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Baked Potato and Leek Soup




This is the time of year for thick hearty soups. 
 This one is full of flavour and when garnished with the traditional toppings for a baked potato 
is delicious and satisfying.
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large leeks cut into quarters and sliced - use the white and light green part only
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 slices bacon thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion or chives
  1. Wash potatoes and bake. Set aside to cool. (or use leftover baked potatoes)
  2. Melt butter in dutch oven and add leeks and garlic.
  3. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes but do not brown
  5. Add chicken broth and water and simmer on low until leeks are tender.
  6. Cook bacon until brown and crisp and set aside on paper towel.
  7. Scoop out pulp from baked potatoes, and coarsely chop.
  8. Finely chop potato skins.
  9. Add potatoes and some of the skins to the soup.
  10. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until it is pureed.  It will not be completely smooth. Or, working in batches, place soup in a blender and whirl until pureed.
  11. Reheat soup over medium heat.
  12. Mix sour cream with milk until smooth and add to soup with half of the cheddar cheese.
  13. Mix well.  If soup is too thick, you can add a little more hot water.
  14. Garnish with bacon, cheese, chives and a little more sour cream if desired.

Apple Crisp Muffin Cups


These apple crisp muffins are a nice treat when you need a picker upper, they go really well with a cup of coffee. They freeze well and are quick to thaw for that work or after school snack, dessert or even breakfast. Enjoy them plain or top with caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream if you want to serve them for dessert. In any case they are a neat little hand held mouthful or two of goodness.
This is a large recipe. Handy for extra in the freezer.

Apple filling:
  • 6 medium/large McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut in small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • In a medium sized saucepan mix ingredients together and cook just until the apples turn tender, approx 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Muffin cups:
  1. 2 cups oats, I used old fashioned oats
  2. 2 cups flour
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 1/2 cups cold butter, cut in cubes
  6. Whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  7. Add butter cubes and using pastry blender cut butter into dry ingredients until it looks like coarse crumbs.
  8. Place heaping tablespoons of crumbs in each mini muffin cup, press into bottom and up the sizes to the top. I used mini muffin pans.
  9. Spoon approx 2 teaspoons apple filling into each muffin cup
  10. Bake in 350º for 25 minutes, allow to cool in pan then remove carefully and serve. Place remaining muffin cups in a tightly covered container and freeze.
  11. Yield: 48 mini muffin cups

Smoked Salmon Chowder


Our favourite ways to eat smoked salmon is on pizza or on an appetizer plate but when I want to serve something comforting on a winter day I think about smoked salmon chowder.   
This hearty chowder using simple ingredients is quick to make and full of flavour.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 3 - 4 cups diced potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock  
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried dill or 1/4 cup finely minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • thick cut smoked salmon, chopped into bite-sized pieces  (the measurement doesn't need to be accurate, I usually use about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
  • (optional) 10 raw prawns deveined, tails on is fine (add them while they are still frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add butter, onion, celery, carrots and stir occasionally until the onion and celery have softened.
  2. Add potatoes, Old Bay seasoning, tomato paste and the stock.  Bring to a simmer and until potatoes are tender.
  3. Shake together the flour with 2 cups of the milk until smooth.  Stir into the soup and add the remaining milk.  Bring to a simmer.   
  4. Add the dill, parsley, smoked salmon and the prawns.   Simmer for a few minutes until the prawns are cooked.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread.  


Bread For The Journey


The Narrow Winding Path 


This Christmas, a friend gifted me with a box of Proverbs cards to colour.  
A gift I have enjoyed. 
The colouring is relaxing and pondering the wisdom of each card's verse is inspiring. 
The card above is one that  particularly impressed me
 by how  the artist
captured the emotionally impacting truth of God's promise. 

Our life path is fraught with distractions, pitfalls, dangers, obstructions,  twists and turns,
to the extent that often we feel we are groping our way in the dark with no GPS 
and feeling the ground under our feet  about to give way.    

But we DO have a GPS,
 God's-Path-Selector.   
If we stay tuned to His Word, we will make wise 'choices/selections'
 that will keep us on the narrow path,
and
Our Lord has promised to guard our footsteps
and protect us from slipping or falling.  

"The Lord will be at your side
 and
 will keep your foot from being snared" 
Proverbs 3:26



Flashback Friday ~ Bruschetta Chicken Bake


This simple and delicious Italian chicken bake is one I originally posted in fall of 2008.  Since then I have made it a number of times and tweaked it a little.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake:
  • 1 19 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained  (if using 14 oz. can tomatoes, add 1/2 cup water)
  • 1 package (120 g) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves)
  • 1 cup Tex/Mex shredded cheese
  1. Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix and garlic. 
  2. Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and spread in 13x9-inch pan (sprayed with cooking oil).
  3. Sprinkle with basil leaves (I prefer fresh) and shredded cheese.
  4. Cover with stuffing mixture.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes at 375°F or until chicken is cooked through (165° F on meat thermometer).
  6. Serve with a green salad.  
* I have also increased the number of chicken breasts from 4 to 6 as well on occasion, and allowed a little longer cooking time (about 45 minutes).
 Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (Low-Sugar)


This is another recipe I found in my grocery store flyer with a small change. I wanted to try and compare this lower sugar recipe to other brownies that I've made.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus one egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl.
  4. In second bowl whisk together eggs, egg yolk, applesauce, vanilla extract, and melted chocolate chips that have been slightly cooled.
  5. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and till smooth.
  6. Pour batter in prepared baking pan.
  7. Drop dollops of peanut butter over the batter and swirl with a knife.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes up clean. 

Yield: 12-16 servings depending on your cut.

Chocolate Crepes


Crepes are simply delicious. The filling is what makes them. For the ones featured today I thickened the juice from a jar of sour cherries and added fresh cut strawberries, raspberries and vanilla bean ice cream. Top with sweetened whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. 

Crepes: yields 14-16
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  1. Beat eggs, and add in remaining ingredients. Beat well until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Heat a non stick pan over medium. (you do not need to spray pan)
  3. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup scoop batter and pour into middle of pan. Twirl pan so the batter spreads out into a thin round. 
  4. Allow to cook on first side for a few minutes. Gently flip and cook on second side for about 30 seconds.
  5. Remove to a cooling rack. Once cooled stack between wax or parchment paper until ready to fill and serve. 
**these can be made ahead of time and once cooked and stacked put into a container or sealed bag to keep from getting dried out, until ready to serve**

Sour Cherry Filling:
  • 3 cups juice from canned sour cherries in light syrup
  • cherries from the jar, pit if needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Drain the cherries and put the juice into a microwavable bowl.
  2. Whisk the cornstarch into the juice and microwave until the juice bubbles and there is not more 'chalky' taste from the cornstarch. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Stir several times between.
  3. Pit cherries if they are not already. Add to the thickened juice. Set mixture aside to cool. This can be done ahead of time and put in refrigerator. This is also nice served slightly warm, but not hot.
Suggested fillings and toppings:
  • sliced strawberries
  • raspberries
  • ice cream
  • pudding or mousse
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate sauce
  • dusting of powered sugar



Prawns Magenta



How many of you remember a little quaint restaurant in Chilliwack called Harvesters IV?
It holds special memories for me...as I went into labor that evening way back in 1982.  We had the most delicious appetizer made by Jurgen, the local European chef and he shared this recipe with me which is perfect for a cold winter night.  Sometimes this has become our main meal, by just adding a loaf of fresh bread.

Prawns Magenta
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces deveined prawns
  • 1/4 cup wine or apple juice
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Method:
  1. Heat oil and add chopped celery, carrots, garlic, and onions.
  2. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes
  3. Add prawns to pan with wine and tomato liquids
  4. When prawns turn pink, you know they have been cooked long enough.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and cover at low heat again for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour into serving dishes and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
  7. Broil in the oven until lightly browned. Serves 4.

Savory Egg Bake


I really enjoy having friends over for brunch. This easy egg bake can be adjusted to your liking by changing up the choice of meat or veggies and cheeses used.
Serve with a side of crispy bacon, roasted potatoes or hashbrowns and a nice fruit salad and you have a lovely brunch.
  • 1 lb of turkey breakfast sausages, casings removed (or any preferred sausage)
  • 1 red pepper, diced (can use any color) 
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese or ricotta (I used cottage cheese)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever kind of cheese you have in the fridge, mozza works great too) 
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional) I used it.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • dash of hot sauce like Tabasco (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard (optional)
  1. Brown the sausage meat and cook through until all the pink of the meat is gone. 
  2. Drain the cooked meat on a paper towel to remove  any excess grease. 
  3. In the same pan cook the red pepper with the seasoning until the peppers have softened. 
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, flour and baking soda. Add the cheeses, sausage and pepper, mix well. Pour into a well greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes or until the center doesn't jiggle any more and the top is slightly browned. 
  5. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serves 8-10. 

Bread for the Journey




Are you looking for direction?

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.  Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

When we don't know which way to turn and the road ahead seems impassable, there is One we can turn to.  The God who made heaven and earth and who knows all things, tells us to call on Him. Is anything too difficult for Him?

Jeremiah 33:3 is a verse I memorized as a child, and a promise I have claimed through life. When I find myself at the 'end of the tracks', with no idea what I should do, that verse always comes to mind.  God has promised that He will show me the way. I see only the roadblock and not the 'big picture'. I see the end of the road and not the rest of the map.  But God sees it all.  I can trust Him with my request for direction.

How is your journey going?  God knows where you are and the road that lies ahead. As we move forward into 2018, let's put our trust in God and allow Him to lead.  He has given us the Bible...words to guide us in our daily life.  He has also given us the Holy Spirit to teach and lead us.  He gives us hope for the future.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

 

Flashback Friday - Goluptsi


We grew up enjoying Golubtsi, Голубцы, a Russian version of cabbage rolls. I didn’t develop a taste for cabbage until my adult years so I’d peel off the cabbage and just enjoy the filling. Today I really enjoy cabbage in all it’s cooked or uncooked forms! Once you get the cabbage leaves ready to go this is a simple recipe to make. This is my mother's version. There are many other recipes that differ from hers. This was first posted in 2011 here.

Ingredients:
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 pounds ground beef, 15% fat or higher
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked rice cooled
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup, (approx. 10-3/4 ounces)
  • 1- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups water

Method:
  1. Core the cabbage leaving it whole.
  2. Boil the head of cabbage in a pot of water until leaves separate easily.
  3. Drain leaves and let them cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. Combine the ground beef, rice, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  5. Once the leaves are cool enough to handle you can trim some of the thick vein of the cabbage leaf to make it easier to fold.
  6. Place about 1/3 cup of ground beef mixture onto a cabbage leaf and fold edges over and roll up.
  7. Place in baking dish with folded seams down.
  8. Continue until you use up the ground beef mixture and cabbage leaves.
  9. Saute the chopped onion in a little oil until it is translucent.
  10. Add soup, tomato sauce, ketchup, and water, mix well and bring to a boil.
  11. Add a little of this sauce to the sour cream to temper it and then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce and mix well.
  12. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  13. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or longer, till hamburger is fully cooked.
  14. Yield: 12-18 Cabbage Rolls depending on size of your meat balls.
Serve with your favorite green side dish and some good bread to soak up the sauce!
Tips:
You may need two baking dishes to accommodate more than 12 rolls.
While the whole head of cabbage is cooking in the pot I use tongs to remove the leaves gradually as they start to release from the head of cabbage and put them on a kitchen towel to cool. I keep checking as I prepare the other steps in the recipe.
I use a sharp paring knife to trim the vein starting in the center of the thick vein away from me to the outer thicker part of the vein.
One of our sons doesn’t tolerate milk products so I made a small batch of the Golubtsi and covered them with the sauce before I added the sour cream to the rest of the sauce. We find that using hamburger that is 15% fat or more is better for these as the meat that has less fat in it can be dry.

Tropical Upside Down Cake


Here's a slightly different twist to Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The secret is the Orange Marmalade. Serve with whipped cream for a taste of the tropics.

For the Topping:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange marmelade
  • 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut
For the Cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest - if desired
  1. Mix melted butter with brown sugar, stir in marmalade and pineapple and coconut.
  2. Spread topping evenly in the bottom of a 9 inch ring mold or a 9 inch cake pan. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, blend butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately and beat for about 2 minutes until batter is smooth.
  5. Spread batter over topping in cake pan or ring mold.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes or until cake tested comes out clean.
  7. Cool 5 minutes and then invert on to a serving plate.
  8. Serve  warm or cold with whipped cream or ice cream.

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. 

Ingredients:
  • 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
Method:
  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
Garnishes
  • 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
Directions:
  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.

Ingredients:
  • 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

Method:
  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!

A NEW YEAR PRAYER

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.
Amen
(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.

Ingredients:
  • 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 meat 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. Cook, stirring as needed, until onions are soft.
  4. Cover with enough water to almost cover the meat. (about 1 1/2 cups) 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.