Saturday, March 9, 2019

Mexican Casserole

I haven’t posted to this blog in 5 years!  Years!  To be honest, I needed a break.  I felt like I had exhausted my cooking repertoire at the time.  I have made some changes since then.  The past 20 months I have been a member of WW (formerly Weight Watchers Canada).  I have lost 70 pounds (and counting).  I have relearned how to treat food and have a much healthier outlook on cooking.  I decided the best way to connect my WW life and my love of recipes was to pick up this blog again. We will see how it goes.
My first new offering is this Mexican Casserole.  I calculated it to be 5 points a serving.  I recommend calculating your own depending on how you tweak it for yourself.  It is delicious.  This casserole dish makes 6 generous servings.  Here’s what I did:

Cook 1 pound of extra lean ground turkey.
Add 1 diced onion, 2 diced red peppers, a can of rinsed black beans, a cup of frozen corn kernels.
Season (to your liking) with chili powder, cumin, ground coriander and garlic powder.
Cook through.
At the same time cook up your rice mix.  I used uncle Bens 7 Grain Medley, enough to make 2 cups when cooked through.  I added a little chicken bouillon (liquid) to the rice mix but you don’t have to.
Once everything is cooked, mix together.
Add 1 can of Enchilada Sauce.  Mix in.
Put everything into a 9x13 sprayed casserole dish.
Grate a couple ounces of mozzarella on top.
Bale for 20 minutes to half an hour at 350 degrees.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

We have joked about the big jar of Nutella at Costco for almost a year now.  It's huge.  I mean, who really needs that much Nutella?  When we first saw it my Nutella loving then 6 year old went crazy!

You can see the "Please Mom!" look in his eyes.

But, we didn't buy it.  We really don't need that much Nutella.  So you can imagine my surprise when in February my husband came home with one of those big jars.
My 4 year old side by side with the giant Nutella
It was on sale.  He figured out that even if we didn't eat through the entire jar of it, the sale price was better than buying the smaller jar of it.
So my kids have been eating Nutella on toast, Nutella sandwiches, Nutella in their get the idea.  And now, I'm baking with Nutella.
Here's a recipe for some absolutely delicious Nutella chocolate chip cookies.  They didn't last long in our house.
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, melted
2/3 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c Nutella
1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing well after each addition.
Add the Nutella and mix briefly, swirling the Nutella throughout the dough. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies have just started to turn brown.
Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Minecraft Cake

I love making creative cakes for my kids.  Minecraft is the 'Thing' right now, so I knew my 7 year old would really enjoy this cake as part of his birthday celebration.  I searched Pinterest for Minecraft cakes and saw ones similar to this posted.  I liked it because it was easy and effective. 

I made all the elements of the cake the night before the party. The base layer of the cake is blue Jell-O.  I made it according to their Jigglers recipe (mix packet with 2 1/2 Cups boiling hot water, place in pan - or in this case casserole baker - in fridge to set).
Separately, I made the Rice Krispie Squares and the Chocolate cake.  The day of the party I put everything together.  It came together quickly. 

1. Slide a knife through the Jell-O to cut into squares - everything about Minecraft is block-y.  The Jell-O is the water.

2. Cut the cake into same size squares - my cake cut into 16 good sized cake pieces. 

3. Frost each square of the cake with green frosting as you place it out.  I placed the cake pieces right on top of the Jell-O.  The cake is the land.  Some of the pieces of cake layers on top of each other to give it that building look of Minecraft.

4. Cut the Rice Krispie Squares into the same size as the Jell-O and Cake squares.  Lay those down as the sand of the beach.

5.  We added to the look of the cake with 2 Minecraft figures (Steve and a Creeper) and their accessories.  Some people who have done a similar cake did use foldable downloads to make their figures with.  The figures were part of our son's birthday present from us. 

Top view of the Minecraft cake ready to go to the party.
It may be simple, but my son and his friend loved it!  They thought it was so cool - and tasty too!

My son looking on as we sang Happy birthday to him.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Penguin Cupcakes!

My sweet daughter turned 4 in January.  We had a penguin party to celebrate!  Instead of cake we had cupcakes.  These little cupcakes were so cute and fairly easy to assemble.  I made a white cupcake and frosted the top with vanilla icing as the base.  For the penguins I used:
 ...Oreos, chocolate chips and Sunkist fruit snacks.  I opened the little packages of fruit snacks and took out all the orange ones.  My kids snacked on the rest.
 I carefully opened up the Oreos, putting aside the cookie only part for later.  The icing part became the face base.

I cut the fruit snacks into 3 pieces each.  One piece became the beak.  The eyes were chocolate chips.
I carefully broke the cookie piece of the oreo in 2, these became the wings.  The trickiest part was making sure the pieces stayed sticking up.  I used a knife to cut a slit to stick the pieces in, this worked.  The remaining cut fruit snack pieces became the feet.  I placed all the cupcakes on a foil lined tray and then sprinkled powdered sugar over everything to make it look like snow.  Very cute and the kids loved them!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lots of Applesauce - or, what to do with all those apples you picked!

Every year our family looks forward to going apple picking in the fall. It's a lot of fun, but we do come home with a lot of apples.  They are absolutely delicious - nothing tastes quite a fresh as an apple right off the tree right?  Look at them, aren't they gorgeous?  I did make the usual array of apple pie and apple crisp.  BTW - apple crisp with ice cream makes a fantastic surprise treat for breakfast for the family.  But applesauce is the family favorite.  Even my son who really doesn't like fruit, loves this applesauce.
Mostly Cortlands all washed and ready

The apples all chopped up and ready in the cooking pot.

Bubbling and boiling away 

Here's my large applesauce recipe:

Sweet Potato Casserole - Gluten Free!

This was a Thanksgiving gamble.  I wanted to add another veggie dish to our menus - following my Auntie's example of Thanksgivings past and I happened to have sweet potatoes on hand.  The recipe I found was not originally gluten free, I made my own adaptations to make it work for us.  If our guest's reaction was any indication, this was a success.  She had seconds and raved about it so much that I gave her the recipe.  She has since made it for a dinner party and looks forward to making it again.
  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup coconut sugar  - (you could use brown sugar, I'm just on a coconut sugar kick right now)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter.
  • Topping
  •  1/2 cup coconut sugar - or brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans - I didn't have any on hand, so I used slivered almonds in its place, it worked!


Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.
Serves 6 to 8.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Delicious Gluten Free Stuffing!

When I was first considering eating gluten free last summer one of my biggest concerns was - what about Thanksgiving?  You see, I LOVE StoveTop Stuffing.  Like the kind of love that I would make a box of it and eat just that if I wanted to.  I just couldn't imagine a Thanksgiving meal without it.  But I put those feelings aside as it wasn't Thanksgiving yet and we discovered that my husband has a serious intolerance to gluten so we continued to pursue our gluten-free diet.  And it's been good. I can honestly say I don't miss bread most of the time and I am snacking a lot less than I used to.   And then October crept up on us and I realised I had my first gluten free Thanksgiving meal to prepare.  Most of the meal wasn't an issue, turkey and a pile of veggies (I follow my Auntie Sue's rule of thumb when it comes to serving veggies at a holiday meal - make sure there are lots!), my gravy I already figured out with corn starch instead of really was just the pies and the stuffing I wanted to make work.

Here's how the stuffing played out - it was absolutely delicious.  We had dinner guests who had never eaten a gluten free bread (to their knowledge before) - one of which only likes box stuffing, not homemade and they loved it!  I loved it too.  I made my bread from scratch, but I'm sure you could use a store made gluten free bread to make this work.

First - the Bread

I used Elana Amsterdam's Scrumptious Sandwich Bread recipe from her Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  I will admit when I first mixed this batter I had my doubts.  (My gluten free bread baking experience has been hit and miss).  But this recipe really worked and it was quite quick and easy for a bread.  Do yourself a favor and put this book on your cookbook want list.  It is a really great little Gluten Free cookbook.

Here's the bread recipe:

3/4 Cup creamy roasted almond butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/4 blanched almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground flax meal

Preheat the oven to 350* F.  Prepare a 7x3 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, mix the almond butter until smooth (she suggests a handheld mixer, I used my Kitchenaid mixer).  Blend in the eggs.  In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, baking soda and flax meal.  Blend the almond flour mixutre into the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes on the the bottom rack of the oven, until a knife inserted into the rack of the loaf comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve.

Second - preparing the bread cubes

I let my bread cool while I was at church.  When I returned to it, I removed it from the pan and sliced it into bread cubes.  I put the cubes into a large bowl.  Meanwhile, I melted about a 1/4 cup of butter, adding a tsp of garlic powder into it.   I poured the melted garlic butter mixture over the bread cubes, coating all the cubes.  I spread the cubes onto two baking sheets and put them into an oven set to 225*F.  Let them bake to dry out (about an hour, but keep checking).  You could skip the make your own bread step and start here with store made gluten free bread.

Third - the Stuffing!

This stuffing recipe would be good with both regular bread and a gluten free bread.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • all of your bread cubes (or 10 cups of bread cubes)
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350* F.  Melt butter in a large pan. Saute onions, salt, sage, and thyme for 5 minutes on medium heat, until onions are soft. Turn off heat. Add bread cubes and gently stir them into the onion mixture. Slowly pour chicken broth over the bread cubes folding everything carefully so the bread cubes do not break apart too much. In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix. Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated. Scoop uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasty on top.
*I would have added some celery if I had it - 2 or 3 stalks chopped up well, cooked in with the onion and herb mixture.

So there you go - proof that you can have a gluten-free Thanksgiving supper that with a delicious gluten-free stuffing.  Looking forward to my Christmas meal now :)