Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Mom's Smoked Salmon Soup

This is bliss in a bowl! Definitely not light - a special occasion soup!

My Mom's Smoked Salmon Soup

1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tbsp butter
7 oz. smoked salmon, chopped fine
3 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp tabasco
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 bay leaf
pinch paprika
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 lb. small shrimp, cooked and shelled

In a pan saute onion and garlic over medium-heat for 1 minute. Add smoked salmon, cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. Sprinkle flour and stir to combine.

Add broth 1 cup at a time, stirring often after each addition. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add tabasco, lemon juice, bay leaf, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes. Take bay leaf out and cool.

Add cream and shrimp and serve.

Double Tomato Bruschetta

I love love love this recipe! I only make it in the summer when the tomatoes are bursting with flavor! Tastes like the restaurant versions!

Double Tomato Bruschetta
All Recipes (Modified)

6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 cloves minced garlic
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or 1 tsp dried basil
1 French baguette
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (and/or 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese)
1 sweet onion chopped

Preheat the oven on broiler setting.

In a large bowl, combine the roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, onion, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.

Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Top the slices with mozzarella cheese.

Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

My Mom's Apple Bundt Cake

This is my mom's famous apple cake!

My Mom's Apple Bundt Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plain yogourt
1/2 cup butter

3 medium apples, peeled and sliced

Sprinkle Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.)
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350

Beat sugar and butter; add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Set aside.

Mix alternately yogourt with flour mixture to egg mixture.

Pour half of batter in greased bundt pan. Spread apple slices on top of batter evenly along with half of the sprinkle filling. Pour remaining half of batter on top. And then spread remaining sprinkle filling on top.

Bake 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

**Note: Can substitute the apples for pears or a combination of both.

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Garlic, and Anchovies

I ate this for years until I found out from my mom that there were anchovies in the recipe. Like in a Caesar Salad dressing, it gives it that little something you can't quite put your finger on. Even if you don't like anchovies, you'll love this pasta dish. This isn't my mom's recipe but it reminds me of hers. My husband and I make this quite often - I made this for myself tonight!

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Garlic and Anchovies
The Best Recipe

1 pound spaghetti
4 tbsp olive oil
5 anchovy fillets, minced to a paste (2 tsp.)
9 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pounds broccoli (about 1 large bunch), florets cut into 1 inch pieces; stalks peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 water
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1 cup)

1. Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 1 tbsp salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp of the oil, minched anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until fragrant about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the broccoli and water, cover, and cook until the broccoli begins to turn bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

4. Add the broccoli mixture, the remaining 2 tbsp oil, the parsley, and cheese to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Mom's Brownie Pudding

Great on winter nights with vanilla ice cream. It is part brownie - part oozing chocolate syrup!

Mom's Brownie Pudding

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven 350

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt

In another bowl add 1/4 cup cocoa to hot water, then add brown sugar

Grease a 9"x9" baking dish

Make a well in dry mixture. Add oil, vanilla, and milk.

Add to greased dish and spread.

Add liquid over batter using an inclined spatula.

Bake 40 minutes.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Broccoli & Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells

A stuffed shell recipe from Cooking Light was the inspiration for this recipe. The one I wanted to make had spinach but when I took out my spinach from the freezer there was a big hole in the bag so I didn't want to take a chance with using it. After looking in my fridge for something to replace the spinach with, the thought hit me - broccoli! Next time I might use proscuitto and/or sun-dried tomatoes in it too! This one is going on our favourite recipe rotation! We like the broccoli addition better than the spinach!

Broccoli & Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo shell pasta (~ 40 shells)
1 (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated fresh Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Egg, beaten
2-3 cups of broccoli florets, steamed and mashed
6 cups of your favourite tomato sauce ( I used my mom's rigatoni sauce without the meat)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup grated fresh provolone (hard) cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, egg, and mashed broccoli in a medium size bowl. Mix well.

In a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coat bottom with 3 cups sauce.

Spoon or pipe broccoli/cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange stuffed shells, seam sides up, in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella and provolone.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Friday, February 23, 2007

More Olivia Pictures!


As most of you know Marc and I became an aunt and uncle in January. AND...I became a godmother! Which totally gives me bragging rights no matter what...

My sister, Jenny, and Stephen are so happy, you cannot imagine! Olivia was born on January 5th and weighed 6 pounds 13 ounces when she was born...

I will post more pictures as I receive them!

The Ultimate Fudge Brownies

Marc and I needed a chocolate fix last night! There is nothing better than a fudgy brownie warm from the oven with a few scoops of vanilla bean ice cream! As Rachel Ray would say - YUMMO! Obviously there is no comparison between a full-fat brownie and a low-fat one but this one is very good considering there is only 4.4 grams of fat. I did make one modification though, I only used 1 cup of sugar. Make sure to start checking your brownies after 25 minutes because these can overbake very easily.

The Ultimate Fudge Brownies
One Smart Cookie

1/4 cup butter
1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 oz.)
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg whites
1 tsp. instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tsp. water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa and sugar. Mix until well blended - the mixture will have the consistency of very wet sand.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg, egg whites, coffee, and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until well blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour into an 8"x8" pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, but the middle is still soft. They will seem to be not quite cooked, but will set a little more as they cool. It is better to almost underbake brownies than to overbake them. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Makes 16 brownies.

Per brownie: 151 calories, 4.4 g fat

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Golden Sweet Cornbread

I modified the recipe quite a bit. I used 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, I substituted half the flour for whole wheat flour, I decreased the sugar to 1/3 cup and it was still sweet. We tried it the first time with 1/2 cup sugar it was way too sweet! We ate it with chili. Very easy to make.

Golden Sweet Cornbread
All Recipes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

2.In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Chocolate-Éclair Icebox Dessert

I turn it into a Mille Feuille by changing the icing - 2 cups icing sugar, 2 tbsp milk, and 1 tsp vanilla...blend and ice! Enjoy!

Chocolate-Éclair Icebox Dessert
Cooking Light

22 1/2 sheets (about 1 [14-ounce] box) low-fat honey graham crackers, divided
Cooking spray
3 cups fat-free milk
2 (3.4-ounce) packages fat-free vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (8-ounce) tub fat-free cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) tub frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Arrange 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 3 cups milk, pudding mix, and cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat at low speed of a mixer 1 minute or until thick. Fold in whipped topping. Spread half of the pudding mixture over graham crackers, and top with 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets. Repeat the procedure with the remaining half of pudding mixture and 7 1/2 graham cracker sheets.

Combine 1/4 cup milk, softened margarine, honey, and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl, and beat well with a mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar to milk mixture, and beat well. Spread chocolate glaze over graham crackers. Cover dessert and tent with foil; chill 4 hours.

Yield: 18 servings
CALORIES 234 (22% from fat); FAT 5.8g (sat 2.7g,mono 1.5g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 5.4g; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 105mg; SODIUM 352mg; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 41.5g

Beef-and-Chicken Fajitas with Peppers and Onions

Great summer BBQ recipe! And, of course, we serve it with guacamole and shredded monterey jack cheese too! You can easily use beef or chicken or both.

Beef-and-Chicken Fajitas with Peppers and Onions
Cooking Light

1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.25-ounce) can low-salt beef broth

1 (1-pound) flank steak
1 pound skinned, boned chicken breast
2 red bell peppers, each cut into 12 wedges
2 green bell peppers, each cut into 12 wedges
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 16 wedges
Cooking spray
16 (6-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
1 cup bottled salsa
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh cilantro sprigs

To prepare marinade, combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.

To prepare fajitas, trim fat from steak. Score a diamond pattern on both sides of the steak. Combine 1 1/2 cups marinade, steak, and chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Combine remaining marinade, bell peppers, and onion in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove steak and chicken from bag; discard marinade. Remove vegetables from bag; reserve marinade. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan; set aside. Place steak, chicken, and vegetables on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Wrap tortillas tightly in foil; place tortilla packet on grill rack the last 2 minutes of grilling time. Bring reserved marinade to a boil. Cut steak and chicken diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Place the steak, chicken, and vegetables on a serving platter; drizzle with reserved marinade.

Arrange about 1 ounce steak, about 1 ounce chicken, 3 bell pepper wedges, and 1 onion wedge in a tortilla; top with 1 tablespoon salsa, about 1 teaspoon sour cream, and 1/2 tablespoon cilantro. Fold sides of tortilla over filling. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 fajitas)

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 407(31% from fat); FAT 14.2g (sat 4.3g,mono 7.1g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 31.1g; CHOLESTEROL 64mg; CALCIUM 79mg; SODIUM 841mg; FIBER 5.3g; IRON 3.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 40.6g

My Mom's Mocha Cupcakes

Super moist and chocolately! The nutella in the middle as a variation makes them rich!

My Mom's Mocha Cupcakes

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cocoa
½ cup milk
½ cup hot water with 1 ½ tsp instant coffee powder or ½ cup coffee or espresso

1. Cream butter and sugar until light.
2. Add egg and vanilla to butter/sugar, beat well.
3. Mix next five ingredients separately.
4. Add some of the dry mixture into the sugar/butter mixture and then some milk, repeat until all is incorporated.
5. Stir in coffee.
6. Pour into paper lined muffin tin. Makes 14.

Bake 350F for 20 minutes. Cool and frost.

Note: you can add ½ tsp nutella in the middle of each muffin for a change.

Chocolate Banana Cake

I've never made this myself but I have had it and it is sooooo good! My sister Jenny and stepmom Charlene make it quite often for birthdays. I hear it's quite labor intensive though because it is made over 2 days!

Chocolate Banana Cake
By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

4 bananas, sliced
1 oz (30 g) melted chocolate

chocolate Cake:
3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream
3 cups (750 mL) sifted cake-and-pastry flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking soda
4 oz (125 g) semisweet chocolate
1-1/2 cup (375 mL) chopped, smashed bananas

White Chocolate Icing:
3 cups (750 mL) whipping cream
10 oz (300 g) white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
4 oz (125 g) Semisweet chocolate, chopped


In bowl, cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Beat in sour cream.

Combine flour, baking soda and chocolate; add in 3 additions to creamed mixture alternately with 2 additions of bananas, mixing just until flour is incorporated.

Spoon into 2 greased 8-1/2-inch (2.25 L) springform pans, smoothing tops. Bake in 350F (180C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pans; let cool completely.

White Chocolate Icing:
In saucepan, bring half of the cream to boil; pour over chocolate in bowl, whisking until melted. Add vanilla. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour, whisking often.

On medium speed, beat chocolate mixture just until ridges hold shape. Beat remaining cream just until soft peaks form; gently fold into chocolate mixture.

With serrated knife, slice cakes in half horizontally. Place a top layer, cut side up, on plate.Spread top with 3/4 cup (175 mL) icing; cover with single layer of bananas, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border. Cover with 1 bottom cake layer, cut side down; repeat with icing and bananas.Repeat with remaining top layer, cut side up, and some of the icing and bananas. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down.Using palette knife, cover cake smoothly with remaining icing. Refrigerate until firm, about 1-1/2 hours.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
Meanwhile, bring cream to boil; pour over chocolate in small bowl, whisking until melted. Let cool for 20 minutes or until room temperature and still pourable.Pour over centre of cake, spreading to edge with clean palette knife, if necessary, and letting some flow down sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes, or for up to 1 day. To serve, drizzle melted chocolate with fork over remaining bananas; let set. Arrange on cake. Slice with serrated knife.

My Guacamole

I love this recipe. I wasn't impressed with the first guacamole recipes I tried so I made up my own.

My Guacamole

2-3 ripe avocados
3-4 large tbsp lime juice
3-5 large spoonfuls of hot salsa (if you use mild salsa add 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce)
½ tsp of salt, or to taste
Ground pepper to taste
Dash of Cumin
2-3 tsp of dried Cilantro or Oregano
2-3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 tsp chili powder

1) Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, pop out the pit, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Chop. Add the lime juice. Mash.

2) Add rest of ingredients. Stir and blend well.

New Mexican Red Chile Sauce (Enchiladas)

Homemade is always better than canned. The recipe for this enchilada sauce is no exception! I modified it though...1/2 cup of chile powder seemed like way too much...I used 3 tbsp of regular chile powder instead and I used fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth instead of vegetable broth...

Making enchiladas is easy...we buy a small pre-cooked BBQ chicken at the grocery store, remove skin, and shred the breast meat. Spread 1/4 cup sauce over bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Fill tortillas with shredded chicken and shredded cheese. Roll and place in baking dish seam side down. Repeat until baking dish is full. Top with rest of sauce then top with thin layer of shredded cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

New Mexican Red Chile Sauce
Cooking Light

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup New Mexico chile powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add chile powder and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Yield: 3 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup)

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 43(27% from fat); FAT 1.3g (sat 0.2g,mono 0.3g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 1.2g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 20mg; SODIUM 208mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.9g

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta

This is a really good rosé sauce!

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta
Rachel Ray

This recipe will make enough for 2 couples. If you plan a romantic evening where more than two's a crowd, reserve half the sauce to freeze for another supper before the addition of basil, and only cook 1/2 to 2/3 pound of penne.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

Chicken Chilaquiles

One of our favourite mexican weeknight dinners. Don't make the same mistake as us though, we used 2 CANS of the chiles when we should have used 2 chiles from A can! I think there was fire coming out of our mouths!?@# The second time we made this was much better!

Chicken Chilaquiles
Martha Stewart Everyday Food

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in purée
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped (about 1 heaping tablespoon), plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from same can)
Coarse salt
1 small cooked rotisserie chicken (about 1 3/4 pounds), skinned and shredded (about 4 cups), carcass discarded
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
4 cups (about 3 ounces) tortilla chips
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1.75 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

1. Combine oil and garlic in a large (3-to-4-quart) saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes with their purée (breaking tomatoes up), chipotles and adobo, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer rapidly until lightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.

4. Divide chips among four shallow bowls; top with chicken mixture and sauce. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, sour cream, and feta. Serve.

Per serving: 484 calories; 19.9 grams fat; 46.3 grams protein; 27.7 grams carbohydrates; 1.8 grams fiber

Note: For an authentic touch, use fresh Mexican cheese (queso fresco) or aged (queso añejo) in place of feta.

Prize Pumpkin Pie

Here is the pumpkin pie recipe I have used for the past 2 years at Thanksgiving...I doubled the recipe and it turned out great...super easy to make too (with all the ingredients I needed on the counter and ready to go, it took 10 minutes to prepare)...I even had enough to make 4 small ramekins in addition to the 2 pies! I also froze these in advance and once defrosted you couldn't even tell that it had been frozen, freezing did not affect the texture at all! Always delicious!

Prize Pumpkin Pie - Canadian Living

2 Eggs
1 Can pumpkin puree (14 oz/398 mL)
1 Can (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) Packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) Cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) Each ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg
1 Unbaked 9-inch (23 cm) pie shell

In large bowl, beat eggs; blend in pumpkin, condensed milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Pour into pie shell. Bake in 425 F (220 C) oven for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375 F (190 C) and bake for about 35 minutes longer or until pastry is golden and knife inserted into centre comes out clean. Let cool on rack.

Fantasy Island Rum Fudge Cake

Yum yum yum!

Fantasy Island Rum Fudge Cake
Source: Tortuga Rum Fever & Carribean Party Cookbook P.239/P.274

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed firm
3 large eggs
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup dark rum
1 ½ cups vanilla or coconut yogurt
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup white chocolate morsels
1 recipe Chocolate Rum Glaze (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch tube pan or 12 cup bundt pan with oil. Cream together butter and sugars until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each. Add almond and vanilla extracts and rum. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda with a wire whisk until blended. Add flour mixture alternately to batter with yogurt, blending after each addition. Stir in coconut, pecans, and chocolate morsels until blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for an hour or until top of cake springs back. It may crack in center and appear moist when done. Prepare glaze (see recipe below). Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool 10 minutes longer. Poke holes in cake with a fork all over and then spoon glaze over. Use all of the glaze. Refrigerate cake at least an hour before serving. Cake should be stored in refrigerator to maintain fudgy texture and moistness. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Rum Glaze

3 tbsp cocoa
1 cup sugar
½ butter
¼ water
½ cup dark rum

Combine the sugar and cocoa in a small bowl and stir until completely blended. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and stir in the water and sugar-cocoa mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and keep at a low boil for five minutes, until mixture has thickened to syrup. Stir in the rum and remove from heat – mixture will bubble up immediately, so keep stirring. Cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle over cake or other dessert.

Friday, February 16, 2007

My Mom's Coquilles St. Jacques

This recipe is labor intensive and expensive but it is soooo worth it for special occasions...We use mash potatoes on top since this is how it is served in Montreal and this is how we love it but you can easily replace it with breadcrumbs and cheese.

My Mom's Coquilles St. Jacques

2 pounds potato, cubed (6-7 approx.)
2/3 cup milk, warmed
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup fat-free sodium-reduced chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 green onions -- sliced
2 leafy celery tops whole or 1 long stalk celery, chopped
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
4 whole peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound scallops, uncooked
1 pound large shrimp, uncooked
1 pound Pollock/crab stick
3 tablespoons butter – melted
2 green onions -- sliced
1 cup (8 oz.) mushrooms – sliced

1 tablespoon butter – melted
2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup light cream (or whipping cream)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. First make mashed potatoes. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine chicken stock, wine, green onions, celery, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and salt; bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain stock, reserving only liquid.

3. In a very large saucepan over medium heat, sauté sliced mushrooms and green onions in butter until tender. Add shrimps, scallops, and Pollock. Sauté until scallops turn opaque and shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. In a large microwaveable bowl, microwave 1 tbsp butter and flour on high for one minute. Stir and then add reserved broth. Stir and then microwave 1-2 minutes until broth thickens.

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

6. In a small bowl, whisk egg into cream and then add to seafood mixture. Add thickened broth. Add lemon juice. Return to heat and cook through for approximately 3-5 minutes.7. Butter six scallop shells or shallow ramekins and divide seafood mixture equally. Pipe mashed potatoes around edges of shells. Bake at 450 degrees until potatoes turn golden brown and seafood mixture bubbles slightly. Serve at once.

Lemon Spinach Salad

We're not big salad eaters but we love this salad...we leave out the pine nuts though and I cut the sugar by half...if we don't have strawberries I simply leave them out

Lemon Spinach Salad
Source: Party Dish Show - Trish Magwood -

1/3 cup (75mL) lemon juice
1/2 cup (50 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon rind
1/4 cup vegetable or grape seed oil
3 cups (750 mL) fresh spinach
1 cup (250 mL) fresh strawberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted

Directions: In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine lemon juice, sugar, mustard, grated lemon rind and oil. Pulse until combined and thickened.In a large bowl, toss together, spinach, strawberries, and sunflower seeds. Toss with enough dressing to coat.Refrigerate remaining dressing in a covered container.

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

This has 28g of fat per serving so I only make it for really special occasions! It is soooo good!

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (optional)
3 eggs

PREHEAT oven to 350°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Mix baking crumbs and butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add melted chocolate and liqueur; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.

BAKE 45 to 50 min. or until centre is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Shrimp Jambalaya

Made a couple of changes but it was delicious! I subsituted 2 large hot italian sausages instead of the ham, 1/2 tsp of dried parsley instead of fresh, 1/2 tsp of paprika instead of the red pepper, I used arborio rice, added 5-6 dashes of tabasco, and I used 1 bag of frozen cooked large shrimp.

Shrimp Jambalaya
Cooking Light

1/2 pound medium unpeeled shrimp
Vegetable cooking spray
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 pound lower-salt, lean ham, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups no-salt-added chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked

Peel and devein shrimp; set aside. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add the oil, and stir in flour.

Cook over medium-high heat 1 1/2 minutes or until brown, stirring constantly. Add onion and the next 4 ingredients; sauté 7 minutes or until tender. Add chicken broth and next 7 ingredients; stir well, and bring to a boil. Add rice; stir well. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp is done. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 356(16% from fat); FAT 6.4g (sat 1.4g,mono 1.9g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 19.7g; CHOLESTEROL 79mg; CALCIUM 111mg; SODIUM 625mg; FIBER 2.7g; IRON 5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.1g

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chicken & Shrimp Paella

This is my favourite Paella recipe...I have made tons of modifications to it though...I usually use chicken breast strips, I use hot italian sausages instead of turkey, I use a whole medium sized can of diced tomatoes, and NO PEAS - I hate peas...ick!

Chicken & Shrimp Paella
Cooking Light

6 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), skinned
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 (4-ounce) link hot turkey Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio or Valencia rice
1/2 cup diced plum tomato
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Preheat oven to 400°.

Sprinkle chicken with rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm.

Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring to crumble. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rice, tomato, paprika, saffron, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan. Add broth and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Wrap handle of pan with foil; cover pan. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp, asparagus, and peas. Cover and bake an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 chicken thigh and about 1 cup rice mixture)

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 433(15% from fat); FAT 7g (sat 1.6g,mono 2g,poly 2.5g); PROTEIN 34.8g; CHOLESTEROL 156mg; CALCIUM 73mg; SODIUM 787mg; FIBER 3g; IRON 3.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 52.8g

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Guest worthy chicken recipe!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Cooking Light

1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
5 teaspoons butter, melted
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place broth in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 15 seconds or until warm. Stir in butter and garlic. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and paprika in a medium shallow bowl; set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, oregano, and pepper. Top each breast half with 1 slice of prosciutto and 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Roll up each breast half jelly-roll fashion. Dip each roll in chicken broth mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place rolls, seam side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour remaining broth mixture over chicken. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until juices run clear and tops are golden. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 rolled chicken breast half)

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 297(30% from fat); FAT 9.9g (sat 4.4g,mono 3.6g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 45.5g; CHOLESTEROL 125mg; CALCIUM 94mg; SODIUM 619mg; FIBER 0.5g; IRON 1.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 3.8g

Cinnamon Apple Cake

A very good coffee cake recipe!

Cinnamon Apple Cake
Cooking Light

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups chopped peeled Rome apple (about 2 large)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, margarine, vanilla, and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.

Note: You can also make this cake in a 9-inch square cake pan or a 9-inch springform pan; just reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes. Yield: 12 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 281(28% from fat); FAT 8.7g (sat 1.8g,mono 3.7g,poly 2.6g); PROTEIN 4.8g; CHOLESTEROL 39mg; CALCIUM 89mg; SODIUM 234mg; FIBER 1.2g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 46.3g

Lemon Swirled Cheesecake

One of my favourite cheesecake recipes! I double the lemon curd recipe and use a simple graham cracker crust instead of the one in the recipe! Perfect summer cheesecake!

Lemon-Swirled Cheesecake
Cooking Light

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon ice waterCooking spray

3 (8-ounce) blocks fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 cup lemon curd (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare the crust, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place 2/3 cup flour and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until combined. Add chilled butter; pulse 6 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly pour ice water through food chute, processing just until blended (do not allow dough to form a ball). Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

To prepare the filling, beat cheeses at high speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar and the next 4 ingredients (1 3/4 cups sugar through salt); beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour the cheese mixture into prepared pan. Spoon mounds of Lemon Curd over filling, and swirl together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake is almost set. Remove cheesecake from oven, and cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice) CALORIES 310 (33% from fat); FAT 11.4g (sat 6.4g,mono 3.5g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 12.2g; CHOLESTEROL 126mg; CALCIUM 155mg; SODIUM 458mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 0.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 39g Cooking Light, MAY 2000

Lemon Curd
Cooking Light

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about 3 minutes). Stir in lemon juice and butter; cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cool. Cover and chill (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
Note: Lemon Curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can easily double the recipe and freeze half of it in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use within 1 week of thawing. Yield: 1 1/3 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Our lazy saturday morning pancake recipe! Yummy and low in fat!

Blueberry-Banana Pancakes
From Shape Magazine

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe medium bananas
1 cup nonfat milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (do not defrost)
4 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 250° F. Coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and preheat.

In a medium bowl, combine both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well with a fork and set aside.

In a large bowl or food processor, mash bananas until mushy. Add milk, egg and vanilla and mix or process until blended.

Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix or process until just blended (tiny lumps should still appear; do not overmix or pancakes will be tough). Ladle 3 tablespoons of batter onto hot griddle for each pancake. Top each with 1–2 tablespoons of blueberries. When bubbles appear around the edges of pancakes, after about 2–3 minutes, flip and cook 1 minute. Transfer pancakes to a warm plate and keep warm in a 250° F oven while you cook remaining pancakes. Serve pancakes with maple syrup over top.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 10-15 min.
Nutrition Score per serving: (3 pancakes plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup): 384 calories, 6% fat (3 g; < 1 g saturated), 83% carbs (80 g), 11% protein (11 g), 8 g fiber, 203 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 401 mg sodium.

My Mom's Cheesy Rigatoni Recipe

This my husband's absolute favourite pasta dish! I use the sauce for lasagna's too!

My Mom's Cheesy Rigatoni Recipe

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 cans hunt's tomato sauce, no spices (26 oz. cans)
1 medium onion (size of an apple), chopped
4 garlic gloves, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp chili powder
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1 bag Rigatoni pasta

1. In a large pot, over medium-high heat sauté onion and garlic and spices in olive oil until onion is transparent and garlic is fragrant.
2. Add ground beef and brown.
3. Add cans of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup cheese and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and simmer 30 minutes uncovered, stirring every 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook rigatoni according to package directions and shred cheese.
5.Once sauce is ready remove from heat and add strained pasta to sauce. Stir.
6. In a 13x9 baking dish add half of the pasta/sauce, then top with about 1 1/2 cups cheese. Top with remaining pasta/sauce and then the remaining cheese.Cook at 350F for 20 minutes.

Note: If you like your cheese golden brown, broil for 5-10 minutes after the 20 minutes but keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.

My Mom's Sicilian Tomato Sauce

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe that my stepdad's mom gave to her...a family favourite for spaghetti and meatballs!

My Mom's Sicilian Tomato Sauce

2 Cans crushed tomatoes 796ml/26.5 oz.
1 Can Hunt's Italian tomato sauce with onions, herbs, & spices 680 ml/22.5 oz.
1 Medium onion (size of an apple), chopped
4 Large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
2 large bay leaves or 3 small ones
1 package pork back ribs 0.75 lb and/or 1 package lamb with bone (for stew) .75 lb and/orMeatballs (recipe to follow)

1. In a large pot, over medium-high heat sauté onion and garlic and spices in olive oil until onion is transparent and garlic is fragrant. Lower heat to Low.
2. Add cans of tomato sauce and 4 1/2 cups water.
3. Add spices.
4. Increase heat to medium heat, cover until boiling.
5. If using pork, cut into ribs and add to pot and/or lamb and/or meatballs (we usually make the sauce with pork and lamb or just with meatballs but you can use any combination of the 3)
6. Simmer covered on low 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.


1 lb lean ground beef or lamb (or combination of the 2
3 medium garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup italian bread crumbs (with spices)
1 egg
1/3 cup parmesan or romano cheese
3 tbsp milk

1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together with your hands and shape into balls by rolling in the palm of your hand.

Fallen Chocolate Souffle Torte

Another one of my go-to dinner party desserts!

Fallen Chocolate Souffle Torte
from 'Chocolate & the art of Low-Fat Desserts' - Alice Medrich

1/4 cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 ounces (90 grams) dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoons brandy
4 egg whites
~1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Serves 10

1: Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Grease and line an 8 inch/20cm sprinform cake tin.

2: Combine chopped chocolate, cocoa and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Whisk until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted. Make sure any cocoa lumps are dissolved. Whisk in the egg yolks and brandy. Set aside.

3: Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a smaller mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and beat on high speed until stiff. Whisk the flour and almonds into the chocolate. Fold about 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it then fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into the cake pan.

4: Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Cool in the pan. The torte will sink - it's supposed to.
Servings - 12 / Calories - 184 - Fat 6g - Protein 3.7g - Carbs 33.5g - Cholesterol 35.9g

My Notes: This was absolutely AMAZING! It was rich but not too rich and decadent and moist and super chocolaty!!! It was easy to make, the only thing was that I had 3 bowls going at one point but besides that it was super easy! I did make a few changes. I subbed roasted hazelnuts for the almonds (what can I say, it's the nutella lover in me!) which I ground up in a coffee grinder with excellent results. I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of dark. And I used rum instead of brandy since that's all I had! I served with a dollop of whipped cream on the side and a sprinkle of cocoa looked great! I am DEFINITELY making this again when we have guests over...!


This is one of my favourite dinner party desserts! It's easy to make, can be made the night before (Tiramisu's are always better the second day), and everyone loves Tiramisu so you can't go wrong!

By Anna Olson
Show: Sugar - Episode: SUGAR I and Holiday Special
Yield: 10

A trifle like this was made for serving a crowd. I favour a tiramisu that is not too sweet, so this recipe truly is a “pick-me-up” as the translation goes! Tiramisu can be made a day ahead of time and topped with its spiked whipped cream the day it is to be served.

1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp coffee liqueur
chocolate shavings and cocoa powder, for garnish

Cream Filling
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Marsala wine
2 cups mascarpone cheese

Ladyfinger Base
1 1/2 cups coffee
1/4 cup rum
5 tbsp sugar
1 pkg ladyfinger biscuits
1/2 cup grated chocolate

--Whip cream to soft peaks and stir in sugar and coffee liqueur. Chill until ready to assemble.

Cream Filling
--Whip cream to soft peaks and stir in vanilla extract. Chill.
--Place a pot with 2 inches of water on medium heat and bring to a simmer.
--In a metal or glass bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine. Place over the pot of simmering water and whisking constantly until mixture has doubled and holds a ribbon design on itself when you lift the whisk. Remove from heat.
--Whisk in mascarpone cheese and if still warm, chill until at least room temperature. Fold in vanilla whipped cream. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Ladyfinger Base
--Mix coffee, rum and sugar until sugar has dissolved.

To Assemble
--Dip ladyfingers in the coffee soaking liquid, just for a moment, to let it soak up the coffee (but not get soggy). Line the bottom of a trifle bowl, or decorative casserole dish completely with the soaked ladyfingers.
--Spread a half of the Cream Filling over the ladyfingers and sprinkle with grated chocolate.--Repeat Steps 1 and 2. (If your trifle dish is quite tall, repeat Steps 1 & 2 again, using a third of the cream filling each time).
--Spread whipped cream topping over Tiramisu, dust with cocoa powder and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

My Notes: I left out the step about the egg yolks and the marsala in the double boiler...I simply added the sugar directly to the mascarpone cheese and left out the eggs and marsala all together...I've had Tiramisu's with and without the marsala and I've always preferred opinion of course...maybe it takes away from the TRUE nature of a tiramisu each their own! Also, I used espresso instead of regular coffee! Oh and I used 1 1/2 cups grated chocolate instead of just 1/2 of a cup...I'm a chocoholic!

Moist Devil's Food Cake

I made this for Marc's birthday last year and it is now our official birthday cake recipe!

Moist Devil's Food Cake
Martha Stewart

Makes 1 eight-inch-round 3 layer cake

Great swoops of glossy frosting make this a wonderfully exuberant cake with a dark backdrop for birthday candles. But this cake is just as suitable for afternoon snacks or a Sunday supper. It keeps well for several days stored on the counter: Cover with plastic wrap or a glass dome to keep the cake from drying out.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups sifted cake flour(not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 350°; arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess. Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in 1/2 cup boiling water. Set aside to cool.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides twice.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.

4. Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans for even baking. Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool. 5. Remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top. Place one cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 1/2 cups chocolate frosting over the top. Add the second cake layer, and spread with another 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with third cake layer. Cover outside of cake with the remaining 3 cups frosting. Serve.

My Mom's Icing Recipe

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup Cocoa
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tub cream cheese

In a mixer mix butter and cocoa on low speed (it will take quite awhile for it to blend but suddenly it comes together, 30 secs about...hang in there). Add vanilla and water. Then add one cup icing sugar at a time until well blended (it takes awhile here too). Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.

My Notes: The cake was a huge success...I didn't make any changes to the recipe but I ended up freezing one of the layers and only used 2. It was super moist, super chocolately, it tasted like a cake from a box only it was made from scratch, it was also seriously super easy to make. I didn't even use parchment in the pans and they came out beautifully!

Vanilla Almond Biscotti's

This is one of those recipes that you once you've found, you stop looking for a better absolute favourite biscotti recipe!

Vanilla Almond Biscotti

3 cups/750 mL all-purpose flour
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Baking Powder
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup/250 mL sugar
1/2 cup/125 mL butter, melted
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Original Double-Strength Vanilla
1-1/2 tsp/7.5 mL Watkins Almond Extract
3/4 cup/180 mL finely chopped blanched almonds

Combine first three ingredients, set aside. Beat together the eggs, sugar, and melted butter; add extracts. Add flour mixture, one third at a time; mixing thoroughly after each addition. Fold in almonds. Spread 1/2 of dough onto cookie sheet to form a loaf 12 inches/30 cm long, 3 inches/8 cm wide, and 1-1/2 inches/4 cm high. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake at 350ºF/180ºC for 20 minutes or just until starting to brown around edges; cool 10 minutes. Remove loaves from cookie sheet and place on cutting board. Cut across loaf into slices 1/2 inch/15 mm thick. Lay cookies cut side down on cookie sheet and return to oven for 12 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until dry and crisp.

Makes 48 cookies.

My Notes: I used 1 1/2 cups of slivered almonds, 1 tsp of almond extract (trust me one is enough!) and 4 tsps of vanilla. These were crisp and slightly tender inside. Most of my other batches were hard as rocks but I preferred the texture of least I know no one will break their teeth! I am pretty sure that it is the addition of the butter that gives that effect since almost all the rock-hard batches I threw out had no butter in them. The smell from the oven while they were baking was heavenly and the taste was amazing! My favorite biscotti recipe so far!

Mom's Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Another one of my mom's muffin recipes...when my sister and I were kids, my mom would bake up a batch of muffins every week and we would gobble them all up in a matter of hours...these are another one of my favourites...equally easy to put together and just as yummy when you're craving something from your childhood! My husband loves them too which means I get to bake them more often!

Mom's Blueberry Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven 425

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.

In another bowl lightly beat egg. Add melted butter and milk. Mix well.

Make well in middle of flour mixture. Add liquids. Stir just until there are no more flour streaks. Do not overmix. Gently stir in blueberries.

Divide among 12 muffin pan greased paper liners.

Bake 20 minutes.

Once done cool 5-10 minutes. Mix 1/4 cup butter with 1 tbsp lemon juice in a small bowl. In another bowl add 1/4 cup sugar. While muffins are still warm dip tops of muffins in butter and then into sugar. Let cool.

Mom's Super Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins

It's my first Post...I'm so excited! I guess the first recipe I will post should be the recipe I make the mom's chocolate chip muffins....I make them almost every week (at my husband's request of course!)...they are so easy - they only need 2 bowls - and from start to finish, it takes 10 minutes to prepare and that's if I'm really in slow-motion...

Mom's Super Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins (w/ Streusel)
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 - 3/4 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350
2) Combine milk and lemon juice in a bowl, set aside.
3) In a medium microwaveable bowl combine flour, sugar, and butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. With a fork crumble. Set aside 1/2 cup of mixture.
4) Beat an egg into milk. Add baking soda, let froth. Add to flour mixture. Add chocolate chips. Stir until just combined - do not overmix.
5) Divide evenly in paper lined muffin pan (12). Sprinkle with set aside streusel.
6) Bake 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

These are courtesy of one of my favourite blogs -

These taste like dark dark chocolate which probably makes them suitable for an adult-only crowd! They are soft and light - everything a cupcake should be...I did not frost them but I am sure it would make them even better!

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

6 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup espresso, cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Place 9 baking cups on a baking sheet (or 12 muffin liners in a muffin pan).In a large bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugars, baking soda and salt.In a medium bowl, whisk together espresso, buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the espresso mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Evenly distribute batter into prepared cups.

Bake at 350F for 15-19 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.After 5 minutes of cooling on or in the pan, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.Makes 9 egg-shaped cakes or 12 regular cupcakes.

Nanaimo Bars

We always have these at christmas, it's tradition!

Nanaimo Bars

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp orange liqueur (optional)
1/4 cup vanilla custard powder (Bird's brand)
4 cups sifted icing sugar

6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, about 6 oz., finely chopped
1 tbsp butter

1. For base, lightly butter an 8 in. square baking pan. In a small bowl, stir cocoa with sugar. In a large bowl, microwave butter on high until melted, 45 sec. In a small bowl, whisk egg, then gradually whisk into melted butter until evenly mixed. Whisk in vanilla and cocoa mixture. Stir in crumbs, coconut and walnuts until evenly mixed. Press into an even layer in bottom of pan and refridgerate while preparing filling.

2. For filling, in a medium-sized bowl, microwave butter on high until melted, 30 to 60 sec. Whisk in milk, orange liqueur and custard powder, then stir in icing sugar. Evenly spread over base. Place in freezer until almost set, 15 min.

3. For topping, place chocolate in a small bowl. Add butter and microwave on medium until chocolate is almost melted, 2 to 3 min. Stir halfway through. Remove and stir until completely melted. Spread a thin even layer over chilled custard filling. Refrigerate, uncovered, until chocolate is firm but not hard, about 1 hour. Slice into 24 bars. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 1 month.

Classic Tourtière (Meat Pies)

Christmas tradition!

Classic Tourtière (Meat Pies)
Canadian Living

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) cubed peeled potato
2 lb (1 kg) lean ground pork
3/4 cup (175 mL) water
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each pepper, dried savory and thyme
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each ground cloves and cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Flaky Pastry (recipe below)
1 egg yolk

In saucepan of boiling salted water, cover and cook potato until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and mash; set aside.

Meanwhile, in deep skillet, sauté pork over medium-high heat, mashing with fork, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain off fat.

Add water, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, savory, thyme, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until almost no liquid remains, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Mix in potatoes. Let cool.

On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 of the pastry discs to scant 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Fit into 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Spoon in filling. Roll out remaining pastry. Brush pie rim with water; cover with top pastry and press edge to seal. Trim and flute.

Roll out scraps; cut out holiday shapes. (Make-ahead: Wrap tourtière and shapes separately; refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Or overwrap in heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks; thaw in refrigerator. Add 20 to 30 minutes to baking time, covering with foil after 45 minutes; remove foil for last 10 minutes.)

Mix egg yolk with 2 tsp (10 mL) water; brush three-quarters over top. Arrange cutouts on top; brush with remaining egg wash. Cut steam vents in top.

Bake in bottom third of 400°F (200°C) oven until hot and golden brown, about 50 minutes.

Flaky Pastry

3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) each cold butter and lard, cubed
1 egg
2 tsp (10 mL) vinegar
Ice water

In bowl, whisk flour with salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter and lard until in coarse crumbs with larger pieces.

In liquid measure, beat egg with vinegar, add enough ice water to make 2/3 cup (150 mL). Drizzle over flour mixture, tossing with fork until ragged dough forms.

Press into 2 discs. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

My Notes: I wanted to make 3 pies so I used 3lbs pork and then added an extra onion, 2 garlic cloves, an extra bay leaf, slightly increased the spices (1/4 tsp for savory and thyme and 1/8 for cinnamon and cloves), and added 1/4 cup more water. I didn't measure the mashed potatoes - just used 6...I followed the recipe exactly but I had a problem with the liquid not evaporating...I guess I should have realized that since the recipe says to cook "covered" for 25 minutes!!! Must have been a typo!...after an hour and a half there was still alot of liquid so finally I decided just to drain off the liquid with a sieve...once I added the mashed potatoes to the meat and tasted it I had to add more spices (probably went down the drain when I drained the liquid) so I just added more spice until I was satisfied...I also didn't make my own pie crusts...I just used store bought ones to save time...