Saturday, June 27, 2015

Spicy Smoked Ketchup *Canning Recipe*

We went to this restaurant in Calgary (Wurst, you must go) that serves smoked ketchup that they make themselves. We ordered more fries just to eat this ketchup, it was so good! While I didn't get their recipe (although I did try with no luck to buy a bottle) I found this one online. We've only tried smoking things a couple times but figured, what was the harm in throwing some veggies on to smoke next time? This recipe does require a bit of prep work but the end result is so worth it. Ours came out way spicier than I had planned on, but its really good and has that underlying smoky flavour. I would add less chili powder next time and not forget the Worcestershire, which I was sad I forgot. You really can't judge the flavour of this until after the cooking/canning process. It definitely combines nicley, tones down the spice (a bit), and ups the smokiness.

Classic store bought ketchup has sugar 3 ways in it among other types of additives, this one has a very light undertone of sweetness but is tomatoes first. Boiling this in the jars helps preserve it for 6 months or more. This recipe will make close to 7 jars, you could use it as a marinara type sauce as well for dipping or for pizza sauce too.

Spicy Smoked Ketchup
(Adapted from Here)


14  Roma tomatoes
900 mL tomato sauce (I bought Hunt's in a tetra pack, no salt)
1 large yellow onion
4 small shallots
2 jalapeno peppers
2 heads garlic (leave whole)
2-4 Tbsp Chipotle Chili or chili powder (2 for mild, 4 if you like it spicy)
1 tsp Sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 Tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg (or a few grates for fresh grated)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire

Hickory chips (soaked in water for about an hour, any chips will work)


Cut tomatoes and jalapenos in half length wise and scoop out seeds and insides. I used a grapefruit spoon for this, the ones with the teeth on the end. I use these for a lot of things, eating grapefruit isn't one of them.

Peel and slice the shallots and onions into rough chunks.

Peel the garlic down to the last couple layers of "garlic paper skin". Cut off the tops of the cloves but leave it in "head" form.

Arrange tomatoes all either face up or down, onion, shallots, jalapenos and garlic heads in a grill basket.

We have a little smoker box from Williams Sonoma we put the chips in and light up over the burner. We then place the veggies on the side of the grill that is turned off. You can smoke the veggies however you're used to smoking or try something new!

About halfway (45 mins) through smoking turn the veggies over so the opposite side of the tomatoes are facing up. It took about 90 minutes for our veggies to be smoked with this method.

Some before and after smoking pictures below.

While smoking, measure out the spices so they're ready to go. Ensure you have 6 - 8 "1 Cup" jars and lids sanitized and ready to go as well. Ours made almost 7 jars.

Remove the veggies from the grill and cool till you can touch them.

Squish the garlic heads until all/most of the garlic "pulp" is removed into a bowl.

Remove the skins from the tomatoes, the skins should be blistered and remove easily.

Transfer the veggies to a food processor or Vita-Mix and add all of the remaining spices and other ingredients you measured out earlier. Depending on the size of your container you may need to do this in two batches. If you need to do that, try to divide the spices and liquids between the batches. afterward, stir all the batches together in a large bowl or put it all back in the processor or vitamix (if it will fit) to help the consistency between them.

Process until smooth. We did 2 batches on the "Sauce" setting in our vitamix. I poured it all in together and did it one more time on the sauce setting as one batch.

Pour into jars and seal with lids (always use new lids) and secure rings on the jar till just slightly tightened. Place in canning pot and boil for 20-30 minutes. The ketchup will probably be a little darker when it comes out from the cooking.

*More info the canning process Here. Tomato products need a little longer than other canning recipes.




Saturday, June 20, 2015

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Turkey Sausage

This recipe was in my Food Network Magazine a few months ago in the quick weeknight cooking section. I chose to cook it because it had a low calorie count (about 470/serving) with a lot of flavor while still being filling. I usually just adapt it to what we have in our pantry at the time. I've made it a few times both pretty close to the same, but different than the original. Quite often we double the recipe so we have food for the week as it keeps really well in the fridge. To reheat, I add a small splash of water before putting it in the microwave for a couple minutes on medium heat.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Turkey Sausage
(Adapted from Here)


10 ounces pasta, penne or rigatoni
4 cups spinach (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh basil (or 2 tbsp dried basil)
1 tablespoon olive oil, you may need more if you like your pesto looser
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Zest of 1 lemon, plus the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping if desired
3 Hot Italian Turkey Sausages (about 3 ounces each), with the casings removed
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
Salt and Freshly ground pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a good bit of table salt to the water once at a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.

Meanwhile, pulse the spinach, the basil, 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water, olive oil, pine nuts, the lemon zest, lemon juice and the red pepper flakes in a food processor until fairly smooth. Scrape down the sides; add the parmesan and pulse until smooth. Set the pesto aside.

Form the sausage into nickel-size patties or chunks, about 1/2 inch thick. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip, add the garlic to the skillet and cook until the sausage is just cooked through, about 2 more minutes.

Add the pasta, pesto and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water to the skillet. Toss to coat, adding more cooking water as needed; season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Oven Risotto

I love risotto, it really combines so many delicious things into one dish. This one was in my Food Network Magazine, but I added a few things (chicken and more broccoli) to it to make it into a bit more filling dish that hits all the spots. The worst thing about risotto is all the stirring and adding of liquids. That's what makes this one great! It starts off the same as a normal risotto, but once you add ALL of the warm chicken stock and give it a quick stir you just pop it in the oven and stir it once more in the middle of the cooking time. So easy. We pretty much always have the ingredients on hand to make this and it takes less than an hour to pull together, making it a great weeknight (or weekend!) meal. There are a few dishes with this one so you may want to cook it in exchange for someone else to do the dishes!

Broccoli Cheddar Oven Risotto
(Adapted From Here)


4 cups chicken stock (I used Low Sodium)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
1-2 bunches broccoli, cut up (Cauliflower is also great, or a mixture of both)
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups arborio rice (I don't always use Arborio, basmati works just fine)
1/4 cup dry white wine (A cheap pinot grigio works great)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup hot water - you don't need this until the end of cooking


Move your oven racks in to the upper and lower thirds of the oven, you'll cook the the risotto on the bottom rack while roasting the broccoli on the top rack.

Preheat to 425 degrees F.

Bring the chicken broth to a low simmer in a saucepan. Toss the broccoli with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large ovenproof skillet or braiser over medium-high heat. You'll want it to have a lid. Add the cut up chicken to the pan once its heated up and sear on all sides of the chunks, mostly cooking through. This will finish up over the remainder of cooking. (You can also cook the chicken through, remove it and add it back in at the end of cooking.)

Add the chopped onion with the chicken and cook, until slightly softened, this will take about 2 minutes.

Add the rice in on top and stir to coat, let the rice "toast" for 30 seconds or so before the next step.

Pour in the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the hot broth, salt, and pepper to taste; bring to a boil.

Cover and set on the bottom oven rack. Place the broccoli on the upper rack. Bake, stirring the rice and broccoli once about 10 minutes through cooking.

It's done once most of the liquid has been absorbed in the rice and the broccoli is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the rice and broccoli from the oven. Add 3/4 cup hot water, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the cheese to the rice and stir until creamy (add a little more hot water to loosen, if necessary).

Stir in the broccoli and serve.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

I love jalapeno poppers, classic ones, baked ones, pretty much jalapeno and cream cheese together are always a perfect match. I would say that these ones are probably hotter than a standard popper from the freezer section in the grocery store. But they're fresh and they don't have any unknown ingredients in them, plus they're so customizable.

I love Rachael Ray. She's most definitely my cooking idol (except for her distaste to baking, but hey its not for everyone). She got me hooked on these types of poppers, I make them quite a bit, I like to take them camping in a foil tray and heat them up on the grill or over the fire. The can get a little mushy if they get too hot though, adding the breadcrumbs on top will help this out a bit.

Kitchen Tool Tip - I use a grapefruit spoon (The kind with the little teeth on the end) to scoop out the insides of the Jalapeno. It gets it all. I like it hot and if I miss any of the seeds or white part, I notice. A lot. That's up to you though.

I also usually only use about half the tops in the recipe.

I top them with more cheese - why not? They're still better than the breaded, fried ones! And if you miss the breading sprinkle some bread crumbs on top with the cheese.

Baked Jalapeno Poppers
(Adapted from Here)


12-20 Jalapenos, depending on size - the below will fill 14 large jalapenos.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
1 cup shredded cheddar (or something else if you like).
1/2 cup shredded cheddar for topping if desiered
Salt & Pepper to taste

3 Tbsp toasted panko
3 strips chopped, cooked crisp bacon


Cut the jalapenos into little boats as pictured below and chop the tops up. You can also cut them directly in half lengthwise to get a few more out of the recipe.

Mix the chopped jalapenos, cream cheese, greek yogurt, salt and pepper together in a bowl till well combined. (Add other mix ins here if you'd like, except panko) Spoon into a freezer weight zip top bag (sometimes the sandwich ones pop). Cut the corner off of the bag and "pipe" into the jalapeno boats.

Smooth out the tops (I use an offset spatula) and top with cheese.
You can stop here and refrigerate for later or pop them into a 400ยบ F preheated oven and cook until the cheese on top starts to melt, some times a minute under the broiler helps crisp up the top cheese if you'd like.