Homemade Irish Cream

By Corinne

The homemade “Bailey’s”recipes usually make the pinterest rounds at Christmas, but really it’s good any time. Most of the recipes make a bit of an annoying amount as you always end up either with Irish whiskey left over, or not enough to quite double it or equally annoying amounts of condensed milk either left over, or needing a can and a bit. I fiddled with the amounts here in order to use an entire 750mL of Irish whiskey and one can of sweetened condensed milk. Store in the fridge- keeps at least 2 months.

750mL ¬†Bailey’s $29.95

750mL Tullamore DEW $33.95

It works out to about $18 per 750mL of the homemade concoction when you account for the other ingredients. So cost savings, plus delicious!!!!

Makes: a smidge more than 1.5L – use the extra in your coffee immediately

Time: less than 10 minutes

You will need:

  • 750mL (25oz) of Tullamore DEW or other Irish whisky of your choice
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp instant coffee (this happens to be the amount in one of the little starbucks instant coffee packages)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of chocolate syrup (or 6 tbsp however you prefer to measure)
  • 1 300mL (10oz)can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 1/2 cups of light cream (18%)

 

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together until well mixed. Funnel into 2 750mL containers with lids. Give a good shake before using. It can be stored in the fridge for at least 2 months. Be aware, when you first mix it up, it will taste quite ‘boozy’ ha, ha, especially if you’re doing it in the morning! It does mellow out quite a bit even in the first few hours, and definitely in the first few days.

Pumpkin Tarts

By Julie

Time: 40 min

Serves: 15 tarts

It’s that time of year when all things pumpkin come out.  Admittedly, I think it’s going  a little overboard lately.  Tim Hortons started peddling their pumpkin wares in August this year and the pumpkin spice crazy is getting a little bit over-done.  I do like some traditional pumpkin pie, but I also love the versatility of tarts.  I like how they are small, personal portions and how pretty they are with their rustic dough.  You can make your dough prettier by using a cutter and folding it and forming it properly with a rounded spoon, but I like the folded look with the uneven edges.  It shouts, “hey!  I’m homemade”.  Don’t make your pastry too thin however, the filling is heavy and they need some sturdy support.  The goal is to roll them just shy of a quarter-inch.  My favourite part of pumpkin pie is the warm spices.  I like it spicy.

You Will Need:

  • One tart pastry recipe – you will have enough filling for 15 tarts or so.  I used the pastry from Maple Raisin Butter Tarts.  This is my universal tart dough.
  • 1 cup brown sugar.  I used dark but light is fine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 14oz of pureed pumpkin.  Canned is fine
  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

The cream is important.  You want the filling to stiffen on baking so it holds up in the tart shells

Prep

Grease your muffin tins, I used a full 12 plus a 6 to use up all of this filling.  I ended up with 15 tarts.  Preheat oven 450F.

Make The Filling

Mix the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a large bowl.  I used a mixer but it is not necessary.  Add eggs and mix until incorporated.  Mix in pumpkin, then add milk and cream.

Bake

Fill the tart shells 3/4 full.  Use an egg-wash if you like shiny pastry.  Bake at 400 for 15 min then reduce to 350 for 20-25 min.  Your tarts should be set and nicely browned.  Jiggle the pan to make sure the center is set.  It should be stiff.  Let cool completely in tart shells before removing.  Serve the same day.  These will keep for a few days in the fridge but once you go there the pastry will soften some but still be delicious.  Top with a generous portion of whipped cream because it’s delicious and why wouldn’t you?  This recipe also works just fine in a 9 inch pie shell.

Chili Lime Roasted Acorn Squash and Black Bean Wraps

By Corinne

My husband is a wonderful person to cook for. He is ever appreciative, isn’t picky and loves ALMOST everything. In fact, even things he doesn’t LOVE he will eat and then when asked for a review of our meal, he will say that it’s, “not my favourite”.

Among things that fall into the ‘not favourite’ category, are any of the sweet vegetables. He doesn’t generally care for cooked carrots, no matter how savory you make them, and generally isn’t a fan of any of the squashes except spaghetti squash, as all the others fall into the ‘sweet vegetable’ category.

But even knowing this, I sometimes can’t help myself at market. I buy squashes because they are beautiful and I like eating them. And I am sure that if do it just right, he won’t notice what he’s eating, and sometimes I’m right ūüėČ This was one of those meals.

I made my own tortillas, but certainly store bought ones will work just fine.

Makes: about 7 or 8 wraps, depends a bit on how full you make them. They are quite filling.

Time: about 10-15 min prep, 25-30 min bake

You will need:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used marble for these pics because I happened to be out of cheddar, but when I have cheddar, that’s what I use)
  • about 2 cups of greens of some sort, romaine works fine, I used a spicy radish mix from the market

For the dressing:

  • juice of three limes – about 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup canola
  • 3 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 thai chili pepper if desired

Preheat oven to 450F. Halve squash lengthwise, cut off stem ends. Remove seeds and roast if desired (if you like roasted pumpkin seeds, do this! They are delicious!). Cut squash into 3/4″ wide wedges. Brush lightly with canola and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast squash for 15 minutes, and then flip. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. While squash is roasting, prepare the ‘dressing’. Juice limes, mince garlic, cilantro, and chili pepper (if using) and whisk together with canola and lime juice and set aside.

At the 15 minute mark after you’ve flipped the squash, add 2 tsp of canola or butter to a pan. Chop onion and add to pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then add the can of drained, rinsed black beans.

When squash is finished roasting, you have two options. You can leave the skin on, or peel it off the slices after ¬†you’ve let them cool for a few minutes. I don’t mind leaving the skin on, as it is generally pretty thin and I don’t mind eating it. In fact, even when I take it off, I umm…generally eat it as I do so. ¬†¬†I find the variegated variety of acorn squash does tend to have an even thinner skin so am more likely to leave it on, but I removed it tonight.

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the dressing over the baked squash.

Pour the rest of the ‘dressing’ into the black beans and onions.

Cook black beans and onions for about another 5 minutes until dressing has reduced a bit. Using a potato masher, give black beans a few mashes, you aren’t going for a perfectly smooth texture, you just want them to be broken up enough that they won’t be rolling all over the place.

Place your wrap on a plate, sprinkle some grated cheese down the middle, a few tbsp of the mashed black beans, a few pieces of the roasted squash and some greens. Fold up from the bottom, then fold over the sides (I always do right side first, tuck it in, then left, but the opposite works just as well!) and poke in a toothpick to keep it together. Eat and enjoy!

 

Easiest Baked Chicken

By Corinne

The inspiration for this dish was that I had just unpacked my order from Pampered Chef (note, I am not a consultant, do not get any pay or products for mentioning it) and I wanted to use my new RockCrok Everyday Pan right away. I mostly bought this pan because it can go on the BBQ. We don’t have air conditioning, and I do a LOT of BBQ in the summer, but it can get challenging always grilling and keeping things interesting.

Anyway, so I had just unpacked my order and felt like I must make something in it NOW. So I scrounged about to see what I could come up with, as my original supper plans didn’t quite work for this pan. This is one of my threw-it-together-with-what-I-had-on-hand suppers- which I don’t usually bother measuring or blogging, but I had an inkling that it might come out particularly good, so bothered with the pesky measuring devices.

Though I would normally prefer my potatoes to get a bit crispy when I bake them, if you give them a little smash with your fork on your plate and then spoon some of the delightful broth over them they end up not wanting for either crispness, nor butter. I don’t actually have any pictures of this part, because I was too busy putting them in my mouth before I could take a picture of it plated.

Serves: 2, or 3-4  with a side salad

Time: 5-10 min prep, 60-65 min bake

You will need:

  • 2 baking potatoes (I happened to use several heirloom fingerling varieties, but about 2 ‘regular’ potatoes also works)
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 small zuchinni

For the rub

  • 1 tsp paprika (sweet, smokey or hot, whatever is your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Mix together spices for rub and set aside. Cut potatoes into about 1 inch cubes and sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp of the spice mix. Season chicken on both sides with the remaining rub – just do it over the pan with the potatoes so that any that falls off ends up in your pan ūüôā Place the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes. ¬†Add 1/2 cup white wine to pan.

Bake 40 min covered. Wash zucchini, cut off ends, and then cut in half. If it is a large zucchini, scrape out seeds. Slice into about 1/2 inch wide pieces and reserve until chicken has baked for 40 min.

Add zucchini. Bake 20 min uncovered.

Bake an additional 5 min on broil if desired to crisp up the chicken skin ūüôā

To serve, place chicken thighs and vegetables on plate. Give potatoes a quick smash with your fork, then spoon some of the broth from the pan over potatoes and zucchini.

 

 

Honey Beef and Carrot Stir-Fry

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By:  Julie

Time: 30 min.  15 min cook, 15 min prep

Serves:4

Every time I see a recipe in a magazine that I think might be delicious, I rip it out and store it in a drawer.  When I make my meal plan for the week I pull the stack out and pick a few that feature something in season and are easy weeknight meals.  This is one such prize.

When you check out at our tiny foodland, there is a stack of free goodies at the end of the belt which usually includes a bunch of advertising, and also a magazine that has recipies inside.  I believe this came from there.  The steak turned out very tender (thank you Dresden meats for your affordable prices and beefy goodness).  The sauce was sweet and hot and delicious all at the same time.  Spiciness will depend on the amount red pepper flakes you use, but more is better.  I made this from start to finish in less than 30min, which is super important in my world of toddlers, daycare cold and flu and a ridiculous work schedule.

You Will Need:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (or cider if you don’t have it)
  • 6 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb boneless grilling steak (i used a nicely marbled sirloin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil / vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 cup water

Prep 

If you are lucky you have one of those fancy gadgets that cut your carrots into uniformed soldiers of culinary awesomeness. ¬†I do not. ¬†So cut them into tiny pieces without loosing any fingers. ¬†Mince your fresh ginger. ¬†Don’t skimp. ¬†The ginger/honey/carrot combo really makes this meal. ¬†Mince your garlic cloves. ¬†Cut up your steak into thin strips AGAINST THE GRAIN. ¬†Against the grain is important, otherwise you will be eating stringy beef.

Cook

Combine honey, soy, vinegar, 4 tsp of cornstarch, red pepper flakes and whisk until combined.  Set aside.  Toss beef strips with remaining two tsp of corn startch.  Head 1 tbsp of the oil over high heat and stir-fry until browned.  Remove beef and set aside.

For this next part, remove your pan from the heat for a second. ¬†Add the remaining oil, garlic and ginger and stir around in the hot pan until fragrant. ¬†If you leave the pan on the heat for this you will likely burn your garlic. ¬†Add carrots and stir. ¬†Return to heat and stir-fry, continuously stirring,for 2 min. ¬†Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam carrots for 3 minutes. Carrots should be soft enough to eat a this point but if they’re not, continue to steam until they are. ¬†Add honey mixture and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. ¬†Add beef and any juices, stir fry until heated through and add green onions. ¬†Serve over noodles, I used egg noodles because that’s what I had but I would prefer something thinner. ¬†This would also be good with rice.

 

 

 

 

 

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks with Lentils

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By Corinne

This is a hearty, healthy, and VERY easy to put together meal. The lamb is slow cooked in a simple broth until it’s mild, tender and falling apart. The lentils are cooked with it, so your side is already done!

This recipe is inspired by and lightly altered from Wholesome Kitchen by Ross Dobson- which unfortunately is no longer in print. It’s a nice cookbook with lots of recipes for beans and legumes, so if you ever happen to find a copy, pick it up!

Time: 10 min prep, 3 hours in oven, or 6-8 hours in slow cooker (crock pot) directions at the end)

Serves: 2-3

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup dried brown or green lentils
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 oz pancetta or bacon
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 lamb shanks
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F. In a dutch oven, or other large heavy lidded pot, cook pancetta or bacon, remove from pot and then cook onion in the leftover fat until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, the shanks should be just covered by broth. ¬†If they aren’t, ensure that at 1 1/2 hour mark you turn them over. Cook covered for 3 hours until meat on shanks pulls easily away from the bone and is very tender. Serve with a generous portion of lentils and sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

Crockpot- cook bacon and add to slow cooker. Chop onions (no need to pre cook) and add all ingredients to crockpot. I usually prepare everything the night before in the crock pot, throw it in the fridge overnight and then take it out and turn it on in the morning.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  If desired, reduce stock to 1/2 cup rather than one cup, as cooking in the crockpot there will be extra liquid РI usually just leave it at 1 cup and mop up the extra broth with some delicious bread!

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Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

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By Corinne

I love a breakfast cookie! These are hearty and delicious, full of all kinds of goodness. They are a soft cookie, but the pepitas give them a bit of a crunch.  I prefer them without chocolate chips, but my husband has more of a sweet tooth and prefers them with. If you are trying to reduce refined sugar, the brown sugar can be substituted for an equal amount of honey Рthough I find they are less sweet with honey, so you may want to add a bit more.  They are gluten and dairy free (if you omit chocolate chips).

Time: prep 10 min, bake 18-22 min per batch

Makes: about 45 cookies

Oven: preheat 350F

You will need:

  • 2 cups quick oats*
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together all dry ingredients. Melt 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil in microwave, about 1 minute. Add coconut oil, canned pumpkin and eggs to dry mixture and thoroughly mix together. This can be done pretty easily by hand, or if you have a mixer, that works too.

Place scoopfuls of mix onto a cookie sheet. They will not spread as they cook, so you can snuggle them up close together. I like to press them down and flatten them a bit after I scoop them on, as they do not flatten or spread as they cook so whatever shape they go in is the shape they come out.

Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cookies will be slightly browned around the edges and tops. Cool completely and store in an air tight container, or freeze and take out just a few at a time as desired.

*oats are one of those ‘maybe’ items for many celiac people. While oats themselves are gluten free, crops may be contaminated with wheat. Some brands of oats will say ‘gluten free’ and others don’t.