Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mixed Bean Bake

This is a great dish to serve on a cool autumn evening around a bon fire. Add a weiner roast and smores. . and you have a wonderful October 31st meal.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 8 strips precooked bacon. . .diced ( you can prefry the bacon and dice it)
  • 1 large onion . . .diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 bell peppers chopped (colors of your choice)
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 680 ml or 23 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 - 14 oz or 2 - 598 ml cans baked beans
  • 1 - 14 oz or 1 598 ml can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 19 oz or 540 ml can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 19 oz or 540 ml can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon country Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. In a large heavy dutch oven . . .brown the ground beef, bacon, onion until it is starting to actually "brown" on the bottom of the pan. I do it quite hot and keep stirring it . . .breaking up the beef. You want it to begin caramelizing. .this gives flavour.
  2. Add the vegetables and continue to simmer until they are wilted.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and the seasonings.
  4. Add the beans and bring to a simmer.
  5. Put on the lid and put it in a 350º oven for an hour.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chili Con Queso (Mennonite Style)



  • 1 large brick of Velveeta Cheese
  • 2 cans of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups of medium or hot salsa (with all the cheese it isn't that hot when you use the hot sauce)
  • 1 farmer sausage, browned and crumbled, that is what makes it Mennonite, grin.
  • or 1/2 lb of ground beef and 1/2 lb of ground pork browned and drained, instead of farmer sausage.
  • a can of pork and beans or black beans may be added as well, that is optional, I didn't use it this time but it is good.
Place all ingredients into a large crock pot and heat on high heat until melted through, then keep on low heat all evening......
This makes a lot of dip, and left overs freeze well.
Also the recipe is very easy to half if you would like to serve less.
Serve with multigrain taco chips, or some veggies.
Try using lower fat and lower sodium ingredients where possible.
Or try using some as a dressing for Taco Salad for the next day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Black Forest Kirschen Mousse


We had this dessert recently in a restaurant in the Black Forest area of Germany. I loved the presentation and decided to try making it at home.
Personal note:
This may look complicated to make but most of the work is in the presentation.
I was making the dessert for friends who'd been in Germany with us and I wanted it to be as close the the real thing as possible. It was fun to make and I will make it again - perhaps for a dinner party or special celebration.
Alternately, you could spoon the mousse into dessert bowls or stemmed glasses and top with a few cherries cream and shaved chocolate.
It certainly would be easier and would still make an attractive dessert.
The hardest part of duplicating the presentation was trying to figure out how to form the mousse into a tube shaped "tower".
Apparently a person can buy special molds for this, however, there were none to be had in our town.

After a bit of brainstorming at a local cake supply shop,
this is what I came up with.

At the cake supply shop, I bought a mat used to roll fondant on. I think it is made of silicone. Any thin mat with a slippery surface would work as well. I cut it into 4 10 inch squares.
Then I went to my local building supply store and bought a length of 2" white PVC pipe. I was serving this to 19 people so my husband cut it into 5 9 1/2" pieces for me. Each pipe needs to be 1/2" shorter than the liner you put into it. I ended up using a piece of parchment paper to line the 5th tube which did not work quite as well as the fondant mat. After washing and drying the pipe lengths, I taped a square of waxed paper at one end and rolled each mat to fit snugly inside each pipe. 1/2" of the mat should be sticking out of the pipe. This will aid in removing the mousse from the pipes.After making the mousse (the recipe follows) I filled each pipe, tapping the bottom of the pipe on the counter two or three times to make sure there were no pockets of air between the spoonfuls. I then topped each with a square of waxed paper pressed lightly on to the mousse.
As you can see, I stood each pipe on end in a plastic cup and then refrigerated the mousse for 4 hours or so.
After the mousse firmed up and just before serving, I slid the mat out of the pipe and carefully unrolled it, using a bench scraper or spatula to remove the mousse "tower" from the mat. I then cut each into 4 2 1/4 inch lengths.
Standing each tower in the centre of a shallow soup or salad bowl we spooned the cherries and their juice around the mousse. Finally we piped whipped cream on the top and sprinkled the mousse and cherries with shavings of dark chocolate.
All the work was worth it - everyone loved it and were delighted to see their favourite dessert recreated.
Here's the recipe I came up with:

For the mousse: ( I doubled this recipe to serve 20)
  • 1 100g. bar of good white chocolate (I used Lindt)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pkg. gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 pkg. (125g.) cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Kirsch (you can buy this at the liquor store)*
  • 1 Tbsp. Maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate, divided
*You could make this without the Kirsch, using a bit more cherry juice but if you want the authentic Black Forest dessert - you need to use the Kirsch.
Kirsch is also used in the famous Black Forest Cake.

For the Cherries

You will need 4-6 cups sour cherries if you are surrounding the mousse with them, fewer if you use them as a topping. You can buy these already canned or, as I did, use frozen sour cherries. If using frozen, cook them using a 1-3 sugar syrup and 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch mixed with a bit of cold water. Cook until the liquid turns clear. You don't want the cherry juice thick, so don't use too much cornstarch. When the cherries are cool, add 2 or more Tbsp. of Kirsch to the juice and refrigerate for several hours.

Directions for making the Mousse:

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate in milk. Set aside
  2. In another small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and heat over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly before combining with milk/chocolate mixture.
  3. Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth. Add Kirsch and Maraschino cherry juice and beat until well blended.
  4. Slowly mix chocolate/gelatin mixture into cream cheese mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy and add sugar a little at a time. Beat until glossy peaks are formed .
  6. Fold egg whites into cream cheese/chocolate mixture.
  7. Whip cream and fold into mousse.
  8. Fold in 1/4 cup of the chopped dark chocolate.
  9. Spoon mixture into prepared tubes and refrigerate for 4 hours or so.
  10. See photos and instructions above to serve.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Butterhorn Rolls

These rolls are a favorite at family gatherings, they are snatched up quickly. They are not difficult to make and definetly worth it!
I found this recipe in the 'Cooking with Grace' cookbook published by the ladies aid of the Grace Mennonite Church.
I made slight changes..

Dissolve and let stand for 10 min.
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
I use instant yeast..I add the yeast to the flour mixture and the water to the milk mixture.

Heat and cool to lukewarm:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil

Beat:
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Meaure into bowl:
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt

1. Add the yeast, milk and egg mixture to the flour mixture. I start with 5 cups of flour then keep adding more as needed, approx another 1 1/2 cups.
2. Knead till smooth, soft but not sticky consistency, about 5 min.
3. Let rise in warm place till doubled..approx 1 1/2 hrs.
4. Knead down and let rise again till doubled...approx 1 hr. When short of time I have missed this step and they still turn out wonderful.
5. Cut pieces of dough and roll into size of large pie crust approx 1/4" thick (or alittle bit less). Butter lightly.
6. Cut into 8 wedges. Roll up each wedge, starting with wide edge and make sure that the pointed end is well tucked and pinched under the roll.
I sometimes have not done this well enough and some of the rolls will open up during the rising process and end up looking a little odd..these are not served to guests..grin
7. Let rise again till doubled in size.
8. Optional..brush with egg white or milk. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. I usually leave them plain.
9. Bake at 400º for approx 10 to 12 min or until golden in color.
10. Yields approx 4 1/2 doz

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roasted Garlic Croutons

These Croutons are almost not a recipe. . ..but when my family sees the bowl of homemade croutons ready for Caesar Salad . . . .they appreciate them. They can be made first thing in the morning and if you have too many .. .just put them in a zip loc bag for tomorrow's salad.
  • 1 day old store purchased baguette
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 head garlic
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsely (optional)

  1. Thinly slice the baguette .. about 1/4 inch thick .. no more.
  2. Slice off the top of the garlic bulb .. drizzle with olive oil. . about 1 tablespoon
  3. Wrap the bulb of garlic in foil and put in 350 oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Combine cooled garlic and butter and parsely.
  5. Spread over the thinly sliced baguette.
  6. Place the pieces on a cookie sheet. . .and toast in oven at 325 until crisp.
  7. Allow to cool.

When I am in a hurry . .I combine several cloves of garlic with softened butter. . .it still is much better than purchased croutons. If I forgot to buy garlic. . .I lightly spread butter over the croutons. . or give them a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic seasoning and then toast them. (the day I took the picture. . .was one of the "a quick sprinkle of garlic seasoning days".

These work perfectly on home made Caesar Salad Dressing that Charlotte recently posted.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meatballs in Spaghetti Sauce

I recently found a new recipe for spaghetti sauce that has become our new favorite. I've changed it a bit. . you can find the original here. I found it watching the Today show. . with Chef's Luongo and Struasman.
The meatballs are cooked in the slightly simmering sauce. . they stay juicy and plump.

Serves 6

Meatballs
  • 1 cup day old bread cubes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 hot Italian sausage links. . .casings removed
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiana Cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 - 28 ounce or 794 ml. diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce jar tomato sauce with seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon salt ( do this to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped

Instructions for Meatballs

  1. Place the bread and milk in a small bowl and let it soak.
  2. Heat a heavy large dutch oven over medium heat. . .and then add the olive oil.
  3. Add the onion and stir until golden .. .remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, and sausage meat. . .combine with your hands.
  5. Add the seasonings, cheese and bread and eggs and combine.
  6. Add the cooled onion and salt and pepper. . .and combine.
  7. Set aside.

Instructions for the sauce

  1. In the pot that you cooked the onion, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and the garlic and stir a few minutes until wilted.
  3. Add the tomato paste, the tomatoes and the tomato sauce and the wine.
  4. Add the remaining sauce seasonings. . .the pepper flakes, the parsley and the basil and sugar and then the salt and pepper to taste. . .let it simmer a while first.

Adding the meatballs

  1. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop up a portion of meat. .and with your hands shape into a ball. . .add to the sauce and repeat with the remainder of the meat. You can use your hands if you don't have a scoop.
  2. Keep the sauce at a very low simmer. . .this will keep the fat from separating out of the meatballs.
  3. Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours so that the flavour of the meatballs and flavour the sauce. I couldn't believe how much different the sauce tasted after several hours.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bread for the Journey

Seasons of Life

Have you noticed that every season has stormy scenes
as well as scenes of beauty and peace?
In our current season of autumn,
we often have very strong winds.
Winds strong enough to break tree limbs, blow the leaves from branches
and
dislodge anything that is not securely fastened down.
Yet, as in the photo above,
there are also times where there is colorful beauty mirrored in stillness.
*
Our seasons of life are like that too.
There are times we feel like everything is being torn from us,
the winds of unwelcome change come
sweeping relentlessly through our well ordered lives
and we look for hiding places, that elude us.
But God has promised,
His places of peace
and the beauty of His 'forever-with-us' Presence
is there if we just open our eyes to see.
Seasons come and seasons go...
every season is needful,
every season has purpose
and every season is ordered by the Lord.
*

2Co 4:8-10 "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed—
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,
that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. "
*
"Father, we trust you in whatever season of life we find ourselves. We thank you that you have gone before and already know the season that will follow the one we are in now. Help us to rest in the places that You have provided and may we hold tight to Your unshakable promises, with faith in our hearts, no matter how fiercely the strong winds blow. May we proclaim Your Word that the victory is already ours because You have overcome the world!
Amen"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Raisin Puffs

I got this recipe from my friend, Kathi. Every time I bite into one of these little nuggets, I'm surprised how delicious they are and . .. well, you can't stop at one, believe me! These are great for party trays with other little bites. Since this is not a sweet pastry, you can omit the raisins and fill them with a savory filling (once cooled) as well. This recipe yields about 3 dozen.



Ingredients

1 c water
1/2 c butter
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
½ cup raisins, plumped

Method:

  1. Plump raisins by soaking them in boiling water for a few minutes, then strain.
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in small saucepan and bring to boil. Add flour all at once, stirring over low heat beat with wooden spoon 1 min or till mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a smooth, thick dough.
  3. Remove from heat. Continue to beat 2 min. to cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each in well. The eggs will be slipping and sliding at first, but keep stirring, until they are mixed in well.
  4. Stir in raisins.
  5. Drop by tsp on greased and floured cookie sheet and bake at 375F about 25 min - till golden.
  6. Spread with lemon frosting while warm.

Lemon Frosting: Melt 1 Tbsp butter. Stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp cream. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 c icing sugar, 1/2 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp vanilla.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Warm Caramel Bananas

This has been one of our favorite company desserts over the past few years...a recipe I pulled from a Kraft Canada advertisement some time ago. If you like bananas...and warm caramel sauce...this one is for you!


Ingredients:
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1 square semi-sweet melted chocolate, melted (optional)
  • whipped cream or premium ice-cream
Directions:
  1. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add sugar, cook until melted stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Gradually stir in sour cream...cook 1 minute stirring occasionally.
  2. Cut bananas in half lengthwise; cut each piece crosswise in half. Place banana slices, cut sides down, in skillet. Cook 1 minute or until bananas are softened, basting occasionally with the sauce in bottom of skillet.
  3. Spoon bananas evenly into four dessert dishes. Top with sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts. Top with a dollop of whipped cream...or a scoop of premium vanilla ice-cream. Drizzle with chocolate...if desired.

Note: To melt chocolate, microwave 1 unwrapped square chocolate in microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM for 2 minutes...stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spaetzle


This is one of my husband's favourites. I don't think it is really a Mennonite specialty although it is very similar to Kielke. In Germany it is served alongside pork and schnitzel.
Spaetzle is wonderful served plain but is often served up smothered in mushroom gravy or fried with onions and bacon.
For those of us who have to watch our weight, a smaller helping is advised but do try them.

This is a Spaetzle maker. Prior to getting it as a gift from my Swiss neighbour, I placed a flat grater over my pot of boiling water and used a spatula to "wipe" the batter over the grater. You could also use a colander with large holes.

However the Spaetzle maker makes it much easier to do. You can find them at many kitchen stores. The idea is to place the spaetzle maker over a large pot of boiling water. You fill the little square box with batter and then push the box back and forth over the grater holes allowing the batter to drop by little globs into the boiling water.

When the batter is gone, you let the spaetzle cook a few minutes longer and then drain and serve.

For the batter you will need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Place flour and salt in mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs to milk and stir into flour until a sticky batter is formed.
  3. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add salt.
  4. Place batter by spoonfuls in spaeztle maker or colander and push batter back and forth allowing it to fall in small globs into the boiling water.
  5. Stir spaetzle in pot occasionally to keep them from sticking together.(I often add a little vegetable oil to the pot)
  6. After the batter is used up, cook a minute or two longer.
  7. Using a large colander, drain the water off and return spaetzle to pot.
  8. Add 3 large Tbsp. of butter and stir.
  9. Serve.
  10. If you like, you can carmelize a chopped onion slowly in a Tbsp. or two of butter and stir these into the spaetzle before serving.

* I usually double this recipe because my husband loves them fried with bacon and onions the next day. That's if there are any leftovers.

A double recipe feeds 7 to 10 people.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blueberry Vinaigrette


Salads is one of our family's favorites. It's always fun to see what someone else can create.
On Thanksgiving weekend, we sampled another delicious salad, meaning this dressing will really catch your eye. Blueberries? As we all know they are high in antioxidants and good for our health. I'm sure we have all enjoyed fresh blueberries in our salads, but what about the dressing?
When our family joined Chef Dez cooking class, we were all inspired once again to try something new.

Once again, take a salad bowl, and prepare your favorite greens, add a few tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and this wonderful dressing, topped with slices of fresh Parmesan cheese.

The artists are hard at work...as they love to create flavors.

Blueberry Vinaigrette
  • 11/2 cups blueberries ( frozen or fresh)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place all the ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a food processor. Puree on high speed until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add the olive oil slowly while the process is still running. Makes approximately 1.5 cups of dressing.
Add some chicken or prawns and enjoy a delightful low calorie meal.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homemade Caeser Salad Dressing

This dressing is excellent, very creamy and full flavored. I rarely buy dressing since I like to know what goes into my food. If you don't use it all it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge or you can half the recipe if you want.
I will post the original recipe and a low fat version. Both the recipes come from my friend Darcie.
Original Version:
In a blender put in the following ingredients;
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp of each, salt, pepper, dry mustard
  • 1 tsp of anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 raw egg*
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  1. Wash and dry the amount of lettuce you prefer to use, Romaine is the best for a Ceaser Salad.
  2. croutons
  3. Lots of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  4. There are options like bacon and boiled egg
  5. fresh lemons for garnish and added flavor
* don't worry about using the raw egg, I have made this recipe for 20 + years and it has always been fine. You may leave it out if you wish. The way to tell if you have a fresh egg is to put it in a glass of water and if it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side it is fresh.

Low Fat Version:
In a blender combine the following ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup of 1% cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp of each salt, pepper, dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Whiz away until smooth and creamy, a good substitute for the full fat version.

Enjoy

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vegetable Lasagna

I do not remember where I got this recipe many years ago. I like this meatless option, but not everyone I cook for does, so I like to have it on hand for when a vegetarian dish is needed or serve it as a sidedish.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
1 - 28 oz (796 ml) can whole tomatoes
3 cups broccoli, chopped
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
salt, pepper to taste

9 lasagna noodles (whole wheat -optional)
1 carton (2 cups) cottage cheese or ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or 1 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 cups (approx) grated mozzarella cheese

Method:
  1. Cook noodles according to pkg directions. Cover pot loosely with lid to drain most of the water, add some cold water to cover the cooked noodles while they stand.
  2. Cook onion, garlic, carrot, celery and mushrooms and red pepper for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes (cutting through them with spoon) and seasonings. Simmer 10 minutes adding broccoli near the end. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix cottage or ricotta cheese, egg, basil and Parmesan.
  4. In a 9X13 Pyrex pan, layer 3 noodles, 1/2 the vegetable mix, 1/2 the cottage cheese mix and 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat and finish with noodles and cheese on top. cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking about 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bread for the Journey

As shoppers, we all understand the relationship between
value and cost.
*
Did you ever consider that that formula also applies in other areas
of our life?
Could we understand peace if we never felt conflict?
Could we appreciate safety if we never felt fear?
*
Conflicting emotions fill my heart, when I look at the above photo
my husband took recently as he stood
near the top of Hope Mountain.
This little vulnerable pond, could so easily spill over
the sharp embankment threatening
to send it over the edge to the valley far below.
All it would take would be a slight crumbling
of the precipice's rim.
Yet, look how securely it nestles
into the spoon shape hollow it fills.
It seems oblivious to its precarious position.
*
I thought of how God holds us in the hollow of His hand,
even though the fears and evils of this world
lurk just at our life's edge .
We too can nestle, trusting Him with hope in our hearts - His love keeping us unafraid
in the midst of a frightening world around us.
*
Let these words speak reassurance to you today....
"He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety."
(Job 5:11)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are a great accompaniment to ham or sausage. If you want it to be a meal in one dish, just cut up left over ham and add to the potatoes before pouring the milk mixture over it. This recipe calls for cheese, but it is also good without.

Scalloped Potatoes:
-5-6 baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
-1/2 cup finely grated onion
-1 3/4 cups milk
-2 tbsp flour
-2 tbsp butter
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Method:
Peel and thinly slice potatoes into a large bowl. Cover with cold water and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Drain well. (this gets rid of some of the starch in the potatoes) Add the grated onion and cheese and stir to combine.
Put potato mixture into a well greased casserole or 9x13 pan. In a small sauce pan (or microwave) melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk all at once and cook, stirring constantly until it bubbles and begins to thicken.
Pour hot milk mixture over potatoes. The milk should almost cover the potatoes. If you need add a little extra milk.
Bake covered in 350º oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Easy Bean Bake

I made this dish for a potluck at our church. It is quick and easy to put together and rarely are there any leftovers!
These beans are also great paired up with multigrain bread, buns, biscuits or as a side dish with bbq'd steak.
I usually like to make baked beans starting with raw beans that are soaked overnight and then are cooked for hours in the oven on low heat. But every once in awhile I like to do this quick recipe.
Thanks Linda for the recipe:)

Here is the recipe:

3- 398 ml(14 oz) cans of pork and beans..my favorite are Heinz brand..deep-browned beans in tomato sauce
1 med onion, chopped fine and cooked till tender..it's quite okay to omit this, it will still taste wonderful
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp prepared mustard
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
dash tabasco sauce
1/2 cup barbeque sauce..I used a spicey sauce but any kind will do
2 tbsp parsley flakes
Optional..you can crumble in bacon bits if you like.

Mix all these ingredients together and put in a roaster.
Bake covered in 350º oven for 35 to 40 min so that they are well heated and the flavours have meshed
A crockpot works great for this too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Pie


My friend Jill sent me this easy smooth make ahead dessert. It is perfect for a holiday dessert . . .quick . . .easy and no bake.
  • 5 regular or 2 large . . .milk or dark chocolate bars.20 large marshmallows
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder (optional and adjustable to taste)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 Cups chocolate Cookie Crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  1. Combine melted butter and Chocolate Cookie Crumbs and press into a bottom and sides of a pie plate or just the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, pour the milk, add the salt and coffee powder (if using) the marshmallows and chocolate.
  3. Heat until melted, stopping the microwave every 30 seconds to stir.
  4. Once melted. . .stir well and refrigerate until cool.
  5. Whip the cream. . .do not add sugar.
  6. Fold in 1/2 the cream into the chocolate mixture.
  7. Spread into pan.
  8. Freeze until it begins to firm.
  9. Using a piping bag. . .garnish the mousse pie with the remaining cream and sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Freeze until ready to serve.
  10. Allow to thaw slightly before cutting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hazelnut Torte


Today is my dear Hubby's Birthday and I am sure he will enjoy a piece of birthday cake.
Happy Birthday Tony and may God bless you as much as you have blessed me!
(EVEN BIGGER THEN THAT....)

This is a blender recipe, very quick and easy. I like those kind of recipes, don't you?
This recipe comes from my home church, Sargent Ave cook book, submitted by Anna Epp.
As usual I changed it up a bit, but will post the original and then tell you what I did.
I didn't use the Mocha filling, instead I filled with with Nutella Whipped Cream....
are you drooling yet? Why not fill it with both.
Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour (if you changed it to rice flour it is gluten free)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Hazelnut filberts (mine were flaked)
  1. In a blender put eggs, sugar and beat on low speed until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add flour, baking powder and nuts.
  3. When thoroughly blended pour into two 8 inch greased cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (they do not rise very much)
  5. When cake has cooled for 10 minutes, remove from pan
  6. When cooled completely slice each cake in half to give for layers, or you may leave as is.
  7. Fill with Mocha filling and whipped cream or with the Nutella whipped cream
Mocha Filling:
  • 2tbsp. soft butter, creamed
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. strong hot coffee
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Cream butter with icing sugar, coffee cocoa and vanilla.
  2. Spread between layers using filling and 1 cup sweetened whipped cream.
  3. Decorate with more whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Nutella Whipped Cream:
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • Nutella to taste about 1/2 cup
  1. Whip the cream with the Nutella
  2. Fill the cake
  3. Decorate with more whipped cream and nuts or chocolate
If you choose to decorate the cake with the Nutella cream you would need to put in a whipping cream stabilizer like Dr. Oetker's Whip It. Other wise it is too soft and just mounds, which is fine but it holds its shape better with the stabilizer in it, if you want to make rosettes or something fancy like that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Swirl Loaf

This recipe usually comes out of my recipe box each fall. The spiced pumpkin is marbled with a cream cheese topping. I usually make one large loaf, but I wanted two flatter and wider loaves so I divided the batter between 2 pans.

Mix together well:
-1 cup pure pumpkin
-1 egg
-1/3 cup water
-1/2 cup melted butter

Add:
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1 3/4 cups flour
Beat together well.

Cream Cheese Topping:
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 egg
Beat together until smooth.

Grease pan. Put half of the pumpkin mixture into the pan. Spoon half the cream cheese mixture on top, then pour over the remaining pumpkin mixture, and top with remaining cream cheese.
Using a knife swirl, making a marbling effect. Bake in 350º oven for 1/1/2 hours. If you make in two pans baking time will be about 50 minutes. If the topping is getting too dark loosely cover with foil. Allow to stand in pan for 10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack. I don't find that this loaf freezes well.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Butter Tart Squares

We are celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada today...enjoying turkey with stuffing and serving pumpkin pie for dessert. Although there won't likely be room for butter tart squares on today's menu...they are a perfect all-Canadian fall treat. Butter tarts are unique to Canada...a rich shortbread crust with a creamy caramel raisin and nut filling. Here is a recipe for butter tarts made easy...the square version.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preparation:

Combine flour and sugar. With pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly. Press into cookie sheet (10" x 15"). Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.

Topping:

  1. Mix together butter and sugar.
  2. Blend in eggs.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.
  4. Stir in raisins and pecans.
  5. Pour over base.
  6. Bake at 350° F for 20 to 25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
  7. Allow to cool...then cut into squares.


If you can't finish off the whole pan at once...they freeze well and even taste great partially frozen!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bread for the Journey


Jeremiah 29:11
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to bless you and not to harm you, to give you a future with hope!

It is the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, and it is a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. Sure there are the usual things that we do not have any trouble acknowledging and thanking the good Lord for, like family, home, shelter, jobs, security, a peaceful country that we live in, and so forth.
But.... there is always a but.......can you be thankful in ALL THINGS?
Can you be thankful for going through a broken relationship? For a chronic health condition that has no cure and no end other than death? Are you thankful for depression or financial difficulties? There are so many things that can rob us of our joy.........are we thankful for that?
Crazy I know, to even ponder to "consider it pure joy to suffer".
I know for a fact that I find it very difficult to be thankful in tough circumstances, BUT I have come to be thankful for my assurance that God cares about me and my "stuff" even when I don't understand why.
The Lord knows the plans He has for us.........to benefit us, to give us a future and a hope!
It took me until I was in my early thirties to really except that truth in this verse for myself.
May I encourage you today that you are able to except this truth for your own life, even when it is difficult to be thankful.
Philippians 4:6 says........Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present you request to God.
The next verse comes with a promise........
the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.
I believe that as we pray we need to thank Him for the answer even before we see them .
So please allow me to pray for you.......

Lord.......I thank you for all that have come to this place. May they find the encouragement that they seek, regardless of their story, whether it be one of joy or sorrow, that they can come before you with a thankful heart, knowing that you love them enough, to have their circumstances planned out for them. With humble thanksgiving I thank you not only for my life and ALL the "stuff""that has been bestowed upon me, but the precious life of the one reading this now with all their "stuff", knowing with confidence that you have a plan for their life, one with a future and hope!
AMEN

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Marble Cake




I have this recipe from a neighbor I got together with for coffee many years ago. I love it because it’s so plain, but so moist . . . and very good with a cup of coffee.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 c butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup baking cocoa

Method:
  1. Prepare a tube or Bundt pan for the whole recipe. For a small 9X9 pan, use half the recipe.
  2. Mix sugar and butter well, beating in the eggs, then the whip cream and sour cream.
  3. Mix dry ingredients, then add to batter alternately with milk, until smooth.
  4. Pour 1/2 the batter into greased pan.
  5. Mix the rest of the batter with cocoa and pour on top. You can just leave it or run through it with a knife (once around the circle in a tube pan).
  6. Bake tube pan at 350 F about 55 - 60 min. Small recipe about 35 – 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in tube pan for 10 minutes before removing. Dust with icing sugar when cool.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beef and Mushroom Roulade

I find meat dishes the most difficult to photograph and this Roulade that has mushroom filling rolled into it is no exception.

You will just need to take my word for it. . the meat is tender and the flavour is a perfect autumn flavour. Though the recipe may seem long, it is a good dish to start the day before and finish early in the afternoon if you are having company for dinner. I had purchased thinly cut steak which is used for Roulade but wanted to fill it with something different. This is what I came up with. I served it for dinner with friends and it went over well.



Beef and Mushroom Roulade (serves 6 - 8)

Marinade
  • a package of thinly sliced roulade steak .. .about 6 - 8 pieces
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar or marsala wine
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together and put the thinly sliced steak and marinade into a zip loc bag and refrigerate overnight.

Mushroom Filling

  • 24 ounces button mushrooms . . .sliced
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1/2 cup garlic and herb cream cheese
  • small handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. In a non stick frying pan, melt the butter and add the mushrooms and onions and saute until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cream cheese and the parsley and remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Pat dry all the pieces of meat. Put a small amount of mushroom filling on each piece and spread it out as evenly as possible. Roll the meat up. . and tie at each end. You can see this done in the collage above. If you have extra mushroom filling, it can be used in the sauce later.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium hot heat. Do not use non stick, you will not have the small bits of caramelized meat that makes the sauce so tasty. Brown all the pieces of meat on two sides and transfer them to a heavy casserole that has a lid.

Sauce

  • 1/2 can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of garlic herb cream cheese
  • the remainder of the mushroom filling
  1. In the pan that you made the mushroom filling, add the sauce ingredients and stir just until combined over low heat.
  2. Pour sauce over the roulade rolls in the heavy casserole. Cover with lid.
  3. Put into a 325 oven for 2 -3 hours.
  4. If needed, you can add additional chicken broth if the sauce becomes too thick.
  5. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cornmeal Muffins

This recipe comes from my mother in law. Better known in our family as Johny Cakes. While my mom served faspa most Sunday evenings, my husbands mom would often make these muffins. They are a simple muffin we enjoy served warm with butter, jam and creamy honey.

Johny Cakes:
-1 cup flour
-1 cup cornmeal
-1/3 cup sugar
-3 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup milk
-1/3 cup oil
-1 egg

Stir dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and beat just until all ingredients are blended.
Fill well-greased (I use PAM) muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake at 400º for 20 minutes. Immediately run a small knife around each muffin and pull out of muffin cup onto a cooling rack. Best served warm from the oven. Yields 1 dozen Johny Cakes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crunchy Pumpkin Squares

Autumn is upon us and that means it's pumpkin season..usually when I think of pumpkins it is.. pies, loaves, muffins or the display at my front door but as I was browsing through Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazine (Oct/Nov'09) this recipe caught my eye and after reading it I just knew I had to make this. It did not disappoint..
I had two 'taste testers' with me in the kitchen and they both loved it:)
I heard such satisfied mmm's as they had one forkful after another!

You will need these ingredients:

1 can (30 0z) pumpkin pie filling (make sure it's pie filling and not pure pumpkin)
1 can (12 0z) fat-free evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 pkg (18-1/4oz) yellow or golden cake mix
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup fat reduced butter...this is where I said whoa..1 cup? I used 1/2 cup of regular butter and it was enough.
fat-free whipped topping for garnish (go ahead and use real whipped cream if you must:)

1. In mixing bowl combine pumpkin pie filling, evaporated milk and eggs and beat on medium speed till smooth.
2. Pour into a 13 by 9" ungreased baking pan.
3. Sprinkle with cake mix and pecans.
4. Drizzle with butter.
5. Bake at 350º for 60 to 65 min or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. My oven needed the full 65 min.
6. Cool completely on cooling rack. Well..my taste testers couldn't wait and ate it warm.
7. Garnish with whipped topping.
8. Refrigerate the leftovers...if you have any:)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ooey Gooey Chocolatey Puff Wheat Squares


If you like Puff Wheat Squares, you are going to love these.
I got the recipe from the cook book "The Best of The Best and more" from the Best of Bridge Collection.
I tripled the recipe to serve a whole bunch of young people and it made two big cookie sheets.
This is one quick and economical way of serving lots of people and still make something really tasty.
However one recipe is usually sufficient for a family and a few friends. It makes a 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • 1/2 cup butter or hard margerine (I like using butter)
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 heaping tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 10 cups of puffed wheat (not found in the cereal isle at Super St*re but by the baking supplies like chocolate chips and nuts etc.)
  1. Combine butter, corn syrup, sugars and cocoa powder in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. (Very important)
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  4. Pour over puffed wheat
  5. Mix well and press into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  6. Wet hands work better than greased hands to handle the stickiness so just moisten them with a bit of water.
  7. Resist the temptation to cut just a little piece for yourself, you'll never stop...smile.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Caramel Apple Cake

Autumn and apples...they go together perfectly.  We have our favorite apple dishes at this time of year...and one of them is caramel apple cake.  The apple cake is an old family recipe...the caramel icing is adapted from a recipe found in the 'Taste of Home' collection. 



Ingredients:
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups coarsely grated peeled apples
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts – optional
  Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine oil and sugars.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; add to batter stir well.
  4. Fold in apples, walnuts and vanilla.
  5. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan or 10 inch tube pan (or twelve mini-bundt pans).
  6. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until cake tests done (30 minutes for mini-bundts).
  7. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Caramel Icing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light cream
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • chopped walnuts, optional
 Directions:
  1. In microwave oven (or top of double-boiler), heat brown sugar, cream, butter and salt until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Beat in confectioner's sugar until smooth; drizzle over cake.
  4. Sprinkle with nuts if desired…or stir nuts into icing before spreading.
  5. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bread for the Journey

While traveling recently, we saw hillsides and valleys covered in terraced vineyards. Great care was taken in looking after these vineyards so that they would produce the best fruit.

It reminded me of Christ who used the image of a vine, branches and fruit to illustrate how our lives are rooted in God and how Christ, the gardener tends our lives to produce fruit which will glorify Him.

John 15:1 & 2, 5, 7 & 8 says:

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pizza

Pizza may be simple, but it is delicious. My friend Jan & I both use the same recipe for pizza dough, but not long ago I sat at her kitchen island as she showed me a new idea she had gotten from her daughter for the topping. I thought it was a clever idea, and would share it with you.
Pizza Dough:

1 1/4 cups warm water
-1 tsp sugar
-1 tbsp yeast
-2 tbsp oil
-1 tsp salt
-3-4 cups flour

Put very warm water in a bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes. Put oil, salt and 3 cups flour in a larger bowl and pour yeast mixture in. Stir together and then using your hands knead, adding as much of the remaining flour as needed to get a smooth soft dough. Roll out dough and place in greased pans. Allow to rise until doubled. (you can use all the dough in a large cookie sheet or use 2 smaller sheets to 2 pizza pans.)
Once the dough has risen (about 1/2 hour) spread with 213 ml size pizza sauce. (or any tomato sauce you have)
Tip: After greasing pans you can sprinkle with corn meal for a crispier crust.

Toppings: In the picture above you will see the Tupperware container filled with meat and spices. Pizza toppings can vary, but for this recipe Jan used a variety of deli meats. (for this size recipe use about 3-4 cups of chopped meat. Her daughter's tip was to buy any deli meat that you like and chop it up fine when you get home, add the following ingredients, and put in the fridge until ready to use, or freeze for later use. The flavors have time to really blend, and you have all the prep work done...and why not pre grate your cheese too.

Add:
-1 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp basil
-1/2 tsp pepper
-if you want some heat add 1 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Shake the meat mixture together well.
On top of the pizza sauce sprinkle the meat mixture and then top with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Before adding the cheese you can add pineapple, onions, olives, feta and peppers.
Bake pizzas in 425º oven for about 15-20 minutes.



Allow pizza to sit for 5 minutes before you cut into it. This allows the moisture in the toppings to settle. Jan completed the meal with veggies and dip. Your family will love it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Monika's Salad

Monika is my sister. I love it when she brings this salad to family dinners! I cropped this photo from a family time at the lake recently . . . so it is "her" salad.

Ingredients:

1/2 bag spring mix pre-washed salad greens
1/2 bag romain and iceberg mix
green onions (personal prefference)
1/2 cup fetta cheese (approx)
1/4 cup real bacon bits (approx)
2 small cans mandarin orange segments
1 cup toasted almond slices

Dressing:
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1-2 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (optional)
1 tsp sugar

Method:

Prepare salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. Mix dressing ingredients well and pour on just before serving.

When I make this salad, I don't add the soy sauce. I toast and caramalize blanched almonds by putting them in a Teflon pan on low to med heat, and stirring them for a few minutes. Then I sprinkle them with a few Tbsp of brown sugar and keep stirring until the sugar melts and sticks to the nuts. Warning: Don't walk away . . . keep stirring until done. Cool and sprinkle on salad.
The flavor in this salad goes well with turkey dinner.