Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bread for the Journey

My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man's whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4: 20-23
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Proverbs 8: 10-11
I ask myself, how do I guard my heart? How do I protect what I hold dear and not let it get stained by the world and the things in it? One of Jesus' disciples said to Him, "Lord to whom can we go, for You alone have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) It is a good day to put aside the pursuits of this life and take time to listen.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cottage Cheese Blintze

These blintzes are an old favorite of ours. I know there are other ways of making them but this is how I make them. Sometimes I roll them up instead of these bundles..the taste is the same. This recipe is found in the Mennonite Treasury. I use the recipe for German pancakes to make the blintzes. I changed it up a wee bit.

German Pancakes:
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups milk

Mix flour and salt, add eggs and milk. Beat until free of lumps, this makes a thin batter.
Heat up a cast iron frying pan, works in other pans but I like my well seasoned cast iron pan the best and when 'almost smoking hot' brush with butter and pour approx 1/4 cup batter in the pan tilting the pan till a thin layer covers the bottom of the pan.
Cook on med high until dough is set. Turn and cook until golden brown underneath. Watch carefully as these brown up fast.
Pile up on a plate and keep warm in oven.

Blintzes

Cottage cheese mixture:
1 375g tub dry cottage cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Mix well and start making the blintzes.
Place a spoonful of cottage cheese mixture in center of pancake, fold in the edges and place folded side down in well buttered cast iron frying pan.
You may now just pile them all up in the pan as I did and bake them covered at 350 for 15 to 20 min OR brown the blintzes in the frying pan and serve immediately. They are delicious served with cream gravy.

Cream gravy:
Melt 3 tbsp butter in frying pan, add 1 cup whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. I also add a pinch of sugar. Turn oven down to med heat and cook until gravy thickens, stirring frequently.
Pour over the blintzes and enjoy. These are good served with farmer sausage and coleslaw.
Delicious!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tomato Bruschetta


I like making this for lunch along side a bowl of homemade soup. You can put the topping on anything but I like it in bagels.

  • !/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • pepper to taste
  1. Mix together and spoon on to bagel halves.
  2. Broil at 350 til warmed through and cheese bubbles.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Citrus Pound Cake

This recipe comes from the Robin Hood Baking Festival Cookbook.
I baked it to use in a Cranberry Trifle that I made for an event at Christmas and it added a lovely flavour to the finished dessert.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the trifle so that recipe will have to wait for a later post.
This cake is delicious served just as it is or with a dollop of whipped cream.
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (I substituted some sour cream as I didn't have enough yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan or a 10 inch tube pan.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Cream butter with sugar in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until well blended and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating lightly after each until smooth. Then beat on high speed until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add zests, and beat briefly.
  6. Add dry ingredients alternately with yogurt and orange juice, beating on low speed until well blended.
  7. Spread batter in prepared pan
  8. Bake at 350º for 65-75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove to wire rack.

This cake freezes very well. I used only half of it to make the trifle and put the rest in the freezer to be served at a later time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Creamy no bake Cheesecake




I combined a few different recipes from my favorites to make this no bake cheesecake for our Christmas Dinner Dessert. It had a nice smooth texture that sliced beautifully and wasn't heavy tasting.

Crust Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup finely ground almonds
  1. Mix together the vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar, butter and almonds until crumbs form. Press into a 9 inch spring form pan and bake in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes. Cool.

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

  • 2 packages of light Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Whip the cream to soft peaks and set aside.
  2. Dissolve the gelatin in hot water and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan bring the 1/3 cup water and the 1 cup sugar to a boil over high heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until a thread forms when dropped from a teaspoon. Do not allow the syrup to begin to brown.
  4. In a large free standing mixing bowl begin to beat the egg whites and slowly add the sugar syrup and beat on high speed until the meringue is thick and cooled .. .about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
  5. In another large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for a minute until smooth.
  6. Add the softened gelatin mixture.
  7. Add the sour cream and combine until smooth.
  8. Add the cooled meringue, strirring until no white streaks remain.
  9. Add the whipped cream and the vanilla.
  10. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate until set . ..about 4 hours or overnight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Schwartzies


This hash brown dish takes a few minutes to mix and is a good addition to a brunch or main meal. Last Sunday morning I added some peeled and cut farmer sausage in a separate dish with a little water. I covered both dishes, pre-set the oven and we came home to a ready meal.

Ingredients:

1 (2 lb) frozen hash browns
2 cans cream of mushroom
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. fine onion flakes
1/2 tsp salt,
pepper
2 cups grated cheese
sprinkle Parmesan cheese
paprika

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then spread into 9 X 13 Pyrex dish. For four people I did half the recipe in a 1 quart casserole dish.
  2. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and paprika.
  3. Bake 1 hour at 375F.

    Variation: Add cubed cooked ham or bacon bits.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Mushroom Chicken


This is one of my quick meals that I saute together in about 30 minutes. It works best to cut up your veggies before you begin to brown your chicken breasts. Start a pot of water to boil some spaghetti noodles the same time you begin your chicken. Even though it has a bit of heavy cream, I think it is still a healthy choice especially if you use whole wheat noodles like we do. The sauce is just enough to coat and flavour the noodles. Use a large pan but if possible it should not be non stick. The meat browns better without one.

Mushroom Chicken
  • 4 - 6 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large onion .. diced
  • 1 bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach. . washed and left to drain
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 head of roasted garlic . ..which we actually prefer)
  • 1 can or small carton chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • a splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil or 2 tablespoons freeze dried basil
  • 1/2 cup parmigiana cheese
  1. Heat a large fry pan over medium high heat. .. and add the oil.
  2. Pat dry the chicken breasts, season them with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Don't crowd the pan or the chicken will not brown . .they'll just poach. Look at my pan . .don't add more than that.
  3. When the chicken begins to release from the pan ..it is ready to flip. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until the other side is browned and then remove and put in a 325 oven to keep warm and to finish the cooking.
  4. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil if necessary and then add the onion and mushrooms and garlic. Scrape up the bits of brown and saute until the mushrooms have released their liquid and they are beginning to brown.  This part is important not to rush.  The mushrooms are best when soft. 
  5. Add the bell pepper and  and continue to saute until the pepper has just wilted.
  6. Add the heavy cream and the wine and the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add the chicken back into the pan and add the basil and simmer a few minutes.
  8. Add the spinach and the parmigiana cheese.
  9. As soon as the spinach wilts serve over hot noodles. . .we prefer spaghetti.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bread for the Journey


Forgiveness

The Bible talks about forgiveness 86 times.
It talks about God's forgiveness towards us.
It talks about forgiving one another.
If you really think about it. Forgiving someone is easier than receiving forgiveness.
Come on now, be honest. If you really think about it, how many times do you beat yourself up for the sins in your life?
Perhaps you said something to someone you shouldn't have.
Maybe you made a choice a long time ago that you can not go back and correct.
Maybe there is a hurt with in you so deep that you can not let go.
Yes we know that God forgives us. But can you really accept that forgiveness?
God has freely given us that gift through his Son Jesus dying on the cross.
We have the hope of living in forgiveness through Christ's resurrection.
I invite you today to really be gracious to yourself, as Christ has been gracious to you.
Ask for God's forgiveness, then let it go........with the assurance that you truly have been forgiven.
1 John 1:9 says this....may it encourage you.
If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


Leave this place today with the confidence and assurance that not only are you forgiven,
you are PURIFIED!




Saturday, January 23, 2010

Honey Bran Buns


Honey bran buns are such a nice light and fluffy textured bun, and a good source of fiber, sweet with a light bran flavor.
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup bran cereal, buds, flakes or natural bran
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 6 cups of flour (may use half whole wheat)
  • 2 eggs, fork beaten
  • 1 tbsp. dry instant yeast (added to the flour)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. combine bran, honey, boiling water oil and salt.
  2. cool til luke warm.
  3. add 3 cups flour with the yeast and eggs, stir well to mix.
  4. add remaining flour gradually as you are kneading to make a soft dough but not too sticky. You may need to add a little more flour as needed.
  5. knead about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  6. place in a large greased bowl, turning once to grease all the dough
  7. cover with a tea towel and put into your oven with the oven light on, for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Punch dough down and shape into buns. I usually get about 3 dozen from this recipe.
  9. Let them rise on the cookie sheet for another 30-40 minutes.
  10. Bake at 375 for about 15-18 minutes, depends on your oven and how brown you like them.
  11. Serve with any of the wonderful soups and stews on our side bar .
  12. Enjoy!







Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken & Rice Casserole

This is our one time family favorite. Just make sure that you always have these ingredients in your pantry and you'll realize how quick this puts together and you have one tasty chicken dish.
Do you have five minutes? Yes, that's all this requires. This recipe comes from my Central Heights Cookbook. Add some broccoli and a fresh salad.
I have often made this Sunday morning and off to church we'd go, only to walk into a home smelling with aromas that makes you want to eat right away. And all being said...You will be eating shortly.

Now remember the Olympics countdown is here and so start today with your grocery list. It will save you fretting about, wondering what to make while you want to enjoy the the winter games.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
  • 1 Cup white rice (uncooked)
  • 1 pkg. Lipton onion soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
Butter casserole. Put rice on bottom, then chicken. Next add water and soup. Cover.
Bake in 350 degrees for 2 hours.

Simple ingredients.

Bake in the oven for 2 hours.

I usually double this recipe. It's even great for leftovers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January Skiers Soup

I think it was the name that appealed to me originally...though I wasn't much of a skier, I could could cook soup. The recipe came from a church cookbook published in 1985...put out by the gals from the Kelowna Mennonite Brethren Church...and given to me by my sister-in-law way back then. It is basically a hamburger soup...and was submitted by Gloria H. Over the years I have cooked it often...and changed it up a little. It's a hearty winter soup...combined with some fresh bread it makes a great meal after a day on the slopes...or anywhere, for that matter. January is officially soup month...so here's a recipe you might want to try.

January Skiers Soup
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 sliced onions
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 2 cups sliced cabbage (optional)
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper (just to add a wee zip)

Method:

  1. Brown ground beef in heavy pot...with 1 tablespoon oil. Use a potato masher to stir while browning...it's great for crumbling the beef.

  2. Add remaining ingredients except rice and seasonings, and bring to a boil.

  3. Add rice and seasonings.

  4. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

  5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream...and fresh bread.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

Several weeks ago seven of us girls from MGCC got together for a movie night at Judy's place.
Since blogging and cooking is 'our thing' we decided to watch Julie and Julia, and we had a few good laughs as we saw ourselves through this movie.
I thought I'd like to try one of Julia Child's signature recipes; Beef Bourguignon.
This is no ordinary stew and I would not suggest it for your first attempt in cooking.
It was worth the time and effort!
The aroma was promising, the taste tester kept wanting to go back for more,
and the end result was perfection...robust flavor and fork tender stewing beef.
I did change the recipe up and modified the steps a little.
The photo does not do it justice, but I will be making this again and again!

Ingredients:
-2 tbsp bacon fat ( I saved this from bacon I had fried earlier)
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 pounds lean stewing beef -cut into 2" cubes
-1 thinly sliced carrot
-1 thinly sliced onion
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 tbsp flour
-1 1/2 cups red wine
-1 1/2 cups apple juice
-2-3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
-1 tbsp tomato paste
-2 cloves garlic, crushed
-1/2 tsp thyme
-1 bay leaf
-carrot sticks
-18-24 small white onions, brown braised in stock-see recipe below
-1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered and sauteed in butter (optional)
-fresh parsley

Step one:
Using paper towel dry off beef chucks. It will not brown if it is damp.
In a heavy fry pan heat bacon fat and oil until it almost starts to smoke. Saute beef chucks until nicely browned on all sides. The oil and juices of the meat should be quite dark. Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper and flour. Over medium heat toss to coat and stir until meat is crusted with flour (2-3 minutes) Remove and place in a heavy dutch oven or other heavy casserole dish.
In the same fat, brown the carrots and onions until they begin to caramelize. Place these on top of the beef.
Step two:
Pour the wine, apple juice and 2 1/2 cups of beef stock over meat and vegetables. Add the thyme, bay leaf, garlic and tomato paste. Stir together and place in 325º oven. Regulate the heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2-4 hours.
While beef is cooking, prepare onions and mushrooms.
Step Three: Brown Braised Onions
Peel the small while onions.
Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of each butter and cooking oil over medium heat. When butter begins to bubble add the peeled onions. Saute for 10 minutes stirring often, being careful that you don't break the onions thin skins. When they are nice and brown add the remaining 1/2 cup beef stock, a sprig of parsley and 1/2 bay leaf to the pan. Cover and simmer slowly for 45 minutes, or until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and discard herbs. Add the onions to the beef. Add the fresh baby carrots or carrot sticks. (the little onions, mushrooms and carrots should be added when the beef cooks its last hour)
Step Four:
Wash and quarter mushrooms. In the same pan you braised the onions in add 1 1/2 tbsp butter. When it begins to bubble add the mushrooms. Stir, scraping any brown pits that may have been left in the pan from the onions. Saute mushrooms until a dark golden brown. Add this to the beef.
*at this point if you find the juice is too thin for your liking, scoop out 1/2 cup of juice and whisk in 1 tbsp of flour until it is very smooth. Slowly stir that back into your beef and continue to cook.
Continue to cook the beef mixture for at least another hour. (I cooked mind for a total of 4 hours.
Serving suggestions:
Serve Beef Bourginoun with boiled, riced or mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.
Make sure you have lots of crusty bread to mop up the gravy...it should not go to waste!
Garnish with a sprig of parsley, and add another vegetable on the side.
Beef Bourguignon can be made the day ahead and reheated. Bring to a simmer and slowly simmer until it is hot, basting occasionally for about 20 minutes.









Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The BIG Chocolate Chip Cookie

When our daughter was attending college she would bring friends home for supper quite often.
Sometimes there would be up to 15 kids that would show up. Never really knowing how many would be coming I often made a huge casserole, lots of french bread and would make the salad when I had counted the number of students. We looked forward to Thursday evenings those two years.
One of the most requested desserts was the simplest thing to whip together.
The BIG cookie.
It's a recipe from the Mennonite Treasury that is just a basic oatmeal chocolate chip cookie,
but instead of making individual cookies, I just put all the dough onto a pizza pan and bake it.
Cut it into wedges and serve by itself, or with a scoop if ice cream.

-1 cup margarine
-2/3 cup white sugar
-2/3 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 1/2 cups flour

-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 heaping cup of chocolate chips
-2 cups oatmeal
-1 tsp vanilla
Cream margarine, add sugars, vanilla and eggs. Beat well. Add flour, salt and soda to the creamed mixture. Add oatmeal and chocolate chips and beat until all ingredients are well mixed.
OPTIONS- drop by teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes at 350º
OR- for the BIG cookie, grease a round pizza pan (or line it with parchment and cut to fit the round) and dump all the cookie dough onto the pan and spread it out evenly leaving a 1 1/2 inch space for cookie to spread out. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350º or until centre is done.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beef and Barley Soup

I got this recipe from my friend Alice that graciously made this for a group of ladies at a church Woman's Retreat.
It has quickly become one of our family favorites. A hearty, and healthy supper on a cold Canadian winters night.

  • 1 lb. beef stew or other lean beef
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 9 cups of low sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper or to taste
  • 1 large Rutabaga
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup barley
  1. Brown beef.
  2. add onions and garlic and cook till softened.
  3. add remaining ingredients and simmer for about an hour til the barley is done.
  4. or in the crock pot on low for 8-10 hours.
  5. this yields about 16 cups.
  6. serve with any of the fantastic buns, bread or biscuits found on our side bar.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bread for the Journey


"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink."
"For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water,
shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me."
John 7:37-38. LB

On my travels this past year in Rome,
I stumbled across this cistern.
Everything inside of me stopped...

"I was walking along the hot dusty cobbled streets, and there in front of me, was fresh water. I was imagining what it would of been like to hear the words,"

"If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink."

I think we all know what it is like to be dehydrated.
Once we stop drinking water, we loose coherency,
skin grows clammy and vital organs wrinkle.
Deprive your body of necessary fluid and your body will tell you.
Your body needs water, the way a tire needs air.

So it is, if we deprive our soul of spiritual water,
your soul will tell you.
Where do you find water for your soul?
What H2O can do for your body,
Jesus can do for your soul.

Today we are all searching for purified bottled water.
Maybe we need to look for the bottle called "Spirituality".
One bottle will never satisfy your thirst.
Communion with Jesus satisfies thirsty souls.
Just as an Olympic athlete trains his body,
and keeps it hydrated, we too, can come to our
our Coach, Jesus, who can continue to energize us.

Continue to drink with me on my spiritual journey,
from this bottomless well,
so that we can all be rivers of living water.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Raisin Applesauce Loaf

I got this recipe years ago from my friend, Doreen. A very moist loaf that could pass for a cake. Actually quite tasty with a dollop of whipped cream too.

Ingredients:

1 c raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
2 ½ c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ c apple sauce
½ c oil
½ c reserved liquid
2 eggs
½ c fresh walnuts

Method:

  1. Put raisins and spices in a small pot, cover with water and cook for 20 min. Drain
    and reserve 1/2 c liquid.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add applesauce, oil, liquid and eggs, beating two minutes.
  4. Stir in raisins and nuts.
  5. Bake in 2 small greased and floured bread pans at 350F for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Roman Style Chicken

My husband gave me this recipe...He found it in one of his chicken magazines.
He's always tearing them out for me. He loves it if I try new things especially with a hint of European flavor. I think we were both spoiled with excellent meals. The freshness of fresh produce is hard to beat.This dish was so good, that I made another one immediately and froze it, as it will serve to be one of my meat dishes on our up-coming ski holiday.
You can also prepare this ahead of time...freeze it and you will be ready for the OLYMPICS!!!

Ingredients
  • 6 skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, (dry cured ham) chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves.
Directions
  1. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
  2. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and procscuitto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Add the tomaties, wine, and herbs. I did not have fresh herbs, so I used dried ingredients.
  6. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 -30 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve.
  9. Serve over fresh pasta...It is so delicious.

Stir all the vegetables in one pan and return the chicken later.

The chicken is added while this simmers for 30 more minutes.

This one may sound like a bit more work, but once it's prepared...it ready to warm up in a jiffy and serve up for a quick family dinner and everyone will want to take the leftovers home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roasted Carrot Soup


Just before Christmas I was doing a bit of entertaining with small dinner parties. I had baked a ham for one dinner and was left with a ham bone for making soup for the next dinner party. I made a broth with the ham by . .
  • putting the ham bone in a large soup pot and covering the ham bone with about 8 cups of water . . .bringing it to a boil and simmering it for several hours.
  • I added a cheesecloth packet of 10 pepper kernels and 5 whole allspice.
  • I added to the pot 2 bay leaves and
  • 1 tablespoon summer savoury.

You wouldn't have to use roasted carrots but it adds another level of depth to the flavour of the soup. The soup will stay a brighter orange if you don't roast the carrots and I wasn't that pleased with the appearance but it tasted fabulous.

  • 2 pounds carrots scrubbed clean cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 -7 cups of ham broth (add additional broth later if you find the soup too thick. .because the broth is already flavoured it will not bother the soup to add more later)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • a dash cayenne pepper
  • a few dashes hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (you do not need salt if you are using a ham broth)
  • the juice of half a lime
  1. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spread the carrots and onion evenly.
  2. Bake in a 375 degree oven until the carrots and onions are very tender and just beginning to caramelize.
  3. Put the broth, the carrots and the onions over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the seasonings and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Add the lime juice.
  6. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to the consistency you want. If you do not have an immersion blender. . .put it a few cups at a time into a blender. .be careful not to fill your blender too full. .hot liquids tend to explode.
  7. Serve with a teaspoon of sour cream.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baked Dip for Crackers

This is a quick and easy dip to make, you can dip or spread it on crackers. We enjoyed it while still hot but I'm sure it would be good served cold too.

1/2 cup finely grated raw carrots
1/2 cup finely grated celery
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
couple dashes hot sauce..or you could add diced jalepeno...you pick the heat you want or omit entirely.

Mix together and put it in a small greased ovenproof dish.
Bake at 375º for approx 20 to 25 min or until it's bubbly and slightly browned.
Spread on crackers and enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Canelloni

This is a great make ahead meal. Served with a salad and Marg's Rustic Italian bread or with Foccacia bread you have a lovely Italian meal nice enough to serve to company.
At a later date I'll post another version using seafood. But this is more like the traditional Italian Canelloni
  • 1 package fresh lasagne sheets*
  • spaghetti sauce, homemade or from a jar
  • 1 500 ml carton ricotta cheese
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 recipe Bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

* I bought my fresh lasagne sheets at our local Price Smart store in the deli section. They come in a package of 8 sheets and are found with the other fresh pastas.

  1. Cut each lasagne sheet into two pieces.
  2. Bring salted water to boil in a large pot and cook lasagne sheets until just tender. This will only take a few minutes.
  3. Drain pasta and rinse well. Lay each piece out on the counter.
  4. Squeeze excess moisture from the spinach and mix together with the ricotta, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and the egg. ( I actually forgot to add the egg and the filling still held together very well).
  5. Using about 2 Tbsp. for each piece of pasta, form filling into a log and place on the narrow end of the pasta sheet.
  6. Roll up each forming a filled tube.
  7. Make Bechamel sauce. I usually do this in the microwave, but you can also do it on the stove. Melt butter, add flour and gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly or microwave stirring after each minute of cooking. Cook until mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Put a large spoonful each of Bechamel and Spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish.
  9. Place filled pasta tubes in 2 rows in dish.
  10. Cover with remaining spaghetti sauce.
  11. Top with remaining Bechamel sauce.
  12. Grate fresh parmesan cheese on top.
  13. Cover with foil. This can be refrigerated or frozen at this point.
  14. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  15. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Broccoli Casserole

I thought that I had lost this recipe for good, but recently found out by accident that I had submitted it to a church cookbook back in 1992. I don't remember where I got it before that. This vegetable dish is a good one to prepare ahead in the day and put into the oven half hour before eating. Very nice for those large family dinners when you don't want an extra pot on the stove, or more last minute work.

Ingredients:

2-4 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tin sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tin cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup Cheez Whiz
1/3 cup chopped almonds
5 cups broccoli, bite size pieces

topping:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup almonds

Method:
  1. Place broccoli in boiling water and cook or steam for a few minutes, until just partly done. Drain and set aside.
  2. In large frying pan, saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter until soft.
  3. Stir in the soup, cheese and almonds and then the broccoli.
  4. Spoon into greased 5 cup casserole dish and sprinkle with topping.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, uncovered.
For a large group ( 12- 20 people) double the recipe and use a 9 X 13 pyrex dish.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bread for the Journey

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

This year us ladies at MGCC have nudged each other to spend more time in God's Word.
It takes discipline.
I find that I spend far more time in prayer than I do reading my bible.
I can pray anywhere and at any time.....
what a blessing that is.

Bible reading on the other hand requires me STOP.
It requires TIME.
Those are things that take DISCIPLINE.

God's word sheds light for life.
It is The Bread of Life.
We can never overindulge in it.
It is soul food that I need for every day.
At times I have starved myself,
reaching a point of craving it.

When I discipline myself to stop and take time
I am fed well.
God's word is spiritually healthy nourishment.
God's word is fresh,
sometimes it is a feast for my soul
other times it is a small bite that refreshes for the moment.

Why don't you join us this year by spending more time reading your bible.

O cleaning Word, O precious Word, Your promises are true;
They keep and purify my heart; Your truths are ever new.
-Unknown

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Elora's Cheese Bread - Gluten free



Shortly before Christmas my gluten-free granddaughter, Elora, said, "Nanna, what I want for Christmas is Cheese Bread..... it has to be white and soft with cheese in it."
How could I say no? smile....
In the photo above her cheeks are full of the bread and her smile is happy.
She is also quite pleased that the bread is named after her.

Here is the recipe...... (note - I updated this recipe on Oct. 8/2011)

Elora's Cheese Bread
Ingredients and Method

1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tbsp reg. yeast

(quick stir and set aside to proof)

1 egg
2 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp oil

Mix together the following dry ingredients

1/4 cup white bean flour
1/4 brown rice flour
3 tbsp millet flour
1/4 tapioca starch flour
1/4 potato starch (NOT potato flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup of shredded cheese  -  extra for top of loaf
Blend egg and water and oil in mixing bowl, add the proofed yeast

Then add all at once the dry ingredients and beat on high for a minute or two , then lastly blend in the shredded cheese.

Scape onto a greased baking sheet , and using hands dipped in water shape into a 10-11 inch long log. Sprinkle top with more shredded cheese and cover with plastic wrap.

Let rise for about an hour.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until a nice golden brown.


** if you add your favorite spices (if desired) this makes a nice pizza crust as well. Just smooth dough with a spoon into a thin circle on baking sheet.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Patty's Oriental Salad


This salad is similar to other cabbage noodle salads except that the noodles are browned in butter and the dressing is made from scratch.
My daughter in law brought it for lunch on Sunday and we all enjoyed it so much I thought I should post it.
She got the recipe from Patty - a colleague in her office.
  • 1 head Savoy Cabbage, shredded (using Savoy cabbage adds a crinkly appearance and texture)
  • 5 green onions chopped
  • 2 packages oriental noodles broken apart into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 small package sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup butter (less works too)

Dressing:

  • 2 tsp. soya sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (I used a combination of white and rice vinegars)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  1. Combine Cabbage and green onions in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in pan. Break noodles up into small pieces and add with sesame seeds and almonds to pan. Fry until nicely browned. Remove from pan to paper towel. Cool.
  3. Mix soya sauce, sugar and vinegar until well blended.
  4. Add vegetable oil and mix well again.
  5. Just before serving, add noodle mixture to cabbage in bowl and pour dressing over.
  6. Toss lightly and serve.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rice cooked with Milk

Cooked rice served with sugar and cinnamon..mmm, comfort food! Mom made this often and it was always a favorite of mine and still is. I grew up on a dairy farm and so there was no shortage of milk and this rice was cooked with rich whole milk. But now I usually cook it with 1% milk although it really does taste better with whole milk!


1 cup long grain rice..I have used basmati and that is good too
1/4 tsp salt
approx 4 cups milk
In a large saucepan bring to boil the rice, salt and 1 cup milk on high, stirring frequently. Once it's boiling turn heat down to med heat.
As the rice cooks and absorbs the milk keep adding more milk, 1/2 cup at a time until the rice is tender. You will need to keep stirring frequently until the rice is done which takes about 40 to 45 min.
Serve with sugar and cinnamon. We eat it as a dessert and after a light meal as it is very filling. When my Mom used to make it we ate it as part of the main course. Mom loved to eat sweet and savoury dishes at the same time.. and that is definetly something I inherited from her!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sundried Tomato Pesto Torte

This recipe came from a professional caterer...and has become a favorite in my kitchen. It is easy to make, very tasty, and serves up nicely.

Ingredients:
  • 1-250 gram package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Club House Garlic and Red Pepper Seasoning (or your favorite brand)
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (oil-packed, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup homemade or store bought pesto
Method:
  1. Beat Cream cheese until soft; add seasonings and parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  2. Spray a small round bowl (about 2 cup size) with Pam, and line with plastic wrap, making sure edges overhang.
  3. Place 1/3 cream cheese mixture in bottom of bowl...pressing to form to bowl.
  4. Top with pesto.
  5. Spread another 1/3 cream cheese mixture over pesto...smoothing as much as possible.
  6. Spread with chopped sundried tomatoes.
  7. Top with remaining cream cheese, smoothing surface and pressing down gently.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To serve:
  1. Remove top plastic wrap and place bowl upside down on serving plate.
  2. Remove bowl...holding firmly to remaining plastic wrap.
  3. Remove remaining plastic wrap.
  4. Serve with crackers or bread.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Maple Nut Bread Pudding

Cold winter nights beg for some comfort foods and when you bake this bread pudding in individual dishes it suddenly becomes a company dessert which smells wonderfully fragrant. I pop it in the oven while dinner is being served.

  • 1 french bread which is a half recipe of Anneliese's French Bread
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Thinly cut off the crust of the bread and cube into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Butter individual gratin dishes.
  3. Divide the bread between the dishes. I made the recipe into 6 dishes.
  4. Sprinkle the cranberries over the bread.
  5. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the bread.
  6. In a large measuring cup, beat the eggs, add the milk, cream, flavoring and syrup and salt.
  7. Pour over the bread and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.
  8. Remove plastic wrap and bake @ 350 F about 25 minutes or until browned and set.
  9. Serve warm with ice cream.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken Artichoke and Rice casserole



Here's another recipe I've adapted from a small Pillsbury recipe booklet. It's elegant enough for company. It would be a lovely recipe to use for some of that leftover turkey.
This recipe serves 10-12 but you can easily halve it to serve 4 or 5.

White Sauce*
  • 6 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper ( I often use Montreal Steak Spice)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk

*2 cans of undiluted cream of chicken soup can be substituted for the white Sauce.

Casserole:

  • 1 1/2 cups julienne cut (2 x 1/4 x 1/4") carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienne cut green peppers
  • 1/2 cup julienne cut red or yellow peppers
  • 1/3 cup green onions cut into 1" strips
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken cut into strips
  • 3 or 4 strips bacon, crsply cooked and crumbled
  • 8 oz. shredded cheese ( mozzarella or swiss or montery jack or combination)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice*
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice*
  • 1 or 2 14 oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Prmesan cheese
  • Dried parsley flakes

* I cook 1 cup of a rice blend (found at Costco) which cooks up to 3 cups rice.

For Sauce:

  1. Melt margarine in medium saucepan over medium heat (or in microwavable bowl) Stir in flour, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly, stirring constantly.
  3. Gradually add milk and chicken broth, and cook stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. (or cook for one minute intervals in microwave, stirring well after each interval)

For the Casserole:

  1. Heat oven to 350º. Grease 9x13" baking dish.
  2. In large skillet over medium high heat, cook and stir carrots, and peppers in 1 Tbsp. butter until crip tender, adding green onions about half way.
  3. Stir in white sauce, 1/2 cup milk, sherry, chicken, bacon and cheese. Blend well and remove from heat.
  4. Combine white and wild rice and spread evenly over bottom of greased baking dish.
  5. Arrange artichokes over rice.
  6. Spoon chicken/sauce mixture evenly over artichokes. (Dish can be covered at this point and refrigerated up to 24 hours)
  7. Spinkle with grated parmesan and parsley
  8. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until casserole is throughly heated and begins to brown.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bread for the Journey, Happy New Year


As we begin 2010 we'd like to thank all of you who follow our blog.
You encourage us daily with your gracious comments and we appreciate each one of you. Speaking for myself, I have been so blessed by the fellowship and support of each of my fellow contributors and want to express my personal appreciation to Lovella for her dedication to making this blog the best it can be.
Thank you Lovella.


For today's "Bread for the Journey" post, I'd like to share a poem
which I read in a magazine a long time ago.
I've made it my prayer every New Year since and hope it inspires you as well.


Unmapped Miles Ahead

I wrap up
the last day of December.
Ahead hang months
Of unmapped miles.
Inside me
eagerness
tangles with trepidation.
Questions
rim my heart:
What Trial?
What Triumph?
What will meet me tomorrow?

Creator of our chronology-
You who set up seasons
split light from night
walked timelines in both directions-
You know what’s waiting.

Hold my hours in Your hands
tug me toward right
tap my shoulder and whisper instructions
fill my heart with Your directions.
I want to walk these days
with You.
Joan Rae Mills


Happy New Year from all of us at Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Coconut Bread Pudding

Bread pudding used to be referred to as poor man's pudding. I remember my Mom making this pudding and it was a way of salvaging stale bread..nothing was wasted. And since milk and eggs were plentiful on the farm this dessert could be made with little cost. When I made this bread pudding I sure wasn't thinking that it tasted like a 'poor man's pudding' but rather it had a wonderfully rich flavour and the sauce just put it over the top! Mom didn't make a sauce and we ate the pudding plain. This is a large recipe but can easily be halved.

Ingredients:

12 thick slices bread (diced and crust can be left on or off, your choice) this can be stale or fresh..I used pannetone bread and left the crust on
3 tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup sugar..if using a sweetened bread you could use 1/2 cup sugar
9 eggs
3/4 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups whipping cream..or increase milk and decrease cream as long as you have 3 cups
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon..I used 3/4 tsp
1 tsp vanilla

1. Dice your bread and set aside.
2. Using a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and coconut. Beat until well blended.
3. Add in diced bread and mix with a spoon till all the bread is covered in the liquid. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and allow bread to absorb the liquid for 1 hour. Give the mixture a stir once in awhile.
4. Put bread mixture into a greased 9"x 12" pan or individual baking dishes.
5. Bake in 350º for 45 to 50 min.
Allow to sit 5 min before serving.

Serve with ice cream or with this Bailey's Irish Cream Sauce:

4 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp( or slightly more if you like the flavor) Bailey's Irish Cream
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

1. Heat whipping cream till scalding, not boiling. Continue to stir so it doesn't burn. I heated the cream in the microwave and didn't stir at all while it heated up.
2. In small bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar and Bailey's. Add a little scalded milk to the bowl to bring up the temp of the yolks.
3. Add yolk mixture to scalded milk slowly, whisking the whole time.
4. Place bowl back in microwave and cook for a few min stirring a couple of times.
5. Add cornstarch and water mixture and cook for a few more min until sauce thickens, again stirring a few times.
6. Pour into a pitcher and serve hot with warm bread pudding. This is a very smooth sauce and can be reheated, but with a few reheats it changes texture a bit although it still tastes just as good!!
In this photo the sauce had been reheated and it doesn't look as creamy as it does when first cooked.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mushroom Leek Soup

Happy New Year to you all! May 2010 be a year of blessing and peace in your family. We'll start the year with a bowl of soup. After all the big dinners and appetizer evenings of the Christmas season. . .we're all ready for a bowl of satisfying soup with some crusty buns.
  • 4 leeks
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sherry or madeira wine (optional)
  • a dash or two of ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • a small handful fresh chopped parseley. .about 1/3 cup chopped
  • chopped chives for garnish
  • salt and and pepper to taste just before serving
  1. Remove the green parts of the leeks.
  2. Slice the leeks and rinse well in water and drain in a colander.
  3. Slice the mushrooms.
  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  5. Add the leeks and saute until wilted but not browned. Remove from pan.
  6. Add the mushrooms to the pan and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have browned a bit about 30 minutes on medium low.
  7. Add the leeks back into the saucepan.
  8. Add the flour and thyme and stir well and simmer a minute or two.
  9. Add the milk and the broth and stir until well combined.
  10. Leave the soup chunky for main course or for a soup course .. use an immersion blender to chop it up a bit. Either way .. .it is delicious. If you don't have an immersion blender you can put a few cups at a time in a regular blender .. don't fill too high. .hot liquids tend to be explosive in a blender and you'll end up with soup on your cabinets and clothes. ..(speaking from experience.)