Green Onion, Mushroom Omelette

The sun is shining today and that on a winters day is a nice thing. Oh! and also I am in a mood for just having fun. For lunch I actually felt like making something rather than just a bowl of cereal. I am not a fan of winter and when it cloudy and snowing I would actually say I hate winter. Those days I definitely don’t want to do any work when it’s lunch time. Today is definitely different, even for supper I am making a recipe my wife found. That will be another post if, and that’s a big if, it turns out.

I had some mushrooms in the fridge that needed to be used and an omelette is a good things wether for breakfast, lunch, or even supper. Green onions I think should be used everytime an omelette is made. A long time ago I figured out that beating the green onions with the eggs wasn’t a good idea. I like to get the beaten eggs in the pan and then sprinkle the green onions over the egg. You get to spread the onions better this way. No real recipe with this because everyone knows how to make an omelette, but I will list the ingredients.

2 beaten eggs

4 mushrooms sliced and cooked

4 green onions chopped

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

4 slices of tomato cooked for 25 seconds in the microwave

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Hamburger Soup

This is a soup I make about once a year, usually when my wife reminds me I should make it. It started its life as something I made from an old Pillsbury cookbook. I remember the first time I made it and was surprised it was good. Like any old cookbook it uses the products of the times when it was created. Canned stems and pieces mushrooms, beef consomme, and ground eye of round. Canned mushrooms were all you could get in grocery stores, now I can find at least a half dozen different fresh mushrooms in any store. Campbell’s beef consomme was again what was available, now you find very good beef broth in tetra packs. Butchers even in chain stores would grind any type of meat you wanted, now I use extra lean ground beef.

I actually looked at the old cookbook and realized I have made just about every recipe in it. Surprising part about looking at it was the good memories it held. Like everyone else I started cooking from cookbooks and made the recipes as written. There were a number of recipes that I make often that got there start from those cookbooks. Most I have modified so heavily that now there is a very small part of the original left. That is exactly how cooking should be, a modification of an original, changed to match your families taste.

Hamburger soup I haven’t changed much, just better products that are available. Garlic, fresh parsley, and Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder are my additions that came in over the years. If you like beef barley soup you will like this because that is in reality what it is. Using the ground beef just makes it a lot quicker to make but the taste profile is the same.

This makes a large pot of soup, which is great. You can keep it in the fridge for two or three days. It freezes extremely well and you can keep it in the freezer for up to three months.

1 and 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Salt and pepper the beef and brown in a frying pan on medium high heat. Drain the beef extremely well, I drain it for 45 minutes.

1 large onion diced

3 carrots cut in half and chopped

2 large ribs celery chopped

1 cup chopped green beans, I used whole frozen green beans and chopped them myself

5 mushrooms sliced

1 can diced tomatoes

2 litres low sodium beef broth

1/2 cup pearl barley

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup chopped parsley

1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a soup pot on medium heat with the butter. Add onions, carrots, celery, green beans, mushrooms, and garlic powder. Cook for two minutes stirring often then add beef, beef broth, tomatoes, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, and pearl barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for two hours. After an hour taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. When 15 minutes are left in cooking time add the parsley and mix well. Serve with your favourite buns, bread, or english muffins.

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Pizza Sandwich

Since the sun is shining today I thought I would for go my usual lunch. Ramen noodles, cereal, toast and jam or anything else that is super simple is my normal lunches. There are not many days I feel like making a lunch that takes time to make. My wife says it’s that I am lazy but in that she is totally wrong. Truth is I really like ramen noodles, cereal, and toast and jam. Yes, it may be simple but it’s something I like

When I made pizza I ended up with extra pepperoni and today seemed like a good day to finish it. My original plan was just to have the pepperoni with cheese and olives. With the sun shining and glistening off the fresh snow from our snow storm I felt like doing a little more with it. Funny how in the winter, when you get a bright sunny day you seem to feel good and have more energy.

So I decided a pizza sandwich would be better than just eating the pepperoni. Like other things I played with the idea of pizza. Pepperoni pizza, dough, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, so a pizza sandwich needs those things and then you can add other things. So my sandwich was toasted bread, lots of pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, black olives, sliced red onion, and lettuce. It wasn’t a true pizza sandwich but it had the right stuff and it tasted great. Think I need more bright sunny days for the rest of the winter.

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Simple Roast Pork Loin

Today was our weekly shopping trip, which covid forced us into doing. Yes, I miss deciding to make something and just running to the store to get what I needed. We got lucky and found whole pork loins on sale. When ever we find them on sale I buy one. After I cut the roast off the thick end, cut eight thick chops, the thin end is enough for a pork stew. One pork loin that was just over seventeen dollars ends up giving us seven meals, inexpensive eating.

So supper tonight got changed from fish to roast pork. The roast pork will give us enough leftovers to make another supper. Normally I make ” friday surprise” with leftover roast pork but this time I might make something different. Friday surprise I have been making for years and lately I have been thinking about how I could modify it a little. So with this leftover roast I might play a little with one of our favourite things.

Roast pork loin I keep it supper simple. When I breakdown the whole loin I trim the fat from the chops and put it on top of the roast, it helps keep the roast moist. I tie the roast, salt and pepper it and roast it in a 350 oven covered for 1 and 1/2 hours, uncover for the last 15 minute. It needs to rest for 15-20 before you carve it. With a pork loin you can make it a number of ways and I have. Over the years I have stuffed them with probably 7 or 8 different stuffings. Just about any stuffing works and makes a great meal but so does just keeping it simple. Tonight it was roast pork loin, duck fat roasted potatoes, and cauliflower, a simple delicious Sunday supper.

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Holiday Decompression

Holiday are over and like every other year my week of decompression is over, thankfully covid hasn’t changed everything. I spend so much time thinking about and planning Christmas breakfast, dinner, new years eve supper, and my wife’s birthday supper I need a week to decompress. Suppers have been super simple, bacon and eggs, spaghetti, leftover lasagna, anything that I didn’t have to think about. Even tonight it’s just going to be pizza. If I was a goofball this week would of likely been a lot of ordering in. The only reason we don’t ordering in is because I still want to cook and since it’s winter I don’t want luke warm food.

Tomorrow is our weekly shopping trip and I can’t wait to hit the store and see what I can find to make something new. I know it’s not a great way to shop but I haven’t planned a single meal for next week. The meal planning will happen when we are in the store. Even a simple thing like a vegetable can lead me to a new meal, or a cut of meat that is on-sale.

Heard over the years how after the holidays people get in kind of a funk, and maybe that is what I go through. Every year it is the same and over the years I have tried to fight it, now I just except it. Thankfully it only lasts about a week and then I go back to playing in the kitchen. I don’t make new years resolutions that I save for my week of decompression. This year I plan on making things we normally have and blowing them up with changes. Have some good ideas on how to modify simple things like shepherds pie. This year in my mind is going to be fun.

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It’s Fun Cooking A Family Meal

For me cooking is always a fun thing to do. Cooking a family meal is an absolute blast. With a family meal it isn’t my playing with things that make it so much fun. The fun for me is making favourite things and noticing how quiet it gets at the table when they start eating. With our family it can get a little noisy with 3 or 4 different conversations going on at once, but that is the joy of a large family. When they start eating and it gets quiet then I know the meal is good.

I really need to start taking pictures of the quantity of food I cook for family meals. As our family has gotten larger and our grandchildren have gotten older the quantities have increased drastically.

Sunday was my wife’s birthday family supper, which was missing part of our family. One of our sons was in covid testing which wasn’t going to be completed until Monday so they were missing. Thankfully he tested negative. My wife’s choice for her supper was lasagna, caesar salad, and garlic bread. Sounds like a simple supper until you look at the quantity. It was 4 pounds of hamburger to make the meat sauce, and the mozzarella cheese was about 2 pounds. Reason it was so much was I made two 9×14 inch lasagna pans of it. The caesar salad was a 15 litre salad bowl that was a little over full. It had to be mixed in 2 bowls. Garlic bread I used 2 baguettes split in half.

That’s sounds like a lot but it really wasn’t. Leftovers, that would be no caesar salad, no garlic bread, and only 4 pieces of lasagna. When it was all at the table it looked like an amazing amount of food. As strange as this may sound the more food I have to make the more fun I have doing it. Guess other people would consider it a lot of work, but if your like me it’s not. I find nothing better in life, than showing my family how much I love them, by making a great meal for them.

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Chicken Mushroom Penne

My wife wanted me to make the chicken spinach penne I made last year. Problem was I didn’t have spinach in the house. Rather than not making a penne dish which is a favourite of hers, I got creative. The only thing I was missing was spinach but I had mushrooms. Just because you don’t have everything for a recipe doesn’t mean you can’t make something that is different yet close to the same.

There are lots of recipes that you can substitute ingredients. Yes I know it maybe easier just to say I can’t make it, but what fun is that. It took me a few years to figure out that you can play with just about every recipe you have. I started out cooking the exact recipe in the cook books and yes they turned out good. Some of the amounts of spices and other things were really not my family’s taste so I started removing some and increasing others. That made me realize that the recipe in the cookbook was the taste the person writing it had not mine or my family’s. It is the same with the recipes I post, there what my family likes. Things like the amount of garlic, which is a lot, is what we like, and may not be what you would use. Just realized that I am getting a little preachy so will stop.

Problem with this modification to the penne recipe i posted last year is it created a debate between my wife and I. She really liked it but said the spinach version is better, I totally disagreed with that. I think this is better but that may be because I love mushrooms.

2 chicken breasts thinly sliced

12 mushrooms sliced

5 cloves garlic minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup pasta water

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 box 410 gram penne cooked to package directions

Preheat a frying pan on medium high heat with the olive oil. Add the mushrooms right after you start the penne. Salt and pepper the mushrooms and cook for 1 minutes then add the chicken. Cook for about 2 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add the cherry tomatoes, italian seasoning, and garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook until penne is done stirring occasionally. Drain the penne, add the penne, parsley, and pasta water to the frying pan. Cook for 1 minute stirring for the whole time.

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Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes

For Christmas one of my presents was duck fat. That may seem like a strange gift, but for someone like me it’s a great gift. Using duck fat to cook with seems to be the new chefy thing to do. Trying it is something I wouldn’t do if I had to go out and buy it. There are a number of things I have seen tv chefs use it for and now I will try them.

Since I wanted to play it safe for my first attempt using it I decided on roasted potatoes. When I first started making roasted potatoes I thought you just peeled the potato, cut it up and stuck it in the oven to roast. That kind of works but it doesn’t make a great roasted potato. Took a few years to figure out you need to boil the potato until it is just about to the point where you would mash it. Then mix it with with some kind of fat and season it. What you end up with is a potato that is crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. When you mix the hot potato with the fat it soaks into the potato and draws the flavouring in. Best part is the little pieces that break off, they become crispy little nuggets that are fantastic when roasted.

Normally I just use melted butter with salt and pepper, and a bit of garlic powder when I make roasted potatoes. Duck fat always seemed like a stretch for me because I don’t like duck. Duck I have always found to be to fatty, worse for me, than chicken thighs. Flavour of the meat is fine but I find it leaves a fatty taste in my mouth. Lately every chef is using duck fat for roasted potatoes and french fries so now was my chance to try it. Honestly I was expecting not to like it, turns out I was wrong. The duck fat actually gives the potatoes a great flavour. Will I use it again for roasted potatoes, absolutely YES.

4 potatoes, peeled, cut, and boiled

4 teaspoons duck fat

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix duck fat, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Add the potato as soon as you drain them and gently mix well. Let cool to room temperature in the bowl gently mix occasionally. Dump everything on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Roast in a preheated 400 oven for 40 minutes, turn after 20 minutes.

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We wish everyone a happy New Year. May the new year be kind to you and we pray you stay healthy and safe. Our greatest hope is that this year sees us boldly step away from everything covid has burdened us with.

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New Year’s Eve Supper 2021

New Year’s Eve has for quite a few years been a quiet evening for us. Going out partying and feeling crappy the next day we decided was a great idea. I guess as you get older you get a little smarter or you could say we got a little boring. Since covid has basically stomped on big new years celebrations a lot more people that are doing what we have done for years. When we started staying home I decided something nice was a great idea. Some years I have made two different things, one meal for my wife and one for myself. This year we decided one meal for both of us was a good idea.

Lemon chicken is an extremely simple dish to make and it’s just about impossible to make a bad one. You can make it as a cut up coated deep-fried dish or as a slab style like I did, both are actually correct. We like the slab style that is shallow fried. When you do it as a slab style any coating will work. A flattened to a quarter inch chicken breast will cook in about 4 minutes on each side so it makes it a simple and quick supper to make. You can pour the lemon sauce over it and it makes it look pretty, but we prefer it as a dipping sauce. I have stated before if you make something that is crisp why make it soggy by pouring a sauce all over it.

Since the coated and fried chicken breast is a simple thing and any you normally make will work I figured the lemon sauce would be the best thing to post. Think over the years I have looked at about 200 lemon chicken sauces and they’re all about the same. Since I am a little different my sauce is a little different too. Again this is my adding into a normal recipe flavours we like.

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

3 teaspoons sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix everything together in a saucepan and on medium heat cook until thickened.

We had the lemon chicken with rice and stir fried vegetables but stir fried noodles work great also.

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