Tuesday, June 24, 2008

French Onion Soup

So I know it's summer but I am ALWAYS in the mood for French Onion Soup. Good for supper on a rainy evening!

~ 8 onions, sliced
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1/3 cup olive oil
~ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
~ 8 cups beef stock
~ 1/4 cup dry white wine
~ 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
~ 1 bay leaf
~ Salt and pepper
~ 1 loaf French bread
~ 2 cups grated Gruyere

Saute onions and garlic in oil over low heat until tender and golden yellow. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook a few minutes more, browning the flour well. Add stock and wine and bring to a boil, add thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Meanwhile, slice French bread into 3/4-inch slices and butter both sides. Toast slices on griddle until golden brown. Ladle soup into an ovenproof bowl, add toasted bread and cover with cheese. Place ovenproof bowl on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake at 350F or 5 minutes under a hot broiler.

~ Courtesy of Paula Deen

Monday, June 16, 2008

Luscious Lemonade

I am LOVING homemade lemonade right now. Easy to make and so delicious. Plus, I can control the sugar...my kids love it!

~ 6 or 7 lemons
~ 3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar depending on how sweet you want it
~ 6 cups cold water

Make a simple syrup – combine sugar and water and bring to a boil on the stove. Boil for approximately five minutes and remove from the heat. Now that the sugar has dissolved let the syrup cool to room temperature.

Squeeze the Lemons
Prior to squeezing your lemons roll them firmly between your hand and a flat surface – this helps the juice rise to the surface and promotes easier juicing. You should squeeze enough lemons, 6 to 7, to make one cup of pure lemon juice.

Mix Lemonade Ingredients
Add your lemon juice to the water and sugar mixture and refrigerate.

Garnish with some lemon slices or mint leaves if you so desire!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chicken Quesadillas

I LoVE quesadillas. They can be made in so many different ways, with many different ingredients. They are fast, fun and super good! Our kids loved this recipe because it was a plain, simple recipe with nothing unfamiliar placed before them. Hey, that matters believe it or not. Try this!

~ 4 chicken breasts (or however much chicken you would like on your quesadillas)
~ 4 large tortillas (plain, whole wheat, spinach or tomato...we like tomato)
~ 1 cup shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
~ Sour cream - for dipping
~ Salsa - for dipping
Optional choices: Chopped Jalepeno pepper, black olives, diced tomato, taco seasoning while cooking the chicken, guacamole for dipping, tropical fruit salsa for dipping.

Cut chicken into strips for quicker cooking. Cook in a frying pan, adding seasonings that you like. Try taco seasoning or specialty seasonings. We used a chili-lime rub from Williams Sonoma....sooo delish!

Once chicken is cooked and cooled a bit, dice.
Put a bit of olive oil in a pan and heat to medium heat. Place one tortilla in the pan. Sprinkle with some of the cheese and chicken and any other ingredients you would like to add. We just used chicken and cheese for our kids.

After 30 seconds to a minute, fold tortilla over (it will look like an omelette, half moon). Let sit for another 30 seconds to a minute until cheese looks like its melting.
Take out and place on a plate. Cut in half so you have two triangles
Put next tortilla in pan and start over, sprinkling cheese and chicken then folding over. Continue until all tortillas are done.

Dip quesadillas in your favourite tomato salsa or a yummy fruit salsa. Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Roasted Shrimp and Lime Skewers

My friend Maureen always contributes the tastiest treats! Here is a great one!

~ 1 pound raw shrimp (I use the organic ones from Safeway that already have the tails off and are deveined)
~ 3 TBSP olive oil
~ 2 tsp soy sauce
~ Finely grated zest of 2 limes
~ 1 tsp brown sugar
~ 1 tsp cumin
~½ tsp paprika
~½ tsp salt
~ Punch cayenne pepper

In advance, soak skewers for about 30 minutes so they don’t burn.

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350F. Line and baking sheet with foil.

Step 2 – Thread each shrimp onto a 5” or 6” long wooden skewer, beginning at the thick end of the shrimp and pushing the skewer through to the tail. (The shrimp can be prepared up to this point, wrapped and chilled 1 day ahead).

Step 3 – Mix together the olive oil and soy sauce. Brush all sides of the shrimp and place on prepared baking sheet.

Step 4 – Mix the lime zest, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle on the top side of the shrimp. (I usually make this rub in advance and refrigerate to save time)

Step 5 – Roast the shrimp without turning, 12 – 15 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately.

Makes 24 skewers (I don’t make that many as I use longer skewers with more shrimp per skewer!)

~ Contributed by Maureen H.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mushroom and Feta Burgers

My friend, Jennifer made these burgers when she and her hubby had us over for dinner the other night. Her hubby BBQ-ed them and they were sooo tasty!!!

Here's how to prepare them:

~ 1/2 an onion

~ 1 clove of garlic

~ 3 medium (about 3/4 lb) portobello mushrooms (caps and stems)

~ 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

~ 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

~ salt and pepper

~ 1/2 cup grated carrots

~ 1/2 cup crumbled feta or mild goat cheese

~ 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

~ 1/4 cup wheat germ

~ 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

~ 1 omega 3 egg, well beaten

Chop up onion and garlic or pulse them in a food processor until minced but not mush. Chop mushrooms separately in the same way. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil at medium low heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme, cooking another 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. While this cooks, grate carrots, crumble cheese and chop parsley. Prep toppings such as sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and shredded lettuce.

Season mushroom mixture with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Combine with carrots, wheat germ, bread crumbs, feta, parsley and egg. When cool enough to handle, shape into 6 patties and arrange on a waxed paper lined plate.

Grill on a well-greased bbq for 3-4 minutes per side or til golden brown. Or in a large frying pan, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil at medium high and cook patties 3-4 minutes per side.

~ Recipe courtesy of Jennifer G. and Todays Parent magazine.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lemon Couscous Salad

I love couscous! It is so versatile, you can add anything to it. This is a light, fresh salad. I didn't let mine sit for as long as the recipe calls for. It was good but letting it sit longer will let the flavours come together. Next time, I'll try to have more patience. So delicious!

2 cups quick-cooking couscous
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 x medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 x onion, minced
Salt and pepper

Stir together the couscous, lemon juice, and olive oil. Set aside to plump and soften, 1 to 2 hours, at room temperature, stirring occasionally. It's ready when the grains are al dente. Stir through the herbs, tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Season well, adding more lemon juice to taste if needed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

~ Recipe courtesy of 'French Food at Home'