Monday, July 5, 2010

Corn and Black Bean Salad

A delicious, colourful summer salad for all occasions. Feel free to add other veggies as desired.  I often add avocado and some lemon juice.  
Sweet Corn Salad with Black Beans, Scallions and Tomatoes

Servings: Serves 6–8

  • 8 ears corn on the cob
  • 2 cups black beans (cooked or canned), drained and rinsed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or basil, plus whole leaves for garnish

Shuck corn. In a shallow baking pan, stand each cob on its larger end, holding the tapered end with your noncutting hand. Using a sharp knife, slice kernels off; transfer kernels to a bowl. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté kernels until just softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Return corn to bowl and add beans, scallions, tomatoes and red pepper.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Pour onto corn mixture, add cilantro or basil and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste before serving.

Courtesy of

Monday, June 28, 2010

Roasted Mushrooms

I profess to be a universal food lover, willing to try anything with very few dislikes.  However,  I must say that despite many tries, mushrooms are not something I enjoy. 

My husband loves mushrooms so I ordered some fresh from a farm and concocted this recipe which was very well received.  I even enjoyed a bite!

Grilled Mushrooms


1 1b Oyster Mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh herbs of choice (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
4 tbsp olive oil

  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Clean mushrooms.
  3. Mix together garlic through to olive oil.
  4. Place mushrooms on tinfoil and brush with olive oil mixture.
  5. Place tinfoil on heated grill and grill till soft - approx. 20 minutes

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

This is a super healthy fun way to eat spaghetti.  Great way to sneak in the veggies with picky eaters as well.  For a vegetarian version sub in meatless ground round (like Yves).


Spaghetti Squash with Super-Thick Bolognese Sauce



  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for topping, if desired
  • 1/4 pound thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small dice or shredded
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (about a handful), chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (about a handful), chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.

Place the spaghetti squash halves, cut-side up, onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, salt and pepper. Turn the squash over so they're cut-side down and roast until the flesh is tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Once cooked, use a fork to loosen the squash strands up. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons EVOO, ground black pepper, and a sprinkle of cheese. Reserve squash in the shells.

While the squash is roasting, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the sirloin to the pan and cook until golden brown, 6-7 minutes. Add the carrots, onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.

Season everything with salt and pepper, then add the tomato paste, cooking it until golden brown and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the red wine and beef stock, scraping the bottom for any bits that may be stuck, and cook the sauce until thickened and slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

To serve, ladle the meat sauce on top of each squash half and garnish each with fresh basil, parsley and additional Pecorino Romano cheese.

Courtesy of Rachel Ray 

Serves 4

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Best Twice Baked Potatoes

Now that I have told you my secret for easy to cook bacon, I thought I would post a delicious side dish that uses it.  These are a fabulous treat with some barbecued chicken or steak and a salad.  Yuuuummmm!!

Best Twice-Baked Potatoes Recipe


  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream 
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, crisp and crumbled
  1. Microwave (or bake in oven at 400 for 1hr) the potatoes until done.
  2. Allow to cool a bit.
  3. Slice about a 1" strip of the skin off the top of each potato.
  4. Carefully scoop out the pulp, placing in a large bowl, and leaving potato shells intact.
  5. Mash the potato pulp along with the margarine.
  6. Add milk, sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper; combining well.
  7. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells, piling high.
  8. Top with the crumbled bacon
  9. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
Recipe Courtesy of Recipezaar 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Best Way to Cook Bacon

I used to have a fear of bacon, I jumped every time it spit and burned me. I had stopped cooking with it unless my husband was home. Luckily I found a tip for cooking it without greasy splatters all over the stove top (and clothes). Bacon can be easily baked in the oven, resulting in amazingly flat slices:

Baked Bacon  
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Line baking sheet with foil ensuring it curls up the edges as well. This will allow for easy clean up.
  3. Place a cooling rack inside the baking sheet or use a broiler pan.
  4. Lay out slices in a single layer on rack.
  5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on desired doneness level. 
  6. Voila! Crispy bacon with no curls

Friday, June 18, 2010



Ingredients - makes approx. 12 crepes

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup low fat milk
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a large bowl, beat together egg, milk, water and oil. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until smooth.  Add vanilla.
Heat a medium, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place a ladleful of crepe batter into center of pan, tilting to coat the bottom. Cook until golden brown on one side, turning once, 2 to 5 minutes. Continue with remaining batter.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mac and Cheese with Ham

This is an extremely flavourful, cheesy version of Mac & Cheese. Loved by the entire family! Throw in whatever veggies you have around for added benefit.

Macaroni and Cheese With Ham 


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced cooked ham
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded old cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups uncooked whole wheat macaroni
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; saute onion and ham until onion is soft.
  2. Add flour and cook, stirring until well mixed.
  3. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Add mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese until just melted.
  6. While making sauce, cook macaroni in a separate pot, until tender but firm.
  7. Drain and put back into pot.
  8. Combine with sauce, then pour into a 2 litre baking dish or casserole dish.
  9. In a small bowl combine parmesan and bread crumbs.
  10. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture.
  11. Broil for about 3 minutes, until brown.
30 min | 30 min prep


Monday, June 14, 2010

Shrimp Tacos

Adapted a recipe I originally found in Canadian Living to suit my tastes.  I thankfully doubled the recipe to feed my family of 4 as everyone kept coming back for more.

Shrimp Tacos

1 lb (454 g) small or medium raw shrimp
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
2 scallions chopped 

8 corn tortillas or small whole wheat flour tortillas
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 avocado chopped
lettuce - chopped and washed


Peel and devein shrimp. In glass bowl, toss together marinade ingredients. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes.

In nonstick skillet, heat tortillas over medium heat, 1 at a time and turning once, until slightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove and wrap in towel and foil to keep warm. 

Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. With slotted spoon or tongs, add shrimp to pan, discarding any remaining marinade; sautee until pink, about 4 minutes. 

Divide shrimp, toppings and sour cream among tortillas.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frozen Smoothie Pops

This kid pleasing summer snack is taken from a source close to my heart -  Recipe can be easily improvised to your own tastes.

Frozen Smoothie Pops

Triple Berry Smoothie Pops:
1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen strawberries 

1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar or liquid honey
1 cup (250 mL) 
1/2 cup (125 mL) raspberry-flavoured 

Banana Pineapple Smoothie Pops:
1 very ripe banana
1 cup (250 mL) frozen or drained canned pineapple chunks
1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) sugar or liquid honey
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) vanilla-flavoured or plain yoghurt


In a blender, combine fruit and honey or sugar (as called for, to taste) and milk; purée until smooth. Add yoghurt and pulse just until combined. Pour into ice-pop moulds and insert sticks, or pour into 1/3 cup (80 mL) paper cups. If using paper cups, freeze until partially firm then insert sticks, straws or plastic spoons.
Freeze until solid, for 2 to 4 hours or up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Emergency Substitutions

Allspice(1 tsp)1 tsp. cinnamon plus 1/8 tsp. ground cloves.
Apple Pie Spice4 parts cinnamon, 1 part nutmeg and 1 part ginger.
Baking Powder (1 tsp)1 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tartar.
Balsamic Vinegar (1 tbsp)1 Tbsp cider vinegar.
Bouquet GarniEqual measures of thyme, parsley and crushed bay leaf; OR Equal measures of thyme, chervil and crushed bay leaf; OR Equal measures of basil, marjoram, and summer savory.
Bread Crumbs (1/4 cup)1/4 cup finely crushed cracker crumbs, corn flakes or quick-cooking oats.
Butter (1 lb)7/8 Cup solid shortening plus 1/2 tsp. salt
Buttermilk/Sour Milk
(1 cup)
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand 5 minutes before using. Or use 1 cup plain yogurt.
Capers (1 tbsp)1 Tbsp chopped green olives.
Chili Seasoning2 parts chili powder &
1 part paprika.
 Semisweet (1 square)1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate plus 1 Tbsp sugar.
 Unsweetened (1 square)3 Tbsp baking cocoa plus
1 Tbsp shortening or margarine.
Cornstarch (1 tbsp)2 Tbsp flour or 4 tsp quick-cooking tapioca.
Corn Syrup
 - Light (1 cup)1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup water.
-  Dark (1 cup)1 cup light corn syrup; 3/4 cup light corn syrup plus 1/4 cup molasses; or 1 cup maple-flavored syrup.
Creamheavy (1 cup)2/3 cup milk and 1/3 cup butter.
Curry PowderCombine equal parts coriander, cumin, pepper, turmeric, and ginger; 4 parts coriander, 2 parts tumeric, 2 parts cumin & 1 part ginger.
Eggs (1 large)2 egg whites; 1/4 cup store-bought egg whites; 2 egg yolks (for custard or puddings); or 2 egg yolks plus 1 Tbsp water (for cookies or bars);
1 tsp. cornstarch;. or 4 extra tbs. of whatever liquid was used in the recipe.
- All-purpose (1 cup)1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cake flour.
- Cake (1 cup)1 cup minus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour.
- Self-rising (1 cup)1 cup all-purpose flour plus
1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.
Garlic, finely chopped
(1 medium clove)
1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1/4 tsp instant minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic salt.
Gingerroot, grated or finely chopped (1 tsp)3/4 tsp ground ginger.
Herbs, chopped, fresh
(1 tbsp)
3/4 to 1 tsp dried herbs.
Herbes de Provence4 parts thyme, 4 parts savory,
2 parts lavender & 1 part rosemary.
Honey (1 cup)1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup water or liquid used in recipe.
Ketchup1 cup of tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, 2 tbs. vinegar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, pinch of ground cloves and allspice.
Leeks, sliced (1/2 cup)1/2 cup sliced shallots or green onions.
Lemon, medium 11 tsp. grated rind plus 2 tbs. lemon juice.
Lemon Juice, fresh (1 tbsp)1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice or white vinegar.
Lemon Peel, grated (1 tsp)1 tsp dried lemon peel.
Milk (1 cup)1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water; or nonfat dry milk prepared as directed on package with 2 1/2 tsp melted butter added.
Molasses (1 cup)1/2 cup honey (flavor will be milder).
Mushrooms, fresh
(1 cup cooked)
1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained.
Mushrooms (1/2 pound)4 oz. canned mushroom caps or 1 1/2 oz dried mushrooms.
Mustard (1 Tbsp)1 tsp ground mustard (dry).
Onion, small 11 tbs. instant minced or 1 tsp. onion powder.
Orange Peel, grated (1 tsp)1 tsp dried orange peel.
Oregano (1 tsp)1 tsp. marjoram.
Poultry SeasoningEqual parts sage, thyme, oregano and marjoram.
Pumpkin Pie Spice4 parts cinnamon, 2 parts ginger, 1 part nutmeg, 1 part allspice and dash of cloves.
Red Pepper Sauce (3 or 4 drops) be careful, HOT!1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne).
Seasoning Salt1 cup salt, 2 1/4 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
Sesame Seeds (1 tbsp)1 Tbsp finely chopped blanched almonds.
Shortening, melted (1 cup)1 cup salad oil (cannot be substituted for 1 cup solid shortening)
Sour Cream (1 cup)1 cup plain yogurt.
Sugar, brown, packed
(1 cup)
1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 Tbsp molasses or dark corn syrup.
Sugar, granulated
(1 cup)
1 cup light brown sugar (packed) or 2 cups powdered sugar.
Sugar, superfineBlend regular granulated sugar in the blender.
Tomato Paste (1/2 cup)1 cup tomato sauce cooked uncovered till reduced to l/2 cup.
Tomato Sauce (2 cups)3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water.
Tomatoes, canned (1 cup)About 1 1/3 cups cut-up fresh tomatoes, simmered 10 min.
Vanilla ExtractGrated lemon rind, orange rind, cinnamon or nutmeg combined with a small amount of the liquid called for in the recipe to make up the amount of vanilla extract specified in the recipe.
Whipping Cream (1 cup)1 cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping or 1 cup prepared whipped topping mix.
Wine, Red (1 cup)1 cup apple cider or beef broth.
Wine, White (1 cup)1 cup apple juice, apple cider or chicken broth.
Yeast, regular or quick active dry (1 pkg or
1/4 oz)
2 1/4 tsp regular or quick active dry or 1 package (6 oz) compressed cake yeast.