Whew. 2012 flew by in a whirlwind. Just a little over a year ago we moved from Oslo, Norway to New York City and half a year later we moved home to Canada. No wonder I’m so tired! :P This year the holidays felt extra special and the celebrating seemed to go on and on. It was awesome! We even took a road trip to visit my husband’s family. It has all been such a blast and makes it a little harder to get back into a routine. Er, What’s that again?
3 countries. 1 year.
I’ve always been a huge fan of gyros. If we’re ever at a food court for a meal you better believe I’m headed for the gyro place. It’s the only time I ever get them because certain other people in my family are not a fan. Until now.
When I came across this recipe I figured it was worth a shot. It was so simple that I figured the worst that could happen would be that I would get all the more to myself. :) But that was not the case. They were a huge hit. So much so that I can now make gyros as often as I like, and everyone gets excited about it. They may not be the most traditional but they’ve got everything that I love about a gyro – flavour! Here’s to home cooking winning again! :D
I know it’s a little late but, Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is a year full of blessings for all of you.
Me and the kidlets have been spending lot’s of time in the kitchen this week making sweets for goody baskets and Christmas celebrations. All the gifts have been bought, many of them are wrapped and tucked under the tree. All that’s left is the fun stuff – cooking and baking! I tried not to take on too much this year because I tend to go overboard with my expectations of what I can get done. I think I finally found the right balance, but we’ll see… ;)
I think this would be a great addition to your cookie platters and gift baskets. It’s easy, quick and tastes divine. Yes, it uses a ton of chocolate, but it makes a lot, and one of these little babies is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. They are just as fudge should be – rich, fudgy and indulgent. And, the peppermint makes them a great little after dinner mint/sweet.
Chocolate Swirl Peppermint Fudge
Make sure to use baking chocolate/chips not regular chocolate chips, the regular ones don’t melt as easily as baking chocolate.
22 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped (or baking chips)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
3/4 cup dark (or bittersweet) chocolate baking chips
Place white chocolate and milk in a large saucepan set over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour half of the white chocolate mixture into an 8×8 inch pan that’s been lined with foil and lightly greased. Sprinkle over 1/2 cup dark chocolate baking chips. Pour remaining white chocolate over top and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Wait a minute or two, until the chips have softened (if they have trouble softening stick the pan in a slightly warm oven). Swirl the mixtures together with a knife until you have a marbled pattern. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Slice into 1 inch squares, to serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. (Or store, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
It”s soup season! And, I couldn”t be happier about it. Soup is so comforting, flavourful and easy to make, and that fact that is warms you up instantly from the inside out is an added bonus. I find my feet and hands cold constantly these days and I”m wrapped up in my sweater for most of the day. But after a couple bites of soup the sweater goes off and I”m warmed right through.
Although soup is generally easy to make, it”s not always quick. I”ve had my eye out for quick soups for a while now. I”m lucky enough to have my hubby come home for lunch every day and I like to occasionally make a quick, warm, fresh meal to get us out of the sandwich/leftovers doldrums. Quick, being the key word because although we can take our time with supper, lunch has more of a time constraint.
This soup fits the bill on all accounts. It”s made from start to finish in 30 minutes (great for a last-minute dinner too), it”s so flavourful (the first chicken tortilla soup my family has actually loved), has just the right balance of flavours (I”ve tried so many versions of this soup that were far to tart and lacking in flavour) and it”s a warming, nutritious meal for the middle of the day. I know it”ll be on the table often when we”re in need of something to warm our bellies and our toes.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
You can use partially frozen chicken in this soup, making it perfect for a quick, last-minute meal. Thaw the chicken just enough to cut it into chunks, then add it to the pot as directed.
To serve: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, cilantro
In a large saucepan, heat a bit of oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until softened. Add salt, bell pepper, garlic and cumin, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, bay leaf, corn, tomatoes and chicken. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add lime juice, simmer for several minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve with desired toppings.
I”m so bad at serving sides with dinner. For some reason it”s just not on my radar while I”m menu planning. Only once I”m finished making supper do I think, “huh, maybe I should have made something to serve along with this”. Oh well, the good thing is we don”t over eat very often. ;)
I have made this Parmesan Walnut Broccoli many times though. It”s so quick and easy that even if I think to make it last minute it doesn”t put off dinner. Besides my family loves broccoli so I know there”ll never be any complaints when I serve it. Especially when it”s tossed with toasted walnuts and parmesan. Mmm.
This year I even had some broccoli growing in my garden. Nothing”s more satisfying than going outside, cutting some broccoli and whipping up a quick and, virtually free, side dish. “It was me! I did that!”
(That was a Madagascar reference for those who can”t hear my bad imitation. I heart King Julien.)
Parmesan Walnut Broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 heads broccoli (or 1 large), cut into florets
salt and pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Cook broccoli in oil over medium-high heat until it begins to soften, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and walnuts; cook until broccoli is crisp tender and walnuts are toasted. Toss with lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parmesan to serve.
I”ve tried a couple different recipes for taquitos in the past, but none of them were ever quite right for me, it always seemed that there was a lack of flavour or something was just missing. Then I remembered making an appetizer a long time ago, when we were first married, that was basically like a taquito but it was baked in a puff pastry shell. I remembered them being so delicious, so I decided to take that filling, adapt it a bit and then wrap it in flour tortillas instead. They were perfect. I wish I could find the original recipe so I could site it, but it was so long ago I don”t remember where I found it.
These are so tasty and crave-worthy, with so many flavours that I love. And, it”s a great quick, weeknight meal – basically just assembling and then a quick 10 minute bake. We served ours with a version of Quick Mexican Rice, based on what I had on hand at the time, and I ate mine with a little bit of leftover Avocado Salsa. This will definitely be a go-to meal for this mexican food loving family.
Baked Chicken Taquitos
4 small chicken breasts (or 2 large), chopped small
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (4 0z.) can chopped green chilies
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
12-14 6-inch flour tortillas
sour cream and salsa, to serve
Pre-heat a pan over medium heat. Add a bit of oil and the chicken, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until chicken is cooked through. Place in a medium-sized bowl along with cheese, chilies, onions, garlic, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Mix well. Place 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture into the centre of each tortilla and roll up tightly. Place seam-side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spray taquitos lightly with oil. Bake at 425ºF for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy. Serve warm with sour cream and salsa.
It’s been a while since I made my usual cold brewed iced tea. We’ve been having some pretty nice days again lately and the other day, when the temperature was climbing, I was craving a cold drink to share with the kids – Iced Tea to be exact, and I wanted it right now. Thankfully I had stumbled upon a brilliant last-minute iced tea just a couple of weeks before, so I quickly whipped some up and me and the kids were sipping away in no time. It was completely refreshing and gave me the boost I needed to get through that hot and sticky afternoon. (Just remember that regular black tea has caffeine! I water my kids’ iced tea down with additional water but if you’re worried about it make sure to use a caffeine-free tea.)
This last-minute iced tea works because it starts with a concentrated tea that’s quickly cooled down by the addition of ice, ice and more ice (so smart!). This will definitely be my go-to for the rest of the summer since the weather is so unpredictable and the hot days are getting a little fewer and farther between. I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice because that’s how my mom always made it and it just wouldn’t be the same without it. But, if you prefer you can leave the lemon out. To care-free sunny days!
Last-Minute Iced Tea
4 cups water
6 black tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups ice cubes (12 ice cubes) + more for ice bath and serving
juice of 1/2 lemon, optional
slices of remaining half lemon to garnish, if desired
Bring water to a boil. Add tea bags. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl or sink with ice and water. Place 2 cups of ice in a large pitcher or bowl (I prefer a bowl because more surface area comes in contact with the ice bath). Stir in tea. Set over ice bath and stir until ice is melted and tea is cold. Stir in lemon juice. Fill glasses with ice and pour tea over, to serve. Garnish with lemon slices.