Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mexican Lasagna

Here is a Tex-Mex version of lasagna that is sure to please.  Rather than noodles and pasta sauce...simply layer tortillas and salsa and change up the cheese.  Bake it and serve it right in a cast iron skillet.  Great for potlucks and family gatherings.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (medium or hot)
  • 1-14 oz / 398 ml can re-fried beans
  • 1-12 oz / 341 ml can corn (or 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (Cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • 6-8 flour tortillas  (ten inch)
  1. Place ground beef in a deep skillet. 
  2. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. 
  3. Drain, then season with taco seasoning and add water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add salsa, refried beans and corn; heat through.
  5. Place about 1/3 cup of meat mixture in the bottom of a round baking dish...quiche pan, cast iron skillet, or round casserole dish.
  6. Place 1 tortilla at bottom of dish.
  7. Add a layer of meat mixture (about 2/3 cup); sprinkle with a layer of cheese.
  8. Continue alternating tortilla, meat mixture and cheese...ending with a thin layer of meat mixture.
  9. Cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  10. Top with a layer of cheese.
  11. Bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  
  12. Let stand several minutes before serving. 
Garnish with olives, guacamole, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sour cream...as desired. 

Yield: 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chicken Broccoli and Cheese Pockets

When I spotted this recipe for quick and simple chicken broccoli cheese pockets...I knew it would be a hit over here. What a perfect way to use leftover chicken (or turkey) and have a simple supper on the table in next to no time!  I'm sure it would be even better with dough made from scratch and fresh steamed veggies with cheese sauce...but today's post is about speed and convenience.

  • 1-250 gr package Green Giant frozen chopped broccoli with cheese sauce 
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast 
  • 1 can (318 gr /12 oz) Pillsbury Grands Big & Flaky crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water 
  1. Cook broccoli and cheese according to package directions.  
  2. Stir in chopped chicken.
  3. Unroll the Pillsbury dough and cut down the center.  Press diagonal perforations in dough and cut each remaining piece in half to yield four rectangles. 
  4. Place 1/2 cup of broccoli-chicken mixture on on half of each rectangle of dough.  
  5. Top with about 2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese.
  6. Fold other half of dough rectangle over filling. 
  7. With fork, seal edges. 
  8. Gently transfer hand pies to parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Beat egg with water until foamy. Brush tops of hand pies with egg wash.
  10. Bake at 375°F about 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
 Yield: Four large pockets.

Serve with a green salad & enjoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Banana Buttermilk Bran Muffins

Banana muffins are a classic...and seem to be everyone's favorite.  Mixing up a batch of banana muffins is also a great way to use those overripe bananas sitting on your counter.  The bran adds a bit of a nutty flavour and is a healthier option.  The raisins are easily changed up to chocolate chips or blueberries. 

  • 1 cup hot buttermilk
  • 1 cup All-bran cereal
  • 1 cup pureed bananas (about  3 bananas)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins (or mini chocolate chips or blueberries)

  1. Prepare muffin pan by spraying with oil and line with paper or parchment liners.
  2. Heat buttermilk in microwave until hot  (about  1 1/2 minutes). *
  3. Stir in the All-bran cereal and set aside for a few minutes.
  4. Puree bananas.
  5. Combine bran mixture and pureed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Stir in brown sugar.
  7. Add eggs, vanilla and oil and blend well.
  8. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Add to banana mixture and stir gently to make a soft batter.
  9. Fold in raisins or chocolate chips.
  10. Divide batter equally into 12 large muffin cups.
  11. Bake at 375 ° F for 22-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Yield: 12 large muffins.

*The buttermilk will separate as it is heated...and that's fine.

Friday, January 2, 2015


It's Flashback Friday and I am re-posting my Zwieback recipe that was first published here in December of 2008.  If you are longing for the buns you once enjoyed at Grandma's table, why not try baking your own?

Zwieback (the Mennonite bun) are double-decker yeast rolls, that were traditionally served at every festive occasion, from Sunday afternoon Faspa to weddings and funerals. My mother-in-law made the best zwieback that were tiny, perfectly formed, melt-in-your-mouth morsels. According to her, the secret was using REAL butter.  In our home, these were known as 'Grandma buns'.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons traditional yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups warm potato water*
  • 4 cups scalded milk
  • 14 cups flour (about)
 *I add 1/2 cup instant potato flakes to the water to make 'potato water'.
  1. Pour hot milk and potato water over butter, salt and sugar in large bowl. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
  2. Prepare yeast by dissolving 2 tsp. sugar in 1 cup water and adding yeast.
  3. Add 6 cups flour to the milk/butter mixture and beat well.
  4. Continue adding flour and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dough will be very soft.
  5. Knead about five minutes more.
  6. Cover and let rise until double in bulk.
  7. Form the buns. Bottom bun is about the size of a large walnut...top bun is smaller. Place smaller ball on top of larger one...and push down through centre of both balls with knuckle of index finger to prevent buns from falling over during baking.
  8. Let rise until light.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Note: Now that is the original recipe, but since I mix all my breads in the Bosch machine...it is much simpler for me than it was in ages past!

I let the machine do all the kneading...and add the instant yeast* directly to the mixer with the flour.  When the kneading is done...I just leave it right in the mixer bowl to rise. About 15 minutes later, the dough is ready to be formed into buns...lots of them!

*Instant yeast has fine granules that don't need dissolving and is sometimes called bread machine yeast.  It is made by Fermipan, Instaferm, Fleischmann's and others.  This yeast can be used interchangeably with active dry yeast. Measure out the same amount of yeast and skip the water-activation step.

Yield: About 8 dozen buns