Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Mother's Day (Recipes)

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, it was no question that we would once again treat our mothers with a homemade meal to please their palates on Sunday night. Obviously since Riley and Lola are only sisters at heart, we retreated to spend separate evenings with our mothers and make them special dinners.

Lola's Meal

I decided on a healthy, but equally scrumptious meal of pan fried Halloom* (Halloumi) cheese, tomato and basil as an appetizer, and spinach, mushroom, onion and Boursin** stuffed chicken with a side of asparagus for the main course.  

Now I have to admit that the appetizer and side asparagus dishes were recently made for me by someone with slightly more refined cooking skills than myself, but I found them too delicious not to pass on.

Halloom with Tomatoes and Basil

One package Halloom (Halloumi) cheese (I got the PC Halloom)
Grape or Cherry tomatoes sliced lengthwise
Fresh Basil


Cut quarter-inch width wise pieces of cheese (desired amount – 3 to 4 pieces per person seemed sufficient for an appetizer portion).
Heat pan on med-high heat. Use a small amount of olive oil once the pan is hot. Pan fry the pieces of cheese for 1-2 minutes each side, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, slice enough tomatoes and fresh basil to place on each piece of cheese.

Remove cheese from pan, place on serving tray and arrange basil and tomatoes to desired appearance.


1 bunch of asparagus 
½ - 1 tbsp of honey
Chili flakes
½ - 1 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar or glaze


Cut off about 1-2 inches of the end of the asparagus. Heat oil in a pan and add asparagus. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, then add in about 1/2-1 tbsp of honey, chili flakes and Balsamic vinegar or glaze. Continue cooking, shaking pan occasionally until asparagus is browned and tender, about 5-10 minutes.

Spinach, Mushroom, Onion and Boursin Stuffed Chicken

6-7 ounce piece of chicken per person
Approximately one bunch of spinach (uncooked) per piece of chicken
One cup of chopped mushrooms and sweet onions combined
1 tbsp of Boursin or Boursin Light cheese per piece of chicken
Optional spices – dried Basil, Greek spices


Preheat barbeque to med-high or oven to 350F.

There are two ways to stuff the chicken. You can use a rolling pin or meat masher to thin out the chicken and simply place the ingredients on one side and roll the chicken around the ingredients, or you can slice the chicken lengthwise and stuff the ingredients inside. You may need to use a skewer or cooking rope to keep the ingredients from falling out while cooking.

To prepare the ingredients, sauté mushrooms and onions in a small amount of olive oil for about 4-5 minutes on med heat. Add in spinach and pan-cook for amount 1 min, until leaves start to wilt. You can add spices as you wish to add extra flavour. I added in some dried basil and Greek spices.

Place the mushroom, onion and spinach in chicken pieces to desired amount and place Boursin on top. Roll or close the pieces of chicken to ensure that no ingredients fall out. I added some more Greek spices to the top of the chicken.

Cook in oven or on BBQ for about 25-30 min, or to your desired liking.

*Halloom or Halloumi is a mild cheese that is sturdy and stands up well to grilling and frying. It has a slight squeakiness when you bite into it, like fresh cheese curds.

*Boursin is a soft creamy cheese available in a variety of flavours, with a flavour and texture somewhat similar to cream cheese.

Riley's Meal

Now for my meal, I opted for an equally healthy yet flavourful recipe.

To start, I chose a simple and tasty appetizer:

Bocconcini, Tomato and Italian Salami Skewers 

2 containers of bocconcini
1 package of cherry tomatoes
1 package of spicy italian salami
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of basil pesto
Salt and pepper
36 toothpicks or 12 skewers


I simply cut the bocconcini balls into three sections and sliced the cherry tomatoes in half.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, I combined the olive oil, basil pesto and salt and pepper. I then put the bocconcini and tomatoes in the bowl and evenly coated them and let sit for 15 minutes.

I then skewered 1 bocconcini, 1 cherry tomato and a folded slice of salami on each toothpick. Once finished, I placed them in a serving dish and drizzled the leftover oil/pesto over the skewers.

Now for the main course, I served a hearty jambalaya, which I cooked using my slow cooker.

Easy Slow Cooker Jambalaya

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh
1 pound smoked sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole spice mix
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 3/4 cups long-grain rice


Combine chicken, sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, spice mix, thyme and oregano in a large (5-quart) slow cooker (I was glad mine was 6 quarts!). Cook on low for 5 hours.

Add shrimp and rice; raise heat to high and cook for 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

This last step is where I went wrong. I accidentally set my slow cooker on 'warm' instead of cook, and so when I added in the rice and shrimp, I was very concerned when the rice was not cooked over an hour later. It was at this point that my mother pointed out my error and so I let it all 'cook' for another 30 minutes. Supper was obviously served much later than anticipated, but I think everyone can agree that it was well worth the wait!

Now to finish off the evening, I served a light and refreshing raspberry swirl frozen dessert.

You can access the recipe at the following link: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Raspberry-Swirl-Frozen-Dessert.

The dessert was delicious, however, I would recommend that you remove it from the freezer about 30 minutes before you serve it. Mine was quite frozen when we ate it, which made it difficult to cut. Also, I would set aside about 1 hour and 30 minutes to make this (it definitely took longer than the recipe let on). Overall, I would recommend this dessert on a warm summer night.


  1. What a great blog. :) Where do you guys buy your haloom cheese? I love it, but don't know where to buy it in ottawa.

  2. I found the President's Choice brand at Superstore, or anywhere else they carry PC. Hope you have success finding it :)