Monday, March 19, 2012

Jamie Oliver: Grilled Fillet Steak with the Creamiest White Beans and Leeks

Dear Jess,

I have made a binder. It contains all the recipes I have made that I would make again. I got tired of searching through dozens of magazines trying to find a recipe I had used months before. Now I can rip out the recipes and tuck them safely into my organized binder. Yesssssss.

What I made today will go in said binder. The steak was pretty straight forward... you can season it with whatever you want and cook it to your liking. The Lima beans and Leeks are what I am excited about. They are so soft and comforting. They make your kitchen smell amazing and you get to put white wine in them! Mmmmm, delicious. (Please excuse the brown plate... it does not compliment the meal very well, but it was all I had to work with...)

Jamie Oliver's Grilled Fillet Steak with the Creamiest White Beans and Leeks (Serves 4)
adapted from Cooking with Jamie
4 leeks, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
olive oil
a knob of butter
a wineglass of white wine
1lb 2oz good-quality canned lima beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
7oz well-marbled fillet steaks (Can be any steak you like)
optional: The juice of one lemon

1. Sweat the leeks, thyme and garlic with a splash of olive oil and the butter in a saucepan on a low heat for 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Let the wine come to a boil, then add the beans and a splash of water, so that the beans are almost covered. Allow to simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes until the beans are lovely and creamy. Remove from heat. Add the Greek yogurt and salt and pepper. 

2. Grill Streak to your liking. Optional: squeeze lemon juice over steak and beans before serving.

I think next time I might add some spinach or kale to the mix. But honestly... the way it is... so good! 

I hope your weekend was enjoyable. The weather was spectacular! I haven't worn a jacket since Friday!

I love you,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Company's Coming

Dear Sally,

Awesome teacup. I love that recipe and will be making that for Jesse this weekend. He seems to approve of a small selection of healthy snacks and I am sure that he will enjoy those tasty treats.

Can I just say that I love March Break? I have time to cook! Jesse and I had our neighbour Tim over for dinner and I wanted to make something that I have never attempted before. I also wanted to practice working with cake mixes and icing. I am proud to announce that I made a yummy dinner of roast chicken, homemade Challah bread, spinach and strawberry salad and roasted mini potatoes. It was delicious! I used Jamie Oliver's idea pf stuffing the chicken under the skin on the breast meat instead of inside. The potatoes were a traditional family recipes and the bread was chosen to remember my days working at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal. So many different things went into the meal but they all seemed to compliment each other. I was not surprised to hear that the chocolate and strawberry buttercream cake was the favorite part of the meal.

Challah Bread
The Joy of Cooking


2 packages active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup water 105-115 degrees

6 cups all purpose flour

1 TB salt

2 cups water 105 degrees F

3 slightly beaten eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 TB sugar

In a small bowl combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/4 cup of the warm water.

Measure into a large bowl the flour and salt

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Knead well until a ball is formed then turn out and knead on a floured surface about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn, and cover. Let rise until double in size (about 1 hour). Punch down and divide into 2 sections, knead each for several minutes.

Divide each section into 3 (or 4) pieces and braid. Place braided loaves on cookie sheet (or sheets if they don’t fit on one); cover and let rise until double in size. Brush tops with egg wash (I just use egg whites).

Bake 10 minutes in preheated oven at 400 degrees F. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake about 25 minutes longer.

Hint: I wanted to make sure I didn’t burn the loaf so I started the temperature at 400 then reduced it to 350 not 375. I also watched the loaf and didn’t leave it in as long. Mine was a light golden colour when I took it out.

I also used my Kitchenaid mixer for the kneading because you need to make sure you kneed it well. The dough seems hard and dry but with proper rising time it comes out beautifully.

Roasted Chicken with Sausage and Sage Stuffing
Adapted from Cook with Jamie


7-9 lb whole chicken

1 orange

2 Italian sausages (casing removed)

1 small onion

1 lb button mushrooms

2 tsp fresh sage

1/3 cup raisins

2 egg whites

½ cup bread crumbs

2 garlic cloves crushed

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil


Wash the chicken and set aside. In a medium saucepan combine chopped onion, garlic and sage. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook through. Remove from heat and set aside. When the mixture has cooled add the breadcrumbs, raisins, and egg whites and stir.

Use your fingers to slide underneath the skin of the chicken making space for stuffing. This will be right over the breast of the chicken. Gently slide stuffing into the space between the breast and the skin. Put the remaining stuffing mixture in the cavity of the chicken and fill the cavity with an orange. Season the outside of the chicken with oil, salt, and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Once hot, place the chicken in and cook for 10 minutes covered with foil. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for 45-50 minutes more at 350F. When a thermometer inserted near the thigh reads 180 remove the chicken from the oven and tent.

Slice and serve!

The potatoes were a simple oil and garlic mixture with salt and pepper for seasoning. I hate to say that the cake I made was out of a box. The icing was an original invention and will remain a secret but you can totally do the same thing with storebought icing. Some day I would like to try a chocolate peanut butter cake and see how that one foes over with the boys but that is for another day.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Granola Energy Bites

Dear Jess,

Your last post made me salivate! I have been craving Chicken Parmesan for a couple months now! I think I crave these things when it gets cold.

Here is another little fun thing to make. They are from Eat Shrink and be Merry. They're called 'Goody Two Chews' and they're awesome! I made them because I was bored, and it gave me an excuse to visit the new Bulk Barn that opened this passed Friday. Jason has taken a couple of these treats to work in his lunch every day since!

Goody Two Chews
adapted from Eat, Shrink and be Merry by Janet and Greta Poldeski

1/3 cup light peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups low-fat granola
3/4 cup dried cranberries
(I also added some mini dark chocolate chips!)

1. Preheat oven to 250F. Spray two 12 cup mini muffin trays and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat together peanut butter and maple syrup on medium speed of electric mixer (I just used a fork.) Add egg whites and pumpkin pie spice and beat again until smooth.

2. Stir in granola and cranberries. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake on middle oven rack for 45 minutes 

3. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack before removing clusters from pan. Store in an airtight container.

Note: I found that mixing wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, and dry ingredients in a bigger bowl and then pouring the wet mixture on top of the dry mixture was easier than the reverse. But to each his/her own!

Also... the book gives you a tip. Don't use overly sweet granola. These babies are going to be sweet enough! I just got the plain low-fat granola from The Bulk Barn with no added dried fruits etc.

I will be making these often for sure! I might even turn them into granola bars... with the possibility of dipping them in dark chocolate and/or peanut butter! The possibilities are endless!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chicken Noodle and Vegetable Soup

Dear Jess,

I have found myself not feeling top notch over the last few days... so my appetite hasn't been it's usual open-minded self.

Jason and I were checking out from Sobeys and I absent-mindedly picked up their 'Inspired' free magazine. I never have a lot of luck finding good recipes from these, but for some reason (probably because it's free) I always pick one up when I spot them. Today I am thrilled I did. Normally, my biggest beef with this particular publication comes down to there being more frozen food product placement than recipes. This issue (Spring 2012), however, seems to have a few tasty surprises.

The one we had for lunch today is found on page 40. It caught my attention because it has chicken, noodles and broth. Yes. Chicken Noodle Soup... with veggies. They call it: 'Noodle Soup with Chicken and Vegetables', I call it 'Chicken Noodle and Vegetable Soup'. Either way... it tastes delicious. They instruct you to cook your noodles separately from the veggies and chicken, and to then distribute noodles into four bowls... then the veggies... then the meat... etc etc. It seemed too annoying for no real purpose. Thus, I made it all in one big pot and it was yummy! Make this for sure! It's perfect for an upset tummy on a windy day.

Chicken Noodle and Vegetable Soup
adapted from 'Noodle Soup with Chicken and Vegetables' from Inspired Magazine(Spring 2012), Page 40
6 cups Chicken Broth
200g Chow Mein Noodles (I got Y&Y brand from The Bulk Barn)
1 large carrot, sliced into rounds
1 red bell pepper
1 cup broccoli, cut into 1 inch pieces
The breast meat from one ready-roasted chicken, ripped into thin pieces
4 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp low-sodium soya sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup bean sprouts
optional: 1 tsp red chili flakes

1. Add chicken stock to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add carrots, peppers and broccoli to the simmering stock and cook 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
2. Add Chow Mein Noodles and cook for 3 minutes (or as long as the noodles need to cook.) Remove from the heat.
3. Add chicken, green onions, soya sauce, sesame oil, bean sprouts and chili flakes. Mix well and serve!

Seriously. This soup is such a comfort and really, despite it's simplicity, is quite tasty.

I hope everything is going smoothly even if it is crazy busy. I love you and miss you and can't wait to see you again soon!

So Much Love,

Like Mama Used to Make


I laughed today when I signed in cause I was just about to post this and I saw yours. The Chicken and Vegetable Soup looks amazing! I am sure that will be a winner next windy day.

Jesse and I are finally starting to feel settled in the house and now we have to joy of deciding what to fix or change next. Yay March Break!

We normally have a dinner date night on Saturdays. Sometimes we go out for a change but I was feeling 'wifie' yesterday and decided to make some down home cookin! My mom always used to make us Chicken Parmesan when I was younger. She used only the best technology to cook the chicken - the microwave - but I decided to try frying it in a pan with Crisco as the grease of choice. If you are cringing at the choice of cuisine don't worry, I didn't eat the chicken. Jesse loved it though. I threw in some mashed potatoes and veggies and cheese sauce and we had a meal!

Chicken Parmesan

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Clean the chicken breasts and lay flat on a cutting board. Using a meat tenderizer, beat the chicken until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Beat your three eggs and mix with the milk. Dip your chicken into the egg mixture. Transfer into the crumbs and then dip back in the milk. Dip into the bread crumbs one more time and transfer to a warm frying pan with Crisco in it. Cook the chicken breasts on the first side and then flip. Cover the cooked side of the chicken breast with tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and cheese. Cover and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Cheese Sauce

2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To make the cheese sauce I start with melting the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk constantly. It will form a paste. Add milk in very small amounts, making sure all of the liquid is incorporated before adding more. Once all of the milk has been added season with salt and pepper and stir. The liquid will come to a boil. When it does add the cheese and let the liquid thicken. Pour over your veggies and enjoy!

The recipe came out of my head so if I am missing something just improvise. I can't wait to see you on the weekend and I hope your delicious soup made you feel ALL better.