Tis the season to be busy. I swear, I haven’t had a weekend day where I haven’t been running around for a while. It been a little exhausting. I took some time to cook some super delicious food this weekend, though. For a nice pre-Christmas lunch at my parents, I made deliciously addictive potatoes.
Deliciously Addictive Potatoes
You will need:
1/2 pack of reduced salt bacon
8 red skinned potatoes
1 white onion
1 cup shredded double smoked cheese
Begin by slicing the bacon into small pieces and cooking until crispy and the fat has rendered. Dice potatoes and onions and add to a casserole dish. Bake at 425 for about 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are soft and crispy. Add cheese and melt. Serve immediately.
I’m happy to report that Anna loves oatmeal, or “Gruau” as we all it in our Franco household. She also loves pretty much anything I put in front of her so I am an incredibly fortunate mom. This was a really simple dish to throw together in the morning when you’re up before your baby for no good reason.
Coconut Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
You will need:
two cups rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Begin by preheating your oven to 375. Combine oats, cinnamon and shredded coconut. Ad coconut milk and blueberries and mix well to combine. Add to a greased baking dish and bake at 375 for 45 mins, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the oats are set. Enjoy!
Anna’s been into feeding herself with a spoon lately. It’s messy as anything, but it’s so cute to watch. She also loves soup! This mommy loves to make anything her baby will devour, and she had two bowls of this when I served it up for lunch.
I also used homemade bone broth. It’s so easy to make after you’ve cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot. Simply take off all the meat, put the bones back in the crockpot, and fill with water. Let it boil all night and you have delicious broth in the morning.
Sweet potato chicken noodle soup
You will need:
1 large sweet potato
2 sweet bell peppers
2 celery stalks
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 cup noodles
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 cups bone broth
Begin by placing broth and diced sweet potato in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Dice up all other veggies and saute in a skillet. Once potatoes are tender, use and immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add noodles to sweet potatoes and broth and cook until done. Add chicken to skillet. Add veggies and chicken to soup. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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
- 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!
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.
Cheesy Tater Tots
You will need:
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
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!
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.
I 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 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!
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.
Many 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.
Then I used 3/4 cup of maple syrup.
Here are the delicious bacon ends, all crisped up.
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.
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.