This is my absolute go to/must serve appetizer! I make it pretty much every time we entertain or if I am asked to bring an appy to a gathering. It is super easy and quick to make and always a hit! As my friends may know about me, I love to make sure my meals are nicely seasoned…with this dish it is no different. While it is unremarkably different from most Artichoke dip recipes out there, I add some extra seasonings to elevate it from the standard. I hope you enjoy it 😊
1 8oz Pack of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 Cup Real Mayonnaise
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 14oz can Artichokes (I usually dice up my artichokes so they aren’t huge pieces)
1 TSP White Pepper
2 TSP Garlic Powder
1 TSP Dried Oregano
½ Tsp Italian Seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients above and mix thoroughly.
- Place the mixture into an oven safe dish and bake for 30 minutes.
Ever since I was little I have LOVED tomatoes. Being a picky eater as a child I quite literally survived my elementary school years eating tomato and cheese sandwiches. This wasn’t for a lack of trying on my parents part for me to try new lunches and food…I simply refused to eat anything else. Sorry mom!
Now that I am all grow up, I still LOVE tomatoes and even grow them in my garden 😊
From time to time I get a craving for Bruschetta so I figured I would share my take on it with all of you.
1 White Baguette
5-6 Roma Tomatoes (any other tomato will do as well but these are my favourite choice)
2 TBSP Sweet Onion (finely diced)
1 – 2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
½ Red Pepper (finely chopped)
Handful of Fresh Basil (Chopped)
¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
1 TSP White Pepper
1 TSP Dried Oregano
Salt to Taste
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
- Dice and chop all your ingredients.
- Place your tomatoes in a strainer and squeeze out the juices so the bruschetta is not watery.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Slice your Baguette and toast in the toaster, or if you prefer, pan fry it until golden brown in a pan with butter.
- Place topping on baguette slices and enjoy 😊
Looking for a quick and easy dinner option? Look no further. From start to finish this meal takes under an hour to make! It is served with a light yet creamy white wine sauce with a hint of lemon.
- 375g Pasta of your choice (I used 1 pack of linguine)
- 20- 30 Raw Prawns (peeled & de-veined)
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Medium Shallot
- 1 Medium Zucchini
- 1 Green Pepper
- 5 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
- Juice from 2 ½ Lemons
- ¾ Cup Water
- ¾ Cup Dry White Wine
- ½ Cup Whipping Cream
- ½ Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Seasoning Salt
- ½ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp White Pepper
- ½ Tsp Oregano
- ½ Tsp Italian Seasoning
- Fresh Chives and Parsley to garnish
- Fresh Parmesan for Garnish
- Peel your prawns, if you did not purchase de-veined ones you will need to do so now.
- Cook your pasta according to instructions on box, depending on the type of pasta you choose the cooking time varies. TIP: Once your pasta is cooked, strain and run under cold water to prevent it from sticking together. Set aside.
- Dice your shallot, zucchini and pepper and set aside each one separately.
- In a large skillet, melt your butter on high heat and add the shallot. Lightly brown the shallot then add your green peppers. Let them cook approx. 3 minutes until they are getting softer.
- Add your water and zucchini and mix. Cook for approx 4 minutes until zucchini is starting to get soft.
- Add your garlic, paprika, seasoning salt, black pepper, white pepper, oregano & Italian seasoning. Mix everything together and cook for another minute or 2.
- Add your lemon juice and mix.
- Add the prawns and mix. Let them cook for about 2 minutes or until they turn pink.
- Add your wine and mix. Cook everything with a cover on for about 5 minutes to allow the wine to evaporate a bit.
- Add in the cream and mix. Lower heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add your pasta and combine everything.
- Once everything is combined serve and garnish with chives, parsley & Parmesan.
Wow, talk about a long hiatus from posting anything! For those of you who used to follow me… my sincere apologies, for anyone seeing any of my posts for the first time…Welcome! 🙂
A lot has happened over the past two years. I quit a horrible job, started a new amazing job, got settled, then subsequently lost track of time. To keep things interesting me and the husband decided to buy a detached house before the market in the Lower Mainland made it impossible to own a house. We got in the market just in time but still over paid…that is another story all together. Last year, we got ourselves into a full scale renovation of said over-priced house. That was an adventure to say the least! Once the dust settled, we had turned an un-kept, filthy house that was stuck in 1995 into a place we could call home. Surprisingly, there was only one major melt down during the entire process. In the end, I got my dream kitchen and our marriage came out stronger. We turned a delivery of 220 boxes from Ikea into something spectacular! Here is a quick before and after:
So now that you are all caught up…on to the cooking and food 🙂
- 6 Chicken Breasts (cut into 1″ strips)
- 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 9 Garlic Cloves (grated)
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Ginger (grated)
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Chili Flakes
- Juice from 2 Limes
- 1/4 Tsp Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 2 Lemongrass Stems (cut into 1″pieces)
- 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth (no msg)
- Roasted Sesame
- Fresh Cilantro
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Place your Coconut Oil and Chicken Pieces into a cast iron pot. Cook on high until chicken is lightly browned. (about 8 minutes)
- Add in your broth and the rest of the ingredients . Mix well and bring to a boil.
- Turn down the heat to low and cook covered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Scoop out your chicken strips and dice/shred them up on cutting board.
- With a slotted spoon, remove and discard the pieces of lemongrass.
- Return the now shredded chicken to the broth mixture.
- Let it cook on low for about 20 minutes to allow the chicken to take on even more flavour from the broth mixture.
- Top your chicken with the toppings and serve over rice or quinoa.
Introducing our new favorite Paleo Side Dish! This was a totally random dish that I made the other night to go with our left over Risotto. Let me tell you…they were wonderful! My husband had to restrain himself from eating all of them in order to have a few left over for his lunch. They were very simple and easy to make and can go with so many different meals due to their gentle flavors. These wonderful and highly nutritious beets will definitely be making a regular appearance as a side dish during dinner time.
- 5 – 6 Medium Golden Beets (trimmed & peeled)
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 2 Tbsp Honey (use organic if possible)
- 4 Cups Water
- Slice your beets into 1/4 ” slices.
- Place beets flat into a large and deep skillet. (mine fit in 2 layers)
- Sprinkle in the thyme leaves and drizzle in the honey.
- Add the water over the beets to make sure they are all submerged.
- Place a lid on the skillet and begin cooking. Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat to medium/high.
- Cook the beets partially covered for 25 – 30 minutes. Check and stir them gently occasionally. Once they have softened they are ready.
- Remove from the heat and let them sit in the juice for a few minutes.
* This amount of time will still leave the beets sightly hard and crunchy, if you prefer them softer simply cook a bit longer.
Serve and Enjoy
I cannot believe I have never attempted a Risotto in this house before. After watching the show Chopped on the Food Network and learning what definitely not to do I set out to make my own. It is in fact super easy and while it takes a bit of time to make it is totally worth it!. This can be a meal in itself or serve it up as a very filling side dish. Either way you will have leftovers if you are cooking for just two people.
- 6 Cups Chicken Broth (I used low sodium, No MSG)
- 1 ½ cups Arborio Rice
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (divided)
- 1 Medium Shallot (finely chopped)
- 1 Garlic Clove (minced)
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp White Truffle Oil
- 2 Tsp Pepper
- 3 Medium – Large Portobello Mushrooms (chopped)
- ½ Cup Dry White Wine
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (if you use dried Thyme use 1 Tbsp)
- ¼ Cup Italian Parsley (chopped)
- ¼ Cup Chives (chopped)
- 5 Tbsp Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- In a pot bring your broth to a boil and set it aside.
- In a skillet, melt 2 Tbsp of butter then toss in your mushrooms.
- Drizzle the truffle oil over the mushrooms while they cook.
- Add in the pepper and thyme and combine. Allow the mushrooms to cook down for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside and cover.
- In a large pot melt the remaining butter with the olive oil. Add in the shallots and garlic and allow them to cook until golden.
- Add the rice and combine until the rice takes on a golden color as well.
- Pour in the wine and allow it to cook down.
- Add in 1 large ladle of broth and stir. Reduce the heat to medium. Once the liquid is cooked down add in another ladle of broth. (I had to add another ladle in every 3-4 minutes so keep the pot of broth close by)
- Continue stirring occasionally and adding the broth in in increments until all the broth is used.
- This process should take 20 – 30 minutes. By the end your rice will be perfectly soft and cooked.
- Once the rice is ready, add the cooked mushrooms with all their juices, parsley, chives and Parmesan, stir to combine.
- I served ours with some fresh chives and Parmesan on top but this is optional.
As promised here is my Paella recipe. This dish has it’s origins in Spain, more accurately, Valencia, located on the east coast of Spain. Paella also happens to be one of my father’s favorite dishes. I have vague recollections of this dish from my time in Spain but whenever my father reminisces about living in Spain, somehow Paella always manages to get mentioned. There are many different ways to go about making this dish. You can go the all seafood route, a meat and vegetable route, or the one I took which is a mix of all the above. So there you have my inspiration for last nights amazing meal, a walk down memory lane which started off with me trying to figure out what to do with the boring looking chicken breasts I had defrosting in the fridge. I hope I did this fantastic dish justice. This recipe does take a bit more time than most of my other recipes, you will need approximately 2 hours but it is worth it for how much leftover food you have so do not be scared of all the ingredients and steps below 🙂
Helpful Tip: I put all the dry seasoning & spices in a small bowl so I could simply pour them in together and not have to fiddle around with various containers while cooking.
- 10 – 15 Raw Prawns (peeled)
- 3 Chicken Breasts (cubed)
- 2 Medium Chorizo (sliced) – I took mine out of the casing first
- ½ White Onion (chopped)
- 3 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 ½ Red Peppers (chopped)
- 4 Medium Carrots (sliced)
- 1 (796ml) Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Pinch Saffron
- 2 Cups Arborio Rice
- 4 Cups Boiling Water
- 1 Chicken Stock Cube
- 2 ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- ½ Tsp Turmeric
- ½ Tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 Cups Frozen Peas
- ½ Cup Italian Parsley (chopped)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Lime Wedges for Seasoning at the end
- In a large deep skillet or paella pan, melt the butter with the olive oil, toss in the onion and fry on high until it is slightly golden.
- Add in the garlic, carrots and red peppers then saute for 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the chicken breast and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until you can’t see any pink on the chicken.
- Pour in the entire can of tomatoes followed by the chorizo and stir until combined.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add in the paprika, chicken cube (crumbled), garlic powder, turmeric, cayenne and saffron stirring constantly to combine it all.
- Pour in the rice. Cook for about 5 minutes to allow the rice to be coated in all the sauce. Stir constantly.
- Add in 3 cups of the boiling water slowly and stir carefully to combine everything.
- Cover the pan and cook on low – medium for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add in the leftover 1 cup of water slowly and combine.
- Cook for another 20 – 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- The rice will get plump and slowly start to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan. This is totally fine and adds a great flavor to the dish, just don’t let it burn completely and stir every so often.
- Once most of the liquid has evaporated, toss in your raw prawns and place the cover back on to allow the prawns to cook. (approx. 5 mins)
- Once the prawns are pink, toss in your parsley and frozen peas. Stir to combine evenly.
- Once the peas are defrosted and hot your dish is ready. Add Salt & Pepper to taste.
I served mine up with some fresh lime wedges to squeeze on the dish at the table. It adds a great little burst of flavor. 🙂 Enjoy.
Don’t panic. I know what the vast majority of people will think when they see this title…”Brussel Sprouts…Yuck!” If you are anything like me you are probably reliving all the family dinners from your childhood when your parents tried to force you to eat brussel sprouts. Personally I have never been a fan of these tiny cabbages, that is until now. It all changed this past Christmas when my lovely sister-in-law served up these bad boys at the family dinner, this is also to say that I cannot take credit for this recipe as it is something I got from her 🙂 This is a super easy and quick side dish that is sure to please even the most determined hater of brussel sprouts.
- 30 – 40 Brussel Sprouts
- 2 – 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Coarse Salt & Pepper to taste
- Wash the sprouts, peeling off any loose bits.
- Trim off a bit from the bottom of the sprouts then cut then in half.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a bowl toss the sprouts with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. (I used approx. 1 Tsp of each)
- Place the halves face down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and check the sprouts. If they are golden on the bottom remove and serve. If they aren’t golden yet, flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy 🙂
These baked brussel sprouts go great with a little bit of white vinegar sprinkled on top too
Move over Julia Child! Just kidding, the woman was an amazing chef who’s recipe was the inspiration for this meal.
Let me begin with the fact that I have never eaten beef and enjoyed it, that is until I made this gem of a meal. This whole endeavor began after my hubby came along on a grocery trip with me, you may think ‘big deal’? Well it is, he never does the groceries with me so it was a very nice change. Like almost every man out there, my husband loves beef and just because I do not eat beef does not mean I deprive my man of his carnivorous cravings. However, most of his beef consumption occurs in the warmer months when he can slap a huge plate sized t-bone steak on the grill leaving very little room for sides once it is on the plate. So as we walked through the meat aisle I saw some lovely looking cubes of steak that would be perfect for a stew. I held up the steak and said the magical words….”Boeuf Bourguignon?” his eyes lit up and with a huge smile said “YUP!” How could I resist that?
I knew my evening was set, I would attempt a complex French dish that I may or may not even enjoy in the end. I read several versions of this recipe all over the web and all of them were extremely complicated and at times hard to follow. I gave up and just winged it using similar techniques I use for my Coq Au Vin recipe. After hours in the kitchen I nervously watched my husband take his first bite…as I watched a huge smile come across his face I knew I had a winner! So I sat down next to him and tried my first bite…the beef melted away in my mouth and the flavorful and rich sauce seemed to almost hug me. I can eat beef like this everyday! Now to the recipe…I will try to arrange it as easily as possible below. All together you will require about 4 ½ Hours.
What you will need for a complete dish:
- 3 Lbs Beef (cubed and preferably with some nice marbleizing)
- 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 Tsp each of Salt & Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 Slices of Thick Bacon
- 20-25 White Pearl Onions
- 5 Medium Carrots (sliced)
- 10 Crimini Mushrooms (cut into ¼” slices)
- 2 Celery Sticks (sliced)
- 15 Small Red Nugget Potatoes (quartered)
- ½ Cup Flour
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 2 ½ Cups Beef Broth
- 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 Cups Red Wine (full bodied is preferable, I used a Burgundy
- Place your beef into a large bowl, pour in the 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper and the leaves from 2 Sprigs of Thyme. Mix together and let it sit for an hour.
- While the meat is marinating, cut up your bacon and cook it in a large pan on medium heat. Once the bacon is crispy remove it leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
Prep your veggies:
- Clean and slice up the celery, carrots and mushrooms and set aside in a bowl together.
- Peel the onions cutting off the ends and set aside in a bowl.
- Peel and quarter your potatoes and set aside in a bowl filled with cold water (this will prevent them from turning brown)
Begin the Cooking:
- Place the ½ cup of flour in a shallow dish.
- Dry your marinated meat with a paper towel then dredge in the flour.
- Heat up the bacon fat and add 2 Tbsp of butter.
- Once the fat is hot place your meat in and begin browning it on all sides. Approx. 10 minutes. (do not crowd the meat or it will not brown properly, I did mine in 2 batches)
- Once all the meat is browned set it aside in a bowl.
- Using the left over fat in the pan toss in your onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes to allow the veggies to soften. Set the pan aside.
Prep your Liquids & Continue Cooking:
- Take out a large cast iron pot or an oven & stove top safe dish with a lid.
- Combine the 2 ½ cups beef broth with tomato paste and garlic in a large container.
- Set the 2 cups of wine on the side.
- On high heat, melt 2 Tbsp of butter in the pot and toss in the browned meat, Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- De-glaze the pot with 1 ½ cups of the beef broth and tomato paste mix saving the rest of the broth mix for later. Toss in 2 Sprigs of thyme into the pot and add the wine. Bring everything to a boil.
- Cover and place into the oven.
- Cook for 1 ½ Hours. Check on it after an hour and you can stir it to prevent it from sticking to the sides.
- After time is up, remove and stir the contents. Add in the sautéed veggies, quartered potatoes and the rest of the broth and tomato mix. Stir to combine.
- Place back into the oven and cook for another 1 ½ Hours.
If the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork after this time then serve and enjoy, if not, pace back into the oven for 10 – 15 more minutes.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did 🙂
Looking around at some other blogs it looks like I am not the only one who has either not posted as frequently or is behind on stuff this month. Between decorating, doing all the Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts and most recently taking care of our injured dog who took a stick in the throat, punctured it and almost severed his tonsils, I have been M.I.A from blogging. For those that follow me, I do apologize for this but on a good note our pup is expected to make a slow but full recovery :). Until then, he has taken up residence on our bed and since we do not have the heart to tell him to leave, we now have an 80 pound snoring dog in between us on a queen sized bed. Basically my husband and myself have spent the last week clinging to the edges of the bed, getting great sleeps of course…I can’t imagine how this will play out once we decide to have kids lol.
On to the food…to try and make up for this lack of posting I am posting a Christmas related dish. By this I mean something you can quickly and easily whip up as a side dish for your spectacular Christmas feast. There are so many classic dishes to choose from around the holidays and for each of those dishes there are endless variations. At our house yams are always a must and generally do not last long. Typically, I prepare them with just butter and a bit of salt and they have always been great, but last year I wanted to add a bit of panache to them. I bought a bunch of fresh sage for our turkey and since there was so much left over I did not want it to go to waste. Staring at all the food on our island I had a light bulb moment, I would infuse the butter I needed to use with sage to add a subtle rich flavor to our yams.
For the Sage Butter…
- 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 10 – 15 Fresh Sage Leaves (finely chopped)
- Melt your butter in a small pan on medium heat.
- Once your butter is melted and bubbling, add in your sage.
- Stirring constantly, allow the sage to crisp up a bit in the butter (approx. 2-5 minutes)
- The golden butter should turn a light green color from the fresh herbs, once you see the leaves are crisped up remove from the heat.
For the Yams...
- 4 Medium Yams (Peeled)
- 2 Tsp Sea Salt
- Cut your yams into cubes (mine were about 2 inches) Helpful tip: if you are in a rush, cut the yams smaller so they boil faster.
- Put your yams into a medium pot and add enough water to just cover the yams and add your salt.
- Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once it is boiling reduce the heat to medium.
- Cook the yams until they are soft. (approx. 15 – 20 minutes depending on how big the cubes area) Helpful Tip: Use a fork or small pairing knife to check the doneness of your yams, if they are soft and fall off the utensil easily they are ready.
- Strain your yams and place back into the pot.
- Add in your sage butter and mash the yams.