November 29, 2007

enchiladas

enchiladas

These are yummy. They look as good as they taste!

I find this dish to be very comforting to eat. The textures and the tastes all mingling make it hard for me to stop eating. I could probably eat 2-3 servings at one time and then of course burst! But I really try to limit myself and remind myself that I can have some leftovers for lunch. Then it's the countdown to lunch...

I love that they are gooey on the inside and that the tortillas are soft and chewy. I mix up whatever veggies I have on hand and use leftover chicken or beef or just beans if I want to make it vegetarian. I usually use whole wheat flour tortillas but other varieties work well too.

Enjoy!

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enchiladas

your choice:
chicken, cooked and thinly sliced
beef, cooked and thinly sliced or use ground beef
beans of your choice (kidney, black bean, etc)

Fillings- Add enough to fill 10-12 tortillas:
1-2 onions, sliced or diced
1-2 red peppers, sliced or diced
1-2 green peppers, sliced or diced
1/2 cup to 1 cup corn
anything other filling you would like

Wrap it up in 10-12:
flour tortillas
corn tortillas
whatever type tortilla you like

Bulk Seasoning Mix:
I make a bulk amount, use a couple of teaspoons and then keep it for use afterwards.

1/2 cup cornstarch
6 oz (128 g) chili powder
1.5 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano

If you like some heat, add some hot spices.

Saute up the vegies in a hot pan with some oil. Add chicken or other meat/bean of your choice and warm up. Add 2-3 tsp of seasoning and mix. Add some broth or water if needed. Allow to cool.

Put couple tablespoons of the above mixture into a a tortilla and roll it up. (Some folks like cheese within the tortilla but I omit it because it tastes great without it too). Place in oblong dish. Use up all the mixture and tortilla's.

Place 2-3 tsp of seasoning mix in 1.5 cups broth or water. (If you want to make it heartier, replace 1/2 cup water with sour cream intsead) Pour over the enchiladas. Place shredded cheese on top.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 350F or until all liquid is gone. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Serve with salsa, sour cream and guacomole if you wish.

November 27, 2007

spinach salad with caramelized red onions, nectarines & almonds

spinach salad with caramalized red onions, nectarines & almonds
I thought I'd post this salad recipe to remind me of the nicer warmer days of yore. Unlike what we got now. Cold and more snow.

And, we didn't shovel it. I have to tell you, we're the bad folks on the block. If it's not higher than a good 2 inches, we look the other way. The problems is we have a lot of retired folks in our neighborhood and they are out there at the crack of dawn to clear down their sidewalks. And they do such a great job that you actually have to wonder if it ever really snowed there. It's like the snow clouds missed their sidewalks and dropped it on ours. We haven't had any complaints yet thankyouverymuch. Maybe I can wish for the wind to blow it onto their sidewalks, huh?

So... this salad looks and tasted yummy. Caramelized anything is a good thing, no? It's nice because I serve it warm.

Warm... I miss warm. sniff sniff. Welcome winter.

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spinach salad with caramalized red onions, nectarines & almonds

Baby spinach
1/2 red onion, cut into thin slices
1 ripe nectarine, cut into small segments
handfull of sliced almonds
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar

simple dressing:
balsamic vinegar
sugar to sweeten to taste

Saute onions with a little bit of oil in a pan. Add brown sugar. Add a little water if needed. Add nectarines to warm up and then almonds.

Spread it over spinach salad. Dress it with the simple balsamic dressing and serve.

November 22, 2007

butternut squash

butternut squash

I remember the first time I tried butternut squash. We were living in Vancouver and there was this little neighborhood food market that we would go to often for fresh fruit and vegies (and the occasional batch of flowers!). I remember seeing the odd shaped squash and thinking we should try something new.

I brought it home and realized I had no idea what to do with it! But, luckily for me, there was a little sticker on it that stated to cut it lengthwise, scoop out the insides, cover with plastic film and microwave. It was that simple. And it tasted so sweet, like a sweet potato.

Ever since then, I've been buying it and microwaving it up. This time around, I tried baking it. Quite frankly, I'll just stick with nuking it because it's a lot quicker. Choose either way, but personally, I haven't really found any difference in taste or texture. But maybe my palate isn't as refined :)

This time I gave it a rub of honey and a hint of cinnamon. Tasty.

Next time you see it at the supermarket, go ahead and buy it. You won't regret it.

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butternut squash

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.

Slather with honey and a hint of cinnamon (try butter or nothing at all).

Place in a baking pan, face up, with about an inch of water in the pan.

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until soft.

November 20, 2007

spicy ginger crinkle cookies

spicy ginger crinkle cookies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

It's snowed overnight. It's not a lot but it's enough to look out the window and go "oh no, should I shovel that up?" Christmas is seriously j-u-s-t around the corner!!! Have you started your baking???

I haven't. Well, I did start these a couple of weeks back but they are LONG GONE. And if you are looking for a soft, chewy gingerbread like cookie, you have got to try these. Another great recipe from Canadian Living. A nice Christmas cookie.

I better start that baking soon!

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spicy ginger crinkle cookies
makes 46 cookies

3/4 cup shortening (I used margarine)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup fancy molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp each baking soda & ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice or cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Beat margarine with brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, molasses and vanilla until smooth. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Stir in molasses mixture in 2 additions.

Take tablespoon of dough and roll into ball. Roll into sugar and place about 2 inches apart on parchment paper or rimless baking sheets.

Bake in 350F oven for about 12 minutes* or until flattened, tops are crackled and bottoms are brown. Let cool on pan on racks.



* I took them out at 10 minutes - giving a much softer cookie.

Recipe from: Spicy Ginger Crinkle Cookies, The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook.

November 15, 2007

creamy broccoli salad

creamy broccoli salad

I first ate this salad at a friend's home, many years ago. My hubby usually gets excited when I make it and often says "you should make this more". It's such a great way to eat broccoli. It's got the sweet tang of sugar but sour bite from the vinegar and a nice creamy base from the mayo. It has healthy ingredients (except for the *ahem* mayonaisse) and it's so easy to make.

I tend to see a theme on my blog here, I like things simple and easy.

On another note, sorry folks, the problem when i make up my own recipes is that I never measure things. I usually go by taste and quantity I need. So, that's what you'll find after the jump... no measurements. Won't be the first time :)

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creamy broccoli salad

broccoli - cut into small spears
grated carrot
raisins
sunflower seeds

mayo
vinegar
sugar to sweeten to taste

Mix the mayo, vinegar and sugar to taste. Pour over and mix togther with the first four ingredients. voila ;)

November 13, 2007

dump truck chocolate layer cake

dump truck chocolate layer cake

A short while ago, we celebrated my son's second birthday. And he loves his trucks. I even made him a truck costume for halloween.

I thought about making a large cake and putting trucks on top and doing a whole construction scene but I like things easy and simple. And this seemed like the perfect solution. Just crush some chocolate cookies and stick them to the icing, giving the appearance of gravel and dirt. I also made cupcakes with the extra batter and icing.

This cake is great. It's fluffy and moist. It got rave reviews from all the parents. The icing also complements the cake perfectly. Not too sweet but it's very rich. I love this Canadian Living Cookbook, it has so many good recipes.

(Sorry, no pictures of any slices. They went fast!).

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chocolate layer cake
makes 12 servings

1 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp each baking soda & baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups buttermilk

Chocolate icing:
1.5 cups butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time: beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in butter misture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk.

Spoon into prepared pans. Either 2 greased springforms pans or 2 round metal cake pans prepared with parchment or waxed paper.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes. Cool on racks for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on rack.

Cut cake horizontally into 2 layers.

Chocolate Icing:
Beat butter until fluffy, gradually beat in cream. Beat in vanilla. Beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat in melted chocolate until fluffy and smooth.

Recipe from: Chocolate layer Cake, The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook.


November 8, 2007

tomatoes and tomato paste

tomatoes-bertha & ruth

So, don't be deceived by this picture.

You see the tomato on the right, the "smaller" one. That's a large size tomato you would buy at any grocery store. Size of a tennis ball at least.

Say hello to Bertha on the left.

I'm not kidding you, that tomato was the size of my head.

I've been meaning to blog about it for some time. My father is responsible for growing that massive tomato. He's got a great knack for growing tomatoes (he passed that gene onto my sister) and every year he gives me tomatoes like this and I have a heart attack because it's enough to feed a small village. Ok, maybe a hamlet but still!

It's tomato sandwiches and salsa and greek salad for a long time afterwards.

Gosh, I miss homegrown tomatoes. The store bought ones, they just never taste the same at all.

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In other news, remember I blogged the other day about not using tomato paste in regards to the red lentil dhal recipe. I never buy cans because then I just end up wasting it when I just need a small amount. One reader of mine offered up a solution to freeze it, yes, great idea! I do tend to freeze a lot of things for use later. Not sure why I didn't think of it in the first place.

But then I remembered you can buy it in a tube, like a toothpaste tube. I remember seeing it in a cooking show. Something like this. Another great idea.

tomato paste

And then yesterday, a newfound reader of mine (Hi Viktoriya!) read my blogpost and gave me this little package of tomato paste that contains about two tablespoons worth. How perfect is that! Voila! NO WASTE! Thank you so much :)

You can find tubes and the little individual packages at most little ethnic food stores. That's where I'll be headed in the near future.

November 6, 2007

buttermilk pancakes

pancakes

Ok, this is a staple in our house.

My husband, he's in charge of breakfasts usually and this is a weekly must in our house.

BUTTERMILK PANCAKES!

And not just any pancakes, but buttermilk pancakes. I don't think I could ever eat just plain pancakes. They gotta be buttermilk pancakes. We always have buttermilk on hand for it in the refrigerator.

This recipe is great basic one. I usually make a bulk amount of dry mix and put it into a 4 Litre ice cream pail bucket. Makes saturday pancakes a lot easier. No major mixing! (I've added the bulk recipe amount too).

The week before we threw in some frozen blueberries into the batch and they turned out well. My kids love it when we put in chocolate chips but I try not to do that too often... then they expect it all the time!

I love my pancakes with just some butter and maple syrup. How about you?

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buttermilk pancakes
makes 9 pancakes.

1 large egg, beaten
1.25 cups buttermilk
1.5 Tbsp oil
1.25 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt

Mix together egg, buttermilk and oil. Stir.

Measure remaining ingredients in separate bowl. Stir. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and stir to moisten. Fry 1/4 cup onto greased frying pans.

Recipe from: Buttermilk Pancakes, Company's Coming Cooking for Two.

Bulk recipe:
12.5 cups flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
5 Tbsp baking powder
5 tsp baking soda
5 tsp salt.

Mix really well and store in airtight container.

Take out roughly 1.25 cups dry ingredients to add with wet ingredients (above 1 egg, 1.25 cups buttermilk and 1.5 tsp oil).
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