Chicken · Main Courses · Rice and Beans · Soups and Stews

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa is high in protein compared to most plants and grains. It also contains essential amino acids that our bodies need, making it an excellent protein source. That means we can have our “Mostly Meatless Mondays” and still get the protein we need. If you are interested in the benefits this grain, you can read more here.

This is a chowder, so of course there is still some meat here, in the form of BACON, and we are using chicken stock, so its not really meatless, but sorta close. If you want to go meatless, sub in vegetable stock and leave out the bacon.

1 Tablespoon oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 small potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, finely chopped - for garnish
1 scallion, finely chopped - for garnish
Heat the oil and butter in large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onions and potatoes, garlic, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper and cook, stirring often until onions are soft and potatoes begin to brown. About 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock and quinoa. Increase heat to high, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. About 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp and transfer to paper towel to drain. Set aside.
Add Corn to the simmering soup and cook another 10 minutes.
Add cream, stir well to combine and heat through.
Spoon soup into bowls, garnish with bacon, parsley and scallions. Serve hot.
Dairy · Sides

Ranch Sour Cream

Ranch Sour Cream

We rarely buy commercially made salad dressing, but I will admit to a weakness for Ranch and every once in awhile, I cave and buy a bottle of it.  But, after a salad or two, the nearly full bottle ends up getting pushed further and further towards the back of the fridge until it passes its expiry date and eventually gets tossed.

This is a great solution!  We always have sour cream in the house, and with a little doctoring, I can have that  ranch taste whenever I want it.   It is a small batch so it is quickly used which means I have a little more fridge space.

Serve this with baked or campfire potatoes or to top off your chili.  Also great as a dip for fresh veggies (or potato chips, I wont tell).


Ranch Sour Cream

Ranch Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried dill

1/8 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

1 – 2 Tablespoons milk, if needed

Stir first 7 ingredients together.  If you find mix is too thick, thin with a little milk, adding one teaspoon at a time.    Let stand 30 minutes for flavours to blend.

Chicken · Main Courses

Hoisin Glazed Chicken Legs

Only 3 ingredients, including the chicken legs. What’s not to love.

6-8  chicken legs
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 Tablespoon water
sesame seeds for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray shallow oven proof with non-stick cooking spray and put chicken legs in single layer in pan. Stir together 5-spice powder, water and hoisin sauce. Brush mixture onto all sides of chicken legs.

Bake 45 – 50 minutes, until legs are completely cooked. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with white rice and stir fried vegetables.


Quick Pickled Cucumbers

These have a nice freshness to them.  They go great with a sandwich at lunch, as a side dish for dinner or set them out as an appetizer at your next party. 

Dried dill can be substituted if you cant find the fresh stuff. 

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

3 long english cucumbers

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon fresh dill, torn

juice from 1/2 lemon

 Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar in large non-reactive bowl.   Add red pepper flakes.  Cut cucumbers in half, then cut the halves lengthwise into spears.  Add to vinegar mixture and toss to combine.

Cover and chill, tossing once or twice more 1 – 6 hours.  Just before serving add fresh dill and  the lemon juice.  Toss to combine.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve cold

Original recipe here.


Quick Focaccia

Quick Focaccia

This came from an ad for King Arthur Flour in Gourmet November 2008. Not surprisingly, I have never seen that brand here in Vallarta, so I subbed a more readily available brand with excellent results.

The easiest bread I have ever made, and it turned out wonderfully.

It takes less than 10 minutes to throw it all together, then just wait for the yeast to do its thing before baking. As with most homemade bread, this is best the day it is made.

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon instant yeast or 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/4 cups flour
sea salt for sprinkling
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Lightly grease 9 x 13″ pan.  Drizzle 1 Tablespoon olive oil in bottom and
swirl pan to spread.
In bowl of stand mixer, combine water, yeast, remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and flour.  
Using paddle attachment, stir to combine, then increase speed to high and beat for 60 seconds.  The dough will be more like a batter. 
Pour into the prepared  baking dish, cover  with plastic wrap and
set in warm, draft free place.  Let rise until it becomes puffy – 60 minutes for instant yeast and 90 for active dry yeast.
Preheat oven t 375F.  Drizzle dough with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.
Bake until golden brown, 35 – 40 minutes.  Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes in pan then turn out onto rack to cool.


Overnight Oats with Chia and Strawberry ‘Compote’

Overnight Oats with Chia and Strawberry 'Compote'
Overnight Oats with Chia and Strawberry ‘Compote’

This is great for those weekday mornings when you want something substantial but don’t have time to stand over a stove. You can make these up to 2 days ahead. Keep an eye on your microwave. Time will vary depending on strength of your microwave.

1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups milk (whole, skim, almond, whatever kind you like)
1 cup frozen strawberries, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (plus more for serving)
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1 banana, sliced

Combine oats and milk in non-reactive container, stir well and place in fridge overnight.

Put strawberries and sugar in microwave safe bowl and microwave at medium for 1 – 2 minutes, stopping and stirring halfway thru.

Stir chia seeds into soaked oats and divide between 2 bowls. Spoon compote over oats, top with sliced banana and serve.


Campfire Potatoes

Campfire Potatoes

Whenever we were camping with the kids, our favourite way to do potatoes was to cut them and wrap them in a  foil envelope and cook them over the campfire.

This brings the flavours (and maybe a few memories) out of the back country and into our kitchen.  Without the campfire.   Many of you probably have your own versions of this, here is mine.

Serves 4


Campfire Potatoes

4 medium size potatoes, scrubbed clean, unpeeled, cut into 1′ cubes

4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 rounds

1 onion, halved, cut each half into quarters

1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, Lawrys or Hy’s

freshly grund pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons canola oil

Toss all ingredients together in large bowl to evenly coat veggies with oil and seasonings.

Spread out on baking sheet in single layer.

Bake at 350 for 45 – 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are tender.

Ranch sour cream goes really well with this.