Need something quick, warming, and full of veggies for dinner this busy holiday season? Broccoli-cheese soup is always well received at our house – and it’s a great way to use up a bunch of broccoli that may be starting to get droopy. For a vegetarian version, swap vegetable or onion stock. It’s simple to chop the broccoli (cauliflower would work well too – or a combination of the two) and toss everything into a pot to simmer when you get home from work and school. By dinnertime it’s ready to puree – use a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot – and serve with crusty bread or cheese biscuits. Comfort food for busy, chilly days!
- Vegetable oil, for cooking
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
- In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil along with the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the flour, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chicken stock and broccoli and bring to a simmer; cook for 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender.
- Add the cream and puree with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot. Add the cheese, let sit for a minute, and puree again until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in batches in a blender.) Season with salt and pepper, if it needs it. Serves 6.
Everyone should know how to make a biscuit. They’re infinitely versatile – perfect for serving alongside soup, stew or chili, for turning into a sandwich or when you need to serve up some sloppy Joes. They can be made sweet for weekend mornings, or savoury with the addition of cheese, roasted garlic or fresh herbs. I like mine plain, served warm with butter and honey or jam.
Buttermilk makes these biscuits very tender, and the soda is added to neutralize its acidity. If you want to use regular milk instead, omit the baking soda. If you want sweeter biscuits, or plan to add fresh or frozen berries or dried fruit, add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter or oil and blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir just until the dough forms a ball.
- On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough four or five times. Pat the dough about 1/2” thick and cut into circles with a biscuit cutter, glass rim or the open end of a tin can.
- Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you like, brush the tops with a little milk.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm. Makes about a dozen 2-inch biscuits, or fewer larger ones.
Did you know that you can make custard in a slow cooker? These little pots de creme look fancy and impressive, but they’re quite easy to make — especially in the slow cooker.
Let’s face it – the best part about a turkey dinner is the leftovers, particularly turned into a sandwich. Combining the turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries in Pillsbury Crescent dough turned out to be a delicious idea – like a sandwich, only better! Read More
We love cottage cheese pancakes around here – dense and slightly cheesy, they’re higher in protein than traditional pancakes, and delicious with tart berries or compote drizzled over top. They’re wonderful on leisurely holiday weekends, especially with berries to brighten them up – or thin leftover cranberry sauce with maple syrup to drizzle over top. Leftovers can be frozen and popped into the toaster or microwave for a warm, hearty winter breakfast that will set you up for a day at work or on the slopes.
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter
- In a large bowl, beat together the cottage cheese, eggs, sugar and salt; mix until smooth, then add the milk and stir until creamy. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until blended; stir in the oil or melted butter.
- Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and brush with butter or oil or spray with nonstick spray. Drop batter (I used a small ladle) onto the pan and cook until bubbles begin to break the surface and the edges no longer appear wet - flip using a thin spatula and cook until golden on the other side as well. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 250F oven until they are all cooked.
- Serves 2-4; recipe can be easily doubled.
The minute it gets chilly enough to turn the furnace back on, I want to warm the house up with the oven, and get baking. I particularly love pound cakes, for their dense, moist texture, adaptability, and a sturdiness that makes them ideal for packing into lunch boxes. I had an extra lemon rolling around in the fridge, so the first pound cake of the season was lemon.
I love that this is the sort of cake that requires no decoration, and can be nibbled by the thin slice while you do other things.
Some of our favourite older recipes (including many in the Best of Bridge back catalogue) included canned soup, which is an ingredient that many of today’s cooks shy away from — it just feels better sometimes to take the extra step and make things from scratch. We were making an old pork chop recipe that calls for a can of Alphabet Vegetable Soup and figured we could make it ourselves. This soup is thick — as it would be coming straight out of the can, which makes it ready to go into your favourite vintage recipe. If you’d rather eat it as a soup, simply thin it with more chicken stock or water.
I don’t have many kitchen gadgets, but I love my ice cream machine – it’s so easy to make your own, and experiment with interesting flavours and fresh fruit in season. My go-to formula is so simple it doesn’t require eggs, or making a custard (which must be well chilled before using) – it’s just cream, sugar and fruit. I find strawberry irresistible when they’re in season – here’s an easy recipe we make over and over.
Stampede can be a crazy time of year if you live in Calgary – if you’re feeling rushed, you can make this cowboy-inspired version of the famous Best of Bridge Christmas Morning Wife Saver, and slide it into the oven in the morning to feed your hungry cowpokes.
Even when it’s not stampede, a simple strata makes for a fantastic brunch – and it’s a great way to use up stale veg or leftovers from the fridge – bits of sausage, ham, bacon, veggies and even cheese ends can all be transformed into something delicious.
It’s Stampede week, and we’ve been busy doing cooking demos over at the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre. Julie was asked to do a show featuring canola, one of our favourite Alberta ingredients and our go-to cooking oil; granola was a perfect pick. It’s easy to make and great for packing to take on hiking or road trips, to summer camp or to the cabin – anywhere you need a healthy burst of energy, granola is perfectly portable, and you don’t have to worry about it squishing or melting. Read More
It’s hot dog season – and the tomatoes in our garden are already plentiful. I’m starting to get the urge to make a batch of homemade ketchup – perfect for burgers, steaks, and all those summery things you cook on the grill. (And if you ask my 10 year old, everything else.) Pick up some ripe tomatoes at the farmers’ market when they’re a good deal – or use those that may have been sitting on your kitchen counter too long and have gone a bit squishy. In ketchup, no one will notice the difference.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 4
- 1⁄3 cup mayonnaise 75 mL
- 1⁄3 cup mango chutney 75 mL
- 2 cloves garlic, minced 2
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 25 mL
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 25 mL
- 1 tsp chili powder 5 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander 2 mL
- 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
- Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet to flatten. Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) long strips.
- Marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, chutney, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander and salt.
- Add chicken to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Soak eight 10-inch (25 cm) wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes (or use metal skewers). Meanwhile, preheat barbecue grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, and thread onto skewers. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned and no longer pink inside.
- Serves 4.
- Tip: Watch the chicken carefully while you're grilling it - it will cook quickly.
- Variation: Apricot or peach jam may be used in place of the mango chutney.
If you’re concerned about the amount of sugar, artificial colours and flavours in typical frozen treats, here’s an easy way to make all-fruit popsicles to keep kids cool during the warm summer months. With its high water content, watermelon is perfect for pureeing and freezing in ice pop moulds – add a few whole berries to add an even bigger vitamin boost.
How different is this?? A fresh, tasty coleslaw made out of white watermelon rinds! In addition to being environmentally friendly and economical (a great way to eliminate food waste), the rind is packed with citrulline and arginine, two compounds that aid in healthy blood flow! No one will guess what this crunchy salad is made out of.