The Birth of Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy

 Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy came to be out of two separate events in my life. My youngest son loved to cook with me. At an early age he declared he wanted to open a restaurant when he was older, called "Tyler's Yummy in Your Tummy" He never did open that restaurant but I loved the name and decided to use it for my Blog on Cooking and Recipes.

 "Ollie" replaced the name "Tyler" in the title simply because that same son suggested the nickname Ollie when my first grandchild was born. My middle name is Olive after my Grandmother, and I became Grandma Ollie to my grandchildren. And thus Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy was born!

 This blog will be a collection of recipes - family, my own, and any others I can find in my collection. I've been cooking for almost 50 years - having started as a pre-teen. In Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy I'll share my favourite recipes, tips and techniques with you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hearty Chicken Empanadas

Chicken Empanadas
After watching The Amazing Race last Sunday and watching the teams assemble Argentinian Empanadas, I decided to find an Empanada recipe and make some.

As always I tweaked it a bit even though I'd never made them before. Hubs and I liked the end result but agreed they were a bit bland.

So next time I'll try adding some herbs such as fresh rosemary or fresh sage, and I'll put out some HP Sauce on the side for dipping.

Here's how I made the pastry but I think you could cheat by using a ready-made pie crust and rolling it out.

Pastry Ingredients

   *  3 cups of all purpose flour
   *  ¼ teaspoon of salt
   *  6 oz of unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces, fresh out of the fridge
   *  1 egg
   *  5-6  tablespoons of cold water

6 oz of butter is 1 1/2 sticks if you buy it in sticks. It also converts to 3/4 of a cup

Start by mixing or sifting your flour and salt together.  Place mixture in an electric mixer, and start mixing on low while you slowly add the butter pieces, the egg and the cold water.

Dough Ball
Add the water last, a bit at a time so you can add more or less depending on how sticky the dough looks. Keep mixing slowly until a ball of dough forms.

Next wrap the ball in plastic and put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.


While the dough is resting in the fridge you can start on the filling. For that you will need chicken or turkey. I used both because I was using leftovers that were in the fridge from a few days before, and frozen turkey pieces from Christmas.

You can use fresh chicken breasts or leftover as  I did. I used about 1 1/2 cups of meat but it's your choice to use more or less.

Chop the meat into cubes and set aside. You will also need the following:

2 carrots, peeled and cut into cubes or small slices
1 onion finely chopped
about 1 cup of potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2-1 cup of chicken stock
2 Tbsp margarine or butter
Salt, Pepper to taste
1 tsp Fine Herbes

I am going to add 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary and 1 Tbsp. HP Sauce next time I make these as these were a bit bland for hubs and I.

Chopped Onions

Chopped Carrots

Saute the Vegetables
Chicken Bouillon Powder and H2O
Next, saute the onions and garlic in margarine until soft. Then if you are using raw chicken, add it next and continue to saute as you would for stir fry, about 7 minutes. If using leftover cooked chicken or turkey don't add it yet.

Instead add the bouillon, carrots and potatoes and continue to cook for another 10 minutes

Turkey & Chicken added
Now add the leftover meat and your spices (salt, pepper, fines herbes etc) and let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain, then let this filling mixture cool.

While the filling is cooling, you can start rolling out your pastry to make the Empanada circles.

I cut my ball of dough in half to make it easier to roll out. Cover the half you are not using with plastic to stop it from drying out.

Put a bit of flour on your rolling surface. I use a marble rolling pin and roll directly out on a granite counter top. That keeps the pastry cool instead of warm.

5" Pastry Circles
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a plate about 5" in diameter, cut circles out of the dough. I was able to get 8 circles from my pastry.

Place your pastry circles aside while you roll out the next ball. Cover those circles with plastic so they don't dry out.

If your filling isn't cooled by the time you are done rolling out circles, cover the circles with plastic to prevent them drying out. I put my filling in the fridge while I was rolling out the pastry circles and it was cool enough to use right away.

Now put your filling mixture in the centre of each pastry circle. Bring one side of the circle up and crimp the edges together to seal. You will have a semi-circle empanada when done.

Sealed & Brushed with Egg
You can use a fork or your fingers to make the seal.

Place the empanadas on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Brush each empanada with a beaten egg mixed with 1 tsp of milk.

Bake the empanadas for 15 to 20 minutes in a 400' oven. Watch them carefully after 15 minutes. You want them to brown but not be burned.

Eat them while warm with a dipping sauce or plain, whichever you prefer. If you serve them with a salad you have a filling nutritious supper.
Mmm good! No need for the fork just pick up in fingers!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ollie's Homemade Croutons Revisited

Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
Okay I hear you now - "Croutons, who makes their own croutons! I can buy 'em in the grocery store"

Well, sorry guys but I make my own. I don't like crispy, hard-as-a-rock bits of dry bread in my salad!

I posted a crouton recipe on this blog back in 2008 but since then I've revised and revamped my method of making them. 

My croutons are super-fast and easy to make and they're way better. I can control the size of the croutons. I can control how crisp or soft I want them. I can control the flavor with various spices.

For my tastes, a crisp outside with a soft center suits me perfectly. And my croutons store in a large glass canister for months. In fact I've never had them go bad.

So you start with white bread - fresh white bread. Cut it with a bread knife (serrated) into the size croutons you want.

Put the croutons in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil over them. I use extra-virgin but it's your choice. Don't use too much because Olive Oil has a strong flavor. A little goes a long way.

Stir gently but well. You can do this part in a large ziplock baggy if you prefer.

Now add your spices - I like to use Fine Herbes, Salt (sometimes I use Kosher Salt, sometimes regular) and Pepper as my minimum.

You can add garlic salt or even minced garlic if you like garlic croutons. Basically you can add any herb or spice you like! Be adventurous - try different ones until you hit on some favorites.

Mix well (but gently) and dump the croutons onto a baking sheet. Bake in a 325' oven for 10-20 minutes, depending how soft or crisp you want them.

Serve with a Caesar Salad and enjoy!

I store my croutons in a glass jar inside the cupboard. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Raspberry Coulis

Raspberry-Coulis in Wannabee Trifle

Raspberry Coulis - sounds so fancy when you look at the dessert menu in a restaurant and see "Tessa's Tiara - vanilla ice cream smothered in a Raspberry Coulis with almond mounds piled high on top"

But it's not. All it is is Raspberries, sugar and a bit of lemon juice.

This photo on the left is my Wannabee Trifle - homemade pound cake, lemon curd, raspberry coulis, topped with whipped cream with crushed shortbread cookies on top.

Here's how I make my Raspberry Coulis:

You will need 2 cups of fresh or frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup of white sugar and about 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice.


Frozen Raspberries

Fresh Lemon
Starting to boil the raspberry-sugar mixture
Pour the raspberries and sugar into a pot on the stove and turn the heat on medium.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until raspberries begin to thicken.

Stir frequently while simmering.

Raspberry-sugar mixture boiled down and thickened

This is what the raspberry-sugar mixture looks like when it's boiled down and thickened.

You're ready to strain the seeds now. There's nothing worse than a Raspberry Coulis that has seeds in it so take care with this next step.

You're going to strain the raspberry-sugar mixture into a clean dish, pushing the mixture through the strainer to get all the good juice out.

I often strain it twice, just to be sure. A lot of the juice will stick to the bottom of the strainer so have a clean spatula ready to scrape it off as you continue pouring and pushing the mixture through the strainer.

Pouring Raspberry-Sugar mixture through strainer

Push with a spatula to get the seeds out
The last step is to squeeze your tablespoon of lemon juice into the strained Raspberry Coulis.

And there you have it. If it's too tart, add more sugar. If it's too sweet, add more lemon juice. You can play with it. Best of all it can be kept in the fridge for a week.

Pour it on ice cream, use it in Trifle, Raspberry Pavlova, use it on any dessert you can think of.

I'm using the Raspberry Coulis I made today in a Trifle I'm making this weekend. I'll pour it over my homemade Pound Cake which I'll soak in sherry first. Then custard and whip cream and other yummy ingredients will be added.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Scrumptious Amish Sugar Cookies

Amish Sugar Cookies with Tea
Many years ago my cousin's wife Corrie wrote out her recipe for Amish Sugar Cookies. They were so good and so easy to make that I've not changed a thing.

You can make these delicious cookies in ten easy steps. You're going to need the following ingredients:

1 c. granulated sugar (white sugar)
1 c. powdered sugar (icing sugar is okay)
1 cup margarine
1 cup cooking oil (I use canola)
2 eggs
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Get out your Ingredients

Set up your Stand Mixer
I hope you have a fairly new Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment. They make your life so much easier when baking!

Mine is a Cuisinart 7qt mixer. It just went on sale half-price on It has 3 attachments - paddle, whisk and hook. And a splashguard with pouring spout. The spout is great for adding liquids while mixing!

But a word of advice - don't try to put flour from your measuring cup into the pouring spout while the mixer is going....

Step 1: Take your bowl and put in both sugars - the one cup of white sugar and the one cup of powdered or icing sugar.  Next you have to measure out one cup of margarine. Do you know how to do this accurately?

Step 2: The Trick for Measuring Margarine

The Margarine Trick
Here's the trick - first pour the one cup of liquid oil into a 4 cup measuring cup.

Next start scooping in the margarine until the liquid reaches the 2-cup line on the measuring cup.

Simple isn't it? The harder margarine displaces the liquid and when the liquid rises to the 2 cup mark, you know have one cup of each oil.

Creaming the oils and sugars together
Step 3: Start mixing the sugars together. Set your mixer to the lowest speed and gently mix for a few seconds. Then with the mixer still running, start pouring in the oils. Continue creaming sugar and oil together until they are well mixed.

Now you take 2 beaten eggs and add those while the mixer is still running. Let them mix in well, then add the vanilla extract. Mix gently on speed 2 or 3 until everything is blended.

Adding Vanilla
Level off the flour in a dry measure cup
Step 4: Read to measure the flour. There's a trick to measuring dry ingredients such as flour. It's a two-step trick.

First, use a dry measure, not a measuring cup with a spout. Your mother probably told you this and you ignored her.

Well, you shouldn't have, because to measure flour properly you must use a measure that you can overfill and then level off to the top. Trust me on this.

Use a knife and lay it across the dry measure, then sweep it across starting at the edge closest to you and moving the flat blade away from your body. This levels the flour to the top of the measure.

Adding dry ingredients to flour
Step 5: Add the cream of tarter and baking soda to the flour and sift it well. You can cheat if you don't have a flour sifter by using a knife or fork to poke around and stir the mixture up.

You need to make sure your tarter and soda are distributed evenly through the flour before adding it all to the wet mixture.

Step 6: This is the part I like best. You get to dump the dry ingredients into the wet, turn you mixer on and start blending. I start at 1 and gradually increase to 4 or 5. Mix well.

Mixed and ready to drop on baking sheets
Step 7: Drop small balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets.
 Step 8: Flatten balls of dough with a fork

Step 9: Put cookies in 350' oven for 10-12 minutes. Watch them carefully as they can overcook very easily. Also, don't put too many trays in the oven at once.  Don't put trays on the top rack. In my oven I've learned that I must go down 2 rack positions to position 3 or the cookies are overcooked

Overdone cookies from top rack!
You will get about 5-6 dozen cookies from this recipe and only about 15 cookies on each medium-size tray

Step 10: When cookies are done, remove trays from oven and let sit for about one minute. Then carefully lift cookies with a spatula to cooling rack.

Perfect! This is what the cookies should look like
These cookies freeze well or you can eat them all up in a few days!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ollie's Savory Stuffing for Turkey

Stuffed Turkeys Ready to Eat
I've been making stuffing for the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys for so many years that I don't have a recipe. I don't know amounts of each ingredient, I just go by feel and by how it looks.

But my daughters-in-law keep asking me for my "recipe" for stuffing so I figured I better write it out as best I can and hope I've got the proportions right!

Start Gathering Your Stuffing Ingredients

Bread cubes
First I start with a loaf of white bread. Sometimes I mix white and brown (wheat) bread together as in this photo on the left.

Cut the bread into cubes. Don't buy the horrid stale bread they sell specifically for stuffing! Use nice fresh bread and cut it yourself. Then you're going to add the spices and herbes and extras you like.

Saute onions, celeryand innards in lots of butter
I like to make extra stuffing because that is what goes first on my Christmas buffet table. So I use two loaves of bread. But if you are just stuffing the bird, one loaf is more than enough.

All the chopped bread cubes go into the biggest bowl you have. You need room to add more ingredients and room to toss and mix it all well.

Here is what I like to add:

* finely chopped sauteed onion - at least one onion, two if you like more

* chopped sauteed celery - a couple of stalks, it's your choice how much to add

*chopped mushrooms - I chop mine very fine as my son doesn't like mushrooms so I have to disguise them. Don't saute these, you just add them to the bread cubes

Fresh Sage Mmmmmmm

* fresh sage which you chop fine. You can use sage which you have dried, just crumble it into pieces. I hate the powdered sage you buy in stores and never use it so I can't tell you how much you need if that's what you choose to use. For fresh or dried from fresh, I use about 2 heaping teaspoons for each loaf of bread

This is how I measure. No, that is not my hand, it belongs to hubs!

* finely chopped innards. I use a wee bit of the heart, liver and kidney that come in the little envelope inside the bird. I chop it really fine as my son has a phobia about eating those organ meats if he knows it's in the stuffing but if he can't see the pieces he doesn't realize I used them and loves the final product. I don't use more than one teaspoon of innards for every loaf of bread

Mixing everything together

* salt, pepper to taste

* some poultry seasoning (a couple of tablespoons)

* butter, about 1/4 cup melted

* chicken bouillion cube added to 1/2 cup of water (you have to add enough liquid to the bread mixture to make a semi-moist stuffing. It can't be too wet or too dry and I'm afraid I can only advise you to feel the mix as you are adding the liquid to be sure it's just right)

* 1/2 cup white wine (this might be too much, it's the same deal as the water, you must add a total of liquid that makes a semi-moist stuffing)

* fine herbes, about 2 tsp. per loaf of bread

Stuffing Bird Cavities
You mix this well, then start stuffing it into the bird's cavities. Don't pack it down tight, let it stay a bit loose. When done, put your turkey breast side up in a roasting pan, cover loosely with foil and cook 20 minutes per pound in a 350' oven. Be sure to remove the foil and slice where the leg joins the body about 30 minutes before your time is up.

If you have extra stuffing that won't fit in the bird (and I always plan on this on purpose as my family loves stuffing) here is how you cook it:

Layer extra strong tin foil or 3 pieces of tin foil in a casserole dish. Add more liquid to the leftover stuffing.  You need liquid as this isn't in the bird so is not getting all the lovely juices to keep it moist. The liquid can be chicken stock or wine or... your choice, just make sure it has a bit of flavor.

Put the neck of the turkey into this mix and push it down so it's covered. It will help add flavour and some moisture to the stuffing as it bakes. Seal the tin foil well and put a lid on the casserole dish. Then pop it into a 350' oven for about one hour. 

You can also cook the extra stuffing in a slow cooker but that's a bit trickier as the stuffing tends to get crispy on the edges. If you don't mind crispy, then go for it.

Jean's Ukrainian Apple Cake

Many years ago I worked with a lovely woman named Jean. Every morning she brought in fresh-baked goodies for all to share. This is her recipe for Ukrainian Apple Cake - a huge favorite with everyone!

Apple Cake with Whipped Cream
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3 Tbsp Crisco

Add 3 eggs, one at a time. Blend well

Pour in 1 c. oil, 1 c. cold water and 1 tsp vanilla

Blend well

Sift and add to the above liquid mixture:
3 c. flour
3 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat well

Picking our apples

 Now peel and slice 8 to 10 apples. I used some of the apples from our apple trees that I had peeled, sliced and put in the freezer.

Mix 3/4 c. sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon

Grease a 9x13 pan. Pour half the batter into the pan. Spread all the apples on top then sprinkle with half of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Pour on the rest of the batter and sprinkle the rest of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over top.

2 Ukrainian Apple Cakes ready to eat!
Bake at 350' for one hour

This is superb. Delicious warm or cold. Serve it with ice cream, whipping cream or on its own.