Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

It's so cold out right now. I hope we are having our last real cold snap of winter since March is right around the corner. I gravitate towards comfort foods when it's this cold out and one of those foods is shepherd's pie. I came across a variation of the original recipe using sweet potato instead of regular potato and knew I had to give it a try.

Last weekend I made a big batch of this on Saturday and brought some to friends of ours who just had a baby. It made enough for one 9 by 13 dish for us and another dish about 1/3 of that size for our friends. It's great for leftovers and we have been eating it for lunches this week.



I am really impressed with how good it is. I feel like the sweet potato topping just gives it a little more flavour then the regular potatoes. I love it both ways but am glad I tried it this way and I will definitely be making this again.



I got my recipe idea from http://www.canadianliving.com/food/sweet_potato_shepherds_pies.php

Ingredients

2 lb extra-lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1  green peppers, seeded and diced
2 bay leafs
1-1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp  dried thyme
1/2 tsp  pepper
1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
2 tbsp.  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup  sodium-reduced beef broth
1/4 cup  water
1-1/2 tsp  Worcestershire sauce
4 lb sweet potatoes, (about 3) peeled and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup  milk
2 tbsp.  butter

Preparation

In Dutch oven, cook beef and garlic over medium heat, breaking up with spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Stir in celery, onions, carrots, green pepper, bay leaves, 3/4 tsp of the salt, the thyme, pepper and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.



 Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water and Worcestershire sauce; simmer for 3 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Divide between two 8-inch (2 L) square baking dishes.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook sweet potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and return to pot over medium heat; cook, stirring, until dry, about 1 minute. Stir in milk, butter and remaining salt; mash until smooth. Spread evenly over each beef mixture.



 Bake 1 of the pies in 350°F (180°C) oven until bubbly, about 35 minutes. (Make-ahead: Cover remaining pie with plastic wrap then foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake, uncovered and frozen, in 350°F/180°C oven for 50 to 60 minutes.)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

I can't believe it's the last week in February already, boy does time fly! I have finally been back in my kitchen the last few weekends whipping up some meals that I wanted to share.

Last weekend I made this awesome orange chicken in the slow cooker. It's a lot like Chinese orange chicken but it's a but healthier as it's not deep fried. I found my sauce to be a bit strong on the orange flavour so I would just caution that less is more to start with and you can always add more.



Otherwise this was fantastic, the chicken was so tender and the sauce was a nice change. I made some brown rice to serve this over. It also made enough that my husband and I were able to get one leftover lunch with this meal which is always a bonus!

I got this recipe idea from http://www.oprah.com/food/Slow-Cooker-Orange-Chicken-Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup flour (such as Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix)
  • Olive oil, for browning the chicken
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange-juice concentrate, thawed pulp free
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup

Directions


.

Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Throw away any excess flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. 

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange-juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.



 Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Butterscotch Banana Bread

I love Banana Bread and I have made various kinds that you will find on this blog. I am always looking for different variations of banana bread and when I came across this one using Butterscotch chips, I knew I had to give it a try!

I made a double batch of this on the weekend and was pleasantly surprised with how good this turned out. The combination of delicious moist banana bread and butterscotch chips is delicious!

I found this recipe really easy to make and as I said I doubled it to get two good sized loafs. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try for something a little different.



I found this recipe from this site http://www.momontimeout.com/2014/02/butterscotch-banana-bread/

Ingredients
  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • ¾ c light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
Instructions
 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Peel and mash the bananas.
 
Add in the egg, butter, brown sugar and vanilla and mix until well combined.
 
Combine flour and remaining dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Do not overmix.
 
Stir in butterscotch chips.
 
Grease a 9 in x 5 in loaf pan and then pour the mixture in.
 
 
 
Let the bread bake for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Hawaiian Casserole

Happy Tuesday everyone! It was a long weekend here for us in Winnipeg this past weekend and was that extra day off ever nice! It also helped me to be able to make a few things this weekend and the first one I wanted to share with you was a dinner casserole I made called Hawaiian Casserole.

This was nice and easy to make and the best part you make this whole thing in one pan!! I was amazed as I have never made pasta before in a frying pan but it worked really well. I started off by crisping up the bacon. Then I put that aside drained some of the bacon fat and started frying up the leftover ham. Then I added the tomato sauce, broth and spices and pasta and let that come to a boil. Then I covered it turned it down to medium and then that simmer until the pasta was nice and tender. I removed it from the heat and added the pineapple and the bacon and some mozza cheese and voila a delicious one pan Hawaiian Casserole!



I would definitely recommend making this for friends and family. As you can tell from my pictures it's not necessarily pretty to look at but it tasted so good, especially if you are a Hawaiian pizza fan!

I got this recipe from http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/hawaiian-one-pan-pasta/

Ingredients
  • 8 oz Jones Dairy Farm Cherry Hardwood Smoked Bacon
  • 8 oz leftover Jones Dairy Farm Ham, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 8 oz dry rigatoni pasta
  • 8 oz pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • chopped cilantro
Instructions
 
Dice the bacon into small pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
 
Add the cubed ham to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ham is browned. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, onion powder, basil, salt and pepper to the ham. Stir to combine, then add the pasta and stir again. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes. (I like to stir this one or two times during the cook time to make sure all of the pasta gets cooked evenly.) Stir in the pineapple and reserved bacon, then remove from the heat.
 
 
 
Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the mozzarella and cover again. Let the dish sit until the mozzarella is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Banana Coconut Cream Pie

I had a family dinner last weekend and when I asked what I can bring they said dessert! I love dessert and I love making dessert but the question is always what to bring. I was looking through my old pins from Pinterest to get some ideas and came across this Banana Coconut Cream Pie. I had attempted to make this one time before and it didn't turn out well so I thought I would give this recipe a second chance.

I started with the coconut crust which is my favourite part of this recipe by far! I think in my case I either made a mistake by lightly oiling the pie plate or by pressing down too hard on the crust because when I was trying to serve it, the crust was hard to get out of the pie plate and also hard to eat (but it tasted great) I think next time I would try to be a bit more careful when doing this.



Next I made the custard and this turned out pretty good. The first time my custard was too runny and didn't thicken up at all and this time it thickened up but it had some lumps that I should have used a blender to try and get out but all in all it tasted pretty good. Custard is a very finicky thing to make and I will give this one more go before I give up on it completely.



Lastly I made the whipped cream for the topping and toasted some coconut to go on top. I didn't have any coconut extract or I would have added some to the whipping cream. Overall I was pretty happy with how this turned out but there could definitely be some improvements for next time. I will give this recipe one more attempt to see if I can get it perfect!

I got this recipe from http://jancooks.blogspot.ca/2009/07/lawry-coconut-banana-cream-pie.html

COCONUT PIE SHELL

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for pie plate
3 cups sweetened flake coconut

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.



 Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the coconut flakes, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. They should be golden brown. Press the coconut firmly and evenly in the pan to form a shell. Chill the crust 30 minutes before filling.

PIE FILLING

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar, divided

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup flour

3 cups half-and-half, divided

Yellow food coloring

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 bananas

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, salt and flour in a small bowl. Gradually add 1 cup of the half-and-half.

Combine the remaining 2 cups half-and-half and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a 3-quart saucepan and bring just to boil over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook and stir until the mixture returns to a boil and thickens, about 1 minute.



 Remove from the heat. Stir in 2 drops of food coloring and the vanilla. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool.

Slice the bananas into the pie shell. Pour the filling into the shell.



 Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff. Spoon in dollops or pipe with a pastry bag around the edge of the pie. Chill 2 hours before slicing.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Super Easy Doggie Treats

How much do you love your fur baby? I love my fur baby so much it's crazy! it's amazing how animals whether they be dogs or cats or whatever really become part of the family! I love to make my Jake treats because he is such a good boy and when I saw these 4 ingredients doggie treats I knew I needed to give them a try for him!



I saw this post on Pinterest for these treats and they looked so easy to make so last weekend, I got out my peanut butter, whole wheat flour, baking powder and some hot water and voila, the dough is made. I couldn't believe how easy it all came together. I also have three different sizes of bone shaped cookie cutters so I used those and cut out a bunch of cookie and baked them. Done and the dogs loved them. Marlee my fur niece also got some and I'm told she is quite the fan also! LOL

What's not to love about something so easy that makes your animals so happy!

I got this recipe from  http://simplificlife.blogspot.ca/2013/11/ridiculously-easy-peanut-butter-dog.html

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup skim milk, or 1 cup hot water (NOT BOILING WATER)

Directions


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the whole wheat flour and the baking powder.

Then, in the same mixing bowl add the milk, or hot water, and peanut butter. 
Carefully mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients. If the dough is too dry add a little more milk or water, or if it is too wet add an additional tablespoon of flour until it is not too wet.



Place dough on counter and roll it out with a rolling pin, or flatten the dough out with your hands. 

Use dog bone cookie cutters and cut the dough into various size dog biscuits. Place cut out dog bones on cookie sheet. Leave space between the bones on the cookie sheet because they will spread slightly and rise.




 If the dough gets too sticky while you are cutting out the bones sprinkle it with flour and it will decrease the stickiness. 


Once all the dough is cut up bake the bones for twenty minutes at 375 degrees. The bones should be light brown when done. Allow the bones to cool before giving one your fur baby!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Superbowl Party Food

Superbowl Party!
Who is hosting a Superbowl party this weekend?

I can't believe it's almost the end of NFL. Wow, seems like a long season when it starts but now it's over. I do however love Superbowl Sunday with all the fabulous entertainment and hopefully a good game and of course some amazing food!

Here are all the appetizer ideas I have made over the last 20 or weeks that can be used for the greatest Superbowl party ever!!

Here are the recipe;

Chicken Cordon Bleu Rolls

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/12/chicken-cordon-bleu-rolls.html

Taco Loaf

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/12/taco-loaf.html

Pizza Snacks

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/11/pizza-snacks.html

Jalapeno Popper Dip

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/11/jalapeno-popper-dip.html

BBQ Chicken Wings

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/10/bbq-chicken-wings.html

Parmesan Puffs

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/10/parmesan-puffs.html

Caramelized Onion and Pear Tartlet

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/10/caramalized-onion-and-pear-tartlet.html

Super Nachos

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/09/super-nachos.html

Tangy Sweet n Sour Meatballs Sliders

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/09/tangy-sweet-n-sour-meatball-sliders.html

Pizza Pinwheels

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/09/pizza-pinwheels.html

Oven Baked Tacos

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/08/oven-baked-tacos.html

Homemade Garlic Toast

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/07/homemade-garlic-toast.html

Coconut Shrimp

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/07/coconut-shrimp.html

Chicken Empanadas

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2013/06/chicken-empanadas.html

Chicken Buffalo Dip

http://www.crazy-good-cooking.com/2012/09/buffalo-chicken-dip.html