Au Lecteur

“Blow your MIND” Tomato Basil Pasta!

Posted in Food by aulecteur on September 5, 2013

My friend Crystal shared this on her Facebook. I save recipes by pinning so I have to blog this to pin it. It’s a complicated system but it works.


“Blow your MIND” Tomato Basil Pasta! – No Straining, just Stirring

Pasta, Tomatoes, Veggie Broth, Olive Oil, and Seasonings (details below)

Throw it all in the pot, INCLUDING the uncooked Pasta, and cook! – Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The starch leaches out of the pasta and makes a rich, warm sauce for the noodles. The other ingredients cook right along with the pasta

12 ounces pasta (I used Linguine)
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid ( I used zesty red pepper flavor)
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish


Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .

Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

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Good morning, Muffin!

Posted in Food by aulecteur on April 7, 2013

Good Morning Muffin

Brenda’s Bran Muffins
April, 2013

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.

1 cup of raisins (golden/Sultana) or cranberries
1 tsp of water

1 –
Place raisins and water in a small bowl, cover with Saran Wrap/plate and microwave on High for 30 seconds. Let stand – covered, until the raisins are softened and plump – about 5 minutes. Transfer the raisins to a plate that has been lined with paper towel to cool.

2 ¼ cups All-Bran Original cereal

Process 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cereal in a food process until finely ground (3/4 cup ground cereal) about 1 minute.

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour (I used only white flour)
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¾ cups plain yogurt – Greek or other + 1/2 cup milk

Whisk egg and yolk together in a medium bowl until well combined and light coloured, about 20 seconds. Add sugar, molasses and vanilla to bowl with the eggs and whisk until mixture is thick – about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and whisk to combine. Add yogurt and whisk to combine. Stir in processed cereal and the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tbsp unprocessed cereal. Let mixture sit until cereal is evenly moistened (there will still be some lumps) about 5 minutes.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently with a rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened (do not over-mix). Gently fold raisins into batter. Using ice scream scoop or large scoop, divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins, dropping batter to form mounds (do not flatten batter).

Bake until muffins are dark golden and toothpick inserted in centre comes out few crumbs attached, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating tin halfway through baking. Let muffins cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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Orzo with Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Posted in Food by aulecteur on March 11, 2013

orzo with chicken, asparagus and goat cheese

Originally from

But her images won’t pin so I have no choice, for the sake of my recipe collecting madness.

This was really good and really quick and easy to make. Definitely repeats.

Orzo with Chicken, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Serves 4 people

1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
8 stalks of asparagus, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups cooked orzo pasta (follow directions on box)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional to serve: more chopped fresh basil and crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in an even layer on a cookie sheet or 13 x 9 pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 clove garlic, minced (1/3 of the total garlic) over the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken pieces are, or until cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced cherry tomatoes and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften and break apart. Use a wooden spoon to smash the tomatoes a bit. Lower the heat to medium low, and add garlic. Saute for a few minutes being careful not to burn the garlic. Add chicken broth, asparagus, fresh basil, cooked chicken and goat cheese. Stir until combined and let the asparagus cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. You want the asparagus to maintain the crisp texture, but not be raw. Add cooked orzo and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm with some fresh basil and crumbled goat cheese on top, if desired.

orzo with chicken, asparagus and goat cheese

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Holiday Hit List: Brenda’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

Posted in Food, To Do List by aulecteur on January 4, 2013

This is Brenda’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. I don’t care for cream soups so omit the cream and it’s just fine and dandy like sour candy. I can’t wait to have this soup at lunch this winter.

This batch is part of my Holiday Hit List!

1 oz butter
1 small onion
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 ¾ cup chicken stock
1 lb mushrooms
5 oz (5/8th cup) 35% cream

Quantities to triple the recipe. It’s a good soup. People want to make a lot.
3 oz
1 large
9 tbsp
1 tsp
¾ tsp
¾ tsp
1/4 tsp
9 cups water + 3 jiggers of Bovril
1 ½ lb white + 16 oz Baby Bella
½ cup 35% cream, ½ cup 1%milk + 1/2 c flour

Melt butter, fry finely chopped onions till translucent. Remove from heat,
stir in flour, salt, pepper, oregano and cayenne pepper to make a smooth

Gradually stir in stock. Stir in mushrooms.

Return to heat, to boil. Stir constantly. Reduce to low. Simmer 30 minutes.

Remove mushrooms and puree with immersion blender. Stir in cream. Add ½
tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp white wine vinegar.


Soup can be made ahead to just before cream addition.

Holiday Hit List: Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Posted in Food, To Do List by aulecteur on January 3, 2013

I have a Holiday Hit List – things to do over the holidays. Now that the chaos of Christmas is behind me, I’m getting to it. On the list is preparing quick grab meals for the winter. I’m making two soups and a bunch of freezer burritos. The first soup is Mom’s Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, originally from It’s All About Food apparently. Credit where credit is due.

I ruined this soup when I first made it. I figure I burned the spices during the toasting step. So watch out if attempting. It’s a truly rewarding endeavor. It’s a tasty tasty soup.

EDIT: I attempted the soup again and it turned out splendidly. Really watch the spices; do that step on low heat, maybe even off the burner completely. The picture is from the successful second attempt.

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4

Cooked squash is much easier to peel than raw squash. If you don’t have time to roast
it, cut it in half, place both halves on a plate or baking dish, and cover them with plastic
wrap. Pop them in the microwave for about 10 minutes, then peel them with your fingers
once they are cool enough to handle.

1 medium butternut or acorn squash
1-2 Tbsp. (15-30 mL) canola or olive oil or butter
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) curry powder or paste, or to taste
1 tart apple, chopped (Granny Smith)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups (750 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup (250 mL) milk, evaporated milk, half and half or 35% cream (optional)
Salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place it cut side down in a
roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 40-45 minutes or
until very tender. Set aside until it’s cool enough to handle. (You can cook the squash up
to 2 days in advance; keep it covered in the fridge until you need it or freeze it for a later

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft.
Add the curry paste, apple, ginger and garlic and cook for a few more minutes, until the
apples start to soften. Peel the skin off the cooked squash using a vegetable peeler or your
fingers, and cut it into chunks. Add it to the soup with the stock and bring it to a simmer.
Reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender, or use a hand-held immersion blender to purée it right in the
pot until it’s as chunky or as smooth as you like. Return the soup to the stovetop, add the
milk or cream (if using), season with salt and pepper, and stir until it’s heated through.
Make sure you don’t boil it at this point, or the milk may curdle. Finish with the maple
syrup before serving.

From It’s about Food (via my mom)

Sarah’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Posted in Food by aulecteur on December 16, 2012

I don’t know who Sarah is but her cookies are amazing! These have become a holiday staple. In fact, it doesn’t make sense to me to ever make these at any other time of year, unless you’re specifically going for a Christmasy feel. They’re simply so rich they must be reserved for a once a year treat.

This batch is especially awesome because they actually turned out. I always have issues with these cookies. And they’re not perfect but they’re damn close. The trick is creaming the butter. It’s so fussy. I’ll try again next year. Good luck if you attempt them. Butter at room temp. Cream well, add things gradually. Don’t over bake.

Sarah’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

To double the recipe, use the qty in the (brackets)

  • 1 cup butter, softened   (1 lb)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed (1 c)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (2 tsp)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (4 c)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (2c)

Measure butter (not margarine) into bowl and whip with a mixer until light in color and texture. Add sugar – mix to blend well.  Add vanilla and flour until blended together.  Combine until dough forms a ball. Add chocolate chips and work by hand into dough.

Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press with fork.

Bake 325 for 10 – 15 minutes.

Sarah's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Mastering Quinoa (the power grain)

Posted in Food by aulecteur on April 14, 2012

This week I finally managed to cook a grain successfully!

I’m historically notoriously horrible at cooking rice, barley, lentils, quinoa, you name it. Grains. What the heck? But magic happened this week when I was determined to add this power food to my weekly menu. There’s so much you can do with quinoa.

To prep the quinoa, I toasted it in a frying pan over medium heat. About 5 minutes until it looks toasted, smells nutty, and starts to pop. These are all good signs it’s time to transfer to the pot. Toasting brings out the nutty flavour and takes away any bitterness when you cook it.

I used a flexible cutting board to funnel the toasted grains into a small pot of water. Use the 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa.

Bring the pot of water and quinoa to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and let it do its thing for 15 minutes. I peeked twice.

After 15 minutes or when the water is absorbed, removed the pot from heat and it let stand covered for 5 mins. You know it’s done because the ring around the grain is broken. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Perfect successful quinoa. I’m going to make quinoa veggie salad with the leftovers. And maybe quinoa porridge. So versatile! So happy to have mastered cooking quinoa!

Next, rice. I’d especially like to figure out how to make sushi rice, and just enough for one roll at a time. Perfect for lunches.

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