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!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fresh Mango Strawberry Salsa

Best on fish, but would also be great with grilled chicken!

1 mango, cubed
3 strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped (has to be fresh)
2 tbsps lime juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Toss all your ingredients together and serve.
Can't get easier than that!
Here's the recipe for Baked Walleye Fish Cakes pictured above

Baked Walleye Fish Cakes

I'm not crazy about fish, but that's not because of the taste. It's because of the bones. Chopping your fish up to make cakes takes care of that problem....mostly.

Here's what you need:

1 lb walleye (any white fish will do)
1 egg
2 tbsps mayo
2 tsp lemon juice
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsps green pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp dijon mustard (I used one with Chardonnay in it)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 cup plus about 2 tbsps Italian bread crumbs
      (plus extra for dredging)

So here we go.  Chop the fish well, 1/4 inch or smaller pieces. (Yay...chop those little bones up!)

Beat the egg in a large bowl and add mayo, lemon juice, green onion, green pepper, dijon, cumin, lemon pepper and celery seed.
Mix in the fish and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs.  Add 1 or 2 more tbsps until you get a consistency that holds your mixture together and comes away from the bowl.
Form into patties about 3/4 inch thick.
Dredge each pattie in bread crumbs, place on parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate to set well.
When ready to eat simply pop them into a 350 F oven for 8 minutes. Then flip, lightly spray with cooking oil and bake an additional 7 minutes.  Broil 1-2 minutes.
You could also pan fry in oil if that's your thing. A few minutes on each side.
In the interest of full disclosure, there were a couple of very small bones found, oh well : (   nothing's perfect.

Serve with Fresh Mango Strawberry Salsa
Here's the recipe for Fresh Mango Strawberry Salsa pictured above


Adapted from http://www.epicurious.com


Ricotta and Brown Rice Balls

These little rice balls are easy to make and if I had stuffed them with cheese I could have called them arancini (Sicilian stuffed rice balls), but I didn't.  Maybe next time.  They have a nice firm texture as you can see here
so they would be easy to form a ball around a piece of cheese.


2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup ricotta
2 tbsps parmesan
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 egg

Mix the above ingredients together
and roll into heaping tablespoon-sized balls. I made 17.  Place on a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge.
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
Bread crumbs

Once chilled dredge in flour then dip in beaten egg/water. Next roll the balls in bread crumbs.
Heat a skillet with a little vegetable oil and brown lightly.
Remove from skillet to cookie sheet.
I had a rack in the cookie sheet covered with parchment paper so the balls did not stick and some of the grease ran away.
Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes.
Serve with tomato sauce. And maybe next time...cheese centers.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Easy Lemon Sponge Cakes

Easy because, I admit it, I bought the individual sponge cakes.
But the lemon filling is easy to make too.
All you need is:

1/3 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups cold water
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 lemon, zested and juiced

icing sugar to serve

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a saucepan, stir in water.  Bring to boil over medium heat stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and cook 3 more minutes, keep stirring.  Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of cooked mixture into beaten egg yolks.  Add egg mixture to remaining cooked mixture in saucepan.  Return to heat and bring to boil over medium heat stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon juice and zest.

Fill your little sponge cake cups with lemon filling and dust with icing sugar.  Easy Peasy!

The lemon filling recipe was taken from the Five Roses cookbook for lemon meringue pie. I did make a small pie because I only made 6 little sponge cakes, I had filling left and I had the egg whites, so what the heck!  You could probably fill about 18 lemon sponge cakes if you weren't going to make pie.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

A bit of a messy job, but well worth the effort.

6 boneless chicken breasts
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup cooked broccoli, finely chopped
1 tsp pesto or salted herbs
1/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp lemon pepper
olive oil
wooden skewers

Cut a pocket in each chicken breast, but don't cut right through, and set aside.
Mix the remaining ingredients together and divide into six.
Stuff each breast with filling.
Stand and press to flatten bottom.
Soak skewers in water for a few minutes, break off extra length that you won't need, then weave it through opened edge of pocket to keep together.
Brush all with olive oil then mix together 1 tsp smoky paprika with 1 tsp lemon pepper. Sprinkle over top
Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 350 F oven for 30-40 minutes.

Pecan and Prune Loaf

1 cup grated carrot, packed
1  1/2 cups  chopped prunes
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brewed coffee
4 tbsps marg, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup white flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Soak prunes in coffee for about 1 hour. 
Mix together flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add carrot and pecans and set aside.
To the prune/coffee bowl add brown sugar, melted marg, vanilla and beaten eggs.
Mix all together just until everything is incorporated.
I used an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 loaf pan and a mini pan measuring 5 X 2 1/2 X 1 1/2.
Preheat oven to 350 F and bake the small loaf for 40 minutes and the regular sized loaf for one hour.
It's done when a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
Once completely cooled it slices very nicely, moist and not crumbly at all.  It reminds me of fruitcake. Ok, ignore that last line if you don't like fruitcake : )

Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad

Ok, I know it's January (almost February) but I was missing summer, so I made some potato salad and made believe we were complaining about the heat outside today.

4 large potatoes
1/2 onion
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 tsp celery seed
2 tbsps relish
1 hard-boiled egg
1 tbsp chives
1 tbsp bacon bits
salt and pepper to taste

Cut potatoes in bite sized pieces, put in a large pot of salted water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, leave covered 5 more minutes. Drain. Cover with cold water. Leave until cooled a few minutes then drain well.
Toss with vinegar. 
Chop onion and pour boiling water over to cover. This takes some of the bite out of the onion.  You can skip this if strong onion is what you like. Sit 5 minutes and drain.
Mix together sour cream, mayo, celery seed, relish, chives, bacon bits, salt and pepper and fold into potatoes.
Add chopped hard-boiled egg and drained onion.
Garnish with more hard-boiled egg and bacon bits.
I feel warmer already!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Easy Country Bread

I originally found  this recipe here http://www.alexandracooks.com but the link didn't work once and I thought I'd lost it so I recorded it here for posterity.

It's really an easy bread to make. No kneading required!

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
  • room temperature butter, about 2 tablespoons for buttering the bowls
Take 1/2 cup boiling water and add 1  1/2 cups cold.  That will give you the right temperature for lukewarm water. Add the sugar and dissolve, then sprinkle the yeast over top. Don't stir.  Let stand 15 minutes then, once foamy, mix in the flour and salt.

Once well mixed turn your oven on (to any temperature) for 1 minute.  Then turn it OFF.  That will make it a warm enough place to rise your dough. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set in the oven for 2 hours to rise. Then gently punch down. 

Take the bowl and separate the dough in half (ish).  It's a little tricky because the dough is sticky. Using 2 spoons could help. Plop each ball of dough into a buttered Pyrex bowl. I used the 1.5L and 2.5L sized bowls. Let the dough rise another 30-40 minutes.  No need to cover it this time or put in the oven just make sure it's not in a draft.

Once the second rise is done bake at 425 F for 15 minutes

then reduce the heat to 375 F and bake an additional 15 minutes.

If they don't pop right out of the bowl when you turn them over simply run a thin knife down the side and out it comes.

The texture is so light and springy and just waiting for butter!

Brown Sugar Soya Salmon Fillets

Found this recipe and had to try it.  I've seen alot of salmon recipes using maple syrup and I've tried a few. And they're ok. But this one using brown sugar is SOOOOO much better!

4 salmon fillets (skin removed)
1/3 cup soya sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Lemon pepper
Garlic powder

Mix the soya sauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil and smoked paprika together in a ziplok bag. Toss the salmon fillets in to coat and sprinkle some lemon pepper and garlic powder over top.  Marinade for at least 2 hours.
Remove salmon from marinade to a large piece of foil. I laid some strips of broccoli stalks under the salmon so they wouldn't stick to the foil.
I usually use lemon slices but thought it would interfere with the flavour. Now that I think about though, orange slices probably would have been good with this.  Oh well, next time. Spoon a little marinade over each fillet, sprinkle more lemon pepper and garlic powder if you like, and close up the foil. Wow, there's a boring picture.
Bake for 11 minutes at 425 F. Then open up the foil packet and broil for 4 minutes.
Beautiful!  I'll make this again for sure!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Asian Pear Crisp

This is a nice comfort food dessert on a cold winter's day. Serve it plain or topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

3 cups chopped asian pear (you just need 1 pear !)

1 tbsp flour
1/4  cup sugar
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of salt

Cut the pear in small pieces as it is quite firm. Toss together with the rest of the ingredients and put in a buttered baking dish, 8 X 8 or similar. 

Use a pastry blender  to cut together:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsps ground flax (optional)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Sprinkle over top of fruit and press lightly.
Bake for 35 minutes in a 375 F oven.
It smells so good!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

French Canadian Pea Soup with Ham

Every winter we make a pot of baked beans.  And every winter we make at least one pot of pea soup.


900 g (2 lbs) dry whole yellow peas
3/4 - 1 lb cooked ham, cubed
6 cups cold water
7 cups boiling water
2 onions, chopped
1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp savory
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp dry parsley
1 tsp salt (or to taste, remember there is salt in the ham)

Start by soaking the peas in cold water overnight.  Check and add more water to cover the peas if it gets absorbed.

Drain and rinse.  Fill pot with peas and 6 cups cold water, cover and bring to a boil.  Then turn heat off and let stand covered for 1 hour. Drain.
Combine peas, boiling water, onion, celery, thyme and savory in a large soup pot. Tie the ham and bay leaves up in cheesecloth tied with string
and sit that in the pot too.
Cover and return to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.  Remove the ham packet to cool.

In a food processor pulse the soup in batches  then add the parsley and salt.  Open the packet and discard the bay leaves. Add the ham back to the pea soup and enjoy.

You might also like to try:




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Asian Pear and Celery Salad

This is such a simple salad, but you won't believe how good it is.

1/2 Asian pear
2 celery stalks with leaves
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely shredded
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp dry parsley

Cut the pear and celery into matchsticks.  Mix the rest of the ingredients and toss together.  Chill your salad.  It can be made hours ahead of time and you don't have to worry about the pear going brown. Asian pears don't seem to brown as easily as other pears do, and of course the lemon juice helps too.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hard Boiled Eggs on Hand

When you are going to boil one egg why not boil a dozen. That way you can just grab one for a quick snack and it's a good source of protein especially when you're not feeling your best.

Put the eggs in cold water and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil some people just turn off the heat and cover the pot for 10 minutes.  But I like to leave it uncovered and simmer for 10 minutes. Either way once your time is up pour out the hot water and fill with cold to stop the cooking process.
I add an onion skin to the water while boiling the eggs. The shells go brown so that way I know which eggs have been hard boiled.
Or you could just label an old egg carton and use that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nut Loaf instead of Meat

Trying a meal now and then without meat has become a real eye-opener for me. I didn't realize a meatless meal could be so tasty. Like this one...

chopped onion 
shredded carrot 
1 tbsp butter or oil
2 cups finely chopped white mushrooms
4 chopped garlic cloves

1 tsp thyme
1 tsp savory
1 tsp basil
1 tsp sage
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsps red wine

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup peanuts
1  1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup blanched almonds

5 eggs
1 cup ricotta
1/2 lb (2 cups) shredded old cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in frying pan and add the onion, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook until soft then add the carrot. Stir in the thyme, savory, basil, sage and turmeric. When you have a little brown forming in the pan, deglaze with the red wine and remove from heat.

Add the nuts to your food processor and chop until it looks like this.  I wanted some pieces left big to give the loaf some texture and visual interest.
Have your brown rice cooked and cooled.
Mix the eggs and ricotta together, then stir in the nuts.
And mix in the cooled rice.  Now fill the parchment lined loaf pans.  I used a 9 X 5 X 3 pan plus and little mini loaf.
Garnish with mushroom and nuts if you like.
Bake for 1 hour in a 350 F oven.
Let rest 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Or when cooled wrap in foil and chill.  When chilled, slice and re-wrap in foil.  Heat in a 300 F oven for about 30 minutes. 

Adapted from www.thekitchn.com/winter-recipe-classic-vegetarian-nut-loaf