Monday, 30 April 2012

Strawberry Banana Muffins

When I was a kid, we found out that I was allergic to strawberries. I was incredibly sad when we first made the discovery. My mom had brought home a giant box full of them, and I ate about half of it. To myself. I'm not even ashamed to admit it. Anyhow, later that night, I was suddenly hit with a horrible wave of...itchiness. I was covered in welts, and the worst was the bottoms of my feet. I know it sounds weird, but an intense itch of your feet bottoms is pretty horrible, I remember my mom putting my in a cold bath, rubbing them with calamine lotion, everything she could to get it to stop. Not fun. I spend the next 10 summers watching in jealousy as everyone around me snacked on the beautiful red berries, longing for one. Every so often I'd have one to see what would happen, and it was always the same.

One summer, I just couldn't take it anymore, and I ate 10 in one sitting. And nothing happened. I had some more, just to check. Nothing. I feasted for a whole day on strawberries, and it seemed my allergy had gone. I made strawberry pie, ate strawberry jam, drank strawberry smoothies, and it seemed that I had grown out of the allergy. Horray!

These muffins are deliciously moist, fresh, and of course filled to the brim with strawberries.

Strawberry Banana Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 ripe, mashed bananas (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup water
1  1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees ferenheit
  • Mix together flour, baking soda and salt
  • Add remainder of indredients, blend well
  • Put muffin papers in a muffin tin and fill about 2/3 full
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until lightly browned
  • Serve warm with a bit of butter


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Raspberry and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans

I wouldn't really say that I have a favourite thing to cook, more of a favourite reason. There's nothing like spending a cold November morning in the kitchen mkaing enough cookies and candy to feed an army, just because it's almost Christmas. There's something extra special about making a giant pot of stroganoff because your sister is coming and you know it's her favourite. Or making a raspberry spinach salad for dinner, because you know it will make your hubby's week.

In fact, he was so excited about it, he even took the pictures. Thanks, babe. My photography mojo was off last night anyway.

This recipe is so tasty that even Leah, the eternal hater of "sweet" salads loves it. What's not to love? Fresh raspberries, organic baby spinach, creamy goat cheese, candied pecans, and homemade raspberry vinegrette. Deelish.

Raspberry and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans
Is the name too long? I wasn't sure. Call it whatever you want.

4 cups, or one package of baby spinach
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup creamy, unpasteurized goat cheese
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup raspberry jam
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp butter
1  1/2 tbsp brown sugar

  • Using a small pan, melt butter on medium heat.
  • Add pecans and brown sugar, stirring to combine.
  • Keep the nuts moving for about 4 minutes, until sugar has caramelized.
  • Remove from heat and let cool in a bowl.
  • Combine vinegar, olive oil and jam in a small bowl and whisk.
  • Put spinach in a salad bowl and crumble the goat cheese into it.
  • Add pecans and dressing, toss.
  • Dish up salad and top with raspberries (if you toss them in, the will get mushy).


Friday, 20 April 2012

Black Bean and Corn BBQ Quesedillas with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

Sometimes I wish I had someone who could suck all the creativity out of my brain and write it out for me so I wouldn't have to. Does your mind ever draw a blank, although, somewhere in there, there's an entire encyclopedia full of things just waiting to be put into words? This is all I have today:

These are good. Really delicious. If you don't make them, you will be missing out on a fab meal.
The End.

Black Bean and Corn BBQ Quesedillas with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

6 flour tortillas (I used sun-dried tomato)
2 cups of cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I cheated and bought a grocery store rotisserie)
I small can of niblet corn
1 small can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1  1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup your favourite BBQ sauce
small handful of cilantro, diced
2 cups grated cheddar (I used a mix of sharp and white extra-sharp)

for the sour cream:
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp lime juice
1  1/2 tbsp cilantro, diced

  • Combine mayonnaise and BBQ sauce in a small bowl.
  • Spread sauce onto one tortilla.
  • Layer on your chicken, corn, beans, cilantro and cheese (make sure cheese is on top)
  • Put another tortilla on top to make a quesedilla and transfer to a hot, buttered frying pan.
  • Cook on medium until cheese is almost melted and flip.
  • Finish cooking, transfer to cutting board and let cool for about 3 minutes. Cut into triangles.
  • To make the sour cream, simply comine lime juice, cilantro and sour cream.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Avocado Chicken Parmigiana

I can't believe there was ever a time when I didn't like avocado. It's a part of my past I'm not proud of, okay? Let's call it my teenage rebellion. But, like most rebellious teens, I got over it. In a big way. I am crazy for avocado. Like cray-zee. They are so creamy, tasty, versatile and full of awesome-ness. Good for you. Got it? Avocodo=good.

Now that we're on the same page, you should probably make this for dinner. It's a yummy, summer-y take on an old classic. I served it with a fresh garden salad (full of avocado, of course).

Avocado Chicken Parmigiana

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan chesse
1 cup tomato pasta sauce
2 ripe avocados
3/4 cup grated extra-old white cheddar cheese

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees ferenheit.
  • Using a kitchen mallet (or in my case, the back of an ice cream scoop), pound your chicken to make it flatter.
  • Combine eggs, milk, and salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Combine panko and parmesan cheese and seat aside.
  • Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick coating.
  • Coat chicken in flour, dip in egg mixture, and coat in panko mixture.
  • Place chicken on baking sheet and put in oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is almost cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and top with 1/4 cup tomato sauce, strips of avocado, and grated cheddar.
  • Put back in the oven for 15 minutes, turning your oven on to broil for the last 3.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Birthday Cake Oreo Mini Cheescakes

Oreo is 100 years old. This is my view: If something as delicious and calorie-laden as oreos can live to be 100, then eating them probably won't kill me. Right? I know you're with me on this.

Anyway, to commemorate the birthday, some genius at Nabisco came up with birthday cake oreos. Seriously, one whiff of these birthday cake cookies and I knew it was going to be a problem. They're good. CRAZY good. Between the 5 of us in my fam (let's just say 5, even though we all know the baby wasn't having any), the box was gone in 2 days. I should be embarrased to admit it, but they're so tasty I don't even care. I went to the store and grabbed 3 more boxes, in fear of them flying off the sheld. They're all gone now, but I am going to hope and pray that I can still get them when I shop today.

I found this deelish recipe, and figured that with the birthday cake oreos, they would be deadly. I think I want to try it with goldens too. And maye the mint ones at Christmas? Peanut butter? I've never seen them, but come on, oreo. Get on it. Or I will.

Birthday Cake Oreo Mini Cheesecakes
recipe can be found here.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Triple Berry Trifle

Do you know what I think of when someone mentions trifle? That episode of "Friends" when Rachel was helping Monica for Thanksgiving dessert. She was making trifle and got the recipe mixed up and added beef, peas and onions. Gross. Unless of course the whipping cream was mashed potatoes. I think I'm on to something...

Anyway, this trifle has much better dessert ingredients. Berries. Pudding. Whipping cream. Let's be honest, people, there is really no way to take those ingredients and mess them up. (Unless you overwhip the cream, with sugar and vanilla already added, and it turns into sweet butter. I did that once. It was good on bagels.)

Best thing about this dessert? It's a snap, even for novice bakers ( baking involved!). And it's crazy impressive. People will think you slaved all day. Don't correct them.

Triple Berry Trifle

One store bought angel food cake (you can make it if you feel like it)
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (or 1/4 tsp almond oil)
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
Milk (whatever the pudding box calls for, mine was 3 cups)
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

  • Make pudding according to directions on the box.
  • Whip up your cream. After 30 seconds or so, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract.
  • Whip for a few minutes until it forms soft peaks (don't make butter!)
  • Combine pudding and whipping cream
  • Cut your angel food cake into three layers.
  • Slice strawberries and set aside.
  • Put one layer of cake into the bottom of a trifle dish.
  • Pour pudding mixture on top- about 1 1/2.
  • Layer on 1/3 of your berries
  • Continue in this pattern, finish with berries on top. Put them on however you think looks pretty.
  • Refridgerate until ready to serve!
note: Cool whip would work in place of whipped cream if you are looking for a lower cholesterol option! Use the big container.

-Jessica and Leah