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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Monthly Archives: February 2012

I don’t know how I found time to bake this weekend, between volunteering at Scotties and drinking Caesars in the lounge!!  Good times were had by all: spectators, athletes, volunteers and even mascots!  Anyways, I wanted to make some cookies for Nick and decided to dig out an old-school recipe; yah, you know the kind that someone’s grandma typed on little recipe cards using a real, honest-to-goodness typewriter!! 

I love the way it says “Mix in the usual way for cookies”!!!  Must have been typed back in the day when gals were actually taught how to bake and knew how!  Not like today; I’ve heard of people googling how to boil an egg!  Anyways, that made me laugh.  And just for today, I’m going to break it down for those people who maybe are not familiar with making cookies in the usual way!!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup regular sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 375degrees.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. 

Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add in flour, baking soda & salt.  Stir until blended.  Add chocolate chips and stir till evenly distributed.

Drop onto cookie sheets (either lined with baking paper – I WAS OUT! – or ungreased cookies sheets) and bake for about 11 minutes. 

Try to fight off kids while they are cooling on a rack.  It’s their own fault if they burn their tiny tongues by sneaking cookies early, isn’t it?

Bet you can’t just eat one!

This has been a great week!!  It’s been busy, but totally worth it!!  One cool thing is that Dose Coffee downtown on Ross Street actually served one of my blog recipes yesterday as their  lunch specials!!  I ate it and it was delicious – couldn’t have cooked it any better myself!!  If you’re downtown, head in (they’re on the top floor of Sunworks) for some of their delicious coffee, lunches or pastries – they are even open on Sundays, which is a complete shocker for this damn town, but hopefully their success will show the other businesses downtown that it’s worth it to open their doors on Sundays – yeah! Let’s rock out downtown Red Deer!!!

Sadly, Scotties is over tomorrow 😦   Erin and I have met lots of fun new (ha ha  -old) friends and we’ve realized that we are both pretty awesome ambassodors of Red Deer!!  On Wednesday night, we enjoyed the Italian BLT’s and was left with some basil spread; I saved it and used it for dinner on Thursday – check it out:

Baked Basil Chicken & Caprese Quinoa
Basil Chicken Ingredients:
4 organic chicken breasts
3-4 tbsp basil spread (leftover from the Italian BLT’s)
non-stick cooking spray

Caprese Quinoa Ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bocconcin, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced thin into ribbons
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
fresh cracked salt & pepper

Method:
In a small pot, combine the water and quinoa and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 18 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat, get rid of the lid, fluff with a fork and leave to “cool” slightly.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400degrees.  Spray a  baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange the chicken breasts in the dish, then baste with the basil spread.   Chuck in the oven for about 25 minutes. 

While the chicken & quinoa are cooking, chop the romas, bocconcini and basil.  Put ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic & olive oil; pour over the ingredients and stir.  I let the quinoa cool off so it was warm, but not steaming like crazy anymore – stir it into the ingredients and you’re good to go!  This salad tastes great warm or cold.

Once the chicken is out of the oven, thinly slice and serve atop a bed of the quinoa!  Yummy!

Before I sign off for today, I just wanted to quickly say how fun it’s been to be part of Scotties this year; we’ve met so many new buds and learnt a lot about the crazy insider world of Curling!!  The pins, the beers, the mascots, the super fans and best of all – all the new pals!  Below is a picture of us with a new pal “Dave” and he’s an avid volunteer (like us) and a blogger too!!!  Check out Dave’s Blog which chronicles his adventures in volunteering!!

Shout out to our new friend Dave!!

I love sandwiches!  In particular, nothing beats a good old BLT!!  Last night, before Erin and I headed off for yet another shift at Scotties Tournament of Hearts (yep, today is now on day SIX of the event!!) I made us a super quick, super delicious version of a BLT – including tons of fresh basil, sliced bocconcini, crispy salty bacon… oh yeah, and a bit of garlic – maybe not the best idea before a 5 hour shift of interpersonal information giving, but I think cause we’re so cute, people are pretty forgiving.  Plus most patrons at Scotties seem to be drunk, so… does it really matter???  Anyways, here’s the recipe!

Italian BLT
Sandwich Ingredients:
1 loaf calabrese or ciabatta bread – your preference
8 slices bacon
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 leaves romaine lettuce
2 good sized bocconcini balls (or about half of a 200g bucket)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

Basil Spread Ingredients:
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic

Method:
First things first, get that bacon going.  Cook to your desired crispness and then set aside on paper towels.

While that’s happening, get your basil spread ready: combine all of the ingredients in a mini food processor and pulse/chop till it’s nice and smooth. 

Slice tomatoes, wash lettuce and slice the bread lengthwise down the middle.  Pull out the the inner bread guts and then fight Erin for them later.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic and olive oil.  Set everything out like an assembly line.

Start by spreading some of the basil spread inside the bottom and the top of the loaf.  Layer the bottom with bacon, then follow with tomatoes and the sliced bocconcini.  Sprinkle with the balsamic/oil mixture.

Throw on the lettuce and then the top half of the bun!  Now slice crosswise into about 2 inch sandwiches – done and done!  So great! 

nom nom

Make sure to keep any leftover basil spread in the fridge – I used mine for dinner tonight, in a completely unexpected way!! 

Check me out on shift at Scotties:

MASCOT HAPPINESS!!!

What a busy long weekend it`s been!  Todd got home from Canmore safely and I made him a simple healthy dinner since I figured he had probably eaten his fair share of hockey arena food! 

I just got the March issue of Canadian Living and could not resist their recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh: two of my favourite things: quinoa AND tabbouleh – combined together to make one awesome salad!!! Then to continue the “Meditteranean“ theme, I oven-roasted a couple of Atlantic Salmon filets and then busted out a balsamic glaze.  Together these two make the most fresh and delicious meal…  Erin and I ate the left-over tabbouleh salad at Scotties today in the Heartstop Lounge after our shift!

Quinoa Tabbouleh (March 2012 Canadian Living)
Salad Ingredients:
3/4 cups quinoa
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped English cucumber
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 large Roma tomato, seeded and chopped

Dressing Ingredients:
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper

Balsamic Glazed Salmon:
2 salmon filets
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed

Method:
In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil; add quinoa and return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simer for about 18 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff with fork and set aside.  Chop the parlsey, cucumber, green onions, mint & tomatoes.  Combine the dressing ingredients.  When the quinoa is cooked, combine the chopped vegetables, dressing and quinoa – set aside.  This salad can be served at room temperature or you can cover it now and refrigerate for an hour and serve.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; rub salmon filets with olive oil and salt & pepper.  Set aside for now… get the balsamic glaze going: combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Now it’s time to put the salmon in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, then take out and baste with your glaze.  Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes; remove from oven and then baste again with the glaze.  Let rest for about 5 minutes.

Serve on top of the tabbouleh – omg so delicious!!!

I forgot to post our Valentine’s dinner!  I just made heart-shaped pizzas for the boys; simple Hawaiian for Nick and then I made Bacon & Sage pizzas for Todd and I – they turned out delicious!!  Since I had to work all day on the 14th, I used store-bought pizza dough – yep, the kind that comes in a TUBE!! LOL I’ve never used that stuff before and it tastes pretty good, but it rises a lot, so skip this product if you are into thin crust…  anyways, check out what I put together for the pizzas:

Bacon & Sage Mini Pizzas
Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
about 8-12 large sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 pieces regular bacon, remove the really fatty parts
pizza crusts
tomato basil sauce
4 medium bocconcini balls

Method:
In a medium sized frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the sage leaves and a sprig of rosemary and cook until fragrant.  You’ll notice that the sage leaves pretty much soak up all of that butter.

Chop the bacon and add to the pan and cook until crisp.  The sage will end up looking crinkled, black and overall pretty unappealing – it crumbles like paper, so use as much or as little as you want to top the pizza – the flavour will have already infused the bacon and remaining fat.

Using prepared pizza crusts, top with pizza sauce.  Sprinkle with the bacon and crumbled sage leaves – also drizzle the bacon fat on your pizzas too, if you are feeling like a rebel.

Using your fingers, gently tear up the bocconcini balls and spread out on the pizzas.

Bake in a 400degree oven for about 8 minutes, or until bubbly.

This was such a winning flavour combo – would be great as a topping on tiny pitas or bite-sized pizza crusts for appetizers at a party. 

HURRY HAAAARRRRDDDDD!  Who’s been watching the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on TSN?  Yah, I was there all day, still feelin kind of fuzzy from last night, but giving out super smiley information and deflecting crazy offers to acquire my curling pin collection!  Pins are kind of a big deal at these things, but I’m only giving up my Scotties pins for an ALF or an ET pin…. which is an impossible request lol.

Anyhoo, Hot Toddy is away this weekend, leaving me all alone to cook for myself.  All I could think about having for dinner tonight was a really gooey cheesey mac n cheese.  So here’s what I made:

Italian Stove-Top Mac & Cheese (adapted from the February 2012 Canadian Living)
Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ripe hot house tomate, diced
2 tsp pesto sauce
2 cups uncooked macaroni
parmesan cheese for topping

Method:
In a small bowl, combine the tomato and pesto and set aside.  Get a large pot of water boiling and cook the macaroni according to directions on package.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic and seasonings, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened. 

Sprinkle with flour and stir for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and then add the Dijon and salt; whisk until thickened, about 4 miutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese until smooth.

By now, the macaroni should be cooked – add it to your cheese sauce and stir.

Serve the cheesey loveliness topped with the tomato-pesto mixture and a sprinkle of parmesan and freshly cracked pepper.

NOM NOM NOM

This is hands-down the most delicious mac & cheese I have ever made!!  It makes a pretty large batch so it’s kind of silly to make when I’m home solo, BUT I have been picking at the leftovers in the fridge – still so yummy even cold!

Me and Scottie’s Little Softie!!

My head is feeling a bit fuzzy after last night’s kick-off party for 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, so I knew I would have to get my butt going so I can be awake and alert for my & Erin’s first shift on the Info Booth today!!  I’m so excited for our volunteering gig, especially since we’ve been counting down for this over the last year!!!

Anyways, I’m not sure why, but I was dreaming of scones last night – so I dragged my carcass out of bed at 8:30 and got on the computer to search for a “perfect” recipe.  I found today’s deliciousness on Inspired, which is the website for Sobey’s/IGA grocery stores.  I switched up the recipe a bit, but here’s what I came up with:

Rosemary Parmesan Scones
Ingredients:
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp liquid honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
optional: sugar flavoured with lavender

Method:
Preheat oven to 400degrees and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, parmesan, baking powder, rosemary and salt.  Using your fingers, rub the butter cubes into the flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse corn-meal.

In a large bowl, combine the honey, buttermilk & baking soda.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and just mix until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a disk 3/4″ thick.

Using a glass, cut out circles and arrange on your prepared cookie sheets.  Optional: sprinkle the tops with lavender sugar (I saw this at Winners before Christmas and bought it with aspirations of making lavender short-bread).  I did half and half because not everyone likes lavender!!  Bake for 15 minutes and let cool on a rack.
optional: sprinkle with sugar/lavender mixture
Serve your little scones with butter or more golden liquid honey!  Delicious!

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