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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Lemon Pull-Apart

These lemon pull a-parts are easy to make and are a satisfying snack for that afternoon coffee break or a great addition to your brunch menu. You use a biscuit dough for this recipe and it doesn't take very long to put together.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • Buttermilk 
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender cut butter into dry ingredients.
  3. Crack eggs into a cup, add enough buttermilk to fill 1 cup. Lightly mix eggs and buttermilk with a fork.
  4. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients.
  5. Mix only until flour is incorporated, handle as little as possible to make light biscuits. The dough will be sticky and in order to roll into balls you might need to add a wee bit of flour. The dough should still be slightly sticky.
  6. Scoop pieces of dough and roll into 17 balls.
  7. Roll each ball into following mixture: 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, I used pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  1. Combine ingredients and roll the balls of dough in this mixture.
  2. Place in a greased 9" round pie pan.
  3. Bake in a 400º oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Invert pan immediately on a plate.
  5. Cool slightly and drizzle with glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Buns - Gluten Free (two versions)

I have been working on a bun recipe for while and am offering two versions.
I have made these buns  substituting flours and they  have always turned out.  This seems to be one of those rare recipes that refuses to fail!
The favour and texture of the buns are great, and they are  a good keeper -- on the counter for a few days or in the freezer.
While I personally prefer the flaxseed version , the onion/cheese version is my granddaughter's favourite.     So try them both and see which you like best.   (photos- top baked bun is the onion/cheese one, the bottom baked ones are the flaxseed ones) 
If you want to substitute one of  your own  flours for one of mine make sure you substitute flour for flour and starch for starch.
Because the dough consistency for gf yeast baking has to be still very sticky,  they need a form to keep them in shape !   I make (reusable) parchment paper rings which can be made any size -- mine are 3" diameter. (triple fold  parchment paper strips to  1 - 1 1/2 " high and staple into a circle)

Note :  While in my area I have found this recipe to be very successful  changes in humidity can make a huge difference. I don't know how to tell you to judge where you live but if you are having trouble with gf yeast recipes, then withhold some of the liquid --  in this recipe, for example, proof the yeast in 1/2 cup instead of the 3/4 and then withhold some of the milk as well , until you have added the flour mixture and can test the consistency which should be like a thick coffee cake batter.  Always adjust with more or less liquid, never more or less flour.   

Onion/cheese Buns
  • 3/4 cup warm water 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin 
  • 2 tbsp. reg. yeast 
  • 3/4 cup warm milk 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 1/2 cup white corn flour 
  • 1/3 cup white bean flour 
  • 1/4 cup potato flour 
  • 1/2 cup millet flour 
  • 1/3 cup potato starch 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 tsp. fresh onion juice (scrape an onion with a knife) 
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use old or sharp) 
  1. Blend sugar with gelatin, add warm water , then sprinkle yeast over top and whisk ... let proof.  
  2. Pour into mixer bowl warm milk with egg and oil and onion juice. 
  3. Add proofed yeast and mix 
  4. Add all at once the blended flours/salt 
  5. Blend then beat on high for 4 minutes.  
  6. Add the shredded cheese and mix until blended.  
  7. Grease well a large cookie sheet and place 'rings' on sheet --   this recipe is enough for 12 - 3" forms or 9 if you want higher buns.   
  8. Divide dough between the forms --   scooping dough with tablespoon.  
  9. Let rise in a warm place.   
  10. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.   
  11. Let cool on rack then remove parchment rings.    
Flaxseed Buns 

Follow recipe above with the following changes......... 
  • leave out onion juice and cheese 
  • add 1 tsp molasses 
  • add 1/4 cup flaxseed   OR 2 tbsp ground flaxseed 

Hot and Sour Turkey Soup

This isn't Hot and Sour soup in the traditional Asian sense but when I made it and added in the lemon juice at the end...
it seemed like a good title and I'll be adding in that tart and sour juice to my turkey soup from now on.  
I found that it balanced the sweetness of the turkey broth and the heat from the  chili peppers.

If you still have a turkey carcass that you tucked into your freezer after is time to pull out your stock pot and get some soup going for your family.

  • 1 large turkey carcass
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 4 or 5 stalks celery, sliced
  • 5 carrots, julienned 
  • 1/2 cup whole grain rice
  • 1/2 cup pot barley  
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (if there is chili flakes in your Italian seasoning...omit the additional chili flakes here)
  • 1 cup of fresh minced parsley
  • chicken bouillon (to taste)
  • additional salt as needed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  1. Place the turkey carcass bones in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover.   I usually add at least 10 cups of water. If your turkey carcass is smaller adjust the amounts of vegetables and grains accordingly.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 hours. Remove the bones, separate the meat and add the meat back to the soup.
  3. Chop up the vegetables and add them to the soup pot along with the rice and barley.  
  4. Add all the seasonings except chicken bouillon and simmer for another hour.  Taste the broth and if necessary add 1 or 2 cubes chicken bouillon and additional salt if needed.
  5. Just before serving, add the lemon juice.  

Bread for the Journey

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God,
He is my mighty rock, my refuge. 
Trust in Him at all times, O people,
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.

One thing God has spoken, 
two things I have heard:
that You, O God, are strong
and that You, O Lord, are loving.

Psalm 62 : 5-8, 11,12a

I am thankful for words of hope scattered throughout these verses and I pray that today you are encouraged by them as well.  Rest in Him for He is our hope. Trust Him for He our salvation. Let us pour out our hearts to Him for He will provide. He is strong and loving - oh, the depth of the riches of all we have in Him!

Chicken Broccoli and Cheese Pockets

When I spotted this recipe for quick and simple chicken broccoli cheese pockets...I knew it would be a hit over here. What a perfect way to use leftover chicken (or turkey) and have a simple supper on the table in next to no time!  I'm sure it would be even better with dough made from scratch and fresh steamed veggies with cheese sauce...but today's post is about speed and convenience.

  • 1-250 gr package Green Giant frozen chopped broccoli with cheese sauce 
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast 
  • 1 can (318 gr /12 oz) Pillsbury Grands Big & Flaky crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water 
  1. Cook broccoli and cheese according to package directions.  
  2. Stir in chopped chicken.
  3. Unroll the Pillsbury dough and cut down the center.  Press diagonal perforations in dough and cut each remaining piece in half to yield four rectangles. 
  4. Place 1/2 cup of broccoli-chicken mixture on on half of each rectangle of dough.  
  5. Top with about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Fold other half of dough rectangle over filling. 
  7. With fork, seal edges. 
  8. Gently transfer hand pies to parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Beat egg with water until foamy. Brush tops of hand pies with egg wash.
  10. Bake at 375°F about 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
 Yield: Four large pockets.

Serve with a green salad & enjoy!

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.

Meatloaf - Individual Size

It was common in years gone by for people to host another family around their table for a noon meal Sunday after church, often the big meal of day. My parents practiced Sunday hospitality and us children would especially enjoy when the guests were a family who had kids for us to play with in the afternoon. In our earlier years of marriage we too made this a fairly regular practice and it was always such a great time. So, we've decided to re adopt this 'old fashioned' idea once again in our home. We've already started this and here is the last meal I had cooking in the oven while we went to church. With a bit of pre planning and prep you can be seating at the table soon after arriving home from church.

Meat loaf is an old time favourite. Simple ingredients that can be made into one large loaf, or into these cute little individual loaves. 
**see note below for tips on baking**

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion grated fine
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. In a large bowl stir together all ingredients except for the ground beef.
  2. Add ground beef and mix well. I use my hands to mix it. 
  3. Form meat mixture into 8 or 9 equal oval shaped meatloaves. Place in a 9x13 size glass pan. 
  4. Stir together sauce. With the back of a spoon make a slight indent in the tops of each loaf. Top each loaf with sauce.
  5. Bake in 350º oven for 40 minutes if baking individual loaves, or for 60 minutes if making in one large loaf. Bake uncovered. 
**If you want to be well prepared and to have them ready after being out of the house for a few hours, make these a day or two ahead and freeze them in the baking pan (see photo below) with the sauce. When you are ready to leave the house cover the pan with foil and place in oven pre heated to 275º.  They can bake for 2 hours this way. When you come home, remove foil and turn heat up to 325º for the 10-15 minutes. (this step may not be necessary but it helps to brown them up a bit more. The meat loaves will still be nicely coated with sauce and there will be some liquid from the meat in the pan....discard this when ready to serve)**

**If you are at home when baking these, follow step 5 in instructions.**

Frozen, ready to cover with foil and go in 275º oven. The house smells so good when you walk in.

Here's a prep suggestion if you want to have almost everything ready to go when you get home. Boil and mash potatoes in the morning or the day before. I like to add milk and some herbed cream cheese to them. Place hot mashed potatoes in a crock pot on warm. They will be fluffy and hot when you get home.
Cut up vegetables and have in pot ready to cook and pre make a cheese sauce if required that only needs to be reheated. Salad ready in fridge.
Don't forget dessert. On Sundays you'll most likely be served pie around my table! 

"Julie's Flour Blend" Gluten Free (and bread/bun recipe)

I have been working at coming up with an all-purpose flour mix that I could trust.  I have finally come up with a blend that I am really happy with. It is so much easier to reach for ONE flour container instead of several.
I will be offering updated and new recipes using my flour blend.

Here is  "Julie's Flour Blend" 
  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1 cup white bean flour (grind your own navy beans (small white beans from grocery store) 
  • 1 cup brown rice flour 
  • 1 cup potato starch 
  • 1 cup tapioca starch 
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour 
  • 1/2  cup cornstarch 
  • 3 tbsp. potato flour 
  • NOTE --  I did not include xanthan gum because the amount needed is not the same for bread as it is for cakes and different again for cookies. So I prefer to add it in each recipe.  

I worked until I had a blend that was perfect for bread - and this one is.  I also worked with every tweek and trick I could come up with to ensure a fool-proof loaf of bread that I, along with everyone else could enjoy eating. I have made this bread countless times - it turns out the same every time and has never failed.
It rises well, has a mild wheat-like flavour, has a nice crumb (not cake-like)  is springy like wheat bread,  has a soft texture and is not at all gummy - just a wheat-like chewy.

My Winner's Bread - a basic bread -slices/toasts/freezes well 

  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1 tsp unflavoured gelatin 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp reg. yeast (not quick rise) 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/8 cup butter (trick - cut 1/4 cup off a pound of butter then cut it in half diagonally for 1/8 cup butter)
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1 1/2 cup Julie's Flour Blend 
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum  (too much xanthan  gum can make bread fall) 
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp powder egg replacer 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  1. Heat milk and water -- I find 50 sec. in my microwave brings it to a perfect temp. -- if you have chlorine in your water do not use it for yeast baking - it hinders the yeast from rising. 
  2. Add mixed sugar/gelatin/yeast to warm fluids and let proof 
  3. Add room temp. egg and honey and softened butter to mixer bowl and mix. 
  4. Stir proofed yeast and add to liquids. 
  5. Add mixed dry ingredients, stir until blended 
  6. Beat on high for 6 minutes  -- dough will look smooth and stretchy 
  7. Line glass loaf pan with parchment paper (don't have to line ends) 
  8. Scrape dough into pan and  wet your hands under warm water to smooth top of loaf. 
  9. Let rise on range top beside a steaming pan of water. 
  10. It will take about 1/2 hour to rise over the top of the pan so make sure you allow time to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  11. When loaf rounds top of pan, place loaf in microwave on high for 60 seconds,  then straight into pre-heated oven. 
  12. Let bake for about 40 minutes.   Remove from oven, remove loaf from pan and paper and let cool completely on wire racks before slicing. 

 We were planning a family wiener roast and I wanted a nice hot dog bun.
Because GF dough is much softer than reg wheat dough you cannot just shape buns on a pan so I
created little boats out of parchment paper.   I cut the parchement paper 7 1/2" x 4 1/2 " - folding it in half lengthwise, then the long edges to meet at the centre, then folded up the ends and stapled them in place. (I have contacted/corresponded with someone who designs/manufacturers baking pans to see if he will make a hot dog pan according to my specifications )  In the meantime I found my parchment trays worked well and can be reused several times.  Make sure you tuck them up against each other in a pan - I found that 6 fit snug in my glass cake pan (11 1/2" x 7 1/2". The ends will hold, its the sides that will spread with the rising dough if not tucked up against each other.

One bread recipe makes 6 hot dog buns.

The buns were enjoyed by both gluten-free and wheat eaters ... See how springy the bun is?

My grandgirls love pizza buns and these worked great. I sliced them, lined them up on parchment paper on a cookie rack and spread them with our favourite pizza sauce and grated cheese.  

 I bought a Whoopie  Pie pan  and tried it for baking buns.  The indents are not very deep but deep enough to keep the bun rising each in their 'space'. The bun size would be perfect as mini hamburger buns or anything else you choose to do with them!

One bread recipe makes 12 buns - 1 tbsp. in each space and dough smoothed with wet hand to fill indent.

NOTE :  I would suggest that you try this bread/bun recipe exactly as is before you try to change it -  adding or substituting ingredients.   The margin between success and fail in GF yeast baking is very narrow - I know this recipe works !   If you make changes and are happy with the results post a comment and let the rest of us know.

Potato, Kale, Farmer Sausage Soup


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 link farmer sausage, chopped fine
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 dried chili pepper
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon better than bouillon or 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 - 3 cups sliced baby potatoes, skin on
  • 1 sweet potato/yam or 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch kale (6 cups), chopped
  • extra crushed chilies, if needed and extra water if too thick
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream
  1. In a large pot, cook onion and farmer sausage until onion is soft.
  2. Add water and spices (chili pepper and peppercorns tied in cheesecloth) and bring to boil
  3. Add potatoes and sweet potato or carrots. Cook for 20 minutes
  4. Add kale and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Taste for flavor and add more chili if more zip is needed.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in cream. Serve with fresh bread, scones or bread sticks. When re-heating do not bring to boil with the cream in it.
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Jam Tart

Here is another way to use up jam, last time I used up strawberry jam in muffins, today it will be apricot jam in a tart.
I love the buttery taste and the crunchiness of the coarse sugar and cornmeal in this tart.
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract, use whatever flavor you like with the jam you are using
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup jam
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top of tart
  1. Mix butter and sugar till combined. Stir in egg and coconut extract.
  2. In another bowl whisk together dry ingredients, except for the coarse sugar.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture just until it comes together, don't over mix.
  4. Separate dough, form about 2/3 of it into a disk, wrap up and chill. Do the same with the remaining 1/3.
  5. Once chilled, allow to warm slightly to room temperature. Then take the 2/3 disk and press the dough into a slightly greased 9" pan, patting it evenly onto the bottom and sides.
  6. Spread jam over dough. Roll out remaining 1/3 of the dough using as little flour as possible and place on top of jam. I cut star shaped pieces but as you can see it kind of rises together and you can't really see the shapes.
  7. Sprinkle top generously with coarse sugar.
  8. Bake in a 375º oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Cool and serve. May be served warm.

Bread for the Journey

Several years ago we hiked through some rock canyons and the lyrics from the hymn He Hideth My Soul in the Cleft of the Rock ran through my mind. We walked through some narrow 'clefts in the rock'. The closeness of the rock walls added protection, a shelter from the elements. There was a strength in the walls of rock that opened giving us a narrow path to follow.
The words Fanny Crosby penned in this hymn speak of the nearness of the Lord, His protection, His goodness, His deep love. A wonderful Saviour who takes our burdens, in our weakness giving us His strength, day by day. He goes before us in all His glory and one day we will meet our Wonderful Saviour face to face.

Do you know this Wonderful Saviour? I pray that if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus  that today you will invite this Wonderful Saviour to be the Lord of your life. He loves you and desires for all to come to Him. 

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I'll shout with the millions on high.

Walnut Muffins Gluten Free

Here is muffin recipe that uses my Julie's Blend flour.  I love the butterscotch flavour of these muffins that complements the walnuts.
They are very good keepers -  good for two or three days on the counter.  Can also be frozen.

  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup white sugar 
  • 1 lg. egg 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 
  • 1 1/2 cups Julie's Blend Flour 
  • 2 rounded tsp. of baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces 
  1. Beat butter, sugar and egg until light and fluffy 
  2. Add vanilla, milk and sour cream 
  3. Mix together dry ingredients and add to liquids... beat until smooth
  4. Add walnut pieces 
  5. Fill muffin tins - with or without paper baking cups (grease pan lightly if not using baking cups)
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees 
  7. These muffins are actually better after they have completely cooled. 

Beef Bourguignon

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

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

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

Jalapeno Pepper Potato Soup

We enjoyed this spicy potato soup yesterday for our lunch.
Paired with some crusty bread, it makes a satisfying main course soup.
The vegetable broth, made from scratch, has lots of flavour with simple ingredients that I always have available.

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, minced  (cut back on this if you prefer a milder flavour)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 medium potatoes, small diced
  • 5 cups water
  • 5  whole cloves 
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt  (taste to season)
  • chopped green onions
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, fried
  • shredded cheese
  1. Chop vegetables and place in a large saucepan, cover with water.  Bring to boil.
  2. Put spices in a spice cup or tie in cheesecloth and add to pot.  
  3. Simmer covered,  about 30 minutes until vegetables are soft and broth is fragrant.  Remove spices.
  4. Mash well or process with a hand held blender.  Do not puree until smooth. Leave a bit of texture.  You can pulse the liquid using a regular blender but take care when processing hot liquids.  
  5. Season with salt and stir in cream.
  6. Ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon bits, cheese and green onions.

Dutch Apple Pancakes

I got the idea for these pancakes from a local pancake restaurant, but after more than one serving of pancakes that were undercooked, I decided to try making them myself. I use the German Pancake (crepe) recipe from the Mennonite Cookbook.

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 apples, slivered
  1. Quarter and slice apples, as thin as you can. 
  2. Beat eggs, then add milk salt and flour, beating until smooth. 
  3. Heat (med size) non stick pan and lightly grease with butter for first pancake and then every other, if needed. 
  4. Batter should not be too thick, but still coat pan nicely - add a little more milk, if needed. Pour a small ladle full of batter into pan while lifting the pan and tilting it in a circular motion, until the pan is covered with batter. Spread with thinly sliced apple slices and cover with another layer of the batter. tilting pan in a revolving motion. 
  5. Cook at med or just below med heat until batter looks dry on top and edges lift easily with plastic lifter. Flip carefully, but quickly. This recipe makes about ten 8-inch pancakes.
  6. Sprinkle pancakes with cinnamon sugar. (mix 1 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

I had some leftover Schmoo sauce from Charlotte’s Schmoo Torte I had made earlier and drizzled some of that on the pancakes. I won’t tell you haw many I had!

Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup

January is known as 'soup month'...and for good reason.  Fog, rain, snow and wind have us craving some nice warm comfort food at this time of year.  A zippy version of tomato tortellini soup along with some crusty homemade bread may be just the thing you need on a cold winter's day.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 14 oz. / 398 ml can diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz. / 350 gr cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  1. Cook garlic in oil over medium heat until fragrant.
  2. Stir in broth, tomato juice and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Add tortellini, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add  basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, cream and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes. 
  6. Sprinkle each serving with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This soup is a delicious alternative to Chicken noodle soup. 
We’ve enjoyed it at several Italian restaurants and I thought I’d try to duplicate it at home.
Here’s the recipe I came up with. You can easily double it to serve 10-12 people.
  • 10 cups home made or purchased low sodium Chicken broth, divided
  • Italian style meatballs (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup uncooked Orzo (rice shaped pasta)
  • large handful of chopped kale or spinach
  • the rind of a piece of fresh Parmesan (if available)*
  • several large leaves coarsely chopped fresh basil
For the Italian Style Meatballs:
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon. salt
  • 1/4 teapoon Montreal Steak Spice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  1. Mix breadcrumbs, milk, beef broth and egg together.
  2. Add ground beef, ground pork and remaining ingredients.
  3. Form into small meatballs. (about 3/4 inch) I use a tablespoon to measure the amount for each meatball.
  4. Cook meatballs 10 at a time in 2 cups of chicken broth. This will only take a few minutes for each batch. Cut one in half to see if it is done.
  5. In another pot, cook sliced carrots until just tender.
  6. Cook orzo in a separate pot of boiling water until “al dente”. (do not overcook)
  7. Add cheese rind to chicken broth in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.
  8. Turn heat down to a simmer and add meatballs, cooked carrots, cooked orzo pasta and chopped kale and basil.
  9. Heat until kale is wilted.
  10. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and chopped basil if desired.
As with any soup recipe this one can be adapted to your taste. Some like it with garlic added to the broth. I’ve also seen it made with different leafy greens (arugula, curly endive, escarole)

Making the small meatballs is the tedious part of this recipe but you can prepare and cook them ahead of time and refrigerate them. The carrots and orzo can also be cooked ahead of time so they are all ready when you assemble the soup.

*I’ve noticed from my reading that Italians often add the rind or heal of Parmesan cheese to their soups. This not only uses up that last bit of cheese but adds flavour to the soup. And, it’s a a delicious mouthful if the melted cheese turns up in your bowl.

Zwieback (double buns)

I baked some Zwieback this morning. I don't often do this since these soft delectable little buns
aren't exactly high in fiber or low in fat. However, every now and then I bake them for my beloved who adores them nearly as much as he does me.

This recipe was his grandma's. She, of course, baked a larger batch and then served them for Faspa on Sunday afternoons with fresh butter, cheese, and preserves. He claimed her buns were the best. They were and now the task is mine since she has long since passed away.

 To make buns it is best to assemble all your ingredients first.
Read through the recipe at the bottom of the page to understand the steps.

You will use a slightly different method for Zwieback. You will cut the softened butter into part of the flour rather than melting it in the milk. If you have a bench scraper, it is great for scraping off the bits of dough while kneading.

If you have a kitchen machine with a dough hook it will make the job quite quick but with patience, you can easily make beautifully soft buns by hand.

Total kneading time by hand will be about 10 minutes.
This small recipe should be easier to handle than a large one.
If you want lots of buns, just double it.

Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover.

Let it sit in a warm place until it has doubled, about 1 hour.

Put parchment paper on 3 cookie sheets. Have a little soft butter handy to keep your hands from becoming sticky. Take a handful of dough and pinch off small buns, about the size of a walnut.
This takes practice and if they don't look great,  it won't affect the taste.

Now, pinch off a slighter smaller bun and put it on top of the first bun.

With your fingers, push down through both buns all the way to the pan.

Cover them with a light tea towel.
Let them rise until doubled.

Preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
If you have convection preheat to 375.

Bake the buns until they are golden brown.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup soft butter (no substitutes)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups flour plus a little more for dusting your counter
  1. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your dough mixer.  Allow to rest for ten minutes.
  2. Heat the milk until it is also just warm,  room temperature is perfect.
  3. Add the instant potato flakes and stir.
  4. Add the milk mixture, the oil, and the salt to the yeast in the large bowl.
  5. Cut the butter into  3 cups of the flour with a pastry blender.
  6. Add the butter and flour mixture to the yeast and milk mixture.
  7. Add the remainder of the flour and allow the machine to knead until smooth.
  8. If you are mixing by hand, turn the dough onto a floured counter once stirring becomes too difficult.
  9. Knead to a smooth dough.
  10. Put the dough into a large mixing bowl and cover. 
  11. Let the dough double in bulk, about an hour.
  12. You will need 3 large cookie sheets.  Line them with parchment paper or grease.
  13. Take a piece of dough the size of a orange,  hold it in your left hand.  With your right hand, squeeze a bit of dough between your thumb and forefinger about the size of a walnut, pinch your thumb and forefinger together to squeeze it off.  With your right hand take the dough and place it on the pan.  Again, squeeze the dough between your thumb and forefinger, this time a smaller piece to make the top bun.  Squeeze it off and place it on top of your first bun.  With both your index fingers, press down through the top and bottom  buns to seal them together.  Repeat with all the dough.
  14. Cover the buns with a clean tea towel and let rise about an hour or until they have doubled.
  15. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for about 20 minutes.  If you have a convection oven, bake at 375 F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Coconut Bread Pudding

Bread pudding used to be referred to as poor man's pudding. I remember my Mom making this pudding as a way of salvaging stale bread, nothing was wasted. And since milk and eggs were plentiful on the farm this dessert could be made with little cost. When I made this bread pudding I sure wasn't thinking that it tasted like a 'poor man's pudding' but rather it had a wonderfully rich flavour and the sauce just put it over the top. Mom didn't make a sauce and we ate the pudding plain. This is a large recipe but can easily be halved.
  • 12 slices bread, thickly sliced (diced and crust can be left on or off, your choice) this can be stale or fresh  I used pannetone bread and left the crust on
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar  if using a sweetened bread you could use 1/2 cup sugar
  • 9 eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream or increase milk and decrease cream as long as you have 3 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Dice bread and set aside.
2. Using a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and coconut. Beat until well blended.
3. Add diced bread and mix with a spoon until all the bread is covered in the liquid. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and allow bread to absorb the liquid for 1 hour. Give the mixture a stir once in awhile.
4. Put bread mixture into a greased 9" x 12" pan or individual baking dishes.
5. Bake in a 350º oven for 45 to 50 minutes.
Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

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

Chicken Artichoke and Rice casserole

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

White Sauce*
  • 6 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper ( I often use Montreal Steak Spice)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
*2 cans of undiluted cream of chicken soup can be substituted for the white Sauce.
  • 1 1/2 cups julienne cut (2 x 1/4 x 1/4") carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienne cut green peppers
  • 1/2 cup julienne cut red or yellow peppers
  • 1/3 cup green onions cut into 1" strips
  • 1 tablespoon  butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken cut into strips
  • 3 or 4 strips bacon, crsply cooked and crumbled
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese ( mozzarella or swiss or montery jack or combination)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice*
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice*
  • 1 or 2 14 ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Prmesan cheese
  • Dried parsley flakes
* I cook 1 cup of a rice blend (found at Costco) which cooks up to 3 cups rice.
For Sauce:
  1. Melt margarine in medium saucepan over medium heat (or in microwavable bowl) Stir in flour, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly, stirring constantly.
  3. Gradually add milk and chicken broth, and cook stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. (or cook for one minute intervals in microwave, stirring well after each interval)
For the Casserole:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In large skillet over medium high heat, cook and stir carrots, and peppers in 1 tablespoon butter until crisp tender, adding green onions about half way.
  3. Stir in white sauce, 1/2 cup milk, sherry, chicken, bacon and cheese. Blend well and remove from heat.
  4. Combine white and wild rice and spread evenly over bottom of greased baking dish.
  5. Arrange artichokes over rice.
  6. Spoon chicken/sauce mixture evenly over artichokes. (Dish can be covered at this point and refrigerated up to 24 hours)
  7. Spinkle with grated parmesan and parsley
  8. Bake covered for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until casserole is throughly heated and begins to brown.

Arroz Con Pollo

A few month ago I ordered the special in our favorite Mexican restaurant not sure even what I was ordering. I knew that Pollo was chicken and rice was involved so I knew it would be good. I enjoyed it so much that I spent a good part of the meal dissecting the flavours. I looked online for a recipe and was surprised to find many and so with the staples I had in the freezer and pantry I made a combination which we enjoyed very much.

  • 3 frozen or fresh skinless boneless chicken breasts or 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion . .diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 796 ml or 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon minced chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (you may use more after the sauce simmers a bit if you want it hotter
  • 1 cup of diced roasted sweet red peppers (or you could just use 1 diced pepper which you would then add with the onion)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  1. Cube the raw chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. Heat a large saucepan to medium high and then add the olive oil and the chicken and brown it all over.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium.
  4. Add the onions and garlic and stir until the onion is translucent about 5 minutes.
  5. Add all the spices and and stir for a few minutes allowing the spices to blend.
  6. Add the tomatoes and chipotle peppers and diced roasted red pepper. (these could be blended if you want a smoother sauce. .we prefer our sauces chunky)
  7. Combine the room temperature chicken broth and flour until smooth and add to the rest of the sauce.
  8. Stir in the lime juice last and allow to simmer 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with hot rice. You can use soft flour tortilla shells to the chicken sauce in or .. just put the sauce over the rice. . sprinkling with some shredded lettuce and a bit of shredded cheese and some guacamole on the side with crispy tortilla chips.

Fig and Apple Muffins

I got this recipe from a 2002 Robin Hood Baking Festival booklet. These are one of my favorite muffins and really it’s hard to believe that something so good is also healthy! If you’re extra health conscious, you can substitute half of the flour for whole wheat, use a little less sugar, and non-fat yogurt. If I don’t have figs, I use chopped dates.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt 
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups finely chopped apples
  • 1 ½ cups dried figs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Combine egg, yogurt and butter in small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just moistened. 
  3. Stir in apples and figs. 
  4. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, quite full.
  5. Combine topping ingredients and spoon over muffins, pressing in a bit.
  6. Makes 12 large muffins (grease tops of muffin tin, if using regular size tins)
  7. Extra large muffin tins work well.
  8. Bake at 375 F for about 25 minutes, depending on size.