Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lobster Dinner!

Lobster is one of my favourite things to eat but I only get to eat it a few times when we visit Mike's family because they're not very fresh where we are and they're ridiculously expensive. Well, our local grocery store had them on sale for a very reasonable price and they just received a huge shipment in from Nova Scotia the day we went to get them, so it doesn't get much fresher than that (here anyway). So, we indulged a bit...

There's no need to be afraid of lobsters. If you pick them up by the center of the body and hold on tight, they can't get you. They're also very easy to cook. The trickiest part about them is eating them without getting too messy, but don't worry too much about that. Clothes can be put in the washing machine, kitchens can be wiped down and, well, you can have a shower! There are many different ways to cook a lobster, but we boil ours, so the following recipe will explain how to boil a lobster.


2 lobsters (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each) - The smaller the lobster, the sweeter and tastier the meat will be

  • Half fill a large pot with hot water and bring it to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, put the lobsters directly into the water being careful not to splash hot water on yourself.

  • Place the lid back on top of the pot . Once the water returns to a boil, allow the lobsters to cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the meal. In our case, we set the table, make a salad and pour some beer :)
  • Oh, we also make garlic butter. In a small bowl (per person), mince a clove of garlic, add 1 tablespoon of butter and microwave until the butter has melted.
  • While we patiently wait for the lobsters to cook, the kitties also wait patiently. They know that they always get a little treat when we have lobster. Generally just a few scraps of claw or knuckle meat. They love it!

  • When the lobsters are cooked, they will turn bright orange.
  • Carefully remove them from the pot using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate.
  • Using kitchen scissors, cut off the elastic bands that are holding the pincers shut. Then flip the lobster on its back and insert the tip of the scissors into the thin shell just below the tail fins. Cut the shell all the way up to the belly to make it easier to remove the tail meat.
  • Then, flip them back over and get out the crackers, tear those bad boys apart and dip the meat into the garlic butter. Don't forget to put lots of paper towel on the table. You're going to need it!
  • Oh, and don't forget to call the kitties for their share!
  • Note, this recipe can be adjusted for more lobsters. You can easily do 4 lobsters in a large pot but you may need to add a bit more water. Cooking time remains the same.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Feasting!

We're back from spending a good part of the holiday season with family in the Maritimes. What did we do? Well, we did some cross country skiing, enjoyed each other's company, played lots of games and, of course, we ate a lot food!

Here's some of the food that we enjoyed for our Christmas dinner. The wonderful, organic turkey was done by my father-in-law. He also made the stuffing which is a recipe that came from my side of the family. My mother-in-law made the cranberry sauce. It's the best cranberry sauce I've had and I'm still trying to get her to give me the recipe! Maybe if we ask her nicely, she'll provide a guest post for us all...hint** hint**

Here's a picture of the scrumptious stuffing that I talked about earlier. The recipe will follow...
The rest of Christmas dinner involved some sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes along with some really tasty gravy. Mmmm!

And, of course, who can forget dessert?!
This wonderful yule log came from Gourmandises Avenue in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia.
They make fantastic, professional French pastries and chocolates. They also do wedding cakes.

It was a chocolate yule log with a raspberry filling and it was absolutely delicious.

Great food, great family...that's what the holiday season is all about.
Oh, and it's not over yet...this week, we visit my family.

Now, as promised, here's the stuffing recipe:

Turkey Stuffing

1 loaf French or Italian bread, chopped
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 package (500 grams) sausage meat (we use Maple Leaf uncooked sausage meat)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme (if using fresh thyme, use about 1 tablespoon or the leaves of 6 sprigs)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • Place all ingredients into a very large bowl and mix together with hands until well blended. Insert stuffing into the neck cavity and the chest cavity of the bird. Extra stuffing may be baked in a casserole dish while the turkey is cooking.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Alright, I know I said I was going to take a break for a few days, but I just couldn't resist this one. After this, I promise, it will be a few days until I post again.
This is my gingerbread Christmas tree. Make sure you have some time on your hands before you make this. It takes a little while to put it all together, but it's well worth the time and it's a lot of fun.

Gingerbread Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk (reserve the white for icing)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • In a mixer bowl or a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Then stir in the molasses and egg yolk.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Slowly fold it into the butter mixture in three batches. Mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into stars using cookie cutters. You will need different sized cookie cutters. Cut two cookies of each size. Place cookies two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Try to put similar sized cookies on the sheet so that they bake evenly.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for a minute or two before removing to a wire rack. Decorate when completely cool.

Royal Icing

2 egg whites
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (you can substitute vanilla extract or lemon extract)

  • Whip egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and almond extract. Beat on high until thickened. Icing is ready when it forms stiff peaks. Keep covered if not in use, otherwise it will dry out and harden.

  • In a separate bowl, add a few drops of yellow food colouring to a spoonful of icing. Use this to cover the smallest star.
  • Reserve about 1/4 cup of the icing for use as snow. Keep covered.
  • Add green food colouring to the rest of the icing until it has reached the desired shade of green. Cover the remaining cookies with the icing and allow it to dry and harden.
  • Once the cookies have been frosted, starting with the largest star, place a dab of icing in the centre and stack the next cookie on top so that the points of the top star are over the spaces of the bottom star. Continue until all green cookies are stacked.
  • Using the green icing, place 2 small dabs of icing on top of the top-most cookie to secure the yellow star on top, standing up. (See photo)
  • Using the white icing, drizzle icing on the tips of each star, adding a mini M&M candy to the top of the drizzle as an ornament.
  • Allow to fully dry before transporting or eating.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Hiatus

Hi everyone,

This is just a little note to let you all know that we, at Furry Kitchen, will be taking a much needed break over the holidays to rest and regroup.
We will return after Christmas and hope to be able to cook and bake up a storm so that there will be lots of recipes to post here.

We wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season.

Andrea and the furry ones

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Holiday Baking

I finally had a bit of time to do some baking on the weekend, so I decided to make rugelach. It's a Jewish cookie and this version is made from a cream cheese dough and is filled with cinnamon, sugar, chopped walnuts and raisins. Yummy!

2 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup ground walnuts
1 cup raisins, finely chopped

  • Cut cold butter and cream cheese into chunks. If you have a food processor, pulse the butter, cream cheese, flour and sour cream until crumbly. If you don't have a food processor, you can use your mixer. Mix the butter and cream cheese together first, then add the flour and sour cream.
  • Shape the crumbly mixture into 4 equal disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Combine the sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and raisins in a bowl.
  • Once the dough has chilled enough, roll each one into a 9-inch round on a well floured surface. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and cut into 8 wedges. Roll each one up like a crescent, starting with the rounded end. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and chill for 20 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Once the cookies are baked, remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, you can drizzle with icing or leave them plain. I used almond icing which was made with icing sugar, a few drops of almond extract (to taste) and a few drops of water to reach a runny consistency so that I could drizzle it on the cookies, but not so wet that it wouldn't harden.
It's important to keep the dough chilled so that it is easy to work with. If it becomes difficult to work with the dough, put it back into the fridge and allow to chill for longer.

Rugelach on the cookie sheet waiting to be baked.

Rugelach drizzled with almond frosting.

Friday, December 12, 2008


It occurred to me that I didn't post the recipes for the aiolis that I made to serve with the empanadas. It also occurred to me that I didn't take photos of them as we were madly dashing out of the house to the party since we were already an hour late. Oops! So hopefully you'll forgive me and will be able to make do with just the recipes. I promise, they're simple.

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red pepper

  • In a food processor, puree the roasted red pepper and garlic. Then add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and blend together.
  • Pour into a dip bowl and serve with empanadas.

Chipotle Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chipotle peppers (if this is too spicy, you can use 1/4 cup chipotle peppers)

  • In a food processor, puree the chipotle peppers and garlic. Then add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and blend together.
  • Pour into a dip bowl and serve with empanadas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I was inspired by the empanada recipe posted by Elise on her blog and thought that empanadas would be the perfect thing to bring to a Christmas party. I followed her recipe for the dough (except for the amount of salt) and made my own filling with ground turkey. I served them with two different aiolis: roasted red pepper aioli and chipotle aioli.

2 packages cream cheese (do not use light), room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium potato, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can tomato paste
4 tablespoons water

  • Cream together the cream cheese, butter and salt. Slowly fold in the flour and mix until well incorporated. Divide the dough into two and form flattened, rounded disks. Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • While the dough is chilling, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, onions, potatoes and spices and cook until the meat has browned.
  • Add the tomato paste and water and stir to mix. Lower the heat and let simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. When cooked, remove from heat and place in a bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. If the dough was refrigerated for more than 1 hour, you may need to let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Use a large round cookie cutter (3-inches in diameter) and cut out rounds from the dough.
  • Mix the egg and water, then using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the rounds to help them stick together. Place 1 teaspoon of the meat mixture into the centre of the dough, then fold the edges together and use a fork to seal the edges.
  • Brush the sides with egg wash (but not the bottom otherwise they will stick to the pan) and place upright on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 50 empanadas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Baking

I love shortbread cookies and I've been looking for an easy, no-fuss recipe. Melanie, a friend of a friend, was kind enough to drop a little gem in my lap. I had a bit of time on my hands, so naturally, I ran straight to the kitchen and gave it a try. I tweaked it slightly, so here's my version.

Shortbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cream together the butter and egg yolk.
  • Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Mix the flour and salt together, then add it in three batches to the buttery mixture. Mix until crumbly.
  • Knead the dough with your hands until it is soft and pliable. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle with about a 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Cut the rectangle into strips and prick the tops of each strip with a fork. Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a rack. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meaty Pasta Sauce

This post continues from the garlic and basil pasta post. This is the recipe for Mike's pasta sauce.

Meaty Pasta Sauce

1 chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 bottle pasta sauce
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon adobo sauce

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and chipotle peppers.
  • Add meat and basil and cook until meat is browned.
  • Add pasta sauce and adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Basil Garlic Fettuccine and Meat Sauce

Fresh, homemade pasta is easy to make and it's so delicious that you'll never buy boxed or bagged pasta from the store ever again! Here's my recipe for basil garlic fettuccine and I will post Mike's meat sauce recipe later. Sorry, you won't find any recipes for creamy sauce here since our household is lactose intolerant.

Basil Garlic Pasta

3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups semolina flour (can use all-purpose if you don't have semolina though it will taste different)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed

  • In a small skillet, cook garlic in oil over low heat, stirring constantly for one minute.
  • If using an electric mixer, put remaining ingredients into the mixer bowl, add the garlic and mix using the flat paddle for about a minute or two until the ingredients are combined. It should form a dry dough when you squeeze it together with your hands. If it doesn't, add some water a teaspoon at a time, mixing and checking for the right consistency.
  • If making by hand, pile the flour up on a counter or table and make a well in the top. Put the eggs, salt, garlic and basil into the well and stir to combine. When it comes together, begin kneading, again adding water only if needed to hold the dough together. The dough should be very dry.
  • Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Use pasta roller or pasta roller attachment to roll the pasta to the desired thickness and cut into whatever type of noodles you like. For this recipe, use the fettuccine cutter. I use a pie cutter and cut the noodles into 3-inch wide pieces for lasagna. You can make this into spaghetti or angel hair pasta if you like, or if you have a pasta extruder, you can make macaroni.
  • Leftovers can be dried or put into the freezer.
  • To cook fresh noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles in the water for 2 minutes. If frozen, add 1 minute to cooking time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Veggies and Dip

With the holiday season approaching quickly, weekends are quickly filling up with parties to go to and friends and family to visit. Veggie sticks and dip are quick and easy to make if you want to take a dish with you. Here's a recipe that I have adapted from my mother-in-law. It's delicious and, since I like everything spicy, I've put my own twist on it by adding cayenne pepper and bit of minced jalapeno pepper.

3 tablespoons sour cream (I use fat free and it turns out just fine)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use reduced fat)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together very well. Transfer to dip bowl and serve with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, rutabaga, cauliflower, parsnips, radishes or any other vegetable that you might like.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Almost Parfait

I know it's November and the temperature continues to drop, but how could I possibly say no to a parfait? I didn't quite have all the ingredients, like the whipped cream, but it's close enough. It's a simple, delicious dessert that's sure to please any dinner guest. You can make it with any kind of cookie and any kind of ice cream that you like.

Serves 2

4 cookies (Oreos, Fudgee-os, Piroulines, etc.)
4 scoops ice cream (Vanilla, Oreo, Butterscotch Ripple, etc.)
chocolate syrup
raspberry or strawberry syrup
whipped cream (optional)

  • In a plastic bag, crush 2 of the cookies by rolling with a rolling pin or a bottle. Sprinkle equal amounts of the crumbs into 2 martini glasses.
  • Top the cookie crumbs with 2 scoops of ice and drizzle raspberry syrup around the edge and then chocolate syrup on top of the raspberry.
  • If using whipped cream, add a nice dollop on top of the ice cream and drizzle more chocolate and raspberry syrup onto the whipped cream. Garnish with another cookie and serve with a spoon and a smile.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Looking Back

It's amazing how quickly time goes by. It's already the end of November and I'm not quite sure where the year went.
And then there are the cats...
It feels like just yesterday when we went to choose our first kitten.

Here's Riley when we first met him at 6 weeks old:

And look at him now!

Even Nutmeg is an adult now. We got her in the summer of 2007 at 14 weeks old. She's the kitten in the middle of this picture. She's about 10 weeks old there.

This is Nutmeg now.

They've both changed a great deal. They no longer fit into our hands, but they've found their way into our laps and definitely into our hearts.

They're even becoming more and more fond of each other.

We'll just have to wait and see what the next year brings us.
In the meantime, back to the kitchen!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hot Chocolate with a Kick!

Here's something else to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup milk
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 ounce rum (can substitute Bailey's, Kahlua, Frangelico or any other liqueur that you like)

  • Pour milk, cocoa powder, brow sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a small pot and whisk well to combine.
  • Heat over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often to avoid scalding the milk.
  • Once the milk has reached a simmer, pour it into a mug, then add the rum and stir.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keeping Warm In The Snow

The snow came early this year and it's been an unusually cold November. What better way to stay warm than to curl up with a nice blanket and a plate of scrumptious shepherd's pie.

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
black pepper to taste
3/4 cup chicken stock (only required if using ground beef)
1 can corn

4 to 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • For extra light and fluffy mashed potatoes, rinse the potatoes under cold water then steam the potatoes in a colander over boiling water or in a steaming basket for 10 minutes. Then rinse the potatoes under cold water again until the potatoes are cold. Return them to steam for another 10 minutes or until fork-tender. (Rinsing the potatoes after they have cooked for a few minutes removes the starch that makes mashed potatoes so dense and heavy).
  • If short on time or if you want to save yourself a bit of effort, place the potatoes into a deep microwave-safe dish and add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Use the microwave button for potatoes or microwave for about 5 to 8 minutes or until fork-tender.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, drain out any remaining water and mash the potatoes and butter together until smooth. Then add the milk, sour cream, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper stirring until well-mixed.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet on medium heat and brown the ground beef or turkey with the onions. Sprinkle the garlic powder and thyme over the meat while it cooks.
  • Once the meat has cooked, if using ground beef, drain the liquid, then stir in chicken stock and corn. If using ground turkey, just stir in the corn.
  • To assemble, pour the meat mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, then sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. (We like it cheesy, so we slice up the cheese and put it right on top so it forms a crusty cheesy layer.)
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cheese browns a bit and the mixture is bubbly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oatmeal Cake and Caramel Sauce

When I first read about Lori's oatmeal cake at her blog, My Wooden Spoon, I was skeptical as to how something containing oatmeal could actually be good. I continued to read the recipe and thought that it sounded easy enough and maybe it could be good with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, so I decided to try it. Well, Lori was right. The cake is delicious! We had to make an effort to not eat the whole cake in one sitting! Here's the recipe with a few small modifications to suit us, including a different caramel sauce only because I had already made some for something else.

For the oatmeal cake:

1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour an 8x11-inch casserole dish.
  • Mix the water, oats and butter and let stand for 15 minutes.

  • In another bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

  • Add the oatmeal mixture to the sugar mixture and mix well. Bake in an 8x11-inch casserole dish at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
For the caramel sauce:

1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • In a two or three-quart saucepan, melt the sugar over medium-high heat. You can add 1 tablespoon of water to help the sugar melt more evenly if you think it will burn. Whisk or stir the sugar to help it heat evenly.
  • Cook the liquified sugar to a dark copper-brown colour. Then add the butter and stir it in.
  • Pour in the evaporated milk, then turn off the heat. Be careful as the sauce will froth up when you add the milk. Whisk the sauce until it is smooth. If you like it thicker, you can continue to heat the sauce until it thickens.
  • Drizzle over the warm cake. You can store the rest in a jar for a few weeks. It will probably be a bit thicker, but you can reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is one of those delicious things you can enjoy at almost any time of the year, but is especially nice in the fall when the weather starts to get a little bit colder. Nothing warms you up like a bit of fresh apple crisp with that crunchy, crumbly topping and the taste of cinnamon and apples. This recipe, adapted from All Recipes, can be made with any fruits you like, whether it's apples, pears, peaches or any other fruit.

8 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the apple slices in a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples. Pour the water evenly over top.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the rolled oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together to form the crumble. Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes.
The apple crisp can be enjoyed by itself or with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kitty Cat Tuesday

Having a day off work means catching up on all the things that I meant to do, like blogging, cooking and folding laundry.
Here's a little video of Nutmeg helping Mike fold the duvet cover. We seem to never get anything done quickly, but we sure have fun doing it!

Crustless Turkey Pot Pie with Cranberry Sauce

I love turkey dinner, but since it's just the two of us, a whole turkey is far too much. Instead of cooking an entire turkey and all the trimmings, I make a turkey pot pie that works just as well! It's like having a turkey dinner, but in one casserole dish.

For the turkey pot pie:

2 cups cooked turkey meat, cubed
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
1 can creamy soup (chicken, mushroom, celery, or whatever soup you like most)
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pkg (500g) sausage meat
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 large onion, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a casserole dish, mix the turkey, vegetables and soup together and spread evenly.
  • In a very large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together very well with your hands.
  • Spread the bread mixture evenly on top of turkey mixture and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. You may need to place foil on top in the last 15 minutes to keep the top from burning.
  • You may have extra left, so you can put that into another dish and cook it next to the turkey pie.
  • Serve the turkey pie with cranberry sauce.

For the cranberry sauce:

1 bag frozen cranberries
1 pear, diced
2 tablespoons raisins
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • Put all ingredients into a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries begin to pop. Then lower the heat and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. Serve over turkey pie.
  • Keep leftover sauce refrigerated.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Roasted Potatoes

Potatoes make a great side dish for almost any meal and can be prepared in many different ways. One of the easiest ways to prepare potatoes is to roast them and it's even more convenient if you're already going to be roasting something else in the oven like roast beef or a chicken.

Roasted Potatoes
Serves 2

3 medium-sized potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chopped dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon ground or chopped dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon savory
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Spread the potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle the herbs on top of the potatoes.
  • Stir the potatoes around to coat them in the oil and herbs, then spread them evenly on the pan in a single layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then flip the potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes or until the outside is crisp and lightly brown, but the inside is fork-tender.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Granola Bars

Granola bars are great for breakfast or a snack in the middle of the day. They can give you a burst of energy, but those store-bought granola bars are packed with sugar and all kinds of ingredients that I can't pronounce. So here's my recipe for homemade granola bars.

2 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (use anything you like: raisins, dates, apricots, crystallized ginger, pineapple, etc.)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use smooth, but you can use crunchy)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Lightly grease an 8"x11" or 9"x13" casserole dish with butter and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the cereal, oats and fruit.

  • Pour honey, corn syrup and brown sugar into a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat until the mixture just starts to bubble. Stir occasionally.

  • Once the sugar mixture has started to bubble, remove it from the heat and add the peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter is well mixed, then add the vanilla.
  • Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir to combine everything. Then pour into the greased casserole dish and even it out by pressing firmly on top.
  • Allow to cool completely, then cut into bars and serve.