of oregano and good handful of parmesan cheese. Dip chicken breasts in egg then in shake & bake mix. Sear chicken in hot oil in frying pan for about 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned on both sides.

Place chicken breasts on top of tomato sauce in casserole dish, one beside the other so they form a single layer. Spoon a little tomato sauce on top of each breast. Sprinkle a good handful of cheese on top of each breast. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce around the chicken.

Bake in oven about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and cheese melted. Spoon the extra sauce over your favourite pasta.

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We are not huge dessert people…although I do love to try different recipes at times.   This is Oh My Goodness delicious.   And is sure to impress.

Adapted from: ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

3 cups whole strawberries, sliced & stems removed
1 tbsp orange liqueur or juice
1 tbsp marmalade or apricot jam
1 prepared angel food cake

Place your strawberries in a bowl. Remove one cup and set aside. Add orange liqueur/juice and marmalade/apricot jam.  Mash with a potato masher until most of the bigger pieces are crushed.  Set aside.

Cut angel food cake into 12 slices. Lightly oil your BBQ and grill slices until lightly browned on both sides. Spoon mashed strawberries evenly over angel food cake slices and sprinkle with reserved chopped strawberries.

Serve with whipped cream if you wish & eat immediately.

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