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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Apple Pancakes--Pancake Day 2017

Here we go again with Pancake Day.  I've posted several pancake recipes hereherehere and here. All those pancakes are very good and sometimes it's hard to pick a recipe as a favourite.  I guess they are all my favourite!

This is a nice variation on a plain pancake.  I often add chopped apples to a plain pancake batter instead of blueberries.  A little sugar and spice make these Apple Pancakes a tasty treat for Pancake Day or any day of the week.  

Apple Pancakes
1 cup flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil or melted butter
1 beaten egg
½ cup finely chopped apples (1 medium to large apple)
Oil for frying

Sift or mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Combine the milk, oil and eggs together and add to the flour mixture.  Mix until smooth.  Stir in the apples.  Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium low heat.  Spread a little oil on hot pan and fry pancakes about ¼ cup for each.  Turn when tops have bubbles appearing on the surface and the edges are turning golden brown.

Serve with maple or pancake syrup and a pat of butter if you wish.

Makes about 12 pancakes.

Sift or mix the dry ingredients together.  Beat the egg and add the milk and oil.  Chop the apples. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together and mix until smooth.  A few lumps won't matter.  Mix in the chopped apples. 

Spoon the pancake batter by the quarter cup onto a hot oiled frying pan or griddle.

Fry until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake.  The edges should be turning golden.  Flip and cook on the other side until golden.

You will make about 12 pancakes. 
The recipe is easily doubled if you have a crowd for breakfast or supper.

 Serve the Apple Pancakes with a pat of butter and a good drizzle of maple or pancake syrup.

Sweet and spicy Apple Pancakes!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Lemon Cake Pie

Lemon Cake Pie is a luscious lemon sponge pudding sitting in a flaky pie crust.  You'll get the goodness of a lemon pudding cake and a lemon pie all in one mouthful.

I've mentioned before that over the years I took possession of many of my mother's cookbooks.  Most of them were paperback editions purchased at Woolworth's or other five-and-ten-cent stores.  They didn't cost much, just a few dollars or even less when she bought them.  They had many of the same recipes scattered throughout the books so I'll wager they were all from the same main publisher.  I'd often leaf though the books and check off the recipes I'd like to try.  Then I'd find the same recipe in another book, written exactly the same.  So I'd check it off again. Some were really good when I made them and others were a total write-off.  But this Lemon Cake Pie is definitely a keeper.

Lemon Sponge Pudding was a favourite dessert of mine when I was a child.  Mom didn't make it often but when she did I was a happy child.  You can buy the mixes in a box but they aren't as good as the homemade.  Lemon Cake Pie is a happy marriage of a lemon sponge pudding and a lemon pie. How good is that?!!  As the filling bakes it separates into two layers--a lovely, tangy lemon sauce on the bottom and a top layer of sponge cake.  And all this is happening in a pie crust!  Yes, it excites my taste buds for many reasons.  I enjoy (love) pie. I like (love) lemon. I am fond (love) pudding.  I think dessert should be another food group. (I know desserts are not considered healthy but they taste so good.)   So, yes, this pie has stayed in my files.

As this is a pie and a pudding baked together the dessert is somewhat rich but refreshing at the same time.  You may be tempted to eat most of it yourself if you are a lemon lover but please share this with your family and friends.

The original recipe did not call for blind baking the pie crust but I find this helps to eliminate soggy bottoms (the pie crust bottom, not yours). If you do not wish to blind bake the crust skip this step and pour the filling in the unbaked crust.

Lemon Cake Pie
1 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ cup melted butter
2 egg yolks
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 lemons (juice and rind)
2 egg whites, beaten stiff
9-inch unbaked pie crust, or use recipe below or use a frozen pie crust (if you must)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Blind bake pie crust for 5 minutes, using pie weights or dry beans.  Remove beans and bake an additional 3 minutes.  This will help to keep the pie from becoming soggy.  Remove pie crust from oven and prepare filling.  (For more instructions on blind baking, click here.)

Combine sugar, flour, melted butter, egg yolks, salt and milk and beat until smooth.  Add juice and grated lemon rinds.  Stir well.  Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry, and fold into mixture.  Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes more.

Remove pie from oven and cool thoroughly before cutting.  The pie is best served at room temperature but refrigerate any remaining pieces.

Makes 8-6 servings.

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ sugar, optional
½ cup butter
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
5-6 tablespoons very cold water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together.  Cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse meal or the size of small peas.  Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time until the dough clings to itself.  Gather the dough into two equal portions and flatten into a thick disk.  Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.  It can be refrigerated for up to two days before use or frozen for several weeks.

Roll out each disk and fit each into a 9-inch pie plate or use one disk as a top crust.

Makes two 9-inch pie crusts or one 9-inch double crust.

Fresh lemons and great ingredients make for a delicious lemon pie.

Be sure to strain the lemon juice so the seeds won't appear in the pie.

Beat the egg yolks, flour, sugar, salt and milk together until smooth.

Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.  Do this gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Pour the filling into the blind baked pie crust.  You can also skip the blind baking and pour directly into the unbaked pie crust.  Blind baking helps to prevent a soggy bottom crust.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes more.  

The pie will bake with a lovely sponge cake topping sitting atop a tangy lemon sauce.

You can see the sponge cake peeking through the cracks on the top of the pie.

Serve the Lemon Pie Cake at room temperature with dollop of whipped cream on the side.

Tangy, sweet and luscious Lemon Cake Pie.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Easy Veggie Burgers--No Vegetarian Burger Needed

Don't have any store-bought veggie burger or hamburgers in the freezer?  Fear not; these Easy Veggie Burgers will be gobbled up in no time.  You'll not miss the purchased burger in these tasty morsels. 

When the boys were young store-bought veggie burger or veggie hamburgers were a rare treat as they were hard to find in the local stores and if I did have any I kept them for special occasions.  Now, of course, you can buy the stuff at any major grocery store, even where I live.  I have a load of Veggie Ground Round in the freezer and several packages of various brands of veggie hamburgers that I can thaw at a moment's notice and make whatever calls for that ingredient.  But, as I said, I didn't have that convenience when the boys were young and wanted veggie burgers for supper. Being a wonderful mother I wanted to oblige my two darlings so I came up with these Easy Veggie Hamburgers.  They could be called Oatmeal Patties, because they do contain a high ratio of oatmeal to the other ingredients, but some people may be put-off with the thought of oatmeal for dinner or supper, ha,ha. But my Scottish heritage certainly allows for oatmeal at any meal.  Don't worry if you don't like oatmeal.  You really won't realize the meaty texture is actually from the oats.  

These patties are delicious in burger buns with your favourite condiments or can be served with gravy, potatoes and vegetables for a fine dinner entree.  And any left-overs can be reheated or used cold in a sandwich.  Over the years we've gobbled up hundreds (maybe thousands) of these tasty patties in burgers and sandwiches. They are "yummy good" as my grandchildren would say.  

If you really like (love) mushrooms, add a drained can of mushroom pieces and stems to the mixture for Double Mushroom Burgers.  

Easy Veggie Hamburgers or Dinner Patties
2 cups regular oatmeal, uncooked
1½ cups bread crumbs, whole wheat if possible
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, chopped fairly fine
1 teaspoon salt OR ½ teaspoon garlic salt and ½ teaspoon seasoning salt OR 1 teaspoon hamburger/steak seasoning
1 teaspoon savoury or any favourite herb to taste
1 can mushroom soup or can use milk to moisten
3 eggs
Oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together.  Form into patties using about ⅓ cup of mix for each burger/pattie. An ice cream scoop works well for this.  Fry in small amount of oil, keeping patties flat.  Fry slowly on low heat. Serve on hamburger buns with your favourite condiments.  If burgers are not on the menu serve with gravy, potatoes and vegetables.  These burgers are also delicious served as a cold sandwich with salad dressing, lettuce, tomato, and cheese slices.  

Any left-over patties can be frozen for future use.  

Makes 12 burgers/patties.  

Double Mushroom Burgers:  Add 1 can of drained mushrooms pieces to the ingredients and serve as usual or serve as patties in a sauce or gravy.

Place all ingredients in large bowl and thoroughly mix together.

Form mixture into patties using about ⅓ cup of mix for each burger/pattie. I like to use an ice cream scoop.

Fry burgers/patties slowly in oil over medium low heat.  I made homemade burger buns.  You can see them rising in the background.

The recipe makes 12 veggie burgers.  The patties may also be heated in gravy and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables or use them cold in a sandwich.  Left-over patties can be successfully frozen.

Your family will love Easy Veggie Burgers.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Healthier ♥ Heart Oil Pie Crust

Healthier Heart Oil Pie Crust is a tender, crisp crust for your favourite pies.  Made with oil, it is much kinder to your heart than the traditional butter/shortening crust.  February is Heart Month, not just because Valentine's Day is on the horizon but it is the month where emphasis on a healthy heart is stressed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation Give your heart a Valentine this year by trying this healthier pie crust recipe. 

Pie is one of my favourite desserts but I always have a twinge of guilt over the huge amounts of butter and/or shortening needed to make a decent pie crust.  Yes, there's no doubt that a good, flaky pie crust must contain unhealthy amounts of saturated fat (butter) or even worse, trans fat laden shortening.  

Fortunately, there is a healthier alternative.  I didn't say fat-free or low calorie.  I said healthier.  Now, I know there are all kinds of "healthy" pie crust recipes floating around the cyber world and in numerous cookbook.  I have several of those recipes, myself, tucked away where no one can find them.  Most of them are quite chew-worthy and a pick ax might come in useful when trying to cut a piece of pie.  

The secret to a healthier pie crust is the use of oil instead of solid fats.  You still have to use a fair amount of oil to achieve a good texture but you can eat it without the aid of the jaws-of-life.  

Speaking of texture, the pie crust itself will be a little different than a butter/shortening crust.  It is, in my opinion, more crispy than flaky but still tender and palatable to the taste.  It can also be more difficult to place in the pie pan if rolled as the dough is not pliable like a traditional crust.  That problem is easily remedied by pressing the dough into the pan instead of rolling it, which I think makes it a wonderfully easy crust to make.  

The sugar and milk aid in the browning of the crust when baking. If you wish, the sugar can be omitted and the milk can be replaced with water or a plant based milk such as soy or almond milk which, as a bonus, would give you a nice vegan pie crust.  Use your favourite cooking oil but I'd avoid oils that have a strong flavour or a low smoke point.  

Healthier Heart Oil Pie Crust
1¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (omit for savoury pie)
⅓ cup oil
3 tablespoons skim milk or water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients together with a fork in a medium size bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Mix the oil and milk together and add to the flour.  Mix with a fork until it forms a ball. You may have to use your hands as well.  Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate.  Flatten and press into the pan using your fingers. Flute or press the edge with a fork.  

You may fill the unbaked crust with pie filling and bake according to recipe directions or bake the crust to use with lemon, coconut cream or banana cream pie fillings, etc. or other favourite fillings. 

Bake 12-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven or until golden in colour. 

Makes 1 9-inch pie crust.  

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together.  Make a well in the flour and pour in the oil and milk mixture. Stir to form a dough ball.  Place the dough in a pie plate and start pressing.  

Use your finger tips to push the dough up the side of the pie plate. 
Patch any holes that may be showing.

Once you have the dough pressed into place, crimp the edges or press with a fork.  This gives the crust a nice, finished appearance. You are now ready to use this crust to bake pies like pumpkin pie or other baked custard pies requiring only a bottom crust.

If you would like to bake the crust for a lemon, banana cream or coconut cream pie, etc., prick the crust all over using a tines of a fork.  This will prevent the crust from bubbling while baking.  You may also blind bake the crust.

 Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven or until golden in colour.

 That looks so good!

Tender, crisp healthier pie crust.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs are lightly spiced, tender little meatballs in a delicious cream sauce. Perfect served with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.  And don't forget the Partridge Berry Jam (Lingonberry) on the side.  

Last night my niece Katherine (who is an avid vegetarian) and I were chatting on Facebook and she asked if I had a recipe for Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs. She really likes them and hasn't had any since she was attending university in the United States.  I didn't have a recipe but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to vegetarianize a regular recipe for the beloved meatballs. Today I got busy with a recipe from the Food Network Magazine website.  The recipe was well reviewed with many 5-star ratings.   For the most part the only complaint anyone had was that they were too salty and that is easily remedied. They are supposed to taste like the IKEA Swedish meatballs that are so popular with the store's customers. But I wouldn't know, as the closest store is in Halifax and that doesn't make for casual shopping for me living in Central Newfoundland, ha, ha.  

There are some differences in substituting veggie burger for ground meat.  Ground meat or hamburger meat will stick together and become a rather cohesive mass when cooked.  Veggie burger will always remain crumbly when cooked unless some kind of binder is used.  As the original recipe uses both bread crumbs and eggs I knew I was well on my way to remaking this recipe into a vegetarian delight.  

With a few adjustments in the ingredient amounts a very satisfactory mixture for the meatballs was achieved.  They baked well and tasted really good. YUM.  Katherine will have to make these and tell me if they're up to the mark in her books.   We enjoyed them for dinner today with buttered noodles and a little homemade Partridgeberry (Lingonberry) jam.  Tomorrow we'll have them with mashed potatoes. I'm looking forward to tomorrow already!

These are Partridge Berries or also known as Lingonberries. They grow wild all over Newfoundland and Labrador.  Don picked these last October and I froze them to use during the cold, cold winter.   I cooked about 1 cup with a little sugar to taste and made a lovely, tangy, dark red jam to go along with the Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs.

Just a few notes:  

  • Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients.  The recipe comes together quite quickly.  
  • To keep these meatballs vegetarian, use a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. Read the ingredients and if it has anchovies, it's not vegetarian. Cheaper brands sometimes found at dollar and discount stores often do not contain anchovies. 
  • If you do not have access to the traditional Partridge Berry/Lingonberry Jam, whole Cranberry Sauce makes a satisfactory substitute.  

Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs

For the meatballs:

1½ cups dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
⅓ cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper (can use black pepper if white is not available)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (if you cannot find vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, use vinegar)
1 package Yves veggie burger or 1½ cups crumbles or canned burger (If the crumbles are frozen, thaw before measuring)
2 eggs

For the gravy:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2¼ cups vegetarian beef-like broth (Made from bouillon cubes.) 
1½ teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons whipping cream or sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Partridge Berry (Lingonberry) jam, for serving (optional but traditional)

To make the meatballs: Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. I used a mixture of stale whole wheat and white bread to make the crumbs. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, nutmeg, salt and white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir to make a thick paste.  Let cool a little. Add the veggie burger and eggs and mix until combined.  Place the bowl of mixture in refrigerator for 1 hour or until chilled. You can make this mixture the day or night before and leave in the refrigerator in a covered container overnight until ready to bake.  

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or brush with oil.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. If you would like bigger meatballs to serve with dinner, do so but, you may have to adjust the cooking time.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

To make the gravy: While meatballs are baking, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the broth and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. (Make sure you taste the broth/bouillon mixture.  If the broth is too salty, dilute with a little more water and remeasure.  You can always add salt when the sauce is finished.) Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place your Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs in a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley, if desired. 

Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes or egg noodles for a great dinner dish. Pass the Partridge Berry (Lingonberry) Jam as a relish, if desired.

Makes 35-40 one-inch meatballs.

Any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a day or two. Reheat over a gentle heat, adding a little water to the sauce to thin it as it will have become thicker while stored.

Saute the onions, garlic, spices, salt and pepper together until the onions are soft. Stir in the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot milk mixture over the breadcrumbs.  (I don't know what happened to my breadcrumb picture. It disappeared!) Let the milk soak into the crumbs and stir together until it is like a thick paste.  To the breadcrumb mixture add the veggie burger and eggs and mix until combined.  Chill the mixture for at least an hour.  

Form the chilled mixture into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking pan. Chilling the mixture makes it much easier to form the soft "meat" into a round shape. They will also keep their shape better when baking.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch. 

While the meatballs are baking prepare the sauce.  In a large frying pan melt the butter.  When hot, stir in the flour and whisk until bubbly.  Whisk in the broth and stir until thickened.  Add the cream and stir through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used whipping cream but sour cream can also be used.  

Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and simmer an additional 10 minutes before serving.

 Simmering Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs.

Today we had our meatballs over buttered noodles and tomorrow I'll serve the leftovers with mashed potatoes. 

Don't forget to serve the Partridge Berry Jam. This is a traditional side to Swedish Meatballs.  If you do not have the jam whole berry Cranberry Sauce makes a satisfactory substitute.

Tender, lightly spiced Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs in a decadent creamy sauce.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Yum Yum. . . Pineapple Cheese Salad

The reason this salad is called "Yum Yum" is because that's what you'll say when you taste it.  "Yum, yum!" It is actually a pineapple cheese salad held together with canned cream and  lemon or orange gelatin (Jell-o).

I've known Lucie for years and years and for years and years she's been a fabulous cook and baker. You can't go wrong with one of Lucie's recipes.  Some women (and men) seem to be natural born cooks and bakers and Lucie fits that category.  I suppose some of it comes from soaking up the culinary atmosphere of the kitchens of beloved mothers, grandmothers and aunts when one is younger. And in Lucie's case that may have been the whole town in which she grew up and still lives today.  I don't think I've ever tasted anything but good food from Cottrell's Cove. (I know, I know, there's probably some poor soul who can't boil water but I haven't met her yet.) 

This all leads to today's recipe, rightly called, "Yum, Yum".   I tasted this years ago and asked Lucie what it was called and she kind of shrugged and said, "I guess you'd call it Yum, Yum."  This, of course, gives no indication as to what the recipe may be so I've included a description with the title. It is actually a pineapple cheese salad held together with lemon or orange gelatin (Jell-o, if we're going with brand names).  It's one of those salads that Newfoundlander's serve with the main dish although it's sweet and more of a dessert.  I believe the people of the Southern United States would know what I mean.  

I happened to be at a church potluck a few weekends ago and what should I spy but a small dish of this salad.  As Lucie was in attendance, I spun around and called out to her to make sure it was the famous Yum, Yum salad.  I was correct in my assumption and so took a goodly spoonful to my plate.  All I can say is, "Yum, yum!"  I had the recipe but just to make sure I asked Lucie to refresh my memory which she promptly did by writing the recipe on a napkin.  I carefully folded the napkin and placed it in my pocket so I didn't accidentally wipe my mouth on the precious document. 

There is a rather unique ingredient in Yum Yum and that is canned cream.  This is not available everywhere so if you haven't a clue what this is or where to find it, use about 6 fluid ounces of whipping cream/heavy cream in place of the Fussell's cream.  You don't have to whip the cream.  Just stir it in as you would the canned cream. 

Serve Yum Yum with salads and sliced cold meats (veggie roast in my case).  A salad plate with Yum Yum would be very special, indeed!


Yum Yum
1 box lemon or orange gelatin dessert (Jell-o), 85gram/3 ounce
1 can crushed pineapple with juice, 398 ml/14 ounce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 can Fussell's cream, 170 ml (if this product is not available use 6 fluid ounces of heavy cream)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, loosely packed

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat bring Jell-o, pineapple, juice and sugar to a simmer.  Continue simmering 5 minutes until Jell-o is dissolved.  Cool the pineapple mixture and then place in the refrigerator and chill until it is starting to jell.  Add cream and cheese and mix well.  Place in a nice serving bowl and chill until completely set about 2 or 3 hours.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Bring the gelatin dessert (Jell-o), pineapple with juice and sugar to a simmer over medium heat.

Continue simmering for about 5 minutes until the gelatin and sugar is completely dissolved. 

Remove from heat and let cool and then place in the refrigerator until starting to jell.

When the pineapple mixture is slightly jelled add the canned cream and grated cheese.

Fussell's canned cream tends to be a bit clumpy so I like to give it a good whisking before using.

Stir and fold the cheese and cream into the pineapple jell.

Once everything is well mixed, place the mixture in a serving bowl and chill in the refrigerator for several hours until firmly set.

Yum Yum is delicious served with a cold roast and salads.  We served ours with Mom's Quick Lentil Roast and Newfoundland Beet and Mustard Potato Salads

"How does it taste?"
"Yum, yum!" we all answer.