Sunday, 16 August 2015

Rainbow Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins

Poppy Seed Muffins


2 1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Baking Power
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Soft Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Orange


Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease or line with paper 12-18 muffin cups.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer blend the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl whisk the soft butter until somewhat fluffy. Zest* the lemon, lime and orange into the butter, then add the juice from the lemon, lime and orange. Whisk to combine together. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until blended. Stir in the milk and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend just until everything comes together and no pockets of flour remains.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling until just below the top.

Bake in preheat oven for 5 minutes, then without opening the door of the oven reduce heat to 375°F and continue to bake for 10-18 minutes. Muffins are cooked though when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.



* When trying to zest the rind of a citrus fruit you only want to zest off the colorful part of the rind. The white part under the color is very bitter and does not taste very nice.

Other Places:

More Muffins

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Barbacoa Shredded Beef

Barbacoa Shredded Beef
Really spicy!!


2-3 Pounds Beef Roast, cut into large cubes
4-6 cloves minced Garlic
1 small can chopped Green Chilies (Hot or Mild)
2-3 Chilies in Adobo Sauce, chopped
1 finely chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Oregano
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Water or Broth


To save time the onion, garlic, green chilies, Adobo Chilies can all be pulsed together in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment to create a spicy pulpy mix.

Add the mined onion, garlic, chopped chilies and can of green chilies to the insert of a slowcooker.  Add the broth/water, lime juice, vinegar, cumin, oregano, and cloves. Stir to blend everything together.  Add the cubed beef chunks and season well with salt and pepper. Stir to cover the beef in the sauce. Add the bay leaves.

Cook on low for 5-8 hours, until beef is tender and shreds with a fork. Once beef is cooked, use a large strainer to remove the beef to a large bowl, shred with two sturdy forks.  Ladle some of the cooking liquid back over the shredded beef to add flavor and keep it moist.

Use the shredded beef to make tacos with soft tortilla wraps, lettuce, cheese, veggies and sour cream. This is a really spicy recipe!!


Other Places:

Goes pretty well with roasted Corn on the cob!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms


1 Box Stove Top for Turkey
1 Cup water
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2-3/4 Cup Chopped Bacon Bits

Parmesan Cheese, shredded to garnish tops

1 Pound button Mushrooms, washed and dried, stems popped out


In a large microwave save bowl heat the stove top and water together for 2 minutes, stirring part way through. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Stir in the mozzarella, cheddar and bacon bits. Blend evenly.

Press the stuffing mixture into the mushroom caps, and place in a large shallow baking dish, stuffing side up.

Mushrooms can be prepared up to a day ahead, and chilled in fridge until ready to serve.

To serve, preheat oven to 365°F. Bake mushrooms in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned, cheese is melted and everything looks toasty.



I know stove top is an odd ingredient for me to have on my blog, I typically avoid all pre-packaged ingredients, buuuuut this is a family favorite and it is pretty great. Rules are meant to be broken when its worth it so cheers!

Other Places:

Another Family Favorite

Cheese Ball



The German solution to pasta night


1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Large Pot salted Boiling water
2 Tablespoons Butter

Lemon wedges and parsley to garnish


In a large bowl sift together the flour and nutmeg and season well with salt and pepper.

Whisk the eggs together.

Whisk the eggs and milk alternatively into the flour mixture until smooth and evenly blended.

Bring a skillet to heat over medium.

Force and push the "dough" through a sieve with large holes, at least 1/2 cm diameter into boiling water. Cook for 5-8 minutes, when the little bits are floating and feel like a cooked pasta. Strain Spaetzel from water

Melt butter in the heated skillet, add the drained spaetzel and saute for 3-5 minutes, until golden.

Transfer to a serving plate, with lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley.



Never forget the nutmeg! It is a key flavor in so many things.


French Cottage Pie

French Cottage Pie

I am not usually a fan of meat pie dishes, but this one is different, and proof that the French are better at food.


1 Pound boneless Beef Chuck, cubed
1 Onion, quartered
1-2 Carrots, trimmed, peeled
1-2 Celery Stalks, trimmed
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Cup Chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
1-2 Bay Leaves
6 Cups Water

2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 Pound Sausage, Removed from casing, scramble fried and cooked through
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper

2 Pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled, quartered and cooked soft.
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Cream (or more milk)
3 Tablespoons soft Butter
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Gruyere Cheese

2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese


In a large stock pot or dutch oven add the cubed beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves and water. Season well with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Skimming off any foam. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Strain and reserve the stock. Transfer the cubed beef to a cutting board and roughly chop to add texture. Discard the vegetables.

(The recipe up to this point can be done a day ahead and kept in the fridge overnight)

To prepare the pie, butter a large deep casserole dish.

Prepare the filling heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add the sausage and either cook through if not already done, or just heat it up. Add the roughly chopped cooked beef, roughly 1 cup of the stock from the beef, the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Once everything has simmered for several minutes, taste and adjust any flavors as needed. If the mixture looks dry add a little bit of extra stock. Slightly too much stock is better than too little.

Pour the meat filling into the prepared casserole dish, cover with foil and set in fridge while preparing the potatoes.

Pass the potatoes though a potato ricer, or mash well. With a wooden spoon mix in the milk, cream, and 3 tablespoons of butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in the shredded Gruyere cheese.

Smooth the potato over top of the meat filling in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan Cheese over top of the potato layer.

When ready to heat and serve, preheat oven to 400°F and bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until top is golden and crunchy and some sauce is bubbling at the edges.

Serve with bread and a nice green salad for a great meal.



I made these in large tart shells (roughly 4 inches wide) and froze them to have quick little tasty meals on hand. They thaw and heat, or heat from frozen pretty well so I am calling this a success.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Spicy Coleslaw

Stir Fried Corn and Leek with Fresh Basil

Stir Fried Corn and Leek with Fresh Basil

The cumin really helps balance out the natural sweetness in the corn, without adding too much heat to the finished dish.


2 Cups corn (4 Ears Shucked and cleaned)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1-2 Leek Stalks, white and soft green parts only
Salt and Pepper
2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice


Heat the butter (or vegetable oil) in a skillet over medium heat.

Slice the leek, and add to the skillet and cook down until tender and slightly wilted. 3-5 minutes. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.

Add the corn and stir fry until corn is heated through and tender, only about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the fresh basil and drizzle the lemon juice over top.

Serves roughly 4.


Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Homemade Cheeseburger Helper

Easy Marinated Italian Chicken with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Marinated Italian Chicken and Roasted Tomato Sauce


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1-2 Tablespoons Poultry Seasoning*
1-2 Tablespoons Pizza Spice*
2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips

Extra Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes (I used a blend of different colored grape tomatoes)
2 Tablespoons Pesto
2-4 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Oregano
1 Onion, diced
1 Red Pepper
1 Can diced Tomatoes

*Don't feel like you need to use this exact spice blend, a really strong mix of your favorite Italian seasonings will also work.

Cooked Pasta, I used linguine, to serve.
Crumbled Feta
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Special Tools:

Food processor with a blade, blender, hand blender, this will be used to pulverize the tomatoes and red pepper into a sauce.


At least 15 minutes before cooking, or up to as long as the day before combine the olive oil, pizza spice and poultry seasoning in a bowl. Stir well to blend.  Add the chicken strips and turn to coat. Allow to marinate for desired amount of time. I left mine for about 2 hours in the fridge then 30 minutes on the counter before cooking and thought the marinade flavor was really nice.

When ready to cook, heat a large grill pan, or skillet, or grill to medium heat. Heat up the oven broiler. Set a sauce pan to medium heat. Begin to heat  a large pot of salted water to cook pasta.

Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to heating sauce pot, add the diced onions and season with salt and pepper. Stir and sweat onions for about 10 minutes.

Using the tip of a knife gently poke a small hole in the skin of each tomato, this will help them  not explode while broiling. Slice the red pepper into quarters. Gently toss the tomatoes and the red pepper quarters in olive oil to coat and transfer to a heavy cooking sheet. Broil until blackened and blistered on top. 8-15 minutes. Watch carefully or your smoke detector will interrupt your cooking.

After broiling the tomatoes and red pepper, transfer to the bowl of a food processor, or blender, or into a sauce pot to blend with a hand blender and pulse several times until smooth. Transfer to pot with cooking onions. Add the minced garlic, pesto, oregano leaves. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium low and simmer.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Lightly oil the skillet, grill pan or grill. Remove chicken from marinade and grill on each side for about 5-7 minutes per side, until just barely cooked through. Transfer to oven while you finish the sauce and pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on package, and number of servings needed.

Taste the sauce and adjust any seasonings.

Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce, arrange a few chicken strips over top of pasta on a plate. Garnish everything with some crumbled feta and Parmesan cheese.


Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Santa Fe Ranch Dip

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Babka Muffins

Chocolate Babka Muffins

These take some time to prepare but these lovely little layered cupcakes are well worth the time.


1 Cup Milk, warmed
1/2 Cup + 2 Teaspoons Sugar
3 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast
3 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Large Eggs
2-3 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoons Salt
12 Tablespoons of Butter, softened

1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Milk

6 Tablespoons Softened Butter
8 Ounces Dark Chocolate*
4 Ounces Milk Chocolate*
3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Raspberries ** Optional **

* Or you can use 12 ounces total of whatever chocolate you want.


In a large bowl whisk together the warmed milk, 2 teaspoons of sugar and the yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes. This can also be done in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

Stir in 1 cup of the flour, the eggs, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat until well combined. Slowly add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and blend in until a soft sticky dough forms. Blend in the cubed butter a few pieces at a time and blend for 4-5 minutes until dough is shiny and soft.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Grease or use paper liners in 12 muffin cups.

In the bowl of a food processor add the chocolate, sugar and cinnamon, pulse several times to smash up the chocolate into small bits. If you are using raspberries, chop them slightly as well and set aside.

Prepare a large surface for rolling and flour the area fairly well, especially in the middle.

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Melt the butter and spread it evenly over the rectangle. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the entire rectangle of dough. If using raspberries scatter them over the top as well.

Starting on the long side of the rectangle roll the dough up tightly into a "log" as though you were making cinnamon rolls.

Cut the log into 24 equal slices and place each slice in a prepared muffin cup. Let the babka rise for 30 minutes in the muffin tins.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare the egg wash by whisking the last egg with 1 tablespoon milk. Brush lightly over the tops of each babka.

Bake the risen babka in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Transfer to a wire rack. I like them best warm.


Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Coconut Curried Chicken