German Fried Potatoes

Plain fried potatoes were a staple in our home, growing up. When my grandmother made them, they were sure to have lots of fresh garlic added in as well, so they come with memories attached of plain and filling family meals. This embellished recipe is one I've adapted from Bon Appetit. Good enough to serve "fancy" with Rouladen or Schnitzel and red cabbage. 

  • 8 medium unpeeled red potatoes
  • salt to taste
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  1. Cook potatoes in salted water until just done, 25-30 minutes. Drain. Cool and refrigerate several hours or overnight, for easy chopping.
  2. Cut unpeeled potatoes in half and each half again once or twice. Slice. 
  3. In large, deep skillet, cook bacon until done. Remove, chop and set aside. Keep fat in skillet. 
  4. Add potatoes to skillet and sprinkle with salt. Saute over medium heat, flipping as they brown. This may take 10 minutes. 
  5. Add sherry, chopped onion and bacon bits. Stir as needed, cooking until onion is done and potatoes are browned in parts. 
  6. In the meantime, mix oil, vinegars and mustard, then drizzle over potatoes. Toss to coat and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper if needed. You can make these ahead and keep them warm in a crock pot. Once ready to serve, transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with chives. Serves 8 

Red Thai Curry Vegetable Noodle Soup

We love going out for Red Thai Curry Rice bowls and this soup which is a favourite of ours could be served over rice or vermicelli noodles.  It is a great quick meal any day of the week.
  •  baby bok choy (size varies so think about needing about 4 cups chopped)
  • 1 large yam
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste 
  • 1 litre or 1-quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 - 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (start with 1/2 and adjust according to your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 14 ounces / 398 ml can coconut milk
  • rice or wheat vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 lime, cut into sections
  • red onion, sliced into slivers
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  1. Chop the baby bok choy, slicing the green part off first,  and setting it aside and then chopping the white part into bite-sized pieces. 
  2. Peel and dice the yam into 1/2 inch dice.
  3. In a large saucepan,  heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, and Thai red curry paste.
  4. Stir over medium heat for one minute and then add sliced red onion, diced red pepper,  diced yams and the white chopped parts of the bok choy along with the broth.  
  5. Simmer it until the vegetables are tender and then add the coconut milk, brown sugar and fish sauce.  Add the green parts of the bok choy.  Keep the soup warm at the lowest simmer.
  6. Cook the vermicelli in a medium saucepan of boiling water.  
  7. Divide the noodles between bowls and cover with soup.
  8. Garnish with red onion, lime and chopped cilantro.
Makes 6 servings

Big Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

There have been many versions of oatmeal raisin cookies here over the years since they happen to be hubby's favorite, but this is my tried-and-true old stand by!  We eat a few fresh from the oven and the rest go into the freezer.  Did you know they taste every bit as good straight from the freezer? Oatmeal raisin cookies and a good cup of coffee...the perfect treat anytime of day!

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats (large flake)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.
  3. Add flour, oats, soda, salt and spices; beat until well blended.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough in large mounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or lightly greased.
  5. Flatten cookies slightly.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden but center looks soft.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minutes on cookie sheet before moving to cooling rack.
Yield: 2 dozen large cookies


Bread for the Journey

The beginning of a new year always is an inspiration to try new things or do things differently. Things in our world change. People and relationships change. My weight has changed. It's a comfort to know that the truth of God's Word never changes. The Word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:6-8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

A passage I'm leaning on right now is from Psalm 19, concentrating on these sections:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
The Law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, 
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Flash Back Friday ~ BBQ Chicken Pizza

This recipe was originally posted here in 2008. In the summer we do it on the BBQ and it changes the flavor and texture of the pizza, really very delicious. However it is bitterly cold here in Winnipeg in the winter so I bake it in the oven.  I will add the pizza crust recipe that I like to use which I didn't in the orignal recipe. This makes two large cookie sheet size pizzas, or three 12"  round pizza pans. The topping amount is for two - 12 inch round pizza pans. 

Pizza dough:
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5-6 cups flour
  1. Mix 4 1/2 cups flour and the remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together with a wire whisk.
  2. Add the oil and the warm water.
  3. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add more flour as needed and knead the dough on a well floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic about 7-10 minutes. 
  5. Let the dough rest under the bowl for 20 minutes. 
  6. Divide the dough into two. 

Toppings: (for 2 - 12 inch pizza pans)
  • 1 cup or less (depending how saucy you like your pizza) BBQ sauce, your favorite flavor (hickory smoke is ours)
  • approx 2 cups grilled or cooked chicken, roughly cut up or shredded. (A supermarket roasted chicken is a great option, especially in the winter.)
  • red onion, chopped or thinly sliced, as much as you like, a handful for each pizza
  • green or red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tin pineapple chunks, drained
  • 8-12 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • a few slices of bacon fried and crumbled for the top
  • cornmeal to dust on the pizza pans
  1. Grease two 12 inch pizza pans and dust with cornmeal.
  2. Press dough in gently, pushing to the edge for a nice round crust.
  3. Spread on preferred amount of BBQ sauce for each pizza, about 1/3 cup.
  4. Pour a bit of the sauce onto the chicken for more flavor.
  5. Sprinkle pizza with a little cheese
  6. Add the chicken, red onion, green pepper, pineapple and bacon.
  7. Top with remaining cheese.
  8. Preheat the BBQ on the one side only on high. You will be cooking on indirect heat.
  9. Put the pizza on the top of the heating rack on the opposite side of the flame and bake with the lid closed for about 15 minutes giving the pizza a quarter turn about every 5-7 minutes.
  10. Total baking time is about 25-30 minutes.
  11. If baking in the oven, bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 15 - 20 minutes or until desired crispness is achieved for the crust. 

Cream of Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

Soup and sandwich meals during the winter months are easy to put together, can be budget stretchers and are so satisfying. This is a very easy soup to make. You can change this up a wee bit by using vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock, and you can also omit the cheese, but the cheese does add a wonderful creamy richness. We have a good variety of soups and sandwiches in our recipe index. 
Serves 4-6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced fine
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk (or half and half)
  • 2 cups chicken OR vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets and stems
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Heat oil over medium heat and saute onions, celery and jalapeno until onions are translucent and soft, but not browning. Add crushed garlic and saute another minute.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a soup pot melt butter over medium heat.
  4. Stir in flour whisking to make a roux. It will be very thick. Don't let it burn.
  5. Once all flour is incorporated into butter add a little of the milk whisking to keep mixture smooth. Slowly add all the milk and once this mixture is smooth add the broth. 
  6. Continue to cook this mixture over low-medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. It will begin to thicken as it simmers. Do not let it boil. Stir often. 
  7. Add the sauteed vegetables and the broccoli. Stir to incorporate. 
  8. Turn burner to low and allow soup to simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes, stirring often.
  9. Add cheese and continue stirring over low heat until it's all melted. 

Pomegranate Salsa

This is a different type of salsa that is refreshing with lots of good crunch.

  • 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped English Cucumber
  • 1 cup diced fresh firm pear
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Combine pomegranate, cucumber, pear, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  2. Add salt and mix well.
  3. Add fresh squeezed lime juice and mix well.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tip: The cup like shaped tortilla chips would work better for this salsa. You can substitute jicama for the pear if you'd like.

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Pesto and tomatoes are always a great combination.  
The addition of a creamy baked on sauce ramps up the flavours in this chicken dish.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 tablespoons of homemade or prepared pesto (found in the pasta sauce aisle of your supermarket)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon pesto (second amount)
  • 12 or more cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cover a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Place pesto (first amount) in a bowl and coat chicken breasts one at a time.
  4. Place chicken breasts on prepared pan. 
  5. Mix mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic and the teaspoon of pesto in a small bowl.
  6. In another small bowl, toss cherry tomatoes with oil.
  7. Add cherry tomatoes to the pan with the chicken and bake for about 15 minutes.
  8. Take chicken out of oven and top each breast with a generous tablespoon of the sauce , rounding it over the top of  each breast.
  9. Return to oven and continue baking until chicken is done, about 10 - 15  more minutes.
  10. If cherry tomatoes look done before the chicken, remove them from the pan to a small bowl and continue baking chicken until it is lightly browned on top and baked through. (The oil will bake out of the pesto so be prepared for a few puddles of oil on the pan.)
  11. Remove chicken breasts to a serving platter and top with the cherry tomatoes.
  12. Serves 4.

Fig and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

Whether you serve it as an appetizer or call it a meal, you are bound to enjoy the pairing of sweet fig preserves with  melted cheese and onions.  How did I happen upon this recipe? While Christmas shopping at Winners just before Christmas, I met a friend in the kitchen section of the store who had her arms full of miscellaneous stocking stuffers, including several jars of fig jam.  She told me they couldn't get enough of fig jam and cheese flatbreads, and that I had to try it. I came home with the Christmas gifts I had gone in search of...and a jar of fig jam. After tiring of big meals and Christmas feasts, I decided to make a simple lunch of fig and onion flatbreads one day.  We quite enjoyed them!  Cut into small wedges to serve as a party appetizer, or into larger meal-sized pieces.
  •  2 - 7" store bought naan flatbreads 
  • 3 tablespoons fig jam 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 ounces / 60 grams brie cheese, thinly sliced (or fresh goat cheese, crumbled) 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread each flatbread with a thin layer of fig jam (about 1 1/2 tablespoons on each).
  3. Top with brie slices and caramelized onion (as specified below).
  4. Place flatbreads on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 7 or 8 minutes, until bread is slightly crisp and cheese is melted. 
  5. Drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction, if desired.
  6. Slice and enjoy!
Caramelized Onions:
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until slightly caramelized. 
  3. Add the 1 tablespoon balsamic and cook for another 1 minute, until fragrant. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Bread for the Journey

(Photo Credit : Lovella Schellenberg) 

This is the first Sunday of 2018. We have the reflections of the year gone by to see where God was with us through the joys and the sorrow. We already know how this year began, but we do not know it's end. Thankfully we have the assurance of God's faithfulness and love through it all, whatever may be. May we go forward in anticipation with the joy and hope of the Lord as our daily companion. 

Psalm 117:2
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!


May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain, 
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy, 
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you, 
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine, 
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadow;
Not by making your life always pleasant, 
But by showing you when people need you most, 
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
(Author Unknown)

God's love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

Flashback Friday - Creamed Ham on Biscuits

With all the big meals and rich food that the holidays brings past us now,
it's time to dish up some comfort food again. Here is a meal I posted back in October of 2012.
This is a great way to use up the ham you might have leftover from a ham dinner or you can take a can of ham from the pantry and use it to make this delicious supper.

Ingredients for the Creamed Ham
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup cubed ham
  • 2 tablespoons butter (second amount)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Biscuits
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
Method for the Creamed Ham:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Place 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add chopped vegetables and saute' until softened.
  4. Add ham and frozen peas, stir and heat for another minute or so and set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan or microwavable bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  6. Stir in flour until combined.
  7. Add milk and continue to cook and stir until sauce is thickened.  
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Stir in ham and vegetables and place in casserole dish.
Method for the Biscuits:
  1. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Cut in butter to form pea sized crumbs
  3. Using a fork, stir in Buttermilk just until all is moistened.
  4. Drop by large spoonfuls over creamed ham mixture.
  5. Place casserole in 375 degree oven and bake for 10- 15 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned.
  6. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.

Tortilla Roll Ups

I got the recipe for these appies from a friend, I tweeked the recipe a little and Ellen took the above photo of the plateful I brought to our MGCC Christmas party.

You could use any tortilla shells, I make mine from scratch - gluten-free.
The advantage of making them from scratch is that I can roll out the tortilla shells in a rectangle shape, rather than the traditional round, so that they roll up better into an even roll.
As soon as I have cooked my tortilla shell I roll it up while it is still warm - treating it like a jelly-roll, unrolling to spread the filling, then re-rolling.  You could also  put the cold tortilla shell into the microwave for a few seconds to soften it for rolling with the filling.

Recipe for the filling ...  and you don't have to be too 'accurate' with the ingredients... the old Mennonite grandmother's saying works here,  "just so it looks/tastes right" !!

  • 3/4 cup chopped fine cooked chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup fried and crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 - 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened to room temperature) 
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
  • salt and pepper (optional) 
  • tortilla shells
1. Mix together chicken, bacon, green onions and shredded cheese - set aside 
2. Mix the Ranch dressing into the cream cheese until well blended. 
3. Stir the chicken mixture into the dressing mixture and stir well.  If it looks a little too dry just add 
    a little more Ranch dressing or a little whipping cream or milk. 
4. Spread filling  over a tortilla shell and roll up, slicing into 1 inch rolls. 

**  Since this posted this morning, I have been asked to include my recipe for the tortillas ...
It is as follows ....

Gluten-free Tortillas

  • 1 1/3 cup milk 
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • 1 3/4 cups tapioca flour/starch
  • 3/4 cup Julie's flour
  • 1/4 cup white bean flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • sweet rice flour (for handling dough) 
**NOTE - you can adjust the two flours - Julie's flour and the white bean) -  as you wish - if you have a favorite GF mix that you use , try that.  Leave out the xanthan gum if your mix has it included. 
  1. Pour milk and oil into bowl of mixer
  2. Blend dry ingredients well and add all at once to the liquid 
  3. Mix on low until blended, then on high for 2 minutes - if it seems liquidy add a little more flour - but it will be much softer than a regular dough ..
  4. Turn dough onto working surface dusted with sweet rice flour
  5. Knead lightly until dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky (It will take less sweet rice flour than you expect) 
  6. Form into a roll and cut  into 11 pieces. Cover with a piece of damp toweling (the tapioca flour dries the dough quickly) 
  7. Roll each piece into circle (about 9 inch)  - I use a plate to cut around to keep the circles uniform) Add cut-off excess to next ball to be rolled. 
  8. For easier handling fold each circle into half and then half again ... and unfold in skillet. 
  9. Heat skillet with a small amount of oil ..  I use a piece of paper towelling dipped into oil to 'wipe' skillet ...  I also use a dry towelling piece to wipe out skillet after each torilla to make sure there is no flour remaining that will quickly  burn when I fry my next shell. 
  10. Fry each tortilla until it begins to turn golden/then flip to fry other side .
  11. Stack on a plate, cool - then store covered in fridge .  Will keep for several days. 

Rice Guiso

I was not totally sure where this dish originated, as both my husband and I grew up with it in South America where we had traditional Mennonite, German,  as well as some of the local dishes. Finally learning the correct spelling from a friend, I learned that  it was a South American version of stew.  It's a dish that can go far to feed a big family. My mom only used tomato paste for flavor. I've added salsa. If you like spice, you can add chili flakes.

  • 1 pound stewing beef or one steak chopped small
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green or sweet pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped very fine
  • 1/2 cup salsa ( I like a black bean version)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Trim beef and chop into popcorn sized pieces. 
  2. Brown in a large pot or dutch oven, stirring as needed. Juices will come out. 
  3. Once the juices disappear, add salt, pepper, chopped onions and sweet pepper if using. 
  4. Cover with enough water to almost cover the meat. Bring to boil and simmer on low about 1 hour. ( Less time if using more tender cut of meat) Add water if needed to keep meat from burning.
  5. Add carrots, salsa and rice,
  6. Add two times the amount of water as rice, mixing some with tomato paste and salt. Do not stir. Simmer for 1/2 hour or until rice is done and not much liquid is at the bottom. 
  7. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. 
If you are short on dinner prep time, you could cook the meat ahead of time, until ready to add the rice. Later it would only have to be reheated and carrots, rice added in. Or you can make the whole dish ahead of time and re-heat. 

Hot Apple Cider

Winter days call for hot drinks. Treat your kids to a thermos of this in their school lunch, or enjoy it any time of day. A nice change from tea, coffee and hot cocoa. 
  • 2 litres pure unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 granny smith apple, cut into quarters, seeds and core removed
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot on the stove top, or if you have time to let it simmer, add to a crock pot.
  2. Bring to a near boil and turn to simmer on the stove top for approximately an hour or longer to allow the flavours to meld. 
  3. If using a crock pot, I have made it hot on the stove top first and then just placed it all in the crock pot to stay hot for all day serving. Or if time permits add to the crock pot cold, turn to low and let it get hot for approximately 3 hours. Then turn to 'keep warm' setting.
  4. Remove the apple and orange pieces once you notice the apples are starting to get really soft. I also take the spices out at that point. Cool remaining drink and place in refrigerator for re heating. 

Apple New Years Cookies (Portzelky)

My neighbor Deb sent over some of her New Years Cookies with her son who gathers eggs for us.  What a treat!    They were light and delicious and filled with apples with a hint of cinnamon.   This year I made her recipe for the non-raisin lovers in our family.   If this recipe is too large for your family, it can easily be halved.

  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 cups flour
  • enough apples to make 4 cups peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  •  vegetable oil for frying 
  1. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Warm together milk, butter and water until it is lukewarm and then add it to the yeast mixture.
  3. Beat the eggs and stir into the liquids with sugar. 
  4. Stir in the flour, one cup at a time to make a stiff dough.
  5. Divide into several containers if necessary and let rise until doubled.   
  6. Combine apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  7. When the dough has risen, heat oil to 375 F or 190 C.
  8. Add apples over the top of the risen batter. 
  9. Take a scoop of dough, add about a teaspoon of apple mixture,  and then use another tablespoon to scrape the dough into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning over once.
  10. Toss with regular white sugar or powdered sugar.