recipe: chicken pot pie stew

talk about comforting. i made this chicken pot pie – minus the crust – for our night of tree-trimming (which ended with a tree covered in malfunctioned lights, but i digress). i was originally going to make as a chicken pot pie, but couldn’t get my head around how much unnecessary fat and calories came from the crust. i decided to add some dumplings instead, and let me tell you… it was divine and probably better than the original. the great thing about this recipe is that all of the ingredients are usually already on hand; love when that happens! i’ll definitely be making this one again, if not regularly.

the few other tweaks:

  • throwing in a few sprigs of thyme with the bay leaf gave the flavour some depth
  • i added an extra half cup of chicken stock just for extra moisture
  • subbing milk for cream cut down the fat and calories
  • using organic chicken always makes it taste that much better

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recipe: potato leek bisque

this soup is hearty, filling, and totally comforting. i made it for dinner the other night, and i plan to add it into my recipe arsenal, pronto. it was ah-mazing! you could remove the bacon if you please (if say, you wanted to cut the fat and cals), but really, when is removing bacon from any dish a good idea? the potatoes make it creamy without adding a tonne of dairy and using bacon as the base pumps up the flavour. a little sprinkle of cheddar on top as a garnish… beautiful. if you want to indulge, pair the soup with a wedge of sourdough, i can only imagine!

an immersion blender is something i have in my kitchen and never use, but it comes in handy with this recipe because using an actual blender is just way too labour intensive for me. i like that the tool leaves little chunks of potatoes… eating a thick soup without texture can sometimes be reminiscent of baby food, no? before i made the soup, i tweeted about it and a follower on twitter suggested i add a dash of cayenne pepper, so i did, and wow – great idea, @erinelizs!

settle in and make this super simple one pot meal for dinner tonight. don’t forget to pin it to your pinboards – just hover over the photos.

POTATO LEEK BISQUE

2 leeks (light green and white part only)
2 cloves garlic
1.5lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled (about 5 mid sized spuds)
5 cups (one 943ml tetrapack) low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
4 strips bacon
1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
3 tablespoons cream or milk (or omit entirely)
dash cayenne pepper

method:

  • cook the bacon until crispy in the same pot as you will use for the soup and put aside
  • drain half the bacon fat and add chopped leeks, sautéing until tender, about 5 minutes
  • add minced garlic and salt
  • add uncooked potatoes and chicken broth (make sure to scrape up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pot for flavour!)
  • simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes until potatoes are tender
  • add cream/milk and use immersion blender until soup is quite smooth
  • add dash of cayenne and more salt if needed
  • garnish with a strip of crispy bacon and some cheddar cheese if desired

*for those of you who are unfamiliar with leek, just think of them as very mild and mellow green onions, almost a hybrid of onion and celery.

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recipe: pumpkin spice cake

i’m in pumpkin overload mode. is it just me?! when fall strikes, i can’t get enough of the stuff – combine it with the spices of the season like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and clove, and i’m in heaven! for thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s parents place, i wanted to make something other than a traditional pumpkin pie (…which, i made for our first thanksgiving dinner the previous night!), so i settled on this glorious pumpkin spice cake topped with rich and velvety cream cheese frosting.

(hover over the photos to pin!)

read more…

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recipe: engagement chicken

as they say, “the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach” and this recipe is definitely a modern (albeit backwards) spin on that saying. a few weeks ago, i watched anna and kristina test it out on their cooking show (who else loves those girls?), and figured i had to give this simple and promising recipe a try! it’s a perfect recipe to ring in the season, beyond easy, and only calls for a few ingredients so i really didn’t expect the result i got: …the most delicious roast chicken i’ve ever had.

(roll over the images to pin to your pinboards!)

read more…

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recipe: strawberry gazpacho

when i was 10, my mom served me a tomato based gazpacho, and of course, my immature taste buds were appalled. fast-forward 20 years, and i know how to appreciate this delicate soup – it’s a perfect dish for summer!

this strawberry gazpacho can be thrown together the night before, blended prior to serving, and it will seriously impress! my girlfriend erin served it the other night at a girls get together for the bachelorette finale, and we all swooned. it’s tangy, hearty, healthy and savoury-sweet – the perfect start or finish to a meal. i especially loved the added texture of the almond in the garnish. if you don’t want the extra chopping work of the full garnish, throw on a crumble of goat cheese, and you’re golden.

(hover over the photo and click PIN IT to add it to your pinboards!)

STRAWBERRY GAZPACHO
(serves 6-10 based on portion size)

gazpacho:

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and lightly crushed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 (5-ounce) english cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup best quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

garnish:

  • 1/4 cup finely minced hulled strawberries
  • 1 bunch chives, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely minced, peeled, seeded english cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • lightly toasted marcona almonds, halved lengthwise, for garnish
  • sprigs fresh chervil, for garnish

method:

1. make the gazpacho: in a large bowl, mix together strawberries, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, garlic, tarragon, vinegar, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. using your hands, gently crush mixture. cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator. let chill overnight.

2. transfer strawberry mixture to the jar of a blender; blend until smooth. season with salt and pepper. if mixture seems too thick, add a little water to thin out. transfer to refrigerator to chill.

3. make the garnish: place strawberries, chives, bell pepper, cucumber, and almond oil in a medium bowl; gently toss to combine.

4. divide garnish evenly between bowls; top with almonds. pour over chilled soup and garnish with chervil; serve immediately.

(my photo)

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