Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Tuscan Chicken and Beans

This recipe was inspired by one I found on the internet  last week.  I've made it twice now as we've really enjoyed the combination of flavours. Once the ingredients are assembled,  you can have this ready to eat in just over 1/2 an hour.
 I served it with a loaf of whole wheat french bread and a fresh green  salad.
  •             Olive oil 
  •             1 pound.chicken breasts (I always remove the tenderloins when I buy chicken breasts and freeze them for stir frying or for skillets like this one)
  •             1 teaspoon salt
  •             1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper or freshly ground pepper
  •             6 or 7 large mushrooms thickly sliced
  •             1-2  tablespoons butter   
  •             1 medium onion,cut into 1/2 inch dice
  •             1/2 a large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice        
  •             2-3 large cloves garlic
  •             1 teaspoon oregano
  •             1/2 teaspoon thyme
  •             2/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (I used the oil packed ones)
  •             1 19 ounce can Cannelini beans, (also called white kidney beans) drained and rinsed
  •             2 14 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  •             1 tablespoon sugar
  •             1 6 ounce can black olives, drained and sliced
  •             Salt and pepper if desired
  •             Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  1.       Cut chicken breast into large cubes (or cut each chicken tenderloin into 2 or 3 pieces)
  2.       Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet.
  3.       Brown chicken pieces on each side just until lightly browned. Add more oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  4.       Remove chicken to a bowl.
  5.       Add butter to pan and fry mushrooms  in two batches, being sure not to crowd them in the pan. (This keeps them firm and promotes browning) Turn to brown both sides.
  6.       Remove mushrooms to a small bowl and set aside.
  7.       Add a bit more oil and the onions to skillet and saute them for 3 minutes.
  8.       Add peppers and garlic and cook a few minutes longer.
  9.       Add tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, beans, spices and sugar.
  10.       Add browned chicken to the skillet and stir to coat the chicken.
  11.       Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through and flavours are blended - about 10 minutes.
  12.       Add mushrooms, and olives and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  13.       Garnish with parsley and spoon into a large shallow serving bowl or pasta dish to serve.

Bread for the Journey

                                                                                                            photo by Ronaldo F Cabuhat 

"My Beloved"     
    "The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him, 
Who shelters him all the day long."

  Deu 33:12 

The beautiful words of the above verse , convey a message  of God  speaking of the intimacy  He desires  with  His loved one. 
Understanding the Hebrew word translated 'beloved'  gives us an even greater depth of meaning. 

The Hebrew word for 'beloved' is 'yedeed'. 
Although the word is pronounced with two different sounds ,
the written word is actually the same letter 'yed' written twice. 
In Hebrew, unlike our English language,  each letter has a meaning, a picture and a number. 
The meaning of the word 'yed'  is 'hand'. 

So putting two 'yed' s together is saying 'hand hand' or 'hand in hand'. 
When God calls us His beloved, what He is is saying is, 
"You, whose hand I have clasped in mine." 

Think about what it feels like when a loved one reaches out to clasp your hand, 
then think about what it means to have your Heavenly Bridegroom say,
 "I am holding your hand in mine. I will never let go." 

Oven-Baked Bacon

Who knew 'frying' bacon could be this simple?  I used to dread cooking bacon...simply because I disliked the mess left behind. Some time ago...I learned that there was a mess-less method of baking bacon in the oven.  We now have bacon often...cooked to perfection without any mess.  Just in case you have not yet discovered it...I'll share the method with you today. Try it. The bacon lovers in your family will thank you!

  • 1 pound bacon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with foil or parchment paper (for easy clean-up).
  3. Lay the bacon slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Place the sheets in the oven for 17 - 20 minutes.  (If you are not using a convection oven...rotate the baking sheets after about 10 minutes.)  Cook to desired crispness.
  5. Remove from oven and use tongs to transfer bacon slices to a paper lined platter to drain.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.
No splatters.  Easy clean-up.  Flat slices.  Simple...and ready to use in your favorite dishes.

Bacon isn't just the perfect partner for eggs. Who knew that it paired so nicely with maple frosting on top of a doughnut?  Or that it could be added to the platter of dippers at a chocolate fondue.  Have you got a bacon story for us today?  We'd love to hear it!


Spring Salad Platter

Beautiful colourful ingredients deserve a large platter.  Look for a large platter with deep sides and then simply layer your salad greens  and vegetables and garnish the top with beautiful fruit.

  • salad greens Romaine lettuce, Butter lettuce, Baby Spinach, Raddichio 
  • red onion rings
  • sliced cucumber 
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced strawberries
  • diced papaya 
  • 3 tablespoons papaya seeds scooped out with a large spoon along with a large scoop of papaya (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 inch thick round slice of red onion
  • fresh cut garden chives (a bunch about the thickness of a stalk of celery)
  • 1/3 cup liquid honey
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until papaya seeds are finely ground. Store in refrigerator until serving time.  Drizzle half of dressing over the salad and place the remaining dressing in a serving bowl on the table.

Chocolate Pineapple Cake

This chocolate cake is a delicious mingling of chocolate, pineapple, coconut, and cinnamon.
Serve with whipped cream and pineapple.
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup pineapple, crushed and drained
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  1. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together until creamy.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add combined dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients and mix well.
  5. Stir in pineapple and coconut. Pour into a greased pan, the one I used measured 7" x 11" inches. If you have an 8" x 10" pan, that should work too.
  6. Bake in a 350º oven 40 minutes or until tested done with a toothpick.
  7. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream and pineapple chunks. 

Greek Salad

A simple mix of fresh veggies, feta and olives tossed together with a simple dressing. A great salad to bring to a pot luck or served along side greek chicken and roasted potatoes. 

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta, optional
  1. Place all ingredients into a jar. Shake vigorously. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavours meld. 
Salad: (makes approx. 4-5 cups)
  • 1 long English cucumber
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 green pepper (or use yellow)
  • feta
  • Kalamata olives, optional
  1. I like to use long English cucumbers in this salad. Wash well and leave the peel on. It's healthy and I like the look of the dark green. There is no need to seed the cucumber. If you use a regular cucumber, taste the peel first to make sure it's not bitter. If it is, peel it. If not it's up to you. You may also need to seed the cucumber. Cut cucumber into 4 long lengths and then dice into bite size pieces. I like to try and keep all vegetables cut up the same size.
  2. Cut tomatoes into equal size pieces, removing any seeds.
  3. Cut red onion into rings or chunks.
  4. Cut green pepper into chunks.
  5. Mix together cut up vegetables. Add feta and olives...enough for your liking. Mix in.
  6. Give dressing another good shake and pour over salad. Toss and serve. 

Texas 'Bean Barn' Soup

This winter we drove down to Texas in search of warmer weather. We discovered and enjoyed this soup at the 'Bean Barn', a wonderful little place at the flea market that sells delicious bean soup, chili and cornbread! The couple who manage this 'barn' give 100% of their sales to missions. They were a delight to chat with! I told them about our blog and our cook books and that we give our author royalties from the cook books to missions as well. And when I asked for the recipe for the bean soup and if I could share it with you he said by all means..all to the glory of God!
I had to downsize the recipe of course and I changed up the amounts a bit but the taste is as wonderful as I remembered.

  • 1 1/2 cups of Great Northern Beans or you can use navy beans 
  • Water
  • 2 cups of ham, fully cooked and cut in cubes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce..Note: if you don't like it too spicy start with less, you can add or subtract according to your taste.
  1. Cover beans with cold water and soak for at least 6 hours.
  2. Strain beans, place in a large pot and cover with hot water, adding enough water so it's approx one inch above the beans.
  3. Bring to boil over high heat.
  4. Pour beans with the water into a slow cooker and cook  4 hours on low or until beans are tender.
  5. Stir in salt, cubed ham, brown sugar and hot sauce.
  6. Continue cooking on low until well heated through, approx another 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with corn bread.

Fruit Tart

Summer fruit is still months away but those tiny baskets of berries and a few kiwi can go a long way to remind us that summer is on it's way.  

  1. Roll out pastry and fit into a tart pan with a bottom that can be removed.
  2. Place heavy foil firmly against the pastry to keep it from shrinking.
  3. Bake in a 375 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until pastry is just beginning to brown.  Carefully remove foil and continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown. 
  4. Cook on wire rack.
Cream Custard Filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine cornstarch and sugar in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Add egg yolks and egg and whisk with a small amount of milk to make a smooth paste.
  3. Add remaining milk and heat in microwave one minute at a time, stirring in between each minute until the mixture is thickened and just beginning to boil.
  4. Add vanilla, place plastic wrap on surface of cream filling and refrigerate.
Assembling the tart
  1. Spread cooled filling evenly over tart shell.
  2. Arrange any fruit of your choice over custard.
  3. Drizzle glaze over fruit and refrigerate until serving.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup white grape or white cranberry juice
  1. Combine sugar and cornstarch, add juice and heat in microwave until thickened.
  2. Add additional juice as necessary to make a pourable glaze.  It will thicken as it cools.

Bread For The Journey

It came as a wee insert in a birthday card some weeks ago.
That word caught my eye.

It's a word that gets used often.
 Rather an annoying word at times.
 It is often used to end a discussion.
Sometimes it expresses exasperation. 
At times it comes as a parting shot at the end of a conversation.  

But maybe we need to re-think that word.
In the appears often.  
It is a powerful word. 
The apostle Paul used it frequently.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8 ESV
(...a good verse to meditate on during this Lenten season.)

...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  Philippians 4:11 ESV

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Cor. 10:31 ESV

Whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Gal. 6:7 ESV

 Whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord. Eph. 6:8 ESV

And then there is my favorite...
the verse on the little card that is posted in my office...

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. Matt 21:21-22

Think about it.

Gourmet Scalloped Potatoes Flan

What makes these potatoes so special? Caramelized onions and fennel and Gruyere cheese lay between thin slices of Yukon Gold potatoes. You're going to need 45 minutes to caramelize the onions and fennel, but it's well worth it.....and you can do that step well ahead of time.
Serves 4.

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup half and half or light cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarse pepper
  1. Cut onion in half and then slice each half into thin strips.
  2. Cut leafy part of fennel away from bulb. Cut bottom off of bulb. Cut bulb in half and slice each half in thin slices. The cut onions and fennel should measure a good 4 cups when mixed together. While caramelizing they will cook down to about 1 cup of caramelized onions and fennel.
  3. Place butter and oil in a heavy bottom fry pan. Heat over medium heat until butter has melted. 
  4. Add cut up mixture of onions and fennel. 
  5. Stir until they become coated well in the butter and oil and begin to sizzle. Turn temperature down and allow them to cook down and caramelize, stirring every 10 minutes for 45 minutes. The mixture will brown, but not become crispy or burnt. If you find they are getting too dark turn down the heat. Little bits of brown will form on the bottom of the pan, stir them in as they add lots of flavour. After 45 minutes they will have cooked down to approximately 1 cup of soft caramelized onions and fennel. 
  6. While this mixture is caramelizing boil a big pot of water. 
  7. Peel potatoes. Using a mandolin or sharp knife cut potatoes into 1/8" thick slices.
  8. Once water is boiling add sliced potatoes and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until they just start to soften. They should still be a bit crisp. This step helps to speed up the baking time.
  9. Drain potatoes in colander.
  10. Grate cheese.
  11. Heat cream and stir in salt and pepper.
  12. Grease a flan pan or low round casserole dish. 
  13. Add a layer of potatoes, then some of the caramelized onions and fennel, cheese, potatoes, onions and fennel, cheese, making 3 layers ending with cheese.
  14. Pour hot cream with seasoning over everything. 
  15. Bake in 350º oven for 35-40 minutes. If you find it's getting too dark but potatoes are still not soft, lightly cover with foil and continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes. 

Sour Dough Health Bread

My love for breads keeps me trying new variations and I was pleasantly surprised how easy this one was,
adapted slightly from a recipe my mom used to make. I'm not sure if one could actually classify this bread in the sour dough category, as it does not need starter, but it's the name it was passed down with.  You will notice this recipe calls for buttermilk, which I sense some people still cringe at, thinking it sounds fatty. The truth is, buttermilk has no butter in it and has the same probiotic benefits as yogurt. If you like, you can mix yogurt and low fat milk. Also, if you do not have all of the different types of grains called for, you can replace with others you have, such as rye, flax-seed or more whole wheat. Should you enjoy trying different breads, purchase some of these healthy fillers and keep them in the fridge or freezer. Even whole wheat is best kept refrigerated if you do not use it regularly. This bread rises overnight.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bran
  • 1/2 cup oat-bran
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup wheatgerm*
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat (or more oatmeal)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour (added next day)
  1. Stir first nine dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add buttermilk and hot water, stirring well. Cover with a tea towel and plastic bag, making sure there is room to rise. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
  3. Next day, stir in white flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading in the last of it by hand until dough is smooth. Use a bit more flour if necessary to get a non-sticky ball.
  4. Cover and let rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Divide in half. On floured surface or surface sprinkled with flour and oatmeal, pat out to 12 X 8 inches and roll up, jelly roll style. 
  6. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Cut slits on top with serrated knife.  Cover and let rise 30 - 45 minutes. Optional:  just before putting in the oven, brush with egg wash** and sprinkle with oatmeal.
  7. Bake at 375 F for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. 
* for nutritional value info and other ideas on how to incorporate wheat germ into your died check here
**egg wash - whisk 1 egg with fork or whisk, adding in a Tbsp or two of milk or water,  until well blended.

Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf

I found a wild rice blend in the bulk section of our grocery store and decided to try it. It made a very nice pilaf that goes well with almost anything. This serves 8-10 but can easily be halved.
  • 2 cups wild rice blend
  • 4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 shallots, minced (or 1/2 cup chopped onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb of brown mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of freshly chopped parsley, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage
  1. Saute minced shallots, garlic and mushrooms in butter until softened.
  2. Add the sage and rice. Stir the rice well to coat it in the butter. 
  3. Add the broth bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, stir the rice adding fresh parsley. 

Breakfast Scramble Croissant

This is more of an idea than a recipe. Serving your egg scramble in croissants adds a special touch to an old favorite.

Here's some ingredients to add to your egg scramble for an extra boost of flavor.

10 eggs beaten and set aside
Ham chopped or ground sausage (fully cooked)
1 Jalapeno seeded and minced
2 tablespoons diced red onion or 2 stems of scallions diced
1/3 cup cilantro chopped (optional)
1/2 cup or more grated cheese of your choice
Olive oil or butter  (1 tablespoon of either)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat ham or sausage in olive oil or butter add onion and jalapeno and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat add the beaten eggs and stir into other ingredients including salt and pepper and distribute ingredients well. Add in the cilantro. At the very end of the eggs setting add the grated cheese and turn off heat.

Cut open 12 croissants and fill with egg mixture. Serve immediately with seasonal fruit.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone. Are you wearing green today?

Bread for the Journey

This is a photo of my Lenten Rose (Hellebore) which blooms during the season of Lent.

We are in the Lenten season. A time that many in Christendom reflect and prepare for Easter. There are many great resources for this time of reflection leading up to the joy of the Resurrection that also involve the reality of what Christ suffered for all of us before he rose from the dead. When I read these powerful verses in Philippians in one of the daily readings for Lent from Biola University my mind started singing the song I'm including in this post. We want to know Christ our Savior, the one who gave all so that we can live. To know Him and be known by Him are worthy desires...

"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3: 10-14

Scandal of Grace (Hillsong)

Grace, what have You done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in Your blood

Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks my fall
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live

Oh to be like You
Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there's no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart

Death, where is your sting?
Your power is as dead as my sin
The cross has taught me to live
And mercy, my heart now to sing

The day and its trouble shall come
I know that Your strength is enough
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live

Oh to be like You
Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there's no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart

Our prayer for all is that we may know the only one who gives us the hope we need to live out our lives on this earth and then to be with Him forever. 

Hamantaschen and the Feast of Purim

Tomorrow is the Feast of Purim.
It  is not a feast that I have ever celebrated, since it is primarily a Jewish Feast, but the story of  its origin  is recorded in the bible  in the book of Esther.
It is a feast of joy and celebration for the salvation of the Jews who had been condemned to die by order of King Ahazuerus.   The plot to destroy the Jews was contrived by their arch enemy Haman who hated Mordicai , the uncle who raised Esther,  the lovely maiden that won the heart of  Ahazuerus and became his queen.
Queen Esther is the heroine of the story.  It is through her that the Jews in the kingdom are spared and not only spared but honoured !
When Esther fears for her own life in daring to intercede for her people,  Mordecai's encouraging words to Esther  are well known  .. "Who knows if you have come to the Kingdom  for such a time as this?"  

The Feast of Purim has fun traditions associated with it.   The story of Esther is always read, with encouraged participation of  the children who are urged  to shout and boo loudly, even stamping their feet whenever the name of evil Haman is mentioned in  the story .  
Gifts are exchanged and special food is served.

One of the traditional foods are Hamantaschen (Haman pockets)  that are not unlike our Mennonite Perschki.  They are really very good !

I found some recipes for Hamantaschen  and adapted a recipe to be gluten free.
They are tasty little pastries and the fillings varied -- you can use preserves, (apricot is especially good)  pie fillings , and other fillings made from raisins,  figs or dates or poppy seed or dried fruit.   (google makes it easy to find  Hamantaschen fillings options/recipes)

In the photos above,  I used a raisin filling and cherry pie filling.  I have loved all the fillings I have tried.

Hamantaschen - Gluten Free

  • 2/3 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup white corn flour (or rice or millet flour) 
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour 
  • 1/3 cup white bean flour (or chick pea flour) 
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • desires fillings 
  • sweet rice flour (for handling) 
  1. Blend butter and sugar in mixer, add egg and orange juice
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together and add to liquids - blending well on low speed. 
  3. Turn dough out on dusted surface and work in enough sweet rice flour to make dough not sticky. (not more than 1/4 cup sweet rice flour) 
  4. Chill dough over night or for several hours. 
  5. Divide dough in two or three portions. 
  6. Roll out as thin as possible -  using sweet rice flour to keep dough from sticking to roller. 
  7. Cut into 3" circles using lg cookie cutter or a small bowl.  
  8. Place 1 tsp of filling in centre of dough and fold up on three sides of circle -- see diagram below. If the sides aren't each tucked behind another then they will open up in the oven. 

  9. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes

TIPS  --   Though the dough is soft it is surprisingly easy to handle, until it comes to the folding of the circles over the filling  but I found that if I laid the dough circles on a tray and returned them to chill in the fridge for a few minutes the folding of them was super easy.  Also if you need help lifting circles from rolling surface, dip knife in sweet rice flour and run under the dough circle.
         --  This dough keeps very well in fridge for a couple of weeks -  the baked pastries also keep for several days on the counter.  They also freeze well.

Baked Scampi

Our family loves shrimp or scampi.  I used to put the children to bed early and make a feast of scampi just for the two of us.  As they grew older, they figured out what was happening. Today I enjoyed teaching my little grandson how to shell the scampi and detach the tails.  He was inquisitive.
Of course, he wanted to know what the tails tasted like. He discovered that he would only try once.
The boys had their feast of baked scampi today and it looks like we are deprived of eating our scampi in a more intimate setting.  

  • 2 pounds raw shrimp
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons prepared Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. First, remove all shells and tails. It's easiest to do this process while they are semi-frozen.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan or microwave and combine mustard, lemon juice, and garlic.
  4. Remove from heat once butter is melted.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Arrange shrimp in a shallow baking dish.  
  7. Pour the butter mixture over the shrimp and sprinkle fresh parsley.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the shrimp are pink. 
Tip:  When working with shrimp, always keep them in cold ice water. Shrimp need to be kept cold.

What I really like about this dish, is that you can prepare it ahead of time and there is no last minute cooking.  While the scampi baked, I cooked some quinoa and prepared a salad.
It's quick, simple and yet delicious.


36 years ago I was a new bride and house wife. The first year of our marriage we lived in northern Alberta on a large ranch in a little place called Bezanson along the Smoky River. My husband was working on the farms in Bezanson and the homestead on the Emerson Trail, and I helped bring meals out to the men when they worked long and late hours in the fields. I loved to cook, but I felt so out of my comfort zone. Scot's aunts were gracious, helpful and encouraging to me in this new role, giving me recipes that would feed a group of hungry men, and the families at home as well. This coleslaw recipe is one from Aunt Marcy. It's the dressing I really like and I often add extra finely chopped vegetables to the cabbage these days.
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/6 cup vegetable oil

Slaw ingredient suggestions: (recipe of dressing is enough for 6 cups of slaw)
  • cabbage, green or purple, chopped fine
  • kale, chopped fine
  • carrots, grated
  • green onions, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • celery, thinly sliced
  • broccoli, finely chopped
  1. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a slow boil. Allow to boil for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Pour hot mixture over cole slaw, stir well, cover and place in refrigerator to cool.
This coleslaw is tasty the first day, but gets better after several days in the refrigerator. 

Manitoba Buns ~ White Dinner Rolls

This well-used handwritten recipe in my files is one that came from my mother-in-law.  Since she originally got the recipe when she lived in Manitoba...they became known as Manitoba Buns.  When I bake buns, I always make it worthwhile and freeze those that aren't eaten fresh.  If you prefer to work with a smaller batch of dough, try cutting the recipe in half.  Truth be told, I usually do 1 1/2 times the recipe, since my Bosch mixer gladly handles up to 18 cups of flour.
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes)*
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 10 cups flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
  1. Combine very warm water, potato flakes, sugar, salt, butter and oil.
  2. Add eggs to other liquids and mix thoroughly.
  3. Combine yeast with 5 cups flour.
  4. Add to liquids and beat until very smooth.
  5. Continue to add flour until dough leaves sides of pan....and dough is soft but not sticky.
  6. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  7. Put dough into a large, greased bowl. 
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about one hour). 
  9. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. 
  10. To make the buns, roll a small piece of dough in your greased hand to form a smooth ball. Alternatively, you can form the buns by pinching off egg-sized pieces of dough (my method). 
  11. Place on prepared cookie sheets...leaving an inch or two between buns.
  12. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
  13. Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 15 minutes or until golden.
Yield: About 4 dozen large dinner rolls

*The original recipe called for 'potato water'.  I add instant mashed potatoes to the water instead.

Bread For The Journey

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they will be filled. (NIV)

"Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires, 
God will satisfy them fully! (Good News Bible)

We have entered the 40 days of the Lenten Season with today being day 5.
Lent is a time where we turn our thoughts to what Christ has done for us through His sacrifice on the Cross. My dear friend Joy has this wooden cross set up in the center of her home in the hubbub of her kitchen.  It is a constant visual reminder of Christ's sacrificial love for us ALL.
Many people regardless of their denomination of the Christian faith observe Lent by giving something up or developing a spiritual discipline, so that they may have a closer and more meaningful relationship with God. Regardless of how you observe Lent, my prayer for you is that God will draw you closer to Him and prepare you for a fresh and new experience of what Good Friday and Easter really means.
How do you observe Lent?
May God's peace be with you throughout the Lenten season.

Use By and Best Before Dates

Maybe all of us have at some point been confused with the use by and best before dates printed on so many of the foods we buy today. The best way that we can understand these dates is to remember that use by dates are necessary for health safety, while best before dates are more about peak quality than safety. Today I thought I'd focus on several everyday foods that can last for a number of weeks after their best before date - providing they are stored correctly.

EGGS - remain to have a sense of mystery about them as we've noticed that in most countries they are sold in market places, unrefrigerated. In North America, eggs are refrigerated because of the sanitation process they go through to remove bacteria, which also removes the natural protective coating. As long as eggs are kept cold, they are still good to use until about a month after the sell by or best if used by date.
If in doubt, fill a bowl with water and gently lower the egg into the water. A good egg will sink to the bottom and a bad egg will float. If the egg has lost some of its freshness it will kind of stand up in the water. It can still be used in baking at this point, but will most likely not be the best for whipping up a meringue.

BUTTERMILK, SOUR CREAM and YOGURT - while dairy products such as milk and cream, will have a sell by or best before by date that can extend maybe a week if unopened (you can quickly tell by textures and smell if it's bad) - cultured dairy products don't spoil as quickly due to the fermentation process of probiotic bacteria and lactic acid, slowing the growth of unwanted bacteria and mold. If sealed and refrigerated, these products will last four to six weeks past the best before date. If opened, they will still keep a few weeks past the date.  If you see mold, you know to throw it out. Note that buttermilk liquids can separate and you may need to give it a bit of a shake. If you wish to use these products before they go bad, use some in place of some of the oil and/ or milk in your favorite chocolate cake, coffee cake, muffins or pancakes.

HARD to SEMI HARD CHEESE - such as Parmesan, Romano, cheddar and Swiss, unopened, can last up to three months after the best before date. The less moisture a cheese contains, the harder it is and the longer it keeps. Once opened, depending on handling and packaging, it will last another few weeks.  To protect cheese from mold, work with it in a clean area. It will keep better if re wrapped with new plastic wrap after each time opened. If you notice mold, cut off the area from once inch away. Remember shredded cheese freezes well.

BREAD -  need never be thrown out, because you can keep it from getting moldy by freezing it and taking out one slice at a time. If it will be consumed quickly, you can refrigerate it. If it gets a bit dry or stale, you can use it for French toast or bread pudding. You can also toast it for bread crumbs.

CEREALS - unopened, will be fine for half a year after the best before date. Some even longer -
you can check for crispness and flavor. In order to keep opened cereal tasting fresh longer, tightly roll packaging bag or seal with a clip.

MAYONNAISE - sealed, unopened, can be kept in the pantry for 2 - 3 months, but in the fridge for 1 year. So why not refrigerate it right away? Once opened, it will keep in the fridge for 2 - 3 months.  Throw it out if the color or odor is off. The best before date will depend on when it was opened and proper handling.

The important thing is to understand when to consider safety as opposed to freshness. Please remember that individual cases will vary and that this advice should only be taken as an opinion.


Use by does not always mean eat by. If a food can be frozen, the date can be extended indefinitely. Store meat in the freezer instead of in the fridge, unless you will be using it in the next day or two.

As much a possible, set a regular day for shopping so that you come to know how much dairy, fruit and vegetables your family uses in that given time.  Try to make do with what you have until your "shopping day." This can be a time of learning to be creative.

Don't be fooled by purchasing bulk or large sizes that appear less expensive in the long run, unless you know you will use it all. Throwing half out in the end, may not make the money saving alright because one gets used to the habit of throwing out food.

Plan meals ahead of time so you buy what you need and not what you are hungry for while shopping.

Chipotle Chicken Burrito or Rice Bowl

When we head south on holidays one of our favourite places to have lunch out is Chipotle. This is my copycat recipe of their Chicken Burrito. You can omit the wrap and serve it as a rice bowl. 

Spice Rub:
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • 1 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  1. Combine rice, water, lime juice and salt in a pot. Cook according to directions on rice package.
  2. Once rice is cooked, stir in butter and cilantro.
  3. Set aside to keep warm.
Option: You can replace brown rice for the white or do some of both. 

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • spice rub (above)
  1. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  2. Cut into bit size pieces.
  3. Rub meat with oil and then coat with above spice rub.
  4. Heat a non stick pan and lightly coat with olive oil. Cook meat, stirring every few minutes until cooked through. This will only take about 6-8 minutes. 
  5. Set aside where it will keep warm.
Black Beans:
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  1. Drain and rinse beans. Stir in olive oil which will keep the beans from sticking when heating.
  2. Stir in spices and heat over low heat in a small pot, or heat in microwave. 
  3. Set aside to keep warm.
Pico de Galo:
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced fine
  • 1-2 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  1. Mix together all ingredients in a small serving bowl.
Extra fillings:
  • avocado slices or guacamole
  • canned corn
  • black olives
  • shredded lettuce
  • jalapeno peppers
  • cheddar cheese, or Mexican blend cheese
  • salsa or other hot sauce
  • chipotle pepper ....for those who like some real heat!
  • sour cream
  • flour tortilla shells, (the largest ones you can find work best to roll up all the filling)
To serve, let everyone fill their warmed flour tortilla with the fillings they like...and enjoy!

Avocado Mango Salsa

This fresh salsa made from mangoes and avocado will help bring a little sunshine to a dreary winter day. Full of fresh ingredients that taste delicious with tortilla chips. I made this for our family this weekend and was in a hurry to put it on the game table for the kids that I forgot to take some extra photos with the chips.

  • 2 avocados peeled, pitted and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 ripe mango peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno seeded and minced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Gently mix all ingredients together and enjoy with tortilla chips. This served 6 people as an appetizer.

Cream of Leek Soup with Baked Croutons

My husband was away on a business trip and I had nothing planned for supper 
so I opened the fridge to look for inspiration.  
I found some leeks that needed to be used and suddenly had a craving for a nice creamy soup. 
 It turned out so good I thought I'd share it with you.
 It is smooth, and flavourful and warmed me up on a cold winter night.
For the Soup:
  • 2 medium sized leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 10 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 can water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • salt and seasoned pepper (like Montreal Steak Spice)
  • grated cheddar cheese ( for garnish)
  1. Wash leeks and cut lengthwise into slices.  Then turn and cut into slices again.  Cut across slices to form a fine dice.
  2. Place in a frying pan with chopped onion, butter and olive oil.
  3. Saute' over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until leeks and onions are soft but not browned.
  4. In pot, cover cubed potatoes with chicken broth and water, and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer potatoes until tender.
  6. Add leeks and onions and stir well.
  7. Using an immersion blender or beater, puree' leek potato mixture until fairly smooth.
  8. Whisk in cream and sour cream and season with seasoned pepper and salt if needed.
  9. Heat gently, stirring well until heated through.  Watch carefully that it doesn't boil hard or burn on the bottom.
  10. Spoon into soup bowls.
  11. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and oven baked croutons and serve.
for the Croutons:
  • 2 or 3 day-old buns or slices of french bread, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Seasoned salt 
  1. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  2. Add bead cubes and toss or stir over medium high heat until bread begins to brown.
  3. Add a sprinkle of seasoned salt and toss.
  4. Spread out bread cubes on parchment paper on a small baking sheet 
  5. Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes or until crisp and browned.
Serves 4

Soft Cornmeal Taco Shells

These shells are quick and simple to make. We enjoy them with leftover chili (in this case it was chicken chili and re-fried beans) along with all the regular taco toppings.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  1. Mix dry ingredients, stir in 1 cup water, then stir in the egg well before adding the rest of the water. Let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Pour batter from a medium size ladle (about 1/4 cup) onto preheated 8-9 inch non-stick pan, holding pan up at an angle and rotating to cover bottom.
  3. Cook on medium heat and flip over to cook other side. Stack on serving plate. Makes 8 - 10 depending on how thin you make them. (water can be added as mixture thickens a bit)
  4. Serve with taco hamburger, sloppy joe sauce or chili, grated cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream and taco sauce.


I was recently privileged to be part of a team of women from our church who went to Haiti on an exposure tour with Compassion Canada.  It was a trip that took me right out of my comfort zone.
 Like many others, I don't like to see extreme poverty and Haiti is the poorest country in the western world.  I don't like to see devastation. There was a lot of devastation remaining from the 2010 earthquake that cost 250,000 people their lives.
 However I and the other women that signed on saw God's definite leading as He made it possible for us to go.  So we went, with fear and trepidation, with hope and a willingness to be used of God in the lives of the children and families we would meet.

One of  the scenes from our bus window as we drove through Port au Prince

We expected to be challenged and changed by our experience however we did not anticipate the resilience and faith of the Haitian people.  What an example they were to us! Although they live with physical poverty, they have a wealth we do not possess in grateful hearts, generous spirits and strong faith.
 Our Compassion Haitian guide, Jeannot, told us that when the earthquake happened, people thought it was the end of the world and many turned their lives over to God.
 Church attendance has increased and among those we worshiped with on the 4th anniversary of the earthquake we saw nothing but thankfulness and praise.

Worship service on the 4th anniversary of the earthquake.

 Instead of defeat and despair, we saw people at work doing what  they could to address the physical and spiritual poverty  around them. We met the all-Haitian staff at the Main Compassion offices and at the various projects. They share a passionate dedication to the children and families they serve.

 We met talented, brilliant young people who have qualified for university studies and are supported by the Leadership Development program. They are the hope and future of this country as they set their goals to be teachers, business, church and government leaders.

We were warmly welcomed as we visited a number of the projects that Compassion supports through their Child Sponsorship Program. The children were a delight - full of self confidence, joy and  eager to sing and recite for their Canadian visitors.

Children from Project HA 802

The moms and children from the Child Survival Program in Project HA 152 at the women's conference.

We were also blessed to be part of a women's conference with the moms and babies of one of the Child Survival programs and were able to hear their stories and share ours with them.
 Despite the differences in our economic circumstances, we have so much in common. We accompanied several of them into their homes and were able to help with the things all moms do, laundry, cooking, bathing children. We share the same concerns, joys, and hopes for our families.  And when asked what their dreams were, most often we heard them tell us how they desired a life of faith for their children.

One of the many colourful "tap-taps" which provide public transit in Haiti

Street vendors line every road.

A hillside section of Port au Prince - many of these buildings are built of inferior concrete and without any rebar.  There are no seismic building codes in Haiti which is why there was so much destruction and loss of life  during the 2010 earthquake.

One of the neighbourhoods where we did a home visit

We saw first hand how the little bit  of money we send monthly to support our sponsored children, makes a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of their families, providing education, food, housing and jobs in this country where none of those things come easily
Yes, there was poverty - it is impossible to describe the extent of it; yes, we saw the devastation -  piles and piles of rubble and still so many people who are living in shacks cobbled together from bits of wood, tarps and galvanized tin. And yes, there are many still traumatized and living with despair.
But God is at work here - through those who are willing to share what they have and through  people like the dedicated staff of Compassion - who live and worship among those they serve.

I was thrilled to able to meet Francia, the child we sponsor and spend a day with her.

Christ calls us to help those in need.  By doing so we are showing the love of God to them. There are so many ways to share our physical and spiritual wealth with those less fortunate, whether they are next door, in our own communities or across the globe.  God equips each of us to help others.  May we be sensitive to His direction as we share His love with a hurting world.

 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:17 and 18