Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Dinner (3 Recipes!)

Since this Friday was a holiday, I thought we could up the ante and do a fancier dinner. Sort of our own Easter dinner to ourselves. We've had a pork tenderloin in our freezer for a month or so and I decided this would be a great time to use that. Stuffed pork tenderloin is usually my go to, and today was no different. I wasn't feeling quite ambitious enough to make stuffing from scratch so we bought a "Stovetop" box. Totally ok! We had an abundance of carrots in our fridge from my random decision to start Juicing this week and roasted Cauliflower is always a good side and goes with pretty much everything. I like to use one or two spices that are the same in each dish to tie it all together. The bonus with this dish is that you can cook everything together in the oven at one temperature for the same length of time.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

1 pound Pork Tenderloin, (1 or 2 pieces)
2 Cups (one box) prepared stuffing
1 Tbsp butter - Melted
1 Tbsp olive oil
Fresh or dried Thyme Leaves
Dried Onion Flakes
Garlic clove - Grated
1 Tbsp Roasted Red Pepper (I used Epicures dried)

Roasted Carrots

10 - 14 carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Tbsp butter - Melted
1 Tbsp oil
Fresh or dried Thyme Leaves
Dried Onion Flakes
Garlic clove - Grated

Roasted Cauliflower

See Recipe here

I left out the cheese and chickpeas this time.


Pork - Preheat oven to 425 º

First, you have to open your pork up to pound it out a bit thinner. Do do this you slice it length wise down the middle until almost through, about 1/4 inch left. Then, slice each half length wise down the middle leaving the same amount of space till the bottom. Cover with saran and pound out with a meat mallet until about 1/4 inch thick. If you have two pieces, do this to both. Having 2 makes it a little easier to wrap up because its more of a sandwich than a jelly roll.

Mix last 8 ingredients under pork together. Brush onto inside of the pork. Leave a bit for the top.

Season inside of pork with salt and pepper if desired on top of butter mixture.

Spoon stuffing onto one side of pork spreading to about 1/2 inch away from edge of meat, you can pile it up.

Layer other piece of pork, inside down, on top of the stuffing. Tie together with kitchen twine or use toothpicks. If you have one piece of pork you will roll up like a jelly roll and secure together.

Place in roasting dish, (wait to put in oven with vegetables) cook in preheated on bottom rack for 15-20 minutes and place on top rack for last 5-10 minutes of cooking. Temperature should register 160º.

Let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 2-6 depending on loin size.


Mix all ingredients together in a dish, coating carrots. Spread on baking sheet with cauliflower and roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes, switching with pork for last 10 minutes.

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

This was my very first pin on my "Appies" board on Pinterest, it's been a long time coming! I finally got the chance to make these for our Easter dinner appetizer. I have to say I'm pretty impressed with how they turned out. I changed the recipe a bit to fit what I had around the kitchen, but not too much. The hardest part about these is peeling those eggs. Any tips would be much appreciated. If you want to pipe the filling in with a star tip (like I tried to do) you're going to want to really crumble that bacon or it will get stuck in your star tip and you will have to jab it out dangerously with a knife. Otherwise a zip-lock bag will work just fine (I switched). I put this recipe into a calorie counter (just to see!) and they're about 75 Calories/half. You can certainly knock that down with less bacon, but why? Its Easter!

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
(Adapted from here)


12 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 dash rice vinegar
3/4 cup light Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp Bacon Mustard (Or Dijon)
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
6 pieces bacon, crispy and chopped or crumbled
paprika for topping


Cut the peeled eggs in half, lengthwise

Scoop out the yolks and place in mixing bowl

Mash the egg yolks till crumbly with a fork

Add the miracle whip, vinegar and mustard to the mashed egg yolks and stir until well combined, add more mustard if the mixture needs to be looser.

Mix in 3/4 of the jalapenos and bacon, setting aside 1/4 of each for topping.

Put the mixture in a zip-lock bag and cut a small part of the corner off of the bag

Fill each egg hole with the mixture

Sprinkle with paprika and remaining bacon and jalapenos

Chill until ready to serve

Bacon and Potato Frittata

My mom bought me a new piece of Le Crueset to add to my collection for Easter, a tarte pan! I wanted to try it out with a baked frittata for Easter Brunch. This was a recipe I pinned pretty recently, it has a lot of good for you ingredients to fill you up first thing in the morning or into the afternoon. It was a bit heavy in preparation though, so I would recommend precooking the bacon and potatoes or at least having everything cut up and ready to go if you want it early. It took a little over an hour from start to finish. It turned out great, especially for the first frittata I've ever made. It served 4 nicely but could probably be stretched to 6.

Bacon & Potato Frittata
(Adapted slightly from here)


8 large eggs
4-5 leaves chopped fresh basil
3+ Tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small shallot, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 - 2 handfuls chopped Spinach
1/4 cup Roasted Red peppers (if desired)


Preheat oven to 350º

Whisk together first 3 ingredients in  large bowl, salt and pepper to your taste levels. I would say a heavy pinch or two.

Cook bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp. Transfer bacon to a separate dish and pour off most, leaving 1 Tbsp or so of fat in the pan.

Add potatoes to hot pan and fry over medium-high heat until golden, about 5-7 minutes, stirring. In last 3 minutes, add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan stirring in. In last minute, add the spinach to wilt slightly.

Place all ingredients in tarte pan, covering with the egg mixture. Salt and pepper the top.

Place in preheated over for 20 - 25 minutes, depending on dish size.

Cut and serve in wedges.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Shrimp & Bacon Salad

Ok, there's a lot more ingredients in here than just those. But you cook the shrimp in the bacon grease and its pretty much amazing. I loved this salad. I didn't make the dressing from the orginal post, but I probably will next time. I may or may not have forgotten to pick up those ingredients. So we just used a bit of Renee's Dill and Cucumber Yogurt dip on the side. I find with an avocado in your salads they have a nice "built in" dressing from those, so you don't need one as much. Throw in a splash of that feta brine and you're pretty set. This salad hits every craving you might have, but I mostly found I wanted more bacon after... That could just be me though!

Shrimp & Bacon Salad
(Adapted from Here)


1/2 cup corn kernels frozen or shaved off a cob.
3 strips of bacon, diced
10 large shrimp, peeled with tails on or off
4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 cup crumbled goats feta (whatever kind you have is fine!)


1. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add the corn kernels and let cook until they start to get a little toasty around the edges, around 6 minutes, stirring off the bottom to help prevent sticking. Transfer the corn to a dish and set aside.

2. In the same pan, add the bacon. Fry for about 5-6 minutes, stirring until crispy or to your liking. Remove the bacon, leaving the grease in the skillet. My bacon didn't have a lot of fat so you may want to drain a bit off if you don't want to drown your shrimp in it. (Here comes the best part!)

3. Add the shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes per side (depending on size). Remove shrimp and prepare your salad.

4. Assemble your salad by tossing together the lettuce, toasted corn, bacon, shrimp and avocado.

5. Top with crumbled cheese and dressing if desired.

Tomato Basil Soup

This is a recipe I've been making for quite a while, I finally decided to take some pictures and add some ingredients. You may have seen it back on my Italian Evening post a year or so ago. Its a decent tomato soup recipe and filling enough to accompany just a salad or a nice grilled cheese. I also really like that it can be done in under an hour, less if you're in a crunch. You can add more layers of flavour to the soup just by buying some more intense ingredients. I used a Tomato basil tomato paste and I used a whole can and I bought tomatoes with basil already in there and mashed them myself. That way you can really get the basil freshness, even if your basil isn't that fresh (mine was not). 

Tomato Basil Soup
(Adapted slightly from Here)


2 tablespoons Grapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, grated
1 carrot, finely diced
Salt and pepper
2 tsp dried thyme leaves or 2 Tbsp Fresh (Chopped)
1 large fresh bay leaf
3 tbsp - 1 small can tomato paste
1 box (946 mL) low sodium chicken stock
32 ounce can whole or crushed tomatoes (I Bought Eden Whole Roma tomatoes with Basil)
A few leaves basil

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups 1% milk (or whatever you have)


1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.

2. Once the pot and oil are warm, add onions, garlic, carrot, salt, pepper, thyme, bay and cook partially covered to soften 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will really be able to smell the thyme and onion, such a great kitchen smell.

3. Add tomato paste and stir 2 minutes to let it caramelize a bit, it was in a can. Add the stock, tomatoes and tear in basil leaves. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, *Remove and discard bay leaf.

4. Purée soup with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender and back to the pot when smooth.

5. To make the béchamel sauce to thicken the soup, melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk, season with salt and pepper, and let thicken to coat a spoon. Stir béchamel into soup to combine. **Don't tell the real chefs, but you can do this in the microwave! Melt butter in the microwave, add flour and stir, microwave the paste another 10 seconds, add milk and microwave in 30 second bursts on medium high, whisking in between until thick. It takes a couple minutes.

6. Let soup simmer another 10 minutes or so to thicken and serve with your favourite salad or sandwich (or both!). I served mine with a basic Kale Salad topped with sunflower oil, lemon juice and a few crumbles of goat feta.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

M&M Cookies

My absolute favourite candy or chocolate treat is m&m's. I honestly don't eat anything else chocolate wise at all. You put them in a cookie and I am so in! I love this recipe because it bakes up light and cakey very fast. Around 15 minutes from fridge to belly, you do have to let them set up in the fridge for a couple hours before baking. Which is always a problem for me, I would have got 30 cookies out of this recipe but the dough is just so good! I only got 29. I used a small cookie scoop for them, about an inch across. If you use a larger one, you'll probably get around 15-18.

They're also great because you can do the recipe, make the cookie balls and put them in the fridge and bake them anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days later, or up to a month or two if you freeze them. I like to take the un-baked cookie balls to parties to bake right after the meal so that they are fresh for my friends and family and that way, no one will ask you where you bought them. I recommend buying m&m's in bulk (In Canada anyways) as they're quite expensive in larger amounts otherwise. I always get Sean to bring them back from Houston for me. 2 kg for $8! That's less then half of here, case closed for buying in bulk.

These particular ones made it into a Birthday Cookie Basket for one of my best friends, Jason. He loves cookies, and I hope you do too! In case you're wondering the other treats that made the box were; Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirls, Ginger Snaps and Banana Bread.

M&M Cookies
(Adapted slightly from here)


3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate M&M's, you may want 1/4 cup extra to add one here and there to the cookies.


To a large mixing bowl, if you have an electric hand mixer or your stand mixer, combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and mix together on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 2 minutes. The colour will gradually get lighter and that's key to a little bit fluffier cookies.

Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and mix in slighty by hand to avoid flying flour, then with the mixer on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

Add the chocolate chips, M&Ms, and combine by hand to avoid cracking those pretty shells.

Using a cookie scoop (Large or Small) or your hands, form equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Small scoop - 30 Cookies, Large Scoop - 15 Cookies

If you feel like you need some extra M&M's in each cookie, press them into the tops now.

Place mounds on dish or baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If you don't chill the dough for long enough, the cookies will spread out like little pancakes. No one wants that! (But if you do, that's how)

2 Hours later!

Preheat oven to 350ºF, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment. I highly recommend investing in the Silpats, parchment never covers the baking sheet well enough and eventually you'll balance out the cost.

Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart, small cookies 15 per sheet, large cookies 8 per sheet and bake for 12 minutes, switching racks halfway through, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly under cooked, pale, and glossy in the center.

Cookies will firm up as they cool - allow to cool for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.

Store in an airtight container for about a week, they won't last that long! So you can also freeze them for up to 6 months.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Slowcooker

With my recent avoidance of bread and cheese products I was looking for a recipe I could make for my parents that wouldn't scare them off as too healthy. (Shhh, don't tell them) I had pinned this one quite a while ago and while I don't use my slow cooker very often, today was a good day to use it. There's definitely something nice about doing the prep work in the morning (when you're still feeling pretty gung ho) and then dinner just being ready when you need it to be.

I modified this recipe to my parents tastes and what I had on hand. They don't enjoy things too spicy so I used I mild roasted salsa instead of something too hot. I also cut out the chilies. I still used the hot sauce, Cholula is our houses only brand these days and added a little extra seasoning in the way of onion flakes, roasted garlic flakes and some salt and pepper. Nothing too crazy. But half way through the house smelt amazing! The chicken still maintained its structure pretty well at the end of 5 hours, but shredded easily. Since I was a couple hours early, I left it on keep warm until dinner - stirring every half hour or so. It also left me some time to make a quick dessert.

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(Adapted from Here)


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
1 jar salsa, I used Mrs Renfro's Roasted Salsa, fairly mild
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp garlic flakes
2 tbsp Cholula hot sauce
1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice

Avocado Salsa Ingredients:
2 large or 3 medium avocados, diced into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

For Lettuce Wraps:
2 large heads iceberg lettuce for crunchy shells,
 - Butter lettuce for easy wrap shells

1. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise and arrange the chicken strips in the bottom of your slowcooker.

2. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion.

3. Shake over hot sauce of desired amount, followed by lime juice.

4.Cover with Salsa.

5. Set for 5 hours on low and walk away and enjoy your free time!

6. When the chicken is done, remove each piece into a bowl, shred apart with two forks and place back into the slow cooker. Stir to combine with the sauce.

7. Peel and chop the avocados and toss with the lime juice, red onion and tomato. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Prepare the lettuce - For iceberg cut head in half across to make two bowl shapes, pull two leaves off to make a cup. For butter lettuce, remove as close to stem and use two leaves for each shell.

9. Fill with a scoop of chicken and a scoop of salsa and feel free to top with any other desired toppings, cheese, extra salsa or tomatoes.

St Patrick's Day Green Pea and Prosciutto Soup

In our quest for new food and solely based on the fact it was St Patrick's day, I found a green pea soup recipe. I wanted something green (that wasn't beer) for dinner. Because why not! This soup is really simple and you probably have everything you need for it in your pantry and fridge/freezer. I added the prosciutto to the original recipe because I had some extra and bacon and peas go together so well. If you don't have Crisco shortening you can use 1 TBSP of oil or butter instead. If you want it to be even more green, use water instead of stock. This soup was really filling and had great flavour, I may add asparagus if I made it again just for a different taste going through it.

St Patrick's Day Green Pea and Prosciutto Soup
(Adapted from Here)


1 medium sweet or white onion
1 Tbsp Crisco Vegetable Shortening
2 garlic cloves, grated
4-6 Slices thin Prosciutto
500 g frozen green peas - I used green giant Spring Sweets
2 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable stock - I used Kitchen Basics
Bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste


Chop the onion and slice the prosciutto into thin ribbon like slices.

Heat the Crisco in a soup pot and add the onions and 1 - 2 slices worth of the prosciutto, stir and cook out onions till translucent. Grate garlic over pot.

Add the frozen peas, stock and bay leaf. Cook for about half hour.

Take out the bay leaf and blend the soup with a hand blender or remove to a blender. Once blended (pour back to pot) and add salt and pepper to taste.

Fry remaining prosciutto to add some crispiness and cook off a bit of the fat, a couple minutes.

Top soup with crispy prosciutto!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blueberry Rolls

I tried making these before, with a different recipe that used jam instead of actual blueberries. It turned out pretty bad, they got way too brown, didn't rise right and I ended up needing to add almost a cup of extra flour.

This one wasn't anything like that! The dough came together really nicely and was simple to make. The one major thing I changed in the recipe was I used fresh blueberries. It says explicitly not to, but I had a really nice pint of them and I wasn't going out to buy frozen ones with them in front of me. The reasoning was that they didn't release juice the same. That does depend on the berries. I let mine sit for a good half hour with the sugar and cornstarch on them (the entire time it took me to make the dough and roll it out) and the amount of syrupy juice was amazing, even in that small amount of time. If you only have frozen, or want to use frozen go ahead! But I wouldn't go out of your way to buy them if you have fresh ones or there's a good deal at the grocery store.

Blueberry Rolls
(Adapted from Here)


2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg

1 pint (11 oz) blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Lemon Glaze
Juice from 1 large lemon
Zest from lemon
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons milk


1. Filling first! Combine the blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir together, don't worry if you mash up a blueberry here and there, it adds to the juice. Let sit while you prepare the dough.

2. Dough! In a large bowl or electric mixing bowl, put the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed.

3. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm. Most yeast can only deal with about 105º, so if you go over that let it cool a bit before adding it. I did mine for 1 minute on power 6 in my microwave, stir is together once it comes out, the butter may separate.

4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, I added slowly to my mixer while it was going. Add the egg at the end. You may need a bit more flour here depending on your dough. It is ready when it cleans the sides of the bowl and is shiny and stretchy.

5. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a couple times to ensure everything is mixed in well. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for 5-15 minutes.

6.After resting, roll the dough out in a rectangle, mine was around 16 inches by 10 inches. I find it helps to get a rectangle quickly if you sort of shape the dough in to a rectangle instead of a ball. Pour the sugared blueberries on top and evenly disperse them on the dough. Roll the dough up from the long edge so your roll will be the longest it can be.

7. Cut into even pieces, I made 9, and place in greased or parchment lined pan, I used a 9x9 square.  Loosely cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow to rise in an oven you've preheated and turned back off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise. You won't want to refrigerate these now, they won't puff back up.

8. After the rolls have doubled in size, about 2 hours, take out of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Cover them about half way through with loose aluminum foil or they will get quite brown and crispy.

9. Before serving, mix all of the glaze ingredients together. For a thicker glaze add more powdered sugar or less lemon juice or vice versa for thinner.

10. Glaze right before serving, ideally when they are still warm (not hot) right out of the oven.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jalapeno Cheddar Bagels

I've made bagels a couple times now but have really stuck to the simple starter recipe for Everything bagels I posted a while ago. I really like the Jalapeno Cheese Bagels at Tim Hortons, they have a great kick and a nice cheesy balance to them. Its pretty much the only thing I still go there for. So I of course decided I could make them myself. I found this recipe a long time ago and figured I would give it a try. It's a fairly in depth recipe for bagels, with a sponge starter and you have to leave them in the refrigerator overnight before cooking, so they're not an instant gratification type thing, although no bread really is. If I make them again (which I probably will) I think I'll add another cheese to the mix. Some parm or an Asiago. The cheddar is great, but its only one note and just having that extra sharp saltiness I think would put them over the top! If you want to stick to just cheddar, you may want to up the salt in the recipe.

Before you get really excited and want to make these right away there's a couple things you should be prepared for. I have a 5qt standard kitchen aid mixer, there's no way you can make these in it unless you half the recipe. Mine was dancing all over the counter before I decided to take out the dough and knead it by hand. It takes about 10 minutes to do it by hand and mixing the jalapenos and cheese in isn't a cake walk either. There's definitely something about kneading dough that's extremely therapeutic though. I'd highly recommend it over a stress ball. Plus in the end you have bready, cheesy goodness if you have any stress left.

The next thing is these take hours. Don't expect to start making them early in the morning for a brunch treat. The sponge needs to set up for 2 - 3 hours, the dough needs to sit in balls for half an hour, bagels for half an hour and overnight in the refrigerator. There's not a ton of active time but there's quite a bit of waiting time.

That's all though! Time to make bagels!

Jalapeño Cheddar Bagels
(Adapted slightly from Here)


1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups flour, I used AP - bread is probably a bit better
2½ cups water, at room temperature

½ teaspoon instant yeast
3½ cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1½ cups minced jalapeño peppers, Seeded if desired (About 10 peppers)

To Finish:
1 Tablespoon baking soda
2½ Litres water
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated


1. Sponge: Stir the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, stirring  until it forms a smooth, sticky batter, sort of lumpy with air holes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 - 3 hours, or until nearly double in size and collapses when the bowl is tapped on the counter.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl a couple hours later add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and brown sugar. Stir until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 1/2 cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes. Add the Cheddar cheese and jalapeños during the last two minutes or so of kneading, and knead until evenly distributed. The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour left over in lumps. If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems sticky or tacky, add more flour to achiever the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Divide the dough into equal pieces, I cut the dough with a knife into 14 equalish balls and evened them out to make a 15th ball. Roll into balls like you are making dinner rolls (or a snowball!)

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with silpats or parchment. Proceed with shaping the bagels: Push a hole through the center of the roll with the end of a wooden spoon or spatula and stretch out the hole to an inch or so in diameter, try to make sure the ring is fairly even.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to head to the refrigerator overnight by doing a “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. The bagels are ready to go in when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days if you're holding off on baking them.

If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until it floats. This time can vary, mine was about 30 minutes.

9. The next day, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the better), I used my 3.25 Qt braiser since I can fit 4 bagels in it comfortably, and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit, they should float. After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute. Sprinkle the bagels with the grated cheese as soon as they come out of the water.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the pans on the two middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are only baking one pan at a time, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 8 minutes.

12. Turn the oven to a low broil and place each pan in separately for 3-5 minutes to finish off some browning and cooking.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry

In interest of trying to be a bit healthier and work on our meal planning, this recipe is a good way to use up some extra and left over ingredients in your fridge. This recipe was in my Food Network Magazine back from November. I picked it because it was under 500 calories/serving. It obviously varies depending on your noodles and what you add in, but I like to keep things around there for our dinners - leaves room for wine! So feel free to add what you want and take out what you don't. If you cut up your veggies when you buy them this is even easier to throw together.

Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry


1 bunch broccoli
1 8oz package Rice or Egg noodles (Egg have way more flavour, but more calories)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp water
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin or grated with a microplane
1 pound chicken, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chile pepper, Sliced and seeded (or keep the seeds for more heat)
1 red pepper, sliced
1 carrot, sliced

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl - do not drain the water. Add the rice noodles and return to a boil. Take off heat and let soak until ready to use.

Combine the sugar and water in a Wok or large skillet over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook until it is dark amber, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the carrot and red pepper for 30 seconds before the chicken. Add the chicken and fish sauce and cook while stirring until chicken is no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes.

Stir in the red chile pepper and season with salt and pepper.

Drain the noodles and add them and the broccoli to the wok, stirring to coat all of the mixture in the sauce. Let simmer together for another minute and serve.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Enchilada Pasta Recipe - With home made sauce!

Sean and I are trying to get back into meal planning for the week, and while it hasn't been a very good start We've managed 2 meals for 3 days. Since there's only the two of us we always have left overs anyways so if we don't do them for lunch we already have another dinner that week, even if its just as a side. Since pinterest has come into my life, meal planning has been a bit easier. This week, our new recipe is Enchilada Pasta. I went to eight grocery stores and NONE of them had Enchilada sauce. (Shame on them) Turns out its pretty easy to  make and can be adjusted to your taste for spice. So I've added that recipe in here in case you can't find sauce either, or just want to try your hand at it. I only made a half order, since that's all the pasta recipe called for.

The recipe says it served 4, but we didn't even eat 1/4 of it for the two of us. Plenty of left overs! I would say 6-8 depending on appetites.

Enchilada Pasta
(Adapted from here)

1 pound extra wide egg noodles (or whatever you have!)
1 1/4 cups enchilada sauce (Recipe below)
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup 0% Fat Greek yogurt
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles - drained
1 pound lean ground beef
4 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon chipolte chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

I made this in my braiser to go from Stove to Oven, but you can switch is out into a baking dish at the end!

Boil up your water and cook your pasta according to the package. Drain and set aside till needed.

In a large bowl, combine enchilada sauce (below, if making), corn, beans, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Greek yogurt and green chiles; set aside.

Heat braiser to medium heat, add ground beef and cook until browned, about 5-8 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks to ensure even browning.

Cut cream cheese into cubes to evenly disperse and easier melting.
Stir in cream cheese, chili powder and cumin until cream cheese has melted.

Stir in pasta and enchilada mixture until well combined; season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir together and cover on the medium heat for 5 or so minutes to bring everything to temperature and combine the flavours.

Top the pasta with the sliced Avocado and the remaining two cheeses. Bake in the oven, un-covered until nice and bubbly, about 15 minutes, with a high broiler for 1 minute at the end.

Let sit for 5 minutes (we used this time to make some margaritas) and slice it up and serve.

Red Enchilada Sauce - Hot! 
(Adapted from Emeril)

Ok, this isn't the hottest sauce I've ever had or anything but its pretty warm. Really flavourful and the smell fills your house while its cooking. This is the half recipe with the ingredients I used. If you only have one type of chili powder that's totally ok, If you have 4 kinds, use them all! Adjust it here for spice, I like the warmth and "smokiness" of the chipolte chili powder. I had garlic tomato paste and thought why not add another layer of flavour in there? Also, a few of the other recipes I checked had garlic powder in them anyways.

This will make 1.5 Cups of Sauce depending how long you boil it out for, the extra mixed with greek yogurt for a drizzle would be pretty (I promise).


1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP Chipolte Chile Powder
1 cup chicken stock
5.5 ounces garlic tomato paste (plain is fine)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch salt to taste


In a small saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon, will look sort of like a rue - on the runny side. Cook for 1 minute.

Add chili powders and cook for 30 seconds - will look more like a rue now, a tight one.

Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Put the lid on now so you don't have red sauce all over your stove! It bubbles and shoots up.

The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Add salt and stir in.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cinnamon Buns or "Cake"

Cinnamon Buns are probably my most requested recipe that I make. This year for Sean's birthday he wanted a giant Cinnamon Bun Cake (As seen on Stefano) but I wanted to use my go to recipe to make it. So this is that recipe and I'll tell you how and where to change it for buns vs. a cake.

Cinnamon Buns
(Bread base adapted from Here)

1 cup warm milk (110º)
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup brown sugar, Packed
2 1/2 tablespoons Cinnamon
1/3 cup softened butter

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 packages cream cheese, 16 oz total (Room Temp)
1-2 cups icing sugar (depending on how sweet/consistency you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, add a spoonful of the 1/2 cup sugar. Let rest for 10 minutes or until yeast appears to puff up.

Mix in the remaining sugar, butter, salt, and eggs until there are no clumps of yeast. Use a fork to "whisk" these in if you see any remaining before adding the flour.

Switch whip attachment out for dough hook.

Add flour and mix for 2-4 minutes until the dough forms a loose ball and pulls away from sides of the bowl.

Dump on to your work surface and knead a few times by hand (No more than 10) to ensure everything is mixed in well.

Put in a lightly oiled bowl (I spray with pam), cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon until mixed thoroughly.

Roll dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter (I use my hands to smoosh it around) and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Roll dough from the bottom edge towards the top like a jelly roll.

If you want to make Cinnamon Buns:

Cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a 9x13 inch baking pan lined with parchment. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

If you want to make a Cinnamon Bun Cake:

Lightly grease (with butter) a 9 inch round cake pan And preheat oven to 375º F

Pinch ends to keep that goodness together. Roll with your hands to make the log skinnier, I found inching my hands down it while stretching and rolling worked the best to stretch it out. The log needs to be 35 inches long and about 2 inches across.

Roll log up like a pinwheel and place in the prepared pan.

Brush top with soft butter.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil (to prevent over browning) and bake another 30 to 40 minutes. I found mine got a little bit crispier and browner then I would have liked, next time I'll cover it after 20 Minutes.

Cut into wedges and pass around with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat cream cheese with electric beaters until smooth, add in 1 cup of icing sugar and continue mixing.

Add vanilla and any remaining icing sugar you'd like and beat together.

Good to go!

One Pot Lasagna Casserole

I pinned this recipe quite a while ago and finally decided to give it a try. It says Skillet but I certainly don't have a skillet that big so I used my 3.25qt Braiser. It goes from stove to oven which is ideal. however, I've made this a couple times and have once let it cool and put it in a baking dish to bake all together at a later time. Its definitely a dish you can play with and add or subtract things at your leisure.

One Pot Lasagna Casserole
(Adapted from Here)


1 diced onion
5 Cloves grated garlic
1 Tbsp oil or butter
1 medium sized zucchini - grated
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp sugar
1 (20 oz) can or jar tomato sauce
1 (12 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes
12 lasagna noodles, give or take a few
1 cup 1% fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano
1 egg
1 tsp basil
2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup red wine (or substitute this much extra beef broth)
1 Mozza ball, about 450 grams


Saute diced onions and garlic in oil until soft.  Add in some seasonings now, not all. I would recommend layering them in different places to build the flavours.  Grate the zucchini into the pan.

To the vegetables, add in the ground beef. Break apart the beef while it's cooking until evenly browned.

Once the beef is browned and mixed in to the vegetable mixture, break apart the raw lasagna noodles into pieces. Add to the pan.

One top of the noodles, add in the broth and red wine.  It might look soupy, but the noodles will absorb most of it and some will evaporate out. Add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce, these can be anything you like. I like to add a primivera type sauce to add to the veggie count and flavours. Add the sugar to the sauce over the tomatoes to cut the tomato acid. Add another layer of the seasonings here, and bring it up to a boil, making sure that the noodles are down in the sauce.  Once boiling reduce down to a medium and allow it to simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes so the noodles are cooked.  Give it a couple stirs through out the cooking and add more liquid if it feels too dry.

While the noodles are cooking, throw together the cheese mixture:  Cottage cheese, low fat shredded mozzarella, and freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano.  Add in an egg and torn basil (or from a jar is fine!).  Seasonwith a little kosher salt (Cheese is salty) and black pepper.

Once the noodles are cooked, turn off the heat.  Drop the cheese mixture by big globs onto the meat and noodles and coarsely stir them in. I agreed completely with the original blogger, keeping it in pockets of cheese - I didn't want it to be too mixed, as I like seeing "pockets" of cheese.

Now cover with slices of fresh mozzarella and some additional parm is you have any left over and put this whole skillet into the oven under the broiler until the cheese gets a bit brown and bubbly - about 10 mins on low.  Garnish with some freshly chopped basil leaves.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Superbowl! (3 Recipes)

I tried to reign in my "crazy" this year and only made 3 things. We were away for the weekend until about 4 hours before the Superbowl so I had to make sure I prepped everything first and picked some easy things. I have to apologize in advance because I didn't take any pictures. None. Hopefully I'll make all these things again and will get some then. They just can't be in front of a hungry, football crazed crowd. So here we go! I have linked to the originals if you're wondering how they come out. Even though the game didn't go my way (I still love you Broncos), these things all helped that!

Fried Pickles
Adapted from Here

We made these because I had even more than three jars of homemade pickles in our pantry and the idea of these on Pulled Pork Sandwiches was pretty great. I don't know that I would use this recipe again, it was good but the coating didn't stay on the pickles that well and I think I would go the batter route for a bit more coverage, crisp and flavour. Maybe if you used sliced pickles with ridges the coating will stick a little better. That being said, it was still a good recipe and a good start to fried pickles, it was also super quick and easy if you're running short on time before the party!

3 Jars whole pickles or 1 large jar sliced pickles
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup bread flour
1/4 teaspoon Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Drain, Slice and dry your pickles on paper towel, making sure they're fairly dry.

In a large bowl stir together the batter ingredients, the Cornmeal, flour and spices.

Add the pickles to the bowl and toss so that each pickle gets coated, let them sit for a couple minutes and stir again to get more coverage on the pickles.

Fry them in oil or a deep fryer that is heated to 375°F for 3-5 minutes.

Remove to a plate covered in paper towels and sprinkle on a little salt and pepper.

Pulled Pork
Adapted from Here

Pulled pork was originally going to be the only thing that we took (obviously I have problems doing that) but we chose it because we could do the prep work before we left and my Mom had no problem throwing it in the slow cooker for us so it would be ready on return. I changed alot about the posted recipe, not that I doubt it was great. I've made pulled pork with a can of Soda before and I usually find it to be a little too sweet and that wasn't what I was going for this time. It turned out great and feel free to adjust the seasonings and liquid to what you have. I used a bit less BBQ sauce then it suggested because I don't like it too Saucy so if you like it looser, you'll need to add more sauce.

1 pork shoulder - about two pounds
1 Onion chopped
1 pint can Guiness Beer
6 Cloves Garlic peeled
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly-ground black pepper
Chili Flakes
375 Ml barbecue sauce, we used a "Touch of Heat"


Salt, Pepper and sprinkle chili flakes on your pork on all sides (and any other spices you'd like) and make 6 slits around the pork shoulder, 1-2 per side. Place the Whole Garlic cloves in each hole, let sit while starting on the onions.

In a large, cast iron or heavy pan over medium-high heat, begin to saute the chopped onions until they start to brown, around 10 minutes.

Once the onions have started to colour, move them aside (still in the pan) and place the pork in. Sear the pork well on all sides, 1 - 2 minutes per side. Remove pork from pan and place in slowcooker (or dutch oven), add honey and vinegar on top of pork.

Pour beer into the pan and deglaze, scraping up anything on the bottom of the pan. Let cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom occasionally. Pour over pork in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours, high for 3 hours.

After the pork has cooked, drain off any excess liquid and shred the meat into small bits with two forks. Add the barbecue sauce to the pork and stir well.

Cover the slow cooker and cook for 1 more hour.

That's it! Ready to go! Serve on slider buns with fried pickles.

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Footballs
Adapted from Here

I saw this on pinterest and knew I had to make them for so many reasons. One, this would be my last excuse to make something football shaped for a while. Two, Peanut butter, Chocolate rice krispies?? Really. The reasons go on. Anyways, you could definitely make this into regular squares and maybe just drizzle the chocolate on the tops. Coating them in chocolate seems easier than it is. I don't know that I would do it again. You need a lot of chocolate but it does take them the extra mile.

1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup syrup
1 cup smooth peanut butter (I used skippy)
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 c. Rice Krispies

Coating - you can skip this part or cut down and just drizzle with chocolate
20 oz chocolate candy melts
2 oz white chocolate or vanilla candy melts

In a small saucepan mix sugar and corn syrup; bring to a boil.

Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until melted and combined.

Put Rice Krispies in a large mixing bowl. Pour Peanut butter syrup mix over Rice Krispies and stir until well combined.

Spread in a 9x13 in. pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or greased lightly with butter.
Let bars sit about an hour or until firm(ish)
Cut bars out with football cookie cutter, or into squares as needed. I went the football route. You can push together scraps to make more footballs. Doing this, I got 28 2 inch (ish) footballs.

Melt chocolate candy melts in a double boiler. Dip footballs in chocolate, let drip off and place on wax paper. Let sit until chocolate is set, around an hour.

Melt white chocolate melts in a small ziplock in the microwave. 30 seconds on medium power till melted. Take the bag out in between each and squish in the bag to help move along. Usually takes 2 - 3 times.

Cut a very small piece off the tip of the bag. Use this to pipe on the football laces.

Store in a airtight container or devour immediately.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Savoury Cheesecakes

For my birthday I got a mini cheesecake pan (which is exciting in so many ways!) I was dying to use it. It was my friend Briana's Birthday and I wanted everything I brought to say "Bri". I topped these with some Jalapeño Jam we had made in the summer. Theses were pretty easy to throw together and I actually made them at the same time as the cupcakes with Strawberry Rhubarb frosting. This is an original recipe I came up with, just for Bri!

Savoury Cheesecakes


8 oz or 1 package light cream cheese
1 package Boursin cheese - Any flavour, I used Herb and Garlic

6 Breton Vegetable Crackers - Any good quality cracker will work here
1 Egg White

1/2 Cup Jalapeño Jelly


Preheat Oven to 300ºF

Put crackers in food processor to crumble evenly, once they are just crumbs pour in egg white to help them clump together. Divide and spoon into the bottom of the 12 wells of the mini cheesecake pan (a mini muffin pan would probably also work for this recipe, you may want to line them). Place in heated oven for about 10 minutes or until crisp and come out looking like new little crackers.

Meanwhile, mix cream cheese and boursin cheese together in a bowl.

Once the bottoms come out of the oven, start placing spoonfuls into the wells on top. The heat will help the cheese to form to the cracker bottom and hold it all together. I used a mini "ice cream" type scoop and pressed the cheese mixture into each one until they were all fairly even.

Remove from the pan once cooled and top with Jalapeño Jelly.

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes. I didn't get a picture of these ones, but that way you can make them until they look good to you!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Peppermint Swirl Frosting

I'm a bit late on these as I made them for a party we went to just before Christmas. They turned out really cute and festive, in part I think because I made the icing look swirled like peppermint so that people would know what they were getting into. They were a bit heavy to me overall. I found the cake to be a little dense and the icing to be thick and very peppermint-y. I would definitely still make them again, just with a few changes. I found this recipe through Baked By Rachel which is an awesome blog, I follow on Twitter and Pinterest. Her pictures are amazing and get me every time.

On with the cupcakes!



4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 Cup skim milk (Or whatever you have!)
3/4 Cup Cake and Pastry flour (AP should work too, sifted)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1.5 Cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract (or less if you choose)
4-6 Tbsp water


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a mini muffin/cupcake pan with 20 liners. Thats how many I got out the recipe, you could get plus or minus a couple

Cream together butter and sugar to start the cupcakes. Add vanilla paste and egg whites. Process until the batter is no longer lumpy and add remaining dry ingredients, with the milk last.

Mix until ingredients are just combined. Divide among liners, roughly 3/4 full, I found a mini (ice cream type) scoop works well for this size of cupcake to keep them all pretty even.

Bake for 13-15 minutes (in my non convection oven) on the middle rack or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in tins for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooking, beat together softened butter, icing sugar and peppermint extract. Add 2-3 tbsp of the water, to help keep the icing sugar from going everywhere when you start mixing.
Slowly add more water until a thick but still spreadable consistency is reached, depending how you plan to frost your cupcakes.

Cover well until ready to use.

Wait until cooled completely to frost. I used a small round tip and created the stripes in my frosting by placing red food colouring in stripes upward from the tip of my bag, so the icing would dye as it came out.
I would recommend a disposable bag for this as it will more than likely stain your bag.

Strawberry Rhubarb Swiss Meringue Buttercream

It was my friend Briana's Birthday recently and I wanted to make something that said "Bri". We do all of our "old lady" things together, like knitting, canning, pickling and so on. Bri had given me some delicious Vanilla Rhubarb preserves that she had made (from her own backyard) and I wanted to put that into the icing. I was a bit short on what the recipe called for so I puréed up some fresh strawberries and mixed those in too. The outcome was once again, the best icing I have ever made. There were no cupcakes left and they were all gone before everyone was even at the party. I used a boxed cupcake again for these as I was in a bit of a time crunch and didn't have enough Eggs to conquer some Anna Olson Vanilla cupcakes. Next time though... Here's the modified recipe from the Strawberry Jam Buttercream I made earlier this year.

Strawberry Rhubarb Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(Adapted from Martha)


4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Rhubarb Preserves
1/2 Cup Puréed Strawberries


In the heatproof bowl, either of an electric mixer or you can transfer it after, set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees). I have never been able to get mine to 160. I usually top out about 145º. I also wouldn't whisk this by hand if you don't have to. Your arm will be sore. I used my little hand beater and it still took about 10 minutes to get to 145º and fluffy.

Transfer or Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

This is where it starts to get a bit tricky, I was really lucky this time as it came together great.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating on medium high after each addition. Do not add more butter until the all incorporated (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes or stir with a spatula by hand.

Stir in jam and purée with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth, mine looked a little curdled after this part so I put the bowl back on the mixer and mixed with the whip attachment for about a minute on medium high and it came back together. If you have more problems, this link should help you out!

I piped these pretty high, I had 18 cupcakes and still had enough to pipe them all this high and cover half an Angel Food Cake (which I had left over, delicious). I used my large star tip (1M) piped the bottom layer and then did the extra swirl on the top.