Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Menu Day

Well lets just say this week I am not in much of a cooking mood, gasp, I know horrible. The thing is we have a wedding, and more real estate stuff to deal with. Once again it is just way to crazy, and I get tired just thinking about it right now!

Oh well, sometimes you just need a bit of a break, and this will be a good week for it. I will try to get some more good, calorie ladened baking done on the weekend though :)
Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Salmon in creamy dill sauce and green salad (one of my favorite quick summer meals)
Thursday: Dinner at the in-laws, that will be yummy east indian food!
Friday: Day off
Saturday: Wedding
Sunday: Shake 'n Bake chicken and home made fries (one of the few meals my daughter will eat without much fuss)
Monday: Day off

Monday, 25 June 2007

Old mother hubbard went to her cupboard

Monday nights are bleak in our house. I don't cook, partly because it is just for me, and parlty because it is the end of the grocery cycle and there is little food left.

But tonight there was just enough for me to make something yummy, a frittata! Super quick, super easy and really yummy. Just what my tummy ordered :)

Fettuccine frittata:

  • 1 bowl left over fettuccine cut into shorter pieces
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce (you could use alfredo or whatever else)
  • Handful of Parmesan cheese + extra for sprinkling
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • Pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley
In oven proof skillet on stove top melt butter on medium-high heat. In bowl mix together fettuccine with sauce, cheese, beaten eggs, and lots and lots of pepper (a personal preference you can of course omit). Pour mixture into hot skillet, and cook until it is almost set, with top slightly runny still.

Sprinkle extra cheese on top and place skillet under broiler on high, until golden brown and set. Remove from oven (be careful, I have burnt myself many a time) and sprinkle with parsley.


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Christmas in June

For me there is something about cranberries that just scream Christmas.

Now Christmas is my favorite time of year. I have been known to put my tree up at the end of November and not take it down until well into January. One of the benefits of an artificial tree I guess. Anyway as much as I love the warm weather of summer; every once and awhile I want a taste of my favorite season. So I decided to play with my favorite cookie recipes, to find something that would fit the bill.

Now don't worry I am not getting to adventurous in the kitchen, I know my limitations. These cookies are so easy and so delicious, I couldn't mess them up.

Soft and chewy, summer Christmas cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 chopped pecans
  • 1/2 dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350F

In large bowl cream together butter, and sugars. Beat in the instant pudding until mixed. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour mixture. Finally stir in chocolate chips, nuts and cranberries.

Spoon onto cookie sheet by tablespoon, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edge is golden brown.


Saturday, 23 June 2007

Chicken Chasseur

Tonight felt the like first time I had really cooked in ages...it was wonderful!

I had decided to try something completely new tonight, something French, Chicken Chasseur! It was amazing, and will definitely be served to dinner guests in our new house one day. Tonight we had it with baby roasted potatoes, yummy!

Chicken Chasseur:
Serves 4

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, very thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 large tomato, skin removed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup white wine divided
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh marjoram
  • Flour for dredging chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
In fry pan heat olive oil, and season chicken with salt and pepper, and cover with flour. Brown chicken, transfer to oven and bake at 350F until no longer pink (approximately 10-15 minutes)

In the same fry pan add shallot, and cook until soft. Next add mushrooms, again cooking until soft. Add garlic and tomatoes, seasoning with salt as pepper if needed.

Add 1/4 cup of wine to deglaze the pan, and cook until pan is almost dry. Add remaining 3/4 cup of wine and simmer untiled just reduced.

Add fresh herbs to sauce, and reduce to desired consistency. Serve over chicken, and enjoy!

Now from the original recipe called for tarragon, unfortunately this is something I do not own and could not find. From my research it is a pretty unique herb with an aromatic, anise-like flavor, and nothing can really substitute it. I used the marjoram in the end, but imagine it would be quite a different dish with the proper herb. I will definitely have to keep my eye out for it in the future.

Friday, 22 June 2007


Yup, it is finally here! It has been one crazy week, but you can read about that here if you like, I am just glad it is here. I have big plans to spend most of the weekend in my kitchen. I have a couple of meals planned I have been looking forward to all week, plus I feel cookies coming on :)

But first our super, quick, mid-week dinner. It was a big hit with hubby, and fed us for two crazy nights in a row, and lunches for me. This would also be a great one for those summer days where the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven to cook.

Chickpea and pesto salad:
Serves: 6-8

  • 1/3 cup pesto sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 can (15oz) chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cucumber diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 300g of black forest ham cubed
  • salt and pepper
In large bowl mix pesto sauce and lemon juice.

Cut up all veggies, and add to bowl with chickpeas and ham. Toss to coat, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Presto, your done! I know so simple, and delicious. Really easy to change too...don't like ham try some other kind of deli meat, or leave it out completely, change of the veggies, just have fun with it.


Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Menu Day

Well once again it is that day of the week. This week's menu posses a little bit of a challenge, as the week is a unusually busy one. Between babysitting, meetings with the bank and a meeting with our new real estate agent, there is not much time left for elaborate kitchen preparations. Oh well doesn't mean we can't have some amazingly, delicious food...just need to be more creative about it, and maybe eat out once.

Tuesday: Chickpea and pesto salad (Babysitting night)
Wednesday: Pizza from the Deli (Bank meeting night)
Thursday: This is Realtor night, noway I am cooking today, we will have to pick something up...I know blasphemous
Friday: Night off
Saturday: Chicken Chasseur and roast potatoes
Sunday: Aw, Shucks (From Eat, Shrink and be Merry: scallop and Alfredo pasta).
Monday: Night off

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Father's Day

It's Father's Day, and well chocoholic husband equals chocolate cake to celebrate obviously! I myself would prefer a rich, dense brownie, but not my Hubby. He likes his chocolate light and fluffy, with lots of icing. He is really pretty easy to please, I can't complain. Baking this cake was really easy. The most challenging part was fending off the two year old who was desperately trying to help, and wanted only to 'taste it' every two second. Definitely makes it a memorable experience.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate cake: (From Feast by Nigella)

Cake: (Sorry everything is in weights as opposed to cups. I do have kitchen scale I use religiously so I have never bothered to measure anything from the Nigella cookbooks out)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 40g cocoa
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 150ml sour cream (or plain yogurt - I ran out of sour cream half way to mixed the two together)
Pre-heat oven to 355F, and grease two cake pans. She suggested two 20 cm sandwich tins with a removable base - that I do not own, so I used two square pans.

Most simple way to make this cake is to put all ingredients into a food processor and process until the batter is thick and smooth. Otherwise beat butter until creamy, and then add cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs. Mix flour sugar and leavening agents together and then mix everything together. I highly recommend the food process, it makes it so easy! Divide batter in half using a spatula and spread into prepared cake pans. Baking time is approximately 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Mine only baked for around 22 minutes.

Remove cakes from oven and let cool in their tins on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn tins upside down and place directly on rack and continue to cool. Mine didn't come out perfect at all, there were some cracks, but nothing a little patch job with the icing couldn't fix :)


  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 175 dark chocolate
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Melt the chocolate and butter in large bowl, either in microwave (the easy way) or over pan of hot water on stove.

Add the syrup to the melted, and cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla, and finally sifted icing sugar.

Depending on the consistence of the icing you may need to add slightly more icing sugar or else a small amount of boiling water to achieve the right viscosity of icing. It should be liquid enough to coat the cake, but thick enough not to run off.

Choose cake stand or plate for the cake, and line edge with strips of parchment paper to stop the icing running from onto plate. Place one of cakes on the plate and spoon 1/3 of icing onto it's top, and spread. Place the second cake on top and gently press together. Spoon another 1/3 of icing on to the top of this cake and again spread using a swirl pattern. Finally spread sides of cake with remaining icing. Remove paper and volia!

Hubby's comment: "Now that is a cake!"

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Quick, easy, and yummy

The list of chores to do in our house on Saturdays seems never ending. Consequently I don't have the desire to spend hours in the kitchen fixing dinner. I normally want something quick and easy, with a little cleanup as possible. So on the menu tonight was stir-fry!

Hot & Sour stir fry sauce:
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
Combine first 5 ingredients together in bowl, stirring until cornstarch dissolves.

In a wok (I have a large cast iron wok, that I could never live without anymore...highly recommend picking one up for those who don't have one) or medium skillet heat 1tbsp of oil and add garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Heat until fragrant (about 15 seconds) . Add cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and pour into bowl.


  • 3 x Pork chops, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
  • 3 x Carrots sliced on diagonal
  • Broccoli
  • Onion sliced
  • Rice or noodles
Cook rice or noodles according to package directions.

Heat oil in wok and cook veggies until desired tenderness, and then remove from heat and place off to the side. If you are doing carrots they will take some time if you want them soft so be patient. Try adding a small amount of water to the wok and covering to steam them for a few minutes.

Add pork slices to wok and cook until no longer pink.

Return veggies to wok with pork. Pour sauce over and mix well.

Serve over rice or noodles.

We have this over noodles, but it is equally delicious over rice. Try different veggies such as bean sprouts, and pea pods.

Enjoy! Tune in tomorrow of Hubby's father's Day cake!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Crazy days

Of course today has been just one of those day, and it continued right on into dinner.

Tonight was to be BBQ steak and asparagus. Quick, easy and perfect after a long day...well of course it didn't happen that way. I came home to find the steak I left out to thaw didn't quite look right, I get really paranoid about these things, so into the garbage it went. I still feel awful about it, because I hate wasting food! But lets be honest, I am not taking any chances.

Anyway as a result I was scrambling for something to feed my family.

Now a little secret about me, normally I have a recipe to follow and I don't veer to far off course. I don't like being left to my own devices, so there was a definite moment of panic! But the gears started turning and I got things under control. I remembered I had shrimp in my freezer, some limes in the fridge, and it was off we went from there.

In the end everything turned out just right, and my Hubby was very impressed. I just might try 'winging it' more often ;)

Grilled Asparagus:
  • Bunch of asparagus spears
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
Snap bottoms of asparagus off and discard

Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt & pepper and garlic, toss to coat.

Place on grill, and cook until bright green and tender-crisp.

Marinated shrimp:
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 3 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Mixed all marinade ingredients together in bowl, add shrimp and toss to coat

Let marinade for approximately 1 hour; then thread shrimp onto skewers (metal, or wood - if using wood ensure they have been soaked in water)

Cook on grill/bbq until pink (be careful to not over cook!)

Quick easy and everything was delicious, Enjoy!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Menu Night

Tuesday is grocery day on our house.

I meticulously lay out the menu for the coming week and them armed with my grocery list head out to the store. For the most part we stick to the plan for the week, only with minor deviations. It is really my attempt a control in our somewhat chaotic house.

Now before you all think I am a slacker because of my Friday and Monday nights off let me have a moment to explain. My husband works evening shifts on those days, and isn't home for dinner ever (not something I am to fond of, but unfortunately this wife has yet learned how to control the corporate world). I discovered the hard way that to cook on those night results in copious amounts of food wastage...something that drive me crazy! So instead I take the night off and we eat leftovers. It works for us.

Tuesday: Stuffed peppers Mexican style (courtesy of Leslie over at Definitely not Martha)
Wednesday: We are going out for sushi tonight...going away party fir a very dear friend and I am really not going to complain
Thursday: BBQ steak and asparagus
Friday: Night off
Saturday: Pork stir fry with hot and sour sauce
Sunday: Vegetarian curry
Monday: Night off

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Dessert should always be first

The members of our house are notorious for their sweet tooth. More specifically chocolate, and more specifically my husband. Since we have been married my own sweet tooth has been developed quite substantially! I don't mind too much, it just means some extra time at the gym...unfortunately I learned that the hard way.

Crunchy Chocolate peanut butter chunks (From: Canadian Living's Best Chocolate)

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup each of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips (I used 2 cups of chocolate, partly due to the fact that I had no peanut butter ones, and partly because the more chocolate the better)
  • 3 oz bitter sweet chocolate melted
In a large bowl beat butter with peanut butter, gradually adding in the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. In a separate bowl (which I will admit I NEVER do) mix flour and salt, using a wooden spoon. Gradually stir into butter mixture until combined and then add chips.

Gently squeeze dough into handfuls until holds together and pat into ungreased 17''x11'' rimmed baking sheet (Mine was a much smaller sheet, and in the end I do think the bigger sheet would have been better to make a thinner cookie)

Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 to 41 minutes...or until firm to the touch and golden. Let cool in sheet on a rack.

In a bowl over saucepan of hot water, melt chocolate (Or the simpler method that I used was to pop it in the microwave) Drizzle over cookie, and let cool completely.
Break into pieces, pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

Now these are to be crispy cookie, nothing soft and mushy here. However, mine were slightly past the crispy stage. I think due to the smaller size of pan I used; it made for a much thicker and consequently harder cookie. It still tasted wonderful with all of the chocolate, it just needed that glass of milk to dunk in. Before I make these again I will ensure to acquire a new cookie sheet to add to my collection!

Come on in.

Welcome to my kitchen. Looking for something tasty to eat? How about a moment to unwind? Well you are in the right place...or at least if you come back you will be.

Now I am not a professionally trained chef. Nor do I pretend to be an expert at cooking or baking. But what I do have is a love of food, both eating and preparing. In my kitchen my husband partakes in the eating, and my 2-year loves to help prepare everything. Unfortunately now my husband can't cook and my daughter is so picky she won't actually eat anything we make...unless it has chocolate in it of course. What a great combination we all are!

For me my kitchen is my retreat. Spending time in there I get to find myself, and rest, relax and unwind...sometimes with the help of a glass of wine in hand.

Hope you all enjoy my kitchen as much as I do.