Tips & Tricks: Cooking Pasta

When cooking pasta I often run into the pot boiling over and making a mess on the stove.  If you add a splash of oil, like vegetable oil, to the water, it doesn't foam up and spill over!

I imagine the same would work with boiling potatoes as well.

Have a cooking tip to share?  Let us know in the comments and we will feature it in a future post!


How do you make your perogies?

Some day soon I will share a yummy recipe I found online for making your own perogies from scratch, but today I thought we would chat about how you serve store bought ones.



Last night I made perogies by..
- boiling the perogies
- cooking up bacon and onions
- adding a bit of butter to the bacon/onion pan and adding the drained perogies
- fry them up a bit and serve with sour cream

Other ways I've tried store bought perogies are..
- defrosting them, putting them on an oiled pan in the oven
- defrosting them and frying them
- just boiling

What is your favourite way to cook perogies?  What have you had the best results with?

Mandarin Restaurant

This weekend we headed to the Mandarin Restaurant for a fun family dinner, our last family dinner before our new little baby arrives this week!



We picked a great time to head to the Mandarin Restaurant, they are currently celebrating Chinese New Years which meant lots of beautiful decorations and some really yummy new dishes in the buffet.  Some of the new items included Thousand Year Old Egg Salad, Goji Berry & Chrysanthemum Jello and Ginger Ice Cream, there was also Chicken Ginseng Soup, Seafood Bird's Nest and Shrimp Balls (LOVED these!).



This was my little guys first time at a buffet and they LOVED it!  First of all, the staff was so friendly and accommodating; with our reservation we were seated right away, brought hot towels to clean our hands (the boys thought this was so cool), got our drinks right away (boys loved the kids cups with closed lids and straws) and were able to head right to this Award-winning, All-you-can-eat buffet.  As all Mom's and Dad's know, the hardest part of heading out to dinner with little ones is waiting for the food to arrive, we should be heading to a buffet every time!  My one little man headed straight for the fruit and desserts first, my other guy had a plate FULL of hot food, and tried everything on it, I was so proud of him for trying so many new tastes!

We also brought my parents with us, and this was the perfect place to bring 3 generations - there's food for everyone to enjoy, even if you aren't in the mood for authentic Chinese food there is a section with prime rib, mashed potatoes, yorkshire pudding, garlic bread and gravy.  There was also delicious grilled chicken, steak and sausage.  A gorgeous soup and salad bar, the hot Chinese food (the ribs, and featured steamed buns and dumplings were my favourite), sushi and so many options for dessert.

During our many trips up to the buffet I was so impressed with the constant restocking of fresh food to every part of the buffet, my guys were especially happy they kept bring out fresh jello cubes to the dessert section..haha..  I also loved how quickly the staff brought you a fresh drink and instead of seeing my little ones as an inconvenience they were chatting with the boys and it was a fantastic atmosphere.

An excellent night out, a fun last dinner to reconnect before we have the craziness of a new baby and I now realize a perfect place to bring a growing family, we will be back soon!

Stay in touch with the Mandarin Restaurant on the web, Facebook and Twitter to learn about their latest promotions.  I mentioned I loved the shrimp balls and the dumplings, do you have a favourite dish from the Mandarin Restaurant?


Brussels Sprouts & Broccoli Slaw

The original recipe for Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli Slaw can be found over at www.mairlynsmith.com.

I love Mairlyn Smith! She is so entertaining and her recipes rock! I reviewed her cookbook, Health Starts Here over at Multi-Testing Mommy.

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts & Broccoli Slaw


Broccoli & Brussels Sprouts Slaw

The ingredients list for this easy slaw is:
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • red onion
  • red pepper
  • orange pepper
  • carrots
  • apple cider vinegar
  • extra virgin oil
  • grainy Dijon mustard
  • honey
To view measurements and directions, go to Mairlyn Smith's website.

My Thoughts

I'd love to say that I could share my family's thoughts here, but I cannot. I am the only one in my family who will eat slaw. My children don't like salad of any sort and hubby only likes creamy slaw, so I am on my own.

I love this slaw. I love it because it allows me the opportunity to eat brussels sprouts and enjoy them and I love it because it is jam packed full of healthy nutrients!

Yum! Yum!

#NoTradesies School Lunch Ideas with Snack Packs {GIVEAWAY}


Hey Moms! Do we hear you calling out for lunch ideas for the kids?! Snack Packs have a large variety of flavoured Snack Pack puddings that your children would love to have included in their lunch.

If you would like to read some more information about Snack Packs, please head on over to Multi-Testing Mommy.

For your opportunity to win a Snack Pack Prize Pack for your family, enter below:

IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME!
Prize: A Snack Pack “No Tradesies” Prize Pack containing:
Two delicious flavours of Snack Pack pudding
Lunch Punch Sandwich Cutters
Happy Spoons
A mini portable travel speaker
A tote-able lunch bag consisting of a cooler bag and four leak-proof, compartmentalized food containers
~ARV $50
Open to: Canadian Residents
Giveaway ends on January 31, 2013 12:00 AM
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Buffalo Chicken Dip

There are many variations of this dip out there, here's how we made it over the weekend and it was a big hit!

Recipe


Ingredients 
  • approx 1/2-1C of chopped up cooked chicken breast
  • 4oz of cream cheese (half an avg Canadian pkg)
  • 1C of sour cream
  • 1/4C hot sauce like Franks
  • 1C shredded cheese, I used marble
  • 1/4C chopped green onions (optional, I'm on the fence about whether it added to the recipe or not)

Step 1:


Set aside 1/2C of the shredded cheese if you want to top your dip with cheese, other wise mix all the ingredients together.  I found it easiest to use beaters on the cream cheese and sour cream, then mix everything else in with a spoon.

Step 2:

 
Top with the rest of your shredded cheese (or you could have just mixed all the cheese in)

Step 3:
Bake uncovered at 375 for approx 20 minutes until bubbly, serve hot with nachos, chips, crackers, veggies, etc..

Alternative:
I've read many recipes that add 1/2C of ranch dressing to this kind of dip as well, let us know if you try it that way!


Family Thoughts:



We all loved this, even (surprisingly) the kids!  You can heat yours up more by adding more hot sauce, this worked for us.

Simple Beef Stroganoff

Also known as "Poor Man's Beef Stroganoff", this recipe is easy to whip up for a simple week day dinner.

Recipe

Ingredients: 
  • pasta
  • approx 1lb of ground beef
  • 1/4C Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2C sour cream

Step 1:
Boil pasta and drain, we often use rigatoni for this recipe

Step 2:
Brown ground beef and drain

Step 3:
On med-low heat add the soup and Worcestershire sauce to ground beef, mix and heat through

Step 4:



Remove beef mixture from heat, stir in sour cream

Step 5:
Plate the pasta, top with beef mixture, top with a bit more sour cream if desired and serve



Family Thoughts: 



Both hubby and I love this dish, kids are more interested in the pasta.  Very quick and easy dinner while adding a new taste.


Firecrackers!

We love these crackers, then I had trouble finding the ranch dip in the store, I came upon some and bought 6 packs just so I could make these again, :) There are many recipes about these crackers on the internet, here's mine..

Recipe 


Ingredients:
  • 3 sleeves of Saltines (or try an alternative like pretzels!)
  • 1C oil, like vegetable oil
  • 1 envelope of ranch dressing mix
  • 1T garlic powder
  • 2T red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your family's tastes)

Step 1:
Put the sleeves of crackers in a resealable bag, like a ziplock bag.

Step 2:



Mix oil, pepper and garlic power in a separate bowl, pour mix over cracker, gently move the bag around to coat the crackers, then lay flat for 20 minutes.


Step 3:



Flip bag for another 20 minutes, Repeat once or twice more if you don't feel the crackers are completely coated yet.

Family Thoughts: 



So good!!!!!  When you tell folks the recipe, they often say WHAT? That much oil?  The crackers are not an oily texture  once they are ready though, they are just really tasty, trust me!!  A great snack to have on the table at any event, great on their own or with a dip!


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