Margherita Penne with sweet Chorizo

  • Servings: ”4-6″
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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Margherita Penne with sweet Chorizo

I was watching Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network earlier in the week and the phrase “signature dish” kept getting bandied about and this got me started thinking about my signature dish and how, being somewhat eclectic, I don’t really have one so I guess I will continue to change and warp recipes until such time that I come across one that is me.

This particular recipe comes to us courtesy of our annual Milk Calendar where the recipes contain Canadian dairy products but, as usual, I have twisted it a bit by adding some things and subtracting others until it is one that suits me much to the chagrin of my lovely wife who looked at me and stated “… you simply can’t use 100% of someone else’s recipe can you”…. and you know she’s right.

Here’s how we do this one….

Shopping List:

  • 12 ounces Penne pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp Canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8-10 ounces of diced Sweet Chorizo
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes— cut in half
  • 1/2 cup grated Canadian Parmesan
  • 12 1 inch mini Canadian Bocconcini (or any other kind you like)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves- chiffonade
  • Romano and Parsley for dusting

Putting it all together:

  1.  In a large pot of salted water cook the pasta until al dente
  2. In a second large pot heat the Canola oil and saute the Chorizo for about three minutes then remove from pot
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic,thyme,salt and chili flakes if using them and cook for a minute
  4. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk for about one minute
  5. Gradually whisk in the milk
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and whisk for between 3 and 5 minutes or until smooth
  7. Add the heavy cream and whisk until it starts to thicken
  8. Stir in the tomatoes, Chorizo and Parmesan
  9. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot
  10. Pour in the sauce and toss, stirring for about two minutes over medium heat ensuring pasta is coated
  11. Stir in the Bocconcini and basil
  12. Serve with a dusting of Romano and parsley

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time………

                  Bon Appetit



  • Servings: ”3-5″
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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This is not one of my better food pictures but then again I never claimed to be a photographer.

I had long ago forgotten about this recipe but then for some reason it came to mind the other day and I thought “yeah…… this will make a nice change from the ordinary pizza we usually have”. Now for those who may not be familiar with Stromboli it is simply an Italian Pizza Sandwich  which is very easy to make and oh so delicious and for this one I will use a “cheat” because I have not ever tried scratch making pizza dough which, in itself, is a fine art.

Here’s how we do this one……..

Shopping list:

  • One tin Pillsbury pizza dough
  • Store bought pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Mozzarella cheese

Putting it all together:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Roll out the pizza dough making it a rectangular shape instead of round
  3. Spread the pizza sauce on the dough leaving a border of approx. 1/4 inch all around the dough
  4. Sprinkle the Mozzarella on the sauce
  5. Add your toppings
  6. Starting with the long sides fold them up and pinch them together forming an envelope
  7. Fold up the ends and seal them
  8. Place on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top being careful not to burn the bottom
  9. Slice and enjoy

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time………

                   Bon Appetit

I wanna be Lobster Mac N Cheese

  • Servings: ”6″
  • Difficulty: ”medium”
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One of the all time classic side dishes is Macaroni and Cheese or as it is more commonly referred to “Mac N Cheese”. Now this college dorm room staple has been around for decades because it is inexpensive to buy and very easy to make…… as long as you can boil water you can make store-bought Mac N Cheese. My big issue with store-bought Mac N Cheese, however, is that it lacks substance and flavour and I just find it unappealing so I set out to find a scratch made version.

My search of the Internet revealed that 98% of all Mac N Cheese recipes have one thing in common— they all start with a basic Bechamel sauce. What sets them apart are the different cheeses that are added and the proteins such as bacon, ground beef, ground chicken, shrimp and even lobster. Since I eat a lot of bacon and chicken as it is and seafood has gotten expensive I took a peek in my grocers seafood section to see if I could find an alternative because I really wanted to use some kind of seafood in my Mac N Cheese. What I settled on was—- Lobster flavoured Pollock and before you question my sanity let me tell you that it is really not that bad…. and this from a guy who would not give you a dime for a train load of lobster….. and now you can see why I named this post “I wanna be Lobster Mac N Cheese”.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • One package Cavatappi- I like the corkscrew noodle. It holds the sauce better
  • 4 Cups milk
  • 8 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 Package Lobster flavoured Pollock (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 Cup each of Mascarpone, Gruyere and Fontina
  • 2/3 Cup Panko (optional)

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the Cavatappi as per the package instructions
  2. In a medium saucepan heat the milk until just simmering.
  3. In a second medium saucepan melt the butter and add the flour stirring until you get a Roux (paste) but don’t let it brown
  4. Slowly add the hot milk to the roux whisking until smooth. It will initially be quite thick but will thin out as milk is added- BTW…. you have just made a Bechamel
  5. Blend in the cheese to the Bechemal a little bit at a time so it won’t clump
  6. Brake up the Pollock into medium-sized chunks and add to the cheese sauce
  7. Drain the pasta and toss with the cheese sauce
  8. Spoon the Mac N Cheese into individual serving dishes.
  9. If using the Panko, add the Panko to some melted butter and sprinkle on the Mac N Cheese.
  10. Place in a 350 degree oven until the Panko is nice and toasty brown… 5 to 10 minutes
  11. Serve with your favourite main dish or enjoy on its own

There you have it. Another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time……….

                     Bon Appetit



Spanakopita in a Croissant



  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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The Greeks have given the world many many great things over the centuries…… Democracy, Theater, Philosophy and of course—- FOOD. While most of us tend to forget that they gave us Democracy, Theater and Philosophy we can all certainly remember the Food. I mean, seriously, who can forget such toothsome foods as Souvlaki, Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and one of my all time favs Spanakopita which is a Greek spinach pie. Just the thought of spinach with onions, garlic, ricotta and feta cheese nestled between flaky Phyllo dough has me drooling. The fly in the ointment for this recipe, for me at least, is that I simply despise using Phyllo so when I found this particular recipe in my book Grilled Cheese & More (Publications International Ltd) I could not have been happier.

Here’s how we do this one…..

Shopping List:

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package (ten ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 medium croissants
  • 8 slices (1 ounce each) Monterey Jack cheese

Putting it all together:

  1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heaat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add spinach; cook 5 minutes or until spinach is dry. Remove from heat; stir in Feta cheese, oregano and nutmeg. Season to taste with black pepper. Divide spinach mixture evenly among croissant bottoms; top with Monterey Jack and croissant tops.
  2. Wipe out skillet with paper towel; place over medium heat until hot. Add sandwiches; cover with large lid. Cook sandwiches over low heat 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese melts and bottoms are golden brown.

There you have it…… another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time……….

                    Bon Appetite


Kitchen toys

Kitchen toys



My earliest recollection of a specific toy I wanted was when I was perhaps 7 or 8 and the toy was a Tonka Dump Truck. You know, the kind big enough for a 7 or 8 year old to ride on but still small enough to bring in the house at the end of a busy play day and at the time the family was large and money was tight but my mother, bless her, found some way to finally get me one. It was the best toy I ever got—- THANKS MOM.

Now as we get older our taste in toys change depending on our likes and dislikes. In my case I went from Tonka toys to outdoor sports—- baseball, football and fishing with fishing dominating a lot of my youthful years. When I got married my “married” toys consisted of a BBQ, lawnmower and renovation type toys— the renovation toys being the latest Hammer Drill or Table saw and an air compressor and nail gun combination. Somewhere along the line I also had my computer building toys but that may be a post for another day.

These days my toys revolve around the kitchen and what can make dinner preparation easier and more fun. What I present to you today are three  kitchen toys I use quite often and would quite frankly not know what to do without.

Bottom left:

The black gadget on the bottom left of the picture is a French Fry cutter and has been such a great purchase. If you have purchased frozen french fries in the supermarket lately you will probably have noticed they can be costly. I purchased a bag the other day  for when I really don’t feel like going the deep fryer route and a 650 gram bag (that’s 22 ounces or 1.5 pounds) cost $6.95 whereas a 5 pound bag of potatoes is usually under $4.00. Now I don’t know about you but if it’s me I’m going the bag of potato route 95.5% of the time because I do have a fry cutter at home which cost me all of $21.00 about a year ago and the other great thing about the cutter is that it is dishwasher safe and comes apart very easy for cleaning.

Bottom right:

That curious round thing on the right side of the picture was a god send when I was operating the kitchen at the Veterans Service club a while back and we needed to save money. It quite simply is a Hamburger Press that is capable of making 1/4 and 1/2 pound patties. I found this one in our local BBQ supply store for around $18.00 and was so impressed with it I bought one for my son.

This little gadget may be a wee bit time consuming to use, however, when it comes down to a case of economics it’s a great addition to anyone’s kitchen arsenal. Just think about it. The Veterans club, prior to my arrival, was spending approximately $45.00 for a box of pre made burgers that, for one thing, contained MSG and for another fell apart on the grill and the box held 35 4 ounce burgers.

I found a local establishment that consistently sold 10 pounds of ground beef for between $21.00 and $24.00 and this gave me 32 5 ounce burgers and since I was using my burger recipe I could control what went into them but more specifically what didn’t and the Burger Press made the job that much easier and cost effective even taking into account my labor.


That “fancy dan” gadget at the top of the picture is my old nemesis……  the Mandolin. It was the last kitchen gadget I used at the Veterans club before I switched jobs and it is the one that is responsible for putting a couple of stitches in my finger. Well, truth be told……. I was responsible because I wasn’t paying attention and did not have the safety guard in place but that’s a story for another time and place.

I love this piece of equipment even though it took a bite out of one of my digits because it can do so many things. It slices at different thicknesses, it has a shute where you can put cucumbers or zucchini and get the exact same slice each and every time, a pop up set of “julienne” blades and it even has a flip over “cheese” grader segment. I have used this for making onion rings, carrot matchsticks, potato chips and so much more………. yeah I know—- kind of sounding like a commercial….. and again it was inexpensive. Somewhere around the $25.00 mark.

If you don’t have one of these I would highly suggest you get one……. they are definitely a must have in your kitchen arsenal.

All of the items you see above are inexpensive but owe so worth the purchase for when you are making “simple but tasty recipes for the grilling season and beyond” and trust me you won’t regret the purchase.

So until next time………

                                      Bon Apettite

It’s PIZZA time……..

It's PIZZA time

  • Servings: one
  • Difficulty: easy
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Like everyone else I get tired and find days that I just don’t feel like cooking and so I look for an easy yet tasty way out.

This particular recipe comes to you courtesy of my four year old grandson because I asked him if he wanted Pizza for dinner and his response was “Pizza!!!!! I LOVE Pizza” and so it began which is half the fun when you try to get a four year old interested in cooking and don’t look at me that way———- it’s never to early to get them interested in the kitchen. So after a trip to our local grocery store where he decided he wanted olives, pepperoni and Pineapple ( I will bonk whoever told him pineapple belongs on pizza) we headed home.

Now four year olds being what they are their attention span often lasts all of fifteen minutes so by the time we got home he decided he wanted mommy to make his pizza for him which then allowed me time to create mine and this is where the fun comes in because everybody can custom make their own pie and it’s not that expensive either.

Here’s how I put mine together……..


  • One 220 gram Naan pizza crust
  • Three tablespoons Basil Pesto
  • Half a cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced Turkey pepperoni—- a hand full. I used Turkey because I’m supposed to avoid red meat
  • A hand full of sliced mushrooms
  • Sliced green olives

Putting it all together:


  • Pre heat your oven to 450 degrees
  • Spread the pesto on the Naan pizza crust
  • Top with the pepperoni, mushrooms,olives and cheese
  • Place in the oven for approximately 6 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly



All that’s left to do is to slice up that pie and enjoy with your favorite beverage.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

So until next time…………

                                           Bon Apettite