Ham & Leek Quiche

With spring now upon us, we get to enjoy a whole new crop of vegetables.  Leeks are a great spring vegetable which can be used in many different ways.  Here, we have developed a very tasty quiche that you can use them in, as well as your leftover Easter ham.

Ham and Leek Quiche

Ham & Leek Quiche
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Pastry
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 3/4 tsp Salt
  3. 1 cup shortening
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tbsp vinegar
  6. 2 tbsp ice cold water
Filling
  1. 2-3 leeks depending on size, white and light green parts only
  2. 1 1/2 cups cooked ham chopped into cubes
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 2 cups milk
  5. Black Pepper freshly grated
  6. freshly grated Parmesan if desired
Pastry
  1. Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening and cut into dry mixture with pastry cutter or two knives. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl, beat together egg, vinegar, and cold water. Add to the flour mixture and stir together roughly with a fork so it comes together. You don't want to work the pastry too much; it's okay if it looks a bit shaggy when you're finished bringing it together.
  3. Flour your work surface and turn out the pastry. Cut in half and work with one half at a time. Roll until pastry is about 1/4 inch thick. Once the pastry is rolled out, carefully use the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Gently press the pastry into the edges of the plate and leave any extra around the edges until it has been filled. The pastry is quite resilient, so if it cracks it can easily be repaired simply by bringing the two edges together and pressing. The key is to move as quickly as possible - you don't want to leave the pastry on the counter for too long once it has been rolled.
Filling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Once the pastry is ready, prepare your leeks. Wash and trim the dark green leaves. Slice thinly, about 1/8" thick, and saute over medium low heat until softened. This may take about 10-15 minutes and you can add some salt to draw out excess moisture. This will reduce the chances of your quiche turning out soggy.
  3. Prepare ham by trimming excess fat and chopping into 1/2" pieces. The bottom of the pastry should be well covered with ham.
  4. Break eggs into a bowl and add milk. Whisk together very well. You don't want any little pieces of yolk visible in the mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper. You can trim the edge of the pastry now, if needed.
  5. Once leeks are finished, add to the pie plate and pour egg mixture over top. Place pie plate onto a cookie sheet, just in case the quiche bubbles over. Slide into oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. The filling will be set, but not solid. It should be a light golden brown on top and the pastry will be golden around the edges.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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2017 Favourites

As 2017 winds to a close, we like to take some time to reflect on the year that was. We have a spent a very fun year experiment in the kitchen and giving you some great recipes, and now we want to share our absolute favourites with you!

Click the photos for direct links to the posts.

Elisabeth’s:

Ham & Leek Quiche

Ham and Leek Quiche
Cheddar & Chive Scones

Cheddar Chive Scones
Almond Flax Granola

Almond Flax Granola
Creating a Cheese Tray

Creating a Cheese Tray

Melissa’s:

Whole Wheat Raspberry MuffinsWhole Wheat Raspberry Muffins

Baked Brie with Cranberry ToppingBaked Brie with Cranberry Topping

Easy Caprese BitesCaprese Bites

Spinach Salad with Raspberry DressingSpinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Everyone loves a good chocolate chip muffin! This is a great simple chocolate chip muffin recipe, made with whole wheat flour. We adapted it from King Arthur Flour’s Golden Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe. We also tested it with milk and buttermilk – both recipes worked great.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter or margarine preferably unsalted
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp Salt reduce to 1/4 tsp if using salted butter/margarine
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  8. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  9. 1-2 cups chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly grease or line a 12-cup standard muffin tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter or margarine, sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Mix until well combined and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in milk. Add the flour and stir until combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir well.
  4. Fill muffin cups with batter - approximately 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven for 30-32 minutes, until toothpick inserted in centre comes away clean.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Easy Cinnamon Buns

These tasty, quick, and easy cinnamon buns are an great alternative to regular cinnamon buns.  This recipe still gives you a hearty bun, without having to spend all day baking.

Easy Cinnamon Buns

Easy Cinnamon Buns
Yields 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 2 cups whole wheat flour
  3. 2 Tbsp baking powder
  4. 2 tsp Salt
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1 tsp nutmeg
  7. 1 cup butter cold, cut in cubes
  8. 1 1/4 cup milk
Filling
  1. 1/3 cup butter melted
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  3. 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F; prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it with cooking spray.
  2. In an electric mixer bowl, add both flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Turn mixer on until the dry ingredients are well combined.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the cubed butter and continue mixing until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk and mix until a dough forms into a ball that comes away from the side of the ball. Turn dough onto floured counter and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. While the dough rests, melt the butter for the filling. Combine the brown sugar and the spices.
  5. Cut the dough in 2 equal parts and let rest for 10 minutes. The filling recipe above is enough for both halves.
  6. Once the dough has rested, roll the first half into a rectangle that is approximately 8"x 12". Brush dough with melted butter, getting as close as possible to the edges. Sprinkle with half of the brown sugar/spice mixture.
  7. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, snugly roll the dough together. Once you've finished, pinch the raw edges together to seal the roll. Cut the long roll into 6 equal pieces, each one approximately 2" in length. Place in greased muffin tin. Repeat the previous two steps with the remaining dough.
  8. Peel the outermost layer of each roll out and curl the edges under, so they begin to look like roses. You don't have to do this step, but it does add to the overall appearance once they've been baked.
  9. Bake in 400F oven for 25 minutes. The buns will be a lovely golden brown!
Notes
  1. This recipe has been tested with both regular milk and buttermilk, and results were consistent.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Almond Flax Granola

Almond Flax Granola

Granola is a great pantry staple that is perfect for breakfast or topping yogurt for snacking.This easy to make Almond Flax Granola combines whole grain oats with flax to bring you a delicious granola that is family-friendly and full of fibre.

Almond Flax Granola
A delicious, family-friendly granola packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fibre!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups large flake oats
  2. 1 cups almonds chopped
  3. 1/2 cup milled flax seed
  4. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  5. 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  6. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. pinch Salt
Instructions
  1. First, preheat the oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, and flax. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, canola oil, vanilla extract, and salt.
  4. Add maple syrup mixture to dry ingredients and mix until coated.
  5. Spread mixture in a thin layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir every 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. Store your granola in an air-tight container; a mason jar works well. It will keep for a few weeks at room temperature (if it lasts that long!).
  2. PHEc Tip: Keep your milled flax seed in the freezer to lengthen it's shelf life.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Stuffing (or Dressing)

One of my favourite side dishes when the holidays roll around is stuffing. There are many, MANY different ways to make it, and who doesn’t love bread?! Our family is a big fan of the boxed favourite, Stovetop Stuffing, while my bf’s family keeps it real and cooks it in the bird. You can add so many things to stuffing to suit your taste, which makes it a great option for holiday dinners. Traditionally, stuffing is cooked in the bird, hence its name. The term dressing is used when it is cooked outside of the bird.

I’ve kept this recipe super simple and the crispy, toasty bread on top and around the edges is soooo good when it is fresh out of the oven. 

 

 

Stuffing
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Ingredients
  1. ~5 cups day-old cubed bread (about 1/2 pound bread)
  2. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 2 stalks celery, chopped
  4. 1 small onion, diced
  5. 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  6. 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  7. 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
  8. salt and pepper
  9. 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat oil in medium non stick pan over medium heat. Add celery and onion and saute until celery and onion is soft and translucent (about 8-10 min). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cube bread and place in large bowl.
  4. Chop the fresh herbs and add to onions and celery in the pan. Cook for 1 min until the herbs become fragrant.
  5. Add the veggie mixture to the bread in the bowl and stir to combine.
  6. Pour half the chicken stock into the bowl with the bread and stir until the bread becomes moist.
  7. Pour into 9x9 glass or baking dish. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the top, along with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining chicken broth over the mixture in the pan.
  8. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more.
  9. When it's finished, the bread will be brown and toasty on top and the internal temperature should be about 165F.
Notes
  1. The internal temperature is more important when you are cooking stuffing inside a bird. When it's in a dish, if you bake according to the directions above, it will be fine.
  2. If you are adding meat, make sure it is completely cooked, or very close to completely cooked before adding it to the bread mixture.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/

 

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Wild Rice Casserole

Wild rice casserole was one of my favourite dishes when I was growing up. It wasn’t a dish that we had on a weekly basis but it did appear on the dinner table somewhat regularly.The recipe required a little bit of planning ahead, so when I noticed my mom boiling the wild rice I knew an amazing dish was coming my way the next day. When I transitioned into adulthood this recipe got lost in the mix, then one day I had the biggest craving for it and immediately messaged my mom for the recipe! Love for certain foods never leaves you.

There isn’t one specific thing that I can put my finger that makes this wild rice casserole my favourite, it’s all good! I’ve always enjoyed the crisp almonds and rice bits on the top but I also really enjoy the creamy mushroom bits in the middle!

I really hope you try out this casserole – it’s certainly not the healthiest dish but it’s simple and delicious!

Wild Rice Casserole

Wild Rice Casserole
This family friendly wild rice casserole is simple to make and delicious!
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup wild rice
  2. 4 tbsp butter, unsalted
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 1 cup celery, chopped
  5. 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 1 can cream of mushroom soup (284mL), low sodium
  8. 1/2 cup almonds, chopped or slivered
Instructions
  1. Rinse rice and Cook according to package instructions. I cooked 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, but this may differ depending on your rice.
  2. Melt butter in a medium frying pan and sauté onion, celery, and mushroom until soft.
  3. Mix together rice, sautéed vegetables, salt and pepper, and can of mushroom soup in a casserole dish and pat flat.
  4. Sprinkle almonds on top and bake covered for 45 minutes- 1 hour at 350F.
Notes
  1. You can substitute 1 can of mushroom pieces for the fresh mushrooms.
  2. I prefer to make the rice the day before and store in the fridge until ready to put the casserole together.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
We hope you’re enjoying some of our family recipes! Be sure to check out our family shortbread and jam-jam recipes from the last few weeks.

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“Jam Jams”

These cookies are my absolute favourites at Christmastime and they are a must-have when we put together a cookie tray. They also hold a special place in my heart, as they were something that I used to bake with my Oma. My mom and I are super lucky, as we managed to get a usable recipe from her, before she passed away. We make them now and I don’t think I’ll ever not make them without thinking about her.

Jam-jams do bear a remarkable resemblance to the very popular Imperial cookies, but they are considerably smaller and the cookie itself is more of sugar cutout cookie. It also gives a better balance between cookie and jam, as I find that Imperial cookies usually end up being too much cookie for the amount of jam.

 

Jam Jams
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  2. 1 egg yolk
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 3/4 cup sugar
  5. 1 jar jam - raspberry is the best, but apricot will also work, or simply your favourite!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream butter until smooth. Add sugar, egg yolk and flour. Mix until the dough comes together. You can mix the last few crumbs in by hand.
  3. Roll out very thin (between 1/8" and 1/4") and cut with small round cookie cutter - no bigger than 1 3/4" across. A glass will also work if you don't have the proper cookie cutter.
  4. Bake in 350F oven for 10-12 minutes. You want to see just the slightest golden brown edge when baking. These cookies really benefit from keeping a close eye on them.
  5. Once cool, fill them with the jam of your choice and sandwich the cookies together.
Notes
  1. *This recipe really works best if all ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. *The dough can be made ahead of time, and chilled.
  3. *Take the dough out well before you plan on baking (at least an hour). It gets very hard in the fridge and takes time to come to room temperature. You can work the dough a bit with your hands to get it pliable - don't be discouraged if the dough is still very stiff when you begin.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/

 

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Candy Cane Shortbread

Over the next few weeks we’re excited to share some of our most treasured family recipes with you. All of these foods bring with them a lot of special memories and traditions. First up is shortbread!

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for shortbread. I mean how can you go wrong with sugar, butter, and flour? I’ve been a bit of a shortbread snob for as long as I can remember and I can tell you I would take whipped shortbread over the biscuit type any day. The recipe I’m making today is one that my mom has been making for years however, I’ve tweaked the recipe a little since learning it and I’ve made it my own. 

We hope you enjoy the first of our family recipes: Candy Cane Shortbread!

Candy Cane Shortbread

Candy Cane Shortbread
Yields 24
A delicious shortbread topped with crushed candy cane.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup Powdered sugar
  3. 1/4 cup Corn starch
  4. 1 cup Butter, unsalted and cool*
  5. 2-3 Candy canes, crushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or other non-stick liner, set aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Cube your butter, add to dry ingredients, and use a fork to combine. It should become 'pebbly.'
  5. Use your hands to quickly bring the ingredients together to form a dough.
  6. Using your hands scoop up some dough and roll into 1 inch balls.
  7. Place balls on your baking sheet leaving about 2 inches of space around them. You will probably need to use 2 baking sheets.
  8. Use a fork to press down the balls, add about 1/2 tsp of crushed candy cane, and press again with your fork.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly brown underneath.
Notes
  1. *Don't let your butter come completely to room temperature before you use it or it will result in cookies that completely flatten out.
  2. *When forming the dough and the balls, work quickly. The heat from your hands can melt the butter.
  3. *If you're only using one baking sheet to bake 2 batches of cookies make sure the sheet cools completely between batches!
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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All About Appetizers

The holidays are coming closer! Raise your hand if you’re not ready!

Now raise your hand if you are hosting one (or more) holiday parties and don’t know what you’re going to cook or serve. Here are some basic tips for navigating your way through planning, and shopping, for your menu.

The first things, of course, that you will consider is the who and the what: who is coming to your party (and also possibly, are there any dietary considerations) and what will you be serving. Because the holiday season is full of dinners and meals, sometimes it is nice to switch things up a bit and do an appetizer evening. Appetizers provide a welcome change to the often heavy meals that accompany the holidays: they can be lighter, there are smaller  portions, and a great variety of different things. It’s even better if you have your guests bring their favourite appetizer as well.

Here are some of our favourite ideas for appetizers:

A charcuterie or cheese platter: provides great variety and you can also customize it to include the cheeses, meats and crackers that you really love. If you have someone who has a gluten-free diet, swap out for some gluten free chips or crackers. Check out our Cheese Tray post for tips on choosing the best cheeses while shopping.

  

Dips: Dips are great options that are easy to make and a great time saver. Make any of your favourite dips up to a day ahead of time and store in the fridge. This not only helps you on the day of your party, but the flavours of the dip will be so much better once they’ve had a chance to mingle together for a couple hours. Check out our Roasted Red Pepper Hummus or our Fresh Salsa for the recipes and ingredient list.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 

Finally, a baked brie is really my absolute favourite appetizer to enjoy at the holidays…well really any time. It does require a little more prep and will need to be baked before you enjoy it. Check out our cranberry topping, or if you want something with a little bit more crunch, check out our apple topping here

                                      Baked Brie with Apple Walnut Topping

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy entertaining and here’s to all the appetizers that you will eat this holiday season!

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