Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

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One very busy day over the summer when I was back south for appointments, I didn’t have time to make a veggie wrap (my favourite go to lunch item on the run) in the morning so I popped in to Denninger’s (a local  deli/European food market) to rummage through their prepared food aisle.  I came across this salad and after scarfing half of it down in the car (the other half saved for dinner), I vowed to recreate it.  Now that the apparent heat wave of summer is over, I can turn the oven back on for roasting fall veggies.  So here it is.  Awesomely good for you too.

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Roasted butternut squash and kale salad

Ingredients

1/2 of a small butternut  squash (peeled, seeded and cubed)
4 large kale leaves, washed, trimmed from stem and chopped into bite size pieces
½ cups dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds (roasted)
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 bottle of Honey Mustard Dressing ( I cheated and bought one)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Toss squash cubes in 1 tbsp olive oil and roast until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temp.

Toss kale in remaining olive oil and roast for 5 minutes, any longer and you will have kale chips (which are yummy!), let cool to room temp

On a large plate, arrange kale, add cubed squash and sprinkle cranberries and sunflowers over all.  Drizzle dressing over, add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a crusty loaf of bread.  Makes one large salad!

Deborah

p.s…..a “what I did on summer vacation” post is coming soon…so stay tuned.

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Vegetarian Fajitas for my Sweetpea

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Yes, for my darling daughter the vegetarian.  She is coming up to the Homestead for a week and I need to feed her since her hubby will not be around for the entire trip.  Coming up with new and exciting recipes for her to be a guinea pig for can be a challenge, but knowing her likes and dislikes, I have pretty much made her stuff she has not turned her nose up at….yet.

Today’s dinner was Vegetarian Fajitas.  Super simple to make in less than 30 minutes with stuff you most likely already have in your fridge.  Kitchen Tip: when you cook rice for a prior meal, make triple the amount to be used for just such a culinary adventure, extras can be frozen in individual containers and pulled out when needed.DSC03204

Vegetarian Fajitas with Chunky Guacamole

Ingredients

1/2 cup cooked brown and wild rice (sub white if that is what you prefer)
1/2 cup prepared salsa (mild, medium or spicy; your choice)
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion (sweet or white)
1/4 cup chopped green and red bell peppers
1 tbsp. finely diced jalapeño pepper (or to taste)
1 slice of Monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro (divided)
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 roma tomato, diced
1 lime (divided in half)
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 ~ 10″ whole wheat (or white) tortilla

Directions

In a large skillet, heat Olive Oil over medium heat, reduce to medium-low and add onions, peppers, garlic and sauté until vegetables are just starting to get tender (5-6 minutes).  Add rice, salsa and cumin, combine and cook another 3-4 minutes until heated through.  Add a squeeze of half a lime and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble:  Place a slice of Monterey jack cheese in the middle of the tortilla, spoon over the pepper/rice mixture.  Top with chopped cilantro and roll up.

Serve with chunky guacamole (To a small bowl, add one diced avocado, one diced roma tomato and the juice from half a lime, salt, pepper and half the chopped cilantro then mash together).

Serves 1 (in this case, a very hungry mama)

Oh, and make sure you either have a cold Corona, Dos Equis or Tecate on hand.

Buen Provecho!

Deborah

 

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Low Fat Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

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As promised from my last post.  Here is the recipe for the low fat cinnamon apple muffins I made.  Not a stitch of butter, shortening or oil in this recipe.  The secret is the addition of fat-free sour cream. They are moist, delicious and you can swap out the apples for any other fruit….blueberries, rhubarb, strawberries, whatever tickles your fancy.

WW Apple MuffinsLow Fat Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup old-fashioned brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk *
2 cups diced apple

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease 2 x 12 muffin tins or use paper liners (makes 15 muffins) and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (except sugar) and mix well.

In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, sour cream, egg, brown sugar and vanilla extract; whisk until smooth.

Add wet ingredients to dry all at once and gently fold until just moistened. Do not overmix or muffins will be tough.

Gently fold in diced apple.

Scoop into prepared muffin pan, fill to the top of each cup.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and tops spring back when lightly pressed.  Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy!

* To make buttermilk, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to one cup of milk, stir and let sit for 10 minutes, then use in recipe.

** Pardon the Xmas muffin liners….it’s all I had on hand ;)

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Sabores Mexicanos de Sobras

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Mexican Flavours from Leftovers

Sounds better in Spanish :)

I wasn’t going to do a post today as I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to my blog lately with packing underway for the big move, but I threw a Mexican meal together last night and posted a photo on Facebook and someone asked for the recipe so here it is.  If I had known I was going to be doing a post about it, I would have staged the plate a little better.

Beef Enchiladas

Shredded Beef Enchiladas with Mexican Red Rice and Guacamole

Enchilada Filling:

1. Prepare a rectangular baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and a layer of Roasted Salsa Roja (recipe link below)
2. Slice 2 rings of red onion and half a green pepper into thin strips; saute slowly in a tablespoon of Olive Oil until caramelized then remove to a bowl and set aside to cool.
3. Shred 1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese; divide in half.
4. 1/2 Cup shredded beef * in a smoky BBQ sauce (I made my own sauce, but any smoky store bought flavour will do)
5. 2  6″ Whole Wheat Tortillas

Assemble enchiladas by placing the cheese first in the middle of a tortilla, followed by half of the onion/pepper mixture. Top with the beef and roll up tightly and place seam side down in prepared pan.

Top with a couple more spoonfuls of the salsa, cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

See recipe here for the Mexican Red Rice and Roasted Salsa Roja.

For the guacamole: Mash 2 avocados with fresh lime juice, ground black pepper, salt and a tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro.

The enchilada filling is enough for only one person, you will have to increase accordingly for more servings.

* I roasted a whole beef rump roast in the slow cooker for 12 hours on the weekend and then shredded it.  I usually get 3-4 meals of BBQ Beef Sammies but there was a little leftover, therefore having enough to make the enchiladas.

Buen Provecho!

Deborah
now…back to packing…

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Uno’s Shroom Pizza

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What is the craziest thing you have ever done for a favourite restaurant dish?

Me? I just drove 300 km one way for a pizza…and not just any pizza, but Uno’s Chicago Grill’s famous ‘Shroom Deep Dish Pizza.  This pizza is the BEST pizza I have ever eaten, and if you love mushrooms, then you will LOVE the ‘Shroom Pizza.  You see, several years ago, they took it off their menu and I was devastated.  I even emailed the company at the time to pitch a fit and it didn’t help.

Then, a few weeks ago, hubby told me that they were bringing the ‘Shroom pizza back.  You see, hubby has been working in NY State on a temp job assignment for a number of years and the hotel where he stays at is a stones throw from an Uno’s restaurant.  He is typically there one evening a week for dinner and has gotten to know the staff quite well over the years.  The barkeep let him know that they were bringing the ‘Shroom pizza back which he then passed along to me which was the most wonderful news I have ever heard.

So it was just a matter of counting down the days to March 18th, the day it was being re-launched in their restaurants.

I had been planning on heading down to NY by the end of the month, but on the morning of the 18th, hubby reminded me that that was day it was coming back.  I quickly looked at my business schedule for the day and seeing nothing pressing, emailed him back that I was getting myself together and I would be on the road by 11 a.m.

I quickly packed an overnight bag, tossed my laptop into its travel case and headed out the door.  WooHoo! I was so excited!

I get to the U.S./Canada border crossing at Niagara Falls and the conversation with the U.S. Border Guard went as follows…

Border Guard:  Citizenship?
Me: Canadian
Border Guard: Where are you going?
Me: Webster, NY
Border Guard: What’s in Webster?
Me: My husband and a ‘Shroom Pizza
Border Guard: ??? (with a puzzled look on his face)
Me: Uno’s Chicago Grill is bringing back their ‘Shroom Pizza on their menu and today is the first day it is available.
Border Guard: ?? “OK..have a nice day ma’am” and he sent me on my way.
Me: You too!

In a span of 30 seconds I was cleared to enter the U.S. and then spent the next 2 hours driving through farm country along the southern shore of Lake Ontario in bright sunshine dreaming (and drooling) of what was to become dinner.

At hubby’s hotel in the afternoon, I impatiently waited for him to come back from work and after a quick peck on the cheek followed by a happy hour cerveza, we headed over to Uno’s.

The barkeep (Jess) brought us our drinks and asked if we wanted menu’s.  I told her I didn’t need one as I already knew what I wanted and told her I just drove from Ontario to have the prized pan of yummy goodness, I even told her the border guard story, much to her delight.

After about 20 minutes, my much anticipated pizza arrived to loud fanfare (I think I even heard angels singing and rockets bursting)….oh wait, that was me squealing….

IMG_20150318_164550The ‘Shroom Pizza as you have probably guessed by now, is chock full of sauteéd baby button mushrooms (which seem to be cooked with some herbs, thyme maybe, and some white wine as the flavour of the sauteed mushrooms are sincerely awesome on their own)  and if I calculated accurately, about 10lbs of mozz cheese.  Oh, but there is also spinach in there, so that most definitely makes it healthy for sure, along with the 9 grain deep dish crust.  Topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, this is hands down, my most favourite restaurant dish EVER.  I could eat this every day of the week, mind you, my arteries surely couldn’t handle all the cheese, nor my waistline.  But I would die happy.

IMG_20150318_164537Trying to get a good photo with my Blackberry camera was challenging, especially when all I wanted to do was dive into the plate.  This is a 12″ pizza, and I managed to scarf down 3 pieces before my stomach screamed Uncle.  Good news though, there were 3 pieces leftover for the next day.

We joked with the Jess the barkeep about crossing the border back into Canada with the leftovers.  Hubby said “what if they don’t let you back in with that? You know you are not supposed to bring cheese back across the border?” “Fine” I said “then I will stand there and eat it as there is no way in hell they are going to confiscate my leftover ‘Shroom pizza!”.

We toddled back to the hotel room, leftovers firmly gripped in one hand to be stored in the fridge overnight. The next morning, after packing up my things and heading out, I indeed wondered what the Canadian Border Guards would say about my one day folly for a pizza.

I arrived at the border crossing about 11:30 a.m. and pulled up to an empty booth (amazingly, I thought with March Break under way it would have been more hectic) occupied by a female Border Guard.  I handed her my passport as she asked where I lived.  Burlington I said.

Border Guard: Where did you go?
Me: Webster, NY
Border Guard: Why?, what’s in Webster, NY?
Me: My husband and ‘Shroom Pizza. Have you heard of the Uno’s Chicago Grill restaurant chain?
Border Guard: Yes
Me: Well, they brought back their awesome ‘Shroom pizza after several years in exile. Do you like mushrooms? You will love the ‘Shroom pizza
Border Guard: So you went all that way for a pizza? “So sorry honey, I came for the pizza, not to see you” she quipped.
Me: I burst out laughing

She asked a couple more standard questions, then giggled as she handed my passport back to me and said have a great day and hope you enjoyed the pizza.  Oh you bet I said!

So 24 hours, 600 km and almost a tank of gas later equals one expensive pizza….but so well worth it!!!

Deborah

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Pancake Tuesday Rocks!

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Today is Shrove Tuesday…aka Pancake Tuesday.  Which is the day to stuff yourself silly before Lent.  I accomplished step one.  As for Lent, I don’t normally partake in the practice, being that I have a hard time giving up anything for longer than 5 minutes.  I may participate this year in the chocolate department….I said *MAY*…I will decide later, but right now, let’s get on with the totally awesome-good-for-you pancakes I made this morning.

DSC02812Healthy Whole Grain & Nut Pancakes

Ingredients
1/2 Cup Whole Rolled Oats
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1/2 Chopped Walnuts
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Large Egg, beaten
1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk*
Olive Oil
1 Banana
100% Pure Maple Syrup

Directions
1. Heat buttermilk on high in a microwave for 1 minute. Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and incorporates into the milk.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, whole wheat flour, flax, nuts, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour the heated buttermilk/butter mixture over the the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Let sit for 20 minutes so the oats/flour absorb the wet ingredients.

3. Add beaten egg and mix well.

4. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add enough batter to make a round about 5-6″ in diameter. Cook until bottoms turn brown and bubbles start to appear on the top. Flip pancakes and cook until browned.

5. Serve with maple syrup and slices of banana.

6. Seriously consider Lent after eating 2 of these.

Makes 4 really large pancakes.

* To make buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

Deborah

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Stuffed Poblanos With Red Mole Sauce

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¡Buenos Dias Todo! (Good Morning All!)

¡Bienvenidos a mi clase de cocina! (Welcome to my cooking class!)

Today we are making stuffed poblanos cooked in a rich and earthy red mole (moh-LAY) sauce.  The flavours are out of this world.  With every bite, your taste buds will be doing a happy dance.

So let’s get started as this recipe has a few components that have to be done separately.   I made the rice, salsa roja and red mole sauce  prior and used them in other ways but don’t let the long list of instructions scare you as they all come together in star studded finale that is well worth the effort!

* Prepare Red Mole (Enchilada) Sauce (Mole Rojo) Click here for the recipe, and set aside.

Stuffing Recipe:

2 Cups Mexican Red Rice (recipe below)
1 Cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 Cup cooked black beans (if you don’t have time to rehydrate and cook dried beans, use canned)
1/2 cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
1/2 cup chopped red or orange bell pepper
1/2 of a jalapeño, deseeded and diced
1 clove of garlic, mashed
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Cilantro for garnish
*1/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese with jalapeño pepper (to be added later)

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, peppers, garlic and corn; sauté until onions and pepper are tender and corn starts to brown.  Add salt, pepper and cumin and mix well.  Add black beans and Mexican red rice and heat through.  Remove and set aside.

Mexican Red Rice

Ingredients
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 chopped onion (1 medium sized onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ancho chile pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup brown & wild rice mix (or use white long grain rice)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth (I used veggie broth)
1 cup Roasted Salsa Roja (recipe following)
1/4 cup water
1/2 chopped Cilantro

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic, ancho chile pepper and salt.  Sauté for a couple minutes.  Stir in uncooked rice; cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add broth, roasted salsa roja and water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is done (about 30-40 minutes), if using white rice, cook time will be shorter.    Remove pan from heat, place a clean kitchen over the pot, replace the lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Add cilantro and fluff rice with a fork.  Makes about 4 cups which is great for freezing separately and adding to other recipes like the stuffing for the poblanos.

Salsa Roja Asado (Roasted Tomato Salsa)

3 large Roma tomatoes, quartered and cored
1/2 of a white onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, halved and seeded
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 – 3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup fresh, chopped cilantro

Preheat broiler.  In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeño; toss with enough oil to coat.  Spread mixture evenly on a baking pan.  Broil 5 to 6″ from heat for about 10 minutes, turn veggies and broil for another 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes.  Transfer vegetables to a blender or a pot if using a stick blender.  Add lime juice and water and pulse until desired consistency.  Mix in chopped cilantro.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Makes about 3 cups.  Freezes well.

To assemble:

* Preheat oven to 375°F

*Coat a shallow 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread 1 cup of Red Mole sauce on the bottom.

DSC02743* Cut 2 poblano peppers so they resemble boats, slicing off a section lengthwise leaving the stem intact.  Remove seeds and veins (save remaining pepper sections for another use).

DSC02748* Stuff filling mixture inside poblanos and place on top of the sauce in the casserole dish

* Bake, covered for 30 minutes; remove from oven, sprinkle cheese on top and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

DSC02753To serve:

Scoop some of the sauce out of the bottom of the casserole dish and spread on a plate.  Top with the stuffed poblano and garnish with cilantro.  Serve with slices of avocado or a small side salad.

DSC02757Buen Provecho!

Deborah

 

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¡Hola!

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¡Bienvenidos a Mexico!

DSC01147 DSC01214¿Como está Ustedes?  ¿Bien?…¿Muy Bien?…¿Maravilloso?

Ok, enough of the Spanish, but I am still on Mexican time after having just returned a couple days ago from the land of sun, sand, clear skies and clear blue-turquoise waters.  Oh and HEAT…did I mention the HEAT?  If not, let me assure you, there was HEAT!  Much better than this minus crap we have been having in arctic cold Canada.

Holidays are a great time to clear the head, enjoy the company of your loved ones, experience awesome food, great scenery and to laze around and do nothing but expand your waistline (paying for it now though).  Hubby and I spent a week at the El Dorado Royale Resort in the Mayan Riviera with my daughter and her husband, whom were experiencing Mexico for the very first time.  Sorry kiddos if you caught the Mexican travel bug, but you probably knew you would after listening to your mother prattle on about the place all these years.

We had the best time there and one of the things that the El Dorado (our second visit) is known for is that the food being served in all their restuarant’s is absolutely fantastic.  We did not have one lousy meal, even our vegetarian daughter had plenty of choices.  Every meal was drop dead delicious and left us drooling for more.  The buffet breakfast featured the traditional North American fare of eggs, bacon, pancakes, roasted potatoes, sausage, muffins and breads to platefuls of fresh fruit and cheese, but also featured a well stocked omelet station manned by Alejandro who can deftly make an omelet in under 1 minute.

The newly added Mexican breakfast items of tamales, chicken tacquitos, cheese quesadillas, churros (these were OMG material) and a huge pot of Mexican hot chocolate served in traditional clay pots were a nice touch and I for one ate cheese quesadillas and tamales every morning.  Lunch (if you were indeed hungry after devouring half the buffet) featured a pizza joint down by the beach bar as well as an outdoor buffet for those not wanting to sit inside a restaurant for lunch.  Dinners were a sit down affair with extremely friendly and attentive “meseros/as” or “camareros/as” that spoke English for those not speaking Spanish and made you feel like royalty.   Dinners were Top Chef caliber and if  you ever get to the El Dorado, you must try the Dinner Theatre at the Fuentes restaurant.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed.  I will not go into detail here as it would spoil it for those wanting to try it as it is a fabulous experience.

DSC01114So this brings me to today’s post.  Now that I have returned from Mexico, my tastebuds are still stuck there.  So for the next couple weeks, I will be featuring some really yummy Mexican recipes either for breakfast, lunch or dinner that will transport you back to the clear blue waters and warm sunshine of the Mexican Riviera.

¡Hasta luego!

Deborah

 

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Leftovers Turkey Tortilla Soup

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Happy New Year!!!

All the best to all my loyal readers for 2015.

I know it has been a crazy long time since I posted, but in my defense (such as it is), I was hogtied to the stove, the retail shopping cart and Christmas hoopla for the last 3 weeks of December.

It is now January and I have been on an organizational/cleaning spree the past couple weeks as we are getting the house ready for the market.  Don’t worry, this is not the Northern Homestead going up for sale (banish the thought!), but the Southern one.  There is simply too much property/things to look after here and with the *kids* now grown and gone, what the heck to do we need a large home for?  If I stay here any longer, I may just fill it up with more looms…..much to hubby’s dismay.

Anyway, that is what I have been doing and hence why no recent posts.  Until today. Yay!

So yesterday I was looking for an empty tupperware container in my *tupperware cupboard* (everyone has one of those) and I realized either a) someone was stealing my containers or b) there were way too many in use at the moment and I needed to do something about it.  So, I went through the fridge/freezer pulling out all kinds of containers that were filled with various things in varying amounts.  Next I pulled out the crockpot.

Crockpots are great, you dump ingredients in, set it to low or high depending on what it is, pop the lid on and walk away.  4-6 hours later, dinner is done!  They are also great for experimenting with….like my meal today.

DSC02656Leftovers Turkey Tortilla Soup

4 cups of homemade turkey stock (made from Christmas turkey carcass), this freed up 2 containers!
3 cups cooked brown and wild rice (again, 2 containers returned to the cupboard)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (one container emptied)
1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded turkey breast
1 cup frozen corn kernels (that were just starting to show evidence of being in the freezer too long)
2 cups home-canned crushed tomatoes with chiles
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 of an orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 of a large white onion, diced
2 very small poblano peppers (frozen whole from the summer), de-seeded and diced
1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, diced
2 Tbsp dried cilantro (had no fresh on hand)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chipotle chile powder
salt and pepper to taste

Stir to combine and let sit for 4-6 hours for the flavours to get happy.  Garnish with tortilla strips and avocado slices.

This is one of those completely customizable recipes, toss in whatever you have in the fridge or freezer and mix up your spices to suit your chosen protein.

A very hearty, low-fat meal with the bonus of my tupperware cupboard being restocked.

Enjoy!

Deborah

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Ukrainian Varenyky (Perogie)

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As we approach Christmas at a speed that can only be compared to a Japanese super rail train hurtling through the countryside with an avalanche of hot lava on its heels,  one of the very few things I actually look forward to at Christmas is making Varenyky.   More commonly known as Perogies if you are from Poland or Pelmeni if you are from Russia.  They are a common eastern European dumpling filled with a wide variety of ingredients indigenous to their countries of origin with either cheese, meat, fruit and sauerkraut being the norm.

There are variations in using the dough, like stuffing them with a diced, fried mushrooms and onions known as vushka’s in Ukraine and floated in Borscht, another super yummy family tradition typically served at Christmas as well as Easter.

But today we are focusing on the soft, pillowy half moon shaped dumplings that are filled with a heavenly potato/cheese mixture.  Actually, I make 2 different kinds.  The very traditional potato/cottage cheese and the “North Americanized” potato/cheddar cheese variety found on many a pub menu.  The fillings are made ahead and cooled in the fridge before use, otherwise you would have hot doughy mess that wouldn’t be any fun to work with.

Potato/cottage cheese filling; take one 500 ml container of cottage cheese and scoop the cheese into a double layer of cheese cloth.  Bring the four corners of the cheesecloth together to form a pouch and tie with a length of string.  Suspend the cloth bag over a bowl on the counter (I tie mine to a kitchen cupboard door handle) and let it drain for at least 4-5 hours.

Once the cheese has drained, peel and dice 4 large white potatoes into 1″ cubes, rinse in a colander then place in a large pot and fill with cold water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until tender (about 25-30 minutes).  Drain and add a generous couple tablespoons of butter to the potatoes and mash until smooth.  Add the drained cottage cheese and mix well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Allow the mixture to cool overnight in the fridge in an airtight bowl.

Cheddar Cheese/potato filling;   Shred 4 cups of sharp cheddar cheese.  Once the potatoes are done, add the cheddar cheese and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a airtight bowl let sit in the fridge overnight.

The basic dough recipe is easy and very similar to an egg pasta dough.  Although, if you ask 100 Ukrainian women, you will undoubtedly find 100 different dough recipes.  Everyone has their own personal favourite.  This is my Baba’s (Ukrainian for Grandmother) recipe.

3 cups all purpose flour, sifted twice (plus more for kneading)
1 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup warm water.

Whisk eggs, oil, water and salt.  Sift in flour one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Depending on the size of your eggs, you may need more or less flour. Turn out onto a well floured board and knead until smooth, adding more sifted flour by small handfuls if necessary.  Divide in half and wrap one half immediately in plastic wrap so it doesn’t start to toughen.  Once you have used up the first half, then process the second half of the dough.

Working quickly, roll out dough to about an 1/8th of an inch thickness.  Using a perogie cutter or large cookie cutter (at least 4″ in diameter), cut out circles of dough.   Re-roll scraps to cut out as many circles as you can before the dough toughens too much.  I like to take my rolling pin to the cut out circles to make them larger and thinner as the dough is quite elastic and tends to bounce back smaller than what you have initially cut out.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the middle of each circle of dough, fold in half and pinch edges tightly to secure.  Place on a towel lined cookie sheet.  Once you have a cookie sheet filled up, place another clean towel over top and place the tray in the freezer.  When frozen, remove and place in a Ziploc bag, marking the bag with the type of filled perogies.DSC02590

When you ready to cook your little pillows of yumminess, place them directly from the freezer into a pot of boiling water, boil gently, stirring carefully until they float to the surface, which can take anywhere from 4-8 mintues.  Traditionally, they are served with melted butter and sour cream straight from the pot of boiling water, or take them from the pot and fry them with onions (pub style) with extra cheese.  Serve with lots of sour cream and chopped green onions.  Bacon bits are also a good addition.  Anyway you slice it, these are so much better than the store-bought variety.DSC02602

One batch of dough makes about 30 perogies, depending on the size of your cut out circles.

A word of warning, these are very time consuming to make, not to mention it makes a mess of your kitchen, but I encourage you to give them a try if you really want to boast to your family that you made, by yourself…PEROGIES!

Deborah

 

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