Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Healthy(er) Perogy Lasagna



A version of this recipe has been posted once before, but I had not prepared it myself. I decided to pull the recipe out when D & I were hosting our monthly young families’ group.  I thought that the kids might enjoy it with some veggies and dip and the adults with heaps of salad.  

Now you know that I love my carbs but the combination of fat and carbs seemed a little too indulgent in January especially knowing that I will be on the beach again in a month (travelling-not here in MB).  So I used no fat cottage cheese and sour cream.  The original recipe calls for Velveeta which I never have in my house so I substituted 250 g of Imperial Cheddar Cheese that was a gift to us over the holidays.  I also used a shredded sharp cheddar because I sense that if you use a sharper cheese, you get much more of the taste with less of the fat. I doubled the recipe to make a lasagna for the kids assembled with us in the dining room and another for the parents attempting to have some adult time together in the living room.

1 large onion, chopped

olive oil for sauteeing

250 g Imperial cheddar cheese

500 g no fat cottage cheese

500 g no fat sour cream (thinned with 1/4 c skim milk)

500 g lasagna noodles

1 c sharp cheddar (shredded)

1 lb. bacon, crumbled and cooked until extra crisp (carefully blotted with paper towel to remove all visible grease)

5 lbs. (or more) cook potatoes with the the skin ON

Lightly grease 2 lasagna pans and set aside.  In a large pot boil potatoes until they can be easily mashed; drain.  In a frying pan, saute onions until soft.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package directions.  Add 1/2 onion to half of the potatoes along with the Imperial cheese, mash.  Add the other half onion to the other half of the potatoes along with the cottage cheese and mash. Pour a couple of dollops of sour cream in the bottom of lasagna pans.  Cover with a layer of noodles.


Layer more noodles over one potato mixture, top with 1/3 the sour cream.  Layer again over the other potato mixture, top with another 1/3 sour cream.  Add last layer of noodles, sour cream and top with shredded cheddar.  Cover with foil & bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until edges are bubbly when you peak under the foil.  Remove and let set for 5 minutes (very NB).  Top with crumbled bacon and serve.

Kath’s quote:  “Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food,
For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good, but don’t forget the potatoes.”-
John Tyler Pettee

love illuminates

posted under Entrees | 4 Comments »

Martha Stewart’s German Apple Pancakes


[by Guest blogger Lori]
These are, hands-down, the BEST pancakes I have ever made! What I really love about them is that they’re not cooked on a griddle or frying pan which makes them really easy to make for guests. All the prep can be done first thing in the morning, then thrown in the oven 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat.

We have an annual tradition with my college girlfriends to have a Christmas brunch together. Most years, it’s the only time we see each other all year because we have moved physically far apart. Luckily, family brings everyone nearer for the holidays.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s website. For 6 adults and 3 little ones, i made a triple batch (18 pancakes). That was just enough.. So, depending on what you’re serving with the, I suggest making more! I served mine with bacon, a fruit salad (melons, pineapple, blueberries and pomegranate), yogurt and granola.

Here is what you will need:

Makes 6 pancakes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for tin, and 2 tablespoons melted
unsalted butter

5 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for tin

2 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound)

1/4 cup light-brown sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter inside each muffin cup of a 6-cup nonstick jumbo muffin tin; coat with granulated sugar. Peel, core, and slice apples into 12 wedges, then cut wedges into 3 pieces. In a medium bowl, toss apples with brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

Greased muffin tins

2) Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and saute, turning occasionally, until caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from stove; let cool 5 minutes.

Caramelized apples

3) Divide caramelized apples among prepared muffin cups. Set aside.

Divide apples into muffin tins

4) In the bowl of a food processor (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer), combine flour, salt, 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, and milk; process for 3 minutes. (That’s a lot of sugar!  I wouldn’t normally even make a recipe with this much sugar, but hey, it’s the holidays! I’d like to attempt substituting apple sauce for some of the sugar in the future.)

5) Pour batter over apples. Transfer tin to oven; reduce heat to 400 degrees.
Pour batter over apples

6) Bake until pancakes puff up, about 15 minutes. Remove tin from oven; invert onto a flat work surface. Dust with confectioners’ sugar; serve immediately. (One batch of my pancakes stuck to the pan, which made for a few ugly ones.. so be sure to do a good job greasing your pans and/or use good quality non-stick pans)

And the final result? Delicious!  I was so caught up with getting everyone fed, that I forgot to take a final photo, unfortunately. But I can assure you that these are a hit with guests.  I also forgot to mention the whip cream!.. I whipped my cream the night before and forgot it in the fridge.  The pancakes are delicious without — but I can just imagine how much better they would have been with even more sugar!! 

Kath’s quote:  “I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.”-Mark Twain

You’ve got a friend

posted under Recipes | 3 Comments »

New Year’s Fondue-Variation on a Theme


Fondue means “to melt” so I suppose our New Year’s tradition wasn’t strictly speaking a fondue this year.  We had reached our capacity at the dining room table so I divided the courses between an appetizer course in the living room, main course in the dining room and then back to the living room for dessert.  I also knew that our oil pots would be at capacity so I made a couple of dishes to nibble on while the veggies and meats were sizzling. 

I chose a Chinese New Year theme, as a vegetarian was staying with us over the holidays and we incorporated her tastes into our tradition with a selection of tempura items.  Turns out they were the big hit and we will always do our fondue veggies this way. Sister #3 provided an entire bag of decorations from her New Moon party.

We started with a spicy appetizer made from melted Bothwell red pepper cheese and red wine with white and whole wheat baguettes.  I usually make my own bread but on this occasion I discovered that the Superstore in our neighbourhood sells them for a buck each and better yet-they were hot when I bought them!

This photo is an illustration that you can set a pretty table very inexpensively.  I use a plastic table cloth when we fondue and I got everything in the 50% off Christmas section. 

I had the kids cut and prep veggies.  We enjoyed sweet potatoes, asparagus, Spanish onions, red peppers and shiitake mushrooms-the mushrooms being THE hit.  We mixed the coating from egg, flour and milk and then rolled everything in panko flakes for crunch. 

I also put together a curry fried vermicelli dish and this quickly assembled salad from broccoli slaw, sugar peas, edamame beans and a creamy sesame dressing.  Chicken, beef, pork and shrimp were seasoned in a variety of marinades.  Remember to drain the proteins well, so that you don’t have an oil explosion at your table.

Our guests Linda and Jessie brought a beautiful selection of wines including an Australian Riesling that we are officially in love with.  I meant to open the champagne with the dessert course but we opted for the Manitoba blend of loose tea from Cornelia Bean instead.  I usually use Toblerone bars for chocolate fondue but the grocery was out and had not had time to restock so instead I purchased pure milk chocolate chips which we melted with cointreau.  We dipped our favourite selection of fruit pieces but I also put out shortbread and almond biscotti and these too were a new hit. 

Kath’s quote: “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.”-unknown

feel the love

La Trattoria


It’s been more than a year since our sojourn through Sicily and the east coast of Italy and we miss the people, the exquisite views and the food!  So when I spotted a cozy looking dining spot while driving down Provencher Ave. in St. Boniface  and then discovered that they served “classically Italian” food-I was enthralled.

It took a bit of time to find an excuse to give La Trattoria a try.  The last occasion that I made the suggestion to D, we ended up staying in our neighbourhood so that we could could also go pot shopping.  Now that doesn’t sound like an ideal date to a most but to a foodie acquiring her first Lagostina cookware-it was bliss.

I digress….I was treating a business associate to a lunch meeting so I suggested we finally give the cafe a try.  I looked longingly at the spacious patio facing the street and a park and began yearning for summer (or spring at least). 

food musings

The dining room was bright and fresh with only one other table occupied.  I choose a spaghetti with Aglio Olio topped with shrimp-this version seemed light on the garlic but spiced up with red pepper flakes.  My friend tried the recommended Ricotta Crespelle-an Italian crepe stuffed with ricotta and spinach and topped with tomato basil sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Both dishes were served with garlic toast and salad sides.  I was delighted with a light tasting Cesar with an authentic oil, lemon and anchovy dressing as opposed to the creamy (an calorie laden) version that many restaurants serve.  We chose a lovely Sicilian wine to accompany lunch.

La Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The strands of spaghetti were vital, almost alive in my mouth, and the olive oil was singing with flavor. It was hard to imagine that four simple ingredients [olive oil, pasta, garlic and cheese] could marry so perfectly.”-Ruth Reichl

get tangled up in love

Lorena’s-Isla Mujeres


If D and I were ever to open a restaurant together it would resemble the concept of Lorena’s on Isla Mujeres and Le Beaujena’s in Winnipeg.  We would choose a relaxed atmosphere where the diners would feel as if they had been invited into our home.   

Such it is a Lorena’s in Colonia on Isla Mujeres.  The front of her home is a bakery and food shop and the back has guest rooms.

This is her kitchen

She typically sets up her communal table in the garden but on this night it was too windy to dine outside so we assembled in the storefront.  There are a limited number of entrees to choose from and the rest of the courses are decided by the host.   This is different from Le Beaujena’s in Winnipeg where all the items are pre-determined for the month.  On this particular evening we dined on a cured meat appetizer and then goat cheese salad. I choose a seafood casserole as my main course.

I recall that Lorena sets her table for approximately 16 and our entourage took up half of the space but it was lovely to meet other Islaholics who were at the square table configuration as well. Lorena invites you to bring your own wine which the staff is happy to pour for you.

We finished with ice cream and chocolate mousse for dessert.  By this time, the breeze had died down and it was a beautiful night for stroll, so Melinda and I meandered back to our little apartment on the ocean.  It was a lovely way to work off the calories. 

Kath’s quote:  “Being set at the table, scratch not thyself, and take thou heed as much as thou canst not to spit, cough and blow at thy nose; but if it be needful, do it dexterously, without much noise, turning thy face sidelong.”
Francis Hawkins

somebody wants to talk to you

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