Thursday, February 28, 2013

Apricot Ribs

I really thought that Randal would like these apricot ribs from Kayotic Kitchen. I think the reason he felt that they had too much of an Asian flavor was because of the sesame oil, so if I were to make these again I would either leave that out or reduce the amount.

Pork baby back ribs
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 275.

Combine the apricot preserves, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, lime juice, ginger, red pepper, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Stir together and cover the ribs with the sauce, leaving some for later.

Wrap the ribs in foil and place on a baking sheet, bake for 3 hours.  Pour the remaining sauce over the ribs return to the oven for just a few minutes.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers

Randal loves jalapeno poppers, he also loves cornbread so when I saw these cornbread stuffed jalapenos over at oh, bite it! I knew I had to make these.  I added a little cream cheese to the jalapenos which was not part of the original recipe, I just knew that Randal would prefer that.

1 box of cornbread mix
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup canned corn
Fresh jalapenos
Cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Make the cornbread according to package directions.  Mix in the corn and cheddar cheese.
Slice the jalapenos in half and remove all the seeds.  If using cream cheese and a small amount to the bottom of each jalapeno.  Fill with the cornbread mix, place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chicken tikka masala, jasmine rice, naan bread

Tuesday: Spag bol and salad

Wednesday: Beef stroganoff, peas

Thursday:  Sausage ravioli, salad

Friday: Eating out
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chicken Parm Meatballs

This recipe from Dinner: A Love Story is one of the best dinners we have had in a while.  The original recipe for these meatballs used ground chicken, however my new favourite thing when making chicken meatballs is to use chicken thighs and grind them up in the food processor, making them this way always makes for incredibly moist and tender meatballs.  I also added more herbs and seasoning than the original recipe as Randal and I tend to like heavily seasoned food.  I cannot say enough good things about these chicken parm meatballs though, Randal even wanted me to try some rolled in panko before baking and those were delicious also.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 egg, whisked
Zest of a lemon
Salt and pepper
Marinara sauce
Sliced mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400

In a food processor, pulse the chicken until coarsely ground then transfer to a bowl.  Mix in the onion, parsley, garlic, fennel seeds, parmesan, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and salt and pepper. 

Shape into balls, place onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and spoon on some of the marinara sauce and top with mozzarella.  Cook for another 5 minutes, to melt the cheese.

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Linked to: A Pinch of Joy, This Gal Cooks,

Garlic Knots

I had some puff pastry that I needed to use and thought these would go great with the spaghetti I was making for dinner.  You can't go wrong with cheesy, garlicky pastry!

1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh pasrsley
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
All purpose flour

Pre heat oven to 400.

Mix the melted butter, garlic and parsley together.

Sprinkle flour on counter, roll out the pastry into a 10 inch square.  Brush the pastry with the butter, top with the cheese.  Fold the pastry in half and cut into half inch wide strips.  Tie each strip into a knot, place on a baking sheet and brush with the remaining butter.  Bake for 20 minutes.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rainbow Swirl Cookies

I was so thrilled that Payton and Parker asked me to make their birthday cakes this year. They were both very specific in what they wanted (especially Parker Kate, who wanted a purple ombre littlest pet shop cake).  Payton however wanted a rainbow cake with turquoise frosting that looked very grown up, the addition of zebra print came after a trip to Michaels where she saw a sheet of Wilton's edible zebra print sugar sheets.  I also knew that I wanted to make these rainbow swirl cookies that I had seen over at Sprinkle Bakes.  The original cookies were red and flavoured with strawberry, I wanted these cookies to match Payton's cake so I coloured them turquoise and used a blue raspberry flavouring. 

2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp raspberry extract
1/2 tsp turquoise food colour
2 tbsp cake flour
Rainbow jumbo sprinkles

In a food processor combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and icing sugar, pulse to mix. Add the butter slowly, pulsing until combined. Add in the vanilla and process until the mixture forms a ball.

Divide the dough into 2, put one half back into the processor, add the raspberry flavouring and the turquoise food colour and the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix until combined.

Roll out the vanilla dough and the flavoured dough between wax paper, to form a rectangle around 11 x 8. Place the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Place the sprinkles into a large dish.  Remove the top sheet of wax paper from both doughs, carefully flip the coloured dough onto the vanilla dough, press together and remove the wax paper from the top.  Trim the edges and roll the dough starting with the long side, once rolled into a log place in the dish containing the sprinkles, roll in the sprinkles until completely covered. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 4 hours. 

When ready to bake, heat oven to 325.  Slice into 1/4 inch rounds and bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

I also made Payton some zebra print brownies.  Here's a picture of everything together.

Her sliced rainbow cake.

Just because I don't want to leave Miss Parker Kate out of this post, here is her littlest pet shop cake and the cookies I made for her.

Parker's sliced ombre cake.

 Thank you for asking me to make your cakes, girls.  I hope you liked them!

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Linked to: made in a day, mandatory mooch, mom on time out, two yellow birds, what's cooking, love?, craftionary, tutus and tea parties, i should be mopping the floor,

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

I don't make Italian sausage often because I am not a fan of it, even though Randal loves it. These sandwiches from pass the sushi appealed to me because it mixed the sausage with beef so I thought I would like it enough, and I knew Randal would enjoy these. The original recipe was made in the slow cooker, but I decided not to do that and they turned out great.

1 lb sweet sausage
1/2 lb ground beef
2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
Sliced provolone
Fresh rolls

Brown the sausage and ground beef in a large pan.  Add the roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, and peppers into the meat and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.

Butter split rolls and toast in a hot pan until lightly browned, add provolone and top with the sausage mixture.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mini Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Cakes

These were our Valentine's dessert. Randal loves ice cream cakes and again he actually came up with the idea of making mini ones, which was the perfect dessert to go with our dinner of appetizers.

For 2 Ice Cream Cakes
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
Cool whip for frosting

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Pour into a greased 9 inch cake pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until baked.

While the cake is baking, microwave the 2 cups of ice cream for 30 seconds, just long enough to soften the ice cream.  Spread the ice cream into a greased 9 inch cake pan and return to the freezer for about an hour.

Once the cakes have been baked and cooled, use an entremet ring (mine was around 3 inches) to cut out 3 circles of cake, then cut each one in half so you end up with 6 circles.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

Using the same entremet ring, cut out 4 circles of ice cream.  Layer the chocolate cake and ice cream, starting and ending with cake.  Frost with cool whip and return to the freezer until ready to serve.

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Linked to: Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Two Yellow Birds, What's Cooking, Love?, Mandatory Mooch,

Monday, February 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: Chicken parm meatballs and spaghetti

Wednesday: Apricot ribs, potato salad, cornbread stuffed jalapenos

Thursday:  Herb roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus

Friday: Eating out
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps

These chicken meatballs from food and wine, were absolutely my favourite out of all the things I made.  I have never made meatballs with chicken thighs before, but they were so moist that I will definitely be making them this way again.

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 small shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, plus leaves for serving
1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
Cucumber slices
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
Asian chili sauce, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400
In a food processor, pulse the chicken until coarsely ground then transfer to a bowl. Add the fish sauce, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, mint, cornstarch, salt and pepper and mix together.
Place the sugar on a plate.  Roll the chicken mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls.  Roll the meatballs in the sugar until they are evenly coated. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned.
Place the meatballs into the lettuce cups, top with red onion, fresh mint and cucumber slices.  Serve with chili sauce.

As this was the last of the Valentine's appetizer recipes, here's everything all together.  We also has coronation chicken vol au vents, mini beef wellingtons and steak phyllo cups.

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Stuffed Mini Red Potatoes

Randal actually came up with these delicious little potato bites. We both love the red creamer potatoes from central market, and as I was asking Randal what appetizers he would like for valentine's this year he suggested making mini stuffed potatoes with boursin and bacon, sounded great to me, and tasted even better.

Red creamer potatoes
Black pepper boursin
4 slices bacon, cooked
1/4 cup diced red onion
Salt and pepper

Boil the red potatoes whole in salted water for about 20 minutes, until tender.  Leave to cool slightly and then slice off the ends of each potato so they lay flat.  Scoop out the middles and mix together with the chopped bacon, red onion, boursin cheese abd salt and pepper.  Top each of the potatoes with the filling mixture and sprinkle with chopped chives.

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Chicken Bites

Another of our valentine's appetizers. Last year I made honey glazed chicken bites, so this year I wanted to try something new.  Randal loves the cream cheese and jalapeno combination, so I added those to some chicken tenders and bacon, so good!

8 chicken tenders, flattened and cut in two
3 oz softened cream cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
8 slices bacon, cut in half

Preheat oven to 425

Place about half a teaspoon of cream cheese on top of each chicken piece. Sprinkle with some of the chopped jalapeno, roll up the chicken and wrap a piece of bacon around each one.

Bake for 25 minutes.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

For valentine's day I always make a number of appetizers for dinner. I don't know when or how this tradition got started, other than the last place I would want to be on valentine's is a crowded restaurant, so I make fun new things for us to try at home.

I have been wanting to make this deviled egg recipe from Raised on Roux for a while, and I knew that Randal would love these, as he loves jalapenos and spicy food. 

6 large eggs
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp  mustard
1 tsp pickled jalapeno juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 fresh sliced jalapeno pepper, for garnish

Place the eggs in a pan of cold water.  Bring to a boil, put the lid on the pan, turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes immediately place the eggs into a bowl of ice water and leave until cold. Peal the eggs and slice in half.

Remove the yolks and place in a small bowl, mash with a fork and mix in the mayo, mustard, pickly juice, cayenne pepper, minced jalapeno and salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites, top with a jalapeno slice, refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Cuban Burgers

Time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned Ashley's blog Cheese Curd In Paradise. Ashley is from Wisconsin and has a lot of really great recipes on her blog, so many that I couldn't decide what to make, so I sent Randal a list of possible recipes and let him decide which one.  He finally decided on the Cuban Burger which was my top choice also. 

I do have to give credit for this post to my husband because he was the one that actually made these burgers (he does all the grilling!) and I have to say that he made a great burger.  We both really enjoyed these, we love Cuban sandwiches and these really do taste like them in burger form.

1 1/2 lb ground pork
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp lime zest
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 slices swiss cheese
4 slices ham
Yellow mustard 
Hamburger buns (we used onion rolls)
Mix the pork, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, lime zest and juice together. Form pork mixture into 4 patties, grill burgers about 6 minutes per side, until cooked through, top with the ham and cheese slices, and place the rolls split side down on the grill for a few minutes, until the cheese has melted on the burgers.  Place the burgers onto the rolls, top with pickles, mayo and mustard.

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sausage and pepper sandwiches, potato salad

Tuesday: Ravioli, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday: Coronation chicken sandwiches, potato salad

Thursday:   I always make appetizers for valentine's dinner - jalapeno deviled eggs, mini beef wellingtons, phyllo cups with coronation chicken, mini stuffed red potatoes, bacon wrapped jalapeno chicken, Vietnamese chicken meatballs. For dessert I am making mini mint chocolate ice cream cakes

Friday: Probably leftovers
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, February 4, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Spag bol, green beans and garlic bread

Tuesday: Chili con carne

Wednesday: Sausage ravioli, salad

Thursday:  I am making a rainbow birthday cake, brownies and rainbow cookies, so Randal is bringing dinner home

Friday: Chicken tikka masala, jasmine rice, naan bread and mango chutney
See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A lady that Randal works with loves pineapple desserts. I made her a pineapple cream cake a few months ago, and this time she asked for a pineapple upside down cake. I tested a few recipes but this one was the best of them.

1 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 tbsp cake flour
6 tbsp of ground almonds
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 cup  unsalted butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
Maraschino cherries
Preheat oven to 325.
To make the topping, add the butter and brown sugar to a medium pan, heat until the sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into a 10 inch cake pan. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer over the caramel mixture, add a cherry to each pineapple ring. 
To make the cake, whisk the flours, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream in 2 additions each, beating well after each addition. Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a cake plate. 
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