Pierogi

When it comes to pierogies, I usually just eat the frozen ones with a bit of sour cream and maybe some black pepper, which is a pretty boring meal.

For National Pierogi Day, I explored quick ways to make store-bought pierogies a little more fancy & customized.

celebrating pierogi day

First off, I fried up some garlic, onion and bell pepper and added bacon and cubed sausage. This quick fry can be done in a limited amount of time with endless possibilities of what meat and veggies you prefer / you have on hand. Plus, it adds protein and vegetables to the dish. Not to mention a little color!

The next garnish was seasoned sour cream. I mixed salt, pepper, paprika and chives into sour cream. Again, this allows you to add your own flare to the dish! Whatever flavors you prefer can be mixed right in.

I love tomatoes, so fresh cubed tomatoes were my final garnish.

It’s great to learn how to play around with your spice cupboard and basic fridge ingredients! Adding an original, made-up touch to a dish is one of my favorite parts of cooking 🙂

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Chicken & Mushroom

To finish September off, here’s a post to celebrate both National Chicken Month and National Mushroom Month. And what better way is there to celebrate than my favorite casserole, Chicken Tetrazzini.

I love this recipe from cooks.com, http://www.cooks.com/recipe/k693614s/chicken-tetrazzini.html. Unlike other recipes on the web, it uses fresh mushrooms, chicken broth and milk rather than a can of condensed soup.

As tasty as it is on it’s own (mushrooms, garlic and paprika is my fave combo!), it doesn’t have much nutritional value, so I often add vegetables such as broccoli and bell peppers.

chicken tetrazzini

This time, instead of baking it in a casserole dish, I made the sauce with the chicken and vegetables and served it on top of pasta, then topped it with a bit of grated cheese. Both options are scrumptious but eliminating the baking time makes this one quicker.

This is such a great meal to make in advance then toss into the oven when it comes dinnertime. My super picky little brother even ate this, which was a miracle!

A simple, delicious recipe to have in your back pocket!

Eat an Apple Today

Today is Eat an Apple Day, and I choose to celebrate with cupcakes.

Caramel Apple cupcakes, to be exact.

There are plenty of recipes out there for caramel apple cupcakes, and I really enjoyed this one, http://www.bakedperfection.com/2011/10/apple-cupcakes-with-caramel-buttercream.html.

For the buttercream, I followed Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe, then added cooled caramel at the end, which is basically what this blogger does too.

I finished them off with a drizzle of caramel. Some coarse sea salt on top would be a nice addition, too.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

 

Bacon & Eggs… and Burgers

In celebration of National Cheeseburger Day, I decided to revisit a burger that I ate as a quick lunch one day in Barcelona.

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For my own version of the egg on a burger, I made a basic mixture of ground beef, egg, bread crumbs and seasonings, grilled it on my George Foreman then piled it high onto a multigrain Kaiser bun.

I started with the patty, then a slice of Havarti cheese, then cooked up some chopped bacon and onion for the next topping.

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On top of the bacon, I put a tomato slice, then topped it off with a sunny-side up egg and some spicy garlic mayo.

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It was pretty good, but huge!! I was stuffed before I could finish the entire burger.

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Guac

In celebration of National Guacamole Day, I made these cute little tortilla cups. Using this simple recipe, http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-tortillas, I made dough for flour tortillas and rolled it out, cut out tiny circles and baked them at 350 on an upside-down mini muffin tin.

tortilla cups

For the last few minutes of baking, I flipped them over and baked them right side up on a sheet pan to brown the inside of the cups.

baked tortilla cups

I made the guacamole in the food processor; combining a tsp. of lemon juice, an avocado, a few tbsp. of sour cream, a slice of onion, and seasonings such as cayenne pepper and cilantro flake.

guacamole made in the food processor

guacamole cups

For the little bit of salsa on top, I chopped up a tomato, some onion and bell pepper and tossed them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

guacamole with tomato and bell pepper topping

The smooth, creamy  guacamole went so well with the crunch of the tortilla cup and the acidic salsa. These delicious little cups are definitely a classier appetizer than basic chips and chunky guacamole dip. To finish off the dainty little appies, I added a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro flake.

garnished guacamole cups

Such a simple, fancy treat to serve at your next get-together! For an even quicker option, “scoop” shaped tortilla chips from the grocery store would work too.

Today is National Linguine Day!

Homemade pasta is so good, but for me, it always seems like too big of a deal to make on a regular evening. I have to plan a whole afternoon to get myself focused enough to make pasta.

The idea of making pasta dough in a food processor popped up on Pinterest, and it sounded like an easier way to throw together a ball of dough. But, now after having tried both methods, I prefer mixing the dough by hand. A ball of dough buzzing around is too hard on my new, pretty Cuisinart!

I used this recipe, http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/how-to-make-pasta-dough-in-the-food-processor/, and found that I had to add more flour to the sticky dough, even in the arctic desert that I live in.

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The pasta itself was delicious. I made a spinach sauce for it, which was not great; it lacked flavour. I served it with grilled chicken which was marinated in olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. I topped it with delicious sautéed mushrooms and had oven-roasted cauliflower on the side.

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Happy Linguine Day, everyone! 🙂

Cheese Pizza!

Happy National Cheese Pizza Day everyone! 🙂

Instead of going for the classic tomato sauce and cheese pizza, I chose to make a white pizza.

I referred to Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe/index.html) for amounts of ingredients, but assembled it like this:

Dissolve sugar in warm water in stand mixer bowl. Put yeast into water and let it bloom.

Add olive oil and salt.

Slowly add flour until the dough is a good consistency, and mix with the dough hook for about 10 minutes.

Then I let it rise.

For the toppings, I made a quick cheesy béchamel sauce by melting about a tbsp. of butter in a saucepan then whisking in a tbsp. of flour. I then added about a cup of milk and stirred until it thickened, then I added 1/4 cup of asiago cheese, some rosemary and black pepper.

I spread a layer of sauce on the rolled out pizza dough, then sprinkled it with mozzarella and asiago cheese.

Then I topped it off with some garlic and onion that I sautéed in olive oil for a few minutes, and piled on the spinach that was lightly coated in olive oil. I baked it at 425F for about 20 minutes.

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The finished product was delicious!!

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2 Birds with One Stone

September is National Honey Month and National Biscuit month, so I thought I’d tackle them both with this Honey Buttermilk Biscuit recipe from Saveur (http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Honey-Buttermilk-Biscuits?src=pinterest).

Grating frozen butter had been brought up in my school baking club when I was in grade nine, but I had never tried it until now.

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When adding liquid to a biscuit dough (same applies for pie pastry), start off by adding less liquid than the recipe calls for. This gives you room to adjust for weather conditions. I ended up adding more buttermilk than the recipe called for.

The idea of 6 large biscuits seems crazy to me, so I rolled out the dough and cut 2 dozen round biscuits with a cookie cutter. Remember to adjust your baking time if you change the size of your biscuit. Mine were in the oven for about 16 minutes.

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The honey butter to brush on top of the biscuits was so delicious. I left out the rosemary.

I saved the leftovers and ate it on toast!

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The finished product was so tasty, perfect with a cup of tea sweetened with honey! 🙂 But I definitely recommend you eat these biscuits the day they are baked, on day 2, the topping was goopy.

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