Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chicken Lasagna

Alright, so we were having friends over for supper and I wanted to make something new. I got the idea of making chicken lasagna into my head and it was decided that is what I would make. However, I also knew that I had a bunch of veggies in the fridge I needed to use. After searching for a recipe that is what I was looking for, I was unable to find something that truly appealed to me. So, being stubborn, I decided to make my own recipe rather than switch what I was going to make.

It turned out delicious, although soupy (I would cut out the milk next time I made it to help with that). My friend loved it as well!

Vikki's Veggie filled Chicken Lasagna

3 chicken breasts
1 green pepper
1 small onion
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tbsp corn starch
1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1 cup chedder cheese shredded
1/4 cup mozza cheese shredded
lasagna noodles

1. Cook chicken breasts, then shred and set aside.
2. Chop the green pepper, broccoli, spinach and onion (finely) and saute in a pan with a little oil. Add the cream of chicken soup (mixed with milk) and heat. Add the corn starch and set aside.
3. If using regular lasagna noodles, cook in boiling water for 8 - 10 minutes.
4. Layer the ingredients in the following way: noodles, chicken, sauce, cottage cheese, chedder, noodles, chicken, sauce, cottage cheese, mozza, noodles, thin layer of sause, chedder, mozza, parmasean cheese.
5. Bake for 40 minutes at 350F.

I served this with yummy sundried tomato foccia bear bred that I picked up a craft sale earlier in the year. It was delicious and we all loved it. I will have to order some more of these! It was super easy to make - just add beer and bake, my kinda bread baking.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Butter Free Brownies

I have been searching all over to find some brownie recipes to try that will reduce the amount of fats - Less butter, marg and oil, and finding it rather difficult to find any good recipes. So in playing around on the web this weekend I stumbled across a brownie blog - Brownie or Die! And what do I find on it but a yummy looking butterless brownie recipe, with coffee. Now I am not a huge coffee fan, but I love a hint of coffee in my chocolate occasionally. I did reduce the amount of coffee grounds in the batter to 1/2 tbsp, as I didn't want an overpowering coffee flavour.

Update: These were really good, especially for a lower fat version! Cutting the coffee was great for me, as it was just a hint of coffee flavour, however if you are a fan of coffee go for the full amount. Oh, and I did make one alteration to the recipe, instead of bittersweet chocolate I used 5 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate.

Owen even liked them, but said that he could feel the caffeine after a couple brownies (neither of us usually have much caffiene in our diets).

I will be making these again - thanks to Brownie or Die!


Last week I made a trip to the farmers market for some veggies and fruit. My husband being a native of the Okanagon region of BC, loves his fruit, and I was so excited to get him some BC grown apples! Apparently I went a little overboard on the apples and before Owen could eat them, they were getting a little overripe. (Although I have a little feeling that there was a little bit of forethought on this on his part - as he quickly put in a request for apple crisp!) So I humored him and made my apple crisp, then having leftover peeled apples, I went on the search for something new and found a yummy cookie recipe!

Vikki's Crisp

I originally made up this recipe in a search for the perfect rhubarb crisp, and it turned out so well I adapted it to other fruits over the years. This is the apple version (of course).

1/2 cup warm (NOT melted) margerine or butter
2/3 cup flour
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup oatmeal

Fruit Filling
4 cups peeled and chopped apples
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
(if using tart apples, you can add a little white sugar to the fruit)
1-2 tsp cinnamon to taste

1. Mix the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl. Mix until it forms crumbly mixture and set aside.
2. In an 8x8 pan mix togethet the filling ingredients
3. Top with the topping mixture ( you may not want to use all the topping, I usually have about 1/4 cup or so left over - it makes a yummy snack!)
4. Bake for 35 minutes at 375.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

I found this recipe from a cookbook I got as a shower present - 500 best Cookies, Bars & Squares by Esther Brody. It called for 1 cup of nuts as well, but as I am not a huge fan of nuts in my baking and as such didn't have much on hand, I decided to leave them out.

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup finely chopped and peeled apples
1 cup raisins

1. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg.
2. In a second large bowl cream together the shortening and brown sugar. Add the eggs one egg at a time and mix throughly.
3. Mix the apple and raisins into the shortening and sugar mixture. Add in the flour mixture and stir. (if adding nuts, they should be folded in after the flour)
4. Drop teaspoon sized cookies onto a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10-12minutes. The cookies should be a golden brown colour but still soft.
5. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Owen seems to really like these cookies - he even refused to share them his hockey team! I did manage to sneak some to the hockey wives, and came home with non left.

I used my mini-food processor to chop the apples and it took about 30 seconds which was great! I can also eat come of the cookies as their aren't large chunks of fruit! I highly recommend this!

My Brown Sugar Dilema

So, upon becoming incredibly frustrated trying to organize my Husband's bike equipment in the den, I decided to do some baking and calm myself before one of the bikes ended up in pieces on the lawn (having been tossed through a window). Now to add to the frustration I come into the kitchen to find that someone has been into my brown sugar, which is now just a rock of sugar. So, here I am, with a batter started and short of taking a sledge hammer to this sugar, I have no idea how i am actually going to get it to a form I am able measure and mix with other ingredients. Being my stubborn self I refused to go the store and buy any new sugar (and the fact that I am nursing a sore knee, and walking that far is out of the question). To add to the problem, my brown sugar mouse has mysteriously gone missing! So I can't even put that in the sugar for a few hours to try and soften it up.

After a few minutes of trying to break the rock of sugar into a fine sand for use, I decided that just wasn't working. Rather than admit defeat I got creative - really I didn't have much to lose at this point. Turns out in a moment of genious I figured out a quick fix to my problem!

I opened my sugar as much as possible and popped it into the microwave with an open bowl of water. I zapped it long enough to make the water steam and left it for a few minutes. Much to my delight my sugar was now soft, sweet and useable!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The missing Cookie Cutter

So, I decided to make some heart shaped sugar cookies for Valentines day. I had everything ready to go and I couldn't find my heart shaped cookie cutter. So thinking that because it is Valentines day and everyone should have lots of heart shaped cookie cutters, off I go in search of one. Turns out not a single store within walking distance from my house has heart shaped cookie cutters and so, I returned home without a cookie cutter and not sure what I was going to do.

Then in a moment of brilliance I decided to make my own cookie cutter - How hard could it be right? Well about an hour or so later and after experimenting with different types of matterials, I managed to come up with a pretty decent heart shaped cookie cutter. I was really impressed that I had managed to bend a coat hanger into such a decent looking heart! Well when Hubby got home, he was not all that impressed and just headed straight for the cookies. However, everyone else has loved my cookie cutter so I thought I would share!

So here it is:

Valentines Cookies

So, as my husband was working evenings all last week, I had some time to kill and decided to make some valentines day cookies. I was craving chocolate chip cookies so I decided to try and make them look a little more festive. So, I made small cookies and then pressed chocolate hearts into them when they came out of the oven. These cookies were delicious and totally satisfied my chocolate chip cookie cravings.

I love this recipe and haven't found one much better yet, even though it comes from the back of my Chipits.

1 cup shortening or softened margerine/butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Chocolate chips
Chocolate hearts

1. Cream together the shortening and the sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the sugar mixture.
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 375.

I baked the cookies in a mini muffin tin to get the round shape and then pressed the chocolate hearts into the top of the cookies as soon as they came out of the oven.

These were delicious!

I also wanted some festive sugar cookies and was excited to try April's recipe she got from a friend. The cookies turned out great, and my husband's hockey team loved them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lollipop Flower Valentines

I decided to make my own Valentines this year and found a picture of these on the internet. They looked easy enough, so I tried.

Coloured paper
Glue Stick
Whole punch.

How to:
Cut out hearts, Glue to hearts together by the tips.

Punch a hole in the center of where the hearts are glued together. Push the stick of the lollipop through the whole.

Repeat for the next set of heart petals.

Note: On the red flower I folded the petals in to make a more "closed" flower.

The leaves will have each persons name on them and will be a heart taped/glued around the stick/stem.