Comfort Food, Jazzed Up – Maple Bacon Meatloaf

A plate holds two slices of maple bacon meatloaf, two halves of a baked potato with butter, salt & pepper, and a pile of peas with a nob of butter on top.There was a bunch of ground beef in my fridge that needed to be cooked up or tossed into the freezer. It’s been kind of cold as of late, so comfort food was kind of  priority number one a week ago or so. I found out a few years ago that hubby loves meatloaf. It was something he never got as a child — his mother just never made it. I don’t know if she didn’t like it or maybe his dad didn’t like it, but hubby had just never experienced it. It was practically a staple food  in our home, when I was growing up.

So the first time I made it was an experiment. When he took his first bite, I held my breath because I really feel that meatloaf is one of those “love or hate” dishes. He loved it. So ever since then, I’ve been trying to find new and exciting ways to jazz up this comfort dish. This time around, I originally wanted to do something with beef and teriyaki, but realized I had no teriyaki sauce (I usually have a jar of it around). I had no eggs (they had just expired), so I was thinking that I could get moisture and binding from something sticky. I started hunting around for something else sweet and stumbled across the bottle of maple syrup. Here’s what I did with it…

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Chicken schnitzel? Yes please!

A bowl of egg noodles with peas, tomatoes, green onions & red peppers sits in front of a plate with a piece of chicken schnitzel.I have a confession to make: I love chicken schnitzel. I love it, I love it, I love it. It is so tasty. But this does not mean that I get to actually eat it very often.

The last time I ate it was the last time I was at a German restaurant. And that was back when there was actually snow on the ground, so it’s been many, many moons.

Surprisingly enough, I had never made schnitzel, myself. I thought, for some reason, that it was a really tough dish to make and that I wouldn’t get the knack or do it justice. After watching the Food Network over time, I have learned this is not so.

And since hubby had picked me up a meat tenderizer at one point, I thought this week I’d try my hand at it. I only wish that I had a third hand to take pictures, because this was so incredibly easy that I want the world to know and have everyone make their own because it is just so darned yummy. Continue reading

How I saved my overcooked chicken

A plate of egg noodles coated in chopped chicken, cheese and sauce, topped with green onions and shredded cheese.So last night, I knew I had several boneless, skinless chicken breasts which needed to be cooked up but I rapidly found myself running out of evening to cook them in. I thought I’d be clever and throw them into the crockpot with some honey-garlic sauce (VH), onions and a can of pineapple, let it on low and wake up in the morning to fantastic chicken.

Boy, was I wrong. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are not good for the crockpot, because they dry out very easily, despite being drenched in liquid. I didn’t realize this.

Hubby said he’d eat it, but I told him to leave it alone, let me think about it and I’d see if I could salvage it and make it more palatable. I had a few ideas after searching through my cupboards. Here’s how I saved my chicken… Continue reading

Shepherd’s Pie: home’s comforts

A white bowl is filled with Shepherd's Pie: ground beef, gravy, peas, corn, potatoes.There is nothing more comforting to me than good ol’ fashioned comfort foods. For each person, “comfort food” means something different. Growing up in an English/Irish home, I grew up with classics such as Shepherd’s Pie. If you don’t know what that is, I’d say you don’t  know what you’re missing — and should explain that it was originally created to use up leftovers. It’s typically a layer of meat with vegetables atop that, coated in a layer of mashed potatoes.

My family makes it from scratch; nevermind the leftovers. It’s a meal into itself these days, and one that always reminds me of my childhood. Here’s how I make mine.  Continue reading

Steak & bacon stew!

steakstew2Yeah, so, Red Angus beef quick-fry steaks were on sale this week, so I came home with several pounds of these steaks last night. And I do mean several pounds. Last night, we just simply had fried steak and asparagus in garlic butter. And that was so good that I ate it before I remembered to take a picture — sorry!

Here’s what I did tonight: Continue reading

Butter Chicken & Rice: Indian cuisine made easy for the Irish-English Canadian

A counter and stove-top are littered with the fixings for an easy-made Indian-inspired dinner: butter chicken in a slow cooker, saffron water in a Pyrex dish, rice & raisins set aside in a container, olive oil, store-bought naan bread, etc.My husband and I were introduced to Indian cuisine many years ago and still love it. Although I cannot handle anything too spicy, due to a set of very sensitive tastebuds, I find myself going back again and again for one favourite: butter chicken.

Lately, we’ve had some difficulty getting our favourite Indian restaurant to make our butter chicken orders mild. Maybe they got a new chef, but at some point, whenever we ordered butter chicken, if we did not stress “not spicy” or “very mild”, we would get it delivered in one flavour: “too damned spicy for my palette”. (Insert pouty-sad-face here.)

As a result, I started whipping it up at  home. Sadly, I have not been brave enough to do so from scratch. I cheat!  Continue reading

Leftovers Soup Over a Hasselback Baked Potato

A bowl of soup poured over a Hasselback (accordian cut) baked potatoThis one wasn’t a total success, folks, but it sure looks pretty. It’s edible. It’s tasty. But it honestly turned out more like a gravy than a soup. Admittedly, adding a titch of gravy powder is what did it, but I couldn’t find my chicken Oxxo packets and I was suddenly very desperate for some extra flavour instead of just using water and cream. I should have known better, but hey, it’s still tasty!

Next time: chicken bouillon, not chicken gravy mix. 😛

Regardless, hubby seemed to like it and it really was yummy. Poured over our leftover Hasselback baked potatoes from the night before, it was quite a hearty meal! I think I might have to freeze at least half of it, though, as the batch ended up, uh, twice the size it should have been. Oops!