Friday, January 30, 2009

Kitchen Chicken Casserole

A quote from my three year old “mommy can we eat this every night cause I LOVE IT” and she normally doesn’t LOVE anything that isn’t yoghurt!

This is not the prettiest dish but oh my sweet heavens it is so yummy.

I call this kitchen chicken casserole because it’s an easy throw together recipe that can use pretty much whatever you have in your kitchen. Use fresh chicken or leftover chicken. I am even willing to bet that if you used leftover chicken and skipped cooking up the veggies, just threw it in the pan with all of the other ingredients and popped it in the oven you’d end up with a masterpiece. I have never done it that way (I will next time) but if you do…let me know how it goes!

The Grocery List (it seems like a lot of ingredients but you can add or omit based on what you have in your house, I am positive there is no way to mess this up)

Chicken (I used leftover chicken that I cut in chunks but you could use 2 chicken breasts)
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
Half a green bell pepper
Half a red bell pepper
1 large leek
Some Spice: 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder, 2 tsp paprika powder, few shakes of Salt and Pepper

1 cup uncooked rice (I use brown rice)
2 cans of cream soup – I’m confident any cream soup will work but if you want to be just like me you’d use 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 can golden mushroom soup
2 1/3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
1/8 tsp hot chili pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Olive oil
Pinch of fresh or dried parsley.
Aluminum foil

Cooking It All Up:

Preheat your oven to F350 (175C)

Chop all your veggies making sure they are all about the same size.

*if you are using leftover already cooked chicken, cut it into chunks and throw it into a big bowl and tell it to hang out until you are ready to add the other goods. (note: there is nothing wrong with talking to your food)*

If you are using chicken breasts cut them up and season with salt, pepper, curry powder and paprika powder. Sautée them until they’re just about done, make sure not to overcook them. Remove them from the skillet and transfer to a big bowl.

Add a little more oil to your pan and sautée the veggies, start with the hard veggies like the carrots and move your way to the softer ones. *if you are using the leftover chicken just add the spices to the veggies while they sautée…trust me it’ll all work out in the end* Once the veggies are softened a bit (not too much because they will cook in the oven and you don’t want them mushy, yuck) add them to the bowl with the chicken.

Now the party starts. To the chicken/veggie bowl add all of the other ingredients. Mix Mix, Mix.

Dump it all to an oven dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Put it in a preheated oven for an hour. Pull it out, remove the foil, stir it up, and put it back in the oven uncovered for about 20 minutes (use your judgment, you just want to make sure the rice is sufficiently cooked, no one likes crunchy rice). Turn the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes to make it brown and pretty on top.

Serve it up, sprinkle with parsley if you are fancy, and enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Roast Chicken and BBQ Veggies

As a busy working mom, I can’t think of anything better than a meal that is fuss free. This meal is easy prep, oven roasting, healthy, and delicious for the whole family. I know roast chicken and veggies doesn't sound like something that actually requires a recipe but trust me.....if you do it this way you'll be very very happy. The chicken will be juicy and fresh and the veggies are sweet and spicy. YUMMY!

The Grocery List

Roast Chicken

  • Whole Chicken (I used two small roasting chickens so we’d have leftovers)
  • Spice (I used Thyme, Rosemary, Paprika, Oregano and Garlic Powder)
  • 1 lemon

BBQ Veggies

  • Any combination of veggies will work: I used 1 large Sweet Potato, 1 large Carrot, 1 lb of Baby Potatoes, and 1 Onion (chopped into large chunks that are roughly the same size)
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I only used ¼ because my kids are sensitive when it comes to spice!)

Cooking it Up:

Preheat Oven to 400°F.

The Chicken: Remove chicken from packaging and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Put chicken in a roasting pan. I like to use a rack in my roasting pan so that the chicken isn’t sitting in the drippings (i.e.: fat). Squeeze the lemon juice from one fresh lemon over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with the spices. Add a few slices of lemon. Bake for 2 hours or until cooked.

After the chicken cooks for an hour you can throw in the veggies!

The Veggies: Mix all of the ingredients, except the veggie, in large bowl. Add veggies; toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a large baking dish or rimmed cookie sheet, spreading it all out evenly. Bake until tender, stirring occasionally, about 55 minutes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicks Chili - So easy a dude could do it!**

There is nothing better on a cold winter afternoon than a hearty bowl of chili. Chili is so versatile, you can add as many or as few ingredients as you wish, as much spice or as little spice as you like. I make my chili with a lot of veggies and a variety of beans. I don't make it too spicy because the kiddos eat it. I always serve it with nachos, cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce (for the more adventurous adults!).

The Grocery List

  • Family Pack of Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 540ml (19 oz) cans of mixed beans, well rinsed in cold water
  • 3 796ml (28 oz) cans of reduced sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 700ml bottle of roasted tomato sauce (or your favorite variety of tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup of mushroom, chopped
  • 1 cup of green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • few dashes of hot sauce, optional
Chick Note: My slow cooker is HUGE so if you have a smaller slow cooker, reduce the ingredients accordingly or you'll end up with way too much stuff and a big old mess.

Some ingredients were too shy to pose for this picture!

Cooking it Up:

Start by browning the ground beef. While that's happening, get our your slow cooker and give it a good spray with your cooking spray, this will make cleaning up so so so much easier!

Chop up all of the veggies, drain and rinse the beans. Add them to the slow cooker.

Once the ground beef has sufficiently browned, add it to the slow cooker. Add the diced tomatoes including juice, add the bottle of tomato sauce, mix it all around. Add the chili powder, cumin, and if you are wild add the hot sauce.

Stir and let it all do it's thing on low for 8 hours. If you are less patient (or less of a think ahead kinda person) you can set it to high for a 2 hours and then reduce it to low for 2 hours.

**If you are a dude, please do not take offense to the title....just jokes. The chicks LOVE dudes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nanny's Banana Cupcakes

My Nanny, Jenny, was born in 1900, and many of my memories of her are of our visits to her house playing outside and in the parks; and of us all sitting around the kitchen table eating and visiting.
She made the most deliciously scrumptious pickles I've had in my entire life !!- one visit mes soeurs and I ate 5 jars! ....my mouth still waters when thinking about them. :)
Although this has nothing to do with pickles (that will have to be another post), it is a recipe of Nanny's that is easy to make and delightfully scrumptious as well!
I've made these cupcakes a few times now and everytime they taste great and are difficult to stay away from! ....I've already eaten two.

Grocery list:
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of margarine
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons of milk
1.5 cups of flour
2 bananas

1. Beat one egg and add vanilla;
2. In a different bowl cream margarine and sugar;
3. Add the beaten egg and vanilla and mix well;
4. In a different bowl mix baking soda and milk and then add to the other and mix well;
5. Mash bananas and then add to the mixture, mixing well;
6. Add flour and mix well.

Grease your muffin tins; or use muffin papers. Fill the tins 2/3 full - makes 12. FYI: If you want to double the batch, you would need to make 2 seperate batches.

Bake for 15 minutes @ 335. When you can place a toothpick into the center of the cupcake and it comes out clean - they are done!

Date Night - Steak with Shrooms and Shallots & Warm Dijon Potato Salad

I know it doesn’t look very exciting from first glance but if you look closely you will see something…..You will see that this was an evening where the table was set for 2 not 4. This was an evening with candle light and flowers. This was an evening with real placemats and napkins and not the regular Dora and Princess plastic mats. This was an evening with wine. This was an evening with great food and better company. This was “date night” and it was much deserved and much needed by both hubby and I.

Our Menu:
Marinated Steak
White Wine Mushrooms and Shallots
Warm Dijon Potato Salad

The Grocery List


  • 2 strip steaks (or really any steak will do because the marinade rocks)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients in a zip lock bag, toss in the steaks, seal the bag - don't forget to remove all of the air! Smoosh the steak around in the marinade and let it hang in the fridge until you are ready to get cooking.

White Wine Mushrooms and Shallots
  • 3/4 lbs cremini mushrooms (if you aren't a fancy chick use plain old white mushrooms, I did)
  • 3 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 bunch of scallions aka green onion, green parts (white parts are used in the potato recipe)
Warm Dijon Potato Salad (this one is adapted from Rachel Ray "Just in Time!"...it's so delicious!!)
  • 1 pound of baby red skin potatoes, cut in half
  • 4 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin Olive Oil)
  • 4 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped (or 6 or 8 if you LOVE bacon and really - who doesn't LOVE bacon?)
  • 1 bunch of scallions, white parts
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 6 tbsp dijon mustard
  • handful of flat leaf parsley (also known as italian parsley)
Cooking It Up:

Start by cooking the potatoes in boiling water until tender (about 12-15 minutes).

Take the steaks out of the fridge, they are best if cooked at room temperature - nothing worse than tough chewy steak (I promise this won't be!)

Preheat your grill to high heat, this can be your outdoor BBQ or your indoor counter top grill.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsps of EVOO, add the bacon. Cook until almost crisp, add the white part of the scallions, lower the heat and cook for 7 minutes until very tender. Add the vinegar (stand back!) to deglaze the pan. Whisk in the Dijon. Add the potatoes and leave on low to hang out and absorb the flavors.

After you add the scallions in the above step, place the steaks on the grill. Hubby likes his cooked for 7-8 minutes to give him a medium-rare steak, i like mine cooked for 10-12 minutes to give me a well done steak. Let the steak sit for a solid 5 minutes before you slice it into strips.

While the steaks cook, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of EVOO in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the muchrooms and shallots and cook for 7 minutes, add the wine and let it reduce for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the butter and turn off the heat. Scatter green part of the scallions over the top. (to be honest I don't add the butter because I'm trying to be a little bit health conscious and I really don't miss it when I leave it out but it does make the sauce a bit smoother)

Slice the Steak against the grain, top with the White Wine Mushrooms and Shallots. Serve the Warm Dijon Potato Salad alongside.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not Just Any Tuna Melt!

I can't say that I've ever had a Tuna Melt before; and I really wasn't sure I'd like it. But I must say....it was surprising good! And seems fancier, or more decadent than it's name....
MS was sure he wouldn't like it; the ingredients were too much for him, he thought Tuna and Cheese...that's all you need; ugh, not cheese wiz? But after he tasted it, he too was pleasantly surprised!
A simple sandwich; with great flavour.

1 can water packed tuna, drained and flaked
1 small onion, minced
4 tablespoons of Cheese Wiz
3 tablespoons of Mayo
2 tablespoons of pickle relish
1 tablespoon of mustard

Mix all ingredients together.

This...like any recipe probably is also tweekable -- I used 3 tbls of Cheese Wiz and 2 of Mayo...and cut up sweet pickles that I had; and dijon mustard (because I couldn't for the life of me find the mustard..which was apparently directly in front of me in the fridge...ugh)

Oven 350 degrees; Spoon into rolls or onto a bun - I put it into sub buns; Wrap the bun into aluminum foil, place on a cooking rack and bake for 20 minutes.

I had to leave it in the oven a bit longer, it was 'just' warm after 20 minutes and should be hot!

Remove and serve....eat and enjoy! :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Maple Chicken Curry

This recipe is a popular item in my City at a local restaurant. It is very rich in flavour, so I find you can't eat too much of it. But I love it! I love maple syrup and I love all things sugar - so the sweet maple with the curry flavour is delicious. Although MS (Mainsqueeze) didn't enjoy it as much as I did, he doesn't enjoy curry, but he did eat it anyhow, although he is not looking forward to me making it again, and suggested I wait until he is away. ;)

It mirrors the restaurant's recipe very well, although slightly different, and not as sweet I found, it is deliciously close!!

It isn't overly 'healthy' in the sense if you are on a diet and trying to watch calories. But there are ways to go around the butter and cream. I've heard of people using flour and milk. I used half milk and half cream and a tablespoon of butter and found it to be very flavourful. I think this is a recipe where you can tweek here and there and still remain with some great flavour so long as you have the maple syrup and curry. For instance, all those peppers are not necessary either, all we had were green - and that's what we used, it's more for look than anything. I also used curry powder (Epicure spice) because this is what I had on hand, but I would like to try the curry paste next time - for the spicyness, I like a good spice!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons hot curry paste

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and peppers, and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Stir in cooked chicken and garlic, and sprinkle with sugar. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, then stir in maple syrup, and cook for about 5 more minutes, until caramelized.
Stir in curry paste and heavy cream, and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce reaches your desired thickness.


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