Friday, June 28, 2013
Last night I hosted our book club meeting and chose the theme of breakfast for dinner. It had nothing to do with the book, I just really like breakfast. I also wanted an excuse to try this easy baked blintz casserole that I saw on the Food Network. Back when Ayla was a newborn and my mom was staying with me, we spent many mornings watching food shows. We both drooled over this recipe and I’ve kept it in the back of my mind ever since, just waiting for the right opportunity to make it. I love blintzes but I hate making crepes. With this recipe, you simply mix up the crepe batter and pour half of it into a baking dish. Bake it for 10 minutes until it sets, then layer the cheese filling, and the rest of the batter on top. Bake for another 35-40 minutes and voila! You have the taste of blintzes without the fuss.
Intrigued? Now you just need an excuse to make it, so I’ll give you one. I think this would be a perfect thing to make for brunch or dessert on Canada Day, don’t you? It’s red and white, just like our flag. You’re welcome.
For the blintz portion of the recipe, follow this link.
Instead of blueberry sauce I made a strawberry sauce. We picked strawberries last weekend at a local berry farm and the boys went a little overboard. They had a contest to see who could pick the most strawberries and it ended with us leaving with 2 huge buckets of strawberries. So strawberry sauce it is!
2 pints of strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
Place strawberries into a large saucepan. combine sugar and cornstarch; sprinkle evenly over top of the strawberries. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until strawberries release their juices and begin to boil. Mash up the strawberries and simmer until the sauce has thickened.
I topped it with whipped cream, just to be extra bad. This is optional (or maybe not!).
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Sometimes you just need some good ol' comfort food, and this tomato soup mac & cheese is the ultimate comfort food. It's mac & cheese bumped up a notch with the addition of canned tomato soup. I generally avoid condensed soups but I couldn't resist giving this a try. I saw it on Pinterest from A Local Choice and it looked so divine. I can assure you it tastes just as amazing as it looks; my entire family can attest to that. I followed the recipe closely, so I won't repost it here. The only change I made was using ricotta cheese instead of quark because I couldn't find quark anywhere. The ricotta worked perfectly.
Yes, that is Cole with his THUMBS UP!! Not just one thumb, but TWO thumbs! This is a rare event, everyone. I'm glad I snapped photos to document it.
Bennett approved as well, and would have given two thumbs up if he hadn't had his fork in one hand. He couldn't shovel it in his mouth fast enough.
Tony loved it too. Not only did he enjoy it for dinner, but he took all the leftovers to work the next day. After work he said, "hey that mac & cheese you made was really good. I ate it all."
I have a feeling my family will be requesting this dinner quite often from now on.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
This recipe is inspired by Kevin & Amanda's Cheesy Chicken Bacon Broccoli and Rice. I love the idea of adding cheese sauce into the rice for an incredibly creamy, extra cheesy dish. Instead of chicken and broccoli, I've used green peppers and black beans. It's similar to a family favourite of ours, Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole, except this one is made completely on the stove-top so it's really quick. If you have leftover rice, this meal is a perfect way to use it up. When I make rice for a meal, I'll often make extra just so I have it on hand for recipes like this one. I think this would make a great meatless dinner too if you just leave out the bacon.
Cole is one tough nut to crack. As usual, he didn't like this dinner. I'm not sure why exactly; he just wasn't interested. Bennett is much more easy to please. He thought it was delicious and ate it up.
On an unrelated note, don't you just love Cole's outfit in this photo? Some days he likes to dress "fancy" for no particular reason. Bennett, who always wants to be like his big brother, also wore a button-up shirt that day. They're too precious.
Cheesy Mexican Rice and Beans
5 slices of bacon, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until browned, about 10 minutes. Add peppers and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, until peppers have softened. Stir in black beans, tomatoes, spices, rice and green onions. Cook until heated through, then cover and reduce heat to low.
In a small saucepan, add milk and whisk in flour slowly. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Pour the cheese sauce into the skillet with the rice and bean mixture. Stir until fully combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
We're thinking about going to Hawaii for a family vacation this summer. Tony and I used to travel to there a lot before we had kids. He works for an airline so we get standby passes for pretty cheap. We were young and adventurous with no parental responsibilities, so it was easy to take a spur-of-the-moment trip somewhere. Honolulu was a popular choice for us because there are several flights a week so we had better odds of getting on a flight, plus it's a relatively short flight (about 5 hours). We could relax on the beach, shop or sight-see during the day, and once the sun set we could enjoy the Honolulu nightlife.
|Us at Waikiki Beach, pre-kids!|
Now with three children our trips require a bit more planning, but it will still be somewhat "spur-of-the-moment" because it all depends on how open the flights are looking. Flying standby with a family of five isn't as easy as it was with just the two of us. Still, I'd like to try it because I really miss Hawaii. We haven't been there since I was newly pregnant with our first child, Cole. That was 7 years ago. 7 YEARS!! How did that happen? I want our children to experience beaches with soft sand and warm water, I want to teach them how to haggle at the marketplace, I want to go to a Luau with them, and I want to take them on a dinner cruise where we can spot turtles swimming in the clear blue ocean. I have so many great memories of that place and I want to include my children in those memories. I think that one of the joys of having children is watching them experience something for the first time and seeing that look of wonder on their faces. We sometimes take things for granted until we see them again through our children's eyes.
Hopefully we'll get to go to Hawaii this summer, but if not, at least we can enjoy some Hawaiian flavours at home with these meatballs. This recipe is an adaptation of Wowie Maui Meatballs from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, except the meatballs aren't on skewers, they're served on a bed of rice instead. My mom had made them when she was staying with us after Ayla's birth and everyone loved them, so I made them again.
Tony got in on this photo too because he liked the meatballs so much! Bennett gave them two thumbs up so he must have really loved them. And Cole...not so much. That's funny, because when Grandma made the exact same thing he gobbled them up. Huh.
I really liked them, and I especially liked that they were quick and easy to make. As much as I like making things from scratch, sometimes frozen meatballs are the way to go.
Adapted from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry
1/2 of a 20 oz package of frozen Swedish meatballs
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
5 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp grated gingerroot
2 tsp liquid honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 cups cooked rice
Cook meatballs according to package directions. While they're cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing BBQ sauce, soy sauce, ginger, honey and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, peppers and garlic. Cook until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add pineapple tidbits, prepared sauce, and prepared meatballs. Cook for another few minutes until heated through. Serve over rice.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Okay, admit it: when you saw the title of this post you thought I was going to announce that I'm pregnant again. I don't think that would be classified as "exciting" news, that would be more like "dear God, help me" news. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Ayla is my last baby. Really!
Anyway, I'll get back to my actual exciting news. I've been browsing the Life Made Delicious website and there are so many interesting recipes I want to try, like Mexican Hot Dogs. I bet they would make a fun lunch for the kids this summer.
I've created a Life Made Delicious Pinterest Board so be sure to check it out and get inspired.
I also want to let you know that General Mills has launched eight new products this month:
- Honey Nut Cheerios Hearty Oat Crunch
- Fibre 1 Almond & Cluster Delight:
- Nature Valley Protein Peanut Almond & Dark Chocolate
- Nature Valley Protein Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate
- Fibre 1 With 6g of Protein Peanut Butter
- Golden Graham S’mores Treats
- Fibre 1 With 7g of Protein Caramel Nut
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats
I like that several of these bars are high in protein and fibre, making them a great healthy snack that will keep you full longer.
I really want to try the Golden Graham S'mores Treats too. We're going camping this weekend and I can't stop thinking about making s'mores! It would be great to have a box of these treats so I could have that incredible s'mores taste without having to light a campfire.
If you visit the Life Made Delicious Facebook page, you'll see that they're releasing free product coupons (while supplies last), starting June 3rd until June 25th. Go and grab one before they run out!
Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Friday, June 7, 2013
I hesitate to even call this a recipe because it's embarrassingly simple. The fact is that sometimes you need simple. There are nights when I just don't have the energy to think about making dinner. This meal is perfect for those kind of nights. I usually buy tortellini when it goes on sale and keep it in my freezer for just such an occasion. All I need to do is add a few ingredients to it to make it a delicious dinner. If you want to keep it really simple, just add pesto or sauce and you're done. This time I had a few items in my fridge that I needed to use up, so I tossed them in the skillet and dinner was ready in no time.
The only thing that stops me from having this meal more often is Cole's intense dislike of tortellini. Seriously though, if I only made what Cole liked to eat we would starve. Bennett, on the other hand, loves tortellini and will often request it for dinner.
Cole is smiling here, but that's just a reflex he has when anyone pulls out a camera. He really hated it. I mean really hated it. He did take one bite because I made him, but refused to eat any more. I took pity on him because I know he honestly doesn't like tortellini and he did at least try it, so I heated up leftovers for him. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of putting the leftovers on the same plate as his tortellini and they accidentally TOUCHED! The whining that ensued was of epic proportions. He ended up eating next to nothing for dinner that night. At least Bennett was happy! One out of two is something, I guess.
Spinach and Pesto Tortellini
1 family pack tortellini
3 slices bacon, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 cups fresh chopped spinach (or a package of frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and drained)
3 heaping tbsps of pesto
grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta as directed. Meanwhile, fry diced bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain off fat. Add tomato, spinach and pesto and saute until spinach has wilted. Add cooked tortellini to the skillet and toss until fully combined. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.
|As you can see, Mommy enjoyed some wine with her whine.|
I almost forgot- Food & Whine made the list of Top 25 Foodie Moms at Circle of Moms. I'm so excited! Thanks so much to everyone who voted, you're the best fans a blogger could ask for.