Scrumptious Pumpkin Poke Cake Dessert

Scrumptious Pumpkin Poke Cake Dessert

Sorry, no great pictures of this dessert! I snapped this one quickly before putting on the plastic wrap and taking it to work.

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you already know that I love pumpkin! There is no better time than the fall to try out a new pumpkin recipe and this fall was no exception. In fact, this recipe is so yummy I’ve made it twice and can’t wait for an opportunity to make it again!

Let me begin by saying that this recipe was adapted from Jennifer W.’s recipe Better Than Sex Pumpkin Dessert on Key Ingredient, so suffice to say…it’s delicious!

I’m sure the original recipe is fabulous…. I only changed it because you can’t buy Heath Bits here and I prefer homemade caramel sauce. Here is my version.

Pumpkin Poke Cake Dessert

Yield 8 – 12

Ingredients:

  • 1   box spice cake mix
  • 2  cups pumpkin puree (be careful not to buy Pumpkin Pie Filling)
  • 1   14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1   tub Cool Whip (I bought the larger size and had some left over, even with a generous layer)
  • ½ bag SKOR Bits (original recipe calls for Heath Bits)
  • 1   batch of Ree Drummond’s homemade Caramel Sauce .  The original recipe calls for a jar of Caramel Sundae Topping, but it is worth the tiny bit of extra effort to make your own ~ so good!

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven 350º and grease a 9 X 13″ cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and pumpkin puree until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and bake according to the directions on the cake mix box.
  4. Test with a toothpick to ensure it is cooked. (Toothpick should come out clean when poked into the cake.)
  5. Let cool for about 10 minutes after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake. (The first time I made this, the holes were nice and uniform, the second time they seemed a bit gooey and I was worried the cake wasn’t cooked even though I’d tested it. Don’t panic, mine tasted great both times.)
  6. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake and spread as is necessary to fill the holes.
  7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the cake from the fridge and spread a generous layer of cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle the SKOR bits on top and drizzle with caramel sauce. Reserve the balance of the sauce to serve over each individual piece.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight, if possible.

This recipe is super easy and a real crowd pleaser! Enjoy and thanks Jennifer!

If you love pumpkin as much as I do, why not check out some of my other recipes!pumpkin cheesecakePumpkin Pie Cake Dessertoatmeal pumpkin sandwich cookie

pumpkin cookiespumpkin pancakesPumpkin LoafPumpkin Salted Caramel Blondies with Glaze

 

Roasted Cranberry & Brie Crostini

Over the holidays I was searching for some Christmassy recipes for a dinner party we were hosting. I love trying new recipes and am really into cranberries right now. Cranberries are a super food that often gets overlooked because of the tart flavour. Obviously, as a stand alone snack, they aren’t great, but I often add frozen cranberries to my morning smoothies and love them.  WebMD suggests that cranberries are second only to blueberries in their total antioxidant capacity.

Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fightingantioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.

One cup of whole cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity. Only blueberries can top that: Wild varieties have 13,427; cultivated blueberries have 9,019.

Dr. Nalini Chilkov also outlines seven reasons why we should include cranberries in our diet on Cancer Schmancer. Check it out to see how cranberries can benefit your over all health and wellness.

I came across this recipe for Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini on NeighborFood and it sounded delicious. Sometimes when you read a recipe you just know that it is going to be fabulous. Such was the case with this one. I knew it would be a winner and it certainly did not disappoint ~ thanks Courtney! You really must visit her blog and check-out the fabulous pictures. When I made these I was in the midst of preparing for company and in all honesty pictures were a mere after thought (and as you can see my daughter had changed my camera settings and I didn’t even get one good picture).

Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ½ a french baguette, sliced thin
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 T. rosemary
  • 4 ounces triple cream brie, thinly sliced
  • fresh thyme sprigs to garnish (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Combine the butter and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with the oil mixture and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.

3. In a second small bowl, add the cranberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and rosemary. Mix. Spread the mixture out on a rimmed baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.

4. Place the cranberries in the oven and roast for five minutes. Add the tray of baguette slices to the oven. Roast for an additional 6 minutes.  Remove the baguette slices to flip them over and return to the oven for another 4­-6 minutes, or until crispy and golden. At this point, the cranberries should be popped open with juices running out. Remove both the cranberries and baguette slices from the oven.

5. Top each baguette with a slice of brie and a spoonful of cranberries. Garnish with thyme, if desired. These can be served while the cranberries are still warm, or you can make the components ahead of time. The cranberries can be chilled overnight and the crostini will keep in a zip lock bag. Simply assemble and serve at room temperature when you’re ready!

When I made this appetizer for our dinner party, I ended up with a small amount of the cranberry mixture left over. I simply refrigerated it in a covered container and served the cold mixture over a bed of greens with purple onion and feta. No dressing necessary. This made a salad that was both beautiful and delicious! In fact, it was so good that I’ve since made another batch just for salad topping. Mmmm….so good!

The combination of flavours in this recipe is so great, that I really hate to mess with it.  However, I do try to reduce the sugar in recipes when possible. Next time I make it I will try to reduce the sugar amount slightly – I might try 1/3 of a cup and see how that works.  Enjoy!

Meals in Minutes ~ Well kind of!

Sausage & White Bean SoupOur schedule, like so many other families, is crazy busy. I’m finding it harder and harder to stay on top of things and one of the areas I feel like I’m failing is in providing my family with good quality meals on a regular basis. I would say we eat well most of the time, but lately I’ve been feeling as though we are having more last-minute pulled together meals and I’m just not satisfied. Last weekend, I decided to find more slow cooker meals because I find it so much less stressful to come home at the end of the day and have our meal ready or at the very least close to it. In my search, I ended up on a great site called Who Needs a Cape (love the name). On the site, Katie shares how to make 40 slow cooker freezer meals in 4 hours. No way! I was intrigued and spent quite a bit of time exploring the site. What fascinated me the most was that I could pre-make the meals, freeze them and then just dump them in the slow cooker without having to spend time preparing the slow cooker meals in the morning before work. It almost seemed to good to be true.

In my reading, I discovered, that she also posted different options including how to make 7 meals in one hour. This seemed like a great place to start because some of the larger meal plans (30 and 40) involve doubling recipes and making enough for two separate meals. This makes great sense if your family likes the recipe, but if not, it could be a big waste of money. (I was also a bit concerned about the recipes tasting watered down because in my experience, freezing sometimes does that.)  So, on my last day off, I spent the morning grocery shopping (using the shopping lists she provides on the site – so great!!) I got home at noon and by 12:10, I was making the first slow cooker freezer meal. I can’t say I was super organized. I was taking ingredients out as I needed them and labelling bags as I went. In the end it took me an hour and half to complete all 7 of her meals. However, I was “on a roll” and ended up making a few other recipes that I had found on-line. In the end, I made 13 meals in 3 1/2 hours. I was so excited (and exhausted), but the true test will be when the meals are served to my family. I must say I was pretty proud of my accomplishment and the fact that I tried 11 new recipes in one day seemed like one of the craziest things I’ve ever attempted in the kitchen.
Last week, we ate the first slow cooker freezer meal and it was a huge success! The whole family gave the Sausage & White Bean Slow Cooker Soup a thumbs up. I didn’t adapt the recipe at all, but in the future I’ll be sure to double it. The only complaint was that there wasn’t any left! I was even more excited about my 3 1/2 meal marathon after we’d tested the first one and it was hit.  I can’t wait to try the next recipe and see how it scores with the family.

 

Sausage & White Bean Slow Cooker Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, crumbled, cooked & drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 14 oz. cans Great Northern Beans, drained
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 t dried rosemary
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 32 oz. carton chicken broth

Instructions:

Crumble breakfast sausage into pan and cook thoroughly, drain & let cool if freezing.  Place all items into slow cooker, stir and cook on low 6 hours. If freezing, add all ingredients EXCEPT chicken broth into gallon-sized freezer bag. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before placing into slow cooker. Add chicken broth & cook on low 6 hours.

Taken from Who Needs A Cape (which she adapted from: Sausage & White Bean Soup)

I can’t say how much the meals cost because I bought items far beyond what was needed for the meal preparation and had many of the required items on hand already. What I do know is that it will help reduce the stress of not knowing what to make for dinner, the frustration of having to run to the grocery store for items we don’t have in the house or even worse, the feelings of defeat when you accept the futility of being at a total loss and order-in or pick-up fast food as a last resort. Obviously, the few hours spent preparing seems like a miniscule sacrifice in comparison to the rewards of convenience, stress free meal times and the peace of mind knowing that your family is getting a well-balanced home cooked meal. I’m feeling blessed to have found Who Needs a Cape ~ this might just be life changing… can’t wait to taste the remaining meals!

PS We’ve tried two of the other new recipes that I found and used that day, but will far less success. Both were found on a different site and although super easy to prepare, the results were less weren’t very impressive. The Chicken Broccoli Alfredo  and Hawaiian Chicken had mixed reviews, but no one thought they were great. I am still very optomistic and can’t wait to try the remaining 6 meals from Who Needs a Cape. I’ll keep you posted.

Delicious Crock Pot Chicken Chili

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

I often google recipes and have had good success searching the net, but my favourite recipes are generally those that I’ve collected from family and friends. Although I had never tasted this chili before trying the recipe, it was highly recommended from a friend at work. She said it was one of her family’s favourite recipes and that it was super easy to make. I had been wanting to try it for several weeks, but only got around to it last Sunday. I can’t say there was anything Easter-like about the meal, but it was incredibly good and easy to make.

The original recipe was found on Rita’s Recipes and I only made one small adjustment when I made it. I used my “go to” Spicy Red Pepper canned tomatoes instead of those Rita recommends.

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili:

Makes approximately 4-5 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen chicken breasts* (I love that I don’t even have to thaw them for this recipe!)
  • 1 – 19 oz. can of Spicy Red Pepper Tomatoes
  • 1 can of kernel corn (with the liquid)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package of dry Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 Tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese

Directions:

Add the first 8 ingredients to the crock pot in the order listed above. Stir to combine and then add the cream cheese on top. Set the slow cooker on low and cook the chili for 6 to 8 hours, stir it once or twice during cooking to mix in the cheese (if you are home). Shred the chicken using two forks. I did mine about an hour before serving and I  think this might help the chicken to really absorb the flavours.  Serve over a bed of rice.

Honestly, this might be the easiest meal I’ve ever prepared. It took me about 5 minutes to open the can and dump everything in the pot. No chopping or cutting….so easy and yet super yummy. I always know a meal is a hit when everyone in the family gives it a enthusiastic thumbs up and asks for seconds. I’ve come to realize that Mexican type dishes seem to have the best chance of scoring big with the whole family. I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll as the new Chicken Enchilada recipe got high ratings from my family as well.

*I think you could stretch this recipe a bit further by simply adding one more chicken breast. There is enough “liquid” base to support the extra chicken without altering anything else. I haven’t tried this, but think it would be worth a try to have some leftovers for lunches in the fridge.

“Give It Time” Green Smoothie

green smoothie

Yes, I know this isn’t green!

I’ve been dealing with several health problems over the past few months and in my struggle to get my life back on track, I decided to commit to consuming green smoothies on a regular basis. I had tried several variations in the past and have to admit that healthy or not, they were just too “nasty” for me. However, when push comes to shove and your health is on the line, it is amazing how one can actually suppress the gag reflex and learn to enjoy these “puréed salads in a cup”.

If you landed here expecting me to tell you how delicious this healthy smoothie recipe is and that it is an absolute must try…this is not the post for you. I believe in being transparent and completely honest. When my friend passed this recipe along and I tried it for the first time, I was not a raving fan. In fact, when she asked me how I liked it, I said, “Okay, I guess…I didn’t throw-up”. And this was not really an exaggeration. If you are used to those creamy fruit filled dream like smoothie sensations like I was…brace yourself.

Green smoothies are not really that great tasting and the texture of mine don’t ever seem to get as smooth as in a fruit smoothie, but the strange thing is….within a couple of days you develop a taste for them. I mean I actually crave this cup of goodness. I can’t say it’s the flavour or the texture, but more so like I know I’m drinking a glass of nutrients or a cup of health…I can’t quite explain it, but I’m hooked. I now drink green smoothies most days (at least 5 days a week) and can honestly say I miss them on the days I don’t . Green smoothies are one of  the easiest ways to pack so many essential nutrients and vitamins into one meal.

Robin’s Original Green Smoothie Recipe:

What I love most about Robin’s recipe is that each and every ingredient that she uses was picked for its nutritional elements. To find out more about some of the many health benefits of the ingredients, just follow the links.

Dump all the ingredients in a blender and mix to desired consistency.

Green Smoothie Tips

My Variations:

In order for this “green smoothie” thing to work for me, I knew I had to tweak it so that it was more than just tolerable. Here is what I discovered:

I basically took Robin’s recipe and made a few adjustments so that it worked for me. For starters, I needed to change the colour and add a hint of sweetness to the mixture. I decided that frozen fruit would be the best option. Blueberries work really well because they are healthy, add that element of sweetness and above all create a deep purpley colour that looks delicious. For me, digestion is one of the problems I’m constantly dealing with, so cranberries and pineapple are also great options in terms of the health benefits. The downside is that neither do much for the smoothie in terms of colour. The cranberries create a smoothie that is a disgusting brownish green and the pineapples don’t adjust the green colour at all. When I add cranberries, I will often add in a number of blueberries as well, just to help with the colour.

I often find myself rushed in the morning and as much as I would like to have a fried egg along with my smoothie, I generally find, I just don’t have time to do both. So, if my smoothie was going to serve as my entire breakfast, I had to incorporate some protein into it. I decided to add chia seeds and flax meal to add a substantial amount of protein to my drink.

Although my recipe fluctuates and changes constantly, this is my basic plan:

Cindy’s “Give it Time” Green SmoothieGreen Smoothie

  • 2 cups of packed organic spinach (or baby romaine)
  • 2 stalks of celery (up to 3 with leaves on)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 a cucumber (if not organic, then peel it)
  • 1″ of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley
  • 1-2 mint leaves (when I have them on hand)
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • liquid (water or good quality fruit juice with no sugar added – usually pineapple or cranberry)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of flax meal (ground flax)
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of frozen fruit (blueberries, cranberries or pineapple chunks)

One of the biggest challenges is not making too big of a batch. I have a 16 oz cup with a straw and lid and my recipe usually fills that plus about 1/2 more. I wish I could get it exactly right, but I never seem to be able to. Of course, if I actually measured each and every ingredient every time, I would be able to perfect this, but I am often in such a rush I just eyeball the amounts as I throw them in the blender. Robin will often place the prepared veggies in her blender and set it in the fridge the evening before. This way she just has to add her liquid (and berries for me) to quickly whip it up in the morning. I never seem to be that organized or have the energy left to prep it at the end of the day, so I am pulling it together last minute. I probably have the time down to about 5 minutes and always take my smoothie in the car, so it is still a quick and easy breakfast.

In summary, I am totally hooked on my green smoothies, but you really do have to “give it time”.  Play with it a bit and commit to a week before giving up. I actually have a hard time drinking fruit smoothies now. They just seem soooo sweet. Much like when I went from drinking double double coffee to cream only. At first, it is not easy to take, but eventually you can’t even stomach the sugary taste.

Update:

Although I still enjoy my smoothies, I sometimes find it hard to enjoy a frozen drink on winter mornings when the temperatures are hovering between minus 20 and 40 degrees! I presently tend to be opting for eggs most mornings. However, I’ve recently been doing some research on the benefits of juicing. I had never really given juicing much thought and still am not sure if I’m up to the chore of cleaning the machine after each use. (I can be lazy that way.) However, Dr. Josh Axe is a real supporter of juicing and I totally respect him and his opinions.

Juicing is an easy way to get a whopping heap of fresh veggies (and fruits) into your diet in one easy shot – or however many you want a day. You can consume far more of these veggies and fruits with juicing than you could probably eat in the same amount of time.

A fellow blogger recently shared a post written on Health Ambition that outlined the health benefits of celery. Their article:  7 Surprising Celery Juice Benefits absolutely substantiates the advantages of including celery in juices (and I suppose in my smoothies as well). I also love the fact that there is a free download for juicing recipes. I recently borrowed a juicer from a friend and can’t wait to try some of their recipes! Juicing is a great way to optimize the number of nutrients in your diet and research suggests it can also aid in weight loss. With the big 50 looming in the not so distant future, I have noticed how easy it is for those few extra pounds to show up on the scale and how much more difficult it has become to make them disappear again. If you decide to giving juicing a try, let me know about your experiences. Be sure to check out the article on the health benefits of celery! 

 

Best Ever Left Over Chicken Enchiladas

I am always on the lookout for quick and easy meals that can easily be prepared after a long day at work.  I recently bought a box of chicken breasts that for some reason just didn’t seem to be of the highest quality. I decided to pre-boil the breasts and then use the cooked chicken for easy meal preparation. I found this Chicken Enchilada recipe on All Recipes. It had high ratings and looked super simple to prepare. I was able to whip it up in about 15 minutes with the chicken having been pre-cooked.

I can’t say this is anything fancy, but I give it a 5 STAR rating. It got rave reviews from the whole family which is not an easy feat and was super easy to make. The flavour was great and I made do with the ingredients I had on hand, which meant that I did make a few modifications to the original recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly grease a large baking dish.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the green onions and sauté until tender. Add the garlic powder, and then stir in the green chiles (or broiled jalapenos), cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well.
  3. Set aside approximately 3/4 of the sauce.
  4. Add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan. Stir to mix.
  5. Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the reserved sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

The original recipe calls for 6 tortillas and suggests that it serves 6. I found the filling was more suitable for 4 tortillas, but we were all left wishing there were more. I would suggest doubling the recipe or sticking to a single recipe and serving the enchiladas with soup or salad for a more complete meal.

Apple Bavarian Torte

Like most people, I have a set of my favourite “go to recipes” and this delicious Apple Bavarian Torte has been part of my repertoire for about 20 years. I’m not sure where it originated, but I got it from a colleague a few decades ago. It is easy to make, super tasty and visually appealing. A great dessert to serve at any dinner party!

Apple Bavarian Torte

This recipe is a quick and easy dessert that only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to prepare (plus 35 minutes of cooking time). It serves 8 generous pieces, but up to 12 depending on the serving sizes.

Recipe Ingredients:

Bottom Layer:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Middle Layer:

  • 1 – 8 ounce package  of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Top Layer:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5-1/2 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 6 medium)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Optional Toppings:

  • whipping cream or vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla followed by the flour. Beat until blended. Press the soft dough onto the bottom of an ungreased 9 inch springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add the balance of the “middle layer” ingredients and continue beating until well mixed. Pour over the bottom layer.
  4. Peel and slice the apples into a large bowl. Sprinkle them with the sugar and cinnamon. Toss to coat. Spoon the apples over the cream cheese layer. .
  5. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 400°; bake 25 minutes more. Sprinkle the almonds over top and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before removing the sides of the pan and slicing the dessert. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Although this dessert really doesn’t need anything extra, I usually serve it with a dollop of whipping cream. When serving warm, vanilla ice cream is a delicious alternative.

 

Pumpkin Pie Cake Extraordinaire!

Pumpkin Pie Cake DessertA colleague brought this yummy cake like dessert to share with our staff and it was stop in your tracks deeelicious! I love pumpkin and although this is somewhat similar to a traditional pumpkin pie it is also like nothing I’d ever tasted before. It is super easy to make and my neighbour said it might seriously be the best dessert she ever tasted! I’m not sure about that, but I guarantee it will please any pumpkin loving guest.

Pumpkin Pie Cake:

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 28 oz. can of pumpkin purée
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 cup butter – melted
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • whipping cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a greased 9 X 13″ cake pan.
  3. Sprinkle the dry cake mix on top of the batter.
  4. Pour melted butter over the cake and then sprinkle with the pecans.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes.
  6. Cool and serve with whipping cream.

*Although I didn’t do this, my friend suggested adding the nuts about half way through the baking time, so that they don’t get too brown. I put mine in the whole time and they seemed fine, but I may try it the other way next time just to compare.

Printable Pumpkin Pie Cake recipe

Pan Seared Steak with Caramelized Onions

I’m not sure if you are a collector of the annual “milk calendars” or not, but we have found that the recipes in them are really great. One of our favourites is their recipe for pan seared steak which was included in the 2005 calendar.  This makes a great winter meal for those days when you don’t feel like braving the elements and putting your steak on the grill. I also love this recipe because you can get away with a less expensive cut of meat and it still tastes tender and delicious.

Pan Seared Steak with Caramelized

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb beef sirloin or other grilling steak, (about 3/4-inch/2 cm thick)
  • 2 tbsp  butter
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Instructions:

Rub 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper over both sides of steak. In large skillet, melt half of butter over high heat. Add the steak and brown it on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low; add remaining butter to skillet. Stir in onions, garlic and rosemary.  Cover and cook, stirring often, for 10 min or until onions are very soft and caramelized. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 min. Gradually stir in milk, then soy sauce and mustard.

Increase heat to medium and simmer while stirring, for about 5 min or until sauce is thickened. Return the steak and accumulated juices to pan; spoon sauce over top. Simmer, turning steak once and stirring sauce, for about 5 to 10 min or until steak is desired doneness. Remove from heat. Transfer steak to cutting board; let rest for 5 min. Season sauce to taste with additional salt and pepper. Slice steak thinly across the grain and serve with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

This steak is delicious and not only good as a regular menu item for your family, but also makes a great dish to serve to guests. Enjoy!

Just Like My Mom Used to Make: Peanut Butter Bars

These peanut butter bars were one of my favourite treats when I was growing up. My mom never used to put anything on top, but who can resist a layer of chocolate or caramel frosting? I love the taste of chocolate and peanut butter and knew this would be awesome, but I’d never thought of a caramel frosting. I haven’t made these since I was a kid because it was a recipe my mom kept in her head and thus I never got it from her before she passed away. I kind of forgot about it, but when I came across something similar it brought back memories from my childhood. I was on staff room duty and had to bring a treat in, so thought I would try out this recipe and see how it measured up to my memories! It was very yummy! I had to make a double batch, so I decided to make half with melted chocolate on top and the other batch with the caramel frosting recipe I found on Now You’re Cooking (by Joan Donogh).

Peanut Butter Bars

 These are quick and easy and can be completed within 20 minutes easily!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup Corn Flakes
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies

Instructions:

  1. Place brown sugar and corn syrup in a microwave safe dish. Microwave until the sugar is melted. Stir well.
  2. Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter is melted and ingredients are well combined. (Mic a few extra seconds, if necessary.)
  3. Fold in the cereal.
  4. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil. Press the mixture into the pan.

Optional Toppings:

Nothing!

How boring!

Chocolate Topping:

  •     1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish and heat to melt. My microwave has a “melt chocolate” setting, so I’m not exactly sure how long, but I would only do about 15 seconds at a time and then stop to stir after each interval of heat, if you’re not sure how long to put them on for. Stir melted chocolate until smooth and then spread evenly over the surface. Place in fridge to set.

Caramel Frosting:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cream (or milk)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add brown sugar and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Add milk and cook and stir until it comes to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add icing sugar. Beat until creamy. Stir in vanilla.  Spread icing on top of the peanut butter square base. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares. Can be stored at room temperature.

Tips:

*I like to line my “squares” with foil. It is generally really easy to lift out the entire square when its set/ready. This makes for easy, even cutting. I much prefer this than trying to dig pieces out of a pan.
*When melting chocolate in the microwave, you do not need to heat it to the point of it all being melted. Stop and stir often and you will find that even when it is still quite lumpy, it often only needs to be stirred in order to melt the remaining pieces. Be careful not to over heat or scorch it.
*When covering a square with melted chocolate, I always set my timer for 10 minutes immediately after placing it in the fridge. When the timer goes check and see if the surface has solidified. If it still appears “melted”, give it only a couple of more minutes before checking on it again. You want to remove it from the fridge and “score” the top with a knife. If you score the surface of the chocolate before the entire surface has hardened, you can avoid breakage during cutting. It is so frustrating when you go to cut a dainty and the chocolate breaks while cutting. Scoring really helps to eliminate this problem.