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Category Archives: All-star Recipes

One-Pan Chicken with Herbs + Garlic

Oh man, I have totally neglected this blog for the last couple of weeks! I’ve been so busy at work, and we haven’t been making a ton of new recipes. There are a couple that I haven’t posted yet including this one.

Here’s another recipe from the long weekend. Chicken thighs were on sale so I used a family pack of those instead of a whole chicken, used baby potatoes, and finally some dried herbs instead of fresh. OMG it was so good! The rendered chicken fat and the oil combined with the wine and broth to make a glorious sauce in the bottom of the pan, plus the chicken skin stayed super crispy and delicious! The potatoes soaked up all the flavors and were perfectly tender. This recipe is so simple that it’s perfect for any night of the week. This one is going into regular rotation once the weather cools down again. Very comforting.


One-Pan Chicken in White Wine with Herbs and Garlic

Feeds 4 people

  • 1 large free-range chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 700gm new potatoes, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine or juice
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (rosemary, parsley, thyme and sage)
  • 3T olive oil
  •  salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sliced lemon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C and place the chicken pieces and potatoes (and lemons if you are using) in a large deep sided roasting pan. Mix the wine or juice, stock, mustard, garlic and herbs and pour over the chicken. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast uncovered for an hour, or until cooked through.



Mother’s Day Goodies

Not much is going on over here except I’ve been recovering from the head cold of doom! I missed two days of work and ended up in the E.R. because my body didn’t like my meds 😦 Needless to say, I haven’t been cooking much. But I was feeling halfway decent on the weekend. The little Miss had a play date on Saturday and Sunday I spent in my night gown, cooking up a storm. Breakfast was a mishmash of two recipes I’ve made previously – those amazing Cheddar Garlic Biscuits and the Boursin Cheese Sauce I made a while back. Sooo goood! For lunch my guy BBQ’d some pork tenderloin, and in the afternoon I made Cinnabon Cake. For dinner I made slow cooker Honey Garlic Chicken. It was pretty good but lacking a little depth. I think Steve and I are developing a taste for spice, so next time we might add a bit of warmth to the dish, plus a touch more garlic. I’ll post the recipe once it’s perfected. 🙂

cheddar garlic breakfast sandwiches

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Every once in a while I get the biggest craving for biscuits – last weekend was one such time. The itch needed to be scratched and this was the recipe to do it! From what I hear they’re reminiscent of Red Lobster’s biscuits. To rack up even more comparisons (and the saturated fat content) I melted some butter and added garlic powder, then drizzled it on top of the biscuits before serving. *drool* This unassuming recipe from Canadian Living Magazine actually beat out Ina Garten’s biscuits for top spot on my all-star recipes list. They’re so fluffy and flavorful! And a bonus – you don’t need buttermilk or extra large eggs.

These biscuits can accompany just about anything. I made some wicked breakfast sandwiches with them and ate an extra couple as-is! They would also go well with soup, and of course sea food! Dangerous my friends. East coast cook-out here we come!


Quick Cheddar Biscuits


1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (18 mL) baking powder

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, cubed

1 cup (250 mL) shredded old Cheddar cheese

1 cup (250 mL) milk

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, parsley, salt and garlic powder. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add Cheddar cheese and milk, mixing with fork until ragged moist dough forms. Drop by 1/4 (50 mL)cupfuls, 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) apart, onto greased baking sheet.

Bake in centre of 425°F (220°C) oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 12.

Garlic Butter Topping

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk together ingredients, then brush on top of the biscuits right after you take them out of the oven. Sooo good!

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

(My goodness it’s taken me way too long to write this post.) Easter weekend was also Steve’s birthday and his favourite dessert is Strawberry cheesecake. But last year we ended up throwing the cake out because there was just too much and after a day or so the topping got yucky. So my mission was to find something more manageable. I was inspired by Junior’s restaurant recipe from “Junior’s Desserts” cookbook but I used a graham crust instead of the vanilla wafer crust, ditched the macaroon crumbs, and I made the topping separately so that I could easily refrigerate the cake without the topping going soft. I cut them into individual portions and popped them in the freezer for whenever I have a craving for cheesecake. Taste wise, I did  like it a lot but I think it was a touch too sweet. Next time I will leave out about 1/4 of a cup and see what happens. And as it states in the recipe, it really does puff up quite a bit but settles down fine. Mine had cracks but I have  feeling I left it in a little too long. It was still nice and creamy though. I don’t know if I will bother making cheesecake in a spring form again!


Cheesecake pie at top left, veg, and then C.I. Scalloped Potatoes


The filling cracked quite a bit but it doesn’t really matter as you’re going to top it anyway.

Junior’s fresh strawberry cream cheese pie

1 recipe vanilla wafer crumb crust (I used graham crust)

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 8-ounce pkgs cream cheese at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream (35% m.f.)

For the Topping:
1 recipe Macaroon crunch (I didn’t bother making this)
1 1/2 – 2 quarts ripe strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup strawberry jam, melted and kept warm

Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. butter a 9 inch pie plate. Make the crust, adding 1 tsp baking powder in step 1. Press the mixture over the bottom and all the way up the side of the pie plate. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake just until set, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

Make the cream cheese filling. In a large bowl with an electric mix (using paddle attachment if you have it) on low, beat one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together for about 3 minutes. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. This will take about another 3 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium (no faster!) and beat in the remaining 1/1/3 cups of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. The batter will look light, creamy, and airy. Be careful not to overmix! Spoon the filling into the cooled crust. Bake the pie until puffed, 30-35 minutes. The filling will rise in the oven, then settle as it cools. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the macaroon crunch and cool. [Bake 2/3 cup of chopped mixed nuts and 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut for 10-15 minutes at 350F until golden.]

5. Arrange the whole berries, on their sides with the pointed ends out, in concentric circles on top of the pie, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Spoon the melted jelly over the berries, covering the top of the pie. Place the macaroon crunch around the edge of the pie, forming a 1-1 1/2 inch border. Immediately refrigerate for at least 2 hours (3 is better). The pie is best served the same day. [I sliced the strawberries and combined with the jelly to spoon over individual pieces instead so that the filling would stay good for longer.]

Basic Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ cups finely crushed regular or cinnamon graham crackers (24 squares)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until well mixed. Reserve 3 tablespoons crumb mixture for garnishing top of pie before serving, if desired. Press remaining mixture firmly and evenly against bottom and side of pie plate. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on cooling rack. Fill as directed in pie recipe.

Quest for the Best Pizza

My daughter is getting so incredibly picky when it comes to her food. I’m thinking I may have to bite the bullet and try some tough love. But to temper it a little, I’ve make a homemade version of her favourite meal – mini pizzas. Steve and I have been trying out pizza dough recipes all winter but nothing has really wowed us. The one I made last week is from Ricardo Magazine and I really like it! The dough wasn’t too tough to knead and after rising and I could stretch it out quite well. When cooked, it’s kind of crackly on the outside and chewy on the inside. Very satisfying! I doubled this recipe and made a small pizza for myself, a large par-baked dough for later this week, and I still got 7 mini pizza crusts out of it as well. Instead of plain pizza sauce I took a page out of “Deceptively Delicious”s playbook and substituted 1/3 of the sauce with squash and corn baby food! I could not taste and difference at all, and it got the Miss M. stamp of approval as well!


Pizza for Four

(Makes 4 small, 2 medium, or 1 large pizza)


2 1/4 cups (560 ml ) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons (20 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) warm water


In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer using the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until it forms a soft ball. Knead dough for about 5 minutes on a floured work surface or in the stand mixer, until smooth.

Form dough into a ball and place back in the cleaned and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm and humid place for at least one hour (ideally 2 hours), or until dough has doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Roll and stretch out dough and place on a pizza pan. Spread with sauce and toppings and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until crust has lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.


Bacon-Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Oh my goodness, I made this last week and it might very well be my favourite recipe of the year! How can you go wrong with pork covered in what basically amounts to candied bacon?! 😀 There are really no words that could do this justice so make this for yourself ASAP. The only teeny-weeny thing that gave me trouble was the cooking time. I like my pork more on the medium / medium well side so this took quite a bit longer to cook to my preference, I’d say a good extra 20 minutes and a bit of the candy coating got burnt on the bottom. It was not fun to scrape of the cast iron pan, but totally worth it!



This photo does not do it justice! I was too hungry to care about aesthetics at that point. lol

Bacon-Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular can be substituted)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 to 6 slices good-quality bacon
1 tablespoon canola oil (or other neutral high-heat oil)
1/4 cup Major Grey’s Chutney (See Recipe Note) [I used grape jelly]
2 tablespoons whole grain or Dijon mustard [I used whole grain]

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the silverskin (the silvery-white connective tissue running along the top) from the pork tenderloin with a sharp knife. Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels and set aside.

Combine the brown sugar, salt, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub all of the mixture into the pork tenderloin. Wrap the tenderloin with the strips of bacon, securing along the sides with toothpicks.

Heat the canola oil in a large cast iron skillet, or other oven-proof skillet, over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the bacon-wrapped tenderloin and sear — do not disturb it while it’s searing — until deep caramel brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the tenderloin and continue searing until the other side is browned.

Mix the chutney and mustard in a small bowl and brush generously over the top of the tenderloin. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the tenderloin until a probe thermometer reads 140°F, approximately 10 to 14 minutes.

Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil. Rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the tenderloin to finish cooking and for the juices to redistribute into the meat. Remove toothpicks and slice into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces for serving. Serve with any leftover chutney on the side.

Recipe Note
You can find Major Grey’s Chutney at most grocery stores, or purchase it online. You can also substitute another favorite chutney or jam.


Sweet-n-Sour Chicken + Cantonese Noodles

I’m still on this sweet and sour chicken kick, trying to find a recipe that can match the dish at my favourite fast food place. I actually tried two different recipes this past weekend and this was the first. It’s based on a recipe for Peking Pork Chops but I added a bit of sriracha and five spice powder to add some spicy warmth. I used two chicken breasts instead of pork chops and found that too be a bit too much for the amount of sauce and coating. I had to make a second batch of coating while cooking the chicken the batches. The sauce thickened up on it’s own so I didn’t add the slurry. The coating started to fall of the chicken and get soggy so I probably should have deep fried it instead of shallow frying in about an inch of oil. With all that being said, it was still really good. Not the same as the mall chicken but still a very tasty dish. The Cantonese noodle recipe is very simple and very good. I couldn’t stop enhaling the stuff! I’ll keep playing around with the sweet and sour recipes but the noodle recipe is a definite keeper. 🙂


Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

For marinating the pork chops (or in my case, the chicken):

1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced pork chops, cut in half
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of five spice powder (optional)

For the sweet and sour sauce:

2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (can substitute balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup water

To finish the pork chops:

Oil, for frying, plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallion

Marinate the pork chops in a mixture of shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and five spice powder (if using). Set aside for at least an hour or overnight. Make the sauce by combining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hoisin, maple syrup, sesame oil, and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

When you’re ready to cook, fill a medium deep pot about halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine 3 tablespoons ice water, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Pour over the marinated pork chops and mix until coated.

Carefully drop a few pork chops at a time into the heated oil and fry in batches for about 3 minutes each batch. Drain on paper towels.

Cantonese Noodles


1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
2 scallions
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (I used just regular soy sauce)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon shaoxing wine (I used sherry)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
8 ozs fresh thin Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles (for pan-frying, not to be mistaken for “wonton noodles”) or 3 small bundles of dried Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles for pan-frying
3 tablespoons oil

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Rinse the bean sprouts in cold water and drain. Julienne the scallions. Mix the soy sauces, sesame oil, salt, sugar, wine and white pepper into a small bowl and set aside.

Boil the noodles. Fresh noodles should be boiled for about 1 minute. For dried noodles, boil for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain very well.

Heat the wok to high and add a tablespoon of oil to coat the wok. Spread the noodles in a thin, even layer on the wok and tilt the wok in a circular motion to distribute the oil and crisp the bottom layer of the noodles evenly. It should take about 3-5 minutes for the first side.

Flip the noodles over and add another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok and let the other side crisp up. Don’t stress if you can’t turn the noodles over in one shot, The goal here is just to get an even, light crispiness and to dry out the noodles during this cooking stage. In our pictures for this post, we used a large non-stick pan, which also works nicely. Set aside these noodles on a plate.

Heat the wok over high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and all of the white parts of the scallion to the pan and cook for about 15 seconds. Next, add the noodles to the wok and toss them well, breaking up the noodles so they’re not all in one big clump. Add the soy sauce mixture and toss continuously (don’t stop!) for a couple minutes using a pair of chopsticks or a set of tongs. Keep the heat on high.

After the noodles are uniformly golden brown, add the bean sprouts and toss. Add the rest of the scallions and toss the mixture again for another 1 to 2 minutes until you see the bean sprouts just starting to turn transparent. You want the sprouts to be cooked but still crunchy. Be careful not to overcook them or they will become limp and soggy. High heat is a key requirement for this dish.

Plate and serve! (Serves 2)

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