Copycat Recipes – Famous Desserts!

So another week done, another theme done! I hope that that you got a kick out of some of the recipes this week, I admit tracking them down and having to put my thinking cap on to try and substitute ingredients without sacrificing flavour was a real challenge. One that I admit that I quite enjoyed. Today’s recipes didn’t have any kosher conflicts, though they are all dairy. The only one that I think you could easy convert to non-dairy, without sacrificing anything would be the lava cake. You could try and make the cream cheese icing for the cinnamon rolls with non-dairy cream cheese, but I’m not 100% how it would taste. Any brave cooks out there that try it, drop me a note and let me know how it goes!


Cheesecake Factory Vanilla Bean Cheesecake“Cheesecake Factory” Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 ⅔ cup crushed graham cracker crumbs (about 13 full sheets)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
3 (250g) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
seeds of 2 vanilla bean pods
3 large eggs
¾ cup sour cream
⅓ cup heavy cream

For the mousse:
1 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ (250g) package cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod

For the whipped cream topping:
¾ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
seeds of ½ a vanilla bean pod (optional)
berries and mint, for serving*

* Click here to learn how to clean these ingredients.

Directions:
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with a sheet of 18 x 18 inch heavy duty aluminium foil (make sure the foil has no holes, you don’t want any water to leak in).

In a bowl, mix together the graham crackers crumbs and sugar, stirring to combine. Pour in the melted butter, and mix with a fork until evenly moistened. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and press it evenly into the bottom. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Have a large roasting pan ready and boil about 4 litres of water (you may not need all of it). In a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer blend together the cream cheese, sugar and seeds of 2 vanilla beans just until smooth (scrape down side and bottom of bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing process). Mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined after each addition. Add the sour cream and heavy cream and again, mix just until combined. Tap bowl forcefully against counter top about 30 times to release any large air bubbles. Pour over cooled graham cracker crust and smooth into an even layer.

Place the cheesecake in roasting pan then place roasting pan in oven and carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheesecake is set but still jiggly in the centre, about 65 minutes, then leave it in the oven and leave the door closed, letting it rest for 10 minutes. Then remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Tent the cheesecake with foil and chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

For the mousse:
Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals, until melted and smooth (or alternately melt in a double boiler). Set the chocolate aside and let it cool until it’s just lukewarm.

In a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form, and then add the sugar and whip it again until stiff peaks form (the cream should get to the point where it’s starting to lose that wet sheen and it should become quite thick. Tap any excess cream of beater blades), set the whipped cream aside.

In a separate mixing bowl whip the cream cheese with the seeds of the vanilla bean until smooth. Mix in the white chocolate (it may appear slightly gritty, that’s fine). Add in half of the whipped cream mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until nearly combined, then add the remaining half of the whipped cream mixture and fold until combined and no streaks remain. Pour the mousse over the cold cheesecake and spread into an even layer. Tent the pan with foil then return to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 ½ hours.

For the whipped topping:
In a mixing bowl whip the heavy cream with the seeds of ½ of a vanilla bean until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and whip again until stiff peaks form. Run a knife around edges of cheesecake then spread the whipped cream over mousse layer within 2 hours of serving. To serve remove foil from the pan, pull the latch and remove the springform pan ring. Garnish with raspberries and mint if desired, and cut into slices.


“Cinnabons” Cinnamon RollsCinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
For the dough:
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup margarine
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
⅓ cup margarine, softened

For the cream cheese icing:
6 tablespoons margarine
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:
For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl of a mixer and mix well. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approximately 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approximately ¼ inch thick. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

To make the filling, combine the margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the margarine first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1½ inch slices. You might find it easier if you use a piece of floss instead of a knife. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.

Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl, and beating together well with an electric mixer until fluffy. When the rolls are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before, spreading generously with icing.


Chili's Molten Lava Chocolate Cake“Chili’s” Molten Lava Cake

Ingredients:
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
½ cup coconut oil
caramel sauce, for drizzling (optional)
vanilla ice cream

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a microwave-safe bowl combine 2 cups of the chocolate chips and butter. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, in 45 second intervals, whisking between each interval until smooth. Whisk in the powdered sugar until completely combined. Add the eggs and egg yolks, and whisking again to combine. Add the vanilla and flour, whisking one last time.

Generously spray eight 1-cup oven-safe cups with cooking spray, and evenly fill with batter. Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven for 13-15 minutes until the outer edges are set and the centre is still soft. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool for 2-3 minutes before inverting onto a plate drizzled with caramel sauce (if using).

While the cakes are baking, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the remaining chocolate chips with the coconut oil and microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring in between until smooth (should take about 2 minutes total). This will make “magic shell chocolate sauce”. Once you are plating your cakes, top each cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and drizzle a little “magic shell sauce” and let it sit for 30-45 seconds to harden.


“Momofuku” Crack PieMomofuku Crack Pie

Ingredients:
For the oat cookie crust:
non-stick vegetable oil spray
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
5 ½ tablespoons (packed) brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon (generous) salt

For the filling:
¾ cup sugar
½ cup (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
6 ½ tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Directions:
To make the oat cookie crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch metal baking pan with parchment paper and coat it with non-stick spray. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy. Add the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute.

Turn the oat mixture out onto the prepared baking pan, and press it out evenly to edges of pan. Bake until it is light golden on top, about 17 to 18 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely. Using your hands, crumble the oat cookie into a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons butter, and 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it is moist enough to stick together. Transfer the cookie crust mixture to a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Using your fingers, press the mixture evenly onto bottom and up the sides of the pie dish. Place the pie dish with crust on rimmed baking sheet.

To make the filling:
Position the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Whisk both sugars, milk powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Add the melted butter and whisk again until blended. Add the cream, then egg yolks and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake the pie for 30 minutes (filling may begin to bubble). Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but centre still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken, about 20 minutes longer. Cool the pie for 2 hours in the pie dish on a rack. Chill uncovered overnight. Sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Cut pie into wedges and serve cold.

Copycat Recipes – Famous Mains!

So it was kinda hard to choose which mains to find recipes for. I actually googled, “Most Popular Restaurant Dishes” to see what would come up, and low and behold, I got a few of the beauties below. I did go for some Canadian flavour though, and threw in Swiss Chalet’s famous rotisserie chicken and dipping sauce. Surprisingly, not a kosher issue (other than, you know, the establishment itself not being kosher). I hope you all enjoy!


Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp“Bonefish Grill” Bang Bang “Shrimp”

So with this recipe, the only real change is the obvious, using imitation “shrimp” instead of the real McCoy. Other than that, this recipe is pretty kosher friendly!

Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil, or more, as needed
2 cups buttermilk*
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds imitation “shrimp”

For the Sauce:
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

* Don’t have buttermilk? Check out my cheat tips here.

Directions:
To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and rice vinegar in a small bowl and then set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, eggs, and hot sauce. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and set this aside as well.

In a large bowl, combine the panko, onion and garlic powders, basil, oregano, and some salt and pepper, to taste. Working one at a time, dip a “shrimp” into the buttermilk mixture, then dredge it in the panko mixture, pressing to coat.

Working in batches, add the “shrimp” to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately, drizzled with the sweet chili sauce.


“Cheesecake Factory” Louisiana Chicken PastaCheesecake Factory Louisiana Chicken Pasta

So with this recipe, there were quite a bit of changes needed, as there was a lot mixing of dairy and meat in this recipe. I think I’ve found a happy balance, omitting somethings, and substituting others. I hope you agree!

Ingredients:
For the Chicken:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup non-dairy milk

For the Cajun Sauce:
1 tablespoon margarine
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
¾ small red onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 whole garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 ½ cups non-dairy creamer
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced*
1 (12 ounce) packages bow tie pasta
salt, to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean basil.

Directions:
For the sauce, melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow and red bell peppers, mushrooms, and onion to the skillet, and sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper to skillet and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add the non-dairy creamer, as well as the chicken stock, and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the basil, stirring to incorporate, and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer. The sauce will continue to reduce and thicken.

For the chicken, pound the chicken breasts until they are very thin (the thinner the better). Mix together the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and flour. Pour the non-dairy milk into a shallow bowl for dipping. Dip the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and then in the milk and then back in the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan set to medium-high heat, and fry the chicken until golden crisp and cooked through. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Remove the chicken to a paper-lined plate to drain.

Meanwhile, cook the bow-tie pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Once done, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Add the sauce that has been reducing and toss the pasta to coat. To plate, dish up a healthy portion of the pasta, and top with a golden piece of chicken and the remaining basil.


PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps“P.F. Chang’s” Chicken Lettuce Wraps

What’s amazing about this recipe is that I didn’t need to change a thing! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
½ cup + 1 tablespoon oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cups water chestnuts, minced
2 cups mushroom, minced
½ cup onions, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
12-15 iceberg lettuce leaves*

Special Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
⅜ teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons hot mustard
2 tablespoons hot water
1-2 tablespoons garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce:
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons rice wine vinegar

* Click here to learn how to clean lettuce:

Directions:
Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in the water in a bowl. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve.  Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

In a wok or large frying pan, bring the oil to a high heat. Sauté the chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until they are done. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow them to cool.

Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. When chicken is cool, mince it as small as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are. With the pan still on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil (to the oil that was left over from cooking the chicken). Add the chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the hot pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan, and sauté the mixture for a couple minutes then serve in the lettuce leaves with the special sauce.


“Swiss Chalet” Rotisserie ChickenSwiss Chalet Chicken and Dipping Sauce

As a Canadian, how can you not want just a bite of that beautifully, crispy, spinning rotisserie Swiss Chalet chicken? Well, it turns out, making it kosher isn’t that hard! In fact, I didn’t have to change a thing! Keep in mind though, that unless you have a rotisserie feature on your oven/bbq, it will not come out exactly the same as the commercials.

Ingredients:
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dehydrated tomato soup mix
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon dried savoury
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 cup water

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Poke holes into a whole chicken. Place the chicken in the bag and let it marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Cook the chicken in a rotisserie oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours or until cooked through. Serve with dipping sauce.

“Swiss Chalet” Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:
3 cups water
¼ cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon dried mustard
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 bay leaf
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce*
6 drops Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

* Click here to learn about using Worcestershire sauce with meat dishes.

Directions:
In a saucepan, add the water, tomato juice and all of the other ingredients EXCEPT for the lemon juice, cornstarch, final 1 tablespoon water and vegetable oil. Using a whisk, stir the sauce thoroughly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the lemon juice.

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water into a slurry. Slowly whisk the slurry into the sauce. While still whisking, add the oil to the sauce. Continue to whisk the sauce while it cooks for a few more minutes and it will thicken up. This will make 3 cups of sauce.

Copycat Recipes – Famous Soups!

So some of these soups I’ve only heard about, whispered, as if part of a fabled legend, the epic tastiness, the supreme awesomeness, the warmth, the… well, you get the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t see The Cheesecake Factory opening up a kosher establishment anytime soon, so the chances of me getting my hands on a bowl of their famous Chicken Tortilla Soup is pretty much slim to none.

So, my fellow kosher foodies, I have tracked down a few of the greats here below for you, from Panera, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, and yes, Cheesecake Factory. You will notice the use of items like non-dairy creamer or shredded cheese, or pareve chicken stock (made from bouillon). You can always switch items up, use real chicken stock, and then use creamer instead of heavy cream, margarine instead of butter, etc. If you have any requests, leave a comment, and I’ll try and track down the recipe for you! Enjoy!


Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup“Panera” Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups pareve chicken stock
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)*
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
salt and ground black pepper to taste
* Click here to learn about cleaning broccoli.

Directions:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic in the hot butter until translucent, about 5 minutes, and then set it aside. Whisk the ¼ cup melted butter and flour together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; cook until flour loses its granular texture, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk if necessary to keep the flour from burning, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually pour the remaining milk into flour mixture while whisking constantly. Stir chicken stock into milk mixture. Bring to a simmer; cook until flour taste is gone and mixture is thickened, about 20 minutes. Add broccoli, carrots, celery, and sautéed onion and garlic. Simmer everything until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir the cheddar cheese into the soup until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra cheese on top.


“Applebee’s” Tomato Basil SoupApplebee Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup minced white onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
3 cups pareve chicken broth
¾ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup minced fresh basil*
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley*
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
seasoned croutons, for serving
parmesan cheese, for serving
* Click here to learn how to clean basil and parsley.

Directions:
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and then add onion and garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let mixture cool, uncovered, for 30 minutes or so. You can let it sit for as long as an hour, if you like.

Pour approximately half of the tomato mixture into a blender. Put the lid on the blender and hold it down with a dish towel. Mixture may still be hot and you don’t want the lid of the blender to pop off. Blend on high speed for about a minute, pour the mixture into a large bowl or pitcher, then add the rest of the mixture to the blender and blend on high speed for a minute.

Pour all of the pureed tomato mixture back into the saucepan and then add the remaining ingredients. Bring the soup back up to a bubble then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve approximately one cup of soup with a garnish of 3 or 4 croutons on top and a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese.


Olive Garden Pasta e Fagoili Soup“Olive Garden” Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (796ml) cans diced tomatoes
1 (540ml) can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 (540ml) can navy beans (with liquid)
1 (680ml) can tomato sauce
1 ½ cups vegetable cocktail juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ pound (½ pkg.) ditalini pasta (or other small pasta)

Directions:
In a large pot over medium heat, brown the ground beef, until it is cooked through. Drain off most of the fat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.

Once the soup has been cooking for about 50 minutes into the simmering, cook the pasta in 1 ½ to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is just slightly undercooked. Drain the pasta, and add it to the large pot of soup. Simmer the soup for an additional 5 to 10 minutes and serve hot.


“Cheesecake Factory” Chicken Tortilla SoupCheesecake Factory Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken
1 gallon water
6 carrots (3 roughly chopped, and 3 sliced)
6 celery ribs (3 roughly chopped, and 3 sliced)
1 onion (chopped)
4 tablespoons garlic (minced)
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup cilantro (chopped)*
½ (796ml) can diced tomatoes
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 cup non-dairy creamer
1 (341ml) can corn
20 corn tortillas, fresh
oil for frying
1 ½ cups non-dairy shredded cheese
* Click here to learn how to clean cilantro.

Directions:
Simmer chicken in water, with the 3 roughly chopped carrots and celery, ½ the chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of the garlic, the salt and the white and black peppers for 2 hours. Remove the chicken and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, remove all the excess fat and the vegetables used to simmer the chicken in and discard.

Add the remaining carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the soup pot, along with the cayenne, cumin, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeno and corn. Stir well. Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and add it to the soup in large chunks. Add the non-dairy creamer to the soup for colour and thickness.

Cut tortillas in strips and fry in oil. Put tortillas in bottom of bowl, sprinkle with non-dairy cheese and pour soup on top. Top with more non-dairy cheese and serve hot.


Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup“Panera” Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Ingredients:
½ cup orzo pasta
¾ teaspoon olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
8 cups chicken broth
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
½ lemon, zested
5 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped
½ (8 ounce) package baby spinach leaves*
½ lemon, sliced for garnish (optional)
* Click here to learn how to clean baby spinach.

Directions:
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo in the boiling water until partially cooked through but not yet soft, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, and rinse it with cold water until cooled completely.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté and stir carrots, celery, and onion in hot oil until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion becomes translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season the mixture with thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, and the bay leaf. Let everything cook for another minute before pouring chicken broth into the pot. Bring the broth to a boil, and then partially cover the pot, reducing the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir the orzo, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the broth and add the chicken. Cook the soup until the chicken and orzo are heated through, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the baby spinach, stirring until the spinach wilts into the broth and the orzo is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with lemon slices.

Copycat Recipes – Famous Breads!

So one of the downsides of keeping kosher, is that you do not get to partake in the wide world of non-kosher eating establishments, and some of their notoriously, good and addictive dishes. This week I thought I would track down some famous restaurant recipes and get you as close a copycat recipe as possible so that you could make them at home, kosherizing where needed.

I thought I’d start like you would if you were actually dining in one of these restaurants, and get you some of their delicious bread recipes that for those that keep kosher could only previously dream and drool about. You will notice that several of these recipes are in fact dairy. You can read up about the ins and outs of dairy bread here, or you can make these breads non-dairy, or pareve, by replacing the milk and butter with non-dairy alternatives, such as soy milk and margarine.

For the “Olive Garden” Bread Sticks, if you wish to make them non-dairy, change the butter to margarine and leave out the Parmesan cheese altogether. The only recipe that I would not suggest changing would be the “Red Lobster” Cheddar Bay Biscuits, as the non-dairy cheese alternatives do not tend to melt the same way that regular cheese does, but you can always try!


“Texas Roadhouse” Rolls Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Ingredients:
1 cup warm milk (100°F)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅓ cup sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the board
1 egg
⅓ cup butter, melted plus ¼ cup butter, melted (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

Honey Cinnamon Butter:
½ cup softened butter (salted butter)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:
In a cup or small bowl, stir together the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Allow the yeast to proof and begin to activate while you prepare the other ingredients. Using a stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, egg, ⅓ cup melted butter, and salt. Add the milk mixture and process until you have a smooth dough; it will be stickier and wetter than regular bread dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough to grease all sides, and cover with a towel. Let rise until it has doubled in size.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it out on a floured board. Let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out the dough into a large, flat rectangle approximately ½ inch thick. Cut into 16 portions with a sharp knife and place on a greased baking sheet and let rise again, until doubled. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes on the greased baking sheet. They will be light brown when removed from the oven. If desired you can brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining ¼ cup melted butter before serving.

Prepare honey cinnamon butter by combining butter, cinnamon, honey, and powdered sugar until well blended.


Olive Garden Breadsticks“Olive Garden” Bread Sticks

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 ½ cups flour + extra flour for dusting board

Buttery topping:
4 tablespoons butter melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
⅛ teaspoon oregano

Directions:
Combine warm water, sugar, oil, and yeast in a large bowl of a mixer or a food processor. Add 4 ½ cups of flour and salt and process until the dough forms a nice uniform ball. Place dough in a bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place. When the dough has doubled in size (this should take about an hour) place dough on a well-floured board and roll out dough. Roll out dough into a large rectangle. Cut in half horizontally, and then cut vertical strips of dough about 1 ½ inches thick. Roll the strips of dough into sticks. Place dough on a greased baking sheet, and allow them to rise until they have doubled in size (this should take about 45 minutes). You should get between 20 and 24 bread sticks from this recipe.

Melt butter, and stir in Parmesan cheese and oregano. For best results rub the oregano between your fingers as you place it into the butter. This will help release the oils of the oregano and make it taste even better. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking bread sticks brush them with the butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush any left-over butter topping on these just before serving.


“KFC” Buttermilk BiscuitsKFC Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups self-rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup chilled butter (you can use shortening)
2 tablespoons of butter melted (to top biscuits with)
2 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Cut butter into small cubes, if you use shortening chill it so you cut into small pieces. It is important to cut the butter into small pieces so it will make it easier to cut the butter into the flour. In a medium sized bowl combine self-rising flour, sugar, and cream of tartar. Add in cubed butter, and work butter into the flour until it reaches a large sand grained texture. Add buttermilk, and stir long enough to stir buttermilk into the dough.

On a floured surface turn dough out of the bowl, and shape flour into a round shape, use a rolling pin to gently roll out dough to about ¾ of an inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops of biscuits with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes.


Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits“Red Lobster” Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 ⅓ tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup cold water
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda until combined. Slowly add the oil, until all the lumps are gone and the mixture takes on a uniform texture. To this add the water and the grated cheese. Pat or roll out the dough to ¾ inch thickness. Cut the biscuits with a cutter or drinking glass, and place in a baking pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

While the biscuits are baking, in a small saucepan, melt the butter together with the parsley, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. After you remove the biscuits from the oven, brush the tops with the seasoned butter and serve immediately.


“Outback Steakhouse” Honey Wheat BreadOutback Steakhouse Honey Wheat Bread

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups warm water (100°-110°F)
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
3 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups bread flour
rolled oats (for dusting loaves)

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a dough hook, stir together water, oil, and honey until mixed well. Add wheat flour to water mixture. Add the cocoa, yeast, coffee, salt, and stir until blended. Allow mixture sit for 10 minutes.

Stir in bread flour, one cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and almost clears the sides of mixer, about 3-4 minutes. Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in the bowl until doubled, about 30-60 minutes. Divide into 2 pieces. Cover each piece with greased plastic wrap, and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Shape pieces into loaves, and sprinkle with oats. Place each loaf in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Let dough rise until doubled, about 30-60 minutes. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake at for 30-40 minutes.

Make-Ahead Bread Recipes

bread in a jar

Does it seem to you that no matter what time Shabbos starts, you always seem to be in a rush? It could start at 4:30 or 8:30 and you always seem to be caught in your 18 minutes! Here’s an idea, how about some quick make-ahead bread recipes? This way all of your ingredients are measured out, and you can dump and bake, and have a delicious loaf of bread, ready for your meal? Sounds good to me! Enjoy and have a Good Shabbos!


Beer Bread Mix

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 (12 oz.) can beer (dark or light, but not “Lite”)

Preheat the oven to either 350°F or 400°F and grease a loaf pan(s). Combine the bread mix and beer and bake as follows: for 1 large loaf, bake at 350°F for 1 ¼ hours. For 2 small loaves, bake at 400°F for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool on racks.


California Cornbread Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ tablespoons shortening

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cornbread mix in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, milk and butter. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a greased 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or divide into 12 greased muffin tin cups and bake for 15-22 minutes.


Focaccia Bread Mix

Ingredients:
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
1 ½ cups bread flour
½ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients, except the yeast, into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Keep the yeast in a separate small baggie, and then place this baggie in the larger container with the rest of the mix. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt, dried herbs (optional)
pesto, for serving

First, remove the yeast packet from the top of the mix. Then in a large mixing bowl combine the water, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the yeast packet and half of the contents of the focaccia bread mix. Mix until smooth and blended, and then add the remaining half of the bread mix. Knead the dough until smooth, and then transfer to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Punch the dough down and roll into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle or on a pizza pie dish.  Using your fingers, press dimples into the dough, spaced every inch or so apart. Brush the dough with the remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and any other herbs you wish to add. Bake for 5 minutes, then pop any large air bubbles that may form with a fork, and continue baking until golden, about 8 more minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm with pesto.


Olive-Walnut Country Bread

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup chopped walnuts

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or 1 ¼ cup non-dairy milk + 4 teaspoons lemon juice, mixed)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced Kalamata olives, drained
Olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan or coat with non-stick vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk (or alternative), egg, 2 tablespoons oil and olives. Slowly add the jar contents until the dough holds together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for about 30 seconds, just long enough for the dough to become smooth rather than sticky. Do not over-handle the dough.

With floured hands, pat the dough into a round about 8 inches across and 2-inches high. Place in the prepared pan. With a sharp knife, cut a 1/2-inch deep “X” across the top of the loaf. Bake 45-50 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan. Rub the outside of the loaf with olive oil. Place on rack to cool completely.

Make-Ahead Cookie Mixes

Cookies in jars

So as our week winds down, how about a sweet note? Everyone loves cookies, and I don’t care that Sesame Street has converted Cookie Monster into a “cookies in moderation” monster. To me, they are still awesome, and deserve their own day on “Make-Ahead Week”. Just like the soups and dressings from previous dressings, these make excellent gifts, and will be accepted with a bigger smile than salad dressing. Make sure if you are gifting these to layer the ingredients as “prettily” as possible, by alternating colours and textures so that it is attractive to both the eye and the stomach! You can print some cute labels and tags on your home printer, and there you go, next thing you know, you have a little cottage industry in your house making cookies-in-a-jar gifts! I wish you much success and in the words of Cookie Monster “Me want cookie!” “Me eat cookie!” “Om nom nom nom”


Applesauce Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup chopped nuts

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup butter or shortening
1 egg
½ cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and applesauce and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Drop teaspoons of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 – 12 minutes at 350°F.


Black & White Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
2 ⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup quick oats
⅔ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons M&M’s
⅓ cup rice krispies
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup white chocolate chips

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 egg
½ cup butter or shortening

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.


Butterscotch Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 ⅛ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup rice krispies or corn flakes
¾ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped pecans

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup of butter or shortening
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with a fork dipped in sugar. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup of softened butter or shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.


Chunky Chocolate Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup jumbo chocolate chip morsels
1 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 11-13 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Cocoa Peanut Butter Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups packed confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup cocoa
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and peanut butter, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with a fork dipped in sugar. Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes until edges are browned. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Honey Spice Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ cups Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
¾ cup honey
1 large egg

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and honey, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Cover the dough and chill overnight. Next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Shape the dough into 1”balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with a cup dipped in sugar. Bake at 350°F for 5-8 minutes.


Molasses Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoonMo cloves
⅛ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
¾ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
sugar, for decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Shape the dough into 1”balls and place 2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly, and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes.


Peanut Butter Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
¾ cup chopped salted peanuts
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup peanut butter chips
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and peanut butter, and then beat until mixed. Gradually stir in the mix. Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes.


Raspberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 small package raspberry gelatin dessert mix (aka Jewish Jello)
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups flour mixed
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into walnut size balls and place 2″ apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are very lightly browned. Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.


White Chocolate Cherry Cookie Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup vanilla sugar
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup chopped nuts
¾ cup white chocolate chips
½ teaspoon dried lemon peel

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This recipe will fit in a quart jar. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup butter or shortening, softened
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whip the butter or shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Gradually stir in mix. Shape the dough into 1” size balls and place 2″ apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.

Make-Ahead Soup Mixes

Soup Mixes in a Jar

So according to the weatherman, this afternoon with the Humidex it is supposed to feel like 39°C, or 102°F. For those of you that don’t know what a Humidex is, you are SO lucky! Humidex is the humidity index, that takes the actual temperature, and then adds the humidity factor, so it tells you that while it may only be x degrees out, it feels like the surface of the sun. In Toronto, we’re fortunate enough to have both the Humidex in the summer and the Windchill in the winter, which calculates how much colder the lake effects wind makes it seem, so again, it may be x degrees out, but now it feels like the dark side of the moon. What can I say, we can’t seem to win here… except for our falls (autumns) which are pretty awesome. Oh well, one out of four ain’t bad. (yes it is, it’s very bad.)

So continuing on our theme of prepping ahead, and making it look like we are uber organized, I thought today in honour of the heat, we’d hit up some soups. It may seem strange, but trust me, when the days start getting cooler, you’ll appreciate being able to open your pantry and see these beautifully layered, labelled jars of soupy goodness. Again, these also make great hostess gifts or last minute grab-n-give ideas for a friend who has a cold. I’ve even included a recipe for the traditional condensed “Cream of _____” soup. You know what I’m talking about. You come across a recipe that calls for cream of mushroom, or celery or asparagus, and at least here in Canada, it’s pretty hard to get a decent kosher one. With this recipe, you will have the base for any flavour “Cream of” soup you want. You’re welcome.


Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup barley
½ cup dried split peas
3 teaspoons beef bouillon powder
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, leaving the bay leaf on top, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound stew meat, cut in 1″ cubes
6 cups water
1 (796ml) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 jar Beef Vegetable & Barley Soup Starter Mix
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the meat, sautéing until the meat is browned on all sides. Add the water, tomatoes, and soup mix. Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the celery and carrots. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf.  Serve with Cornbread or biscuits.


Beef Chili Soup Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup dried red kidney beans
½ cup dried navy beans
½ cup dried black beans
⅓ cup dried minced onions
2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dried cilantro or parsley flakes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried minced garlic

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef or stew meat
6 cups water
1 jar Beef Chili Soup Mix
1 (1.36 L) can tomato juice

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the meat, sautéing until the meat is browned. Drain any excess fat that has come off the meat, then add the contents of the soup mix, plus the water and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Add the tomato juice, and bring back to a boil, then reduce heat again, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with Cornbread or biscuits.


Colourful Soup Mix

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon beef bouillon powder
¼ cup dried minced onion
½ cup dried split peas
½ cup uncooked macaroni
¼ cup barley
½ cup dry lentils
⅓ cup long-grain white rice
1 cup uncooked tri-colour spiral pasta

Measure all of the above ingredients, except for the tri-colour pasta and macaroni, into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Put the pastas in a separate smaller baggie, and then put the baggie in the larger container with the rest of the soup mix. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound ground beef or stew beef
12 cups water
1 jar Colourful Soup Mix

In large pot, brown the ground beef or stew beef the oil. Remove the pastas from top of jar and set aside. Add 12 cups of water and the remaining jar contents to the pot. Bring the soup to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tri-colour pasta and simmer 15 minutes more. Serve with your favourite bread or rolls and a tossed salad.


Country Soup Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup barley
½ cup dried split peas
½ cup uncooked white rice
½ cup dry lentils
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
2 tablespoons beef bouillon powder
½ cup uncooked alphabet pasta
1 cup uncooked macaroni

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 jar Country Soup Mix
3 quarts of water
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage* (optional)
2 large tomatoes, diced

*Click here to learn how to clean cabbage.

In a large pot, combine all of the above ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for at least an hour, until the veggies are tender and the barley and peas are cooked through.


Cream of Anything Soup Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup powdered milk
⅓ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons pareve chicken/beef/vegetable bouillon powder
1 teaspoons dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. This makes the equivalent of 4 cans of Cream of “Something” soup and can be stored for up to a year. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
⅓ cup cream mix
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
½ cup minced or chopped “______” Choose one or more for whatever “cream of” flavour you need: onions, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, celery, etc.

In a pot, melt the butter and sauté the “something” that you are using (mushrooms, onions, etc.). Cook until translucent, then add the cream mix, and stir to combine. Add the water, and whisk gently over a low/medium heat until thickened.

This can now be used directly in a recipe that calls for a can of condensed “Cream of ___” soup or you can dilute it with milk and water to make “Cream of ____” soup.


Layered Bean Soup Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup kidney beans
½ cup split yellow peas
½ cup black beans
½ cup red lentils
½ cup small red beans
½ cup split green peas
1 tablespoon dried sweet pepper flakes
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
4 tablespoons brown sugar

Measure all of the above ingredients, keeping the spices separate from the beans, peas and lentils. Put the spices in a separate smaller baggie, and then put the baggie in a larger contain with the rest of the soup mix. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 jar Layered Bean Soup Mix
1 (796ml) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
10 cups water, divided

Rinse the beans and place in large stock pot. Pour 4 cups boiling water over beans; cover and let soak overnight. Drain the beans and return to the stock pot. Add 6 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until beans are almost tender. Add the tomatoes and seasoning mix. Stirring occasionally, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover beans and continue to simmer about 1 hour longer or until beans are tender and soup thickens. Serve warm.


Mushroom Barley Soup Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup barley
¼ cup dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons dried minced onions
¼ cup dried carrot slices (optional)
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried dill
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, leaving the bay leaf on top, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 jar Mushroom Barley Soup Mix
1 quart water
2 carrots, sliced (if you didn’t use the dried variety)

In a large pot, add the carrots and soup mix to 1 quart boiling water and simmer until the barley and carrots are tender. Remove the bay leaves before serving.


Sun Dried Tomato & Penne Soup Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups penne pasta
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms (or other variety)
¼ cup dried onion flakes
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 jar Sun Dried Tomato & Penne Soup Mix
8 cups vegetable broth
1 (796ml) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (540ml) can cannelloni (white kidney beans) beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper

In a large pot, combine all of the above ingredients, except for the beans. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer until the pasta and veggies are tender. Add in the beans and simmer an additional 15 minutes or so. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot with some crusty bread.

Make-Ahead Dressing Mixes

Make Ahead Salad Dressings

So this week it’s still just too hot to being cooking up a storm in the kitchen, but at the same time I don’t want to appear to be completely lazy. So what’s the compromise? Make-Ahead Mixes! No heat, or actual cooking, just a lot of mixing together of dry ingredients for future use. It will make you look super prepared and all Martha Stewart-y, and they can act as hostess gifts in a pinch. Just put one this week’s recipes in a nice jar with a tight lid, and attach a tag on what to add when it comes to actually making the recipe, and you look like you are super organised and put together! Oh, little do they know!

Today’s recipes are for salad dressings, and are pretty much completely fool-proof to both prep and then make when actually needed. I would suggest storing your mixes in mason jars, as 1) they’re super cute and trendy (c’mon, do you need another reason?) 2) they provide a tight air-proof seal and 3) are re-usable. You will note that these dressings call for the use of “salad oil”. This is just any neutral flavour oil, such as vegetable, canola, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, etc. You can use olive as well, but it tends to have a bit more flavour, so I would only use it in dressings that would call for a Mediterranean flavour profile, like the Caesar or Greek dressings. You can also play around with the type of vinegar used; using red wine one day, and balsamic or tarragon the next. It’s all about personal preference.So having all said that, I hope you enjoy these dressings which can be used on your favourite salad, roasted veggies or as a dip!


Vinaigrette Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons finely chopped dried chives
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
4 teaspoons vinaigrette mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
2 teaspoons vinaigrette mix
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Buttermilk Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
9 tablespoons parsley flakes

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
2 tablespoons dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk

Combine the buttermilk mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Caesar Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried lemon peel
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 2 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup Caesar dressing mix
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Combine the Caesar mix, oil and lemon juice in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Celery Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons celery seeds
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon Mix
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


French Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 5 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup dressing mix
¾ cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup vinegar

Combine the dressing mix, ketchup and vinegar in a blender and slowly add the oil through the top while the blender is on. The dressing should thicken up, but not be too thick. Chill until ready to use.


Greek Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup dried marjoram
¼ cup dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ cup dried mint leaves

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 24 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 ½ teaspoons Greek dressing mix
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


“Hidden Valley” Ranch Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
8 saltines
1 cups dried parsley flakes, minced
¼ cup dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
2 tablespoons onion salt
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a food processor or blender, and process until they are completely powdered. Pour the powder into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 30 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon ranch mix
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of buttermilk

Combine the ranch mix, mayonnaise and buttermilk oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Honey Citrus Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 ½ to 3 tablespoons grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon dressing mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange juice

Combine the dressing mix, vinegar, oil, honey and juices in a small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Italian Herb Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
¼ cup parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried oregano, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried basil, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried marjoram, crumbled
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 15 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon dressing mix
¾ cup warm water
2 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the dressing mix, water, vinegar, and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Taste and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the dressing mix if you want a stronger flavor. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Mint Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
3 tablespoons salt
½ cup sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup dressing mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the dressing mix, vinegar, and oil in a small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Thousand Island Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
⅛ cup finely crushed saltine crackers (about 3-4)
⅛ cup dried minced onion
⅛ cup garlic salt
⅛ cup onion salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon dried dill weed

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 15 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon of dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup chilli sauce (if you don’t have this, just mix 5 tablespoons ketchup with 3 tablespoons of horseradish)
¼ cup pickle relish, well drained

Blend well, refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to marry, and then serve with salad or veggies as a dip. This dressing will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Iced Coffee, Cubes and Syrups

Iced Coffees

So as I sit here in my office, for what seems like the one millionth day without proper air conditioning (today’s issue: blown fuse in the compressor), I am sipping on my regular decaf coffee, only iced, rather than hot. Yes, I am aware that there is the theory that when it’s 10 billion degrees out (give or take a degree) you’re actually supposed to have hot drinks, rather than cold, as it’s supposed to make you in fact cooler. So of course, my next step was to Google that to check it out!

According to the Smithsonian Magazine (www.smithsonianmag.com) their answer, in short: Yes, a hot drink can cool you down, but only in specific circumstances. and I quote:

“If you drink a hot drink, it does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate”

The key is however that the increased perspiration needs to be able evaporate off your skin. If you are wearing a lot of clothing, or you are sweating so much that it’s just beading up and running off you rather than evaporating, then you are not cooling yourself off at all, and are better off going for a cold drink.

So, since we dress quite modestly here in the office, the chances of any overproduction of perspiration evaporating off my skin directly, while not slim to none, is close. So, I’m skipping the hot coffee and going for cold.

Sorry, that was a heck of a long into just to tell you that today is Iced Coffee Day! Since the basic recipe for Iced Coffee is pretty simple, I’m going to play up the variations by giving you recipes for a host of syrups that you can add to make your iced coffee taste just like something you paid $25 for at a store that rhymes with “Carbucks”! I’m also throwing in a recipe for coffee ice cubes. These are great for when you have a little coffee left in the pot, or just brew a pot for this recipe specifically, and then add these cubes to your coffee, and you’re not watering it down!  Enjoy everyone!


Iced Coffee Concentrate (Cold Brew)

Ingredients:
For the concentrate:
2 cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
8 cups water

For your iced coffee:
½ cup iced coffee concentrate
½ cup water
ice
sugar or coffee syrup if desired
creamer such as half-and-half, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk or coffee creamer

Directions:
Add the grounds and the water to a 64-ounce or larger jar or pitcher with airtight lid. Stir. Put the lid on and put the jar/pitcher somewhere out of the way on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight. Let it sit for at least 6 hours, up to 12.

Line a fine-mesh sieve with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Pour the water and grounds over the strainer and discard grounds. Pour the iced coffee concentrate into an airtight jar or pitcher and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to one week.

To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice and add ½ cup coffee concentrate and ½ cup water. Add cream/sweetener as desired and serve.


Coffee Ice Cubes

Ingredients:
black coffee, cooled
ice cube trays

Directions:
Brew a pot of hot coffee in your usual method and allow to cool to room temperature. Use whatever coffee is your preference, but the nicer the coffee the nicer the end result will be, so don’t scrimp on the flavour! If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, add in some sugar or sweetener at this point.

Pour coffee into your ice cube tray and place in the freezer to harden overnight. Place any left over coffee into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for later. When the ice cubes are ready, fill into a tall glass to serve.


Cinnamon Dolce Syrup

Ingredients:
½ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup water
1 5-inch cinnamon stick

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Vanilla Bean Syrup

Ingredients:
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Combine the sugar, water, scraped vanilla beans and pod and extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in a jar. I usually don’t remove the vanilla pod and just leave it in for flavor. You can remove it if you wish!


Blackberry Syrup

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries*
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup sugar
* click here to learn how to clean blackberries.

Directions:
Add the blackberries to a blender with the water. Puree until completely smooth and blended, then strain over a fine mesh sieve into a bowl – so all you have is blackberry juice. Combine the juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in a jar. This syrup can get extra sweet due to the flavor of your berries, so feel free to play along with water and sugar ratios.

You can use the same recipe to make raspberry, strawberry or blueberry syrup as well.


Almond Syrup

Ingredients:
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions:
Combine the sugar, water and extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in a jar.


Toffee Syrup

Ingredients:
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
½ cup toffee bits (such as a Skor™ bar)*

*Please note that this will make this syrup dairy.

Directions:
Combine the water, sugar, and toffee bits in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a cup.  Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, and then use a spoon to skim any solids off of the top.  Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.


Peppermint Syrup

Ingredients:
¾ cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 candy cane, crumbled (optional, for colour)
½ to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Directions:
Combine the water, sugar, and candy cane in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a liquid measuring cup.  Stir in the peppermint extract. Half a teaspoon is a good starting point and then you can add an additional half a teaspoon if you desire.  (Word to the wise – do not take a giant whiff of the still hot syrup unless you want a peppermint burn inside your nostrils.) Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to use.


Gingerbread Syrup

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Let simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into quarters
2 5-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl or large jar and strain syrup. Discard solids. Pour into an airtight storage container and transfer to refrigerator. Contents may settle, so just give it a quick shake before enjoying pumpkin spice deliciousness in your morning coffee or latte.

Lots of Lemonade!

Lemonade.jpg

We all know the saying, “When life hands you lemons….” well today on Drink Week, I thought I’d make lemonade out of those lemons. And not just any lemonade of course! Sure, I’m going to start out with a classic straight forward lemonade, but then we’re going to switch it up with some wonderful plays on the golden oldie. I’m talking about adding varieties of herbs and different fruits to the mix to bring out a different taste than you might be expecting. You can even make an “Arnold Palmer” by mixing one of today’s recipes with one of yesterday’s iced teas, for a great summer treat.

As always, please be sure to check out our produce checking guide by clicking here to learn how to clean the different fruits and herbs used in the recipes below. As well, don’t forget to scrub the lemons and other citrus before cutting it up to use as garnish.


Classic Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)
7 cups water, divided
ice and lemon slices to serve

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool. In a pitcher, combine the syrup with the lemon juice and 5 to 6 cups water. Serve over ice with slices of lemon.


Hibiscus and Mint Lemonade

Ingredients:
8 bags hibiscus tea (such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger or 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers)
4 cups fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for serving
¼ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
6 cups water, divided
ice for serving

Directions:
In a small saucepan, steep the tea and mint in 4 cups boiling water, using a wooden spoon to gently mash the mint; let cool. Discard the tea bags and mint. At the same time, in another small saucepan, combine the sugar and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool and mix with the fresh lemon juice and remaining water. In a large pitcher combine the tea and lemonade. Serve over ice and garnish with the mint sprigs.


Strawberry-Thyme Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for serving
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 2 ½ cups)
1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 10 lemons)
6 cups water
ice for serving

Directions:
Combine the sugar, thyme, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and discard the thyme.

Combine the thyme syrup with the strawberries, lemon juice, and 5 cups cold water in a large pitcher. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Serve over ice, garnished with additional thyme.


Ginger Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups white sugar
8 cups water
7 slices fresh ginger root
2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)
1 lemon, sliced
ice for serving

Directions:
In an 8-quart saucepan combine sugar, water and ginger root. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Cool 15 minutes. Remove ginger. Refrigerate lemonade at least 1 hour, or until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with the lemon slices.


Lavender Lemonade

Ingredients:
12 ice cubes
¼ cup dried lavender
2 cups boiling water
¾ cup white sugar
1 ¼ cups fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
5 cups cold water, or as needed
ice and lemon slices to serve

Directions:
Place ice cubes into a 2 quart pitcher. Place the lavender into a large heat-proof bowl, and pour boiling water over it. Allow to steep for about 10 minutes, then strain out the lavender and discard. Mix the sugar into the hot lavender water, and stir to dissolve. Pour the lavender water into the pitcher with the ice. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pitcher, getting as much juice as you can. Top off the pitcher with cold water, and stir. Taste, and adjust lemon juice or sugar if desired. Serve over ice with lemon slices.


Watermelon Lemonade

Ingredients:
½ cup white sugar
½ cup water
4 cups cubed watermelon
3 cups cold water
½ cup fresh lemon juice
6 cups ice cubes

Directions:
Place the watermelon into a blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups of cold water and the lemon juice. Divide the ice into glasses, and scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of watermelon puree over the ice, then top with the lemonade. Gently stir before serving.


Citrus Lemonade

Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
4 lemons, juiced
4 limes, juiced
4 oranges, juiced
3 quarts cold water, divided
1 lime, sliced into rounds (optional)
12 cups ice cubes

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool. Pour the sugar water, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice and remaining water into a gallon-sized container; stir to combine. Serve over ice with a slice of lime if desired.