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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!! One of my New Year's resolutions is to keep up with this blog!!!! I will make up some new recipes for all of us to enjoy! With New Year's Eve approaching, I thought I would post an appetizer idea that I served at a dinner party and I had a friend tell me it was so good she made it herself for her family's Christmas dinner! So here it is - it is easy, and tasty! This one is for you, Val! :)


2 large onions, sliced (I like large white sweet onions, but this recipe will work with any onion)
olive oil
butter (not margarine)
Good balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
pesto - home made or store bought
goat cheese
flat bread, naan, or home made pizza dough, rolled thinly


Place a saute pan on the stove over low - medium heat, splash with olive oil, to cover bottom of pan, and place a few Tblsp butter in pan to melt. Once the butter has melted, add the onions, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the onions cook down slowly. Once the onions are translucent, add a splash of balsamic vinegar, and slowly let onions caramelize. The onions are ready when they are sweet to the taste, and light brown in colour. Put the onions aside and let cool.

To assemble tart, brush the flat bread (or naan, or pizza dough) with the pesto. Top with the onions, and spread them out so all the bread is covered, then, top with dollops of goat cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven for a couple of minutes until just warmed through. Cut into bite size pieces, and serve. This can sit for a while as this is good cold as well as warmed.

Enjoy it! and let me know what you think!
Happy New Year to all of you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mexican Burgers

Okay, so my last post was the recipe for pizza burgers, and I have heard from several people who have tried it and they loved it, so, I thought, since it is still summer, and a beautifully hot one at that, I would give you another burger recipe, which is "just mix" and with no measuring for Mexican burgers this time.....very yummy!!! Enjoy!

Ground beef
bread crumbs
bunch of fresh cilantro
squirt of lime juice
canned smoked chipotles (or you can take a chili pepper and roast it until charred, peel and dice)
chili powder
salt and pepper
Manchego cheese
sour cream

Mix all together - remember this entails no measuring so mix in as much or as little of one ingredient and less or more of another - up to you!!! Just be sure the burgers stay together.

Top the burgers with a slice of manchego cheese, chopped jalapenos, salsa, and sour cream...yum!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

No measuring pizza burgers

I hope you are all having a great summer, filled with family, friends, and of course, good food!
I tried making a new burger the other day with ingredients I had in the fridge and it turned out sooo good! So, now let me share it with you - this recipe is a little different in that I will post ingredients but not quantities. I literally just added in the ingredients without measuring a thing! so, add away, as little or as much as you want - just keep in mind that your meat should be more that the add ins, K? Have fun!


ground beef
pepperoni, sliced thinly
parsley, chopped
a spoon full of tomato paste (okay, this on is!)
an egg
parmesan cheese
italian breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Mix it all in a bowl, for patties, and grill on the bar be cue! Top with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. Emjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pasta with mushroom marsala sauce

Oh my gosh people!!!! This one I saw in a Rachael Ray magazine - I tweaked it a little bit - it is fantastic!!!! One of my favourites by far! Try it and give me some feed back K?


1 hand full dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot broth until softened. Keep the broth!
1 lb package cremini mushrooms, sliced
olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 white onion, chopped
a bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tblsp flour
1/4 cup marsala
1/4 cup cream
Tagliatelle pasta, 300 g or so for 4 people
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In a pot of boiling, well salted water, cook pasta until al dente. In the mean time, bring a large saute pan to medium high heat. Add a splash of oil, and a pat of butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent. At this time add the mushrooms (both the cremini and the porcini). When the mushrooms have caramelized add the garlic. Stir until fragrant. Sprinkle the mushrooms with about a Tblsp flour and stir. Gradually add the marsala, and the broth you soaked the porcini in, being careful not to add the whole thing as there is always some grit on the bottom of the pot. Do not add the grit! Once the sauce has thickened, add the cream - as little or much as you like. Add a generous amount of pepper and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta to the sauce and the fresh parsley. Mix well. Add as much cheese as you desire...I add A LOT!

Play with it! As all my followers know, I do not measure when cooking, so, all my measurements are rough - add more, add less of any of the ingredients - and then, add your own touch! Then, let me know how it goes!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Greek Vegetarian Flat Bread Pizzas

Hello all! I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather, and getting ready for dinner, perhaps? Don't know what to make? Or don't feel like doing a lot of cooking. I had one of those nights last night. I opened my cupboards and looked around for something to make for dinner when I really didn't feel like cooking one bit! I noticed I had lots of ingredients which could be used to top my Naan bread I had sitting in the bread basket.....YUM! It was soo good that I had to share! So, here it is - my version of a greek flat bread pizza - it is vegetarian but you could add some chicken to it to it if you wish:)


1 package of Naan bread (there are usually two naan breads in one package)
1 small roll of goat cheese
1 Tblsp or so of milk
salt pepper
1 jar artichoke hearts, chopped into large pieces (I like the ones in olive oil, but you may use the ones in water)
1 jar kalamata olives, chopped
1 small jar sun dried tomatoes, chopped into strips (soaked in oil)
feta cheese
greek seasoning (I, of course use Epicure's greek seasoning)
drizzle of olive oil


In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese with the milk. Whisk together until a thick mixture forms. If you need to add more milk. Add some grated nutmeg and salt and pepper. This is your pizza "sauce". Spread the mixture on the naan breads evenly.

Top with the artichoke pieces, the olives, and sun dried tomatoes. Sprinkle with the feta cheese, and then with the greek seasoning. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil all over the pizza. Bake in the oven (350 degrees F) for about 15-20 minutes, or place on a grill or on the bar be cue for 5-10 minutes. Serve as an appetizer or an a great dinner with some green salad.

I love your feed back so please keep emailing me and letting me know how the recipes turn out!

Have a great week end everyone!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pesto Chicken Pasta

Today I thought I would post a recipe which I make over and over again at work, and it is a favourite! I looked outside this morning and saw the rain, and thought this recipe would be perfect comfort food on such a dreary day! Put the left overs in the fridge and enjoy for a few days for lunch, or another dinner! Enjoy!


1 box pasta, penne or rigatoni are best in my opinion
a splash olive oil
a little chunk of pancetta, or three slices bacon, chopped
1 jar pesto (or make your own by putting a few handfuls of basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor, adding good olive oil little by little until a paste forms, then, add a handful of parmesan cheese)
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
3 cups shredded left over chicken (or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

In a large pasta pot, begin boiling water for the pasta. Once it starts boiling, add a generous amount of salt to the water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

Meanwhile in a large sauce pan, heated to medium high heat, cover the bottom of the pan with a splash of olive oil. Add the pancetta, or bacon and cook until crisp. Add the onion, peppers, asparagus, and garlic. Let cook until tender crisp. Add the sun dried tomatoes, the pesto, and the chicken. Add the reserved pasta water, and finally the pasta. Stir until all the sauce covers the pasta. Add some extra parmesan cheese, to taste and serve hot. This is great with a light salad on the side.

Try it - it'll be one of your favourites!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easy Chicken Pesto Pizza

Okay - this pizza is so good! And it is easily grilled on the bar be cue! It makes a really good appetizer too! There is no measuring, so you can just have fun! Combine the ingredients as you like and enjoy! So, use a combination of the following ingredients, and bake in a 350 degree F oven until the crust in golden and the cheeses are melted and starting to brown. YUM!!!!

Pizza dough - one ball from grocery store, or make your own!
Pesto - store bought or home made (combine 2 lg handfuls of basil, a handful of pine nuts, a handful of parsley, 1 or 2 garlic cloves, and a handful of parmesan cheese in a food processor with enough olive oil to form a paste)
Grilled chicken - (Left overs, or pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store) chopped
Red onion
Roasted peppers, chopped
Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Black olives, chopped
Feta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Dried oregano

Roll out the dough and cover with the pesto. Now, add your toppings - as much or as little as you like of each. Top with the feta and then the mozzarella. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Bake, and enjoy!

I love feed back - please comment and let me know how you like this recipe - also, let me know what you would like recipes for, and remember to always enjoy your time in the kitchen!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Party Dip

I am an avid NFL fan. As most of you could have guessed I am gearing up for what will be a very exciting game, and sharing the festivities with friends. For this, we need food....lots of it! So, here is an idea for a great nacho platter:


Nacho chips
1 can re fried beans
1 jar salsa
1 can adobo or smoked chilies
1 jar pitted black olives, sliced
1 avocado, chopped and sprinkled with lemon
shredded tex mex cheese
1 tomato chopped
lettuce, shredded
jalapeno peppers, sliced (if you like them, otherwise, leave out)
1 container sour cream

In a pan, over low-med heat, empty the contents of the jar of re-friend beans, and mix with a little water (1 cup or so), until it makes a dip-like consistency. Stir in the jar of smoked chillies (or adobo). Set it aside.

In an oven proof casserole dish place layer the following: Nacho chips, the bean mixture, salsa, and cheese. Place in a 350 degree F. oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is all melted. Take out of oven and sprinkle with tomato, lettuce, olives, and jalapeno pepper and avocado. Serve with sour cream. You can make as little or as much as you want! Easy and good - a real crowd pleaser!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cheater Home Made Ravioli

Yup, Cheater! You an make ravioli with won ton wrappers!!! It is so easy, and so delicious!
So, today, spinach and ricotta ravioli! They will be your favourite!


1 container (500g) ricotta cheese
1 package frozen spinach (small boxed package you can find in your grocery store freezer)
Defrosted, and squeezed of all access water and chopped finely
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (good parm - parmiggiano reggiano or grana padano)
1/4 cup romato cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
unsalted butter - about a half cup
2 Tblsp or so of good extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion
pancetta - as much of as little as you'd like, chopped finely
salt and pepper
1 package of either square or round won ton wrappers
1 egg
fresh parsley



In a bowl, mix the ricotta, spinach, nut meg, parmesan, romano, garlic, salt and pepper. (no, you don't need an egg to keep it together - it'll stay together in the raviolo). Make sure it is all incorporated and set aside.


In a small bowl, crack the egg and add a tsp of water, and beat it with a fork. This is your "egg wash". Take the won ton wrappers out, four at a time, and lay out on a board. Cover the rest with a moist towel. Take about a Tsp. of the filling and put it in the middle of the wrapper. With a pastry brush, brush all the sides of the wrapper with the egg wash. This acts like a "glue" to keep the raviolo together when cooking. Close the ravioli and make sure you squeeze out all of the air when you are pressing the sides together. It should look like a little stuffed triangle if using square wrappers, or a half moon if you are using round wrappers. Continue with the rest of the wrappers. Set them aside on a floured cookie sheet. Boil water in a large pot. Salt the water. Drop the ravioli in and when they start to come to the top and float, leave them to boil an extra 2-3 minutes, and drain very carefully! Be ginger with the ravioli!

Make the sauce - very simple sauce!

In a hot pan, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the pancetta and onion and saute until the pancetta is crispy, and the onions are just shy of browning. Add salt and pepper and a touch of nutmeg. Drop the ravioli into the sauce, and toss VERY gently. chop the parsley and sprinkle on top along with some parmesan cheese.

Please note that I looove feed back! Let me know if you try the recipe and tell me what you think!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Easy Chili

Happy Monday to all! I hope you all had a great New Year's and that your 2011 is a happy, healthy one full of love, and fun! I was inspired by a friend of mine to make chili this week. I wrote a recipe for a very easy chili that can be frozen for a fast week night dinner for her as she told me she has never cooked chili before. Well, Val, this one is for you...have fun with it, my friend:)

Easy Chili

2 Tblsp olive oil

1 lb ground beef (I use lean or extra lean)

1 sweet or Spanish onion, chopped

2 Cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 Green pepper, chopped

1 large (or two small) stalks of celery

1 small jalapeno pepper (this is optional, depending on how hot you want your chili) seeded and chopped

Splash red wine

2 cans of tomatoes, chopped, with liquid

Tomato paste (1 o 2 Tblsp)

Ground cumin

Chili powder


Salt and pepper

1 Can kidney beans, drained

Heat 1 Tblsp of the oil in a large pot. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink and the meat is just beginning to brown. Drain the meat, but, do not rinse it – it has a ton of flavour and once it is rinsed the flavour goes bye bye! Take the meat out of the pan and keep warm. Add the other Tblsp of oil to the pan and heat up. Add the onion, pepper, celery and jalapeno pepper– cook until transluscent and soft. Add the garlic and stir until the garlic is fragrant. Put the meat back into the pot and give it a good stir. Deglaze the pot with the red wine, then, add a palm full of cumin and two palm fulls of chili powder. Add salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, and a tsp of the cocoa. Leave this to cook at med heat, so, it is just simmering for an hour or so, stirring occasionally. After an hour, add the kidney beans and let simmer for another half hour to an hour. Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream and freshly grated tex mex cheese! yum!

This recipe freezes wonderfully!

Happy January everyone!