Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spinach & Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken


Oh look! More chicken! While I know it's the reverse in other countries, chicken breasts are typically an inexpensive protein here in the USA - averaging around $1.99/lb. It's crazy to me that ground beef is around $2.99-$3.99/lb when it's usually a cheaper option at home in New Zealand.

I thought this might explain to my friends and family why chicken is such a popular protein in my house. I'm cheap budget conscious!

Chicken can be plain and boring (and repetitive when you use it a lot), so I like to dress it up as much as possible. Stuffed chicken it a great way to do that, in my opinion. I mean, cheese! wine! spinach! hello!

I serve this with some steamed vegetables and garlic mash which is perfect for using up all the sauce. 

I also make this with feta instead of blue cheese, and it's yummy as well. 


  • 1 tsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 Tbs crumbled blue cheese 
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine  
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sour cream  

  1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add 1/4 Cup of the onion, and cook until soft. 
  3. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add spinach, and cook 3 minutes (until wilted).
  5. Combine spinach mixture, cheese and mustard in a small bowl.
  6. Wipe pan out with a paper towel.  Cut a pocket in each chicken breast half and stuff spinach mixture into each.
  7. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat the other 1/2 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium-high heat. 
  9. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done (165 F). Remove chicken, tent with foil to keep warm and set aside while you make the pan sauce.
  10. Add remaining 1 cup of diced onion to pan, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme; cook 3 minutes or until reduced by half.
  11. Add broth and 2 tablespoons mustard; cook 4 minutes or until thickened, add sour cream, stirring occasionally.
  12. Return the chicken to skillet, cover and simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  13. Serve sauce over the chicken.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine circa 1997

Monday, September 28, 2015

Beef & Cheese Phyllo Pies

I love a good pie. Growing up in New Zealand, a pie from the local bakery, gas station or one from GEORGIE PIE was an absolute staple.

There's your run of the mill pie, your basic beef with gravy in pastry, with a flaky "lid", (my favourite has a creamy cheese just under the lid). Gourmet versions might involve chicken/camembert/cranberry. Or bacon/gg, or a even Thai, Indian or smoked fish variety (Mum, I'm looking at you. I do not consider smoked fish as an acceptable pie filling. Ever).

I miss pies.  Bad.

Today, I feel like pies. I don't have individual pie plates, so I'm going freestyle. I also don't feel like making puff pastry, so phyllo it is.

Is it authentic NZ pie? No. Is it delicious, and does it "scratch the itch" so to speak? Yes. Sooooo much yes!!


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1lb (500gram) ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 14.5oz (400gram) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 1 Cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan at medium heat. 
  2. Add onion and ground beef, cook on until onion is softened and the beef is browned.
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 10 to 15 mins until sauce thickens. 
  5. Stir in oregano, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  6. Heat oven to 400°F. 
  7. Brush 1 sheet of phyllo with butter, top with a second buttered sheet and place a third sheet on top. Cut in half. Repeat with remaining phyllo to make four pies, of three layers each.
  8. Add 1/4 Cup cheese and about 3/4 Cup of beef mixture on the centre of each phyllo section, top with cheese.
  9. Fold/roll edges over, to enclose, and brush tops with butter.
  10. Place on a baking tray. 
  11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Garlic Cheddar Chicken Tenders


Quick! It's 5pm and you don't have a single thought in your head about what might be for dinner. Got some chicken tenders? or some chicken breasts? Cut em up and make this. While it bakes, you have time to figure out a couple of sides, and dinner is SERVED!

I took this pic while in the middle of trying to serve, so .. whatever. This is yummy. Make it tonight, Rachel, people who need inspiration!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1lb chicken tenders or chicken breast cut into strips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and saute the garlic until tender.
  3. In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, cheeses,  and spices/seasonings.
  4. Dip each chicken strip in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. 
  5. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.
  6. Bake 20-30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink (center should be 165F)

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

It's pumpkin season, folks.  Around here it's like Bubba in Forrest Gump - except instead of shrimp, it's pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes...

Not that I usually bend to trends or seasonal ideals, but who doesn't love pumpkin pancakes?  A friend of mine and I love them - and actually get excited when the local breakfast place begins advertising that pumpkin pancakes are back on the menu. Served with roasted apples.... mmmm.... 

It also means that (hopefully) some cooler weather is on the way. After brutal summers in Arizona, the promise of Fall is a much welcome relief. Even if actual Fall weather for us isn't for at least a month or more!

This right here is a simple recipe that I keep making, over and over - and now I'm sharing with you.  See below for the boys' verdict....



  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not the pie filling)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  1. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients
  3. Fold wet into dry ingredients until just combined, don't overmix.
  4. Grease and heat a skillet over medium heat. 
  5. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
  6. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Balsamic Glazed Chicken (aka "Sticky Chicky")


This is a repost - I posted it very early on in my blog, but never had a picture. It needed to be resurrected, and redone because, Sticky Chicky. Now, there's a name.... although it's what I've always called it, people who are grownups might prefer to call it by its fancy name, "Balsamic Glazed Chicken".  Potato, Potahto....

This dinner is one that whenever I serve it to people, I am ALWAYS asked for the recipe. It's so tasty, and full of flavour (and easy), and appeals to pretty much everyone (except vegetarians. Vegetarians won't like this...)

This recipe does serve 4 - and although you can halve it,if I were you, I'd keep the measurements for the sauce so you have extra to splash over your mashed potatoes. 

You're SO welcome.  


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. In large fry pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. 
  2. Season the chicken and cook about 10 minutes or until slightly brown on all sides. 
  3. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
  4. Add garlic to pan; saute over medium heat for 2 minutes. Don't over cook, it tastes nasty if you burn it. (Just saying).
  5. Stir in tomato paste and slowly add chicken stock, scraping to dissolve any bits clinging to bottom of pan. Increase heat to medium-high; add vinegar and honey and rapidly boil for 3 minutes to reduce liquid to one cup. 
  6. Return chicken to pan; reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning, about 18-25 minutes or until liquid thickens and becomes a dark mahogany glaze and chicken is done.
  7. Serve with some mashed potatoes to sop up all the yummy sauce, and maybe some steamed vegetables if you must ;)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls (just like Cinnabon!)


I love road trips. All the different places to drive through, all the truck stop weirdness (oh yes, there's plenty) and .... Cinnabon. I don't know why I haven't seen an actual store before, but I've seen them regularly in truck stops on our trips around the state.  The Husband has been known to pick up a dozen or so whenever he travels, and brings most some a few home with him.

Cinnabon, (for my uninitiated southern hemisphere friends), is quite the establishment. Warm, gooey, soft cinnamon flavoured rolls with a sweet and creamy frosting that kind of melts into the warm roll... ohhhh. Yes.  Erm, sorry.  Back to reality...

I have made many cinnamon roll recipes. Have you noticed, I've never posted one here before? That's because I had never found THE recipe. And now I have. Have a seat.  

I made these in my bread machine on a Saturday morning, which was awesome because the work was taken out of it, and I was free to chase small boys around, attempting to minimize the carnage that is our living room these days.  Of course I failed on THAT...

The result? "These are better than Cinnabon, babe" and "Um, why you are not already making another batch"

My children? Well. Know any kids who don't like baked goods? Mine are no exception. They hung about us with mouths open waiting to be given some. 

I personally think we shared way too much with them.

I know not everyone has a bread machine (Hi Bron!), so I have included directions using a stand mixer and dough hook. YES I realize not everyone has one of those either, but I'm lazy, and I don't want to test doing it by hand!


  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tspsalt
  • 1 Tbs milk

  1. Place dough ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
  2. After the dough cycle is done, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes - this is an important step, don't skip!
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Roll dough into a 16x21-inch rectangle. 
  5. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. 
  6. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. I use (plain, unflavoured) dental floss to do this. Place a piece of dental floss under the rolled dough, 1 inch from the end. Bring the floss up around the dough and cross it over the top, cutting through the dough and filling. Repeat at 1-inch intervals.
  7. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  8. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. 
  9. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk. 
  10. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.
Stand Mixer/Dough Hook instructions:
  1. Combine milk and sugar in a bowl, and put in microwave until the temp is reached (it's supposed to be lukewarm, not hot). 
  2. Sprinkle yeast over the surface, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. (Tiny bubbles should begin to appear on the surface or around the edge of the container and it should start to smell yeasty).
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attached.
  4. Add the flour, salt, eggs and butter and knead for 8-10 minutes. It should form a ball, and be relatively smooth.
  5. Let sit in a warm place, until doubled in size (about an hour?).  Punch down - follow from Step 2 above)

SOURCE: Adapted from

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Beef & Black Bean Enchilada "Pie"

Aaah, the dinnertime rush - that crazy time of evening between when you get home and the kids' bedtime, and when you get to drink heavily.  

You need to get food on the table, like NOW, and you have hungry little monsters in your kitchen begging for snacks, food, water, and to touch EVERYTHING.

I'm ALWAYS up for an under 30 minute start-to-finish kind of meal. The problem I have with most recipes is that they take way more time, and I'm left exhausted by the time I serve it all up.

This, friends, is not that kind of recipe.

My only cheat was, I had ground beef thawed, and onion already chopped (from another recipe), and had this in the oven in under 10 minutes. Then 10 minutes of baking, 5 of resting and DONE!!

Next time, I'll add a can of green chiles, sprinkle some cilantro on top. For right now - this is how it happened. 

Not terribly pretty, but... yummy.



  • 1lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 TBS butter  
  • 2TBS minced garlic
  • 2 TBS all-purpose flour  
  • 1 cup beef broth  
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning   
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (puree, for the Aussies/Kiwis)
  • 4-6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • Sour cream, hot sauce, sliced olives, cilantro - for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add beef and onion to pan; cook until browned. Add black beans.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. 
  4. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, be careful not to burn!
  5. Sprinkle with flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 
  6. Add broth, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce to pan. 
  7. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  8. Reserve about half a cup of the tomato mixture, and add the rest to the beef and beans.
  9. In a 9-inch pie plate place one of the tortillas. 
  10. Top with 1 cup beef mixture and a small sprinkle of cheese.
  11. Repeat layers, ending with tortilla. 
  12. Spread reserved tomato mixture over tortilla. Top with cheese. 
  13. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Cool 5 minutes, before serving topped with toppings of your choice.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Garlic Parmesan Pasta


I love a good creamy pasta. I make this as a side to go with Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops, along with some grilled veggies, or I double and add grilled chicken and broccoli and call it a main course.  Here, it's just grilled chicken.  And it's delicious.

When I'm making a new recipe, I sometimes halve it in case it doesn't work out, or we don't like it.  DON'T DO THIS. When I served this, the one criticism that I got was "why didn't you make MORE?"

Cameron loves pasta, so I knew he'd be easy. Hayden, well, he's 3. So, it just depends on the day if he likes anything at all.  He also snarfed this.

TheStepdaughter and TheHusband were enthusiastic, to the point where we were all bargaining and wheeling/dealing to get seconds.

I really really should have made more. Don't be me. Make the whole recipe. Heck, double it for the leftovers!


  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I use homemade, or a fat free one)
  • 1 cup milk, or more, as needed (can use 2% or whole, up to you)
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta of your choice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves or 1 tsp dried
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan (I use a dutch oven) over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock, milk, butter and fettuccine; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan. Add more milk if it's too thick.
  5. If using dried parsley, add it and mix well. If using fresh parsley, add it right before serving

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DIY: Roasted Vegetable Stock

As we are attempting to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our menus, I thought I'd share a recipe with you for this stock.  Oftentimes, a recipe will call for chicken stock, and aside from that - the recipe is vegetarian.

I wondered how hard it would be to just make vege stock and have it on hand, and it turns out - really not at all difficult. This is a really tasty, gorgeous coloured, full of flavor stock that will lend itself well to anything you decide to use it in!

I use leftover vegetables, ie the ends of a bunch of celery, carrots and onions that needed to be used, and a lonely tomato left in the fridge. So it's frugal too!



  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 medium tomato, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 sprigs of thyme (or 1 Tbs dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 cups of water
  • Salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  
  2. Place carrots, onions, celery, garlic and tomatoes in large roasting pan.  Toss the veges in olive oil, and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the veges are a dark brown colour.
  3. Remove veges from the oven, then pour 2 cups of water into the pan and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom and sides.  
  4. Pour veges, the water and scraped up bits, and the remaining 4 cups of water, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme into a stock pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Season with salt, if using.
  7. Strain the stock into a large bowl.  Discard the cooked veges etc.
  8. It's ready to use!  Or, you can cool it off and refrigerate or freeze in 1 cup portions.

Monday, August 31, 2015

(Freezer Friendly) Oatmeal Waffles

I'm a huge fan of waffles made from a boxed mix. They're so easy to just add a few things to, and cook really quick when you have hungry people clamoring for breakfast.

However, since there's not a whole bunch of nutrition in boxed waffle mix deliciousness, I needed to find a way to make them from scratch, but it needed to be quick and easy and taste GOOD. 

I make a double batch now, and keep some in the freezer for the days where I'm low on time!

A couple of attempts, and this is the final recipe for the file.  Hope you like them as much as my boys do!

This recipe made 5 waffles in my big belgian waffle maker. You could likely get more with smaller waffle irons.



  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar (can leave out, but I wouldn't!)
To serve:
  • Sliced bananas
  • Whipped cream

  1. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter and brown sugar. 
  3. Add wet to dry, and mix until just combined. The mixture will be thick!
  4. Pour batter into a lightly greased waffle iron and cook until desired colour is reached.
  5. Serve with whipped cream and bananas 
To freeze:
After they're cooked and completely cooled, layer waffles on top of each other separated by parchment, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in freezer zip lock bag.
Don't thaw - just put in the toaster and cook until hot.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sneaky Sneaky Mac & Cheese-y

I could tell you that my kids are wonderful eaters. They are. Some days. Other days, not so much.

While I do serve vegetable in plain view (how else will they become familiar?) there comes a point where you think - I really don't want to sit and battle with my kids tonight. Can't they just eat a good meal, quietly and using their manners?

The answer is no. This is my life.

Enter, this mac & cheese.  Looks delicious, right? Looks to be the right colour. Right shape. Right .. everything. 

Taste? Cheesy. Pasta-y. Delicious.

Both boys (and their Dad) were given samples right after I made it. I turned and headed back into the kitchen, and was followed by Hayden "Mama, I need a bowl and a spoon" and Cameron "Mo'!! Mo'!! Mo'!!


Why is it a win? BECAUSE, inside this pasta hides: butternut squash, carrots and cauliflower.  I couldn't even detect the flavour of the veggies, and I was absolutely looking for it.  My children were not.  Let's be honest - this isn't diet food. But if you have little ones who could stand to gain some weight, and eat some veggies at the same time - this recipe is for YOU.

Here's Cameron digging in (he usually uses a fork, but he actually was shoveling with both hands:

Want to know how to make it? Glad you asked. This is a food blog, and I post recipes and stuff, so it's kind of fitting...



  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, cut into pieces
  • Water
  • 8 oz elbow pasta
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2  cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 TBS butter

  1. In a small saucepan, add the carrots and cauliflower and enough water to just cover the veggies.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then add the butternut squash, and cook a further 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  4. Drain the veggies, and add them to a blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until pureed into a smooth consistency.
  5. Add the puree to a large saucepan (I used my dutch oven), and add the milk, salt, cheese, cream cheese and butter.
  6. Heat gently, and use a whisk to blend it as it all melts together.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, and mix well.
  8. Serve, and smile.
Note: When reheating any leftovers, add a little extra milk - as it can dry out

Source: Adapted from

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus


Ever eat at a restaurant and have something SO good, you want to eat it ... every single day?

ME TOO. Since my wallet isn't really amenable to this, plus, you know, I can COOK and all - I had to attempt this.  

The cilantro/jalapeno hummus at Pita Jungle is to die for. It isn't overly spicy (so I kicked it up a notch), but it IS full of the fresh cilantro, garlic and lime with a little hint of cumin and garlic.  

I've made hummus before, but have been unhappy with the consistency (too paste-y?), and wondered if it was because I never removed the shells/husks from the chickpeas before using.

A quick search, and I found that the best, creamiest and smoothest hummus recipes say to remove them. But... HOW?  I'm so glad you asked...


  1. Add 2 cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas into a microwave safe bowl. 
  2. Add 3 teaspoons of... BAKING SODA, and mix it around. 
  3. Cook the chickpeas for 2 minutes on high.
  4. Put them in some cold water, rub between your hands... and the shells just kind of float to the top, so you can throw them away! Easy!!

Anyway. Onto this recipe. I took a basic hummus recipe, and added some of the flavors I thought might be in the hummus I love. 

The result? I'm in love. So is the Husband. The Teenager (who is here currently) gobbled it happily too.  Feel free to mess with the amount of jalapeno to your taste - and make this regularly. And invite me over.


  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and shelled (save the liquid from one of the cans)
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium jalapenos, chopped (seeds removed - leave in for extra heat)
  • 1 large bunch cilantro (about a cup and a half), washed, chopped roughly (stems and all)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (plus extra if needed)
  1. Add all ingredients (except for the saved liquid from 1 can of chickpeas) to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process until well combined and smooth, adding the reserved liquid and extra olive oil as needed
  3. Serve with pita bread, crackers, veggie dippers or straight from the bowl with a spoon.

You want the consistency to be smooth, and almost pourable... like this:

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cilantro Lime Rice


I love me some Indian food (obviously - see Monday's post). Although I'm from New Zealand, we have a large Indian population in Auckland.  You can usually find Indian restaurants right alongside all the usual fish & chip shops, burger joints, pizza and other takeout food options.

It's somewhat catching on here in the USA, but when I really need a fix, I tend to make it myself.  Making the main dish can be time consuming, but side dishes are super important to really round out the experience.

I have to admit, adding lime is not necessarily typical of Indian food (I don't think), but I think that hint of freshness with the cilantro really adds something to a well spiced and warm main dish.

It's super easy - but, for those who need inspiration/recipe/directions, I'm here for ya!


  • 2 Cups basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 Cups chicken broth/stock
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime - juiced and zested
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped 


  1. Cook rice according to package directions, using the stock and water and adding the garlic.
  2. When cooked, fold the cilantro in, mix the lime and half the zest (reserve the rest of something else)

You may also like Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Garlic Naan


I think every cuisine has a "bread" that they're known for.

The Greeks have Pita, the Native Americans have Fry Bread, the French have Baguettes, and the Indian people.... well they have Naan. (actually Naan originated in Iran, and naan actually just means "bread").

The Naan is an oven baked flat bread, that can be used to scoop up food, as an accompaniment to a dish, or it can even be stuffed.  My absolute favorite to order is the Amritsari Naan because it's stuffed with mashed potatoes, onion and a bunch of yummy spices.

My go-to at home, has to be garlic naan.

This is a really quick recipe, and makes about 8 good sized naan which goes great with Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter ChickenCoconut Lime Chicken with Chillies and Chickpea Curry with Tomatoes and Spinach


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp honey
  • 2 ½ Tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp yeast
  • Topping
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted and mixed with
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Chopped cilantro

  1. Heat the sour cream for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.
  2. Add the sour cream, with the other ingredients to a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and set to a medium speed.
  3. After 5 minutes, check your dough. It should be sticky (ie, you touch it and you get some stuck on your finger), but shouldn’t stick to the sides at all. If it does, add flour until you get the right stickiness. If it’s not sticky at all, add water.
  4. Continue kneading (with the dough hook) for another 5 minutes.
  5. Take the dough out onto a lightly floured counter-top, and divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Turn each piece over in the flour, put on a floured tray, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Heat a pizza stone in your oven to 500°F.
  8. Flatten each piece of dough into a round or tear drop shape (you won’t need a rolling pin, the dough will be very soft and easily pliable)
  9. Wet your hands, then turn each naan briefly in your hands, and place it on the stone.
  10. Bake for about 4-6 minutes. The bottom should be a light brown.
  11. Brown tops using the broiler, if you wish.
  12. Just before serving, brush the tops with the butter and garlic, and sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve warm

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Monday, August 10, 2015

DIY: Fresh Mozzarella


Yay! Another DIY post!  It's been a while since I have done one of these, but it was definitely worth it.

I've always been fascinated by cheesemaking, and although my ricotta experience was so disappointing that I didn't blog it... this was a win!

I wouldn't exactly call it budget friendly, because I'm sure you could purchase a bunch of fresh mozzarella for less than what I paid for the rennet, citric acid, cheese salt and milk, but that's no fun!

I have A LOT of the ingredients left though, so will be able to make this again whenever I want to.

Let's get started!



  1. Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 cup cold water.
  2. Dissolve the vegetable rennet in 1/4 cup cold water.
  3. Pour the milk into a large pot. 
  4. Gently stir in the citric acid mixture. 
  5. Over medium to medium-high heat, heat milk to 88° F, continuing to stir. Don’t freak when the milk curdles, that's exactly what we WANT to happen.
  6. Add the rennet mixture and stir. 
  7. When the milk reaches 100-105° F, turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. 
  8. While you  wait, bring another pot of water to just below boiling
  9. By now the curds should have pulled away from the sides of the pot and you should see a lot of whey (yellowish clear liquid) around the sides. If the whey is still a milky color, cover and wait a few more minutes. (see pictures)
  10. Ladle the curds into a strainer and place in the other pot of water (the curds should be submerged in the water). Let the curds sit for 5 minutes. 
  11. Gently stir the curds under the water. Their internal temperature should be 135° F.
  12. Ladle the curds onto a cutting board. (The cheese will be hot so be careful!) 
  13. Sprinkle the salt and stretch the cheese (kind of like kneading dough, but less work).  It will begin to tighten, and become firm and shiny.
  14. Shape the cheese into balls, but don't overwork - a light hand is best here.
  15. Refrigerate, slice, enjoy!

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