Monday, September 26, 2011

Halloween Cocktail: Screamtinis

Hey all you adult ghosts and goblins!!

You've got to try my FABULOUS new cocktail for Halloween, the Screamtini!!







Made with vodka, peach schnapps, and a few drops of eye of newt, this delicious libation is sure to please even the pickiest spectre!!







 




Ingredients
  • two ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce peach schnapps
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1 cup Fuze Refresh Peach Mango drink
  • 2-3 drops red food colour
  • 2-3 drops yellow food colour
Directions

Shake all ingredients together in a martini shaker filled with ice. Strain and enjoy!



***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Halloween Feast - Roast Pork Loin with Wild Rice Stuffing and Duchesse Ghost Potatoes

 It's getting to be that time of year again when I start thinking about Halloween and all of the Spooktacular foodie related things this time of year can bring.

As many of you know, my son is all grown up and living on his own. But this doesn't mean I've given up my love for Halloween - in fact I think I even enjoy it more now because nowadays it's all about having fun as adults. And what could be more fun than a whimsical dinner party featuring succulent roast pork and ghostly little potatoes?

 The Duchesse Ghost potatoes are from a recipe I found in Gourmet Magazine and are not only super easy to make, they are lovely tasting - fluffy and creamy on the inside with a beautiful golden crispy coating.

Better still, they can be made ahead in the morning or even the day before, placed on a parchment covered baking sheet, covered and refrigerated until ready to bake.


For the Duchesse Potato recipe, click HERE.

To make the pork loin, you will start by butterflying the meat. If unsure how to do this, here is an excellent instructional video that shows how to butterfly and stuff a roast.

Cooks note: I always place my butterflied pork loin under plastic wrap and take some of my aggressions out, pounding it nice and thin before stuffing and rolling.

Brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil and then season all over with salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence (about 1 tsp each per side). Spread with wild rice stuffing, roll, and tie off. Roast uncovered in a 325 oven until pork reaches an internal temperature of 165.

Let rest on the counter under a tinfoil tent for fifteen minutes before carving.

Serve with Au Jus sauce. I use a delicious one made by Knorr's and add to that to the pan juices.

Printable Pork Loin Recipe HERE

















 Wild Rice Stuffing Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup chopped button mushrooms
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Directions
  1. Cook the wild rice in beef stock, covered on low for 45-55 minutes until stock is all absorbed, 
  2. In a non stick pan sprayed with cooking spray, sautee the mushrooms, onion, and apple until caramelized and mushrooms have released their water. 
  3. Add garlic and sautee another minute. 
  4. Add sherry, thyme, sage, salt, and black pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes until the alcohol has cooked off. 
  5. Stir in the butter until it melts. Fold in the cherries and almonds.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spaghetti with Chorizo Sausage

Today I'd like to introduce another pantry staple - or in my case - freezer staple, that's delicious to have on hand for quick and flavourful dishes like today's Spaghetti with Chorizo Sausage.

This is a wonderfully flavourful meal that can be put together from start to finish in 30 minutes using today's pantry staple: cooked chorizo sausage.

Cooked chorizo adds a lovely, smokey, paprika infused element to dishes and is perfect with flavours like roasted red pepper, tomatoes, olives, and cheese.

For a quick and easy weeknight meal, or a savoury Saturday night pasta, enjoy this with your favourite red like a nice Spanish Rioja.

Creating everyday magic is about embracing the flavours, essence, and simplicity of good food with the people you love in an atmosphere of relaxed comfort.

So put on some music, pour a glass of wine, and unwind in the kitchen. Life is hectic enough, cooking should be simple.

I hope you enjoy!

Spaghetti with Chorizo Sausage
Prep time: 10 min/ Cook time: 20 min/ Serves: 6
For printable recipe click HERE

Ingredients
  • 2 pre-cooked chorizo sausages, diced into small 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 5 sweet ripe tomatoes chopped (campari are nice) or a small tin of tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp sweet roasted red pepper (from the jar)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp each dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese, light
  • 1/2 cup KRAFT shredded Italiano cheese
  • 1 handful spaghetti
  • fresh cracked black pepper to finish
Directions
  1. Saute the sausage and onion over medium high heat in a large non-stick skillet until the onions are soft and golden and sausage begins to crisp. There is no need to use additional oil in the pan as the sausage has fat in it. 
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and sautee another 30 seconds until fragrant. 
  3. Add tomatoes, roasted red pepper, peas, and olives. Continue to stir fry for a minute. 
  4. Add the chicken stock and dried herbs and bring to the boil. Let boil for about a minute. 
  5. Add the cream cheese, and the shredded cheese. Turn element to low and let getnly simmer stirring occasionally while the pasta cooks. 
  6. Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water for 7 minutes. Add about a 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the sauce, stir well and then add the cooked spaghetti directly to the sauce. 
  7. Mix well to coat and enjoy!


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Rocco's Dinner Party

I have been a fan of Rocco Dispirito since I first watched him on The Restaurant - and as a big believer in giving credit where credit is due, I would like to go on record by saying I believe Rocco is the founding father of the reality cooking show.

 Before The Restaurant there was no Hell's Kitchen, Top Chef, or Restaurant Impossible - and I can remember tuning in with excitement - enthralled watching Rocco cook in a fabulous assortment of expensive sweaters and button down shirts (tails out) while he navigated the pitfalls of a precarious business arrangement.

Through it all, he provided charisma, great food, love for his mother, and enough drama to keep it interesting- which makes me excited to see him back, this time with Rocco's Dinner Party. 

As a person who lives for throwing dinner parties, the show provides excellent ideas for decorating, creating unique table settings and menu ideas for your next gathering!

I can't wait to see what they're cooking up next week. For Canadians, Rocco's Dinner Party airs on the W Network Monday evenings at 10:00 pm.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Turkey Meatball Marinara Sandwiches

In the spirit of creating healthy recipes out of old classics, today I'm featuring my version of a meatball sub and I believe that, if just for the meatballs alone, I have concocted a spectacular sammie!

I also want to introduce you to a couple of ingredients my husband has got me onto: pickled banana peppers, and sweet roasted red peppers in the jar. Both add amazing flavour to these dynamite little meatballs without additional fat and calories. And don't be afraid of heat. In the amounts listed, the heat in these meatballs is mild - and the taste is out of this world!

I loved these meatballs so much I plan to adapt the recipe next week to serve with spaghetti. Stay tuned!

Turkey Meatball Marinara Sandwiches
For printable recipe click HERE

















 Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey 
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup diced black olives
  • 1 heaping Tbsp diced pickled banana peppers
  • 1 heaping Tbsp diced sweet roasted red peppers (in the jar)
  • 1/2 tsp each dried thyme, oregano, basil, salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup pasta sauce - I like Ragu light tomato and basil
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch mixed with one Tbsp water to form a slurry
  • 6 whole wheat panini buns
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Cheese - mozarella or provolone
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix the turkey, feta, olives, peppers, spices, salt and pepper. Shape into balls and place in a shallow casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 
  3. Cover with the pasta sauce and bake for 60 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Remove meatballs from the casserole and add cornstarch slurry to the sauce in the dish. Stir well and return to oven for 3-5 minutes. This will thicken the sauce - give it a good whisk when it comes out of the oven. You will be using this instead of mayonnaise or other high calorie/fat options on the sub. 
  5. Turn on broiler.
  6. Split the panini buns and lightly brush with extra virgin olive oil. Place on a baking tray and lightly toast under the broiler.
  7. Place three meatballs on each bun and then ladle on some sauce. Top with cheese and put back under the broiler until melted. 
**Note, I added some cooked baby spinach to my sandwich to add nutrients.**




***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Curried Chicken Breasts with Coconut Almond Pilaf

When I was first married I used to cook comfort food dishes that featured chicken breasts, rice, and cream of mushroom soup - and though I still enjoy casseroles and dishes made with these combinations, my palette has changed over the years as I have learned to experiment with new flavours.

Today's recipe represents an adaptation of that comfort classic with an Indian/Thai Kitchen Witch twist.













Not only is this dish delicious, it plates beautifully - and though it is as easy to put together as those comfort dishes of yore, the taste and presentation has a wow factor that takes an everyday idea into a whole new realm.

I hope you enjoy!

You can watch a live cooking demo here...




Curried Chicken Breasts with Coconut Almond Pilaf
For printable recipe click Here 

















Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder - mix together
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp green curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp Asian Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp water to form a slurry
Rice Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 cup or one small tin canned mandarin oranges
  • 2 sliced green onions
  • 1 cup basmati rice
Directions
  1.  Preheat oven to 350
  2. Spray a shallow casserole dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken breasts on both sides with the salt, pepper, garlic, onion  powder mixture and place in casserole.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut milk, curry paste, chili garlic sauce, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice, and curry powder. Pour over chicken, cover, and bake for 55 minutes. 
  4. When chicken has baked for 55 minutes, remove from oven and add the cornstarch slurry. Stir well into sauce, cover, and return to oven for five minutes. This will perfectly thicken the sauce.
  5. When the chicken has been in the oven 40 minutes, begin cooking the rice according to package directions. 
  6. In a non stick pan, toast the sliced almonds and coconut over medium heat, stirring constantly until the almonds are golden brown and the coconut is brown and crispy. Set aside until ready to serve. 
  7. When the rice is cooked, add the green onions, mandarin oranges, and 1/2 the toasted almond and coconut mixture. Stir and place a dollop of the rice onto a plate. 
  8. Place a chicken breast over the rice, and spoon a generous amount of sauce over all. 
  9. When each chicken breast is plated, top each with an equal amount of the reserved toasted almond and coconut mixture.

***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Creamy Tex Mex Chicken in Avocado Corn Crepes

Hi everyone!

I'm excited to feature one of my absolute favourite recipe creations: Philly Chicks in a Blanket.

Delicious cornmeal crepes filled with creamy Tex Mex  chicken! Better still it can all be made ahead of time and re-heated before serving making it another great dish for entertaining!

This has become a favourite go to for Father's Day!





















The use of Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese and avocado in place of butter in the batter not only makes for an incredibly flavourful crepe, it also cuts the calories! I hope you'll try this.

Please enjoy the how to video!
Visit the printable recipe here:  Philly Chicks in a Blanket 



    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Cook time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 60 minutes
    Servings: 4

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup(s) of plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup(s) of plus 2 Tbsp plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. of kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese regular or light
  • 1 tbsp. of mashed ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp. of finely diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1/4 cup(s) of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cup(s) of chicken tenders (one small package) cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tsp. of Creole seasoning spice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of finely diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup(s) of canned stewed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup(s) of Salsa Verde
  • 1/2 tsp. of cumin
  • 1/2 cup(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, regular or light
Directions
  1.     For the Crepes: Mix the flour, cornmeal, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2.  In a separate bowl mash together the avocado and cream cheese until soft and well blended.
  3. In a third bowl whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add milk, jalapeno pepper and cilantro. Whisk in the softened avocado and cream cheese (don't worry about lumps)
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour and cornmeal mixture and gently stir until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate while you cook the filling.
  5. Sprinkle the chicken tenders with creole spice and saute with the onion, red pepper and jalapeno pepper in olive oil over medium high heat. When the chicken in cooked through and the vegetables are soft and translucent, add the minced garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
  6. Add the tomatoes, salsa, cumin, and cream cheese and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Cover and keep warm while you make the crepes.
  7. To make the crepes: Spray a non-stick skillet or crepe pan with non-stick cooking spray. Heat pan on medium high.
  8. When pan is hot, add app. 1/4 cup of the crepe batter. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
  9. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Set aside, cover, and keep warm. (the first crepe sometimes doesn't work. If this happens, don't worry, the next will be fine)
  10. Fill each crepe with about a 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Fold over and spoon a little more over the top. Garnish with fresh cilantro.


***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Florentine

I swear, the older I get the more I have come to love spaghetti as my pasta of choice. Cooked to al dente and smothered with a delicious mushroom and spinach cream sauce, you just can't go wrong with today's original recipe!

The flavours in this comforting pasta dish mimic a favourite pizza topping and with no heavy cream or butter, it provides a lower calorie option when nothing but creamy carbs will do!

I hope you will try this because it really is a lovely recipe.

Click here for the how to video. In this incarnation I use egg noodles to create a wonderfully comforting dish over the holidays!



Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Florentine
For printable recipe click here




















Ingredients
  • 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced into small bite sized pieces 
  • 6 button mushroom sliced
  • 3 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese light
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (optional but so good)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large handful spaghetti 
Directions
  1. Sautee the chicken and mushrooms in a non stick pan that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil over medium high heat until chicken in golden brown and mushrooms have released their water.
  2. Add the thyme, oregano, and basil and stir to coat chicken and mushrooms
  3. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
  4. Add the chicken broth and garlic and bring to a boil. Let reduce by about 1/4.
  5. Add the cream cheese and gruyere cheese and stir well to melt. reduce heat to low and let simmer and thicken while the spaghetti noodles cook.
  6. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add pasta and cook 7-8 minutes until just al dente.
  7. Drain spaghetti and add it directly to the sauce. Mix well and let sit 3-5 minutes. This will ensure the pasta is very flavourful and well coated. 
  8. Add salt, pepper, to taste. Add pine nuts if using.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chorizo Sausage and Hot Banana Pepper Appetizer

It's an absolutely beautiful September day and in the spirit of heading into to fall, I had to share a recipe from my husband for the most fabulous appetizers!

Spicy Chorizo sausage mixed with hot pickled banana peppers, roasted sweet red pepper, extra old cheddar, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese wrapped in a tortilla shell and baked until crispy on the outside with a zesty, creamy filling in every bite. Serve with an ice cold beer and get ready for hockey season!

Chorizo Sausage and Hot Banana Pepper Appetizers
For printable recipe click HERE

















Ingredients
  • 2 pre-cooked chorizo sausages diced small
  • 1/4 cup(s) of roughly chopped pickled hot banana peppers
  • 1/4 cup(s) of chopped roasted sweet red pepper (in the jar)
  • 1 cup(s) of extra old cheddar
  • 1/2 cup(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, light or regular
  • 7 soft burrito shells
  • 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Fry the diced chorizo sausage in a non stick pan until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Mix the chorizo sausage, peppers, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese in a medium bowl until well blended.
  4. Lay all the tortillas out and equally distribute the sausage mixture among them on the lower 1/3 of the tortilla, about 1/2 inch from the edge. 
  5. Roll up tightly. Cut the ends off so that the filling comes right to the edge. Cut each tortilla into 4 equal bite size pieces
  6. Place seam side down and not touching on a baking sheet that has been brushed with extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Brush each bite with more extra virgin olive oil and then bake in a 425 oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube