The Kitchen Magpie Home of Edmonton Food Blogger, Karlynn Johnston Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:13:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tater Tot Eggs Benedict Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:00:56 +0000 Tater Tot Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict done on Tater Tots. Evil. Awesome. Eat it.

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Tater Tot Eggs Benedict

Ever since I saw Phil from Baconhound’s recipe for Tater Tots Eggs Benny, I knew that I had to try it. I’m sure you know by now that we are a Tater Tot loving family, my Tater Tots Shepherd’s Pie can attest to that fact.

You need to make this for Christmas morning. Easter morning. Birthday’s. You name it, it’s a special occasion food.

This is food evil in its purest, completely bad for you form. Butter. Bacon. Egg Yolks. Tater Tots.

Please don’t eat this all the time, ok? Maybe once a month?

I hesitate to share this recipe with you, as it has now ruined me for any other Eggs Benedict ever again. English muffins can’t compare to a pile of crispy, starchy Tater Tots and when you top them with an egg and Hollandaise?

World. Changed.

It makes for one heckuva great bunch. We had Phil and his wife over for a Sunday brunch and I made these, with some Quickie Cinnamon buns, to eat. It was the perfect excuse to try his recipe out.

And blame him if brunch sucked.

Brunch didn’t suck. While I did switch out his Hollandaise sauce for mine in this recipe (his has one more egg yolk  and I prefer hot sauce, so choose your poison) it’s pretty much the same thing.

Pretty much dang delicious, that’s what.

You really do have to give this one a whirl. Let me know what you think if you do!




Tater Tot Eggs Benedict
Prep time
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Eggs Benedict done on Tater Tots!
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 4
  • ½ bag of frozen tater tots
  • 1 lb bacon- diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Hollandaise:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • hot sauce of your choice
  1. Bake the tater tots on a baking sheet according to package directions.
  2. Fry the diced bacon until cooked, drain and set aside.
  3. Place the egg yolks and lemon juice in a small double boiler pot. If you prefer less lemony sauce, only use 1 tbsp.
  4. Whisk over the hot water until the egg yolks become glossy.
  5. Whisk in the butter slowly, a little bit at a time, until it's thoroughly incorporated. Keep whisking or the sauce will break.
  6. Once the butter is added, whisk in the hot sauce and cook a minute or two more, whisking the entire time.
  7. To poach your eggs, use a deep frying pan filled with water or a small pot. Add in the vinegar and bring to a boil.
  8. Add some water to your already hot pot to bring it up to about half full. Once the water boils, break the eggs into it.
  9. Cook for 2-3 minutes then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain.
  10. Divide equal amounts of bacon and tater tots between four plates.
  11. Top with a poached egg and Hollandaise.
  12. Serve and enjoy!


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Cauliflower, Corn & Bacon Chowder Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:39 +0000 Cauliflower, Corn & Bacon Chowder

Cauliflower, Corn & Bacon Chowder = my new favorite soup.

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Cauliflower, Corn & Bacon Chowder

This kind of food magic only happens when you have a slightly scrungy head of cauliflower in your fridge that you are determined to use up before it goes bad. Next time you are looking at that head of cauliflower that is just not quite nice enough to eat raw, don’t be throwing it out, make this absolutely amazing cauliflower, corn and bacon chowder instead!

This literally came about because I wanted to use up a head of cauliflower that yes, I left too long in the fridge. I then threw in whatever the heck I could find to go with it, a can of corn, some carrots that I had in the fridge and of course, onion. I did use chicken stock but you can make this a vegetarian version easy, just switch to vegetable stock and leave out the bacon.

I warn you, by leaving out the bacon you are losing some major taste. Bacon makes everything better!






The beauty of this soup is that you can make it on the stove but I love that it’s a crockpot recipe and it’s actually far better when you make it in the crockpot. Letting the bacon and vegetables simmer all day long infuses it with a flavor that just can’t be beat.

Gratuitous bacon shot. There are sadly too few of these on my website.

To make it gluten-free, make sure your bacon and broth are gluten-free and then puree some soup at the end and return it to the pot to thicken it. You don’t even miss the flour one smidge!

Happy Cooking everyone! You seriously NEED to make this and let me know what you think!




Cauliflower Corn & Bacon Chowder
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Amazing chowder that uses cauliflower instead of potatoes to create a creamy chowder that's not only better for you but absolutely delicious!
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 8
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of corn (or one small can of corn, drained)
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 6  cups strong flavored chicken broth
  • ½ cup cream
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • extra bacon for topping
  1. Fry the bacon and onion in a medium skillet over low heat until the onion is transluscent. Add in the garlic; cook another two minutes. Drain the bacon fat and place into the crockpot.
  2. Place the cauliflower, carrots, corn and broth into the crockpot as well.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 until the cauliflower is completely cooked.
  4. Whisk the flour into the cream then whisk into the soup just before serving, Let cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with extra bacon on top.


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Quickie Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:00:18 +0000 Quickie Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Quickie Homemade Cinnamon Rolls -mere minutes and you have amazing cinnamon rolls for your table!

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Quickie Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe for Quickie Homemade Cinnamon Rolls is one that I have used more times than I can count for a last-minute brunch or breakfast sweet treat. My mom used to make this all the time when we were kids, instead of a yeast dough you use a quick baking powder bread dough to make some fast and easy cinnamon rolls. I think the first place this appeared was in Company’s Coming, but like all recipes it’s been around longer than those cookbooks have been. I have no idea where it’s originally from, but it’s seriously a lifesaver.

We had company over the other weekend for brunch and for some reason, I forgot a sweet ending to the meal.

Brunch- if the main dish is savory- requires a sweet treat at the end, there’s no doubt about it.

Listen. We only get to eat brunch twice a week if we are lucky and I would guess most of us perhaps are only lucky enough to eat it once a week.  We rarely have dessert after dinner, so I think that it should be mandatory that any decent brunch has something sweet to eat.

Am I right or and I right? Brunch is, in itself, decadent. It can’t make up its mind if it’s breakfast or lunch. This to me says that anything goes.

These made for a beautiful brunch. My table was so pretty!

I have always loved these for their simple flavor. Cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins. Done. I also love that they aren’t a yeast cinnamon bun, they are a sweet bread instead which is such a welcome change of pace.


You really do need to save this recipe for use later, don’t forget. When the panic over nothing sweet on my brunch table hit me, I literally had 30 minutes before my guests arrived. That is how fast you can whip these up. It’s almost certain that you are going to have the ingredients on hand as well, you can skip the raisins and they are simple cinnamon swirls. You can skip the icing as well. Easy, right?

My point is, these are a lifesaver and there are not many recipes that taste this darn good AND save your hiney in times of trouble.

Are these a staple in anyone else’s home? I know I have been eating them since I was a kid, my Mom has been making them for as long as I can remember. These were also her “panic” recipe when there was a last-minute treat needed for company.

Happy baking everyone!

Love you more than brunch,


Quickie Cinnamon Rolls
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Total time
A family favorite since I was a child, the Company's Coming Cinnamon Roll recipe! Mere minutes is all it takes for a delicious cinnamon roll fresh from the oven!
Serves: 12
  • 2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cold butter
  • 1 cup milk

  • Cinnamon topping:
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinamon
  • ⅓ cup chopped raisins
  • My Homemade Buttery Vanilla Glaze
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until it's the size of small peas. Mix in the milk until the dough forms a ball.
  2. Turn out the dough onto light floured surface and roll into 12 x 8
  3. inch rectangle
  4. Combine the first three topping ingredients and spread them onto the dough. Sprinkle the raisins over the top and then roll up the dough jelly-roll style.
  5. Cut into 12 even pieces.
  6. Place into muffin cups and bake at 400 until the rolls are browned and the cinnamon mixture is bubbling.
  7. Cool slightly, then remove from the tins.
  8. Glaze with my buttery Vanilla Glaze.


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Where I Ate Wednesdays – Podcast 3: Ampersand 27, Provincial Pub & North 53 Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:17:09 +0000 Where I Ate Wednesdays – Podcast 3: Ampersand 27, Provincial Pub & North 53

This episode of Where I Ate Wednesdays featured Provincial Pub, Ampersand 27 and North 53. AKA the episode where Karlynn gets snubbed for a food event.

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Where I Ate Wednesdays – Podcast 3: Ampersand 27, Provincial Pub & North 53

This episode of Where I Ate Wednesdays featured Provincial Pub, Ampersand 27 and North 53. Try to ignore my bitterness over not being invited to the North 53 menu event OR embrace it.

Listen here:


Food pics time! Make sure to listen to the podcast and then scroll the pics to see some of the food!

The tuna at Ampersand 27 – delightful!

The pig’s ear pad thai at Ampersand 27 – nicely done.


The pork cheek pastrami that knocked our socks off at Ampersand 27! Also the one where Phil hogged all the spaetzle.



My tuna BLT and soup at Provincial Pub.

The dessert at Provincial Pub.



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Chewy Citrus Gingerbread Cookies Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:59 +0000 Chewy Citrus Gingerbread Cookies

Chewy Citrus Gingerbread Cookies using citrus gold : Meyer Lemons!

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Chewy Citrus Gingerbread Cookies

I found a bag of Meyer lemons recently…and it was like striking gold in the middle of winter. Like finding a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. How they were in stock, I don’t know. I can’t even remember where I found them, but I do remember that I might have gasped and reached for that bag as quickly as humanly possible.

I’ve hoarded them. My son eats them plain, enjoying the sour tang of them. A zesty taste that’s right between a lemon and an orange, these little jewels are amazing to bake with.

I knew immediately that I was going to try them with gingerbread cookies. The chance to play around with Meyer Lemons comes so rarely that I wanted to try it out on a combo that is one of my favorites. Citrus and gingerbread are a match made in heaven.

While you may not have Meyer Lemons – as they show up on rare occasions and then disappear again for months – you can use orange or lemon for these cookies. The sugar will coat the zest and add the needed sweetness to the outside of the cookies.

Happy Christmas baking everyone!



Chewy Citrus Gingerbread Cookies
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Whether you use orange or meyer lemons, this citrus twist on gingerbread cookies is absolutely amazing!
Recipe type: cookies
Serves: 2½ dozen
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fancy molasses
  • 2 tbsp citrus juice (orange, lemon or Meyer Lemon)
  • 1 tbsp citrus zest
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp citrus zest
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg followed by the molasses and citrus juice & zest.
  3. Mix in dry ingredients until they are thoroughly incoporated.
  4. Combine the white sugar and zest and place in a bowl.
  5. Roll the dough into one inch balls and swirl around the in white sugar/zest mixture unti coated.
  6. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are crispy and set.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets.



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Creamy Perogie Dinner Wed, 10 Dec 2014 03:53:03 +0000 Creamy Perogie Dinner

I was honestly surprised how much I liked this Creamy Perogie Dinner! It was seriously delicious!

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Creamy Perogie Dinner

For my second post with Campbell’s I tackled a recipe that I was really on the fence about. I knew that I was going to have to try it, but I have to be honest, my eyebrows were a bit raised over the salsa and cream of celery soup used in it.

This is exactly the type of recipe that I need this time of year, easy, fast and someone else developed it. Oh, that last part is SO true. I am a little brain-dead this time of year. I am so busy coming up with new Christmas baking ideas that I don’t have the time or the inclination to be messing around with new dinner ideas.

Add in the fact that I am hosting my dinner club this Saturday for a games and dinner night, well, I’m one busy little bird. I am baking up a storm this week getting ready for it.

So this recipe was a welcome one and I have to admit, I liked the fact that you start with bacon.

The verdict? It turned out to be really delicious and that’s coming from a Ukrainian girl who is pretty darn serious about her perogies.

It was delicious enough that Mike ate it willingly and yes, I mean my husband, not one of the kids. Sometimes he’s the one that’s the picky pants in the family. I knew that my son would like it – and he scarfed back a plate at lunch – but I wasn’t so sure about Mike. My daughter has apparently sworn off perogies, something that I haven’t told her Grandmother about yet.

Eeek. Nana is going to find out at Christmas that The Rose isn’t eating her special, Nana-made perogies anymore. I have no idea why. She literally told me ” I’ve moved on to other things.”

Sassy much?

The only thing I changed was to add more spinach and I would actually add even more next time. It was a nice fresh taste addition to the dish and I would honestly use a whole bag since it shrinks into almost nothing by the time you were done.

To keep the sodium low, make sure to use a no salt added broth AND get a lower sodium bacon for sure if it’s a concern.

Happy Cooking everyone!



TKarlynn Johnston
Prep time
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If you are a perogy lover this is the dish for you!
Serves: 4
  • 5 slices bacon, diced into small pieces
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground black pepper
  • 1 box (907 g) frozen perogies
  • 1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Celery soup
  • ½ cup (125 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Ready to Use No Salt Added Chicken broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) salsa
  • 2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach, loosely chopped
  • ¼ cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup (125mL) sour cream (garnish)
  1. Cook bacon until crisp at medium heat in large skillet. Drain bacon on paper towel; remove all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat from skillet.
  2. Add onion, garlic and black pepper to skillet; cook and stir until onions are translucent – about 3 minutes. Return bacon to pan.
  3. Add perogies to skillet and cook until browned on each side, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the soup, broth and salsa and stir to combine and let simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Add the spinach and Parmesan cheese and cover skillet with lid. Turn heat off and let sit for a couple of minutes to allow spinach to wilt slightly then mix.
  6. Garnish with sour cream and serve immediately.
Original recipe can be found here :/div>


“Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador
program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of
my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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]]> 2 Blueberry Pie Bars Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:00:18 +0000 Blueberry Pie Bars

Delicious & easy Blueberry Pie Bars...I might just have a thing for pie filling..

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]]> Blueberry Pie Bars

I um..have a thing for canned pie fillings. It’s kinda weird, I know but it must stem from my childhood when my mom used to make Cherry ChaCha all the time for dessert. That cherry pie filling dessert is still one of my very favorites to this day, even though I haven’t eaten it in years.

Do you remember Cherry ChaCha? Maybe that’s a good recipe for me to put in my cookbook. It reminds me of my childhood SO much. It was also a favorite of Mike’s in our early years of marriage, my mom used to make it for him all the time, but now he gets a store-bought pumpkin pie instead.Poor Mike.

This was fast, easy and simple to make, which is something that we all need this time of year. It also makes a large pan of bars, making it perfect to take to a party or feed a large family at the end of a meal.

This is basically a sweet, non-rising dough done in two layers with blueberry pie between those cake layers. Add on my Buttery Vanilla Glaze and you have one delicious dessert.

It’s not a super sweet dessert, which I loved. I might have had a piece for breakfast the next day…I’m not admitting anything.It might have inspired me to try to make a cherry breakfast cake for the holiday’s….it hasn’t happened yet…but it’s coming, I am sure!

I love that excepting maybe the blueberry pie filling, I am certain that you have all the ingredients for this in your panty or cupboards. I would bet however, that you do have a can of pie filling, whether it’s apple, cherry or whathaveyou and you can certainly sub in any pie filling that you like in this!

Happy Baking everyone!

Love you more than chocolate,


Blueberry Pie Bars
Prep time
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Total time
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (21 ounce) blueberry pie filling

  • Buttery Vanilla Glaze
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp melted salted butter
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Whisk together the flour and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Spread around 3½ cups of batter on the bottom of the pan. Spread a layer of pie filling across the top. Drop remaining batter on top of pie filling.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
  6. Combine the buttery vanilla glaze ingredients and drizzle over the bars. Add in more cream if you want a creamier consistency.



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Buttery Vanilla Glaze Sun, 07 Dec 2014 13:00:17 +0000 Buttery Vanilla Glaze

So I took vanilla glaze & added butter. Anyone shocked? Me neither.

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Buttery Vanilla Glaze

How have I never put butter in my vanilla glazes? I am truly disappointed in myself. This is something I should have thought of years ago. Butter (like bacon) makes everything better.

A simple vanilla glaze is a baking basic that everyone should know how to make. You need it for cakes, muffins, some cookies,sweet breads, the list goes on and on. The taste of this glaze however is far from simple.

The butter gives it a luxurious mouth feel that you just don’t get with a plain glaze and once you make this one, you’re never going back to a butter-free glaze life again. I might just have ruined you forever, I’m sorry.

Now, I don’t mess around with any lil’ bit of butter. You are going to use a full two tablespoons of melter butter in this, that’s the same amount of cream that you use as well. Heck, if you are feeling frisky, just go ahead and use three tablespoons.

 Now, I used this on my Quickie Cinnamon Buns,  (recipe soon!) a classic recipe that we have used for years in our house. However these beauties were just made better by my buttery vanilla glaze.
Keep this recipe in your back pocket for when you need an easy and delicious glaze. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Love you more than chocolate,


Buttery Vanilla Glaze
Prep time
Total time
How to make a rich, buttery vanilla glaze for your cakes, muffins and breads! Once you use butter in it, you'll never go back to a plain glaze again!
Recipe type: dessert
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp melted butter
  1. Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and stir together until there are no lumps.
  2. To adjust the consistency, add more or less cream until desired consistency has been reached.
  3. Drizzle on cakes, muffins, cinnamon buns and more!

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Gingersnap Cookie Bars With Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing Sat, 06 Dec 2014 13:00:49 +0000 Gingersnap Cookie Bars With Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing

I played with cake mix & pudding mix. Again.

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Gingersnap Cookie Bars With Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing

It’s time for a little cheater recipe! It’s really only slightly cheating, you do use a cake mix but in order to make these bars amazing you have to add a bunch of stuff in as well. Molasses, spices, mmmm. So many good things!

This is exactly what you need this holiday season, it’s so fast, easy and it’s delicious as heck. Not to mention that everyone is going to be asking you where you got the recipe since it’s one of a kind!

Mmmm. Merry Christmas to me.

The pudding mix helps to make these cookie bars chewy and as you can see in the photo below the bars bake up beautifully.

Have fun baking these! One big pan of these is perfect for a large family dessert or something fabulous to take with you to your next holiday party. Be prepared to have the recipe ready to share with others!

Happy baking everyone!





Gingersnap Cookie Bars
Prep time
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Total time
Cake mix makes these gingersnap cookie bars a real "snap" to make!
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1 box of Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 (4 serving) box of Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • ½ cup of fancy molasses
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing
  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla if wanted
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the cookies in a bowl and mix until there are no lumps. This will be an arm workout!
  3. Grease or spray a 9x13 baking pan.
  4. Place the cookie dough into the pan and spread out evenly; I butter my hands slightly and flatten it out.
  5. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cookie is set in the middle and the edges are crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  7. To make the icing:
  8. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy in a large mixing bowl. The paddle beater on a mixer works the best.
  9. Slowly add in the icing sugar and continue to beat until all the sugar is added and the mixture is smooth.
  10. Spread over the top of the completely cooled bars.
  11. Slice into square and serve!



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Turkey Lasagna Soup Fri, 05 Dec 2014 13:00:35 +0000 Turkey Lasagna Soup

This Turkey Lasagna Soup is seriously my new favorite, I may never make traditional lasagna again!

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Turkey Lasagna Soup

You guys.

This turkey lasagna soup is amazing.

This soup (stew?) was whipped up on one weekend of chaos. My friend came up for the weekend with her girls and the house was a whirl of shrieking kids, the dog barking with joy and the cat hiding in my room to avoid the aforementioned kids and dog. The noise in my house had reached sonic boom level. The adults were trying to get ready to go out for a fancy dinner and I had known I would have to feed the masses lunch at one point that day.

The masses were fed. The masses were entirely satisfied with this soup.

Sometimes I feel that I just don’t have the words to describe how awesome a recipe is and this is one of those times. I can tell you that I wondered why I ever bothered eating lasagna in its solid form. I can tell you that the cheese + lasagna noodles + rich Italian flavored base = heaven in a bowl. Words like hearty, soul satisfying and comfort food also pop into my mind.

You’re just going to have to make it and try it for yourself, I think.

Now it really is more like a stew, or a deconstructed lasagna rather than a soup with a light broth.

It’s heavy, with barely any broth to it. If you wanted, you can certainly up the broth to seven cups instead of six, see what it’s like at the end and decide.

Holy Dinah, lookit that cheese. Doesn’t that make you just sigh with delight?

So my loves, put this on your menu this week. I mean it. Make it. Sometimes I can be incredibly bossy and this is one of those times, do not skip this recipe. If you want you can sub in ground beef but there is something bang on perfect about the turkey in this recipe, plus it’s a little bit healthier for you.

You can also sub in white pasta noodles instead of whole wheat (but there is something so toothsome and right about those whole wheat noodles in a soup) and use low-fat cheese if you like. Feel free to play around with it.

Happy cooking everyone! Let me know what you think!



Turkey Lasagna Soup
Prep time
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Total time
Oh my word, soup does not get better than this! It's literally turkey lasagna in soup form!
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups strong chicken broth (for a thinner soup, add 7-8 cups)
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (12.5 oz) tomato paste
  • 1½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1-2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp vegetable seasoning
  • 8 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into bite sized pieces
  • 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Combine all of the ingredients excepting the noodles and mozza cheese into a large crockpot.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Around 40 minutes before serving, add in the lasagna noodles. Cook until tender.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Enjoy!

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Homeschooling Update: Three Months In Thu, 04 Dec 2014 20:28:20 +0000 Homeschooling Update: Three Months In

Homeschooling, the good, the bad and the reasons I drink lots of wine.

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Homeschooling Update: Three Months In

Oh… homeschooling.

I know that a lot of you have been waiting for an update and the God’s honest truth is that I have had a draft sitting in my files for two months now. I meant to do a two month update and now I’m late on the three months in, but heck, I’m going for it anyway.

We’re doing ok.

Sure, I could pretend that everything is peachy keen, that every day is full of sunshine, roses and unicorns, because I’m a crunchy granola hipster mama trying to homeschool her kids. Or something like that.

What I am, is a worn out, frazzled, full-time food/life/travel writer who has another job of working on her cookbook over the next year and was also crazy enough to homeschool her kids.

Oh, I’m tired. Perhaps December isn’t the best time of year for me to write about this, but why not. It’s a good glimpse into my life because I’m always honest with you.

This is what our kitchen table looks like when we are all working. The kids are downstairs with me and tackle their work while I also try to tackle mine. My own – excepting cookbook work- is a solid 4-5 hours a day, not including all the work that comes up in December and not including cooking/baking time. I try not to think about cooking time because I might cry if I think about how long my days are in actuality.

Enough whining from me on that subject, however, my point is that I have to try to get those 5 daily hours of writing and photo editing/taking time done while helping the kids homeschool.

And you know what, we’re doing ok. I could not, however, in any way, shape or form, do this without Mike working from home as well and helping with the school. He’s lucky enough that he has a writer for his websites, which helps out his workload immensely. Otherwise, we would be screwed. Completely.

Mike will take over when I need time to write and take photos and the kids will go upstairs to our computer area and work there.

My kitchen looks like this FAR too often lately and I can’t work like this. I just can’t. I might have had a little teary meltdown last week when my kitchen was oh, three times worse than this?

I just cannot function like this. This is my workspace. This is my creative space. This makes me cry.

Luckily, I have Mike who has no problem cleaning up the kitchen for me so that I have sanity.

The curriculum we are doing is aligned with what they do in school and has me thinking that it looks good on paper, but doesn’t translate to real life. I look at the amount of paperwork in binders and think my kids never brought this amount home from school.  My daughters math binder is almost full, three months in. I NEVER saw this amount of work from them, from their school and that’s not including the fact that with homeschooling all tests, quizzes and even some assignments are online. I am really starting to wonder if this curriculum was just written out on paper and it “appeared” there was enough time to do it.

The warning bells went off when we were told that the schoolwork should take up the same time as an entire school day. Um, say what? No, it shouldn’t. Homeschooling is supposed to be faster because we aren’t dealing with disturbances from other kids, wasting 15 minutes settling kids in after recess, have one on one time instead of 27 on one etc. I know several homeschoolers and one of them – my mother’s teaching aide in her classroom – was done in two hours in the morning every day and she homeschooled 3 different grades. What’s happening here with this curriculum that homeschooling should take this long?

So to sum up, while I didn’t want to plan out the curriculum, I am not so sure that aligned and teacher planned was the best way to go. The supplies needed as well have had Mike and I raising our eyebrows – some of the experiment materials are a little crazy for Grade 4 and 6. Yes, we luckily get our allotment to purchase supplies, but I think if you planned it yourself you could streamline it SO much better. Sometimes I really feel that we are running in 6 different directions just to get the supplies for each day. There’s no list of what you need, you have to go ahead and read all of the upcoming  lessons. Pain in the …you get my drift.

My mom, who just retired from teaching, commented on the amount of work expected, and SHE taught 9 grades at the same time. It’s not just me.

However, the truth of it is, with the extra work this year of writing my book, I don’t have to time to plan out a curriculum. This is what we have to do.

I have also discovered that Monday’s suck. Oh my sweet Lord, Monday’s are the worst day of the week. Do teachers deal with this at school? The kids have no interest in getting back into a routine. I have threatened – with a grain of truth – to just homeschool them 7 days a week.

We suck at transition, that’s all there is to it. If any parental yelling is going to happen, it’s on a Monday. If there are tears over hating math, it’s going to happen on a Monday.

Mondays can bite me.

So after the complaining, there is a lot of good.

When there are good days, they are so good. So very good. To be honest there are way more good days than bad. My Rose is learning how to work on her own really well and when we have good days we are done by noon, usually. We manage to be done early enough most days that we have fit in rock climbing, gymnastics, piano lessons and Cubs/Scouts for the kids. They are getting enough socialization, to be sure.


We have travelled already to BC, visited the island and will be staying in Phoenix for three months this spring. I can’t wait. This is one of the main reasons that we homeschooled this year, to travel.

My kids have not been sick for months (touch wood!). No back to school colds, nothing. We are out ALL the time, germy grocery stores and malls, shopping centres, all cesspools of germs themselves, and my kids are around other kids during the week but obviously there is something about school classrooms that are beyond a breeding ground for germs. I have been amazed that we have travelled, shopped, gone on ferries, been worn out and tired from all of it and nobody has been sick.


So is it what I expected? Mostly. I didn’t think that there would be so much work involved because like I said, I based it on what I saw come home from school.  It also doesn’t match up with what I’ve learned from other homeschoolers. So if anyone out there can comment on what I see as a discrepancy in the amount of work, I would love to hear it!

Anything you want to know that I didn’t cover? Ask away!

I’m off to drink my wine for lunch, *


*hahah kidding. Sort of.

The post Homeschooling Update: Three Months In appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

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Simple Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:00:32 +0000 Simple Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes

Easy, simple and delicious Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes.

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Simple Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes

There’s a reason that Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes are so popular; they are easy, simple and everyone likes them. They are a sure-fire hit at every dinner party, your family most likely won’t turn up their nose at these – unless it’s my daughter who eats everything plain as can be – and these potatoes are so easy to make.

I almost didn’t post this recipe because it is so well-known, but I since I know that there are a lot of first time cooks out there who frequent blogs like mine looking for advice I figured that I should.

These are perfect for those nights when you didn’t have any clue what you are eating for supper. I can’t be the only one who always has these ingredients on hand and that’s what makes them so great and such a popular recipe.

Let’s face it, December is craaaazy and not just for me. We are all rushing around so much that even I tend to forget about dinner and the simple fact that I have to feed my family at some point.

Guilt confession: cereal and milk for supper happens in December more than any other time of year. Yup. I don’t even get sandwiches made, we just grab a bowl of cereal. This year is even crazier as we are packing up to head to Phoenix for some sunshine and fun in January! Oh, yes, the house sitter is booked, we have rented a house and we are living in Arizona for three months this spring! I cannot WAIT!

Try not to hate me as I leave the winter behind this spring..will you still love me even though I will be blogging from Phoenix? Do I lose my Canuck cred for three months?

Remember, I love you more that chocolate…. does that count?


Simple Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
There's a reason this classic has been around forever, roasted potatoes with rosemary are the perfect side for almost every meal out there!
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds of small white-skinned potatoes, cleaned
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half and toss in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary until the potatoes are well coated.
  3. Spread the potatoes out into 1 layer on a large baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for an hour or until browned and crisp, making sure to turn the potatoes at least three times during roasting to ensure even browning.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve.


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Why I Want To Move To Cowichan Bay, BC Sat, 29 Nov 2014 13:00:50 +0000 Why I Want To Move To Cowichan Bay, BC

That's it, I'm packing my bags and moving somewhere warmer.

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Why I Want To Move To Cowichan Bay, BC

Let’s dream, shall we? We are in the middle of a serious dump of snow here in Edmonton and it’s about this time of year I really start daydreaming about warmer places to live.

This October when we were in BC we headed on over to Vancouver Island. While on a day trip to Nanaimo from Victoria, we took the seaside village route, of course. Once I saw that sign there was no turning back. Seaside village? What?! That’s only my dream place to live!

And off we went.

I’ve never been to the Island and it’s been on my list to finally get over there.

We stopped for a few family pics and while I won’t bore you with all of them, I will share this priceless gem with you all.

Yup. My daughter’s photobomb sums up our crazy family.

Cowichan Bay is literally a small, seaside village. It’s adorable. As soon as we came down a little hill and turned a corner, I gasped. Then I informed Mike we were making an unplanned stop.

Oh my word, it was love at first sight.

It’s adorable.

It has a Maritime centre that the kids loved.

It has a Cowichan Wooden Boat Society.

Within that society is a small area that the kids can build their own wooden boats, which as you can imagine, was a hit with them both.

Everything about Cowichan Bay is seriously out of a novel. I’ve pictured a place like this a million times in my head.

The marina looks out onto the large, beautiful bay. Boats rock gently in the surf, shore birds call out in a cacophony of seaside sounds and the smell of the ocean…well, either you love it or you hate it.

There was so much seaside beauty to capture in the 15 minutes without rain (seriously, that’s all I had) that I had to choose my favorite scenes. This is one of them. The long dock with buildings is where the kids were building their boats and the end building is a display of older wooden boats.

I figure I could live in a float home quite happily. There are so many adorable ones there.

Can you imagine? Oh, I can. My heart can imagine living here, at least for a while.

I have made a new bucket list item of renting a float home for a month in the summer, just to see what it’s like.

I would be set in the town for a while. There are restaurants, a pub, a few stores (yes, a lot of touristy ones)..


..and a seriously fabulous bakery.

Oh yes, I’d be ok with staying on a float home for a while in Cowichan Bay.

To be honest, when you combine the lure of the seashore and the better weather that Vancouver Island has, I’m not sure why we haven’t moved there yet. We are going to try to go back this year and stay longer, to see what the summer is like perhaps and what the other parts of the island are like as well.

For now though, I’m going to dream about living in a float home in Cowichan Bay.

Could you do it? Would you want to live in a small community like this? Perhaps not in a float home, but in a house, in a seaside village? It’s not that far of a drive to the “big city” from there…

Wishing, dreaming and planning,


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How To Make a Gin Basil Smash Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:00:01 +0000 How To Make a Gin Basil Smash

This savory drink is perfect any time of year, but it packs a powerful (and tasty!) boozy punch!

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How To Make a Gin Basil Smash

Don’t judge me.

The Scene: Nicole’s house, for a BBQ and visit with her family.

The mood:  Erm… jovial? Let’s go with jovial.

Nicole and I are both big lovers of cocktails and let’s be honest, many friendships have flourished on far more shaky foundations than one that has been built on a mutual love of a good mixed drink.

Her husband Duane is also an excellent bartender who loves mixing up delicious new concoctions whenever he has the opportunity. The cocktail of choice for this dinner was a Gin Basil smash, perfectly suited to the sultry warm summer evening.

That particular evening Nicole and I sat out on her deck, sipping our Gin Basil Smashes and chatting, waiting until it was time to start supper. When the time came to start prepping the her Best of Bridge Stacked Pizza we headed on in to the kitchen.

When we went to start dinner prep in the kitchen (ok fine, Nicole went to start the prep and I took my almost-finished gin smash-#2 of the evening-with me and leaned on the counter to watch her) I wondered why the heck I felt so flushed.

Phew. That kitchen was hot, or at least it must have been since my cheeks were flushed a bright pink. I patted my cheek, felt the world tilt justateensybit and thought…hmm…

“Hey Nicole” I said, between the final sips of my second gin smash in 45 minutes ” What exactly is in these drinks?”

“Hey Duane!” she yelled out to him as he BBQ’d up the pork ” What’s in those gin smashes?”

Duane came in, wiped his hands clean from the BBQ and said:

“Lemon juice, simple syrup and 4 shots of gin.”

When we collectively gathered our jaws off the floor and stopped laughing, Nicole and I might have give him a hard time about how he should have warned us that he was handing out cocktails that had four ounces of hard liquor in them.

Cocktails with four ounces of hard liquor, I might add, that we were drinking like iced tea on a hot summer’s day.

Holy Dinah.

In truth, it’s a good thing that I inherited some mighty fine drinking abilities from my Ukrainian and Russian ancestors and that eight ounces of hard liquor in less than an hour didn’t faze me past some flushed cheeks and a little tilt, however you might want to warn your guests that this is a mighty fine sipping drink that packs a powerful punch!

Most gin recipes have only two ounces in them and yes, feel free to adjust this if you want. The thing is…these are seriously delicious with four ounces. There is something just right about the ratio going on in this drink. You could split in half entirely to make a single gin smash if you wanted, but I suspect that it will go down just as smooth and as fast as this one did.

This drink shouldn’t be reserved to the summertime either, in fact, I’m pretty much a citrus cocktail lover year-round. The savory twist in this makes it perfect for your holiday gathering in fact.

I would also add that you shouldn’t be scared of the basil in the recipe, it’s one heck of a delicious cocktail! I’ve had a lot of people wrinkle up their nose at both gin and basil and I’ve learned that if you haven’t had either of those in a GOOD drink, then that’s the problem. This is a spectacular gin drink and I have been converted over to the dark side of loving gin, all thanks to this drink.

Happy drinking! (that always sounds so wrong, but really, what else do I write here?)



For those who asked what a muddler is, this is the exact one I use! You can pick it up on Amazon for cheap!

For my Canadian readers:

For my US readers:


How To Make a Gin Basil Smash
Prep time
Total time
Deadly but seriously delicious, this gin basil smash has 4 ounces of gin in it! Make sure to take 'er easy!
Recipe type: cocktail
Serves: 1
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 4 ounces good quality gin
  • ice cubes
  1. Combine basil leaves, simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Crush the basil till bruised with a muddler, which will release the oils. The juice might start to turn green, this is ok!
  3. Pour in the gin and ice cubes, place lid on top of the shaker.
  4. Shake the container until the outside of the cocktail shaker is freezing cold.This is how you know the drink is cold enough!
  5. Strain into a tall cocktail glass, add additional ice to the top and enjoy!


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The Best of Bridge Stacked Pizza Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:06 +0000 The Best of Bridge Stacked Pizza

Easy, fast & vegetarian phyllo stacked pizza. Totally my new favorite appetizer.

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The Best of Bridge Stacked Pizza

You know what I appreciate the very most as a food writer/ recipe developer?

When other people cook for me. Oh yes indeed, I do. That might be the reason we eat out a lot for dinner, after spending hours in my kitchen baking for my new cookbook that is on the way, I am ready for someone else to do the work. I LOVE when other people make dinner, whether it’s friends, family or a restaurant.It is such a treat for me.

The family and I went over to Nicole’s (the mind behind VV Boutique Style) for dinner and a visit a while back and we were treated to a feast fit for royalty. meaning that it was far too good for the likes of us.

We also went to see their new puppy and yes, River is a puppy. She’s a Burmese Mountain Dog and was already larger than Root Beer will ever be when we saw her at a mere couple of months old.

I want one. Look at those eyes and that face! Ack!!

Ok, back to the food. Nicole made a seriously amazing phyllo pizza for us to eat and while it makes a great appetizer for large groups I daresay that it would be great as a main meal for a family of four.

Phyllo sheets are pulled apart, have butter brushed in-between them and pressed together to make an amazing crust. Tomatoes, onions and basil are the main flavors of this pizza making it a great vegetarian appetizer as well.

This recipe is straight from the Best of Bridge cookbooks which are some of the best cookbooks out there.

Did I mention the cheese?

Parmesan is sandwiched between the phyllo.

Mozzarella tops it.

Oh yes, there is cheese my friends.

I absolutely fell in love with this. The light phyllo pastry is so much better than a traditional pizza crust in so many ways, especially for an appetizer. While it’s slightly finicky to work with, once you get a rhythm going it’s easy. Especially if you were the one watching Nicole do all the work while enjoying a gin basil smash.

Ohh. Those Gin Basil Smashes. You know what, that’s another story. Come back in a day or two for that one!

As for this, make it for your holiday parties, make it for your dinner, I don’t care if you eat it in a shoe with a goat on a hill (you’re welcome for completely wrecking Dr Seuss there) you need to eat this, and soon!




Stacked Pizza
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The classic stacked pizza from the Best of Bridge Books is an easy and amazing appetizer!
Serves: 6
  • 7 sheets phyllo pastry
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • shredded basil leaves to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Thaw and prepare phyllo to package instructions. Make sure to cover the extra phyllo with a damp paper towel while creating the pizza.
  3. Place the first sheet of phyllo on a baking sheet, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese.
  4. Repeat layers until of the all sheets are used.
  5. Press down firmly so that the layers will stick together.
  6. Sprinkle the top sheet with mozzarella and onions. Arrange tomato slices on top. Season with oregano, salt and pepper and basil leaves.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges are golden.


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My Sears Wishbook Christmas Memories & A Sears Giftcard Giveaway! Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:00:36 +0000 My Sears Wishbook Christmas Memories & A Sears Giftcard Giveaway!

My Sears Wishbook Christmas Memories! Win one of (3) $50 Sears Giftcards!

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My Sears Wishbook Christmas Memories & A Sears Giftcard Giveaway!

As all of you know, I am absolutely, without a doubt crazy about Christmas. My baking starts in November, my Christmas tree is up as soon as I can harangue Mike into getting it out from storage and Christmas carols are on the music playlist starting as soon as I can get away with it -which is usually as soon as I start baking those Christmas cookies for bribery.

I have loved Christmas for as long as I can remember, and that love has just grown deeper every year— tripling even—when I had my own children. When I was asked to share my Christmas memories I didn’t even know where to start.

Who in our generation hasn’t spent time circling the items they wanted in the Sears Wish Book for weeks before Christmas? Who didn’t colour code pens with their brother and sister, making sure that no one circled the same thing twice in the same colour so that there was no mistaking whose choice was whose? We would wait anxiously every year for my Mom and Dad to bring out the new Wish Book and it wasn’t limited to toys. Oh no! I used to pour over every page of that book!

My very favourite childhood memory, however, has to do with a Cabbage Patch Doll. Oh, I can just feel some of you nodding your heads and smiling in agreement.

It was 1985, one of the crazy years when Cabbage Patch Kids exploded across North America. Those dolls were on every wish list of every girl I knew back then, and my nine-year-old self was no exception. I desperately wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll more than anything else on my Christmas list.

Christmas morning came that year and I remember looking through all of the gifts, anxiously searching for one that had the same measurements of the box that would house a Cabbage Patch Doll. My little heart sank when I couldn’t find a single one. I set aside two boxes that I still had hope for and proceeded to open up everything else before them.

I opened the first box to find socks and a pair of slippers. Anti-climactic or what! I know that I should be happy about socks and slippers and grateful for all presents, but that memory is a clear as glass to me; I just wanted to throw them aside and see what was next. I remember that moment whenever my kids are given items like that, let’s face it; socks and underwear are not exciting. Gratitude, yes. Excitement? Well, not so much.

That last box held my final hope for my Cabbage Patch Kid and to this day I remember what it felt like when I opened that box and found her inside.  The joy, the surprise and the excitement of that moment is something I have always hoped to create with my own kids at Christmas.

Oh yes, I still have her. Her shoes, tights and original dress are somewhere in my daughter’s room, in a bin full of all my Cabbage Patch things. I haven’t kept much from my childhood but my dolls and dresses are now being played with by my daughter. Her hair used to be in braids, I believe, and her name is Celeste.

That box, with my first Cabbage Patch Kid, had come from my Grandma in Winnipeg. I’m not sure how or when she found it, but obviously she had to re-package the doll so she could send it by Greyhound affordably, instead of one of those huge boxes that they used to come in.

This very reminiscent post also has a fabulous giveaway attached!

Sears has three (3) $50 gift cards for me to giveaway to you guys! Merry Christmas to you!

Make sure to head on over to and check out all the amazing things they have in store for Christmas!

The rules are the same, you get many choices chances to enter in the form below! Good luck everyone! This is open to Canadian residents only!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How To Make Dill Pickle Soup Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:53:11 +0000 How To Make Dill Pickle Soup

How to Make Delicious Dill Pickle Soup that tastes just like eating dill pickle chips, according to Mike. Are you game?

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How To Make Dill Pickle Soup

I have been wanting to make dill pickle soup for as long as I can remember, since my mom mentioned to me in passing that she loved a certain dill pickle soup from a diner in central Alberta. This desire was rekindled when I saw a picture from a fellow Albertan food writer about her dill pickle soup this summer.

I was intrigued by people’s response to it. Loved it? Favorite soup? Gross?

Say what?

Yes indeed, dill pickle soup elicits a love or hate reaction from people, there is no in-between.

When Mike ate this – with his nose wrinkled up in disgust at the mere thought of dill pickle soup- he exclaimed after a few bites “This is just like eating dill pickle chips! Oh my God, this is amazing!”.

So if you are a lover of dill pickle chips, this soup is absolutely for you. If you love pickles, you may not love it like Mike did but I think that you should definitely try this soup. Fair warning, this may not be kid friendly.My daughter wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole and my son told me “It’s good in small amounts, but then it was overpowering.”

He’s absolutely right; this isn’t something you eat to fill up. You are going to need biscuits or bread with it as it’s a very potent soup. Delicious, but potent.

I riffed on the Western Producer recipe that was posted this summer and made a few tweaks. I didn’t use flour, I didn’t use celery (it’s my least favorite item in soups) and I’ve upped the pickles and juice for a better flavor. Cream always makes a soup better, you use less and it gives the soup a much richer flavor.

The most important thing with this soup is to get the vegetables chopped as small as possible. It’s not supposed to be a chunky soup and even though chunky soups are my absolute favorite, this is definitely not the soup for it. It needs to be creamy with small bits of pickles and vegetables.

So about that celery; I honestly don’t think that flavorwise it needs to be there. Texture-wise I’m completely grossed out even thinking about it but if you are a celery lover and you feel that this soup needs it, then go for it. If I really thought it needed the flavor I would have used some celery seed but in all honesty this was perfect for us. I won’t tweak this recipe, change any amounts ever and that is a rare thing for me to say.

You can make a few changes, like adding cornstarch to thicken at the end (try not to use flour, am I the only one who can taste it in soups sometimes?) and adding more cream if the soup is a little too strong for you. Taste test and add what you need.

I highly suggest pureeing the soup at the end instead of using thickeners and you have a lovely gluten free soup (make sure that your pickles and vegetable broth are gluten free). If you chop your vegetables small enough those potatoes are going to fall apart and thicken the soup for you and that’s the best way flavor-wise.


Who’s on board with trying this soup? Yay or nay? Will you trust me enough to give it a whirl?




Dill Pickle Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Dill pickle soup? You betcha! If you love pickles or dill pickle chips you are going to love this soup!
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 6
  • 6 cups strong vegetable broth
  • ½ white onion
  • 12 baby carrots
  • 2 peeled medium to large russet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 cup chopped pickles
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 1 cup half and half
  1. Pour the vegetable broth into a crockpot and set on low.
  2. Take the potatoes, carrots and onion and using a food processor, grind until the vegetables are in small chunks. Alternatively, chop up your vegetables as small as you can. This soup should be a smooth soup, not chunky.
  3. Place into the crockpot and add the dill.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the vegetables are tender and falling apart.
  5. Around half an hour before serving, add in the pickle and the pickle juice. MAKE SURE that your vegetables are cooked or the acid can stop the cooking process (just like it does in pickling!) and you will have hard vegetables. Add in the pickle juice slowly and TO TASTE. You can have different strengths of pickle juice! Add it in until you are happy with the taste.
  6. Take a hand blender if you have one and blend about ⅓ of the soup before serving. This thickens the soup without flour and I think this adds to the taste; there's no flour taste in the soup, just pure pickled goodness. I try to avoid flour whenever I can in soups.
  7. Stir in the half and half cream a few minutes before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!


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Christmas in November 2014: The Presenters! Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:19:47 +0000 Christmas in November 2014: The Presenters!

Christmas in November 2014: The Presenters! Oh what an all star line up it was for 2014!

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Christmas in November 2014: The Presenters!

My last post on my trip to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and their fabulous Christmas in November event is all about the presenters! Oh, the line-up of superstar presenters this year was amazing! Chef Lynn Crawford, Chef’s Anna and Micheal Olson, even some local celebrity restaurant owners were in the mix this year!

I wasn’t too sure how smart I was, booking the craft session with Chris Standring first thing in the morning after a Friday night full of wine and food.

However this was the one session that I wanted to take to push my boundaries a bit. I am not crafty and to be honest, being faced with this pile of random crafty bits first thing in the morning completely intimidated me!

However, under the talented guidance of a holiday decor master (Chris) I was able to pull this off.

Eh? Not bad for someone who is entirely two left thumbs when it comes to floral arranging!

We were guided through three different styles of arrangements, with this wide one being my favorite. All of the materials and the really cool disk that lights up underneath the arrangement were included in your course.

I really liked that I had a fabulous take-away from this session, and in fact it’s now sitting on the table in my front entryway!

I have mentioned before – especially in my Christmas in November “Edmonton Prize Pack”  Giveaway - how happy I was that local restaurants were invited to present at this year’s Christmas in November. There were a few last year but this year the focus was very evident! Charcut from Calgary was invited and I made sure to sit in on their session as I adore their restaurant and Connie & John are seriously the nicest people ever.

Plus, did I mention that they served Caesar’s in their session? Oh yes, they did and these two know how to make an amazing Caesar!

Did I also mention that they made bacon fudgsicles?

Mind blown, right there folks.

Liane Faulder and I caught the duo trying to get some work done in a quiet corner in the lodge and of course had to sneak some pictures. What she didn’t know is that I was sneakily taking a picture of her taking a picture and this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Now I was lucky enough that I was invited to attend all of the events that are included in the VIP package for Christmas in November. This package is the ultimate upgrade for any food lover. The package includes:

  • Private Cooking Demo with Chef Lynn Crawford
  • Private Cooking Demo & VIP Reception with Chef Corbin Tomaszeski (package 1) and Chef Bob Blumer (package 2 & 3) 
  • Presenter-Hosted Table at Gala Dinner (This was SUPER fun!!)
  • Private Book Signing with Lynn Crawford
  • 20% off Jasper Spa Getaway package for future stays

I took a lot of pictures in the Chef Corbin Cooking Demo which was a serious hoot!

First, you started with champagne. EVERYTHING starts with champagne at Christmas in November.

Then Chef Corbin taught us how to make Baked Alaska! This was a very small, intimate session where you really were able to talk with Chef Corbin, which was so much fun.

Not only did he show you how to make them, there were small Baked Alaska’s for everyone to share afterwards! Champagne and Baked Alaska, what could be better?

The really lovely part of the VIP package sessions is that the chefs come out and talk, visit, chat, get their pictures taken and have a fun time.

Another neat class was Cocktails with Micah Dew, a talented mixologist who taught us how to make several different cocktails, including my husbands favorite, the Whiskey Sour! I will be making it at home, and soon!

I made sure to visit the session that had our local Edmonton talent and I was very excited to see what Dani and Chef Edgar from Tres Carnales had in store for us.

Their session was certainly one of the prettiest ones there!

Hmm, spices, dried fruit? These were combined to make a traditional Mexican punch that was absolutely scrumptious! I don’t have picture because I was actually up at the front helping them make it!

So now the final answer to my Christmas in November Edmonton Prize Pack Giveaway  is that the Tres Carnales session was my favorite of all! Make sure you go and enter the contest and good luck everyone!

The session with Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards was a must-attend for me! Elizabeth Baird has recently become a member of the Order of Canada and is a Canadian food icon. Emily Richards is a well-known cookbook author and a member of the Canadian Living Test Kitchen. Their session was all about Christmas desserts!

What was lovely about the sessions is that if you are at the back you can still see the action on the screens in the room.

The class featured Italian Amaretti, a gorgeous almond based cookie that are perfect for the holidays.

The recipe for Raspberry Rugulah Pinwheels however was my favorite. These beauties are just waiting to be baked, but I was able to taste a fully baked one at the end of the session.

Yes, more food! Almost every session was food, food and more food!

The end result of their presentations was showing us how to make a small dessert plate, perfect for the holidays.

Of course, I had to get my picture taken with these two lovely ladies!

I also took a photo of Liane as well, what a trio of talent this is!

Chef Lynn Crawford’s session was wild, crazy fun!

There were Christmas Carols, dancing and Jasper’s longest apple strudel. Oh, did I forget to mention rum shots? There were rum shots happening as well. Just another day, you know, hanging around with celebrity chefs, drinking rum.

Dan Clapson was right in there helping along! He is a writer from Calgary who not only has his own website but writes for the Food Network as well.

I took a video in her session after the strudel had been completed and had to be moved to the ovens! I heard that it made it most of the way in one piece, but since it had to be broken up by baking sheet to be baked anyways, I think they did a great job!

Chef Lynn was such a positive, happy. energetic person that I really hope she returns again to the event. She is truly one of my favorite chefs not only for her culinary talent, but for her great attitude as well.

All in all, the sessions were the highlight of the event! The chance to mix and mingle with Food Network stars, to listen to them teach us how to cook, how to prepare, how to entertain for the Christmas season was something I will never forget! When you add in the local talent, it made for an amazing three days!

I  compare Christmas in November to being on a cruise ship; you are ensconced in this amazing little world where you are fed food and wine, entertained by the finest talent around and party like there’s no end in sight. You get to dress up in your fancy clothes, meet new and old friends and basically have no worries for three whole days. There’s really nothing else comparable to it events-wise around these parts.

I’d like to thank the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for their generosity in hosting me for Christmas in November and helping me to check an item off my bucket list! I am so grateful that I had the chance to do this and am spoiled absolutely rotten!

Now, who’s coming with me next year??!

Love you more than Christmas,


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Christmas in November 2014 : The Food Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:00:09 +0000 Christmas in November 2014 : The Food

Christmas in November 2014 - the food! Oh, the glorious food that we ate over those three blissful days!

The post Christmas in November 2014 : The Food appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Christmas in November 2014 : The Food

The second part of my three posts on Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park lodge is going to be alllll about food! Oh yes. I swear, all I did was eat, drink and wander from amazing session to amazing session! Three whole days of it, what total food bliss!

The first sit down meal was the Merry Luncheon and as you can see, it was a feast for lunch!

The sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) soup was hot, tasty and hit the spot on a cold afternoon. I had never actually eaten sunchoke before so I was very pleased to try it out. This was my favorite soup of the entire three days, most likely because there was bacon in it!

Oh, you always have me at sablefish! This flaky whitefish is actually higher in Omega’s than salmon, which makes it perfect for my family since Mike won’t eat any strong-tasting fish. Sablefish (also known as black cod) flakes apart in buttery,mild tasting, palate-pleasing layers when cooked properly. This sablefish was perfectly done, much to my delight.

The white chocolate and Saskatoon flavor combination in the bread pudding is one of my longtime favorites, nothing quite suits our glorious prairie berry as well as white chocolate! The fact that they were baked into a warm bread pudding made this my favorite dessert of the weekend. You almost always win me over by using Saskatoon berries in your dessert.

Drinks? Oh my yes, there were drinks everywhere! Wine with meals, at the cocktail hour before dinner and even IN the sessions! This is a Caesar  from the session with Charcut and let me tell you, Connie and John make some seriously tasty Caesar’s!

The Holiday Dinner on the Saturday night started out with a goat cheese and beet salad and was shortly followed by my favorite dish of the entire weekend: this Spring Creek Beef Tenderloin.

So there’s your next answer for my “ A Christmas in November “Edmonton Prize Pack Giveaway”!  Go and find the blog post comment entry on the big entry form that asks you what my favorite dish was for the entire weekend and you can get another TWO entries! So my favorite food was the Spring Creek Beef Tenderloin.

This magical meal melted in my mouth. (Hello, alliteration). It was so tender, so perfectly cooked and an amazing cut of beef.

Dessert came in the form of a milk chocolate hazelnut bar with espresso flake ice cream.

You had me at chocolate and hazelnut.

Breakfast was a lovely buffet before I rushed off to my sessions. When it came time for the Festive Lunch on Sunday, we were greeted with another steaming hot bowl of comforting soup, this time a squash soup with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh chives.

The main course was salt brined Alberta free range turkey with buttermilk mashed potatoes, dried fruit stuffing and turkey gravy. This was my second favorite dish of my entire stay, but now sadly any turkey I make at home is going to pale in comparison to this! The turkey was exactly how I can never make it at home; juicy without any dryness at all. That salt brine worked wonders!

Even at lunch, your desserts are spectacular! Pumpkin cheesecake with winterspiced cream? Yes please! And don’t you just love how they deconstructed the cheesecake itself? I love how it’s sitting on a graham wafer instead of a crust, what a fun touch!

Then, because we hadn’t ate nearly enough decadent, scrumptious food, it was time for the gala dinner. Please forgive my candlelight food photos, it is so hard to shoot food in dim light but I knew that I wanted to share these with you all!

This plate consisted of ravioli with braised beef short rib, wild mushroom ragout and Sylvan Star Gouda bringing the taste factor up to a 10 out of 10. If that tenderloin above hasn’t been so darn amazing, this might have topped the list. My only complaint was that I didn’t have more!

A crispy endive, radicchio and frisee salad followed, to refresh our palates after a heavier pasta start.

The buttermilk brined Alberta Pork tenderloin was perfectly done, slightly pink the middle and juicy as can be. Paired with mashed potatoes, honey glazed vegetables it was certainly the star of the Gala Dinner!

Then it was time for my favorite, course; dessert. The talented culinary team at the Fairmont didn’t let us down, a decadent vanilla panna cotta was encased in a Bernard Callebaut milk chocolate cup, the perfect exquisite end to a sumptuous gala meal!

The main thing that wowed me was the quality of good that is included in your package for Christmas in November. Remember, the package is ALL INCLUSIVE, which means your drinks during cocktail hours, your wine with dinner and all of your meals. I was asked by a friend when I got back if I truly thought the event was worth the price ($999 a person for my weekend three night package) and my answer was a resounding yes. 

When you tally up what eating out like this on vacation costs you – and we are talking (4) three course meals of amazing quality, breakfast buffet two mornings, continental breakfast and buffet lunch the morning you leave, not to mention that the Welcome Reception your first night has SO many food stations (seafood, poutine, dessert, chacuterie and cheese, to name maybe only half!), wine and cocktails galore, we are talking this makes up for literally half your package cost. More, actually, if you are Ukrainian like me and can handle your wine and cocktails better than the average person  ;).

Mike was very sad that I didn’t bring him this year when he saw all the photos coming rolling in from the event  and I will definitely be bringing him the next time I attend, the food alone had him sad and lonely watching my Instagram! Poor Mike.  

So stay tuned for the last – and the very best part!- of my three post series on Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge! It will be up tomorrow morning first thing! It’s all about the sessions! The famous food presenters! The best part of Christmas in November! Well, actually, to be honest, it might be tied with the food and wine part. I was utterly gobsmacked at the quality of food I was fed all weekend!

Love you more than Christmas,





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Christmas in November 2014: The Fun! Mon, 17 Nov 2014 19:38:40 +0000 Christmas in November 2014: The Fun!

Christmas in November, the FUN! There was too much fun to even cover in one post!

The post Christmas in November 2014: The Fun! appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Christmas in November 2014: The Fun!

As you all know, I was a guest of the Fairmont this past week for their amazing annual event, Christmas in November. Christmas in November is the pinnacle of food events in Alberta and something that has been on my bucket list for years now.

Every November the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is flooded with visitors attending this renowned event. The halls are decked, the gorgeous Christmas tree is placed in their lobby and the preparations of the past year are put into place.

Food Networks celebrities such as Chef Lynn Crawford, Chefs Anna and Micheal Olson and more fly in to entertain guests in fairly small, intimate sessions, allowing us star-struck fans the opportunity to listen to them, learn from them and yes, even chat with them and get our pictures taken.

While I will get into the presenters later, this post is going to be all about the fun. I didn’t want to do a daily recap, I wanted to split up the experience into the three main parts of Christmas in November.

The Fun. The Food. The Presenters. All in that order over the next three days for your reading pleasure.

Most of you know that I am a Fairmont girl, staying in them whenever and wherever I can. Not only are they usually the oldest, most beautiful hotels in the city (the Seattle Olympic Fairmont started my love affair with this amazing hotel line) but the level of personalized service to each and every guest is unparalleled.

My true love however, is the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, of which I have written about a few times. We spent spring break with the kids there last year, in the most relaxing week our family has had in ages.  It’s rustic, quiet, peaceful and has the most beautiful setting and property for walking and rejuvinating.

Being a lover of nature and an outdoors girl, this is my happy place. What could be better than an excellent lodging, food and customer service in the middle of all this natural beauty?

Now, here’s the answer to an entry question for my Christmas in November “Edmonton Prize Pack” Giveaway   “What is Karlynn’s favorite part of staying at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge?”

The answer: the amazing mountain scenery.

Make sure to go and enter the contest and stay tuned for the final two answers coming up in my next posts!

The main lodge is decked out in full Christmas glory for Christmas in November and while it is certainly beautiful during the day….

…after night falls the lodge is simply spectacular.

When you arrive in your room, you will be greeted with gifts, which I am sure change from year to year. This year two of my favorite items were Lynn Crawford’s newest cookbook and a lovely handcream. Not only that, but a bottle of champagne and snacks also awaited me! How spoiled am I?

The first evening you will head out to a Welcome reception, where there will be food, wine and even more food.

I even took a selfie to show you all I can get gussied up for events once in a while and as a side bonus, there’s my lovely room (ful of my stuff!) at the Fairmont.

Now, some of my experiences are with the VIP package that you can upgrade to with your Christmas in November experience, this is important to remember. I will be posting about the different  events and I will always mention when it’s a VIP package only part.

These beautiful ladies are called The Willows and were the main wandering entertainment at Christmas in November. Oh, I loved these girls! If you love some beautiful Christmas music, you seriously need to go and download their single. I already have, it’s a new favorite for Christmas in our house! I seriously expect it to be in a Gap commercial ASAP, it’s that cute and snappy.

You can listen to their new single on their website, but they were carolling the classics at Christmas in November for us all.

At the Welcome Reception I discovered that a feed of all of the best Instagram snaps were live on multiple screens. How cool is this, to see your pictures on the screen? It really added to the fun, seeing what everyone else was doing!

The main joy of Christmas in November is meeting friends, old, new and ones yet to come. I was so happy to meet several of my readers (always a serious highlight!!), people I’ve talked to on Twitter and friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Among them were Leah and Tamra from Davison Orchards, with whom I have chatted multiple times yet never met! It was so nice to meet them finally!

This was just one of many sentiments echoed time and time again by so many people at Christmas in November… ” So nice to meet you finally! “.. “So nice to see you again!”  ….. it’s really like coming home at Christmas and seeing old friends and family again.

Every day is full of food, sessions and fun. You wake up, have breakfast, go to your sessions. Then it’s time for lunch, followed by sessions and then a break before dinner. The Gala dinner on your last night is the most anticipated event of all, however!

What? Selfie#2?

I know, right? Christmas in November DOES produce miracles! You can tell from my smirk that selfies aren’t my favorite but I did want to show you my gala outfit. Sparkles AND color. Hooooo boy, I really was pushing my comfort zone of all black clothes here!

I still didn’t wear a dress, although you are certainly able to, it’s cocktail attire for the gala and the welcome reception.

That gala is certainly the highlight of the event! The food, the fun and of course, the entertainment!

This was a crazy, ridiculously fun “Chopped” Christmas in November event during the gala. Judged by no less than Lynn Crawford herself, teams were chosen from the guest list to work together and try to make a dish out of the surprise ingredients! Each team was led by the pros that were presenting and here you can see that Emily Richards and Elizabeth Baird were the captains of the winning team! This came as no surprise to anyone! They weren’t allowed to do anything but shout directions however, so good job on their team for winning!

You can see Santa Lynn at the table judging. I’m not sure that I could think of a better Santa, come to think of it!

So that covers some of the fun of Christmas in November, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which is all about the FOOD!

Love you more than Christmas,


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Our Favorite Meatloaf From Campbell’s Soup Sun, 16 Nov 2014 23:50:52 +0000 Our Favorite Meatloaf From Campbell’s Soup

Our Best Meatloaf From Campbell's Soup! This was a family favorite!

The post Our Favorite Meatloaf From Campbell’s Soup appeared first on The Kitchen Magpie.

Our Favorite Meatloaf From Campbell’s Soup

If you are a longtime reader (or heck, even a new reader) of this site, you will know by now that I love using canned soup in recipes.  I have also been known to eat mushroom soup from the can. Yah, I admit it; I love that stuff and it does have to be ONLY Campbell’s Mushroom soup, no other will do.

So when an opportunity came up to be a Campbell’s Ambassador and cook with their soup for the next six months, you can guess how fast I said YES, please and thank you!

I am going to be short on cooking time this coming year, thanks to my first cookbook being in the works. I am going to be baking all day long and I am sure that my cooking is going to fall to the wayside. So this ambassadorship is so absolutely perfect at this point in my life that I could weep with exhausted-working-on-my-cookbook joy.

I am SO in for easy meals for dinner time because that’s all I am going to have time for during the next year.

My recipe today came straight from the Cook With Campbell’s website which is full of easy recipes and come to mention it, their motto Simple To Make. Easy to Love pretty much fits the bill.

We also need easy because Mr K is learning to cook and I mean COOK. Not just scrambled eggs, this boy is in the kitchen prepping, chopping and generally learning kitchen skills.

He looks so impressed with me, doesn’t he?

Now I (Mr K, aqctually) chopped the onion and added seasoning to the top, but other than that, the recipe is true to form.


Most important of all, the entire family ate it. I was shocked. I actually convince The Rose to eat it by telling her it was exactly like spaghetti ground beef, except baked into a pan. She bought it, hook, line and sinker and ate everything except the soup on top, of course.

It was even better cold the next day. Anyone else a cold meatload fan? In a sandwich? Oh..yum!

So every three weeks or so I will be featuring a new Campbell’s recipe and I am seriously so excited to be part of this! I’m just waiting for my mushroom soup recipe!




Our Favorite Meatloaf From Campbell's Soup
A classic meatloaf recipe from Campbell's Soup!
  • 1½ lb (680 g) ground beef
  • 1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Tomato Basil and Oregano Soup
  • ½ cup (125 mL) onion, grated
  • ½ cup (125 mL) dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup (125 mL) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp (3 mL) black pepper, ground
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • (optional : Italian seasoning)
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Combine beef, ½ can of soup, onion, breadcrumbs, parmesan, eggs, black pepper, and garlic.
  2. Transfer to a nonstick 9x5 inch (2 L) loaf pan. Spread remaining soup over top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning if wanted.
  3. Bake for 60 minutes or until instant read thermometer registers 165°F (74°C) when inserted into the center of the meatloaf. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


“Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador  program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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