Red Cabbage and Apple with Cinnamon

Red Cabbage and Apple with Cinnamon

Happy February everyone! I am so sorry I was awful at posting this month. I am back with an exciting new healthy recipe. I have made this a couple of time before and I have never given it the praise it deserves, this is such a tasty dish!

As my readers know I like to cook with healthy foods, mainly fruits and veggies. I am not a vegetarian, but a cautious eater. I used to be badly over weight up until I was about 21 (now I am 24) so I have since lost a significant amount of weight and I didn’t do some crazy insane diet. I just changed my way of thinking and my way of eating. I started cooking with more vegetables and came to realize the only way, for me, to get healthy is to make my own food and stay active. Eating colourful foods is a very important way to do this. If something comes from the earth looking beautiful like a big purple cabbage you have to know that its good for you.

I have always been drawn to colourful vegetables.  Why eat a normal brown potato when you can have a beautiful red one, or why eat normal onions when you can have a light pink shallot? I know different recipes call for specific things but cooking is about experimentation.  Its about being truly fearless to make something amazing, and sometimes you will fail but that is just part of the excitement! As my favorite chef, Julia Child used to say, DON’T BE AFRAID!

The goods!


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Shallots – Thinly Sliced

5 Green Onions – Thinly Sliced

2 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar

1 Granny Smith Apple – Peeled and Sliced

1/2 Cup Raisins

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Cup FRESH Grapefruit Juice

2 Cinnamon Sticks

1 Red Cabbage – Shredded

3 Table Spoons Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Red Cabbage


Take a moment to look at how beautiful that is. The colour is so dark and rich and looks so healthy. the shape of it remarkable. Its incredible to me something so perfect came from a seed. It looks like a maze of purple. Ahhh we are so lucky!

I bought this at my local Farmers Market. This weekend your homework is to go and check out your local Farmer Market if you have one. You will be amazed with what you will find! Hope to it!


Cabbage and Apple

Using a Dutch Oven, heat your Olive Oil over medium heat. Add the Shallots and Green Onions, cook until softened. Add the Brown Sugar and cook. Stir often as to caramelize and brown the onions. Stir in the Apple, Grapefruit Juice, Water and the Cinnamon Sticks. Cook down and stir for about 3 minutes.

Now stir in the Cabbage, Raisins,  Red Wine Vinegar, and Salt and Pepper. Bring to a boil. Bring down the heat and allow to cook with the lid on for about an hour. When you are ready to serve remove the Cinnamon Sticks.

Apple and Onions

This is such a Healthy Meal, Snack, Side. It tastes like apple pie! I highly recommend this for your next meal to make as a side dish!

Red Cabbage is more than 90% water. Its extremely high in Vitamin C, and also offers Vitamin A and K. Red Cabbage also is great for your immune system by aiding it in producing more antibodies.  It also works as a body cleansing vegetable, containing large amounts of sulfur and other minerals that work to cleanse the digestive system.

Apples are apples! They are perfect in every way. One a day really does keep the doctor away. Try it with this amazing recipe! Sure to be a hit at your next dinner table.

The Perfect Side

– Matthew xx

{Season to Taste}

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Blood Orange Hummus

Blood Orange Hummus

One of my favorite dips is Hummus. I fell in love with it as a kid and rediscovered it again in the last couple of years when I started to lose weight. It is a great snack jam packed with protein and great flavor. Over the last year I have tried many different variations of Hummus, I have added Leek, Red Onion, many different things that really didn’t change the flavor at all, more just changed the texture.

I was at Edmonton’s Italian Centre this weekend and bought a few blood oranges, this is one of my favorite time of you because this is when different types of oranges are in season. I wanted to cook something with them but didn’t know what to make. I had planned to make hummus that day and it hit me! I must say, it totally gave it a different taste which I really enjoyed, and with the spices I added to it, it made it have a more refreshing flavor. It also gave it a very slight pinkish hugh to the look of the hummus.



1 Can of Chickpeas – Drained and rinsed, I saved about 2 Tablespoons of the juice from the can to use.

Blood Orange

2 Blood Oranges – Juiced

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

4 Cloves of Garlic – Pressed

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1/3 Teaspoon Cumin

1/3 Teaspoon Ground Ginger


Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Save about 2-4 Tablespoons of the liquid from the can and put it in a medium sized bowl. Once the chickpeas have been drained fully add them to the bowl. Then Juice your two blood oranges and make sure to get every last drop! Then add that to the bowl, now add the olive oil and mix together. In a little bowl mix the Paprika, Cumin, and Ginger together and add to the larger bowl. Using a garlic press, press 4 cloves of garlic and mix together well. Now you can either use a blender or a food processor to puree this or you can used a hand held puree mixer, which is what I used. You really have to work it well if you use a hand held mixer.

Almost Ready! 

I found that this was the most flavorful Hummus I have made. The juice from the Blood Orange is really complimented from the Cumin flavor. I really gives a nice new perspective on a classic dish. I love it with the traditional lemon juice but this is my new favorite way to make this.

I am such a Hummer lover that I rarely use mayo or any other kind of condiment on a sandwich and use Hummus in its place. Having grown up around garlic my entire life, I am one of those people that really loves that flavor on anything and has no problem if someone has ‘garlic breath’.

I am tempted to try making hummus with other kinds of citric fruits in place of lemon juice. You should too.





– Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Salmon Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Salmon Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

This week I came up with probably my favorite recipe to date! I Salmon Stuffed Portobello Mushroom. Portobello Mushrooms are the massive mushrooms that look very ugly and you would think would taste awful, when in fact they are so delicious and very healthy for you. They have some protein as well as some fiber which is always a plus! I came up with this recipe because I felt like I needed to incorporate more protein into my diet as well as the blog. I am also a huge fish fan, I’m not a true Albertan because I would take fish over beef any day of the week.   The filling of this stuffed mushroom is strictly vegetables and salmon.

I need to come clean though before we get started, I didn’t use fresh salmon, I used frozen. I buy frozen salmon fillets in packages of 5, they make a great quick lunch or dinner. They are low in fat and calories, and high in protein. So I highly recommend picking some up.




2 Portobello Mushrooms – Cored

1 Salmon Fillet  – Skin Removed

1/2 Red Pepper – Diced

1 Cup Spinach – Wilted Down

2 Green Onions – Diced

1 Shallot – Diced

2 Garlic Cloves – Minced

1/2 Teaspoon Dill

Salt and Pepper to taste

The juice of 1 Lemon

Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Graded to Taste

Lemon Zest


Preheat your over to 350 degrees(F) In a frying pan, heat olive oil and once warm add salmon fillet. Cook for about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and using a fork shred the salmon and put in a large bowl. Now in the same pan on a low heat wilt down your 1 cup of spinach and set aside to cool. Then add diced red peppers, onions, shallots, garlic and the lemon juice. Now add the the wilted spinach to the bowl along with dill, and salt and pepper. Filling

Now take your mushrooms and core them, removing the stems and using a spoon drag the spoon around the inside and get out all the lose brown mushroom parts, add all this to the same bowl as the other ingredients. Now using a spoon fill both of your mushrooms with the filling, there should be enough for two. Pack them in real nice and tight and make sure to not break your mushroom.

Now place in a backing pan and bake for 20 minuted. Once the 20 minutes is up remove and grade on the cheese, I used 5 year old sharp cheddar to give it some kick. Then add a bit of lemon zest to compliment the lemon juice in the filling. Now bake for another 5 minutes, remove and let sit for about 20 minutes before serving.




I was so excited that this dish turned out as well as it did because I really wanted to try something totally different and make sure it would pass as a meal. I brought this for lunch the next day on a bed of fresh baby spinach and it was DELICIOUS! I really think I am no to something with the stuffed mushrooms. Obviously there are a million people out there who HATE mushrooms, and I don’t understand at all why. But this is something really worth trying. Its super easy, super inexpensive, and SO HEALTHY. This is another meal that you can substitute different ingredients to make you favorite flavors come to life. Another thing, this is a great alternative to a stuffed bell pepper.

Finished Product



I will say one thing that sucks about this recipe, there is no good way to take a photo of a Portobello Mushroom, they are sooooo ugly. I had to use my fancy Bunny Plate to make it look pretty!

Get Cooking!


-Matthew {Season to Taste}


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Beet Greens and Quinoa Vegetable Stir Fry

Beet Greens and Quinoa Stir Fry

I went shopping for produce the other day and came across some beautiful  organic golden beets. I immediately picked up  the most full bunch I could find. The leaves that were attached were massive and were such a dark deep green color, and looked soooo beautiful. Just looking at them made you feel healthier. I bought everything else I was shopping for and was going to buy some spinach or lettuce when I suddenly realized I didn’t need any because of the large amount of greens attached to the beets.
When I got home I thought about what I could make with these greens, and it hit me to make a Stir Fry with a bunch of different vegetables. The good thing about stir frying is you can really add any ingredients to it and it is a great way to clean out your produce crisper.
I chose to use quinoa instead of rice which is generally more traditional for stir fry’s because it is such a super food and is very healthy and very tasty!
5-7 Big Beet Greens – Chopped


1 Small Yellow Onion – Diced
1 Cup Sugar Peas – Whole (remove the pointed ends)
1 Yellow Pepper – Diced
1 Fennel – Cut into Strips
3 Small Tomatoes – Cut into quarters
1 Shallot – Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic – Minced
The juice from 1 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Ginger
1 Teaspoon Dill
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/2 Cup Quinoa
Beet GreensDirection:
In a large frying pan or wok, heat up the olive oil on a medium heat. Once heated, add the beet greens and cook until they begin to wilt. Once wilted add the yellow pepper, fennel, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and shallots. Cook down for a bit. Once the veggies are all cooked, add the lemon juice and dill, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper. Fry them all together and on a high temperature  for about 5 minuets to cook away some of the liquid and then turn down the heat to low.

In a medium sauce pan add one cup of water and 1/2 a cup of quinoa and cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat. Once cooked add the quinoa right into the frying pan or wok. Serves 3-5 people.
Quinoa has become such a popular food in the last few years. It is served at most restaurants now, usually in the form of a salad. It is such a healthy food. One of the ‘Super Foods’ we hear so much about. It is loaded with protein and has a lot of dietary fiber in it. It is especially great for vegan people as it is also high in calcium. It is also gluten free. It can really be eaten by anyone, which now a days is extremely rare that there is a food out there that everyone can eat. It is a better alternative to rice which was something that made me want to make this.

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The beet greens were such a flavorful green to use and they are a very dark leafy green which is so healthy and they contain a lot of fiber as well.
This was a very healthy recipe and it can be made with a lot of variations and flavors to it. Open up your spice cupboard  and try mixing different flavors in with your stir fry. EXPERIMENT! It is so much fun to try and see what you can come up with.
– Matthew {Season to Taste}
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Turnip and Celery Root Hash With Bacon

Purple Top Turnip and Celery Root

I have been on a quest to try new vegetables that I have never cooked with or even eaten, and pairing them with other amazing flavors. This dish has two new vegetables that I never used before, Purple Top Turnip and Celery Root. I am very excited for this dish. It makes a great dinner for a cold snowy day – the pure definition of comfort food. It can also make a great dish for a brunch, adding poached or scrambled eggs to it will make it a morning meal time favorite.


Disclaimer: Celery Root is very ugly when you buy it! But the taste, is unreal. It is obviously very similar in taste to celery sticks, but much more savory. Don’t be afraid of the its ugly appearance! Buy it! Cook with it!


Leeks and Onion

2 Purple Top Turnips – Peeled and cut into cubes

1 Celery Root – Peeled and cut into cubes

6 Slices of Bacon – Some Fat Removed

1 Yellow Onion – Sliced

1 Leek – Sliced

3 Tablespoons Cilantro – Chopped

1/2 Tablespoon Paprika

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Salt



In a large frying pan start by cooking your bacon on a medium heat. Make sure to stir it a few times to ensure both sides are cooked evenly and is crispy. Once it is cooked (about 5 minutes) remove the bacon using a slotted spoon, and drain all the bacon fat except for 1/4 of a cup. In the bacon fat, cook your Turnip and Celery Root as well as your Onion and Leek. Once everything has been sautéed, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes stirring just once, this allows for everything to brown and become a bit crispy.

Once it has browned a bit, add the Paprika and Salt and Pepper and mix well. This may result in your frying pan to brown a bit on the bottom on the inside, but this is fine. Add the bacon back into the frying pan and mix again once the bacon has warmed up stir in the chopped Cilantro and lower the heat and let sit for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve! Serves 4-6.

Hash I did some reading on the both of the main vegetables in this dish… just to find out what there nutritional qualities were and learned that the Celery Root, unlike most root vegetables has very little starch to it. It can also be eaten raw – but in my opinion much better cooked. Like I said before it also has a very savory flavor to it, unlike celery stems. The Purple Top Turnip is very high in Vitamin C, it also contains fiber.

I really found that this dish made me full. I made it on a week night and it was the perfect dinner. Its a very comforting dish. Adding the bacon to it really complimented the root vegetables tastes. I am for sure going to make this again, only next time for brunch. It has such a brunch taste to it, must have been the bacon.

The other plus was that this dish wasn’t very expensive at all! The most expensive this was the bacon. I would say that for all

Turnip and Celery Root Hash with Bacon

of the ingredients in this I probably spent around 10$ in total. Total money saving dish! Give it a try!


Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Asian Salad with Watermelon and Vermicelli

Asian Salad with Cocktail

Happy 2013! I hope everyone had an amazing New Years. I wanted to start 2013 off with something bold and fresh and full of different flavors. So I came up with this very satisfying rustic Asian inspired salad. Using fresh watermelon, herbs, and  crunchy romaine lettuce, this salad is the perfect dish to make for a quick meal or a dinner party. It’s like a rainbow on a platter. One of my New Years resolutions is to cook with as much color as I can and this salad is the perfect start to that goal!

2013 is about new beginnings, letting the past go and finding what makes you happy. For me that means getting healthy and making sure I eat the best foods I can and cook with the most delicious of ingredients. Be adventurous this year and combine flavors to see what you can come up with, I really did this when making the dressing for this salad, I added different spices I don’t usually cook with.  LIVE YOUR LIFE THE BEST WAY YOU CAN THIS YEAR!

Here we go, first recipe of this year!

Ingredients For Salad:


2 Romaine Lettuce Hearts – Chopped

1/2 Cup Vermicelli Noodles – Cooked

1/2 of One Small Watermelon – Cut in Cubes

1 Carrot – Grated

8 Radishes – Chopped in Quarters

1/4 Cup Cilantro

1/4 Cup Mint – Bruised

5 Green Onions – Diced

2 Shallots


Ingredients for Dressing:

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Lime – Juiced

1/2 Tablespoon Ground Ginger

2 Pinches of Ground Horseradish

5 Cloves of Garlic – Minced

1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint Leaves

Salt and Pepper to Taste


Start by getting your water kettle boiling and place your Vermicelli noodles in a large Pyrex bowl, add boiling water and let stand for 4 minutes and drain. Wash your Romaine lettuce and chop length wise so you have lettuce strips, then shred your carrot using a cheese grater. Wash and cut your Radishes into quarters. Chop your Green Onions and Shallots. On a large platter (you can use a bowl, but I think a platter is much nicer) place all of your ingredients and then garnish with your Mint and Cilantro. Top with cubed Watermelon.

To make the dressing combine Olive Oil, the juice of one Lime, Garlic, Mint, Horseradish, and Ginger in a blender or smoothie maker. Drizzle over top of salad and mix together and serve. Serves 4-6 people. 

Asian Salad

This Salad would also be amazing with a protein like chicken or shrimp.

Like I said before, I really want to strive this year to cook with a lot of color and make innovative dishes that are new and exciting. I know that making a salad isn’t really the most innovate of dishes to make but I love making and eating salads that are new and put a mixed greens to shame. It is so easy to get creative and eat well. By starting to add a fruit to a salad, it makes it more refreshing and exciting.

Asian Salad

I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year and I am so grateful to all of my readers and can’t wait to share all that The Desperate Cook has to offer in 2013.


-Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Coming soon…

Hey followers! Just wanted to take a moment and say I will be back very soon with new posts for 2013! I had to take a quick break and take care of some family stuff. But here is a little taste of what’s to come….

Watermelon and Vermicelli Salad with homemade Dressing.


Love lots!
Matthew {Season to Taste}

Mini Pizza With Leek and Prosciutto

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I was having dinner with a good friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and he wanted me to cook, which for me was a total thrill. The day came and I was still unsure as to what I was going to make. I wanted to make something new that I hadn’t done before. I came across this recipe that morning in a magazine and made a few changes to the recipe to make it more me, and it turned out to be incredible.

Obviously if you have read other recipes I have posted and made you will notice how much I use Leek, its one of my favorite flavors, it has such a savory and light garlicky taste to it. They are high in fiber and they also contain polyphenols which acts as an antioxidant.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Its super simple to make and even simpler to eat!! Here is Mini Pizza With Leek and Prosciutto.


4 Whole Wheat English Muffins – Halved


1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Leeks

6 Sweet Basil Leaves

6 Slices of Prosciutto – Trim off the fat, we need to be healthy

1/2 Cup Chopped Baby Arugula

1/4 Cup Marble Cheese – Stripped

Pepper to Taste – No Salt this time, we are using Prosciutto


Heat your oil in a pan, add the Leeks and cook over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes stirring often. When the Leeks are tender and the juices have evaporated season with Pepper and remove from heat. Preheat your oven on the broiler setting. Place the halved English Muffins down on your broiling rack and toast until brown then turn them over and do the same thing on the other side (this can also be done in a toaster oven if a broiler is not available). Once toasted remove oven, divide the Leek evenly on the muffins, top then with Sweet Basil, and put a piece of Prosciutto on top. Now sprinkle the cheese on top of the Prosciutto.

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Cook the muffins under the Broiler until the cheese is  melted and bubbling. The Prosciutto should be slightly browned in spots though out and the Leeks should start to look a little crispy. Remove the oven and garnish with Baby Arugula.

We paired our meal with a simple and delicious Spinach Salad with carrots, red onion, green onion, cucumbers, and slivered almonds and feta cheese topped with a wonderful Poppy Seed Dressing. And of course we also had a nice glass of White Wine.

It is so easy and delicious to get your 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. You just need to find ways to get creative. Health food magazines can be a great way to get inspired to cook and create exciting and flavorful recipes to share with friends and family. This dish alone had calcium, protein, 1 serving of vegetables and a serving of grains, and thats without your side salad!!! Its just so exciting! GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND INTO THE KITCEH!

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-Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

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One of the most trendy ingredients for the last five years has been bacon. We have seen it everywhere, from breakfast to salads to deserts, a friend of my families came up with a candied bacon donut and obviously it was amazing. Bacon is just one of those meets that vegetarians everywhere wishes they could eat. Its just that good! I found a recipe that is simple and basic, and has many versions of it. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon!! This is a tasty way to make sure your kids will eat their Brussels Sprouts. I’m not sure why Brussels Sprouts have such a bad rap! I have always been a fan of them. They taste like leafy cauliflower to me, which is the best!


10 Brussels Sprouts

3 Slices of Bacon

1/2 Cup of Red Onion

2 Cloves of Garlic

Salt and Pepper to Taste

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When cleaning your Brussels Sprouts, peel back a few layers of the leaves to get rid of any dirt that may be on the surface, wash under cool water to get any inside dirt. Then chop bacon into thin slices, as well as you onion. Mince your garlic so it can essentially be lightly roasted in little pieces. Cut the Brussels Spouts into halves or quarters which ever you prefer.

In a skillet, cook the bacon on a medium heat until brown. Using a slotted spoon remove bacon from skillet. Add sliced onion and garlic and cook in the bacon fat. Cook until the onions and garlic are soft and tender and the onions are more translucent. Then remove the onions and garlic from the skillet and put in the brussels sprouts. Cook them until they are lightly browned on the sides (about 10 minutes). Then add back to the skillet your onions and garlic and bacon and cook together for about 5 minutes and stir around. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This makes an excellent side dish or a very tasty lunch. It serves 2 – 3 people. It isn’t hard to get a healthy tasting dish with a little bit of guilt to it. Bacon is the perfect ingredient to make you feel just guilty enough and when you add some healthy hearty vegetables you can’t go wrong! Try making this simple delicious side dish for you next meal.

– Matthew {Season to Taste}

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Grandma Rocheleau’s Tourtière

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When I was a young boy my Grandma would come out from Ottawa every second Christmas. She would spend lots of time cooking for us, she would make different holiday treats and one dish that we would always eat on Christmas Eve, Tourtière. A French Canadian meat pie that is made from ground pork, onions, and garlic. It can be made with various types of meats but we always made ours with pork. For my version I wanted to add my favorite vegetable to it: Leeks.

I did some research on Tourtière and found that after it had been originated in Quebec, it migrated to the New England States and in coastal areas it can be made with fish such as salmon or tuna, I kind of want to try it with salmon! I think that might be an interesting dish, so stay tuned for a different post. Now back to todays dish.

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1 White Onion

1 Leek

3 Cloves of Garlic

2 Pounds of Medium Ground Pork

1 1/4 Cup Water

2 Pie Crusts (I used pre made crusts)

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

photo 2Directions:

In a dutch oven, combine pork, onion, leek, garlic and water; I cut my garlic into thin slices I did not use my garlic press, I find that if you chop it gets distributed more evenly. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the meet is no longer pink and the veggies are cooked. Then add Salt and Pepper (about a teaspoon of each… or as always to taste.)

Then add the filling into one of your pie crusts. Make sure that you spread the filling evenly throughout the surface of the pie while ensuring enough liquid is added. Then use the second pie crust to cover the top of the filling and press the sides of pie crusts together and close the pie up, put a few fork marks into the top of the pie. Now put it into the freezer for one day.

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Now that its tomorrow, preheat your over to 275 degrees (F) and bake for about 3 hours. The reason why you need to freeze it first and then bake it, is that this locks in the flavors and allows for the pie to be juicy and much more flavorful. You can tell that its done when the crust is golden brown and when you can see some of the juices bubbling out of the top. Remove form oven and let sit for bit to cool before serving, can be eaten with Ketchup. Serves 6-8 people. 


This dish has so many fond memories. I remember when I was a kid, we would always eat Tourtière as our dinner on Christmas Eve. My mom and grandma would pre make them and put one in the oven, then we would go to church for Christmas Eve mass and come home and it would smell AMAZING in the house. We would sit and eat together and talk about Christmas and we would be filled with such joy from the season and the excitement of what was coming the next morning. Then we would open one Christmas Gift…. always Pajamas. We would change into our new PJ’s and watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. The BEST  traditions ever! I remember now as an adult how important those memories are to me and to our family. I think its incredible that our grandma passed down this and other recipes to our family. This recipe and post is a true homage to my amazing and wonderful Grandma, Corinne Rocheleau. I know that every member of my family has had this dish, some hate it some love it, but one thing is for sure, we all share this tradition that our Grandma passed down to us. Grandma, I love you!

-Matthew {Season to Taste}


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