Easy Mexican Chicken Pozole

Easy Mexican Chicken Pozole 
Part soup, part chili, this is great way to introduce Mexican dried chiles into your pantry.  This recipe uses leftover cooked chicken and requires very little chopping. Adjust the spice level by adding more stock if you like. It's about a 3-4 out of 10.  Garnishes are only limited to your imagination...however, the shredded lettuce was the surprise hit!   Serves 6.  

5 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed & seeded 
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed & seeded  
2 cups canned whole tomatoes and their juices 
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 of a white or yellow onion 
½ tsp. each dried cumin & oregano 
3 tbsp. oil (any kind, or chicken or bacon fat!) 
4 cups chicken stock or water 
1 large can of hominy, drained and rinsed 
2-3 cups of leftover shredded chicken 
Salt, to taste 

Garnishes (no rules, use as little or many as you like): 
Sour Cream or Crema 
Queso Fresco or Shredded Cheese 
Chopped Cilantro 
Chopped White or Red Onion 
Thinly sliced Radishes 
Finely shaved iceberg Lettuce or Green Cabbage
Diced Avocado 
Hot Sauce 

  1. Toast chilies in a frying pan over medium heat, moving frequently until blistered but not burnt
  2. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover with very hot tap water boiling water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Add to a blender along with tomatoes, garlic, onion, spices and a good pinch of salt. 
  4. Blend until smooth (this can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance).  
  5. Warm oil or fat up in a pot large pot, then pour in salsa.  Rinse out the blender with about 1 cup of water to your blender to clean, and add that to the pot as well.  
  6. Let simmer over medium-low heat until colour deepens and sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   
  7. Stir in chicken stock or water and hominy.  Bring to a high simmer for 5 minutes then reduce to low before adding chicken.  
  8. Stir in cooked chicken only about 10 minutes before serving. 
  9. Ladle into bowls and garnish as you like!   


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Sesame-Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Sesame Tuna Lettuce Wraps
We always need a new, quick, make-ahead and impressive appetizer to start off a dinner get-together, or offer to bring to a party.  This recipe could also be doubled or tripled if you hosting a large gathering!   We found small, but really tightly packed leaf lettuce heads at T&T Supermarkets.  Iceberg lettuce would also work! 

Makes about 12 

1 8-9oz thick piece of best quality Tuna 
1 tbsp. miso paste 
2 tbsp. soy sauce 
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. mixed black & white sesame seeds

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 
1 tbsp. sugar 
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced 
1 carrot, thin julienne (use a peeler or mandolin) 

2 green onions, very thinly sliced 
2 radishes, very thinly sliced 

About 12 small lettuce leaves (see note above)

Oil, as needed 
Flaky sea salt, as needed 
Sriracha (optional)

  1. In a small bowl whisk together miso paste, soy sauce & sesame oil. 
  2. Place tuna in this mixture, and flip over from time to time to get marinade in on two sides.  The tuna will absorb it over time, about 30 minutes total.  
  3. Place sesame seeds on a plate and set aside.  
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together rice wine vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add cucumbers and carrots.  Let macerate 30 minutes, or up to a day ahead of time.  
  5. Add thinly sliced green onion and radishes to a small bowl with cold water.  This will help the onions curl and the radishes crisp.  This can also be done 30 minutes or up to a day ahead of time. 
  6. Cook tuna:  preheat a small frying pan (cast-iron is great) over medium-high heat.  While it is preheating, remove tuna from marinade (doing your best to swoop up as much marinade as possible) and firmly dip two sides into the sesame seeds.  
  7. Add a little oil to the pan followed by tuna.  
  8. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove to a cutting board.  Let cool while you assemble your platter. 
  9. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter, drain and top with a few cucumber slices and carrots on each leaf.  
  10. Slice tuna into 1/4 inch slices.  Remember, there is no grain to worry about on tuna, so slice it for how it makes sense to present it.  
  11. Add 1-2 slices to each lettuce leaf.  Top with green onion spirals and 1-2 radish slices.  Add a few flakes of sea salt on each piece of tuna.  If you like some spice, add a couple dots of sriracha.  
  12. Can be made up fully about 1 hour ahead of time.  Enjoy!!

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Parsley-Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Parsley-Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Use on pasta, rice, as a mayo, as a bruschetta, or add some lemon juice for the perfect marinade for chicken or grilled vegetables.  

Makes about 3/4 cup

1 clove garlic (7g), cut into 2-3 pieces
1⁄4 tsp. good quality sea salt, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup (30g.) pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup (40g.) grated parmesan cheese (we used Grana Padano)
1⁄2 bunch (40g) Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, leaves only
3-4 tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling

  1. Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, start with the garlic, salt, pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese until coarsely chopped.
  2. Begin to add in the parsley and pound with pestle or pulse in food processor.
  3. Once all is well combined, scrape out with a spatula and stir in olive oil.  This is key!  Do not process with the olive oil.  
  4. Season to taste with salt.
  5. Refrigerate topped with extra olive oil to keep it nice and green, 7-10 days.  Freeze for longer.  

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Ham & Cheese Stromboli

Ham and Cheese Stromboli

Traditionally made with deli ham or prosciutto, it is an absolute perfect way to use up leftover smoked ham from your Easter dinner!  Delicious warm or cool, it is perfect for lunches for the week! We like how the basil really brightens it all up.  

Serves 6-8

1 recipe pizza dough (enough to make 1 extra large pizza)
2-3 tbsp whole grain mustard (we like Kozlik`s Triple Crunch Mustard)
1/2 lb. (approx. 2 heaping cups) leftover ham, shredded
2 cups of grated cheese (what works well is an old white cheddar, Gunn's Hill Handeck, or Gruyere) 
1 small bunch of basil, finely shredded 
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers, well drained and patted dry

  1. Roll or stretch out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface so that it is a large rectangle, approximately 16 by 18 inches
  2. Using the back of a spoon, spread mustard all over the dough
  3. Next, sprinkle shredded ham evenly over mustard, covering the surface of the dough, but leaving about a 1 inch border
  4. Sprinkle on cheese, basil and roasted red peppers
  5. Starting at the widest side, roll up carefully forming a pinwheel
  6. Transfer the Stromboli (you may need a third hand here!) to a parchment paper lined baking sheet*
  7. Using a sharp knife, make small slits at the top of the Stromboli, about 2 inches apart
  8. Bake in 425°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until top is nicely golden brown.  Don’t worry if some of the filling has leaked out (often this is the best part!)
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing into 1-2 inch slices, using a bread knife
*at this point, feel free to wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze

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Homemade Tartar Sauce

Homemade Tartar Sauce

For sure, we're grabbing fish & chips from our favourite local spot, but the sauce has to be this one!  

Makes approx. 2 1/2  cups, or 6-8 servings.  

2 cup Hellman’s or Duke's Mayonnaise
1 small shallot, finely diced (about 2 tbsp. diced) 
Juice of 1 lemon 
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard (we like Kozlik's Triple Crunch)
2 dill pickles, finely diced
2 tbsp. capers, finely chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
5-6 sprigs (or a small handful) fresh dill, finely chopped
1 hard boiled egg, grated (optional) 
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a small bowl, place shallots; add lemon juice and allow to macerate, while you are chopping the remainder of the ingredients.
  2. In another mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, capers, parsley & dill. Stir and season with salt.
  3. Add the shallots but not the lemon juice. Fold in egg and stir to combine.
  4. Add lemon juice and more salt if needed.
  5. Cover and chill until needed.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers and use within a couple of days.

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Steamed Mussels with Beer, Bacon, Leek and Cream

Steamed Mussels with Beer, Bacon, Leek and Cream
Serves 4 as an appetizer

2 lbs mussels, scrubbed
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 large leeks, white part only, finely sliced
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced or sliced thin
¾ cup of dark beer
4-5 sprigs each fresh thyme & parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
Chopped fresh herbs, about 2 tbsp. such as thyme or parsley
1/2 cup 35% cream 
1 tsp Sherry Wine Vinegar 
Salt & Pepper, as needed 

  1. Clean, scrub and debeard mussels.  Discard any cracked or opened mussels.  Place in a bowl. We'll often then shake the bowl vigorously at this point, which will help close any mussels that might be slightly open.  Place a damp paper towel over top and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.   
  2. In a large pot or pan with a lid, fry bacon until almost crisp over medium heat. 
  3. Reduce heat and sweat leeks with bacon until soft, adding garlic for the last 30 seconds or so.  
  4. Increase heat: add mussels and fry for about 2 minutes before adding beer,  herbs and cream.  Be sure to pick up the mussels and place in, as opposed to dumping in from the bowl.  You want to leave behind any residual liquid in the bowl.  
  5. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until all shells are opened, 3-5 minutes.  
  6. Mussels are cooked to perfection as soon as they open. Take open mussels out of pan and place in serving bowls; discard any un-opened mussels.  
  7. Lastly, add vinegar, taste for seasoning, and pour sauce over mussels.  

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Lasagna 'Souperole'

Lasagna 'Souperole'!

Part soup, part casserole, satisfying all of your lasagna cravings with half the work!  Find the 'mafaldine' pasta at specialty Italian shops, or break up dried lasagna noodles into 2-3 inch pieces.  Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 ½ onions, finely diced
3 ribs celery, finely diced
2 carrot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
2 bay leaves
1 parmesan rind
¼ cup red wine
1 large can of good quality whole tomatoes, pureed
3 cups water or chicken stock

1 package of Rummo mafaldine pasta (long narrow lasagna looking noodles or your favourite shape)
2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese

  1. Heat a large pot oven safe pot over medium heat. Add beef, use a straight sided wooden spoon to break beef up, stirring occasionally until just cooked through. Remove from the pot into a strainer to strain out excess fat. Set aside, cooked beef will be added back to the pot later. 
  2. Return to pot to the heat and  add butter & olive oil, along with onion and a generous pinch of salt, and cook 3-4 minutes (cooking out excess water) before adding celery and carrot. Cook until soft but without colour. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Return the cooked ground beef to the pot with the vegetables. 
  3. Deglaze with red wine, cooked 2-3 minutes until wine is fully evaporated. Stir in tomato puree and simmer to 4-5 minutes to concentrate the tomatoes. 
  4. Add bay leaves and parmesan rind along with water of stock. Simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes up to an hour.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to boil.Generously season with salt and  add pasta and cook 4-5 minutes (half of the time that the label directs)
  6. Remove pasta from the water and add to soup. Top with cheese and broil until cheese is melted and begins to brown. Alternatively, generously butter oven safe soup bowls, add noodles, ladle soup on top of noodles and to with cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and just begins to brown. 

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Chicken Pot Pie Stew

Chicken Pot Pie Stew 
This recipe is ideally made in two stages, even one day apart: poach the chicken in the broth on day one, strain the broth and pull the meat off the bones.  Day two then the stew comes together quickly and easily.  Serves 4-6 generously, and can also be served with broad, buttered egg noodles.   Recipe can be doubled.  

Note: you may end up with extra broth.  That's never a bad thing! 

1 large (4lb) whole chicken 
Cold Water, to start 
2 onions (1 finely diced for soup, 1 cut into quarters for broth)
2 large carrots (1 diced for soup, 1 cut into 1 inch pieces for broth)
2 ribs celery (1 diced for soup, 1 cut into 1 inch pieces for broth)
2-3 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs thyme (use stems in broth and leaves in soup)
4-5 stems parsley (use stems in broth and leaves in soup)
4-6 medium yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and large dice 
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup flour 

Salt, as needed 

  1. Season chicken with 1-2 tsp salt. Place in a pot & cover with  cold water. Bring to a JUST a boil, turn down to a simmer and skim any scum or impurities that rise to the surface. 

  2. Add your roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery, thyme stems, parsley stems, bay leaves.

  3. Continue to simmer on very low heat (DO NOT BOIL!) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until meat is falling off the bone. 

  4. Carefully lift chicken out of broth (using 2 pairs of tongs or a fine mesh strainer works well) and place into a bowl to cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones in large pieces.  Discard bones.

  5. Strain broth into a large container or two, discarding large pieces of vegetable and herb stems. 

  6. Make Stew:  in a heavy, clean pot melt butter and add diced onion.  Season with salt, cook until soft but not brown.  Add carrot & celery and cook until softened
  7. Shake flour over softened vegetables and stir to combine. Stir for 2-3 minutes.  
  8. Whisk about 8 cups of the broth into vegetables, soup will be slightly thickened. Add potatoes and chopped thyme leaves and bring to a simmer and allow to simmer gently until potatoes are just fork tender. 

  9. Stir in chopped parsley leaves and chicken meat, just to heat through.  
  10. Do not simmer for too long at this point, or chicken will become stringy.  
  11. Season to taste with salt & pepper. 
  12. Enjoy!  


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Creamy Leek & Mushroom Pasta with Bacon Crumble

Serves 2 Generously 

4 slices bacon, chopped
4 tbsp. butter, divided 
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
4-5 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

½ lb mushrooms (cremini ), thinly sliced
1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
5-6 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
¼ cup white wine
1 cup 35% cream

300g of pasta (short shape like farfalle, penne, rigatoni)
3 tbsp. kosher salt
oil, as needed 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. 
  2. Make crumble:  fry bacon with 2 tbsp. of the butter until medium crisp.  
  3. Use a spatula to scrape all into a small bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese & parsley.  Set aside.   
  4. Make sauce:  Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. 
  5. Add a little oil to frying pan, followed by mushrooms.  Season with salt, allow to cook, undisturbed for 1 minute.  Add a splash of water and continue to cook, undisturbed for 4-5 minutes.  
  6. Add remaining butter, leeks, garlic and thyme.  Cook until leeks are softened.  Add white wine.  Reduce.  
  7. Add cream, reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Add 3 tbsp. kosher salt to boiling water and cook pasta until very al dente.  
  9. Using a fine mesh strainer, pull pasta straight from water to your pan with the sauce.  Add in about 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, bring back up to medium heat and simmer until all is combined.   
  10. Serve in warmed bowls, topped with bacon crumble!   

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Maple Spice Pecans

Maple Spice Pecans
Perfect for serving with cheeses, or jar up with a ribbon for a gift!  

75g (3/4 cup) pecan halves
40g (2 tbsp.) maple syrup
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. Garam Masala (or another favourite spice blend, or even a pinch of cayenne) 
1 small wheel of local brie (we love Gunn’s Hill Brigid Brie)
1 small baguette

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375F.  
  2. Toast pecans on baking sheet in oven for 3-4 minutes
 (it's ok to do this while oven is preheating.  Actually ideal, as it's a gentle heat).  
  3. Place syrup and oil in a frying pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat
  4. Toss toasted pecans in syrup mixture, tossing to coat well.   Scrape back onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar, salt & garam masala and return to oven for 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. Serve with brie cheese and warm baguette!

NOTE: You can easily double or triple this recipe!   Nuts will stay crisp & delicious in an airtight container for several weeks.  

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