Monday, June 9, 2014

Dutch Baby - Secret Recipe Club

*Edited 11:06pm: I did not end up using the stainless steel pan. That's what I was originally planning to use, but I went with a round cake pan instead. Sorry, I must have been half asleep when I wrote this out.

Coconut, shrimp, soup and banana bread. If you like these things, then you'll LOVE my SRC assigned blog this month! There's no shortage of guacamole recipes either over at Morsels of Life! I liked the one with mango. I also really liked the onion strings, avocado fries and creamy coconut popsicles! But I don't have room in my freezer right now to make popsicles, or that would have been the recipe for me this month.

I decided to go with the Dutch baby recipe because it's something I've been meaning to try for a long time now. I realize that my last few SRC posts have all been sweet. I like sugar. That's my problem in life.

Since I don't have a cast iron pan, I used a round cake pan and hoped for the best. The texture was a little chewy in the middle. I've never had a Dutch baby before, so I'm not sure if that's how it's supposed to be, but it didn't bother me at all. I still ate most of it myself!

Have you ever had a Beaver Tail? If you're Canadian, you probably have. Here's their Pinterest board. Mmm! It's basically a fried piece of dough with toppings of your choice. My favourite is the cinnamon-sugar with a squeeze of lemon, so that's what I did with the Dutch baby. As soon as it came out I sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. I cut it into wedges and squeezed some lemon on it. Yum yum! The kids put syrup on theirs (of course).

Topped with cinnamon-sugar and lemon juice. Yummy!


You can see it collapsed a little.


Dutch Baby
From Morsels of Life
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon 2% milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Toppings of your choice (I used cinnamon sugar, lemon wedges and syrup for the kids)

Directions
Preheat your pan in a 400F oven for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the 1 tablespoon of butter, eggs, milk, sugar, flour, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined.

Remove your pan from oven and swirl around remaining butter, covering the bottom of the pan. If you do use a pan with a handle, remember that the handle will be hot. I know it sounds like a silly reminder, but if you're like me, there's a chance your brain may be on a little break at that moment. Use an oven mitt.

Gently pour the batter into hot pan, and then return pan to oven for 20 minutes more. CJ said not to open the oven, so I didn't.

Remove the Dutch baby from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (or whatever you want). Slice it up and enjoy.


Secret Recipe Club

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cauliflower Tots

When you don’t know what to cook, look in your fridge for inspiration. Ask yourself which items may end up in the trash if you don’t use them soon. I had a huge head of cauliflower in the fridge that was calling my name, so I Googled and Pinned a bunch of cauliflower recipes yesterday. Did you know you can do some really amazing things with cauliflower?! Some of my favourite finds were Cauliflower Crust Breadsticks, Cauliflower Tortillas, General Tso’s Cauliflower, and Buffalo “Chicken” Vegetarian Style. I made Cauliflower Crust Pizza in the past and it was very good, but this time, I decided to make these cauliflower tots.

My 6 year old liked these dipped in ketchup, but my 4 year old didn't want anything to do with them at all. I thought they were good and ate most of them myself.

I started to chop my cauliflower, then I realized it would be so much easier to grate it. I used the large holes on the grater and got the job done in no time. I suppose a food processor would also work, but who wants to wash that? I also used regular sharp cheddar instead of the low fat stuff.

Visit my Cauliflower Pinterest board for more recipes.
Go>>

See other recipes on Jenny’s Cookbook using cauliflower.
Go>>



The grater was much faster, but a knife will do too.


Cauliflower Tots
Adapted from Skinnytaste
Makes 32-38 pieces (I got 38)

Ingredients
2 cups cooked cauliflower, grated
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup minced onion
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

I steamed my cauliflower until it was tender but not soft. It should be able to hold together when you grate I and not turn to mush. I also ran it under cold water after steaming because I didn't want the cheese to melt or the egg to cook during mixing. Plus, I didn't want to burn my hands.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

I tried to use my hands to make little rolls, but the mixture was falling apart, so I went ahead and used the quenelle technique. That’s the one where you use 2 spoons to make a football shape with the food. I’m sure you've seen them do this on TV. If you’re not sure how it works, click here to see a video. I used teaspoons and got 38 tots. If you don’t mind them being round, you could use a mini cookie scoop, and flatten them slightly with your hand.

Now place your tots gently on the prepared sheet (they don’t spread so they can be fairly close together), and bake for about 20 minutes until golden on all sides (you’ll need to turn them once or twice during baking – a spoon will do).

I served them with ketchup. One day, I’ll make this recipe with potatoes and dip them in sour cream.

Greek Salad Dressing

One of my best friends is Greek and she's very clever. She does something with her dressing that I never thought to do myself. She adds the liquid from the Kalamata olives. Isn't that brilliant? When you buy olives, ask for some of the juice. If you buy your olives in a jar, they already come with juice.

You can make your salad with or without lettuce and top it with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta and olives. Sometimes I see it with peppers too, but raw peppers are not my favourite. 

I make the dressing in those little 1oz plastic cups and take it to work. So this recipe is enough for 1 salad. You could multiply the ingredients to make however many servings you want.



Greek Salad Dressing
1 serving (good for about 2 cups of salad)

Ingredients
2 tablespoons Kalamata olive liquid
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil (more if you like, but I prefer my dressing a bit sour)
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions.
Place all ingredients in the cup and put the lid on. Shake it. Shake it again before you drizzle it on your salad.

If you put this in the fridge, the oil will get clumpy. Either leave it out of the fridge until lunch time, or microwave the dressing for about 5 seconds before serving.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Cake - Secret Recipe Club

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club post, I got Shelley’s blog called C Mom Cook. Her Wonton Soup looked delicious, but I wasn't sure if my kids would be crazy about the wontons. Shelley also has a thing for sourdough, which I've never tried to make, but enjoy eating! She is the queen of bread-making!

First, I had my eye on a recipes for a Chicken Taco Braid and a Savory Pot Pie, but then I decided I was in the mood for something sweet (this is nothing new). I decided to try this flourless chocolate cake, because it sounded quick and easy. It's very rich though, and should definitely be served with fresh berries. Add a berry to every bite for a little burst of sour and it's perfect. The texture of the cake is fudgy in case you were wondering.

My 6 year old loved it, but my 4 year old doesn't care for sweets, and only ate a few bites. Sometimes I wonder if she's really mine.







Flourless Chocolate Cake
Makes 12 slices
Adapted from C Mom Cook

Ingredients
4 ounces chopped chocolate, (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 375F and prepare an 8" round pan (I used aluminum in case I didn't feel like doing dishes later). I sprayed mine but you can line yours if you like. The cake popped right out with just a quick spray.

Place the butter and chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave for about 45-60 seconds. You should be able to stir them together until they're smooth after that. Stir in the sugar.

Beat the eggs in one at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla.

Sift in the cocoa powder and cinnamon (because cocoa can be lumpy), and stir until well combined.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes. I turned the oven off and left it another 10 minutes because I was busy making spaghetti, and the middle wasn't perfectly set after 25.

Allow the cake to cool (I just left it in the pan) before slicing. Don't forget the berries!


Secret Recipe Club

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken

Here's a delicious chicken recipe from Rock Recipes that I pinned about a year ago.

Now, there are a few reasons why I rarely fry anything. The first is that I hate the smell it leaves in my apartment. The second is that I have to mop the kitchen floor immediately afterward. And the third, is that fried food tastes good, and I don't want to be eating it all the time. But mostly I hate mopping.

I read some of the comments before I made it and desperately wanted to try using half flour and half cornstarch as someone suggested, to see if it would be extra crispy, but I was out of cornstarch. Next time!

Someone also suggested letting the chicken sit for 1/2 an hour after coating to let it get a bit gloopy, would make it even crispier. I tried it, but couldn't really tell the difference between the pieces that were gloopy and the ones that were less gloopy. They were both equally as crisp in the end.

I decided to cut my chicken into nugget and strip shapes, rather than just slicing the breasts in half. You could do that of course, but kids like smaller pieces and they can just pick them up and dip them.

I also adjusted the spices a bit, and will add even less sage next time. It was just too overpowering. I made less of the sauce and I drizzled it on top instead of dipping the chicken in, which turned out to be a good move, because this sauce is sweet! It was delicious and I loved it, but not so much that I wanted my chicken completely coated in it. My kids were not fond of the sauce and ate their chicken dipped in ketchup instead, and my husband doesn't like sweet sauces, which is the reason why I made less to begin with. Honey is expensive and I didn't want to waste it. For him, I placed the chicken on a toasted roll and mixed together some mayo with buffalo chicken sauce. Add lettuce and tomato and you end up with a crispy chicken sandwich that's so much better than take-out!




You could serve these with rice or whatever starch you want, but since the chicken is fried, I went with something a bit healthier for a side. My kids don't notice if I don't serve a starchy side. They don't mind eating fruit and veg. I tried serving the chicken with the sauce for dipping, but it didn't go over well. They preferred ketchup.


Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken
4 servings
Adapted from Rock Recipes

Ingredients
2 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut up as you wish
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground sage (or less)
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs
4 tbsp 2% milk
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
canola oil for frying

Directions
In a shallow dish, combine the flour with all the herbs and spices and mix very well.

In another dish, beat the eggs with milk.

Coat the chicken pieces with the flour mixture, then with the egg mixture, and back into the flour mixture. The second time, press the flour into the chicken so it sticks well.

Set the chicken pieces aside while you make your sauce. They will get a bit gloopy, but as I said above, it made no difference to me.

To make the sauce, combine the garlic and oil and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes until the garlic starts to cook. Don't let it brown though. Stir in the honey, soy sauce and pepper and simmer over medium low for about 10 minutes. I will thicken up. Stir it though, because it will bubble up.

Heat about 1/4" of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Check to make sure the oil's hot enough by dropping a little bit of flour in. See if it bubbles.

Place the chicken pieces into the oil and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until crispy and cooked through. This will depend on the thickness of your pieces. I did 3 batches as all the pieces wouldn't fit into the pan at once. Set them on a rack to let any excess oil drip off between batches.

Serve with a drizzle of sauce.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Banana Split Bars

I was on the hunt (once again) for something to make with ripe bananas, besides banana bread. I came across a recipe for Banana Split Bars and I was expecting them to be like granola bars, but they're not. They're more like baked oatmeal bars. They're chewy, but not in the granola bar way. I didn't add the nuts because we were bringing these on a school field trip, but I would recommend adding them if you can, because these bars need a little crunch.

This recipe is interesting because it uses oats (which I will try toasting next time) and quinoa. It called for dried cherries, but I didn't have any, so I used maraschino cherries. I didn't have any coconut oil either, so I used olive oil. I figured since it was such a small amount, that it wouldn't make any difference. 

Wrap them up and take them with you for breakfast or snacks.

Ready to go into the oven.


Banana Split Bars
Makes 12-16 bars
Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Ingredients
1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup water
2 cups large oats (gluten free if necessary)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 ripe mashed bananas
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive (or coconut) oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped (or dried cherries/cranberries)
1/2 cup chocolate chips of choice
1/3 cup toasted nuts (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325F and line a 9x13" glass dish with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

Bring the quinoa and water up to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, then, remove from the heat, cover and let it sit for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe (it'll cool faster if you spread it out on a plate).

Combine the oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine the bananas, egg, syrup, oil, vanilla and quinoa. Add this to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Now add the cherries, chocolate chips and nuts. Stir once more, then, spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow them to cool before cutting with a sharp knife. I got 12, but you could probably get 15 or 16 if you sliced them a bit thinner.

These can be refrigerated for up to a week, or wrapped individually in plastic and frozen for up to 3 months.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bal's No-Butter Chicken

I love butter chicken don't you? It's my number one choice when we get Indian food for lunch at work. Each restaurant makes it differently too. There's one place nearby that makes it a little bit sweet, and really saucy. But all that cream ... yikes!

This version is made without cream, and it was so easy to prepare. It was also pretty delicious. Even my 6 year old loved it. You can serve it with rice, but I prefer to eat it with naan. I'm not the biggest fan of rice.

Still saucy without all the cream.

I love this little grater. It's perfect for ginger and garlic.


Bal's No Butter Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from Cooking Channel

Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Balkan style)
1/2 cup water

Directions
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger for about 4 minutes or until the onions start to turn golden.

Add the tomato paste, brown sugar and all the spices. Mix well and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir well to coat with the tomato paste mixture.

Stir in the yogurt and water and simmer for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with rice or naan.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Banana Chocolate Oat Muffins - Secret Recipe Club

For this month’s SRC assignment, I was given a great blog called The Tasty Cheapskate. One of the interesting things about this blog, is that Jean includes the breakdown of how much each ingredient costs. This would change depending on where you live and how you alter the recipes of course, but you can get a rough idea of what it would cost. I also enjoyed Jean’s recent post on edible plants you can grow again.

Since I’m always looking for ways to use my ripe bananas, I chose Jean’s Chocolate Oat Muffin recipe, and added a banana as she suggested for a variation. I also recently joined Weight Watchers Online (again), so I was looking for something a bit healthier.  This recipe is perfect for WW because it doesn't use a lot of oil. My kids loved these. They called them brownies because they look and taste more like brownies than muffins.

You should also add this to your collection of recipes to make, when you run out of eggs!

I’m not even going to attempt to calculate my cost, but Jean has calculated this recipe to be $.80.

To make your own oat flour, pulse 3/4 cup of oats in a blender or food processor until it looks like flour. I got about 3/4 cups of oat flour out of it.






Banana Chocolate Oat Muffins
Makes 9 muffins
WW Points+ per muffin :  3
Adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 medium)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup oat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used milk)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. In my experience, muffins with little fat in them like to stick to paper liners.  

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the oat flour and sift the rest of the dry ingredients into the same bowl. I like to sift because there have been times when I got little lumps of baking soda in my baking and I don't like that. My cocoa powder was also a bit lumpy. Mix just until combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Cool before serving.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mini Greek Pizza Muffins

Hi! Last week we visited the new Ripley's Aquarium here in Toronto. It was a field trip with my 6 year old's class and I volunteered to go. It was fun!

Anyway, I had to think of something to pack for lunch. Peanut butter is what I normally go with, because it doesn't need to be refrigerated, but since we were going with school, it had to be nut-free. I made Wicked-Good Pizza Muffins for a field trip in the past, so decided to go that route again, only this time I used feta and olives.

I grated the onion and minced the pepper so I could skip the frying step in the original recipe. I don't have time to piddle around in the kitchen these days and It was getting late. The only bad thing about these, is that they also taste good when they're cold. It's really easy to eat them and lose count of how many you had. They're good!




Mini Greek Pizza Muffins
Adapted from Eating Well
Makes 24 mini muffins
Points+ per muffin: 1

Ingredients
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, grated
1/2 a red bell pepper, minced
1/3 cup skim milk
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F and spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.

Combine the flours, baking powder, oregano, sugar, garlic powder and salt in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes or until they feel firm.

I stored them in the fridge, but they only lasted 2 days. I bet they'd even freeze well!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nutella Chip Cookies - Secret Recipe Club

The blog I was assigned for my March SRC post, was Learning Patience. It’s a blog about food, fitness and travelling. There are so many great recipes there, and I especially like the ones with bacon! Click here for Corey’s bacon recipes. I just love the photos of her trip to Nicaragua. What a beautiful place! I also really enjoyed looking at the photos of other places she’s been, especially since I haven’t traveled anywhere exciting myself.

The week I got the email with my assigned blog in it, my daughter also brought home a procedural writing assignment to do for school. I decided to combine our assignments, and find a recipe that would be easy enough for a 6 year old to help make and then write about. She’s only in grade 1 and she’s still learning how to spell, so any homework she brings home, becomes homework for me too. Of course, she couldn't bring in any samples because Nutella has nuts (and it’s a nut free school), so I ended up eating most of the cookies myself. These turned out crispy but still slightly chewy in the middle.



Secret Recipe Club


Nutella Chip Cookies
Adapted from Learning Patience
Makes about 18

Ingredients
1 and 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (we used milk)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat together the butter, Nutella and both sugars. I did it with a wooden spoon for about a minute because I'm too lazy to clean the mixer, but Corey suggests using the electric mixer for about 4 minutes. My cookies were still amazing.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute until smooth.

Now stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon just until combined, then add the chocolate chips.

Use a large cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop) and place scoops of dough on the sheet. We did about 6 per sheet so they wouldn't bake together.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden. The inside might look a little underdone but they will be perfect a few minutes after you remove them from the oven. Give them a minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. They won't last long.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Potato and Chicken Casserole

I had some leftover roasted chicken in the fridge, so I had to come up with a way to use it. I thought a casserole of some kind was the way to go, so I sliced up some potatoes, grated some cheese and came up with this yummy dinner.

Because I roasted my chicken with seasoning salt, I didn't add any extra salt to the dish. I figured between the chicken and the cheese, that would be salty enough for us. I also didn't add any flour. I knew that the potatoes would absorb most of the liquid, or at least thicken it, and they did their job.

This would have been even better with bacon and green onions!


I put cheddar between the layers, and pizza mozzarella on top.


Potato and Chicken Casserole
4 servings

Ingredients
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 chicken breast halves, cooked and sliced (about 10oz)
4 medium baking potatoes, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
2 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a baking dish. I used a round one.

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the milk with the butter, paprika, granulated garlic, onion powder, nutmeg, thyme, parsley and pepper. Heat just until the butter is melted. Set aside.

Place a layer of potatoes into the prepared dish followed by a layer of sliced chicken and a sprinkle of cheese. Pour over a ladle of the milk mixture. Keep making layers like this ending with potatoes and then cheese. If it looks like a pyramid, just push it down in the middle to flatten it out a bit as you go along.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and cover with foil.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours covered, then, remove the foil and bake for another 1/2 hour until the potatoes are tender. The top should be nice and crispy. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Cranberry Breakfast Cake -Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to my first Secret Recipe Club post of the year! This time, I was assigned a fabulous blog called A Spoonful of Thyme. I was thinking I might like to go and live with Kate so she can feed me. I’ve been pretty lazy about cooking lately, and all her food looks so good. There were so many delicious recipes to choose from and it was hard to pick just one. At first I was going to make Potato Cheese Soup, but I didn't have any ale. These Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms also looked pretty amazing. In the end, I decided to go with a Cranberry Breakfast Cake, because I felt like having cake. This recipe was super easy, and I made it 3 times in one week.

I always have cranberries in the freezer because you just never know when you’ll need some. There’s no reason why you can’t have cranberry sauce with your chicken all year long is there? This recipe calls for fresh, but mine were still frozen and they still worked out perfectly.

I used a loaf pan the first time, and a round pan the second and third time. The second time, I cut the recipe in half. It took about 10 minutes less to cook, but then I had to make another cake the next day because we wanted more.

I didn't have any turbinado sugar left, so I just used regular granulated sugar and it was fine. It adds a little crunch to the top. The second and third time I chopped up some almonds and sprinkled them on top before baking. Nuts are optional of course, but they had a nice roasted flavour and we like them.







Secret Recipe Club

Cranberry Breakfast Cake
From A Spoonful of Thyme
Makes 10 slices

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup of fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar (turbinado if you have it)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan (or round pan) and set aside. I also lined mine with parchment.

In a bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. It won't take long. 30 seconds will do.

Beat in the eggs and extract until creamy. Another minute here.

Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt just until combined, then gently fold in the cranberries.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. The batter was very thick, you can just use a spoon to push it evenly into the pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes depending on your pan. Use a toothpick to test at 30 minutes.

Let the cake cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I saw this recipe pop up on my news feed on Facebook the other day, and thought it looked pretty tasty. So I went out and picked up a few things so I could make it. I didn’t bother buying sherry, because it’s not something I would use often, and it seemed like a waste. Instead, I Googled sherry substitutes. Someone suggested using a combination of vinegar, sugar and lemon juice, so that’s what I did. I mixed 1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar + 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice + ½ teaspoon of sugar.

This recipe is very easy. The post said it should take 20 minutes to make. I didn’t time it, but it went together pretty fast. I cooked my own chicken though, so that took a little extra time, but if you use left-over or store-bought rotisserie chicken, you will definitely get this done in 20 minutes or less.



Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry (or dry white wine / other substitute)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 package coleslaw mix (14oz - 4 cups)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (skinless)
1 bunch (about 1/2 cup) sliced green onions, divided
12 lettuce leaves (I used iceberg, but anything you can roll will work)
¼ cup chopped cashews

Directions
In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sherry, hoisin sauce and vinegar. Set aside.

In a large pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat for a minute. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add coleslaw and sauce mixture and cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Then, stir in the chicken and ½ of the sliced onions. Cook for another minute until the cabbage starts to wilt a bit.

Divide the mixture among the lettuce leaves and top with remaining onions and cashews.

If you want to bring some to work the next day, keep the chicken in a separate container so you can heat it up. Bring the other stuff on the side.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Easy and Elegant Pork

I decided recently, that aside from bacon, pork is not my favourite. It's the meat I cook the least, and when I do cook pork, I prefer it breaded or pulled. We rarely eat leftover pork, but the dogs have been more than happy to make sure it doesn't go to waste.

I got some pork at Costco. I can't tell you what the cut is because I separated the pieces and froze them individually, and now can't remember what the package said. But I usually use pork tenderloin for this. This recipe is so easy, and you can also use chicken instead. The pork I used for this, is the same cut I used to make Indonesian Pork, which also turned out to be pretty tasty.



Here's the pork ready to go into the oven.


Easy and Elegant Pork
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
2 lbs pork tenderloin
2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions
Prehead the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with foil.

Combine the breadcrumbs and oil well. I use a little less oil than the recipe calls for but the mixture is still moist enough.

Press the breadcrumb mixture all around the pork and place on the prepared pan. You can sprinkle any extra breadcrumbs on the top if you like.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Easy enough?