Taco Pasta

I’m realizing more and more lately that my culinary adventures are shifting because I want to now make dishes that my Anna love. As someone who shows their love through food, nothing makes me feel more accomplished in the kitchen then when the people I love enjoy the food I make.

Pre-mommy Jacquie wouldn’t have considered to create a cheesy taco pasta, but because Anna hasn’t been feeling great lately, I wanted to make her something she would devour, and a tomato-y, cheesy, taco pasta was just the ticket on a sick day for her. dsc_0373

If you’re a fan of my Taco Pie, than this dish is for you. It uses the same base of ingredients for the sauce, and is such a comforting dish that you will definitely be going back for seconds.

dsc_0375Justin got me a super cool immersion blender for my birthday this year. It also has a whisk and cheese grating attachment. I think I’m in love!

dsc_0376I added cream cheese and some cumin, garlic and chili powder to make the taco seasoning base for this pasta. It elevated the dish to another level!

dsc_0377Once the noodles were cooked through, I added the sauce to the pasta and mixed thoroughly to combine.

dsc_0381Top with cheese and voila!

dsc_0385You have a happy girl who messily enjoyed her pasta.

Taco Pasta

You will need:

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder

Everything else:

  • Pasta (I used rotini)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, to serve

Begin by filling a large pot of water to cook your pasta. Prepare sauce while waiting for it to boil. In a medium saucepan, combine salsa, corn, beans and cream cheese. Heat until cream cheese is melted. Add cumin, garlic and chili powder to the sauce and mix thoroughly to combine. Once the water is boiling in the large pot, cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is cooked, combine sauce and noodles. Serve topped with cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Cheesy Tater Tots

For last weekend’s Thanksgiving dinner, I prepared the mashed potatoes. I went all out and made roasted garlic red skinned mashed potatoes, and they were a huge hit. With a decent amount of leftovers, I decided to make some homemade tater tots for Anna (who is quite the potato fiend). These are so very simple and quite delicious.

dsc_0360First thing’s first is to grate some cheese into the potatoes.

dsc_0361Next, crack in an egg and add breadcrumbs.

dsc_0362Mix it all together.

dsc_0363Then form into tater tots and place on a greased baking dish.

dsc_0365Bake until the tots are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Cheesy Tater Tots

You will need:

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp seasoning salt

Preheat oven to 375 and spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Begin by mixing the cheese into the potatoes. Add egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning and mix thoroughly to combine. Form into tater tot shapes and place on dish. Bake, turning once for 30 mins. They are ready when the tots are crispy and golden. Enjoy!

Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

Once you have a busy little munchkin in your life, you realize that you can no longer take the luxury of spending multiple hours in the kitchen on Sunday morning making brunch, or making an elaborate meal on a Saturday evening. Between the laundry, dishes and (multiple) house-reconstruction sessions per week, you really start to value the times when you can prep meals for the freezer. I am so lucky to have incredible supports and hubby gives me ample time to meal prep (thank goodness).

Remember the freezer burritos I made? Well, these breakfast sandwiches are very similar in concept. Convenience and easy to heat at a moment’s notice, these breakfast sandwiches have become a coveted item in our freezer. Justin and I have always been breakfast sandwich fanatics – they’ve always been our go-to fast food option, when we unfortunately have to go there… But as a home chef, I’d much rather make our own!


The first step is to make the homemade breakfast sausages. (See why they are so popular around here?) Combine ground pork with maple syrup, sage, dried marjoram leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.


Form into patties and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, flipping once.

DSC_0464Once cooked through, drain on a paper towel.

DSC_0465To make the breakfast sandwiches, fry eggs, cut buns in half (I used whole wheat pitas from Costco), and add cheese.

DSC_0466I wrapped the sandwiches individually in aluminum foil to make it easy to pop them on our panini press in the morning, after letting them thaw in the fridge overnight. As a quick and easy, grab-and-go breakfast, this one knocks any fast food breakfast sandwich out of the park!


Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

You will need:

For the sausages (makes 12 sausage patties):

2 lbs ground pork

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dried marjoram leaf

1 tsp each salt and pepper


For the sandwiches:

12 eggs

12 whole grain buns or pitas

12 breakfast sausages

12 cheese slices (I used smoked cheddar from Costco – *drool*)


Begin by preheating your oven to 400. Combine ground pork, seasoning and spices in a large bowl. Mix with hands until just combined (do not over mix). Shape into 12 patties and transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy clean-up). Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, flip patties and then bake for another 10 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

To make the sandwiches, begin by frying 12 eggs in butter and then set them aside on a plate to cool. Cut buns or pitas, slice cheese and begin assembling by layering sausages, eggs and cheese on buns or pitas. Wrap in aluminum foil and freezer in a large Ziploc bag.

Thaw in fridge overnight. To serve, place foil-wrapped sandwich in panini grill. Cook for 2-3 mins, until the cheese is melted and the bun is crispy. Alternatively, unwrap from foil and microwave for 2 mins. Enjoy immediately!

Grand-Maman’s French-Canadian Baked Bean

I have a special treat for you all today!

Phil Wilson from Baconhound has recently started a very interesting new project for his blog called the Community Table Project. He is the brains behind the YEG Pizza Odyssey and the YEG Burger Odyssey, which pits some of the best Edmonton restaurants’ specialities against one another. The Community Table Project takes a different journey through YEG’s food scene. Through this project, Phil wants to feature recipes that are important to the Edmonton home cooks that create and cook them. I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I came across this video, describing the project. I just had to participate. And what better recipe to share than my Grand-maman’s French Canadian Baked Beans?

My Grand-Maman was an incredible woman. She was orphaned in her teens and being the only girl in a traditional French-Canadian family of five, she was responsible for taking care of her brothers in every way after her parents passed: cleaning, washing and of course, cooking. Being from St. George de Beauce, Quebec (pretty much as down-home French-Canadian as they come), she cooked a plethora of traditional French Canadian recipes: Pudding Chomeure, Tarte au sucre, tourtiere and cretons. She went on to create an incredible, large family legacy of Canadiens-Francais with my Grand-Papa (My extended family is now 61 strong!). I am so proud to be able to share one of her signature recipes with you today.

DSC_0515Many French-Canadian Baked Bean recipes call for salt pork. When I picked up some bacon ends from Irvings at the Strathcona Market, I asked them about that. They told me that salt pork was essentially illegal, unregulated bacon. Well, since I wasn’t going to make my own bacon for this recipe, Irving’s high-quality, Berkshire bacon ends would do the trick quite nicely.

DSC_0517Using my cast-iron skillet, I crisped up the bacon ends.

DSC_0518Next, I made the liquid that the beans would be slow-cooking in. Very simple, really. I used 2 tablespoons of dried mustard.


Then I used 3/4 cup of maple syrup.


Here are the delicious bacon ends, all crisped up.

DSC_0521Because I was making the recipe the day ahead, I combined all of the ingredients in a Tupperware, and popped it in the fridge.

DSC_0522Including the crispy bacon, of course!

DSC_0524Before turning in that night, I emptied a one-pound bag of white navy beans in a bowl.

DSC_0527Then I covered them with water and let them soak overnight.

DSC_0528In the morning, I drained the soaked beans and rinsed them off, then I combined all the prepared ingredients, beans and 6 cups of water into the crockpot.

DSC_0529Then I cooked them on low for 10 hrs.

DSC_0530Here they are at the end of the day. Saucy, sweet, salty, beany goodness. Taste them and adjust seasoning to your liking.


Traditionally, this dish is prepared in a bean pot. I am so fortunately to have inherited my Grand-Maman’s bean pot. You can tell that this pot was well loved. The sealed ceramic is cracked from use and there are ancient burnt beans marks on the bottom of the pot.

DSC_0535Serve up the dish with a piece of bread, or serve for breakfast with a poached egg on top.


French-Canadian Baked Beans (Fèves au lard)

You will need:

  • 1 lb bag of dried white navy beans
  • 1 pack of back ends from Irvings Farm Fresh (or one package of regular bacon)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1.5 tablespoons dried mustard
  • 6 cups water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt or to taste

Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with water. In the morning, slice bacon and fry in a pan. Dice onions. Combine maple syrup and dried mustard, and add to a crockpot. Add water and stir to combine. Add bacon, onions and beans. (You can make ahead by combining cooked bacon, onions, syrup and mustard in a large tupperware in the fridge and add beans and water to crockpot in the AM.) Stir to combine and slow cook on low for 10 hours. Once beans are cooked, add salt to taste.

To cook in a beanpot, preheat oven to 350 while preparing your ingredients. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 200 and cook for a total of 8 hours. Check and stir occasionally, and add more water if needed.

Serve with a slice of homemade bread, or for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Enjoy, with classic memories of Francophone Canada.

Tuna Melt Stuffed Tomatoes

I love tuna melts. They carry such an interesting flavour combination with their tuna, tomato and cheese combination of deliciousness. I was perusing the latest All You Need is Cheese Magazine, put together by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, and I came across a recipe for Tuna Melt Stuffed Tomatoes. Instant inspiration!


I didn’t have many of the items the recipe called for on hand, so I substituted them. These turned out so incredibly delicious, I am so happy with the variations!

DSC_0477First, make sure that your tomatoes are sitting upright. I used some larger tomatoes on the vine that I picked up at the Strathcona Market, so they sat upright nicely on their own. If you’re using any other kind of tomato, you can cut a thin slice off the bottom of each tomato. Then, cut the top off to create a large enough opening to stuff them.

DSC_0484Scoop out their insides and reserve the flesh and liquid.

DSC_0487For the stuffing, I used oats, Gruyere, onion, the reserved tomato flesh and liquid. Dice the tomato flesh and add the other stuffing ingredients. Add reserved tomato liquid to help soften up the oats.

DSC_0488Stuff each tomato and cover with the tops.

DSC_0489I baked the tomatoes on the grill, because it was waaaaay too hot in my house to even fathom turning on the oven. I grilled the dish on medium for about 20 mins (until the cheese was all melty and gooey).

DSC_0498We devoured these tomatoes right off the grill. They were so delicious!

Tuna Melt Stuffed Tomatoes (modified from All You Need is Cheese)

You will need:

6-8 large tomatoes (I used large on the vine, but beefsteak tomatoes would be perfect for these!)

1 can of tuna

1/2 cup Gruyere, cut into small cubes

1 medium onion, diced

3/4 cup rolled oats

If baking, preheat oven to 450. If grilling, preheat BBQ to medium-high. In both instances, line a large baking dish with foil.

Make sure that your tomatoes are sitting upright. If they aren’t, cut a thin slice off the bottom of each tomato. Then, cut the top off to create a large enough opening to stuff them. Scoop out their insides and reserve the flesh and liquid. Dice the tomato flesh and add to a large bowl. Add oats, tuna onion and Gruyere. Add reserved tomato liquid and mix well to coat. Stuff each tomato with filling and top with tomato cap. Bake on grill or in oven for 15-20 mins until the filling is very hot and cheese has melted. Serve right away and enjoy every last crumb.

*Tip: If you have any extra filling, bake alongside tomatoes in a separate dish and eat it right out of the pan.

Baked Ranchero Eggs

Good morning all! I’m so sorry that I’ve been MIA recently. Things have been a little crazy over here. We’ve had kitchen renos done! Yay! We now have direct access to the back yard through a sliding patio door, as well as a more open kitchen with a hole in the wall leading between the dining room and kitchen. We also had some more counter space and cabinetry installed. I love it. I am so happy that we finally invested in a more functional kitchen!!

This recipe is from the great Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen. I bought her cookbook when it came out and have loved making the delicious recipes therein. For father’s day last month, I asked Justin to peruse my cookbooks and choose a breakfast recipe. He settled on Baked Ranchero Eggs from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Hmmmm.

IMG_4574First things first, I roasted a can of diced tomatoes.

IMG_4575I also boiled some black beans.

IMG_4576For the ranchero sauce, blend tomatoes, onion and garlic in a food processor.

IMG_4577Then transfer to a skillet.

IMG_4578Add the beans.

IMG_4579Then add the eggs.

IMG_4580Cook them, lid on, until they are still pretty soft.

IMG_4581Then cover with Jack cheese and broil in the oven on high for 5 mins.

IMG_4583Add dollops of sour cream and fresh, chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Baked Ranchero Eggs (Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen)

You will need

1 large can of diced tomatoes (or fire-roasted tomatoes. This will save you a step!)

1 medium white onion

2 garlic cloves

salt and pepper to taste

1 can black beans

12 eggs

1 cup jack cheese

Sour cream

Lime juice

Chopped fresh cilantro

Begin by roasting the tomatoes at 350 for 30 mins, if you weren’t able to find fire-roasted tomatoes. Transfer to a food processor. Add onion, salt and pepper and garlic and blend until smooth. Transfer to a skillet. Add black beans. Cook for 15 mins on medium-low. Add eggs ad cover. Cook until still very soft. Add jack cheese and broil on high for 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and browned. Top with sour cream, lime juice and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Coconut Crusted Sole with Mango Lime Salsa

My goodness! It’s been over a month since I last posted. May has been an absolutely balls-to-the-wall crazy month for us over here. Justin applied for and got a promotion, we’ve been trying to rent our basement, and I started my own business. Add trying to find child care for Anna into the mix and you have one set of stressed-out parents. That said, I’ve done a lot of cooking; I just haven’t had the opportunity to post!

I was lucky to have been able to attend a cookbook launch back in April. Lick Your Plate by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat is an absolutely delicious and gorgeous Canadian cookbook, complete with step-by-step guides to tasty recipes. I’ve been cooking a lot of recipes from their book lately. This recipe is one of my new favourites!

DSC_0383The salsa was extremely fresh tasting. Complete with lots of fresh veggies, mango, cilantro and lime juice. Hmm!

DSC_0385Here it is. Ready to top some tasty coconut-crusted fish!

DSC_0392Now, make three bowls. First one has seasoning salt and flour. Mix well to combine.

DSC_0393Next plate has an egg and lime juice. Beat with a fork.

DSC_0394Next plate has panko breadcrumbs and shredded coconut.

DSC_0395Dredge the sole filet in the flour.

DSC_0396Then the egg.

DSC_0398Then the coconut and panko.

DSC_0399The recipe asks you to fry the fillets, but I prefer baking them.

DSC_0407They got nice and crispy in the oven.

DSC_0411Top the fish with the salsa and serve alongside some wild rice and you have yourself a fresh-tasting and delicious meal.

Coconut Crusted Sole with Mango Lime Salsa (Courtesy of Lick Your Plate)

You will need:

For the fish:

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp seasoning salt

2 eggs

1 tbsp lime juice

1 cup panko

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

8 sole fillets


For the salsa:

2 ripe mangos

1 sweet red bell peper

1 red onion

1 cup fresh cilantro diced

1/4 cup lime zest

2 tbsp lime juice


Begin by dicing all of the salsa ingredients into small pieces. Add to a bowl and mix in lime juice, lime zest and cilantro. Set aside in the fridge. For the fish, take out three separate bowls. In the first, combine flour and seasoning salt. In the second, combine eggs and lime juice. In the third, combine panko and shredded coconut. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and preheat oven to 375. Dredge a fillet in flour, then egg, then panko. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat for all fillets and bake at 375 for 20 mins, until fish is crispy. Serve topped with mango lime salsa. Enjoy!