Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Cooking!

It's been a really long time since I've posted ANYTHING here, and that's mainly because I haven't done any cooking!  I'm lazy when it comes to supper time, so I generally through in whatever and eat that for supper.  But, I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes below!  These are things I am going to cook over the holidays (some of which I finished cooking this week and threw in the freezer).

Super Cheesy Mac & Cheese

•1 tbsp. olive oil
•1 lb. rotini noodles (or noodle of your choice)
•1/2 cup butter
•1/2 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
•1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
•1/2 cup shredded Mild Cheddar cheese
•1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
•1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
•1/2 cup shredded Asiago Cheese
•2 cups half and half
•1 tsp yellow mustard
•2 lg eggs beaten lightly
•1/4 tsp seasoning salt
•1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1.Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a deep 2.5 quart casserole.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, add the oil then the rotini and cook until the rotini is just tender
3.Drain well and return to pot.
4.Add the butter and mix it into the rotini.
5.In a large bowl mix the muenster, mild and sharp cheddar cheese, asiago, monterey jack cheese and the swiss cheese together.
6.Then to the macaroni add the half and half, 1.5 cups of the shredded cheeses, the mustard and the eggs and mix well.
7.During this time you should season with salt and pepper to your own liking.
8.Then layer the rotini mixture and remaining cheese.
9.Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling around the edges.
Put under broiler for approximately 4 minutes to just crisp up the cheese so it's a bit crunchy/dark. To make the crunchy topping, you use bread crumbs!

Moose Milk
26 oz light rum (7 oz)
26 oz dark rum (7 oz)
7 oz kahlua (2 oz)
7 oz rye (Canadian Whisky) (2 oz)
8 litres egg nog (1 litre)
8 litres whole milk (1 litre)
16 litres french vanilla ice cream (2 litres)
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Makes 2 big pickle buckets, so half of everything in each.
-add egg nog, milk and ice cream, stirring and mushing
-add everything else, stirring and mushing
Edits: You can swap out the French Vanilla ice cream for Butterscotch Ripple or add Peppermint Schnapps.

1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. soda
1 c. butter (margarine may be used)
2 c. flour1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract, if desired
Work like pie crust. Add: This dough can be rolled and rerolled as often as necessary for cutting desired shapes. Will not get tough. Frost with favorite powdered sugar icing and decorate.
*Also may be rolled in balls and pressed flat to 1/4 inch. Bake at 300 to 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 (8 1/2 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
2 tsp. chopped onion
Dash of Tabasco
Soften cream cheese, add well drained pineapple. Mix well. Add onion, salt, Tabasco. Mix well. Refrigerate until hardened. Form into loaf or balls. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

1/4 stick butter or oleo
1 pkg. reg. marshmallows
1 tsp. green food coloring
1 tsp. almond extract
Melt together, stir constantly as it will burn easy. After it is melted add: Stir until well coated. Drop by teaspoon on wax paper. Put red coated cinnamon candies in center.

Parm Dip
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan (fresh, not powdered)*
1/8 cup vinegar
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp sugar
dash basil, oregano and garlic
½ Cup of old or medium cheese, shredded
Mix well, then cover the top with the medium or old cheese. Bake 400F, 10 -15 minutes, and enjoy.

Pitas for Dip
1 Package of Greek pitas
1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Dash of garlic salt or powder
Slice pitas into triangular shaped pieces and place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle cheese and garlic over and bake until lightly toasted.

Cream Cheese Mints
1 pkg (3 oz) softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp liquid peppermint flavor
3 cups powdered sugar
Candy paper cups
Food coloring (optional)
Mix together cream cheese and peppermint flavor.
Gradually add 2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Knead until no longer sticky.
Divide into portions (one for each color). Knead in food colors of your choice.
Shape into 3/4 inch thick balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Flatten balls w/ a fork (or press your thumb into the center).
Set in Christmas candy papers. Let dry at room temperature. Store loosely covered in fridge.
Makes 6-7 dozen mints.

Chocolate Haystacks
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (opt.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
In sauce pan bring first four ingredients to a full boil. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients. Drop quickly from teaspoon onto waxed paper. Cool. Makes 48 stacks.

3 cups warm water
2 tbsp quick rise yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
7-8 cups four
Mix yeast with 4 cups of the flour, beat eggs, oil, sugar and water, add to yeast mixture with a whisk
add remaining flour and salt.
Let stand 15 minutes, punch down on dough. Repeat.
Shape into golfball size buns and put in a greased 9x13 pyrex (or glass) dish.
Let rise 1 hr covered with a tea towel.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until brown on the top.

Serves: Makes 16 brownies
Prep 10 min,
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups mini marshmallows
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
2. In a bowl, combine melted butter, cocoa powder, eggs and sugar. Beat well. Stir in flour.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake 35 minutes or until barely firm to the touch and edges of brownies have pulled away from sides of pan slightly.
4. Top brownies with a single layer of marshmallows and broil for about 2 minutes until light golden brown. Watch carefully.
5. Let cool in pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.
Tip: Warm brownies in microwave and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Cheesy Cheddar Biscuits
Serves: Makes 12 biscuits
Time: Prep: 10 min.
On the table: 30 min
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch cayenne powder
½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup coarsely grated extra-old cheddar
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a food processor, pulse first 6 ingredients until well blended. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheddar and pulse until combined. Pour milk through feed tube while pulsing just until mixture comes together.
3. Divide mixture equally (about ⅓ cup each) into a standard muffin pan and bake until golden, about 20 to 22 minutes.
If you don’t have a food processor, these biscuits can be made easily by hand. Sift dry ingredients together. Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Use fingers to blend together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheese, mix well and add milk, stirring just until mixture is moist and comes together.

You can do this with any flavours you like!
Bake a cake according to directions on the box. Let cool, and then break up cake into tiny pieces (In a large bowl, mix in one can of frosting of your choice, with the cake crumbs. Use an ice cream scoop to form balls of cake. Freeze on sheet pan until hard. Melt approximately one bag of coating chocolate in a pot or in the microwave (stiring often). Dip cakeballs in chocolate and let excess drip off. Decorate with sprinkles or different coloured chocolate. You can also get different colors of coating chocolate, so mix it up with different colors. Also, try different types of cake and frosting! Other ideas: Add nuts, toffee, candies, etc!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Apple Crisp ...mmmmmmmmmmm.

I'm not a sweet fan at all so I normally stay away from treats, but tonight I had a craving for some apple crisp.  I made a delicious 9x11 pan of apple crisp with caramel topping.

Here's my recipe:

3-4 c. apples, chopped
3 tbsp. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. oatmeal
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter
Combine apples, white sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend well and place in 9"x13" greased baking dish. Combine brown sugar, oatmeal and 1 1/2 cups flour. Into this mixture, cut butter and mix until it becomes crumbly. Spread over the apples. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve hot or cool with cream or ice cream.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Supper tonight:
- Cranberries
- Home made pickles (thanks Mom!)
- Potatoes, squash, turnip, carrots and corn
- Rosemary turkey
- fresh baguette with cranberry/cinnamin goat cheese

- Pumpking Pecan Cheesecake (with chocolate drizzle and home made whipped cream).

Recipes to follow!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Festive Pumpkin Cheesecake

So I've been major slack on cooking at all around the house lately.  I've eaten pizza and whatever random stuff gets cooked .  I really haven't made a meal in a long time.  I need to get back on it though because I am truly slacking.

With the holidays approaching (and Thanksgiving this weekend), I thought I'd whip up something 'festive.'  I was going to make this for Saturday's family supper, but I got bored and made it today.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in 1 hour, 10 minutes
Serves: 12

•1 cup Ginger cookies, ground up (I put them in a freezer bag and roll a rolling pin over them or smash them down with a coffee mug).  You can also use crushed oreo cookies, or regular baking crumbs.
•3 Tbsp. butter, melted
•1 cup canned pumpkin
•3 eggs
•1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
•1 tsp. ground cinnamon
•1/2 tsp. ground ginger
•1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
•3 pkg. (250 g each) Brick Cream Cheese, softened (I leave it on the counter for about 2-3 hours to soften)
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 Tbsp. cornstarch
•2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
•1 cup whole pecans

-  Combine crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
-  Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
-  Beat cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch in large bowl; blend in pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 55 min. or until centre is just set. Remove from oven, cool 5 min. and run knife around rim of pan. Cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
-  Remove side of pan. Drizzle chocolate in random pattern over cheesecake. Place pecans around side and in circle in top of cheesecake.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My version of rice & stir fry

So I was chatting with a fellow MG tonight about new things to cook, etc. and I told her about my favorite rice & stir fry.  It's absolutely delicious and you can totally change it up to your tastes and cravings.

Serves 6ish
Takes about 20 minutes

White, minute rice
Soy Sauce (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup (Campbells is my favorite)
1 can of water
Green onions (use as much as you want)
celery (also, use as much as you want)

In a large wok, combine can of Cream of Chicken soup, water, soy sauce, pepper and butter.  Mix well until slow boil has begun (cook on high heat).  Once the boiling has begun, pour rice in mixture until the mix is no longer liquid.  All rice should be covered.  It should not be soupy looking at all.  Once mixed well, cover and turn heat to low.  Mix in your veggines with the rice.  Once on a low heat, mix frequently.  Takes about 20 minutes to reach desired texture (rice should NOT be hard).

Chicken Stir Fry
2-3 chicken breasts
Red pepper
Green pepper
Yellow pepper
Red onion
1 tablespoon of butter
1 jar of dry garlic (or honey garlic) sauce
half cup of brown sugar

Cube chicken and fry in frying pan (add butter so it doesn't stick).  While chicken is cooking, mix 3/4 of jar of dry garlic sauce & brown sugar (should form a thickish liquid).  Once chicken is cooked, pour half of the mixture into the chicken.  Toss in cut veggies.  Cook until they are the desired texture.

*I like to make the chicken as I'm making the rice so I can have the rice soak in the garlic sauce.

The remainder of the honey garlic sauce can be used to pour over your rice or on top of your chicken & veggies.

Delicious!!! =)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lunch today

Today I sliced up the chicken left over from the Chicken Cordon Bleu, toasted some whole grain bread and made a sandwich.  I put some honey mustard on  the bread, with a few pieces of lettuce and my sliced up, cold chicken/ham/swiss cheese and it was delicious!

I'm not a big fan of left overs, but in a time crunch lunch, it was delicious!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Din Din!

I love Chicken dishes.  I feel like there is no way you can screw up chicken (well unless it's undercooked and you get sick and die, but I'm not that bad of a cook haha).  I love it in many variations.

Tonight, I thought I'd give Chicken Cordon Bleu with garlic mashed potatoes a try.  I know, I know, not really demonstrating any skill here right?  It's a basic dinner, but is always delicious.  I cooked it toight and it was pretty delicious.  I made 4 servings and tried to feed the family, but no one likes to try new things so I ate alone and now have a ton for sandwiches I guess.

Here's the recipe I use:
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Ready in: 45-55 minutes
Servings: 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices cooked ham
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
honey mustard (sometimes it's good mixed with a drop of brown sugar)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 7x11 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2.Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.
3.Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs*.
4.Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.

* If you choose to go with bread crumbs.  I'm not a fan so I use a sweet honey mustard.  It's even delicious is you mix some brown sugar into the mustard.  Use a basting brush to coat the chicken.

Creamy Garlic Potatoes
6 medium Russet Potatoes
4 Tbsp. Margarine or butter
1/4 to 1/2 C. Milk
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
Garlic to taste (I prefer using a garlic powder because it's easy to mash in and always in  the cupboard if we don't have fresh)

Wash potatoes thoroughly, cut into uniform pieces, and drop into salted boiling water. Cook potatoes until they are fork tender. Take potatoes out of boiling water and drain. Peel most of the potatoes, make sure you leave about one fifth of the area not peeled. Place potatoes into bowl with other ingredients and mash the potatoes. I would not use an electric mixer; you do not want to take all of the lumps out, if you do, just be careful not to totally mash the potatoes. Makes 4 servings.

Potato Hint: If you want really great tasting mashed potatoes, do not boil them, bake them. Baking brings out a a great roasted taste.

Pita Chips

So I'm a snacker.  I love crunchy snacks.  Chips are probably my most favorite snack and I can easily polish off a large bag before I realize I have.  I'm trying to gear my taste buds away from the delicious treats, but I can't.  I will always be a potato chip person.

I've recently discovered the delicious Pita Chip.  I like them because (1) I can make them at home with ingredients that are lying around (2) they are healthier; and (3) I find that after I cook and clean, I'm not all that hungry anymore.

Here is one of my favorite ways to make Pita Chips:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Ready In: 17 minutes

3-4 pita bread pockets
1/4 cup olive oil  (I like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bertolli)
1 teaspoon of Oregano
1.5 teaspooon of garlic powder
1/2 paprika
Parmesean Cheese to taste (works best with powdered cheese & not fresh)


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Cut each pita bread into triangles and seperate them (split pocket open/in half).
3.In a small bowl, combine the all ingredients. Brush each triangle with oil.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. Watch carefully, as they tend to burn easily!

These are delicious on their own or with dip.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I am the domestic mess

For the past 2.5 years I've been dating Mike.  Mike is in the military and has been for 10+ years.  Prior to enroling in the Forces, he went to George Brown where he received his Culinary Degree.  During his teenage years and into his early twenties, he worked in some of the most famous, elite restaurants in downtown Toronto.

All throughout our relationship he has pushed me to cook more, be more involved in the kitchen, and to try new things.  I'm fairly hesitant when trying new foods becase (a) I'm extremely picky; and (b) I grew up in a house where variety was not the spice of life.  As a child, dinner's were always plentiful, but mainly consisted of Shake & Bake chicken, mashed potatoes and canned veggies. I became almost immune to the bland tastes and become increasingly more picky with what I would eat.

Once I got to university I had no choice but to eat what was being served in the caf, regardless of what it was.  I quickly learned the greatness that was a hot pot.  Also, the greatness of having a Chinese neighbor with a rice cooker.

Mike and I love making dinner together.  It is one of our favorite things to do together after spending so much time a part.  I've quickly developed a love for cooking, and even though I'm not the greatest or best chef in the world, it's usually edible!

This blog will be a collection of some of our favorite things to cook together and some things I was able to master on my own while he was away.