I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Baked Two Spaghetti Squash

Here's my attempt at eating healthier.  I first got the idea from @youthfulcooking on instagram who topped his rigatoni with spaghetti squash. Well I didn't want to give up all my white pasta right away so a half and half dish sounded like a good idea. I only used half of the spaghetti squash here because I hope to try something new with the other half soon.


1/2 spaghetti squash
1/4 lb spaghetti
1/2 onion, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
couple of mushrooms, sliced
1  1/4 cups tomato sauce
olive oil
1  1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
basil and oregano

Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds.
Wrap the extra one in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Or if you want to use it all just double the rest of the ingredients. Microwave for 10 minutes on high. No butter or oil.  Once cool enough to handle use a fork to shred the "spaghetti" away from the peel.  It comes away very easily.
Reserve the empty squash shell.
While you are waiting for the squash, cook the pasta.
And fry up the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil until browned but still firm. You can sprinkle on some basil and oregano if you like.
Toss the two spaghettis together using two forks to pull the squash apart.
Mix in the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Spoon back into the squash shell.  I had so much filling that I had to also use a small baking dish sprayed with cooking oil. Top the spaghetti with the fried veggies
and the remaining cup of mozzarella.
Bake in a 350F oven for 20-30 minutes.
Broil the top a couple of minutes if you want it browner.
Sprinkle with parsley.
What do you think?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Savory Turkey Singles

This recipe will make 12 individual turkey muffins.  Great served with salsa or sour cream.

3/4 lb (2 cups) chopped cooked turkey
1  1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup caesar (with bacon optional) salad dressing
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup baking mix (Bisquick)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Mix the first 6 ingredients together and set aside.
In another bowl mix together the Bisquick, milk and eggs.
Prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray and pour 1 tbsp of egg mixture into each cup. On top of that add 2 heaping tbsps of the turkey mixture. Pat down gently.
And finish up with another 1 tbsp of egg mixture.
Sprinkle a pinch of parmesan over each muffin.  (I had a little dill so that ended up on top too, but you don't need it)
Bake at 375F for 28-30 minutes
Look how beautifully browned they are!
And they all came out of the muffin tin easily with lovely crusty sides. I can't get over how great the sides of these little guys are!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Turkey Minestrone

It's almost a week past Christmas and that turkey is still sitting in my fridge.  Ok buddy, I'm taking care of you today!

1 turkey carcass
2 broccoli stalks (after the florets have been removed)
handful of asparagus stalks (the woody ends)
1 piece of parmesan rind
2 bay leaves

3 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 strips cooked bacon and cooked asparagus (or leftover Bacon Pepper Asparagus from dinner)
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbsps tomato paste
1 - 540 ml (19 oz) can red kidney beans
1-2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Remove most of the turkey meat from the carcass for other uses, then toss the bones and wings into a large soup pot. Having had broccoli for Christmas dinner I saved the stalks, tossed them in too. Same goes for the woody ends of the asparagus from dinner.  Add a piece of parmesan rind and 2 bay leaves and fill the pot with 20-22 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 2  1/2 hours.
Remove the bones, meat, stalks and bay leaves.
Now take a large piece of cheesecloth and cover the top of another pot with it.  Tie with a string or try using a large elastic to secure the cheesecloth. Carefully ladle the soup from the soup pot to the second pot, straining everything out and leaving a good stock. Return stock to the large soup pot.
After it sits awhile you can strain off some of the fat.
Clean the bones of any remaining meat.  There should still be quite alot.  I got about 3 cups.  Add this meat back to the stock.
Next add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, onion, garlic and tomato paste.
You could add a couple slices of cooked chopped bacon here, along with some asparagus.
I had leftover Bacon Pepper Asparagus

so I chopped a few of them up and added them to the pot.
Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, a further 30 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.
Keep some in the fridge to serve this week.

Freeze the rest in containers for later this winter.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chocolate Cassata

Thanks to my oldest daughter, we had this beautiful dessert for Christmas. 

http://fattaincassa.blogspot.de/2014/02/chocolate-cassata.html (original recipe found here)

I didn't get any pictures of the cake being made, but caught up with her here.
She split the cake in three and made this fantastic ricotta filling (that I plan on using in another dessert at a later date!)
Whipped up the frosting....
And voilĂ ... Chocolate Cassata!
Wish I'd taken a better picture, but we were in such a hurry to taste it  : )

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bacon Pepper Asparagus

Made these as a side dish for dinner but they'd totally work on your breakfast plate beside eggs and toast. You can even prepare them ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you need them.

Simply wrap 1 or 2 spears of asparagus with a slice of bacon making sure to tuck the ends underneath.  Don't forget to cut off the woody end of the asparagus first and use a vegetable peeler on the ends so they're nice and tender.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet for easy clean-up, leaving space between each.  Grind some black pepper over the top and pop into a 400 F oven for 20 minutes.
Bacon makes everything better!

Quinoa Patties

Trying out some meat-free meals is challenging when you're used to "meat and potatoes" but this one I must say turned out yummy.  I served the patties with some green beans but I think they'd be really good as sliders too.

2 cups cooked quinoa (I used red)
1/2 cup finely diced broccoli 
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsps finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Montreal steak spice
1 egg

olive oil for frying

Heat 2 tbsps olive oil in a pan and lightly fry the broccoli, onion, celery and carrot.

Mix together with the rest of the ingredients adding the egg at the end. Don't you think the red quinoa makes it look more like meat? Form into small patties and place in the fridge to set for at least 1 hour.

Heat another couple of tbsps olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry patties about 5 minutes per side until you've got a little char going on.

Even my husband the meat-lover said these were good!
Makes 12-14 two-bite patties.

Quinoa Cocoa Puffs

When you want a little treat, but nothing too sweet, just pop 1 or 2 (or 5!) of these in your mouth.

1 cup puffed quinoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsps cocoa powder
1 tbsp chopped peanuts
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp honey

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vegetable oil

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream together the peanut butter, vanilla and honey and add to the dry ingredients.

Roll up into teaspoon sized balls, scraping the mixture off your hands regularly to make the job easier. (Sorry, no pictures of the actual rolling....didn't want to get the camera all mucked up)

Set on a plate in the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile melt together the chocolate chips and vegetable oil.  Stir until smooth.

Dip each ball into the chocolate, either from a spoon like I did or directly into your cup or bowl.

Place in the fridge to set.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Creamy Mussels and Mushroom Linguini

I never saw this before.....frozen mussel meat. The package says keep frozen until ready to use, so here goes.

340 g  (3/4 lb) frozen mussel meat
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
4 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups mushrooms, thick sliced
1/2 tsp dry thyme
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup 10% cream (or whipping cream)
12 oz linguini
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp flour
reserved pasta cooking water

Heat 2 tbsps olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a skillet.  Add 1/2 the garlic and cook until very lightly browned.  Add frozen mussel meat and sprinkle with thyme.

Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, cover and keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  

Add the remaining 2 tbsps olive oil and garlic to the skillet with the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fry until golden.

Whisk together the broth, cream and flour and add to the pan.

Heat until slightly thickened.  If using whipping cream you may want to use only 1 tsp of flour (or maybe even none at all).  Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to the sauce.  If you find your sauce too thick add some of the pasta water, a little at a time, until desired thickness.  I made my sauce with 10% cream and only 1 tsp flour with about 1 ladle full of reserved pasta water making a thin sauce great for mopping up with a nice crusty bread.  Toss your sauce with the drained linguini.

Serve with more parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dry Soup Mix with Rice

This recipe makes 2 - 1 quart mason jars of dry soup mix. Make one for yourself and give the other as a gift!

1  1/3 cups dry vegetable flakes with parsley
1/2 cup dehydrated chicken bouillon powder
5 cups minute rice

Mix ingredients together and fill the jars.

Attach these directions:

Bring 4  1/2 cups of water and 2 tbsps of margarine to a boil. Stir in 1 cup of the mix and simmer 5 minutes.
(If you don't use minute rice just cook the soup according to how long your rice needs to cook)

You can add cooked meat or vegetables too.

Pictured here, 1 medium carrot shredded and added to the boiling water, as well as about 1/2 cup cooked chicken added at the end.

Gluten-Free Scottish Shortbread

Does using oat flour make this shortbread more Scottish?

Here are the ingredients:

1/2 cup semi-salted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1  cup oat flour
3/4 cup rice flour

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Cream the butter until fluffy, then slowly add the dry ingredients mixing well between additions. It will be crumbly. If you think it's too crumbly then add 1 tbsp more of butter, but no more than that.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 20-30 minutes.

Keep dough chilled and work with a little of it at a time to form your shortcake, either by forming into a circle, scoring and placing on a cookie sheet.  Or by using a shortcake mold.
See this recipe for how to use molds


Bake in a 300F oven for 34 minutes.  Cool about 10-15 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scottish Shortbread

This is the first time I have made Scottish shortbread. Although I have always made shortbread cookies (see recipes below)

1 cup butter, unsalted or semi-salted, at room temperature
2 cups flour
3/4 cup icing sugar
1  1/4 tsp coarse salt

2 tsp loose Earl Grey tea (optional)

Cream the butter (never margarine for shortbread) and set aside.  Now sift together the flour, sugar and salt. (Don't skip the sifting)
Stir in the loose Earl Grey tea if using it.
Other options for flavour are lemon zest, chai tea or mini chocolate chips. Plain shortbread is perfectly fine too if you are going for traditional.

Add the dry ingredients by small additions to the butter.  It will look a little coarse and crumbly.
Mix very well, then knead together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill slightly.
If you are using a shortbread mold you should make this little powder puff.  Take a piece of cheesecloth, put some icing sugar in the middle and gather up.  Secure with an elastic band.  Tap to dust your mold. If you are not using a mold simply form the dough into a disk, score partway through and poke with a fork all over.
Take some of the dough out of the fridge, leave the rest to chill.  Form dough into a circle and lift into mold.
Press and slice off excess. 
Turn over onto parchment, tap and you might have to stick the point of a knife into the edge to help it come away from the mold.  Here it is........my very first attempt at a molded Scottish shortbread!
I actually had a couple of others crack.  I just laid them on the cookie sheet and pressed gently together. That worked out fine.  Remember to keep the bowl of dough in the fridge. If the dough warms you will lose some of the detail after baking. As you pop them out of the mold and onto the baking sheet keep them in the fridge as well, again to preserve the details of the mold.

Bake at 300F for 20 minutes.
Makes 7 - 4" cookies

Other shortbread cookies you might like: