Bison-Turkey Meatballs in Roasted Tomato Soup … get the skinny on it

bison turkey meatballsCheers to a healthy and happy New Year.  I had a killer Power Yoga class tonight and walked home in the rain, so this made for great healthy comfort food.  It is easy to make, and delicious.  The use of spices and fresh herbs amps it up without having to pile on the calories. I’m taking a twist on a really good post from the beginning of 2009 with a Roasted Tomato Soup with Bison-Turkey Meatballs. The soup part of a bit of a lightened up twist on a recipe by David Hawksworth from Shape Magazine, and the meatballs are a Gayle original recipe.  For the soup all I did was remove the sugar, reduce the oil, increased the broth amount, and switched out vegetable broth for chicken (to see the original recipe click here Roasted-tomato-soup …check out the spicy tuna melts recipe while you’re there).  You can substitute extra lean ground beef in this recipe, but the mixture of the strong flavour of bison with the turkey makes a really great tasting meatball.  And the ground brown mushrooms also add to the meaty flavour while increasing the fibre and healthiness.  If you’re like me and easily bored by plain ground turkey this is a great trick!  If you’re using fresh thyme (please do if you can!)  don’t forget to take out the woody stems, I think I forgot to put that in the recipe…

Click here for the recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Bison-Turkey Meatballs.

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Is this really healthy mac and cheese? I dunno but it is Yummy!

I’ve had this recipe up all week, just waiting for the right time to make it.  It sounded brilliant to me.  Butternut squash mixed into macaroni…mmmm yummy.  And indeed it was very yummy!  I couldn’t find the box of frozen butternut squash in any of myP1010411 grocery stores, so I boiled some up.  If I had more time, I might have baked the squash.  Cooking the squash reduces it’s “fright night” convenience, but if you had left over squash than it’s speediness might be redeemed.   I used whole milk, but I found it really rich, so I’m going to try 1% or skim next time.  Also, I only used half a cup of Parmesan; I didn’t miss it, but who knows.  I used old cheddar, is that that same as extra sharp? I’m not sure.  Lastly, I didn’t use the olive oil for the onions, I used a spray of the olive oil pam.   This is definitely healthier than the standard mac and cheese, although I’m not sure I’d call it healthy.  But what’s more this is the first healthy mac and cheese I’ve had where I actually may prefer the flavour.  I’m giving Harvest Moon Macaroni a Dish it again’n again rating!  For the recipe click here.

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Meat stuffed in meat…bison, veal, lamb…yummy thanks Giada for your stuffed meatloaf

meatloafGiada De Laurentiis has some great recipes, and this is no exception. Okay so it is met stuffed in meat…and quite rich, but great winter comfort food.  And it packs great for lunch!   I did modify it in several ways, some I liked, and some I should have stuck to Giada’s rule book (see the notes on the recipe card).  Stuffing the meatloaf keeps the meat really moist and delicious.  I used lamb, veal, and bison (instead of her veal/beef/pork mix).  I love bison, and it is a great, albeit a bit expensive (where I shop).  I did this sans pork, and found this really yummy smoked bison sausage at the market that was a delicious substitute.  I’m sure with the pork products it is also really great.  This was the first time I’ve used Chestnuts, and I found them good, but with all these flavours going on to be honest its not really clear to me the role it played, although I’m sure the nutty richness did add to the flavor.  I’ll look for another way to use the chestnuts though so I get more experience with them as an ingredient.  Open to suggestions if you have a favourite chestnut recipe!

Click here for the recipe for Giada’s stuffed meatloaf with some Gayle Dishes it notes.

I’m giving this a dish it again! n again.  If you cook it up share your rating using the stars below Not OKJust OKVery OKVery GoodGreat (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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No cooking required – yummy, healthy and well balanced – a la Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay mixes up a yummy Chinese Chicken Salad with a chipotle twist.  A quick and easy meal, all you have to do is chop it up, toss it up, and then eat it up!  By keeping the salad leftovers in separate containers it made a great lunch and dinner on subsequent days.  I also heated the chicken slightly for an improved texture, but let it cool down enough that it wouldn’t wilt the salad.  I added boiled ramen noodles to the salad tossed in the dressing, which worked well even for the leftovers.  Don’t forget the peanuts and the lime these excellent finishing touches.  If you’d like you could serve these salads in bowls with chopsticks.

Click here for the recipe Chinese Chicken Salad!

I’m giving it a dish it! again n’ again if you dish it up share your rating using the stars below Not OKJust OKVery OKVery GoodGreat (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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The way to a man’s heart and a smidgen of mine – my first crush and sugar cookies

Featured Recipe: Sugar Cookies

sugar cookiesI was three and a half, and he was three…he was the boy next door (literally), and I was a toddler with a spirit for adventure. Because of that spirit for adventure I had child locks on my bedroom door to stop me from escaping, but those things were no challenge for me and one summer day I managed to break loose and make a dash for the front door. His mom was in the kitchen and he was in the backyard so I broke him loose as well and took him along on my adventure. Since I was the older of the two I knew enough to hold his hand so he didn’t get hurt. We headed off to my great grandmother’s house (aka Nana’s house) about a half kilometre away, and by some miracle we made it there. Now the normal reaction of a grandmother having two toddlers show up on her door step would probably be to call their mothers (who at this point are panicking thinking their children have been kidnapped), but not my Nana. Nope she invited us in, served us some calico tea and sugar cookies. Our lovely tea service was interrupted by a phone call by my mother, who had alerted the police of our missing status. Not the first or last time the police were contacted or involved in one my childhood escapades. I loved my Nana’s sugar cookies, but I can’t seem to find the recipe right now, so I’ve baked up a batch of Alton Brown’s sugar cookies instead and they are quite good. My Nana put a raisin in the middle of her sugar cookies, I can pass on that now a days. And resort instead to a little bit of royal icing, which is more the style my mom made when we were kids. On Valentines Day we always used to bake up sugar cookies in heart shapes and decorate them with icing and cinnamon hearts. That summer my family moved to a new neighbourhood, but that wasn’t the last time I’d see him, as in grade school we’d meet again and for a short time I even had a crush…my first crush.

Cookie Tips – so I made Alton’s cookies in Calgary where it is extremely dry, so I had to add a splash more of milk to keep the dough together. You absolutely have to chill for 2 hours…so don’t bother trying to cheat on that. And use the icing sugar instead of flour for rolling out…this is key.  I also added the seeds of a whole vanilla bean to the mixture, and the result was delicious!

Click here for the recipe Alton Brown Sugar cookies

Perogie Perfection

perogiesI went out for a bowling extravaganza with my team from work last night – woo hoo!  And we had dinner at Swiss Chalet…I have a deadly cold so I didn’t feel like eating much so ordered the perogies they were maybe just okay…but they reminded me that my perogie post is long overdue.  Perogies are yum yum in my book.  I love potatoes any way you can cook ‘em, but this is definately one of my favourite was to cook ‘em. I have many a great family memory of my Aunt Cathy and I making perogies together, her trying to reminder the recipe her mother made when she was little, and I think we’ve got it as close as we can for now.  Now these little morsels of goodness do take some effort, but a lot less than you might expect.  In true consultant form I’ve right sized the recipe, but if you want to make enough for six or eight people I’ve included those volumes as well.  The key to this recipe is the sour cream in the dough.  It makes the dough harder to work with, but it will be worth the effort.  I’m giving them a dish it again n again rating!

 

Click here for the Recipe for Gayle’s Perogies

Happy Perogie making!

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The way to a man’s heart and a smidgen of mine – My Papa and an early introduction to ginger

Recipe Featured: Rice Paper Tuna Rolls with Mango Ginger Dipping Sauce

tuna rollsMy Papa, my great grandfather on my mother’s side, was a generous and kind man.  By trade he was a Ford Mechanic, and most people who knew him tell me he had a knack for taking apart a car and putting it back together with less pieces than it came with.  He had his own shop which was central in our hometown and right next door my great grandmother, Nana, had a teashop where folks could hang their hat while waiting for their car to be repaired.  But by the time I was born those days were long behind my Papa, and his full time job as far as I could tell was telling me stories.  While perched atop his knee I sipped a Canada Dry Ginger Ale through a straw and figured out what splendid thing I would share with him that would cause him to open the large red glass candy jar next to his chair and offer me a candy.  There were only two occasions in my life when I was allowed to Ginger Ale (or any kind of pop), the first was as told here at my Papa’s house, and the second is when I was deathly ill with stomach flu, the former being my favourite.  Now ginger is not a fresh ingredient I was aware of until much later in life, and to be honest it wasn’t until I was introduced that I even realized ginger was a flavouring of plant origins.  I always thought it was something that those smart folks at Canada Dry created. However, now more enlightened, I think these early memories of ginger influenced it as one of my favourite flavours, and I enjoy it most in its natural form.  And to this day when I get sick the one thing that comforts me most is a glass of Ginger Ale.  There are many recipes for Ginger Ale, but my opinion Canada Dry has got that right, so why mess with a good thing. I’ve decided to come up with my own recipe that uses a bit of ginger in it.  Those moments with my Papa were such loving moments I feel true comfort remembering them.  I’m sure my Papa never had sushi, rice rolls, and I’m not even sure he would have had mango or avocado.  So what I’m sharing here is a truly evolutionary use of ginger for Papa’s little Port Dover girl.  

Click here for the Rice Paper Tuna Rolls with Ginger Mango Dipping Sauce.

The way to a man’s heart and a smidgen of mine – Love, tradition, and blueberry pancakes

IMG00430So recently I had a couple of experiences regarding love and romance that have inspired introspection and lead me to decide to do a feature called ‘the way to a man’s heart, and a smidgen of mine’. It is much more personal than my other blogging, but I think the road of exploration will reveal some comfort foods you’ll enjoy and unearth some of my food exploration how my comfort foods broadened from basic chicken and dumplings to include international food treats. All of my relationships with men haven’t been perfect, in truth the first relationship I had with a man (my father) was tough to say the least. And of course they say that is one of the most important relationships for a young girl. But despite the challenges in that relationship, I have some positive food memories with him and I’d like to share with you. As to the other relationships with men I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some really loving and wonderful men in my life (some family, some partners, some friends). But whether it be a challenging relationships or just a splendid one they all make for interesting stories, and because I love food so much, I’d like to share those relationships with you through the lens of food memory. In some cases I think I’ve got a couple creative recipe ideas to highlight some interesting parts of my relationship experience as well.

So to kick off the feature I’d like to share with you a recent story. In the last couple of years I have shared a growing relationship with one of my uncles. He has been helping our family immensely by taking care of my dad, who is not well. I respect my uncle endlessly and despite his own challenges he has really been present in our lives and helping us out over the last several years. He plays a significant role in my life, and my best memories are from our breakfast tradition. We’ve been doing it for a couple years now – each time I come to town to visit he takes me out one morning for breakfast (without fail, every time). Those moments we have together talking, chatting, me pushing the boundary on how much girl talk he can handle, him sharing advice with me on everything from real estate, to golf, to romance. These are my most treasured moments. What we always struggle with in those breakfasts is the world’s biggest breakfast quandry – eggs or pancakes (or savory sweet)? And we’ve now mastered a plan whereby we get our eggs…but we also share one or two blueberry pancakes. So in honour of our blueberry pancake tradition I’d like to share with you a recipe from Martha Stewart Living that is perfect for blueberry season and includes some of my favorite ingredients cornmeal and buttermilk. Cornmeal – Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes (click link below for recipe). I’ve included a few Gayle modifications in the notes. I made these pancakes today and shared them with a friend…they were pretty yummy. A bit of room for improvement in my pancake cooking style, and I need a much better pan…but when the fresh local blueberries pop open in your mouth it is delightful!

Click here for the recipe for Martha’s Blueberry Cornmeal-Buttermilk Pancakes.

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2 ways Rachel Ray is bakin’ her eggs

That Rachel Ray sure does like to nestle her eggs into cups of various kinds and here are two recipes to prove it. The first is a savory brunch or breakfast for dinner meal called “Nestled Eggs” and the second is a great breakfast, brunch item called “Croissants Egg Boats”.

Nestled Eggs are a pretty good treat with rice, eggs, and red peppers. Rachel Ray says it is a 10$ meal, I say no way in Canada, but it is reasonably price meal and it was baked up by my favorite Malaysian cook. Now as an Anthony Bourdain fan I think I’m supposed to hate Rachel Ray on principal. And while she does tend to drive me a little crazy sometimes, she cooks up some good recipes that work in the kitchen in a reasonable amount of time, and usually for a reasonable price. No real modifications here, but do make sure to buy the biggest roundest peppers you can. The red is great for color, but I’m sure orange and yellow would work well too. I’d like to try these eggs with a bit of a spicier rice mix. The rice isn’t in proportion to the eggs and peppers, but it both parts warmed up well as leftovers, some might say the flavours were even a bit better the second time around, but you lose the benefit of the runny yoke.

Croissant Egg Boats were also made for me. A real treat from my cousin Kristine (she is such a great cook!) on stampede weekend. I tried to track down the recipe, and I think I have, the only thing is that these instructions say to lay the croissants on a baking dish, and Kristine lined muffin tins with the croissants, which is the only way I can reasonably see them turning into ‘boats’. Kristine sprayed the muffin tins with PAM before lining with the croissants, and noted that if she had jumbo muffin tins she might have used those. I skipped the meat in mine, but I imagine there are countless things you could do to modify. Various types of meat, add fried onions, top with fresh made salsa or other toppings. Anyway these little egg boats are yummy, will make you look like a hosting rock star, and pretty easy to make, so dish ‘em up!

 

Click here for the Croissant Egg Boats recipe
Click here for the Nestled Egg recipe

 

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A Great Sandwich for Strawberry Season

Strawberry Chicken Club Sandwiches

Rachel Ray does drive me a bit crazy, but more importantly she’s got some good stuff especially in a couple of my favorite categories – like sandwiches. Valerie picked this awesome sandwich recipe to make for us which has a surprising but delicious combination of flavors – avocado and strawberry! Rach’ calls these triple decker strawberry chicken club sandwiches, which is a bit redundant as club sandwiches are by definition triple decker. But Valerie made these just single layer which worked really well so you could actually fit the sandwich in your mouth. The other awesome thing she did was substitute bacon with bison bacon, which I can eat and is yummy. I love bison bacon! Strawberry Chicken Clubs get a Dish it! again n’ again!

 

click here for the recipe for strawberry-chicken-club-sandwiches
 
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