Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Along with my lasagna and herb toast the other night, I made a Caesar salad. I decided to try making my own dressing. It turned out really well.
It was the perfect accompaniment to an Italian dinner.

What you need,

2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp anchovy paste or 2 anchovy fillets minced
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

If you find the dressing to thick you can use a couple of teaspoons of milk to thin it out a bit.

Toss some chopped romaine lettuce and a few croutons with some of the dressing. Then top with a few shavings of fresh Parmesan cheese. You could add some crumbled bacon in there if that kind of think floats your boat!

Caesar Salad! YUM!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Herb Toast

Along with my lasagna on Sunday night I made this herb toast. It is my sister Kate’s recipe. It is the best! Every time I make it, I end up giving someone the recipe. 

It is super easy and way tastier than regular garlic toast.

What you need,

½ cup butter, softened
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
6 slices of bread

Heat the broiler in your oven.
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread the butter on both sides of the bread of your choice. I used multigrain bread this time but I have used French bread, and it is tasty too.
Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil on each side until browned.

Perfect with any pasta dish.
Love it!


Monday, August 29, 2011


As you all know I am a pasta kind of girl. I love it, I could eat it daily. I don’t, but I could.
Lasagna is one of my favourites. It is labour intensive for sure, and it creates more darned dishes than any other meal I know of.  In spite of all of this, it is well worth all the effort. 

It is a good Sunday night dinner. I always make it earlier in the day and then all I have to do is put it in the oven an hour or so before dinner time!

Here is what you need,

1 box lasagna noodles

For the sauce,

1 lb. ground beef
1 can tomato sauce, whatever kind you like, I like hunts with herbs and spices
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

For the cheese layer,

1 container of ricotta cheese
1 container of cottage cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

for the topping,

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

To make the sauce, heat a large pan over medium high heat. Saute the chopped onion until it begins to soften. Add in the chopped bell pepper and cook for a couple more minutes until just soft. Add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Add in the ground beef and cook until fully browned. Drain off any excess grease. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Add in the sauce a little at a time until you have enough to make a thick sauce. I used about ¾ of the can. I like my sauce a little thick, this helps to keep the finished lasagna from being too runny.
Once it has simmered for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a separate medium sized bowl mix together the ricotta cheese and the cottage cheese. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to directions on the box. I use no boil noodles but I do cook them a little bit, I just find they never cook fully if I don’t. I boil mine for about 5 minutes until just soft. When they are done drain and run under cold water until they are cool enough to handle.

To assemble,

Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
I like to put a little sauce down on the very bottom just so the noodles don’t stick.

Then put a layer of noodles,

Top that with a little of the meat sauce,

Then a layer of the cheese mixture,

Then a little sprinkle of grated mozza cheese,

Top with another layer of noodles and repeat 2 more times.

End on top with a layer of noodles and top that with the remaining cup or so of grated mozza cheese and a little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil.
Now you can cook it right away or you can put it in the fridge and cook it later, or you could wrap tightly and put in the freezer to cook next week or month!

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until hot and bubbly. You can turn on the broiler at the end to brown up the top if you like. I always do. There is nothing better than crispy melted cheese!
If you are going to freeze it, take out and put in the fridge over night to thaw, and then cook as usual.

It tastes so good. Serve with a slice of herb toast and a nice Caesar salad.

A perfect Sunday night dinner!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread French Toast

I love breakfast! I don’t usually have time during the week to make a big breakfast so it is always a special treat on weekends. Today I made French toast! YUM!
I had this very nice cinnamon raisin bread so I used that.

It is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfection!

What you need,

2 pieces of bread, whatever you like
2 eggs
¼ cup half and half
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Whisk the eggs, half and half, sugar and vanilla together in a shallow dish.
Put the bread in the mixture and soak up as much of the mixture into the bread as possible.

Heat a pan over medium high heat. Spray with non stick spray, or you could use a little butter.
Put the bread in the pan and let it cook for 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown, flip and cook the other side.

That is that! Breakfast!
I like mine with a little swipe of butter, some classic Aunt Jemima syrup and a sprinkle of icing sugar!

A little fruit on the side never hurt.
The perfect start to a Sunday!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favourite Things Friday, Vol.1

Happy Friday Everyone!

I have decided to start something new on My Tiny Oven, a list of my favourite things.
The things will vary from week to week. They might be a kitchen tool or ingredient, or maybe some lip balm or face wash, or even a book or TV show!
I thought it might be fun to share my favourite things, and then you can shout out some of yours!

I am going to start with one of my most favourite kitchen tools.
This lemon/lime squeezer! It is an Amco Metal Citrus Juicer 2-in-1. I got mine from Gourmet Warehouse.

Oh how I love this thing. I have tried all kinds of juicers and this is by far the best one. Firstly, it does lemons and limes! YAH! Secondly it is easy to hold, easy to squeeze and it gets every last drop of juice out of the lemon/lime halves. 

I pull it out when I just need a tablespoon of juice and I use it when I need to make lemonade and I have to squeeze 15 lemons!
My hand never gets sore, and I get every precious drop!!

I love it!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Old School Chocolate Chip Cookies

Awhile back I made these amazing America's Test Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies. At that time I said that I had 3 chocolate chip cookie recipes I was going to try, then see if I could pick a favourite. 

Here is the 2nd recipe. These are classic! We have been making these in my house since, well forever.

They are crisp on the outside and chewy in the centre. They are very buttery and full of chocolate chips.
I haven’t made them in a long time; I forgot how good they are!

What you need,

½ cup butter, softened
1 whole egg
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Note: I ALWAYS use salted butter, in everything! I know you aren’t supposed to bake with it but I have never had any issues with anything being too salty. I just think it is a pain to buy 2 kinds of butter all the time. Anyway I cut the salt in this recipe back to ¼ tsp from ½ tsp because I use salted butter… if you use unsalted butter you can up your salt. This is what I always do just cut the salt back by half because of the salted butter, it has always worked for me!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with silpat mats or parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer blend the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and blend well. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda and salt, blend until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. I put my dough in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill. When you are ready spoon by the tablespoon full onto the prepared sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.
Remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

I don’t know if I can choose between these and the ATK Cookies, they are both really good!! They are 2 totally different kinds of cookies, different textures and flavours.

I guess I will just eat a few more, and then wait until I make the third recipe to make my final judgement!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Portobello Fries with Basil Mayo

I ♥ French Fries!
You know when you go to a restaurant, and you order your entree, they say do you want fries or a salad with that?? I don’t think in my 35 long years have I ever said, oh yes, salad please!
I am a fry girl! Fries rule my world; I can’t get enough of them. I know they are generally bad for you but I can’t help myself.

I have been trying to eat alternative fries lately; I made these tasty Zucchini Fries not long ago. They were awesome!
Today I made Portobello fries. They were amazing! Portobello mushrooms have such a great texture and they held together very well. Using Panko made them super crispy.  The piece de resistance is the basil dip!

What you need for the fries,

¾ cup panko crumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
2 medium sized Portobello mushrooms
2 large eggs, beaten

For the Basil Mayo,

2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup packed basil leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, pressed
Pinch of salt
½ cup mayo

For the fries, start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a plate, mix together the panko, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. In a bowl, beat the 2 large eggs.
Scoop the gills out of the Portobello with a teaspoon; they will just scrape right off. Cut the mushrooms into 1/8 inch slices. Dip the slices one by one into the beaten eggs and then into the panko crumbs. Be sure to coat the mushroom slices well. Place the coated pieces on the parchment paper lined sheet pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes checking them after 10 minutes and flipping if needed to brown the whole fry.

To make the basil mayo, in a small food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, basil leaves, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth. Put the mayo into a small bowl and stir the basil mixture until well blended.

When they are done, take a fry,
 Dunk it into the super awesome basil mayo, and stuff in your face!

Continue dipping and eating until all the fries are gone,

These definitely satisfied my French fry craving. I will be making them again soon!


recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

I am always looking for a healthy mid morning snack to take to work. Usually it ends up being some kind of muffin. I try to make a batch on Sunday so that I have muffins for the week.

I decided to try a new recipe this time around, I had a lonely zucchini in my crisper and a basket of fresh blueberries, and I thought I would combine the two. They turned out moist and flavorful.

What you need,

2 ½ cups of all purpose flour, you could use half whole wheat half white if you wanted.
1/3 cup of quick cooking oats
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp butter, melted
½ cup + 4 tbsp buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups loosely packed, grated zucchini
1 ½ cups blueberry

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and soda).
In another bowl blend the butter, buttermilk, egg, lemon zest and juice and zucchini.
Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to just combine. Fold in the blueberries.
Place a scoop of the batter into each prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes about 2 dozen

An easy healthy muffin! Perfect for breakfast or a mid morning snack!

Adapted from Ready Prep Go

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Marinade for BBQ Pork Chops

My friend Brenda always makes the most amazing barbecued pork chops. They are always so moist and flavourful.  I finally asked her for her marinade recipe. It is way easy and delish!

What you need,

3 or 4 pork chops (I like the boneless ones, but that is just me, use what you like)
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup vegetable oil

Whisk all the ingredients together and pour over the chops coating both sides well.
Stash in the fridge for at least 4 hours, and up to 12 hours.

When you are ready grill chops for 5-7 minutes per side until they are cooked through.
You will have to adjust your cooking times if you use thicker chops.

Tender, moist and full of flavour! Thanks B!

I served mine with those lovely farmer’s market carrots. I decided just to cook them up and serve with butter and salt and pepper. They were too tasty to mess with, sometimes it is best just to keep it simple.