buffalo chicken salad, spaghetti squash with meat sauce and almond butter cream pie

if there is one healthy ingredient in a recipe, does that make it a health food?  if your answer to that is yes, make this pie and celebrate sticking to your New Year’s resolutions…

also, if you are lactose intolerant, this might send you for a loop…

my daughter was able to eat two bites before setting it in the fridge,  labeled ‘Sienna’ so the farmer doesn’t eat it in the middle of the night…  and she felt great…

my teenage sons on the other hand ate their pieces of this almond butter cream pie in roughly 4 bites… and then paid the consequences…

my suggestion is to make this pie first thing in the morning and put in the fridge all day… then when ready to serve, whip your whipping cream and top with chocolate or pretzels and serve…

I sliced each pie into eight pieces and still thought each piece looked insanely large…

the farmer told me it was perfect size so I guess we have different ideas on how much pie one should eat…

I topped the pie with whipped cream and my absolute favourite Lindt dark chocolate bar with sea salt…

almond butter cream pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt (I like it salty)
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-natural almond butter

Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar

Garnish:

  • coarsely chopped salted pretzels or dark chocolate with sea salt or peanut butter cups

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the upper third of the oven
  • in a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and butter
  • spray a pie pan and press crumbs into it
  • bake for 12-15 minutes
  • cool on rack completely
  • for the filling, in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks, 4-5 minutes
  • transfer to a bowl
  • in the same mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and almond butter
  • fold the almond butter mixture with the whipped cream mixture
  • pour and press into the graham cracker crust pie shell and cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving
  • whip the whipping cream (in a frozen mixer bowl with the whisk attachment) and icing sugar
  • spoon out over the pie and sprinkle with the topping you prefer

this salad started out with the idea it was going to be buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese dressing…  upon making the blue cheese dressing (which I love), I decided to have my boys taste test it before finishing up the salads…

their overwhelming response was…  ‘you already hit them with goat cheese last week, I think you better not throw blue cheese at them’ … so we decided to use Hidden Valley ranch dressing instead… and save the blue cheese dressing for my personal use!

no recipe necessary for this salad…  just lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumbers with ranch dressing and buffalo chicken (chicken breast with chili powder, garlic powder and Frank’s Red hot sauce)

to balance off the pie, I decided to go with a lighter main dish for the men…  Ethan gathered 4 spaghetti squash from the garden for me and I cut them and roasted them…

I drizzle olive oil over the parchment covered pan and roast at 350 for roughly 1/2 hour or until they are soft and done…

I topped the squash with a meat sauce and cheddar cheese… spaghetti squash straight out of the garden is a lighter colour than the ones you find in the grocery stores… and tastes lighter and of course, more delicious…

it is so dusty and dry out right now that harvesting barley is an itchy procedure… and delivering suppers to the farmers can be an itchy ordeal as well!

it is key to get on the proper side of the combines to not get covered in barley dust… I get this wrong every single time…

and this combine driver does not care who she covers in barley dust… or that she has a princess blanket in the combine with her…

meal to the field #8

my farm is nestled between two towns, one with a population hovering around 200 and the other at around 300… the smaller town has the store and school… the larger town has the bank, rink and doctor’s clinic… neither have a paved street but both have a post office and a bar…

if you come to this area, you will meet farmers, oil field workers, teachers, nurses, mechanics, truckers, electricians, hunters, hutterites… and the odd person running from the law trying to hide in the middle of no where…  I quickly realized after my first trip here to meet the farmer’s family that my choice of occupation (should the relationship pan out) was going to be limited… thus me becoming a stay-at-home mom…

it was rather difficult at first to be a stay-at-home mom… not the stay-at-home part so much but more the mom part… when your children are little you really do stay at home and lose your mind…  I like to look back on those years fondly as the ‘dark days’…  back when words like ‘I’m bored’ came out of my mouth…  or ‘play-date’…

then last year when my youngest went to grade one and it is the time that most stay-at-home mom’s get a job my farmer husband told me to take a year to figure out what I feel should be the next step in my life… I currently am in my second year figuring that out…

but one thing I know I have to do every day is cook… and this has made me think that when I cook I want it to be fulfilling and artistic and inspiring and interesting… if I have to devote this much time to something I might as well become as interested in it as possible and try to create things that not only feed a belly but feed my soul….

and this brings me to the topic of cream cheese…

 

I love cream cheese…  ever since I discovered in college ‘the Great Canadian Bagel’ store where you could buy bagels and cream cheese in mass quantities and then eat it at your leisure in your dorm room while watching ‘Pretty Woman’ for the 24th time wondering who the lucky guy to discover you was going to be…

last harvest I went on a major cream cheese kick…  I went to our store in the smaller town and picked up four blocks of cream cheese just for the meal I was doing that night… when you are giving the food to ten farmers that means they each are getting around 3.2 oz of cream cheese each…

I was purchasing the cream cheese and a few other baking supplies like eggs, baking powder and graham cracker crumbs and a man beside me in line started to chat…

he was purchasing beef jerky, two Red Bull’s, a pre-made sub and a family sized bag of chips…  again, I had the baking supplies and cream cheese…

 he said to me ‘hey…. (nodding his head towards me so I knew he was referring to me)…  you from around here?’ … I politely replied  ‘no… just on my way through and decided to grab four packages of cream cheese and some graham cracker crumbs to tide me over’…

I always wonder if I had shown a little interest where that relationship could have gone…  I picture it heading the direction of a scary version of ’50 Shades of Grey’…  not the wealthy, helicopter version but more the ‘this Red Room has rats in it and is in a dirt basement’ version…

which brings me back to cream cheese… put it in as many things as you can… icings, potatoes, soups, cream sauce… you won’t be upset with yourself… and buy it in large quantities and see if someone asks you if you are  ‘from around these parts?’…

whipped potatoes

  • Servings: one casserole
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Ingredients:
– 9 large red potatoes, washed and cut in chunks
– 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 tsp onion powder
– 1/4 cup butter, cubed
– 1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
Directions:
– cut potatoes into chunks, leaving skin on, and place in cold, salted water in a pot and bring to a boil
– boil on medium/high heat for 20 minutes or until soft in the middle
– strain
– in a mixing bowl, place cream cheese, sour cream, salt, onion powder and butter
– put potatoes into the mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined
– spray a large corningware dish with Pam, put whipped potatoes into the dish and sprinkle top with seasoning salt
– cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour


the poor farmers had no idea this curly haired guy had his hands all over their biscuit dough

yellow squash three cheese biscuits

Ingredients:
– 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 5 tsp baking powder
– 4 tsp sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
– 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
– 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded
– 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
– 1 1/2 cups yellow squash or zucchini
– 2 cup buttermilk
– melted butter, for brushing on biscuits
Directions:
– in a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda
– add butter and using a pastry blender mix until it resembles coarse oatmeal
– stir in cheeses
– add squash and buttermilk and with a spatula combine
– turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it come together
– roll out to 3/4″ thick and cut with a circle biscuit cutter
– place on a parchment lined baking sheet
– brush with melted butter
– bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes
– cool on a rack and serve

  

I believe these are considered ‘super-foods’… well for sure broccoli and I love beets so much I’m classifying them as a super-food…

parmesan roasted broccoli and beets

Ingredients:
– 5 large beets, washed, cubed and skin still on
– 4-5 heads broccoli, washed and cut up
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 3 tsp kosher salt
– 1 tsp ground black pepper
– 8 cloves garlic, minced
– zest of 2 lemons
– 4 tsp lemon juice
– 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Directions:
– place cubed beets in cold water in a pot and bring to a boil
– boil for 15 minutes and then strain and put in an ice water bath
– place broccoli and cooled beets in a large bowl
– add olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and mix
– pour onto a parchment lined large baking sheet
– roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until broccoli florets are tender and browned
– mix zest of lemons, lemon juice and cheese and pour over the broccoli and beets and serve

mesquite beef kebabs from a local meat packing store… by local I mean I had to drive two hours to get there…  and then two hours home… local might mean something different to you.. 

my kids favourite salad and very simple for taking to the field is caesar salad… I do have a great recipe for caesar salad dressing but it was one of those days I thought the farmers could stand to have Costco caesar salad dressing instead…  from my local Costco…
  

which brings me to my favourite pie ever… and the one that brings back the most memories of my Grandma Reed…  coconut cream pie was one of her best and there is nothing like it with a cup of coffee…  or leftover at 1:30 am when you get home from the field and want pie… (I caught the farmer doing this last night)…

main trick to it is to make sure you get the cream thickened enough before putting into the pie crusts… otherwise it will never thicken and you get coconut cream pie soup…  which is also yummy but not quite as pretty…

grandma reed's coconut cream pie

Ingredients:
– use two baked 9″ pie shells
– 4 1/2 cups homo milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 5 egg yolks
– 1/3 cup cornstarch
– 1/3 cup homo milk
– 500 mL whipping cream
– 1 pkg Whip It (optional)
– 1 1/2 cups sweetened fancy flake coconut
Directions:
– in a double broiler, heat up milk, sugar and salt
– mix egg yolks, cornstarch and milk separately
– temper the egg yolk mixture with some of the warm milk/sugar and then add all of the egg mixture into the double broiler
– mix with a whisk until it resembles pudding – this will take quite awhile but it is very important to get it to the consistency of pudding
– pour into the shells and place in fridge (with plastic wrap over each pie) for 3 hours or longer
– for whipped cream, use a mixing bowl that has been in the freezer… the cream will whip faster
– place whipping cream and one package of Whip It (optional) in mixing bowl and mix at med/high speed until stiff peaks form
– spread over the cream pies and sprinkle coconut on top to serve

meal to the field #7

thanksgiving 2004 I made potato salad and 5 people got food poisoning…  since then my oldest son cannot eat mayonnaise…  he literally eats everything else imaginable – just not mayonnaise…  it did not affect my farmer husband the same way…  this was not his first time contracting food poisoning from potato salad and I’m going to guess it won’t be his last…

he actually had to check into the hospital the last time potato salad took him down… of course he had bought it at a 7-Eleven and it was past the expiry date and it was grey… but his love affair with potato salad remains…  

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds red potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces
  • 12 hard boiled eggs, cut up
  • 1 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • in a large pot, cover the cut up potatoes with cold water and add 2 tsp kosher salt
  • bring to a boil and reduce to simmer
  • simmer until tender, around 15-20 minutes
  • do the same process with eggs but when they come to a boil they let them boil for a few minutes and then they are done
  • drain the potatoes in a strainer and put into the bowl with the celery, green onions & dill pickles
  • make the dressing and add to the potatoes
  • gently mix in the eggs, paprika, salt and pepper
  • chill for a few hours or for up to 2 days in fridge

a friend of mine gave me these apples … and rhubarb … thus allowing me to not have to plant apple trees or rhubarb in my garden … thank you Erin … so I thought I’d put them in pie crust with sugar …

now don’t be shocked by the next picture…  it is my attempt to demonstrate how I crinkle the outside of the pie crust… but it turns out that my hands up close are wrinkly and hairy … my mom always told me I had hands that should play the piano …  she also told me that I could swim like a fish and run like a gazelle and sing like a bird … so it shouldn’t come as a shock that she thought I had hands for the piano …  watch an episode of ‘The Goldbergs’ and you will see who my mom is …  

that is an apple peeler and slicer passed on to me by my Grandpa Reed …  and it is a lovely invention

the farmer texted me tonight after eating this pie and I quote “that pie might be my favourite one of yours” …

Cream Cheese Apple Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts (see recipe for Coffee Break Pie Crust)
  • 2 pkg (250 g) Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 Gala apples, peeled and sliced thinly (makes 8 cups sliced)
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut up

Directions:

  • line 2 9” pie plates with pie crusts
  • beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla and put into the 2 pie shells
  • cut up apples, put in a big bowl and add flour and cinnamon and toss until well coated
  • place apples on top of cream cheese filled pie shells
  • cut with a pastry blender the butter into the oats and brown sugar and place on top of pies
  • put in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes
  • serve at room temperature

and now … drum roll … I made something healthy … this is a classic around here for ‘Meatless Mondays’  … tonight a friend asked my curly haired son ‘what did your mom make for supper?’ and he said ‘something orange’ … he must really love it …


  

Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake

  • Servings: one 9x13 casserole
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen kernels
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce (salsa works if you do not have this)
  • 2 cups shredded Tex Mex cheese (1/2 cup for mixture and 1 1/2 cups for topping)

Directions:

  • add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil over a medium heat
  • boil for 5 minutes then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes
  • remove from heat, fluff and pour into large bowl
  • in a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, jalapeño and peppers
  • in the large bowl that has the quinoa in it add corn, black beans, pepper mixture, enchilada sauce and /1/2 cup of the Tex Mex cheese
  • put in a 9×13 greased baking dish and cover with the rest of the Tex Mex cheese
  • bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  • toppings: sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream (optional)
  • freezes well: take out in the morning and allow to thaw all day

meal to the field #4

 we combined red lentils the night I took this supper out…  saskatchewan is a huge producer of red lentils and a side note is my daughter loves to eat them in the combine… in fact when she is out there riding with her dad she drinks a pepsi and eats lentils… I figure once less mouth to feed…
  

sometimes you’ve got to be organized… thus me making the shell and the filling for the lemon meringue pie in the evening and then plastic wrapping it up, putting it in the fridge and then completing the meringue the next day – it actually worked very well…

I do wish there was a before and after for this pie going out to the field… let’s just say I saw what the farmer had to see and it was more of a ‘soup’ pie…  so as much as I love this pie, it is not a great one to survive the trip in the supper bag out to the field…  just eat it at home…

Grandma Swan's Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients:

For the 2 baked pie shells:

  • Crisco Pie Shell Recipe
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup crisco, cold
  • 11 tbsp cold water (1 tbsp less than 3/4 cup)

For the filling:

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 8 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 6 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 tsp grated lemon zest

For the meringue:

  • 8 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 8 tbsp sugar

Directions:

  • for the pie shell, mix flour and salt together
  • add cubes of cold crisco and then add water
  • using a pastry blender, blend together dough and dump out onto counter
  • form into a ball and then cut into two
  • wrap the two balls of dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours
  • roll the dough out and place in pie plates
  • bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until browned and then let cool
  • for the filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, butter and egg yolks in a pot
  • add the boiling water and bring mixture to a boil
  • when thickened, cool and pour into shells
  • for the meringue, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed in mixer
  • add 1 tbsp of sugar at a time until it is blended and stiff peaks appear
  • place on cooled lemon pies and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until meringue gets browned

corn on the cob is easy to wrap up in foil and take to the field…  it keeps warm and with some garlic butter is fantastic!

Corn on the Cob with Garlic Butter

Ingredients:

  • 12 cobs of corn, husked
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup Becel margarine
  • 3 tbsp Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning

Directions:

  • boil corn for 8-10 minutes at a slow boil in water with salt added
  • remove corn and set aside on plate to drain some of the liquid
  • mix 1 cup margarine with the garlic seasoning
  • place corn on tin foil with 1 tbsp of margarine spread and wrap up


I love coleslaw…  not the KFC coleslaw as they’ve changed the recipe now and it is disgusting… but homemade coleslaw….  even in a pinch I like store bought coleslaw with tomatoes and mushrooms added to it…  and it screams ‘picnic’… which also screams ‘meal to the field’… 

these are the Hutterite chickens that I get… I try to only use meat that to my knowledge has had a good life…  as far as I know Hutterite’s treat their chicken’s well…  so I like to get eggs and chicken’s from them whenever they drive into my yard selling them to me…  I did become a vegetarian for just over a month last fall…  it was after harvest and I went hunting with the farmer (mostly to get away from the kid’s) and I thought it was more of a ‘window shopping’ type of hunting trip…  turns out I spotted a beautiful white tail deer (buck) and he shot it… I cried while three other hunters helped him take the inside of the deer out and tag it and load it…  it didn’t help that I had watched the documentary ‘Black Fish’ that day… so I said if I couldn’t take seeing an animal die I had no right to eat an animal…  just over a month later I was getting the mail and a new purse came in the mail for me… my curly haired boy ‘Meat’ quietly pointed out “what is that purse made out of mom?”….  then added “so you can’t eat animals but you can wear them?”…  this is when I realized the the vegan lifestyle was not going to fit into my farming/fashion/hunting life very well…  but I still like to know that the animal that I am eating has had a good go at life… enjoyed it as well as possible… and we do have meatless Monday’s in tribute to eating less meat…  

Hutterite Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

  • 2 fryer chickens, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 2 heads garlic, chopped
  • 1 bottle bbq sauce

For the Coleslaw:

  • 1 head cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 head purple cabbage, sliced thin
  • 4 large carrots, sliced thin
  • 10-15 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup half/half milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 block, Meddo Belle Dutch Mild Gouda
  • 12 buns

Directions:

  • for the coleslaw, slice the cabbage, carrots and radishes and place in a large bowl
  • mix up the dressing (without the cilantro) and add to salad
  • put in fridge for a few hours
  • for the chicken, pour the butter over the chickens and then sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • cook in oven at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours or longer depending on the size of the chickens
  • cut up and set chicken aside
  • put olive oil in pan and at medium heat put in onions and garlic
  • cook for 5 minutes and then add BBQ sauce
  • add chicken to mixture and bring to a heat
  • for sandwiches, put meat, gouda cheese sliced and coleslaw and wrap in tin foil
  • option is: put coleslaw separate and put meat, gouda cheese and ranch dressing on bun and wrap in tin foil… then put the buns to warm in a 300 degree oven and when done pack up in supper bags