Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

The batter turned out super thick but I went with it and they turned out fine. Could have used a touch more liquid but were tasty nonetheless. Lemon is a great complement to raspberries. Original called for 3/4 c sugar but I used less. It still turned out a little too sweet for me - would reduce further next time.
Feb 2013: Made these again, again batter was really thick, so added some milk. Came out to only 11 very small muffins. Needs improving.
2/8/13: Made these again adding 1/2 t baking soda, 1/2 c milk + 1 T lemon juice, and another egg. Made 12 good sized muffins that rose appropriately.
5/6/13: Changed it up again and finally got these with a good texture. Modifying below and putting original in parens.
5/24/15: Used a newer baking powder and it was bubbling while stirring it altogether which has never happened before. Also used less sugar and just as good, so also adjusted below. Very spongy.
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar (2/3 c)
  • 2 t powder
  • 1/2 t soda (not in original recipe)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t grated lemon zest
  • 1 c (1/2 c) vanilla yogurt (or plain)
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 4 (3) T lemon juice
  • 2 (1) eggs
  • 1 c frozen raspberries
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, powder, salt and lemon zest.
  2. In small bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon juice and egg.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in raspberries.
  5. Divvy out to 12 muffin cups and bake at 400F/200C for 27 (22) minutes (or until the top springs back when lightly touched).
  6. Let cool on wire rack. Eat some now and freeze the rest for eating later (microwave at 30 seconds to warm).

Pongal - Karnataka style

Had this for lunch, and then snack. Can't find curry leaves in Toronto so didn't use them. Very different from other pongals I've had, but in a good way - coconut adds nice texture and wonderful smell.
  • 1 c rice
  • 1/4 c mung dal (or channa dal [the bigger one])
  • 1/2 c dried coconut
  • 3 c water
  • 2-3 T ghee
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t mustard seeds (brown or black)
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 2 cl garlic, minced
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • 6 curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  1. Rinse and then soak dal for 20 minutes (to ensure even cooking time with rice).
  2. Combine dal, rice, coconut and water in rice cooker. Cook.
  3. In the meantime, heat the ghee in a small pan. Then add the spices and lightly toast over medium/low-med heat, until aromatic (about 2 min). Transfer to cup.
  4. When rice cooker is done, stir the rice. Pour in the spice mixture and stir until evenly spread.


- add a cinnamon stick to rice
- add raisins
- add minced ginger and finely chopped chili

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Brown Chicken

Made this a couple days ago and it turned out alright. Leftovers tasted even better. Search on 'shoyu chicken' turns up all sorts of recipes with different ratios and some slight variations in ingredients. Hard to go wrong it seems.
  • 1 c soy sauce (shoyu)
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c water *
  • 1/2 c sake
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1" ginger, sliced
  • value pack of skinless (boneless) chicken thighs
  1. Combine everything but the chicken.
  2. Place thighs in slow cooker dish. Pour sauce over. Add extra water to cover thighs (for 16 thighs I added 1 c water). Note that they float so some will not be fully covered.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, turning chicken once (I turned after 4 hours).
  4. Serve with rice and veggies.


- add chopped scallions
- add 1 T vinegar

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Relatively easy to make. Inspired by crockpot365 but pureed chickpeas instead of fork mashing for ease.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cl garlic
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t salt (really)
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 T)
  • ~3/4 c bread crumbs
  • 2 T olive oil
  1. Pulse onion and garlic.
  2. Add spices, egg and lemon juice. Puree.
  3. Add chickpeas and blend.
  4. Transfer to bowl and add 1/2 c bread crumbs. Add more as needed until mixture is wet and sticky but balls can be formed.
  5. Pour 2 T olive oil on bottom of crock pot.
  6. Form golf ball sized balls and dip in oil. Place on bottom of pot - ok to touch or layer.
  7. Cook on high for 3.5-4.5 hours, until balls are golden brown.


- fry in pan (requires more oil)
- bake in oven (faster at higher heat but uses more energy)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Potato Soup II

Made this slow cooker potato soup and it turned out very tasty. It's very similar to the potato soup I made several years ago on the stove (well all potato soups are similar) but I think this one is better. Can't be sure as it wasn't a side by side taste test. I used yellow potatoes. This filled up the whole pot and made 3 jars of leftovers after dinner (one of which went into the freezer).
12/19/12 update: had the freezer one today. Texture was very strange - would not recommend freezing this after all. Just refrigerate. 
  • less than 3 lbs potatoes
  • 5 cups broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • 1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz)
  1. Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks (~1" cubes).
  2. Put all ingredients in slow cooker, EXCEPT for cream cheese.
  3. Cook on high for 4.5 hours. The potatoes should be fork tender.
  4. Puree half of the soup, along with cubed cream cheese.
  5. Optional: Garnish with chopped scallions, shredded cheese, bacon, etc.


Potato Soup I - stove top

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Split Pea Soup II

This one is from the Whole Foods website. It differs from version I in that it has fresh parsley and pork hocks, whereas the other has cloves and brown sugar. The tastes are decidedly different, though in a blind taste test Ma couldn't tell the difference! Need to see how the leftovers taste before I judge which one is better. This filled up my 4 qt slow cooker - don't go any smaller without adjusting the recipe. 
9/6/13 Finally return of cooler weather allowed me to use the slow cooker again. Made this tonight for dinner, excluding onions and salt. Used a mix of 2 kinds of green dahl. Increased garlic to 5 cloves and also added cumin and curry powder. Used no-salt chicken broth. Cooked on high for 5 hours - meat was not falling off bone like last time, but was cooked through. Served with baguettes.
Nov 2015 - Made this again with a giant smoked ham hock and only 4 c of beef broth, no onion, plus added cumin and curry powder. Was the best one according to MM.
  • 2 1/4 c dried green dahl, rinsed (16 oz)
  • 2 pork hocks (the small kind)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (~1 c)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (less than 1 c)
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped (incl leaves if there are any)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful chopped fresh parsley (1/4 c)
  • 6 c chicken broth
  1. Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given. Do not stir.
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high 4-5 hours), until meat falls off bone (or until peas are very soft).
  3. Take out bay leaf and hocks. Pull of meat from bones and add back to pot.
  4. Optional: add salt and pepper.


  • Substitute 2 cups meat for the pork hocks, such as sauteed chicken sausage, ham, diced smoked turkey
  • Add a small diced potato.
  • Add rosemary.

Related Recipes

Split Pea Soup I - vegetarian, with cloves, curry powder, cumin and brown sugar

Monday, November 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna

original recipe
Threw together this afternoon, with many interruptions. Would prefer a recipe that didn't require mixing spinach with cheese. Defrosting and squeezing excess water also took a while. Otherwise was very simple to prepare and turned out ok. Would add sliced mushrooms/zucchini next time (of course that also makes it more labor intensive). I used a jar of Paul Newmans basil and tomato sauce, followed by Ragu original (which was much more watery than the Paul Newman jar). ***
12/6/12 Made this with giant mushroom in the first layer, half a zucchini in the 2nd, and another mushroom on the top layer. More delicious! Used a jar of Paul Newmans cheese tomato sauce and topped off with Classico portobello mushroom. ****
10/10/19 Used 4 layers for volume, but reacting badly to lactose. :(
  • 2 pkg frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 c ricotta
  • 1/2 c parmesan
  • 3 c spaghetti sauce (1 jar + a bit from another)
  • 6 lasagna noodles, no boil kind (or not)
  • 1.5 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c parmesan*
  • optional: extra veggies (mushroom, zucchini, ...)
  1. Combine spinach, ricotta and parmesan.
  2. Put 3/4 cup sauce on bottom of 4 quart slow cooker. Spread evenly.
  3. Layer 2 noodles, broken apart to fit. Spread 3/4 c sauce, then half of the spinach mixture, (optional veggies,) and 1/2 c mozzarella. Repeat.
  4. Layer 2 noodles, remaining 3/4 c sauce, (optional veggies,) 1/2 c mozzarella and 1/4 c parmesan.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 3.5-4 hours, until noodles are done and cheese is slightly browned.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Split Pea Soup I

Started cooking at 9:30 pm and had it for lunch the next day. It looked a bit watery at first, but after pureeing part of it and letting it sit for a while it looked thicker. There is a nice hint of cloves - delicious! Made in 4 quart slow cooker - could probably double to have more for leftovers. Also used the east indian curry powder from House of Spice. Based on original recipe.
  • 1 c dried split peas
  • 5 c water
  • 2 T Better than Bouillon
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery (with a few leaves) - split
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • l/2 t cumin
  • l/2 t curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • optional: 1 T brown sugar
  1. Rinse dahl and add to slow cooker.
  2. Cut off 3" of celery and poke the 3 cloves into it. Chop the rest of the celery.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except brown sugar, to crockpot.
  4. Cook on low for 12-15 hours.
  5. Let cool slightly. Puree all or part of soup.
  6. Add in brown sugar.
  7. Enjoy!

Related Recipes

Split Pea Soup II - with meat and parsley

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pea Pesto

This is an atypical pesto - it turns out green but tastes sweet! Tried it on its own and then with linguine. Prefer it as a dip as opposed to a pasta sauce.

  • 1+ c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T pine nuts
  • 1/8 t salt
  • olive oil
  1. In a small pan, lightly toast the pine nuts. (Remember to stir continuously to prevent burning).
  2. Add water to pan and bring to boil. Add peas and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  3. Combine garlic, pine nuts, peas and salt in chopper and blend until smooth. Add olive oil if mixture is too thick.

Serving Suggestions

- Eat as is with crackers or tortilla chips.
- Add to pasta with cooked peas and cheese. Note, if mixing with pasta, definitely use extra olive oil to help it spread. See original recipe for pasta directions.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Very easy to prepare and tasty to eat. MM always doubles the garlic. I prefer less bite.
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 T lemon juice
  • 3 T tahini
  • 1/4-1/2 t salt
  • cayenne pepper (or black pepper or cumin)
  1. Dump beans, SOME of the liquid, garlic, juice, tahini and salt in blender. Blend.
  2. Taste. Add more bean liquid, lemon juice, tahini, and/or salt to taste.
  3. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with cayenne.
  4. Eat with carrot sticks or as spread on sandwich.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Freezer Pasta

Made this for the freezer in 2 8x8 containers, which were pretty shallow, so put the remaining 3rd in bakeware for lunch. Simple to put together but needs vegetables in it. 
11/13/12 Had this for dinner. Moved from freezer to fridge night before. Noticed was still mostly frozen at 5 pm so left on counter for an hour. Baked suggested time but middle still cold so left in for another 10 min. 
  • 1 box medium sized pasta (about 4 cups, uncooked)
  • 1 lb hot italian sausage (or ground beef)
  • 2 jars pasta sauce (~40 oz)
  • 3/4 c cream cheese spread
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1/4 c parmesan
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
  • 1.5 c shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: veggies (mushrooms, spinach, zucchini)
  1. Cook pasta to al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, cook sausage. Add pasta sauce. Simmer on medium for 2 min, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  3. Drain pasta.
  4. Combine cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in a large bowl.
  5. Add pasta and basil. Stir gently until pasta is evenly coated.
  6. Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom of baking dishes. Cover with pasta mixture. Add optional veggies. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. 
  7. Cover with foil.
  8. (If freezing, then label:) Bake 375F covered for 30 min. Uncover and bake another 10-15 min. 
  9. If frozen, then thaw before baking as directed.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Freezer Meal I

First attempt at freezer meals. Planned ahead for 8 dishes but only got through 5 of them. This was with MP's help - which was massive.

[Chicken Pesto] - didn't make it - simple enough to be able to throw together any time. Would be better to have it for dinner and make a second for the freezer version at the same time.
Teriyaki Chicken * - #2 to complete
Chicken Curry **** - last one to be started - made this for dinner - ran out of coconut milk. Fed 3 people and put remainder in 2 mason jars for the freezer. Increased to 6 thighs and 1 breast.
Beef and Vegetable Soup **- #3 to complete. Accidentally put the onions and garlic in the freezer bag then realized was supposed to cook with the beef.
[Unstuffed Shells] *** - didn't make it - simple enough to throw together tomorrow.
E Fagioli Soup **/NI - started putting everything in the slow cooker and realized it wasn't going to all fit in the 4 qt dish. Not sure how it will turn out without 7 c of beef broth, 20 oz of sauce, nor all the pasta. Feels like this may be the disaster dish
Mongolian Beef - #1 to complete
[Bread Sticks] - didn't start prepping til afternoon, so this didn't get attended to. Would be easier if had 3rd person or started much earlier in the day.

Tomorrow want to do the unstuffed shells, chicken pesto and bread sticks. And maybe salvage the E Fagioli Soup.


- chose dishes
- grocery shopped
- chopped fresh veges
- got out meats
- did freezer bags first, then stove top cooking
MP helped with chopping and cleaning throughout - this was priceless!

Lessons Learned

Good to combine dishes: Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken Curry, Beef + Veg Soup, E Fagioli Soup, Mongolian Beef. Because...

  • limited to 2 meats (chicken and beef)
  • share many chopped items (carrots, onion, garlic, celery).
  • 3 are straight to freezer, 1 is stove top and 1 is slow cooker. 

Chicken Pesto could be combined because it also uses chicken, but I didn't have the pesto ready so couldn't throw it together. The unstuffed shells require boiling pasta and also didn't have time (or make time) for that.

When choosing recipes, I was trying for variety. But realize after better to group by similarity. Today could be the carrot/onion/garlic/celery dishes. Next time could be the pasta/cheese dishes. Another time could be themed with something else. If freezer gets full of 3 types, then when pulling out, there can be variety.

Freezer Chicken Curry

Made this for dinner and kept the leftovers for freezer meals. Day of was *** but leftovers was ****
11/14/12 Had one of the frozen jars for dinner. Moved from freezer to fridge night before. Was still frozen next evening, so left in tub of water for a while (an hour?). Heated on stove top and served with rice. Delicious!
1/16/13 Made this again using 10 thighs, 3 T fresh ginger plus ~1/2 T powdered ginger, 1 giant sweet potato and 2 zucchini - used the spicy east indian curry powder and asoefetida instead of onion - delicious!
8/13/13 Used 6 breasts, 1 giant sweet potato, 3 carrots, 1 home grown zucchini, 2 granny smith apples, no onion, ~10 cl garlic, no sugar and only a dash of salt (to make better for baby to taste). 3.5 c low sodium chicken broth and gold label (thick) coconut milk. Didn't have enough fresh ginger so put in a bit of powdered ginger. Cooked chicken in cast iron pan and the rest in the big one (where in the past the chicken sticks to the bottom of it).
5/27/16 Used 4 breasts, 1 giant sweet potato, 4 carrots, 2 apples, no onion/zuc. Used cumin/coriander/cayenne/pepper/turmeric mixture on chicken and partial Kensington Hot Curry Powder plus all the rest of the Jamaican curry packages. Meant to put in green beans but ran out! All in cast iron wok.
10/9/19 Used 8 thighs. XBD ate the chicken before I could combine it with the vegetables. Then when the meal was complete, gobbled up the dish with rice.
  • 6 chicken thighs + 1 chicken breast, cut into chunks 
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 T curry powder (I used mix of Madras and Jamaican)
  • 4 T ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 cl garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green apple, chopped (would increase this next time to 2)
  • 3 T curry powder
  • 6+ T flour
  • 1 t sea salt (or none for Baby Led Weaning)
  • 1 T sugar (or none for Baby Led Weaning)
  • 2.5 c chicken broth (low sodium/home made no salt for Baby Led Weaning)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Optional: 1 sweet potato, 1 zucchini, carrots: chopped
  1. Combine first 3 ingredients (chicken, flour, curry powder) in a bowl to coat.
  2. Fry lightly in oil for just a few minutes until cooked. Set aside.
  3. Combine garlic, ginger, onion, apple, curry powder, flour, sugar and salt in a frying pan with the optional veggies. Fry on medium heat for ~10 minutes until the ingredients mold together and onions are transparent. 
  4. Add liquids (broth and coconut milk). Stir frequently until heated through and thickened. Add more flour as needed to thicken.
  5. Add the breaded chicken.
  6. Serve over rice.
  7. Let cool and store in mason jars, leaving room for expansion. Freeze. When ready to serve, thaw and reheat, serve over rice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Grapefruit Risotto with Broccoli, Mushrooms and Peas

The grapefruit flavor was a little too strong for me though MM liked it. I would reduce the amount next time. I used Tropicana but you could use freshly squeezed as well. Risotto is typically made with wine but using juice instead makes this version Halal!
  • ~8 cups broth (7-9 cups, depending on rice)
  • 4 T butter, divided
  • bag of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 crown of broccoli, separated into small flowerets/cubed trunk
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/3 c grapefruit juice (** would only use 1/2 c next time), warmed in microwave
  • 2 c Arborio rice
  • 3/4 c frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan (fresh is better)
  • optional: salt and pepper
  1. In saucepan, bring broth to simmer.
  2. In small pan, blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and remove to bowl.
  3. In large saucepan, melt 2 T butter. Add mushrooms and cook until done. [Lightly salt to speed up cooking.] Remove to bowl (with liquid).
  4. Melt the remaining 2 T butter and add the olive oil.
  5. Add the rice and stir to coat.
  6. Add the warmed grapefruit juice and stir constantly until fully absorbed.
  7. Add in half a cup of the broth, stirring constantly until fully absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Keep adding broth until rice is mostly cooked.
  8. Add in broccoli. Continue adding 1/2 cups of broth. Add in peas and mushrooms. Continue adding 1/2 cups of broth, reserving 1/4 c broth for final use.
  9. When rice is fully cooked, remove from heat. Add in 1/4 c broth and parmesan. Stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve immediately.
Garnish with fresh grapefruit slices and/or parsley.

5/15/2011 Mushroom Risotto