Great Cook Books I Cook (and live) by

  • Big Orange Book by Rachael Ray
  • Giada at Home
  • Jamie at Home
  • Look and Cook by Rachael Ray

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sausage and Apple Appetizers

Hi all! so, on the week end I made a new recipe which my husband absolutely loved! So, I thought I would share it with all of you.


4 mild Italian sausage
olive oil
1 large apple, or two small ones (I used Macintosh apples) cored, and cubed. (make sure the cubes are small enough to place on top of the sausage slices).
dried sage
brown sugar
apple cider
salt and pepper

In an oven dish, bake the sausages until golden brown on all sides, let cool, and cut into slices, across the sausage, on a diagonal. In a hot pan, place a small amount of olive oil just to coat pan and place the sausage slices flat in the pan. Brown both sides, and then, set then on a platter and let cool. Place a small amount of apple cider in the same pan and de-glaze the pan, making sure to pick up all of the yummy brown bits. Place the apple cubes in the pan, along with the sage (to taste), salt and pepper and brown sugar. Let the apples soften and then, take out of pan. Put the apple pieces on top of the sausage pieces and secure with a toothpick, so each one is a nice little bite! The juice left over in the pan can then be drizzled over top of the sausage and apple bites. These can be made ahead of time and then placed in the oven in an over proof dish, covered with tin foil to heat up. They were a hit - hope you try them, and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Banana Bread Pancakes

  • A friend asked me to post this recipe, so, this one is for you Jeanette!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tblsp sugar (white)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon - as much or as little as you like
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 whole bananas, mashed
In a bowl place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir with a fork until combined. In another bowl mix together the beaten eggs, milk vanilla extract, oil and bananas. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture, and mix with a fork until just blended - the batter should be lumpy. In a pan or griddle, melt some butter or spray with non -stick spray and pour the batter with a large spoon or a ladle, and form the pan cake - flip the pan cake when bubbles begin to form on the surface! yum! Serve with extra bananas on top and of course real maple syrup!

Short cuts: use your favourite pan cake mix and make it as per directions on the box, and then, add the mashed bananas and the cinnamon.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Hello everyone! It is cookie season!!!!! The other day, I bakes a fantastic peanut butter chocolate chip cookie! and, EASY!!! so, I thought I would share the recipe with you - it only has 5 ingredients! It freezes for three months! enjoy!

1 cup Peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy)
1 cup Brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Stir peanut butter and sugar until well combined. Add the egg, and stir it in until well combined. Add the flour and stir that in, and then, stir in the chocolate chips.

On a baking sheet, roll out balls of the dough (as small or as large as you'd like!) and place on the cookie sheet flattening out with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 -14 minutes!

Let the cookies cool on the tray for a few minutes, and then, enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Comfort food is what we are all craving at this time of year, so, here is a very simple recipe for Pork Loin which looks fancy, but, is really really easy! Hope you all like it.

With this recipe, please keep in mind that I don't use recipes and rarely measure, so, I am giving you an approximate amount of each ingredient - taste is as you go and make it your own!


*1 full pork loin, with silver skin trimmed off
*2 Tblsp olive oil
*1/4 cup maple syrup
*juice and rind of one orange
* splash of balsamic vinegar
*2 garlic cloves, minced finely
*1 Tblsp ground sage
*salt and pepper
* 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
* 1/2 cup of white wine
* splash of chicken stock
*2 Tblsp butter

In a bowl, mix the maple syrup, the orange juice, the orange rind, the garlic cloves, sage, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and 1 Tblsp of olive oil. Pour the mixture into a Ziploc bag, and place the pork loin in it. Make sure the loin is coated all around, and place in the fridge for at least one hour, but, up to 8 hours.

Take the pork loin out of the fridge about a half hour before you are going to cook it.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat an oven proof frying pan on med heat, and then pour the remaining olive oil and heat it up. Once the oil is heated, add the pork loin, and sear it on all sides (you are not cooking it at this time, just searing it). Once it is caramelized on all sides, add the sliced onions, wine, and stock and put the whole pan in the oven. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, keeping in mind the size of your loin. (a small loin, will take about 20 minutes, and a larger one will take 30 minutes).

After the loin is cooked, take it out of the pan, and let it rest, tented with tin foil for about 7 - 10 minutes. While the loin is tenting, and resting, put the pan back on medium heat, and pour some stock into the pan, to de-glaze. Make sure you use a wooden spoon and pick up all the bits at the bottom of the pan!!! then, add the butter and melt - this will thicken the sauce.

Slice the loin, and pour the sauce on top!


Enjoy! and let me know if it works for you:)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I hope everyone had a fantastic week end! I am here today to share with you a lovely recipe I made last night - I began with "Rach's" new "Top Ten" book and a recipe for haddock! I changed it a little bit, but, it was a good base! I used fillet of sole, but, man, was it good!!!!!! The boys each had two pieces and were looking for more when they were done! So, here it is - enjoy!!!!

Ingredient List

*2 large sole fillets (mine were big enough to cut into three pieces each)
*6 large, thin slices of prosciutto
*1 lemon
* Italian spice seasoning
* 1/4 cup or so flour
* 1/4 cup or so, butter
* olive oil

On a cutting board, with sharp knife, divide the fillets into three pieces each. Then, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning on both sides.

Wrap each piece of fish inside a slice of prosciutto.

In a large pan, heat up a touch of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of pan. Dredge the prosciutto wrapped fish into the flour, and then, place in the pan. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes or so. Then, flip and cook on the other side for about 3 minutes. (be sure fish is cooked through). The prosciutto will be gin to crisp!

During the last minute of cooking, squeeze the lemon generously on top of the fish. Melt the butter inside the pan with the fish. Once the butter is all melted, take a spoon and begin to baste or coat the fish with the melted butter, and serve! YUM! Easy and delicious!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chicken pesto lasagna

Hello everyone! You probably noticed there was no post yesterday! I feel that I when I share recipes and food ideas with you, they should be GREAT! So, with your permission, I will blog when I have something fabulous to share with you. Which leads me to today's recipe! The other night I felt like eating chicken pesto pasta, but, when I opened the fridge, I saw lasagna noodles!!! So, meet my new chicken pesto lasagna!

Ingredient list:

*rotisserie chicken, de boned, shredded
* lasagna noodles, boiled (or you may use oven ready if you prefer)
* 500g. ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese
* pesto - you will need quite a bit, so, make lots! (or buy lots)
* olive oil
* salt and pepper
* shredded mozzarella
* besciamella sauce - in a sauce pan take 2 Tblsp butter, and when melted, add 2 Tblsp flour and whisk. Cook for 1 minute. Add about 2 cups of milk. Grate in some fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper. Once the milk comes to a boil, it will thicken. Once it is thickened, take off the heat and set aside.


Mix the pesto and ricotta in a bowl.

In a lasagna pan, which has been buttered, place a layer of lasagna noodles, and layer as follows: Noodles, then pesto and ricotta mixture, then chicken. With a tablespoon take some of the bescamella sauce and sprinkle it on top of the chicken. Then, begin with the noodles and layer again as above. When you get to the top, end with noodles. Then, pour the rest (whatever is left over) of the bescamella sauce on top, and sprinkle with first the parmiggiano cheese, then, the mozzarella cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake according to the directions on your noodles package!

It was really good - I hope you like it too:)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheesy Pasta Bake

Last night we were feeling like some good ol' comfort food! So, I made a pasta bake with three cheeses, and it was soo good! Here is the recipe - enjoy it!

Ingredient list:

* 1 box of DiCecco Pasta (either penne or rigatoni) (if you use the pasta in the bag - either the smaller bag, or half the large bag)
* 2 cups of marinara sauce (I used home made, but, you can buy DiCecco now and it is fabulous!)
* 1 cup of ricotta cheese
* 1/2 ball of hard mozzarella (don't use fresh in water, as it will make the dish soupy)
* 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano (is there any other kind????)
* a bunch of fresh basil
* olive oil

Butter a casserole pan and set aside. Cook the pasta, just shy of al dente. In a bowl, mix the marinara sauce with the ricotta cheese. Slice or pull apart the mozzarella. Chop the basil.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, put back in the pot, and add the marinara and ricotta mixture. Put the pasta in the buttered casserole dish. Top it with the basil, and toss gently. Top the pasta with the slices of mozzarella, and then, with the parmiggiano cheese. Place in a 375 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes, or until the mozzarella is melted, and begins to turn golden brown! Serve with some garlic bread, or a fresh salad on the side. YUM!

Have a great day, everyone! and please let me know what you think:)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Breakfast in a Cup

Good morning to all, and Happy Monday!

Well, if you are anything like me, you are trying to wake up this morning, as, after all, it IS Monday! So, here is a fast breakfast idea to help with waking up, and it is all in one cup! Cool, huh?

Again, eye ball this recipe, as it really depends on how large your cup is - you WILL need a microwavable cup, K?

Ingredient list:

* diced or shredded ham (you may use bacon if you have any left over in the fridge)
* shredded cheese
* diced red, greed, or yellow pepper (I prefer red!)
* diced red onion
* 1 egg
* a touch of cream (yes, you may used milk if watching the waist line)
* salt and pepper
* non-stick spray
* dab of butter

Spray your microwave safe cup. In bottom of cup, place the onions and the bell pepper, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients (the egg may be whisked ahead of time, or not). Mix with a fork or spoon, and microwave in 30 second increments until all is cooked through. Enjoy!

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cheese and Ham Keish!

Good morning:) Today I am going to post a recipe for keish. My best friend has asked for it, so, here it is: Please keep in mind that I don't usually measure when make this, so, I will post amounts and measurements of ingredients, but, please note - use this as an approximation only.


*1 frozen pie crust
* 1/2 onion
* 6-8 eggs
*salt and pepper
* cubed ham
* 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (you can use cheddar cheese, or goat cheese, blue cheese, - any cheese!, or a combination of any)

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add the salt and pepper, cubed ham and cheese. Place the pie crust in a pie plate. Put the egg mixture in the pie crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 20-30 minutes or until the middle feels cooked. Voila! Let me know how it goes, Bren!!!!

Have a great week end everyone!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good morning everyone! Today is a very chili day!!!! So, what better to warm us then a nice bowl of chili!


* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 stalks of celery, chopped
* 1 large red pepper, chopped
* olive oil
* 1 lb ground beef
* 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (if you can't find fire roasted use regular canned tomatoes)
* 1 large can kidney beans
* 1 small can black beans
* 1 small can white canellini beans
* dried chili flakes (to taste)
* chili powder - 2 Tblsps
* cumin - 1 Tblsp
* cayenne pepper - small pinch
* cinnamon - small pinch
* 1 oz 70% dark chocolate

In a dutch oven, or hard bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and add onions, celery and pepper. Stir and let soften. Add the ground beef and brown. Add the spices. You may change the amount to your own taste. Add salt and pepper. When beef is browned, add the tomatoes. Let simmer for 1 hour. Add the beans, and simmer for another 45 minutes to 1 hr. When ready to serve, melt in the chocolate. Now, eat up and keep warm! :)

Cheers all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On this Rememberance Day remember those who fought.......and those who died for us......

Okay, now, on to our food for the day!!! I am having a snack attack kind of week! So, here is my recipe for rosemary cheesy popcorn! I know, it is just popcorn, but, try this, and you will see just how special popcorn can be!

Rosemary Cheesy Popcorn:

Fresh rosemary
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Pop some popcorn in the microwave or on the stove top and put into a bowl, enough to make 6-8 cups when popped, and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt about 1/4 cup of butter (real butter - no margarine for this baby!!!). When the butter has melted and has begun to turn brown, add some fresh cut rosemary - as much or as little as you like! Fry it in the butter for a couple of minutes, add salt and pepper, and a little garlic salt, and take off heat. Let it cool a couple of minutes, and pour on top of popcorn. With your fingers, toss it all together, and then, add a generous hand full of parmesan cheese, freshly grated. Toss again and eat!!! sooo good!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pizzaiola Burgers

Good morning everyone! This morning, I have a great, easy recipe for you all! It is a burger recipe! I guess these past couple of days which have been unseasonably warm have me thinking burgers and bar be cues! Enjoy!

Pizzaiola Burgers Serves 4


* 1 lb ground beef (lean, but, not extra lean)
* Tomato paste
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1/4 Cup fresh parsley
* Hand full of bread crumbs
* Hand full of grated Parmesan
* 1 egg
* Chili flakes (to taste)
* 1/4 large white onion
* Salt and pepper
* Slices Provolone cheese


* 2 large onions sliced
* pat of butter
* olive oil
* tomato paste (1 or 2 Tblsps)
* Ground oregano
* salt and pepper


* Slices of fresh Roma tomato (pear shaped tomato)
* Fresh lettuce



In a bowl, combine all the ingredients under the heading "Burger", except for the Provolone cheese. With your hands, get in there and combine! Then, split the mixture into four equal parts and shape your patties. Set aside (in the fridge if cooking later on in the day)


In a shallow pan, melt the butter and oil together. Put the onions in and cook, until onions are reduced by half, and turning caramelized brown. Add the tomato paste - start with one Tblsp and if not enough, add the second Tblsp. Add the oregano, salt and pepper. Stir together and put in a bowl.

Cook the burgers on the grill or in a pan until desired doneness. Place the slice of provolone cheese on top to melt, and then, top with the onion topping. Add tomato and lettuce, and serve!

Let me know if you try it, and how you like it - my boys LOVE these burgers!

Cheers to all!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Topping

I hope you all had a GREAT week end! As I am writing this, I am making pan cakes for my son, and thinking of a topping my mom used to make for me and my brother before sending us off to school: Apple and Cinnamon topping:

Cut and core an apple, and then thinly slice. Place is a small sauce pan. Add brown sugar, butter, and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Add a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Let the ingredients simmer away in the pan until the juices from the apple render and mix in with the butter, and sugar. Mix with a spoon, and let it cook until browned. (the sugar will caramelize) and become "oozy". Soooo good!!!! Hope you try it and enjoy it:)

Happy Monday everyone!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Good morning everyone! It's Friday! The week end is the time when we get together with friends, and relax, and hang out, and entertain. So, why not create a snack which you can serve to your friends, which is easy, but, oh, so yummy!!!!! I make it all the time, and my friends and family love these little crostini with big flavour!
Here is the recipe - try it, share it, and most of all, relax, and enjoy it!

* 1 French baguette - small
* 1 Small jar of apricot jam
* 1 Small wheel of brie, sliced thinly
* 12 Slices of proscuitto - VERY thinly sliced

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spread some olive oil on a cookie sheet and set aside.
- Slice the small baguette on a bias, in 12 equal slices. Brush them lightly with olive oil, and place on cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned. Let cool.
- When the crostini (baguette slices) are cooled, spread with a small amount of apricot jam. Then, layer the prosciutto on top, and then, the brie. Top with a small dollop of jam.

Place on a platter, and share with all!

Have a great week end and we will catch up on Monday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good morning to all!

Tonight for dinner we are having Greek Style Chicken Pitas


* 4 chicken breasts
* juice and rind on 1 lemon
* olive oil
* dried oregano
* one garlic clove, minced
* Salt
* pepper
* fresh tomatoes
* fresh lettuce
* red onion, thinly slices
* 4 pitas with pockets
* Tatziki - Mix together the following ingredients:
- Thick, Greek style yogurt, plain 1 container (500g)
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 2 garlic cloves
- fresh dill to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
*In a bowl mix together juice of lemon, rind of lemon, garlic clove, oregano, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken and let marinade for no longer than 45 minutes. (if it marinades too long, the juice of the lemon will begin to cook it).
*Heat up grill (bar be cue works wonderfully well here) and add the chicken breasts - cook until done and let rest for 5-7 minutes.
* Cut up tomatoes, and lettuce.
* Cut chicken into this slices.
* Cut open your pita so the pocket is exposed. Spread tatziki on bottom, add the tomato slices, the lettuce slices, and the onion slices, and then, top with chicken slices. Close pocket, and enjoy!

Here is a tip for you: Garlic! instead of mincing with a knife, get yourself a micro grater and grate the garlic! sooo easy!!!!!!

Have a great day everyone, and happy cooking!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

French Onion Soup (not from a can!)

So, yesterday, I decided I would go over to the local Tim Horton's to eat a certain soup everyone has been raving about - their "famous" French Onion Soup! It tasted a little can-like, with a few croutons on top, and I am pretty sure, but not certain that the Swiss cheese was processed! So, for all of you French Onion Soup lovers, such as myself, here is a very simple recipe you can make yourself. Take it to work with you - just take the soup in a microwavable container, and add the croutons and cheese just before heating up - yum!!! Anyone who tries it - please let me know what you think!

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 5 x large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
  • Splash of water
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup white
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 6 cup either home made, or organic Beef Broth (you may use chicken if preferred)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices slices multi-grain bread, cut into cubes and toasted in the oven until browned.
  • 2 cup Swiss cheese, grated


-In a soup pot, melt the butter with the oil.
-Once the oil is melted, add the onions, salt and the splash of water.
-Let the onions caramelize - 15-20 minutes or so.
-Once the onions are brown and caramel colour, "deglaze" the pan with the wine, and scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
-Add the thyme, the broth, salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes so all the flavours combine.
-Ladle the soup into 4 over proof soup dishes.
-Top with the croutons, and then, the cheese.
-Broil on high for 2-4 minutes, or until the cheese begins to bubble

Have a very happy food day everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hi all! I am starting this blog for all of you foodies! I have previously posted various dinner ideas on FB and received a huge response for recipes, meal ideas, etc. So, I decided to start blogging about what we have for dinner each night! Hope you enjoy it.

Tonight, I am making slow cooked turkey chili! YUM! And, to soak up all those yummy juices, some "cheater" tex mex biscuits! Here is a GREAT idea I learned from my favourite TV gal, Rach (Ray). Take some Bisquick biscuit mix, add enough milk to make a firm dough, and then, add spices such as in this case, cumin, cayenne, chili and paprika, salt and pepper, and then, shredded monteray jack cheese (or cheddar). How much? well, it depends on how much dough you have - just wing it, but, at least a 1/2 cup as you want to taste the cheese! Spray a cookie tin, and spoon out dough to form biscuits. Bake according to package directions! yum!!!! Serve with your favourite chili!

Have a great day everyone! and enjoy your biscuits!