Chili Cheese Quiche

If you haven’t had quiche lately, it is time to remedy that situation. I could eat quiche for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without ever growing tired of it. This recipe takes the classic chili con carne and turns it into a quiche which makes an ideal winter meal, right?

Cornmeal crust is the perfect foil for meaty and cheesy savory pies. Not only is the rustic texture and flavor of cornmeal pastry a nice change, but it also helps if you have something that is super juicy to avoid soggy bottom pies.

If you like quiche and cornbread, you’ll love this. The cornmeal crust gives a sort of cornbread feel while maintaining the flaky composure that any great crust should have. This is one of my favorite crusts to use for savory pies, tarts and galettes.

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Chili Cheese Quiche
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
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Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
Eggs/Milk
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cornmeal Pastry
Eggs/Milk
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it.
  2. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough. Press dough into a disk & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, sauté beef, onion & garlic until meat is cooked & any liquid has evaporated. Stir in spices, corn, tomato sauce, beans. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly. Grate cheese.
Eggs/Milk
  1. Whisk together eggs, milk & seasoning.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll out pastry to fit a 9-inche quiche pan. Place filling mixture in crust; sprinkle with cheese then pour milk mixture over the cheese.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set. Top with more grated cheese if you wish.

Veg-Bacon Zucchini Lasagna

Another zucchini recipe? Sure, why not. It’s such a versatile vegetable and it doesn’t hurt to add more veggies to our daily menu!

By replacing the lasagna noodles with zucchini slices, the tasty result has all the wonderful flavors we love about the Italian dish – it’s even very similar in its texture!

This lasagna is perfect in the summer with your garden-fresh veggies and herbs, or in the winter when you need a comforting meal. This updated version features zucchini slices with layers of cheese, bacon, leeks, mushrooms, swiss chard and a flavorful sun-dried tomato sauce.

 Lasagna in any form must be up there on our list of comfort food favorites. What’s not to love about lasagna? They’re saucy, cheesy, and perfect to fill with our favorite ingredients. The possibilities are endless when we can really start to think outside the basic fillings.

The replacement of traditional pasta with zucchini adds great texture to the dish, plus a beautiful presentation. The longer you cook the lasagna, the softer the zucchini noodles will become.

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Bacon Zucchini Lasagna
Instructions
Bacon & Veggies
  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté bacon until slightly crisp. Remove & blot on paper towel. Add leeks & mushrooms to the pan; sauté 4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic; sauté 1 minute. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in saucepan; add zucchini slices. Sauté 4 minutes or until tender & just beginning to brown. Remove from pan to a plate. Heat remaining 1 tsp of oil & add the Swiss chard; sauté 4 minutes or until wilted. Combine bacon & Swiss chard with vegetable mixture in bowl.
Sauce
  1. In a skillet, heat oil. Add onion & cook 2 minutes until it starts to soften. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, paprika & sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring with a spatula. Add veg broth & allow to bubble for 2 minutes then add salt & pepper (if using). Bring to a boil then reduce heat & simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream & parmesan cheese.
Cheese
  1. Grate mozzarella & parmesan cheeses. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese & 150 gm (1 1/2 cups) mozzarella; stir well.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with veg oil.
  2. Spread a small amount of the sauce mixture in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Arrange 1/3 of zucchini slices over the sauce; top with half of the cottage cheese mixture, then half of the veg/bacon mixture & about a cup of sauce. Repeat layers, ending with zucchini slices. Spread the remaining sauce mixture on top of the zucchini slices; sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.
  3. Cover & bake for 20 minutes. Uncover & bake an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly & beginning to brown, Allow to sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Shrimp & Broccoli ‘Hobo’ Packs

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Once again, the last long weekend of summer has arrived. Here in Canada, families with school age children, take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Others enjoy the company of family and friends at barbecues, picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. Canadian football fans may spend a large portion of their weekend watching the Labor Day Classic matches live on television. Whatever your choice of relaxation is, you know good food will be a part of the holiday.

If you’re barbecuing, some hobo packs might just be perfect. Each packet can be prepared individually or collectively so even the pickiest eater can be accommodated. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with outdoor cooking, you can always cook indoors in your oven & there’s minimal clean-up afterward either way.

Essentially a ‘hobo’ pack is a bundle of cut-up ingredients wrapped up in foil and cooked over the coals of a campfire.

Although, foil pack meals seem like the new summer go-to dinner, creative cooks were making these long before they became trendy. Depending on your eating habits, taste preferences and ingredients on hand, you can make any combination of flavors.

During the depression, many people were homeless and lived in encampments. They were known as Hobos.  Whatever food they could find, whether it was wild caught, wild grown, in the trash, or given from a neighbor, they would cook all the food over the fire.  Because they were hungry, they would use even the peelings of vegetables that others would throw away.  Being resourceful was their survival.  I am sure that is where we get the term ‘Hobo Dinner’, because it is comprised of simple ingredients that are cooked together.

Whether you call them meals in foil, zip packs, hobo bundles, or some other name, meals in foil are easy and unmessy, camp-style cooking in your own backyard (or kitchen).

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Baked Shrimp & Broccoli 'Hobo' Packs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut 2 sheets of 14 by 12-inch (35 x 30 cm) heavy-duty aluminum foil then lay each piece separately on the countertop. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the spice mix: Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, & smoked paprika & powdered vegetable or chicken stock.
  3. In a shallow plate, add shrimp; sprinkle with the spice mix, coating on all sides. Divide shrimp onto the aluminum foil near the center then place broccoli florets to one side of the shrimp.
  4. Add garlic over broccoli & shrimp, then sprinkle with lemon juice, red crushed chili pepper flakes (if using) and finish with salt and pepper. Divide butter pieces evenly among the shrimp foil packets, layering them over the shrimp & broccoli.
  5. Add a tablespoon of vegetable stock in each foil packet & wrap packets in; crimp edges together then wrap ends up. Don’t wrap too tight – keep a little extra space inside for heat to circulate.
  6. Transfer to a baking sheet & bake shrimp foil packets in the oven, sealed side upward until shrimps have cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  7. Carefully unwrap the baked shrimp & broccoli foil packets then garnish with fresh parsley and a slice of lemon.
Recipe Notes
  • Brion & I found some roasted cherry tomatoes were especially good with this meal. After drizzling the tomatoes with Golden Italian Dressing, I roasted them on their own  in the same oven as the hobo packs were baking.

Oyster, Bacon, Tomato & Avocado Po’boys

I have always had a love for sandwiches, not sure why … just do. Submarine, sub, grinder, hero, hoagie … there are many names for a sandwich on a length of Italian bread split horizontally and filled with cold cuts, cheese, veggies and dressing.

The classic oyster po’ boys make the most of briny, salty oysters. If you’re not familiar with this sandwich, it originated in New Orleans in 1929 as a way to feed the striking workers. Credit goes to brothers Clovis & Bennie Martin, streetcar conductors-turned-sandwich-shop owners who made it their duty to help out striking streetcar conductors by giving them free sandwiches. The strikers were called ‘poor boys’ (New Orleans shortens everything, so it got shortened to po’ boy). The brothers’ generosity earned thousands of new fans, and the sandwich with its new name, became of symbol of the city’s heart & soul.

The original po’ boy was filled with breaded, fried oysters or shrimp. Some common variations include crab, catfish, crawfish, spicy sausage, fried chicken and shredded seasoned beef. Seafood and chicken po’ boys are made with breaded and deep fried ingredients, but if deep frying is not your thing, oven baked is the closest technique to achieve the crunchy, deep-fried texture.

Brion & I like this combo because the avocado brings out the sweetness in seafood. Oysters coated in cornmeal make a savory sandwich and a perfect meal. It’s portable, it’s filling and there are endless possibilities.

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Oyster, Bacon, Tomato & Avocado Po'boys
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Instructions
  1. In a skillet, fry bacon until crispy but not hard. Drain on paper towel until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal & spices; set aside.
  3. Gently dredge oysters in flour then in egg whites & lastly in cornmeal/spice mixture. Cover breaded oysters & refrigerate until ready to bake. Prepare tomato, avocados (guacamole) & bread.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. Remove oysters from refrigerator, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray & carefully place oysters on it so that they are not touching each other. Bake for 15 minutes until crispy & cooked.
  6. Spread bread 'pieces' with your choice of dressing. Divide oysters between bottom halves, followed by avocado, bacon & tomato. Place top halves of the bread over the fillings & press lightly. Serve immediately.

Parmesan Baked Scallops

Scallops are an exquisite delicacy brought to us by the sea. Subtle as their flavors may be, the combination of sweet, buttery and nutty always hits the right spot and makes them so addictive.

Sea scallops are widely known for their iconic, beautiful shape …. a fan-like shell with fluted grooves. Different varieties are found in oceans all over the world and come in many sizes. For commercial purposes they are labeled similar to shrimp. A number is used to designate how many scallops of a given size it would take to constitute a pound. The label 20/30 means it would take 20/30 scallops to make up a pound and labels like U10 means it would take less than (‘under’) 10 to make a pound.

Scallops are bivalve mollusks (meaning having 2 shells- usually united by a hinge) that have a reddish-pink, upper shell and white or cream colored, lower shell.

Wild scallops feed by filtering microscopic plankton from the water. They are hand shucked immediately and frozen at sea to capture their fresh sweet flavor.

Brion & I don’t have scallops often but when we do we enjoy them to the fullest.

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Parmesan Baked Scallops
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place 'scallop shells' on a baking pan.
  2. Rinse scallops & thoroughly pat dry on paper towels. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the compound butter. Mix well.
  4. Place 4 scallops on top of each shell dish. Divide butter into 4 portions & place one on each dish of scallops. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of scallops. Test at about the 6 minute mark. Try to avoid over baking as you will be broiling for a few minutes to finish.
  5. As scallops are baking, melt butter in microwave for the crunchy topping. Mix in the panko crumbs & fresh parsley.
  6. Remove the scallops from the oven. Turn on the broiler. Top each with a spoonful of the crunchy topping. Sprinkle with a bit more parmesan cheese. Broil for about 1 minute or 2, just enough to brown the topping & melt the cheese.
  7. Nice to serve with rice or pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley & serve with lemon wedges.

Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

Truly, chicken wings are part of the North American culture. Its hard to imagine that chicken wings have only been on the scene for that last fifty + years and that they were originally considered a throw-away part of the chicken. Prior to 1964, chicken wings were scraps leftover when the chicken was cut up. They were either discarded or sold for mere pennies to be made into soup.

I guess the answer to the question as to why we love chicken wings so much is simple. Their ability to mesh with just about any flavor combination or maybe its just the finger liking goodness that comes from eating with your hands.

A while back, Brion & I bought some new appliances for our home. The stove has numerous features I didn’t have on the previous one such as an air fryer. Today I thought I’d give it a whirl with these chicken wings … Yum!

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Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings
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Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy plastic bag, combine parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, paprika & salt; add chicken wings. Seal bag tightly & briskly shake to coat chicken wings well. Spray air fryer with cooking spray. Spread out wings in basket, keeping them apart to allow for the air flow. Air fry for 12 minutes; use tongs to turn wings & fry an additional 12 minutes. Serve.

Breakfast Enchilada Bake

ENJOY FAMILY DAY!

First held in the province of Alberta in 1990, Family Day is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta. It was to give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families to help prevent the erosion of family values in Canadian society.

‘Family Day’ is a public holiday in 5 Canadian provinces, where it is a day off for the general population with schools and most businesses being closed. However, there are some provinces where the holiday is named slightly different and for different reasons.

Family Day was scheduled to fall between New Year’s Day and Good Friday in order to grant another day off between these celebrations as they are approximately three months apart.

This meal seems so appropriate for today. Just put breakfast in the oven, sit back, enjoy a coffee while it bakes. What a great way to start a ‘family day’ together!

Easy to make, a breakfast bake sits in the fridge for several hours or better yet, overnight, so when you pop it in the oven the following morning, all the work will have already been done. Plus, variations abound according to your tastes and favorite ingredients: substitute sausage for bacon (or use both). Forego all meats for a vegetarian version and substitute fresh spinach, roasted peppers, blanched broccoli. Of course, make-ahead breakfast bakes are genius and forgiving; it can use up multiple supplies in your kitchen, appeal to a variety of tastes and be absolutely delicious every time.

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Breakfast Enchilada Bake
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Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green pepper, onion, garlic & all spices; cook 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add chicken sausage & cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-6 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Once fully cooked, stir in 3/4 cup of cheese.
  3. Spray a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. On a work surface, lay out tortillas. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sausage filling onto one side of the tortillas; roll each tightly. Place seam side down in the baking pan; sprinkle any extra sausage mixture on top.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & half & half until completely combined. Pour over enchiladas & sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese. Cover with foil & refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Remove chilled enchiladas from fridge, bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove foil & bake for an additional 15 minutes OR until center is set (eggs should no longer be jiggly) & cheese is lightly browned. If you prefer, leave the casserole covered & bake longer, before removing foil. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Turkey Breast w/ Fruity Savory Stuffing

December 25th is not only Christmas Day, but it holds an extra special meaning for our family. It is my sister Rita’s birth date. When we were growing up, being able to enjoy all the great things that come with the Christmas meal as well as birthday cake …. could it get better than that!!

Although your family’s Christmas traditions may vary depending on the culture you were raised in, we like to think food is a language that needs no translation. I believe that many of our dishes are from an assortment of different cultures mixed into one recipe. Such is the case of our turkey dinner this year. I’ve incorporated a Moroccan inspired fruit stuffing along with our traditional savory one.

In view of the ongoing pandemic, hopefully caution will be taken in the holiday events your involved in. The best gift you can give this Christmas is not infecting others with Covid-19.

As much as I like certain aspects of the Christmas season, I find it becomes a little overwhelming. It seems a massive wave of Christmas capitalism takes over every aspect of one’s life from the end of October to January. I like to call it a form of OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder.

I was raised on a farm in southern Alberta at a time when Christmas celebrations were focused around our family blessings and not how many blow-up Santa Clauses or realistic sleighs we set up on our front lawns.

It would almost seem more importance is being given to getting more likes on Facebook & Instagram than it is carrying on a tradition based on family.

This year will not be perfect, it never is, and the holidays are a hard enough time for many, regardless of pandemics and catastrophic weather. I hope there will still be a little magic for everyone, however you spend the holidays.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RITA!

WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH & ARE SHARING YOUR DAY IN OUR THOUGHTS

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Turkey Breast w/ Fruity Savory Stuffing
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SERVINGS
Ingredients
Fruit Stuffing
Savory Stuffing
Herb Butter
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Fruit Stuffing
Savory Stuffing
Herb Butter
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Instructions
Fruit Stuffing
  1. In a small bowl, combine dates, apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice & zest; season with spices & mix well. Set aside to marinate.
Savory Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, sauté onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms & seasonings in margarine. Remove from heat.
  2. Place vegetable/seasoning mixture in a large bowl & combine with dry bread cubes & broth, adding only enough broth to make proper stuffing consistency. Set aside.
Turkey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lay turkey breast on a clean work surface so that it lies open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten into an even thickness all over. Discard plastic wrap.
  3. On one half of the turkey breast spread a thick layer of the savory stuffing then top it with the fruit stuffing. Fold the adjoining half of the turkey breast over all. Fasten with metal skewers if you wish to help to keep stuffing enclosed.
  4. Place a wire rack in a roasting pan & lay stuffed turkey roast on it. Brush herb butter over turkey breast. Roast uncovered, until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.
  5. Place any extra savory stuffing in a buttered casserole & bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is lightly toasted.
  6. Remove turkey breast from oven, tent with foil & allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure to remove all toothpicks and/or skewers before slicing to serve.
Recipe Notes
  • You will notice the recipe for the savory stuffing is well more than what is needed to stuff the turkey breast. For me personally, the stuffing is the most important part of the whole meal so I made sure there would be lots. 
  • Don't hesitate to half the recipe if you feel its more than what you need.

Turkey Thighs w/ Persimmon Sage Stuffing

Cooking turkey parts instead of the entire bird serves a few purposes. It not only cuts way back on the cooking time but it allows you to cook more of your favorite pieces. For dark meat lovers, roasted turkey thighs are the perfect option as the meat is succulent and flavorful without losing its moistness during the roasting time.

As soon as I spot persimmons in the grocery store I can’t resist them. Persimmons are in season between November and February. They are mildly sweet and juicy with a slight crunch reminiscent of a cross between a peach and a pear. Since there is only a short window in which you can enjoy this exotic fruit, persimmons make up for it by working well in both sweet and savory recipes.

In acknowledgement to the USA Thanksgiving today (November 25th), I’m stuffing some turkey thighs with an interesting dressing containing persimmons & fresh sage. I know most people have their own traditional, go-to‘ stuffing recipes, but I’m hoping at least a few will venture from the norm and try a little persimmon in your stuffing. I can assure you, its worth it.

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Turkey Thighs w/ Persimmon Sage Stuffing
Instructions
Stuffing
  1. Preheat oven to 200 F. On a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, spread out the cubes of bread. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted yet still pale in color. Set aside. Turn oven off until ready to bake ready to roast thighs if you wish.
  2. In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil & 1 Tbsp butter. When butter has melted, add the shallot, celery & leek. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme & pepper; cook until mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth and toss lightly until everything is completely mixed. Give the stuffing a taste & add salt to your personal taste. Fold in the beaten egg & cubed persimmons; toss lightly till combined.
Herb Butter
  1. In a small dish, combine all herb butter ingredients & set aside.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Arrange turkey thighs, skin side down on a work surface so they lay open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten to an even thickness.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Discard plastic wrap; spread stuffing over 2 turkey thighs, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edge. Top each with a remaining turkey thigh. Butter a casserole dish with remaining butter & transfer any leftover stuffing to casserole dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Line a roasting pan with heavy duty foil paper. Grease foil on the bottom of pan & place the stuffed turkey thighs in roasting pan. Carefully spread HERB BUTTER over tops of stuffed thighs.
  5. Roast uncovered, basting occasionally, until thighs reach an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. Cover with foil if top browns too quickly. Bake the extra stuffing for about 30-40 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
  6. Remove turkey thighs from oven, tent with foil & allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Slice & serve.

Chicken Tenders w/ Pepita Seeds

Pepita seeds might not be what you ordinarily think of as chicken coating material, but these nutty, chewy kernels are every bit as tasty and versatile as almonds or pistachios in cooking.

Many people use the words pepitas and pumpkin seeds interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. A pepita is harvested from specific hull-less pumpkin varieties, known as Styrian or Oil Seed pumpkins. Any other variety of pumpkin produces a hulled seed that’s slightly fibrous and less tender.

Pepitas are more versatile in the kitchen than traditional pumpkin seeds since they’re not as tough. Aside from using them as a garnish or a snack, pepitas make good pesto, or as a crust for meat or fish, as a topping on muffins, mixed in granola, baked in focaccia bread or made into brittle.

Crunchy pepita seeds are little powerhouses of nutrition, so using them instead of breadcrumbs along with a light, spicy ‘tempura’ batter to prepare this chicken breast, really takes it from ordinary to special. It’s the whole package …. moist, crisp with the toasty appeal of pepitas.

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Chicken Tenders w/ Pepita Seeds
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Tempura Batter
Chicken Tenders
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Tempura Batter
Chicken Tenders
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine all tempura batter ingredients (except pepita seeds), whisking until smooth.
  3. Pat chicken tenders dry & add to batter. Turn in mixture to coat evenly. Allow to stand in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  4. Place whole pepita seeds on a large tray or plate. Lift chicken out of batter & coat evenly with pepita seeds.
  5. Place chicken on baking sheet & bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown & cooked through.
Recipe Notes
  • Alternately, you could cook the chicken on a griddle using a combo of oil & butter.