Jamie’s Squash & Spinach pasta rotolo

Here is a yummy Tuesday night dinner for you to try (Jamie Oliver’s Squash Pasta)- it’s a bit labour intensive- not to crazy, but more so then ordering pizza:


jamie's pasta

I’ll give you the gist of it, as you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to put it together…oh and it’s from page 34 or Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie book if you want the real dealy-o.

- get a package of fresh lasagna noodles (you know, where they sell the fresh ravioli’s and stuff…)

- roast some squash, scoop out and mash (or pull a bag or your Halloween pumpkin puree!)

-on medium heat sauté some onion, add a whole bunch of fresh spinach, or a package of frozen spinach with some fresh thyme, cook until all the moisture is evaporated out

-empty a jar of good tomato sauce into the bottom of big oven safe dish

- now for the fun, get your pasta sheet, spread some squash on it, then spread some of the spinach/onion mixture, sprinkle some feta and roll on up (fun for the kids to do)

- now cut into 4, and place in the tomato sauce- top with some grated parm

- do this for all of the sheets…and bake for around 35 minutes at 350

I like the idea of this, you can put whatever you want inside the pasta…it was fun to make, and fun to eat (plus it tasted real good- the pasta that cooked in the sauce was all soft and the top bits were crunchy).

Now, please, tell me…what did you have for dinner last night???

Another Easy Dinner Idea- Shake’n'Bake Chicken!!! Yum, right??

easy dinner idea Last night it was Shake and Bake Chicken for the McBride Hetherington’s, which is a delicious and easy dinner idea!  Who doesn’t love this (as long as you like chicken I suppose), non chicken lovers, sorry!

We use skin on chicken thighs…all that skin lends itself to juicy and crispy chicken dinner (sorry hips!).  We paired our’s with steamed broccoli straight from my mom’s garden (thanks mom!), and rice.

Don’t judge on the white rice you see on that plate, I really pushed for brown, but Jeff and Hudson out ruled me.  I’m just lucky we ended up with broccoli on that plate, they wanted frozen corn- gawd!!

So, there you go, from my kitchen to yours, a super easy dinner idea! Now, tell me, what did you have for dinner last night?

Sneaking Vegetables into Food- a do or don’t?

veggie sneak

To take a page out of Jessica Seinfelds book- I have recently started experimenting with sneaking Vegetables into food for my kids. I am not making the cauliflower cupcakes or anything like that (I did actually make these once, ummm….YUCK).

I still serve them real vegetables (along with the snuck ones) – so they hopefully won’t be ruined by my sneaky ways.

Also I find with Hank- because he only has 6 teeth, it is hard for him to eat a lot of veggies- the guy can only eat steamed broccoli and carrots so many nights in a row before he has had enough…

Here are my favorite dishes to sneak the good stuff into:

1) Annies Mac & Cheese. Puree Steamed Broccoli and Carrots, even Spinach with a bit of the steaming water. Then add the cheese pouch to the veggie mixture and blend some more. Toss noodles with this and you are laughing. Hudson eats this dinner like it’s the best things he’s ever had. Surprise!  It’s good for you (is weird powdered cheese good for you)?

2) Pizza. We usually make our own pizza here- so I use it as an opportunity to sneak in more broccoli (I am obsessed with broccoli). Sometimes I add Kale- anything you have really. Steam it up and add it to the tomato sauce- then put on your toppings. They won’t know!

3) Bean Taco’s. My kids love bean tacos! I usually sauté spinach with the beans- and then you top with cheese and avocado and they have no idea. Just cut the spinach into small pieces, otherwise they might choke on it- and no one want’s that!

4) Pasta. Same as the Annies- add the veggie goodness to your tomato sauce.

5) Pumpkin Muffins! You knew I was going to say that right?? I have been raving about my pumpkin puree all week. But really, I think this counts- it’s full of Vitamin A after all!

6)  Eggs!  I scramble them up with spinach.  This one is a bit tough for the older crowd- because you can plain see the green stuff.  But for babies it’s fine because they don’t really care that it is a bit green.

And that is it my friends!

How do you make sure your kids are eating vegetables???

Easy Dinner Idea- Chicken Tacos


Here is an amazingly easy dinner idea for you!

Chicken Tacos.  Especially easy if you buy one of the roasted chickens from the grocery store.  Victoria people, they sell free-range hormone-free pre-roasted chickens at Market on Yates!

Here is all we did:

1)  Cut up Onion, toss in pan with chicken (that you have pulled off the bone)- toss in some taco seasoning with some water and cook until onions are soft

2)  Meanwhile, cut up avocado, tomatoes, grate cheese and break of some cilantro

3)  Open Salsa (this was the hardest part of this dinner- that sucker was really closed up tight)

4)  Heat up tortilla’s in pan or microwave

5)  Sit down and EAT!!

This all took around 10 minutes from in the door to on the table (with all hands on deck).

I hope you make this and love it…and I hope you will pass along a dinner idea to me!

PS:  I made the chocolate pumpkin bread that I talked about here…it is amazing!  It has cinnamon and cloves in it- it is a little spicy!  And chocolatey!  YUMMM!

Now tell me, what did you have for dinner last night???

What to do with 30 Cups of Pumpkin Puree

This is the year I did it. I hacked up all our pretty pumpkin’s! Cleaved those suckers. Really, I was determined not to let them go to waste. It makes me a bit sad to think of someone growing them and then just having them rot in our compost.

Now I have 30 cups (30 CUPS!!!!) of pumpkin puree. Wow, that’s a lot of puree…and, I still have 2 more pumpkins sitting on my porch. Pumpkin puree Christmas presents anyone??

How to make pumpkin puree


Are you feeling up to the challenge? It’s really easy…but I would do it today before the mold sets in. Or, if you are like us, maybe you have 3 pumpkins that you were too lazy to carve, and can just use those- then there is no rush!

Here is how to make the Puree:

1. Scoop out insides and hack that baby up. Be careful, you will need a big knife and some muscle. I used our bread knife and sort of saw/cut. It worked well, and I have all my fingers still!

2. Then cut into wedges, or something like that. I don’t think it matters too much.

3. Pile cut pieces on a baking pan- with a little water in the pan. My Pretty Pink Pumpkin was too hard for me to cut up further then in half. So I just put the halves on the baking sheet face down.

4. Put in your oven, warmed to 375. It took my pumpkin 45 minutes to roast- but just do it until soft.

5. Let pieces cool.

6. Scoop out pumpkin flesh and puree! I pureed mine in our kitchen-aid mixer- it was so soft it mixed right up. You could use a blender or a stick mixer.

7. I then put 3 cup portions in freezer bags- and now I’m ready for a pretty pumpkiny winter!

Of course, with 30 cups of puree, I’m going to need things to make with pumpkin- so I got busy looking at pumpkin recipe’s…there is no shortage!

Below are a few recipe’s that I gathered and they all look great, don’t you think?

The Jamie Oliver soup is simmering away in the pot as I write this. It has 5 ingredients and took no time.


Jamie Oliver’s Pumpkin Soup- with coconut and ginger!

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread (OK!)

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Mollasses Cream Cheese Icing (Pumpkin = Healthy)

Pumpkin Gnocchi (Ummmm….yes please!)

Pumpkin Chard Lasagna  (Ditto)

Pumpkin Everything Muffins (My kid’s will love these)

What The Heck Is For Dinner- 5 – Muffin Tin Pizza

Another day, another dinner…right? When will it end? What if you could just take a ‘dinner’ pill. End of story…no more dinner!!

OK- I take that back, I like food too much.

On the menu:

Muffin Tin Pizza and Salad (see, I am obsessed with anything muffin tin).

This is a fun way to do Pizza- kind of like really good cheese buns. I got the idea from pinterest, but of course I just made it up as I went (after the pizza dough part).

Here is what I did:

I had a bunch of frozen cherry tomato’s left over from our garden, so I sautéed some garlic and onions, and then just tossed those little summer tomatoes in and cooked everything down. I would recommend adding basil, but I didn’t have any.

While this was going on I rolled out the dough (recipe for dough at the end)  and cut it into squares (I eyeballed it) which I then lined the muffin tin with. I brushed the tin with olive oil prior to this. I wish I had then sprinkled corn meal over the oil…but I forgot.

Once tin is lined with dough, add your tomato sauce (you could obviously use jarred pasta or pizza sauce), then add your toppings and cheese. I used only cheese. But I think putting some broccoli, or bacon, or whatever would be great!  Just use what you like.  Pesto, sundered tomato’s…

Then bake for around 15 minutes at 400 and your whole family will think you are amazing!!

I hope this gave you some inperation for your next meal.

Now…tell me…what did you have for dinner last night??

PS: Here is the dough recipe from The Food Network.

1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups 00 flour, plus more for dusting
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium; stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Get a feel for the dough by squeezing a small amount together: if it’s crumbly, add more water; if it’s sticky, add more flour – 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough gathers into a ball, this should take about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times; kneading until it’s smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot (i.e. over a gas pilot light) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. This is a good time to stick a pizza stone in the oven and preheat them to 500 degrees F.

Once the dough is domed and spongy, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll and stretch the dough into a cylinder and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out.

Chocolate Brownies in a Mini Muffin Tin!

I won’t go on too much here, because what really can you say about mini muffin tin brownies…EXCEPT YUM!!!!

Really, I LOVE brownies, and this recipe killed it. These are moist, chewy, easy to make, and sadly a perfect little two-bite size- so they go down the hatch with ease.

And…I couldn’t find a good easy recipe for my mini muffin tin (which I am currently obsessed with). Most had you melt chocolate. I don’t have any chocolate on hand. I have Cocoa darn it all!

So here is the long and short of it:

Measure butter, sugar, cocoa into big heat resistant bowl, plop on a bot of high simmering water…stir a bit, it will melt, you will want to drink it. Don’t.

Take it off the heat, let it cool to warm-, beat in vanilla beat in two cold eggs, then beat in 1/2 a cup of flour.

Put in your mini muffin tin- bake for 15 minutes.

And yes, Martha, I have included the recipe right here, as I am not expert.

I just adapted it for my mini muffin tin. BAKE FOR 15 minutes if using one.

Oh- and I came up with a butter trick that everyone probably know’s already. I weighed my butter- way easier then measuring 10 tablespoons. Here is a handy butter conversion site (yes, a butter conversion website is a real thing).

Your Welcome!

What the Heck is for Dinner- IV

Last night was a bit of cheat- we did half take away and half homemade. Do you ever do that?

The menu:

  • Ribs (that’s right, ribs, on a Tuesday)- these were the take away part. From PIG BBQ JOINT
  • Broccoli
  • Squash (from our garden)

But we only did take-away to speed things up as I had to go to a FURNITURE REFINISHING CLASS!!!! Talk about exciting!

To read more about my class and all the cool things I learned, check back later.

Here are some pic’s of din-din. I wish I could tell you how to make these ribs, because they were so good…but alas, I don’t know how they did it.

And check out Hudson prepping the broccoli.  He is really so helpful.  You can imagine how I feel about him using a knife though!  Yikes!

OK- Have a great day!


What the Heck is for Dinner- III

fish and salad


Now that I write a what the heck is for dinner column on Wednesday mornings, I really see how fast life is whizzing by.  It has been three weeks of Tuesday night dinners already!!  This is nuts!!

Anyway, last night we had FAVORITE FISH- a really easy dinner idea from me to you!  Hudson named it this and it comes into play once a week. It is really quick and really good.

We used snapper last night, but sole would do.  Any thin white fish.

  • Blot fish and place fish on paper towels
  • Season with salt and pepper, then press some panko bread crumbs  on fish
  • Heat up pan with oil
  • When pan is hot put fish in, bread crumb side down (to get it all brown and crisp)- cook for a couple minutes then flip
  • Make Salad (do this before as the fish cooks fast!)
  • Done!

We had ours with leftover wild rice stuffing from my dad’s thanksgiving.  But you could serve with whatever…potatoes, rice, quinoa.


Now, WHAT DID YOU HAVE? I need some inspiration here!! Tonight’s dinner is looming at me!

What the Heck is for Dinner II- Soy Sauce Marinated Chicken

I missed yesterday’s what the heck is for dinner- so I will make it up here, and tell you about last night’s dinner- another one of our staples. Soy sauce marinated chicken thighs with quinoa and vegetables. Our kids love it and so do we!

This is how you make it:

Soy sauce marinated chicken thighs

  1. Marinate your chicken. We get boneless skinless chicken thighs. I have heard that they have way more iron in them, and I find that they never get all dried out the way the breast can. We made our marinade with Soy Sauce, Green Onion, Cilantro, Brown Sugar, Grated Ginger, a titch of sesame oil. Just put the chicken in the bowl and eyeball the measurements. Chili flakes are a good addition too- but too spicy for our crew, so we omitted them.
  2. Then you just leave that for as long as you can. Around 2 hours in our case. You can bbq them if you want- but we just put ours in a hot pan and gave them a little sear then popped them in the oven at 400 for around 15 minutes
  3. Cook Quinoa, steam veggies or make a salad
  4. Plate and enjoy- oh- we poured the pan jus over the quinoa and it was delicious!





Now it’s your turn. What did you have dinner last night???