Ah daylight savings time. It sure has its pluses and minuses, eh? Pluses, it means spring and longer days are coming. Minuses: you end up waking up super early for no reason, or at least I do. Ugh. I was up at 6:30 this morning (so actually 5:30), for no reason at all, so I decided to make a fancy breakfast: Baked eggs with roasted potatoes. Hmm!
I’ve seen baked eggs in several magazines, and they’ve always seemed like a good idea, but altogether too much work in the morning when you’re hungry. But when you have tons of time, it’s the perfect opportunity to make something elaborate.
Out they came, 20-25 mins later, cooked to perfection. I grated some Sylvan Star Grizzly Gouda on top, for some added awesome. You can serve it with crusty bread to soak up the awesome, or dip some roasted potatoes in the tomato goodness.
You will need:
1/2 small bell pepper
1/2 small onion
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic and rosemary, crushed together.
Aged cheese, grated.
Preheat your oven to 400. Dice peppers and onions and add to a ramekin. Cook for 10 mins. Mince garlic and rosemary. Add tomatoes, garlic and rosemary to ramekins. Crack egg on top and bake for an additional 20-25 mins, until eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!
Ah Pinterest. You always give me such good ideas that fill my fridge (and freezer) with yummies. Here’s a perfect example: Freezer Burritos! Now, do you ever have days where you’re running out of the house, with no leftovers in the fridge, on your way to work and you’re not inspired by another sandwich? In steps freezer burritos: saving your mornings and taste buds!
I opted to make mine cheesy and full of rice, to make as a full meal.
While the beef is browning, cook your rice. (I used an Uncle Ben’s package of Spanish rice. Super simple.) Throw in some black beans and frozen corn for good measure. I also added some salsa for more flavour.
You will need
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp taco seasoning (I used chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika)
1 package of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
1 bag of shredded tex mex cheese (or cheddar!)
10 whole wheat flour tortillas
Begin by cooking your rice according to package instructions. Then, dice your onion and brown it with the ground beef. Add seasoning and let simmer for about 10 mins, until fully cooked. Let cool a little then transfer to a large bowl. Add corn, beans and salsa. Once rice is cooked, add to bowl. Add cheese. Mix until fully incorporated. Fill tortillas and roll burrito style. Using a hot non-stick pan, seal the burrito. Let cool before transferring to a freezer bag. You can freeze up to 3 months.
As part of the Canadian Food Experience Project, we are writing about regional food this month. I can’t think of a more regional food than raspberries. I remember when I was growing up, my Baba’s house had a huge raspberry bush that we would pick every summer. She would can her raspberries with sugar and we would serve them over ice cream. Some of my fondest memories are from summer evenings at the lake with a big bowl of Baba’s raspberries, all soupy, sweet and delicious.
So to celebrate one of the best regional food our province has to offer, I made a raspberry pistachio cake. It was lovely, and while the raspberries are obviously not local this time around (it is currently -35 outside), I will certainly make this again this summer from the raspberries that will bloom from our backyard bush once we plant it! (Stay tuned for exciting posts on our garden!)
Raspberry Pistachio Cake (Courtesy of Sips and Spoonfuls)
You will need:
- 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5 tbsp pistachio meal
- 1 1/2 cup whole grain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup crushed pistachios
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 350. Grease your baking dish. Using your electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients (including pistachio meal) and stir to evenly combine. Add milk and fully incorporate. Pour into a baking dish, cover with crushed pistachios and fresh raspberries. Cook until middle is set and if you insert a toothpick or knife, it comes out clean (about 50 mins.) Enjoy!
I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds a little extravagant, doesn’t it?” Why yes, yes it does. But what else are you going to make on the coldest day of the year? That’s right. When you’re freezing your butt off, there’s nothing much you can do other than pack on the carbs, butter and caramel and hope that you survive until spring decides to rear it’s beautiful, green head. So, on the day that I decided, unequivocally, not to leave the house in protest of the season, I treated Justin and I to an over-the-top extravagant breakfast. So worth it!
I’ve only ever made homemade caramel once before, and it didn’t turn out so well the first time. I had better instructions this time, courtesy of the queen of caramel herself, Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen.
Dunk your bread into the egg batter and leave it there for about a half hour, while the bread soaks up the egg and your caramel cools in the fridge. Stir every once and a while to evenly coat the bread.
Tada! Perfect over the top breakfast for a morning that is colder than a witch’s bosom.
Salted Caramel Overnight French Toast (modified, from Smitten Kitchen)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 or 3 pinches of a coarse salt
1 loaf multigrain bread.
9 large eggs
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (I used ricotta because I couldn’t find marscapone…)
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large cast iron skillet, place 3/4 cup sugar, butter and sea salt and heat over medium heat. The butter will melt and, after 7 to 10 minutes, the sugar will dissolve and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a spoon or spatula so that it browns evenly. You will find that the butter separates from the melting sugar and this is just fine. Do your best to keep them stirred together but know that it will all work out in the end even if it’s split. Stop cooking the caramel once it’s reached a medium brown colour; it will continue cooking and darkening for a minute off the stove.
Place pan in refrigerator and chill until caramel is cold and solid, about 30 minutes. While the caramel is cooling, make your egg base and cut up your loaf of bread.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs and 1/4 mascarpone or ricotta cheese, until very smooth. Add milk and vanilla extract. Dump bread into your egg bowl, making sure to saturate all of it. Once your caramel is completely cool, pour bread over top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. If you bread seems too high in the pan to get a good soak, you can weight it with a plate in the fridge.
In the morning, heat oven to 375°F. Take dish from fridge, remove plastic, and bake 50 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and run a knife around edge of dish, loosening bread from sides. Place a serving plate over top of dish (bottom side up), and, using potholders, hold pan over sink and flip french toast onto it. Lift baking dish off plate; scrape any extra caramel from pie dish over french toast. Serve, warm with a mug of coffee.
Last weekend, my friend made me Pad Thai. It was a pre-prepared sauce mix, but it was sooooo good! I didn’t realized I liked Pad Thai so much, and so, of course, I had to make it from scratch, now that I’ve tried a simpler, store bought version.
This recipe did require many steps and lots of dishes, but I think Justin didn’t mind all too much, considering I was making him an incredible meal from scratch!
You will need:
- 1 package of Thai rice noodles linguini-width
- 2 chopped chicken breasts (Marinade: 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp fish sauce)
- 10 tiger shrimp, peeled, tails removed.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cups fresh snap peas
- 1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts
- 3 cups fresh bean sprouts
For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken stock
- 3 Tbsp.white vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Place chopped chicken in a bowl and toss with soy and fish sauce (1.5 Tbsp). Set aside. Combine Pad Thai Sauce ingredients together in a cup, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dunk in rice noodles and switch off heat. Allow noodles to soak approximately 5-8 mins. Drain and rinse noodles briefly with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in some vegetable oil and swirl around, then add the garlic, onion, ginger and snap peas. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add marinated chicken and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, continuing to stir-fry until they turn pink and chicken is no longer pink (2-3 minutes). Add the rest of the Pad Thai sauce into the pan. Using two utensils, lift and turn noodles with other ingredients. Heat until sauce and noodles are warmed.
Fold in bean sprouts. Top with crushed peanuts. Enjoy, a lot!
As part of the Canadian Food Experience Project this month, we are all writing about our Canadian love affairs. I find it tough to write about how much I love this place, when my backyard is covered in snow, my skin is cracking and peeling, and I am so fed up with winter that all I can do it crumble about it. But rather than being a sourpus and making you all read about it (now wouldn’t that be a lovely post?), I am going to write about my favourite things, right now. I’m talking vendors, products, shops… etc. That’ll make me a little more hopeful for those lovely spring buds.
First things first. As I sit and write this, I am sipping a lovely, velvety thick hot chocolate from Choklat. They claim to be the only chocolate maker in Alberta (which I’m not so sure about… doesn’t Jacek and Bernard Callebault make their own chocolates? Or is that not the same thing?) Whatever. It’s gooooooooooood. Their hot choclates are so thick and spiced that it coats your tongue with awesome, making you crave more the second it’s gone. (I’ve been there twice in the past week). It’s melting my hard, cold exterior from the inside out and making me feel more positive with every sip. Try it. You won’t regret it!
The Blue whip cream is a nice touch, too!
Another great product I love it mighty trio. First off, Emily and Sean are fantastic people. Working across from them at Strathcona for a year really gave me an appreciation for how hard they work. Also, their kids are CUTE! Anyway, their canola oil is a staple at our place. I use it all the time. It’s got a great flavour and nice colour. It’s great!
Another fav: Elaine Wilson’s Food You Can Cook. Her sauces and spices make any meal just that much better. I’ve got a whole bunch of her dried spices in the cupboard right now (Try the smoky asado. Now. Do it!) I also just really appreciate her love of fresh, readily available ingredients. She always takes care of her customers, making sure they get exactly what they are looking for. Props, Elaine.
Finally, and of course you guessed it, Gold Forest Grains products. It might be because I was surrounded by John’s products for a year, or it might just be because they are truly awesome, but I love everything he comes up with. I use his oats, flour, barley and lentils on a regular basis. Using local grains make me feel more connected to my community and my province. Also, I’ve been graving cinnamon bunch and rich, creamy steel cut oats. Maybe it’s the weather. Yep. I think I’ll be making some thing weekend!
So, these are my favourite things. Hopefully, they’ll take me to spring.
Ah Cauliflower. It has appeared to have become the new “It” veggie, and thank goodness, too! Kale tastes like feet, so I’m happy to see a tasty, cancer fighting cruciferous veggie taking the spotlight for a while.
Creamy Cauliflower and Shrimp Alfredo (Adapted from a Pinch of Yum)
You will need:
- 8 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 5-6 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 cup milk
- 1.5 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 shrimp, peeled, tails removed
- 1 box pasta
Boil water for your pasta. Begin by separating your cauliflower head into florets. Melt butter or heat oil in pan and cook cauliflower until it is tender. Add garlic and cook down some more. Transfer to your food processor and puree until smooth. Add cauliflower to a heatproof bowl and add Parmesan cheese and milk. Stir until evenly combined. Cook shrimp in the same pan as the cauliflower, until lightly pink. Add sauce back into pan with shrimp and coat the shrimp evenly. Once pasta is cooked, serve sauce over top, with extra Parmesan, if you wish.
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking: Jacquie doesn’t normally use quite such colourful language when writing her posts. Well, when I made these granola bars, I was seriously channeling some Thug Kitchen, and I had to have it come across. Also, I told Justin that is what they were called, and he made me promise to call them that on my blog. So here we are, with who gives a F%#@ Granola Bars.
Firsts things first, go to your pantry and take a look at all of the grains or pantry items that you have a tiny bit left of. I’m talking oatmeal packs, cereal boxes, puffed wheat, graham crackers… whatever. Pull it all out and get read to assemble.
Jacquie’s Who Gives a F%$@ Granola Bars
You will need:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cups of whatever dry ingredients you have in the cupboard. (I used cheerios, some old granola, sesame seeds, graham crackers and peanuts.)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Heat peanut butter in microwave for 30 seconds, until runny. Mix well with honey. Add dry ingredients, stir until evenly coated. Press into a baking pan. top with chocolate chips. Chop into bar-sized servings. Wrap individually with wax paper. Enjoy!
Yes. You read that title correctly. This is a thing. A real thing, and it works. Justin didn’t believe me (in fact, he was pretty much appalled by the idea of cooking food in the dishwasher, especially since you clean your dishes while doing it!) But, it works! and it didn’t turn out too bad!
You will need:
4 salmon filets
4 tsp butter
4 tsp dill weed
1 small onion
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp tarragon
Place salmon on two sheets of tinfoil and top with butter and dill. Wrap tightly, making sure there are no seems. Place on top crack on dishwasher, add soap and dishes, and turn on a regular cycle or light cycle. While the dishwasher is going, make your sauce. Melt butter and cook onion for 2 mins. Add wine and tarragon. Simmer for a while. When your dishes are done, serve salmon warm with sauce, and any sides you like. Enjoy!
As this was the first Christmas Justin and I spent in our new home, I wanted to make something extra special for Christmas morning breakfast. This casserole was super easy to make, and can be made a day ahead, so that all you have to do on Christmas morning is make coffee and pop it in the oven, leaving plenty of time to open gifts while it cooks.
Ingredient shot – Pretty simple, really.
Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole
You will need:
1 cup of milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 cups shredded hash browns
6 pieces of back bacon
4 pieces of bread (I used french bread, thinly sliced)
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 cup of aged cheddar, grated.
Spray a large casserole dish. Add hash browns to bottom. Top with back bacon. Add bread and top with onion. Beat eggs and milk together and season. Pour on top of the casserole dish. Grate cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 400 for approx 45-50 mins, until the dish is set and no longer wiggly. Serve warm. Enjoy!