Monday, 24 December 2007

Weeknight Dessert


My Hubby has a love for chocolate.

Since we married, I have a love for chocolate.

My daughter has a love for chocolate (I blame genetics).

Consequently we are all on the search for something sweet the moment supper is over. Normally, I try to ignore the craving so my waistline doesn't suffer too much. Hubby will try and fulfil his by eating cereal, something I really don't understand, but Lilly will join him. However, sometimes the cereal doesn't quite fix the problem, but on a weeknight I never feel much like baking something.


At least until now! Thanks to Baking Delights, our house now has a new favorite weeknight dessert. It is so incredibly simple, involving barely anytime in the kitchen, and it tastes wonderful! Thank you Marye, I think I will need to go to the gym more now ;)


Sunday, 23 December 2007

Friends and Food

Our friends have a yearly tradition, that has been going on since the early days of university. Every year around Christmas we all gather together, for our annual Christmas Potluck. The years have spread most of us out over the country, and even taken a few abroad. Somehow though must of us all manage to make it back together. Of course there are new faces to the circle too, as many of us have settled down. There are even a few children running around...or at least soon will. It is always such a good opportunity to catch up, and of course eat, and eat and eat. Really what would a party be without food :)

Traditional I am the host of this joyous gathering, which I love. This year however I planned the date such that is coincided with our Dance recital. Needless to say it did not leave much time for preparation and I was looking for a couple of very quick, easy and delicious recipes to prepare in advance. This one here fit the bill for sure. The pita chips are a little more time consuming that just opening a bag of nachos, but nothing compares to them and they are worth the few minutes for sure.

White-bean hummus

White- Bean Hummus: (From Eat, Shrink and be Merry)

  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cp light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp minced dill
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper

  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup seeded and diced English cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup crumbled basil and tomato feta
Place all hummus ingredients in food processor and whirl until smooth (see told you it was easy). Spread over a 8 or 0 inch casserole dish or pie place. Top with diced cucumber, tomato, green onions and feta. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Pita Chips:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 6 whole wheat pitas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Crush rosemary and mix with Parmesan in small bowl. In a separate small bowl mix olive oil, butter, garlic and onion powder.

Using kitchen scissors, cut pita into wedges. Peel pita apart so that you have doubled the number of wedges.

Using pastry brush, brush the olive oil mixture on the rough side of the pita. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese mixture. Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes. Be careful as they can burn in an instant. Cool before serving with hummus or other dip of choice.


Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Mmmmm, I love salsa!

There is something about the combination of flavors, and the bite of the spice that I cannot simply get enough of. Hubby is not the biggest fan of Mexican food, so I am restricted in how frequently I am allowed to prepare it for the family. Consequently there is always a jar of salsa in my fridge for my own personal indulgence. Like with my eggs, or crackers, and even occasionally by the spoonful :)

Now of course, I am the one who sets the menu in the house. So when the jar in the fridge doesn't quite satisfy my craving, something hot and spicy is on the menu. This dish here is one of my favorites. If I serve it with guacamole (which is a must in our house) it becomes one of Hubby's favorite dishes. Oh, and did I mention that it is one of the simplest things to make ever...pushing it even further up my favorite list.

Guacamole: (Every time I make this it is different, I have tried to approximate the quantities but in reality I just do it by taste)

Guacamole Preperations
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp cilantro chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and spoon filling to a small bowl. Mash avocado until smooth (if your avocados are not ripe this isn't the easiest thing to do). Stir in in cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Finish off with final squeeze of lime juice on top (don't mix this one in, helps prevent things from going brown colour), and cover until ready to serve.

Southwest Bake:

Southwest Rice Bake
  • 2 Chicken breast, cubed
  • Olive oil
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 & 1/2 cups wild rice
  • 650 ml jar of salsa
  • 1 & 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp crushed dried chilies
  • zest of 1 lime
  • Cilantro

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat oil in skillet. Sprinkle chicken with pepper and cumin and brown in hot skillet.

In a 9x13 casserole dish, combine rice, salsa, broth, vest and dried chilies. Place chicken on top. Cover with foil and place in oven. Cook for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for 20 minutes, or until rice is dry.

Garnish with Cilantro, and serve with both guacamole and sour cream.


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The ultimate menu planning

I have been busy trying to pull together the menu for our big Christmas dinner. Not that I am using that as an excuse for not posting. The reason for that would be sheer laziness lack of time at the moment!

With this whole Christmas dinner thing I am trying to be prepared, I am trying to be organized, and it is getting to be slightly over whelming! Of course that is completely due to my indecisiveness. You see, yesterday I decided that for dessert we were going to have chestnut cheesecake. Today I have decided that we will instead be having a cranberry-chocolate tart. Tomorrow, it is quite possible that it is something completely different.

The more I search, the more find, the more I want to try. I know I need to pick something and stick with it, but it is really easier said than done. Anyway without further adieu, here is how things stand so far:

  • Salmon cheese ball
  • Salad??? (Haven't thought about this one at all yet)
  • Brussels sprouts and pancetta dish
  • Cream cheese mashed potatoes
  • Side dish #2??? (Can't for the life of my find anything for this one!)
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Stuffing (Hubby's department)
  • Turkey (Hubby again)
  • Cranberry-chocolate tart
  • Assortment of holiday baking
It is a work in progress. I still have time, right?