Sunday, February 28, 2010


The last meal of the Official Olympic Menu... I'm a little sad. This winter has sure been made a lot more fun with the Olympics to cheer for. Tomorrow is going to be one sad Monday! But even without the Olympics to inspire me, I can still find a lot of joy in the kitchen, cooking internationally. Winter is a great time to experiment in the kitchen. You can travel to exotic locations without leaving your house!! And we all need a little "getaway" in the dead of winter. I really loved the Korean Barbecue last night.

I just realized that the paralympics run March 12 - 21. We have shown so much love and support for the Olympics. I hope we have the same enthusiasm for our paralympians! What they do is even more thrilling!

Okay, on to tonight's meal. Fiskboller which are Norwegian Fish Balls.

Serves 4


  • 1 lb white fish, cod, haddock, pollack
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour to form a nice dough
  • 1 clove roasted garlic
  • Salt and Pepper


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups leftover simmer broth


  1. Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, you want the dough to form a nice ball
  2. Bring chicken, fish or veggie broth or water (I used plan ol' water and it worked great) to boil in a large pot
  3. Form balls with two spoons and drop into the simmering water.
  4. They are cooked when they firm and float to the top.
  5. Strain the leftover broth and use it to make a nice white sauce.
  6. Melt butter over medium high heat in a saucepan
  7. Add flour and cook for about 30 seconds
  8. Whisk in white wine and curry powder until thick
  9. Add in enough leftover broth to make a smooth sauce.

Serve with some steamed veggies or a nice salad and you have a complete meal.

I'm thinking of something special to do for the Paralympics next month so stay tuned!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Korean Bulgogi

Tonight's meal from the Olympic Menu is Korean Bulgogi which is just marinated barbecued beef. It's easy to make this very authentic dish with ingredients from your local grocery store.

Even the marinating stage looks tasty....I'm drooling already!

Korean Bulgogi

Serves 4



  • 4 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 green onions, finely chopped

  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated (I cut fresh ginger into chunks and freeze then it's easy to grate it and I always have fresh ginger in the house)

  • 1 tsp sesame oil (if you can't find this, double the amount of sesame seeds)

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp sesame seed

  • 1 lb finely sliced lean beef

  • large lettuce leaves

  • shredded carrots and green onions

  • soy sauce for dipping

  • kimchi, if you can find it!


  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together and toss the sliced meat in it. Marinate for at least 1 hour

  2. Set a pan over high heat or use an indoor grill set on high.

  3. Sear the meat

  4. Set out the meat and remaining ingredients for everyone to make their own.

  5. Roll the meat in the lettuce leaves with shredded carrots, green onions and kimchi and dip in the soy sauce.

If you have an indoor grill or raclette and can place it in the middle of the table, diners can cook their own meat which is exactly how the Koreans would enjoy this meal.

Mani deuseyo!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wiener Schnitzel and Spaetzle

Tonight's selection from the Olympic Menu is a salute to Germany. Typically Wiener Schnitzel is made with veal, that is the traditionally correct way to make it. However, believe it or not, veal can be hard to find in my local grocery store. So I'm going to use the very acceptable substitute - pork. Some traditionalists will tell you this is not an acceptable substitute but many others will tell you it's just fine. And increasingly popular given that many people are opposed to eating veal and pork is readily available and cheaper. You can use which ever you like, I won't tell.

Schnitzel is incredibly easy. Perfect for a Friday evening in! Don't feel like making the Spaetzle? Serve Schnitzel with pasta or potatoes.
Wiener Schnitzel
Serves 4


  • 4 veal sirloin, scallopini or boneless pork chops

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup bread crumbs

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

  1. If the meat is not already thin, pound out to 1/4 - 1/2 inch (about 2cm)

  2. Heat butter over medium high heat in a frying/saute pan

  3. Beat eggs in a dish and place bread crumbs on a plate with salt and pepper

  4. Dip meat in eggs, then in bread crumbs

  5. Saute meat in butter until cooked through

  6. Squeeze one wedge of lemon on each piece of meat, serve the remaining wedges with each piece as garnish

Serves 4


  • 2 cups flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1 tsp salt

  1. Set a large pot of water on to boil

  2. Mix all the ingredients together

  3. The water needs to be boiling before you proceed!

  4. Push the batter mix through a colander or grater into the water (or use a ricer if you have one)

  5. The dough bits should cook 2 -3 minutes, they will float to the top when done.

  6. Remove with a large slotted spoon and drain

  7. Toss with some butter or your favorite cheese and enjoy!
Serve the Schnitzel and Spaetzle with some steamed veggies or a salad and you have a nice balanced meal!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We interrupt these Olympics for a brief moment of appreciation.

I was just watching a segment on TV about our PEI bobsleigher Heather Moyse. I think I've spent most of these Olympics a little moist in the eyes. Amazing. Prince Edward Island, Canada is one of the most beautiful places. I highly recommend a visit at least once in your life. I'm heading over that way in the fall and I can't wait. Maybe it's part of being a Maritimer, but PEI gives me a sense of peace. And my camera really gets a workout!

My mom has been thoroughly enjoying the Olympics. She's watched everything with full intensity and passion. And I mean EVERYTHING! She's right there, cheering on our athletes. A lot of these sports she doesn't really understand, like a lot of us, but she's been learning as we go along. I hope everyone out there has been enjoying these games as much as my mom has. I'm running out of clean red attire to wear! Must go put on a load of laundry...

I've been enjoying the Olympics all the more with my Olympics Menu. Last night I had Swedish Meatballs... what a yummy comfort meal to curl up in front of the TV with! I might have to make them a regular winter addition to my yearly menu. One big batch, divided and frozen will be a nice addition to the comfort food selection in my freezer next winter.

It's been a wonderful winter (even if the weather hasn't been very wintery around here...). I hope everyone is enjoying theirs as well. Not liking winter so much? Might I recommend lighting some candles (carefully!), curling up with some comfort food, opening up a nice bottle of wine or putting on a pot of apple cider and watching an event or two while cheering on your national athletes. And don't worry, spring is right around the corner!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mac and Cheese of Olympians!

Why do I call this Mac and Cheese of Olympians? Because it's part of my Olympics Menu and because it has spinach! If it makes Popeye strong imagine what it does for Olympians! No patience or time to make homemade mac and cheese? KD fans - add veggies to your KD! Kids don't like spinach? Try a can of tomatoes, some chopped broccoli or cauliflower. Even peas will do! At least it will get the kids used to seeing some colourful veggies in their Mac and Cheese. I love one dish meals, so by adding veggies dinner is done. Easy!

Mac and Cheese of Olympians

Serves 6


  • 3/4 - 1 lb dried pasta, I used Scooby Doo pasta.
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 c shredded cheese, I used old cheddar and white cheddar
  • 1 pkg chopped spinach, DO NOT Drain
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp each, Dijon and Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c shredded cheddar for top


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain but don't rinse!
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. In the same big pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium high heat
  4. Add the onions and saute until soft
  5. Add the flour and whisk until blended
  6. Slowly add milk and continue whisking until blended and thickened, reduce heat to medium
  7. Add 1/2 c of the cheese and whisk until melted, continue adding 1/2 c at a time until it's all incorporated
  8. Stir in the Dijon, Worcestershire sauce and nutmeg
  9. Fold in the spinach and then the pasta
  10. Pour the mixture into casserole dishes. I like individual casseroles as they freeze quickly and defrost quickly. But if you have a big family one big casserole will do!
  11. Top with bread crumbs and cheese
  12. Bake for 20 -30 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.

Cheers! Back to the games!

Austrian Goulash

A lot of the countries have their own form of ragout. Ragout is simply braised beef, using a cheap cut of meat so it's a good way to make a hearty meal go far for less. And nothing smells nicer than beef braising in the oven on a chilly winter day. Add rosemary and tomatoes and you have the Italian version. Add herbs de Provence and red wine and you have a French Version. A Goulash is the Austrian version with paprika and sour cream. Simple and very tasty. Here's the Austrian version in honour of their participation in the Vancouver Olympics as part of my Olympic Menu.

Austrian Goulash
Serves 4 (double this recipe, it freezes perfectly!)

  • 2 tbsp bacon fat or beef suet
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 lb lean beef cut into chunks
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or balkan style yogurt

  1. Heat oven to 300 F
  2. Heat bacon fat in a large oven safe pot over medium high heat
  3. Add onion and cook until soft
  4. Toss in the garlic, paprika and tomato paste and cook 30 seconds
  5. Add beef, water and oregano
  6. Bring to a boil
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  8. Cover and place in oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  9. Remove from even and stir in sour cream or yogurt
  10. If the sauce is too runny, reduce on the stove top by simmering until the liquid is the consistency of a nice gravy.
Serve with boiled potatoes and carrots.

Guten Appetit!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Japanese Teriyaki Salmon, Veggies and Rice

It snowed last night! Now it really feels like the Olympics! But that also meant the big dig out. Luckily my neighbor got a snowblower for Christmas and this was the first time they could use it so they cleared everyone's driveway. I just had to tidy up and clear a path to my backyard. Still a good work out but not unmanageable. And tomorrow morning I'll have to clear the end of the driveway again but that's okay it'll be another workout!

Tonight's meal should have been a quickie but the brown rice takes 30 minutes or more. I'm making a big batch to freeze some for meals in the future. Next time I need rice I can just pull it out of the freezer and not have to wait a half hour or more. It's the only way to get supper on the table fast during the week.

Tonight I'm really keeping it simple. Brown rice, frozen Asian mixed veggies and a piece of salmon. I'm going to bake the salmon in the toaster oven covered in Teriyaki sauce. I'll stir fry the veggies and throw some of the same Teriyaki sauce on it. Serve it all over the rice and that's it, dinner - done!

A stir fry can really come together quickly with frozen Asian mixed veggies or pre-cut veggies from the grocery store. Add you pre-made rice or noodles and you can literally put dinner on the table in about 15 minutes!

My end result:

Yum !

(sushi would have also made a nice Japanese meal tonight....)

Now back to the games!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

French Onion Soup

Here's my recipe for French Onion Soup. It's pretty traditional a la Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This is one of my favorite winter recipes. So simple but so delicious. Wonder how to get that nice melted cheese on top? You can put some toasted bread on the top of the soup, top with cheese and put under the broiler. I have soup bowls just for this purpose. But if you are not sure your bowls can handle this then sprinkle your cheese on thick slices of toasted bread and either bake them at 450 or broil them on a baking sheet until melted and lightly browned. (Watch closely because they can brown up pretty fast!) You can then just place these right on the top of the soup. Viola! This is a great way to handle the melted cheese component if you want to pack this up for lunches. Just heat your soup and then top with the toasted cheese bread, made ahead or toasted while the soup heats. Don't worry if the bread is really hard and crunchy... all the better to absorb the soup!

French Onion Soup
Serves 4 - 6 as a main course, 6 -8 as a starter

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 mutant large onions, or 5 cups onion sliced (I had mutant large onions on hand)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups beef stock + 4 cups water or 8 cups store bought fat free beef broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • French bread, cut in thick slices
  • Gruyere or Emmentaler Cheese, shredded
  1. Heat butter and oil over medium low heat in a large pot until the butter is melted
  2. Add onions, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes
  3. Add sugar and turn heat up to medium, stir often and cook until the onions are golden.
  4. Add flour and salt and cook 1 - 2 minutes
  5. Add stock through Worcestershire sauce, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
  7. Serve in bowls with toasted bread slices and cheese melted on top (see above note)

This meal isn't due until later in the Olympic menu but I do love to make my meals ahead when I have time. This one freezes beautifully. Don't pre-toast the bread, just slice it up and freeze it. It will be just the right texture for this dish when you are ready to eat it.

Back to the Games!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fan's Restaurant for Chinese New Year

Last night we went out for Chinese New Year. I had Chinese Pork, Bok Choy and Noodle Soup on the menu in honour of Chinese New Year but then I got invited out. So out for Chinese food I went!

I had investigated Chinese Restaurants in the area around Christmas time when we spoke of doing Chinese again for Christmas Eve. In the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas, picking up dinner instead of making it on Christmas Eve is a wonderful idea. However we used the same place as the year before in Halifax, the Silver Dragon which we drive right by on the way home from the Christmas Eve service at my Nana's church. It's really good but out of the way from here for regular take out. I do keep a copy of their take out menu in the car so I can order their seafood noodles for take out when I'm over that way!

So for Valentines Day/Chinese New Year we tried Fan's Restaurant. I'd read a couple of reviews and it seemed like a safe bet. The place was pretty busy but it was Chinese New Year after all. There were a few Chinese people eating in the restaurant. It's always a good sign if you see some folks of whatever nationality the restaurant is actually eating in the restaurant.

I started with a Tsingtao, a beer from China. I always like to drink a beverage from the nation whose cuisine I'm eating. It's a natural match. They claim to specialize in Northern Chinese Cuisine. The menu items were not named like I'm used to. I didn't see Almond Guy Ding or chicken chow mein or items like that but instead the items were more simply named. The menu was quite large and very overwhelming but I find that in most Chinese places. We settled on the dinner for 3 and, as usual, ended up with way too much food. They didn't have egg rolls, just spring rolls which were quite tasty. They were also quite greasy. They arrived at our table immediately after placing our order. Which was great because we were hungry.

Next was soup. The wonton filling in the wontons in the soup was perfect. We followed that with Ginger Fried Shredded Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin, Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables with Shrimp and Chicken Fried Rice. It was all quite tasty. I don't like the deep fried Sweet and Sour dishes we typically get around here but this one was well done. I like to go with some basics the first time I go to an ethnic restaurant before I venture off to dishes that aren't familiar to me. It gives me a better idea of how good the restaurant really is. Fan's definitely peaked my interest to try other items on the menu. The only complaint I had is that they brought each dish out separately with time in between. So we got our Fried Rice and then a few minutes later the Stir Fried Veggies and then we were waiting for the rest before digging in. We ended up starting to eat the first 2 main dishes while waiting and then adding the final two main dishes to our plates as they showed up. It would have been really nice to have gotten them all at once.

One item on the menu that is part of their claim to Northern Chinese Cuisine is the Peking Duck. I'd really like to try it. They also do Dim Sum during lunch time on Saturday's and Sunday's. I'd love to go back and try that. They recommend reservations so they must do it well to be that busy! Overall it was a good meal and if you're craving Chinese this is a good spot.

Tonight is Spanish Paella from my Olympic's Menu. Buen Apetito!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year!

I made some special devil's food chocolate cupcake for Valentine's day. I had filled the cups up half way and then put in a heart shaped marshmallow. However, they floated to the top during baking. Now this does end up being rather interesting. However, you don't get a nice dollop of marshmallow in the centre. So I frosted them and put another marshmallow on top.
Cute eh? The cupcakes... just a mix. The frosting is also store bought. Cheating is okay!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yes they were as good as they look. But I can now confirm that 2 lbs is a bit much, even as a meal unless you are a huge eater. 1.5 lbs per person for a main meal is plenty. I could not finish the last 5 mussels..... But I did enjoy my meal. I threw in a little cream, just about 1/4 cup into the wine and garlic broth I steamed the mussels in before I poured it over the them in the serving dish. Great start to the Olympic menu
As I watched the opening ceremonies, I was pleased to see the countries I chose to represent on this menu each have a good number of athletes representing them in most or all of the events. Greece had to be included even though there are countries there with more athletes. Tonight is Polish Perogies and Kielbasa. Poland has been in every winter Olympic games since the beginning! Glad I had them on the menu! I'll be having a nice healthy salad on the side and my kielbasa is turkey kielbasa so it will be a pretty healthy meal.
Back to the games!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic Opening Ceremonies

As I watch the Opening Ceremonies I'm immensely proud that the First Nations were so well represented. It's amazing that the four leaders of the four host first nations were given such respect in the official stands, sitting right behind Michealle Jean, our Governor General. The dancers and their costumes were so beautiful.

It was devastating today to here of the young Georgian man who lost his life on the Luge track. I wondered how it would be handled. Of course you want to pay the most respect possible. But what would be right? I think they are doing a fine job of respecting his Olympic spirit. His teammates are clearly devastated but they will stay and compete. I suspect that Nodar Kumaritashvili would have wanted that. I have shed many a tear today in my silly sappiness but the ones I shed when I heard that this young man lost his life just so he might feel what it was like to be an Olympian were tears well spent. I will think of him every time someone goes down that track and every time I hear of an athlete from the former Soviet Republic. Rest in Peace.

While the Olympics are fun to watch and I've created a menu to go along with them, I am continually reminded that these guys train hard. In other words, they get off their fleshy bottoms and MOVE!! I'm feeling immensely inspired. So during the Olympics I'm going to get out and move every day. Even if I just let one of my big hairy dogs drag me around the block. At least I'll be moving! So aside from feeling extra proud to be a Canadian, I'm going to try to be a healthy Canadian. I was enjoying a glass of white wine after my Mussels and instead of getting another glass, I had a nice mug of Earl Grey. Much healthier!

And when the Canadian team entered the Opening Ceremonies.... yeah, the flood gates opened. Congrats to all the qualifying athletes from all countries. May the games begin!

Good Foodie Hobby

Tonight is the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Wheeeee! My mussels are in the fridge for the first meal of my official Olympics Menu. To go with all these Olympic festivities, I have indulged in one of my most productive hobbies! Wine Making!! Last night I filtered off a batch of Chablis. Most of the wine tastes better if you let it sit for 1 - 3 months. I try to do that. No, really, I do try...

For those of you not Canadian, we pay a lot of tax on alcoholic beverages so the hobby of making homemade wine and beer has flourished here over the years. I've been doing it for close to 15 years. I've always used kits which include the fruit juice and necessary chemicals. My grandmother used to make homemade wine out of any berries or fruit that grew in her yard, which is pretty neat but all that grows in my yard is chives so I'm thinking I'll stick with the kits.

When I first started making wine it was quite the complicated task. I found a place that would make it for you but that was in New Brunswick and when I moved back to Nova Scotia last year I discovered there were no such places here. I'm back to doing it myself. But between a proper laundry sink, a small room I can properly control the temperature and these improved, practically fool-proof kits, it's a lot easier than I remember. And the results are really good!

A few tips; first of all there are lots of great sites on the internet that show you what to do so check them out, secondly when you have to stir to de-gas - stir like your freakin' life depends on it! (this step is beyond important, stir, shake, beat it to death), lastly filter your wine. No matter how careful you try to be, sediment makes it into some of the bottles. You went through all the effort to make the wine, don't skimp out at the end.

For anyone who's a foodie (and a wino) this is a fun hobby. And you get to indulge in the results!

And now we take you back to the games. My outdoor lights are on starting tonight for the duration of the games as per requested by someone sounding official. My neighbors might think I'm a nutter but oh well. Go Canada Go!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Easy Olympic Meals

There are a few meals in my Olympics menu that are quick and easy and won't be made ahead so here's what I'm doing.

Check out my complete Olympic menu and recipe links here.

Belgium Mussels
Get 1.5 - 2 lbs a mussels per person. Wash them, toss out any that won't close, pull of the fuzzy beards. Get a big pot. I put in a couple of cloves of garlic, roughly chopped, some white wine and some water or chicken broth just to fill up the pot about an inch or 2. Toss in your mussels and set the pot over high heat. Once the liquid starts to boil, steam the mussels about 4 minutes. I serve the mussels with the leftover pot liquor and bread to sop it all up with. You could take out the mussels and add a little cream to the pan, heat through and then pour over the mussels in their serving dish. Remember to throw out any mussels that don't open.

Polish Perogies and Kielbasa
This one is super easy. I buy frozen perogies. Just follow the directions on the package. Typically there are directions to cook them up in a pan with butter. Even if there isn't, cook them as directed then put them in a pan set over medium high heat with veg oil and a smidgen of butter for flavour. Slice or dice some kielbasa and throw it into the pan too. Serve with some steamed veggies or a salad and that will be my easy polish inspired meal.

Switzerland Cheese Fondue
Yes, you can make a fondue cheese recipe but most recipes call for Kirsch with is not something most of us have on hand (it's German cherry brandy). I'm really cheating on this one. In your deli cheese section you can find packages of fondue cheese. All you have to do is melt it in your fondue pot. Don't have a fondue pot? Heat in a pot on the stove over low. I'm going to have grilled veggies and bread with mine and I might add some grilled chicken. If you don't have time, simply grab a french stick loaf of bread and some pre-cut veggies from the grocery store. How easy is that?!

Pizza counts! Order in or pull one out of the freezer - done!

Burgers and Fries, Cheesesteaks, Subs or Heros sandwiches, these are all great options. Any Americans out there have some recommendations?

Grab some bratwurst from the grocery store. Serve them on the a bun with some sauerkraut.

Show you're support for Canada!
Donairs! Mac and Cheese, Fish Cakes, Chowder, Pea Soup. Anything from a pub! It's easy to show your support.

Italian Ragu Sauce

Check out my complete Olympic menu and recipe links here.

This is super simple and deadly delicious. No pre-browning of the meat required. It's inspired by Jamie Oliver's trip to Italy. I've been doctoring up jars of pasta sauce since I was 9. It was probably my first adventure in flavours!

In North America we tend to make an interpretation of Italian food that is very heavy and fattening and then we feel obligated to limit how often we indulge. Oddly enough, Italians eat Italian food every night and have one of the lowest rates of heart disease. So I'm always trying to incorporate authentic Italian food into my menus so I can eat them more often and feel great about it. This sauce totally rocked! I hope you like it too.

Authentic Italian Ragu Sauce
Serves 6 - 8

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion. chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 28 oz/796ml and 14 oz/398ml can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • spring of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium high heat
  2. Saute the onions until soft
  3. Toss in the garlic and saute for just 30 seconds until fragrant
  4. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (yup, even the ground meat)
  5. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or so over medium low heat
  6. Pull out the rosemary and bay leaf and serve over pasta

*If you don't love rosemary, pull it out after 30 minutes.
This is a great one to get on the stove on the weekend and then freeze for meals during the week. The flavours are so simple but amazing. Gone of the days of adding even more herbs and spices to jars of already over complicated sauces! Simplicity rules!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

2010 Vancouver Olympics Menu, Meal Ideas and Recipes

As promised here is my menu for the Olympics. I have chosen to stick with countries in the northern hemisphere. There were so many to choice from that I had to set some criteria. So I chose countries that are having winter as we watch the winter Olympics. And I didn't want to do anything too spicy because I have discovered that when I eat spicy I get really cold a little while after and this is no time of year to reduce your internal body temperature. I will save those spicy recipes from those spicy countries for my World Cup menu this summer! That'll be big fun!

I found that most of the cold weather countries have meat and potato type diets. I know this was not rocket science but my research into "official national dishes" confirmed it. It was hard not to have potatoes every night! I am trying to mix it up as best as I can. This menu can best be described as comfort food. But as most of us curl up by a fire or under a blanket to watch the games I'm guessing warming comfort foods are a pretty good idea.

I'll keep this as the master list. Even when I make a recipe after this posting, I'll come back here and link it to the recipe so you can use this as the Olympics Index! See if there is something that tickles your fancy and then click on the link to check out the recipe.

2010 Vancouver Olympics Menu

Friday, Feb 12 - Belguim - Mussels and Bread ( you can do fries but I already have more potato meals planned then usual)
Sat, Feb 13 - Poland - Perogies and Kielbasa
Sun, Feb 14 - China - (Valentine's day and Chinese New Year!) Chinese Noodle and Pork Soup - I went out instead for Chinese! See the restaurant review for Fan's Restaurant.
Mon, Feb 15 - Spain - Paella
Tues, Feb 16 - Great Britain - Shepherd's Pie
Weds, Feb 17 - Japan - Teriyaki Salmon, Veg and Rice
Thurs, Feb 18 - Italy - Pasta and Ragu
Fri, Feb 19 - USA - Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Sat, Feb 20 - Switzerland - Cheese Fondue with Veggies and Bread
Sun, Feb 21 - Austria - Goulash
Mon, Feb 22 - Greece - Stuffed Peppers
Tues, Feb 23 - France - French Onion Soup
Weds, Feb 24 - Sweden - Swedish Meatballs
Thurs, Feb 25 - Canada - Mac and Cheese
Fri, Feb 26 - Germany - Wiener Schnitzel and Spatzle
Sat, Feb 27 - Korea - Bulgogi (Beef BBQ served in Lettuce Leaves)
Sun, Feb 28 - Norway - Fiskboller (Fish Balls)

I'm pretty excited! I might not have each meal on the exact night I have listed here. I can't be that strict, it depends on what I feel like! Go Canada Go!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!!!

Oh my goddess I'm excited! It's like Christmas. The first thought I had when I woke up this morning was "YAHOO, it's here, it's Super Bowl Sunday!". I wait all year for this day. The two top seeds from each conference are playing off which is unusual. Usually the game is very one sided. So this one should be good. My folks are coming over to watch with me. I already had food planned but thought it might not be enough so I've added Broccoli and Cheese Stromboli to the menu. I made them up last night and I'll just reheat them during the game. Easy and cheap!

Broccoli and Cheese Stromboli
Serves 6 - 8 as snacks

(For some reason the formating is not working today, my apologies)
1 lb frozen pizza dough
2 cups diced broccoli, fresh or frozen
1 cup shredded cheddar and/or mozzarella
2 tbsp pesto sauce
1/2 cup tomato/pizza sauce

Heat oven to 400F/200C degrees and spray a baking sheet with veg oil
Divide defrosted dough into 8 equal pieces
Flour surface and roll out each piece into a rectangle (I didn't roll out the dough, I stretched it by hand and I had thin spots that resulted in blowouts. Next time I'll use my rolling pin {empty wine bottle} for better results)
Drizzle each dough piece with pesto sauce down the middle, about 1 tsp
Top pesto with broccoli and cheese, divided between all 8 pieces
Drizzle a bit of tomato sauce on top of each, again about 1 tsp
Roll up each Stromboli and place seam side down on baking sheet
Bake for 20 minutes until the dough is nice a golden
Serve with more tomato/pizza sauce for dipping

Don't worry if you don't have pesto on hand (I have some in a tube). You can just drizzle a little pizza sauce on the bottom. Overall don't put too much sauce in or you'll end up with a messy hot sauce torpedo. Make these ahead, only baking 15 minutes, cool and refrigerate. Reheat at 350 for 10 - 15 minutes until it's heated through. These would be fin for a Friday night with the kids!

I expect to be hoarse by tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I'm posting the finalized Olympics Menu!! Stay tuned!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

I realized last night that the Olympics run for 17 days, not 14. I have to add 3 more recipes to my menu. Not a problem, I had picked 14 out of my list so I just need to go back and pick 3 more. It works out well too because there are 3 full weekends and it's a lot more fun to prepare an international meal and enjoy it on the weekend when you aren't rushed and are more likely to be enjoying some Olympic viewing at the same time.

Check out my complete Olympics menu and recipe here.

I got another meal into the freezer. Swedish Meatballs! It's pretty simple. You can cheat and buy low sodium, lean frozen meatballs and a can of beef gravy. To bump up the Swedishness, you can add some lingonberry sauce to the gravy. It can be found in jars in larger grocery stores. For those of you up north, lingonberries are also called partridge berries, red berries or low bush cranberries. I find they are less tart than cranberries.

Swedish Meatballs

Serves 4 -6

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 beer
  • 2 tbsp lingonberry sauce
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan
  2. Saute onion in pan until softened
  3. Soak bread crumbs in milk for 5 minutes in a large bowl
  4. Add onions and remaining 'meatball' ingredients except butter to bowl
  5. Mix until just blended
  6. Roll into 1/2 inch balls
  7. Preheat oven to 350
  8. Heat butter in frying pan over medium heat.
  9. Brown meatballs on all sides
  10. Meanwhile, melt 'sauce' butter in a saucepan over medium high heat
  11. Whisk in flour until blended
  12. Pour in broth and beer, whisk until blended
  13. Heat until bubbly and thickened
  14. Add in lingonberry sauce
  15. As meatballs are browned, place in baking pan (lasagna style pan works well)
  16. Pour sauce over meatballs and cook for 10 - 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  17. Serve with potatoes or pasta and steamed veggies.

Double the recipe! This will be a great meal to get on the table quick for the kids! Freeze in individual serving sizes for quick freezing and defrosting.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Granny Tan reminded me that I hadn't shared my Super Bowl plans on the blog. I've been so caught up with Olympics menu planning! First of all I got an air popper for Christmas so I'll be having some popcorn for snacking but I'm also planning some old favorites for Super Bowl. Boneless Chicken Wings and Sweet Potato Fries.

I've blogged about boneless wings before but here's the recipe I've come up with over a few trials.

Happy Healthy Snackin' Boneless Chicken Wings
Serves 2 -3

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • 1/2c BBQ sauce of your choice
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 - 15 splashes of Tabasco (add more or less if you like it more or less spicy)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Trim any visible fat from the thighs and cut into 3 - 4 lengthwise strips. Place in a baking pan, arranging the thigh strips to look like wing pieces
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over thighs
  4. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes
  5. Turn the oven to broil and turn the heat up to 450
  6. Take 'wings' out of pan and place on a broiling sheet (or alternately, drain off sauce into a pot if your baking pan is broiler safe. The Pyrex, glass ones are usually NOT safe for the broiler)
  7. Place 'wings' under the broiler for 2 - 5 minutes until brown and a bit crispy
  8. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce on the stove until it's reduced and thick for dipping.
Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 2 -3

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp mayo

  1. Heat oven to 400 (and cook them with the wings above, if you are cooking them alone, cook them at 425 for 30-35 minutes and skip the broiling part at the end)
  2. Toss sweet potato fries with the garlic powder, paprika, oregano and onion powder and drizzle with the olive oil
  3. Place on a greased cookie sheet or sheet pan
  4. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes and, if necessary broil them with the 'wings' to brown
  5. While the fries are baking, mix the ketchup and mayo for dipping.
Go Saints Go! (Although I do love me some Peyton....)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Greek Stuffed Peppers

Here's another recipe for the Olympics! I made enough to enjoy now and some to freeze for later, during the games. I'm researching and finalizing the menu this week. And getting some great input! Thanks for your thoughts and comments. It's going to be a fun February. But first we have to get through the Super Bowl!!!! I can't wait for Sunday!!

Check out the entire Olympics Menu and Recipe links here

Okay, back to the recipe. I used mild Italian sausage from a local farmer. It was sooooo yummy. However, you can use plain ground beef or lamb but you may want to increase the amount of seasoning. Brown up the meat, add the recommended amounts and then see if you need more. Are you wondering why I used Italian sausage and not Greek? Well that's what I had on hand and the seasonings weren't that different. Basil is the hallmark of Italian food and there was no basil in these sausages. They worked really well.... see above reference to "yummy"!

Greek Stuffed Peppers
Serves 6

  • 6 peppers, cut in half with the seeds and white ribs cleaned out
  • 4 cups of cooked brown rice
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 - 1 lb mild Italian sausage, either diced or removed from casing
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup crumbled light feta
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan, divided (2/3 cup to mix in the sausage mix, 1/3 cup to sprinkle on top)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt or creamy Greek dressing for serving

  1. Spray a shallow pan with olive oil or non-stick spray.
  2. Also spray or rub the outside of the peppers with olive oil
  3. Place rice in a large bowl
  4. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan
  5. Brown onions in pan
  6. Add garlic, sausage, oregano, mint and cinnamon and brown until the sausage is cooked through
  7. Add sausage mixture to the bowl with the rice
  8. Add the tomato paste, feta and 2/3 cup of the parmesan to the bowl and mix well
  9. Spoon mixture evenly into the 12 pepper halves and top with remaining parmesan cheese
  10. Bake at 375 for 35 - 40 minutes
  11. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or creamy Greek dressing on each pepper half.