Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I recently found this recipe on  It is easy to make, especially if you need to make a meal in less than 30 minutes.   I made a small change to the recipe.  Instead of pounding the chicken breasts, I sliced each breast width wise into several long pieces.

Paprika Chicken with Mushrooms and Onions
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper 
garlic powder
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

Pound chicken breasts to 1/2 inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken breast liberally with paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Arrange chicken breasts in the pan, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over, and layer the thinly sliced onions and mushrooms on top of the chicken. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove lid, and mix onions and mushrooms into the butter sauce. Reduce heat to low, and cook uncovered   Serves 4.

Chicken thawing in a pan.
Chicken has been cut width wise into long pieces.
Butter needs to be melted before chicken is added to the pan.
Chicken is first partially cooked in the pan before the onions and mushrooms are added.
Chopping onions without tearing can be a challenge.
I sometimes buy sliced mushrooms from Costco.
Chicken with the onions and mushrooms and spices added.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I try to eat fish at least once or twice a week for supper.  My usual choice is salmon or steelhead trout but I also try to get some variety.  I made the following recipe from one of my Anne Lindsay cookbooks.  I did a little tweaking and the tweaks are embedded in the recipe I have provided.  You can use a variety of fish instead of cod including halibut, sole, salmon or shrimp.   This dish can be served with rice or pasta.  I didn't make any rice or pasta with this dish as I also had fresh corn on the cob which I wanted to eat instead as the main carbohydrate for the meal.
Fish cooking in the skillet and close to being done. 
Ready to eat!


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups thickly sliced mushrooms,
3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
½ tsp dried basil or ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
pinch dried thyme
1 pound of cod fillets
1 can (14 ounce) artichoke hearts, drained and halved
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar, optional


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions and garlic for a few minutes and then add the mushrooms.   Stir often and cook until the mushrooms are tender.  Add the tomatoes and dried basil (if using) and thyme.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the fish and artichokes and simmer with the cover on for about 4 minutes,  Uncover and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.  Towards the end of the cooking time, add the fresh basil, if using, and the salt and pepper.  Serves about 4 people. 

Friday, September 24, 2010


With fall starting and the first touches of frost,  I thought it would be great to showcase some of our garden including the flowers, vegetables and the pond.  I need to remember to look at these photos when we have snow on the ground and it is cold outside.  
Colourful flowers growing in pots.
Several flower pots line the patio.
Water flows into the main pond and is recirculated through cascading rocks.  Several koi live in the pond.
A blooming water lily.
Cucumbers growing up on cages.  Using cages and having the plants climb up allows for a better use of limited space.
Beets and beans growing side by side in the garden box.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


A quick and easy supper to make are salmon paddies or burgers.  I usually shape them as burgers and cook them in a frying pan but sometimes I cook the whole mixture in a loaf pan in the oven.  For this meal, I made a salmon loaf.  The ingredients are pretty easy and the recipe is flexible for adaptations.   
1 large tin of salmon, drained
1 egg
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 to 3 tbsp corn meal
1/2 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Break up the can of salmon in a medium sized bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well.  To cook as burgers, shape into burgers with a spoon and cook on medium low heat in a frying pan.  If the pan is NOT a non-stick pan, you will need to oil or butter the frying pan or spray with Pam.  After cooking for five minutes, flip the salmon burger over with a spatula and cook until done.  If you are baking the salmon instead of making burgers, place the salmon mixture into a medium sized loaf pan and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.   The salmon doesn't cut as well as a meat loaf so I tend to scoop the salmon out of the loaf pan with a large serving spoon.

The ingredients need to be mixed in the bowl.
Ready for cooking as burgers or as a loaf.
A scoop of salmon from the loaf pan.
I like eating my salmon with mashed potatoes.  I use a bit of lemon juice on the salmon as the condiment. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Several weeks ago we were invited over to friends for supper and I wanted to bring something for the meal.  I had a craving to make brownies as it is simple to make but decedent to eat.   I got inspired for the recipe from two sources - Bonnie Stern's "Friday Night Dinners" and a recent post at

I followed the basic recipe from Bonnie Stern and made a few changes which I have included in the recipe provided below.  I used two cups of sugar but I think the quantity of sugar can be decreased.  This recipe makes a large batch of brownies.  The brownies turned out very well and were simply delicious.

I used a whole box of Baker's unsweetened chocolate.
The butter, peanut butter and chocolate squares are heated in a sauce pan on low heat.

The four eggs are beaten before the sugar is added.

I used whole wheat flour instead of white.

The melted chocolate mixture is added to the egg mixture followed by the mixed dry ingredients.
Batter is poured in the pan. I lined the pan with oiled parchment paper.
Chopped walnuts sprinkled on top of the batter.
Just out of the oven.  No sampling until the brownies cool off.
The brownies do taste as wonderful as they look.



10 ounce or one box of bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate baking squares
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup peanut butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup chopped walnuts


Heat chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a saucepan on low heat, stir and allow chocolate to melt.  Cool.  In a separate large bowl beat the eggs and then add the sugar.  Mix well.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Add the chocolate mixture to the egg and combine.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and combine.  Don’t overmix.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top of the brownie mixture.

Line a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with oiled parchment paper.  Allow the parchment paper to go up the sides of the pan.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.  Do not overbake otherwise the brownies won’t be as chewy.  Let cool.  Makes a large batch of brownies.  Serve with ice cream, chocolate, caramel or peanut butter sauce.   

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


There are a number of recipes you can make with sirloin steak if you are looking to cook other things besides cooking the meat on a grill.  I decided to make chinese pepper steak and it is an easy and quick dinner to make.  The DH and I both enjoyed this dish.

The main vegetables that are used for chinese pepper steak - onion and pepper with garlic and fresh ginger. 
It is easier to cut the meat into thin strips if it is slightly frozen.
Olive oil, tamari and teriyaki sauces help add the flavour. 
Everything is cooking in the frying pan.
Ready to be served with rice.
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 pepper, chopped
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp tamari or soya sauce

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  On medium heat, saute onions, garlic and ginger for several minutes.   Add steak and saute on medium low heat for five minutes.  Add peppers, teriyaki and soya sauce and continue cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes.   Serves 2 to 3 people.  Serve chines pepper steak with rice.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Challah is a bread, usually braided, made with eggs, honey, oil, salt, yeast and flour.  Some bakers add raisins to the dough.  It is usually eaten during the Jewish sabbath.  Challah is similar to several other ethnic breads including the bread made for the Ukrainian holidays.  Using a no knead recipe, I made challah this past weekend.  I followed this recipe pretty closely (ingredients and directions) and didn't deviate except that I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour.  I only have whole wheat flour as I bought a 5 kg bag of organic locally milled whole wheat flour this Spring and was determined to use it for all of the baking that I do.  This recipe makes three loaves of bread.  I braided dough to make two loaves and the third one was baked in a regular loaf pan.  The bread that I made using this recipe is delicious according to several willing taste testers.  The following steps highlight some of the steps involved and the end result.

All of the ingredients are mixed together for one minute.
The dough looks darker because whole wheat flour is used.
After allowing the dough to rise, work can start on making a braided loaf. To braid a loaf you need to use three strips of dough that are about 22 to 24 inches long.

The finished result after braiding the three strips of dough.
The braided loaf is allowed to rise for two hours.  I made a circular braided loaf using a spring form pan.  
Before baking, the loaves are basted with a beaten egg wash followed by a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. 
This loaf is now ready for the egg wash and sesame seeds.
Just out of the oven.
Ready for sampling!!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Suzanna, whose official name is Kenside Wallow of Sandringham, was a gift from Queen Elizabeth to the RCMP on June 8, 2009.  She was transferred to the RCMP "Depot" in November 2009 and is a valued member.  Of course I am talking about a dog, specifically a yellow Labrador Retriever and not a person.  I wrote about Suzanna in an earlier column (Should I Be Envious).

2009 Christmas Card from the Commanding Officer, employees and Suzanna of "Depot"
I had the honour of recently meeting Suzanna and the Commanding Officer (CO) through the assistance of an RCMP member.   Suzanna is a delight and a very well mannered dog.  Probably the best way to describe her is a sweet loving dog.  Suzanna is also quiet and laid back, very laid back.  She loves being petted.

During my visit with the CO, I learned that Suzanna was named after the Queen's favorite book - Susannah of the Mounties and there was a copy of the book in the CO's office.   Suzanna does get out of the office so she does not spend all of her time behind a desk.
Besides knowing the layout of the grounds of "Depot", she has done some travelling and has made a great impression during her official visits.

The question you may be asking is whether I am envious of this quiet and patient dog versus my boisterous, teenage temperament, sometimes stubborn, shoe loving, ball carrying retriever ?  Would I  miss the nudges to be entertained and played with after supper or the grab and snatch actions?  The answer is that you fall in love with all of your pets - the good habits and the habits that test your patience.  Eventually we all get older and slow down, so I need to enjoy the teenager and adult years of my dog while I can and be active with him.  It is good to play for as long as you can.
Resting on his lazy boy chair.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


On days when it is cool and rainy, I think about making soup.  It is still summer but soup is comforting on a cold day.  Plus a big pot of soup lasts the week and is great to have for lunch.  This vegetable soup with chickpeas and barley can be made with just the vegetables if you don't want to add chickpeas and barley.  You can also add just either one of them to the soup.  If you don't add the barley or chickpeas you will need to decrease the water to about 6 cups.  Barley and chickpeas are two ingredients that I like adding to soup as they make the soup more hearty and filling.  The recipes calls for two cups of vegetables and this can be whatever you have in the fridge of freezer.  I sometimes use a combination of cauliflower, broccoli, green beans or cabbage.

1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic. minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups of vegetables, chopped
8 cups of water
4 tsp of chicken bouillon
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 19 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot and saute onions, garlic and celery for about 7 minutes until soft but not brown.  Add some water to prevent sticking.  Add the sweet potato and carrots and saute for additional few minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  If the soup is too thick add more water.  Makes about 8 servings.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Recently, the DH and I were invited over to the home of friends of ours to watch a football game on television and have supper.   He, the husband, loves to cook and he made greek style ribs. They were delicious!  He is also an advocate of slow cooking and these were baked in the oven for about six hours. You can also bake them at a higher temperature and for a shorter period of time.  I will provide those details in the cooking directions.

Along with the ribs, I had wild rice and cooked carrots.


2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 pounds pork ribs


Cut the ribs into small slabs - 3 or 4 ribs.  Set aside.  In a food processor mix all of the remaining ingredients until it is the consistency of a paste.  Place the ribs, meat side up, side by side on a pan and cover the meat with the paste.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.  When you are ready to bake them arrange the ribs on a foil lined roasting pan.
Fast coking method: Bake the ribs for 10 minutes in a 400 degrees F for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 1 hour or longer until the meat is tender enough to almost fall off the bone.
Slow cooking method: Bake the ribs for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.  Cover the pan with tin foil and make sure the tin foil is secure to the pan.  Because these ribs are being cooked for a long period of time, they need to be covered so that they won't dry out.  Reduce the heat to 275 degrees and bake for 5 to 6 hours.  The meat will be very tender and will fall off the bones.