Crockpot Scalloped Ham Potatoes Monday, Apr 8 2013 

We love this meal! I love it because its quick and easy to put together, and my boys love eating it because they loooove potatoes. 🙂

Crockpot Scalloped Ham Potatoes

5 medium potatoes, sliced thin (about 4 cups)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups ham, diced
1 cup cheese, shredded

Sauce:
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups water*

Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of water with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar or salt, then drain. This will keep potatoes from darkening. Layer potatoes in 5L/qt crock-pot. Then put onions and ham on top of potatoes.

Stir flour, salt and pepper together in saucepan. Whisk in milk gradually until no lumps remain. Heat and stir until boiling. Pour over potatoes in the crockpot. Top with shredded cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 9hrs or on high for 4.5hrs (I found my crockpot to only need about 3hrs on high – so check to see, it’ll depend a bit on the strength of your crockpot).

*I like to do part chicken broth, part milk. This last time I used approx 2/3 cup broth and the rest was milk.

Flax-laden Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Thursday, Apr 4 2013 

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I’ve been trying to add more fiber into our diet these days. This recipe I caught my eye since they contain so much ground flax, which is so high in fiber content! I thought they would be dense, but they worked beautifully, and my whole family is eating them up! One would never know there is so much ground flax in them. 🙂

Flax-laden Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3/4 cup butter/margarine
3 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups mashed banana (approx 4 bananas)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cups whole grain flour
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup ground flax*
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Beat together butter, vanilla, eggs, sugar, bananas, and lemon juice. Add in dry ingredients and mix until mixed in. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

* You can easily grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder!

Garlic Lemon Fish Tuesday, Apr 2 2013 

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Fish is not something my family has eaten much of, but this pregnant has me craving to add fish to our diet. When the fish was on sale for a great price last week, I decided this was the time to get some. I loosely followed a recipe on the package of the fish and it was delicious! So, I’m writing it on here to make sure I can remember it for later! 🙂

Garlic Lemon Fish

2 small fish fillets (approx 50g/1.75oz each) – I used sole
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
4 Tbsp butter/olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp parsley

Place butter/oil and garlic in skillet and cook until garlic is light brown, stirring frequently. Add lemon juice and parsley to the skillet, then fish fillet. Cook several minutes, then flip fish to cook on the other side for a few more minutes, until cooked through. Serve on a bed of rice (we like brown basmati best), and pour sauce over the rice.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies Monday, Mar 11 2013 

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There’s a recipe that I’ve seen going around Pinterest for a while, Lemon Crinkle Cookies, and while they look so good, they are so full of sugar that I could never bring myself to make them!! I decided to try a healthier version of them, and it worked! We all love them, and it’s such a nice variety to the typical oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies that are popular around here. 🙂

So, I reduced the sugar significantly, and used whole grain spelt flour (wheat would work too), and my husband still thought they were really sweet. 🙂  We all loved them for sure.

 

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup wheat/spelt flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients, except powdered sugar, slowly until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.

Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. I then shook each ball briefly in my fingers to shake off extra powdered sugar. Place on greased baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until bottoms begin to barely brown. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Basic Biscuits Sunday, Mar 3 2013 

IMG_1376I really like my other biscuit recipes, but I’ve been trying a few new recipes from the “More with Less” cookbook, as I’m thinking it’s one of the only two cookbooks I’ll be bringing with me to Africa. I LOVED this biscuit recipe! I am most definitely going to keep doing this one instead of my other ones now. 🙂

One day, my oldest wanted a hot dog in a hot dog bun for lunch. Since I don’t usually have hot dog buns on hand, and I was out of regular bread (which we fold to make a hot dog “bun”), him and I made this biscuit recipe together and shaped the dough into logs. Then, after they were cooked, we cut a “U” shape on the top and created a quick hot dog bun. Worked for him! 🙂

Basic Biscuits

2 cups flour*
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk/kefir

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening. Mix in milk/kefir until soft ball forms. Knead gently 20-25 times. Roll or pat dough to 1/2″ thick and cut. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and at 425F for 10 minutes.

Cheese biscuits: Add in 1 cup grated cheese into flour mixture, before cutting in shortening. Increase milk to 1 cup.

* I do 1 1/2 cups whole grain (wheat/spelt), and 1/2 cup white. Or half white, half spelt.

Squash Bars Friday, Mar 1 2013 

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I had 1/2 a spaghetti squash leftover the other day, and didn’t know what to do with it. I found this recipe in the cookbook “Simply in Season” and decided to give it a try. It turned out delicious! My husband and boys couldn’t stop eating it. I’ll definitely be repeating this easy and yummy recipe.

Squash Bars

2 cups winter squash or pumpkin (cooked and puréed)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat together squash, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and salt. Mix in dry ingredients. Pour into greased 11×17″ pan. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

Vegetable Soufflé Wednesday, Feb 27 2013 

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I found this recipe in an old recipe box I was given. I thought it an easy, simple, and healthy recipe, and wanted to give it a try. My one child seems to be going through a particularly picky stage, and, with my pregnancy, so am I. 😉  I was hoping it would be well received, and it was! I’m definitely adding this dish to our list of simple, easy meals to make. 🙂

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Vegetable Soufflé

6 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup white sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup vegetables, chopped and cooked
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese sauce (see recipe below)

Beat egg whites until stiff, adding cream of tartar while beating.

Then beat egg yolks, and fold into egg whites. Add rice, white sauce, vegetables, and salt and pepper. Pour soufflé mixture into greased casserole dish. Bake at 350F for 45min-1hr, until cooked through. Serve with cheese sauce.

White Sauce

1 Tbsp oil/butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 cup milk

Melt butter in small pot. Mix in flour. Add salt and milk. Whisk frequently until sauce comes to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer 2-3 minutes. It’s ready!

Cheese Sauce

Make the white sauce recipe above, but use only 1Tbsp flour for a thinner consistency. In the end, add approximately 1 cup shredded cheese and stir until melted.

 

Secret Recipe Club: Polenta Pizza Crust Monday, Feb 25 2013 

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This is my 12th Secret Recipe Club reveal day! I’ve enjoyed being part of this group, being assigned a food blog, choosing a recipe, and trying it out. Oftentimes, the blogs assigned were quite different than how I normally cook. So it was a challenge, especially at times, to find something that my whole family would like, yet something new and unique to try out! 🙂

I’ve enjoyed this time, but sadly this chapter of my blogging life is coming to a close now. With our recent move, getting used to our new schedule, expecting our 3rd, homeschooling our 1st, and preparing for our move to Africa in a few months, I have to let some things go. As fun as it’s been to be part of SRC, sadly, I’ll pass that fun on to another food blogger waiting to join. 🙂  So thanks for joining me in these past reveals, and do check in from time to time! Of course there will be new recipes posted here, that’s my hobby! 😉  I’m enjoying putting my recipes on here as it will also be so handy once we are in Africa, where I can’t bring all my cookbook stash. 🙂

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This month, I was assigned Bean’s blog, Without Adornment. How fun to get to end this SRC journey with being assigned a fellow Canadian food blogger! 🙂  Bean cooks gluten-free, and, also has a lot of recipes that are dairy free, egg free, etc. It’s a great blog for those of you with these allergies!

After browsing around, I decided on the Vegan Polenta Pizza. However, I’m not using her toppings (kale, mushrooms and pine nuts). Sounds yummy to me, but I do have one child who is a picky eater, so I try to be sensitive to that, while pushing him to try new things as well. 🙂  He LOVES pizza, and guess what? He loved this one! I didn’t tell him it was a different crust. He took a bite and said “Mmm, this is good food!” and ate his whole piece. Yay!!!

I’m also excited about this crust, because, in Africa, they eat a lot of maize, which I believe is sort of similar to cornmeal. Since that will be so readily available to us, I’m sure I’ll be able to make a very similar pizza-crust to this recipe! And since my sons love it – yay! 😀  So thank you, Bean, for this recipe that I’m sure will come handy in the future!

Polenta Pizza Crust

2 cups water
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
3/4 cup cornmeal

Bring water to boil. Add seasonings and oil. Whisk in cornmeal slowly, and let it simmer/boil 5-7 minutes, until thick (oatmeal-like consistency), stirring constantly. Add a bit of water if necessary, though I didn’t need to – probably depends how hard you let it boil. 🙂

Spread on greased cookie sheet/pizza pan, working quickly so that the polenta doesn’t have time to set. I spread it on an 11″ circular pizza pan and it seemed the perfect thickness to us (“thin-crust”).

Bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly brown underneath. Remove from oven, and put desired toppings on. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes.

Breakfast Pizza Toppings (as pictured above):

4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Meat or sausage of choice
Pizza sauce/salsa
Cheese

Mix together eggs and milk, and cook in a frying pan. I left them slightly undercooked as they cooked a bit more in the oven.

Put desired sauce on top of polenta crust. I used pizza sauce on half, and salsa on the other (kid-friendly and for adults!). Spread scrambled eggs over the top. Place meat/sausage of choice. Top with cheese!


Breakfast Sausage Monday, Feb 18 2013 

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Once in a while we crave breakfast sausage, to have that “North American breakfast” of eggs, meat, hashbrowns and toast. Every time I buy some, we end up disappointed, and a bit grossed out, at all the fat chunks in the sausage. 😛  While fat in and of itself isn’t bad, I really don’t enjoy eating a lot of fat in my meat! When my friend shared this breakfast sausage recipe she had tried, I knew I wanted to try it.

While I was mixture up the recipe, my son got the flu, so I stuck everything in the fridge. The next day I ended up just shaping all the meat (a tripled recipe) into rolls and baking it on top of a cooling rack (for the fat to drip into the cookie sheet), as I needed to get it dealt with quickly. I plan on using the meat as a snack or lunch with cheese and crackers, as well as on top of pizza! It tastes very good, and I’m sure it would taste great shaped into little patties or sausages to fry up with eggs for breakfast. Just takes a bit longer to shape them like that, so I went the easy way. 😉  Here’s my adaptation to the recipe, though I’m sure the original tastes just as good! My boys don’t enjoy spicy as much, so I made a more plain version.

Breakfast Sausage

1lb ground pork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients together.

For sausage balls: roll into 24 balls, place each one in a mini-muffin tin. Bake at 350F for 20-23 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.
For sausage patties: form into 12 equal size patties. Fry in a frying pan, on medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center.
For sausage roll (like I did): shape into logs, place on a rooling rack on top of a cookie sheet (so fat can drip down). Bake at 325F, approximately 2hrs until center is no longer pink.

All of these would freezer really well before (or after) being cooked!

Baked Chicken and Dumplings Thursday, Feb 14 2013 

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I grew up eating Chicken Pot Pie. Sometimes with pie crust, and sometimes we just put the mixture in a casserole dish, topped with biscuit dough, and baked that way. Either way, I love it! However, I don’t really care much for making pie crust, so I prefer the quick and easy version of putting biscuits on top. 🙂  It’s also healthier that way.

I never know what to call that dish though, because Chicken Pot Pie always refers to the mixture being baked inside pie crusts. I asked my friends on facebook recently, and the term “Chicken Dumplings” came up. I wasn’t familiar with that term, so I googled it. It seems like that is mostly used when you boil your “biscuit” dough in the mixture in a pot. Since I bake it, I decided to call this recipe Baked Chicken and Dumplings. 😉

Baked Chicken and Dumplings

2 1/2 cups chicken and/or vegetable broth (I use my homemade concentrated chicken broth, and diluted it some with water)
1/2 cup milk
5 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 cups frozen vegetables
2 cups chicken, cooked and diced

Mix together broth, milk, salt and pepper in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in vegetables and chicken, let simmer 5 minutes until warmed up again. Pour mixture into a 2 qt casserole dish. I prefer a dish that isn’t big, but deep. The biscuits will absorb some of the liquid and I like there to be less biscuits compared to the depth of the chicken/veggie mixture.

Bake at 400F until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare a biscuit mix (like this, or this, or this!). Remove casserole from oven, drop biscuit dough by teaspoon-ful on top of the mixture (leaving room between them as they will expend as they bake). I found it only took 1/2 of the biscuit dough, and baked the rest on a cookie sheet on the side. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until biscuits are golden and cooked.

Slight adaptation from the More with Less cookbook.

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