Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Quick and Easy Teriyaki Veggies on Brown Rice

Teriyaki Veggies on Brown Rice
First thing I did was start the brown rice. I measured two cups of brown rice into a strainer, rinsed it under running water, and then put it into a pot. I added four cups of water and two organic vegetable cubes and waited for it to boil, stirring occasionally. Once the water boiled, I turned the heat down to low and let it simmer with the lid half on until the water was gone. I then 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. While the veggies, and rice were cooking, I made some teriyaki sauce.

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 1/4c 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.

Once the veggies were ready, I poured the teriyaki sauce in, stirred it up, and served the teriyaki veggies over the rice.  Very yummy.  :D

#Rice #Teriyaki #Vegetables

Monday, February 23, 2015

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
I still remember the first time I had Banana Bread.  I was in public school and my friend's mom had made some for us to snack on.  It was so good!  Years had gone by and I forgot about banana bread until another friend of mine gave me her mom's recipe and it all came back to me.  Love it!  :D 

4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
6 bananas

Optional:  3/4 cups of 
Craisins or Raisins or Chocolate Chips or Walnuts 
and/or you can add in Cocoa Powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and lightly flour a bundt pan.**
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In your mixer's bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and bananas.
Slowly add in the flour mixture, but don't over beat. Pour batter into the bundt pan and tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.  
Take the top rack out of the oven and bake on middle rack for approx. 70 minutes.  I use a long wooden skewer to test for doneness.  Cool ten minutes in the pan on a rack and then place a large plate over top and flip cake. Leave to cool with pan on. The banana bread may be frosted with chocolate but I like mine plain with a little butter.   As always have fun with it and make it your own. :D

Bundt Banana Bread

That's the way I like it. :D
**You can also use four foil pans that you can find at the dollar store.  They are approx. 8 x 3 x 2 in size.  These are great for freezing for later or to give away to family and friends.  I bake them on the middle rack at 325 convection for about 40 minutes.  I will switch them around at 20 minutes.
Banana Bread in foil pans to freeze for later.
Craisin Banana Bread
#Banana #Bread #Loaves 

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Pasticho and Greek Salad

I've been making this for over 20 years. It is a family favourite. This recipe is a modified version of one of Louis Pappas' Famous Greek Recipes in combination with my mother's and mother-in-law's recipes.  It has now been Christine'd.  :) 

900 grams spaghetti (approx. 2lbs)
3 lbs lean ground beef
6 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce  
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bechamel Cream Sauce

1/4 pound butter
3/4 cup flour
5 cups warm milk
4 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Grated parmesan cheese and bread crumbs to sprinkle on top.

1.  Start preparing the pasta.  Fill a large stock pot with water.  Add salt.  Bring salted water to a rolling boil and slowly add the spaghetti stirring constantly.  Do not overcook.  When done, drain, mix the grated cheese and unbeaten eggs into the pasta and set aside. 

2.  While you are waiting for the water to boil for the pasta, melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the onions for about 5 minutes.  Add the ground beef and cook for about 20 minutes to brown, stirring often.  Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, tomato paste, and tomato sauce.  Continue to cook for another 10 minutes stirring often. 

3.  In a large deep baking dish (I use a 15 x 10 x 3 dish)**, spread half the pasta mixture onto the bottom.  Spread the meat mixture on top and then put the rest of the pasta mixture on top of the meat. 

4.  Prepare the bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, remove from heat and stir in the flour a 1/4 cup at a time, blending until smooth with a whisk. Slowly add the warm 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.

5.  Ladle and spread the bechamel sauce evenly on the top layer of spaghetti.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese and bread crumbs on top.

6.  Bake uncovered 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.

**You can also use two foil pans (I get mine from Costco. They are 12 3/4" x 10 3/8" x 2 1/2") bake one and freeze the other unbaked for later.  To cook the frozen one, bake in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 and bake until heated through (about an hour or so).

#Pasticho #Greekfood #Beef #Pasta #BechamelSauce

Thursday, February 19, 2015

BBQ Greek Chicken Breast

BBQ Greek Chicken Breast

I used the same recipe as my rotisserie chicken for the marinade.  Hubby barbequed and he did a fabulous job!  So good, and the chicken was so juicy!

BBQ Greek Chicken Breast 

7 chicken breast (family pack from Costco)

For the marinade, whisk together: 

1 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp Greek seasoning (I used Club House brand)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Place the chicken breast in a dish and pour the marinade over top.  Make sure all the sides get coated and flip the chicken every half hour.  I marinated the chicken for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.  

While the chicken was marinating I made another half batch of the marinade to baste the chicken with while it is on the barbeque.

1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tbsp Greek seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 

Hubby said he basted the chicken about every 10 minutes and checked for doneness with thermometer. We let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving.

BBQ Greek Chicken Breast, Greek Salad, and leftover take out Chinese Rice
#Chicken #BBQ #Greek

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe waaaay back in 1996 in the T.V. Guide.  Of course it's been 'Christine'd' a bit over the years.  :)  I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure out the cookie dough (to get nice even-sized cookies), and I bake in a convection oven at 350 degrees until golden. The baking time will depend upon the size of scoop.  I've made this cookie dough with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, butterscotch, and mint chocolate chips.  You can also add cocoa powder and make a chocolate chocolate chip cookie.  (If I add in 1/2 cup of cocoa powder I will take out 1/2 cup of the flour.) There are so many yummy possibilities!  This cookie also freezes really well.  I wait until they have cooled and then place them in bins with waxed paper in between the layers.  They are good for 2 to 3 months in the freezer.
From T.V. Guide 

Milk Chocolate Chips

50/50 Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip?  Chocolate Chocolate Chip?  Can't decide?  How about both?  JUMBO size!

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Chocolate Chocolate Chip with Semi-Sweet and White Chocolate Chips

50/50 Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like to make a lot of cookies so I can freeze some for later so for the 50/50 cookies I made two double batches of dough, one regular with semi-sweet chocolate chips, and one with cocoa powder and a mixture of semi-sweet and white chocolate chips.  I used my ice cream scoop (18-8).  I bake 3 trays at a time at 350 degrees convection for about 17 minutes.  My oven is getting old so sometimes the top rack is done first and I have to move the bottom tray up and bake that tray and the middle tray a few minutes more.  

#Cookies #ChocolateChip 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Yemista (Greek Stuffed Vegetables) A.K.A. 'Yummy Stuff'

One of the first recipes I will make when hubby starts bringing in the vegetables from the garden is Yemista (Greek Stuffed Vegetables).  When the kids were younger they couldn't pronounce Yemista so they called it 'Yummy Stuff'...they still do.  :)

Zucchini, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes, and Potatoes 
10 tomatoes
3 zucchini
Approx. 6 peeled and quartered potatoes coated with olive oil, salt and oregano

olive oil

2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 lb hamburger meat

A handful of white rice for every vegetable  (i.e. 13)

1/2 tsp. dried mint
1/2 tsp. parsley

½ jar Ragu 

Optional:  feta to crumble on top before serving

You will need a large pan.  Cut a slice off the top of each tomato and save.  With a teaspoon, scoop out pulp, chop it and save.  Lay the zucchini on its side and cut a strip (1/4 inch thick) right across, scoop out the zucchini but don’t save the inside and save the strip (top).  Sprinkle inside of tomatoes with sugar and salt (you will drain later before stuffing).

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until onion is soft and transparent.

Add meat, mix well, and fry until brown.

Add reserved tomato pulp, salt, pepper, parsley, mint and rice.

Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring.  Add more water if too dry.

Drain the tomatoes.  With a teaspoon, fill the vegetables with mixture and place the lids back on them. Place potatoes in between the vegetables (potatoes should have already been coated with salt, oregano and olive oil). Pour more olive oil on top and the Ragu sauce.

Preheat oven 350-375 degrees.
Bake covered in oven for approx. 45 minutes, then uncovered for 45 minutes.

*Of course you can use peppers and eggplants as well.  If you don't use tomatoes you can add 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 jar of strained tomatoes to the meat/rice mixture.

**If I have any leftover meat/rice mixture it will keep in the fridge for a few days then I can either make more yemista or I will bake it as is and serve as a side dish. You can also make an unstuffed zucchini casserole, check it out here

Unstuffed Zucchini Casserole with Feta
Zucchini and Pepper from our garden
Eggplants from our garden
Peppers from our garden

Stuffed Eggplant, Pepper, and Corn on the side

Stuffed Pepper, Potatoes, Green Beans, and Tomato Salad

Greek Stuffed Vegetables
#Yemista #StuffedVegetables #Veggies #Greek #Rice #Beef

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Broiled Beef Burgers

Ingredients for the burger mixture:
2 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 medium onion, grated
Olive Oil
Steak Spice
4 eggs
Italian Bread Crumbs

Mix the above ingredients well but do not over mix or the burgers will be tough.

Shape the burger mixture into large patties (I made nine), and place in a foil lined pan.  I set the oven on broil at 500 degrees and put pan on top shelf. It does not take long (approx. 10 minutes each side); burgers are done once they are nicely browned on both sides. I usually will cut one in half to check if they are done.

Broiled Beef Burgers with a Spring Mix Salad
Sometimes I like to mix Pork and Beef together.  :D

Pork and Beef Burgers

Pork and Beef Burgers with Fries

#Beef #Burgers #Broiled #Pork

Brisket Pizza

We decided to play with our pizza toppings again. :D  I've been wanting to make this one for a while. For the sauce, a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard and spread it over my pizza dough (14 inch) that I made in my Zojirushi Bread Maker. Then I took three packages of Corned Beef (bought from Costco-Dunn's Famous Smoked Meat Brisket) cut them up, and placed them over top.  For the cheese, we picked Havarti. :D Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  It was goooood!

#Brisket #Pizza #Havarti #Zojirushi #Dunns #SmokedMeat

Monday, February 9, 2015

Apple Crisp

I've been making this for at least 8 years now.  It's a family favourite.  This is great as a crisp or a pie. Time for dessert!  
Recipe here.
Apple Crisp
For times when you feel like pie, it is great to have frozen pie shells handy.  I like to make my shells ahead of time and freeze them.  I use Tenderflake Lard and make according to the recipe on the box. (I realize the original recipe is called a crisp but I call my pies crumbles.)  :D

6 inch Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crumble Pie Slice
For the pies, bake at 350 degrees for approximately 60 minutes until golden.

#Apple #Crisp #Pie #Crumble

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Zucchini Burgers/Fritters

Zucchini Burgers/Fritters
Shredded Zucchini (unpeeled)
Bread Crumbs
Brodie XXX Self Rising Flour

Variation:  Italian Seasoning, Italian Bread Crumbs

In a bowl, add shredded zucchini (unpeeled and squeeze out as much liquid as you can), bread crumbs, a little flour (I use Brodie XXX self rising flour), eggs, paprika, salt, and pepper.  You can also add Italian seasoning (or your favourite seasoning) or you can add Italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs.  I shape the mixture into the size of a large meatball and flatten.  Fry fritters in olive oil until golden brown.

Works with Spaghetti Squash as well!
Leftover Baked Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Burgers/Fritters
#Veggies #Zucchini #Burgers #Fritters #SpaghettiSquash #Squash 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Porky Penne Casserole

Porky Penne Casserole

1 package of Penne (900grams)
3 Eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Pork Meat Sauce*
Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs to sprinkle on top

*Pork Meat Sauce
Red Pepper
Olive Oil
Ground Pork (2 lbs)
Steak Spice
Tomato Sauce
Strained Tomatoes

Saute onions, garlic, and red pepper in olive oil.  Add the ground pork when the onions have softened. Brown the pork and then drain the grease. Add salt, pepper, basil, and steak spice. Then add one can of tomato sauce and a 1/2 bottle of strained tomatoes. Simmer for about an hour.

Prepare the pasta but do not overcook. When done, drain, and put back into the pot. Add the grated cheese and the unbeaten eggs. Mix well.  

Penne with the grated cheese and unbeaten eggs
Next pour in the meat sauce and mix.

Penne with the meat sauce
Pour the mixture into a 15 x 10 x 3 baking dish.  Cover evenly with the bechamel cream sauce. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes until golden.
Variation:  Instead of using the bechamel sauce you can grate your favourite cheese (cheddar, mozzarella etc..) to put on top of the pasta/meat mixture and bake until the cheese melts. 

If there are leftovers, we like to add tomato sauce on top of the casserole before reheating it.  Very tasty!

Reheated casserole (with tomato sauce added on top) and a Greek Salad

I made extra meat sauce (to freeze), and some meatballs.  My son decided he wanted to try both. :D  

Pork Meatballs and Meat Sauce over Spaghetti
#Pork #Penne #Pasta #BechamelSauce #Casserole 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Green Bean, Zucchini and Potato

Olive Oil
Green Beans
Fresh Tomatoes (optional)

In a pot, sauté sliced onions in olive oil until softened. Add the green beans, zucchini (cut into circles 1 inch thick), and potato (medium sized potatoes would be cut into fours).  Stir into the olive oil and onion. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley. Stir to coat all the vegetables.  Add 1/2 cup of water and simmer in a partially covered pot until the potatoes are done.  Check occasionally, to see if you need to add a little more water or more olive oil.  Don't forget to taste test to see if you need to add more seasonings.  For a variation, chopped up fresh tomatoes can be added.  The onion, green beans, zucchini, and potato were all from our garden.  Can you say FRESH!!!  :)

#Potato #Zucchini #GreenBean #Veggies