Saturday, February 14, 2009

ham and broccoli casserole

An easy and delicious week-day meal, great for busy days. So good, that Hubby has even asked for it for birthday suppers :-)

Everything can be prepared ahead of time, and assembled at the last minute (or even assemble in the morning and put in the fridge until dinner time).

Amounts are very flexible, and customizable for your family size.


~ a slice or two of cooked, cubed ham
~ a cup or two of cubed cheddar (we use old)
~ a cup or two of broccoli florets (either defrosted frozen or fresh- steam slightly if desired, but we don't)
~ 2-4 cups of cooked brown rice
~ 1/2 to 1 full recipe of homemade condensed mushroom soup


~ combine all ingredients in a casserole large enough to accommodate the amount your are preparing

~ sprinkle the top with dried parsley and pepper if desired

~ bake in a 350* oven until warmed through (about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, depending on amounts)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

(makes 12)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup poppyseeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1tablespoon lemon zest (optional)

1 egg
3/4 cup rice milk (or regular milk)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup lemon juice

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (and lemon zest if you choose to add it).

In separate bowl mix egg, milk, oil, and lemon juice.

Pour into flour mixture and stir just enough to moisten being careful not to over-mix.

Spoon into greased muffin tins.

Bake in 375* oven for 25- 30 minutes or until tops are firm.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hubby's best, most incredibly delicious chicken (or turkey) soup

This recipe came through my mother-in-law, and is meant to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving or Christmas. We do make it then, but like it almost as much with leftover roast chicken (and Gracie, of course, prefers it with no meat at all ;-) It's one of Hubby's favourites, especially when he has a cold (or comes home frozen from the arena).

What makes it a little different from most turkey/ chicken soups is the addition of a can of tomato soup before serving. It not only gives it a wonderful flavour, but adds some vitamin C as well (important during cold season).

I you haven't made a roast turkey or chicken, this can be made using chicken pieces (thighs are nice) to make the broth, and the meat can either be added to the soup or kept for another meal such as a stir-fry or chicken pot pie, added to a salad, or shredded for sandwiches or Shredded Thai Chicken.

Ingredients (amounts are flexible- use what you have or what you want):

~ a soup pot of turkey or chicken broth, about 8 cups (made from boiling the carcass left over from the turkey/ chicken along with any leftover veggies, some onion, and whatever seasonings you like. I like to use the same seasonings I use in my stuffing, since that flavour already comes out when boiling the carcass)

~ about 4 cups of chopped veggies (I use carrots, celery, potatoes and onion) and about 1 cup of frozen peas if desired

~ about 1/2 package dried linguine or fettuccine, broken into bite-size pieces (about an inch long)

~ any nice bits of meat that fell off of the carcass during boiling, and any leftover roasted meat, cut up (or, as Gracie would suggest- use no meat at all!)

~ one can of all-natural, low-sodium tomato soup


1. Heat broth to boiling and add meat and all veggies except peas, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes and carrots are almost cooked through (about 15 minutes).

2. Bring broth back to a boil and add pasta, reduce heat and cook until al dente (check the package- it's usually about 10 minutes).

3. Next add frozen peas, and bring back to a boil.

4. Turn off heat and stir in the can of tomato soup.

5. Serve with pepper and parmesan on the table for those who would like to add them, and a loaf of homemade bread if possible.

Friday, January 16, 2009

healthy makeover- tuna casserole


One box whole wheat macaroni
1 can tuna packed in water (no salt)
one recipe homemade condensed mushroom soup
a cup or so of frozen or fresh peas (depending on season)


Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and put into large casserole dish.

Add tuna (drained) and peas, then pour mushroom soup over top. Stir until nicely mixed, sprinkle with pepper if desired.

Bake in a 350* oven until heated through (about 1/2 hour).

Serve with parmesan, pepper, parsley and grated cheddar on the table as additional (optional) toppings.

Note: we usually double this for our family so that The Boy can have seconds, and Hubby can have leftovers for lunch the next day

This week's meal menu...

... can be found here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Our new summer menu

alternate title: the patio's finished, the new BBQ is working, and soccer is over! Yippee!

Mondays: Still pasta and pesto, as per popular request. I'm good with that because it's easy, quick, and on Mondays I usually do some baking for the week, so don't much feel like making a big dinner ;-) We'll be making less pasta, though, and filling up on fresh salad!

Tuesdays: Baked fish, so unfortunately the oven needs to be on. While it's on anyway, I'll make Gracie's favourite roasted herbed potatoes, and we'll have a steamed farm-fresh veggie (or two! or three!) on the side.

Wednesdays: Chicken of some sort. Depending on what is the best deal, we'll either roast a whole chicken in the crockpot (with potatoes or rice on the side and a steamed veggie) or boil pieces to make shredded Thai chicken. I'll keep some of the pasta separate for the girls (who don't like Thai food) and make them a cold pasta and veggie salad. If by some miracle the boneless/ skinless chicken breasts are on sale, Hubby can BBQ them and those who want to can have them on a bun- I'll make a salad to go with. Any leftovers can be added to tomorrow's salad, and I'll (of course) make broth.

Thursdays: Beans still. We'll either have a Big Salad or bread salad with some chickpeas, burritos, or one of these soups if it's rainy or cool.

Fridays: Eggs still- probably quiche loaded with yummy farm-fresh veggies.

Saturdays: BBQ- the classic burger, with salad on the side.

Sundays: During cool weather, this is usually our 'roast' night, but from now until the snow flies, it'll be BBQ! Sausages on a bun is a favourite (with the almost ever-present salad ;-), and makes easy leftovers for Hubby's lunch on Monday. Leftovers can also be chopped and added to Monday's pesto pasta.

And that's it! It's been a real blessing planning out these seasonal menus- one less thing to worry about each week ;-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mrs. Fields needs a makeover...

... so we're giving her one.

I've had the original Mrs. Fields' Cookie Book for years, and we have made quite a few batches from it- the touble is, the recipes are just so unhealthy that we only made them for Grand Occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas, and they were definately a treat (as opposed to a part of our regular snacking like these ones).

So, Gracie and I have a plan (which has been heartily endorsed by the rest of the family ;-) to healthy-up the recipes. We've started on Page One and will work our way through the entire book, making notes as we go. Wanna come along for the ride?

The recipes:

1. Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mrs. Fields' Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with a healthy makeover

Helper: Baby (7yo). I had to give the sugar/ butter mixture an extra stir, but she did everything except use the oven.

Hubby: "These are outstanding!"
Boy: "These are beyond outstanding! They are outstandingly outstanding!"
Gracie: "Mmmmmm... definitely a make-again!"
Baby: "(munchmunch) Can't talk (munchmunch)... must (munch) eat (munch) cookies (munchmunchmunch)...

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup olive oil margarine (Baby is allergic to milk- you can use softened butter if you prefer)
2 large eggs (we use free-range, grain-fed)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (ours are dairy-free, of course, and have no artificial colours or flavours)

Thoroughly wash and dry a flat surface for cooling cookies (we use a part of our counter, you could also use a table).

Preheat oven to 300*.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, soda and salt.

In a large bowl blend sugar and margarine to a grainy paste, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix until blended, but don't over-mix.

Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl until almost combined, then add the chocolate chips and stir until all ingredients are incorporated, but don't over-mix.

Drop by round tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (about 2" apart), and bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden. Use a spatula to transfer quickly to a cool, hard surface.

We found that even after the cookies seemed cool, the chocolate chips were still 'melty', so we left them for about an hour before transferring them to a plate. We didn't wait that long to sample some, though ;-)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Late spring menu

Rather than post weekly menus that vary so little, I'll post seasonally (which is how I cook and how we eat). We tend to repeat meals in about six-week cycles that suit the weather and what is in season.

This is our menu until the middle of July when Baby will be finished with soccer, Hubby will have our new patio finished so that we can bar-b-que, and the farmer's market will be brimming with Good Things to Eat.

Mondays (soccer night)- whole wheat pasta with basil pesto and parmesan

Tuesdays- fish (either baked fillets with a sprinkle of whole wheat breadcrumbs and herbs or homemade cakes), roasted herbed potatoes, and a vegetable (this week- fresh asparagus!)

Wednesdays (soccer night)- Baby's Birthday Supper

Thursdays- beans (potato and bean bake, bread salad with chickpeas, tomatoes and feta, or one of these soups if it's rainy or cool)

Fridays- eggs (either quiche, egg salad sandwiches, fried egg sandwiches, sunny-side-up, or omelettes) with a side veggie

Saturdays- either Hubby will make his famous calzones, or I'll make all natural sausages with potatoes and a side veggie

Sundays- roast beef, chicken, or pork with brown rice, risotto or potatoes and a veggie

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cleaning-out-the-pantry menu

Spring cleaning time is almost here (yay!), so I'll be trying to use up what we already have on hand in the pantry/ freezer/ fridge over the next week or two, only buying what is absolutely necessary.

First, for the inventory (only looking at supper ingredients):

In the freezer

package of cod fillets
4 3 pkgs. naturally smoked, low-sodium bacon (it was on sale 1/2 price!)
pkg. chopped spinach
bag large peeled, uncooked shrimp
2 pkgs. hashbrowns
container of all-natural Italian sausages (bought on sale for 1/2 price, cooked and then frozen- about 10-12?)
various full and 1/2 pkgs. veggies (stew mix, peas, green beans, brussel sprouts)

In the fridge

small container of left-over homemade creamy corn
various cheeses (cheddar, cottage, mozzarella, goat, cream, parmesan)
plain yogurt
1/4 jar chopped garlic in oil
almost-full jar yeast
all of the standard condiments and a variety of homemade (by my m-i-l) jellies, chutneys, sauces

In the pantry

small bag potatoes
3 onions
organic broth cubes (beef, chicken, vegetable, onion)
3 2 jars salsa
can each of red and white kidney beans
can chopped tomatoes
jar Tikka Masala sauce
can salmon
can tuna
can brown beans
18 17 cans tomato soup (we bought a case for 1/2 price)
2 1 cartons unsweetened almond milk
small pkg. bulgur
package homemade dried spaghetti
1/2 pkg. "soup" pasta
brown rice
arborio rice
bag baked corn chips
whole wheat flour
every spice and dried herb known to man
various oils and vinegars

And now for some supper ideas with the goal in mind of using up as much as possible, and purchasing as little as possible (therefore not as much variety as usual). We won't necessarily be eating them in this order, but I have enough options for two full weeks:

Items in red need to be purchased

1. fish cakes, dairy-free scalloped potatoes, froz. veg.
2. minestrone soup, homemade bread
3. Dublin coddle (potatoes)
4. shrimp stir-fry (mushrooms)
5. cheater chowder (salmon and corn)
6. spaghetti with creamy tuna and pea sauce
7. stir-fried sausage and onions, risotto, froz. veg.
8. burritos (whole wheat wraps)
9. quiche
10. eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, froz. veg
11. potato bake with sausage instead of beans
12. nachos, raw veg. (carrots, cucumbers)
13. Tikka Masala chicken over rice, veg. (whatever free-range, grain-fed chicken is the better deal)
14. eggs and mushroom soup on toast, raw veg.

So, with only purchasing five additional items, we'll be eating like kings (and queens), with some pantry items left over. Between veggie soups for lunches, tabouleh and chips-and-salsa snacks, I think we'll succeed at clearing out the old to make way for the new. How much longer 'til market season??

p. s. I'll be posting additional recipes as I have time, leave me a comment if there is a particular one you would like first ;-)