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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hi all! I hope you are all enjoying a great Holiday Season and looking forward to the New Year.
I have been away from my blog for a while, but, have decided to come back in the New Year with new recipes and tips to make your 2011 cooking experiences as enjoyable as ever! Can't wait to get re-acquainted! Please look for the first post of 2011 during the first week of January...until then, I wish you all a very happy New Year!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hot Greek Sandwiches

Hello everyone - this is one of the easiest, yet, tastiest recipes I have made.

Try them and you'll see.

Hot Greek lamb sandwiches


Ground lamb

Cumin (1 Tblsp or so)


All spice



Form patties and bar be cue until cooked through – 7 min or so per side.


Pizza dough, rolled thin into a square

Put it on the grill on top of an oiled piece of tin foil

When it is done, put some mozzarella on top to melt,

And sprinkle with rosemary and oregano

When cheese is melted cut into squares so you have two per sandwich (top and bottom)

Sauce (whir in food processor)


Roasted red pepper (for a different flavour you may use sun dried tomatoes)

Feta cheese


Red onions, soaked in water for a half hour

Feta cheese

Put patty on top of “Bun” bottom, then, spread with sauce, and top with red onions and some crumbled feta cheese. Top with bun top, and serve. REALLY GOOD!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hi everyone! it has been a while - busy summer! I hope you are all having a blast this summer and that your days are filled with great friends, family and food! I have a recipe to share with you which is so easy, but, sooo good - and it is all based around the zucchini! My son does not eat them, unless I cook them this way - so try it, even if you think you don't like zucchini!

You will need:

1 large zucchini (go to your local market and buy one or two - they are in season, and taste fantastic!)
2 cups or so of Italian style bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

In a bowl, beat the eggs and set aside. In a separate flat bottomed container, sprinkle the bread crumbs. On the stove, over med heat, place a non stick pan and fill the bottom with oil.

Slice the zucchini to about 1/4 " thickness. Dip the zucchini in the egg, then the bread crumbs, and then, dip into the oil and shallow fry for a few minutes on each side (they should be a golden brown in colour) sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve!

They also make a great appetizer - cut them a little thinker, and cook a little longer and top with your favourite toppping such as ricotta mixed with a little parmesan, salt and pepper, or a slice of tomato topped with a little mozzarella and basil.

You may also use them to decorate your favourite salad by putting them on top of a salad plate - they also add a little crunch!

Try them - you will love them!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lemon Caprese Salad

Here is a twist on an Italian favourite - Caprese Salad with a twist of lemon!


1 tomato, sliced
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced (the one that comes in a bag with lots of water in it!)
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 lemon
Olive oil (really good extra virgin olive oil)

Arrange your tomato and mozzarella slices like a fan, alternating tomato with mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place leaves of fresh basil on top for the salad, and a big splash of olive oil so each slice is coated. Grate lemon rind with a micro plainer on top of the salad so each slice has a bit of lemon peel on it. Next, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice on top of the salad.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Caramelized Pear and Pecan Spinach Salad

I saw this recipe on Grill it with Bobby Flay (who is one of my favourite chefs!). I tried it, and then, changed it up a little bit - try it and see how great it is during your next bar be cue! It is easy, but, very impressive!

Rum Pair Spinach Salad

1 large pear, sliced

¼ cup of butter

pinch of cinnamon

a hand full of brown sugar

salt and pepper

½ cup of rum

pecan halves (as many or an little as you’d like)

6 cups or so of baby spinach, washed and dried

12 cup feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup Olive oil

2 Tblsp Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbls Lemon juice

Place the pear slices, cinnamon, sugar and salt and pepper in a pan and turn the heat on to med-low. Once the butter begins to melt, stir the pears around gently and cook until they just begin to caramelize. Add the pecans. Once the pears and pecans start to become golden brown, add the rum – be careful!!! The rum will flame up (most times). Once the flames (if any) have subsided, turn the pear mixture off – if there are no flames, just let the rum cook out for about a minute or so. Set this mixture aside to cool.

Put the spinach in a salad bowl. Top with the cooled pear and pecan mixture. In a small bown, whisk together the olive oil balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Top the salad with the dressing and serve.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Layered Summer Salad

This one looks great on the table and makes a great addition to any out door bar be cue, or indoor setting! Enjoy!

In a large clear bowl, layer the following ingredients beginning on the bottom and working up.


1 can chick peas
2 cups of thinly sliced carrots
2 cups thinly sliced celery
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 cups shredded lettuce
2 pints or so of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (arrange them cut side down on the top - they look really pretty)
Note: - you may use a couple of cans of tuna and layer it right on the chick peas to turn this into a light lunch or supper)

On the side, make or buy your favourite dressing - Epicure Salad dressings are what I use - the Ranch is GREAT with this one! Don't pour the dressing on the salad until you are ready to eat - then, pour on top, and toss gently - YUM!!!!!!

Try it and let me know if you like it!

Cheers to all!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quick Chili Dip

Hello everyone! Hope everyone is keeping well. I just thought I would would quickly give you another "throw together" dip recipe - easy, and yummy and no measuring! Use your left over, frozen or canned chili to make this recipe - put as much or as little of each ingredient as you like it, to your taste! It is a success every time I make it!

For all of your information - I am now an Epicure consultant!!! I use their spices all the time, so, why not become part of the team, righ? If any of you need anything at all to make your cooking easier and tastier than ever, please let me know! Check out the website at I am more than willing to ship to any of you! Take care and let me know what you think of the dip!

In a bowl mix together chili, sour cream (use full fat for a thicker dip), cream cheese (at room temperature) shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red chili pepper (or you can use green jalapenos), a dash of hot sauce, some chopped cilantro. (I would add a couple of Tablespoons of Nacho Cheese Dip by Epicure here too) Put the whole thing in an oven proof casserole dish, or any oven proof container (or even a tin container for warming on the bar be cue), and place in the over or microwave (or bar be cue) and warm it up until it is of desired heat. Serve with nacho chips - yummy!!!!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quick sun dried tomato pesto

Hi everyone! So, last night I was at a loss of what to have for supper! So, I grilled up some chicken, and then, made this great pesto out of herbs and things I had in the fridge, and just drizzled it on the chicken breasts, and it was soo good, so, I thought I would share it with you!
I don't really consider it a recipe, but, if you mix this pesto with some mayo and some sour cream, it makes a great dip! Otherwise, just a quick sauce for chicken, or pork, or even white fish!


A large bunch of basil
A small jar of sun dried tomatoes in the olive oil (not the dried ones)
A handful of pine nuts
Romano cheese (a little nippier than parm and stands up to the sun dried tomatoes)
A clove of two of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil

Whir the whole thing in a food processor adding some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes, and then, using the olive oil as you need it. If you are making this for a dip, omit the Extra virgin olive oil and just use the oil from the tomatoes. You may also add a little chopped up sun dried tomatoes, and chopped up black olives on top for a garnish!

Try it - it is soo good!

Cheers to all!

In a food processor

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Italian Pasta Salad

It is warm weather time! With the warm weather comes bar be cues and with those, come salads - lots of salads! So, here is a GREAT pasta salad recipe! AND, no measuring! So, take all the ingredients and put in as much or as little as you want - make it the way you like it!
Try it for your next bar be cue!


Small cut pasta (I like farfalle), cooked to al dente and cooled completely
Zucchini (lightly blanched), cut in bite size pieces
Sun dried tomatoes, diced
Red or yellow peppers, diced
Red onion, diced
Roasted red peppers, diced
Canned artichokes, cut into bite sized pieces
A bunch of fresh basil, julienned
Bocconcini (try the smaller bite sized ones)

Dressing: (3 parts oil to one part total acid)

Olive oil
Juice and rind of one lemon
Red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

That's it - pretty easy, huh? and you can toss it together days in advance!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mixed Bean and Tuna Salad

Bar be cue season is finally here!!!! Looove hanging out with friends in the back yard cooking up a storm of course! Here is an easy recipe you can use as a side dish - SUPER easy and SUPER yummy! This salad also sits in the fridge for days, so, left overs are welcome as you can enjoy it over and over again!

2 cans mixed beans
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
2 cans tuna (tuna is olive oil is best for this one!)
1 red onion (thinly sliced)
Juice and rind (grated) of one lemon
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Combine the beans, tuna, onion and rind of the lemon in a bowl - toss to combine. Then, gently squeeze the lemon juice on top and pour enough olive oil to coat all of the ingredients. Add the salt and pepper to taste, and toss together. Enjoy!

Comments welcome - let me know when you make it and what you thought of it!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Creamy Strawberry French Toast

Hello everyone! Sorry I have not been around in a while - I have been busy busy! But, I am here now, to tell you about the best french toast ever!!! Great for a Sunday morning for the whole family! Try it and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 people:

1 Loaf of really good egg bread, cut into 8 slices (thick slices)
1 tup of cream cheese (small tub), room temperature
1 cup of strawberries, mashed up with a Tblsp of sugar
Juice and rind of 1 orange, separated
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Whipping cream, whipped
Real vanilla extract


Pair up your slices of bread so you have 4 pairs.
In a bowl, mix the mashed berries and sugar, the cream cheese, and orange rind.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, 1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg.
Spread the cream cheese mixture on one of the slice of bread of each pair, and then, top with the other slice so you have a strawberry cream cheese sandwich.
In a pan, melt some butter. When the butter is melted, carefully dip your "sandwiches" in the egg and milk mixture, and then place in the pan. Cook for about 7-10 minutes on each side or until each side is golden brown.
While the French toast is cooking, mix the whipped cream, orange juice, 1 tsp cinnamon and vanilla extract.
Top the French toast with the whipped cream mixture and serve - YUM!!!!!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ciabatta Bread Pizza

I hope your week is going really well, everyone! I have a recipe to share with you which is soo good!!!!! Especially on a night like tonight when I want to sit and watch my favourite TV shows and eat at the same time! I was watching Rachael Ray one day, and she made a GREAT ciabatta bread pizza. She used asiago cheese and broccoli rabe, which I am not a big fan of, so I took that idea, and made my own version and loved it!! I will for sure make it again, and again! So, here it is - enjoy it, K?

You will need:

1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half, and then, sliced sideways so you are left with four "pizza doughs"
1 tub of ricotta cheese
hand full of fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
thawed, frozen spinach
Olive oil
2 italian sausages, out of casings, and crumbled up
2 bags of fresh mozzarella cheese (the ones in water), sliced
2 fresh tomatoes (or three depending on how large they are), sliced.
Fresh basil
dried oregano

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place your bread halves on a cookie sheet, crusty sides down. Brush your bread with olive oil. Place the bread in the oven and brown. Set aside.

In a pan, brown the sausage which has been taken out of the casing and crumbled. You may add olive oil to the pan if the sausage is not very fatty. Add salt and pepper.

In the mean time, in a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic (grated in or very finely chopped), salt, pepper, and the spinach (be sure you have rung out all the water from the spinach). Set aside.

Place the ricotta cheese mixture on the bread, spreading it to the edges. Then, place the browned sausage on top of the ricotta mixture. Place the tomato slices on top of the sausage, and then, top with the mozzarella slices and the basil. Drizzle some olive oil on the top, and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano.

Place the pizzas back in the oven just to melt the cheese, under the broiler.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Greek Chicken Skewers with Greek Lemon Mayonnaise on Pita Bread

Hello everyone! Last night I was feeling inspired and decided to try my hand at inventing a recipe! So, I came up with this chicken recipe which was fabulous, so, I thought I would share it with you. Please try it and any feed back is welcome! Enjoy!


Chicken Skewers:

4 chicken breasts, diced
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 lemon (you will need both juice and rind)
a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
dried thyme
dried oregano
salt and pepper
4 - 6 pita breads

Lemon Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle whip!)
1/2 lemon rind
pinch of dried oregano
salt and pepper

In a bowl, place shallots, garlic cloves, juice and rind of lemon, olive oil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk together, and then, add chicken cubes. Place in the fridge for about an hour - do not marinade any longer than an hour, as the lemon will begin to "cook" your chicken.

Preheat your grill.

After the chicken has marinaded for an hour, skewer the chicken on soaked wooden skewers, or stainless steel skewers. Place on the grill and grill for a bout 4-5 minutes per side. (if you have a panini press grill you may place the top grill on top of the chicken, and cook for about 7-8 minutes without flipping.

While the chicken is cooking whisk together all ingredients for mayonnaise and set aside. The mayonnaise can be made up a day ahead - the longer it sits the more the flavours blend.

Once the chicken is cooked through, place some olive oil on the grill and place the pita breads on the grill for a couple of minutes each.

Serve the chicken skewers, the mayonnaise, and the pitas by taking the chicken off the skewers, and placing it inside the pita along with the mayonnaise and a nice greek salad on the side!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I am back from my holiday, and have some new recipe ideas. This one is easy, and so tasty! I hope you all try it and let me know how you like it!

Chicken Penne Pasta: (serves 4)


-1 White onion
-Pesto (fresh or from a jar - fresh pesto recipe follows) - to taste
-4 Fresh Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
-1/4 cup of white wine
-2 fresh bell peppers, chopped into strips
-a bunch of asparagus, chopped into 2" or so pieces
-Olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-1 bag of penne pasta
-fresh parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper

In a large pot, bring water to a boil for cooking the pasta. Salt the water generously. Cook the pasta until al dente.


Heat up a saute pan on medium heat, and add olive oil. Saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic. Add the chicken strips, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let cook until browned lightly and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan, and add the wine. With a wooden spoon, scrape the pan to pick up all the little bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the bell peppers and the asparagus until just softened, but, still has some crunch. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. The wine will have reduced. Add the pesto. When the pasta is cooked, mix all ingredients together. Put mixture in serving bowl, and top with fresh parmesan cheese.

- 1 large bunch of fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 Cup of toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 Cup of olive oil
- 1/4 Cup of fresh parmesan cheese
- juice of half a lemon

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and whir until it forms a paste. If it is too thick, add more olive oil.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

White Chicken and Bacon Pizza

Hello to all!!!! As you all know, I have a new job! But, I will still be blogging about recipes and food ideas, just not as often. Hopefully, you will try today's recipe - it is a pizza recipe my mom used to make for us all the time, and I make for my boys, and they love it! It is a white chicken and bacon pizza! Sooo good!!!!!!

What you will need:

Fresh pizza dough (I make my own, but, that is another recipe!!)
Left over chicken (rotisserie chicken is great for this recipe!), shredded.
Cooked bacon, cut into large pieces
1 tup of ricotta cheese
Fresh garlic cloves (1 or 2)
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 onion, sliced thinly
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Butter (not margarine)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out your dough according to the size of your pizza stone. Sprilkle some olive oil on the stone or baking dish and spread the dough out on top. Set aside.

In a pan, drizzle some olive oil, and melt approximately 1 tblsp of butter. Put all the onions in the pan, and let them cook down and caramelize. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the onions and stir. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, a good hand full of parmesan cheese, grated garlic, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little olive oil in the mixture and set aside. Mixture will be thick.

Time to build the pizza!

On the prepared pizza dough, spread the ricotta mixture right to the edge, top with onions, shredded chicken, and bacon. Top with parmesan cheese, and then, drizzle with olive oil.

Place the pizza in the oven and bake until dough browns around edges, and is fully cooked. It will depend on the size of your pizza!

Let it cool a little before cutting your slices. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Yesterday I posted a pork loin roast recipe, and promised everyone I would post a recipe for the left overs today, so, good morning everyone, and here is the recipe for fricciolini! Fricciolini is an Italian slang word used by my mom's family to describe these little balls of yummy-ness!

There is no measuring in this recipe - EASY!!!!

In a food processor put your left over meat.
Add any left over potatoes if you have any (if not, put a potato in the microwave and cook until very tender)
Add an egg or two depending on how much meat you have.
Add a huge hand full of parmesan cheese, grated.
Add a nice amount of parsley, and salt and pepper.

Once everything is in the food processor, whir it all together. The mixture will start to stick together. Once this happens, make little balls out of the mixture however big or small you like, and put on a cookie sheet. Flatten them out a little. You may put them in the fridge at this point to set up a little bit. Once you are ready to cook them, put some olive oil in a pan, and heat it up. Meanwhile get yourself a little bowl and put some flower in it, mixing it with salt and pepper. Run the fricciolini through the flower to just dust them, and place in the hot oil. Shallow fry them until golden brown on both sides!!!!!!! YUMMY!!!!!!!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rosemary Thyme Pork Roast

Happy New Year everyone!!! I hope your holidays were very joyous! It is a new Year, and here is a new recipe - very much a comfort food, and I don't know about you, but, with all the snow we have been getting I can take all the comfort I can get!

The recipe originally came from the Rachael Ray Show, which most of you know, I love! But, I tweaked it a little bit to make it easier to cook in a short amount of time! Enjoy it everyone and let me know what you think of it!


1 pork loin roast (2-3 lbs or so) with silver skin trimmed.
8 cloves of garlic
3 large sprigs of rosemary (or 2 Tblsp if dried)
3 large sprigs of fresh thyme, or (or 2 Tblsp if dried)
Olive oil
salt and pepper


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Make 8 slits in the top of your roast with the sharp end of a knife and push a garlic clove in each slit. Slather the whole roast with olive oil. In a small bowl combine the rosemary and thyme, and salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil to it to make it into a paste. Using your hand, rub the rosemary mixture onto the top of your roast. Put the roast into a roasting dish, or a baking pan, and cover it with tin foil. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or so, depending on the size. Remove tin foil, and let cook to crisp up for another 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. The roast should still be a little pink as pork can be tough if over cooked. Serve with roasted potatoes, a salad, and cranberry sauce, or apple sauce! It is MOST yummy!!!!!

Try it and enjoy! Tomorrow, I will post a recipe for "Fricciolini" which you can do with the left overs from the pork roast!