GARLIC SMASHED POTATOES

My boyfriend and I’s latest obsession has been scoping out different breakfast joints to have our most important meals of the day. His favourite has been pubs…. such as Brew Street Craft and Kitchen. This is a place where he can have bacon, sausages, eggs, hash browns and toast all for just $5. Yes you heard it. $5. I on the other hand, love pubs because where else can I have sangrias and mimosas at 10am in the morning??

Then of course there’s White Spot which is a 5 minute walk from home. They have a HUGE selection of breakfast items that I can’t wait to fill my stomach with! They are also known for their famous smashed potatoes. We were out for brunch a couple of weeks ago when I started thinking to myself ‘I MUST MAKE THESE AT HOME’. And of course, when I put my mind to something…I will stop at no lengths to achieve it. 

I bought a huge bag of the dynamic duo nugget potatoes from the Little Potato Company at Costco. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these potatoes! They are perfect for just about anything! I make mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes and I even use them when making my curry dishes. 

To make these delish smashed potatoes, boil a large pot of salted water. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender. Drain. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. We’ll be baking and broiling these little potatoes 🙂

Add the potatoes onto the lined baking sheet and gently press down *remember to try to keep the potato in one piece* Add olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme, oregano, parsley and tarragon. Bake at 450 for 15 mins. Then broil until golden brown. Just before the potatoes are done add some minced garlic. Don’t make the mistake that I initially made which was adding the garlic right away. I ended up with burnt bitter garlic which was totally not fun!! These potatoes are literally so easy to make. Feel free to add different herbs or even fresh herbs! Happy Cooking 🙂

garlic-smashed-potaotes

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ONE POT CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PASTA

Who doesn’t love a one pot wonder? While grocery shopping this past weekend, I quickly put this recipe together. Comfort food was what I wanted. Something homey, creamy and fabulous all in one pot. I mean come on! Who wants to dirty unnecessary dishes?? Definitely not me. I don’t even like washing the dishes once I’m done cooking or baking! After some thought, I put my vision into action and made it for my family for our weekly Sunday dinner. They were happy (as usual) 😉 It’s pretty much chicken and mushrooms in a creamy sauce topped with peas and of course, crispy bacon. Need I say more?

One Pot Chicken & Mushroom

ONE POT CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PASTA

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 4 strips of bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin off
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 medium mushrooms (halved if large)
  • 3 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (33%)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • ½ tsp of parsley
  • ¼ tsp of mint
  • 4 cups of egg noodles
  • ½ cup of peas

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until just crisp. Remove bacon and set aside
  2. Remove any access oil from the pot. Add in 2 tbsp of butter and cook chicken (sprinkled with salt & pepper) until just cooked, flipping once. Chicken will finish cooking with the pasta. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining tbsp of butter. Add in the garlic, mushrooms and shallots. Cook until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, heavy cream, oregano, parsley, mint and salt & pepper.
  5. Add in the chicken and bring to a boil until sauce has thickened. Add in the egg noodles and simmer until cooked.
  6. Add in cooked bacon and peas. Serve with garlic bread and Enjoy 🙂

CHILLI PANEER

Paneer is so common in South Asian dishes especially in Indian dishes. I’ve heard that you can make paneer at home but sometimes I can’t be bothered, since it’s relatively cheap to buy in stores 🙂 This chilli paneer was absolutely delicious! I started off by cubing the paneer into bite sized pieces and lightly pan fried them. I then combined the spices and formed a sauce for the paneer and literally just combined it together…that’s how easy it was 🙂

Photo 2016-02-07, 12 36 20 PM

CHILLI PANEER

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 14 ounce pkg of paneer (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
  • 5 tbsp of canola oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chilli, such as Serrano, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 2 green onions for garnishing

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a medium fry pan over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp of oil. Fry the paneer in batches until golden brown on each side. Once cooked, remove and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Put the remaining oil into the fry pan and reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, green chili, salt and pepper. Stir for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and sugar. Stir until just combined. Add in the cooked paneer with about a spoonful of water. Cover the fry pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until there is no water left.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with green onions and Enjoy! 🙂

BOMBASTIC BROOKIES

Brookie 1

This is what happens when cookies get confused

I had this insane craving for some fudgy brownies AND chocolate chip cookies. Since I try to teach myself some discipline and self-control over what sweets I indulge in, I had such a hard time deciding what to make. But then it dawned on me… why can’t I have a bit of both? I initially thought of making my classic fudgy brownies (Recipe will be up soon) and topping them with a chocolate chip cookie…..But however I wasn’t in the mood for a bar/square. I wanted a decedent cookie. Something to dip into my cold milk. I started brainstorming and it came to me. What if a brownie and cookie dated? What would it’s celebrity name be? That my friends would be called a BROOKIE!!!! 😀

I knew the hardest thing when making these oh so delish brookies would be the consistency. It had to be in sync or else everything would be a mess and my dreams would be shattered and nobody wants to shatter my dreams. I started my quest and made both a brownie and cookie batter. I wish I could lie to you all and say 1/4 of it didn’t end up in my stomach. But oh well, a happy stomach = a happy baker. Once you’ve made both of the batters, you’re going to want to refrigerate them for a good 2-3 hours or overnight unless you want deformed unappealing brookies. Normally, I would use parchment paper but somebody (I won’t say who) forgot to buy some during their Costco run. So I had to make do with what we had which was good old aluminum foil 😉

Next comes the fun part! Making the brookies..or I should I say hooking the brownie and cookie up. Take a mini ice cream scoop or a tablespoon and measure out the dough into little balls. Once all of the dough has been rolled into balls, take one of each and place together to form a bigger ball.
Note: ensure you wash your hands after forming each brookie unless you want to end up with a brownkie.

Bake the amazing brookies for about 8-9 minutes, remove from the heat and cool on a baking rack 🙂 I received many compliments from my family and friends after making these brookies but of course it didn’t mean anything to me because my mind was already thinking about what would happen if the brookie had a love child….. 😉

 

BOMBASTIC BROOKIES

  • Servings: 24 Brookies
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS


 Brownie Dough

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

 Chocolate Chip Dough

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

 DIRECTIONS


  1. Start off by making the brownie dough. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Add the milk next until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Set aside.
  2. Next make the chocolate chip dough. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Slowly mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Wrap both of the doughs separately in parchment paper and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Measure 1 tbsp or a mini ice cream scoop of the brownie dough. Roll into a ball. Repeat this with the chocolate chip dough.
  6. Take a brownie and chocolate chip ball and press them together to form a larger ball. Repeat for each cookie. Note, the brownie dough will get onto your hands so you will need to wipe them after each cookie is rolled.
  7. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes and Enjoy!!

Brookie 2

LUCKY CHARM SQUARES

Lucky Charms…they’re magically delicious! Here is a spin off on the traditional rice crispy squares and I thought St Patrick’s day would be a wonderful time to do it 🙂

We weren’t allowed too many sugary cereals while growing up. So naturally I’d be over the moon when a box of Lucky Charms magically appeared in our cereal drawer 🙂 One of my favourite things to do was grab a big bowl of it and eat it while watching the usual after school shows such as Recess, Rugrats, Hey Arnold and of course Arthur! Which btw still records at 7am every day at our house 😉

I used to love eating the cereal first and leaving the marshmallows until the end. My sister would always come up to me and demand me to give her half of my cereal. I would object and my mom would deny my request since too much sugar got me hyper active. By that time however the only thing remaining in the bowl would be the marshmallows so all my hard work pretty much went down the drain

I used a traditional recipe to create these treats. It’s super easy and a great way to get your kids involved too!

LUCKY CHARM SQUARES

  • Servings: 16 Squares
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • ¼ cup of salted butter
  • 1 10 oz bag of marshmallows
  • 3 drops of green gel food colouring (can omit if needed)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 6 cups of Lucky Charms cereal
  • cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the marshmallows, food colouring (if desired) and vanilla extract. Once the mixture has melted remove from heat.
  2. Quickly stir in the cereal until evenly distributed.
  3. Transfer onto a 9×9 greased baking dish. Cool for about 45 minutes to an hour. Cut into squares and Enjoy!

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PAV BHAJI

Pav Bhaji has been one of my favourite Indian food dishes of all time! You could say that it’s an Indian vegetarian version of a Sloppy Joe. It’s this amazing one-pot meal. Which is essentially a vegetable curry served on a hot buttery dinner roll. Since all of the vegetables are mashed up, its a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies! 

One of the major things that I’ve learned while making this dish is the use of butter. Butter plays an essential role in this dish! My family has been making pav bhaji for years and they’ve always used canola oil. I on the other hand, have found that by replacing the oil with butter, you’ll end up with a more richer and creamier dish 🙂

You can totally make this using premade store bought mix (all you need to do is add the veggies). But I would totally make this from scratch! Trust me, not only will your dish be more flavourful but you’ll also feel good about making it on your own 🙂

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PAV BHAJI

  • Servings: 5 People
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 3 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • ¼ head of cauliflower (chopped)
  • 5 tbsp of butter
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp of ginger (grated)
  • 1 green chili – I use Serrano (minced)
  • 2 long eggplants or 1 eggplant (cubed)
  • 3 tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 12 dinner rolls
  • butter
  • 1 small red onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Boil water in a large pot.Once the water has boiled, add the potatoes and cauliflower. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, mash and set aside
  2. In the large pot, over medium heat, add 4 tbsp of butter and onions. Saute for about 8-10 minutes
  3. Add in garlic, ginger, green chili and eggplants. Cover and cook until soft 10-12 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes.
  4. Add in tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Add in the ground cumin, garam masala, ground turmeric, chili powder, salt and the mashed potato/cauliflower mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove pot from heat and add in the remaining tbsp of butter. Mash the mixture until the consistency is like mashed potatoes.
  7. Cut the dinner rolls in half and toast until golden brown. Spread generously with butter. Add a layer of the pav bhaji. Top with some red onion and cilantro
  8. Enjoy! 🙂

 

HONEY O CEREAL BARS

These amazing no bake cereal bars are literally the best! They are just so simple & easy to make and of course require no effort. The nice cherry on top is that they are completely nut, peanut and coconut free; making them lunch friendly when your children take them to school 🙂

Growing up with a nut allergy was extremely hard when I was little. Not only did my parents have to read all the ingredients on every little thing I had, they also had to monitor everything I ate. Unfortunately dinner parties were the worst! We would arrive to our family friends homes and I would immediately be drawn to the nicely displayed food. I remember how the first thing my mother would do was ask the hostess if there were any nuts in any of the foods. And of course before they could answer, I’d have gobbled down anything in front of me. Within seconds I would start having a reaction and go into an anaphylactic shock.

One of the reasons why I started making these bars was because I grew tired of trying to find bars that were completely nut free. I had been to so many grocery stores and all I could find were ones that were peanut free. The downside with the peanut free bars was that they still would contain coconuts or other nuts. Overall, I was able to find completely nut free bars but unfortunately they ended up having way too much sugar

To make these bars, I start off by melting some butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. I then add some brown sugar, cinnamon and of course HONEY! Western Sage Glacier Creamed Honey is where it’s at! It’s just so rich in flavour and I’m able to put it on just about everything. I then combine that liquid mixture with some cereal (any of your favourite will do) and I add some raisins as well.

The neat thing about this recipe is you can put just about anything you like into it! I’ve shared this recipe with some friends and they decided to put in some dried fruit and nuts instead of raisins and it worked completely well with them 🙂

 

HONEY O CEREAL BARS

  • Servings: 16 Bars
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS


 3 Tbsp. of butter
– 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
– 1/4 cup of honey
– 1 tbsp. of cinnamon
– 4 cups of cereal (I used Multi Grain Cheerios)
– 1/2 cup of raisins

 DIRECTIONS


  1. Line a 9×9 square baking pan with parchment paper
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon
  3. Bring to a boil and continue stirring for 2 minutes and remove from heat
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cereal, raisins and butter mixture.
  5. Pour the cereal mixture into the parchment lined pan and let the bars cool completely and then cut into squares

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CHRISTMAS TREE SUGAR COOKIES

The countdown to Christmas is on! I’ve been wanting to make these Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies since summer! They were super easy to make and you can ice them with any sort of candy/ chocolate that you can find 🙂 For these cookies I used my favourite sugar cookie recipe. Just make sure the dough has been chilled to avoid your shapes from spreading…I had an absolute fail a couple years ago. I was using a very detailed cookie cutter and spent sooo much time perfectly cutting out the cookies. After a couple of minutes in the oven, the perfect snowman shape turned into a big round blob.

After your cookies have cooled, ice them however you prefer and top with your candy/chocolate. My boyfriend and I were in Langley on the weekend and if we’re in Langley, I absolutely NEED to stop at Scoop and Save. They have everything you can possibly imagine! I got some white sanding sugar, tri-coloured candy pearls and some white chocolate pearls. The only downside is that once you’ve made them they’re so hard to not eat. Trust me, I’ve had 4 already 😉

Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie

HOMEMADE APPLE PIE

Who doesn’t love a slice of warm delicious apple pie? Apple pie has been one of my biggest weaknesses since I’ve been a child 🙂 When I was younger I remember eagerly waiting impatiently while my aunt and grandma whipped up their version of a classic Apple pie.  I loved how rich and flavourful it was! Sure enough, when I turned 14 I started making apple pie on my own. The ingredients back then mostly consisted of basic pie dough, CRISCO (so good yet so bad!), apples and sugar. As I grew, I discovered new ingredients to use and found which ingredients to toss. Of course (like everyone), I had my ups and downs. I once used dull apples that weren’t at all crisp and the pie was literally filled with liquid as everyone went to take a slice. I’ve also accidentally used too much shortening and the pie literally tasted like lard! But all in all, we learn from our mistakes.

Growing up, I watched numerous cooking/baking shows. In middle and high school, even though school didn’t start until 9am, I was up at around 6:15am. I would quickly eat, get ready and make my lunch. By 6:45am, I was already watching TV. I would always catch the last minutes of ‘Licence to Grill’. Of course, this was where I’d daydream that I wanted a guy to barbecue for me just like Rob Rainford..and thankfully my prayers have been answered 😉

I would then watch 2 episodes of Anna Olsen’s Sugar from 7am to 8am. This was where I learned all about different baking techniques and steps on how to corporate ingredients together. By 8am, Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals would be on and I’d be excited as ever! I was always amazed at how many items she could pick up before she got to the counter to cook! My mom and I have always been huge fans of her. When Target was closing down, we literally picked up each item from her cookware, bakeware and dinnerware collection for me when I move out 🙂 But anyways enough about that and let’s get talking about this amazing recipe!

I made the pie crust at home and it was super easy! The only thing I would be careful about is the amount of water to add to your dough There have been times where I’ve added too much water and the dough didn’t come out flaky at all 😦
Always use crisp apples for the filling. I once used up some not so crisp ones and they made the filling so watery and not flavourful.

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling!

APPLE PIE

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


DOUGH:
– 2 ½ cups of all purpose flour
– 1 tsp of sugar
– 1 tsp of salt
– 1 cup of unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
– ¼-½ of cold water

FILLING:
– 4 crisp apples, either Gala or Granny Smith (peeled, cored and sliced)
– ½ cup of sugar
– ¼ cup of packed brown sugar
– 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
– ½ tsp of salt
– ¼ cup of all purpose flour (plus more for rolling dough)
– 1 tbsp of lemon juice
– 2 tbsp of unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
– sanding sugar

DIRECTIONS:


DOUGH:
1) In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar and combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is pea sizes.
2) Sprinkle with 1 tsp of cold water and pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together. Add more water as needed.
3) Transfer dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is complete.

FILLING:
1) In a large bowl, combine apples, sugars, cinnamon, salt, flour and lemon juice.
2) Preheat oven to 350°F with the rack set in the middle position
3) Lightly flour a large surface and place half of the dough in the center. Roll from the center outward to form a 12 inch circle. Transfer dough onto a 9 inch pie plate. Repeat with the second half of the dough but do not transfer onto the pie plate at this time.
4) Fill the pie plate with the filling. Remember to pack the apples slightly higher in the center. Add the cubed butter to the top of the filling.
5) Place the remaining pie dough disk on top of the apples pressing along the rim to seal. Trim any overhang
6) With floured fingers, pinch the trim with your thumb and forefinger to form an even crust
7) Sprinkle with sanding sugar
8) With a paring knife, cut 6 slits on the top of the pie
9) Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling
10) Cool completely before enjoying! 🙂

Apple Pie Final

The Final Product!

BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

FullSizeRender (34)I absolutely LOVE jalapeño poppers! I started making these yummy peppers back when I started home ec in grade 6. I remember how I came home after making these in school and immediately I wanted to make them for my family. That night, my mom and I made these and wow! They were polished clean instantly! Since they are seeded, there isn’t as much heat as there would be if they were whole peppers. I’m constantly modifying this recipe as I’ve made it so many times. Sometimes I’ll add in more or less cheese. Sometimes I’ll use breadcrumbs instead of panko but I’ve finally narrowed it down this! A couple of years ago, my mom asked me to make this as a side for our Sunday family dinner. A part of me didn’t want to as filling the peppers always took me a long time. But then I thought to myself, why not just use a piping bag to fill them?! By doing this, the time it now took to fill these was less than a quarter of the original time! The other great thing I love about these is how they are baked! Now you can have more of these without feeling guilty 🙂

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BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

  • Servings: 30 Servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 15 jalapeño peppers (seeded and halved)
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 small red onion (chopped)
– 7-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 1 tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of pepper
– 1 package of cream cheese
– ½ cup of parmesan cheese
– 2 egg whites
– 1-1½ cups of panko
– 2 tbsp of dried oregano
– 2 tbsp of dried tarragon
– 2 tbsp of dried parsely

DIRECTIONS:


1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3) In a small fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
4) Transfer into a small bowl. Add the cream cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cream cheese has melted.
5) Fill the pepper halves with the cream cheese filling. (I found that a piping bag made this much more easier than using a spoon.)
6) In a large bowl, combine the panko, remaining parmesan cheese, oregano, tarragon and parsely.
7) Add the egg whites into a small bowl and whisk until frothy.
8) Dip the pepper halves 1 at a time into the egg whites and then coat with the panko mixture.
9) Place peppers cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.
10) Bake peppers for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
11) Enjoy!! 😀

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