Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Alright folks, it has been quite sometime since I have done a post on this page! But, I recently made some super delicious bars that inspired me to get back in the swing of things here.  I have also been busy on my other page The Mane Squeeze, which is focused more on hair, fashion, beauty and all of that good stuff.

Anyways, the Rhubarb in my backyard was almost on the brink of going past its prime but I caught it in time with a reminder from Richard.  I’ve never actually cooked or baked with Rhubarb before, but my mom always did as we had some in my backyard growing up as well.  I decided to mix it up with some strawberries (not from the backyard, but still local :)) and try out some crumb bars topped with a cinnamon and nutmeg glaze.  All I can say is yum! I had to send the majority with Richard to work out of fear of eating them all.

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Filling:

1½ cups unsweetened rhubarb, chopped

1½ cups strawberries, sliced

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ cup white sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

Crust:

1½ all purpose flour

1½ quick cook oats

1 tbsp flax seeds

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup butter, softened

1 egg

Glaze:

¾ cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp milk

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF.  In a saucepan combine rhubarb, strawberries and lemon juice.  Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally.

2.  Combine the white sugar and cornstarch, and stir into fruit mixture.  Cook until mixture comes to a boil and mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and set aside.

3.  Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl, except for the egg.  Beat at a low speed until mixture becomes crumbly.  Reserve 1½ cups of crust mixture, set aside.  Beat in 1 egg into the remainder of the crumb mixture.

4.  Line bottom of a 9×13 greased pan with the egg crumb mixture.  Then spread the filling evenly across the crust.  Then sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture.

5.  Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden brown.  Let the bars cool completely.

6.  Combine all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl and drizzle over the bars.  Enjoy!

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

It’s cookie time!

I have had some butterscotch chips in my cupboard for quite some time just waiting to be used, so I decided upon a Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie.  I wanted these cookies to have a lot of texture and lots of bits of goodness in every bite so I added some walnuts and flaxseeds in with the oats and butterscotch chips….Just a side note, every time I type butterscotch, I type it like butterschotch, sigh.

These little gems came out tasting great and were full of flavour.   They have made it into my top 5 cookie list, and will be making some repeat appearances.

 

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

¾ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp water

1 egg

1 cup flour

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

2½ cups rolled oats

1 tbsp flaxseeds

1 cup butterscotch chips

½ chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  Cream together butter and the 2 sugars.  Mix in water, egg and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Combine wet and dry mixtures.

3.  Stir rolled oats, flaxseeds, butterscotch chips and walnuts into the mixture.

4.  Drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15mins.

Makes about 4 dozen

Turkey & Roasted Tomatillo Soup

I still had some leftover turkey and turkey stock sitting in my freezer waiting to be used.  My turkey hangover had finally passed from Thanksgiving the other day, so I decided it was time to make a turkey soup as planned.

I gave this soup a bit of a “fiesta” flavour and it features roasted tomatillos and corn alongside the turkey.  This is a slow cooker recipe (my favourite kind of recipe), but it does require a little bit of prep beforehand other than just some chopping.  The prep can definitely be done the night before and stored in the fridge so that you can toss everything in the pot in the morning and head off to work or go about your daily duties with no fuss or worry.

Now I had never worked with tomatillos before this recipe and was initially going to make a salsa verde sauce when I purchased them, but then decided that I wanted to experiment and incorporate a roasted version of them into my soup.  The result was delicious!…..I still have all intentions to try and make a salsa verde sauce though.

This little mixture of roasted tomatillos, onion and garlic is essential to the flavour of the soup!

Turkey & Roasted Tomatillo Soup

4 cups of turkey or chicken broth

2 cups of shredded turkey

1 cup of corn

½ cup carrots, diced

½ cup celery, diced

5 tomatillos, cut into chunks

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp sage

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp canola oil

½ onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1.  Preheat oven to 400º.  Place chucks of tomatillos in a baking dish and bake in oven until skins have blackened a bit.  About 15 mins.

2.  While tomatillos are in oven.  Heat oil in a saucepan and add onions and garlic into pan, cook on medium heat until onions are translucent.  Then add roasted tomatillos into onion and garlic mix and stir, tomatillos should just fall apart into mixture.  At this point you can store mixture in fridge if you are planning to make the soup the next day or carry on with the recipe.

3.  Add all ingredients, including the tomatillo mixture into a slow cooker and cook for either 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

Makes 4 servings

Calories Per Serving:

Calories 272      Fat 6g       Carbs 13g       Protein 37g

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Oh mashed potatoes, how I do love thee.  Mashed potatoes definitely make the cut for my last meal and would be eaten with a carefully crafted gravy volcano.

My mom used to make these mashed potatoes called “Deluxe Mashed Potatoes” on the holidays and they were delicious, so I tried to mimic them the best that I could.  This is a recipe for some cheesy mashed potato goodness.  If you are on a diet, you either need to close this page now, or just say “screw it” and enjoy 🙂

 Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

8-10 medium potatoes

4oz. cream cheese softened

4tbsp sour cream

1 tbsp milk

6 tbsp butter

¼ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried dill

¼ tsp salt

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Peel and quarter potatoes.  Cook potatoes in a large sauce pan with enough water to cover them for about 20-25 mins or untill tender.  Drain liquid.

2.  You can use a food processor or electric hand mixer.  If using a food processor you may have to do the mixing in 2 sessions so divide ingredients as needed.   Combine potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, garlic powder, dill, salt and shredded cheese.  Beat/pulse mixture until fluffy.

3.  Put mixture into a  9×13 baking dish and bake for 30 mins covered, and 15 mins uncovered

Makes approx. 8 servings

Cranberry Sauce

Now, you can always buy canned cranberry sauce, but just tastes so much better when you can make it yourself and it is so very easy.  Cranberry sauce is a requirement for me with my turkey on the holidays.  I also put it on my leftover turkey sandwiches with some mayo and havarti…yum.

Here is a super easy recipe for you, it takes about 15-20 minutes.  I don’t like my cranberry sauce too sweet, so the recipe below reflects that, but you can feel free to adjust that amount as you please.

 Cranberry Sauce

10 oz. cranberries

½ cup sugar

1 cup pineapple juice

1. In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the pineapple juice over medium heat.

2. Stir in the cranberries and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove sauce from heat and pour in bowl.  Store in fridge.

Cherry Swirl Cheesecake

Ok, so this Cherry Swirl Cheesecake recipe isn’t completely from scratch, but it is enough from scratch that it is still homemade.  I was making a huge meal and was in search of a dessert that I could make the day before and that was easy to execute due to time constraints.  So to cut down on some time, I used a Keebler Ready Made graham pie crust and I used a canned cherry pie filling.  It turned out great and you can substitute in any flavour of pie filling that you please.

  

Cherry Swirl Cheesecake

1 pkg cream cheese, softened (8oz.)

½ cup sugar

¼ tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 graham pie crust (I used Keebler)

1 can cherry pie filling, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 325º.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until it is fluffy.  Beat in sugar and vanilla.  Beat the eggs 1 at a time  until just combined.

2.  Spread cream cheese mixture in crust.  Using 2/3’s of the cherry pie filling, spoon it in dollops on top and use a knife to swirl pie filling into the cream cheese.

3. Bake for 30-45 mins or until center is almost set (give the side a tap and it should move together in one solid movement).

4.  Cool on wire rack for 1 hour and then in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

5.  Top with the remaining pie filling and serve.

Ciabatta Dressing

Here in Canada we already had our thanksgiving, so I’ll have a couple of seasonal recipes coming your way.  The first one is some Ciabatta Dressing.  I chose to go the dressing (baked separately) route as opposed to the stuffing (stuffed in the turkey) route because after some heavy reading on the debate between which is better I sided with the dressing.   Stuffing is said to dry the turkey out because the bread is so porous that it absorbs a lot of the juices that attribute to the turkey being moist.  This of course flavours the stuffing really nicely, but I figured it was much easier to mimic the turkey flavour in the stuffing than it was to fake a moist turkey.  This recipe will work just fine for stuffing the turkey as well if that is what you would like to do, just make that it reaches a temp. of 165º if that is what you decide to do.

Initially I wanted to go a super basic white bread and traditional ingredient dressing with celery and onion, but after a trip to Whole Foods to pick up some ingredients that changed a little bit.  Whole Foods of course didn’t have even 1 loaf of white bread…seriously Whole Foods? Not trendy enough for ya?  Anyways, I didn’t want to do whole wheat stuffing, because it was thanksgiving and this means you can forget about the healthy grains for a day, so I grabbed some herbed ciabatta that they had.  It was local (from Uprising Breads), which I really liked and I gotta tell you, I think I’ll be using it in my dressing from now on!

I really liked the texture of the ciabatta, it held on to moisture well and the fact that it was already herbed added some extra flavour to the dressing.    

Ciabatta Dressing

4-6 herbed ciabatta buns, cubed

¾ cup butter

1 onion, diced

4 celery stalks, diced

1 tsp dried sage

salt & pepper to taste

1 cup chicken broth

1.  Let Ciabatta cubes air for 1-3 hours.

2.  Preheat oven to 350°.  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add celery and onion and cook until soft.  Season with sage, salt & pepper.  Stir in the ciabatta cubes, moisten with chicken broth.  Mix well

3.  Bake in a greased casserole dish for 30 mins.

*If using to stuff a turkey, chill before use and make sure that it reaches a temp. of 165º

Makes approx. 8 servings