Sunday, December 29, 2019

Raspberry Dreamsicle Dessert

For the holidays we always try to have fancy schmancy desserts. Okay, if we're being honest, we like to have fancy schmancy desserts ALL THE TIME. I mean.... desserts are the best, am I right?
This dreamsicle dessert looks so pretty and tastes delicious and is so rich that a small piece goes a long way. That makes this 9 x 13 dessert perfect for family gatherings and potlucks! I went with raspberry juice and raspberry Jello so it would be Christmas-y but you can use orange juice and orange Jello for another delicious flavor. 
You dirty a few dishes with this one but it's all worth it in the end!

Raspberry Dreamsicle Dessert

Bottom Layer
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp melted butter

Raspberry Layer
1 cup raspberry juice
2 pkgs raspberry Jello
1 pkg cream cheese, room temp
2 cups Cool Whip

Pudding Layer
1 pkg cream cheese, room temp
1 cup milk
2 lkg vanilla instant pudding
2 cups Cool Whip

Top Layer
remaining Cool Whip

Prepare bottom layer - mix together crumbs and butter and press into a 9 X 13 pan. Chill the pan while you prepare the next layer. 

Prepare raspberry layer - microwave the raspberry juice for 2 minutes (almost boiling). Whisk in the 2 pkgs of raspberry Jello. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Very slowly pour the jello into the cream cheese, beating well between additions. Beat until smooth. Whisk in 2 cups of Cool Whip until smooth. Pour over the bottom layer. Let chill while you prepare the next layer. 

Prepare pudding layer - beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.Very slowly beat in the milk, scraping bowl between additions. Beat until smooth. Beat in 2 pkg of vanilla pudding. Lastly, beat in the 2 cups of Cool Whip. Spoon onto the raspberry layer and then smooth out evenly. 

Top with the remaining Cool Whip (usually about 1 - 2 cups), spreading evenly. Then top with fresh raspberries. 

Let chill until ready to serve - at least a couple of hours. 

If you want to make the orange version - instead of placing raspberries on top, I like to grate some orange rind over the whipped topping. Not as bold as the berries, but still beautiful!

I loved the texture of this dessert - so smooth and creamy. Sue, not so much. She found the Jello layer too spongy for her liking. To each their own! I know the orange version is just as delicious but I have yet to try any other flavor.... maybe lemon or lime or even grape?? Something I will be keeping in mind for the spring! A fun colorful dessert that works for holidays or every day! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Mini Thai Tornado Potatoes with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Last year Sue and I entered the Little Potato Company's recipe contest. Sue entered her Turkey Dinner Meatballs (RECIPE HERE), which are basically a whole turkey dinner in one bite! And I entered this recipe here. I was super excited to make it to the Top 5 in the contest with these delicious little morsels. Unfortunately I didn't win the grand prize but I was (and still am) so stoked to have made it to the Top 5. 
I hope you give these a try and let us know what you think. I am proud of this creation and it has since become a family favorite for get-togethers and special occasions. It can be a little bit fussy because of having to deep fry the skewers BUT, believe me, it is totally worth it! 

Mini Thai Tornado Potatoes with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 cup chicken broth
5 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp sriracha
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Tornado Potatoes
1.5 lb bag of Little Potato Company potatoes (I used Blushing Belle)
8 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp baking powder
Water to make a batter

Other Ingredients
Oil for deep frying (about a litre)
Cilantro or parsley for garnish

Prepare peanut dipping sauce – Place chicken broth, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, sriracha, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring often until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Set aside.
 Prepare tornado potatoes – Take a skewer and place one potato on it. Use a sharp knife and cut on a diagonal all around the potato on the skewer from top to bottom. Carefully pull the potato apart slightly so you can see space between the spirals. Repeat until all of the potatoes are spiraled on skewers.

Heat oil to 350 degrees in a large pot (It takes about 10 - 15 minutes to heat the oil so I usually start the oil when I am halfway done cutting the potatoes on the skewers.)
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, curry powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and baking powder. 

Slowly whisk in a little water at a time until you have a batter that is a little thinner than pancake batter.
Pour the batter into a tall drinking glass. (It may not all fit, continue to add more batter as it gets low) This will make it easier to dip the potatoes. Dip a potato in the batter to cover completely. 

Gently shake off any extra. Place the potato in the hot oil. Repeat with one or two more potatoes but don’t crowd them in the oil. Cook for 3 minutes in the hot oil, until potatoes are crispy. Remove from oil to paper towel or wire rack with paper towel underneath. 

Continue to dip and fry remaining potatoes.
Transfer potatoes to serving platter and serve hot with the peanut dipping sauce. Garnish with cilantro or parsley. 

These are best served hot but are still okay at room temperature. 

I would count this as making 10 - 12 servings of 2 potatoes each. 

Guys... these are so tasty and fun! I mean, anything on a stick gets points for coolness already but these are going to get you voted favorite person in the room guaranteed. The peanut sauce is amazing and can be made up a day or two ahead of time to save on time. 
I might not have won the top prize in the recipe contest but I'm still going to brag about this recipe! It's one of the ones I am most proud of in my recipe developing career. We'd love to hear your feedback if you give it a try! 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Nanaimo Balls

We all know Nanaimo Bars are a Canadian classic (Click HERE for our original Nanaimo Bar recipe!) that are perfect for Canada Day and, of course, pretty much any other holiday. 
I found a few photos on Pinterest of Nanaimo bars turned into truffles and I thought...I need to try that; they would look so cute on a plate of Christmas cookies. Not to mention the whole perfect-size-to-pop-in-your-mouth thing they have going on. 
Ok... they are a bit fussy because you have to dip each one in chocolate and that can get a little tiresome. The thing is... they don't have to be a smooth and pretty because you are sprinkling more coconut mixture on top and that will hide any flaws in your dipping skills. 
Looking for a new treat to add to the holiday tray? Look no further. This is the one. 

Nanaimo Balls 

Coconut Chocolate Mix
1 cup graham crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 Tbsp baking cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp melted butter

2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp Bird's Eye Custard Powder
1/4 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp cream

Chocolate Coating
8 oz chocolate chips (about 1 heaping cup)
1/2 cup butter

Prepare coconut chocolate mixture - stir together graham crumbs, coconut, pecans, cocoa powder, and melted butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Prepare center mixture - Stir together the icing sugar and Bird's Eye. Stir in melted butter and cream until smooth and well combined. 

Use a teaspoon to scoop out filling and roll into balls. (If you use a teaspoon you should get about 40 balls) Take a center ball and roll it in the coconut chocolate mixture, making sure to press firmly so it sticks to the center ball. Place on a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap. Continue until all the center mixture is used up. 

Place in freezer to chill for about 10 - 20 minutes. 
After balls have chilled for a few minutes, prepare the chocolate coating - place the chocolate and butter in a bowl in the microwave. 

Heat in 30 seconds increments, stirring well in between, until smooth.
Drop one of the chilled balls into the chocolate, spoon some over the top, then use a fork to remove the ball from the chocolate. Tap it firmly against the side of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate. Sprinkle with a pinch more of the remaining coconut chocolate mixture. Repeat with all the balls. (If needed, reheat the chocolate for 10 - 15 seconds if it starts to get too thick.)

Chill until chocolate is set. 


All of the Nanaimo Bar goodness in an adorable little package. 

A couple of notes - (1) if you can't your hands on Bird's Eye Custard powder you can sub in vanilla pudding powder. You won't get the yellow color or traditional flavor of a Nananimo bar BUT it is pretty close. (2) Use butter, not margarine. It makes a huge difference. (3) Don't be tempted to go bigger than 1 tsp for the center balls. These are very rich and a little goes a long way. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Turkey Dinner Meatballs

Sue developed this recipe last year for the Little Potato Company recipe contest. It didn't win but sure was a hit at our house! 
It's basically all the best things about a full on turkey dinner in one bite. Turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and even hints of green bean casserole! 
You're super curious now, right? 
You totally should be. 
Sue's meatballs are perfect for game night, after school snack time, ladies night, potlucks... I think you see the pattern here... basically ANY time. They also freeze and reheat well, FYI. 

Turkey Dinner Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1 box Stove Top stuffing
1 can French's Fried Onions
1 bag Little Potato Company potatoes
1 cup prepared Turkey gravy
mozzarella or cheddar cheese slices

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
Combine the ground turkey, egg, Stove Top stuffing, and half the fried onions. If the mixture is too dry, add a few spoonfuls of water. 
Take one of the small potatoes and press a small amount of the meat mixture around it to cover it completely. Pat firmly while rolling in your hand. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining meat and potatoes. Cook at 350 until meat is done and potatoes are fork tender, about 40 or so minutes. Before removing from the oven - top some of the meatballs with cheddar and mozza slices and keep in the oven until cheese is melted. Immediately after removing from oven; sprinkle the cheese with the remaining French's Fried Onions. (To make them look a little different Sue did some with mozza, some with cheddar, and some without any cheese.) Place the meatballs on a serving tray with the hot turkey gravy for dipping. 

You guys.....

These are sooooo tasty! 

You can easily reheat these in the microwave (or oven) and they are just as delicious!
A whole turkey dinner in one bite!! I say the Little Potato Company missed a real winner here.... Sue comes up with some pretty good ideas sometimes! (I'll be sharing my potato recipe shortly. I made the Top 5 in the Little Potato Company competition in 2018 but unfortunately didn't win first! Be sure to check back for my recipe!) 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savory Cabbage Pancake)

I've been wanting to make okonomiyaki for a long time. I saw it on Pinterest ages ago and thought it looked amazingly delicious. 
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory cabbage pancake (okonomi - meaning "how you like" or "what you like", and yaki - meaning "cooked") and there are as many recipes for it as there are for Western pancakes. They are super simple, inexpensive, and easy to make. I hesitated to make them because I thought they would be tricky and fall apart easily. Nope. Not the case at all. 
Like most pancakes, these are best eaten when they are made BUT do work well reheating them in the following few days. Definitely make the sauces to go with them. Without the sauce they are pretty plain. The sauces make them irresistible. 
I made them as a side to go with our braised roasted duck dinner (Recipe HERE) but they work on their own for breakfast or just as a snack!


Okonomiyaki Sauce
6 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 1/2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or tamari)

Wasabi Mayo
1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbsp wasabi powder
1 tsp wasabi paste
2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 egg
1/4 head of medium cabbage, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 green onion, diced

1 - 2 Tbsp sesame oil for frying

green onions, diced
seaweed snacks, crumbled

Prepare sauces - For the okonomiyaki sauce: whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire, and coconut aminos (tamari) until smooth. Place in a small container and leave in fridge until ready to use. Can be prepared a few days ahead of time as it keeps well in the fridge.
For the wasabi mayo: whisk together mayo, wasabi powder, wasabi paste, and lemon juice until smooth. Place in a small container and leave in fridge until ready to use. Can be prepared a few days ahead of time as it keeps well in the fridge. 
Prepare pancakes - place the cabbage and onions in a large bowl. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, chicken broth, and egg until smooth.
Stir in the cabbage and onion until well mixed.

Scoop a generous amount (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) onto a hot skillet drizzled with sesame oil. Use your flipper to shape the pancakes into circles as best you can. 

Cook until bottom is browned and pancakes are sticking together, about 4 minutes. Turn down your heat if they are browning too fast. Carefully flip the pancakes over and cook the other side for another 3 - 4 minutes.

Remove from heat, set aside and keep warm while you continue cooking the rest of the batter. (I believe I got 8 pancakes)

Serve hot, drizzled with a spoonful or two of the okonomiyaki sauce and wasabi mayo. Sprinkle with green onions and seaweed.

They keep well, covered, in the fridge for 2 - 3 days. Reheat the leftovers in a frying pan drizzled with a little sesame oil over medium heat. 
NOTE - You could shred the cabbage if you want it finer than the thin slices... just watch your cooking time because you want the pancakes to retain that cabbage crunchiness and not become soggy! 
NOTE - I used coconut aminos in the okonomiyaki sauce as that is what I had on hand. You could use tamari instead. You could even use soy sauce but I would go with 2 Tbsp instead of 2 1/2 as it is thinner in consistency. 
NOTE - you can make these smaller or bigger, as you like. They are very forgiving! 
NOTE - I actually meant to throw some cooked bacon in the batter but didn't have any on hand. Do it! It's delicious. 
Cabbage pancakes don't exactly sound like the most delicious things out there but I bet they will surprise you! So good. So different. So flavorful. So quick and easy! 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Roasted Braised Duck With Duck Gravy

What's your favorite way to cook duck? This is definitely mine. Moist, tender, not at all greasy, and so full of flavor. To be fair.... I've only cooked duck one time before so there may be another style of cooking duck that will become my fav in the future. For now though... THIS. This is the way to go. 
Searing the duck, then braising it, and then roasting it... whaat whaaat!!  Amazing. 
(I also then used the carcass and leftovers to make the BEST duck noodle soup in the universe. Check out that recipe HERE!) 
My flavor profile was inspired by Peking Duck. All those wonderful Asian flavors pair so well with the fattier duck meat. I will be making this again when our local grocery store gets more duck in. Unfortunately living in a small town that opportunity doesn't come up very often! That's okay though. It just means it stays a special treat! Let us know if you give this a try! We'd love to hear what you think.

Roasted Braised Duck

1 4 or 5 lb duck
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp ginger paste (or 5 slices fresh ginger)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
dried peel from one orange
1 (946 ml) carton Campbell's Pho broth (or chicken) 

Honey Water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp hot water

Duck  Sauce (Gravy)
liquid from simmering duck
2 - 3 Tbsp cornstarch

Rinse the duck and pat it dry. Remove any innards, if you haven't already. 
Heat the sesame oil in a large wok. Place the duck, breast side down into the hot oil and let it brown. Spoon the oil over the parts of the duck not touching the oil. (Note - You will end up with more oil than you started with!) 

Once browned, remove the wok from the heat and set aside.
In a large pot (large enough to hold the duck), over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp of fat from the wok. Cook the ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Stir in the honey until it is melted. 
Add in cooking wine, soy sauce, rice vinegar,  bay leaves, pepper, and and orange peel. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the pho broth and then set the duck in the pan. The liquid should come up at least half way on the duck. Add a bit more water if necessary. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. 

Simmer the duck for one hour, flipping the bird over every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. 
After an hour, preheat the oven to 425. Carefully lift the duck out and drain any liquid from the cavity. Place duck, breast side up, on a wire rack placed on a cookie sheet. 

Brush the duck with the honey water. 
Roast the duck at 425 for about 15 minutes, until skin is crispy and golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving. 
While bird is resting, prepare the sauce.
Drain the simmering liquid through a sieve into another pot. Place pot over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together about 1/3 cup of the liquid and 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Stir this back into the pot of liquid. Bring to a boil and let thicken. If it is not thickening very much then repeat the above step with one more Tbsp of cornstarch. It should be the consistency of a thin gravy. Not too thick! 
Serve hot.

We had ours with rice (perfect for that rich duck sauce!) and okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory cabbage pancake - check back soon for that recipe!) 

Save any leftovers to make our yummy Duck Noodle Soup (recipe HERE)  

The Duck Sauce goes well with everything, BTW. I made poutine with it and just about died it was so good. Not even lying. You'll want to save every drop of it! 
I should have made duck poutine. Well. Now I have to get another duck because that needs to happen. 
Not sure how to cook that duck in your freezer? Give this recipe a try. The braising seems to release all of the greasiness that I find usually accompanies duck meat. This wasn't greasy at all. 
FYI -  use a meat thermometer to make sure you cook your duck to the proper temperature!