Potato Leek Soup

I have a firm belief that the -ber months (September, October, November, December) are soup months. Nothing beats getting cozy with a mug of soup and wool sweater in the fall. This family friendly potato leek soup is one of my favourites. It’s a simple recipe that is packed full of flavour and can be dressed up in a pinch. Potato leek soup is a classic recipe that can be thrown together in less than an hour and perfect for warming bellies on cool days. 

We hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!

Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large leeks, just white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  3. 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  4. 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In large, high sided pot, or dutch oven, heat over medium heat. Add ½ tbsp canola oil and saute leeks until softened and just beginning to take on colour.
  2. Add potatoes, stir to combine. Add liquid and salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are cooked. This should take about 30 minutes. Garnish with cheese or bacon if desired.
Notes
  1. Feel free to keep the peels on the potatoes for more colour and fibre in your dish.
  2. This soup can also be blended for a smooth consistency.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
Why not pair this soup with some cheddar chive scones?

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Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I do love my garden tomatoes – there are a ton of uses for them, but near the end of the season, I find myself running out of ways to use them all. I have to get a bit more creative in how I cook with them. Oven roasting them, or oven drying them, is a great way to use them up and enhance that tomato-y flavour.

 

 

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb medium tomatoes, or the equivalent of cherry tomatoes, diced
  2. 1 tsp dried oregano
  3. 1/2 tsp dried basil
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil
  5. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 210F.
  2. Combine tomatoes with dried herbs, oil, and salt and pepper.
  3. Pour tomato mixture over sheet pan into an even layer.
  4. Slide into oven and let roast for 2-2 1/2 hours.
Notes
  1. If you are using cherry tomatoes, they may take a bit longer.
  2. Once roasted, they make a great sauce by themselves, or blended into a sauce.
  3. You can also use them as a topping on focaccia.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Fresh Tomato Pesto

I don’t know about you, but when it’s tomato season my garden is OVERFLOWING with tomatoes. I love this time of year but I always reach a point of tomato overload. This recipe for Fresh Tomato Pesto is the best way to use up and preserve the seasons best produce. Try this versatile pesto as a dip with crackers or bread, on pasta, or as pizza sauce.

Fresh Tomato Pesto

Fresh Tomato Pesto
Fresh tomato pesto makes a perfect pizza sauce or addition to a charcuterie board.
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
  2. 1/2 cup basil, packed
  3. 1/3 cup almonds
  4. 1/2 cup oil (olive or canola works well)
  5. 1 clove garlic
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately or freeze for future use.
Notes
  1. Fresh Tomato Pesto makes a great dip, an awesome pizza sauce, and freezes well.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/

Still have too many tomatoes on your hands?  Check out our round up of 25 ways to use tomatoes! You could also try roasting them, making fresh salsa, or making caprese bites

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Customizable Stir-Fry

We’re so happy to be back and sharing a brand new recipe with you today! This customizable stir-fry has become an instant classic in each of our homes. The recipe comes together in no time at all and you can use whatever ingredients you have in the house! Before you get cooking we have a few tips about ingredient and tool selection we wanted to share.

Stir-Fry

Choosing Your Ingredients

Picking ingredients to go into a stir-fry can make some people a little anxious. If you want to start customizing but don’t know where to begin, we suggest you pick 1 protein option from below and 2-3 stir-fry friendly ingredients from the lists below.

Some great protein options (use the size of a palm per person):

  • Beef (cut into strips – sirloin or even a flank steak)
  • Chicken or turkey (use boneless skinless breasts)
  • Pork (tenderloin or boneless pork shoulder)
  • Tofu (firm or extra firm)

Some great vegetable options:

  • Higher moisture: zucchini, squash, mushrooms
    • Fortunately stir-frying is a high-heat cooking method so these guys get a chance to get a caramelization before they turn soggy. A great reminder to keep your pan on medium heat!
  • Lower moisture: peppers, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots

Choosing Your Tools

The tool you use to cook your stir fry is just as important as the ingredients. A stir fry can be made in any good heavy bottomed skillet – even your basic non-stick skillet will do the trick. Traditionally, in Chinese cuisine, a wok is used to make this quick cooking dish. The shape of the wok is what makes the tool ideal for this dish. It has high sloping sides and is not typically non-stick. The wok can be placed over extremely high heat, which travels up the high sides of the pan. 

When cooking a stir fry in a wok, you really want to make sure it gets very hot. A neutral oil is used in this method of cooking and it should have a very high smoke point; something like canola oil or vegetable oil is very useful in stir fries. The heat from the bottom and sides of the pan is what fries the meat and vegetables while you are stirring them. 

Customizable Stir-Fry
A simple stir-fry that can be customized to your families preferences!
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Marinade
  1. 1 tbsp Canola oil
  2. 1 tsp Soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp Rice wine vinegar
  4. pinch Salt and pepper
  5. 1lb Meat or alternative of your choice (beef, chicken, extra firm tofu, or pork would work well)
  6. 1 tbsp Canola oil
  7. 1 small Onion, sliced
  8. 2 cups Your favourite stir fry vegetables (peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli), sliced
Sauce
  1. 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  2. 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp Sesame oil
  4. 1 tsp Fresh ginger (grated)
  5. 1 tsp Corn starch
  6. 3 tbsp Chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients together and combine with bite sized pieces of your meat or alternative of choice. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tbsp canola oil to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add marinated meat and allow to cook through (10-15 minutes). Remove from pan.
  3. Add onion to pan and saute until soft, then add vegetables and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. When vegetables are soft add the meat back and the sauce mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. Feel free to double the sauce if you prefer to have more.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
Looking for more easy meal ideas? Check out our Leftover Turkey Quesadillas or Ham and Leek Quiche.

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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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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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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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Baked Brie with Cranberry Topping

A few weeks ago, we posted a great apple walnut topping for brie, which is a great topping for the cooler evenings of fall. This cranberry topping pairs with the baked brie wonderfully, and it is a classic flavour for the wintry evenings that are coming, not to mention the many Christmas parties that you will be attending!

 

 

Baked Brie with Cranberry Topping
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup cranberries
  2. 1 tbsp lemon juice, bottled or freshly squeezed
  3. 1 tbsp sugar
  4. 1 inch long piece lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Simmer all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium low heat, about 10 minutes. Berries will soften and some will burst - this is okay!
  2. Remove lemon zest and place on top of baked brie.
Notes
  1. The topping can be made ahead of time and placed in the fridge, until the brie has been baked. Make sure to warm up before topping the cheese.
  2. For a slightly different flavour, try using orange juice and orange zest instead of lemon.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/

 

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is one of my favourite foods. Not only is it really customizable, it’s cheap, and tastes great in so many applications! This roasted red pepper hummus is easy to make and and can be added to school lunches with veggies, spread on sandwiches, or added to a charcuterie board as an appetizer. 

If you want to take this recipe to the next level try roasting your own red peppers instead of buying them jarred. It makes the recipe a little more complex but the flavour it adds is worth it. 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
A flavourful spread that would be a great addition to any sandwich, lunch box, or appetizer spread.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 can chickpeas (540mL), drained and rinsed
  2. 4-5 pieces of jarred roasted red pepper (or roast your own, see note)
  3. 1/4 cup oil (olive or canola would work in this recipe)
  4. 3 garlic cloves
  5. 2 tbsp tahini*
  6. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  7. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare all your ingredients and add them to a food processor.
  2. Pulse ingredients until smooth.
  3. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge.
Notes
  1. *Tahini is sesame paste, you can also substitute peanut butter if you don't have
To roast a red pepper
  1. Move your oven rack to the top position and set to broil.
  2. Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper, set aside.
  3. Slice the top of your pepper off, chop into 3-4 pieces, and remove seeds and pith (the white stuff!).
  4. Place peppers on the cookie sheet with skin side up and make them lay as flat as possible (this might mean strategically breaking them or cutting them - this creates an even roast).
  5. Broil for 2-5 minutes. This will depend on your oven, but the goal is to have lots of black bits and bubbles in the skin because it will make the next step easier.
  6. Peel the skin off your peppers. I find a pairing knife works well for this step.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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