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.
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
The Paleo Challenge has been set at our house again. For the next 40 days we will be eating ‘caveman’ style. Why? well it is simple really… in order to feel better and to shed some of that summer beer intake and the “lets just get take out because it is too nice outside” weight. Just in time for the low calorie holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas lol. The truth is, we have had great results with eating this way. It does take a significant amount of more work, but in the end the results make it worth it. The thing I have struggled the most with during this diet in previous months are the breakfasts. I start work at 7 am which makes time in the morning for chopping, frying and mucking about the kitchen hard to come by. Most breakfasts need to be made the night before or at least prepped in order to expedite things in the morning. I do this because most days I don’t know which way is up when the alarm clock starts going off. Therefore, something I don’t need to put much effort into is perfect. This was my first attempt at an egg frittata and for something that took under 30 minutes to make the night before, it was well worth it :). It made a perfect ‘grab and go’ style breakfast this morning that can be eaten cold or heated up.
- 8 eggs
- 4 Tbsp White Onion (finely chopped)
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper (finely chopped)
- 12 Kalamata Olives (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Sundried Tomatoes (chopped)
- 5 Tbsp Frozen Spinach
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Tbsp Seasoning Salt
- Fresh Pepper
- Defrost your spinach and once it is fully thawed squeeze out the water.
- Cut up your onions, pepper, olives and tomatoes.
- In a frying pan heat up the coconut oil and toss in the onions. Cook until they start to go golden.
- Toss in the peppers, olives and tomatoes to allow the peppers to soften. Approx 3 mins.
- Add in the Spinach and quickly heat it up.
- Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk your eggs and add in the seasonings. Mix well in order for everything to combine.
- Heat your oven to 400 F.
- Lightly grease a 9″ glass baking dish.
- Add your cooled veggie mixture to the eggs and mix them together.
- Pour it into the baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove and let it cool.
Like I said before you can easily make this the night before and quickly grab a few pieces in the morning.
Last night I decided to try something I do not do often as well as trying something new.
The thing I do not do often is make some deep fried food, more specifically as the title of this blog suggests, onion rings! The new thing we tried out for the first time was some Lo Bok which is just one of many names for Daikon or Japanese radishes. I had always looked at these guys in the market but never bought them for reasons I simply can’t explain because we love radishes! Now these two things were never supposed to come to play in a dinner together. Originally, the daikon was for tonight’s dinner to go in a salad served along side some yummy lamb for my father in law. But since I had never used it, I wanted to try it out last night and not use my father in law as a guinea pig for some made up salad.
So here I am winging this new salad with the Food Network on in the background, when all of a sudden one of the competitors on Food Fighters busts out some onion rings! This is how the whole attempting to make onion rings for the first time occurred in my kitchen. I was inspired and figured it would go well with the salad I was making. I needed a bit of a richer salad to fill up my husband because the meat I had originally taken out for our dinner was still taking it’s sweet time defrosting in the sink, and would not be making it to the dinner table. So while I whipped up some beer batter for my rings he ran to the nearest Nando’s to grab some chicken. The meal turned out great! While I can’t take credit for the chicken of course the salad and onion rings worked perfectly together and made an easy and filling side dish. The onion rings were apparently so yummy that the last words I heard from my husband before going to bed was not “goodnight” it was “damn those onion rings were good tonight.”
I will take that 🙂
For the Onion Rings:
- 1/2 Large Sweet Onion
- 1 Cup Flour
- 3/4 Can of Beer
- 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 Tsp White Pepper
- 1 Tsp Seasoning Salt
- 3 Dashes of Smoked Paprika
- Oil for Frying (I used Grapeseed Oil but Vegetable Oil will be good too)
- Mix the flour and seasoning in a medium bowl.
- Whisk the beer in with a fork and mix until the batter is smooth. Let it stand for 10 – 15 mins.
- Heat up your oil in the frier or a heavy bottomed pot to about 380 degrees. I used a medium pot and filled it about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. (if you want to know when the oil is ready, after about 5- 7 minutes drip a tiny bit of batter into the oil, if it turns golden in 20 – 30 seconds it is ready, if not, let it heat up longer)
- While the oil is heating up cut your onion into rings. Mine were about a 1/4 inch thick to allow for faster frying.
- When ready, dip each ring into the batter and gently put it into the oil. (You should be able to do 4-5 rings at a time)
- When the rings are a golden color, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper lined plate so they drip off.
- Repeat until all the rings are fried.
*Please be careful* this oil gets very hot! When you are done with the oil, take it off the burner and let it cool down slowly on the stove. Do NOT pour it into the sink right away as it could splatter and the last thing you want is to drop a pot of hot oil.
For the Salad:
- 4- 5 Handfuls of Organic Arugula
- 2 Small Red Beets (finely chopped)
- Shredded Daikon (I used about 10 Tbsp)
For the Salad Dressing:
- 1/2 Ripe Avocado
- 2 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
- 1 Garlic Clove (minced)
- 3 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- Juice from 1/2 Lemon
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Place your arugula, beets and daikon in a large salad bowl.
- Mix the dressing in another bowl until the avocado is smooth.
- Drizzle over the salad and mix it all together.
I’m back! After a couple weeks spent gallivanting across Scotland and Ireland for my first wedding anniversary with my amazing husband I have had to come back to reality. Lucky for you, this involves me cooking again! The last couple of days have been spent cleaning, unpacking and doing the dreaded laundry *shudder* so last night marked only day 3 of me cooking again.
After a solid two weeks of having others cook for us and enjoying some heavy but delicious meals, we both noticed our clothes getting a little snugger than they were prior to our vacation. I do not regret it one bit! After all “we were on vacation” so when the server asked if I wanted another pint of Guiness with my chicken and mushroom cream pie the answer was naturally a YES please!
Upon our return and a moment of panic when I couldn’t find an appropriate work outfit we both knew we had to get back on track with our eating habits. From this came a wonderful, easy and might I add Paleo dinner idea last night.
I had been wanting to try my hand at an almond chicken for awhile now, the main thing stopping me was my husband of all things. Not for reasons you may think though. Bless his heart, he has been helping me out before I get home from work by washing and prepping the chicken breasts. However, out of habit he would also marinate the chicken. Now normally I would never object to this, but for this meal that I had in mind I needed un-marinated chicken breasts.
Last night I came home to cleaned un-marinated chicken and quickly got to work. This super easy and quick meal was not only healthy, it was delicious!
- 2 Chicken Breasts (washed and fileted in half)
- 1 Egg (beaten)
- 1 Cup Almond Meal
- 1 Handful Sliced Almonds
- 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 1/2 Tsp Seasoning Salt
- Juice from Half a Lemon
- 2 Tbsp Ground Fresh Ginger
- Place your cut chicken in a shallow dish and “marinate” it with the lemon juice and ginger. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- In another shallow dish put in your egg and beat it.
- In another shallow dish assemble the almond meal, sliced almonds and seasoning.
- Pre-heat your oven to 415 degrees F.
- Take your marinated chicken and let the lemon juice drip off a bit (you can decide how much ginger you want on each piece by rubbing it in a bit at this stage).
- Dredge the chicken through the egg on both sides followed by the almond mixture. You may need to sprinkle the meal by hand to fully cover the chicken.
- Place your “breaded” chicken breasts on a lightly greased baking rack. Place some more almond slices on top if you wish for extra crunch.
- Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until they turn golden.