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BAKED STUFFED HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

This recipe was inspired by my friend George’s recipe for Middle Eastern Jhedra (lentils and rice).

DH had gone to our Saturday Farmer’s Market and came home with “heirloom baking tomatoes”.  I had never heard of these type of tomatoes before, but they have very little seeds and juice inside, in fact, they almost look like a pepper – with a similar firm texture.  See how pretty?

I was not really sure how this recipe was going to turn out, but just kind of went with what ingredients I had.  It was a winner!  In fact my dtr. arrived (she does not like lentils) and she loved this dish. This recipe would also be good with large Roma Tomatoes, or various kinds of Peppers.

I have now made this recipe twice – once with an added diced roma tomato, and once without.  Both are good.  The Lentil/Rice mixture makes quite a lot, there was still  a bowl full leftover which tastes great the next day – even cold it is yummy, served along side with a salad.
I made a couple of modifications to George’s Jehdra recipe so will do a recap here:

4 cups water

1 cup brown lentils

just under 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3-4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. curry powder

1 bay leaf

salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup basmati rice

reserved juice from tomatoes

1 roma tomato finely diced – optional

1 rounded tsp. fresh minced rosemary

1 big handful of finely minced fresh basil

113 grms. roasted garlic chevrai goat cheese

5 baking tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, seeds removed

In a medium sized pot, bring the water to a boil, add the lentils and bay leaf.  Turn down to a medium low simmer for 10 minutes – lid off.  After 10 minutes, cover with a lid and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the oil to a cast iron frying pan, low to medium heat.  Saute the onions and garlic until soft, then add the curry powder, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Then add the rice to the onion mixture, and saute stirring for 1 -2 minutes.  Transfer the rice onion mixture to the pot of lentils and (if using the diced roma tomato add to the pot) cook on a low simmer, lid on for another 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender.

Remove from heat, and remove the bay leaf.  Add in the fresh basil, stirring well to combine.  Check for salt and pepper and set aside.

Slice the tomatoes in half, and scoop out any seeds into a bowl.  Add the reserved juice/seeds to the lentil rice mixture – stirring to combine.

Add a generous scoop of the lentil/rice mixture to each tomato, then top with crumbled goat cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Serve right away with any other vegetables or a fresh salad.

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SUMMER FRESH SALAD

Hi all!  I have not disappeared from the face of the earth….just been super busy with work….which I love!  I still hope from time to time to offer new recipes (have a couple up my sleeve) so will keep posting when time and inspiration allows.  We have had an amazing summer weather wise.  It is probably the best summer we have had on our West Coast in 12 years!  Lots of sun shine..record temperatures in the 80-90’s so any chance we have had, we head to our local fresh water pot holes for a swim.

This is an easy recipe inspired by all of the fresh produce we have been getting from our local farmers market, it has been a stellar summer season.  We had a surplus of green beans…time for salad.  This salad would be lovely with crumbled feta cheese – which I did not have – either way still yummy.

We also recently discovered:  Organic oven roasted/herb roma tomatoes at Costco – so so good.  I have been using these in pasta dishes, salads, for brushetta …the world is your oyster with these babies.  With this recipe, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil would be tasty too.

2-3 cups fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces – or a mix of yellow and green beans would be lovely

3 patti-pan summer squashes, halved, then cut into chunks

1/2 cup oven roasted herb roma tomatoes – or sun dried tomatoes including oil

2-3 Tblsp. chopped red onion

1 minced garlic clove

big handful of fresh minced basil

juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste.

Bring a medium sized pot with water to the boil. (have an ice cold water bath in a bowl on hand).  Cook the patti-pan squash for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the water bath.  Add the chopped green beans, and cook 1.5 minutes, drain and add to another ice cold water bath to cool.

Use a paper towel to pat dry the squash and green beans, then add to a bowl.  Add in the chopped tomatoes with oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, red onion and salt and pepper to taste.  Then mix in the minced basil.  I did not need to use any extra EVOO, but check in case you do.  Let refrigerate, 2 hours, then toss to mix and serve.

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CHICKEN VEGETABLE CHEDDAR CASSEROLE

The inspiration for this recipe came from a magazine I was reading while waiting for an appointment.  I did not have time to write it down, so have gone with my own, sometimes not always reliable memory.  I do recall the original recipe used a Bechamel sauce, which I did not use here.  This makes enough to feed at least 6 big yummy portions. I also loved the combination of cauliflower and yukon gold mashed potatoes for a topping.  It turned out to be tastier than I thought it would.  The different layers of flavors really came through…a chicken casserole I will make again and again.  You can never have too many chicken casserole dishes right?

I made this in the morning so it was ready to reheat for dinner that night.

4 cups cauliflower, coarsely chopped

2 1/2 cups yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large Tblsp. butter

2 Tblsp. plain organic yogurt

1 green onion, finely chopped

generous 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Herbamare Seasoning

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 celery stalk, cut in half and diced

2 carrots diced

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and cut into 1 inch cubes

22 green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups chicken stock

2 Tblsp. Balsamic Vinegar

3 tsp. fresh minced sage, 1 bay leaf

small handful of minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

3 crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese – divided

salt and fresh cracked pepper

corn starch and chicken stock to make a slurry

Add your chopped cauliflower and potatoes to a pot of salted boiling water.  Cook about 15 minutes or until tender, then drain well.  Add butter, yogurt, parmesan cheese and green onion, mashing well, then set aside.

Heat up a saute pan on medium high heat with a good drizzle of olive oil.  Add the chicken pieces to the pan, and season well with Herbamare seasoning.  Saute about 7 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  To the pan add in the mushrooms sauteing – turn down to medium heat.  Once the mushrooms are a light golden color, add in the celery, carrots, onions and garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar scraping up any brown bits.  Then add in the chicken stock, fresh sage, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer lid on slightly cracked for 7 minutes.  Add in the squash and continue to simmer about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Then add the green beans and simmer for 3 more minutes.

Take the lid off, and reduce – about 5 minutes.  Thicken with the cornstarch slurry, and check for seasonings.  Add in the Italian Flat Leaf Parsley and chicken, stirring to combine.  Transfer to a casserole dish.

Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheddar cheese over top.

Spoon over the cauliflower mashed potatoes, and add remaining cheese on top.  Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour if made in the morning and reheating or bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes, then serve.

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CREAMY SEAFOOD CHOWDER

Nothing says comfort food better than a delicious bowl of seafood chowder.  Most seafood chowders traditionally use a white fish.  In this dish I used all shell fish.  Many chowders also use a flour to thicken their chowder…here I did not.

In our household if we use cream, I will make SCD cream – Lactose free [...]

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ITALIAN SAUSAGE MUSHROOM BASIL LASAGNA

Lasagna is such comfort food.  What I also love about lasagna, is I make it in the morning and refrigerate until ready to cook for dinner, plus I do not cook the lasagna noodles which saves some time and clean up.  I always use the same yogurt cheese/spinach/parmesan cheese in place of cottage or ricotta [...]

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FRESH WEST COAST SNAPPER

Recently I found a new local fish store that supplies all kinds of fresh fish and shell fish – yeahhh!  Today’s special was fresh West Coast Snapper fillets – they were lovely!  Having found this new store, I hope to have more seafood dishes in the future.

With this recipe I kept it really simple, as [...]

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HOMEMADE SAUSAGE

These sausages will certainly do in a pinch…when you do not have gluten free sausages on hand.   Although these were not your typical sausage in a casing, these were pretty good -  not as excellent as the place where I buy them, but darn close.

Note:  these were even better the next day.  Next time, [...]

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CREAMED SALMON AND LEEKS

It has been a while since I last did a post…we have been away on holidays.  Back to our favorite Salt Spring Island for a 5 day getaway.  DH shot this picture on the ferry over to the Island.  It was a most lovely holiday…good food, lots of rest, great weather, hikes on the beach…I [...]

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HOMEMADE GLUTEN FREE BREAKFAST CEREAL

Oh how I miss oatmeal breakfast cereal.  I was never really big on breakfast cereals, but I sure loved oatmeal.  Even the gluten free oatmeal does not work for me…sigh.  I was also never a big fan of gluten free creamy rice cereal – at least not on it’s own.

There used to be a good [...]

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ROASTED VEGETABLES IN A BLOOD ORANGE THYME SAUCE

It seems people either love brussel sprouts or they hate them.  I love them, my daughter – not so much.  With this dish there was a sweetness to the sauce and roasting the vegetables brought out more sweetness – yes, she did like brussel sprouts in this dish.  However, she also mentioned, this would be [...]