Posts tagged “recipes

Peanut Butter Muffins


I tried this one just last night. I found it in a Kraft Canada What’s Cooking magazine. It’s pretty simple and straight forward. I did modify the original recipe slightly but it still turned out pretty wicked. If done properly they come out ultra fluffy and moist. Awesome with a big cup of cold milk or a hot cup of joe.

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1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup  whole wheat flour
1/4 white sugar cup
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 tsp  baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup  KRAFT Whipped Peanut Butter
1/4 cup  margarine
1 cup  1% milk
2 eggs (beaten)

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Mix flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Cut in peanut butter and margarine with a pastry cutter (or 2 knives) until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add milk and eggs; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Batter will still be lumpy.)

Spoon into 12 paper-lined muffin cups or greased muffin tin.

Bake 15 to 18 min. or until toothpick inserted in centres comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 min. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Alt: When adding the batter, spoon in till half full then add a dollop of jam  (your choice) then cover with more batter. Makes for a nice peanut butter & jelly surprise treat.

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Super Bowl Chili


In honor of the NFL season officially kicking off tonight with the NFC Championship rematch between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings, I present to thee my Super Bowl Chili. Yeah yeah… I know the Super Bowl isn’t until February 6th but chili is chili. Besides, the only reason it’s called Super Bowl Chili is because (you guessed it) I make it every year around Super Bowl time. Go figure.

Vegetarians beware. This isn’t for the faint of heart.

Also if you’re not a fan of some heat then you’d probably want to halve the amount of hot spices.  ;p

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Dry Spice Blend
¼ cup chili powder
¼ cumin powder
4 tbsp paprika (smoked if you have it)
2 tbsp dry mustard
4 tbsp oregano
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp black pepper

500ml – 800ml beer (Doesn’t matter what type. I tend use two Coronas or Heineken from a standard six-pack)
1 can (796 ml or so) crushed or diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans (540 ml or so) beans (black and/or red kidney work well)
1 large white or Spanish onion (diced)
2 bell peppers (diced – yellow or orange preferred but any will work)
2 Jalapeno peppers (seeded and diced)
2 cups sliced Cremini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic (minced)
½ pound ground beef (or chicken if you’re not a beef fan)
½ pound ground pork
½ pound stewing beef
½ cup sugar (brown is preferred but white works as well)
1 cup cilantro (minced)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
1 tbsp flour

Optional: shredded cheddar
Optional: sour cream

Melt butter and add flour. Mix well and set aside for later. This is a roux that we’ll be using later to thicken the chili

In a large pot on medium-high heat add the vegetable oil and dry spices. Heat them through till fragrant.  Heating the spices through is an old Indian practice when cooking that helps wake up the flavors.

Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers and cook till softened slightly and moisture is nearly gone. Stir frequently. (about 5 – 8minutes). Don’t worry we’ll be re-hydrating everything shortly.

Add the beer and bring to a boil.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and hot sauce, chillies, mushrooms and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil.

Add the ground meat and stewing beef. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Let it simmer for about an 1 ½ – 2 hrs. Stir occasionally. Some recommend browning the meat off before dumping it in but it will cook, tenderize and absorb a ton of the flavor this way.

Add cilantro and roux. Stir and let simmer uncovered for another 20 – 25 minutes.

Serve hot topped with cheddar cheese or sour cream.

Alt: This isn’t a vegetarian by any stretch but probably can be adapted to suit a tree-biter by omitting the meaty nasties. Since most soy products are ‘cooked’ already (such as their ground beef) you don’t need to cook the ‘meat’  for as long. Cut the 2 hr simmering time out and just proceed to the last step. Different beans make for different textures and tastes. I recommend a nice six bean blend (found in most grocery stores) so you can have a nice variety. I only recommend Cremini mushrooms because of their size. Virtually any mushroom can be used so long as you cut it to an appropriate size comparable to the rest of the ingredients. Button mushrooms can be dropped in whole if you’re feeling lazy. ;p

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Tomato Mozzarella Salad


This is a ridiculously easy to make yet versatile salad. There’s pretty much no limits to the amount of variations you can have with this base concoction. For the best results try using fresh mozzarella. It absorbs the basil flavor so much better than the brick-style mozzarella.

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3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 ½ cups diced mozzarella (½ pieces)
½ cup chopped basil
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 2 cups fresh baby spinach
salt
pepper

In a large bowl toss together all of the ingredients.

Refrigerate overnight.

Note: If you’re using the spinach option, don’t add it until you’re ready to serve. If you leave the spinach in with the wet ingredients it’ll just make them soggy. Add just prior to serving and toss so everything is well coated.

Alt: This recipe is all about experimenting and having fun. If you’re not a fan of spinach, try using chopped cucumber or watermelon. If you’re not a fan of mozzarella try feta. The saltiness of it is a great contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes. If you’re feeling really bold, try adding a splash or two of Balsamic vinegar when you toss everything together.

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Marinated Mushrooms


I have this bad habit of buying mushrooms and then forgetting about them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dipped into the crisper only to find yet another ruined batch I’ve been forced to chuck out. The intention is always there to use them in a dish but I usually get sidetracked by something else and mushroom thought gets cast to the wayside. So I came up with a way to keep them around longer.

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2 cups button mushrooms
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup rice wine or white vinegar
3 tbsp fresh cilantro (minced)
salt
pepper

Wipe down the mushrooms with a damp towel to remove any excess dirt. Be sure not to rinse them with water otherwise it’ll make them soggy.

In a small bowl add the vinegar and garlic and whisk together until blended.

Slowly add the olive oil while whisking briskly so that it emulsifies.

Add the cilantro, salt and pepper (as per your preferred amount) and mix till blended. Set mixture aside.

In a medium sized resealable container (or a 1 liter mason jar) add the mushrooms then pour the mixture over them.  Stir gently and to make sure all the mushrooms are coated.

Refrigerate overnight.

As with any marinated food, the longer you leave it marinated the more the mushrooms will absorb. Once you’ve devoured all of them you can use the remaining mushroom flavored vinaigrette on a nice field greens salad or something. Very versatile.

Alt: Try experimenting with different herbs and spices. For example use  fresh rosemary instead of cilantro to produce a very pungent but flavorful alternative. Also try different vinegars such as apple cider or red wine for a different kick to the vinaigrette. It’s all about having fun.

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Stuffed Zucchini


I’m not a chef by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just a big guy who likes to eat. Rather than be dependent on someone else to do the cooking for me, I do it myself. This “recipe” is the result of having some rather large zucchini from the garden and being sick of making breaded zucchini (which I’ll probably post at some point). I usually never measure anything so the numbers below are estimates so adjust accordingly to personal taste.

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Serves: 2

1 large zucchini
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 small yellow or Spanish onion (diced)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white wine (or cooking wine works just as good)
1 cup pasta sauce (I recommend Hunt’s 4 Cheese blend, but whatever floats your boat is good)
½ cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
Optional – 3 tbsp fresh cilantro/oregano/parsley/chives (your choice – minced)

I've included this shot for scale so you can see generally how big of a zucchini we're talking about here.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Wash zucchini thoroughly.  Drop it into a large pot of boiling water for about 8 – 10 minutes to par-cook it. (You don’t want to totally cook it otherwise it’ll be soggy in the end so adjust the boiling time according to the size of your particular zucchini.)

Remove from water and set aside to until cool.

Cut the cooled zucchini lengthwise. With a spoon (or melon-baller) remove the pulp and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan heat the olive oil on medium high.

Add the garlic and onions and cook till the onions are translucent (approx. 3 – 5 mins).

Add the zucchini pulp to the onions and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the wine and bring to a simmer.

Add the pasta sauce and mix well. Bring to a simmer once again then remove from heat.

Add Parmesan and mix well.  (Mixture should be quite thick and chunky at this point)

Line a cookie sheet (or baking pan) with parchment paper (or give it a quick spritz with cooking spray). Place both halves of zucchini side by side. If your zucchini wobbles too much, use a sharp knife and slice a plane into the skin side so that it has a flatter surface. Be sure not to cut too deep though. Divide the mixture between the two halves and stuff away.

Divide and top each with the mozzarella cheese.

Place in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is all gooey and melted.

Optional – Top with minced cilantro/oregano/parsley/ or chives and serve.

Alt: If you want to meat it up a bit for the carnivores in your life, add half a package of ground pork, chicken or beef to the onions while they’re cooking. Brown it off and continue with the next step.

Not the greatest photo but I wasn't expecting to be posting recipes when I originally took this picture. ;p

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Cheesy Potato Soup


Yet another non-fancy vegetarian dish but it ranks high on the bad-weather-day-comfort-food scale. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheeses and potatoes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with subtle changes like that.

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4 – 6 medium sized potatoes (diced)
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup baby carrots (diced)
¼ cup chives (or scallions) (minced)
2 tbsp butter
¾ cup Old Cheddar cheese (shredded)
¼ cup Asiago cheese (shredded)
¾ cup sour cream
1 cup table cream

Melt butter and cook garlic on medium till softened.

Add carrots and cook till glossy.

Add  broth and potatoes. Bring to a rolling boil on high heat then drop it down to low and let simmer for 20 – 25 mins.

Use immersion blender to puree mixture until smooth.

Add chives, sour cream, and table cream. Mix well.

Add the cheeses and mix till blended.

Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.

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Dilled Sticky Rice


Nothing fancy or complicated but tastes great. Works well when you have too much dill on your hands and don’t know what to do with it. I rarely do exact measurements so add more or less dill according to personal taste.

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1 cup short grain white rice
2 cups water
1 vegetable or chicken  bouillon cube (or substitute the 2 cups of water for 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill (or 2 heaping tbsp dry dill)

Bring a water or broth to a boil over high heat.

Add bouillon cube (if applicable).

Add rice and stir gently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Once broth beings to bubble once again reduce heat to low (or simmer) and cover (untouched) for 10 minutes.

Remove lid and add dill. Stir once gently to mix it all up and put the lid back on. Continue to cook covered for another 8 -10 minutes or until broth is completely absorbed.

Remove immediately from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

Alt: If you have any fresh saffron on hand you can use that instead of dill. Simply sub out the dill for a pinch of saffron and follow the directions as listed.

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