Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

 Cold days require good soup. This one is warm and satisfying.


1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large carrot
2 cups milk
1 dollop of sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
toppings of your choice, such as cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and green onion

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter and cook onions and garlic until softened.
  2. Add potatoes, carrot, and chicken stock, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to desired consistency. Leave a few big pieces to give the soup a bit of texture. 
  4. Stir in milk and sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Heat thoroughly and serve with toppings of your choice!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Buttermilk Pancakes Revised

My family and I love, love, love this pancake recipe. But the original recipe makes way too much for regular life. The original recipe made a fantastic amount for a play date we had over March Break. It fed seven children and five grown-ups and we still had leftovers. That's a lot of pancakes! They were a hit, probably because they are so fluffy with a strong vanilla and butter taste. Yum!

Here, I have successfully halved the recipe, which is more suited to small family life.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 generous pinches of salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk (I use whole milk with a capful of vinegar added instead)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, butter and vanilla.
  2. Slowly whisk in dry ingredients. Don't over whisk; some lumps are OK.
  3. Cook on hot, buttered griddle pan.

Inspiration: Today's Parent Magazine, December 2011 isssue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I found this recipe on the internet. The author, which I don't remember, said it was adapted from Canadian Living magazine recipe. I liked how easy this recipe was. You roast the squash, onion and garlic on the same pan. All those roasted ingredients add a nice flavour.


1 butternut squash
1 medium onion
1 head of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups (1L) low sodium chicken broth
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/2 tsp ground sage
Salt a pepper to taste
1/2 cup 35% cream or half and half
Sunflower seeds and chives to garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. While oven is heating, slice squash in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon (you’ll need a good knife to slice squash). Place cut side down on baking sheet. Peel onion and slice it in half. Place on baking sheet; season with salt and pepper then drizzle with most of olive oil.
  2. Slice top off garlic head then place it on a small piece of foil. Drizzle with remaining oil, wrap in foil and place on baking sheet. 
  3.  Roast for 45 to 50 minutes until squash is soft (poke it with a fork to test). Let squash cool slightly, and then scoop out flesh into a medium pot along with the onion. Unwrap garlic and squeeze it into pot (cloves should slide right out).
  4. Add chicken broth, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let soup cool then puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.
  5. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with sunflower seeds and chopped chives.

Buttermilk Pancakes

I'm always on the look-out for a good pancake recipe. We liked this one. I'm trying to move away from boxed pancake mixes. This recipe makes a lot. I may need to devise a way to cut the recipe in half. The batter does keep OK, not great, in the fridge for a day or so.


3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 generous pinches of salt
3 eggs
3 cups of buttermilk
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla

  1. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, butter and vanilla.
  2. Slowly whisk in dry ingredients. Don't over whisk; some lumps are OK.
  3. Cook on hot, buttered griddle pan.

Inspiration: Today's Parent Magazine, December 2011 isssue.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately, I've been using the recipe from the back of the Hershey's Chipits Package with lots of success. I have a childhood recipe as well on this blog, but I've been turning to this recipe instead for some reason. I'm cleaning up my junk basket that lived on the top of my old microwave, so it's time to enter this recipe on the blog.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, (optional)


  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 375 F for 10 to 12 minutes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shepard's Pie...

We made Shepard's Pie for dinner and we really, really like it. Well, the kiddo and I like it. We were the only people home to taste it. Usually, my husband likes more complicated dishes. He's not a typical casserole lover. I have a feeling he would like this version though. The taste of the meat reminds me of a dish that his mom makes with beef cooked with onions, carrots and garlic and stirred into rice with pine nuts and currents.

I compiled this recipe from a variety of sources, including AllRecipes.com and a short Gordan Ramsay video. Ramsay says shred everything--the carrots, onion and garlic--right into the beef. Then, those ingredients sort of melt into the beef creating a really delicious flavour. Grating is fabulously easy too! Way better than chopping onions. Ramsay also added wine with the broth if you feel so inclined.

After dinner, my daughter came and whispered in my ear. "I have a secret for you. Please, please, please make that 100 times more. It was so yummy." It has all her favourite things: mashed potatoes, beef, carrots, ketchup, peas.

(Update: When my husband tried it, he said it needs more salt (which he says of everything) but otherwise he liked it too.)


potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp milk
1/4-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 lb ground beef
1-2 large carrots, grated finely
1 onion, grated coarsely
3-4 garlic cloves, grated finely
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp ketchup
3/4 cup beef or chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted


  1. Put potatoes in pot, add water until the potatoes are just covered, and add salt to the water. Cover with a tight fitting lid, bring to a boil on high heat, then simmer on low until the potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile brown the beef in a fry pan until crumbled texture. (I usually cook from frozen with water and crumble my beef in the food processor.)
  3. Add in the grated carrots, onion and garlic. Continue cooking until softened.
  4. Stir in flour and cook for a minute more.
  5. Add ketchup and broth over high heat, stirring until thickened. Reduce heat.
  6. Drain and mash potatoes with salt, sour cream, butter, milk, and cheddar cheese.
  7. Next layer the meat, peas and potatoes in baking dish. Top with more cheese if desired.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 375 F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

I spent an exuberant amount of money on a Club House Seasoning Package. The package was definitely the same price as a whole jar of spice, but only contained five teaspoons of spice. The salt was not included.

I was sold on the convenience of the pre-measured spices. Ultimately, it meant that on day when I was tired and couldn't be bothered to cook, I wouldn't have to spend a few minutes collecting various spices from my drawer and measuring them myself. And if the combination was good, the package including the recipe card, so I knew I could duplicate it again.

Well it was good. Very good. My husband raved about this dish. It will be duplicated. The original recipe called for boneless skinless chicken thighs, but I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with legs. It also called for red potatoes. I used what I had.


2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp dehydrated minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken (I used bone-in thighs with legs.)
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cubed

  1. Mix oil, spices and salt in bottom of a large 9x13 glass baking dish. 
  2. Add chicken and potatoes, toss to coat well.
  3. Roast in preheated 425 F oven for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender.

Inspiration: Club House seasoning package

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles

I found this recipe on my new favourite online destination, Pinterest. Someone pointed out that this recipe is so good that it has its own web site, just for the recipe. It's true. You can check it out here.

This recipe is good. Everyone at my house enjoyed it. It's perfect for thanksgiving, fall harvest, October, and for simply eating an orange vegetable. I recently learned that the Canada Food Guide recommends that each person should eat at least one serving of an orange and green vegetable everyday.

I also learned on a field-trip to the pumpkin patch that pumpkins, which are filled with seeds, are a fruit. Despite that technicality, I'm still going to count pumpkin as an orange vegetable and call these waffles yummy and nutritious.

I have to say, I never read the original recipe carefully enough to know that you were supposed to separate the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks. I never did that and I was still pretty darn pleased with the recipe. If you want to go to that trouble, check out the link I provided. If not, here's my version:


1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
4 tbsp butter, melted


1. Turn on the waffle iron.
2. Combine all ingredients in Kitchen Aid mixer and beat until smooth.
3. Once the waffle iron is hot, you’re ready to cook.

Inspiration: The Ultimate Pumpkin Waffle Recipe web site

Friday, April 08, 2011

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables...

A huge hit with my family. The pine nuts really make this dish. I would like to swap the eggplant for zucchini next time and see how it is.


1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
  4. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Inspiration: Barefoot Contessa Food Network

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cucumber Tomato Salad

I feel silly for needing a recipe for this basic salad, but it helped me get the taste right. My mother-in-law calls this Shepard's Salad and serves it regularly. It's a typical Turkish dish. I changed this recipe from the original by adding oil, salt and pepper.


4 mini cucumbers, roughly chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
2/3 cup fresh parsley and/or mint, chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Stir together cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, green onions and lemon juice. Let sit for a half-hour to an hour before serving. Supposed to be served with bread.

Inspiration: President's Choice Blue Menu Flier