Category Archives: Recipes

Taco Night!!

I’ve been craving tacos so tonight I picked up the ingredients for guacamole.

Ingredients
Avocado, half of one mashed up with a fork – I like it chunky
One Roma tomato diced up
About 1/4 cup of red onion diced
Cilantro about a tbsp chopped
Sea salt, olive oil

Mix it all together and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

Season the ground beef with your favourite taco seasoning. Layer your shell with chopped lettuce, guacamole, cheese and beef. Sour cream on the side to dip.

Daily Thought – October 13

Yesterday was the Canadian Thanksgiving and I decided to buck tradition – and made lasagna. I experimented with the oven ready lasagna noodles and it was a hit! Here’s my recipe for my lasagna.

1 package lasagna noodles (oven ready)
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp. oil and 1 tbsp. butter
2 jars of your favourite spaghetti sauce (or homemade)
1 500ml container ricotta cheese ( you can substitute cottage cheese as well )
Mozzarella cheese (I used 3 cups of shredded cheese in and had 1/2 cup for the top)

Sautee the onions in oil and butter for about 5 minutes, just until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute (don’t let it burn!). Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms shrink down. Remove from pan. Fry the ground beef until cooked then add back in the mushroom mix. Add in the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt. In a bowl, combine the ricotta and mozzarella, mixing it well together

Prepare your lasagna pan. Spoon a small amount of the sauce on the bottom of the pan then add your first layer of noodles. I usually use about 4 and a half noodles, so that the entire bottom is covered.

Spoon sauce on top of the noodles. Spoon half the cheese mixture over the sauce and spread it out. Repeat – noodles, sauce, cheese, noodles. Pour remaining sauce on top of the noodles, sprinkle with the 1/2 cup cheese, and then bake for 60 minutes at 375 degrees. Take out and let sit for at least 5 minutes to let the lasagna set.

Food Quotes | Quotes about Food - Sophisticated Gourmet

Chocolate-Mocha Brownie Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon hot coffee
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (or plain flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, (add more if desired)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 cookie sheets or baking trays with parchment paper (baking paper).
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, white sugar, butter and vegetable oil. Beat in egg and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir the dry ingredients first before mixing them through the wet ingredients until a dough forms (do not over beat). Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Scoop out 1-2 tablespoonful of dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. Press them down as thick or thin as you want your cookies to come out. 
  • Bake in hot preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will come out soft from the oven but will harden up as they cool. (Be careful not to over bake as they will dry out.)
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Lentil Soup

A perfect dinner for an Autumn evening

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 4 cups water or low-sodium broth
  • 1 whole bay leaf (I like lots of bay leaves in my soup, so I added 3)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)
  1. Heat the oil. In a medium (2- to 3-quart) saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and salt and stir to combine. Cover and let the vegetables sweat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, water or broth, and bay leaf and bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, covered, until the lentils begin to fall apart, about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt as needed.

This was the first time I made this and I questioned the lemon juice in it – but definitely add it because it gives it a very nice taste! Enjoy!

Daily Thought – September 22

Welcome to Fall! There’s nothing better, to me, than something cinnamon-y with a cup of coffee. It’s a nice treat on a cool Autumn night. Here’s a great recipe for a cinnamon streusel loaf!

Streusel
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup butter, softened

Loaf
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cps all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
2/3 cup buttermilk

Streusel – in small blow, stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs, set aside.

Loaf – in large bowl, beat together butter with sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time. beat in vanilla. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of flour mixture and 2 of buttermilk.

Scrape half of the batter into parchment paper-lined 9×5 inch (2 L) loaf pan. Top with half the streusel. Scrape remaining batter over top and sprinkle with remaining streusel.

Bake in 325 degree F (160 degree C) oven until cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.

Shrimp, Mango & Avocado Salad Cups

I was given, by a very lovely lady at my old apartment building, a cookbook called Yum and Yummer, by Greta Podleski, a Canadian author of four very successful healthy eating cookbooks. She and her sister, Janet, created the Looneyspoons cookbooks and I must say they are the BEST cookbooks! Fun to read, exciting pictures of fabulous food and delicious, easy-to-follow recipes for a beginner cook.

I found this recipe and have tried it, but neglected to take my own picture (in reality, her picture looks a lot better than mine would have) and it was so delicious I wanted to share!

Dressing
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. liquid honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. grated lime zest
1/4 tsp. each sea salt and ground pepper
1/8 tsp. each ground cumin and chili powder

Salad
1 lb (454 grams) large cooked shrimp, chopped (about 25-30 per pound)
2 medium mangos, cubed
1 large or 2 small avocados, cubed
1 cup peeled, diced English cucumbers
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
2/3 cup green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together all dressing ingredients, refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently to avoid mashing the avocado. Give dressing a quick whisk and add to salad. Mix gently until salad is coated with dressing. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Divide salad among small cups (see photo below) and serve with small spoons. May be served immediately or refrigerated until serving time.

Greta does not recommend using baby shrimp for this recipe. Also, don’t prepare this salad too far ahead of time as avocados tend to turn brown quickly. Fresher is better!

And my own tip – this is great for lunch, and to be honest, I ate it all myself and used a regular plate and a normal sized spoon! I was the only one who liked avocados back home so I had this all to myself! I halved the recipe since I knew it was just for me and it was a perfect sized meal for one !

Photo courtesy of Yum and Yummer, Greta Padleski

Daily Thought – September 5

Who likes Rice Krispie Squares? And chocolate? Well this recipe is for you!

Rice Krispie Roll Ups

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows (10.5 ounce bag)
5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

Melt butter in saucepan. Add marshmallows. Over low heat, melt the marshmallows. Add Rice Krispies and mix well. Spread evenly into a greased cookie sheet.

In a microwaveable bowl, combine chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave for one minute, remove and stir. If chips are not melted, return for another 30 seconds. Stir until melted. Spread over the Rice Krispies.

Let set in a cool place just until the chocolate sets (if the chocolate hardens, it will be not be easy to roll!)

Loosen all around the edges with a knife or metal spatula. Starting on the long side, start to roll. If desired, decorate with sprinkles.

Tip: Roll up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Take out and slice. It’s much easier to slice when it’s been chilled.

Slice and enjoy!

Steph’s Caprese Salad Bites

Ciabatta bread

Garlic Butter

Roma tomatoes

Mozzarella cheese

Balsamic reduction

Garlic Aioli

Slice ciabatta bread into thin slices. Brush w garlic butter. Toast until crispy.

Cut Roma tomatoes into thin slices and put on toast.  Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Toast again until cheese is starting to melt then take out. If you want add a leaf of fresh basil on top.

Then drizzle balsamic reduction and garlic aioli on top.

Slow Cooker Roast Beef and Leek Sandwiches

I got this recipe from the Clean Living magazine back in 2013 and still love it to this day! I made Parmesan Asparagus to go with it – which is a simple recipe too!. Clean asparagus, rub some olive oil on them, sprinkle salt and pepper and shaved parmesan on top. Bake for 5 minutes. Delicious with the roast beef!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb lean beef pot roast, eye of round roast or other lean beef roast, trimmed of visible fat
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well
  • 8 whole-grain kaiser-style buns, halved through center
  • 4 cups baby arugula

PANTRY STAPLES:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. In a 4- to 6-qt slow cooker, add beef, broth, 1 cup water and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, turning once, until beef is tender and pulls apart easily when tested with a fork. During final 30 minutes of cooking, add leeks, submerging in broth.
  2. Remove beef and transfer to a large bowl; let rest until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes. Using 2 forks, shred beef into small pieces. Return beef to slow cooker, stirring to coat in broth. Season with salt and pepper, cover and heat until warmed through.
  3. Preheat broiler to high. Place buns on a baking sheet, cut side up, and transfer to top oven rack, about 8 inches from broiler. Toast until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. (TIP: Do not leave buns unattended under broiler.) With a slotted spoon, divide beef and leek mixture among bun bottoms. Top with arugula, dividing evenly, and sandwich with bun tops. Serve beef broth jus on the side for dipping.

Stuffed Shells

I love making pasta dishes and these are a couple of my favourite shells to make. One is lasagna stuffed shells, and the other is crab-spinach shells. I made these tonight for my daughter, her boyfriend and me.

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Cook large shells until just al dente, drain and rinse with cold water.

Cheese filling

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, mashed
mushrooms (as many as you like), chopped into chunks
Butter and olive oil
Ricotta cheese (1 500-ml container)
Cheese (I use mozzarella and cheddar mix), 1 cup shredded

Saute the onion with the butter and olive oil, once nicely browned, add garlic and mushrooms. Cook just until the mushrooms are browned. Put in a big bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and shredded and cheese and mix together until the cheese has melted. Set aside.

For the lasagna shells, brown 1/2 pound ground beef in frying pan after you have cooked the onion mix. Put half the cheese mixure in a bowl and stir in the ground beef.

For the crab meat and spinach mix, take one package of frozen imitation crab meat (run under warm water to loosen it up) and shred the crab meat into a bowl. Add the remaining cheese mixture and stir together. Saute the spinach for about 2 minutes in the frying pan, then stir in with the crab and cheese.

Have two pans ready for the shells. Layer the bottom of each pan with some spaghettie sauce (I use a marina or a can of spaghetti sauce- the choice is yours). Stuff the shells with the two mixtures and place in the pans, using your hands or a spoon. Once all are stuffed, drizzle more sauce over them all, just enough to keep them moist. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with a caesar salad and you have a delicious meal!