Friday, August 24, 2012

Creamed Tuna in Toast Cups

Now that I'm back to work, I've become obsessed with easy to prepare, quick dinners that take little effort on a busy weeknight - so you can expect lots of that sort of thing over the next few weeks (you know, until I get onto some other obsession ;)

In the spirit of this, I'm going to share a recipe from my childhood that I have tweaked slightly for "Creamed Tuna in Toast Cups."













Printable recipe here: Creamed Tuna in Toast Cups
Ingredients

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use 1/2 fat)
1/4 cup Chive and Onion cream cheese (I use light)
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tin tuna, drained
2 chopped hard boiled eggs
12 slices of your favorite bread
3 slices process cheese

Bring the water to boil and add the peas. Let boil a minute and turn down to medium low. Add the soup, cream cheese, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Add the tuna and the eggs and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Cut the crusts off the bread and using a rolling pin, roll them flat. Place a slice of bread into each muffin cup. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toasted and crispy.

Cut the cheese slices into quarters. Fill each cup with app. 1/3 cup of the tuna mixture. Top each with a cheese slice and put under the broiler just until the cheese is melted.

Serve with a tossed green salad 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.

Facebook Twitter YouTube

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cherry Hill, Episode 12 - Amanda Grieves

When we last visited the sleepy 1940’s town of Cherry Hill Saskatchewan our heroine, Amanda Fitzpatrick was faced with terrible news. Her husband, the town doctor Paul, had been killed in a terrible car wreck leaving the car’s other occupant, Nurse Valerie Peterson in a coma. 

In the time since, Amanda’s parents came to stay with her and tried to convince her to sell the house, pack up her two children, Sally and Bobby, and move back to Nova Scotia. 

But Amanda felt this would be too much change for the children. Knowing the adjustment they would have to make with their father gone, she didn’t want to pull them away from other familiar aspects of their lives. 

With the help of friends and neighbours, including the surprising support of town matriarch Mrs. Wilson,  Amanda has slowly begun to work through her grief - although at the other end of it, she has been left with some troubling questions… 

We resume our web series with the following letter from Amanda to her mother…

August 21, 1947

Dear Mother, 

It’s so terribly hard to believe that it’s already been two months since Paul’s passing. On one hand, the time seems to have passed by in a fog, one day bleeding into the next, but on the other hand the world keeps moving forward and I feel the need to move with it for the sake of the children. 

Both Sally and Bobby have been doing well, and I truly have the Wilsons and Jack to thank for that. 

Mrs. Wilson has been an angel, bringing Sally into her kitchen where she's been teaching her how to to bake and cook simple meals...

 

and Jack has continued to coach Bobby, taking him to the park for rounds of catch. 
  
He took both children on a fishing trip last weekend and they came home so excited after having caught and cleaned their very own fish and cooked it over an open fire. 

But I can’t rely on the good will of friends and neighbours forever and as much as I'm still deep in the throes of my own grief, I realize I must take the steps to begin moving on. 

If only I didn’t still have so many questions – and, yes, I know mother, you have urged me to let all that go, but I may go crazy if I don’t get to the bottom of why Nurse Val and Paul were driving around at that time of night with liquor in the car! 

I'm not lacking in intelligence and, certainly, if I were to put two and two together in the same way the rest of the town has done, I would have to conclude Paul was up to no good.

But the soft-hearted side of me remembers Paul’s proposal, remember mother? Or the night he built the children the ice rink and pretended it was Santa Clause. Those parts believe that there still might be some other explanation. 

This is what keeps me awake at night. If there were some other explanation as to why Paul was spending so much time with Nurse Val, perhaps then I could forgive him and more easily work through this heaviness on my heart. 

Unfortunately, though, the only person who really knows what was going on between them is Nurse Val herself and though she has finally come out from her coma, she developed a case of amnesia and remembers nothing that has happened to her during the last five years. 

It seems the only person she remembers and will talk to is Jack. I was unaware that the two of them were quite the item in high school before he went away to war. Now she claims he is the only person she can trust as she unravels what is left of her mind. 

In the meantime, I'm trying to remember the good Christian woman I was brought up to be and am doing everything in my power not to judge the woman who was found with my dead husband alone on a dark country road with a car load full of empty bottles. 

Oh mother!

Whatever will I do?

As always, 

Your loving daughter, 

Amanda 

To view the next installment of my popular Cherry Hill series, visit this link: Amanda Cooks Easter Dinner

***

Missed an episode, need to catch up? Follow this link to all of the fun: Cherry Hill


Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilled Prawns over Pineapple Rice

Hello everybody - I hope all is well in your personal necks of the woods! Things are chugging along nicely for me.

Although my summer vacation has no officially come to an end, I feel incredibly well rested and excited to embark on another year of work.

And along with that comes great recipes and other fun, foodie type things because my cooking life is, truly, what keeps the rest of my life in balance!

So to kick off getting back to work, I have a super special and outrageously delicious recipe to share for succulent grilled prawns served up over a bed of pineapple rice.

I know!














Please enjoy the recipe and my Step by Step video to see how it all comes together.
Printable recipe here: Grilled Prawns Pineapple Rice

 

Ingredients Marinade
  • 1-2 pounds fresh prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  •  1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Asian chile garlic sauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
Directions
  1. Mix the above ingredients together and marinate the jumbo prawns for 4-6 hours.
  2. Remove the prawns and place on skewers. Reserve the marinade.
  3. Bring the reserved marinade to a boil in a small pot. 
  4. Grill the prawns at 400 for 3-4 minutes per side brushing liberally with the marinade. 
  5. Serve over the pineapple rice with more marinade drizzled over all.
Pineapple Rice Ingredients
  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 stalk diced celery
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, white and green sections chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil for stir-frying, or as needed
  •  1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cups cold cooked rice, scented jasmine or basmati if possible
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  •  1 tsp sugar
 Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add the white onion, garlic, celery, jalapenos, gingr and green pepper and stir-fry until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, curry powder and sugar and stir-fry
  4. Add the rice, break up any clumps and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  5. Add the pineapple and stir-fry to mix them in.
  6. Serve with the grilled prawns and enjoy!!


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mexican Hashbrown Casserole

I have many pantry staples that I always keep on hand for putting together quick and easy dinners. Some of those include frozen hash brown potatoes, taco seasoning, cream cheese, and stewed tomatoes.

So with the weather hot, and grocery day pending, I decided to put together a meal featuring these pantry favorites and let them cook in the crock pot leaving my kitchen cool and this cook stress free!

Ground beef is sauteed with vegetables, taco spice, and stewed tomatoes - while a surprise addition of cream cheese adds just the right level of unctuousness at the very end!

It gets layered in a crock pot between blankets of hash brown potatoes, cheese and peppers, and then, topped with more cheese...

It cooks for 4-6 hours on low while you head out to do more exciting things!

And the result:

A scrumptious casserole the whole family will love!

Visit the printable recipe here: Mexican Hash Brown Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 can Aylmer Accents Chili Style Stewed Tomatoes (540 mL) or other stewed tomatoes of your choice
  • 1 small tin chopped green chilies
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese or sour cream
  • 1/2 kg pkg of frozen hash browns
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar Cheese
Directions
  1. Saute the ground beef, onions, and peppers in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat until the ground beef is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the taco seasoning, green chilies, and stewed tomatoes.
  3. Stir in the cream cheese.
  4. Add the frozen hash browns and mix well.
  5. Spray a 3 quart dutch oven casserole dish or crock pot with cooking spray.Spread half the hamburger mixture over the bottom and top with one cup of cheese, pour the rest over all and top with the last cup of cheese,
  6. Cook at 350 for 1 hour or on the low setting four hours.



***

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
 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Orange Marinated Asian Shish Kababs

Sometimes I get in the mood for a good Asian inspired stir fry. But with the weather as hot as it's been, I haven't had the heart to fire up the wok.

Yesterday I got to thinking, though, and decided I could probably re-create something like a stir fry on my outdoor grill as a Shish Kabob.














Tender nuggets of lean sirloin were bathed overnight in a gingery citrus marinade and then threaded onto skewers with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and peppers.

Grilled until beautifully seared on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside...














These were Kababs to remember - and ones I will make again and again!

Please enjoy my step by step how to video, or skip over to the printable recipe.




Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean beef sirloin cut into cubes
  • 16 mushroom caps
  • 8 metal skewers, or as needed
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 16 small florets of broccoli
  • 1 large onion, cut into large squares
Marinade
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp each fresh grated ginger and garlic
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Asian Chili sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  
Directions

  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together and pour 3/4 of it over the beef into a resealable plastic bag, Reserve the other 1/4 cup in the refrigerator to use for grilling. Marinate 8 hours or overnight. 
  2. Add the mushrooms to the bag the last four hours of marinating. 
  3. Preheat your outdoor grill to high (350-400)
  4. Thread pieces of green bell pepper, beef, broccoli, mushroom, and onion onto metal skewers, repeating until all ingredients are skewered. 
  5. Brush the skewers with the reserved marinade.
  6. Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently and brushing with the reserved marinade until nicely browned on all sides and the meat is slightly pink in the center, about 12 minutes.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Salmon Neptune

There's nothing I like better for elegant entertaining than wrapping my entree up in a nice little bundle of puff pastry or phyllo.

This can be done in the morning and then 30 minutes before dinner, you - as relaxed hostess - simply pop your bundles into the oven and serve drizzled with an unctuous cream sauce like this one for my Salmon Neptune made with baby prawns.













Expect lots of ooooooohs and ahhhhhhhs as you bring this one to the table - just don't let on how easy it was to make!

To get the printable recipe, visit: Salmon Neptune.

Or watch the step by step How To video!




Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 frozen pre-rolled puff pastry sheet (13x20 cm) (can also be made using phyllo pastry)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (if using phyllo)
  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets sockeye salmon, skin removed 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic packed in olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or dill
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 1 cup cooked baby shrimp
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese   
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
  2. Cut pastry into 4 equal pieces (if using phyllo, brush each seperate sheet with melted butter as per the video) place 1 salmon fillet on the centre of each pastry piece. Season with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Top with fresh herbs.
  3. Fold sides of pastry over salmon and press pastry together to seal the seam. Brush with egg wash. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes more or until pastry is flaky and golden brown. (If using phyllo bake at 375 for 25 minutes) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Meanwhile, saute the shallot in the additional tbsp of olive oil. When they're soft, add the shrimp and saute until they're warmed through. 
  6. Add the broth, wine, and lemon juice and continue to simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Add the cream cheese and drizzle equal amounts over each bundle.

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

 

How to Make a Grilled California Club

When the weather is hot, we turn our backyard into a kitchen and do just about all of our cooking on the grill. My husband and I sit outside on these long, lazy evenings sipping iced tea, lemonade, or a chilled glass of chardonnay and take the chance to reconnect in ways we seldom do when the weather is colder and the TV is on.

One of our favourite things to do on the grill are really great artisan style sandwiches and last night we came up with a California Club using my new recipe for Bacon Salt.

 I have to tell you with all honesty, these tasted every bit as delicious as they look!













To assemble: 
  1. Sprinkle a boneless, skinless chicken breast with bacon salt and grill until tender.
  2. Brush extra virgin olive oil onto both sides of a good quality Panini bread and grill to toast.
  3. Spread the bread with Hellmans light mayonnaise and then top with the chicken, sliced avocado, sliced tomatoes, and lettuce.
The smoky bacon salt gives that nice hint of bacon without all the extra calories and the sandwich itself it amazing!


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Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Make a Watermelon Vodka Mojito

This amazing drink has been my favorite libation of the summer!

Cool, sweet, but never cloying - this drink is a must to have in any cocktail recipe collection!

Watermelon Mojitos






















Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Oz vodka
  • 1/2 cup of cut watermelon
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • Half of one lime cut into 3 wedges
  • Splash of club soda
  • 1.5 Oz Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 8 Ice cubes 
  • 1 cup crushed ice
Directions
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the watermelon, mint, limes and sugar, until you smell the fresh mint
  2. Add 2 Oz of vodka
  3. Add the sweet and sour mix
  4. Add 8 ice cubes
  5. Shake it - 10 times at least
  6. Strain into a glass full of crushed ice
  7. Top the drink with club soda and stir
For more fun, watch my how to video!


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How to Make Bacon Salt

Last week my friend Jerry Diegel commented that he used to make bacon salts using smoked paprika. Immediately intrigued, I began to conceive of how I might make such a wonderful flavoured salt for myself - especially since I love the taste of bacon but can't always afford the calories it brings.

I quickly went to google, saw some ideas I liked, and then conceived of a recipe of my own.

And the result: a smoky, bacon flavoured, delight - perfect for sandwiches, potatoes, eggs, or whatever else might benefit from a lovely smoky bacon flavoured salt.


To make your own bacon salt in a spice grinder combine:
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled, or real bacon bacon bits
  •  1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
Pulse until it forms a nice course salt blend


Store in an air tight container and refrigerate.


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My Favourite Macaroni Salad Recipe

This is one of those recipes I've kept on an index card over the years and have been meaning to commit to computer! It isn't my recipe, and I'm not sure who the originator is, but it's the best macaroni salad I've ever had and one that people gobble up to the last drop when I bring it to potlucks.

If you don't already have an amazing macaroni salad in your repertoire, definitely, give this one a try.

I made it last night with barbecued smokies. Look how pretty!

Macaroni Salad
Printable Recipe













Ingredients

* 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
* 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
* 3 green onions, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
* 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
* 1/2 tbsp sweet relish
* 2 cups creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
* 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 2 1/4 teaspoons white vinegar
* 3/4 teaspoon celery salt

Directions

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, onion, celery, red pepper, pickles and relish.

In a small bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mustard, white sugar, vinegar, and celery salt. Pour over the vegetables, and stir in macaroni until well blended.

Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. The longer you chill this one, the better it gets!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Eggs, Chopping, and Designer Salts - Oh My!

Hi everyone,

I thought I better drop a note for all of my subscribers to reassure you that I am still alive :-)

But with Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen on a break for the Olympics and me on staycation, I've been taking a much needed break and spending time in the kitchen brushing up on my basics.

Yesterday I spent the morning poaching and flipping eggs (what a mess that was - but sweet celebration when I finally did it!)
















Behold, my perfectly over easy egg!

In the afternoon I worked on my knife skills and, as a result, have a lot of diced carrots and onions on hand to cook with today. Any suggestions what I should make?

I've also been over at VCon - today's video from me a flavour boost describing how to make designer salt. Here's the link if you want to check it out... Designer Salt.

And as I seem to be slowly emerging from my lovely summer laziness, expect a return to the kitchen in full force as my urge to can and preserve things grows strong. The domestic force is always strong within me, Jedi's, as summer turns to fall...

Hope you're all having a great week!

xoxo

Lyndsay