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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Category Archives: Red Deer Foodie

I know I’ve already posted different recipes for granola on this blog before, but this one is the best – inspired by one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever purchased, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  It’s super crunchy and sweet and makes a great little gift for anyone who loves maple!  I like to layer the granola between scoops of Greek yogurt and fresh berries – so good and keeps me full all morning!  This recipe is worth heating up the kitchen for!


Maple Pecan Granola

(inspired by recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook):


3 cups quick oats IMG_0695

1 cup large flaked coconut, unsweetened

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup oat bran

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 large egg white, beaten


Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment/baking paper lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, folding in the egg whites at the very end.


Spread the mixture evenly onto the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes – take out of the oven, carefully flip – make sure to keep some of those big chunks in tact.  Put back in the oven again for another 20 minutes, repeat the flipping, then back in the oven for another 20 minutes.  The batch should be nice and crispy – let cool completely on a rack.  So easy!



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The summer continues to fly by and I can’t believe we’re past the middle of August already!  I have been doing tons of cooking and baking, but obviously not a lot of blogging!  I’m going to try and get some of my new creations written down over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

Canadian Living Magazine has been busting out some awesome editions lately and this month included a little bonus mag called “Just for Moms” which highlighted some back to school lunchbox recipes.  One recipe for Chewy Quinoa Bars caught my eye because of an ingredient I haven’t tried yet: quinoa flakes!  I found some at Bulk Barn – they aren’t exactly cheap (over $6 for 350g, but it seems like there are many applications for these fluffy things!)  I fooled around with the recipe and came up with something I knew I would like.  A lot.  These have been a big hit at our place and around the office; they are quite filling too!


Chewy Chocolate Quinoa Bars (adapted from Canadian Living Recipe, Fall 2013)


1/2 cup quinoa  IMG_0690

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup tahini

1/3 cup liquid honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 1/2 cups large flaked rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (in Red Deer, buy at Pure Earth Organics)

1 cup quinoa flakes


1/2 cup pepitas

3/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 13×9″ cake pan with baking paper and coat with non-stick spray.

Toast the quinoa (not the flakes!!) in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, for about 8-10 minutes or until fragrant.  Set aside to cool.

While the toasting is going on, combine the corn syrup, tahini, honey and oil in a medium sauce pan, stirring often until smooth and combined.

In a large bowl, combine the toasted quinoa and quinoa flakes, coconut, pepitas and chia seeds.  Pour in the liquid mixture and stir to combine; at this point add about half of the chocolate chips and stir until melted.  Press the mixture into your prepared cake pan (isn’t it nice being prepared?)  Chuck into the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on the top, pressing in slightly.  Let cool completely and then shove into the fridge for about half an hour before cutting into bars.


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One of the greatest compliments has to be when a kid says “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten” and proceeds to eat 3 huge bowls in one sitting!  I actually had not planned on blogging this recipe until I got that reaction, so I snapped some photos  post-meal.  This is a dinner that is ready in under an hour and you can easily sub in different ingredients depending on your kid’s favourite flavours!  Sometimes a bit of improv in the kitchen pays off in a big way!!


Chicken Taco Pasta Bake


1 tbsp olive oil

3 small chicken breasts, diced

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp onion powder

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

fresh ground pepper & sea salt to taste

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 cup corn kernels, frozen or canned

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1/2 cup prepared salsa

1 1/2 cup Tex Mex shredded cheese

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Garnish with: chopped cilantro, jalapeno and sour cream

2 cups uncooked bowtie pasta


this is all that was left!!!

this is all that was left!!!

Preheat oven to 350degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to the perfect al dente.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high and brown chicken, about 5-6 minutes.  Add seasoning and cook for another minute.  Add the red pepper and corn, continue to until the pepper is tender.

Back in the pasta pot – add the can of soup and salsa and stir to combine.  By now the chicken/pepper mixture should be done – add to the pasta mixture.

Pour this goo into a 9×11 baking dish and top first with the crushed tortilla chips, followed by the cheese.  Bake for 20 mins and then broil for another 1-2 minutes to get bubbly.  Let sit for about 5 minutes and dinner is on!  Just like with tacos, dress with your favourite toppings and enjoy!!

"this is the best thing I've ever eaten!!"

“this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!!”

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So it’s been a long time since I’ve updated the ol’ Red Deer Foodie!  I want to assure you that I’ve still been cooking up a storm and creating lots of new recipes and I am going to really try and get those posted over the next few weeks!!  Time to get back in the saddle!!  Today I want to share a recipe that I created last week for Bison & Bell Pepper Chili!  Luckily we have a few places in town to buy ground bison – if you’re in Red Deer, try Big Bend Market!!

Just a heads up; even though this is a slow cooker chili, you are still going to need to dirty a frying pan and you will also need about 30 minutes of prep time before you can dump everything in the cooker!


Slow Cooker Bison & Bell Pepper Chili


1 lb ground lean bison

2 cups finely diced onion

1 rib celery finely chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped

3 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp dried oregano leaves

salt & pepper

1 each, yellow, orange & red pepper, chopped

540 mL (19 oz) can diced tomatoes + juice

540 mL (19 0z) mixed bean medley (not the marinated kind!) drained and rinsed

156 mL tomato paste (the little can)

1/2 cup beef broth

Serve with: sour cream, fresh cilantro, grated cheddar & diced jalapenos!


In a large heavy bottom skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Sweat the onion, celery and garlic – add the spices and cook until onion is translucent.   IMG_0418

Add the bison to the skillet and brown.

The next part is super easy: add all of the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker, stir and get it going on low for 6 – 8 hours!  If you want to get it really spicy, you can add a couple dried chilis and fish them out later.

Top with cilantro, more jalapenos, cheese, sour cream (I needed this b/c of course I put in too many dried jalapenos and it was too spicy for me) and whatever else you top your chili with normally.  This dish actually tastes better the next day, just like most chilis!!


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People following this blog have probably figured out that I am super lazy when it comes to cleaning of any kind (Hot Toddy actually does all the dish-washing in this kitchen!) Sometimes I feel like I should give him a night off pots n pans duty, so I whip out the always dependable tinfoil!!!  So great for cooking on the BBQ – seals all the juices in – creates amazing flavours!  Here’s a really easy weeknight dinner that cooks up in about 12 minutes on the grill. (pssssst PS these foil recipes are also great to bust out when camping – will make you look like a total super-star when you serve up a posh dish like this rather than weiners and beans!)

Foil-cooked Salmon and Vegetables

Salmon Ingredients:

3 – 4 small salmon filets

1 large lemon, sliced thin

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp white wine (something citrusy like a crisp Pinot Grigio – and don’t you dare use a wine that you don’t like b/c then the dinner is going taste like some crap wine that you don’t like!)

2-4 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

fresh cracked sea salt & black pepper

Vegetable Ingredients: 

3-4 mini zucchinis, sliced about an inch thick

1 cup assorted grape tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, whatever you have on hand

1-2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and cut in half

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

fresh cracked sea salt & black pepper


Preheat your BBQ to medium high – if you can get it to stay at about 400degrees, this would be ideal!  Rip off two big sheets of tin foil – and lay flat, shiny side up.  For the salmon, layer the lemon slices to cover the middle of your foil – big enough to create a bed for the salmon filets to rest on (this helps give extra moisture to the salmon, while at the same time prevents the salmon from burning to the bottom of the foil).

Place the salmon on top of the lemon bed and drizzle with olive oil and white wine.  Season with salt and pepper – then garnish with the chives.  Seal up tightly and set aside.

Now get the veg ready – centre the chopped zucchini, tomatoes and garlic in the middle of the foil – drizzle with oil and seasonings and then seal up tight.

The BBQ has been waiting for you – chuck your packages on the grill, close the lid and walk away for about 12 minutes.  Resist the urge to open the BBQ lid!  Go have a glass of wine – you already have that bottle open for the salmon…. Take the packages out of the BBQ and guess what – dinner is ready!  Serve with whatever starch or carb you’re down with – we had a little pile of fresh spinach on our plates, and some rice for Nick.

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Rhubarb is so great – especially when it’s grown by someone else and not infesting your property!  Since I’m the laziest gardener ever, I prefer to purchase my rhubarb at the farmers market and feel safe knowing that it’s not from a co-worker’s back-alley and a million dogs have taken a wizz on it!  Anyhoo… sometimes I get excited and buy beautiful produce at the market, then realize I have to scramble to do something with it!  I had already pre-chopped the rhubarb, so was so happy to find a muffin recipe that whipped up in a snap!  I’ve adapted this recipe from Canadian Living online recipe collection – the main thing I changed was the oven temp (raised from 350 to 400degrees) and baking time – 15-18 minutes, not 25.  I also substitued milk + vinegar rather than buttermilk because that is just not something I have chilling in my fridge at all times!

Rhubarb Muffins


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup skim milk + 1 tsp white vinegar (before you start mixing ingredients – pour the milk in a measuring cup and add the vinegar, let stand on the cupboard for 5 minutes and it will curdle for you)

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups finely diced rhubarb (chop it according to how big you want your rhubarb bites to be)

Topping: 1 tbsp melted butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400degrees and line 2 muffin pans with paper liners (this recipe makes exactly 24 muffins!)  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt & baking soda and set aside.  In another bowl, combine brown sugar and oil.  Whisk in the milk, egg and vanilla.

Pour the wet into the dry, along with the rhubarb.  Still till moistened but remember in baking muffins, it’s okay to see little flour bits – don’t overmix!

Fill each muffin paper about 3/4 full and then top with the brown sugar/butter mixture.  Bake one pan at a time for about 17-18 minutes (check at 15 minutes if you’re paranoid).

Let cool on a baking rack completely!  So delightful these muffins are – the brown sugar topping is such a nice contrast to the tart rhubard – you will love them xo

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