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, October 31, 2015

Pumpkin Pouding au Chomeur

Pouding au chomeur, or poor man's pudding, is a traditional French Canadian dessert adapted to pumpkin flavour here. If you want to try the original flavour use butter and egg instead of pumpkin and leave out the spices.

1 cup sugar
2 tbsps butter, softened (or 2 tbsps pumpkin purée)
1 egg (or 1/4 cup pumpkin purée)
1  3/4 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups milk or cream (or combination of both)
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar and butter (or pumpkin) together.  Add egg (or additional pumpkin).
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and spices.
Add to the sugar mixture alternating with the milk until combined. Pour into a greased 2.5 L baking dish. Set aside.

For the syrup:
In a saucepan bring sugar, milk and butter to a boil and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour over cake using a spoon so that where you're pouring doesn't make a hole in the cake. Do not stir.  As the cake bakes this syrup will go to the bottom to form a sauce.
Bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes.
 Check for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick.
Serve plain or with whipped cream.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Romanoff Artichoke Baked Pasta

Vodka!!  Ok, I've got your attention.

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsps onion, chopped
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
3 tbsps tomato paste
3 oz vodka
3/4 - 1 cup 10% cream
salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper!)
1/2 lb penne
454 g canned artichokes (not marinated), reserve liquid
1  1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

In a deep skillet lightly brown the garlic and onion in butter and olive oil.  Toss in the cooked chicken. Add the tomato paste and heat through. Chop a couple of artichokes and mix together.
Deglaze the pan with vodka and add the cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.  As I said before, lots of pepper!  I like a lot of pepper in romanoff.

Meanwhile cook the penne as per package directions, drain and toss with the chicken and sauce. If you want the sauce a little thinner mix in 1 -2 tbsps of reserved liquid from the artichokes. Spoon into an oiled 8 X 8" baking dish. Cut the remaining artichokes in half and add to the dish.
Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Baked Sausage Stuffed Apples

Fall means apples. Apple picking, apple pies, apple crisp, applesauce. But here's a savoury way to incorporate apples into your meal.

8 small apples (or as many as you can fill with the filling)
3/4 cup sausage meat
1/4 cup finely chopped celery with leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1  1/4 cups chopped apple
1/2 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste
Lightly brown the sausage meat, onions and celery in a skillet on medium heat. I have some sweet basil sausage meat which smells wonderful while browning, but you could use any flavour that suits your fancy. Actually a cheddar sausage might work really well with the apples.
While that browns, start prepping the apples. Cut the tops off the apples and let them soak in some salt water. Use a knife to cut out the core then use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to remove more apple leaving about an 1/8" thickness.
Chop the scooped-out apple flesh to make 1  1/4 cups and mix that into the warm sausage mixture. Season with sage, salt and pepper. 
Fill the apples with the meat mixture and cap them off with the reserved apple tops. Stand in a baking dish and bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes, basting with melted butter or pan juices until apples are tender.
Served here with Cranberry Herbed Rice.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cranberry Slow Cooker Pork Loin

Had a little cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving....

3-4 lb boneless pork loin
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp honey
sprinkle paprika
salt and pepper

Season the roast with salt and pepper then lightly brown in a skillet.

Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray and sit the roast in the bottom.

Mix cranberry sauce, ginger and honey together and spread over the top of the pork. Sprinkle with paprika, cover and cook on low 3-4 hours. 
Let sit a few minutes before cutting.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Slow Cooker Sweet Mincemeat

It's getting late in the season now, but if you still have green tomatoes this is an excellent use of them. And if you don't have a slow cooker you can find the original stovetop recipe link at the bottom of this page. 

3 cups chopped green tomatoes
3 cups chopped crisp apples (I used spartan)
1/2 cup raisins (I used sultanas)
1/2 chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped candied cherries
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsps Glayva (or rum)
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ginger

Combine everything in your slow cooker. The original recipe called for rum, but I didn't have any so I used Glayva.  If you've never heard of it it's a Scotch based liquor with hints of tangerine, honey and spices. Brandy would be great as well.
Set on high for 30 minutes covered, then reduce to low and continue cooking for 4 hours.  You can stir it once in the 4 hours but try not to do it more than that. After the 4 hours remove the lid, turn up to high again and cook an additional hour. It'll smell great by now! You can stir it several times if you like at this point. (And tasting is definitely recommended!)  
It's good to go like this, but if you prefer a thicker mincemeat mix 2-3 tsp of cornstarch in 1 tsp cold water.  Take a little of the warm juices and stir in.  Now stir this mixture into the mince in the last 1/2 hour of cooking.
Fill sterilized jars to 1/4" from top, cap and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes about 5 cups which you can use for pie or tarts.
Or even as an ice cream topping.....oh ya, I went there : )

Original stove top recipe:


Lamb Meatballs with Traditional English Mint Sauce

They had ground lamb on sale this week. (That almost never happens) and I had some homemade mint sauce on the shelf so.....

12 oz (350 g) ground lamb
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsps bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsps dried mint
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1  1/2 tsps lemon juice

Combine everything well and form into balls.  I made 12 heaping tablespoonful balls.  This does make a small batch, but you could double or triple it if you want to make more.
Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and lightly brown the meatballs on all sides.
Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with mint sauce. You could buy it, but if you want to make it here's the link to an easy recipe.

Classic Mint Sauce with Malt Vinegar


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

I'm always on the lookout for ways to use those tomatoes that ran out of ripening time. This relish will be fantastic on our hot dogs and hamburgers next summer.

6 cups finely chopped green tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped pepper (red or green)
1  1/2 cups finely chopped onion
3 tbsps pickling salt

1  1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp and 1 tsp prepared mustard
1  1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed

6 whole cloves
1  1/2 cups vinegar

Combine the green tomatoes, pepper, onion and salt in a large bowl and leave for 1 hour.

Drain in a colander, but don't rinse the mixture.
Place in a large pot and add sugar, mustard, celery seed and mustard seed. Take the cloves and tie them up in a pouch made from cheesecloth or use a coffee filter.  It works well. Put this pouch in the pot and pour in the vinegar.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the cloves. Cool eh? It looks and smells like cucumber relish! A little less green than store bought but that's probably because this one has no food colouring in it.

Fill hot sterilized jars to 1/4" from full and put the lids on but don't tighten.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/green-tomato-relish-hot-dog-relish-70538

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hasselback Potatoes Done Right

I have made hasselback potatoes before, like this Spinach and Parmesan recipe


and I thought these were good.  But I found this recipe on http://www.keviniscooking.com and found 2 really helpful tricks when making hasselback potatoes.

Start by cleaning and brushing your potatoes.  Now take a slice off what will be the bottom and set it aside.
Slather your potato with bacon fat, yes bacon fat!
Take two chopsticks and place the potato in between them. This is trick #1. Slice the potato thinly almost to the bottom, where the chopsticks will stop you from going right through. In my previous hasselback recipe I used a wooden spoon for this purpose, but chopsticks works much better.
Now take that little slice you put aside and turn it cut side down on your lined baking sheet. Sit the sliced potato on top like a little foot. As the potato bakes this will help the slices fan apart. Genius trick #2 !
Brush olive oil and/or melted butter in between the slices and sprinkle some coarse salt over top. Add whatever herbs and spices you like and bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. Baste again and bake for another 30 minutes. Here they are.....ready for a big dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pumpkin Swirl Pie with Chocolate Crumb Crust

I started off with the good old Five Roses Flour pumpkin pie recipe, then changed it up a bit.

1  1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsps flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup Reese spread or Nutella, warmed


1  1/4 cup chocolate crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter

Melt 1/4 cup of butter and blend in the chocolate crumbs.
Press into a 9" pie plate.  Set aside.

Mix ingredients from pumpkin purée to vanilla together and pour into prepared crust. I found a few pieces of pumpkin that hadn't gotten puréed. Oops!
Warm the Reese spread or Nutella in the microwave for a few seconds until you can stir it.  Drop spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin filling then take a knife a swirl it through.
Bake on lower rack at 450 F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F and bake an additional 25-30 minutes.   A knife in the middle should come out clean.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or cool whip and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Storing Herbs

End of the gardening season is here.  I had quite a bit of mint and a little bit of basil left.  Here are two ways to keep these herbs.
Take your cuttings and give them a cool bath in the sink to rinse off any dirt. Lay them on a clean dishtowel and gently pat to dry.  Take a couple at a time and tie together with kitchen string.
Suspend them away from direct sunlight for a few weeks to dry.  My kitchen is kind of dark (the reason for some not-so-bright food photos) so I ran a string under my shelf and hung my herb bundles up to dry there. Hanging them upside-down helps the oils flow into the leaves giving you more flavour. 
After a couple of weeks check to see if the leaves are dry enough to crumble then take a bag, hold if underneath and snip the bundle off and into to the bag so as not to have your herbs crumbling all over the place.
Take them out of the bag and remove the stems. Put the leaves back in the bag and crumble them in your fingers. I had three separate batches of mint like this so I'll have dried mint for awhile.

I took that one little bundle of basil on the left and crumbled that too. But I also tried basil in oil.

Take your basil leaves, clean and dry them. Find a container that will hold them and start layering them in it, shaking some salt on the leaves as you go. When you have a few layers done fill the container with olive oil.

Cover and refrigerate. These should keep for months, just take the container out of the fridge awhile before using so the olive oil can liquiefy again.

And bonus, the oil will be infused with basil!

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Gotta have cranberry sauce with turkey! And this one is easy to make. The orange zest gives it a little zing. Want more orange flavour? Just change up the water for orange juice.

1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
Zest of 1 orange

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Add the cranberries and orange zest and bring to a boil.
Once it comes to a boil reduce heat and simmer over medium heat, stirring until cranberries start to crack open. You'll notice the sauce start to thicken. 

Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate.
Makes about 1  1/2 cups
Simply isn't Thanksgiving or Christmas without it.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cock-a-Leekie Turkey Pie with Puff Pastry

This is usually made as a Scottish soup with leeks and chicken, and traditionally with prunes. In my pie version I used cooked turkey (great use of leftovers!) and substituted prunes with raisins.

1 tbsp butter 
2 leeks, cleaned well and sliced thinly
1 carrot, shredded
1-2 tbsps raisins
1 lb cooked chopped turkey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 tsp dry thyme
4 tbsps flour
1/4 cup butter

Puff Pastry

1 cup cold butter
1  2/3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold water
1 egg, beaten

Start by softening the leeks in a deep skillet with a tablespoon of butter. Add the carrot, raisins and turkey.

In a saucepan heat 1/4 cup butter and add the flour.  Whisk in the broth and wine making sure there are no lumps. Add the salt, pepper and thyme.  Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thickened. Pour it into the skillet with the turkey and mix together.

Grease a 1.6 L baking dish (or individual ramekins) and fill to about 1/2 inch from the top.

Follow this link to an easy puff pastry recipe from Canadian Living.
I only used half of the pastry for this recipe so you might want to cut the puff pastry recipe in half. I will use the other half soon. It can keep in the fridge for 5 days.

Once the pastry has chilled for 1 hour I took it out of the fridge and cut it in half, wrapping the second half for another use.

Roll it out on a floured piece of waxed paper to the size you need to cover your pie.
Beat the egg and brush around were it will meet the edge of the pie, turn it over and press onto sides of your dish.  No need to get fancy with the edge. Snip a few holes to let the steam out and brush the top with beaten egg.
Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 425 F and bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 400 F and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Isn't it a thing of beauty?

I didn't want to ruin it by having to stick a spoon in it!