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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Monthly Archives: May 2012

How is it possible that I’ve gone this far in life without cooking and eating tomatillos?!  They’re so very good – they taste so tangy and have such a neat texture!  Love!  Anyways, here’s another recipe from the June Food Network Magazine – seriously one of the best issues of any of the magazines out there right now!  It all starts with healthy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, add a super flavourful spice rub and then top with the fresh tomatillo salsa! Delish!

Chile- Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Tomatillo Salsa


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced in the middle “butterflied”

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 tsp each chile powder, ground cumin and ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder

4 tsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving


2 tomatoes, diced

3 tomatillos, diced

1/4 cup finely diced red onion


In a small bowl, combine spices, garlic, olive oil and 1 tsp lime juice, stirring to form a paste.

Butterfly the chicken breasts fold them out like a book, so they lay flat and look almost “heart-shaped”.  Coat the chicken breasts with rub and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Get your salsa on; chop the tomatoes, tomatillos and red onion.  Combine in a bowl with the remaining 3 tsp lime juice and season with salt.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium and grease the grates with vegetable oil.  Grill the chicken breasts, turning once, about 4-6 minutes each side, or until cooked thru – they cook really quickly because you butterlied them all thin remember!

Serve these little babies topped with that delicious salsa and some lime wedges.


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Whenever I see the “wild mushroom” variety pack at the grocery store, I literally lose my mind.  Today I spied it at Superstore (they only had a few packages) and pretty much knew what I had to do for dinner.  Using a recipe I’ve seen online at Food & Wine Magazine, I created an impromptu-ragu (haha) using skinless boneless chicken breasts and those beautiful mushrooms.  I switched it up a bit, mostly because I didn’t feel like waiting for an hour and a half to roast the garlic, so I used huge cloves of fresh minced, then at the end I thickened it up using the beurre manie method, which I also love using in my delightful beef stew!

This recipe cooked up in about 30 minutes and was so tasty – I really think you should give it a try!!

Chicken & Wild Mushroom Ragu


6-8 large cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup dried wild mushrooms

3/4 cup boiling water

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 lb (450g) assorted mushrooms, shiitake, cremini, oyster, portabello, sliced or quartered “rustic”

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 medium tomatoes, diced

fresh oregano for garnish

fresh ground salt & pepper

serve with fresh spinach leaves



First things first, soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water – cover and site aside for about 15 minutes.  When they’re done soaking, chop the mushrooms and save that amazing mushroom broth!

Now, in a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper and cook in oil until browned on both sides – about 5 minutes.  Remove to a plate and cover till later.

In the same skillet, add another tbsp of olive oil and all of the mushrooms – even the dehydrated ones that you soaked!  Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring a few times, until the mushrooms are browned and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.

Same skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter in the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add the shallots and minced garlic and cook over medium, stirring often, until softened about 3 minutes.  Add the red wine and crank the heat to bring it up to a boil.  Cook this until the liquid has reduced by about half, maybe 2-3 minutes.  Pour in that mushroom broth, chicken stock, tomatoes, mushrooms and chicken.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, until reduced slightly.

In a little bowl, combine the last tbsp of butter with the flour and create a little paste, or your “beurre manie” – take a sip of wine and congratulate yourself for being so Francais!

Remove the skillet from heat and stir in your little beurre manie – watch the sauce go creamy and almost “glossy” – I served up with a few gigantic fresh spinach leaves that I purchased today at the amazing Red Deer Downtown Market – such a great meal! Oh! I also garnished with some fresh oregano leaves! So in case you’re wondering, I called this a ragu because it has so many of the components of one, wine, tomatoes, mushrooms, meat – eventhough I didn’t cook the meat for a really long time, I’m standing by my recipe name!

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So I was on the road as I typically am on a Monday – two long hours north or Red Deer on the insane Highway 2.  Good times as always – one of the perks is a little deli/butcher called Sandy View Farms.  The have some of the most amazing meats and cheeses from local farms and producers, so sometimes on my way home, I stop for a couple steaks.  Today I got their delicious 8 oz New York Strip Loins.  I got home after 6 and pulled together an amazing basting/serving sauce that I had seen in the June Canadian Living Magazine.  I also grilled some green pepper and red onion – holy what a great meal!  We were eating by about 6:40 and I have to say dinner was delicious.  Try it out next time you’re rushed or next time you want a relatively easy meal (which equals less time in the kitchen and more time sipping wine on the patio!)

Quick & Easy Horseradish New York Strip Loin


2 8oz beef New York Strip Loins

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

2-3 tbsp prepared horseradish

fresh ground salt & pepper – for dressing and for steaks

2 green peppers, cut into large slices

1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices (rings)


In a bowl, combine the balsamic, Dijon, salt & pepper and olive oil.  Whisk until emulsified and then add the horseradish.  Stir to combine.  Reserve 2 tbsp of the dressing in a separate bowl, for serving.

Season steaks liberally with salt and pepper – heat the grill to medium-high and give the grill a little greasing with vegetable oil.

Add steaks and peppers, baste with the dressing and close the lid.  Get a good sear on (a couple of minutes) and do some more basting – turn the steaks, etc.  If you want medium-rare, go for about 8 minutes total.  I like my steaks medium so I went 11 minutes and they were great, but everyone is different!

Remove steaks from grill and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Serve with the peppers and onions and garnish with a drizzle of your reserved sauce.

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What a great weekend it was!  Decent weather, lots of busting out with friends and best of all: hot dogs in the park!  Remember when I hinted at possibly being obsessed with this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine?  I’m not going to lie, I’ve been cooking with it all weekend!!  Every month, they have a funny contest called “Name this Dish!” This month’s contest highlights an insane looking hotdog sandwich, multiple layers, tons of toppings, way too much bun… but wait… a dressing unlike any I’ve ever seen.  I had to make it!

Loaded Hotdogs:

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup mayonaisse

2 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp yellow mustard

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tsp honey

fresh ground salt & pepper

Suggested Hot Dog Toppings:

sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, cucumber slices, pickled jalapeno peppers, dill pickle slices, Romaine lettuce and of course the amazing dressing!!!


In a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients!  I split the hotdogs down the centre lengthwise, not cutting all the way through though, then grilled them flat out.

Once grilled, I served on lightly toasted whole wheat hot dog buns and then piled on the goods from my topping buffet!  Who says that hot dogs have to be trashy?

so excited doesn't even take off his bike helmet!!

(PS I did also enter the contest with the entry name “Mile High Hotdog Club” hahaha fingers crossed – hope I win!!)

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You know it’s almost summer when all of the cooking magazines have lines like “Let’s Grill!” or “Get Your Grill On” and pictures of hamburgers and anything charred grace the covers.  I freaking love grilling! 

I picked up the June issue of Food Network Magazine and basically want to make every single page but I obviously have to settle down and cook one thing at a time! Today I started with the Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Corn on the Cob, as featured on page 148.  So simple and delicious!  I cooked my corn in foil, with butter and salt rather than directly on the grill, as I like it to kind of steam/poach in the melted butter…   I changed the sauce a little bit by adding sriracha rather than the red pepper flakes they called for and was really happy at how it turned out – this would also be a great rub/sauce for chicken too!  Enjoy!

1 large pork tenderloin
4 ears of corn, remove the leaves and silk

Spice Rub:
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Keen’s Mustard Powder (not sure if available in the States, but this stuff is the bomb!)
1/2 tsp onion powder (I crused about a tbsp of onion flakes in my mortar)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp olive oil to coat the tenderloin with

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce

Secret Sauce

At least 3 hours before you want to bbq, prepare the spice rub.  Spread out a big piece of Saran Wrap and lightly oil the tenderloin.  Work the spice rub into the tenderloin with your fingers and wrap it up tightly in the plastic – then throw in the fridge for 3-6 hours.

You can reserve extra spice rub as long as you didn’t touch it
with your ditry pork hands!

Thirty minutes before you’re wanting to cook, remove the tenderloin from the fridge and let come to room temp.  Preheat your bbq to medium high.  Chuck the tenderloin on the bbq and grill for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally – be patient and let grill marks appear yo!

After one turn… foiled corn in the background…

Now it’s time to make the sauce – combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat – make sure the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and set aside till you’re ready to serve!!

Back to the bbq: when the internal temp gets to about 140-145, remove from the bbq and let rest for about 15 minutes.  Slice, drizzle with the sauce and serve!!  With more of the spicy sauce if you’re inclined!  And the buttery yummy corn!  Oh and I also had some potatoes 😉

So looking forward to a summer of grilling goodness!!

Hope everyone had a great long weekend!!  We were on the road most of the weekend, but today I had an entire day to relax and have some “me” time.  I dropped the boys off at Heritage Ranch, they went for a monster bike trip and I did a quick 4km run through the trails.  I went shopping for the week and then came home and did some experimenting with an old recipe for Chocolate Surprise Muffins.  This is my famous recipe that includes spinach as the main ingredient!  I fooled around with the fats and flours and here’s my latest rendition of these muffins!  I’m just starting to cook with coconut flour and wanted to see what it would bake like – just as good as whole wheat flour in my opinion and smells really yummy!!

Sneaky Chocolate Brownie Muffins II
3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup oatmeal, pulsed thru the food processor
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1 whole apple, quartered
1 ripe banana
2/3 cup coconut oil (in it’s solid form, then melt in microwave and it will equal 2/3cup + 1 tbsp liquid coconut oil)
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup agave syrup
2 extra large eggs
seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 350degrees and coat mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, including the ground oats.  Don’t bother rinsing out the food processor at this point!

Now combine all of the rest of the other ingredients in the food processor and pulse till liquid.  If your kids are super picky, you may want to really go nuts and pulse completely, otherwise they may object to the tiny green flecks once baked!!  Nick didn’t notice… YET…. it’s funny when kids pick up on these things though!

Anyways, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and give it a good stir.  Spoon little plops into your mini muffin tins and shove in the oven for 15-18 minutes… today 17 minutes seemed to be my magic number! 

Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing from tins – they’re done and unless the kids were helping you in the kitchen, it’s unlikely that they will figure out the secret ingredients!!  This batch makes 5 dozen little moist muffins.  They freeze really well and are a pop into lunch bags quite nicely!!  Only thing I DON’T know: is coconut considered dangerous on the nut-allergy listing??  If anyone knows, please leave me a little message!

I’m a sucker for sandwiches – especially anything on a chewy French bagette!  I’m also a sucker for anything in the antipasto family; anything that’s marinated in olive oil is big deal in my books!  So when I flipped through this month’s drool-worthy issue of Food & Wine Magazine, I was so excited to see their recipe for Double-Grilled Antipasto Sandwiches!  This is a great recipe for when you just want to run into the deli and grab a couple quick items!  So easy and so delicious!  Rather than the provolone that the original recipe called for, I used extra old cheddar for more of a bite.  I also served this with fresh basil leaves and a basil mayo.  Check it out!

Antipasto Sandwiches
250g thinly sliced proscuitto
125g extra old cheddar cut into 3/4 inch x 3 inch sticks
olive oil for brushing
1 large bagette, cut down the centre and cut into 2-3 pieces
1 large garlic clove, halved
250g marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
125-250g roasted red peppers, cut into strips
a couple handfuls of fresh basil leaves

Basil Mayo:
1/4 cup mayonaisse
2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
splash of white wine vinegar, to taste
salt & pepper to taste

Heat up your grill pan, or light a grill, or fire up the Gordon Ramsay grill (or George Foreman grill….)  Lay out 2 slices of proscuitto, overlapping slightly.  Position on chunk of cheese at one end and lay a large basil leaf down the centre of the proscuitto.  Roll up.  Repeat with the other two chunks of cheese. 

Take 2 wooden skewers and thread thru the bundles.  Cut down the centre & set aside.

Lightly brush the insides of the baguettes with olive oil and lightly grill – get some lines going if you want!  Remove from grill and rub the cut side of the garlic cloves along the insides.  Set aside.

Next up, add the proscuitto skewers to the grill (medium-high) and cook 5-7 minutes, until the proscuitto is getting crispy and the cheese is getting melty.

While that’s cooking, spread the inside of the baguettes with the basil mayo.  Top with artichokes and red peppers and wait for those delicious proscuitto bundles to be ready!

waiting for the nom nom bundles!

Once the bundles are done, carefully remove from the skewers and position on your sandwiches.  Serve immediately and be prepared to be a kitchen hero for the next couple days!!

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