Monday, 14 January 2013

Spicy Orange Chicken

I would say we have stir-fry about once a week. It's a good way to get rid of the lonely vegetables in the fridge. More often than not, it's vegetarian. Sometimes there's peanuts, sometimes there's tofu. Once in a while, there's chicken.

Things were looking up for this most recent stir-fry as there were sweet peppers, chicken, carrots, broccoli and snap-peas in the fridge. I've tried a million different recipes for stir-fry sauce and I'm always looking for more. I found this great resource that has some very simple recipes. Turns out we had everything for the Spicy Orange Sauce:
Spicy Orange Stir-Fry Sauce

3/4 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. finely grated orange peel
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper, or to taste

My Review: This sauce was great! The recipe made quite a bit, so either cut it in half for just 2 people or make sure you have lots of rice to soak up the sauce.  The orange was not overwhelming and the cornstarch made it nice and thick.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu (kind of)

Look at that lovely, perfect swirl of chicken, ham and cheese! This lovely and creative dish was made by Jason and was lovingly altered to be gluten free. We planned out our weekly menu on Sunday and researched this one together. Sometimes it's nice to try something totally different and a little out of your comfort zone to keep meals (and cooking) interesting. With the hectic schedule we sometimes need to adhere to, making time for work, friends, dogs, ski lessons etc, I can really get stuck in a stirfry/spaghetti rut. Allrecipes pulled us out of that rut with this dinner AND a wonderful lunch the next day at work.

Chicken Cordon Bleu


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese (weird math... I only purchased 4 slices Swiss cheese)
  • 4 slices cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (gluten free for me!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 7x11 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.
  3. Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.
My Review: Having someone else cook dinner was a real treat and I have no complaints. I have to give credit not only to the chef, but to the high quality Swiss cheese from the Italian Market. Swiss has failed to impress me in the past but this stuff was great and fresh.

Jason's Review: It was easy and I would make it five times a week.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Beef & Broccoli

Now before I tell you that I didn't really like this dish, let me tell you that I don't really like beef. Beef and I have a strange relationship. When I was 13, I stopped eating meat cold turkey (why don't they call it cold beef?) and did not venture back into the world of chicken until I was about 22. From there, I would try the odd beef dish but found that the idea of beef was better than the actual taste.

At this point in my life, I will get a hankering for a steak approximately 2-3 times a year. It's got to be an expensive steak, loaded in BBQ sauce and cooked medium well. I want it cooked at home, not in a restaurant but I don't like to be the one that cooks it either.

In terms of trying new beef recipes, it is rare but once in a while I come across something that I know Jason would like and the ingredients just sound so wonderful together and the picture is masterpiece, that I must try it.

That brings us to the Beef & Broccoli recipe that a few of my friends have shared on Pinterest. Wonderful ingredients? Check! Mouthwatering picture? Check!

Beef with Broccoli


  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced into thin strips


  • 1/2 c low-sodium soy sauce (gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour (gluten free blend)
  • 1 tbsp sherry (I've never had sherry in my life - I used 1tbsp ginger-ale)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 heads broccoli, crowns only
  • I had some chopped mushrooms in the fridge so threw them in as well
  • Because I wanted this recipe to be something it wasn't, I added some minced ginger
1. Whisk together the baking soda, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Toss the steak with the marinade to coat.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, then proceed below.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour and sherry until smooth. Set aside.

3. In a large wok or saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli and saute 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer broccoli to a plate.

4. Carefully add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes (more like 10 if you're paranoid about raw beef hiding underneath all that dark sauce), stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Stir in the broccoli and remaining sauce. Saute 1 minute more. Serve.

My Review: Perhaps it was my strange addition of ginger-ale and ginger that didn't work in this recipe but I wasn't a huge fan. Around step #3, when the beef was added to the pan, I felt like the sauce immediately dissipated and left burnt hunks of garlic and ginger in its place. I had to keep adding squirts of water to keep everything saucy while the beef continued to cook.

It also could have been the fact that I think I was expecting ginger beef - not beef & broccoli. I was so confused at the lack of ginger, that I just added it anyways. I realize now that these are 2 separate dishes.

It was not horrible and I did eat some leftovers for lunch. Just not what I was expecting I suppose.

Jason's Review: Jason really liked this dish and said it tasted exactly how beef and broccoli was supposed to taste - I chose to not really believe him. He indulged in some leftovers with me however so that's always a good sign.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dill Pickle Soup

For Christmas, I got The Soup Sisters Cookbook. Upon my initial perusal, the one recipe that really caught my eye was Dill Pickle Soup. I am a lover of all things pickled - dill pickle potato chips, popcorn seasoning, pickled herring, pickled eggs, pickled beans... you get the idea. Not only had I never made Dill Pickle Soup, I had never even tasted such a thing! It had to be made:

Dill Pickle Soup



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 large garlic dill pickles, about 3 cups chopped
  • 2/3 cup liquid from pickle jar or water
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Sugar to taste, if desired
  • Chopped fresh dill for garnish, if desired


  1. Melt butter in a large pot. Saute onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. 

  2. Add broth, pickles, pickle liquid and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. 

  3. Blend flour with sour cream. Temper sour cream mixture with a little hot soup. 
  4. Pour tempered sour cream into hot soup, whisking constantly until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning, adding sugar if desired. Note: At this point, the soup can be left chunky or pureed to the velvety consistency of vichyssoise. 

  5. Serve in heated bowls garnished with chopped fresh dill, if desired. 
My Review: As with most soups, this soup just tasted better each time I took it out of the fridge for a bowl. It's not something you would really want a HUGE bowl of as the flavor is pretty intense, but it would be great to have in a little cup for a starter to a larger meal. It was creamy and rich, even though I used low fat sour cream. This is something I would definitely make again.

Jason's Review: It was a dilly delight in my mouth

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Waffle Morning

We found success with a new waffle mix! 'Bobs Red Mill Pancake Mix' made some deliciously fluffy waffles for us.  Topped with maple syrup and accompanied with a pumpkin chai latte, they made for a great breakfast.
We use our waffle maker quite frequently - most often on the weekends. It was a wedding shower present from my parents and is a well loved appliance in our kitchen. I think the reason we use it so often is because it's really easy to clean and doesn't require the skill of flipping pancakes. I always keep my eye out for gluten free pancake/waffle mix I can keep in the pantry for our next special breakfast.

Have you ever used a waffle maker for anything besides waffles? Aside from our potato snowflakes, we've stuck with the norm. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Mountains Of Mashed Potatoes

I woke up at 6am yesterday (read: wiener dog woke me up at 6am) to peel about 5lbs of potatoes to go in the crockpot for a New Years Eve potluck with friends. I had never done potatoes in the crockpot before so I kept it nice and simple:

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes



  • 5lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into 1" cubes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • milk
  • salt & pepper
  • cream cheese
  • sour cream


Put the potatoes in the crockpot with the water and broth. Cook on high for about 4.5 hours. Remove the potatoes from the crockpot and strain the excess liquid. Return the potatoes to the crockpot and mash. At this point, add in milk, sour cream or cream cheese as desired. I didn't measure, but I didn't use a lot of any of these. I'm sure you could make some really rich, buttery potatoes though! These would be very easy to make ahead and reheat as well.

So anyways, I had committed to this 5lbs of potatoes and they were already cooking by 7am. Jason woke up around 11am with a horrible cold and cough. As the day wore on, I could feel myself breaking down with the same virus. For those of you who know Jason and I, this is a very common occurrence for New Years Eve. Last year we were stuck in a hotel room in Jasper with the stomach flu to ring in the new year. We made the call to not attend the potluck as we didn't want to spread this festive cold onto our friends. This meant we were stuck with a whole lot of mashed potatoes at the end of the day! We got creative and put a blob in the waffle maker for a hash brown. We call it the potatoe snowflake and it tasted great with ketchup and made the kitchen smell like McDonalds:

What else can you do with leftover mashed potato? I was thinking there might be some shepherds pie in our future.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Fish Friday

For the first 9 years that I knew Jason, Jason did not like fish. He did not like things that "tasted like the ocean" and not once in 9 years did he eat a piece of fish. We spent some time in the Yukon and he turned down some deliciously fresh smoked fish. He has even cooked salmon steaks right here on the BBQ for me, but would always opt for a steak himself. Going out for sushi in Vancouver? He'll have the beef bowl. There was no doubt in my mind - Jason did not like fish.

Then about a year ago, Jason announced that he'd always liked fish and wondered why I didn't make it more often. Apparently, it was a 9 year misconception. Is this common?

As a celiac with very little red meat in my diet, fish is a great option not only for obvious health reasons, but for the variety it introduces into our meals.

I found this recipe to use up some salmon we had in the fridge on Apparently they have 37 different ways to cook salmon on there but I didn't even have to look beyond the first one:

Glazed Salmon with Broccoli Rice


  • 1/4  cup  brown sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce (gluten free)
  • 1  cup  long-grain white rice
  • head broccoli, florets only, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • pieces skinless salmon fillet (1 1/4 pounds total)
  • large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Heat broiler. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and soy sauce. Set aside.
  2. Cook the rice according to the package directions, stirring in the broccoli during the last 3 minutes.
  3. Let the rice and broccoli stand off the heat until the broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, place the salmon and onion on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Broil until the salmon is opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes, spooning half the soy sauce glaze over the fish during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  6. Serve the salmon and onion with the rice and the remaining glaze.
My Review: This was a great, simple recipe. The onions tasted so good once they had been broiled on top of the salmon. The meal actually looked very lovely once it was all on the plate with the pink salmon, purple onions and bright green brocoli.

On a side note: Does anyone's smoke detector go off EVERYTIME they broil something? Or how about EVERYTIME they make a piece of toast? It's getting old.

Jason's Review: Jason thought the salmon was great but he always thinks salmon is raw. He had to put his piece in the microwave once he got closer to the middle. This is classic Jason behavior and I was not offended.