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I’ve created or at least customized many of these recipes, but where I got them from a friend or relative, I give credit where it’s due. 


Some dishes just happen: 

  • I see a recipe online and the general principle inspires me. Fish Pie (sort of) is good example. 

  • A friend tells me about something she made and I run with the basic idea, using whatever ingredients I happen to have.  That’s how I created Veggie-Paneer Heaven.  The combination of ingredients is truly weird (my fridge was pretty bare that day) but the end result is delectable!  

  • Two dishes unite through a friendly merger.  Low-fat (Not) Scalloped Potatoes is a delicious marriage of my mom’s basic scalloped-potato recipe and the Noodles with Swiss Cheese and Nutmeg ingredients.  


While I certainly appreciate the fresh, from-scratch ingredients and skill that go into gourmet cooking, I’m no gourmet chef.  We’re all busy or at least have other priorities.  Or maybe we just want to make something but don’t have exactly what we need and don’t feel like shopping for it just now.  So here are a few “hacks” that are perfectly acceptable IMO.

  • Buy pre-made pie crusts for meat pies.They come in a foil pan but can be easily transferred to a nice pie plate if you want to fool your family/guests, and are pretty much as good as homemade crust.

  • Canned gravy will do the trick in a pinch.

  • Make what I call “goop” – mix lots garlic, olive oil, and coriander or parsley in a food processor and store the goop in the fridge.It saves lots of chopping time later, and this stuff can be added to anything you like (e.g. pasta / meat / …) in a pinch to jazz it up.

  • Buy nice potatoes that you don’t need to peel to save loads of time.

  • For a really quick pasta dish, use Angel Hair pasta – it cooks in a minute or two – and toss with some goop.


For the recipes I created, don’t expect precise directions; the whole idea is that you can – and should – trust your gut and tailor each dish to your own taste.  Go for it!! 


Appetizers & Hors d'Oeuvres


Water Chestnuts & Bacon 

My family’s favourite 

  • ¼ cup oil 

  • ¼ cup soya sauce 

  • 2 tbsp. ketchup 

  • 1 tbsp. vinegar 

  • 2 cloves crushed garlic 

  • ground pepper 

  • 2 cans whole water chestnuts, drained 

  • 1 lb. lean bacon – half slices 


Mix first 6 ingredients.  Add chestnuts and marinate several hours.  Wrap each chestnut with bacon and secure with toothpick.  Broil on high for 10 minutes or until bacon is done as you like it. 


Water chestnuts

Peel-and-Eat Shrimp in Beer

  • 3 pounds raw shrimp, shell on 

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled 

  • 6 allspice 

  • 1 hot, dried red pepper  

  • salt & pepper to taste 

  • 1 bay leaf 

  • 6 sprigs parsley 

  • 2 sprigs dill 

  • 1 can beer 

Combine all ingredients in a pot, cover and bring to boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve with garlic / lemon butter or cocktail sauce. 


Mussels in White Wine


  • 1 bag raw mussels, rinsed

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 3 green onions, chopped

  • 2/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped

  • chopped tomatoes (optional)


Sauté garlic briefly in a little butter. Add all other ingredients, cover, bring to boil, then turn off and let sit for 5 minutes. That’s it! Serve with bread to soak up the juice.

Ham Stacks


  • 1 package sliced ham (square)

  • horseradish

  • cream cheese

  • Worcestershire sauce


Mix horseradish & cream cheese – whatever proportion you like – and add in a few squirts of Worcestershire sauce. Spread the cheese mixture on a ham slice, add another ham slice on top, etc. Refrigerate the stack and when firm, cut into squares and stick with a toothpick. Easy peasy.



Fresh Spring Rolls


  • rice paper

  • fresh coriander – with stems

  • red/yellow peppers

  • carrots

  • green onions

  • cucumber

  • chicken breast, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil

  • Asian chili sauce


Cut chicken into thin strips and cook with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Meanwhile, julienne the veggies.


Dip each sheet of rice paper in warm water to soften, then place on a towel. Stack up a bit of each veggie, a strip or two of chicken, and some coriander. Roll up and serve cold, with Asian chili sauce.



Endive Boats


  • cooked shrimp

  • mango or papaya

  • ginger

  • coriander

  • green/red onion or shallot

  • avocado

  • lime juice

  • olive oil

  • endives


Finely chop any/all of the solid ingredients, mix in some lime juice, olive oil, salt & pepper, and fill each endive leaf with the mixture – easy!


Portobello Mushrooms


  • Portobello mushrooms

  • fresh basil (whole leaves)

  • tomatoes - sliced

  • cheese – mozzarella or any substitute

  • EVOO

  • crushed garlic

  • salt & pepper


Remove the mushroom stems. Coat the mushrooms liberally (on both sides) with EVOO. With each one upside down on a baking sheet, add garlic, salt & pepper, basil leaves, tomato and cheese. (You can also chop up the stems and put them on if you hate wasting like I do.)


Broil in the oven until the liquid comes out of the mushrooms and the cheese is nice and bubbly/brown.

Portobello Mushroom
Portobello Mushroom
Portobello Mushroom

Tomato Soup

A university staple, compliments of my roommate’s mom


  • ¼ c. butter

  • ¼ c. flour

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2-3 c. milk

  • salt & pepper

  • grated cheese (optional)

  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • celery seed

  • oregano


In large saucepan, sauté onion in butter. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk gradually, stir until heated. Add tomatoes & juice, simmer. Add Worcestershire sauce and spices to taste. Serve topped with cheese if desired.

Scalloped Potatoes
Potato Souffle

Holiday Turnips

Compliments of Elaine – these go over really well for traditional
Canadian Christmas / Thanksgiving / Easter dinners

  • 4 c. turnip, pared

  • 1/2 c. apple juice or water

  • 1/2 c. fresh cranberries

  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored & sliced

  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine


Cut turnip into cubes about the same size for even cooking. In a deep, 2-quart casserole, combine turnip and juice/water. Cover and microwave on high until almost tender.


While turnip is in microwave, combine cranberries & sugar in small bowl.


Drain cooked turnip and mash a bit; top with apple slices. Spoon cranberries over apple. Mix together brown sugar & cinnamon; sprinkle over fruit. Dot with butter.


Cover & microwave at full power for 5-6 minutes or until fruit is very tender.



Low-fat (Not!) Scalloped Potatoes

A huge hit with my friends


  • any potatoes, skin on or peeled, sliced thin

  • Swiss / gruyere cheese

  • whipping cream

  • onions, chopped or sliced

  • flour

  • butter

  • nutmeg

  • salt & pepper


In a baking dish, add (in approximate order but no big deal, really): potatoes, flour, salt & pepper, nutmeg, dots of butter, onions, cheese. Then do it all again. You need at least 2 layers and the top should be cheese.


Pour in whipping cream until ¾ full. Bake at 350F until golden & tender. Works best if it sits for a while. If there’s too much liquid, just drain some off.



Cindy’s Potato Souffle


  • 2 packs store-bought mashed potatoes

  • 500 ml Heluva Good dip

  • 2 eggs


Mix everything well. Bake at 350F for about 1 hour – until puffy and golden.



Veggies on the Side


Peas with Tarragon – add sautéed shallots and/or mushrooms to cooked peas; season with chopped tarragon, butter & lemon juice

Cauliflower & Broccoli – steam, then flavour with butter & seasoned salt or Spike


Asparagus or Carrots or Green Beans – steam, then flavour with butter, lemon & dill.


Frozen, Chopped Spinach – microwave for 7 minutes, drain water, add a massive lump of butter & some grated parmesan (optional).


Carrots & Potatoes – cook both, then mash and combine. Add butter & nutmeg.


Mashed Cauliflower – cook well, mash, add butter and Spike or any spices you like. A good substitute for mashed potatoes.


Green Beans with Bacon & Mushrooms – steam the beans, add cooked bacon pieces & sautéed mushrooms.


Green Beans with Dill & Almonds – steam the beans, add butter, dill, salt & pepper, and toasted almond slices.


Balsamic Tomatoes – topped sliced tomatoes with bocconcini cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil & chopped fresh basil.


Sautéed Cabbage – slice half a cabbage and 1-2 onions; sauté with crushed garlic, salt & pepper, and tons of butter until tender and slightly browned.


Stir-fried Spinach or Bok Choy – stir-fry garlic, ginger and spinach / bok choy with a bit of oil in a wok until the greens are almost wilted. Add soy sauce & sesame oil. Cook for another minute. That’s it!





Shepherd’s Pie


  • chopped onion

  • garlic

  • ground beef or lamb

  • gravy (canned is fine)

  • flour

  • parsley, dill, seasoned salt, pepper

  • frozen peas

  • mashed potatoes (from store) – add egg & flour


Brown the meet with the onions & garlic. Add gravy, flour (if needed to thicken), peas and seasonings.


Put the meat mixture in a casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato mixture. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Bake ½ hour at 350, then broil to finish.



Cannelloni with a Twist


Buy fresh pasta sheets and roll up any of the following:


● Swiss cheese & sliced ham

● cooked chicken breast, raw asparagus spear(s), chopped coriander, soy sauce

● ground beef with tomato sauce, spices, cheese

● chicken & (raw) cauliflower


Or make something up!


Arrange tightly in a baking pan. Smother with (35%) whipping cream (1 liter for a 9 x 13 pan). Bake at 350F for 1 hour or more, until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with parmesan and brown.



Not Your Mom’s Plain Old Meatloaf


  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 2/3 c. breadcrumbs

  • 1 ½ tsp. salt

  • 1 ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 ½ tbsp. horseradish

  • 1 tbsp. mustard

  • tomato sauce or ketchup

  • thyme


Lightly combine all ingredients. Pat into greased loaf pan or individual muffin pans (to freeze for later use). Cover with some ketchup and sprinkle w. thyme.


Bake at 350F for 1 hour.



Home-made Meat Pie

Well, almost...


Buy Flaky pie crusts – 2 per pie. Fill one shell with any of the following:



Or make something up!


Top with second shell, brush with butter, and bake at 350F for 1 hour or so – until golden. Best to let it sit afterwards to solidify.



Stuffed Peppers


  • large green bell peppers (or yellow if you like a milder taste)

  • ground beef / pork / chicken / …

  • onions

  • garlic

  • tomato sauce (I like rose)

  • herbs/spices – e.g. dill, celery seed, coriander, …

  • rice – cooked al dente


Cut off the tops, clean and blanch the peppers and set aside to cool.


Cook ground meat with onions & garlic; add in tomato sauce and whatever herbs/spices you like. Mix in an equal amount of rice.


Stuff each pepper and wrap individually with plastic wrap; put in the freezer.


Whenever you feel like a nice home-cooked meal without the work, just pop one of these babies into the microwave!



Thai Red Curry

Goes really well with Nasi Goreng (see Pasta & Rice)

  • 2 chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs, cubed

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed/minced

  • 1-2 tsp. ginger, minced

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, soft core only, cut into big pieces & smashed

  • 2 green onions

  • 1 red/orange/yellow bell pepper

  • 2 tbsp. red curry paste

  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk

  • 1 lime - zest & juice

  • 2 tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar will do)

  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce

  • cilantro


Brown chicken with curry paste. Add in garlic, ginger, lemongrass, green onions & pepper – cook until softened & fragrant. Add curry paste & cook for 2 more minutes. Then add coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, lime zest, salt & pepper - simmer for at least 30 minutes. Finish with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.



Cindy’s Coq au Vin, Dumbed Down


  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 4 black peppercorns

  • 2 sprigs or 2 tsp. thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 7 sprigs parsley, stems & leaves separated

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 8 ounces pearl onions, peeled

  • 12 ounces mushrooms, halved or quartered

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts OR 4-6 thighs – cut into strips

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

  • salt and pepper

  • 3 tbsp. cognac

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 3 ¼ cups chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1-2 tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in cold water


Using a small piece of cheesecloth, make a bouquet garni: wrap 3 garlic cloves, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf and parsley stems; tie in a bundle with kitchen twine.


In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil, add onions & remaining garlic; cook until brown. Add mushrooms, cook until golden, then transfer all to a bowl.


Add butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Season chicken with s&p, cook until browned. Add cognac and wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits on bottom / sides. Add chicken stock, tomato paste, bouquet garni, and reserved mushrooms, onions & garlic. Simmer for 30-60 minutes, then turn up heat and cook until broth reduced by half.


Discard bouquet garni. Stir in cornstarch to thicken. Add parsley leaves and serve with mashed potatoes or Cindy’s Potato Souffle.



Curry Chicken Burgers


  • 1 large Granny Smith apple

  • 2 tbsp. butter

  • 1 onion, minced

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 2 tbsp. curry powder

  • 1 egg

  • ½ cup whipping cream

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 1 - 1½ cups breadcrumbs

  • ½ cup coriander, chopped

  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground chicken


Peel, core and grate apple. Heat butter over medium-high. Add apple, onion and garlic; sauté for 3-4 minutes or until soft and no liquid is visible. Stir in curry powder and cool.


Mix egg, cream and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix in chicken, breadcrumbs, coriander, and cooled apple/onion mixture (in any order). Using your hands, work until uniformly mixed. Form into patties. Fry in butter and olive oil on medium-low heat OR, better yet, bake in the oven at 450F.


Serve with fresh baby spinach, mango chutney and sour cream, either in a warm naan/pita, or on a bed of rice. Mmmmm!




Canadian Vichyssoise


  • 4 potatoes, peeled & cut in pieces

  • 1 cup parsley sprigs

  • ½ head lettuce, sliced

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 5-6 cups chicken broth

  • 1 ½ cups cream or milk

  • nutmeg, cayenne, thyme, salt & pepper

  • snipped chives


Simmer the first 5 ingredients together in a covered pan until all tender. Purée in food processor. Add cream/milk and seasonings to taste. Sprinkle w. chives. Best served cold but can be warm.



Leek & Mushroom Soup


  • ½ c. butter

  • 2 leeks – sliced

  • ½ lb. mushrooms (1 large container pre-sliced)

  • ¼. c. flour

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • dash cayenne

  • 1 c. chicken broth

  • 3 c. milk

  • 1 tbsp. sherry or lemon juice

  • salt & pepper


Sauté leeks and mushrooms in butter. Mix in flour, salt & cayenne, cook briefly. Stir in broth and milk, bring to boil. Add sherry / lemon juice, salt & pepper. Simmer.




Create a Salad


Mix any greens with any of the following (whatever you have):


● roasted sliced almonds / sunflower seeds / pine nuts

● goat cheese / feta

● mandarin oranges

● berries

● green / red onion

● avocado

● dried cranberries

● cherry tomatoes

● sliced mushrooms

● bean sprouts / alfalfa


Make ahead & keep in the fridge


Balsamic #1

  • 1 c. olive oil

  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 2 tsp. sugar

  • ½ tsp. salt

Balsamic #2

  • ½ c. balsamic vinegar

  • 1 ¼ c. olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic

  • mixed herbs

  • 1 whole egg

Wasabi Dressing

  • Mix equal parts Balsamic #2 and sour cream. Whisk in wasabi powder.

  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Karin’s Simple Spinach Salad


  • fresh spinach

  • cherry tomatoes – cut in half

  • thinly sliced shallots

  • avocado

  • EVOO

  • balsamic vinegar

  • minced garlic


Toss the main ingredients together, then dress with EVOO, balsamic & garlic.



Tasty Quinoa

  • quinoa

  • vegetable broth

  • sliced mushrooms

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • white wine

  • green onions – thinly sliced

  • cherry tomatoes

  • lemon juice

  • EVOO

  • crushed garlic

  • toasted, sliced almonds

  • coriander – finely chopped (optional)


Cook the quinoa according to the package directions, but with vegetable broth rather than plain water. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms in a little butter and oil. Add in a few squirts of Worcestershire, then some white wine. Cook for a few more minutes to reduce the wine.

When the quinoa and mushrooms are done, mix them together, along with everything else, and salt & pepper to taste.

Watermelon, Feta, Mint Salad


  • 1/3 cup EVOO

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce

  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

  • One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls or cut into bite-size chunks (10 cups), chilled

  • 1 1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)

  • 1/2 pound (2 c.) feta cheese, crumbled

  • 1 small sweet onion, diced

  • 1 c. coarsely chopped mint leaves

Whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.

Salads & Veg
Main Dishes
Scalloped Potatoes
Curry Chicken Burgers
Curry Chicken Burger

Schnitzel with Mushroom-Wine Cream Sauce


  • escalopes of veal / boneless pork chops / chicken breasts

  • flour

  • eggs, beaten

  • breadcrumbs

  • salt, pepper

  • garlic powder

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Dried parsley

  • olive oil

  • butter

  • sliced mushrooms

  • equal amounts white wine & whipping cream


Fill each of 3 shallow dishes with:

  • flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder

  • beaten eggs with several drops of Worcestershire sauce

  • breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dry parsley


If you're using pork or chicken, slice the meat into thin "escalopes". Pound the veal/pork/chicken with a meat tenderizer (or anything heavy). Dip each in the flour mixture, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Best to refrigerate for an hour or so if you have time but not a big deal if you can't.


Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Brown each piece of veal on both sides. Remove, soak up excess oil with a paper towel, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or so – until golden brown & fluffy.


Meanwhile, keeping the fond (cooked bits) in the pan, add more olive oil and butter, then briefly sauté the mushrooms. Pour in white wine and reduce to half. Then add whipping cream and simmer on low until the meat is ready. Add salt / pepper / a little Worcestershire to bring out the flavor.


Goes well with egg noodles and a green veggie.

Moroccan Lamb Chops


  • ¼ c. EVOO

  • 1 crushed garlic clove

  • 1 tsp. curry powder

  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp. cardamom

  • 8 lamb chops (about 1” thick)


Whisk together first 5 ingredients and marinade chops for 1-2 hours (or more) in a closed container or bag that you can turn once in a while.


Barbeque or broil chops to medium-rare or however you like them (or sous-vide them, then grill quickly to sear the outside).

Lamb Chops, Quinoa, Beans

Stuffed Roast Beef


  • Beef tenderloin


  • Stuffing:

    • spinach (fresh or frozen)

    • butter

    • sliced almonds

    • several cloves garlic, crushed

    • 1 medium onion, chopped

    • any grated cheese

    • sliced mushrooms

    • breadcrumbs


  • Coating:

    • Montreal steak spice

    • olive oil


Cook spinach, drain well and add lots of butter. Roast the sliced almonds until golden. Mix all stuffing ingredients together. Cut a deep slit lengthwise in the tenderloin. Fill with stuffing and tie up roast with string.


Rub outside of roast with oil, then Montreal steak spice or anything you like. Cook roast as you normally would.



Spaghetti Squash & Meat Sauce

  • 1 spaghetti squash

  • lean ground chicken

  • sliced mushrooms

  • sliced shallot or leek

  • bottled rose or vodka sauce

  • whipping cream

  • olive oil

  • butter

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • red or white wine

  • any spices you like (hot sauce / dill / garlic / celery seed / …)

  • fresh spinach


Cut squash in half lengthwise, brush with olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake upside down on a cookie sheet at 350F until you can easily poke a knife through.


Meanwhile, sauté meat, mushrooms and shallots (all together) in olive oil & butter and a little Worcestershire. Add in pasta sauce, a little wine, and whatever spice(s) you choose. Then simmer for a while (at least until squash is done) to cook off the wine and blend the flavours. Near the end, add a bit of whipping cream to the sauce.


When squash is cooked, remove “spaghetti” with a fork and mix with plenty of butter.


Serve squash, topped with meat sauce, on a bed of spinach.

Spagetti Squash
Fish Pie

Fish Pie (sort of)


  • shrimp and/or cod – cut into bite-size pieces

  • potatoes – diced and cooked al dente

  • leek(s) – halved lengthwise & sliced

  • vegetable broth

  • grated cheese

  • butter

  • flour

  • Dijon mustard

  • dill


Sauté leeks in butter. When soft, stir in flour and cook for a minute or two to make a roux. Slowly add in broth until the mixture is thick (not runny). Throw in shrimp/cod and potatoes, Dijon and dill, salt & pepper to taste, and grated cheese. Cook on medium-low for a few more minutes.


Put the mixture in a baking pan and top with grated cheese. Bake at 350F until it’s bubbly and golden.

Fish Pie

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • sliced mushrooms

  • butter

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • chicken breasts

  • sliced almonds, toasted

  • feta cheese

  • spinach

  • crushed garlic

  • spices (e.g. dill & coriander)

  • season salt

Sauté mushrooms in butter, then add Worcestershire sauce.  Cut chicken breasts almost in half.  Stuff with mushrooms, almonds, cheese, spinach, garlic and spices.  Tie each stuffed breast with string if necessary.  Sprinkle on season salt and bake at 350F.



Veggie-Paneer Heaven

Strange but true!

  • paneer*, cubed

  • turmeric

  • garam masala

  • ground cumin

  • ground coriander

  • any oil (but not EVOO)

  • crushed garlic

  • minced ginger

  • onions, coarsely chopped

  • green beans, cut in half or whatever length you like

  • cherry/grape tomatoes, cut in half

  • soy sauce

  • authentic salsa / pico de gallo

  • whipping cream

  • salt & pepper

  • fresh coriander, finely chopped


Marinade cubed paneer in oil, turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander and salt & pepper for 30 minutes or more.  Then fry the cubes on high with some oil until they’re brown and a little crispy.  Put the paneer on a paper towel and keep the leftover spiced oil.


Sauté in oil (all at once) the garlic, ginger, onions and green beans until it’s all soft and aromatic.  Add a bit of soy sauce and some of the leftover oil from the paneer, and cook for a minute or two more.  Then add the tomato halves, pico de gallo, browned paneer cubes, enough whipping cream to create a “soupy” consistency, and salt & pepper (just keep tasting until it’s how you want it).  Continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced to a thick consistency.


Serve this filling vegetarian meal topped with fresh coriander.


* Fresh cheese typically used in Indian cuisine

Vegegable Paneer

Granny's Shish Kabobs

Make a bunch and freeze the extras

Fill each of 3 shallow dishes with:

  • flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder

  • beaten eggs with several drops of Worcestershire sauce

  • breadcrumbs with salt, pepper

Dip each kabob in the flour mixture, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Best to refrigerate them for an hour or so if you have time but not a big deal if not.


Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Brown each kabob all around. When you're done, keep the fond (cooked bits) in the pan, add more olive oil and butter if necessary, then fry the onions until golden brown.


Put the kabobs in a baking pan (more than one layer is okay) and sprinkle throughout with the onions.  Cover and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or so.

Breaded Kabobs

Gourmet Pizza at Home

  • store-bought pizza crust

  • rose sauce

  • fresh spinach

  • mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated

  • boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

  • Spike seasoning

  • fresh tarragon leaves

  • small onion, chopped

  • brown sugar

  • butter


In a frying pan, saute onions in butter and "caramelize" by adding in brown sugar.  When done, set aside and in the same pan, cook chicken pieces, seasoned with Spike or your spice of choice.

Spread sauce on pizza crust.  Top with spinach, then onions, chicken, cheese and tarragon.  Bake according to crust instructions.

Pasta & Rice



Quick Spaghetti Carbonara


  • olive oil

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 8- 12 thick slices bacon, cut into small squares

  • 4 eggs

  • spaghetti

  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese


In a frying pan, combine 1/2 inch of olive oil, garlic, onion and the bacon.  Let simmer for about a half-hour, being careful not to let the oil get to a boiling point.

In a bowl, beat 4 eggs with lots of salt & pepper.

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, drain and immediately add egg mixture to pasta and stir well. The eggs are actually cooked by the pasta. (Make sure they cook thoroughly.)  Pour in the mixture from the frying pan and stir.  Finish with parmesan cheese.



Noodles with Swiss Cheese & Nutmeg

  • any pasta (I like broad noodles)

  • butter / margarine

  • salt & pepper

  • ground nutmeg

  • whipping cream

  • Swiss cheese, grated

Cook noodles and drain.  Mix in butter, spices, whipping cream and cheese.  Top with cheese and broil until golden.



Fusilli with Gorgonzola

  • ½ c. butter

  • ¼ lb. gorgonzola cheese

  • 1 c. half & half cream

  • ¼ c. tomato puree (not paste)

  • ½ tsp. ground cumin

  • ½ c. grated parmesan

  • 1 can (or 2-3 fresh) diced tomatoes

  • fusilli for 4

  • salt & pepper


Cook pasta.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine butter and cheese; stir until cheese melts. Add cream, tomato puree and cumin.  Keep on low heat until the pasta is cooked.  Drain pasta & return to pot.  Add parmesan, cream sauce & diced tomato.  Toss well & serve. 


Pasta with Meat, Spinach & Asparagus

One of many random creations – wish I had a more creative name

  • pasta (angel hair is quickest)

  • any sausage or chicken breast

  • jarred rosé sauce / sundried tomato pesto / bruschetta mix

  • fresh baby spinach

  • sliced garlic

  • butter

  • salt & pepper

  • asparagus – short pieces cooked al dente

Cook the pasta.  Meanwhile, fry the meat and cube/slice, cook the asparagus and sauté the garlic slices in olive oil.    Mix it all up!!



Pasta with Shrimp and Bok Choy


  • bok choy

  • olive oil

  • butter

  • sliced garlic

  • sliced mushrooms

  • ginger, dill & cilantro

  • peeled shrimp

  • pasta (angel hair is quickest)

  • green onions, chopped

  • cherry/grape tomatoes, halved

  • grated parmesan cheese

Steam bok choy until it’s wilted. Sauté the garlic in olive oil & butter.  Add mushrooms, ginger, dill, cilantro and shrimp.   Then throw in bok choy and mix for a few minutes.


Cook and drain pasta.  Top with shrimp mixture, green onions, cherry tomatoes and cheese.  Easy!



Linguini with Seafood & Tarragon Cream Sauce


  • linguini

  • sliced garlic

  • shrimp / scallops / lobster – cut into bite-sized pieces

  • equal amounts of white wine & whipping cream

  • lemon juice

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • frozen peas

  • fresh tarragon (or dried will do)

  • truffle oil (optional)

  • salt & pepper

Cook the pasta.  Meanwhile, sauté garlic in a bit of olive oil.  Add seafood, quickly sear, add in wine and cook on medium heat until seafood is done and the wine is reduced a bit. 


Add whipping cream and simmer until the sauce thickens considerably.  Finally, add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, peas, tarragon, salt & pepper. 


Toss pasta with sauce and then drizzle on a little truffle oil (if you’re using it) just before you serve.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai


  • 250g packet rice stick noodles

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 2 chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced

  • 500g green prawns, peeled, deveined

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally

  • 2 small red chilies, deseeded,

  • finely chopped

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 cup bean sprouts, tails removed

  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped (optional)

  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves

  • lime wedges, to serve


Place noodles into a heat-proof bowl. Cover with hot water. Stand until tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water.


Combine lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar in a jug. Whisk with a fork to combine.


Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil & swirl to coat. Add chicken. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until golden. Add prawns, onions and chilies. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until prawns turn pink. Add noodles. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.


Add lemon juice mixture to wok. Toss to combine. Slowly pour eggs over noodles. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add sprouts. Toss well.


Spoon pad Thai onto plates. Sprinkle with peanuts and coriander leaves. Serve with lime or lemon wedges.

Simple Basmati Pilaf


  • 2 c. basmati rice*

  • 3 tbsp. canola oil

  • small onion, chopped

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • 2 2/3 c. chicken stock

Rinse rice until starch is gone.  In a heavy pot, brown onion in oil.  Add rice, garlic & spices; sauté (yes, this “toasts” the dry rice a bit).  Add chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered tightly, on low for 25 minutes.



Chicken Biryani

Indian rice casserole – cheater version


  • 1 c. basmati rice*

  • canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 c. veggies – e.g. cauliflower, peas

  • 1 ¾ c. water

  • ¼ c. Patak’s biryani paste

  • 3 chicken breasts, cubed

Rinse rice until starch is gone, then brown rice in oil.  Spoon into a casserole dish.  Cook onion and chicken in a little oil.  Add veggies, paste and water.  Bring to a boil and stir into rice.  Bake covered at 350F for 40 minutes. Serve as is, or with chopped fresh coriander and/or lime pickle.


Nasi Goreng

An Indonesian explosion of flavours and my family’s all-time favourite!

Thai Red Curry goes really well with this.

  • 2 c. basmati rice*

  • 4 eggs

  • ½ large cucumber

  • 1 c. peanuts

  • fresh coriander

  • 3 green onions

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)

  • canola oil

  • raw shrimp

  • Kikkoman soy sauce

  • 2 c. bean sprouts

  • cherry tomatoes, halved

Prepare ahead of time:

  • rinse starch out of rice, cook and rinse with cold water to stop it from getting too soft

  • make thin egg “omelets” – egg, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper – cut in strips

  • thinly slice cucumber and soak in vinegar with a bit of water to dilute

  • peanuts

  • chop coriander and green onions


Brown onion & garlic in canola oil.  Add shrimp and cook through.  Add rice & soy sauce and stir-fry on high.  Just before serving, add omelet strips, bean sprouts, tomatoes and salt (need quite a bit to bring out the flavour). 


At the table, each person can top the rice mixture with cucumbers, peanuts, greens.  Mix it all up and enjoy! 



* About Basmati Rice


There are many different types of rice in the world, and each one is appropriate for certain dishes, but unless you have a personal grocery shopper and a giant kitchen, you’ll likely settle for a few types.  My go-to rice is basmati.  If you ask me, it smells like straw in raw form. The trick to making light, fluffy basmati rice is to rinse out the starch before you cook it.  My very good Punjabi-Canadian friend says that her mother insisted they rinse the rice 20 times. As you can probably already tell, I like to cut a few corners in the interest of time and convenience.  So I suggest you rinse the rice as many times as you want to. Put it in a big measuring cup, fill with luke-warm water, swish it around, pour out and repeat.  Each time, you’ll literally see the starch (cloudy water) leaving the rice.  To cook it, the general rule of thumb is to use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice.  Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, simmer until all the liquid is done, fluff it up, and leave it another 5 minutes.  Easy peasy!

Nasi Goreng, Thai Red Curry
Other Stuff
Breakfast Cookies



Egg Muffins to Go


  • eggs

  • chopped onion

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • cubed ham

  • chopped mushrooms

  • grated cheese

  • chopped green pepper


Heat oven to 350F.  Lightly butter muffin tins.


Combine all ingredients, pour into pan and bake.  Freeze egg “pucks”, then just microwave and make a sandwich with a toasted, buttered English muffin.


Best (and Healthiest) Banana Bread Ever

Collect your over-ripe bananas in the freezer and make a big batch now & then


  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (2 large)

  • 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour

  • ½ c. sugar / Splenda

  • 1 c. Quaker oats, uncooked

  • ½ c. Becel or butter, melted

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 2 egg whites

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • 1/3 c. skim milk


Heat oven to 350F.  Lightly brush 2 loaf pans or 12 muffin tins with butter.


Combine bananas, sugar, margarine, egg whites and milk; mix well.  Add combined flour, oat bran, baking powder and baking soda, mixing just until moistened.


Pour into pans.  Bake 55 to 60 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.



Easy Coffee Cake

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 c. sugar

  • 2 c. flour

  • ½ - ¾ c. vegetable oil

  • 1 c. milk

  • 2 tbsp. baking powder

  • 1 c. whisky (optional)

  • Nestle’s Quik powder


Beat eggs.  Add sugar until mixed.  Add other ingredients and beat for 5 minutes.  Set aside ¼ of the batter; to it, add Quik powder and mix well.  Pour half of white batter into greased loaf pan.  Next pour chocolate batter down the middle, then cover with remaining white batter.


Bake at 350F for about 1 hour.



Crepes in No Time

  • 2 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg

  • 2 tbsp. white sugar

  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 tbsp. dark rum / brandy / orange liqueur

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups milk

Whisk or blend all the ingredients until there are no lumps.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Batter can be used over several days.


Lightly oil / spray a flat pan and heat to medium-high.  For each crepe, pour in enough batter just to cover. Cook until golden – about 1 minute – then flip with a thin spatula and cook for another 30 seconds.


Fill crepes with any of the following:


  • fresh berries

  • ice cream

  • warm apple slices with cinnamon

  • ricotta cheese with lemon rind, warm raisins & sugar


Banana Bread

Protein Breakfast Cookies


  • ½ c. butter, softened

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ c. Greek yogurt

  • ½ tsp. vanilla

  • 2 tbsp. nut butter

  • 1 mashed banana or 3 tbsp apple sauce

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 2 scoops protein powder – I use chocolate

  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

  • ¼ c. almond flour

  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder

  • 1 ¾ c. quick oats

  • Optional add-ins: Chocolate chips; honey


Heat oven to 350F.  Combine butter with all liquid ingredients (incl. yogurt & nut butter) and beat until slightly fluffy.  Mix in dry ingredients (except oats and add-ins) first, then oats and add-ins.


Spoon onto lined/greased cookie sheet and bake until cookies are firm to touch – about 20 minutes give or take.


These cookies can be frozen and re-heated in the microwave for a quick, healthy breakfast.

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