Ukrainian Chicken Paprikash

Being one quarter Ukrainian, every once in awhile I get the urge to “get back to my roots” and cook up some delicious Ukrainian fare. As a non-mommy, it was a lot easier to commit the time needed to create the mouth-watering perogies and cabbage rolls commonly associated with Ukrainian cooking, so I had to search out a few new, fast, and easy recipes to satisfy my cravings. This Chicken Paprikash has nearly no prep, so it was the perfect dinner in a flash. Use the sour cream as suggested for a creamier flavor or leave it out altogether if you prefer to experience the full paprika spice experience.

Ukrainian Chicken Paprikash

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions sliced into half circles
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or more if you like!)
  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1/2 cup rose wine
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper as you choose

Directions

So easy!

  1. Melt the butter, add the onions and sauté until the onion are tender and transparent.
  2. Sprinkle in the delicious paprika, yummy garlic, stir to coat and sauté one minute more.
  3. Toss in some salt and pepper and your wine. Stir and move the onion mixture to one side of the pan.
  4. Grab those chickens and give them a few rounds with the meat mallet and toss them into the empty side of the pan. Cover the chicken with your colourful onion mixture and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and repeat.
  5. When the chicken has cooked for about twenty minutes, remove the onions, add the sour cream and serve with pasta, rice or for a delicious texture twist, try it a top a hot mound of gnocchi. Delish!

Serve with beets for an especially authentic Ukrainian feast.

Gorgeous onions.

Full of colour!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

This is Kel’s first recipe. I was going to wait until she had a chance to post her commentary on these muffins, but she is a busy lady, and these are the perfect post for a Sunday morning, so here we go! I have had versions of these muffins, and I can assure you that they are delicious, the peanut butter and banana are doing their own delicious thing and then in jumps the chocolate, and well, as you can imagine, it is like a tasty tango. Kel might jump in here at a later point to add her commentary, but I will say that these are yummy.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed, golden brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2-3 large, ripe bananas, mashed-enough for 1-1/4 cups banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter oil, vanilla, and eggs. Pour over dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
  4. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tin, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until tops are firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes; transfer to rack and let cool.

Walnut Pie Bars (a play on Pecan Pie Bars)

I am not being clever, I just happened to have a Costco-sized bag of walnuts and no place to go… and then I got invited to a dinner party and suddenly walnuts became the perfect dessert. I LOVE pecan pie, I went through a pie phase a couple years ago and I swear I made pecan pie four times in so many months, which is way too often for such a rich dessert. Now, I haven’t had the pie since but I remembered making pecan pie squares once and thought these would be the perfect substitute. Again, I used walnuts instead of pecans, so there is a bit of a difference, but not so much to make a fuss about. The bottom of the bars are a bit cakey (ie not shortbread) and the top is rich, nutty, gooey deliciousness.

Walnut Pie Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2/3 cup flour mixture
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp cream (or milk)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with parchment paper (curses, I ran out of parchment paper today, greasing it works too).
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Scoop out 2/3 cup and set aside.
  3. Add butter and egg to the remaining flour mixture, and combine until crumbly. Press evenly (if possible…) into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.

    Baked and ready to be topped!

  4. While the base is baking, beat together the 2/3 cup of the flour mixture, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and beaten eggs. Pour over the base when it is done baking. Sprinkle the walnuts evenly (if possible…) over the top. Bake 30-35 minutes, until filling is set.

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

These cookies captured my imagination a couple days ago, so much so that I made them quickly! Brown butter anything is my favourite, as readers will know, and these sweet little cookies are no exception. Mine were not nearly as thin and sugar-cookie like as the ones that Let’s Dish made, but they were still delicious. I’ve mostly kept the recipe the same, because I like to try something once before jazzing it up Stacey-style (mostly by adding chocolate in some way). I’ve adjusted the ingredients to how I like to see them, and omitted the instructions for browning the butter, because you can find that here! Enjoy, and thanks to Let’s Dish again for this wonderful recipe!

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Recipe is from this lovely blog.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps butter (plus 1/4 cup butter to not be browned)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)
  • 1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar (plus 1/4 cup for rolling)
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Brown 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps of butter, if you aren’t sure how, visit my unnecessary walkthrough. Pour the browned butter into a large bowl and stir the remaining 1/4 cup of butter until melted; set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large  baking sheets with parchment paper, or coat them with cooking spray. In a shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar; set aside.
  3.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar along with the salt to the cooled butter and mix well. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined, about 1 minute. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and the ingredients are evenly distributed. 
  5. Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (just larger than a twoonie) and roll them in the sugar mixture to coat.  Place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

    They sparkle.

  6. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft, 8-10 minutes.  Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheets and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

    Don’t forget the cookies in the oven because you are drooling over the first batch… still tasty, but tougher for sure.

Mushroom and Eggplant Polenta Lasagna

This lasagna was adapted from a recipe sent to me by my lovely friend, Chloë (check out her blog here, it is not food-related but speaks volumes of her awesomeness). I’ve included her recipe at the bottom because it is delicious, but I’ve unveganized it with cheese, switched the tofu for lentils, amped up the mushrooms, and made some personal changes as Chloë suggested. The polenta replaces the noodles in the dish, which is a delicious trick (my mom is uneasy about this switch). It was delicious, and still is delicious, as this made a lot! Mushrooms come in and out of my favour and this recipe placed them firmly back in my heart. Enjoy!

Mushroom & Eggplant Polenta Lasagna

Ingredients

Polenta

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Lasagna layers

  • 2 eggplants sliced length-wise in medium-thin strips (see picture)
  • 2.5 cups of pasta sauce (I used a roasted portobello tomato pasta sauce for the full mushroom effect)

Filling

  • 10 large white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (want some meat in your life? 1 lb of browned ground beef can go here, but it is totally unnecessary as the meat isn’t missed in this dish)
  • 2 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella (or italian mixed white cheeses)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Make the polenta (REQUIRES SETTING TIME). Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and whisk in the cornmeal in 3 parts, keep whisking to avoid clumping. Turn the heat to low, and, stirring often, cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the butter, and stir until melted. Pour the polenta into a 9 x 13 dish and smooth the top. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably longer (ooooooor buy polenta at any grocery store).
  2. Cut polenta into strips, vary the thickness according to preference, I left mine pretty thick, about 1/2 inch.
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat sauté the eggplant strips in batches of 3 until the eggplant browns, set the strips aside.

    I am not a huge fan of eggplant but it was delightful in this dish.

  4. Sauté the mushrooms, spinach, and garlic over medium heat with a bit of olive oil and the 2 tbsp of water until tender.

    Mushroom heaven.

  5. In a medium bowl mash the lentils and 1/2 cup of cheese. Add the spinach/lentil mixture to the spinach and mushrooms. Combine well, salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grab a 9 x 12 inch pan… maybe even the one you made the polenta in… huzzah! Or, as I did, grab two smaller but very deep casserole dishes. Also, cover a cookiesheet in aluminum foil… trust me.
  7. Spread about 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of polenta strips over the sauce, leaving a little space in between them. Drop half of the filling onto the polenta and spread to cover. Cover with half of the eggplant strips. Spread another third of the sauce over it all and sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese. Cover with another layer of polenta, filling, eggplant, and cheese. This should use all of your ingredients… if not you’ve done something terribly wrong.

    Layering like a champ.

  8. Cover the dish tightly with foil, place it on the middle rack and the cookie sheet directly below to catch drips. Bake covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes (50 minutes total). Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Chloë’s original recipe here:

Vegan Polenta Lasagna with Eggplant, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Tofu

Ingredients:

Polenta:

  • 2 cups cornmeal / corn grits
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups water

Lasagna:

  • 1 eggplant / aubergine, cut into long thin strips
  • 1–3 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce (tomato sauce)
  • Sliced black olives (optional)

Filling:

  • 3–6 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, mostly but not completely thawed
  • 1 package / 1 cup tofu (firm or medium firm)
  • 2–4 tbsp. nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy taste)
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Make polenta. (This can be done a day or two in advance.) In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to boil over high heat; gradually pour in cornmeal, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes or until smooth and thickened enough to mound on spoon. Transfer to greased 13 x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish, smooth top and set aside to set. (If making ahead, keep covered in fridge until needed.)
  2. Turn polenta out onto chopping board; with long knife, cut horizontally into strips (as thin as you can cut without it falling apart – about 1/3 of an inch).
  3. Brown eggplant strips in fry pan with cooking spray or a very little bit of oil.
  4. Sauté mushrooms and garlic over medium heat in the 2 tbsp. water until tender; cover between stirring to keep them from drying out.
  5. Place the tofu and thawed spinach in the food processor and process briefly, OR mix them together in a medium-sized bowl with a potato masher or strong fork (or with your hands, but it might be cold because the spinach shouldn’t be entirely thawed). Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix until smooth. Add the mushroom/garlic mixture.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Make layers. Spread about a third of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×12-inch pan (casserole/lasagna dish). Place a layer of polenta strips over the sauce, leaving a little space in between them. Spread half of the tofu mixture on the noodles (I drop it by spoonfuls and then spread it). Add a layer of eggplant strips next. Spread another third of the sauce over it all. Cover with another layer of polenta, tofu mixture, and eggplant. Keep making layers until the pan is nearly full, then pour the remaining sauce over this. Sprinkle sliced black olives on top.
  8. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake for 1 hour (30 minutes with foil covering, then another 30 without the foil). Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Brown Sugar Scones, Two Ways

I have been craving my mother’s brown sugar scones for awhile now and just needed to remember to ask her for the recipe and have an excuse to make them. My excuse came Monday when I started my internship at The Tyee. The Tyee staff is awesome and I am looking forward to failing miserably for them in softball this summer… oh yeah, and completing my internship project too.. that too for sure… In any case, starting with them means that I have a new crowd to bake for. Perfect! Scones it is!

These scones are buttery, lightly sweet, and just gloriously yummy. Oh, they are also terribly easy. I love mom’s original recipe, which she normally tops with fruit, but I wanted to change it up too. I made one standard batch (so tasty) and decided, as I am wont to do, to add caradmom and chocolate to the recipe to make a snazzed-up version. Heavenly. Both versions are to die for. I can barely hold back from eating everything.

Mom’s Brown Sugar Scones Two Ways

Ingredients (for one batch)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk (plus more if needed)

Additions for the Chocolate Cardamom Brown Sugar Scones (CCBSS)

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you have a baking stone, that’s what my mom always uses.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and brown sugar. (If making CCBSS, include cardamom now as well)
  3. Using a pastry cutter, or your fingers,  work in the butter until it is well combined and resembling coarse meal. (Add the chocolate chips now if making CCBSS)
  4. Add the milk and stir until a sticky dough forms, don’t over work the dough.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and roll into a circle about 3/4 – 1 inch thick. At this point, you can either score the circle into wedges that you will cut after it is cooked or you can actually cut out wedges. I did both this time, the scored circle definitely had to cook a little longer.
  6. Place wedges or circle onto your prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake for 15-20 minutes. My wedges cooked in about 15 minutes, the circle was about 20. The edges of your scones will be golden and they will be a slightly firm when poked.
  7. Serve with a glass of milk, coffee, love, etc.

Brown Sugar Scones pre-oven

Chocolate Cardamom Brown Sugar Scones pre-oven.

Ready for munching. And munch I did.

The whole batch... minus one that HAD to be tested.