Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Mexican Stroganoff

Delicious flavourful comfort food, perfect for your next freezer meal day and a hit with the whole family. You can make this in your crock pot or pressure cooker for an easy weekday solution. 

This creamy tangy meal has a little twist with the addition of mexican flavours.

Mexican Stroganoff

2 lbs beef steak (round or inside steaks work nicely), sliced thin
1 cup Onion, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 can Sliced Mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 cup Beef Broth
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Paprika
2 tsp Seasoning Salt
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Allspice

1 cup Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
3 Tbsp Flour
Cooked Broad Egg Noodles

Combine all ingredients except for sour cream, flour and egg noodles. Freeze in a freezer bag or freezer safe container. Defrost before using. Cook in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Cook in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes.

Whisk Sour Cream and Flour together. Add to mixture in slow cooker 15 minutes before finished (when you get the noodles going). Cook until thick and serve over hot cooked broad egg noodles.

Dig in!


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Wild Blackberry Streusel Tarts

The dog days of summer seem to be behind us! Today it finally rained and was cool enough to turn the oven on. 

I've been dying to try out a blackberry pie recipe I've been concocting in my head while watching the blackberries ripen in the hot sun, so today was a perfect day to make them while the berries were fresh and ripe and so juicy!

I'd planned to make this into a full pie recipe, but could only find frozen tart shells in my why not experiment, they are better for the waistline when they're small anyway!

The juice of this filling when it was all mixed together was so amazing I didn't want to waste any and over-filled them a bit, but I just couldn't resist, I wanted to drink it!

Wild Blackberry Streusel Tarts

24  Tart Shells (defrosted if frozen)
4-5 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed, rinsed, drained, dried)
3/4 cup sugar (less if you have exceptionally sweet berries)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp almond extract
3-4 Tbsp cornstarch (3 for wild berries, 4 for very ripe/frozen)

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Flour
2 Tbsp Butter, softened
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Combine blackberries, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, almond extract and cornstarch in a bowl and gently mix the ingredients. Spoon filling into uncooked (thawed if needed) tart shells (about 3/4 full to prevent overfilling like I did!). 

For the Streusel topping, combine brown sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together with a fork until butter is completely combined with sugar and becomes crumbly. Top each tart with a generous spoonful of Streusel topping.

Bake in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown around the edges and the filling becomes bubbly & starts to rise and is no longer liquidy. 

Let cool before serving (or it will be really hard to get out of the tins). Perfect with ice cream or a dollop of whip cream!


Happy Berry Picking (and watch out for those nasty thorns!)

~ Adel ~

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes

This deliciously easy side is a staple for family gatherings! 

I can't tell you how many casserole dishes of these I've made in the past couple years, but I know I bring one to every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas gathering, plus the many times I bring it to other family gatherings or other communal meals with friends. I've started making mine in the slow cooker so I can have them without heating the kitchen in the summer or a great way to make more room in the oven for busy holiday meals, but it works great in the oven too! 

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes (Slow Cooker or Oven)

1/2 cup Butter (melted)
1 Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced or your favourite garlicky seasoning (like Johnny's from Costco...yum)
1 can cCondensed Mushroom Soup
1 cup Sour Cream (substitute Greek Yogurt for some or all)
250ml container of Herb & Garlic Cream Cheese
7 cups Frozen Hashbrowns (one of the smaller sized bags)
2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Corn Flakes

Slow Cooker: I like to brown my onions before tossing them in the slow cooker, but it's not necessary, just adds more flavour to the dish. Combine the melted butter, diced onion, garlic, soup, sour cream, cream cheese together in a saucepan and heat until all the cheese melts and everything mixes together in a gooey sauce. Add Hashbrowns to the slow coker and pour cheesy sauce over. Mix well and cook until potatoes are heated through, about 2-3 hours on high. Top with corn flakes before serving (you can put them under the broiler for a few minutes if you want the top to be golden brown.

Oven: Melt butter in a saucepan, add onions and cook until slightly browned. Add garlic, soup, sour cream, cream cheese together in a sauce pan and heat until all the cheese melts and everything mixes together in a gooey sauce. Mix with hashbrowns and pour into an oven safe dish. Top with corn flakes. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes until sauce starts bubbling and the top is golden brown.

This recipe freezes really well, perfect for a big cook/freezer meal and makes a great alternative to Mashed Potatoes!


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ravioli Soup

I haven't posted with any regularity since February 2015. Life happened - big things. We had another little Ladybug (I'll introduce Little Bee later), we moved, we changed careers. Life kind of went upside down for a while, but I'm feeling the inspiration and need to return to the things that bring me joy. That and I keep having to unsuccessfully try to remember how I made that recipe that I didn't write down here in my virtual cookbook!

So here's the inspiration that has changed things as I lay awake in the dark well past my bedtime last night, thinking about food...mmm...that would taste really good, I need to make it and write it down! Time to find the camera and blog again! This ravioli soup is inspired by the classic hamburger soup with a little italian pasta twist. A lovely hearty cozy meal, an easy crowd pleaser, and perfect make-ahead/freezer meal for busy people.

Ravioli Soup

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Beef
1 large Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Carrots, diced
1/2 cup Celery, Chopped
4 Cups Beef Broth
4 cups Water (or beef broth if you want more flavour)
28 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1/4 cup Bread, cubed in small pieces (add more if you like it less soupy and more stewy)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (the good kind, or substitute honey, sugar or another sweetener to taste)
2 tsp Italian Seasoning Mix (or 1 tsp dried Basil, 1/2 tsp dried Oregano, 1/2 tsp dried Thyme)
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
Fresh Ravioli, Family Sized packaged (I used beef for this recipe)

Brown Beef in a large soup pot. Once brown, add onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until tender. Add in beef broth, water and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil, lower temperature to a simmer. Add in bread, parmesan cheese, maple syrup, seasoning and parsley and let cook for 5 minutes until all the flavours combine.  Just before serving add fresh ravioli to the soup base and cook as long as the package instructs.

This soup is perfect for a make ahead meal or to have in the freezer. If freezing this soup, don't add the ravioli until serving time as it soaks up the liquid and becomes mushy. Better to add fresh ravioli just before serving.

mmm. Perfect make ahead meal with Aged Cheddar Biscuits or Grandma's Dinner Buns!


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

20 Fall Slow Cooker/Freezer Meals

Life has been busy and different over here at the Ladybug House! 

Between juggling the demands of a new baby and navigating the change from full-time at home to full-time school for Lady and Bug, while still trying to keep the house running and managing several businesses, I need to get organized and plan meals. 

Here is my fall list of slow cooker freezer meals to make life a little easier!

 Easy Rootbeer Pulled Pork

Enjoy the beautiful fall colours! It's nice to be back sharing my kitchen with you!


Friday, 13 February 2015

Essential Oil Rice Bags

Tomorrow is Love Day!

One of my friends posted a picture of these little rice bags that she made for her kids for Valentine's Day...I thought they were so cute that I had to whip up something and share it with you! They were easy to make and used things I had on hand.

It was a huge hit, Lady said, "awe momma, you're the bestest momma ever". Who gets tired of hearing that!?

Supplies needed: fabric (I used some leftover fabric from their baby blankets but a nice flannel or thick cotton would work well), needle & thread, rice, and essential oils.

I cut 2 matching pieces of fabric into a heart (make any shape you want), using small stitches, sew the "wrong" sides together, leaving about 2 cm to pull the fabric through. Pull the fabric through the opening to reveal the finished heart. 

In a bowl or mason jar, mix rice & 5-10 drops of your favourite essential oil (I used 1 cup of rice for each of my bags and 5 drops of oil). With a funnel, pour the rice into the opening of the bag. Sew up the opening of the bag. 

Freeze for a great alternative to an ice pack for ouchies or heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes for a nice calming warmth for bedtime or sore muscles. 

The essential oil you choose will provide added benefit - promote relaxation with lavender or a calming blend or help with breathing by using eucalyptus or a respiratory blend.  Other great options could include wild orange, peppermint, citrus blend, a balancing blend or a sleep blend. I used Doterra's Serenity for mine because I absolutely love the calming aroma.

This project took me about 10 minutes to make and I hand stitched the hearts. 

My happy children packed them off to bed with them and are sleeping soundly as I write!


Friday, 5 December 2014

Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint cookies are a Christmas classic in our house, the first of the holiday baking and usually several batches later January 1st rolls around and we finally stop stuffing our faces!

My first introduction to these wonderful cookies was the special mommy care-package that would arrive frequently to one of my college roommates - a bucket of beautiful pink, soft, pepperminty cookies that I'm sure were a significant contributing factor to my "freshman 40". They were so good that it was one of the first recipes I sought out when I had my own kitchen and they've stuck with me since. They're a traditional Mennonite cookie, made by many an Oma - usually made with baking ammonia, but I've tried to update the recipe to use baking powder & baking soda instead.

Peppermint Cookies
Makes about 48 cookies

1/2 cup Butter
2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 cups Heavy Cream (Whipping Cream)
2 tsp. Peppermint Extract or 2 drops Pure Peppermint Essential Oil
5 & 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Long Shredded Sweetened Coconut

Cream the butter. Add sugar and eggs, beat well. Add remaining wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients and add to wet. Refrigerate in plastic wrap for 2 hours - overnight. Roll dough about 1 cm -1/2 inch thick for a soft fluffy cookie, thinner if you like a crisper one. Cut in circles and bake at 375 for 6-7 minutes or until the bottoms start to brown.

Cool on a wire rack then ice with Peppermint Butter Icing. Sprinkle tops with coconut and serve.

These cookies can be adapted to any holiday, just change the colour of the icing or the shape of the cookie. I make mine round, but shapes work well too. These cookies freeze really well (I actually prefer them frozen).

Happy Baking!


Roger's Butter Icing

I don't normally post other people's recipes, but today I couldn't find my usual icing recipe for sugar cookies because they changed the this is just a record for me and for anyone else who likes the Classic Butter Icing from the back of the Rogers Icing Sugar bag in Canada.

1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Icing Sugar*
2 tsp Vanilla**
2 Tbsp Milk
1 cup Icing Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Milk

*for chocolate icing, add 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder with the 1st addition of icing sugar.
**to change the flavour of the icing, replace Vanilla with peppermint, almond, coconut, etc

Combine butter and 2 cups of icing sugar with a mixer. Add vanilla and milk and mix until smooth. Add remaining icing sugar and 1-2 Tbsp of milk to desired consistency. Add food colouring as desired.

Makes enough icing for 2-8" round cakes.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Slow Cooker Pho Ba (Beef Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Pho is my FAVOURITE meal in the whole world - really. If I ever have a chance to go eat out by myself, I alway choose Pho, Indian is a very close second.

Last week I went for a lovely Pho lunch with a friend. She suggested that I post my homemade version, so I dug out the recipe I got from a Hoi An cooking school and made some updates so I could make it from things available here (with some searching), so here you are!

Pho is a labour of love and takes some plan ahead! 

Pho Ba (Beef Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

3 lbs Marrow and Knuckle Soup Bones*
2 Onions, cut in half - leave skin on
1 fresh Ginger Root, about 4-5" long, cut in large pieces
5-6 Star Anise
1-2 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Whole Cloves
2 Whole Cardamom Pods
1-2 large chunks Rock Sugar** (to taste)
2-4 Tbsp Fish Sauce (to taste)
Sriracha or chili paste (optional)
Salt (to taste)

To get a nice clear broth, parboil soup bones. In a large pot, cover soup bones with water, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove bones and rinse with water. 

Add rinsed bones to the base of a large slow cooker and fill with water (about 8-10 cups) and cook on low for 8 hours. Skim off any impurities that float to the top.

While broth is starting to cook in slow cooker, place onion halves & ginger pieces on a baking sheet, skin side up. Broil in oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through until all sides are charred black. Remove outer charred skins and smash ginger flat to help release the flavour. Add ginger & onion to broth.

Combine anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom & rock sugar in a cheesecloth square. Tie in a little bundle and add to the stock. Add fish sauce, hot sauce and salt to desired taste.

Once stock has finished cooking, remove bones and seasoning pack. Strain broth through a fine strainer to remove any remaining impurities.

Serve piping hot over bowls filled with your favourite Pho ingredients:
Rice Noodles
Rare Beef (sliced thin will cook in the hot broth)
Bean Sprouts
Thai Basil
Lemon Wedges
Hoisin Sauce
Fish Sauce

This broth recipe freezes well.

Yum. I think I'm going to go make another bowl...all this writing is making me salivate!


* The marrow and tendons in these bones make the specific flavour of pho, regular soup bones don't seem to taste as good. Ask your butcher!
**Rock sugar is hard to find, I found mine at an asian market. You could just add regular sugar to taste instead, but it's not quite the same flavour.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Slow Cooker Herbed Roast Beef

I'm madly trying to use up my stash of local grass fed beef from last year as my new happy beef is expected to be ready really soon. I still have a few more roasts in the freezer, so it was time to make a big hearty meal for my family. Here's a nice roast with an Italian flair. Great with a  big glass of red wine!

Slow Cooker Herbed Roast Beef

6 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp Fresh or dried Rosemary (Chopped)
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
2-3 lb Round Roast
1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup Beef Broth
1/2 onion, sliced thin

Make 6 incisions in roast on the top with a knife and insert garlic cloves.

In a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, pepper and salt in a bowl. Pat on the outside of the roast to coat.

Heat a skillet and sear the outside of the roast on all sides. Remove roast once is is nicely browned and place in a slow cooker.

While the pan is still hot, add onion and cook for a few minutes until it becomes translucent. Add wine & beef broth and boil for about 5 minutes. Pour over roast.

Cook for 2-4 hours on high depending on desired doneness.

Serve with delicious mashed potatoes!