Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Maple Peameal Bacon

photo by keithbjones on flickr

I love, love, love this recipe for crazy-busy days you don't have time to cook. You come home and dinner is served! I originally got this recipe from Denise and she does it up nicely on the Barbecue.

I, however, like to simmer mine in a crock-pot on the lowest setting until the peameal roast is just falling apart. I don't recommend doing this method in the oven as it would have a tendency to dry out.

You can pile it high on whole wheat buns but we usually just like to eat it on its own. Great for Sunday Brunches up at the cottage too.

I can't tell you how much you'll be happy to add this as one of your quickie meals to serve the family on your busiest days. Enjoy!

Maple Peameal Roast

1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 whole peameal roast (not sliced)

Mix syrup and mustard together and set aside. Spray crock-pot with olive oil and place roast inside. Pour syrup and mustard over top of roast and cook on low setting for at least five hours. I usually do mine for 8-9.

Once done, take two forks and shred the meat; letting it mix in with the juices from the crock-pot. If you didn't have as long a cooking time and find it hard to shred, just carve it in slices. That's the way Denise likes it (but mine is SO much better!).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Green Chile Frittata

photo by Cookies and Catwalks

As I type this while looking through our bay window, I am so thankful for this time of year. A squirrel bounds by, rabbits scavenge the gardens looking for the first tastes of spring and snow-drop flowers peak their heads up from the earth finding it safe to do so. Ah, spring. Love it!

This frittata can be served up for many reasons: a brunch, breakfast or main meal. We did it up for supper and served alongside a salad and roasted baby potatoes. If you're looking for a carb-free dinner that's filling and tasty, this is right up your alley.

And don't shy away from the green chiles. They are not spicy and their addition is the perfect medley with eggs. I actually doubled the recipe below and used a very large 10x14 glass casserole dish. If you do this, bake a little longer.

Green Chile Fritttata

10 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained
1 (16 ounce) container 1% cottage cheese
1 cup shredded low-fat old cheddar
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray casserole dish with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the green chile peppers, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese and melted butter. Pour into the pre
pared baking dish.

Bake 15 minutes then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly, and cut into small squares.

snow drop photo by Laurent Peugniez on flickr

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going to the Mailboxes...

You know that phrase from The Godfather, "Go to the Mattresses" ? For those of you who don't quote Sonny Corleone regularly, it's an Italian saying used to describe a family going into battle.

Well, I haven't had much experience with going to the mattresses (despite growing up with three brothers and one bathroom). But I have had the hard-nosed knowledge of going to the mailboxes.

Yep. Mailboxes. Any rider or runner in this town probably knows what I'm talking about and they nod in appreciation and empathy when I say I've gone to the mailboxes.

There is a great road for hill training in our neck of the woods. This old, country road is filled with climbs and descents; some long and arduous as a grey, rainy day is long.

If one were to look upon this 10 km road before hitting the pavement, their eyes would probably scope out the mid-section and consider this the most grueling. The spot to prepare for, and I can see why. But this first assumption is deceiving.

I won't deny this stretch of pavement is a real grinder when it asks you to commit early and get into stride; its vertical challenge setting into your quads, your legs burning as your bike tires (or feet) maneuver in and around the pot holes holding empty promises to be filled by a mayor who doesn't give a crap.

But the true feat is up ahead where four mailboxes rest lazily on the side of the road. It's deceiving, this spot. You don't see it coming. It's a short climb, but the slope and pitch turn on you quickly. Before you know it, you're gearing down without realizing why, as you slowly creep by those four mailboxes. You start counting them in your head in an effort to mentally pull yourself up the hill:

One. Okay, I can do this.
Two. Halfway there, don't tease yourself by looking up.
Three. Where the hell is three? Why did I look up?

And then...

Four. I squint to make out the label on this mailbox carefully so I can curse its name with precision.

Oh, these mailboxes look innocent enough. With their cute little metal flags pointing towards the sky, trying to look all country and Green Gable-ish. Look at me. I have mail, they say. But don't let them fool you. They're laughing on the inside; with all their junk-mail and bills. Gone are the days of hand-written letters and Grandma's congratulatory cheques for passing the fifth grade. We all know what's really in their dark, cave-like innards.

Just as Sonny underestimated his brother-in-law, Carlo Rizzi, one should not underestimate the mailboxes.

Of course, there is justification as you pass this section and continue on your hilly journey. You enjoy the view as you find yourself at the summit. Sheep graze in the valley to your right. Birds sing praises for your hard work and you close your eyes for a brief moment and lift your face towards the warm sun.

When you reach the end of the road and make a 'U'-ee to enjoy the best part of any hill (downhill), you whiz by those mailboxes in third gear and wonder what the big deal was. They are kinda' pretty all lined up in a row, and you soon forget what torture they put you through. In a way, you're glad they're there; challenging you. Asking you to give more so you will perform better next time.

As you're loading your bike, you'll think of those mailboxes and look forward to the next ride as you plan to make the same trek.

And you'll go to the mailboxes yet again, welcoming the battle. Cursing them in one direction, and thanking them on the way back.

Sonny Corleone photo courtesy of
pothole photo courtesy of caribb on flickr

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Warm Taco Salad

I love this time of year when you're in the mood for a lighter supper. Spring, sunshine and salads seem to go together.

This is a salad I do up as a main course all the time and my kids love it. It's one of their favourite dinners. They vote it 5 out of 5 every time and, with each kid having different tastes, that says a lot.

I think the key to getting kudos from the kids is making the edible salad bowls. I swear, if I served chopped liver in one of these bowls, they'd eat it. I'll list what I use in our salads but you can change it up however you like.

Tracey's Warm Taco Salad

Large Tortilla Wraps (I like the spinach ones)
Chopped Head Lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
Sliced Kalamata Olives
Chopped Zucchini
Chick Peas
Grated Cheddar Cheese or Chunks of Blue Cheese
Dressing of Choice (optional; we prefer without)
1 Carton Vegetable Broth
Canned Lentils; drained and rinsed
Canned Black Beans; drained and rinsed

In saucepan on the stove, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add three cans of whichever legumes you prefer. For instance, you could go with all Lentils, or all Black Beans. I usually do two cans of black beans and one can of lentils. Reduce heat to medium and keep it at a low boil for about 15 minutes.

To shape the tortilla wraps into dishes, flip over a small cereal bowl. Place wrap on top. Place second cereal bowl on top so that you've stacked the two together with the wrap sandwiched in between the bowls. Place in microwave for 2 minutes.

The wrap should form somewhat of a shape similar to the bowl itself. Remove the wrap from in between the bowls and place on a third cereal bowl as it cools. This will help retain the shape. If not much of a shape took form, then microwave for longer period.

As you do this with each wrap and set them to cool, be sure to stack them one on top of the other. You should end up with a stack of upside-down wrap-bowls. Set aside.

Place chopped lettuce in bottom of each tortilla bowl. Then mound the rest of the ingredients like little villages atop the lettuce. Be sure to place the cheese (blue or cheddar) in the middle of the bowl. At this point, drizzle a little salad dressing of your choice if you wish. I find this salad doesn't really need dressing, but it's up to you!


Drain the legumes from the broth and serve heaping spoonfuls atop each salad bowl. The heat from these babies will melt the cheese which makes for a really nice 'dressing'.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The infamous Bourbon St. courtesy of pompoB on flickr

Ah, Jambalaya. The taste of the south. When its Spanish cousin immigrated to the States without its most essential ingredient (Saffron), Paella transformed into this spicy, new-world version that carries with it the flare of New Orleans.

This is a great recipe for jambalaya. I find it really holds the flavour of Louisana Hot Sauce but, because of its slow simmer, the spice quiets down and we're left with the sweet goodness of the cayenne pepper. And it has beer in it. I say if a recipe has beer in it, you can't go wrong. I like to go all the way and use Guinness but any beer will do.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

photo courtesy of guillotinehead on flickr

1 pkg chicken thighs (6 count)
Generous amount of Frank's Red Hot Sauce (not Tabasco)
Flour to coat chicken
Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 mild italian sausages; in chunks
5 stalks celery, chopped
3 large white onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp Thyme
A handful of chopped parsley
2 cups brown rice
3 cups water
1 Guinness (or other beer)
Salt and Pepper


Wash chicken and pat dry. Soak the chicken in Red Hot Sauce. Let sit for 15 minutes or so.

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot. Place the flour in a paper bag along with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place a couple of pieces of chicken at a time into the bag and shake to coat.

Fry the chicken in the oil until golden brown. Don't worry about cooking it all the way through just yet. Remove the chicken. Now place the onions, celery and garlic into the pot along with a bit more oil if necessary. Saute until the onions are transparent, scraping the bottom of the pot often. Add the rosemary, thyme and parsley and cook for a minute or so.

Place the sausage chunks and a little water (or beer!) into the pot and mix well with the vegetables. Cook for ten minutes. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes (until the chicken is tender and sausage no longer pink).

Stir the mixture frequently, always scraping the bottom to keep things from burning (break the chicken up a bit with the spatula as it cooks. It should break up naturally as the dish cooks, but this just helps things a little).

When the chicken is cooked, add the rice and stir to combine. Pour the warm beer and the water in and stir things for another minute or so. Simmer on low and cover until the rice is tender (about an hour or more). Stir the mixture every now and then, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add more beer or water if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, March 19, 2010

photo by ItsMeKlara on flickr

Who wants to spend these gorgeous, sunny days in the kitchen? It's too nice out there to be slaving over a hot stove! So here is one of my fast and tasty dishes that leaves you lots of time to spend in the wonderful world of vitamin 'D'.

Honey Mustard Chicken

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/8 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup dijon mustard

Place chicken in single layer in large casserole dish. Combine honey, butter and mustard. Pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes until no longer pink.

Serve over brown rice, whip up a crisp salad and that's dinner. Now get back outside people!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kirsten's Cheesy Cookies

photo by thox on flickr

Okay, they're called cookies, but these babies make great little cheesy appetizers. These were served up at a friend's Oscar party where I graciously kicked butt on my Oscar picks to share the winning pot; walking home with $55 of winnings! Woohoo! (First, I'd like to thank the academy...). Okay, getting back to food:

Kirsten, in her gorgeous gown and stunning hairdo, brought these delectable little morsels which were lucky enough to be placed right in front of me all night long. Scrumptious!

To keep with her ever-generous nature, Kirsten is willing to share the recipe. So I pass these on to you. Perhaps they will also bring you luck and, you too, will savour a lucky windfall like mine.

PS: Laura, thanks again for a great night!

Kirsten's Cheesy Cookies

1 cup butter
1 tub of imperial cheese
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups of flour
4 cups of Rice Krispies
Blend butter and imperial cheese. Add spices,then flour and rice krispies last.
Scoop out spoonfuls and bake at 350 for approx 15 mins. These freeze great and I think taste amazing right out of the freezer!

oscar photo by scott hanko on flickr

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mom's Danish Pancakes

I was raised on Danish Pancakes. These were such a staple in our home and would grace weekend breakfast tables alongside fresh fruit to place on top.

My Mom's a pro at these, often serving them up at the cottage or when the kids sleepover at her place. I love when recipes link arms with memories. I'm sure these pancakes are already doing their magic in my children's hearts; wrapping this recipe around their memories of her.

Mom's Danish Pancakes

Combine using beater or wire whisk:
2 eggs
2 - 3 cups 2%milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 T oil

*Add enough flour to make quite a thin batter. The consistency of the batter is the key (note how thin it is in the pics).

Pre-season flat frying pan with butter or oil. Add one soup ladle of batter and rotate pan to spread batter thin along the pan. When underside is lightly browned, turn over. The first one is almost always a flop. Feed this one to the dog! Be sure to spray pan with oil for every pancake.
Roll crepe up with a little butter and sugar. Or you can drizzle with maple syrup, roll up, and top with fresh fruit.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cobb Salad Sandwich

photo courtesy of roboppy on flickr

I'm in a weird mood. This spring-like weather is calling for a light dinner sorta' thing, yet I love having breakfast for dinner! This sandwich seems to be speaking to both parts of me today. So this will make its way down into my family's tummies after a long day of playing in the remains of the snow.

Does anyone else notice the kindness of strangers now that the sun is shining down upon us? Me too! So happy almost-spring day all! I send this your way with love in my heart.

Cobb Salad Sandwich

1/2 cup light Hellmann's mayo
1/4 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing
8 slices multigrain bread or wraps
2 cooked chicken breasts; sliced
1 ripe avocado; not too ripe!
8 slices crispy bacon
2 chopped hard boiled eggs

Mix the mayo and salad dressing. Spread on each side of the slices of bread. For each sandwich (yep, you're making four of 'em), top the bottom piece of bread with the chicken, avocado, bacon and eggs. Adorn with lettuce. Top with other slice of bread and serve with remaining dressing.

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