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Monday, October 22, 2012

Confetti Chicken

I used to only eat chicken. For about three years this was my go to book: Hurry Up Chicken Recipes I find it a bit on the funny side that you can now purchase this book for $0.01.

It served me well through my late teenage years and early twenties. In fact, I remember thinking that Chicken Alla Vineyard (no, not a typo, actual recipe name) was sew fancy. Look at me, I bought the SKINLESS chicken.

I've moved on from that, but in a panic for chicken thigh inspiration yesterday I turned once again through the pages and came across a recipe that was a massive hit. Easy, tasty and fairly quick. This isn't it though, I didn't take photos. I'll make it again soon and I promise I'll post it.

Today while staring slack-jawed at a package of b/l s/l chicken breast, I decided to see what inspiration awaited me in Hurry Up Chicken. A cleverly inserted comma would make a great joke. Anyhow, one thing that I love in a cookbook is a well organized index, and this book in particular has an index that not only identifies each recipe by name but ALSO by chicken type (boneless, pieces, whole, etc.). Unfortunately that failed to yield inspiration, so I resorted to flipping through the pages, looking for a picture that would pique my interest.

And here is when we finally come to confetti chicken:

Mine did not look like that: FYI. It looked even BETTER! iphone does a lot, but it doesn't do this dish justice. I tweaked the recipe based on what I had onhand, so while it's substantially the same, if you are opening your Hurry Up Chicken cookbook right now, you will see some differences.

Here's how I made it:



1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup water
1 can cream mushroom
1 cup plain 3.5% yogurt
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp chopped green pepper (this is what makes the "confetti" so chop it finely
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

(Casserole) Heat your heavy bottomed frying pan and cook your chicken breast. I used Epicure's Hot Artichoke Dip seasoning for my chicken. I left my chicken slightly underdone because I figured it would finish cooking later in the recipe.

While your chicken is cooking, chop your onions, carrots and mushrooms. Once cooked, set your chicken aside. Now, see all the delicious brown flavour goodness stuck to the bottom of your pan? Add your water and then scrape it all up with a wooden spoon. Add your onions and carrots, then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In a 3 quart casserole, I used this one from Le Creuset, mix your soup, yogurt, chicken, mushrooms, Worcestershire and salt and pepper. Add your simmered vegetables and mix well.

Make ahead tip: I did everything up to this step in advance then refrigerated until I was ready to bake it. This would be good for a weekday supper. Prep it the night before, then when you get home from work make the dumplings and bake.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and one cup of the cheese and make a well. Mix together eggs, milk and green pepper then pour into well. Mix until just combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the casserole and bake in a 350F oven for 40-45 minutes until golden. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese then return to oven until melted.

Okay, don't laugh, I'm telling you iphone sucks at photos and I'm still saving for a proper camera:

Of course, it would have been wiser to snap a photo prior to the kids and I demolishing half of it. But it was so goood! Crisp on the outside, doughy on the inside, creamy chicken casserole on the bottom.

This would be a great day after turkey dish since the meat needs to be cooked prior to adding it anyway!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lazy pie

I've never really been a fan of pie. Not even of eating it. Cooked fruit seemed weird to me and I avoided it. Chocolate pie? Yes. Apple pie? No, thank you so much, but I'm stuffed.

This attitude slowly started to change when I began making my own pastry with my mother-in-law's failsafe recipe. Now I didn't have to remember to buy pie crust if I wanted a last minute dessert which was nice. Then this year, I had bags and bags of apples from my in-laws' apple tree and I took the plunge. I made pie after pie after pie after turnover after pie. And it turned out that I do like pie. It's still not chocolate cake, but it's a respectable dessert.

But of course, this isn't about apple pie because I didn't take any photos of that. This is instead about lazy pie. If there's one thing better than pie, it's lazy pie.

I happened to have extra pastry that I had frozen after my last pie making extravaganza, but of course, you can just use a regular pie shell as well.

This recipe is mine, but the idea is from this amazing book that has quite literally changed my life since I found it in London Drugs in Calgary many years ago. I bought it on a whim thinking it would be a beautiful coffee table book, and I've actually made so many of the recipes. Home Baking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid; I've used it so much I didn't even have to look up their names. They call it Free Form Fruit Galette, which is a really fancy way of saying lazy pie.

Flexible ingredients but here they are anyway, with the instructions.

So grab your leftover pastry (or your pie shell) and let it thaw to room temperature.

Roll it out (carefully now, for those with a pie shell) until it's about an extra inch beyond your pie plate.

Prick the pastry with a fork, then sprinkle on a teaspoon or so of sugar.

Add about 2 cups of fruit. Your choice. I used 4 wilty strawberries, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, a handful of dates (chopped) and an overripe bartlett pear.

Fold the pastry back over your fruit, leaving a generous hole in the middle. Spinkle another teaspoon or so of sugar on top of the pastry. Bake in a 350F oven until bubbly and golden, about 35-40 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then serve with ice cream or greek yogurt.

Seriously, laaaaazzzzy pie. So easy.

This photo is of the last piece (since gone) of yesterday's lazy pie.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baked Yams with Broccoli Cheese Sauce

I was browsing through cookbooks the other day, as I'm wont to do on rainy dreary days and I came across baked potato sides. And I thought, it's been years since I've had a baked potato.

The only thing better than a baked potato is a baked yam because it becomes all gooey sticky caramel sweetness and also because roasted yams are perfect baby food and I don't have to make anything extra for the little one. Two birds, baby, one stone.

While baked potatoes are delicious with just butter and salt, they get a whole lot better when you add a cream based product. So I decided to make a white sauce with some cheese and broccoli and carrots thrown in. I only had mozzarella & parmesan, so that's what I used, though I think old cheddar would have added an extra kick.

To roast your yams:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Violently spear your yams with a fork several times. Look, cooking = anger management class, don't you feel better? Wrap them in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake them for about 50 minutes to an hour. Mine were really teeny single portion taters, and they took about 50 minutes, so do not attempt these times with behemoth yams. The baking sheet is important, don't skip it, or you'll have caramel sticky sweetness all over your oven.

The sauce will take about 10 minutes, so figure this into the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time of your potatoes.

Broccoli-Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
1 bunch of broccoli crowns, cut in small florets
handful of baby carrots, chopped
salt & pepper

Start by blanching your broccoli and carrots. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until just foamy. BE READY with your whisk, I used this one
because it scrapes flat against the bottom of the pan and incorporates the flour evenly. Dump in the flour and whisk it, whisk it good until the flour is well incorporated and starts to change colour. I let it cook just until it was a creamy yellow, though you may wish to cook it more or less than that, depending on how flavourful you'd like your final sauce to be.

Add your milk and WHISK for the love of all that's holy. Once you have a nice thick sauce, add your blanched veggies and some salt and pepper. Then add the cheese and stir it slowly as it all melts and becomes a delicious velvety smooth sauce.

Take out your potatoes, and do what I like to call the Wendy's split. One straight mid-deep cut lengthwise, then pinch and push up. The more surface area you have for sauce, the happier your ass will be. Ladle some sauce onto your Wendy-fied potato. Whip out your iphone and take a photo, then revel in creamy sauce and fluffy potato.

Et, voilà!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Banana Scones

I posted this on Facebook the other day and had a couple people ask for the recipe, so here you go.

They're crispy and delicious with a chewy inside, but as the Pioneer Woman says: They are NOT non caloric.

You've been warned.

Here's the original recipe: Pumpkin Scones at Epicurious

But I made a few changes based on the reviews, so here's my version:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup large grain cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cloves
2/3 unsalted butter, cut up or grated (I used a mix of butter and margarine)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup banana mush/canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
splash of apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Puree your bananas and pumpkin in a food processor and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Allow it to sit while you combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. With clean hands, work the butter into the dry mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

4. Mix the puree, the sweetened condensed milk and the vanilla until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the pumpkin-banana mixture into the well. Still using your hands, combine the ingredients until all the dry mixture is wet, but do not knead!

5. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and gather the dough together. Gently pat the dough to make a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a sharp floured knife, cut 12 triangle scones and lay them on a nonstick baking sheet.

6. Bake the scones for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the scones cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 20 minutes) before glazing them.

7. When cooled, brush with sweetened condensed milk for an easy glaze.

My kitchen during production:

The final product:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blackened Tomato and Chipolte Salsa

It's harvest time which means that I have been making sooo much food for the freezer or preserving somehow. I have tomatoes up to my eyebrows, so I've been on the hunt for great new recipes to use them all.

In a very rarely used book called "Whole Food" by Jude Blereau, I came across this recipe which I thought was perfect because I had the following random ingredients:

chipolte peppers in adobo that I opened a while ago, froze, then thawed thinking it was tomato paste (note to self: start identifying items prior to putting them in your freezer)
fresh apple juice from all the apple pies I made the other day

And I like salsa. And it gives me an excuse to buy tortilla chips.

Makes 2 cups

6 ripe tomatoes
1-2 fresh red chilies (I used three from our garden. Another random ingredient needing attention due to copious quantities)
3-4 garlic cloves (I used 3)
a full medium chipolte in adobo, pureed or minced
2 tsp of fresh apple juice

Blacken your tomatoes and chilies on the bbq over a nice hot flame. Make sure you really blacken them, especially the chilies, because they are a pain in the ass to peel if the skin hasn't blistered from the flesh. Remove to a bowl and cover with a plate. Or steam them a way that works for you, I find baggies work well too.

Roughly peel the tomatoes and chili. I mostly seeded my tomatoes too since I'm not a huge fan, though I kept the seeds from ONE chili for some heat.

Place your tomatoes, chili and garlic in a food processor and purée. Turn into a frying pan over low-medium heat. Add your chipolte and apple juice and simmer for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally until the salsa begins to thicken and turn a nice, deep red. Check for taste, adjust with more chipolte or apple juice as necessary and reduce further if needed. I simmered for about 25 minutes until it was the consistency I wanted. It'll further thicken as it cools as well.

Serve with chips. It tastes like a creamy tomato-y sauce right off the bat, then it deepens into a gentle 'mmm' of heat, then finishes with a pow of heat. It's addictive, I'm going to go eat more right now.

And no photos because I'm not organized. Sorry!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Honey Buns

So I've decided to stop beating myself up over not posting and here I am today with a recipe (but no photo, sorry!) for Honey Buns.

This is a KM first since I made up this recipe! I'm so excited that it worked and rose and not only that, but turned out soooo delicious! I used whole wheat flour, but you could use any mixture of whole wheat or white. Little M who is just starting to really put words into action said, "Mmmmm! Nom Nom Nom" when I gave him some, so it works for kids too.

Honey Buns

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (traditional)
2 tbsp honey
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix in a measuring cup and let sit until frothy. Mix if it isn't foaming.

2 1/2 cups (plus extra) whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 sprig of rosemary (optional), finely chopped

Mix in a large bowl.

Add your yeast mixture and incorporate more flour as necessary to make a smooth dough, kneading all the while. Once you have a springy dough, cover it in about a tsp of olive oil then place it back in your bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place in oven with oven light on, or other warm, still place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch down and shape. (I made buns, but you could do whatever). I made 8 large-ish buns and put them in a glass 9 inch pie plate (greased with olive oil) to rise. Let rise until doubled, about an hour to an hour and a half.

Pre-heat oven to 350F, and bake for about 25-35 minutes, depending on the shape.

These came out of the pie plate easily after resting for a few minutes, so don't try to tip them out right away. If you were making loaves in normal bread pans, this would probably make about a loaf and a half, so either cut down the recipe, or double it if you want nicely risen loaves.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Windy City Winnipeg Pie

A while ago I thought it might be a good idea to start eating "clean". I know, I'm a total follower, and not only that, I'm clearly behind on the movement. I bought a couple of magazines, but the meals were so much work! And so, I don't know, healthy? Which I understand is the point of clean eating, but I couldn't commit.


The other day my husband starts reading one of my old Clean Eating magazines and we start talking about meal planning (my nemesis). I decide to make a plan for the week's meals using some CE recipes. There on page 39 of the March/April 2010 issue was my new love. Windy City Pie.

It's not well known, but Winnipeg used to be known as the Chicago of the North. It was a major trading city before everything moved east. And it's windy as hell here in the winter. So while the Windy City in this recipe is supposed to be Chicago, I'm going to go ahead and swap in Winnipeg since that's where I live.

This is deep dish cheesy goodness in its most perfect form. I have rarely had pizza this thick and good, but not too gooey, crusty but not glued to the pan.

Of course I adapted the Windy City recipe, but the pizza dough was perfect as is.

CE's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


1 tbsp. honey
1 c. lukewarm water, divided
2.5 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg)
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, divided
4 tsp. vital wheat gluten
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided


In a large bowl mix the honey and 1/3 c. water. Add yeast and allow to sit until foamy. (If after 10 minutes your mixture isn't foamy you've got dud yeast. Order takeout, then buy some new yeast.)

Mix 2 c. flour, the vital wheat gluten and the salt. Once the yeast is foamy, add the remaining water and 2 tbsp. of oil. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. You'll have a very wet dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour at room temperature. I put mine on top of the fridge since it's a bit warmer up there.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and, adding flour if needed, knead for about 1 minute until smooth and no longer sticky. Place ball in bowl again, cover tightly and let rise another 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough back to your floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds. Divide into two balls using a sharp knife. Each ball is enough for one 12-14 inch pizza.

*To store the extra dough you can keep it tightly wrapped in the fridge for 24 hours, or freeze it (tightly wrapped) for up to a month.

Windah-Citah Winnipeg Pie


8 oz. (about half a package) turkey sausage (I used smoked sausage)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 c. button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 tbsp. cornmeal
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
4 tbsp. salsa or tomato sauce


Preheat your oven to 425F.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini and sauté until tender. Mushrooms will be slightly browned and zucchini skin should be bright green. Add salt and pepper to taste, then remove to a bowl to cool.

If you have turkey sausage that needs to be cooked, do so now. Remove casing, slice it thinly, then sauté.

I used a 10 inch stainless steel skillet for all prep and to cook my pizza. You could call this a one dish dinner too! Coat your skillet (or pan, whatever you're using for your pizza, but it should have high sides) with oil, then sprinkle with cornmeal.

Roll out your dough to about 12 inches around, then transfer to your skillet. Make sure you keep a deep edge around, about an inch and a half. Sprinkle about 1/3 of your cheese on the bottom, then layer your sausage and veggies. Spoon on your tomato sauce. I used thick salsa that I canned last year since it need to be used. Finally, layer on the rest of your cheese, making sure to get some on the crust too.

Place your skillet in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your crust. Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing to allow filling to set.

(For the clean eaters, a serving is supposed to be 1/12 of the pizza. Good luck with that.)

This really only feeds two people. I know you're supposed to have side dishes and stuff, but really, it has veggies, meat, cheese and grains. It's a meal onto itself. Make two or even three if you have a family to feed.

I was so excited to eat this last night that I forgot to take a photo, but don't worry! I'll take a photo when I make it again tonight. Yes. It's that good.

ETA - I made this again tonight and it was delish again even though I used the original oven setting of 450F instead of the 425F that I used last night. The crust was a bit more browned than I'd like but really tasty. Tonight I used mushrooms and green peppers for the filling and I used a bit of Parmesan cheese along with the recommended amount of mozzarella.

If you have a 12-14 inch stainless steel skillet, USE IT! The pizza comes out like a dream.

I took plenty of photos tonight, but the laptop doesn't have a card reader, so they'll only be up tomorrow (Sept. 3). Sorry about that!

ETA #2 - Photos darling!