Friday, December 21, 2007

Rum & Coconut Truffles


1 cup heavy cream
4 T unsalted butter
2 t light corn syrup
1 pound finely chopped semisweet chocolate, plus 12 oz for dipping
3-4 cups sweetened coconut, toasted
3-4 T rum

1.In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter, and corn syrup to a full boil over medium heat. Turn off heat. Add 1 pound chopped chocolate; gently mix together and let sit 5 minutes.
2.Meanwhile toast coconut in the oven on a cookie tray using the broil setting. Stir 2 cups-worth into the chocolate mixture along with the rum.
3.Transfer mixture to a bowl and place in refrigerator, stirring every 15 minutes. After 45 minutes it will set more quickly, so check in on it every 5 minutes until it is thick enough to work with.
4.When ready, take a teaspoon and scoop out messy balls onto a cookie tray. Put back into the fridge for 10 minutes, or until hard enough to roll. When firm enough, work each scoop between your palms to form rough balls and chill until ready to add topping.
5.Topping: Heat 12 oz semisweet chocolate over a double boiler. Dunk each ball into the chocolate, and then transfer to a bowl of toasted coconut.

MAKES: About 36 truffles

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sugar Cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Classic Waffles



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff and fold into waffle mixture.
  4. Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Orange

1 cup flour
4 t. baking powder
1/4 cup softened butter
4 eggs, separated
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 t. salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups milk
1 t. grated orange rind

Lightly grease and flour 2 9" round pans.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, on at a time, beating well after each is added.
Gradually add flour mixture and milk alternately. Mix well.
Stir in vanilla, nutmeg and orange rind.
Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into batter.
Pour into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes

1 cup sour cream
8 oz. melted semi-sweet chocolate
Pinch of salt
1 t vanilla

Friday, October 19, 2007

Apple Pie

Josh had made up a big batch of his mom's pie dough and made a few pumpkin pies and I used the rest to make this apple pie recipe for Thanksgiving Dinner at Jo & Aidan's. It turned out beautifully and was soo good.
The recipe for the apple pie is here.
Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces

1/3 c butter
1 T brown sugar
3 T soy sauce
2 t white vinegar
1/4 t ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. chopped salted cashews.

Cook broccoli - I like to steam it, but you could also boil it.
While broccoli is cooking:
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
Mix in the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper & garlic.
Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.
Mix in the cashews and pour the sauce over the broccoli.
Serve immediately.

So yummy! I found this recipe here

Monday, September 24, 2007

Custard Tarts


12 frozen 3-inch tart shells
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake shells for 8 minutes.

Mix all ingredients and add to cooked tart shells. Cook filled tarts for 20 minutes. The filling will be set on the sides but loose in the middle.

Place tarts in the fridge for 1 hour to a day.

Topping ideas:
Any favourite will do, but we used thinly sliced apples coated lightly in sugar and cinnamon. We topped each tart and then broiled them until the apples were soft and golden.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

You can't go wrong with this comfort food soup... from Cooking Light so you don't have to feel guilty about serving or eating it!


4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled


Preheat oven to 400°.

Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash. Discard skins.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Sprinkle each serving with cheese, onions, and bacon.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Oat Bran Muffins

Oat Bran Muffins

1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1 1/2 c. oat bran
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 c. applesauce
4 T. vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line or grease 12 muffin cups
2. Blend together dry ingredients. Add eggs, applesauce and oil. Mix until well-blended.
3. Spoon into muffin cups, let sit 10 min.
4. Bake for 15 min. or until golden brown.

I made these muffins this morning and was really impressed, they are healthy and they tasted yummy! I found the recipe here. There are all sorts of suggestions in the comments on allrecipes on how to make them even healthier if you want. I also sliced up an apple and put one slice one top of each muffin before baking for some extra apple flavour.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Belgian Chocolate Torte

1 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour and cocoa. Separately, beat sugar and butter with a mixer. Add egg. Combine with flour mixture, mixing until a soft dough froms. If it is too soft, put in fridge for 10 minutes. When ready, press dough into a greased flan/torte pan with removable sides, using your thumbs to work it up the sides. Refridgerate for 15 minutes until chilled, weight down with a pie weight or foil and dried bean/rice. Bake for 1o minutes. Let cool.

3/4 cup whipping cream
5 oz semi-sweet belgian chocolate (or another high-quality chocolate)
2 T sugar
pinch salt
1 egg

Decrease oven to 325 degrees.
Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until warm, not allowing to rise to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in pieces of chocolate, sugar and salt until smooth. Separately, whisk egg until smooth and add to chocolate mixture.
Pour filling into cooled crust Bake for 15-20 minutes or until surface is glassy. If cracks begin to form, remove immediately. Cool on rack. Top with favourite nuts. (Pecans, I say.)

This can be refridgerated for up to two days, but it is far better made and served fresh.

Torte Recipe?

So, Jo, how 'bout you type out that delicious torte recipe for me? (my husband is still talking about it!) It was sooooo good!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"Righteous" Ribs

Sorry for the delay ladies, When you read this, you will know why I didn't hop on it. It is three full pages of instructions and ingredients in our cookbook. So, here it is, but I warn you, these are an all-day affair.

Basic Barbeque Rub:
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
3 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T dried onion flakes
1/2-1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t celery seeds

Combine all. Transfer to a jar, cover and store away from heat and light for up to several months
To USE: Rub into pork, beef, chicken or robust fish. You can cook meat at once, or let it marinate for 2-4 hours.

Sweet and Smoky Barbeque Sauce:
6 T packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire
2 T dark rum
2 T yellow mustard
1 T liquid smoke
1 T pure chili powder
2 t freshly ground pepper
2 t garlic powder
1 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground cloves
4 cups ketchup
coarse salt and pepper

Combine all but the ketchup in a large heavy saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce becomes smooth and all ingredients look dissolved.
Add ketchup and bring to a boil, stirring well.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilling the Ribs:

Special Equipment:
2 cups woodchips, preferably applewood, soaked in 2 cups apple cider for 1 hour, then drained.

1.Remove papery skin on ribs. (6 pounds worth)
Sprinkle with rub, and marinate for 1 hour.
2. Set up grill for indirect heating, place woodchips in smoker box on the bottom of BBQ and heat until you see smoke.
3. Place ribs above and grill for 1 hour.
4. Begin brushing with BBQ sauce. Use up half on one side, and half on other side.

This whole process will take hours and hours. We have only done it a handful of times for that reason, but we would sure like to do it more often. Oh, and Aidan says that he is available as a grill instuctor. Where there are ribs, he will go.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

BBQ Season

Hi everyone,
I am interested in new BBQ recipes. I'm bored with our usual stuff and with a hopefully, long sunny summer ahead of us would like some new, tried & true recipes. So if you have any to share, plain, or fancy, would you post them please?

Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

My husband and I were very fortunate to spend our honeymoon in Venice. While there, we bought an authentic, Italian cookbook and since then, have enjoyed trying the various delicious recipes! This particular recipe is our favorite and is so simple to prepare which is nice for me!:) Serve with warm rolls and salad! Enjoy!

- 400 g bucatini noodles (Long, rounded, hollow pasta)

- 200 g streaky bacon

- 300 g ripe, firm tomatoes

- 1/2 onion

- stock

- extra virgin olive oil

- grated pecorino cheese

- salt (to taste)

- chilli powder (to taste)

Plunge the tomatoes into hot water, skin them, remove the seeds and chop. Chop the bacon and brown it in several spoonfuls of oil. As soon as the fat has melted, remove from the pan and lay aside. Saute the sliced onion in the same oil. Add the tomatoes and salt and allow the sauce to thicken for about 10 minutes. Replace the cooked bacon and flavor with chilli powder.
Use the sauce to flavor the bucatini, cooked in boiling salted water and drained when al dente (or not too soft so that is has not absorbed too much water). Sprinkle generously with grated pecorino cheese.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Family Chicken Casserole

2 T. Butter
2 cups Carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped Red or Green Pepper
1/2 cup chopped Onion
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 cup of Milk
1/4 cup Apple Juice
2 cups cooked Chicken, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups grated Mozz or Mozz/Cheddar mix
3 - 4 cups cooked Rice (or even more)

In large frying pan, melt butter.
Stir in carrots, pepper, onion. Cook until tender crisp.
Add soup, milk, juice, chicken, cheese. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Spread cooked rice in a greased lasagna pan, or large casserole dish. Spoon chicken mixture over rice

Bake 350 for 45 min. Serves 6 - 8

Note: If you don't have leftover cooked chicken on hand, you can either boil a few chicken breasts in water until cooked, or what I often do is take a small whole chicken and cook it the day before in my crock pot and remove meat from carcass when cooked, or if you don't have that much time, boil the chicken in water for several hours until meat is falling from the bone.
The whole chicken is much more flavourful in casseroles than the chicken breasts. If your feeling extra frugal, throw a whole peeled onion and some roughly chopped celery and carrot into the chicken water. Then strain the water when you've finished cooking the chicken and you will have a nice homemade chicken stock which freezes well. Oh, a bay left in the water as well is nice.

Creamy Potato Soup

Hello Ladies,

I thought I would post a couple of simpler meals. This soup is a family favourite.

3 T. Butter
1 Onion, diced
4 - 6 large potatoes, cubed
3 T. fresh Parsley chopped or a generous sprinkle of dried parsley
3 stalks Celery, chopped
2 large Carrots, chopped ( I use 3-4 easily, we love carrots)
2 t. Salt ( Half when preparing, half to taste when done)
1/4 t. Paprika
Water - enough to almost cover the vegetables in the pot

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook until vegetables are tender. Add white sauce (recipe below) and stir until blended and heated through. Serves 8 or more.

White Sauce
4 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
1/2 t. Salt
Pepper to taste
4 cups Milk

Melt butter, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring about 1 minute, then whisk milk in, and stir until it is gently boiling and has thickened. Doesn't need to be super thick, it will thicken even more in the soup.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Tonight there will be a moment of truth - I am attempting to make Boterkoek.

I thought I'd share the Ayer's recipe, as they made it for a skating party and I don't know if I've ever tasted better.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp (or more) almond extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
silvered almonds (optional)

Cream butter, add sugar and beat well. Add slightly beaten egg (save a little for the top), then almond extract and continue beating until smooth. Combine flour and baking powder, add to butter mixture. Knead together. Press into 8-inch round baking pan. Brush top with reserved beaten egg. Sprinkle with almonds if you wish. Bake 30 minutes or until golden at 350 degrees F.

Between all of us we are either authentically dutch, married to dutch men, or just great cooks/bakers. . .so if you have any suggestions for perfecting this recipe PLEASE comment with your own recipe/habits.

I tried to compare recipes on the net with this one. I found one recipe that insisted everything be kept very cold (she uses frozen butter and a food processor to mix), and another recipe that insisted the butter must be melted and piping hot. . .hmm. . .

Please share your experience!

- Vanessa

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tortilla Soup with Avocado Salsa

Karin and I made this last weekend. I thought it would be a heavy meal. Instead, it was refreshing, yet full of taste. Apparently, this soup is a touted as cold remedy. "Healthful." None of us had colds at the time, so you can't take our word for it.
This provides enough for 4 main courses, or 8 appetizers.

Tortilla Soup with Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa:
1 ripe avocado
1 plum tomato
1/2 jalapeno
1 green onion
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
2 t lime juice
1/4 t salt
Note: Double this recipe if you want a chunkier soup. We did!

Tortilla Soup:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T peanut or canola oil
8 large cloves garlic, peeled
8 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs cilantro
1/2 c green salsa
2 green onions
1/4 fresh chopped cilantro
Bag of tortilla chips
2 limes

1. Cut avocado into cubes and place in a bowl. Add: Seeded and diced tomato and jalapeno; chopped green onion and cilantro; lime juice and salt.
2. Stir and set aside.

1. Flatten chicken breasts with a meat mallet. (I put the chicken between two pieces of waxed paper, and use a rolling pin.) Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chicken, and scatter garlic around the sides. Cook over med-low heat, flipping chicken once, until chicken is done. Take off the heat. Push garlic off to one side of the pan and mash it with a fork. Pull at the cooked chicken with a fork until it is reduced to shreds. Combine garlic and chicken. Set aside.
2. Prepare broth in a large soup pot, setting aside 1 cup of it. Heat broth over med-high heat along with sprigs of cilantro until boiling. Scoop out the cilantro, and discard. Add chicken mixture, green salsa, green onions, an chopped cilantro. Also, using the reserved cup of broth, deglaze the pan the chicken was cooked in, scraping up any browned bits. Add this to the soup pot.
3. Serve soup with a bowl of tortillas and Avocado Salso, (see below).

Notes: The tortillas and salsa are to be dumped right into your soup. The torillas add saltiness, while the salsa adds substance. Soooooo good.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Baked Pasta and Ricotta Casserole

Here is another casserole recipe that I have made lots of times and everyone loves it. (except Josh, who doesn't like ricotta cheese! ) This one also freezes well - so double the recipe and put one in the freezer for another time, or to give away. This recipe comes from a Milk Calendar recipe book that my mom gave me.

8 oz pasta (eg. penne, ziti, rotini, etc.)
** Cook Pasta. Rinse with cold water. Drain well. Reserve.

1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
** Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion and cook 3-4 min.
Add flour and cook 3 min. stirring often.
Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook gently 5 min.

** Combine:
8 oz ricotta
2 cups grated mozzarella
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

**Pour into a 13x9 inch baking dish.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 25-30 min. until bubbling and brown

Baked Eggs

This is a crustless quiche. Really good, again may be prepared ahead and frozen. Everyone loves this recipe. It's nice for a ladies lunch or a pot luck buffet.

6 Bread Slices, cubed
2 cups Cheddar, grated
1 cup Ham, cooked and cubed (can be left over roast ham, or deli ham or cooked bacon)
1/4 cup Green Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
6 Eggs
3 cups Milk

Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl. In separate bowl beat eggs and milk together.
Pour bread mixture in a 9 x 13 pan evenly. Pour milk and egg mixture over top.
Cover will foil and freeze or bake immediately. To prepare frozen dish for serving, thaw first.

Bake 375 for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Lemon Loaf

Hello Ladies!
I thought I would add a very quick and easy recipe. It makes 2 loaves, and freezes very well.

1 pkg. Lemon Cake Mix
1 pkg. Instant Lemon Pudding mix
1/2 cup Canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 cup Water OR 3/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup lemon juice (I prefer the lemon juice)
4 Eggs


1/4 cup Icing sugar
2 T. Lemon juice

Combine first 5 ingredients and beat with electric mixer for 4 minutes. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. (I tend closer to 60 min.)

After removing from oven, use a fork and poke small holes all over the top of the loaves. Mix sugar and lemon juice to make a thin paste. Spread over hot loaves. Let cool approx. 10 minutes before removing from pans.

To freeze, I wrap the loaf in wax paper and then put it into a freezer bag.

Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce

Here is another recipe from that same 'quick from scratch one-dish meals' (although this one takes 3 different pans to prepare in my opinion! But it is still fairly easy to prepare)

1 T cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes, drained (from one 28-ounce can)
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 cup pesto
3/4 pound medium pasta shells
1 1/2 cups mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Grease a large baking dish (9x13)
2. In a large stainless-steel frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking it up, until the meat is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.
3. Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pesto.
4. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the shells until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain and toss with the sauce. Put half the pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half the mozzarella and 2 T of the Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining pasta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it freezes well, so you can double it and make it up one night and then another night when you are running behind, you can just pull it out of the freezer and reheat.

Chicken Biryani

This recipe is from a book by Food & Wine magazine called 'quick from scratch one-dish meals cookbook' It's has a long list of ingredients - but you really just throw them all in the same pot and let it boil for 20 min. and it is soo good.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt.

1. In a medium bowl, combine the above ingredients. Let sit while you prepare the rest.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the 3 T butter over moderate heat. Add the 1 onion, thinly sliced and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
3. Stir in :
1/4 tsp ground cardamom or ground coriander
1/4 tsp tumeric
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, preferably basmati
Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
4. Add the chicken mixture to the pan. Stir in 2 3/4 cups water and 1/3 cup raisins. Bring to a simmer.
Cover and simmer until rice and chicken are almost done, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered until rice and lamb are just done, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped cashews.

The original recipe called for lamb, but I like chicken better, but you could probably also do this with stewing beef. And I know the thought of eating boiled chicken isn't that great - and I have done it with frying the chicken on the side and just adding it in at the last minute - but then the rice mixture doesn't have all the flavours from the marinade and it is not as good. and if you cook the chicken with the rice and it is nice and moist.
Also there are some exotic spices in there - that I didn't have the first time I made this - but I just went to the bulk food store and bought a small about of those spices - since you use so little - and it was definitely worth it, I've made this recipe a number of times.
Oh and don't forget to fish out the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks before serving

Thai Meatballs

First, props to Kate Masson for the recipe. She made me these meatballs for my birthday dinner this past August, and I was struck by the rich flavour. This is a very exotic tasting dish. If you like peanut sauce, and you like cilantro, you will LOVE this. If you are less adventurous in your culinary exploration, it may not be to your taste. It does qualify as easy, though, Ness.

1 1/2 ground chicken
1/4 cup hoisin suace
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 T green onions
1 T cilantro
1 egg
3 cloves garlic
1 t fresh ginger
1 t sesame oil
salt and pepper

1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 T soya sauce
2 T peanut butter
2 T cilantro
1 T ginger
1 t lemon zest

1.Mix all meatball ingredients. Roll into 1'' balls. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
2. Mix all sauce ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer gently, stirring regularily, for 10-15 minutes.
Serve over basmati rice.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Here is something that I have tried a few times and always enjoy. (and its really quick and easy to put together, and doesn't take long to cook)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil
Place fish on foil, spread some butter on the fish and then sprinkle with salt,pepper and oregano
Top with veggies of your choice (I did onion slices, diced red pepper and small broccolli florets)
Fold up the foil or put another piece on top and fold the edges over themselves - forming a sealed pocket.
Bake for 15-20 min (depends on how thick a piece of fish you have)

I used ocean perch this week, but any white fish would work well, We buy the bonless, skinless frozen fish fillets. You could experiment with different spices as well and I'm sure a squeeze of lemon juice would also taste good instead of the butter (or in addition to - depending on how healthy you are trying to be:)

Serve with pasta tossed with butter, salt, pepper and sage. (this is really yummy! - and also nice and easy)

For working ladies with hungry husbands.

Wow ladies - I'm overwhelmed by the recipes posted so far! Each one looks delectable and would be beautiful to serve. However, at this moment in time, I would also be blessed by some quick, efficient, tasty, healthy and/or affordable dishes for everyday. I certainly don't have the time or stamina to make some of these items after working all day. Do any of you have some last minute sureties that you'd be willing to share?



(Believe me, I'm saving these recipes on a separate folder in Word so that when I have guests, time, and am a stay at home wife, I will be able to pull from them!)

Ricotta Chocolate Tarts

This is straight out of Food & Drink Magazine. I made these for Gabriel's first birthday two days ahead, froze them, and re-heated them just before serving.
*Pre-made plain tart shells work just as well.
*If you don't mind cold tarts, I would recommend adding a layer of the chocolate sauce to the top of the baked tarts, then placing them into the fridge. They come out looking beautifully smooth. Then pop a roasted pecan on top, or a dollup of whipped cream.

Ricotta Chocolate Tarts

Sweet and tangy ricotta and dark chocolate make a decadent cheesecake type of filling in a crispy cookie tart shell in this easy-to-make but impressive dessert. The pepper may seem like an odd ingredient, however once you try it you'll be surprised how well it works. The Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce isn't imperative but makes an attractive and tasty addition and prevents the tarts from sliding around the plate. The tarts are best if served when freshly baked but can be baked, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to one day. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until warmed through.

Tart Shells
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (125 mL) cold butter, cubed
1 egg

4 oz (125 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup (175 mL) extra smooth ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp (45 mL) whipping cream
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

1. For tart shells, preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. Whisk together flour and cocoa powder in a bowl. Beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer in a separate bowl. Beat in egg. Stir in flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Divide dough into 12 balls, each about the size of a golf ball. If dough is very soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes or until chilled. Press 1 ball evenly into bottom and up sides to top edge into each cup of 2½-inch (6-cm) muffin tins. Prick all over with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until chilled. Bake for about 10 minutes or until firm. Let cool in pan on a rack. (Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

3. To make filling, melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot, not boiling water. Stir until smooth and remove from heat. Let cool almost to room temperature. Whisk ricotta with egg yolk, cream, sugar and pepper. Whisk in melted chocolate until blended.

4. If necessary, preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC.)

5. Spoon filling evenly into tart shells. Bake filled tarts for 15 to 20 minutes or until centre is puffed but still moist when a tester is inserted in the centre. Serve immediately, garnished with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (recipe follows).

Makes 12 tarts

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

Perfect for drizzling on the plate as a garnish for Warm Chocolate Ricotta Tarts or any festive dessert. Store it in the refrigerator and
warm in a saucepan or the microwave before serving.

1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (175 mL) whipping cream
2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla or 1 tbsp (15 mL) chocolate liqueur

1. Whisk sugar with cocoa in a saucepan. Gradually stir in cream until blended. Bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

2. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly. (Transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks). Warm slightly before serving.

Makes about 1¼ cups (300 mL)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mocha Cheesecake

This one is as decadent as they come. It is always among my top choices for a birthday cake.
Give yourself 4 hours before serving.
Have your cream cheese out of it's packaging and warming in a bowl the morning of the day you make it. You can't rush the warming, and you can't work easily with it cold.

Mocha Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups chocolate crumbs
1/2 cup butter melted
2 eggs
1 T instant coffee granules
1 T hot water
2 bricks cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 t vanilla
2 T flour

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9'' springform pan. Melt butter and add to crumbs until moist enough. Cover bottom of pan with the crumbs, working them up the sides if possible.
2. In a small bowl, mix hot water and coffee granules until dissolved. Set aside.
3. In a sauce pot, melt the chocolate over med-low heat, stirring constantly.
4. In a big bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, the coffee mixture, chocolate and flour.
5. Pour filling into the pan and bake for 50 minutes. Cake should be mostly set when jiggled.
6. Cool to room temperature then transfer to fridge for atleast 3 hours before serving.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Peach Dumplings

This recipe, from my husband's Great-Grandmother who was from the Czech Republic, is a delicious meal that satisfies like a dinner and desert in one!

Dissolve 1 pkg dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 tsp sugar
Stir in 2 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp shortening, 1 beaten egg and add 1/2 cup sifted flour. Stir until blended.

Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1/2 hour).
Knead a little flour in and flatten on counter.
Cut into pieces, wrap all around fresh peaches.
Put into boiling water for 10-15 minutes depending on size of peach.

Great topped with cottage cheese and/or melted butter.

Makes 4-5 dumplings.


This is one of the other recipes that I make quite often. This one I don't really have exact amounts - it's the kind where you just add until it tastes right - so definately start out adding less than you think because once you over do it with one ingredient it's hard to go back.

1 avocado (remove the pit and skin and mash it up)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 - 1 tsp of dried onion flakes (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
a dash of lemon juice to keep it from going brown too quickly.

I remember the first time I bought a avocado it was for a party at my parents and I had no idea how to pick out a good avocado - and since the brown ones felt mushy I figured the nice bright green ones must be the best. Wrong - the green ones are hard as rock and don't have much flavour - but they will ripen in a few days. So which avocado you buy depends on how soon you want to use it. A ripe avocado is more redish brown and when you press it - it will give a little bit. But not too soft or it will be over ripe by the time you get home and over ripe avocado is worse than the rock hard un-ripe ones.

Banana Bread

This is probably the recipe that I make the most - it is so easy and so yummy and not entirely unhealthy. It is one of the few recipes that I have memorized. It helps that it only has 6 ingredients.

1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter (softened)
2 large bananas (mashed)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour.

1. Combine the butter and sugar
2. Mix in the mashed up bananas
3. Add the last three ingredients - mix well. It should form a soft dough.
4. Put in a small loaf pan (well greased, or lined with parchment paper)
6. Bake at 325 F for approx 1 hour.
- alternatively it makes 12 medium sized muffins - they only take between 20-30 min to cook.

For the bananas: If we don't get around to eating all the bananas I have bought and they start turning brown, I put them in the freezer until I have time to make banana bread. When I have time, I take two out of the freezer and defrost them by microwaving them for 2 min and then removing the peel - they are then almost completely mashed already. The few times I've made this with fresher bananas it had a slightly different texture, still good - but not as good.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Maple Pecan Squares

Truly one of the most decadent squares I have every eaten. This was my Christmas indulgence. I always tear through the seasonal Food & Drink Magazine to find the inspiration fro my Christnas baking, and i found this gem. Warning: Very rich. Eat in small squares with something mild to sip on, like tea, or steamed milk.

Maple Pecan Squares

Shortbread Base:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2t fine salt
1/4t baking powder
1/4t ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Pecan Layer:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrop
2t pure vanilla extract
1/4t fine salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease 9'' square pan. (Consider also lining pan with wax paper.)
3. For base, combine all base ingredients in a food processor until crumbly, or do it by hand with a whisk. Press mixture into pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool.
4. Combine all pecan layer ingredients. Pour on top of cooled base and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges.
NOTE: It will appear very loose when removed from the oven, but it's supposed to. Just let it cool, or put in in the fridge until cool and it will solidify nicely.

These should be kept cold. They can actually be eaten right out of the freezer.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Roast Beef

Growing up we had roast beef almost every Sunday and lets just say it was never my favorite meal. However now that I'm all grown up I wanted to try making roast beef - it just seemed like I meal I should know how to make - so I did some research for good recipes and asked my mother-in-law for some advice about how to cook a good roast beef. And I can now say that roast beef is one of my favorite meals to prepare for company - it tastes soo good, but its hard to find a roast small enough to serve just 2 and neither of us are very good at eating left overs, so I usually save this meal for company. I found this recipe on and although it calls for beef tenderloin I usually use whatever roast is on sale, either an outside round or a sirloin tip roast.

Herbed and Spiced Roasted Beef Tenderloin

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 large shallot, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place all the above spices and herbs in a mini-food processor. With the machine is running, add the olive oil and process until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Spread the paste evenly over the roast.
Place the roast in a roasting pan, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Now for the cooking part - here is where cooking a roast cut differs a bit from a tenderloin. A roast needs to be cooked at 350 F for approx 20 min per pound for rare or 30 min per pound for medium. And don't forget to remove the tin foil before putting it in the oven. This type of cooking method rely's on the dry heat of the oven - so you don't want to have any sort of lid on the roasting pan.
The drippings from this roast can make wonderful gravy - although the gravy I make has only turned out really good (in my estimation) about 50% of the time that I try to make it - so if anyone has a fool proof gravy recipe using roast beef drippings please share!
I usually serve this with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Some substitutions:
* I don't usually have fresh herbs around so I substitute 2tsp dried rosemary and 2 tsp dried thyme leaves. although it really is better with the fresh.
* I don't usually add the orange zest - mostly because I never seem to have oranges in the house when I make this - plus I've had bad experiences cooking meat with oranges:)
* I've used just normal onions in place of the shallots if I haven't had time to do the proper shopping for this recipe and it tastes just fine.

Here is the link to the original recipe on

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin

This is a very tasty, and very easy recipe. It turns out perfectly every time.

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin
1/4 cup soya sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2T sherry
1 1/2t minced onion
1t cinnamon
2t olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
3-4 cloves garlic

1. Place 2 tenderloins, (they usually come in one package), in a large ziplock bag with the above marinade for atleast 4 hours in the refridgerator. I tend to prepare them in the morning.
2. Remove meat from the bag, but reserve the marinade. Brown each tenderloin in a skillet over high heat until every side is seared. Place in a 350 degree oven along with the reserved juices.
3. Cook 20 minutes. Turn them over, baste, and cook another 2o minutes.
4. Remove meat, and add cornstarch to juices to make gravy.

NOTES: I got this recipe from All Recipes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Smoked Salmon & Dill Pasta

6 green onions
4 T butter
6 T dry white wine
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
8oz smoked salmon
2 T fresh dill (or 1 T dry dill)
fresh lemon juice
4 cups pasta
salt and pepper

1. Put water on to boil for pasta.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan. (I use a wok). Chop onions into butter and simmer gently for one minute.
3. Add wine and boil hard to reduce. Then add cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Simmer until slightly thick.
4. Chop salmon. Add to sauce along with dill and lemon juice.
5. Combine and serve

NOTES: Really rich. A little goes a long way. A mild flavour so don't eat anything with it that will overpower it. Really good with a nice white wine and a baguette.

Coconut Lemon Squares

Mix and press into greased 13"x9"x2" pan:
2 cups flower
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Stir together:
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Then add:
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups cocnut
Pour over baked crust. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until the middle is not too runny. (If it's runny, you'll have to eat it with a fork or spoon, but the bars are really good that way, too!)

Cool and glaze with:
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice.

Cool slightly (or completely) and cut.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Roasted Red Pepper Soup


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Roasted Red Pepper Soup

5-6 red peppers
4 cups chicken broth
1t sugar
1-2t paprika
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh romano
cooked shrimp
fresh basil

1. Broil whole red peppers, until every side is charred black
2. Remove and place peppers in a sealed ziplock bag, or a tupperware tub.
3. After 10 minutes remove skin and seeds.
4.Chop most of the peppers but set aside 1 to julienne.
5.Place chopped peppers into a soup pot, along with chicken broth. Simmer for 5 minutes. Puree with a hand blender.
6. Add sugar and paprika. Simmer 5 minutes
7. Add heavy cream, romano, julienned pieces. (Optional: basil and shrimp)
8. Seasonwith salt, pepper and tabasco sauce. Serve.

NOTE: I serve this with cheese buns. Either toast your own buns and melt cheese on top. Or buy those supermarket cheese sticks.