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Bobby and Jilly Still Messing Around in the Kitchen …with Butternut Squash

Squash_1Bobby and Jilly haven’t posted for quite some time. Gee – you know – busy with this and that. The clock – it flies by some days. Ah – mileage over the years – Jilly – her back; Bobby – his hip. Two young spring chickies they aren’t any more, but they love to mess around still… in the kitchen.

Jilly – “I picked up a nice butternut squash earlier today but I don’t want to do the usual – you know – butter and brown sugar and bake-it-in-the-oven kinda thing.”

Bobby – “So, find a recipe and maybe we can improve on it?”

So – Jilly goes to the information machine for some ideas…ah-ha!

Bobby cuts the squash in half. Scoops out the seeds. He sets the microwave on Power 7, doesn’t want squash to overcook, then starts to rinse and drain chickpeas and artichoke…

Jilly is making big pastry on the other side of the kitchen and thinking – Maybe Bobby should check the microwave. That squash isn’t going to take 10 minutes. 

Bobby says to Jilly – “What else needs to be done SweetPea?” (What a guy!)

Jilly says – “HoneyPie – can you chop the tomato and shred some cheese?”

Meanwhile, Jilly is thinking that squash has been in the microwave too long, but she is elbow deep in pastry dough for another dish.

So, Bobby gets the squash out of the microwave and it’s pretty done all right.

Maybe save it? Maybe not? Hot! Hot! Hot! Need to cool a little.

Bobby says, “I need some pot holders!” Squash a big mess, nearly falls over.

Saves the squash.

♥ Bobby and Jilly so sweet on each other, even after all these years.

Now, for the good stuff: 

1 medium butternut squash

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 small jar marinated artichokes, chopped up a little bit

1 small jar good quality antipasto

1 small ripe tomato, chopped

½ c. salsa

½ c. dry roasted peanuts

Chili pepper flakes – to your preference

Salt & pepper to taste

2-3 garlic cloves chopped fine

~ 3 ounces mozzarella shredded

Parsley or cilantro to garnish.

Heat oven to 400°. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Put in a microwaveable bowl, cover and microwave on high for 6-8 mins, depending on the wattage.
Scoop out the flesh with a spoon, reserving the skin, and mix with the remaining ingredients.

Spoon back into the skin and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Top with mozzarella. Cook for a further 10-15 mins until tender and the cheese has melted. Garnish and serve. Delish!

From Jilly’s house to yours! Enjoy!


Apple Crisp with a Twist

applecrispBobby and Jilly like to go to farmers’ markets in and around the city but this week might be the last as the temps drop and frost threatens next week. Yes, the weather is changing rapidly in this part of the country.

Fresh local veggies and fruit from the Okanagan filled their shopping bags –  chard, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, beets, and big crunchy apples, full of BC goodness and sunshine.

When Jilly gets an idea, she makes it in the kitchen – with a twist. This autumn dessert treat will help get you through the change in the weather!

Apple Crisp with Pistachio

4-5 medium-sized apples, pared in whatever size and slicer you like (Hint- you can add a splash of lemon juice to the apples to keep them from browning.)

1-2 Tbsp. flour (preferably unbleached)

1/3 c. white sugar – or for the diabetically challenged – 1/4 c. Splenda

1/2 – 1 tsp. cinnamon

½ c. water

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl, tossing well. Prepare a 9” x 11” baking dish with no-stick cooking spray (PAM) and pour the mixture into the bottom.

Combine the following:

2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats

1/2 c. melted butter

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. baking powder

1/3 c. pistachio nuts, shelled, then ground fine

Mix this well and spread over the apple mixture. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes uncovered till topping is nicely browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with whipped cream.

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours – enjoy! 

Baked Purple Yams


Around in the markets only a few years, the ubiquitous purple yam is delicious and easy to prepare. Don’t believe everything you find on the interweb. Some sites say that this rather tough veggie needs 90 minutes to bake.

Not so.

Pare or peel these ugly veggies and you will be stunned by the rich purple colour revealed. Cut into 1” pieces. Spread a little olive oil on a baking pan. Spread the chopped yams and flavour with a little salt and pepper. Throw in a few garlic cloves and bake at 375° for ~ 20 minutes tossing once half way through. Serve as a side dish with your main course.


From Jilly’s kitchen to yours.

I don’t have a pic of these yams (yet), so enjoy the owls. That’s Bobby and Jilly at their best.

Thanks for following Jilly’s blog all this time.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Cilantro

Jilly and Bobby have been out on the patio deck a lot lately, enjoying the spring weather and putting some colour in their lives – with a lot of flowers and a new twist on the humble sweet potato. Here’s a fun and flavourful dish to complement any BBQ.

3-4 sweet potatoes, unpeeledSweet Potato

Sea salt

Zest from one lime (freeze the lime juice and add to margaritas)

Pinch of cayenne pepper

¼ c. olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 c. cilantro


Precook the sweet potatoes. Place in a pot of water and boil until just fork tender.

Allow to cool, then slice each potato lengthwise into wedges.

Mix the salt, lime zest, and cayenne in a small bowl. Preheat a grill to medium or place a cast-iron grill over medium heat.

Brush the potato wedges with olive oil then season with ground pepper. Grill until golden brown on all sides and just cooked through – about 1 ½ minutes per side.

Transfer to a platter, top up with the salt/lime zest/cayenne mixture, and sprinkle with cilantro.

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours – serve and enjoy!

Cold/Flu Fighting Tea – Nip that bug before it nips your buds!

Around the house Bobby and Jilly have been saying, “We’re lucky to get to this time of year and we haven’t caught a cold or flu bug yet.”

But, maybe you’ve been through a long week – an Arctic blast followed by a huge snow dump that left everyone exhausted. You got a little overtired and next thing you know – there’s that trickle down your throat, you’re feeling a little achy, and you might be coming down with something. Oh no… not again.

Here’s a quick recipe for a really good cold/flu fighting tea, recommended by many. Drink this 2-3 times/day and see if it doesn’t hold off on any bug threatening to invade. It tastes just like that Neo-Something product, without the chemicals!

Cold/Flu Fighting Tea

3 c. boiling water

Juice of half a lemon (use remainder of lemon to create zest) Lemon

3-4 slices (1/4” thick) of fresh ginger

1½ Tbsp. honey


Bring 3 cups water to a boil.

Pour into a large cup or bowl.

Add shaved ginger, lemon zest, and honey.

Allow to steep 5-10 minutes.

Strain and pour into a mug.

Sip while warm.

From Jilly’s house to yours – feel better soon!

Still Time to Hot It Up in the Kitchen

…before the game. With Best Grey Cup Chili, that is.

There are so many variations to making a good chili. You can vary the seasonings to suit your taste, from mild and barely noticeable, to hot – hot – hot! This variation is medium-hot and will serve a small crowd of 6-8 while you gather round to watch the Great Canadian Tradition – this year’s 102nd Grey Cup! 

Best Grey Cup ChiliBest Grey Cup Chili 

1 lb. ground beef

4-6 garlic cloves

Salt & freshly ground Pepper

2-3 Bay leaves

Generous dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Olive oil

Brown the ground beef in olive oil and diced garlic. Add S & P to taste, the bay leaves, and a splash of Worcestershire. Cook well then drain in a colander.

Celery – 2-3 stalks + celery leaves, chopped

1 large white onion, diced

Green and red peppers, chopped

6-8 white mushrooms, chopped

1 c. frozen corn

In a large frying pan, sauté the above in 1-2 Tbsp. butter. Add additional garlic if you like.

Transfer all to a large cooking pot.

Add the cooked ground beef, veggies and the following:

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can Boston baked beans

1 can red kidney beans

1 can mixed bean medley

Stir well and bring to a boil for a few minutes, then add the following seasoning:

1-2 tsp. chipotle chili powder

1-2 tsp. cumin

1-2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. paprika

1-2 tsp. ground / or freeze-dried coriander

1-2 tsp. dried parsley

If additional hotness factor desired, add ½ – 1 tsp. finely chopped hot red pepper, or simply more chili powder, ½ tsp. at a time.

Allow to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, then garnish with cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese and serve with fresh buns and a good cold Canadian beer – or two.

Enjoy! From Jilly’s kitchen to yours!

Now – on to the game!

Beef and Barley Mushroom Veggie Soup

Beef & Barley Mushroom Soup
It’s coming to that time of year. A big bowl of nutritious beef & barley soup with mushrooms and lots of veggies and flavour will keep you warm!

½ of a large pack of stewing beef from Costco (Triple AAA – the best)
S & P
Olive oil
Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Bay leaves
2-3 garlic cloves
3 c. beef bouillon
Use Costco’s “Organic Better than Beef Bouillon”
Dissolve one large tablespoon of the above in 3 c. boiling water.

Cut the meat into smaller pieces. Lightly sauté garlic in olive oil 1-2 minutes. (Apparently, this helps bring out the flavour of the garlic better – to do this, before adding anything else). Add the stewing beef and sauté until just browned. Add a generous splash of Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 bay leaves, and S&P. Transfer the meat to a crock-pot and add the 3 c. bouillon. Allow to simmer for ~ 2 hours until meat is tender.

Pre-cook ¾ c. barley x 5-7 minutes. Take it off the stove not fully cooked. It will continue to cook in the crock-pot. Add the water the barley was cooked in as this contains a good deal of nutrition.

1-2 small onions – chopped
1 c. chopped celery and leaves
2-3 garlic cloves – mashed
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
Sauté the above for just a few minutes then set aside.

Next, chop and prepare a mixture of vegetables. Any of these portions can vary. It will just depend on what you have on hand and what your preference is. Do not be afraid to experiment with – say – different kinds of mushrooms or varied amounts of any of the veggies.

(Tip: when I cut a tomato and don’t use it all, I cut the remainder into smaller chunks and freeze it. I can then throw it into pasta sauces or soup and don’t waste the tomato. They’ve really not worth saving fresh unless you really do plan to use them within hours.)

1 c. frozen tomatoes or 1 can chopped/diced tomatoes
1 package white button mushrooms, chopped and quartered
1 package frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, snap peas)
½ package frozen spinach or kale

Transfer the meat to a larger crock-pot. (Yes – I happen to have two. Both serve me well when it comes to a variety of dishes). Add the onions, garlic, & celery. Add the frozen vegetables, except the kale or spinach. Cook on high for ~ 2 hours, then add the kale or spinach and seasonings: ½ – 1 tsp. each of dried thyme, rosemary, marjoram, parsley and a little more salt & pepper. Continue to cook on low for another 2 hours, then serve with fresh baked buns. Freeze the remainder, if any leftovers. It will keep well.

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours:) Enjoy!

Ginormous Pot of Veggie Soup

Everything but the Kitchen Sink!

Bobby and Jilly are now blessed with 3 (!) grand-babies just in the past month, so the household is busy trying to keep up with some meals to the parents. When babies come along and the parents are tired, nothing provides a quick and nutritious meal faster or easier than a good bowl of home-made soup. This one is loaded with Vitamin L that will bring back some energy to new parents.

Start with a stock pot and combine 1 c. dried veggie soup mix (beans, peas, barley) with ~ 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for an hour to soften the grains and beans.

In the meantime, prepare a number of veggies – whatever your preference or may have on hand.
For this recipe, Jilly combined the following:
4-5 carrots, diced
1 medium turnip, cut small so that it cooks a little faster
2 c. frozen corn
1 package frozen diced sweet potatoes
3-4 celery stalks and leaves
1 large white onion, diced
Left over frozen mushrooms and slices of tomato

In a large stock pot, sauté 3-4 Tbsp. good quality olive oil, garlic, onion and celery for a few minutes, then add the veggies and sauté just a few minutes more.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, 2 cans white kidney beans (drained and rinsed), and 2 litres of no-salt vegetable broth. Allow everything to come to a boil, then simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook till veggies are just done.
Add ½ package kale, then stir in seasonings: parsley, fresh rosemary, and thyme to suit your taste. You can also add a good shaking of chili flakes or ½ tsp. chili powder, if you want to “hot” it up a little.
Serve with hearty slices of rye or pumpernickel bread. This recipe can also easily be frozen in containers. This will make ~ 30 servings.

This soup can also easily be adapted to include leftover meat, such as chicken or diced Italian sausage. If using chicken, add some fresh sage. If using sausage, add 1-2 tsp. Italian herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram).

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours! Enjoy!

Big Red Pot

Big Red Pot

Greek Salad – Delish!

Especially Delish Greek Salad

OK, Jilly knows – there are purists out there who don’t believe a good Greek salad should lay on a bed of lettuce, but recipes evolve. Come the hot summer days where you need some sustenance, this salad with some extra greens will keep you cool and more than satisfied.

Jilly’s tip today: Invest in a veggie slicer. You’ll find a couple different ones in her kitchen. They make for quick slicing in a variety of patterns that add texture to just about any dish, and especially salads. The smaller ones used for zesting can be found at a dollar store.


3 Tbsp. good quality olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon *

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves minced, or 1 tsp. dried oregano

*Save the lemon and with a mini veggie-slicer, shave off to make lemon zest.

Prepare the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic, and oregano in a small jar. Store in the fridge to chill and allow flavours to meld.


½ English cucumber subject to some fancy cutting on the veggie slicer

½ green pepper, chopped

~ 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ c. kalamata olives, pitted

¼ sliced red onion

¼ sliced white onion

¼ c. chopped parsley

4-6 oz. or 1 tub of feta cheese, crumbled

2-3 different kinds of lettuce leaves – soak in lemon water, spin dry, and slice into fine shreds

Directions: Arrange the lettuce leaves in a separate bowl. Your guests can line a plate with however much they prefer, then top up with the remainder of the salad.

Toss cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, olives, onions, parsley, and feta cheese in a shallow bowl.

Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle lemon zest over all. Serve with a side of stuffed grape leaves available at a deli.

From Jilly’ kitchen to yours – EnjoyGreek Salad!

Easy Scalloped Potatoes – with a Twist

If you have a liking of those lovely little red and white gourmet potatoes, here’s an easy recipe to incorporate them into a traditional scalloped potato dish.

Easy Scalloped Potatoes

  • 20 – 25 (½ & ½) small red and small white gourmet potatoes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. chevril
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 ½ c. milk
  • ½ c. shredded Cheddar cheese


Spray or butter a 2-quart baking dish. Using a veggie slicer, finely slice the potatoes and onion.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add flour, salt and pepper and stir to cook the flour ~ 2 minutes. Then add the herbs and milk, bring to a low boil, allow to thicken.

To the baking dish, spread the potatoes and onion in layers. Add the white sauce and mix gently. Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and a dusting of paprika. Continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered.

Serves 6-8. No photo of these – they disappeared from the table too quickly!

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours – Enjoy!