Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

They say admitting that you have a problem is the first step, right?  So here goes…. I have a problem. A problem that I think a lot of people suffer from. I am… a Pinterest hoarder!

Yes, I see all these wonderful looking recipes, and crafts, and design ideas and I pin them thinking “I’d love to make that!”  But do I ever make any of them? Nope! They go into the pin-hoarding vault and get forever forgotten about, until someone else re-pins it and I think “I should really make that…”

So I’ve decided to break the cycle!  I made a list of 4 recipes and their ingredients – four seemed like a manageable number in one month – and bought everything I needed before I got sidetracked by more pins.

This is the first recipe of the fab-four: Broccoli Quinoa Casserole 🙂  The original recipe is from Eating Well, Living Thin.

Quinoa is something I’ve eaten for a few years – my Mom is vegetarian so it’s been included in most recipes for a while.  My husband is pretty new to the quinoa scene though – and still refuses to believe the pronunciation (keen-WAH) – but he’s adventurous, tried it and really liked it! We both did, and we’ll definitely be making it again 🙂

Ingredients:
10 oz can Cream of Broccoli Soup (or cream of mushroom, or cream of whatever you like soup!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cups grated cheese (we used 4-cheese Mexican, because we like the mix of flavours)
1/2 tsp sugar (splenda if you prefer)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (or a dash of freshly grated)
2 cups cooked broccoli
3/4 cup quinoa (1 1/2 cups when cooked – see below)
grated cheese for the top (we used the same 4-cheese Mexican blend)

To cook the quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
pinch salt

Rince the quinoa in a sieve under a running tap, until the water runs clear.  Add the rinsed quinoa to a saucepan with the water and salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, then cook for about 18-20 minutes, stirring as little as possible.  The white “tail” will be visible when it’s cooked.

For the casserole:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C, 350 F, gas 4.  Grease a shallow 8×8″ casserole dish (I used a pie dish).

2. Mix together the soup, mayonnaise, milk, grated cheese, sugar and nutmeg in a large bowl. You can add black pepper to season if you like – I’m not a fan of it so we always leave it out of recipes.

3. Add the cooked quinoa and cooked broccoli and mix well.

4. Pour into the casserole dish and sprinkle over with grated cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden and bubbly.

5. We were too impatient and hungry, so our edges never got to the golden bubbly stage 😉

6. Enjoy!

We served ours as a side and it was really delicious! I’ll definitely be making it again, it was so simple and if you’re feeling healthy you can substitute the lower fat versions of things like mayonnaise or reduced fat cheese, and use low sodium soup.

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂  Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Also, this will be my first time taking part in Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm!

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

What an amazing surprise! I haven’t been around for a few weeks and today I find out that my Crock Pot Lamb Tagine was a featured recipe for the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂  That was my first ever slow cooked meal, thank you for the feature and I hope everyone who tried it enjoys it as much as we did!  I’m definitely getting into doing more meals in the Crock Pot now. Easy, quick cooking is the only kind I really have the patience for, which is strange because I’ll do complicated, time consuming baking recipes happily.

But on to todays recipe 🙂

There are a lot of packet spice mixes I’ve used in the past for stews and the like, but I noticed recently there are several specifically for the Crock Pot – I’m not sure of the difference, other than the directions on the back. So I bought a few different ones to try, this was the first and both my husband and I really enjoyed the end result! I used McCormick BBQ Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Seasoning Mix 🙂

Ingredients:
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed (mine had a bone in it and it still came out ok)
1 packet McCormick BBQ Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Seasoning Mix
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce.

2. I scored the top of my pork joint to allow the sauce to really get into the meat and the fat. Place the pork in the Crock Pot.

3. Pour over the sauce, covering the pork evenly. I used the back of my spoon to rub it in a little as I poured.

4. I cooked it for 4 hours on HIGH. Alternatively, you could cook for 8 hours on LOW.

5. Shred the pork with 2 forks. I put the shredded pork back in the Crock Pot to mix it with the sauce…and may have eaten a few stray pieces along the way 😉

6. Enjoy! 🙂

We served ours on some fresh crusty bread rolls, with potato salad and coleslaw, and the pork was really delicious! I’m definitely going to be cooking it again, but this time I’ll make sure my pork is boneless. It was fine to cook with the bone in, but not as easy to shred.

This is my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week, and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Crock Pot Lamb Tagine

I’m new to Crock Pot ownership. In fact, it was my Mother-In-Law who finally bought one for us because I was just so unaware of that kind of cooking.  I’ve made slow-cooked meals before, but just using a normal pot on the stove top, or even in the oven in a “brick” (which I think is now called “stoneware”).

But, I went from not knowing what a Crock Pot is, to knowing that if I was going to be getting one then it absolutely had to be red! 🙂

For quite a while I’d been wanting to cook Lamb Tagine, so that seemed like the perfect first choice for my new Crock Pot!  I mashed together a few recipes that I found online, because none of them were totally right on their own, until I had created a recipe that I was happy with. Though I’ll probably tweak this one a little more the next time I cook it, but I’m really pleased with how easy it was to do and how tasty the tagine was 🙂

Also, this recipe uses turmeric which is a spice that has many health benefits.

Ingredients:
2 lb lamb, cubed (you can use stewing steak if you can’t find any lamb)
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
5 carrots, sliced
1 lemon, zested
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (ground)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cloves (ground)
1 pinch saffron
3/4 tsp corriander (ground)
1/2 tsp cardamom (ground) (if you can’t find this, you can replace with nutmeg)
1 tsp salt
1 cup broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp honey
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins/saltanas

 1. Mix all the spices in a small bowl, toss the meat in the spices to coat it. (I used stewing steak as it seems to be almost impossible to find lamb since moving to America!) Brown the meat in the butter and olive oil to help seal in the flavour.

2. Set the meat aside and place the diced onions in the pan, stir them around (no heat) to “collect” the spice and meat juices.

3. Mix together the stock, honey and tomato puree.

4. Put the onions in the crock pot, add carrots and lamb/steak, then the rest of the ingredients and pour over the stock, honey and tomato puree mixture.

5. Cook on high for 3.5 hours, then enjoy! 🙂

I served ours with some boiled rice, but usually would serve tagine with couscous.  I was really happy with how it came out, though next time I would probably add some flour towards the end, to thicken it up, and some extra apricots to add a different texture as the ones added at the start do soften up a lot and I prefer them to still have a bit of a bite.

This is my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week, and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Homemade Basil Butter

I love basil! I add it to almost everything, in all different forms – fresh, dried, pesto, paste – I even have to hide the plant from my cats because they love chewing it (can’t say I blame them!)

Though I had a strange start to my love of basil, as we never had basil at home when I was growing up, because my Dad is allergic to it. I didn’t even know it existed for quite a while, until I was out for lunch one day and I decided to try Pesto Pasta – there my love began 🙂  It was almost like having a strange love affair while I lived at home, because I could only eat it when out of the house, so as not to trigger my Dad’s allergy.

I haven’t had to hide my basil-love for a while now and always like to have some growing fresh in the kitchen – though Florida is much better for growing it outside!  I haven’t yet added herbs to the garden here, but a friend had a lovely “crop” of basil and she very kindly gave me some this weekend.  Which was perfect timing as I’d just found a recipe on Pinterest for Basil Butter, and knew I had to try it!

I tweaked the recipe a little, adding more garlic and a little more basil. I added the garlic raw, but you could cook it first if you prefer 🙂

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter
4 tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (plus a few extra, because yey basil!)
2 cloves garlic (less if you aren’t as keen on garlic as we are)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Chop up the basil. I don’t own a fancy chopper so I just rolled up the leaves, and used kitchen scissors to cut them finely. Put the chopped basil in a small bowl – I put it back in the measuring jug.

2. Mince the garlic – cooked or uncooked – and add to the basil. Add the olive oil and stir to mix well.

3. Soften the butter and cream cheese and mix together in a seperate bowl until smooth. Add the basil mixutre and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Enjoy!

It keeps fresh in the fridge, though we’ve almost used it all up in just a few days!

We tried it on toast (with and without cheese), I’ve also made a yummy tuna sandwich using the basil butter instead of regular butter – ohhhh that was good!

We’ve even stirred the basil butter into cooked pasta, topped with some grated cheese – you could stir in some pine nuts and/or baby tomatoes too.  Everything as tasted great, I’ll definitely be making some more when this runs out!

This is my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Berry Muffins

Well this recipe is being posted much later than I had planned! Things have been really busy here and my online time got squashed down to zero for a few weeks. But, better late than never, right? 🙂 These muffins are definitely worth waiting for.

I love Dorset Cereals. They are, however, a bit on the pricey side for my budget right now so I just treat myself to a box every so often. This time though I bought a box with a purpose, because Sainsbury’s had given away a free recipe card for some berry muffins made from Dorset Cereals – the Berries and Cherries muesli.

I tried them out for the Mad Tea Party blog hop last month and wow are they delicious!

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 12

Ingredients:
200 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100 g Dorset Cereals Berries & Cherries Muesli
225 ml plain yogurt
1 egg, beaten
90 g light brown soft sugar
75 ml semi-skimmed milk
75 ml vegetable oil
100 g berries, fresh or frozen (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

1. Place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the muesli and yogurt together. I will add here, somehow I completely missed out the part with the muesli and yogurt here – I added them separately at the end of step 3 and my muffins still came out fine 🙂

3. Add the egg, sugar, milk and oil to the flour mixture and stir to combine.

4. Stir in the muesli mixture (or just add both in separately like I did!) until just combined, then gently stir in the berries (I used frozen raspberries and blackberries).

5. Divide the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

6. Leave to cool and then enjoy!

I think when I make them again, and I will make them again, I’ll add about 50 g more frozen berries because as yummy as they were, I think they can handle it 🙂

But, hands down, these were some of the tastiest muffins that I’ve ever had!

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Apple Butter Pie

It wasn’t very long ago that I discovered apple butter. For those of you who aren’t sure what it is, think along the lines of a condensed apple sauce with added spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Really tasty stuff 🙂

I’m not a pie maker, or at least haven’t been until now! I went to a friend’s Pampered Chef party (which is a relatively new thing in England so I hadn’t been to one before) and of the things I bought there, one was a super cool looking pie dish 🙂

…Never in my life have I been so excited about a pie dish lol!

So I had a look online and found an apple butter pie recipe that looked good and gave it a try in my new awesome, super cool pie dish!


(Just to share the awesomeness)

The recipe I used came from Baking Bites and even though it was very tasty and enjoyable, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations so I’ll probably experiment with it a bit another time. I enjoyed the pie and I’d make it again, but I think the one thing for me that needed changing is the consistency – but apparently (so my husband, who is American, tells me) this has the exact same consistency as traditional American pumpkin pie and so he loved it just as it was!

So this may be a case of me just not being used to that kind of pie filling yet. American pie and English pie seem quite different! When I do tinker with the recipe though I’ll be sure to post the results 🙂

I will apologise in advance for any blurry photos, I still haven’t been able to get my camera fixed 🙁

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 50-60 minutes (depending on oven)

Ingredients:
Sweet pie pastry to fit your pie dish
16 oz applle butter
12 oz evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

2. Mix together the apple butter and evaporated milk. I stirred them together with a spoon but you can use a food processor if you prefer.

3. Add in the vanilla extract and eggs then stir well to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. Again you can use a food processor if you prefer.

4. Roll out your pie pastry and line the pie dish. A trick I know, to stop the edges shrinking, is don’t cut off the excess pastry until AFTER it is cooked. This allows for some shrinkage and then you can get a nice neat edge 🙂

5. Pour in the filling and bake the pie in the oven for 50-60 minutes. I have a fan assisted over so it only took 50 minutes.

6. Bring the pie out of the oven and use a sharp knife to cut away the excess pastry. Be careful not to touch the pie dish (this was a failing point of my new dish actually, as it has “handles” that got in the way a bit so my edge wasn’t as neat as I’d have liked).

7. Enjoy a nice slice of pie! 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop and it’s their 1st anniversary 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week and to follow my blog for more tasty treats!