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Ben and Emily are over for dinner and a sleepover tonight. When I picked them up from school, I asked what they wanted to make for dinner. Emily asked for corn dogs and deep-fried marshmallows; Ben asked for gaspetti and meatballs and bananas. Guess who won. Luckily I bought ground bison yesterday. I am so glad that Sobey’s is carrying it fresh, right beside the ground beef! Bison has more protein than beef, and half the fat. In fact, bison has less fat than skinless turkey or chicken, and (with the exception of a few fattier cuts) even less fat than halibut. The problem is, because it’s so lean bison dries out if you cook it for as long as you cook beef. Because it looks and tastes like beef, it’s hard not to treat it the same way in the kitchen. As a general rule, you need about 1/3 less time when cooking steaks, roasts and burgers. Using ground bison in chili, spaghetti sauce, meatballsContinue reading

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It’s a wrap! We taped the final segment for season 2 of It’s Just Food today at about 5:30 pm. Since we were taping at Sobey’s, one of few grocery stores that sell fresh bison, I loaded up. But when I called Mike to tell him I was bringing dinner home, he reminded me that it was past 6 and perhaps something that required less preparation was in order. So I decided to try one of their take-and-bake pizzas, topped with shredded chicken, roasted red peppers and grilled strips of Portobello mushroom, on a whole wheat crust. It was OK. I think the fact that I was starving made it much more appealing. W scarfed it down. But now I want something sweet. I’ve inherited my Dad’s insatiable need for a bit of chocolate after dinner. Luckily, I have some hazelnuts in the freezer, and have been dying to tell you all about my new addiction: do-it-yourself chocolate covered hazelnuts. I discovered over Christmas thatContinue reading

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Wow, it sounds so glamorous when I put it like that. We wrapped season 2 of It’s Just Food today! (Not counting my day of taping at Sobey’s tomorrow – I go tape 13 one-minute segments on how to shop for various ingredients. It’s weird having a camera crew follow you around the grocery store for a day, while people are going about their shopping. After awhile I get used to talking enthusiastically to the camera while people stare.) So anyway, we’re out of the kitchen. Phew. There was an impromptu wrap party at Redwater at 5, so the appetizers we all shared became dinner. Flatbread (don’t you love the new fancy restaurant name for pizza?), bison meatballs, mini burgers, mini tacos, and some creamy shrimp. Sorry, I was unable to document the snacking as my camera ran out of batteries. I wish I had a photo of W sitting at the bar with his big boy drink of ice water and yam fries with ketchup,Continue reading

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I was home for dinner tonight! We taped overnight last night – 10:30 pm until about 11 am – so by dinnertime today a sane person might have considered ordering a pizza. Stephen, the Sound Guy on set, asked the other day if I ever get tired of cooking. I do. But not very often, and not for long. And for some reason the thought of pulling together dinner tonight was not at all daunting; after all, I didn’t need to tag team with Ned, or time everything right for the camera, or think of anything smart and witty to say about whatever it was I was chopping or cooking while trying to stand up straight and suck it in. The thought of pulling together a quick dinner for the three of us at home in my own kitchen in my PJ pants without talking anyone through it was a relief. I made a sort of chile-spiced pulled pork goulash kind of thing back in January, and whileContinue reading

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I suppose at least my current crazy schedule is making this project more interesting. Or more dull? Today I taught a homemade pasta class at the Cookbook Company with Lina deGaeta, master pasta-maker and the wife of the owner of the Italian Supermarket on the corner of Edmonton Trail and 20th Ave NE. (Who makes, by the way, the best pizza in Calgary – Saturday afternoons only they fire up the wood-burning oven and you can order pizza any way you like it, with real Italian ingredients and chewy, bulbous crusts.) Tonight though, my call time to the set of It’s Just Food is 10:30pm, and we’re going to shoot all night. So I had a bit of a nap, and then, technically, it was dinnertime. Because I was assembling a sort of “lasagna” made out of fresh ravioli as a beauty shot for the show, I assembled another small one for Mike and W. (I got the idea from a cookbook put out by Real SimpleContinue reading

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And more on-set snacking during another long day of shooting. I left at 7:30 am, and just arrived home at 11 pm. I know a lot of people work hours this long, but today I spent maybe 20 minutes sitting, and my legs hurt. Once again I have no idea what the boys ate for dinner, but I suspect it was whole wheat rotini (Mike’s favorite standby) with tomato sauce or pesto. On the set we had pasta for lunch, but we generally don’t break for dinner, so end up grazing on whatever we’re making on the show – every act ends with Ned and I digging in to the finished product – in this case it was sauces: cheese sauce, mushroom-Guinness gravy, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and custard sauce. Not really enough to make a meal, so I mostly snacked on the leftover baked beans from yesterday. I adore baked beans. Baked Beans   If you’re lucky enough to have a slow cooker, youContinue reading

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Today was the grains show, and the slow cooker show. Another long day. A couple weeks ago, in a panic over the thought of being away from home for dinnertimes on end, I made a few batches of freezable things to stash away for Mike and W. Not that I didn’t think they could survive happily on eggs and toast. One of those things (as part of an article I was working on for What’s Up Kids magazine in Toronto) was turkey chili with barley. Barley has more fiber than whole wheat bread, brown rice, or oats. It’s great stuff. And Canada is the second largest producer of it. In Alberta, we produce half the Canadian crop. The trade-off tonight at 9:30 was so fast that I didn’t get a chance to ask Mike what they ate tonight, but the empty container evidence in the sink suggests it was a turkey chili night. This photo was one I did for the magazine – the pieceContinue reading

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When I was a kid, it was a bad day when my mom made fish for dinner, which was generally accompanied by canned stewed tomatoes (the ones with the little green bits), warmed just enough to accentuate the flavors and served in little glass dishes. It was a great night when we had sloppy Joes. I’ve been thinking about that cheddar beer bread, and how great a slab of it would be topped with sloppy Joe stuff. I had some extra-lean ground beef in the freezer, and a couple of kaiser buns taking up space, but next time I’m going to use ground bison and make a cheddar-beer loaf. (I should add that we always have a tub of spring green mix in the fridge to dip into whenever dinner is lacking in the greens department. They don’t always make it into the photos!) Of course, any ground meat would work; if you go the ground chicken/turkey route, keep in mind that supermarkets generally don’t trim theContinue reading

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I swear, if you write out what you make for dinner, it always sounds fancier than it actually is. We had the day off taping, which isn’t to say it wasn’t a crazy day, but at least I was with W and around home for a lot of it. Since we’ve been making an average of 8 recipes per day (with several takes per recipe) I swore I wasn’t going to cook today. But then trying to decide what sort of take-out to get got to be too much work, and I realized that I had a bunch of asparagus going quickly downhill in the fridge. I know I’ve said this of many dishes before, but frittata truly is the easiest, fastest meal you can make using whatever there is in the fridge. Provided you have eggs, of course. I drizzled the asparagus with oil and got it started in a 400 F oven for about 10 minutes while I chopped up a couple ofContinue reading

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