Warm Mushroom Salad

This salad is one of our all-time faves! Sautéed mushrooms in butter and garlic with aged cheddar over a bed of greens, it’s simply divine. I got this recipe from LCBO Food & Drink, it’s supposed to be a winter time recipe but we enjoy it all year long! It’s great with a barbecued steak and some red wine 🙂

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 6
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Involvement
    • 25. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 14 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy – Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Sauté pan
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups/spoons

The Recipe

Time: ~25 min.

Servings: 2

Calories/serving: ~ 300

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed (I use minced)
  • 3 cups (750 mL) mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced (preferably an equal mix of cremini, oyster and shiitake)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme, finely chopped (or 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried)
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) dry white wine (I tend to use sauvignon blanc or chardonnay)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) white wine vinegar (sherry or red wine vinegar will also do)
  • 1½ tbsp (22 mL) olive oil
  • 4 cups (1 L) winter greens, torn into bite-size pieces (arugula, escarole, romaine, red leaf lettuce or others)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) aged white cheddar, finely crumbled (I use Balderson)
  • 1½ tbsp (22 mL) walnuts, coarsely chopped (sometimes we just leave these out if we don’t have any on hand)

Directions:

1. In a large sauté pan heat butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic clove and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add mushrooms, thyme and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and release their water.

3. Add soya sauce and white wine and continue sautéing for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms become golden. Discard garlic clove. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. In a medium bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar, olive oil and a pinch of salt.

5. Add greens and toss with vinaigrette, taste a leaf and adjust seasoning. If needed add another drizzle of oil or vinegar.

6. Divide greens on 2 plates, top each with warm mushrooms and sprinkle with cheddar and walnuts.


Mint Chip Ice Cream Cake

This is the easiest ice cream cake to whip together. And it doesn’t even have to be made with mint chip ice cream, it could be made with Rocky Road, Cotton Candy, Moose Tracks, you name it! I got the recipe from my Half Baked Harvest Cookbook which you can purchase here. This is great for summer and as I said you can try it out with any flavour!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 6
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Involvement
    • 15. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 6 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Springform pan
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Saucepan
  • Knife

The Recipe

Time: ~15 min. prep + ~ 4 – 6 hours softening, freezing & cooling

Servings: 12 – 16

Calories/serving: ~ 344 – 459

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray or butter, for greasing
  • 2 litres mint chocolate chip ice cream or ice cream of choice
  • 1 (9-ounce or ~ 2.5 cups) box chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other oil of choice)

Directions:

  1. Grease an 8- or 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 – 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the chocolate wafer crumbs and melted butter. Dump the mixture out into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into the bottom to make a smooth, even crust.
  4. Spread the ice cream on top of the crust and smooth into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly against the cake to help prevent ice from forming. Freeze for 4 – 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
  5. About 20 minutes before you plan to serve the cake, in a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes before using.
  6. Remove the cake from the freezer and pour the melted chocolate over the top, allowing some of it to drip over the sides. Once the chocolate hardens into a shell, you can slice and serve the cake, or return it to the freezer until ready to serve. Just be sure to take the cake out of the freezer 10 minutes before cutting. This makes cutting so much easier!

Buttery Beef & Porcini Burgers

These homemade burgers are fantastic if you like mushrooms and butter! They are really juicy and full of flavour. I got the recipe from the LCBO magazine here. I thought they were fantastic! The mayo recipe is also a fun compliment to the burger. I made the patties with homemade hamburger buns (you can find the recipe HERE) and I thought they were great but they are a little dense. So if you don’t like a dense bun then I would buy them at a store. If you are looking for a new patty to try I suggest giving this one a whirl!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 5
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 10 ingredients
    • Most ingredients you can easily find at the grocery store but porcini mushrooms you may not find at all stores.
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk or spoon
  • Barbecue
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring cups/spoons

The Recipe

Time: ~20 min. prep+ 30 min. soak time for mushrooms + ~ 10 min. cook time = 1 hour total

Servings: 6 burgers (4 is way too big)

Calories/burger: ~ 312

Ingredients:

  • ½ oz (15 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) Japanese soy sauce
  • 1½ lbs (680 g) medium ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

SESAME & GREEN ONION MAYO:

  • ½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) sesame oil
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Make mayo: Whisk together the mayonnaise and sesame oil; stir in green onions, sauce and sesame seeds. Mayonnaise is best the day it’s made but will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 3 days.
  2. Place porcini in a small heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over; let stand 30 minutes. Drain (reserve soaking liquid for another use if you like). Once mushrooms are cool enough to handle, squeeze dry over the sink; finely chop and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat; let cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until foaming has subsided and particles in butter are light brown. Add porcini and soy to pot, stir and immediately remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Crumble ground beef into a large bowl; spoon butter mixture over. Gently mix to combine and form into 6 equal-sized patties (patties may be made up to a day in advance, covered tightly with cling wrap and refrigerated).
  5. Season patties with salt and pepper as you would a steak. Cook over a high grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in centre.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos are one of my all time favourite go-to meals. It just tastes fresher and not as heavy as a regular taco. You can barbecue or fry the fish. To cut throught the spice top it off with some mango salsa, feta, and mayo or cream cheese. It makes me feel like I’m somewhere tropical to make our long winters in Ontario more bearable. Enjoy!

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 4
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 40. min prep
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 19 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Barbecue or stove top
  • Frying pan if using stove top
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

The Recipe

Time: ~20 min. for salsa + ~20 min. for fish = ~40 min. total

Servings: 8 – 12 tacos

Calories/serving: ~ 150-200/taco

Ingredients:

  • 4 white fish fillets, such as tilapia, mahi-mahi, haddock, cod, etc.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 8-12 corn tortillas
  • Feta for topping
  • Mayonnaise or cream cheese for spreading

MANGO SALSA:

  • 2 mangos, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup corn
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 cup, cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Make salsa: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate while making fish.
  2. In small bowl combine the salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, & brown sugar. Rub it over the fish and then rub with olive oil to coat.
  3. Grill or pan fry the fish over medium-high heat. About 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove & flake fish into pieces.
  4. To assemble, spread cream cheese or mayo over warmed tortilla. Add some fish and top with salsa and feta.

Grilled Mediterranean Turkey Pizza

Let me tell you…grilling pizza is next level! I absolutely love it! This pizza was bursting with flavour! The grilled smokiness on the crust gives it a unique flavour. The trick is that you cook the dough on one side first on the grill & then remove it, flip it, brush the grilled side with sauce and toppings, and return the pizza to the grill for final cooking. I will definitely be grilling most of my homemade pizzas this summer that’s for sure! I highly recommend you give this a try! Happy Grilling 🙂

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 4
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 25. min prep (will be more time if you have to cook turkey or chicken)
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 12 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Pizza stone/cookie sheet
  • Rolling pin
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Cheese grater
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Measuring spoons/cups

The Recipe

Time: ~25 min prep + 10-15 min. cook time = 40 min.

Servings: 8 slices

Calories/slice: ~ 325

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 – 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • 1 cup shredded cooked turkey
  • Pizza dough (homemade or bought)
  • Flour

Directions:

  1. Mix the olive oil, mince garlic, basil & oregano to create the sauce. Prep the rest of the toppings.
  2. Roll & stretch the pizza dough. Place it on a well floured pizza stone.
  3. Grease the grill plates with olive oil and turn on to high heat. Once heated slide the dough off the stone onto the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to brown. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling with air pockets. Remove grilled dough and flip over on cookie sheet/pizza stone.
  4. Top grilled side of dough with sauce and toppings. Slide back onto the grill and cook for 10 min. longer or until bottom begins to char and cheese is bubbly. Pull off the grate onto a cutting board. Slice and serve!

Rhubarb Muffins

This muffin recipe is so easy! The muffins are so light and refreshing! Great for when you need to use up that rhubarb in your garden 😉

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 2
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 10 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Muffin cups (optional)
  • Muffin tin
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon

The Recipe

Time: 20 min. prep + 20 min. bake = 40 min.

Servings: 12 muffins

Calories/muffin: ~ 143

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (diced into tiny pieces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp almond flavouring

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients and fold in rhubarb last.
  2. Put batter in muffin cups & bake for 20 min. at 350F.

Greek Charcuterie

I had a Mediterranean themed dinner the other weekend and I decided to throw together a Greek Charcuterie board. It was a huge hit! Brush some pita bread with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and oregano and warm it in the oven, cut some feta & drizzle with honey….sooo good. It’s perfect for a mid-day lunch or appetizer for a group.

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 2
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20 min.
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 9 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Easy

Equipment Required:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Charcuterie board
  • Small dishes
  • Spoons
  • Baking sheet

The Recipe

Time: ~20 min.

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 rounds of pita bread
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Oregano to taste
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Block of Feta
  • Honey
  • Tzatziki (store bought or homemade)
  • Olives (of your choosing, I don’t like Kalamata so I went with green)

Directions:

  1. Cut chorizo & feta into slices. Put tzatziki and olives into dishes. Plate. Drizzle feta with honey.
  2. Heat oven to 350F and put pita rounds on baking sheet and brush with olive and sprinkle with sea salt and oregano. Warm in the oven for 5-10 min. Slice into wedges and add to board.

Greek Lentil Salad

This is a great refreshing salad. Also a great alternative to the pasta version. I got the recipe from Yum & Yummer. You can get the cookbook at Costco or here. Her recipes don’t disappoint!

This salad is great for the summer! I served it with Greek Chicken Kebabs on the grill 🙂

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – EASY

  • Steps: 2
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 20. min prep
    • Rating: Easy
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 18 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at any grocery store
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Can opener
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

The Recipe

Time: ~20 min. + 2 hours chilling time = 2 hours + 20 min.

Servings: 9 cups

Calories/cup: ~ 209

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups brown lentils cooked (I used chickpeas instead – 2 cans 540 mL each, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups English cucumber peeled, diced
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup red onion, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted
  • 1/3 cup parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mint fresh, chopped (I used dill instead)
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

DRESSING:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp liquid honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over salad and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

I got this recipe from Half Baked Harvests cookbook. The recipe is also featured HERE. Homemade meatballs are sooo much better than store bought in my opinion. The first time I made homemade meatballs was in Italy. I’ve taken 2 cooking classes there and it’s still my favourite thing to do when I visit. Does anyone else feel like everything just tastes better when made in Italy? Well these weren’t made in Italy but we can pretend 😉 These meatballs are so soft, the sauce has the freshest tasting ingredients, and it’s topped off with soo much cheese. Yum….

Recipe Review:

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY – MODERATE

  • Steps: 5
    • Rating: Easy
  • Involvement
    • 38 min. prep time
    • Rating: Moderate
  • Ingredients & availability
    • 19 – 21 ingredients
    • All ingredients you can easily find at the grocery store
    • Rating: Moderate

Equipment Required:

  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Can opener
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Saucepan (for pasta)
  • 9 x 13-inch baking dish
  • Mixing bowls
  • Aluminum foil

Time: ~ 38 min. prep. + 27 min. remaining cook time = 1 hour 5 min. total

Servings: 6

Calories/serving: ~ 349 (not including pasta)

Ingredients:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or water, as needed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 (796 ml) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with your hands
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 4 picked jalapeño slices (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 225 grams mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cubed provolone cheese
  • cooked pasta, for serving
  • fresh basil and oregano, chopped, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Place the bread in a small bowl. Pour over enough milk to moisten the bread and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess milk, then crumble the dampened bread into a medium bowl.
  3. Add the ground beef and egg and mix well with your hands. Grease your hands with a bit of olive oil and roll the meat mixture into ten to twelve 2 tablespoon size balls. Place the meatballs in the prepared baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes, until the meatballs are crisp on the outside but not yet cooked through on the inside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the wine, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeño, dried basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper.
  5. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 minutes more, until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the foil and sprinkle evenly with the cheeses. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake until the cheese are melted and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve over your favorite fresh pasta, topped with fresh basil and oregano.