Roasted Pumpkin

Today I’m here to tell you that pumpkins aren’t only for carving!

Pre-halloween is the best time to find pumpkins at the grocery store and turn them into roasted pumpkin puree! The method outlined below works for any kind of pumpkin, although smaller pumpkins will be easier to manage. Don’t be afraid to take one home and try it yourself!

Roasting a pumpkin and turning it into all-purpose pumpkin puree is really, really easy and so much cheaper than the stuff you buy in a can. Roasted pumpkin can be used in oatmeal, soups, muffins, and in many, many more applications.

Roasted Pumpkin

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree:

  1. Cut the top off your pumpkin. I find a longer serrated knife to work best and I start by stabbing a hole about 2-3 inches from the stem and cutting a circle all the way around the stem. You can then grab the stem and pull the top out. 
  2. Remove the seeds from your pumpkin. Cut your pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and the slimy orange insides. You can save the seeds to roast. 
  3. Roast your pumpkin. Preheat your oven to 400F and cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces that are about the same height, this will allow for even cooking. Roast your pumpkin skin side up on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 1 hour. Check doneness every 15 minutes or so with a fork and flip; you also want the skin to blister a bit so that it is easier to remove.
  4. Peel and puree your pumpkin. Using a paring knife to help, peel off the pumpkin skin. Puree the pumpkin in your food processor until smooth.
  5. Store your pumpkin. Keep roasted pumpkin puree in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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(Leftover) Turkey Quesadillas

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, spending time with your loved ones and eating until you can’t possibly eat any more! As wonderful as your meals have been, I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you are close to being tired of turkey, if you aren’t already are. So, here is a recipe to add some spice (literally or figuratively – you choose) to that leftover turkey.

Turkey Quesadillas
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tortilla
  2. 1/2 cup grated cheese
  3. 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
  4. 1/4 orange bell pepper, sliced
  5. 1/4 onion sliced
  6. 1/3 cup cooked turkey, shredded or sliced
  7. salt/pepper
  8. salsa
  9. sour cream
Instructions
  1. In medium frying pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and add the onion and red bell peppers. Saute until softened and the onions are slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In large frying pan, put the tortilla in the frying pan. Cover half the tortilla with half the grated cheese. Add the sauteed peppers and onion and turkey to the tortilla. Cover with the remaining cheese.
  3. Fold over the other half of the tortilla, so it looks like a half moon.
  4. Leave in the frying pan until cheese is melted and the bottom is golden brown. Flip the tortilla and repeat on the other side.
Notes
  1. The amounts in this recipe are for one quesadilla. It is really easy to double or triple the recipe for more than one quesadilla.
  2. If you like a bit of heat, add some cayenne or chili pepper to the peppers and onions when you are sauteeing them.
  3. Feel free to enjoy with sour cream or salsa when it's hot and fresh.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Baked Brie with Apple Walnut Topping

Baked Brie with Apple Walnut Topping

The crispness of fall is in the air and with that brings me the desire to eat rich, delicious comfort food. 

Enter: baked brie

Not only is this baked brie perfect as a stand alone appetizer, but also makes the perfect addition to a charcuterie board. The apple walnut topping is super simple to prepare and hilights some of the beyt flavours of the season. This brie is sure to be a hit in your house. 

 

Baked Brie with Apple Walnut Topping

Baked Brie with Apple Walnut Topping
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Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 wheel of brie
Topping
  1. 1/2 apple, diced thin
  2. 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine
  3. 2 tbsp Maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
  4. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F
  2. Slice the top rind off your brie and place in a brie baker or on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until centre is liquid-y and melted.
  4. Meanwhile add all topping ingredients to a small pot and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples have softened a little.
  5. Serve with crackers or as part of your next cheese board.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Caprese Bites

Caprese Bites

As fall arrives, many of us are struggling with an overload and excess of tomatoes – many shapes and sizes.  Some beefsteaks and most likely some lovely sweet cherry tomatoes.  In my family, those cherry tomatoes are just as good as candy – we all pop them in our mouths, sometimes fresh off the plant!

This appetizer is a great way to use some of those tomatoes in a classic combination, in appetizer size – caprese salad bites.

 

 

Caprese Bites
Serves 5
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Ingredients
  1. 10 basil leaves
  2. 10 cherry tomatoes, various colours
  3. 10 mini bocconcini balls
  4. balsamic vinegar (optional)
  5. olive oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pull out 10 longer sized toothpicks.
  2. On each toothpick, stack a cherry tomato, a basil leaf, and a cheese ball.
  3. Place or stack on serving plate of your choice.
Notes
  1. This recipe is very easy to scale up (or down) depending on your party size. If you are making it for yourself, then the sky is the limit!
  2. If you want to make it a bit more fancy, you could either drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar over top, or place it on the side for dipping. Both those flavours complement the cheese and tomatoes very well, making it a classic combination.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

As we head into cooler weather, some of us look forward to the warm and cozy foods that we are all about to indulge in.  This next recipe is a prime example of how to use up some of that late summer produce, as well as enjoy some lovely warm spices as we ease into fall.  

This is a super simple recipe, which not only has a great filling full of apples and cinnamon, but it reuses our crisp topping from our summery rhubarb berry crisp.

Apple Crisp
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Filling
  1. 6 cups apples, sliced
  2. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  3. 2 tsp cinnamon
Topping
  1. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup oats
  3. 3/4 cup sugar
  4. pinch salt
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  7. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and pull out a 9" x 9" square baking pan.
For the filling
  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples.
  2. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon.
  3. Mix well and pour into the pan.
For the topping
  1. Combine flour, oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Cut in the cold butter to your flour and oats mixture. You can also use your fingers.
  3. Pour flour mixture evenly over your fruit and bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Notes
  1. After baking, if you feel you would like the topping a bit crisper and more golden brown, use your oven's broiler setting and broil for approximately 3-5 min. VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT walk away while the broiler is on!! I cannot emphasize this enough.
  2. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or simply on its own!
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles

Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles

Late summer/early fall is my favourite time of year. There’s so much wonderful produce available and so many options to preserve it. Preserving some of the produce you come across at this time of year allows you to experience the freshness and flavours throughout the winter. 

Today we’re sharing a quick way to keep those garden cucumbers hanging around just a little longer. This is a refrigerator pickle recipe which means we are not hot water canning it, it’s not shelf stable, and it MUST always be kept in the fridge. You can keep these in the fridge for up to two months, but I promise they won’t last that long. 

Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles

Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles
This quick and easy refrigerator pickle recipe makes about one 2-cup mason jar of pickles.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb cucumbers, sliced
Brine
  1. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  2. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 1/2 cup vinegar
  6. 1 tsp pickling spice
Instructions
  1. Add sliced cucumbers to a sterilized 2-cup mason jar, set aside.
  2. Add brine ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour brine over cucumbers.
  4. Allow jar to cool for about 1 hour and then refrigerate for up to 2 months.
Notes
  1. These pickles will taste great right away but will become more flavourful the longer they sit in their brine.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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How to Plan Lunches for the Week

How to Plan Lunches

Back to school time has arrived. For the first time in a long time no one in our house is heading back to school this fall. Despite this, we know the benefits of planning ahead when it comes to lunches. Today we’re going to share some of our best tips on how to plan out lunches for the week. These tips aren’t just for those of you (or your family members) going back-to-school. We use these tips and recipes to plan and prepare lunches for work and travel too!

Keep in mind the magic formula for lunches: Protein + Vegetables + Carbohydrate = a filling and nutritious lunch. A whole container of pasta at lunch with leave you in a terrible place come 2pm – don’t forget to add protein! 

Leftovers

One of our easiest tips is to strategically plan your leftovers to make lunches. You can do this two ways:

  1. Cook more portions of what you’re already making. For example, my partner and I always cook dinner as though we are feeding 4 – one portion for each of us, and one portion for each of us to take for lunch. 
  2. Bulk cook to make lunches for the week. For example, at the beginning of the week cook several chicken breasts to portion out and add to a salad or a big pot of chili or a hearty soup that will serve as your lunch for the week.

How to Plan Lunches for the Week

Other Lunch Options

If leftovers aren’t your game, try making filling salads (add meat, tuna, beans, etc to up the filling-ness) or a good old sandwich. Both of these can still be made ahead of time so that you won’t be left scrambling in the morning. 

Snacks

Adding protein (think nuts, yogurt, nut butter) and fibre (whole grains, flax) to your snacks will keep you fuller longer. Some of our favourite options include:

Whole Wheat Raspberry Muffins

Find what works for you and you’ll never have to buy a lunch at work again!

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Zucchini Fritters

If you are a gardener, you are officially approaching the season of produce, produce, and more produce.  So much produce that you don’t know what to do with it.  Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, Swiss chard, zucchini, the list goes on.  At the very least this quick recipe for zucchini fritters, or pancakes, should help take care of some of that extra zucchini that you don’t know what to do with!

 

Zucchini Fritters
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups zucchini, peeled and grated
  2. 1 tbsp salt
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 tbsp flour
  5. 1 tbsp goat’s cheese
  6. 2 tbsp ricotta
  7. ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 tbsp canola oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Place zucchini in a colander and sprinkle salt all over and let sit for 20-30 minutes to drain.
  2. Once you are ready to make the fritters, squeeze as much water as you can from the zucchini. Place in medium bowl.
  3. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Add ricotta and crumble the goat’s cheese as you add it to the mixture. Combine well.
  4. Add the flour and grind some fresh pepper into the mixture. Stir until well combined. The mixture should look like pancake batter.
  5. Heat pan over medium heat and pour oil into pan once it’s hot.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the pan to make approximately 2" diameter cakes in the pan. Fry until they are golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Flip and fry until the other side is golden brown. The fritters will be nice and moist, so as long as they are golden brown, you don't have to worry about them being cooked through.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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25 Ways to Eat More Tomatoes

The garden tomatoes are here! Can you hear our cheers through your computer screen?

We’ve been able to pull the first few vine ripe tomatoes out of the garden but we have many, many more green ones that are just waiting to ripen. Sure enough in a few weeks time we’re going to have more tomatoes than we know what to do with. 

If you’re like us and you have a hundred in your garden or just want to take advantage of the super affordable tomatoes in store during this time of year, we have you covered. We collaborated with some blogger friends to bring you 25 ways to eat more tomatoes!

25 Ways to Eat Tomatoes

Salads

Quick Heirloom Tomato Salad – Eye Candy Popper

Summer Bounty Grilled Panzanella – The Grey Bell

Roasted Tomato and Olive Panzanella – Sugar Love Spices

Tabouleh – Bon Appet’Eat

The Perfect Simple Tomato Salad – My Kitchen Love25 Ways to Eat More Tomatoes 

Canning & Preserving

How to Peel a Tomato for Canning – The Rustic Wife

Simple Roasted Tomatoes – Homemade and Yummy

Green Tomato Chow – My Island Bistro Kitchen

Oven Roasted Tomatoes – Cookery Nation

Moms Chili Sauce – The Rustic Wife

Oven Roasted Heirloom Spaghetti Sauce – Eye Candy Popper

25 Ways to Eat More Tomatoes

Condiments & Sauces

Fresh Salsa – River City Cookery

Classic Tomato Sauce – Earth Food and Fire

25 Ways to Eat More Tomatoes

Lunch or Dinner

Vegan Scalloped Tomatoes – The Taste Space

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup – The Food Blog

Summer Tomato Pasta – My Kitchen Love

Sausage and Eggplant Bucatini with Fennel Tomato Sauce – Diversivore

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Radish and Red Onion in Tomato Vinaigarette – The Yum Yum Factor

Easy One-Pot Classic Ratatouille – Bacon is Magic25 Ways to Eat More Tomatoes

Try Something New

Polenta Tarts with Honey Roasted Tomatoes – Beth Dunham

Catalan Tomato Bread – Bacon is Magic

Tomato Bruschetta – Kitchen Uncorked

Spicy Tomato Cobbler – Joe and Sue

Aged Goat Cheese Tomato Tart – Sugar Love Spices

25 Ways to Eat More Tomatoes

We hope we’ve inspired you to eat more tomatoes! Please share your favourite ways to eat tomatoes in the comments below. 

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Pecan Cranberry Granola Bar

Pecan Cranberry Granola Bars

It’s hard to imagine that in just a few short weeks, school will begin, along with numerous other activities, and time for preparation will cease to exist.  You can’t help but ask yourself, what happened to my summer?!  This granola bar is a great option to have on hand when planning lunches or when you need a quick and easy snack.

 

 

Pecan Cranberry Granola Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups large flake oats
  2. 1 cup puffed rice cereal (i.e. rice crispies)
  3. 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  4. 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  5. 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  6. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  7. 1/4 cup honey
  8. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/2 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix together oats, cereal and coconut in large bowl.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Wait for the mixture to come to a full boil and then let it boil for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Turn heat down to prevent it from overflowing, but maintaining the boil.
  4. Pour hot mixture over oats. Stir together until the oats mixture is completely coated. Here, you can add in the pecans and the dried cranberries to your mixture before pressing into your pan. Press firmly, so they don’t fall apart when you cut them.
  5. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, or until ready to serve.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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