Friday, October 19, 2018

Potato Benefits, Potato Varieties And Green Potatoes

Did you know that potatoes are good for you?  Unfortunately, they have a reputation for being fattening.  It’s true if you eat a lot of french fries from fast food restaurants and bags of potato chips.  But, if you cook your own potatoes at home and don’t slather them with gobs of butter and sour cream you’ll be okay.  I often use olive oil on my potatoes, which is healthier and still tasty.  

Potatoes are good for us; they contain all the vitamins and minerals necessary to sustain life (except vitamin D, which we get from the sun).  They are also high in carbohydrates, which gives us energy.  

There are many potato varieties to choose.  Here is a helpful potato guideline:

New potatoes - steaming, boiling, pan fried, potato salad
Russet potatoes - baking, roasting and french fries, mashing
White potatoes - sautéing , steaming, boiling
Red potatoes - boiling, steaming, pan fried, potato salad
Yukon Gold potatoes - baking, roasting and french fries, mashing

Did you know the Idaho potato is a registered trademark?  The same potato grown outside Idaho is called a russet or a baking potato.  They are a starchy, low moisture potato and are great for baking, frying, and mashing.

Russet Potato
The Idaho potato.  Also know as the russet or a baking potato.

Green Potatoes

Are your potatoes green in spots?  Potatoes can turn green when exposed to light.  The process speeds up when potatoes are left at room temperature.  The green colour is due to the presence of chlorophyll, a natural plant pigment.  However, solanine, a toxic, bitter-tasting chemical can also develop in the same green area as the chlorophyll.  If ingested in large quantities, solanine can be toxic.

So cut or peel away any green areas in a potato before cooking.  Always store potatoes in a dark, cool, dry, and well ventilated area (not plastic bags).  Keep them away from onions because they produce a gas which will speed up the decay of both.  New potatoes are picked before they are mature and ideally should be used right away.  If not, store them in the refrigerator.

Oven Roasted French Fries

Oven Roasted French Fries

Here’s an Oven Roasted French Fries recipe to try which has a whole lot less fat when they’re made this way at home.

Serves 4

4 large russet potatoes, peeled (skins can be left on)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Cut potatoes in half.  Cut halves lengthwise into 1/4” pieces.  Place into a bowl and coat with olive oil and salt.  Place flat on cooking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook 10 minutes.  Turn each potato over and cook another 10 minutes or until a light golden colour.

Looking for other potato recipes?  Try our Cheese and Potato Soup or  Lentil Curry Soup Or Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cheese and Potato Soup

A comfort soup to cheer you up during the winter months. 

Cheese and Potato Soup
Cheese and Potato Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces, about 4 potatoes
1 cup packed grated sharp cheddar cheese.
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add celery and onions.  Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Sprinkle flour and dill over vegetables and stir for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in broth and milk.  Add mustard powder and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Slowly add cheese stirring constantly.  Mix in ham.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Lentil Curry Soup

Watch the video on How To Make Lentil Curry Soup!  It's super simple.

Lentil Curry Soup
Lentil Curry Soup

A perfect soup to warm you up on a fall day.  Serve with crusty bread and a salad or sandwich.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 potato, diced small
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-sized pot heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute a few minutes until soft.  Add lentils, carrots, cauliflower, potato, chicken stock, water, curry and cumin powder.  Bring to a boil.  Lower temperature and simmer 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Looking or other soups to try?  How about Homemade Tomato Soup or the kid pleasing Potato and Cheese Soup

Bored with everyday home cooking?  Sign up for our free course How To Menu Plan For The Everyday Home Cook.  It will save you time, money, and reduce stress.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Vegetarian Chili

The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as good
cooks go, she went.  Reginaold (1904)

Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili, Salsa and Chips

     There I was cooking dinner, as always, and my son was sitting at the well-worn table, reading. He suddenly slammed down his book and looked up at me as if I’d done something wrong.

     “Mom, do you really like to cook?” he asked partly in disgust and partly in disbelief.

     What an interesting question, I thought. Cooking is something I do every day of every week of every year, but do I like it?

     Pondering the question I realized that cooking fills a creative urge that resides within me. It’s like a hunger pain that doesn’t go away until it’s fed. The other reason I cook is because I know that eating the right foods is good for our bodies. When we cook at home, we are eating whole foods that are full of nutrition, vitamins, minerals, fibre etc. When we cook at home we don’t eat take-out or pre-packaged foods, which are nutrient-poor, over-refined, high in sugar, salt and fat.  I feed the family so that their bodies can function optimally, the way they were originally designed to do. Cooking is a daily function, for me, similar to picking the kids up after soccer practice, I just do it.

      Do I like to cook? Well, sometimes but sometimes not. Truthfully, I wish a robot could be invented who would cook for us, plus do the shopping, plus clean the house, take the dog for a walk, do the laundry, drive the kids etc.etc.
Do you like to cook?

Green Chili Peppers
Hot Chili Peppers

Vegetable Chili 

Serves 6

2 tablespoons oil
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 28 fl.oz.. can tomatoes with juice
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
Pinch of fennel (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil on stove and sauté eggplant until soft in a medium sized saucepan. Add a little water if pan gets too dry. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes. Add spices and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes, black beans and corn. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour. Add more water if too thick. Serve with rice.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Cauliflower Rice




When I was growing up vegetables were never the star attraction.  Don’t get me wrong…we ate our vegetables every night at dinner, but they were always the sideshow and never the main act. They were served to add colour to a plate of food.  Not unlike adding accent pillows to your living room couch!  As you might have guessed, the everyday home cook then was not so concerned about their nutritional merit because the knowledge wasn’t as abundant as it is today.  Vegetables were boiled for many minutes, leaching out all their colour, nutrition and taste.  Often a cheese sauce was spooned on top to cover up the anaemic-looking and tasteless veg.   And if not the sauce, then a hefty pad of butter was plopped on top along with multiple shakes of salt.

The one vegetable that was consistently smothered with an orange cheese sauce was cauliflower.  The thick velvety sauce would sit confidently on top of its bumpy, knobby, surface.  It was the perfect solution to a needed splash of colour for the white and bland-looking vegetable.

Life has changed a lot since then, thankfully!  Today, vegetables take a lead role on the food stage.  We cook vegetables to preserve their freshness, taste and vitamins. Cauliflower can be steamed, boiled, or even sautéed.  I particularly like it roasted. 

If you haven’t tried roasting cauliflower you must. Simply break up the florets and mix with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 425° F oven for 20 minutes.  Toss, then roast for another 10-15 minutes until they look, well, roasted. 

Another trend today is to serve cauliflower rice…yes, I said rice.  It’s a fun side dish and a sneaky way to add more vegetables into your kids’ diet.  Here’s an easy recipe to try.  If you feel adventurous, spice it up by adding different herbs or spices such as curry, basil, or parsley.  Enjoy.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

 Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower, cut in half.  Grate the florets with a box grater using the large holes or in a food processor (working in small batches)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add cauliflower.  Sauté for 8-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Here is a video on Cauliflower Rice from the Minimalist Baker.

Looking for a way to get motivated in the kitchen?  Check out our FREE online course: How To Menu Plan For The Everyday Home Cook.  It includes a video, templates and recipes. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Power Cookies

Power Cookies

Power Cookies

These cookies are great to take on the road or on the golf course when you need a boost of energy.  They make lots, so freeze the extra.
Makes 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut, shredded
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large mixing bowl cream butter, peanut butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Combine flour, salt, baking soda in a separate bowl and add to egg mixture.  Mix until smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Roll into balls the size of a garlic head. Press down lightly on each one with the palm of your hand onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Looking for a way to get motivated in the kitchen?  Check out our FREE online course: How To Menu Plan For The Everyday Home Cook.  It includes a video, templates and recipes. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cabbage Slaw | Recipes To The Rescue

Summer has definitely arrived.  It’s time to relax, kick back and chill.  Local produce is plentiful and each day brings new items on the shelves.  Not only are they full of colour, they have so much flavour there’s little cooking required…. it’s a good excuse to take a break from the stove. Here is a simple easy slaw that goes with many summer dishes.

Cabbage Slaw


Serves 6

1 cup carrot, grated
1 apple, grated
2 cups thinly shredded green cabbage
2 cups thinly shredded purple cabbage
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili paste such as Sambal Oelek
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

In a bowl, combine carrot, apple, green and purple cabbage, green onions, jalapeño pepper and ginger.  In a small bowl whisk together rice vinegar, sugar and chili paste.  Toss the cabbage with the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.

For another Coleslaw Recipe with an Asian taste check out Asian Cabbage Slaw.

Are you bored with cooking?  Try Menu planning and bring the joy back into cooking.  Check out our Free How To Menu Plan For The Everyday Cook online course.  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cherries Clafouti | Recipes To The Rescue

Box of Cherries
Cherries Are Fun!  

Everything about cherries screams fun. First, they’re only available in the summer and summer is definitely fun.  And, their deep purple colour is positively jubilant, the sweet, lively taste is a delight, and the pits are just an added fun factor somehow.  There’s great freedom in eating a cherry and spitting out the pit into a flowerbeds, or directly at your friend.  As a kid, we’d squeeze the pits between our fingers and flick them at each other in that prankish, yet semi hostile kinda way…definitely summertime fun. 

Right now cherries are plentiful so it’s time to gobble up as many as you can.  Here is a super easy to make recipe that’s always a big crowd pleaser.  It’s definitely worth a try.  

Cherries Clafouti
Cherries Clafouti Ready To Go In The Oven

Cherries Clafouti

Serves 6

3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
1 pound dark cherries, pitted
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.  Whisk eggs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.   Whisk in flour, milk, butter, vanilla and lemon peel.  Arrange cherries evenly on the bottom of prepared dish and spoon batter on top.  Bake until set in the centre and golden, about 50 minutes.  Can be served with ice cream.

Dish of Cherries Clafouti
Cherry Clafouti

Looking for a way to get motivated in the kitchen?  Check out our FREE online course: How To Menu Plan For The Everyday Home Cook.  It includes a video, templates and recipes. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fun Facts About Rhubarb

It’s rhubarb season and time to overdose on this tasty but tart vegetable.  Yes, you heard that right, I said vegetable.  It’s often called a fruit, but it’s actually a vegetable.  When you buy rhubarb, and I hope you do, plan to use it within 3-5 days because it doesn’t last long in your refrigerator.  

Here are 4 more fun facts about rhubarb:

•    Rhubarb is grown in the field and in the hot house

•    If you have large rhubarb stalks, you can peel them so they aren’t so fibrous

•    The stems and leaves of rhubarb are poisonous

•    Rhubarb is tart and is good in savoury and sweet dishes

Ready To Try Some Rhubarb Recipes?  Here Are Some To Try:

Rhubarb, Strawberry, Blueberry Cobbler

Rhubarb, Strawberry, Blueberry Cobbler
Rhubarb, Strawberry, Blueberry Cobbler

Rhubarb Sugar Cake
Rhubarb Sugar Cake

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Rhubarb-Strawberry-Blueberry Cobbler

A must make dessert!  Your family will love you when you serve this.

rhubarb, strawberries and blueberries
rhubarb, blueberries and strawberries

Serves 4

3 cups rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup butter
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:  preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place fruit in a 9” casserole dish.  Mix in sugar, flour, and lemon juice

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Blueberry Cobbler
Rhubarb Strawberry and Blueberry Cobber

Topping:  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add butter and rub mixture with your fingers until it resembles small peas.  Add orange juice and vanilla and with fork, stir until all is combined.  Drop blobs of dough on top of fruit and bake 45 minutes until top is golden.

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