Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Vegetable Fried Rice

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The Hubby and I made a New Year's Resolution to no longer buy bagged salad kits...kind of a weird resolution, but A) they are never great, B) they are expensive for what you get, and C) usually at least 10% of the lettuce is wilted or slimy well before the expiry date.  And also D) one time there was a full dead moth in a bagged salad kit that I bought and was in the middle of eating.

But how this is all working out though, is that we basically just don't eat salad anymore.  Too lazy!  But, we do need vegetables in our life (I'm told), so I made this vegetable fried rice as a side dish for our roasted maple orange pork tenderloin the other night.  It was super tasty, so I had to share the recipe.  The is another Looneyspoons special...they never seem to disappoint.

I feel so domestic and resourceful whenever I use up leftovers in a new recipe, in this case leftover rice and peas.  My mom, Queen of never wasting anything (anything), would be proud.  The rice that I used was some coconut jasmine rice from dinner two nights before, and it tasted really great fried up in this dish.  The Hubby and I got a few meals each out of this recipe, and it was even better the next day.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Cheesy-Carrot Casserole
Two Years Ago:  Hamburger Soup
Three Years Ago:  Slow Cooker Beef Chili Rice Bowl
Four Years Ago:  Easy-Peasy Cauliflower Cheesy Soup
Five Years Ago:  Caesar Salad

Healthy Vegetable Fried Rice

Serves: 6 - 8

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen vegetable mixture (peas, carrots, corn, beans, or just peas and carrots) 
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice (preferably leftovers)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil.  Lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add egg/oil mixture and cook without stirring, until underside is cooked, then flip and repeat with the other side.  Remove cooked egg from skillet, chop into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in non-stick skillet.  Add onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery, ginger, and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 5 - 8 minutes.  add frozen vegetable mixture, and cook until heated through, about 2 - 4 minutes.  Add chopped egg, cooked rice, green onions, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce.  Mix well and continue cooking until rice is heated through.


Recipe Source:  Looneyspoons Cookbook

Monday, January 30, 2017

Roasted Pork Tenderloin Drizzled in Maple-Orange Sauce

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Happy New Year slash almost February!

I had a few brunch-related posts all ready to go before Christmas, in case anyone needed some inspiration for Christmas morning or New Year's Day brunch, but then I got lazy (even though it's scientifically impossible for the mother of a 10-month old to be lazy).  And now it's January 30.  So, maybe next year!

We had so much fun with the Little Man's first Christmas!  From the taste of the needles on our fake Christmas tree, to squealing at the snow from our living room window, to the endless amusement derived from an empty cardboard wrapping paper roll, he loved Christmas.  He even tolerated sitting on the lap of the mall Santa with horrible mothball breath.

We spent the evening of Christmas Eve with my side of the family at my parents house, and then Christmas Day we were at the Hubby's aunt's house, then on Boxing Day we were back with my family, and then on the day after Boxing Day we were back with The Hubby's family.  So there was a lot of eating and drinking.  For Christmas Eve dinner I brought a chocolate peppermint cake that no one wanted to eat after the gigantic dinner that my mom prepared (except my brother - yay for bottomless pit brothers!!!).  For Christmas Day dinner I brought a spicy cranberry cream cheese spread appetizer that seemed to disappear quickly.  For Boxing Day my dad basically bought every appetizer in Costco, so I came empty-handed (although I did birth a grandchild for them, just saying).  And then on the day after Boxing Day I brought my yummy Parsnip and Carrot Puree.

And now it's January diet time!  I feel like I write this same post every year.  Fun, fattening recipes in December, and clean, boring recipes in January.  Oh, traditions - ha!

I've been using my Looneyspoons cookbook a lot this month.  Every recipe is a winner, and they are all healthy or low calorie, but secretly delicious.  I've also been trying to use up some of the meat lurking in my freezer, so I thawed out a pork tenderloin and decided to give this roasted pork tenderloin in maple-orange sauce a try.  The Hubby said that this may be the best pork he has ever had.  I asked, "best pork tenderloin?"  He responded, "no, best pork of any pork."  So you know this is a keeper in our house.  I served it with a vegetable fried rice, another recipe from the Looneyspoons cookbook.  We will be making it again!

Happy new year everyone!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Carrot Coconut Soup
Two Years Ago:  Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns
Three Years Ago:  Turkey Meatballs in Coconut Curry Sauce
Four Years Ago:  Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata
Five Years Ago:  Minestrone Soup

Roasted Pork Tenderloin in Maple-Orange Sauce

Serves: 4

  • 1 1/2 pound (680 grams) pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

Place pork into a large Ziplock or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.  In a medium bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients and add to bag, turning bag a few times to make sure the the pork is fully covered.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Transfer pork and marinade to a baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing pork (it should be slightly pink in the middle).  Drizzle extra sauce over pork and serve.  Enjoy!  

Recipe Source:  The Looneyspoons Collection

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


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Getting bored of drinking the same old same old Rum and Eggnog year after year?  Yeah, me neither.  But this shooter is still worth a try at your first available opportunity next holiday party!

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Eggnog.  Our friends April and Brad introduced this holiday shooter to us and dubbed it, 'The Firenog.'  We liked it too much, that fiery sweet creamy combo.  In the new year, April and Brad are moving from living 4 km away from us to living 1140 km away from us, which is awesome for them and their new beginnings, but very sad for us!  We will miss you guys - xo!

To make Firenog, all you do is mix together two parts Eggnog and one part Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.  Shake over ice.  Pour into shooter glasses.  Top with nutmeg if desired.  Cheers to friendship (April and Brad!)/family/holidays/life/love/health/happiness.  Consume (responsibly).

Is it bad that I archived this post under 'Desserts?'  I guess it's better than archiving it under, 'Lunch.'

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!


  • Eggnog
  • Fireball Whisky
  • Ice
Mix together two parts Eggnog and one part Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.  Shake over ice.  Pour into shooter glasses.  Top with nutmeg if desired.

Recipe Source:  Our buddies, April and Brad Kirk

One Year Ago:  Chicken Cacciatore
Two Years Ago:  Baked Chicken With Creamed Spinach and Squashed Potatoes
Three Years Ago:  Amy's Lentil Soup Copycat Recipe
Four Years Ago:  Mom's Fall-Off-The-Bone Oven Baked BBQ Pork Ribs
Five Years Ago:  Plum Cake

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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Pictured behind the potatoes is a suuuuper good Cheesy Corn Pudding that I want to post the recipe for
but I can't find the recipe for.   That's the whole reason that I have this blog - to be able to archive recipes for later use!
Quelle frustration!  Let's focus on this not-in-focus picture of potatoes instead.

This is just a no-brainer!  Because: mashed potatoes with bacon, sour cream, cheese, green onions, and butter.  We ate this as our potato side dish for Christmas dinner last year, and not only would it make a great holiday dinner side dish again, but it would be a great non-holiday dinner side dish too.  Whoa.  As the name suggests, it's like twice baked double stuffed potatoes, but in a casserole.  If you ask the hubby really nicely, he will even fry up the leftovers for breakfast potatoes the next morning.  Drool.  Only rivalled by one other mashed potato recipe for the best mashed potatoes everrrrr.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Plum Cake
Two Years Ago:  Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon
Three Years Ago:  Amy's Lentil Soup Copycat Recipe
Four Years Ago:  The Best Mashed Potatoes I've Ever Eaten
Five Years Ago:  Chicken Cacciatore

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Serves: 16

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 16 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean (don't peel)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy; let cool and then crumble.

Rub potatoes with olive oil and place on baking sheets.  Bake until tender, 45 to 60 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Slice the butter and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the bacon and the sour cream.  Cut each potato in half and scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl.  Tear up the skins from 3 of the potatoes and add to the bowl.  Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, then add the cheese, milk, seasoning salt, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix together well.

Grease a baking dish, and scoop the potato mixture into the dish, then top with more grated cheese.  Bake until warmed through, about 25 to 30 minutes.


Recipe Source:  Food Network - Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Breakfast EggNog Bread Pudding

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Looking for a new and super tasty make-ahead Christmas morning brunch dish?  Here's one.  You're welcome.

Ha, I have a love/hate relationship with the passive-aggressive 'you're welcome!' when someone doesn't say thank you.  I don't often say it, but I definitely think it.  Oh, I just waited a few extra seconds to hold the door open for you and you just waltzed right though as though I was the doorman and didn't say thank you?  You're welcome!  Oh, I just let your car enter my lane in front of my car and you didn't give me a wave to let me know that you're super appreciative?  You're welcome!  'You're welcome' is how I knew it was time for me to leave the restaurant industry back in my 20's after close to a decade of being an amazing server (if I do say so myself!  Yes, self, you can say that, and thank you for the compliment.  You're welcome self!).  The night it happened I was flying around the restaurant with a zillion tables to look after and a zillion things on my to-do list, when a man sitting at a table that I was not the server for asked me to bring him ketchup.  And even though I was ignoring the kajillion things that I should have been bringing to my own tables (thus ensuring a nice tip) on this extremely busy Saturday night, I looked after getting the ketchup, and when I dropped it off, ha, when I dropped it off, the man at the table didn't even acknowledge that I was bringing something to him!  He didn't even look up from his conversation and give me a nod or a smile.  So, i did it, I said, "You're welcome!!!" in my most chipper friendly voice, and turned on my heels and left the table.  Soooo passive-aggresive, I know, I'm guilty, but sooooo satisfying at the time!  A couple of weeks later I gave my resignation and left the restaurant industry for good.  And I do miss it sometimes...those were super fun days!  But I don't miss the extreme rudeness from a few of the restaurant patrons (ketchup man was nothing in comparison to some people).  I strongly believe that it should be a mandatory requirement for every single person in this country to have to work in a restaurant at some point in their life.  I think that it would make everyone a nicer person.

Well, that was a tangent that had nothing to do with Egg Nog Breakfast Bread Pudding or Christmas spirit!  Talk about pent-up rage...sheesh!  Moving on...

Egg Nog Breakfast Bread Pudding.  Make-ahead Christmas morning breakfast dish idea.  You're welcome.

The Hubby and I served this on Christmas morning in 2015 along with a green chile frittata (recipe to come), fruit salad, cheesy hash brown casserole (recipe to come), and mimosas.

Yum - isn't Christmas delicious!!!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Parsnip and Carrot Puree
Two Years Ago:  Mom's Fall Off The Bone Oven Baked BBQ Pork Ribs
Three Years Ago:  Amy's Lentil Soup Copycat Recipe
Four Years Ago:  Baked Chicken with Creamed Spinach and Squashed Potatoes
Five Years Ago:  Chicken Cacciatore

EggNog Breakfast Bread Pudding

Serves: 8-10

  • 1 (12 ounce) loaf French bread
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups egg nog
  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • icing (confectioners) sugar, and maple syrup, for serving
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Slice the French bread, and generously spread the butter on each slice, then cut the buttered slices into 1-inch cubes.  Put the bread cubes into a 9x13-inch baking dish.

In a large saucepan, heat the egg nog and milk together until hot but not boiling.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt, and whisk until light and frothy.  Whisk in one cup of the warm egg nog / milk mixture into the egg /sugar mixture, then gradually add the remaining egg nog / milk mixture, one cup at a time.  Stir in the bourbon.

Pour the liquid mixture over the bread cubes, gently pushing down the bread to make sure all of the bread gets saturated.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 - 50 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is lightly golden.  Allow to cool for 5 - 10 minutes, and serve hot or at room temperature.  Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with maple syrup on the side.


Recipe Source:  The Kitchn - Egg Nog Breakfast Bread Pudding

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

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I am loving the stream of recipes that deliciously appear in my Facebook news feed.  My Facebook friends share the best recipes!  All of the food looks so gorgeous there on my screen, but so far I haven't made anything.  Similarly, I have 3200+ food-related pins on my Pinterest page with the best intentions of making every single one, I swear, but so far have only made about three of them.  So, a few days ago I saw this recipe, went to the store to buy the ingredients, made, and ate it all in the same day.  And it was great.  All of that effort and then I wait to blog about it two weeks later - ha!

We don't eat a lot of vegetarian dishes in our house, but with this one we didn't even miss the meat.  Although, we did agree that shredded chicken would have been a great addition if we wanted to add some extra protein next time.  These enchiladas are butternut squash, black beans, and cheese in a spicy creamy-tomato chipotle sauce, all topped with sour cream and sliced avocado.  Cilantro would have been a great addition (if the Hubby didn't despise it so).  Leftovers were even better than the first time around.

Here's your ingredient line-up!

I used these medium-sized package of 8 flour tortillas
I've always wondered the easiest way to cube a butternut squash, and this time I actually Googled it and found this helpful video.  This is so much easier than the way I was doing it before, so it's worth a quick watch!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Parsnip and Carrot Puree
Two Years Ago:  Easy Refried Bean Soup
Three Years Ago:  Healthy Southwest Chicken and Rice Bake
Four Years Ago:  Thanksgiving 2012
Five Years Ago:  Chicken Cacciatore

Chipotle Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Serves: 4

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I used about 1 teaspoon of sauce and the 2 peppers)
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cloves minced garlic, divided (2 for the sauce and 2 for the filling)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1/2 a medium-sized butternut squash, or a little over a pound)
  • 1 - 18oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed, then drained again
  • 3/4 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Tex Mex cheese blend, divided
  • 8 medium-sized flour tortillas
  • For topping: sour cream, sliced avocado, sliced green onions, and cilantro

In a food processor, combine tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, yogurt, 2 cloves minced garlic, and chili powder, and whir together until well blended.  Set enchilada sauce aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add squash, cover skillet, and continue cooking (stirring occasionally) until fork-tender, about 8 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, then add beans, corn, salt and pepper, and 1 cup of enchilada sauce.  Stir until heated and combined, then remove from heat.

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish, then smear the bottom of the dish with 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce.  Scoop 3/4 cup of squash mixture into one of the flour tortillas, then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese on top, roll up, and place seam-side down into the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas, using up all of the squash mixture.

Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.  Top with sour cream, sliced avocado, green onions, and cilantro.  Enjoy!  

Recipe Source:  Ambitious Kitchen

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tex Mex Pinwheels

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Yum!!!  This is an appetizer that I always get asked for the recipe for!  And now I can just point to this blog post like yep here's my blog and here's the recipe.  I love bite-sized food.  And food with cheese in it.  And food that is Mexican.  And come to think of it, food that is a pinwheel.  So this appy definitely fits the bill.  The recipe comes from the Best of Bridge, like approximately 95% of the food we eat in our house does.

I most recently made these pinwheels for my aunt's 65th birthday party, and they were gobbled up in no time.  You can use whatever flavour of flour tortilla that you like, and it will change the look of the pinwheels...maybe for Christmas you use sundried tomato flavoured (red), or maybe for Halloween you use cheese flavoured (orange), or maybe for Earth Day you use spinach flavoured (green)...I don't know, get crazy with it!  I used whole wheat ... boring!

Anyway, this is an easy to make, delicious appetizer.  Very bite-sized, very cheesy, very Tex Mexican, and very pinwheely...but not pinwheely in a 'boring cold ham and cheese pinwheel that comes on a sandwich platter' kind of way.  Pinwheely in a hot, tasty little morsel kind of way.  Why not try it out next time you need to bring an appetizer to a potluck...they will go fast!

Little Man Update!  He is growing up so quickly - he's now 8.5 months old and saying a few words:  Dada, Hiiiii, Baba, and...melt my heart...Mama.  He barrel rolls around the living room,  laughs hysterically if you kiss his tummy, and loves the outdoors.  He's developing more and more of a personality every day, and we are loving getting to know him.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Plum Cake
Two Years Ago:  Easy Refried Bean Soup
Three Years Ago:  Healthy Southwest Chicken and Rice Bake
Four Years Ago:  Peas with Shallots and Pancetta

Tex Mex Pinwheels

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 oz. can green chilies, drained
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 - 6 flour tortillas

Blend together cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Spread cream cheese mixture over each tortilla and roll up tightly, trimming the ends (and eating them!).  Refrigerate until firm.  Slice and place pinwheels flat onto the baking sheet.  Broil until lightly golden.

Recipe Source:    Best of Bridge - Best of the Best and More (Pasadena Pinwheels)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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This is a recipe that I have been wanting to try for so long!  And it was actually really good - unusual, but good.  The Hubby is not a huge cauliflower fan, and even he really enjoyed it.  In terms of a carb-free pizza option, it's delicious, but you have to keep an open mind.  This is not going to taste like your standard pizza crust - it's cauliflower, so it's going to taste a little bit like, well, cauliflower.  But, the crust is loaded with cheese so it also tastes quite a lot like delicious cheese.  Also, the crust isn't going to get quite as crisp as your standard pizza crust, but it does get pretty close (if you follow my instructions well).  All in all, this is a great alternative to regular pizza, but it's not the real thing.  Have I sold you on it?  No, probably not!  But all that said, it was delicious and I would definitely make it again!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Plum Cake
Two Years Ago:  Refried Bean Soup
Three Years Ago:  Amy's Copycat Lentil Soup Recipe
Four Years Ago:  Butternut Squash Soup with Cumin

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Serves: 4


  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves and hard core removed and discarded
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut cauliflower into florets and blitz in a food processor until very fine but not pureed.  You will likely need to do this in a few batches.  Place cauliflower into a medium bowl and microwave uncovered for 5 minutes.  Remove from microwave and transfer to cheesecloth to remove water by squeezing and draining.  This is a very important step so as to have a more crispy pizza crust.  When I drained my cauliflower I estimate that I was able to train about 2 cups of water, so when you think you have drained enough, keep squeezing out the water for a little longer.

Return the drained cauliflower to a bowl, where it will look something like this:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Add the egg, cheese, oregano, salt and pepper to the bowl of cauliflower and combine well, using your hands.  Separate 'dough' into two balls and place one ball on each of the two baking sheets.  Flatten the 'dough' with your hands until it is in the shape of a round pizza crust.  Pop into the oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until crisp around the edges and no longer soft in the middle.  Remove from oven, add your choice of pizza toppings, then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Recipe Source:  Ditch The Carbs - Cauliflower Pizza

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 7-Layer Dip

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Happy Halloween!

I'm a mom now, which, my friend Kristy told to me, means that I officially need to start making theme food on Halloween.  We were both invited to a Halloween get-together at our friend Jenn's house for the mamas and babies in our mama/baby group.  To Pinterest we went.  Kristy decided on carving two pumpkins into red and white wine dispensers, and I went with this spoooooky seven-layer dip.  I think it's safe to say that Kristy won Halloween.

It was total cuteness overload with ten babies under ten months old in Halloween costumes.  A scuba diver, a strawberry, a skunk, an elephant, Cookie Monster, Batman, an owl, a panda, and a couple of monkeys, including the Little Man (who has had to do about two costume changes a day for the past couple of days to fit in all of the cute costumes he has!  He's turning into a panda tonight).

The cutest little monkey in town
Plus - daytime wine!

This 7-Layer Dip is basically your regular old 7-layer dip recipe, but instead of sprinkling the tomatoes, cheese, olives, and green onions on top, you kind of sprinkle them only around the edge of the dish, leaving room to draw the spider web in the middle.  It was fun to make and delicious to eat.

Happy Halloween!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Parsnip and Carrot Puree
Two Years Ago:  Easy Refried Bean Soup
Three Years Ago:  Kendra's Italian Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers
Four Years Ago:  Bacon Night!

Halloween 7-Layer Dip

  • 1 can (398 mL / 13.5 oz) refried beans
  • 1 3/4 cup sour cream, divided
  • 1 package (35 grams / 1.25 oz) taco seasoning
  • 2 - 3 medium avocados (or 4 small avocados)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 plastic spiders!!!  
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips, for serving
In a large circular serving dish, spread refried beans.  In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of sour cream and taco seasoning, then spread on top of refried beans.  In a small bowl, mash the avocados with the salsa and lime juice until consistency is that of guacamole, then spread on top of sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle cheese around the outer rim of the serving dish in a circular pattern.  Repeat with tomatoes, olives, and green onions.  Pipe remaining 1/4 cup of sour cream on top of the guacamole mixture in the design of a spider web (I did this by drawing a straight line down the middle, then crossing three more lines through in a star shape, then drawing three circles to connect the lines.  I used a plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off to help me pipe a clean line.).  Top with plastic spiders and serve with tortilla chips.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cheesy Carrot Casserole

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It would be nice to have some fancy blog with an amazing editorial department where blog posts about a fabulous side dish for Thanksgiving get posted prior to Thanksgiving rather than a few weeks later, but, this isn't that kind of blog!  And, it's almost American Thanksgiving, so I'm way ahead of the game there!  And, Christmas is around the corner!  And then Easter right after that, after which it's Thanksgiving again anyways.  And, it doesn't really need to be a special occasion to serve a carrot casserole anyways.

As promised, this has quickly become the carrot blog (refer to the last three posts including this one to see what I mean!), and here is another blog post about carrots coming at ya!  The recipe comes from the Taste of Home website, and it's a keeper.

I brought this to the Thanksgiving dinner on my side of the family, and it was a huge hit.  The casserole dish was literally scraped clean by the end of the dinner, because people were taking seconds and even thirds (ok, I was the only person who took thirds).  Doesn't it just feel so great when that happens?  I pre-made the casserole earlier in the day, and then we just reheated in the oven prior to dinner being served.  Little Man spent the weekend at his Nana and Grandpa's house (The Hubby's parents) while we went over the line to stay at their trailer in Washington with some friends before coming back for Thanksgiving dinner with his side of the family.  It was a much needed weekend away, but it was awesome to come back to two back-to-back family dinners and our first Thanksgiving with the Little Man.  What a wonderful year with so much to be thankful for!  Cheese definitely being one of those things...

Hope you enjoy this Cheesy Carrot Casserole!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Carrot and Parsnip Puree
Two Years Ago:  Easy Refried Bean Soup
Three Years Ago:  Healthy Everything Cookies
Four Years Ago:  Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese

Cheesy Carrot Casserole

Serves: 10 -12 side dishes

  • 8 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 can condensed cream of celery soup (10.75 oz / 284 mL), undiluted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons (use the ones that are small in size)

Grease a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish and pre-heat oven to 350F.

Place carrots in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil, then cook until tender-crisp.  Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter and cook onions until tender.  Stir in the soup, salt, pepper, and 1 cup cheddar cheese, and stir to combine.  Drain the carrots and stir into the onion mixture.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and croutons.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then drizzle over top.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.


Recipe Adapted From:  Taste of Home - Carrot Casserole

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Carrot-Coconut Soup

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Well, this has been a crazy year!

Crazy in a good way, crazy in an emotional way, crazy in a very, very happy way, crazy in a busy way, crazy in a crazy way, crazy in a good, good, way.

This little love-muffin entered our lives:

The Hubby isn't in favour of pictures of the family going up on the blog, so this may be the first and last photo you see of the little man (that's a lie - there's more at the end of this post), but that doesn't stop me from writing about him.  Which is good, because if I'm honest I want to talk about him non-stop!  We have wanted to start a family for so many years, and we are so fortunate to have had our dreams come true.  His laugh is infectious, his smile is perfect, he's curious, he's happy, he's smart, he's healthy, he's ridiculously cute (just look at that bum chin!), and he's all ours.  He will from here on out be referred to on the blog as Little Man.

And, oh the big plans I had for my time off on maternity leave.  I was going to try a new recipe every day!  I was going to blog at least a few times a week (and finally figure out how to take amazing food pictures with my DSLR camera)!  I was going to get back into running when the baby was six weeks old!  I was, after all, the girl who packed an adult colouring book and markers into her hospital bag for those 'calm down-times during labour.'  It of course stayed stowed in the bag along with a good novel and instructions on how to use my DSLR camera.  New moms just don't have time for new recipes and blogging (cook when the baby cooks!?  blog when the baby blogs?!).  And now he is nearly eight months old, and I can't believe how fast time has gone, and that I am down to just four precious months left in my maternity leave.  Long days, short years, they say.

The poor Hubby has not eaten very well (unless he was the one doing the cooking) in a long time.  I was very nauseous for the first six months of my pregnancy and didn't even want to think about preparing food.  "If we are eating tonight, it's either take-out or you are cooking," became a regular thing said to The Hubby, while I slowly nibbled saltines and took deep loud nausea-reducing breaths on the couch.  And during the last three months of the pregnancy I was too tired and achy, so no cooking happened then either.  So it's been at least a year+ that I hadn't made much of a presence in the kitchen...but, I'm back!

I don't have morning sickness, I'm not sleep deprived, and I have a 7.5 month old who takes long afternoon naps and isn't crawling/walking/trying to destroy the house yet, and so I have found a little bit of time for me again!  There's been stews, casseroles, salads, roasts, and lots of baby food too!  It feels good to be back in my kitchen, and now back on the blog as well.  And what a great time of year...fall is here, and it's time for my favourite food - that of the 'comfort' variety!

So, hello everyone!  I thought for my first entry since becoming a mother I would post something sort of appropriate, because The Hubby always refers to any pureed soup as 'Baby Food.'  Actually, the reason that I made this soup is because I bought a 10-pound bag of carrots from Costco (still the best store ever...going back today) to make actual baby food with, before realizing that about three carrots gives you a freezer full of pureed carrots, leaving me to wonder what to do with the other 9.75 pounds of carrots.

But this soup doesn't taste like any baby food that I know!  The carrots pureed with the coconut milk gives the soup a silky creamy texture, and the touch of Sriracha at the end gives a little hint of heat, and all of it combined is just dee-licious.  I made it once, and then had to make another triple batch the next day (at my friend Kristy's house where she also made a triple batch, for a total of a sextuple batch) because I needed more of this soup in my life (and because of the large supply of carrots still lurking in my fridge).  This left me with 5 pounds of carrots...which means that, if you put two and two together, you can guess where this blog is going over the next few posts - (not to dangle a carrot in front of you or anything - ha!).  This recipe is from the Epicurious website, which I have linked to below.  They never seem to disappoint.  The instructions below are for a double version of the original recipe.

..And this is weird, but I just noticed that my last post before this one was exactly a year ago to the day and also. about. carrots.

It's good to be back!  Thanks for reading...

OK...just one or two more pics!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Plum Cake
Two Years Ago:  Slow Cooker Philippine Pork Stew
Three Years Ago:  Flourless Spicy Dark Chocolate Cake
Four Years Ago:  Goat Cheese Pesto Torte

Carrot-Coconut Soup

Serves: 6 - 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 x 13.5 oz (400 ml) cans of light coconut milk (see Tip below)
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • Chopped cilantro (optional), for serving 
In in large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add carrots and onions, and sauté until soft, about 15 - 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and Sriracha.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Alternatively, transfer in batches to a blender then return to pot.  Serve topped with freshly chopped cilantro and additional Sriracha, if desired.  Enjoy!

Tip: When using coconut milk, make sure to buy the canned version often found in the Asian food section.  Don't use the carton version found in the refrigerated section that is more often used as a beverage, as it usually has water added to it.

Recipe Source:  Epicurious (Carrot-Coconut Soup)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Parsnip and Carrot Puree

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I was put on side dish duty for two Thanksgiving dinners the weekend before last (it was Canadian Thanksgiving here), and my friend Kristy suggested I try one of her family favourites - Parsnip and Carrot Puree.  She said it was so good that she likes to have a little bit of it on the fork with every bite of her Thanksgiving dinner.  Sold!  So I found a great recipe on and decided to give it a shot.

Just four ingredients: parsnips, carrots, chives, and butter.  So simple, yet so much flavour!  You will need an immersion blender for this recipe to get the vegetables pureed easily and to the right consistency.  The Hubby was a little leery about it being too much like baby food, but in the end even he agreed it should be a new holiday dinner staple.  The great thing is that this recipe is made entirely on the stovetop, so you can save the room in your oven for a bird or other side dishes.  You can also make it ahead and reheat in the microwave or oven before eating.

Oh, and when I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner, The Hubby's cousin Shannon told me that parsnips are the trendy vegetable right now.  They are like the kale of 2015 or the brussels sprouts of 2014...her predictions (and she is vegetarian I might add, so she knows) are that 2016 is going to be all about the parsnip!  I mean, look at these could they not be trendy and cool?

Calling it right now...trendiest vegetable of 2016.
I had 32 parsnips on my kitchen counter because I doubled the recipe for both dinners.  The young clerk who sold them to me at the grocery store was like, "Are these white carrots?"  No, they are parsnips, I said, as if I didn't have to Google what a parsnip looked like myself before heading to the grocery store so that I would know what to look for.  Although they are related to the carrot family (also learned on Google before leaving the house), I wanted to add but didn't, because in no way would he care.  He responded, "Why do you have so many parsnips?  No one needs this many parsnips."  Fair point.  But his comment didn't discourage me, and with 32 parsnips I left the store, nervous that I had too many parsnips and that no one needed this many parsnips.  But all 32 were used, eaten, and enjoyed.

So if you're in the mood to try out something new at your holiday table (or really any dinner with roasted meat), this side dish is a winner.  As mentioned, I doubled the recipe both times that I made it, so the pictures you see here are for a doubled recipe, which would feed about 8-10 people at a small dinner without many other side dishes and with people taking a big scoop, or it will feed many more people if you are at a larger dinner that likely has more side dishes and where everyone will just take a very small scoop.   It's a great alternative to mashed potatoes, or just served right alongside the masted potatoes like we did.  Delicious.


For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Easy Refried Bean Soup
Two Years Ago:  Healthy 'Everything' Cookies
Three Years Ago:  Goat Cheese Pesto Torte

My messy pot of parsnippy deliciousness

Parsnip and Carrot Puree

Serves: 4

  • 8 parsnips, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces (see this helpful video for a how-to on coring parsnips)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chives, snipped
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Put parsnips and carrots into a pot, covering completely with water and a couple of pinches of salt.  Place over high heat on the stove, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Drain water, return vegetables to pot (if not already there), and add the chives and 3 tablespoons butter.  Using an immersion blender, puree until just a few small chunks remain.  Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and blend or stir until combined.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Serve immediately, or cover and reheat in oven or microwave when it's time to serve your meal.

Recipe Source: Parsnip and Carrot Puree

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Plum Cake

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Hi friends!

I keep doing that thing where I don't post for months and then get a random burst of energy and blogginess, and then don't post again for months.  The food I have been cooking lately has lacked any inspiration, and thus I haven't had much of anything to post besides the 50 or so draft blog posts in my drafts folder but who's counting.  But then, this plum cake happened.  In my mouth.  In all it's plummy deliciousness.  And so here we are again!  Also, my friend Katie told me this week that her friend from work recommended my blog to her, which is the first time that's happened that I know of, and that is just so cool to know that people who I don't know are out there reading this blog of mine...hello unknown readers (of which I now know there are at least one)!!!  Welcome!

The Hubby and I were asked to bring a dessert to our friends April and Brad's house the night they had to cook us dinner as their punishment for a three-peat loss in our Big Brother pool.  Embarrassing performance, April and Brad!  Well, my mom had recently visited her friend Denise at her apple (and plum!) orchard in Okanagan Falls, BC, and had come home with bushels of apples (and plums!), and split them with my brother and me.

Some of her bounty
I knew that the dessert I made would use one of those two fruits.  I chose to make an apple dessert, hoping that The Hubby would have forgotten his contempt towards any warm-apple-based-food, but NOPE, not forgotten.  Back to the drawing board (and plums!) I went, and I immediately became excited when I stumbled across this amazing plum cake recipe.

This recipe is adapted from an oldie but a goodie from the New York Times, where it was first published in 1982 and has made many repeat appearances after that.  The Times version has cinnamon, which I have omitted, and instead I have added both vanilla and almond extract.  I like my version a lot (don't mean to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT!), and so did the people who ate it with me (and had seconds I might add!).

The cake is so pretty and interesting to look at.  I love that plum halves are simply placed onto the batter, and that the cake just sort of moulds itself around them.

The juices from the plums tunnel their way jam-like through as everything is baking, and you are left with a moist, delicious cake.  Make sure that you use a springform pan to bake this cake, so that the cake can be removed from the pan easily and without changing the appearance before serving.  And then definitely top it with vanilla ice cream.

As summer is changing into fall, this is a great way to still cling onto the last tastes of summer fruit.  Plums are still in season until the end of October, so this plum cake would be a nice way to change up    your (Canadian) Thanksgiving dessert from the typical pumpkin pie (shock! horrification! dismay!).

Speaking of which, The Hubby and I wish you all a very happy Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend to all of my fellow Canadians (and my favourite know who you are)!  To celebrate, we have a ham dinner going on tonight at my parents' house, and a turkey dinner to follow tomorrow night at The Hubby's aunt and uncles's house.  So much deliciousness coming our way...I'm ready!

I hope that you enjoy this delicious plum cake as much as we did!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Slower Cooker Phillippine Pork Stew
Two Years Ago:  Flourless Spicy Dark Chocolate Cake
Three Years Ago:  Thanksgiving 2012!

Plum Cake

Serves: 8

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 plums, pitted, and sliced in half
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring well.  In a separate medium bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and 1 cup sugar together.  While still mixing, add the vanilla and almond extracts, the eggs, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into an un-greased 8, 9, or 10-inch spring-form pan.  Arrange the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter.  Sprinkle lightly with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.  Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake (not a plum!) comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack in the pan.  Remove outer ring of spring-form pan.  Slice cake and serve with vanilla ice cream of whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe Adapted From:  New York Times

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

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Your grocery list is about to get a whole lot longer!

This has been our favourite salad this summer.  It's a bowl of goodness.  I love that this is even considered a salad.  Also, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian, but you could totally make it into a complete meal by adding grilled chicken or another protein.

The recipe is from the Whitewater Cooks with Friends cookbook, which if you haven't flipped through before is just chock full of beautiful, unique recipes.  There are four books in the cookbook series, and if you have ever been to my house for dinner then you have probably tried something from at least one of them.  The series is definitely in my Top 5 cookbooks.

This recipe makes a large salad, so it's perfect for a gathering.  I can't even explain to you how good the dressing is.  It's like delicious peanut sauce had babies with a super fresh salad dressing.  Its by far the best Thai salad that the Hubby and I have ever eaten.  The ingredients are a bit of an investment, but once you have them in your pantry you are all set for the second, third, fourth time that you re-make the salad (because you will!).

This summer has been soooo beautiful in B.C., and it's been hard to find time to post.  Also I don't cook dinner ever anymore (just kidding, kinda).  I hope all of you have had a hard time staying indoors this summer too!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Mango and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Two Years Ago:  Watermelon Salad with Feta and Fresh Mint
Three Years Ago:  Pesto Edamame Salad

Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

Recipe Source:  Whitewater Cooks with Friends

Serves: 8


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juice and zest of
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 16-ounce package pad thai rice noodles
  • 1 kettle full of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 long English cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 2 cups bean sprouts (washed well)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced diagonally
Blenderize all Dressing ingredients except cilantro and vegetable oil, using an immersion blender or a food processor, until just mixed.  Then, while still mixing, add vegetable oil in a slow steady stream.  stir in half of the cilantro, setting the rest aside.

Heat butter in a pan, then add the slivered almonds, sesame seeds, five-spice, and salt, stirring until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Add sugar and cook, while stirring, for another 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Place rice noodles into a large bowl, and pour the boiling hot water over top until covered completely.  Soak for 10 minutes, or until just tender.  To avoid the noodles sticking together, give them a store every couple of minutes.  Once cooked, drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, put back into the bowl, and toss with sesame oil.

Add the julienned carrots, julienned cucumber, julienned red pepper, bean sprouts, and green onions to the noodles.  Add the dressing.  Toss to combine all ingredients (you may need to use your hands - I do!).

Garnish with the remaining cilantro, and the toasted almonds and sesame seeds.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Alex's Crispy & Crunchy Baked Chicken

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Here's another recipe from my brother's girlfriend Alex and her blog The Bookish Cook.  In the words of Gordon Ramsay, "This chicken is cooked perrrrfectly."  Also in the words of The Hubby quoting Gordon Ramsay, "This chicken is cooked perrrrfectly" (in loud angry British accent).

Alex nailed it again.  Some of her other hits that I have copied on this blog are the Flour-less Spicy Dark Chocolate Cake (The Hubby's favourite cake and also gluten free!) and the Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Avocado, and Lemony-Dijon Dressing (which is actually the salad that appears at the top left of the plate in these chicken pictures).

I'm happily hanging out in town this weekend after a super fun girls weekend on Vancouver Island last weekend.  The Hubby and I ordered way too much Chinese Food last night (partly because I hangrily made the statement, "Let's order, like, WAY too much Chinese Food tonight."), so we have quite the task ahead of us this weekend in polishing that off.  Other than that, I'm checking out a new kids park in my neighbourhood with my BFF Sheena and her daughter Natalie, running with my mom Sunday morning, and then The Hubby and I are checking out some local breweries with our pals Kendra and Kyle on Sunday afternoon.  Nice little weekend!

I hope you enjoy another recipe hit from Alex!  Have a great weekend everyone.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Classic Spinach Dip in Bread Bowl
Two Years Ago:  White Wine Sangria Jello Jigglers
Three Years Ago:  8-Layered Greek Dip

Crispy & Crunchy Baked Chicken

Serves: 4

  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian blend herbs
  • 1/2 cup grated or ground parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Drizzle of olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a non-stick cooking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large plastic bag, combine bread crumbs, herbs, parmesan, garlic seasoning, paprika, onion power, and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, toss chicken breasts with the mayonnaise, rubbing it with your hands until well coated.  One at a time, put the chicken breasts into the plastic bag with the bread crumb mixture, and shake to coat the chicken completely.  Repeat with all four chicken breasts, moving each to the greased baking sheet once coated.

Drizzle the chicken breasts with a small amount of olive oil, and place into the oven on the middle rack.  Bake for 30 minutes, then flip over and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown and no longer pink in the centre.


Recipe Source: The Bookish Cook
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