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Mushroom Fried Rice

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Fried Mushroom Rice

This is the time of year that I start hearing and reading about people going out and foraging for morel mushrooms. Whenever I see photos of bowls full of freshly harvested morels, my jealous bone is activated and memories of harvesting morels flood my being. Memories of traipsing through our bush, checking under “that log” and at the roots of “this tree” come rushing back. I still remember where some of those hotspots were. It is one of the most elusive mushrooms with a very finicky sense of habitat. There is a reason that the term ‘hunting for morels’ is used. People ask whether we weren’t afraid of picking poisonous mushrooms and keeling over? No, we weren’t because we had my bushlore grandma and we had A Book. This particular book told us everything we needed to know about mushrooms. We also had A Book about wildflowers and A Book about birds. So as you can see, we were all set.

After finding and picking all the morels we could find, we brought them back to my mom and she would promptly soak them in salt water to draw out the slugs that loved to hide inside the fleshy coneheads. Did you know that the term coneheads originated from the morel mushrooms? I didn’t either. Just kidding. Back to the slugs. Eww! SLUGS? Yes, slugs. I purchased some morels with great anticipation years ago at the market and forgot that this was an essential step of the cooking process. I remembered posthaste when the warmth of the frying pan drew those slimy beasties out of their hiding place. Ugh. It almost put an end to my obsession with the mushrooms. Almost. Yet here I am, getting all excited just writing about them again.

Mom or Dad would fry them up in butter and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and when they were perfectly brown and starting to crisp, we ate them, just like that. Oh my. As a result, most of our large family loved eating mushrooms and we had them quite a lot. If mom had leftover rice, she would fry it up with mushrooms and onions and we kids gobbled it up with gusto. Even Dad, who always proclaimed that he Did Not Like Rice, ate it and admitted that “this rice was pretty good”. The fact was that he didn’t like sweet rice with raisins, aka rice pudding, and couldn’t seem to remember that he actually liked savoury rice. Dear Dad. How I miss him!

Recently we had quite a bit of rice left over and I had binged on purchasing three different kinds of mushrooms in self-defense after seeing tantalizing pictures floating by of people’s morel bounties. We also had some shrimp and a small Alaskan salmon in the freezer and fresh green beans from the same shopping trip. It was a beautiful day, perfect for grilling seafood and garlic green beans that I wrapped in a foil pouch to grill. I figured frying up the mushrooms with the leftover rice would be a perfect accompaniment to the meal. You bet. It was. It was a meal fit for a mom. This mom, at least.

Mushroom Fried Rice
Mushroom Fried Rice

 

Mushroom Fried Rice
Mushroom Fried Rice with grilled Garlic Green Beans, Maple-Glazed Salmon and Chili Lime Shrimp

Note: The Garlicky Green Beans were from an earlier post of mine. I used the Maple Salmon Fillets recipe from our Martin Family Fruit Farm’s cookbook, A Celebration of Harvest, and this Chili Lime Shrimp recipe for this meal. 

Probably because of my longstanding history with mushrooms, they have always intrigued me. If you want to read about the process of mushroom production, here is a link to a farm close to us, Brantford Mushroom Farms. Since mushrooms are not getting into restaurants these days, there is a surplus of them. Help the farmers out and buy lots of mushrooms! 

Mushroom Fried Rice

Ingredients

Mushroom Fried Rice
Mushroom Fried Rice
  • 3 cups of your preferred cooked rice ( I used Basmati rice. It’s one of my favourites)
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion,chopped
  • 2 cups of sliced or chopped mushrooms (oyster, white, cremini, shitake, MORELS)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried or fresh chopped oregano, cilantro or parsley to sprinkle over top for garnish, if desired

Directions

Heat the butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped onions and mushrooms and fry over medium-high heat until the onions are fragrant and the mushrooms are beginning to brown. Add the cooked rice and more butter if needed. Fry it all together without turning too often, sort of like hash browns. You want to give it time to develop a brown crust on the bottom before turning. Turn mixture about three times, turning the heat down if it’s browning too fast. Great served with chicken or seafood.

 

 

London Fog Latte

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London Fog Latte

Since I posted a dessert last time, it seemed fitting to look for a drink to round out the meal. I am a black coffee purist, so a coffee drink was out of the question unless I was going to detail how to make a really good French pressed coffee. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, really.

My parents both drank black tea faithfully at noon, so the idea of drinking tea is not an anomaly to me. In the last number of years I have learned to love both Chai Lattes and London Fog Lattes. They’re pretty much the same except for the kind of tea that is used. Chai is a spicy, peppery tea and London Fog capitalizes on the floral overtones of the Earl Grey tea. They are what I would term a comfort drink; perfect for a rainy evening or while sitting at the side of a campfire.

The latte can be made as sweet as you like it, or not at all sweet if you don’t like sweet teas. I prefer mine lightly sweet; usually honey or maple syrup are added at our place.

While the tea is steeping, the milk is heated, then whisked to a froth. If you are lucky enough to have a milk frother, apply it here!

I had my London Fog on the deck. I forgot to mention that it’s a great deck drink too.

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London Fog Latte

 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. Normally we sell both local honey and maple syrup, but the store is closed at present to keep our staff and customers safe. Thanks for understanding. 

Note: I will not be posting every week for the next few months. I will try to publish a recipe every two weeks on the Wednesday. 

London Fog Latte

Ingredients

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London Fog Latte
  • 2 good quality Earl grey teabags or 2 teaspoons loose leaf Earl Grey tea
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons honey or maple syrup or other sweetener of choice
  • cinnamon for garnish

Directions

Set cold water to boiling and place 1 teabag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea (in a tea ball) in each 10 oz cup. Pour 3/4 cup boiling water into each cup over the prepared tea. Let steep for at least 4 minutes. You want it stronger for lattes because of the amount of milk added. 

While the tea is brewing heat the milk until it is foamy and steaming. Tilt the pan a bit and whisk it vigorously or use a milk frother to get it nice and airy. Remove the teabags/leaves from the cups, add sweetener of choice, test the sweetness and then ladle the milk into the cup until it is full. Sprinkle with cinnamon to serve. Crook your pinky and say, “That hits the spot. Brilliant, my luv!”

Chewy Maple Apple Cookies

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When I started preparing for this post, I was thinking that this was the last Wednesday in April and so I should end with dessert. it wasn’t until I had made the cookies and taken all the pictures that I realized we have another April week coming! How the days and the weeks of my life run on without identification tags of any sort these days. So now I am left scratching my head for a finish-up-April sort of post next week. Coffee or tea, maybe?

I am always on the watch for recipes that use up maple syrup because in a typical year we get more than I can use up on pancakes. You see, the guy who taps our maple bush pays us back with free maple syrup, AND I have a son-in-law who produces excellent syrup that I love to use when I can. And who wants to eat pancakes every day? Not me. I realize that I am privileged to have this “problem”.

This recipe is actually one that I have enjoyed for many years and is in our Martin family cookbook, A Celebration of Harvest. I made some adaptations for these cookies, however. For one thing, it asks for vegetable shortening and I had no shortening except for lard and butter. So, in the spirit of using what’s in my LARDer (Get it? Haha. I crack myself up sometimes.) I used those two. For another, I decided to add apples and a few oats just because I felt like it. And finally, I cut back on the brown sugar. I use dark brown sugar a lot these days and, like cheese, you can use less because the flavour is stronger.

 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The retail store is closed presently to keep our staff and customers safe. Thanks for understanding. 

I am not normally a fan of the McIntosh apples, except for straight off the tree in the fall when they’re nice and tart and as firm as a Mac will ever be. But last week, my husband brought some macs home for me to make chunky applesauce with and they were great! So good that I am actually eating them fresh and not one has been made into applesauce. So that’s what I used in these cookies. Look at them! 

 

Chewy Maple Apple Cookies

Ingredients

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  • 1 cup shortening (I used 1/2 c. butter, 1/2 c. lard successfully)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup (dark syrups are best for baking)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal flakes (I used large flake)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups diced apples (washed and unpeeled for best appearance)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Grease cookie sheets.

With electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla until well-mixed and fluffy again. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture. 

Stir in coconut and apples. Drop by rounded teaspoons or a cookie scoop onto greased baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. Cool trays on racks for 5 minutes before removing cookies from pans. Pass the cookies, please!

Yields approximately 4 dozen 3 inch cookies.

 

 

Burritos with a Twist

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Burritos with a Twist

A week or two ago (or maybe a day or two, or a month or two. Who can tell these days?) I sent out a plea on Facebook for ideas to use up leftover roast chicken. As you may remember, I am trying, as much as lieth within me, to use up goods from my respective larders. So … I had roasted a twelve pound chicken for three people and had a lot of chicken to use up. That turned out to be a very resourceful move! There were about thirty-six different suggestions and I was able to utilize several of them. I have saved the post for future reference when I am in need of inspiration again.

One recipe that came forth was one I have made in the past but it had sort of slid into obscurity. It was suggested by Trudy Metzger and was originally called Hot Hoagie Sandwiches. It was one that she had submitted to an old church recipe book from years ago, when we both attended the same church. I have made a few modifications over the years to lighten it up and adapt to our personal seasoning preferences and products on hand. That’s the beauty of recipes. You can adapt them to suit your every whim. 

The recipe is basically a filling that can be used as a topper on various bread forms and  baked. Trudy suggests spreading it on French bread sliced lengthwise, which I have done and it’s great. I remember baking it on top of kaiser buns for a visiting choir that we fed before they gave a program at our church. I think my favourite way to date, however,  is to spread it on flour tortillas and bake them. I have only done it with chicken but I can see it being equally delicious with leftover Easter ham or even roast beef leftovers.  Add some sliced peppers and you’ve got Philly Cheese Steak Burritos. Yum! I think I’ll try those soon.

It came to pass that I had homemade tortillas here from a taco birthday meal. Tacos have been the birthday meal request of my youngest daughter for as long as I can recall. This year, to make her birthday more special in our isolation, I decided to make the tortillas from scratch. I had done them for a girls’ camp one year where I cooked at, and remembered how good they tasted. They’re not that terribly hard to make, but certainly more time-consuming than heating up tortillas in the microwave. This is the recipe I use for the tortillas.

Three key tips to remember if you decide to make your own tortillas:

1. Let the dough balls rest for at least half an hour. I rested mine for longer. They roll out ever so much easier if you do. If you are lucky enough to own a tortilla iron, you’re all set. 

2. Roll them as thin as you can, like paper thin. You should be able to see your countertop through the dough. They puff up while baking.

3. Use a dry griddle, as in DO NOT GREASE and fry as hot as you can, at least 400°F.

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Burritos with a Twist  topped with my canned homemade salsa.

 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The retail store is closed at the present to keep everybody safe. Thank you for understanding. 

So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Burritos with a Twist

Ingredients

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Burritos With a Twist
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup light or regular sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried garlic or 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red, white or green onions

 

  • 8 – 10  8″ tortilla wraps (use gluten-free ones, if desired)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of choice
  • guacamole, if desired
  • salsa, if desired

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). Combine all the first ingredients together. Place about 2/3 cup of filling on one tortilla and roll up. Place in a lightly greased baking dish. Repeat until all the filling is used up. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for approximately 20 minutes or until it is bubbly and starting to brown. Top with salsa and/or guacamole to serve. Eat and repeat until plate is empty. Say “Ahh”.

Hash Brown Waffles and Easter Reflections

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Hash Brown Waffle
Hash Brown Waffles

There are some wonderful traditions I associate with Easter. One of them is having an Easter candy hunt with our children before going to carol for seniors early on Easter morning with our church family. There’s something to be said for singing “Lo, In the Grave He Lay” to a group of appreciative elders while the dishes tinkle in the background and the smell of burnt toast assails your nostrils. We wrap it up by singing triumphantly “He Lives!”, chat with a few of the residents, then hop into our vehicles to head on over to our church.

Once there, the people bustle in, carrying mysteriously covered dishes and cartons to tables that are expectantly waiting for the offerings. The irresistible aroma of coffee lures us inward. There is an air of excitement and children dart under our elbows, trying to catch a sneak peek at what is under the lid or towels. Once everybody has returned and the tables are full, thanks to the God of the bounty is given and finally, FINALLY we get to go through and select our choices. The choices are many and tempting, and great restraint is needed. Afterwards everybody helps to clear away the tables and clean up, then whoever wishes to trickles to the front of the auditorium to join an ever-growing throng of folks of all ages singing their hearts out again. Some of the same carols that were sung earlier are repeated. Some are newer songs or ones that were missed before. Once everyone has collected, we settle in and listen to the age-old wonderful story of Christ’s resurrection. When we leave church we join our family (or sometimes families!) for the rest of the day.

In case, you haven’t caught on yet, I love Easter. This year there will be no caroling at seniors’ residences because they are on lockdown. There will be no brunch at church, no spontaneous singing at the front of the auditorium. Thankfully, we will still be able to receive a message from our pastor, thanks to people more tech-savvy than myself. There will be no family gathering later. This year it will be a quiet Easter. If we meet as a family, it will be through some social media platform. But I am still making Egg Cheese, my personal annual offering to the potluck. I plan to make a few small ones and share some of them. We might still do brunch here at home and I’m planning an Easter hunt for my adult daughter. It will still be a good day.

Hash browns and eggs have long been a favourite combination of mine. I remember my mom making homemade hash browns with eggs over easy for an easy and economical supper in my childhood. We would smash the egg with a fork and mix it in with the hash browns. We ate it with a slice of toast on the side smeared with homemade strawberry jam and a glass of milk. Yum! Simple pleasures.

Thinking of this started me looking for variations of hash browns and I happed upon this recipe that turned the humble hash brown into a thing of beauty. It reminded me of the potato pancakes that we used to buy at the market that were served with our choice of applesauce or sour cream. They were so good. Although I used a waffle iron, you could very easily make these as pancakes, or use a panini press, or press them into well-greased muffin or custard cups and bake them.

I used shredded fresh red potatoes, but potatoes cooked in their jackets, cooled and then shredded would work as well, and probably be less messy. I rarely peel potatoes, but you can if you wish. I like the extra nutrition, fibre and colour that the peel adds. At least that’s what I tell myself. The truth is, I don’t enjoy peeling potatoes.

 

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Add an egg or two and whatever sides you wish.

 

Hash Brown Waffles
Hash Brown Waffles. Look at that gooey yolk. Perfection.

 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The retail store is closed at the present to keep our staff and customers safe. 

Hash Brown Waffles and Easter Reflections

Ingredients

  • 6 medium 3 – 4″ potatoes (I used red), fresh or cooked in jackets or 28 ounce bag of frozen shredded hash browns
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded old cheddar cheese (I used extra old. I love that stuff)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions (red, white, cooking, green)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • chopped chives for garnish, optional

Directions

Wash the potatoes and peel them if you wish. I didn’t. Either cook them or leave them fresh. Grate them using a medium shredder attachment or side, like you would for cheese. If using fresh potatoes, spread them out on an old towel. Cover them with another towel and press hard all over with your hands, then roll them up and squeeze the roll. You want to get as much of the moisture out as you can. This is critical to creating crispy hash browns. 

Heat your waffle iron, panini press, or griddle to medium-high and your oven to 400° F, if you’re doing the muffins. If you aren’t baking these, you might still want to turn the oven on to a lower temperature keep the waffles hot as they’re done.

Beat the eggs, milk and seasonings together. Stir the potatoes and cheese into the seasonings until everything is mixed together. When your cooking surface of choice is hot, grease it with a little butter or cooking spray. If using muffin or custard cups, you will need to apply the grease more liberally. Spread one cup of hash brown mixture onto griddle or iron. Or, if using custard or muffin cups, fill them about 2/3 full, making a dent in the middle to hold the egg later. 

Waffles and panini press: Cook for 8 – 10 minutes. Hold the lid down for the first minute to press it in place, then allow it to continue cooking until the waffle is golden with darker brown bits from the cheese. You may need to strain the last of the batch through a sieve if your mixture is getting watery.

Pancakes: Cook for 4 minutes per side on flat griddle or frying pan, flipping at the halfway point. 

Muffins: Bake at 400° in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the edges look brown and crispy. 

When done serve them with eggs done your way, meat of choice, fruits and/or tomatoes. Delight in hope-filled Easter while eating. Or delight in whatever day it is that you make this.

 

 

 

Singaporean Noodles

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Singaporean Noodles
Singaporean Noodles

Every time I deep clean my freezer or pantry, I make a silent and personal vow that I will use up what I have and not buy any more until we’ve made a significant dent in my stock of provisions. That vow usually lasts about two weeks, but nobody knows about my failure to keep it except me, and maybe my family. Well, about a month ago, at the very beginning of the virus escalation I renewed that vow and broadcast it about to all and sundry. “Hear ye! Hear ye! I hereby make a vow!” My daughter and I even made a list of food ideas incorporating some of these products. This is unheard of in our household. And do you know what? So far I’ve been keeping my vow and mostly buying essentials like fresh produce and dairy products. It feels good, people. Primitive and domestic and frugal, all rolled into one.

One thing on that list was an Asian-inspired meal. Singaporean Noodles has topped our list of personal favourites for many moons. We like it because it’s highly flavoured and uses a variety of items. With a few exceptions it’s also very adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

As with many Asian meals, I find that if you chop your ingredients ahead of time, it facilitates a speedy assembly once you’re ready to cook it. Generally the cooking steps are very quick.

 

So. Order of recipe is thus. 

  • Chop all vegetables and meat. 
  • Have your seasonings ready.
  • Cook noodles and begin frying chopped items at the same time.
  • Combine ingredients and add seasonings. Fry until it starts browning a bit. 

 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. Normally a lot of these produce items are stocked in our retail store, which is closed at this time to protect our customers, staff, and apple packing facility. Thank you for your understanding. 

Singaporean Noodles

Singaporean Noodles
Singaporean Noodles

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. (about 4 cups) dry thin noodles*
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4″ strips or 3 cups of precooked chicken strips
  • 10 oz. raw or cooked shrimp, if desired (This happens to be something that was in my freezer. But now they’re gone. Sad, sad day.) 
  • 1 small to medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup green vegetable (i.e. Frenched green beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, garden, snow or snap peas)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, coarsely shredded cabbage, cauliflower or a mixture
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. curry powder, depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce* 
  • pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (This is not essential, but it definitely adds a lovely Asian flavour. A little goes a long way. And yes, it was in my pantry, so there.)
  • Green onions, if you have them. If not, tuck in a few more of the green vegetables.

Directions

Prepare all the vegetables and chicken for cooking. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in frying pan to medium-high and begin frying your raw chicken strips. Remove when the chicken is browned and continue stir-frying the vegetables and raw shrimp, adding a bit more oil if needed. Fry only until crisp-tender. If you’re using pre-cooked chicken and shrimp, just add them with the noodles.

Cook the noodles in unsalted boiling water with 1 tablespoon of oil added. The oil keeps the pot from boiling over. That is a beautiful thing. Don’t overcook the noodles; five minutes max. Drain them well. 

Add chicken and noodles to the pan of veggies and start adding all the seasonings. Stir everything together gently and fry until you start seeing some brown bits. Lift and turn about twice. You don’t want to create a mushy mess. This may take about 3-5 minutes. 

Sprinkle with green onions to serve, if using them. Oh, and if you like heat, have some red pepper flakes on the table. Enjoy!

*This dish can easily be made gluten – free by using GF noodles and soy sauce.

 

 

 

 

Meatball and Butternut Stew

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Meatball and Butternut Stew
Meatball and Butternut Stew

Last week on this day it seemed very sensible to make a stew. It was a blizzardy, blustery day and stew seemed like the finest thing to eat on such a day.  I had seen this one on a post from Impressions Bakery, and as per usual, I decided to try to create it. Today, as I’m writing about this stew, I’m thinking “Why didn’t I get this blog written last week?” Now it’s almost like Florida out there. Minus the palm trees, of course, but with some imagination…well, okay, a LOT of imagination, you could think yourself in a southern sunny clime. You know that popular ambiguous saying “Only Believe”? Now is a good time to apply it.

This recipe is really good. The meatballs are warmly and lightly spiced, it has a delicious tomato-ey broth and it uses butternut squash in a non-traditional fashion. I thought the broth needed something more, so I added smoked paprika (of course; don’t I always?), some oregano and with a nod to my son-in-law and spring, MAPLE SYRUP! And do you know what? That did it. It heightened the overall experience dramatically. I also added kale because I had some here and I thought it would be a good fit. Spinach would also work great. I didn’t need the whole squash, so I used only the seed bulb part of it, saving those lovely neck slices for grilled, fried, or roasted squash slices.

To prove how good this stew is, my daughter who normally groans when I say I’m serving soup for supper, ate this stew three times, counting leftovers, and declared it tasted better each time. It stirred up memories of long ago when my mom made meatball stew for our school lunches and how the smell of it cooking would assail our senses when we woke. That’s a recipe and post for another time. I can feel it formulating. We’ll see how the weather behaves next week.

Preparing the vegetables and browning the meat.

 

TIP 1: If a tomato base is too much tomato and too little else, add spices and herbs and sweeten it up slightly. It does wonders to round out whatever you’re making.

TIP 2: To cut kale, hold the stem upside down and slide a large knife downwards along the rib removing the leaves. Chop the leaves to the size you want. To avoid the strong flavour, add the kale in the last 3 minutes, heating it just until it’s wilted. Same goes for spinach, if you’re using it instead. 

 

Meatball and Butternut Stew
Meatball and Butternut Stew

 

March = maple syrup around here! Maple season is in full swing now. You can find Ian Roth’s maple syrup at Martin’s, as well as tomatoes, spinach, onions, and garlic. 

Roth's Maple Syrup
Roth’s Maple Syrup

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The opinions and recipe are my own. 

Meatball and Butternut Stew

Meatball and Butternut Stew
Meatball and Butternut Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 slices stale bread*, grated over a cheese shredder to make 1 1/2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle seasoning and/or garlic powder (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash 
  • 1 cup chopped cooking onions
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock *
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cup tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano 
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener
  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • Parmesan cheese and parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

Grate the bread slices into a medium-sized bowl; pour milk over the bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, cumin, chili, chipotle/garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and combine gently. Pack gently into 18 (1 1/2 inch) meatballs. 

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Depending on the leanness of your beef, you may want to drizzle a little oil in the bottom of the pan. Add meatballs in a single layer and cook, turning to brown all sides, until done. This will take about 5 minutes. Alternatively, the meatballs can be baked on a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate. Add the squash, onions and garlic to the pot and brown for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits. This adds wonderful flavour to the stew. Cook until the liquid is reduced to nearly half. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, oregano, and maple syrup; return to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the kale and meatballs and simmer until everything is heated. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, parsley or cilantro to serve, if using. Enjoy with all your being.

*It is easy to make this stew gluten-free by using gf bread or oats (use only 3/4 cup of oats) and gf beef broth.