Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes

By Corinne

Who would have thought a twice baked potato without cheese or bacon would be so good? I mean, technically these aren’t twice baked potatoes since I cheat and microwave them whole and then bake them once they’re stuffed. Time is money as they say, and sure, if you have time to bake your potatoes for an hour and THEN do the rest, go right ahead.

Time: 35 min (or possibly faster depending on your microwave)

Makes: 4 servings

Oven: 450F

You will need:

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 3/4 cup broccoli- in tiny florets
  • 1 shallot- finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic- finely minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper- several generous grinds

Give potatoes a good scrub. Microwave them whole on high heat until tender (if you gently squeeze them they will squish). I drape them in a damp paper towel, as I find it keeps the skin from getting tough. In my microwave, this takes 15 minutes. I have the smallest, cheapest microwave because I mostly use it to reheat tea (which takes 1 1/2 minutes). In your microwave it may take considerably less time.

While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 450F. Mince onion and garlic and set aside. Cut broccoli into tiny florets and return to measuring cup, add water until broccoli is just covered. Melt butter and set aside.

When potatoes are cooked, remove from microwave. You can let them cool a bit until they are easier to handle if desired. Cut potatoes in half and carefully remove the majority of the flesh, placing in a medium bowl. Brush the outside of the potato skin with butter.

Microwave broccoli until hot, bright green and just tender crisp (2 minutes in my microwave). Drain.

Combine potato with broccoli, 1 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup sour cream, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix together until combined.

Gently spoon mixture back into potato skins. Brush the top with remaining butter.

Bake for 20 minutes at 450F until potatoes have little golden peaks. Eat as a side with whatever else you happen to be making.

20180214_175713.jpg

Advertisements

Easy Beer and Panko Fried Pickles

By Corinne

I like to use the pickles that are already sliced for sandwiches to make these to save a step- you can of course slice whole dills, or even slice them into little rounds if you prefer.

If you’ve never used panko crumbs, they are NOT the same as regular Italian style bread crumbs. They are lighter and cook up much crispier than regular crumbs. Panko style crumbs are made by cooking bread using an electric current rather than heat- so the loaf has no brown outside crust. This video from Upper Crust Enterprises doesn’t have the most engaging narration, but does take you on a factory tour and through the panko making process if you’re interested.

You will need:

  • 10 large slices of pickle
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1 tbsp snipped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • several grinds fresh pepper
  • Vegetable, canola, safflower or sunflower oil for frying
  • salt if desired

Dip

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp snipped fresh dill

Heat oil over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, mix flour and beer. Stir in snipped fresh dill. In another shallow bowl or pie plate, add panko crumbs.

Dip pickle slices into beer batter, then transfer to panko crumbs, pressing crumbs in slightly. Set aside on a plate. Repeat until all pickle slices have been breaded.

Use a few sacrificial crumbs and place them in the oil- they should vigorously bubble. If the oil is too hot and starts to smoke, remove immediately from heat. If the oil is too cold, your breading will absorb more oil then necessary.

Stir together sour cream, 1-2 cloves minced garlic and snipped fresh dill. Set aside.

Fry battered pickles in batches, one to two minutes on each side, placing on a piece of paper towel to cool until all are finished. Serve with sour cream dip.

** if you are making a larger quantity, you can keep them warm in the oven while you’re cooking the next batch, but place them on a wire rack on a cookie sheet to keep them from getting soggy bottoms.

20180120_172525.jpg

 

Baked Harissa and Honey Chicken Wings

 

20170923_193853By Corinne

I love chicken wings. They are one of those things that I can somehow manage to keep eating far past the point where I should have stopped. These wings are spicy and a bit sweet. Both the spiciness and the sticky sweetness can be easily altered to taste.

Time: 1 hour

Makes: 2lbs chicken wings

You will need:

  • 2lbs chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp harissa spice*
  • 2 tbsp honey

Lay wings in a single layer on a stoneware baking pan, or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle harissa spice over top, then flip wings and sprinkle remainder of harissa spice on the other side.

Bake in a 400F oven for 45-55 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and drizzle 1 tbsp honey over wings, flip and drizzle with remaining honey. If you like them sweeter and stickier, use more honey. Return to oven for 5 more minutes.

*I’ve been using the PC brand Harissa Spice Blend. I would say it’s fairy spicy, but 1 tbsp over 2lbs of wings results in no more than sort of a ‘medium’ spice level. You can of course increase this to taste!

Black Bean Dip

By Corinne

Cilantro seems to be one of those things that people like or REALLY dislike. The people who like it always seem to like it a lot. To me, cilantro tastes fresh and almost a bit citrusy. The people who hate it usually describe it as tasting like soap. That all being said, this black bean dip is for sure for the cilantro lovers! The ingredient list is short, and it’s a nice complement to salsa.

Time: 5 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • a generous handful of cilantro including stems-see photo below for an idea of how much- you could of course use less if that is your preference
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • juice of two limes

Drain and rinse the black beans. Give the cilantro a rinse, but don’t worry about drying it. Add beans, cilantro, 1-2 cloves of garlic, and the juice of two limes to a food processor and pulse until combined. Serve with bread or tortilla chips, or as a yummy spread on a wrap (think the way you might use hummus). This is fine made the day before, but doesn’t keep well for more than a few days because of the mass of cilantro. I used canned beans, which I usually find salty enough, but if you are using dried beans that you’ve rehydrated, you may wish to add salt.

20170719_193623

Party Appetizer Round Up!

by Corinne

Christmas isn’t the end of parties and appetizers, so here’s the round up of the last few weeks if you’re looking for something for a New Year’s party! There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for vegetarian, gluten free, fast and easy, freezer friendly or indulgent deliciousness.

Marinated Feta Dip

Smokey Caramelized Onion Dip

Three Cheese Spinach Dip

Mini Lasagnes

Pears with Prosciutto and Cheese

Caprese Bites

Pesto Tortellini bites

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Crispy Wontons with Pork Filling

Antipasto Kabobs with Oregano Marinade

 

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

By Corinne

These little apps are a hit wherever I’ve brought them. I looked into them because I thought there was another name for them – and there is, sort of. Traditionally roumaki has chicken liver wrapped in there with the water chestnut. No thank-you, I’m good. That being said, there is one problem with these, it’s FAR to easy to eat a lot of them!

Time: 5 min to prep marinade, 2-24 hours marinate, 15 minutes prep, 25 minutes bake.

Oven: 400F

You will need:

  • 1 540mL (19 oz)can whole water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup sodium reduced soy sauce *GF as long as GF soy sauce is used
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 chili pepper minced or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • toothpicks

Combine soy sauce, garlic, chili, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to also accommodate the water chestnuts. Whisk to combine. Add drained, rinsed water chestnuts to marinade. Allow to marinate overnight, or at least 2 hours.

Cut bacon in half and lay on a plate. Partially cook – about 5 min in my microwave. This saves you time in the oven and ensures you end up with crispy bacon. Drain any fat that has come off of bacon.

Wrap half of a piece of bacon around each water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Place on a cookie sheet and back at 400F for 20-25 minutes until bacon is crispy.

 

 

Antipasto Kabobs with Oregano Marinade

img_4842

By Corinne

The nice thing about these is you can easily alter them according to your own tastes or those of your guests. Celiac or gluten free guests? Make some without tortellini! Olives make you gag? Leave them out! Like to spice things up? Make them with hot genoa! Is any pepper too hot? Consider leaving out the pepperoncinis 🙂

The bocconcini is delightful if you have time to let it marinate overnight – if not, it will still be better for having spent at least 20 minutes in the dressing.

You will need some combination of the following:

  • 10-20 cherry tomatoes, halved if using mini san marzano cherry tomatoes
  • about 20 olives
  • about 20 slices thinly sliced genoa sausage
  • mini bocconcini cheese-1 pkg about 20-22 pieces
  • about 7 pepperoncini peppers
  • canned, drained artichoke hearts- not pictured but a nice addition if you have them
  • cooked tortellini* I wouldn’t use tortellini if I was also making pesto tortellini skewers with sundried tomatoes **not gluten free if using tortellini
  • cubes of another cheese if desired- such as asiago

Marinade for bocconcini and/or tortellini:

  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano (yes, a tablespoon, not a teaspoon)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook about 20-25 tortellini according to package directions if using. Do not over cook. Drain and let cool slightly.

Drain and pat dry bocconcini.

Whisk together marinade ingredients and divide marinade between bocconcini and tortellini if using. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, but preferably overnight.

I like to prep all of my ingredients for any sort of food that requires assembly like this one into little prep bowls. Half cherry tomatoes if using ones that are particularly large or if using my favourite mini san marzanos.

Using kitchen shears, snip off stem end of pepperoncini and then halve or quarter depending on size.

Once all ingredients are ready, start to assemble your skewers. It doesn’t matter what order you put them on in, however you do it they will end up looking pretty. When you get to the slices of genoa, if you fold each slice in half, and then in half again you get a nice effect.

Again, the beauty of these is that they can be totally personalized according to taste.