Thursday, 31 May 2012

Taco Thursday

I feel lucky to have grown up in a home where food was not only plentiful, but also in a home where meals were never the same. My mom didn't plan to make spaghetti on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, pork chops on Wednesday, or tacos on Thursdays. 

She did, however, make most Friday nights Picnic Night. She would lay out a picnic cloth on the floor of the living room and treat us to pizza, chicken wings, or another kind of treat food. Remembering that makes me want to relive those nights, but that's a story for another day...

When my mom cooked, all the meals were different, inventive, and rarely fell into a pattern. I think that's what me want to be creative in the kitchen. This dish reinvents the taco so that even if you want to have tacos every Thursday night, you can still make them different. :)

This was my final lasagna recipe entry into the Olivieri Taste of Home Lasagna Recipe Competition and although it did not place in the Top Ten entries, I was pleased with it. I especially liked how the black bean puree felt like ricotta cheese and the tortilla chips on top didn't hurt either!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I Dream of Tuscany

One day I will head off on a jet plane and spend a few weeks in Tuscany. I know that I will have to go on a diet beforehand and that will be one diet I won't mind at all.

Can you imagine all the glorious food that you could eat in Tuscany? Not to mention the wine! Yes, after eating cheese, bread, wine, pasta, olive oil roasted veggies, pizza, gelato, and everything else I could get my hands onto, I know I would gain weight.

But each pound would taste so good!

Thinking about the weight makes a little happier that jet setting to Italy isn't in the cards this year. And, for now, I am ok with just dreaming of Tuscany and experimenting with different foods I think sing of Italy.

Here is my last Top Ten Recipe in the Olivieri Taste of Home Lasagna Recipe Competition.

But don't worry lasagna lovers, I still have one more lasagna recipe to share with you that didn't make it into the Top Ten!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

For the Love of Curry

I love curries, just don't make them too spicy and I will slurp up every bite. And even though I know that curry only means sauce, not a specific dish, I will always call my saucy, spicy dishes a curry. 

I will admit that learning that the word curry means sauce is recent discovery, but I don't care about this discovery. Everyone refers to saucy and spicy Indian and Thai dishes as curries and I'll only look like a food snob if I start doing any differently. 

But since I know that curry means sauce, I think that calling my Top Ten Recipe Chicken Curry Lasagna makes sense. I made a slightly spicy, curry paste based sauce for my lasagna and it turned out great. 

Did I win the Olivieri Taste of Home Lasagna Recipe Competition with this recipe? I don't know yet but I hope I find out soon!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Solid Soup

I mean solid as in tasting great, but also as literally solid because today's recipe isn't soup at all. Today's recipe is a lasagna that's based on a soup. 

Luke and I worked on this recipe together, but the idea for it was all his. 

We took all the essential parts of a French Onion Soup and made them into a lasagna. The beef broth from the soup became a gravy style sauce and also leftover beef pot roast. The onions from the soup stayed as onions, we just caramelized them and tossed them in. And the croutons from the soup became garlic bread that we served on the side. 

This is not your everyday lasagna and you don't want a huge serving of it either. It's very rich and very satisfying, but I really craved a healthy green salad on the side!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I've Got a Feeling!

Not too long ago I was sharing with you a few of the recipe contests I have recently entered where I was not chosen as a winner. I showed you a few of my top ten finishes and then shared some of my non-winning entries.

And now I've been at it again and instead of not placing at all, Luke and I are Top Ten Finalists in the Olivieri Taste of Home Recipe Competition! The winners haven't been announced yet, but I love eating lasagna so much that I have a good feeling about this one. 

Regardless of whether I win or not, I am happy with how my lasagnas have turned out. They tasted great and got my creative juices flowing. This week I will be sharing with you all the recipes I entered, and Luke's Top Ten entry too!

First off, one that didn't make the Top Ten, but is super tasty. I think it only didn't make it into the Top Ten because it's a cannelloni made from lasagna pasta. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Gobbler Up This Cobbler

I love researching how different things got their name, but it's even more fun for me to come up a great reason why all by myself. 

I don't love tattoos, but I will always remember the reason why I think that tattoos were named tattoos. I came up with my reason when I was at a drum show in Halifax called Tattoo. The beat of drum sticks repeatedly hitting the drums made a tattoo sound, much the same as the beat of raindrops on a window. This is the same sound or action as when a tattoo is created on a person- thus the name tattoo was given. 

I don't know if that's true or not, I've never bothered to look it up. But I do think that it should be the reason!

Now Luke and I came up why we think a fruit cobbler was named a fruit cobbler. And I'm so pleased with our reason why, I know I will never look up the real reason. Looking at the top of a beautiful cobbler you see parcels of dough that resemble walking stones on a street, or you could call them cobble stones! 

But these cobble stones are much more delicious than their namesake. They're soft and sweet and cover an amazing array of roasted fruit. I know you'll want to try this one!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Stuff It

Putting yourself out there on the Internet can be hard because people can say whatever they want anonymously. I am lucky that most people have only had good things to say about my posts, recipes, and videos, but every negative comment still hurts. 

So this recipe is for everyone out there that wants to say something bad to someone else on the Internet. I'm telling you to stuff it. Unless you're telling us constructive criticism, we don't want to hear your negative comments.

But because I am nice, despite any negativity, this is an awesome recipe. So even if you don't want to tell someone to stuff it, you really should make these stuffed peppers!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Big Soup

While this soup does make a nice big pot of soup, my post's title really refers to the exact translation of minestrone - "big soup". 

There is no standard recipe for minestrone, the soup used to made with leftover veggies and was very thick. Today it is also made with a thin broth, seasonal veggies, and whatever else you want to add in. 

But I have heard that minestrone isn't called minestrone by Italians unless it contains romano beans and has a bean broth. 

My soup has a ham bone base, mostly because I had a ham bone in my freezer I wanted to use up, but it does have romano beans in it. I think it still counts! It was yummy! And even better, it was easy!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Eat the Crust First

Do you remember Pizza Hut's cheese filled crust? Like many other people, I used to eat the crust first and be overwhelmed with cheese before I had even taken a bite of the cheese and veggie topped delight. 

This is a pizza that's going around the Internet right now. The crust is made from cauliflower and cheese and then most people top it with more cheese. 

I love cheese, but I don't think I could handle the cheese overload I used to love as a kid. So, my version has the cheese in the crust, but then I just topped it with tomato sauce and roasted veggies. Delicious!

Just read the recipe through before you start cooking your cauliflower. I misunderstood the recipe I originally tried and thought my cauliflower was supposed to be cooked before I started and that it didn't matter how I cooked it. 

It mattered. And boiling it made my cauliflower too wet. The crust still worked, but it took three times as long to cook!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Cracker of a Dessert...

For a cracker of a mom! At least this dessert is what I would make for my mom today, if we were together. And though I don't expect my stepdad to make this for her today, I know he'll make her day as special as can be.

My mom is the best. She likes the little things, she makes me laugh, and is the nicest person I know. So here's to my mom (and everyone else's moms too), let's share our love for moms by making desserts in their honour today.

Why not try my Kiwi Pavlova with Lemon Curd. I think it's a winner and it's way easier than it looks! You could even buy the lemon curd already made and just have to make the pavlovas!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Fridge Clean Out!

So the end of the week rolls around and it's time to figure out what's left in my fridge for dinner. 

Usually I remember to take something out of the freezer, but I completely forgot about that last night, so I was a little stuck. 

I opened the door to my fridge and saw there weren't a lot of choices to be had, but I knew I could figure something out. I saw a little cream, some fish stock, snow peas, eggplant, and I always have a jar of curry paste. Plus, I did have some frozen fish in the freezer. 

All of that would work in a curry and best of all, the fish could defrost as it cooked, so I didn't even need to wait until later to start cooking. 

Surprisingly, this curry is one of the best I think I have made. And I made it by cleaning out my fridge!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Match Made in Heaven

Who doesn't love chocolate? Other than the few people I know that are allergic to my favourite feel better medication, I don't think I know anyone. 

I don't even need to taste chocolate for a pick me up, all I need to do is smell it. Of course, tasting chocolate really makes me happy, but a girl can only eat so much of it!

Today's post is a simple recipe that combines chocolate with banana, so you get a serving of fruit with your dessert. 

And while you read the recipe, try and guess what I am going to do to tweak it for Halloween this year.  If anyone guesses what I am going to do before October rolls around, I will let you know by making it early! 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Luke Has Returned!

I almost didn't think it would ever happen, but Luke has returned to the kitchen. He was away from it for so long that I think he may have forgotten where things are kept, but he's back all the same. :)

I love when Luke cooks dinner. I usually cook and he usually does the dishes, but when he cooks and I relax with a glass of wine and put my feet up - I feel very special. 

It's a bit weird though, because I feel much more special when Luke cooks for me than when we go out to dinner. Maybe its because I know everything is being done just for me when Luke cooks, or maybe it's because I love that he shows an interest in what I love doing, I am not sure. All I know is that I feel very special. 

And now I think Luke is going to have to make me feel special more often, because this dish was great!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Fiesta Time!

Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. But if you speak Spanish and you know that Mexico’s Independence Day falls on September 16, you’ll know that the two holidays are completely different.

If you don’t speak Spanish and you didn’t know the date of Mexico’s Independence Day, you might be wondering how you would you have known that. The answer is simple. Cinco de Mayo means the fifth of May in English.

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the Mexican victory over the French army at the battle of Puebla in 1862. The holiday is well celebrated in the town of Puebla, but is not as widely celebrated in other areas of Mexico as it is throughout the United States and Canada.

In Canada and the United States, the holiday centers around Mexican culture, food, customs, and music. And this makes Cinco de Mayo very easy to celebrate.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home, here are a few ideas for your fiesta:

  • String up some chili pepper lights and pin up a red, white, and green striped Mexican flag.
  • Fill a piƱata with goodies to smash into (after you’re spun around a few times and blindfolded, of course!)
  • Get enough maracas for everyone, put on a Mexican CD, or for the biggest Cinco de Mayo fans, invite a Mariachi band over to your house to play live music.
  • Make a “muy bueno” Mexican feast with plenty of food and drink!

Some yummy Mexican themed recipes include my Mexican Tortilla Soup, my Guacamole, and a new recipe I've just tried today --- Churro Muffins!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Eat Like a Jerk

Sometimes I get home from work on a Friday and I just couldn't care less what I ate. Crackers and cheese, toast and eggs, even a microwave dinner would do some nights. 

All those things go with wine or a mixed drink right? 

But some Friday nights I do want a nice meal and I don't want to go out to get it. I want one that's really easy to cook and tastes great. This recipe for Jamaican Jerk Salmon is perfect for those nights. 

And it goes great with rum punch too! :) 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Chock Full of Veggies

I know I've told you that I don't often stick with my New Year's resolutions, but with all the great vegetarian dinner ideas out there I am not having any trouble at all sticking to my resolution to eat meatless meals at least once a week. 

I actually barely even think about making sure I fit a meatless meal into my menu planning for the week. And yes, I do plan my meals every week. It's makes shopping easier and I only have to go once a week. I don't think that makes me a grandma, do you? 

Well, regardless of me being a grandma, this meatless meal is great because I bet you get close to your recommended amount of fruits and veggies in just one large piece. And you definitely get enough if you pair this pie with a fresh green salad. 

So... let's get making it!