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Monday, October 31, 2011

Caramel Popcorn for Halloween

Happy Halloween!! For my annual Halloween bake sale at work I decided to make something that did not contain pumpkin. As much as I love pumpkin this sweet and salty candy popcorn was a nice change. However, it is very addictive and should not be left out on the counter, as it will quickly disappear. I placed about 1 1/2 cups in individual halloween bags and sold them for the United Way/Halloween Bake Sale. Next time I think I would double the recipe for a bake sale, but 1 batch is plenty if you are making it for friends or family.  

Caramel Popcorn

16 cups popped popcorn
1 cup peanuts
2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup 
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the overn to 250 degrees F. Place popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.

Pour over popcorn and mix to coat.

Place popcorn on a baking sheet and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to move the caramel around and coat the popcorn.

Remove from oven and let cool. Break into pieces and store in air tight container.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thai Salmon with Lemon Couscous

Sesame Ginger Salmon

1 T garlic minced
2 T ginger minced
1 T sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil

Marinate salmon in fridge for 3 hours. Bake on baking sheet for 8 minutes at 450.

Lemon Couscous

5.4 oz couscous
2 cups chicken broth
1 T lemon rind
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 t butter
2 T parsley
1/3 cup peas

Combine the broth, lemon rind and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the couscous, remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, butter and peas. Serve with salmon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders

There always seems to be some sporting event occurring. Right now we are in the midst of the NHL playoffs. And with sporting events usually comes lots of food and drinks. I am not one to sit down and eat a plate of chicken wings, chips, pizza and other fatty game day snacks. But like everyone else I still like to nervously nibble on munchies while watching the game. So for the game I made healthy and much more flavorful baked chicken tenders. The batter is full of healthy ingredients, and offers a nice moist chicken, with a crunchy texture when baked. Serve these with peanut sauce or spicy Asian red chili sauce at your next playoff game.

Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders

1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup bran flakes
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 T Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
ground pepper
1 T olive oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Process the first 12 ingredients in a food processor. Slowly add oil to processor until mixture is formed. Place the mixture in a bowl.

Place a wire rack (cookie cooling sheet works well) on a baking sheet.

In a bowl beat the eggs. Then dip the chicken tenders in the eggs, allow the excess mixture to drip off and then dredge in the crumb mixture, pat to adhere to chicken.

Place each tender on the wire rack and back for 14 minutes. May wish to broil for a couple minutes to make a bit crunchier.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

My parents are off to New Orleans this week and are staying with me before they depart. I thought I would send them off with a taste of New Orleans so I made a simple spicy jambalaya. This one pot jambalaya is made with large shrimp and spicy turkey sausages, although you can use smoked andouille sausages (more smoky flavour) which most cajun/creole recipes call for.

2 T olive oil
4 spicy turkey sausages, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 large red pepper chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 cup long grain brown or white rice
1 can (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 T garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth (like to use half and half)
3 Bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lbs medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 to 1/2 T cayenne red pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt and cayenne to taste (for shrimp)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Add onions, red bell pepper, celery. Season with salt and 1/4 T to 1/2 T of cayenne (Note: 1/4 T is spicy, 1/2 T is very spicy so adjust to your liking). Saute for 6-8 minutes until veggies are wilted and soft.

Add the rice and stir to coat evenly. Add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, water, thyme, oregano and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 mins.

Season the shrimp with salt and cayenne (sprinkle) in large mixing bowl. Ass to mixture and cook for 10 more minutes. Cook until rice is tender, liquid is absorbed and shrimp is pink.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered for about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Buttermilk Crust

I always get excited after daylight savings time, although it is initially hard to wake up in the morning due to how dark it is, the nights are so much more enjoyable, as the sun does not set to almost 7 sometimes. It is the time of year when I remember, oh ya, I have neighbors, who start to eventually emerge from their homes with a friendly hello, like they had not been hybernating for the past 4 months. Today however, is a bit more gloomy and rainy - the perfect weather to finish up the last of the pot pie before it is all bbq and patio.

Pot pie is a classic comfort dish, that can be made a few different ways be it vegetarian, chicken, beef, lamb, venison etc.... You can add a number of different herbs or spices (sage, rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, curry), the broth can consist of anything from chicken, beef or vegetable broth, white wine, or with creams like coconut milk, or cream of mushroom soup. The topping itself can also be either mashed potatoes, an herbed crust or biscuit, potato biscuit or sweet potato biscuit. Regardless of the recipe it will certainly provide you with that warm cozy and homey feeling.

For this pot pie I used chicken, vegetable broth, thyme and rosemary with a sweet potatoe biscuit as the topping.


2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 cup onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups peeled white potato or sweet potatoes, cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt and coarse black pepper
1 cup sliced green beans
1/2 cup corn niblets and/or peas
3 T all purpose flour or cornstarch

Sweet Potato Biscuit Topping

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 T softened butter
3/4 cups cooked mashed sweet potato
3/4 cup 1% milk or buttermilk

If you would rather a normal biscuit topping you may use 1 cup four, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground sage, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 T butter and 1/3 cup milk.

Directions for Filling:

First cook chicken breasts either in the oven or stove top until tender.

In a saucepan spray non stick spray, add onions, pepper and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 4 mins. Add 2 cups broth, potatoes, carrots, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 12 mins. Stir in beans, corn and cooked chicken and cook for about 3 mins.

In a small bowl mix 3T flour with the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Add to the filling mixture and cook until bubbly and thick (optional: can add cornstarch to thicken mixture if desired).

Once thick transfer the mixture either to a 2 quart casserole dish or to 6 x 5-7oz ramekins.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Directions for Biscuit:

Boil water and cook 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes. Once cooked, mash 3/4 cup of sweet pototo and add whisk in mild.
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the sweet potato and milk mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until a soft ball forms.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surgace and roll or pat out to fit top of casserole dish or ramekins.

Place dough over casserole dish or ramekins. Brush top of biscuit with milk or egg white.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool 5 mins before serving.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Healthy Granola

Last weekend after finally getting some snow around here I went snowshoeing a couple days in a row. The first day there was only one trail to follow, the next there were so many loops that we thought we'd either got lost or did the same circle a few times over. I brought some healthy granola mix I had made over the holidays, which I also gave as gifts to friends and family. The granola is really good on its own, in yogurt and recently I saw a cook on the Food Network add M&Ms to it and then sprinkle it over ice cream - yum!
1/2 cup wheat flour
5 cups rolled quick cooking oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup bran flakes
1 cup almonds chopped
1 cup walnuts chopped
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup oil
1 cup honey
1 T cinammon
1/2 cup each of raisins and cranraisins (cherry flavored)
add anything you love in granola
Combine all the ingredients and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes, tossing around every 10 minutes. Watch for it to turn golden brown. The longer it cooks the harder the granola will be and it hardens more as it cools....let cool completely and then store in containers in the fridge or freezer.