Friday, November 28, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 89 – Christmas Baking

It is about that time of year again, time to fill the freezer with sweet treats for the holiday season‼

I always have such a hard time narrowing down what to make. It is just the two of us so I don’t need to make too many things but it is nice to have a variety.

There are a few MUST HAVES,

For me it is Puppy Chow, I LOVE this stuff, I probably go through 2 batches each Christmas, YUM!

For my in house taste tester it is Butter Tarts! He can’t get enough of them. This recipe is an old family favourite; it is truly the perfect Butter Tart.

My best friend Brenda is coming for a visit so I HAVE to make her favourite cookie, the Ginger Krinkle! These soft and chewy ginger cookies are the bestest!

Now, beyond those 3 things I just don’t know what to make,
Do I go with Sugar Cookies?

They are both fantastic...How can I choose??

Do I make my aunt’s famous Peanut Butter Balls?

Or my Dad’s OACB’s (Only at Christmas Brownies)? Oh the decisions!!!

I always like to toss one or 2 new recipes into the mix each year.
This year I am thinking Nanaimo Bars, they are totally classic and an old family favourite Saltine Almond Bark!

I think that I will make myself the BEST Christmas Cocktail and try to make a final decision!

What are your must have treats for the holiday season? Any special family recipes you just can’t live without? 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
I will be in my kitchen covered in flour, chocolate and red and green sprinkles if you need me!


If you are looking for even more fabulous Christmas Baking recipes check out my Christmas Category under the Recipe List tab

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Super Crispy Oven “Fried” Chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? The only problem is it is messy to make with the hot oil etc… I decided there must be a way to make oven “fried” chicken super crispy. 

I took some time and thought about how to best make a coating and how to get things hot enough to crisp it up without burning it. My method really worked great! The tops and bottom of each chicken piece were perfectly crisp and the chicken stayed juicy and tender, thanks to the buttermilk.

Seasoning each layer of the coating is the trick to getting really flavorful chicken, so remember to season well!

What you need,

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 cup flour, seasoned with 1 tsp. season salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. ground sage, ½ tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder

2 eggs, whisked, seasoned with 1 tsp. season salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 cup bread crumbs + 1 cup panko crumbs seasoned with 1 tsp. season salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. ground sage, ½ tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. canola oil
Olive oil spray

Trim the chicken thighs of any excess fat, I kept just enough to cover the meat, no extra hanging over.

In a large zip top bag combine the buttermilk with the seasoning salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Add the thighs and seal up the bag. Let it marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours.

Put a tablespoon of canola oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place it in the oven on the lowest rack and heat your oven to 400 degrees, with the pan in it. Heating it like this will ensure the chicken gets crispy on the bottom too!

Set up a dredge station with the flour in one shallow dish, the eggs in another and finally the bread crumb/panko mixture in a third.

Shake off the excess buttermilk from each piece of chicken then roll it in the flour mixture. Tap off any excess flour and roll each piece in the egg to coat. Shaking off the excess egg, coat each piece of chicken with the crumbs, pressing to adhere the crumbs well.
Place the coated chicken onto a plate until the oven comes to temperature.

Place each chicken onto the hot pan carefully, and then spray the top of each chicken piece lightly with the olive oil spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is brown and crisp and cooked through.

I served my super crispy chicken with buttermilk mashed potatoes and my new favourite sweet kale salad!

This dinner was AH-MAZING‼ The chicken was so crisp and had so many flavors, it was perfect!

Even the left overs were fantastic!



Friday, November 21, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 88 – Sweet Kale Chopped Salad

I am not usually a huge bagged salad fan, but this Sweet Kale Chopped Salad by Taylor Farms is AMAZING! It has broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, radicchio, dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds. The dressing is a sweet creamy poppy seed, it is heavenly!

The greens have always been fresh and crisp which is more than you can usually hope for in a bagged salad.

They also make an Asian style, which is fantastic as well as a Southwest version which is also quite good.

So if you are looking for a really easy side dish, I suggest you try this lovely salad. It really is fantastic!

Happy weekend everyone!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

I love a good Alfredo sauce. Usually they are pretty heavy and full of cream, this amazing sauce is just a mixture of milk and chicken broth, the creaminess comes from the pumpkin puree. It also adds a really great sweetness to the sauce, which I just loved!

This simple pasta comes together in under 30 minutes and all you need to add is some lovely steamed asparagus and you have a perfect weeknight dinner!

What you need,

2 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used 2% because it is what I had)
1½ cups chicken broth
½ cup pureed pumpkin
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 pkg. fresh spinach cheese ravioli
½ cup toasted pine nuts

In a large nonstick skillet heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and is foamy add the garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add in the flour and stir cooking for 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes light brown and has a nutty smell.
Whisk in the milk and chicken broth.  The sauce should start to thicken up pretty quick.

Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Add the parsley, sage, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese to the sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat.

Serve the pasta right away sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts and a little extra Parmesan cheese.

I really loved this pasta. The sauce was creamy and sweet and the pine nuts added a really great texture.

My in house taste tester wasn’t sold on the nuts but I really liked the contrast to the thick creamy sauce. Serve the nuts on the side if you think your people might not like it!



Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Hoisin Sauce

Sorry I have been gone forever it seems! I was at my sister’s house last week, helping her get ready for her New Baby to arrive in a few weeks! I am so super excited to be an auntie again, I can hardly stand it!  We spent the weekend hanging out of the couch talking and the rest of the time prepping freezer meals to help make her life easier once the little one comes.  It was so fun to spend time with her in the kitchen, we worked really well together

Now that I am back I am trying to get back into making some quick meals for us. I have been a little uninspired since I started back to work. I get home later and I have such a great list of "go to" weeknight meals I have been lazy about trying anything new.

These amazing lettuce wraps were a perfect stepping stone back into simple fast tasty dinners.

They are crisp and fresh and they have a ton of flavor. Just toss a couple spring rolls in the oven and you have a great meal in about 30 minutes‼

What you need,

For the Sauce:
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
4 tsp. hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice (about ½ a lime)

For the Filling:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tbsp. canola oil
6 thinly sliced green onions (about 2/3 cup), divided
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if you like, divided
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp. Sriracha Sauce
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1 cup steamed fried Chinese noodles (optional)
1 head Bibb lettuce leaves separated

To prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the water, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and red pepper flakes and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice.

To prepare filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add the ground chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes until browned and cooked through. Add 1/3 cup green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and Sriracha; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cucumbers, carrots, and remaining green onions.

Spoon a couple tablespoons of the filling onto each lettuce leaf, drizzle with the sauce and top with a few crunchy noodles.

These lettuce wraps were FANTASTIC‼ They sauce is to die for, and the salty sweet filling with the cool crunchy veggies was perfection.
We LOVED them!



Recipe adapted from Cooking Light