Monthly Archives: December 2011

"Land of Nod" Cinnamon Buns

Perfect for those busy Christmas mornings. Make the night before and pop it into the oven in the morning. This recipe is taken from The Best of Bridge, The Best of the Best.

20 frozen dough rolls
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla instant pudding
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
3/4 cups raisins (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup melted butter

1. Grease a 10″ (25cm) bundt pan and add frozen balls. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pudding powder, cinnamon and raisins. Pour melted butter over all. Cover with a clean, damp cloth. (leave out at room temperature)

2. In the morning, preheat oven to 350F and bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then turn out on a serving plate.

Kahlua Spiked Pecans

You HAVE to make these!! I am giving them as a hostess gift on Christmas Eve, but I wish I was keeping them all! This recipe was taken from a food blog called Culinary in the Desert.

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons Kahlua
4 cups pecan halves

1. Preheat oven to 325F
2. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together egg white and Kahlua. Add pecans and stir well to combine.
4. Sprinkle half the sugar mixture on top and mix well. Pour the rest of the sugar on top and stir until completely combined. Scoop the mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with foil and coated with nonstick spray. Spread the pecans to an even single layer.
5. Bake until pecans are lightly toasted and browned, stirring every 10 minutes, about 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove from the oven and scoop the hot pecans onto wax or parchment paper to cool completely.

Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

This salsa is made with the Runaway Train Wrap found on this blog. This recipe is taken from Whitewater Cooks by Shelley Adams.

2 cups frozen corn
1 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice and zest of 2 limes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. In a baking dish, toss corn in olive oil and brown sugar, and roast in a 350F oven until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and keep covered in the refrigerator.

Cooked black beans and chopped fresh tomatoes make a great addition.

Runaway Train Wraps

The salsa in this wrap is so good!!  This recipe is taken from Whitewater Cooks by Shelley Adams. The recipes are all from The Fresh Tracks Cafe in Nelson B.C. (Thank you Mom for bringing these cookbooks back from your trip there!) The BBQ sauce listed in the ingredients is found in BC, but i just used original Kraft BBQ sauce. I also used a pre-cooked chicken and shredded it up.

3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
6 tomato tortillas
2 onions, caramelized (see below)
3/4 cup Runaway Train BBQ sauce
1 cup roasted corn salsa (recipe on blog)
1 cup lettuce, shredded

1. In a skillet, sauté chicken until just heated. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan, place tortilla to quickly heat up. To assemble the wrap, place tortilla on work space and spread chicken, caramelized onions, BBQ sauce, salsa and lettuce. Roll up and slice in half.

*To caramelize onions: In a skillet, place sliced onions and sauté in oil until translucent. Add 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar per onion. Cook at low heat for another 15-20 minutes until “syrupy” looking. Season with salt and pepper.

Death by Chocolate

This is my step-daughter’s favorite cake for her birthday. The whole family is coming over to celebrate tonight.  This recipe is taken from Winnipeg Free Press Recipe Swap Favorites by Ilana Simon.

1 package Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk (300 ml)
1 10-oz can caramel sauce (300 ml)
1 large container Cool Whip
3 Skor bars

1. Prepare cake mix following the directions for No. 2 on the box. (9×13-1 layer cake. When cake is baked, let cool to warm and poke holes in cake with fork. Leave cake in pan.
2. Pour 1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk over cake. Let soak in. Pour 1 can of caramel sauce over cake. Let soak in.
3. Spread Cool Whip over caramel sauce. Crush Skor bars and sprinkle over Cool Whip. refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts

Ths recipe is from Cooking Light magazine October 2010. I used butter on the rye bread and I did not use light cheese. I also used 1/4 cup beef broth in place of the 1/4 cup beer. The mushroom filling made enough for 3 sandwiches.

1 pound ground sirloin
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark beer (such as porter)
8 slices rye bread
4 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Shape beef into 4 (4-inch) patties. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, salt, pepper, and mushrooms; sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 30 seconds or until thick. Remove from heat; keep warm.
3. When patties are done, remove from large skillet. Wipe clean; heat over medium-high heat. Coat 1 side of each bread slice with cooking spray. Place 4 bread slices, coated sides down, in pan. Top each with 1 patty, 1 cheese slice, and one-forth of mushroom mixture. Top with remaining bread slices; coat with cooking spray. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Yield: 4 servings.

Butter Tarts

Happy Birthday to my step-daughter Campbell!  I made these in a mini muffin tin instead of tart shells and it worked out well. This recipe is taken from The New Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz.

Sour cream pastry (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup butter, cut in chunks
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare dough as directed. Roll out and cut into 24 circles. Fit into ungraded muffin cups.
2. STEEL BLADE: Process butter with brown sugar and eggs for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Mixture should be well creamed. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract and process a few seconds longer. Divide raisins evenly among tart shells. Fill about three-quarters full with creamed mixture.
3. Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes. Loosen tarts from pan with a flexible metal spatula. Cool completely.


1 cup chilled butter; cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cold sour cream (light or regular)

1. STEEL BLADE: Process butter and flour with 6 to 8 on/off pulses, until it is the consistency of coarse oatmeal. Add sour cream and process just until pastry begins to cling together around the blades and form a ball. You will have to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
2. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. For easier rolling, let dough stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to remove the chill. Roll out on lightly floured surface (or on a pastry cloth, using a rolling pin stockinette cover for easier rolling). 
Yield: Two 9-inch pie crusts or 24 medium tart shells. Freezes well. Dough will keep in refrigerator for 5 days.

Pasta e fagioli soup

I took this recipe from the Winnipeg Free Press Recipe Swap (November 23rd, 2011). I’ve never had the original version of this soup, but according to the article it’s supposed to be like the soup served at Ciao. This soup is really good and super easy to make. I used chicken bacon instead of real bacon. The fake bacon doesn’t crumble like bacon, so I just diced it. I also used 6 cups of packaged chicken broth instead of the cans. I also used all fresh herbs and fresh spinach.

1 x 796ml (28oz) can diced tomatoes
2 x 398ml (14oz) cans Great Northern beans (or cannellini or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed well
3 x 284ml (10oz) cans chicken broth
750 ml (3 cups) water
1 x 213ml (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 x 398ml (14oz) can chopped spinach, drained, or about 250ml (1 cup) fresh chopped spinach, added just before serving
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
5 ml (1 tsp) garlic powder, or 15ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic
15 ml (1 tbsp) dried parsley, or 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh, chopped
2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried basil, or 10ml (2 tsp) fresh, chopped
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) black pepper
250 g (about 500ml or 2 cups) seashell pasta or macaroni
Romano or Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. In a very large pot, heat diced tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce, canned spinach, (if using fresh spinach, add only before serving), bacon, garlic, herbs and seasonings. Simmer for about 20 minutes until flavours merge. Add pasta and cook uncovered on medium until pasta is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Serve with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese. 

Bruschetta ‘n Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here’s another quick dinner recipe from Kraft’s What’s Cooking magazine 2008.

1 can (19 fl oz/540 ml) diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, undrained
1 1/4 cups Kraft Mozzarella shredded cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. Stove Top stuffing for chicken
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (2lb/900g)
1/3 cup Kraft Signature Roasted Red Pepper with Parmesan dressing

1. Preheat oven 350F. Combine tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the basil and dry stuffing; stir just until moistened.
2. Place 2 chicken breasts in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound chicken with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding 2 at a time to bag. Place chicken, top sides down, on cutting board; spread evenly with stuffing mixture. Starting at one of the narrow ends, tightly roll up chicken. Place, seams-sides down, in 13×9-inch baking dish. Drizzle evenly with dressing.
3. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (170F) and cheese is melted.

Variation: For a spicy-style chicken dish, simply use diced tomatoes with bell or jalapeño peppers, Kraft Tex Mex Shredded Cheese instead of the mozzarella cheese and chopped cilantro instead of the basil.

Chicken Burritos with Black-Bean Salsa and Pepper Jack

This recipe says it makes 4 burritos, but I always come out with 5. I often make this recipe ahead of time to save time at night.  I barbecue the chicken and let it cool, then I assemble the wraps.  I individually wrap them in tinfoil and put them in the fridge.

Picture 2021

I highly recommend you make it with the Tomato Salsa recipe also found on my blog. This burrito recipe was taken from Food and Wine magazine’s Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook.

1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed black beans (from one 15-ounce can)
2 scallions including green tops, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 pounds, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 pound pepper Jack cheese, grated
4 large (9-inch) flour tortillas

1. Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a small glass or stainless-steel, combine the beans, scallions, lemon juice, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
2. Rub the chicken breasts with the chili powder, pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook the chicken over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until brown and just done, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove, let the chicken rest for a few minutes, and then slice.
3. Heat the oven to 350F. Put one quarter of the cheese in a line near one edge of each tortilla. Top the cheese with one quarter of the black-bean salsa and then with one quarter of the chicken slices. Roll up the burritos and wrap each one in foil. Bake them until the cheese melts, about 15 minutes.