I grew up eating home cooked meals that were lovingly prepared by my amazing mother. Mama grew up in southern Germany, and so she cooks mainly German dishes. One of my favourites growing up was “Hühnerfrikassee” – essentially the German version of “Chicken Pot Pie”. The main difference is the German version uses rice or potatoes in lieu of a pie crust, and so it resembles more a stew. I recently made this family favourite and thought it was time to share it with you. It’s a great way to use up left-over roast chicken, and is relatively quick and easy to prepare – especially if you also have left-over vegetables on hand. And of course, this tastes just as good with left-over turkey!

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp white flour

approximately 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock (usually I use home-made chicken stock that I store in the freezer – or I recommend using PC Blue Menu)

1/4 cup white wine (optional)

2 Tbsp whipping cream or milk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

cooked carrots, corn and broccoli

cooked peeled potatoes, quartered or cubed

left-over roast chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

Directions:

1. Melt butter. Whisk in flour. Slowly add chicken stock and whisk well after each addition. Continue until desired consistency is reached.

2. Add wine (if using) and cream (or milk). Add mustard and salt & pepper.

3. Add cooked vegetables, potatoes, and chicken. Stir gently with wooden spoon. Serve.

Sensational Baked Tilapia

October 17, 2012

Life has been CRAZY busy here the last little while, and that means I’ve been relying on recipes that yield quick yet healthy dinners. One of my favourites is this Sensational Baked Tilapia, which is ready within 20 minutes. And if you cook some quinoa and frozen vegetables at the same time, you have an entire meal ready! (I generally enjoy a generous serving of greens drizzled with Honey Mustard Salad Dressing in place of the frozen vegetables!) Tilapia has a very mild taste, making it kid-friendly – my children call it “chicken”! Even people who do not generally like seafood are likely find it enjoyable. And when you season it with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese – it truly becomes sensational!

What’s your favourite way to enjoy tilapia? What’s your favourite fish?

Ingredients:
6 tilapia filets (fresh or thawed)
5 Tbsp mayonnaise (preferably made with olive oil)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp paprika (preferably Hungarian)
1 tsp italian seasoning (or oregano or fresh basil)
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 lemon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Lightly spray baking sheet or in a glass casserole dish with olive oil; they place tilapia on sheet or in dish.

3. In a small mixing bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Spread evenly over each tilapia. Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

4. Bake tilapia for 10 minutes. Then, turn on your broiler (low/medium, not high) for another 5 – 10 minutes until fish is baked through and top is lightly browned.

Since the beginning of June I have been receiving a box of farm fresh fruits and vegetables from Coopers Farm every Thursday. Two weeks ago a wrote about Why I (Sometimes) Choose Organic and included a photo of what was included in that week’s delivery. So what was in yesterday’s box? As pictured below, there was: 1 broccoli, some strawberries, 1 cantaloupe, a bunch of basil, 1 medium white onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 large cucumber, a bunch of yellow beans, 3 sweet banana peppers, a bunch of jalapeno peppers, and several tomatoes (which I forgot to include in the photo)! Sadly, there was no corn – hopefully there will be some again next week, because last week’s corn was truly some of the best tasting corn in the world! Still, even without the corn, this week’s delivery is pretty great.

I’ve already used the strawberries to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp using the recipe I posted yesterday for Blueberry Crisp. I just can’t get enough of that crumble topping!

For lunch I made some Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers and also used some of the stuffing in zucchini halves left over from last week’s box, similar to the Zucchini “Boats” With Home Fries I posted last month. I sprinkled a generous amount of chopped basil over top the stuffed peppers and zucchini. It was so yummy!

I will probably use the yellow beans as a side vegetable for a meatball dinner, similar to the picture below. I made this last month but haven’t gotten around to posting the recipes for the meatballs, coleslaw, and German potato salad, so stay tuned for those coming very soon.

I cooked the broccoli this evening and will use it in tomorrow’s lunch: Noodles and Cheese – definitely one of my children’s favourites.

The cucumber, garlic and onion will either be used in a Refreshing Cucumber Soup or in a Mixed Bean Salad for which I would also use some of the tomatoes and basil. Here is a photo of the Mixed Bean Salad (just pretend you see some mixed beans in there!). Recipes for these to follow soon. If you can’t wait, you can make this Cucumber Salad With Kefir Dressing recipe I posted in the spring. You can subsitute greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk for the kefir.

My kids have already been eyeing the cantaloupe, so that will probably be one of their snacks tomorrow!

So that leaves only the peppers. Honestly, I have no idea what I will use them in but I promise to tell you if it turns out to be blog-worthy!

How would you use the contents of this week’s box?!

Here is a quick, easy and healthy lunch or dinner that’s great for using up leftover noodles/pasta. I made this for lunch last week and my family devoured it, begging me to “make this again!” (oh, how I love to hear those words, especially from the children!). The best part is you can use whatever noodles and vegetables you have on hand. My preference, of course, is to use whole wheat or grain noodles (such as kamut or spelt, available at the Bulk Barn); however, my favourite for frittatas is whole wheat linguine. Sometimes I add cheese (cheddar, gouda, or feta all taste great) and/or ham to the egg mixture. Or, you can sprinkle some cheese overtop the frittata once plated, but still hot. Chopped ham or fresh basil would also be a great addition. Serve with a side garden salad, using my Honey Mustard Salad Dressing.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped vegetables (I used red pepper, zucchini, purple green onions)

leftover pasta (at least 1 – 2 cups)

6 eggs, beaten

salt, pepper & paprika to taste

Directions:

1. Saute vegetables over medium-high heat in frying pan sprayed with olive oil or grape seed oil, until softened.

2. Add noodles and gently stir.

3. Once noodles are warm, pour beaten eggs over top. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Reduce temperature to medium.

4. Once eggs have set (approximately 5 minutes), gently slide frittata onto a large plate. Then flip frittata back into frying pan so the other side gets cooked (approximately 5 more minutes). Slide back onto large plate. Cut using a pizza cutter and serve!

As much as I enjoy cooking, there are enough times where I simply do not feel like spending any amount of time or effort in the kitchen. So when my husband suggested we go out for dinner tonight, I was very tempted to agree. However, then I thought about how much effort is involved in getting three hungry children out of the house, and the bill that would be handed to us at the end of the meal, and decided against it. Besides, there was a gigantic basket of freshly picked blueberries (thanks, Mama!) on my kitchen counter, waiting to be eaten. Then I remembered the bag of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Scottish Oatmeal in my pantry with a recipe for Scottish Oatmeal Pancakes or Waffles on the back that I’ve been wanting to give a try. Who says you can’t have pancakes for dinner?!

Although my children can devour fresh blueberries by they bowl fulls, for some reason they do not like them in any baked goods, including pancakes. So for them I made a plain batch, which they LOVED. Every bite they took was accompanied with a heartfelt, “Mami, make these again!” My husband and I savoured the warm, juicy bursts of antioxidant goodness in every bite of our batch. I will be making these again very soon – maybe as soon as tomorrow’s breakfast!

(I’ll also be using some of these berries in my Flax & Bran Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, replacing the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with at least 1 cup blueberries.)

Blueberry Scottish Oatmeal Pancakes or Waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour)

3/4 scottish oatmeal* – UPDATE: IF YOU LIVE IN CANADA, THIS CAN BE PURCHASED AT SOBEYS!

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (I used 1/3 cup grape seed oil, but canola oil would also be good)

fresh blueberries

Directions:

Mix flour, oatmeal, baking powder, salt and soda. Stir in buttermilk, eggs and butter until smooth. While this batter is best on the thicker side, stir in a little more buttermilk if the batter is too thick. (For waffles, just add 1 more egg and 1 tbsp of oil.) Gently fold in however many blueberries you would like!

* As per the packaging: “Oatmeal originated in Scotland centuries ago and was different from our modern rolled oats. A coarse meal was produced by slowly grinding the kernel between two large millstones. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Scottish Oatmeal is produced in the same old-fashioned way and contains all the health-giving nutrients of the best quality oats from which it was ground – the germ, the oil and the fiber.”

Do you go blueberry picking? What’s your favourite recipe using blueberries?


It has been a very busy summer to date: we celebrated my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary at the end of June and then my son’s 5th birthday on the 13th of July (it was a Friday this year, just like the year he was born!). Last week my two eldest children had one-on-one swimming lessons in a nearby backyard pool every morning at 9am for half an hour, and they both did so well and enjoyed it so much that I have signed them up for one more week (check out some photos from their lessons below!). There have been plenty of playdates with some very amazing friends, including an overnight visit from our friends who live in London, Ontario which means there were four adults and six children under the age of six sleeping in our house! Oh, and then there has been some serious potty training going on with my youngest and I am happy to say that we are well on our way to being completely diaper-free!

So with all that business and the extremely hot summer we have been experiencing, I have not found the time or desire to do much cooking in the last few weeks, which explains why I haven’t posted any new recipes lately. Many evenings I have simply served the children some healthy snacks and/or sandwiches and a big bowl of salad for my husband and myself. Tonight, however, we actually enjoyed what my husband refers to as a “real meal”: Zucchini “Boats” With Home Fries. I’m excited to share the recipes with you because they’re really quick and easy to prepare, super yummy, and reasonably healthy and kid-friendly! I found the recipe for the zucchini several years ago in one of the “Canadian Cheese” magazines (I think!) and it has been a staple ever since, especially in the summer months when zucchini is readily available. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

Home Fries
Ingredients:
1-2 medium potatoes per person (I generally prefer to use Yukon Gold, but today I used regular white potatoes and they were equally delicious!)
olive oil
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Gently clean potatoes with water if leaving the skin on the potatoes (which I highly recommend, as that is where most of the fibre and vitamins are found!) Or, peel potatoes (which I do when the skin is not very nice looking anymore) and then rinse them under cold running water.
3. Cut potatoes into fries and place in a large bowl. The thinner you cut them, the faster they will bake!

4. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss until all fries are coated with oil.
5. Spread potatoes onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until they are golden and crispy. You should turn the fries occasionally while they are baking.

Zucchini “Boats”
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 to 25 minutes

Ingredients:
4 large zucchini, halved and cored
1 pound ground meat (your choice – I used beef)
1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
2 tbsp fresh basil or oregano, chopped (I used dried oregano, paprika, ground coriander)
3/4 cup Havarti cheese – plain or with jalapeno or tomato and basil (I used Gruyere, but you could use pretty much any cheese)
3/4 cup Feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place zucchini on cookie sheet.

3. Combine remaining ingredients and use to stuff zucchini.
4. Bake 15 to 25 minutes or until meat well-cooked and zucchini are fork-tender.
5. Serve immediately with Home Fries (or brown rice or quinoa or barley!). Oh, and a side garden salad with my Honey Mustard Dressing is highly recommended!

What is your favourite way to enjoy zucchini?!

Below are a few pictures from the children’s swimming lessons:

Erik & Emma practice treading water in the deep end of the pool.


Erik swims in the deep end after jumping in!


Emma swims in the deep water with the aid of a noodle!

My sister-in-law served us this amazing fruit salsa last summer and I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to share it with you. Today, my brother and his wife visited us, and together my sister-in-law and I prepared this healthy and tasty snack/treat. I’m sure it will be a big hit with you and your family and friends, too! Thanks, Stephanie, for this amazing recipe!

What’s your favourite way to enjoy berries?!

Summer Fruit Salsa

Ingredients (we didn’t measure anything, so all measurements are approximate!):

1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries (I used “Europe’s Best” frozen “4-Field Berry Mix”, which is made up of blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)

1/2 peeled and chopped apple (my sister-in-law also uses pears and kiwi, I just didn’t have any on hand today)

2 Tbsp strawberry jam (I used my homemade strawberry jam, the recipe and directions for which I will post very soon!)

2 Tbsp Agave nectar and/or honey and/or maple syrup (adjust according to taste)

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until almost smooth. Taste and make any necessary adjustments. Transfer to serving bowl. If you are using fresh berries, refrigerate before serving, as the salsa tastes best cold.

 

Cinnamon & Sugar Tortilla Chips

Ingredients:

2 – 4 whole wheat tortilla breads (I used pita bread today, since that’s all I had on hand and they turned out great, too!)

1 – 2 Tbsp melted butter

2 – 4 Tbsp cinnamon and sugar, mixed together

 

Directions:

Brush tortilla breads with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Cut into triangles  (works best using a pizza cutter!) and place onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until tortilla triangles are crisp, approximately 4 minutes.