Tag Archives: Joy In Your Kitchen

Sunday Supper Spinach & Parmesan Risotto


The cooler weather is here and that means comfort foods!  My 7 year son requested his absolute fave  – risotto!  Although its a little labour intensive,  the end result is  definitely worth it.  This is my basic recipe for risotto – we really like parmesan risotto and I wanted to use up some spinach I had in the fridge so I added that.  Feel free to play with flavors and different tastes – mushrooms are another one of my faves for this dish.

Creamy Spinach & Parmesan Risotto

  • risotto4 cups homemade or organic chicken stock/broth
  • 1/4 c salted butter
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1 -2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1  1/2 cup arborio rice (scant)
  • a few handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 3TB butter  – cup up into chunks
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken broth/stock to a boil, turn down heat and allow to simmer.  Meanwhile, in a a deep dished fry pan, melt 1/4 c butter.  Add onion and saute over medium heat for 5 min or until onion is soft.   Add garlic and stir for 1 min.  Add rice and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add the first 1.5 cup of hot stock (keep the stock hot throughout the process). The stock/rice will be boiling – adjust heat if you need to – to keep it at that temp..  Stir every couple of minutes until liquid is absorbed. Continue to stir and add liquid 1/2 c at a time until all stock is used up and rice is soft – this will take about 25 minutes.  At the 15 min or so mark, throw in the torn up spinach.  Keep stirring! When all of the liquid is absorbed, add 3 TB butter and stir to mix.  Remove from heat,  add parmesan cheese & salt and pepper to taste (taste it before adding salt).   Cover and allow to sit for 3 or 4 minutes.  Serve. EnJoy.
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No Noodles about it – this Chicken & Noodle Casserole is Gluten Free


I love casseroles, I love comfort food, I don’t love gluten (or rather it doesn’t love me). Here’s my gluten free cheesy chicken & noodle casserole recipe.  I have to admit that I started off making this as a tuna casserole – which I love but the rest of my family does not  – I was on my own for supper so I thought I would take advantage of it.  Unfortunately, once I started boiling the noodles and making the white sauce, I realized I had no tuna – so to fridge for the remaining roast chicken left overs it was!  It turned out awesome and as a bonus – I got to clear the fridge of misc leftovers too!

chicken and noddle casserole individual serving

Cheesy, Chicken & Noodle Casserole

  •   1/2 bag of Gluten Free (Rice) Noodles (I used mini shells)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced orange peppers
  • 1 cup chopped roasted chicken (leftovers work great!)

chicken and noddle casserole cooked

  •   about 2 cup white sauce (recipe below) * you can also use a can of undiluted cream of chicken soup – but read the ingredients if you are looking for gluten free – there is wheat in most of them.
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tomato – chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • ** any other veggie you want to throw in! (use up leftovers here too! Broccoli  is great)
  • 1/4 cup GF bread crumbs (I use a multi-grain that I get from The Gluten Free Cookery, (available at select gourmet and butcher shops)
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

White Sauce

  • 2-3TB margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose Gluten Free Flour (mine is a rice blend)
  • 1c- 1.5c milk
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 – 1 1/5 tsp Dijon Mustard (I go heavy on the Dijon because I really like it) or use 1 tsp dry mustard

White Sauce:  Heat saucepan over med high heat, melt butter/margarine, add flour and stir to form “paste” , add Dijon mustard, add pepper & salt, add milk slowly a little at a time stirring constantly until you get a thickened mixture.   You can add the shredded cheddar here – and keep stirring but I like to add the cheddar to the mixture after – this is the same way you’d made a cheese sauce for broccoli or scalloped potatoes…..

Casserole:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees C. Cook pasta according to instructions, when done, drain & rinse with cold water (this stops them from cooking any more and getting mushy and gross).  While pasta is cooking, place peppers and onions in a bowl covered in plastic wrap and microwave for 2 min (or saute).  Assemble all ingredients except bread crumbs and mozzarella cheese, in a bowl, mix.  Add noodles & white sauce.  Mix, pour into a greased casserole dish top with bread crumbs, then mozzarella cheese.  Bake uncovered  for 20 minutes (10-15 min longer if you have assembled this ahead of time and everything has cooled down – you want it to be hot (a min of 74 degree C).   enJoy.

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Celebrate Mother’s Day – Meet Owen & Joy’s Spicy Bloody Ceaser


To Moms of all kinds out there (yes, of furry kids too).

Happy Mother’s Day
To honour the theme of Mother’s Day (and the time in the evening!) I wanted to share one of my dear friend’s story’s with you.  She and I met at playdates when our oldest daughter’s were babies and have both gone on to have boys after – myself in 2007 and Owen, Andrea & Matt’s son, Little bro to Mia, was born in August of 2010.  The girls  are still little buddies and  share playdates with the boys.   The kids all love it especially Owen.  Owen is sunny and sweet and absolutely special. And, you see Owen is special, he’s one of 200 people worldwide diagnosed with Kleefstra Syndrome , a deletion on his 9th chromosome.  This is Owen.

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No one can say it better than the Mom, so I have copied and pasted her post on the Facebook group “Help Owen Get To Texas” below as well as the link.

Since she created this group on Friday of last week (May10) there have been several more fundraisers* added on – please take a peak!  In addition, Andrea & Matt are in the midst of setting up an account for any cash donations you may wish to give.

Please repost this link and spread the awareness about Kleefstra Syndrome.

A word from Andrea:

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He was diagnosed #124 in the world in Nov 2010. He is non-verbal, can only have pureed/thickened liquids, aspiration issues, chronic pneumonia, non-mobile (uses a walker/wheelchair), global developmental delay, heart murmur. The genes he is missing seem to have their parts in most areas of development unfortunately. He is currently at a12-15 month old level and will be 3 in August. He is working so hard in therapy. I have just resigned from my work as a daycare supervisor, to help him full time to get him as far as we can for school in Sept. 2013. He is a ridiculously happy funny kid, they say the personality is part of the syndrome, but I refuse to believe that. I think he is just awesome all on his own.

The weekend of Pct 12 there is a North American meet up of Kleefstra families. That on it’s own is amazing as there are so few of us scattered all over the world, seeing other KS kids period is cool and talking to other parents who understand is something I am so looking forward to. In addition Dr. Kleefstra will come if enough families are going. She is based at a university in the Netherlands and is the only doc researching O’s syndrome, meeting her would be amazing AND he could participate in her research, she also offers advice. She often goes to the meet ups in the UK, but has never been to North America. Texas was picked as the location because there is a special needs amusmant park there.www.morganswonderland.com   (All the rides are accessible etc.)

Join  the Help Owen Get To Texas facebook group.

* myself nor my business, Joy In Your Kitchen(JIYK)/joyskitchen  does not endorse or receive renumberation from any of the products nor fundraisers involved.
 

And now on to the recipes! (This is a food blog after all – right?). Tonight since I got to relax all day for Mother’s Day – I thought I would blog on of both my moms, and my favorite sipping cocktail. The Bloody Caeser – Often imitated never duplicated!  So with that – Cheers to all the Mom’s out there!

Joy’s Bloody Ceaser (spicy).

A couple of notes here – yes use a Clam Cocktail (Mott’s is the most popular here in Canada – not sure where carries what brands), Clamato juice NOT tomato juice a Bloody Mary – does not a Ceaser make! .
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Celery Salt in a dish or rimmer
1 lime wedge & juice
1 lemon wedge & juice
2 ice cubes
5 shakes cayenne pepper sauce
7 shakes Worcestershire sauce
6 oz Clam Cocktail – well chilled
1.5 oz vodka of your choice
My secret ingredient (optional – but really just try it!) a splash of kosher pickle juice (yes you read that right – I said pickle juice – any will do really but I like the kosher style the best).

Run lemon (or lime) wedge over rim of glass.  Rim the glass in the celery salt.  Add 2 ice cubes, the juice of both the lime and lemon, add the rest of the ingredients, ending with the Clamato Juice.  enJOY!

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Last Minute Red Beans & Rice


You know those days that you take something out of the freezer to thaw – and think – I’ll figure out a plan later then all of a sudden its 3:45pm and you have no idea what to do with it?  … or is that just me? In any case – that was my situation yesterday afternoon.  At about 3:30pm I realized I had thawed the chorizo (a Spanish sausage) and had no inspiration, and no peppers in the house. Sausage, peppers, onion and potato bake is my “go to” when I am feeling uninspired to come up with something – also a family favourite so at least it works out.  I did what any idea-less foodie would do – I called upon (tweeted) to a few of my foodie friends for suggestions!   @hotpinkapron tweeted back that she was making some red beans and rice with Portuguese sausage – and I though – YUP thats what I want! Obviously from my past posts – you’ve caught on that I really really like southern foods (see my gumbo recipe).   However – I was making dinner for  6pm or so – and didn’t have time to soak my beans and simmer them the way you should (I know I know sacrilege @MSQueenFoods)so I though – what the heck – lets do this the o’ol fashion – hmmm what have I got in the cupboard to make these with?  I gotta say – these were some of the best red beans I’ve made!  Hubby and I each had  servings, my  year old practically licked her plate and my 4 year old – ate most of his (he’s not a big dinner eater – unless its Spaghetti & Mommy’s Meatballs, Mommy’s Taco’s or Mommy’s Pizza …. go figure) . (recipes to  be posted shortly!)

The “Joy” of Red Beans and Rice – southern style – Joy-ified 🙂

 Ingredients:

  •  8 cups of canned kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
  • (this is equivalent to a large commercial 100 oz sized can of kidney beans )
  • 1 1/4LB (approx 500g) Chorizo (chopped)
  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 c tomato sauce (I had some leftover homemade so I threw it in – you could just use tomatoes)
  •  1TB minced garlic
  • 2 Tsp HOT Cayenne Pepper Sauce (like Lousianna Sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  •  3-4 small (2 large) bay leaves
  • 2 TB dried parsley
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 LB onion diced
  • white parboiled rice
  • optional:  Additional hot sauce like the Gator sauces line or Melinda’s  to add at the table.

Method:
In a large saucepan saute the garlic and onion in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for a few minutes until onions are soft, add parsley and bayleaf, add chorizo and cook until no longer pink.

Add beans, chicken stock, and the rest of the spices (except optional additional hot sauces). Simmer stirring occasionally for 45 min- an hour.   Cook rice, serve red beans over rice (some people like the rice added in and some like it over the top.  I added steamed asparagus for a veggie.

Enjoy!  From My Kitchen to Yours – Happy & Healthy Eating!

What am I all about?


Well I think its high time, since I’ve had this blank blog for almost a month now to create something profound and important and share with you all …. wait – I don’t really have anything profound to blog about – important?  well I guess that all depends on who’s reading!  Welcome to my blog – I write about the things that are important to me – nutrition, and well living whilst dabbling in a bit of humor and story telling (all true!!) wanna come along for the ride?  Fasten your seat belt here we go!

An intro might be in order – as much as I’d love to say I was fun, fit, and fabulous  – I’d be fibbing (see that literary skill with alteration pretty impressive eh?) so I will go with a definite fun and fabulous and striving to be fit.   O ya – I happen to be Canadian too (just in case you didn’t catch the “eh” at the end of my last sentence).  Of course I do have 2 young children, a husband and am starting a business,  so sometimes I’m just having a fit, or fit to be tied or not “fitting” into an outfit … But then I digress…. so besides being a typical time crunched mom I also used to be a commuter – used to be is the key there – ahhh there’s something to be missed about sitting in traffic breathing in environmental toxins and elevating your blood pressure for 3 hours a day isn’t there? – (Ya like you miss having a root canal).

When I decided to leave my corporate job and go out on my own I thought hmmm, what interests me?  What am I good at?  Well I love cooking so I started there.  I looked at my past situation – that being no time to do anything let alone nutrition – I mean I know its important but who the heck has time to whip something up after work before taking the kids to swimming, dancing, gymnastics or whatever else maybe on the agenda?  So I looked around – and hey wow there were lots of people just like me! I started doing some market research and found out some interesting stuff I mean facts.   Like – how about the fact of the 100 ish families  I surveyed 47% of them eat take out, or hit the drive thru 1-2 times a week for dinner 19% go thru 3-4 times a week.  Wow!  Then those same people stated that they check the nutritional breakdowns in the food they buy and are concerned about sodium, fats, and cholesterol and overall nutrition. Whaaaa?  Does anyone else see a contradiction here?   Everyone knows its bad but save from making things yourself, there just aren’t a lot of options out there.   This spoke to me – actually jumped up – slapped me in the face, wiggled its butt and shouted to me – WOOOOO – Girl I think you are on to something here … and thats how my story begins….

Once upon a time there was a girl named Joy that loved to cook, and be healthy, and live well and wanted her cake and to eat it too (‘cos everyone knows there are no calories in cake)  and so I bring you Joy In Your Kitchen.  – I’m not here to tout the virtues of my business – you can visit my web site for that  – I want to share with you my passion for living well (mentally, emotionally and physically) and along the way share some of my more humorous stories, trials and tribulations  – cos everyone knows that laughter is the BEST medicine and there’s just nothing better sometimes then a good ‘ol belly laugh ….

Welcome to my blog.