Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana

My boss at work has made these sandwiches for us a couple of times and I think about them often.  I finally decided to give them a try myself and they were pretty amazing.  I'll definitely make them again.

If you want, make them ahead by breading them the night before to give you an early start if you're making a few cutlets.  With Christmas approaching I'm always looking for meals where I can prepare  parts in advance.  You can serve these along side other dishes at a buffet without the bread. I made enough for 4 sandwiches so we could eat them again the next day.

Ingredients:

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half
1 Egg, beaten
1 Cup of Panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs are fine  )
1/4 Cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbs of Canola oil 
3/4 Cup of your favourite tomato sauce
4 slices of provolone cheese
Arugula
Juice from half a lemon
4 Fresh Italian rolls

For the chicken:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour egg into a shallow bowl. Pour breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate shallow bowl or plate.  Dip chicken into egg, then into the breadcrumbs.  Heat a oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Brown chicken for about one minute on each side just to firm up the breadcrumbs.

Pour half of the tomato sauce into a roasting pan to cover the bottom and place chicken on top.  Place a slice of cheese on each chicken cutlet.  Cover with the remaining sauce and about 1/2 a cup of water.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 40 minutes. The chicken should be tender and melt in your mouth.

Place a chicken cutlet on a bun with some arugula, a squeeze of lemon juice.

Optional: Saute some green bell peppers and/or mushrooms to serve on the sandwiches with the chicken too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday

Hi Friends!  How was your weekend? We had a busy one. 

I was very impressed with Jane because her schedule really went out the window and she didn't go nuts.  She was so good and even managed to sleep upstairs at a friend's Christmas party, and had no problem being brought home in the middle of the night and put back to bed again.  This is good thing becuase Phil and I usually drop everything to be home in time for her bedtime.  Looks like we can bend the rules a bit for the holidays, which by the way, I am so excited for.  I think we'll put our tree up this weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Glitter

I was trying on some outfits for a Christmas party this weekend (Yay Christmas parties are starting already!) and I think I have a winner.

My mom picked me up this great skirt from Joe Fresh.  Don't you love how stylish and affordable their line is?  This is my first sequin piece of clothing I think.  The top I'm wearing here are matted sequins and a lot easier to pull off with other pieces.  Do you think there's too much going on with two types of sequins?  I'm thinking it's Christmas and you can get away with those things. 

P.S. I need a little practice at the self portrait taking other bloggers are so obviously pros at.  Note: clean up room before taking photo and don't look so serious.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Everybody likes a good beef stew on a chilly night.  Even better if you've done the preparation ahead of time and all you have to do is come home and eat it.  This is great after a busy day at work and Christmas shopping.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Pounds of stewing beef cubes
1/2 Cup of flour
1 Tbs of canola oil
1 Large can of whole tomatoes
1 Onion, cut into wedges
10 Pearl onions, skins removed
1 Cup of sweet potatoes, chopped into cubes
1 Cup of Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped
1 Parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 Turnip, peeled and chopped
2 Bay leaves
1 Tbs of thyme, chopped
1 Tsp of oregano, chopped
1 1/2 Cup of beef stock
1 Cup of red wine
1 Cup of frozen peas
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs of corn starch

For the stew:

In a bowl coat the beef with flour and salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat and brown the beef working in batches.  Transfer to plate.

In your slow cooker, crush tomatoes in their juices.  Add all your vegetables (excluding the peas), herbs,  beef with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate, beef stock and wine.  Cover and cook on low heat until all vegetables and beef are tender, about 10 hours. 

Add peas and salt and pepper.  Whisk together corn starch with a little of the liquid from the stew and stir into the stew.  Cook, and cover until thickened, about 15 minutes.  Discard bay leaves and serve. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yogurt Marinated Salmon


I usually make this marinade for chicken.  It's my go-to meal when I need to feed a crowd.

In the summer we had a party and that's what I made.  My butcher, Boffo's, was cutting up a few chickens for me and offered to marinate it and vacuum seal it so I could pick it up just before the party (how amazing is that service?).  I made extra marinade and told him he could have it, and he loved it; however, he used it for salmon.  That's what I did here and it was amazing.  You can try this on pork too.  It really is a fantastic marinade.

I served it with thinly sliced baked Yukon Gold and Sweet potatoes and asparagus. 

1/2 Cup of plain yogurt
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs of gingeroot, peeled and shredded
1 Lemon, juiced
1 Tsp of ground cumin
1 Tsp of garam masala
1 Tsp of ground turmeric
1 Tsp of ground corriander
1/2 Tsp of chili powderKosher salt to taste
4 salmon fillets with the skin removed

Preheat oven to 450F.

Place the salmon in a shallow dish or freezer bag.

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well.  Place salmon in marinade and make sure all pieces are covered with marinade.  Cook for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork in the centre.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Weekend!

I'm looking forward to having no plans this weekend.  As much as I love entertaining and meeting up with friends, I love a weekend of curling up on the couch just as much.   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stuffed Peppers



Jane's recovering from her first cold she's had for 4 days now.  It's awful having a sick baby.  They're so uncomfortable and there's nothing much you can actually do for them.  She slept through the night last night so I think she's starting to feel better.

So with Jane not sleeping and wanting to stick to me like glue, it hasn't left me much time to make dinner.  One night it was leftovers from the weekend, the next night egg on toast, and last night it was almost going to be pizza until I remembered we had a lot of peppers in the fridge.  So I thought stuffed peppers it is!

Seriously, this took no time at all.  I combined sausage meat (with casings removed), mushrooms, celery, feta cheese,onion and stuffed the peppers.  I had no breadcrumbs so I crushed up some crackers and drizzled with a little olive oil.  Cook at 400F until cooked through.  I would use a meat thermometer to make sure it's cooked because the meat is packed in pretty densely. 

Chickpeas


I'm really glad Jane likes chickpeas because I made enough for 20 babies.

I found the recipe for"Cheeky Chickpeas" in Sprout Life .  It's a puree of chickpeas, carrot, celery, sweet potato, onion, lemon juice and cilantro.  After seeing how much Jane liked it I feel more confidant with coming up with my own combinations now.  You just have to think of what tastes nice together, and keep it healthy by using no salt or sugar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kraft Dinner

Because sometimes you just have a craving.

When Meg and I were roommates she used to tease me that I was the only person she knew that had to read the directions on the side of the box.  Well, Meg, I think I finally know how to make it so it tastes as good as yours.  I'm a cook, and I don't usually turn to box foods, but sometimes you just can't beat a big bowl of Kraft Dinner with Ketchup. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaded Fish Fingers with Sweet Potato Fries


I can see Jane loving this when she gets older.  At least I hope she does because this version is a lot healthier than restaurant fish and chips, and so easy to make at home.  Thank you Best Recipes Ever for another great recipe. 

The recipe calls for Cajun spice so I made my own.  I decided to make extra and store away in my pantry to add to any fish dishes,potatoes, rice, or pork. 

Ingredients for Cajun spice:

3/4 Cup salt
1/4 Cup ground cayenne pepper
2 Tbs ground black pepper
2 Tbs paprika
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs garlic powder

Blend all together and store extra spice mixture in a airtight container for up to three months. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Weeknight Pasta


I actually had to look at this photo closely to see what I put in this dish, because every time I make pasta it's different.

Try doing this too using whatever ingredients you have in the fridge.  Just add some olive oil, garlic, whatever vegetables you have, and some pasta water to help build a sauce.  If you have some goat cheese or Parmesan in the fridge too, you've got yourself a quick weeknight dinner.  Add the pasta to the pan and coat with sauce (including your starchy pasta water) and cook for a couple of minutes.  Just before serving toss with a couple pads of butter for some extra flavour. 

I used olive oil, garlic, leeks, cremini mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knitted Baby Shoes

Check out these adorable little shoes I got for Jane from Whole Foods.  Like all babies, she has trouble keeping her shoes on but these seems to stay on a little longer than the others.  They come in newborn, 6-18 months, and toddler sizes.... I think they might even have adult sizes too!  They're sheepskin on the bottom so they keep her feet nice and toasty.  And a added bonus, they were made in British Columbia. 

P.S. Jane has small feet for her age so I never know what size to buy.  She's going to have to grow into these.  Oh no, I've become that mom that buys everything too big. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Easy Salmon Dinner



Thank you Best Recipes Ever for a quick weeknight meal idea.  If you don't have all the ingredients the recipe calls for, don't be afraid to get creative. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Favourite Things



These are my favourite products right now.

Let's start with The Body Shop.  I haven't bought anything from there in years, until recently.  Remember in elementary school it was THE place to go to buy your friend a birthday present, remember Fuzzy Peach perfume?  Well, I'm a fan again, but this time it's of their cleanser and moisturizer.  They leave my face feeling so soft and supple.  No matter what I try my face is usually tight after I wash it, so I feel like I've finally found the right stuff for my skin type.

I know Kiehl's has been around for years but it's new to me.  I love the Midnight  Recovery Concentrate. I use it under my moisturizer at night.  After months of sleepless nights (update: Jane sleeps through the night now!) I found my skin was looking tired and dull.  After the first use my skin looked brighter and had a slight glow to it.  I was so pleased with the results I decided to try the Superbly Restorative Dry Oil.  I use this on my wet hair before drying it and I also put a drop on my face for day-time use.  The oil gives my hair a little shine and controls some of the frizz and dry ends. Both Kiehl's products are pricey but they'll last a long time because you only need a couple drops each use.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

Hi Friends! I've been out of commission for a few days.  Phil and I came down with something awful on Monday and I'm only starting to feel like myself again.  As well, I sometimes start a post and then something interrupts me, and then it's a couple of days before I actually hit the publish button. So please excuse the long absence. 

Before the weekend I made this simple risotto and served it with roast chicken.  It was a nice dinner on a chilly Friday evening.  I know in the past I've avoided risotto because of all the stirring, but really it's no that bad, and you pretty much always have what you need in the fridge for this dish. Feel free to add any vegetables or leftover meat you have hanging around in the fridge... anything goes!

Ingredients:

4 Cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 Cup of Milk
1 Tbs Olive oil
2 Tbs of butter
1/2 Onion, chopped
2 Leeks. chopped (white and light green parts only)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
1/3 Cup  of white wine
1 Cup of Cremini mushrooms, chopped into bite size pieces 
1 big handful of Parmesan, grated


For the risotto:

Saute mushrooms in a little olive oil and set aside.

Warm the broth and milk in a medium size sauce pan on medium heat and set on your back burner. Next, warm a large saute pan on medium-high heat, add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add 1/2 of onion and leek, salt and pepper, and stir about 1-2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the rice and stir until the rice is glistening.  Add the wine and stir until the rice absorbs all the liquid.  Start adding your broth and milk mixture about a 1 ladle at a time (or half a cup) and stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.  Repeat this step for about 20 minutes.  It should be tender with a little firmness.  You may not need all the liquid or a little more.  At this point stir in your mushrooms.  Remove from heat and stir in a handful of grated Parmesan and the remaining tablespoon of butter.