Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doggy Biscuits Delicious

Peanut Butter-Nana Treats
If your dog has wheat allergies you can substitute rice or quinoa flour. You may need to add more to adjust consistency. The dough should be simple to roll out or into balls without being to sticky or too crumbly. Add water if necessary or extra flour to adjust. If you have a food processor it makes this recipe even easier. Process the apple, banana, maple syrup or honey and peanut butter until smooth. Then add flour and oats, pulse until a ball forms. Add water if necessary.

1-2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 apple, shredded
1 carrot shredded (optional)
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/8-1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
1-2 cups whole wheat, rice or quinoa flour
1 cup large flake oats, uncooked

1. Preheat oven to 350F with rack on bottom.
2. Mix bananas, apple, carrot, peanut butter and honey/maple syrup in a large bowl or food processor. 
3. Add flour and oats, stir or pulse until a large ball of dough is formed.
4. You can roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut out individual cookies or roll small balls in between your hands and press down with a fork on a cookie sheet. Shape according to your dog's size.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let cookies sit in oven for a few hours to get crunchy.

Chicken Cheesie Crunchies
Whenever we have leftover cooked chicken or turkey pieces from a roast or scraps off the bone that you would normally throw out, keep it. Chop it up finely or process in your food process until smooth.

1 cup shredded/processed leftover cooked poultry
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 shredded carrot
1 cup cooked and pureed/finely chopped kale
1/2 cup grated cheddar/parmesan
1 cup whole wheat, rice or quinoa flour

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Rack on bottom of oven.
2. Mix all ingredients together well, adjust with flour and water if necessary.
3. Place small teaspoon drops onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, press down softly with a fork.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
5. Let cool and then place in a tupperware container and keep in the fridge. 

Vegan Coconut Curry

Vegan or Veggie Coconut Curry
Once you have purchased all the staples you can make this recipe for 4 under for under $10. Buy your spices in bulk it saves a ton of money and your Basmati Rice in the 8lb bags. No Frills in Toronto sells premium Indian Basmati Rice for 9.99 for 8lbs. That works out to .20 cents per cooked cup. Ghee is in grocery stores now but by shopping in ethnic stores you may find an even better price. Pure Indian Foods sells a premium grass fed ghee online. If you have the time, buying chickpeas dried and cooking them yourself will save even more money. Once you add in the salad, rice and whole wheat naan this meal for four is still under $20 and full of all your essential dietary needs. Enjoy.

Serves 4
Using *ghee in place of sunflower oil makes this dish vegetarian and much more rich and authentic in taste. 

1 can organic chickpeas, drained
1 can coconut milk
1 28 oz can organic whole tomatoes
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil or 1/4 cup *ghee (adjust to own preference)
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional, but important for flavour)
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper (optional: with seeds=spicy, 1/2 with seeds= medium spice, 1/2+seeded=mild)
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
2-3 teaspoons garam masala powder
2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 teaspoons turmeric powder
sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot heat oil or ghee. Add carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add onions and saute   10 minutes more until soft.
2. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeno pepper. Saute 5 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic, reduce heat if necessary.
3. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Stir in well.
4. Add coconut milk and chickpeas.
5. Add the curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and salt and pepper. Stir well. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let cook for about ten minutes. **Check the flavour and adjust the spices to your own preference.
6. The curry is ready to eat but letting it simmer for a while enhances the flavours. 

* Ghee: is a savory, delicious alternative to butter or oil. It is clarified butter and adds a rich, authentic taste to any South Asian dish. Read more about it here:

Serve this curry with basmati rice, some naan bread and a fresh side salad for a filling and delicious meatless meal.

Kale, Rapini, Spinach and Squash Recipes and Ideas

Kristi's Kale/Spinach Salad

1 head of kale or spinach, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
125 g of pancetta, chopped into small cubes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 red onion, sliced into small rings, then halved
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or diced
1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
*your favourite blue cheese dressing

* I like to take my caesar dressing recipe and stir in a block of blue cheese crumbled, juice of one lemon and some sour cream, adjust to desired consistency.

1. Make the dressing and toss the kale with it well, massage it into the leaves even. Set aside.
2. Place oil in frying pan over medium high heat and add pancetta. Cook until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and cool.
3. Place nuts on a cookie sheet and set under broiler, tossing and watching closely until browned, remove and cool.
4. Slice mushrooms, eggs and onion and place in a bowl.
5. Toss kale and dressing with cooled pancetta and onion and place in refrigerator for an hour or more.
6. Just before serving, layer mushrooms and egg over salad, sprinkle with nuts and serve.

*If using spinach just keep the dressing on the side and toss everything just before serving.

Kale Caesar: make your favourite Caesar recipe and use kale in place of the romaine, toss with the dressing, let marinate for 1-2 hours. I recommend homemade croutons, Parmesan Reggiano and fresh creamy homemade dressing. I can't give you mine, it's top secret and spectacular!

Kale Crisps: This recipe is under the Krazy for Kale blog I did in May, I think. A delicious, healthy substitute for chips. Check it out.

Rapini with Roasted Garlic

*this recipe is great with Brussel sprouts too!

one head of rapini or two cups of brussel sprouts
one head of roasted garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil for cooking

1. Wash, trim and blanch the rapini in a large pot of boiling water for approximately 3 minutes. Set in an ice bath, then blot dry.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add rapini and fry gently for a few minutes or until tender, taking care not to over cook.
3. Remove from heat. Squeeze cloves of garlic from their skin and add to the rapini along with the salt and pepper. Toss well.
4. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top, Serve immediately.

*other options are:
- fry the rapini in olive oil with chili flakes(or a favourite spice) and salt and pepper.
- toss the blanched rapini with butter, salt, pepper and toasted pine nuts.

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Roasting broccoli and cauliflower give them a sweeter flavour. Try sprinkling them with sharp cheddar right after they come out of the oven to elevate it to a decadent level. Kids will finally eat their veggies now.

1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower(try using a purple or yellow one for a beautiful presentation)
olive oil
sea salt and pepper
two cups grated sharp cheddar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Wash and cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
3. Drizzle olive oil over veggies and toss to coat, adding more until all the pieces are lightly covered. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper over, toss well.
4. Spread veggies on a large baking sheet.
5. Place on bottom rack and cook for 10 minutes. Stir, toss, flip the veggies around and then cook for approximately 5-1o minutes more.
6. Remove from oven when they are slightly crispy on the edges. Sprinkle with cheese, if using. Serve immediately.

More ideas for...

- cut into bite sized pieces, toss with honey, roast at 400F on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan for 45 minutes, turning a few times.
- grate over salads
- make a carrot coleslaw, add grated beet to it and toss with a tangy vinaigrette.


- Butternut squash: cut in half, place flesh side up in a rimmed baking dish, place 1/4 inch on water in the bottom, cover with foil. Roast at 375F for 45 minutes or until a fork pierces it easily. Scoop out flesh, mash it with butter and salt and pepper.

- Spaghetti squash: use it in place of noodles with your favourite pasta sauce

-Pumpkin: cut the flesh of the pumpkin up into small pieces. Save the seed. Toss with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for 45 minutes at 400F. Remove from oven. Mash with butter, sea salt, pepper and cinnamon.

*Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious. You can dry them and eat them raw or toss them with olive oil and sea salt and roast in the oven until golden brown. Delicious!

Mac'n Cheese: Angus Style

Mac n Cheese Angus Style

*note Pecorino and Reggiano cheeses are made from whole raw milk that comes from untreated cows, so never worry about them.

8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick)
5 1/2 cups of organic whole milk
1/2 cup all purpose organic flour
4 cups grated extra old cheddar cheese
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (this will not make it spicy but will bring out the flavour of the cheeses only)
1 pound, 454 g, of elbow macaroni (you may use rice pasta here if necessary)
6 thick slices of Belgian or French bread cut into 1/2 inch chunks.

1. Heat oven to 375F. Butter a 9x13 inch casserole dish. **Make sure not to miss this step or your macaroni will stick and it will ruin the dish.
2. Cook macaroni in a large pot of salted water. **Make sure to cook it 2-3 minutes less than the manufacturer's directions, make sure to do this or your baked dish will be overdone and the pasta will be mushy.
3. Once the pasta is done, drain and rinse well under cold water. Set aside.
4. Place the bread in a large bowl. Melt two tablespoons of the butter and pour over the bread, toss to coat. Set aside.
5. Grate and measure all your cheeses. If you have a grating attachment on your food processor, use it, it's wonderfully quick.
6. Place all the cheeses in a large bowl and combine them well. Remove two cups of cheese from the mixture and set aside with the breadcrumbs.
7. In a saucepan over medium heat, gently heat the milk. Stirring occasionally.
8. Once the milk is almost simmering, turn off the heat.
9. In another saucepan, heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat, when the butter sizzles, whisk in the flour. Continue whisking for one minute.
10. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk, continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and begins to bubble.
11. Remove milk from heat and whisk in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Add all the cheeses except the reserved 2 cups. Stir well until fully incorporated into the sauce.
12. In a large bowl, combine the cheese sauce with the pasta, stirring well, pour into the buttered casserole dish and top with the remaining cheeses and bread crumbs.
13. Bake on the lower rack for 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and the breadcrumbs are browned on top.
14. Take your belt off or loosen the top button to your pants and dig in. Yummy decadence!

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Sweet Potato Soup

I love this soup. It's delicious and full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. And it's so easy! Fall is the perfect time to make it since most of the ingredients are in season. You can use homemade vegetable stock or buy low sodium organic stock. A dollop of sour cream on top takes it to the next level of dee-lish. I hope you love it.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple and Sweet Potato Soup

1 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
3-4 tart apples, peeled, and quartered
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
5 cups of veggie stock
extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper and chili powder to taste
sour cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. In a large roasting pan toss all the apples and vegetables with enough olive oil to coat.
3. Season with the salt, pepper and chili powder.
4. Roast for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. They are ready when a fork pierces the pieces easily.
5. In batches, place the vegetables with some stock in a food processor and puree into well blended.
6. Return the pureed mixture to the pot. Adjust consistency with stock if needed.
7. Adjust to taste with the salt, pepper and chili powder, you could also add a pinch of nutmeg, if you like. Make it your own.
8. Heat to a simmer.
9. Serve with sour cream and crusty 12 grain bread for a perfect fall meal.

*picture courtesy of Justin spying on me while making this soup.

3 Soul Warming Soups: Split Pea, Chicken and Roasted Tomato

Some Savory Soups

Split Pea with Ham

note: can be made vegetarian, just omit the ham and use extra vegetable stock for flavour

1 ham hock
2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed well
8 cups of water
2 cups of veggie stock

2 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lb cooked ham, cut into bite sized pieces
1 bouquet garni * (see below)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Bouquet Garni

Note: Bouquet Garni is basically any kind of combination of fresh herbs and spices wrapped in a cheesecloth and added to soups, stocks and stews to add flavour without making a mess. They can vary in the spice combination to compliment whatever dish they are flavouring)

2-3 sprigs of thyme
2-3 sprigs of parsley
white part of one green onion, split

*Wrap all ingredients in a cheesecloth and tie tightly.

1. In a large soup pot combine the water, veggie stock, split peas and ham hock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for one hour.
2. After one hour add carrots, onion, garlic, celery, salt, pepper and bouquet garni and simmer for 1 hour more.
3. Remove ham hock to cool, add potatoes and more water/stock if necessary to adjust consistency. Bring to a boil one again, then reduce and simmer 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cooked cubed ham pieces to warm and if desired, remove the skin, fat and bone from the ham hock and pull away pieces of meat to add to the soup.
4. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the bouquet garni and discard.
5. Serve with warm toasty bread, yum!

This soup makes about ten good sized servings and will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. It also freezes beautifully. A tasty and hearty meal for little money. That's what I like.

Chicken Soup For a Food Bully's Soul

This recipe is sooo easy, especially if you already have stock made. You can also use store bought organic stock, but it'll cost ya.
Another option is to buy a chicken that has already been roasted, just pull off all the meat and make the stock from the leftover carcass, use the meat for your soup)

6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 carrots, cut into bite size pieces
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic (optional, but if you want to kick the crap out of your cold, use it!)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely (optional)
Bouquet Garni (2 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, sage)
2 cups cooked chicken chunks (leftovers from the night before)
300 g of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into 2-3 inches pieces (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the stock in a large soup/stock pot over medium heat.
2. Saute onions, celery and carrots in olive oil for 5 minutes, add garlic and jalapeno pepper if using, saute 5 minutes more, careful not to burn the garlic.
3. Add vegetables, salt, pepper and bouquet garni to the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
5. Add chicken pieces to warm through and then add the noodles for approx. 10 minutes, checking to see when they are al dente.
6. Remove bouquet garni, adjust to taste with salt and pepper and serve with crackers, delish!

You can always adjust the stock or water amount if you like a thinner or thicker soup. Spice it up if you like or throw in a dollop of sour cream. Instead of noodles, you could add potatoes or rice. Sometimes I'll throw in some white wine too, why not. Make it your own and love it!

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Tomatoes and are in abundance right now, fresh, juicy and delicious. My basil in the garden is growing out of control so, after making a bunch of pesto to freeze, I'm using the rest in soups and sauces before the frost comes.

4 cups of homemade or organic vegetable broth
3 lbs of fresh tomatoes
4 large red bell peppers
2 shallots
1 head garlic
2 cups fresh basil
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Wash, core and slice bell peppers in half, place on a baking sheet, skin side up, brush with olive oil.
3. Slice the tops off the shallots and garlic head and place in a small baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, cover dish with foil.
4. Bake the garlic/shallots and red peppers for 30-45 minutes. (Garlic and shallots should be golden brown, red peppers: slightly blackened)
5. Wash and slice tomatoes in half and place on a large baking sheet.
6. Remove peppers, shallots and garlic from oven, let cool
7. Place the tomatoes on the bottom rack, cook for 30 minutes.
8. While the tomatoes are cooking, heat the vegetable stock in a large pot gently over medium heat. Peel the shallots and garlic and add to the stock. Peel the thin skin off the bell peppers and add to the stock.
9. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and scoop into the stock. Add the basil, salt and pepper. Stir well.
10. Using a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches, setting aside each smooth batch in one large bowl until finished.
11. Return pureed soup to soup pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
12. I sometimes peel, seed and chop 2-3 tomatoes and add them in for some chunkiness if you like. Do it before the last 30 minutes of simmering

**Optional: you may also add 1 cup of organic heavy cream with a pinch of nutmeg to make this an irresistible Cream of Tomato soup

Serve with freshly shaved parmesan cheese, sour cream and a toasted buttery baguette. Magnifico!

I will be posting a different soup every 1-2 weeks over the fall so check back for new ones. Remember, you can freeze all of these and they all make multiple meals. Enjoy

Jerk Chicken

Fired Up Jerk Chicken
Scotch Bonnet and Habanero chilies are extremely hot peppers from the same species. Scotch Bonnet peppers are cultivated from Habaneros and have a distinct flavour that give jerk dishes their unique taste. They are the traditional chilies to use with jerk chicken but you can use Habaneros if necessary. The peppers range in colour from green to orange, yellow, red and even stripes of all these colours. They are exceptionally hot, ranging from 100,000-350,000 Scoville Units. These units were designed, by a botanist of the same name, to measure degree of heat of different peppers. By comparison a Jalapeno pepper has an average Scoville Unit of 4000. So we are talking some Habanero heat, baby!
**Plan ahead so that the chicken can marinate overnight and up to 24 hours. Make sure to take care when handling the peppers, if possible, wear gloves when chopping and rubbing the chicken with the marinade. Wash everything throughly that touched the seeds and take care not to touch your face until you've washed your hands well. My nose burned for three hours one time after gently scratching it, seriously.

Serves 8
5 fresh Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chilies, seeded and finely chopped
2 small yellow onions, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, minced
8 green onions, chopped
1 large bunch of thyme, leaves peeled off and chopped
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons of ground allspice
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
freshly ground pepper
5-6 drumsticks, 2 chicken breasts, bone in, 2 chicken legs, thigh attached
I like to use a mortar and pestle to grind the chilies, garlic and thyme together to release the oils and bring out a richer flavour. You can do that first, then add to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. But for convenience, just throw it all into a food processor.
1. Make marinade: Process onion, green onion, garlic, chilies and thyme in a food processor until they form a rough paste. Add brown sugar, allspice, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, pepper and oil and process until smooth.
2. Save some marinade for brushing chicken while grilling, about a cup. Transfer marinade to a large bowl. Add the chicken and cover with the marinade. Put on latex gloves and rub the chicken well, trying to get the marinade under the skin and all over. Cover tightly and refrigerate over night and up to the following day.
3. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before grilling, about an hour. Remove extra 1 cup of "clean" marinade from refrigerator to come to room temp. as well.
4. Heat charcoal grill to low (for the best flavour, you must use a charcoal grill). Place chicken, skin side down and discard old marinade. Grill chicken, brushing occasionally with the reserved cup of fresh marinade, until the skin sides are well browned and not charred, about 25-30 minutes. Turn chicken and continue cooking and basting for about 20 minutes more. Wrap in foil and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serve with grilled pineapple, a crisp salad and rice and beans.
*picture of Scotch bonnet peppers courtesy of