Category Archives: Favourites

Creamy Flank Steak Stoup: When Supper Transforms and Becomes Lunch


One of my newly found, favourite recipes from last summer was Miles Thatcher’s Guinness & Honey Marinated Hanger Steak (I use flank steak) from the June 2012 issue of Flavours Magazine. I’ve made this recipe about 4 or 5 times since discovering it’s yumminess, and usually one flank steak is way more than enough for the two of us. And a great accompaniment to this recipe are my Spicy Marinated Mushrooms.

Guinness Beer

BUT… neither my husband nor I are big fans of Guinness‘ darkness… Nothing against the brand, but I just don’t drink beer. Initially I was leery of trying this recipe because I was worried that the strong taste of this Stout would be pronounced in the final result. But it’s not, this is an incredible BBQ recipe that you will want to add to your repertoire – forever.

Here’s a great tip… when I want to make this flank steak, I try not to waste the leftover 3/4’s of the can of beer… so I actually make a quadruple batch of the marinade, and freeze the extra three portions for later use.

So when you make this flank steak recipe, and if you have leftovers that you don’t want to use for sandwiches, fajitas, steak & eggs breakfasts or… whatever, please consider giving my soup a try for lunch the next day.

Just a lil' something I threw together

Just a lil’ something I threw together that was a big hit

Originally, I wasn’t going to blog about this soup because I’ve been including a lot of soup recipes lately. Plus, I’ve been making these soups up off the top of my head. It’s been very cold here in Winnipeg this past week, so soup has, of course, been top of mind.

After grocery shopping and picking up some fresh mushrooms and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup to have for an easy (i.e. discrete and not blogged about) lunch I found myself inspired to try yet another LunchFor1 soup recipe.

I had also picked up a couple Tetra Paks of Beef Broth because my freezer’s stash of broth was getting low, and it’s always a good idea to have some broth either in the cupboard, in the fridge, or in the freezer at all times for quick soups, sauces and stews.

So it was with these ingredients on hand that inspiration struck! Plus I had to do something with the leftover flank steak… and thankfully it all worked out – and we loved it!

Creamy Flank Steak Stoup

(Stoup is a word I first heard used by Rachael Ray, it’s Stew+Soup)

Leftover BBQ Flank Steak, diced

1L Campbell’s Beef Broth

1 Ready to Serve Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

20 Baby Carrots, chopped

3 Celery Stalks, chopped

3 cloves Fresh Garlic

1/4 Onion, diced

1/4 cup Pot Barley

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 tablespoon Canola Oil


1. Heat oil in large pot.

2. Add vegetables, and saute for 5 minutes.

3. Add diced beef and beef broth, and bring your soup to a boil.

4. Add uncooked barley to the pot, and turn down your stove to Medium-High. Cook for 30 minutes.

5. Stir in cream of mushroom soup just prior to serving, and warm the soup through for 5 minutes. NOTE: Overcooking this step may cause your soup to “break” or separated, so be careful.

6. This recipe made 4 hearty servings, with a side dish. Try my Chevre Grilled Cheese Sandwich or my Feta Dip and crackers as an accompaniment – those posts will follow later this week.

Soul warming, hearty goodness made quick and easy for a yummy supper or lunch.

Soul warming, hearty goodness made quick and easy for a yummy supper or lunch.

What recipe do YOU make for supper one night, and then turn around the next day and create an amazing lunch from?
I’d love to hear about it in the Comments section below.


Perogies – Ukrainian Cure for the Common Cold


Today, my husband, Jeff is home sick again – so it’s LunchFor2! When lunch rolled around, he again requested a bowl of soup… URGH! I thought that I’d whip out a little of my Russian magic, and try a “perogie-cure” on him. Hopefully this will do the trick to get him back to work tomorrow!

Using ready-made perogies allows you to create a quick lunch in about 10 minutes

Using ready-made perogies allows you to create a quick lunch in about 10 minutes

There’s nothing really special about heating up pre-made perogies. Ann’s Perogey Palace here in Winnipeg are one of our favourite brands. And our preferred flavour is Potato and Cheddar Cheese. It’s a bonus that I can easily pick these up fresh at my local, independent grocery store.

Check back tomorrow to find out if my Ukrainian cure for the common cold worked!

Check back tomorrow to find out if my Ukrainian cure worked!

As you can see, buying a dozen perogies can get pricey at $7 each. However after attempting to make perogies from scratch last year… I know first-hand that the trick is to get the dough just right. And I am SOOOO not a great dough-maker. It’s one of my Bucket List items to perfect in the kitchen!

To make my version of super easy perogies, place your 2 dozen perogies in a large pot of boiling, salted water, and cook them until they float.

While simultaneously using a small fry-pan to cook 3/4 of an Onion (diced) in 2 tablespoons of Canola Oil for about 5 – 8 minutes, or until translucent.

I then threw in 3 – 4 tablespoons of Butter in the fry pan to melt with my the onions.

For a quicker finish to lunch, I added a small handful (1/3 cup) of good-quality Bacon Bits (Costco’s Kirkland brand are my favourite) to the fry pan and tossed that around for a minute.

Strain the perogies out of the pot into a casserole dish. Again I love my Coring Ware dish with lid as it allows me to quickly put my leftovers away in the fridge.

Top the perogies with your onion/bacon/butter mixture, and serve with a dollop of Sour Cream, and some fresh-ground pepper.

You can almost taste the goodness if you get really close to the screen.

You can almost taste the goodness if you get really close to the screen.

Not the healthiest lunch… but definitely a great comfort food on a super cold day (-32*C with the wind chill here) when someone in your household is sick.

PS – There seem to be many different spellings for the word perogy/perogie… these are mine, and Ann uses Perogey. This food by any other name… still tastes just as great! 😉

Everyone has a favourite perogy, and way to prepare it – What’s Yours?
Please feel free to share it in the Comments section below.

Manitoba-Made Beef Short Ribs

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Click the logo for more great recipes featuring Manitoba made product

Last week I was cruising through my local butcher, and saw some packages of beef short ribs. I’d learned previously that my Food Fare (Portage and Mount Royal) only carries Manitoba Beef, so I knew I was getting a great quality product.

You might ask why I would bother to make Short Ribs for lunch… well I didn’t… I made them for dinner the night before. And wow were the leftovers amazing! So DO make extras when you try this recipe, because, like Lasagna, they are even better the next day!

Here’s a really, simple recipe that you can try (especially if you’re living in Manitoba) as it features Bon Vivant! Korean BBQ Sauce – a BIG favourite in our home. I love all of their products, but this one is my #1 choice.

Just five ingredients needed

Just six ingredients needed

By the way, I think that this recipe would also make a

n awesome appetizer for a small party.

Falling off the bone short rib goodness

Falling off the bone short rib goodness

What you will need…

Peanut Oil

10 Beef Short Ribs

1 Large Onion, rough chopped

4 cloves Garlic, rough chopped

1 cup Korean BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup Orange Juice

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of Peanut Oil on High in a deep, Dutch Oven, kind of pot.
I prefer to use Peanut Oil for searing as it has a higher smoke point than most cooking oils. But if you’re allergic to nuts, then pick one of these other choices, or use whatever you have on hand.

2. Pat your short ribs dry (on both sides) with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture otherwise it will hamper your ability to get a good sear on the meat.

I learned that trick from watching Julie & Julia!

3. Carefully place each rib into your hot oil, but do not crowd the pan.
I only put 5 ribs in at a time.

4. Sear the bottom side of the rib for 1 minute, then flip and sear the other side for a minute.
It’s okay to cover the pan while searing to avoid oil spatters.

5. Remove the seared ribs to a clean plate, and repeat for remaining ribs until all the ribs have been seared off.

Sear the ribs in smaller batches

Sear the ribs in small batches

6. For the next step, turn down your stove to medium high, and place your chopped onion and garlic into the oil to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

You should have a nice base of onions to lay the ribs upon

You should have a nice base of onions to lay the ribs upon

7. Pour in a cup of your favourite BBQ sauce, and 1/2 cup of orange juice.

You could even add bell peppers to this or any other vegetable to make it more stew-like

You could even add bell peppers to this or any other vegetable to make it more stew-like

8. Place the ribs on top of the onions so that they sit-up about halfway out of the braising liquid.

9. Cover the pot, and turn down the heat to Medium-Low. Cook at a light bubble for 2 hours.

NOTE: Be careful not to over-cook the ribs though… I went a bit beyond the 2 hours, and they were REALLY falling off the bone.

10. Serve with my Oven-Baked Basmati Rice recipe. I also like to mix my veggies right in to the rice before I serve it.

Don't these just make your mouth water?

Don’t these just make your mouth water?

This recipe made 3 portions.

Don’t forget to save a bowl of this yummy goodness for your LunchFor1 the next day. You can thank me tomorrow!

UPDATE: January 6, 2013This recipe is just so tasty that we wanted to make it again already using the homemade sauce.

UPDATE: January 6, 2013
This recipe is just so tasty that we wanted to make it again already using the homemade sauce.

This was my first time cooking Short Ribs,
but I’m keen to know how you cook your Short Ribs.

Please feel free to leave your recipe details in the Comments section.

Hamburger Soup & Roasted Garlic Buns


For lunch a couple of days ago, I pulled this soup out of my freezer for a quickie meal with a girlfriend who was dropping by, just in case she needed some sustenance on her Errand-Running Day. But it ended up being LunchFor1, and I had a blessed bowl of comfort after a busy, and somewhat stressful, morning. This recipe makes a nice, hearty soup that is perfect for enjoying with a big group, or to make ahead and freeze for future use. This was my #1 Choice as the go-to soup that my husband and I made a couple months ago in the days following my surgery. And it froze so wonderfully!

It’s been such a chilly week here in the middle of Canada, but it’s supposed to warm up for the weekend – YEAH!

A Spoonful of Comfort – Hearty Hamburger Soup


I first had this soup about 30 years ago, and you’d think because I can remember exactly who made, when, and why, that I would have been making it every Winter for the past 30 years – NOPE. I only recently tracked it down again thanks to an old friend of mine (Thanks Shelley). And now that I’ve adapted it, I would like to share it with you, because it’s also inspiring my newly created blog – Follow me on Twitter @LunchFor1 for easy meals that are good eats any time of the day!

But, back to the story…

There I was a 10-year old figure skater on test day, both nervous and hungry, and in need of a little, quick comfort. The nice lady at the rink’s canteen, Eleanor, had made a batch of Homemade Hamburger Soup for all of the hungry, little tikes to eat while we waited our turn before the judges.

All these years later, I still remember the heartiness and the smoothness of this soup, as well as the yummy chewiness of the barley. The key to this soup is spending the time to cut the veggies up into a fairly small pieces – 1/4″ to 1/2″ dice. The soup was a like a hug, and it’s stuck with my taste buds for these past three decades!

And for a great side-dish to this meal…

It’s a smart idea, at this or any time of the year, to keep a few Roasted Garlic heads in your fridge for these “lunch emergencies”. It was super easy for me to pull out the pre-roasted garlic head from the fridge, pop the cloves out, and quickly mash them up in order to dress up my lunch selection with an upscale spread.

Better than butter is this Roasted Garlic Spread made from mashed roasted garlic cloves - much healthier too!

This Roasted Garlic Spread is better than butter, and much healthier too!

From time-to-time, when you’ve got the oven roasting something, simply take a whole head of garlic, chop off the top portion, and place it on a piece of tin foil. Then I pour 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil on the garlic, add a pinch of sea salt, and grind some fresh pepper over it. Then I wrap it up in the tin-foil, and set it in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes. Then let it cool and slide it (tin foil and all) into a storage baggie, and place it at the back of your fridge for future use.

Or, for creating a big-batch of Roasted Garlic check out my Stove-Top Roasted Garlic post from March 2012.

But back to the star of this post – the soup… here’s the recipe…

Anna’s Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 1/2 pounds Extra Lean Ground Beef
(or 700g of any ground meat of your choice)
1 Yellow Onion, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1  can Diced Tomatoes (28 oz./840mL)
2 cups Hot Water
3 cans Beef Consomme or Broth (30 oz./ 900mL)
1 can Tomato Soup (10 oz./ 300mL)
4 Carrots, 1/4″ dice
1 Bay Leaf
3 stalks Celery, diced
2 tbsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 cup Pot Barley

1. Boil water in a small pot. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 cup Pot Barley. Cook for 30 minutes. Drain and add to soup.

TIP: I prefer to cook my barley separate from my soups so that my soups
do not get overly thick from the barley’s starch.

2. Dice all the vegetables.

TIP: However, I like to mince my onions and garlic in my food processor so that
it becomes very fine – it’s much faster and easier that way.

3. Brown the beef, onions and garlic in large stock pot.

4. Add the liquids and tomatoes, and bring it all to boil.

5. Add all of the vegetables, and spices.

6. Cook for another 1/2 hour (or more), and serve with Mashed Roasted Garlic Spread and fresh buns.

It’s SOOOO good that you should probably plan to make a double batch,
and freeze some for an easy lunch on another chilly day!

What is your favourite soup to use for comfort on a cold day? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Taking an old favourite 'upscale' with a fancied-up dinner roll.

Taking an old favourite ‘upscale’ with a fancied-up dinner roll.

This soup isn’t your ‘cup of tea’?
Check out the other soup ideas that I’ve Pinned on Pinterest.

Watch for my next post on Homemade Chevre Cheese!

It takes SO little to make your own Chevre cheese at home.
An expensive indulgence for much less than you would think!

Mama’s French Toast for Lunch? Why Not?!?

Mama’s French Toast for Lunch? Why Not?!?

Every household has a unique way to make French Toast – right? I didn’t know this until a galpal offered to make me French Toast one morning about 20 years ago, and she added Cinnamon – YUCK!

My Mama always made my favourite breakfast using just Nutmeg. So needless to say I’ve insisted on Nutmeg throughout the past 20+ years, much to the chagrin of my husband, who is also a Cinnamon fan.

PLUS… Mom loved Roger’s Golden Syrup and used it often on both her late night snack of Corn Flakes, and also on our mutual favourite breakfast – Mama’s French Toast.

So that is what I was brought up to use on my French Toast – not Maple Syrup or any reasonable facsimile (I insist on honey on my Pancakes) It’s pretty rare for me to order French Toast when I’m out at a restaurant for breakfast, and for all these reasons I prefer to make my fav at home.

Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to improve on an old favourite…

I used to drag out my full-sized, electric griddle just to make my special breakfast, which made it something that only happened every once in a while.

Plus I only made French Toast for 2 or more people, and never just as a treat for myself. This Spring, I discovered that I could use my Excalibur-coated frying pan on the stove, and get the same effect as pulling out my griddle.

Now I could have French Toast for One, and today I missed Breakfast due to being engrossed in the Summer Olympics (Mens’ Gymnastics All Around), I decided to make myself French Toast for lunch.

Mama’s Gold Medal French Toast

2 Eggs (well beaten)

¼ cup Milk

1 tsp.  White Sugar (well almost)

½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg (or a couple shakes)

2 slices* White Bread, Thick Sliced (2 to 3 days old works best)

1-2 tbsp.  Butter (!!!)

Roger’s Golden Syrup


STEP 1: Using an appropriate sized bowl, I cracked the two eggs in first,
and whipped them up for a minute

STEP 2: Next I added a couple of dollops of skim milk (about a ¼ cup, or less)
just to change the colour and consistency of the eggs

STEP 3: Then I shook in some nutmeg, and add a small spoonful of sugar,
and whipped it all up a bit more

STEP 4: Melt a tablespoon (or two) in your “Teflon” frying pan
over medium-high heat until bubbly

STEP 5: Dip your bread into the egg mixture,
and place them into your pre-heated pan

STEP 6: Watching closely… cook until nicely browned on each side flipping once
to brown each side. Add extra butter, if required

STEP 7: Drizzle with corn syrup and enjoy!

*This recipe would probably make up to 4 slices if you were
really, really hungry, or were using thinly sliced bread


Today, I had also added some fresh Saskatoon Berries, which were a rare find at my local, independent grocer.

Usually, I’m a purist and don’t like anything other than Bacon with my French Toast…
but today’s addition totally made this impromptu meal into a Gold Medal Plate for me!

What do you use in your family’s French Toast recipe? Cinnamon or Nutmeg? Maple Syrup or Corn Syrup?
(Please weigh in below)

You too can make Creme Brulee at home – it’s super easy!

You too can make Creme Brulee at home – it’s super easy!

My husband’s #1 favourite dessert has always been Creme Brulee, and a couple of years ago after being together for almost a decade I decided to teach myself how to make it for him as a birthday surprise. And it’s REALLY simple actually!!! With just 4 ingredients, and a bit of patience, you too can be enjoying this overpriced restaurant dessert at home. Don’t be daunted… it’s super easy to make!

The first two steps in creating at-home Creme Brulee can be a bit costly…

1. You need to buy yourself a good Brulee Torch. Yes, you can technically use a normal everyday blowtorch I suppose, however… you need a very, very delicate hand. A better idea is to invest in a kitchen-friendly torch that you can actually store in one of your kitchen drawers. We picked up a Fox-Run torch from a local kitchen store for about $30. They run on butane by the way, so don’t forget to pick some of that up too as they do not come pre-filled and ready to go. AND… PLEASE READ YOUR TORCH AND BUTANE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE USING.

2. You will also need ramekins (see below). You can usually pick up a basic set of 12 for under $20. OR you can opt for the fancier, restaurant-style, shallow ramekin (not shown) which can run you about $3 each.

You only require a pot, a whisk, and a stand or hand-held mixer – in a pinch you could even hand-whisk too

Always buy fresh eggs for ease of separating, and leave them at room temperature for 30 minutes

Using your hands is even easier than using a tool for separating eggs

Use a light hand when scraping your vanilla bean and avoid the husk/skin – you just want the easy to scrape seeds

Add your vanilla bean scrapings to cream and heat gently

Hubby’s 2nd favourite dessert is Lemon Meringue Pie, so I always plan to make it the next day so that I can use up the leftover egg whites. Egg shells get crushed a bit and added to our compost pail – waste not, want not

If you are using a mixer be careful not to over-froth your mixture. Mix low and slow

Another advantage to using normal-sized ramekins is that they fit perfectly in a 9×13 baking pan for their water bath

Creme Brulee doesn’t expand, so you can fill the ramekins to the top for more yummy goodness in each dessert

You can cut down the cook time by placing two water baths side by side. No need to bake separately in a normal oven, just allow some space between the pans

If you bake without covering the pans with foil they will come out this dark. Sometimes I use foil to distinguish the variations in flavour for half the batch

See how much they shrink in the ramekin. Make sure you fill them right up, and be careful how foamy you get your mixture

Creme Brulee BEFORE the torch – Sorry I forgot to take AFTER photos because Hubby was too excited to eat his dessert right away – next time I’ll try to snap some…

This is the recipe that I use – it’s is a pretty standard one…

9 egg yolks
3/4 cup superfine white sugar (i.e. Roger’s Berry Sugar)
1 L whipping cream
1 vanilla bean

1 tablespoon of superfine white sugar per ramekin (i.e. 6-12 tbsp)

My How-To’s

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Carefully separate egg yolks from their whites using either an egg separator, or your hand.

PLANNING TIP: Hubby’s 2nd favourite dessert is Lemon Meringue Pie, so I always plan to make it the next day so that I can use up the leftover egg whites – waste not, want not! Place your leftover egg whites in a sealed container in the fridge for tomorrow’s healthier egg-white omelets, or for any type of meringue project.

3. Using a paring knife, split your vanilla bean down the middle length-wise, scraping out the seeds with the back of your knife.

BY-PRODUCT BONUS: If you also cut your leftover vanilla bean in half width-wise you can then add it to a bottle of vodka. Shake the mixture daily for a week, and leave it at room temperature to infuse the alcohol and make homemade vanilla vodka. I love using this for making my chocolate-martinis!

4. Pour your whipping cream into a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and add your vanilla bean scrapings, whisking often.

5. Bring cream to a brief simmer, but do not boil the cream or it will overflow and make a mess of your stove-top.

6. While your cream is heating, use your mixer and a large bowl to cream together the 9 egg yolks and 3/4 cup superfine sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

7. Remove your saucepan from the heat when the liquid is hot to your fingertip touch.

8. Very gradually add the hot vanilla cream into your yolk and sugar mixture on a low-speed setting or while also using a whisk.

NOTE: Do not add your hot cream too quickly, or the eggs will cook and you’ll have to start again. Slow & steady wins the race!

9. Spoon the custard into clean, dry ramekins. I like to fill each ramekin to just below the top rim as they do shrink down about a 1/2 inch.

10. To make a water bath, place ramekins in a roasting pan or 9×13 baking dish, and fill the pan with enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

11. Bake uncovered for about 35 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven) until the custard is barely set around the edges – it should still have a tiny bit of jiggle.

NOTE: You may want to cover the pan loosely with foil to prevent over-browning either right from the start or about halfway through.

12. Remove pans from the oven, and then remove each ramekin from its’ water bath. Cool to room temperature, about an hour.

13. Transfer all of the ramekins to your refrigerator, and chill for at least 2 hours. And I’ve even kept Creme Brulee in the fridge up to 4 days uncovered, because there is no way that Jeff and I can eat 12 Creme Brulees in one day! Though Jeff would love to try I’m sure.

TIP: Our torch likes to sit and rest for about 30 minutes after it’s filled, so plan ahead when you’re ready to fire it up.

14. To Brulee: Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the superfine sugar into each chilled ramekin, ensuring that it is evenly spread over the custard.

15. Hold your torch slightly above the sugary surface to gently brown the sugar. With patience it will form a nice even, lightly-browned crust.

JEFF’S TIP: My hubby is best at doing the brulee work actually, and he suggests moving the flame in a circular motion around the inside edges of the ramekin and then back and forth through the middle so that the crust is evenly caramelized. This may take a little practice to get it just right… just remember you need to MELT the sugar, without burning it.

16. Allow each ramekin to cool slightly, but serve the dessert at once. I like to include some fresh raspberries on the side.

YIELD: 12 ramekins, as shown


First let me reiterate that I am not a professionally-trained chef, nor do I attest to being an accomplished pastry chef. I’m just a very “curious cook” who enjoys trying new culinary adventures.

Can you use vanilla extract? Yup probably. The classic Creme Brulee only uses vanilla for flavouring, so I usually try to hunt down a REAL Vanilla Bean. Thankfully they are getting easier and easier to find at your local grocery store these days for about $6 for two beans.

Do you need to use such a high-fat dairy product to make Creme Brulee? Honestly, I’ve always assumed that heavy cream in a recipe means  35% whipping cream. But I’m sure that you could use Half & Half, or a lower fat product. However it IS dessert, and it’s not like you’re making this every day or every week. So in our household – it’s a calorie splurge. Enjoy!

What variations are possible with this recipe? You’re only limited by your taste preferences and imagination as there are also many variations on the traditional Creme Brulee. In the past I have personally tried other versions using…

– Dark Chocolate (3 oz. good quality shavings added to warm cream on stove-top),

– Orange Peel (3 slices of organic orange peels allow 15-30 minutes of additional steeping time),

– Liqueurs such as Frangelico or Grand Marnier by simply ‘spiking’ half the batch with an ounce or two.

Plus I have tried Chai Creme Brulee too during my chai-obsessed phase at some restaurant and it was yummy too. There is also Ginger, Green Tea, Cinnamon, Coffee, Maple, Lime, etc. etc. etc. – go ahead and use your imagination and your favourite flavour(s)!

However, ol’ fashioned vanilla is still my hubby’s #1 favourite, though I may have to one day try Glenlivet Scotch in a batch and see what he thinks – hmmmm

Please let me know what variations you’ve tried by sharing them in the Comments section below!

Now that I have mastered one dessert fav… tonight I’ll be attempting my first ever Dark Chocolate Souffle
courtesy of Ciao! Magazine’s article on Pastry Chef Richard Warren of Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel.

Hopefully mine come out as nice as these… fingers crossed – we shall see!