Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Easy Salmon Chowder

I try to eat fish - especially salmon - at least twice a week, not only because I love it, but because salmon in so good for us, and fish of all kinds provide a lean source of protein.

During the summer I like to grill my fish - as evidenced by the large number of grilled fish recipes on this website - but come Autumn it's all about comfort for me, and what could be more comforting than a chowder?

The good news is, you can have comfort without the fat and calories.

Today's chowder is made unctuous and creamy with low fat cream cheese instead of butter and cream and, I have to tell you, it's absolutely delicious!

This one's a staple on my fall and winter dinner rotation - I hope you enjoy!

Easy Salmon Chowder
Printable recipe here 













Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 fist sized salmon filets, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 2 medium potatoes diced into 1x1 inch squares
  • 1 large diced carrot
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried dill
  • 1/2 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese light
Directions
  1. Saute the onion and salmon in a large soup pot in extra virgin olive oil over medium high just until the salmon begins to turn colour.
  2. Add the potatoes, carrots, Old Bay seasoning, creole seasoning, and stir.
  3. Pour the chicken stock over all, add the dill and the vinegar and bring to the boil, turn down slightly, cover, and continue to simmer at the boil until the potatoes are tender (about 12 minutes)
  4. Turn to low and stir in the cream cheese until smooth.



***

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 24, 2012

How to Roast the Perfect Chicken with Easy Pan Gravy

There are many theories about roasting chicken. Some say you should blast it at high heat, others say its all about the butter, and still more say it should be covered in salt.

To be honest, I've tried all those, and many more, but at the end of the day I discovered the easiest, and most flavourful way to roast a chicken is to use a method I learned from my dad - charmed up with a little Kitchen Witch magic, of course ;)













The printable instructions can be found here.

You will need:
  • 1, 3-5 pound roaster chicken
  • 1 tsp holiday essence salt, or kosher + 1 tbsp holiday essence or kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley (you can buy these all together as "Poultry herbs in your produce department)
  • Butcher's twine (very handy to have on hand - can be purchased in any hardware store)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp course grind black pepper
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 1 package Club House gravy in the chicken flavour (trust me)
  • a shallow pan with a roasting rack
To Roast the Chicken
  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets bag if the chicken came with one and give it a good rinse under cold water.
  3. Dry it well, inside and out and then salt the cavity with 1 tsp salt using my Holiday Essence blend or Kosher salt.
  4. Stuff the cavity with the lemons, onion, garlic, and herbs and truss the legs together.
  5. Mix the garlic powder, remaining salt, and pepper together and coat the chicken all over in this rub.
  6. Spray your roasting pan and rack with PAM, place the rack in the pan and the chicken on the rack. 
  7. Roast on the center rack uncovered until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 (app. 2- 2 1/2 hours) 
  8. Remove from the oven. Remove lemons, garlic, and onion from the cavity. Discard. Let chicken rest on a separate plate.
  9. Using a spatula, get all of the browning off the bottom of the pan (this should come off easily if you used PAM) Pour the browning and all of the pan juices into a gravy separator to remove the fat - or place the pan juices in a clear glass bowl into the freezer for 10 minutes. This will separate the fat from the broth, making it easy to spoon out. 
  10. Top up the de-fatted pan juices with water to make 1 cup (if making mashed potatoes use the potato water for this) and pour into a small sauce pan. Add the chicken gravy mix, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer stirring frequently. This makes AMAZING gravy.
  11. Serve with mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, pickled beets, and this delicious pan gravy for an easy, old fashioned Sunday dinner your entire family will love!



***

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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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Salmon and Hash Brown Casserole

This is, without a doubt, one of my favourite easy and affordable comfort food dishes!

Salmon and Hash Brown Casserole
Printable recipe Here













Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1/2 of a 1 kg pkg. frozen hash brown potatoes 
  •  1/3 cup melted butter  
  •  1 diced onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (can use low fat)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (can use low fat)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 small tins drained sockeye salmon, skin and bones removed, or 1 cooked salmon filet, shredded
  • 1 tbsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar 
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs:
Directions
  1. Place hash browns in a medium bowl. Add the diced onions. Pour butter over and mix well. 
  2. Mix sour cream, soup, egg, and salmon with dill, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Pour the hash browns into the bowl with the soup and mix everything together well. 
  4. Spoon into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been treated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese and panko. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour.


***

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
 


Cheesy Macaroni and Chili Casserole

This tasty casserole is a family favorite! It can be assembled in under 30 minutes and popped into the oven for a comforting, affordable, weeknight dinner.

Cheesy Chilighetti
Printable recipe here














Ingredients
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef or ground turkey (I use ground turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 sweet red or green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp taco seasoning mix
  • 1 398 ml tin deep brown beans
  • 1 540 ml tin Chili style diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 540 ml tin mixed beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese or Tex Mex blend by Kraft
  • 1 cup crumbled corn chips
 Directions
  1. Saute the ground turkey or beef, onion, and peppers over medium high heat in oil until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Stir in the taco mix, tomatoes, beans, and hot sauce. Turn to medium low and let simmer stirring periodically.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Cook the macaroni just until al dente (5-7 minutes) in well salted boiling water. 
  5. Drain the macaroni and place in a large bowl. Pour the chili over all and mix well. 
  6. Treat a shallow 4 liter casserole dish with cooking spray and spoon in half of the chili and macaroni.
  7. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese and cover with the rest of the macaroni and chili mixture. 
  8. Top with the remaining cheese and the cup of crumbled corn chips.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. 
 
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cherry Hill - Episode 13 Amanda Takes a Position as a Home Ec Teacher! 1st Recipe Salmon and Hashbrown Casserole

September 19, 1947

Dear Mother,

The children are back to school and are settling into their routines. Though Paul left me very comfortable and always had strong ideas about the notion of me working, Jack has encouraged me to take a position at the school teaching Home Economics part time.

It surprised me that he remembered I took teachers training prior to marrying Paul because it was certainly not something my husband ever talked about. However, Jack has been ever insistent and at the beginning of the school year, I applied. At first I was afraid but Jack kept pressing the importance of having a purpose and keeping busy and mother, he has been so right!

I teach three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the morning. This gives me time in the afternoons to get dinner ready for the children, look after household duties and continue to participate in my volunteer work.

Luckily for me the Protestant Ladies Association meets Tuesdays over lunch.

I will say, however, the idea has been met with some resistance from the Association - and especially from Mrs. Wilson.

Though she had experienced a slight thaw where I was concerned right after Paul's death, she's gone back to her old ways and never misses an opportunity to express her opinion that it is unseemly for I, a newly widowed wife, to be out in the world.

But where else could I be?

Looking back over the last few months, I'm proud of myself for stepping forward because, truly, I don't think I would survive another moment of grief all alone in this quiet house with the children at school.

And the students provide me with endless opportunities to smile. On some days this is such a God Send - especially since Nurse Val has been released from the hospital (still with no memory) and back into the town at large where she seems more than determined to re-kindle whatever it was she shared with Jack in high school!

I'm not sure how often she comes by the school, but I can tell you, on days when I'm working she's there!

Just yesterday Jack and I were having lunch at a picnic table in the school yard. The girls made the most wonderful salmon casserole that they insisted our tall blue eyed Mr. Wilson had to try and from out of the blue, there was Val with a bag lunch.

You should have seen the production when she realized he was already eating. Talking like a five year old as though I wasn't even there, she sidled in next to him and insinuated something about dessert.

It took every ounce of my dignity as a Christian woman not to reach across the table and strangle her.

I swear, mother, sometimes I get so angry about everything that has happened I can barley contain myself and with all of these unanswered questions still looming and keeping me up at night, being in Val's presence is simply not healthy for me.

Holding my head high because I refuse to let her intimidate me, I thanked Jack for joining me and made my way back to the classroom.

Behind my back I could hear Val's laughter and I had to blink back my own tears. For some reason I'm feeling betrayed all over again and, although I've resigned myself to the fact that I may never know what went on between that woman and my husband, I can't shake these feelings of foolishness and have vowed that if Val has set her sights on Jack, I'm going to give him wide berth. Yes, he is a good friend, but I won't be made fool of again.

On that note, I can see the children coming up the walk.

Give my love to father and the rest of the family.

As always,

Your loving daughter Amanda

ps... here is the recipe for the Salmon Casserole. it is really quite lovely!

Salmon and Hash Brown Casserole 
Printable Recipe Link













Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a 1 kg pkg. frozen hash brown potatoes 
  •  1/3 cup melted butter  
  •  1 diced onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (can use low fat)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup(can use low fat)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tins drained sockeye salmon, skin and bones removed, or 1 cooked salmon filet, shredded
  • 1 tbsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar 
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Directions

  1. Place hash browns in a medium bowl. Add the diced onions. Pour margarine over and mix well. 
  2. Mix sour cream, soup, egg, and salmon with dill, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Pour the hash browns into the bowl with the soup and mix everything together well. 
  4. Spoon into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been treated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese and panko. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Strip Loin

I was sharing on Facebook the other day my sense of relief that I seem to have gotten my cooking mojo back. Over the last few months of summer I was beginning to think my creativity had been tapped out and after an unfortunate incident with a turkey meatloaf last week (don't ask) I was almost ready to throw in my oven mitts.

But then something magical happened - sometime around noon Saturday afternoon my mind began to conjure... "I wonder what ground coriander would be like on that?" And before I knew it, I was feeling creative.

Which leads me to today's recipe. I had a couple of nice strip loins kicking around and decided to marinate them in a lovely balsamic dressing with an end goal in mind to create a warm salad.













Served with Pesto Roasted Potatoes, this was a lovely meal!

 Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad and Balsamic Strip Loin
Printable Recipe Here














Ingredients - Marinade
  • 2 6 oz strip loin steaks
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salad
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 8 sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Directions
  1. Place the steaks into a ziplock bag. Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over all. Seal well and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
  2. Bring the steaks to room temperature and grill 5-6 minutes per side. Let the steaks rest while you make the salad.
  3. Mix the tomato with the arugula
  4. Saute the mushrooms over medium high heat in 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil saving the remaining olive oil to finish.
  5. When the mushrooms have begun to release their water add the salt and pepper. 
  6. Add the balsamic vinegar, the remaining olive oil, and the garlic. Toss until the garlic is fragrant and then pour the warm dressing over the arugula and tomatoes.
  7. Divide the salad into halves on two plates. Serve each steak, thinly sliced over all.




***

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

Pesto Roasted Potatoes

I made the most incredible Italian style Warm Mushroom and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Marinated Strip Loin steaks the other night for dinner and, because this was truly a main dish salad, I thought that fluffy, crispy roasted potatoes would be a wonderful side.

In keeping with my Italian theme, I decided to roast the potatoes with a hint of pesto and I have to tell you, the result was out of this world!

Pesto Roasted Potatoes
Printable Recipe Here













Ingredients
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pesto sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Directions
  1. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain well.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, pesto, salt, and pepper; add potatoes and toss gently to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.)
  3. Arrange potatoes on parchment paper-lined or non stick cookie sheet treated with cooking spray. Roast in 400°F (200°C) oven, turning once, until tender-crisp and most liquid is evaporated, about 50 minutes.
  4. During last five minutes of cooking, turn the broiler on and broil potatoes until crispy and golden brown.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blackened Sesame Tuna with Asian Greens

I purchased a bag of individually vacuum packed Albacore Tuna last week and have been having fun coming up with recipe ideas like today's Blackened Sesame Tuna.














Served over an Asian style salad with my signature Asian dressing and you have a memorable lunch or dinner that is as good as anything you will have at a restaurant.

Please enjoy my quick how to video or visit the printable recipe for this dish: Blackened Sesame Tuna with Asian Greens




Blackened Sesame Tuna with Asian Greens














Ingredients
  • 2 Albacore tuna filets
  • 2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coarse grind black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
Salad
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 1 diced stalk celery
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1 small tin drained mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
Asian Dressing
  • 1/4 cup un-refined safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Directions
  1. Mix the sesame seeds, salt, pepper, garlic, and coriander together in a shallow dish and dredge the tuna coating both sides.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a mason jar and shake well. 
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large non stick pan over medium high. Sear the tuna 2-5 minutes per side depending on how done you like it drizzling each side with a little of the Asian dressing.
  4. Let the tuna rest 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the salad ingredients together and drizzle with some of the dressing. (you won't be using all of the dressing - it can be saved in the refrigerator for up to three weeks)
  6. Divide the salad in two and top each with the seared tuna and another drizzle of salad dressing.

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 15, 2012

How a Pork Tenderloin Saved my Life - Part 17: The Finale

If you're just catching up on my story, all of the other installments can be found here: How a Pork Tenderloin Saved My Life. 

***
The morning after the winners were announced we, the four selected hosts, had an early morning call time of 6 am in order to be on set by 7. Once there, we were given instructions about how the next few days would go: We would each be shooting two professional demonstration videos of our own original recipes that were pre-selected by KRAFT. I had sent in five potential candidates about a month earlier, and I was thrilled to see they had selected my Philly Chicks in a Blanket, and my Phyllo Wrapped Salmon Bundles. Both are delicious recipes and I was confident to share them.



















We were also told that we would be shooting an interview video introducing ourselves as hosts to the community, and a group video where we would be introducing the cookbook contest.

The studio and the makeup room became our home for the next two days. We would wait, primp, go to the studio, shoot something, and then wait some more - which, though it doesn't sound like that much fun on paper - I was having the time of my life and loved every second of it.

Though we cooked our dishes on camera, we were also fortunate to have Anna Olson's food stylist, Lisa Rollo working with us and I was like a sponge trying to sop up every bit of information that I could because a new idea for a hobby had begun to formulate in my mind...

In the meantime, the other hosts and I had a lot of opportunity to get to know one another and I grew to appreciate each of these women with whom I was sharing such a profoundly unforgettable experience. In fact, several times I had to pinch myself when the director, Matt Seigel from Eqal said "Action" wondering "Who gets to do this?"

The best hotels, beautiful people everywhere, someone to do my hair and makeup, being on camera, making people laugh, and just having fun - through the Real Women of Philadelphia I got to live a dream.

That evening, I packed, and headed for the airport in the hotel limo, realizing that what I got was merely a glimpse into the good life, and, as much as I loved it, it was all coming to an end.

For the rest of my life, I will never forget that limo ride. Watching as the buildings of Toronto sped by and thinking "This can't be it."

They say most things end as they begin and that life is a series of circles - which, in my case, has proven true.

My story began with me sitting on the couch one fateful Saturday evening wishing for more excitement in my life when an advertisement for a new reality TV show came on the screen for Recipe to Riches. Although I didn't quite make it to the show that first year, it was Recipe to Riches that began my quest.

And it's on season two that I will continue because me and my recipe for Asian Snack Wraps would be traveling to Toronto again for another cook off and a whole new adventure...

Thanks for reading along everyone - here's to more adventures ahead for us all!

Towanda.

***

Please enjoy my easy How To video for Salmon Bundles!


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Chicken Stew with Biscuit Topping

Out of all my Kitchen Witch recipes for Fall and Winter, this has to be my most requested and one I love to share when the weather gets cold and blustery!














It is also deceptively easy to make and can be put together ahead of time and frozen.

Please enjoy my step by step video so that you can put this beautiful Autumn casserole together yourself!

 

Chicken Stew with Biscuit Topping
For PRINTABLE RECIPE click here


 

















 Prep Time: 40 minutes 
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 3 large boneless breasts, cubed
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • one bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Herbes de  Provence or thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 3 diced potatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas 
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 12 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
To prepare:
  1. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, potatoes and celery. Add garlic powder, bay leaf, seasonings, and chicken broth to cover and boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Remove chicken and vegetables, strain broth into a bowl to use for later, and set aside.
  3. Saute the mushrooms, and onion, in a non stick pan in the butter over medium high heat. Sautee until the mushrooms begin to release their water. 
  4. Sprinkle flour over all and continue to saute until the veggies are well covered.
  5. Slowly add the reserved chicken stock and evaporated milk, bring to a boil and simmer until the gravy thickens.
  6. Add your reserved vegetables and chicken.
You can set this aside at this point or even freeze it to use later.

Biscuit Batter
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter.
  • 3/4 cup milk 
Directions
  1. Sift together dry ingredients
  2. Cut in the butter using clean hands and mix until mixture has a crumb texture.
  3. Stir in milk to make a soft dough 
  4. When ready to bake transfer stew to a casserole dish. Roll the dough into an 8 inch tube ) as per the video) and cut the biscuits into 9 equal portions. Drop the biscuit batter over the top to cover most of the filling.
Bake uncovered in a 400 oven for about 25 minutes until the stew is bubbling and the biscuits are golden.

And there you have the perfect comfort meal for a chilly Autumn or winter evening.




***

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


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Adventure Continues... I am a Finalist on Season 2 of Recipe to Riches!

Okay, it's time to let the cat out of the bag... those of you who've been around the blog awhile will remember my disappointment when I auditioned for season 1 of Recipe to Riches and almost made it onto the show. A disappointment that then turned to opportunity via The Real Women of Philadelphia contest.

But what I haven't shared - until today that is - is that I auditioned for Season 2 and this time I was selected as a finalist! This in itself is something I'm incredibly proud of as thousands of Canadians auditioned or submitted recipes. Plus, crossing "Cook on the Food Network" off my bucket list has been really quite thrilling!

But now that the cat's officially out, I would be remiss if I didn't share with you, my dear readers, the stress and angst I put myself through prior to getting on the plane and heading for Toronto.

Pretty much, every neurotic fear a person could possibly drum up, along with a few more I'm considering trade marking, were running through my mind the night before I left. On one hand, this was something I had been dreaming about for two years, but on the other hand - was I, INSANE?

Don't answer that.

And sitting on the couch self medicating with a tub of Ben and Jerry's - low fat, thankyou very much - I began to worry about the endless possibilities for potential disaster... what if I forgot an ingredient? What if the judges hated me? What if I made a fool of myself on national television? Or worse... what if I initiated some regrettable form of group hugging?

People, WHAT IF????














So that's what was on my mind the night before the next big adventure of my life. Racing thoughts about my recipe, the fear of failure under pressure, and how many pounds the camera might actually add when...

What was that?

I felt a weird sensation in my left arm right below the arm pit and immediately jumped to the worse case scenario: I was having the Big One.

Again.

So I jumped off the couch and did the fifty yard dash down the hallway to the bedroom where my husband was watching TV.

By now I'm clutching my left arm, my face has gone the colour of chalk, and I'm heavy breathing "This is it!!!"

Thankfully, The Man I Married has been around for many imaginary heart related incidents - including the time at Superstore when I lost my mind down the detergent aisle - so he was able to keep a relatively cool head.

"Is the feeling just in your armpit or is it running down your arm?" asks the man of the hour.

Until then, it had only been in my armpit, but as soon as he asked, I became aware of an odd sensation swooping down my arm.

I hit myself several times in the forearm and said "Yes!! Yes!! It's now running down my arm!"

Are your fingers tingling?

They hadn't been before, but as soon as he asked, I could feel slight tingling starting in my right thumb.

"Yes!! Yes!! I'm tingling... Oh my God, I'm tingling!!! What does that mean???"

I'm certain he was sorry he asked.

The good news is that my bout with pre-reality TV panic only lasted about 10 more minutes and I was able to get my act together enough to pack my bags and head to Toronto.

As to what happened next... you'll have to watch the episode I'm in which airs on October 24th! Better still, watch the entire season. It begins October 17th on Food Network Canada,

Now, back to regularly scheduled blogging!

With Autumn in the air, you're definitely going to want to have my recipe for Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tartlets in your repertoire! The printable recipe can be found here: Mushroom Tartlets.

Enjoy the step by step video!


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