Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Cheesy Corn Casserole

Sometimes I try to sneak a new dish into our traditional family turkey dinners.  This Christmas I gave my nephew G and my Hubby the recipe for Cheesy Corn Casserole.  It was pretty easy to make and was a hit with quite a few of our dinner companions.

Image result for Cheesy corn casserole

Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Serves: 8
Ingredients
3 cups frozen corn
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and finely diced
1 1/2 cups milk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
5 eggs, whisked
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an 8-by-12 casserole baking dish, add all the ingredients.
3. Stir with a spoon to mix everything up.
4. Bake for 50 minutes.
5. Let sit on counter for 5 minutes to set.
Serve warm, enjoy.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Chicken Chop Suey

Image result for Chicken Chop Suey ingredients


4 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced fine
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup boiling chicken stock or bean sprout liquid
salt
pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into slivers
1 can bean sprouts, drained (save liquid)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cold bean sprout liquid
2 tbsp soy sauce
steamed rice

Heat oil in wok or skillet over low heat.  Add onions, celery and mushrooms/  Cover and cook about 10 minutes.  Add boiling liquid, salt and pepper; simmer 5 minutes.  Add chicken and sprouts.

Mix cornstarch and sugar with cold liquid.  Add soy sauce.  Add 1/2 cup hot chicken mixture and mix well; then pour back into wok.

Cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens.  Serve with steamed rice.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Pam's No Name Chili

Image result for no name chili powder


1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, sliced
6 large mushrooms, sliced (or use no name canned mushrooms)
1 cup chopped celery
1 10 oz can no name dark red kidney beans
1 12 oz can no name corn
1 19 oz can no name beans in tomato sauce
1 14 oz can no name tomato sauce
1 28 oz can no name tomatoes (whole, stewed, diced or whatever)
splashes of no name hot sauce
12 splashes of no name Worchestershire sauce
1 - 2 tsp (or to your taste) no name chili powder

Put all ingredients in a large pot.  Cook slowly over medium or lower heat, stirring frequently for a minimum of 2 hours.  You can also cook in the oven or crock pot.  The longer it is cooked, the better it tastes.

You can serve with rice and top with a daub of sour cream and grated cheese.

You can use brand name products if you want to . . . LOL . . .

Risotto with Strawberries




2 servings

1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup strawberries
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
salt and ground pepper

Finely chop the onion and celery.  Clean the strawberries, then put them in a blender, setting a few strawberries aside as a garnish.  Mix 1-2 minutes, until a red puree is obtained.

Heat the broth in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave oven.  Keep it warm while cooking the risotto (about 20 minutes).

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan.  Saute the onion and celery 2-3 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the rice, then cook 1-2 minutes, with constant stirring, until the rice grains are well toasted and translucent.  Stir in the strawberry puree.  Pour in the white wine.

Cook the risotto, using the warmed broth until the rice is creamy but still al dente.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with the reserved strawberries, then serve.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Salad Caprese




2 servings

2 tomatoes
2 bocconcini or fresh mozzarella 110g
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Cut the tomatoes into slices approximately 5mm thick and arrange them on a flat dish.  Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 15 minutes to allow excess liquids to drain off.

Cut the bocconcini into slices with the same thickness as the tomatoes.  Arrange the cheese and tomato slices on a serving plate so that they alternate and overlap slightly.

Garnish with small fresh basil leaves on top, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper.  Serve.

(Hal liked it once he added ranch dressing . . . LOL . . . that man puts sauce on everything!)

Monday, 28 November 2016

Chinese Style Chicken with Snow Peas



2 servings

2/3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into 1x5 cm strips (200g)
1-1/3 cup snow peas
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp sherry (optional)
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
2 tsp sugar
4 slices of gingerroot (6g)
3 tbsp canola oil
salt and ground pepper

Slice the chicken breast into strips.  Mix with the soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, sugar and 2-3 slices of ginger.  Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to the lowest setting.

Prepare the vegetables.  Heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan or wok.  Add the garlic, onion and pepper, cook 2-3 minutes until they start to soften, then set aside on a warmed serving plate in the oven.

Add 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil to the frying pan.  Add some salt, and then immediately add the snow peas.  Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes since they cook very quickly.  Put the snow peas on the plate with the other vegetables.  Keep the plate warm.

In the same wok, add the remaining oil and the marinated chicken.  Reserve the remaining marinade.  Stir constantly over medium heat 7-8 minutes until the meat is almost cooked.  Then put the vegetables back into the work, add the remaining slices of ginger plus the reserved marinade.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste then serve.

www.soscuisine.com


Note:  Hal liked the chicken but did not like the vegetables.  I swear that man would live on canned peas and creamed corn if I let him.  Next time I make this I will switch out the veg for ones he likes. Plus I don't understand all the layering of cooking in this recipe.  Next time I will try partially cooking the meat, then adding the vegetables and near the end adding the reserved marinade.  It just seems to me this recipe has unnecessary stages.

Summer Fruit Salad

Summer Fruit Salad


Simple and lovely.  I served with whip cream for Hal and Greek yogurt for me.

Serves 2.

1 peach or nectarine
1 kiwi
1 cup strawberries
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tsp sugar

Peel the fruit and cut them into bite size pieces.  Put the pieces in a salad bowl, add the lemon juice and sugar.  Toss to combine.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Toss the fruit before serving.

soscuisine.com

Blackened Fish Fillets


Serves 2.

1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp cornmeal
2 tilapia or turbot fillets (360 g)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 clove garlic, for pan-frying
1 tbsp butter, unsalted, for pan-frying
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

These fish fillets can be cooked either in a pan on the stove or using an outdoor grill.

In a shallow bowl, stir together the paprika, oregano, cayenne, sugar, salt and ground pepper.  To obtain a crispier crust, add the cornmeal (optional).

Pat the fillets dry and dredge them in the mixture, turning them to coat well.  Shake of the excess then place the fillets on an oiled, hot grill.

Cook until the fish is opaque throughout and lightly blackened on the outside, 4-5 minutes on each side, turning them once.

Alternatively, heat the oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat.  Thinly slice the garlic then add it to the skillet and saute, with stirring, until it is golden-brown, about 2 minutes.  Discard the garlic, add the butter, then heat it until the foam subsides.  Add the fish then saute for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through and lightly blackened on the outside.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

I served this with Brussels sprouts salad and a mixed green salad.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Brussels Sprouts Salad

I really liked it.  Hal did not


Serves 4.

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Peel the leaves off the Brussels sprouts; discard the cores.  Bring a large saucepan of water to boiling.  Add sprouts; cook 20-30 minutes or until barely tender.  Drain and immediately plunge into ice water.  Drain well and dry in a salad spinner.  Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  Gradually whisk in the oil.  Drizzle dressing over leaves to coat lightly; toss.  Add cranberries and walnuts; toss to combine.  Chill.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Crudites Salad

Crudités Salad


Easy, delicious and very refreshing.  I bet lots of different veggies could be substituted in.

For 2 servings:

1 leek
1-1/2 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
salt and pepper to taste
4 button (white) mushrooms, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 carrot, shredded

Prepare the leeks:  cut off the dark green tops and discard, slice the white and pale-green parts into large chunks, then boil or steam them for about 10 minutes, until soft.  Drain the leeks and let cool a few minutes.

With a serrated knife, cut each chunk of the leeks into rounds about 1 cm thick and transfer them to a bowl.  Pour in the Classic Vinaigrette (I doubled the lemon/olive oil dressing and used that instead), then season with salt and pepper.  Blend gently and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Beat well, using a fork, until the dressing is emulsified.  Set aside.

Prepare the other vegetables and place them in 3 different bowls.  Portion out the lemon vinaigrette to the bowls, then toss each to combine.

Arrange the dressed vegetables in 4 separate mounds onto individual serving plates.  Serve.

From soscuisine.com

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Baked Apples

4 apples, Cortland or Lobo
4 tsp butter, unsalted
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp raisins
1 tbsp pine nuts
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
salt, about one pinch

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Wash the apples.  With a corer, carve out the core and seeds from the top, paying attention not to pierce the apple completely through to the bottom.  Make a circular incision just through the skin halfway up the side to avoid bursting during cooking.  Place the apples in a shallow baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, and pinch of salt.  Portion out the mixture into the apples.  Add a small amount of water (about 1/2 tbsp per apple) to the bottom of the dish to start the cooking and prevent burning or sticking.  Place the dish of apples in the centre of the oven. and cook for 30 minutes.

I served the apples with vanilla ice cream.

From soscuisine.com

Almond Trout

Image result for Almond Trout


Before I post this recipe, let me just say that Hal (my hubby) hates fish.  Really really hates it.  He enjoyed this trout.  You notice I didn't say love.  Hal will never love fish, but he did like it.  I loved it.  The fish was served with steamed basmati rice and a salad.

2 trout fillets 360g -- I used rainbow trout
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white wine (optional) -- I used a Vidal
3 tbsp margarine
salt
pepper

Heat the margarine in a frying pan.  Add the almonds then saute over medium heat until they are golden.  Take the almonds out of the pan and keep them warm on a small plate in the oven.

Add the trout to the pan and cook over fairly high heat, 2-3 minutes on each side, starting with the skin side down.  Deglaze the pan with the wine, lower the heat and cover.  Cook 7-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets, until the trout is tender.  Check with a fork to see if it is cooked through.

Take the skin off.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the trout with the almonds and serve.

Chicken Parmigiana

2 servings
220 g chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into thin cutlets
1 egg
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp bread crumbs
2/3 cup My Mother's Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
2 bocconcini/fresh mozzarella
1-1/2 tbsp canola oil
salt and ground pepper to taste

Spread the tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish.

Slice each breast horizontally into thin cutlets.  Flatten the cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and tenderize them using a meat pounder or rolling pin.

Beat the egg in one shallow dish and combine bread crumbs and grated Parmesan in the other.  Dip one chicken cutlet at a time in the egg, let the excess egg drip off before coating the cutlet with the bread crumbs mixture.  Turn the cutlets to coat both sides.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Saute the chicken cutlets 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to the baking dish, placing them side by side on top of the tomato sauce.  Top each cutlet with a thin slice of mozzarella.

Preheat the broiler.  Broil the cutlets about 10 cm from the heat source 6-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned in spots.

Serve on warmed plates with pasta, veg or rice.



My Mother's Tomato Sauce

Makes 2-1/2 cups

1-/23 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 salt celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Add the chopped vegetables.  Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times.  The vegetables must soften without burning.  Add the diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.

This sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  Freeze larger quantities.

Cilantro-flavoured Pork Chops with Mushrooms


This is one of the best grilled pork chop recipes I've ever tried!  The mushrooms weren't too exciting though.

For 2 servings

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 green onions/scallions, finely chopped
1-1/2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped, plus some whole leaves for garnish
2 tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla)
2-1/2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp. soy sauce, low-sodium
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp. sesame seed oil
1/2 tbsp. whiskey
2 pork chops with bones or boneless
4 Portobello mushrooms
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 shallot
1/2 dried chili peppers, to taste
2 tsp. cornstarch.

Finely chop the garlic, half of the scallions and half of the cilantro leaves, then put them in a shallow dish.  Pour in 1/4 of the fish sauce and 1/4 of the lime juice, the whole soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and whiskey.  Arrange the pork chops in the dish, turning them a couple times to cover well with the marinade.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap, then let marinate in the refrigerator 1-2 hours, or overnight.

Place the pork chops on an oiled medium-hot grill.  Cook about 10 minutes, turning them once, and brush them occasionally with the marinade while cooking.

Prepare the mushrooms, brush them with a little canola oil and place them on the grill.  Cook about 2 minutes, turning them once.  Alternatively, put the pork chops and the mushrooms on the rack of a broiler pan then cook them in the oven under a preheated broiler 7-10 cm from the heat.

While the meat is cooking, heat the remaining canola oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Chop the shallots, add them to the pan and saute about 2 minutes.  Add the minced chili pepper, cornstarch, the remaining fish sauce and lime juice.  Cook 1 minute with stirring.

Transfer the pork chops and mushrooms to individual serving plates and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves and remaining chopped scallions.

from soscuisine.com

Sweet Rosette Treats

Image result for hershey's kisses

I am still finding recipes from my Christmas cookie swap 2 years ago.

In a large bowl, mix:
1/4 cup softened margarine
1 egg
1/3 cup Splenda for baking *
1/3 cup brown sugar

Blend well and then add:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Mix just until flour is mixed in.  Roll dough into small balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Press a chocolate rosette or Hershey's kiss or mint smoothie into centre (not all the way to the bottom) about 1/2 way.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight (covered if overnight).  Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.  Makes 2 dozen small cookies.

Enjoy.

* may substitute 8 packets Equal sweetener.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Best Brownies

Image result for frosted brownies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs and 1 tsp vanilla.  Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt and baking powder.  Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Do not overcook.

To make frosting:


3 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Combine 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp cocoa, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup confectioners' sugar.  Frost brownies while they are still warm.

This recipe is from allrecipes.com

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Spinach and Mushroom Salad

Image result for Spinach and Mushroom Salad


For 2 servings

7 cups baby spinach (120 g)
6 button (white) mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. lemon, freshly squeezed
1/2 orange, pressed and zested
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground pepper to taste

Prepare the spinach and put it in a large bowl.  Set aside

Prepare the mushrooms by thinly slicing them and transferring them to a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and pour in half of the lemon juice.  Set aside.

Grate half of the orange to obtain the zest, then juice it.  Put the zest and juice into a small bowl.  Pour in the remaining lemon juice, mustard and oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then beat well using a fork, until the vinaigrette is emulsified.  Pour the vinaigrette over the spinach.

Peel the remaining orange, cut into small pieces and add to the spinach.  Add the mushrooms and toss well.  Serve.

From soscuisine.com

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Almost Cabbage Rolls Casserole

Image result for Almost Cabbage Rolls Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. uncooked long-grain rice
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (28 oz) can tomato cause
1/4 c. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. dry mustard
8 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped (1/2 head)

In large bowl, mix together beef,rice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  In small bowl, stir together tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and mustard.  Layer 1/3 of the cabbage in bottom of 3-quart deep casserole.  Arrange half of the beef mixture on top.  Cover with another 1/3 of the cabbage and then add the remaining beef mixture.  Cover with remaining cabbage.  Pour tomato sauce mixture over top, but do not stir.  Casserole will be quite full.  Cover; let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.  Bake at 325 F for 2 hours, without stirring.

Mom wasn't crazy about it.  I liked it quite a bit but I think next time I wouldn't use quite so much cabbage.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Iowa City Dressed Chicken

Image result for stuffed whole chicken

1 frying chicken, about 3-1/2 lbs

Stuffing:
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 jar (2 oz) diced or sliced pimientos, drained
2 cups frozen or fresh or canned corn
red pepper sauce
1/2 tsp dried thyme or sage leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 to 2 tbsp soft butter or oil

Remove giblets and rinse chicken.  Pat dry.  Sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, melt butter.  Saute the onion, green pepper and celery until softened but not browned. Stir in pimientos, corn, red pepper sauce to taste, thyme or sage, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Cook for a few minutes.

Stuff chicken.  Close opening.  Turn the wings back and tie legs together, if desired.

Rub chicken with butter or oil.  Sprinkle with more thyme, black pepper and red pepper sauce.  Place on a roasting rack in a shallow pan.

Place in a preheated oven at 450 F.  Turn heat down to 350 F.  Roast 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.  Baste with pan juices occasionally.  Serve hot from oven.

Serves 4 to 6.

Good served with french fries or baked potato wedges, sliced tomatoes and buttered dinner rolls.

Tomato Florentine Soup

Image result for Tomato Florentine Soup

olive oil cooking spray or 1 tbsp olive oil I use olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (1 pound) unsalted tomatoes, crushed the big 28 oz can
4 cups unsalted vegetable broth or water I always use vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
4 ounces sea shell pasta
2 cups (packed) chopped fresh spinach I usually use a package of frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup grated nonfat or reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

Coat a 3-quart pot with cooking spray or olive oil and place over medium heat.  Add the onions, and saute for 3 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, tomato paste, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to the pot.  Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is almost al dente.

Add the spinach to the pot and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, or just until the pasta is al dente and the spinach is wilted.  Be careful not to overcook as the pasta will continue to soften as long as it remains in the hot soup.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls, topping each serving with a tbsp of cheese if desired.  Serve hot.  Makes 7-8 servings.

Calories 125
cholesterol 0
fat 0.7 g
fibre 3.4 g
protein 4.5 g
sodium 258 mg

From Secrets of Fat-Free Cooking by Sandra Woodruff RD

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Image result for oatmeal clipart


2 large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1 small apple, grated
1-1/4 cups milk
3 cups old-fashioned oats

Butter a 2 quart baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except the oats.

Fold in oats and combine well

Transfer mixture into the buttered baking dish and spread evenly around.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on top of the oat mixture.  Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 375F.  Unwrap oatmeal and place in the oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes until oatmeal is set and browned on top.

Serve hot with milk or cream.

Deb, Taylor and I taste tested this recipe and feel it needs extra sweetness and perhaps a little more cinnamon so either add some brown sugar into the recipe or have it on the table to add with your milk . . .

Hmmmmmmm . . . I wonder how it would taste with vanilla yogurt or ice cream on top ???  LOL

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Philadelphia 3-Step Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

PHILADELPHIA 3-Step Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Image 1

2 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter
2 eggs
1 9 inch prepared graham pie crust
4 Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate squares, chopped
1 tsp oil
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until centre of cake is firm, let cool thoroughly.

Melt chocolate and oil over hot water or in microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes.  Stir until completely smooth.  Pour chocolate over cheesecake; spread evenly.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.


I found this recipe on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese website.  The filling is FABULOUS!!!  I think I would have put less chocolate on or used a different kind of chocolate because the chocolate topping was hard and difficult to break through.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Stir-fried Okra

Image result for okra

I picked up some okra at the Horton Market on the weekend.  I've never tried okra before so I was curious.  I found a stir-fried okra recipe on about.com and decided to give it a try.

Here is the original recipe:

2 cups fresh okra, washed, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, peeled and sliced into 8 thin wedges
1/4 cup green onions, sliced, white and green
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon leaf thyme, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
Prepare all vegetables as indicated and have ready for cooking. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Heat oil and butter in a wok or large skillet. Add vegetables and seasoning mixture all at once. Toss and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Serves 4

Now here is what I did:

I prepared the okra as directed.  I didn't peel the tomato.  I used diced red onion.  I have all kinds of herbs and spices but couldn't find thyme anywhere.  I have a funny feeling if I go back and look now it will be in the front row of my spice shelf . . . LOL . . . I added a handful of shitake mushrooms and a sliced red pepper to the pan as well.  The shitake mushrooms were an excellent idea.  The red pepper (which I love) ended up on the side of the plate because they made the dish too sweet.  I served the stir fry with low-sodium soy sauce and rice noodles and really enjoyed it (minus the peppers).

I will definitely make this recipe again.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Caramel Custard

6 servings
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Standing time 2 hours
190 calories per serving

3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk, partly skimmed, 2%
2 tsp vanilla extract
salt, about one pinch
6 servings Microwaved Caramel (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the caramel. Divide it among the ramekins, then tilt and rotate each ramekin to thinly coat it. The caramel may not initially cover bottoms and sides completely, but it will spread and even out after the hot cream mixture is poured in.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork. Add sugar and 1 pinch of salt, then mix well.

Warm up the milk in a saucepan until hot but not boiling and pour it slowly into the egg mixture. Stir constantly but lightly, in order not to create too many air bubbles. Add the vanilla, then portion out into the caramel-covered ramekins.

Put a towel or piece of cloth into a large baking-pan (either a rectangular cake-mould or a roasting pan). Place the ramekins on the cloth and fill the pan with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (I didn't put a cloth in the bottom of the pan)

Bake in the middle of the oven 35-40 minutes or until the outside is set but the centre still trembles slightly when moved. The custard will continue to set as it cools. Check with a toothpick or knife to see if it is cooked through. (The knife should come out clean)

Take the ramekins out of the water bath right away to avoid overcooking. Let cool and then chill a few hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Run a thin knife around the edges to help remove the custards, then turn upside down onto serving plates and serve cold.

Microwaved Caramel

6 servings
Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking 5 minutes

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp warm water
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Be careful:  melted caramel is extremely hot!!!

Mix all the ingredients in a glass or Pyrex container of average size.  Cook in a microwave oven at maximum power until the syrup starts boiling.

Consider the suggested time as a reference only, since the precise cooking time depends on your oven's power.  Continue to cook using 10 seconds:  the syrup is ready when it turns golden-brown.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Tofu Ratatouille

I made this soscuisine.com recipe up the other night. It is supposed to make 4 servings but it actually seems to be enough to feed a small banquet. Hal didn't like it, but Hal doesn't like zucchini or eggplant. I loved it. The recipe won't freeze well and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I took the leftover ratatouille and some red quinoa to Ladies Day Out. All the ladies seemed to enjoy it. So, here goes . . . 

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup green beans, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 zucchini, diced into 1.5 cm squares
1 eggplant, small, diced into 1.5 cm squares
1 yellow or red pepper, cut into 1.5 cm squares
1 carrot, cut into 1.5 cm squares
salt and pepper to taste
300 g firm tofu, cubed
1-1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp Herbs aux Provence
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Saute the crushed garlic and chopped onion, taking care not to burn. Cook 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Boil or steam green beans, drain and set aside.

Prepare the remaining vegetables (except tomatoes and green beans) and add them to the saucepan with the garlic and onion. Salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tofu, tomatoes, herbs and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer ten minutes, until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente. Add the cooked green beans and heat through 2-3 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve.

This dish can be cooked in advance and reheated, but it is not advisable to freeze. 

Serve the ratatouille with rice or quinoa.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Pot Luck Pasta Salad

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A fellow letterboxer brought a delicious pasta salad to our meet up in May.  I begged for the recipe and she sent it to me.


Whole package of tricolor spiral pasta
Whole cucumber, sliced up and cut in half
Whole plastic container of grape tomatoes, tomatoes cut in half
Whole jar of pitted kalamata olives (make sure to drain the brine well before using)
Whole yellow or orange pepper, diced
Whole red onion, diced
Bunch of green onions, diced
Whole package of kraft crumbled feta cheese (I like the one with oregano)
Whole small bottle of balsamic salad dressing (for the picnic, I used the real olive oil kraft version with fig - I like the sweetness of it)

Cook the noodles and then mix everything together. It's nice warm, too - but let it chill in the fridge if you like it cold. If you're making it the night before (like I did), it's better to leave out the salad dressing until the day of then mix it in - the noodles suck up the dressing like crazy and it dries out a bit if you put it in early.

Cheers,
Jo


Thanks Jo aka Bumble

Baked Tofu with Braised Baby Bok Choy -- DELICIOUS AND SIMPLE

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1 lb (454 g) firm tofu, drained

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 Asian chili paste or hot pepper sauce
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups sliced shitake mushroom caps or cremini mushrooms
1 green onion, sliced
1 tbsp gingerroot, minced
4 baby bok choy
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper

Place tofu on large plate. Cover with second plate and weigh down with 2 large, heavy cans. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain. Cut in half horizontally.

Meanwhile, in shallow baking dish large enough to hold tofu in single layer, whisk together soy and hoisin sauces, garlic, sesame oil and chili paste. Add tofu; turn to coat. (This can be done up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to complete the meal.) Bake in 350F oven, turning once, until golden, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil; heat over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms, green onion and ginger until golden, about 5 minutes. Cut bok choy in half lengthwise. Add to skillet along with red pepper, stock, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Cover and steam until bok choy is tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.

Cut each piece of tofu in half diagonally. (I cut the tofu into little squares which is what I prefer.) Arrange on warmed plates and serve with bok choy mixture and basmati rice (or I like rice vermicelli).

Serves 4.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Carrot and Leeks with Fresh Mint

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2 servings
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 50 minutes
170 calories per serving

2 carrots, cut into 1 cm rounds
1 leek, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp ginger root, grated
2 tbsp fresh mint
salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Prepare the carrots and cut them into rounds about 1 cm thick.  Prepare the leeks, remove about 1/4 of the dark green part, and cut them into 2 cm pieces.

Transfer the vegetables to a baking sheet or dish.  Add the oil, minced ginger, salt and pepper.  Mix well to coat thoroughly with oil, then put in the oven and bake about 35 minutes.

Finely chop half of the mint leaves then add them to the dish, mix and continue baking for about 15 minutes more.  Garnish with the remaining mint leaves and serve.


From www.soscuisine.com

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Italian Meatballs

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4 servings

1 tsp canola oil
1-1/2 slices whole wheat bread, stale or day-old
2 cups My Mother's Tomato Sauce (below)
40 g mortadella sausage or ham, finely chopped
1 tbsp marjoram, fresh, finely chopped
1 large egg
400 g lean ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp bread crumbs

These meatballs can be either baked in the oven or fried. If using baking method preheat the oven to 400F and lightly oil a baking dish. If frying, preheat peanut oil to 350F in an electric fryer or large skillet.

Put the bread slices in a small bowl then cover them with water. Let soak 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make tomato sauce.

Drain the bread well in a sieve, then squeeze it to remove most of the liquid. Finely chop the bread and add it to a bowl. Finely chop the mortadella and marjoram, then add them to the bowl. Add the egg and ground beef, followed by salt and pepper.

Using your hands, blend the mixture together until it is just combined well. Form the mixture into small balls (about the size of golf balls), then flatten them slightly and coat them with the bread crumbs. Plan on about 3-4 meatballs per serving.

Baking: Transfer the meatballs to the previously oiled dish, then cook in the middle of the oven 12-15 minutes until they are golden-brown, turning them once. Deep-frying: Working in batches, deep-fry the meatballs about 4-5 minutes per side until they are golden-brown, then set them on paper towels to drain.

Transfer the meatballs ot the pan with the tomato sauce then continue to cook 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat, turning them once. Serve the meatballs with the sauce.

I served these yummy meatballs with pasta . . . of course . . . 

These meatballs may be served at room temperature. They are ideal for a picnic, served with a few slices of bread.

www.soscuisine.com 

My Mother's Tomato Sauce

makes 2-1/2 cups

1-2/3 cup canned tomatoes (diced or chopped)
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1/4 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

A food processor to chop the vegetables and a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time would make things easier with this recipe.

Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.

Heat the oil and butter in the pressure cooker or in a saucepan over low heat. Add the chopped vegetables. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times; the vegetables must soften without burning. Add the diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.

If you are using a pressure cooker, cover, close and bring to high pressure. Cook 15 minutes from the time it starts to spatter (Follow the manufacturer's directions to determine when high pressure has been reached. If you are not using a pressure cooker, simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes.

This sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Freeze larger quantities.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Pasta with Salmon and Cheese

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About 1 pm I realized I was starving and opened the fridge to figure out something to eat.  I spotted the tin of salmon and little container of cream cheese and went hmmmmmmmmmm . . . 

I wish now I had measured everything before I threw it in the pan because the result was soooooooo delicious.  I'll try to recreate the project as best I can . . . 

I had some brown rice pasta which I threw in a pot of boiling water and cooked.

In a frying pan I added a little olive oil, chopped celery, chopped shallot, chopped carrot and cooked until soft.  I then added garlic and some dill.  I then added a little container of spreadable cream cheese, the tin of salmon (drained), 1/2 a handful of sun dried tomatoes and a giant tbsp of sour cream to the mix.  When the cheese was melted, I tossed in the pasta and mixed.  

I sprinkled a little Parmesan on top.  Oh my goodness, it was so rich and so good.  I have some leftover in the fridge of course and it will probably be lunch or supper tod