Monday, December 29, 2014

'Christine It' Sushi Rolls

3 cups of 'sticky' rice (California Medium Grain Milled Rice--Kokuho Rose) prepared as per package instructions.

Nori sheets (seaweed)

To prepare separately:

4 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Suggested ingredients to add with the rice for the sushi:

Cucumber, Shrimp,
Smoked Salmon, Crab,
Cream Cheese, Avocado,
Pickles (we ran out of cucumbers once)

On the side:

Soy sauce

Prepare the rice. While the rice cooks, stir the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set aside. When the rice is cooked, place rice into a large, wide, shallow dish. (Avoid using metal since vinegar may react with it.) Pour the vinegar mixture evenly over the rice and mix using a spatula. The vinegar seasoning must be mixed into the rice while the rice is hot. You can eat the rice like this or let the rice cool to room temperature and then start creating your sushi rolls.
Sometimes when we don't feel like making the sushi rolls, we will crush the nori (seaweed) and mix into the seasoned rice with some cubes of cream cheese.

*Christine It's tips for rolling the sushi. If you can find a sushi mat (bamboo) it is so much easier and the bamboo will absorb any excess moisture that might be released when the sushi is tightened into a roll. Personally, I like to put the mat in a large freezer bag so it doesn't get dirty, okay, so I don't have to clean it, lol. Dampen the nori sheet with a little bit of water. Wet your hands when handling the sticky rice but make sure your hands are dry when touching the dampened nori or they will stick. Spread the fillings of your choice horizontally in a line across the nori and roll it up. Like most things the more you do it the better you will get at it. Make sure you have a sharp knife, wet it and then slice your roll and taste test, I mean serve it up. 

Sushi and Poutine...because we can. :) 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rhubarb Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

Rhubarb Dark Chocolate Chip Muffin

Buttermilk Muffin Base

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk (1 tbsp vinegar in measuring cup and then add milk to make 1 cup)
1/4 lb butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Rhubarb Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins
To the above ingredients add: 

Rhubarb from our garden
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (skin on)
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Dark chocolate chips to sprinkle on top of muffins

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and butter. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in liquid ingredients. Do not over mix. Fold in rhubarb and dark chocolate chips. Spoon batter into lined muffin cups, sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top and bake until golden. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. This recipe makes 12 jumbo muffins. 
A little extra chocolate chips on top

Rhubarb Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins

#Muffins #Rhubarb #DarkChocolateChip

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chicken with Spinach and Feta

Chicken with Spinach and Feta
I had taken chicken breasts out for dinner but wanted to do something different. I rummaged through the fridge and found some spinach and feta. This is the result. Not bad if I do say so myself. I chopped up some onion and garlic and sautéed them in olive oil and then added the spinach. Once the spinach had wilted, I mixed in the feta and set aside. I flattened the chicken breast by putting them, one at a time, into a freezer bag and hitting them with a mallet. Very therapeutic, I must say. I put the spinach mixture onto one half of the chicken breast and then folded the chicken over and secured it with a toothpick. I then coated the chicken in Italian bread crumbs and place them in a foil lined pan. I poured melted butter over the chicken and placed the pan into a preheated 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes. I have a little bit of spinach mixture left over so I'm thinking a spinach/feta omelette. :D

Chicken with Spinach and Feta, Caesar Salad, and Mushrooms

Spinach, Feta, Mushroom, and Cheese Omelette
#Chicken #Spinach #Feta

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Broiled Meatballs

 This is quick, easy, and tasty.  Win/Win/Win.  :D
Broiled Meatballs
4 lb lean ground beef
4 eggs
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried mint
1 small grated onion (optional)
Steak spice (optional)

Preheat the oven on broil. I mixed the ingredients well, being careful not to over mix as that will make the meatballs tough. I shaped the mixture into two inch meatballs and placed them in a large foil lined pan. (I lined the pan with foil so I don't have to clean it after.) I then placed the pan on the top rack and browned the meatballs and then turned them over and browned the other side. It was approximately 6 minutes each side but I always check one by cutting it in half to make sure it is cooked through. 

Broiled Meatballs (with honey garlic sauce) and Zucchini Potato
#Beef #Meatballs

Zucchini Potato

Zucchini Potato
This is so simple and very tasty. Make sure you cut up your zucchini in bigger chunks so that they don't get too mushy waiting for the potatoes to be ready.  Place the cut up zucchini and potatoes in a pot and fill with water, add salt. Careful when this gets boiling, as it likes to boil over. :(  Once your potatoes are done, strain the zucchini potato and put into a bowl.  Add olive oil and salt to taste.  Mix gently.  Serve warm. That's it.  :D

#Veggies #Zucchini #Potatoes

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Roast Pork Pie

Roast Pork Pie
I like to make pies with left over meat. This pie was made with left over roast pork. I added some canned peas and made a packet of Club House mushroom gravy and voila a hearty pork pie! I chopped up the pork into cubes, strained the canned peas and prepared the gravy. In a saucepan, on medium heat I mixed it all together. Once the meat mixture had heated through, I poured it into a prepared pie shell. Sprinkled a little garlic powder on top and then covered with the top pie shell. I brushed the top with egg, cut in some slits, and baked in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. 
Roast Pork Pie

#Pork #Leftovers #Pie #ClubHouseGravy

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Teriyaki Beef Pot Pie

Leftover roast?  No problem!  How about some Teriyaki Beef Pot Pie?  :D

Teriyaki Beef Pot Pie
I always try to have pie shells in the freezer in case of a pie emergency. I managed to find enough shells for two small pies and decided to make Teriyaki Beef Pot Pies. They were so good! I used a slight variation of the Beef Teriyaki Recipe with just beef, onions, garlic and peppers. On the bottom pie shell I put some leftover peas and then the beef teriyaki on top. I then covered this with the top shell, brushed some egg over top and cut in some slits. This was baked in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. I will definitely be making this again. 

#Beef  #Teriyaki #Leftovers #Pie 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thea Maria's Melomakarona--Honey Dipped Cinnamon Cookies (Greek Christmas Cookies)

Honey Dipped Cinnamon Cookies
There are so many recipes out there for these cookies and in a lot of recipes from my mom, aunts and mom-in-law the directions and measurements are not specific. "You will know by looking at it, a Greek coffee cup full, a hand full of this and a pinch of that". Ugh! My Thea Maria gave me this recipe about twenty years ago and when I asked her if I could post her recipe she said, "Which one? I have four!" I'm going to have to get back to her as to why she was holding out on me. :P 

For the cookie:

2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups crisco (melted or room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
4 eggs, (2 whole and 2 yolks)
1 shot of cognac or whisky
orange rind from one orange

6 cups of cake and pastry flour, sifted (this is an approximation)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Crushed walnuts for topping (optional)

For the syrup:

1 1/2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
A wedge of lemon
3 tbsp vanilla extract

For the cookie: place the first seven ingredients into a large mixer bowl. Mix this until it thickens up and becomes and a solid light brown colour. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves with two cups of the flour and blend this into the wet mixture. Mix thoroughly and start adding flour a cup at a time until batter is soft and full but not sticky. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an ice cream scoop drop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Depending on the size of your scooper you may wish to cut the cookie dough in half and then roll it into a ball (which is what I did--this will give you approx. 120 cookies spacing them three across and six down on each tray). I then use a fork and poke the top of the cookie two or three times on a slant, pressing the cookie down a bit. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use the top and middle racks and bake for 11 minutes then switch the trays and bake for 8 more minutes. Oven times may vary depending on ovens and the size of your cookies. Let the cookies cool before dipping them into the warm syrup.

For the syrup: in a medium/small pot, mix together the honey, sugar and water over medium heat. Add the lemon wedge and vanilla. Simmer and skim off any foam that arises. Once the syrup is clear and warm you can start dipping the cookies. Put the cookies in upside down letting them sit for about 30 seconds, flipping them and sitting for 30 seconds more. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool on a parchment lined cookie sheet (if you wanted to add the crushed walnuts on top you would do that here). My husband likes his with walnut crumbs sprinkled on top, and the kids like them plain. 

#Cookie #Christmas 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Easy Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki Salmon
For this recipe I used Olivia frozen salmon, (they come individually wrapped), which I purchased from Costco. Place the frozen salmon fillets in a baking pan and spoon some teriyaki sauce* over top, turn the salmon over and spoon more sauce over top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. Not necessary to turn them during the bake time. If you have some teriyaki sauce left over you can spoon some over the salmon when you plate it. This recipe is quick and easy and if you line the pan with foil, no pan to clean. If I am making 3 pieces or less I use my toaster oven.  

*Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 -2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Mix all but cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan and begin heating.
Mix cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to sauce in pan.
Heat until sauce thickens to desired thickness. 

Teriyaki Salmon and Vegetables over Rice

Teriyaki Salmon and Vegetables over Rice

I made the rice in my Zojirushi Rice Cooker.  Chopped up some sweet pepper, portobello mushrooms, and onion and took out some stir fry veggies from the freezer (bought from Costco) and threw them all into the wok which had a little olive oil in it. Once the veggies were almost done I mixed in the teriyaki sauce, (I had made a double batch), and let it simmer for a few minutes. So good!  :D

#Salmon #Teriyaki #Costco 

Leek Pie

Leek Pie
This is great for when you need something quick and easy. This pie can be served for any meal. I've had it for breakfast or brunch with a side of bacon or sausage and for lunch or dinner with a salad.

This is when your stock of pie shells comes in handy. I just pull one out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.

You will need:

1 9 inch deep pie shell (I use tenderflake lard)
2 teaspoons butter
3 cups of chopped leeks
1 cup of half and half cream
1 cup of emmentaler cheese (shredded) 

1 large portobello mushroom, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Stir in leeks and cook until soft. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat and stir in cream and cheese. After about 5 minutes, pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden on top. Let pie sit before cutting. 

Leek Pie with Portobello Mushroom

#Leeks #Pie

Monday, December 8, 2014

Assorted Stromboli

I can't believe I had never heard of a stromboli especially since this family loves anything 'pizza ish'. :D  I first saw this over at my friend Diane's facebook page Canning and Cooking at Home.  Here is the link to the recipe.  Now I make it all the time!  We love it!  The following are a few of our favourites which, of course, have been 'Christine'd'.  :D

Assorted Cold Cuts, Cheese, Pepperoni, and Pizza Sauce
Ready for the Oven
One for the boys with hot salami, hot mortadella, ham, spicy pizza sauce, swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese; can you sense why it's the boy's pizza? The other one was with ham, pizza sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese.


Trying one not braided
Thinly sliced kolbassa, hot and spicy pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and some velveeta sliced cheese for my daughter. :D
Leftover Chicken, Caesar Salad Dressing, and Cheese
For this, I chopped up the leftover chicken and put it into a large bowl, to the chicken I added about half a 500g bar of mozzarella cheese, grated, and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Mixed it up and set it aside. I rolled out the pizza dough, usually this will make me two 14 inch pizzas but I decided to make one giant stromboli. I placed the chicken mixture down the centre of the rolled out dough and then poured about 1/2 cup of the caesar salad dressing over the top. I then braided the dough over top of the mixture. Transferred the stromboli to a foil lined pan that I lightly brushed with olive oil. I brushed egg over top of the dough and sprinkled some garlic powder and parsley over top. I baked it in a preheated 400º oven for about 25 minutes on the centre rack.

Chicken Caesar Stromboli with Caesar Salad
#Stromboli #Pizza

Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies dipped in chocolate with a few sprinkles on top
Here is another family favourite that I have been making for years.  My sister requests these all the time, (she likes them dipped in chocolate and has them with her Greek coffee).  I will make three or four batches at a time as they do not last very long around here.  They freeze really well if you have any left to freeze. :D  This recipe is so versatile, you can change up the extract, add in some cocoa (remember to take out an equal amount of flour, i.e. if you add 3 tbsps of cocoa, take out 3 tbsps of flour), and/or change the chocolate chips.  Another variation is to make 'Jam in' Butter Cookies. Have fun!

1 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

*Optional:  chocolate chips, vegetable oil, and sprinkles

In your mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar well.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add this to the butter mixture and mix well.  Using a small sized ice cream scoop, place the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Slice the scooped dough in half and shape into balls.  Press down slightly.  Bake in a 350 degree convection oven for approximately 12 minutes.  (If you are baking three trays at a time, the trays on the lower rack may need to be rotated to the top and baked a little longer.)    

Butter Cookies
These are nice plain but we like to dip them into chocolate. :)

They will not last long
Chocolate Butter Cookies

*I don't have exact measurements for this.  I will melt some chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk, dark, or mint chocolate--whatever you like), in a double boiler.  Add in about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and stir constantly until the chips have melted.  Once the chips have melted, dip your cookies in half way and then place them on waxed paper to dry. Add your sprinkles.  If you are going to freeze the cookies I suggest you freeze them without the chocolate and dip them later.

#Cookies #Butter #Christmas

Friday, December 5, 2014

Surprise! It's Leftover Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes!

Do you remember that yummy meatloaf I had made a few days ago?
Ma's Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
Well we had some leftover and I wanted to show you what I do with leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes. :D  I had enough leftover to make two new 'loaves'.  I buttered two loaf pans and then spread my mashed potatoes on the bottom of the pans.  I didn't have any corn leftover, so I opened a can of peas and put them over the mashed potatoes. Then I sliced up the leftover meatloaf and covered the peas.

Next I made some Bechamel Sauce to pour over top. 

Bechamel Cream Sauce

4 tbsp  butter
4 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 slightly beaten eggs
1/4 tsp salt

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, remove from heat and stir in the flour a tablespoon at a time, blending until smooth with a whisk. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. Add the slightly beaten eggs (I usually add the salt to the eggs). Cook over low heat stirring until thick. 
Bechamel Sauce
Spread the bechamel sauce evenly over top of the meatloaf.  Sprinkle some bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over top.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes, until custard has set. If the top is not browned enough, place under broiler for a few minutes watching carefully so as not to burn. Let the loaf sit before cutting so that it will hold it's shape. Otherwise, it will look more like a thick soup.  :P
'Leftover Meatloaf and Mashed Potato' Loaf

Thursday, December 4, 2014


One of my favourite ways to make broccoli. Boil broccoli pieces in salted water to desired tenderness. Strain. Mix broccoli with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to your taste. 

#Veggie #Broccoli 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ginger Cookies

I have been making these cookies for years and get requests for them all the time. These are a family favourite and I make them year round but I absolutely have to make them for Christmas.  It is apparently some sort of law in this house. :D  I will make three or four batches at a time because they do not last very long around here.  They freeze really well too! (If there are even any left to put into the freezer. :p)
Ginger Cookies
3/4 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon (can use 2 tsp of cinnamon depending upon your taste)
1/2 tsp salt

Sugar (to roll the cookie balls in)

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add egg and mix.  Mix in the molasses.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.  Add this to the butter mixture and mix well.  Using a small sized ice cream scoop, place the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Slice the scooped dough in half, shape into balls and roll in sugar.  Press down slightly.  Bake in a 350 degree convection oven for approximately 12 minutes for softer cookies, longer, for a crisper cookie. 

#Cookies #Ginger #Christmas

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ma's Meatloaf (Recipe from my Mother-in-law)

You will come to notice in future posts that recipes given to me by my mom and mother-in-law will not have specific measurements. Welcome to my world. lol Nevertheless the food is always fantastic and I hope to be able to cook as well as they do when I grow up. :P

Ground beef (I used approx 4 lbs of ground beef so that I could have two loaves).
Garlic, minced
Onion, grated
Olive oil
Tomato sauce (If making two loaves you will need 2 cans--(approx. 6 cups of sauce)--a little over half of one can (approx. 2 cups), to go into the meatloaf mixture and the rest to pour over top so that you can have some sauce to put onto the mashed potatoes).

Three Hard boiled eggs (optional)*

In a bowl, combine the ground beef with breadcrumbs, oregano, parsley, mint, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, olive oil (about 2 tbsp if making two loaves), and a little bit of the tomato sauce (a little over half a can if making two loaves).  Put meat mixture in a deep pan to make a loaf or loaves.

Meat Loaves--one with egg, one without (I added some homemade sauce into these ones)
*If using the hard boiled eggs, flatten the meatloaf to make room for eggs. Cover the eggs by lifting up the meat on both sides of the egg and sealing to make a loaf. I usually turn the loaf over to have the smoother side on top.

Drizzle some olive oil over top of the meatloaf and then pour the tomato sauce over top.

Drizzle some olive oil and then pour some tomato sauce over top
Put a little bit of water in the pan (about 1 cup). Bake uncovered in oven 350 degrees for approx. 60 minutes. You may need more time depending upon how thick your loaves are.  I usually serve this with mashed potatoes that I top with the tomato sauce from the pan.

Meatloaf with Egg, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn
#Beef #Meatloaf

***Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes?  No problem.  Click here.  :D