The Birth of Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy

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

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

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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chicken Pieces in Mustard and Maple Syrup

This is an easy yet scrumptious way to cook chicken. Prep time is about 5 minutes so busy folks can whip this up quickly. 
You can also get it started the day before and marinade it in your refrigerator overnight.

  • 1/2 cup Dark Mustard. You can substitute Dijon if you want a milder taste but I use my homemade Beer Mustard which also has a touch of horseradish. 
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup. Please use the real stuff!
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Ground Flax Seed
  • Chicken pieces - I used legs, thighs and breasts cut in half for a total of 13 pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Rosemary
Chicken Pieces in Mustard and Maple Syrup
Mix the first 4 ingredients together and pour over the chicken pieces. Marinade in the refrigerator overnight if possible. You can cook it immediately if need be, but marinading it helps the flavours meld.

Place chicken pieces in a single layer in a foil-lined casserole dish. Pour the marinade over top then add salt and pepper to taste plus the Rosemary.

Bake at 375' for about an hour. After 30 minutes turn chicken pieces over and baste with marinade if needed. Test internal temperature as it should be 165' before serving. 

If you want your chicken pieces super browned, just turn on the broiler for a few minutes. 

I served mine with baked potatoes and steamed asparagus but it would also be good with a salad and brown rice. 

Credits: The original recipe was found on but this is my tweaked version

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Healthy Kid Friendly Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable-Meat Meatballs over Spaghetti Noodles

A few days ago I made this amazing dinner of spaghetti squash plus vegatable-meat meatballs on top of spaghetti. It sounds odd but it was really good. 

The best part? It is super healthy and you are hiding the fact that there are vegetables in the meatballs if you have fussy eaters.

Hubs and I like our vegetables so when I made this I left the vegetables that are in the meatballs chunky rather than pureed completely. But you can puree them with no difference in flavour in the final dish.

Let me walk you through this yummy healthy meal! For busy moms this is perfect because I"m going to show you how to cook much of it ahead of time, freeze the layers separately and then defrost, assemble and heat for 30 minutes.

Ready for oven
Step 1: Take a spaghetti squash, cut it in half, remove seeds, brush with olive oil and sea salt, put it on a tin foil covered baking sheet and roast it in a 375' oven for about 45 minutes. 

Squash done
When it is cool use a fork to remove the strands of squash. If they don't come out looking like spaghetti don't worry about it! Mine came out in clumps but that is okay. 

Set the squash aside. You will either freeze this in an airtight container for later use or start assembling the layers if you are making the dish for today's dinner. 

Marinara Sauce + Cooked Squash
First Layer: Put a thin layer of Marinara Sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish then add the squash innards that you removed with a fork. 

I make my own Marinara sauce but you can buy decent ready-made Marinara in most grocery stores. 


Step 2: Now you are ready to make the meatballs. 

You need the following ingredients for the meatballs:

1 package of ground beef (about 1 lb)
1 package of ground pork (about 1 lb)
1 medium size carrot, peeled
1 medium size onion, peeled
2 medium stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley (optional)
2 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano 
1 tsp. fine herbes 
2 tsp. ground flax seed (this is the super healthy hidden part!)

Using either your blender or food processor, pulse the carrot, onion, celery, basil, oregano and garlic until you have a paste-like substance. I left mine chunkier and we liked it but it is your choice.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the vegetable paste, beef, pork, eggs, parsley, basil, fine herbes, oregano, cheese and breadcrumbs. Use your hands and dig in! 

Meatballs ready for the oven
Using an ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into balls. It makes about 30 2-inch balls. Place the meatballs on a parchment covered baking tray and bake in a 375' oven for about 10 minutes. 

You are not cooking them until done, you are just cooking them enough that they don't fall apart when you go to the next step. 

Step 3:

Next I put the meatballs and my Marinara sauce (about 2 - 3 cups) in my slow cooker. I set it to LOW and let it cook for about 2 hours. Use your meat thermometer to be sure the internal temperature is 160'F. 

You can also simmer on low heat on top of your stove but I prefer the slow cooker method for slow easy heat. 

Meatballs out of oven

Meatballs in Marinara Sauce in slow cooker done
Now comes the fun part. You create your layers in a casserole dish and bake it in a 350' oven for 30 minutes. 

You already made your first layer of Marinara Sauce then the cooked Spaghetti Squash. 

Next layer:  put in about 1/4 to 1/3 of your Meatballs (depending on the size of your family) I used 6 of my 30 meatballs for my husband and I, plus about 1/4 of my slow cooker juices. Then I sprinkled about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese on top.

I froze the rest of the meatballs and sauce in 4 portions of 6 meatballs each. That will give us 4 more suppers. 

While your casserole dish is in the oven, make your spaghetti noodles the usual way. 

When my casserole dish of the squash and meatballs was heated through and the cheese melted, I placed the spaghetti noodles on our plates and topped them with the meatball-squash casserole dish. 

Make a small salad with this and you've got one heck of a healthy meal that kids will love!

It was incredibly tasty and the best part for anyone with fussy husbands or fussy kids who turn up their noses at vegetables or healthy foods -- you hid celery, carrots, squash and flax seed in an all-time favourite of spaghetti and meatballs! They won't notice the taste of the squash although they will probably wonder what it is. Don't tell them.

If you decide you want to cook the ingredients and freeze for future meals, I would freeze the squash separately from the Meatball Marinara mixture. Then defrost and assemble them as a casserole and bake for 30 minutes as directed above. 

Tip: You can also make your spaghetti noodles ahead of time and freeze them. I do that all the time for my Minestrone soup pasta. When I pull out a cup size portion of my soup from the freezer I don't want to make 8 pieces of pasta so I also have my portion sizes of pasta pre-cooked and frozen in small ziplock bags.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Layered Bean Beef Mexican Style Lasagne

Layered Bean Beef Mexican Style Lasagne
This is a really easy but yummy casserole lasagne style dish you can feed your family. It has a Mexican twist and uses tortillas instead of pasta plus lots of Salsa and beans.


1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken. I used turkey
1 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic
28 oz can tomatoes
2 cups salsa
1 tsp cumin
1 cup corn
1 can black beans
6 tortillas cut in half. I used whole wheat
1 can refried beans or 1 can white kidney beans mashed and mixed with a little bit of chicken broth but if you use ground beef, use beef broth
1 pkg shredded cheese. I used double cheddar

Oops forgot the carrot and garlic for this photo

Saute the ground meat, onion, pepper, carrot and garlic. Add the tomatoes, salsa and cumin. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Then stir in the corn and black beans. 

Spread 2 cups of the ground meat mixture in the bottom of a 13x9 inch casserole dish. Top with 3-4 tortilla halves. How many you need depends on what size tortilla you used. Spread half the refried beans or mashed kidney beans on the tortillas then top with 2 1/2 cups mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with a final topping of tortillas, tomato mixture and cheese. 
Hot from the oven

Spray a piece of tin foil with oil and use this, oil side down, to cover the casserole dish. Bake 375' oven for 30-25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 5 minutes.

I served mine with slices of avocado and sour cream.

Because my husband hates avocado, I'm going to try mashing avocado with a bit of lime next time then spreading that on the tortillas before baking.  He'll never notice but it will give a nice extra flavour to the dish.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken Casserole

40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken Casserole
I saw this dish being made on a cooking show. There was no printed recipe at the end but luckily I had quickly jotted down the ingredients list as he made it. 

Unfortunately I have no photos of me making this dish but the photo on the left is when it was done. 

I'll make it again and I promise I'll take pictures this time as I go along! 

Meantime here's what you need:

  • 1 whole chicken (or you can cheat and use chicken pieces - legs, thighs, breasts)
  • 40 cloves of garlic. You heard me right. 40 cloves. Trust me. It does not taste like strong garlic when you're done. The garlic turns sweet and tender in the cooking. 
  • 1 tsp. of rosemary (if you have fresh, use 2 tsp chopped)
  • 1 tsp. of marjoram (if you have fresh, use 2 tsp chopped. You can substitute oregano here)
  • 1 tsp. of Fine Herbes (the cooking show didn't use this but I love Fine Herbes so I used it)
  • 1 tsp. of basil (if you have fresh, use 2 tsp. chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp. Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of white wine  
  • White Veloutine
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
If you have a whole chicken you need to cut it into parts. I did this for the first time when I made this dish and it wasn't that difficult! First cut off the wings and toss them in a stock pot to make some yummy broth for another time. Then slice between the legs and breast and force apart with your hands to make the final cut easier. You're going to end up with the legs being cut into two sections each - the drumstick and the thigh. Then cut the breasts. Eventually you end up with 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 2 breasts. 

Toss all the leftover chicken into your stock pot with the wings, add water, salt and pepper, a carrot, celery and onion and bring to a boil. You aren't using this in this recipe but you can make a nice soup stock now and freeze it for later use. Simmer this stock for a couple of hours on the stove top then strain and freeze. 

But back to the 40 cloves of garlic chicken dish! 

Put the olive oil in a large skillet and bring to medium heat. Put your chicken pieces in the hot oil and add salt and pepper. I used Sea salt for this. You are going to brown the chicken a nice golden brown on each side. This takes about 10 min. per side. 

When brown add your 40 cloves of garlic. There is a nice trick for peeling that many cloves - cut the ends off each clove and toss in a cup of very warm water for about 10 minutes. Remove from the water and the skins slide off very easily. If the cloves are different sizes, cut the larger ones in half. Trust me you need 40 cloves, don't cheat and do less.

Add your spices - basil, marjoram, rosemary, fine herbes and  continue cooking for about 3 to 4 more minutes. Now add the wine and the water or chicken broth. I used chicken broth that I had frozen previously. 

Cook another 15 minutes then pour into a casserole dish and bake covered in 350' oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken and place on platter, then add garlic (use a slotted spoon to remove it). Add about 3/4 cup cream or milk to the juices and stir. I added white Veloutine to thicken this mixture. Then ladle about 1/2 a cup over the chicken on the platter. 

Bingo it is ready to eat! The garlic is so sweet and tender after cooking for so long. Next time I'm going to do a side dish of fried mushrooms and ladle some of the sauce over them too. 

For last night's supper I made cauliflower-potato mashed with cheese and another dish of sauteed then baked Sweet bell peppers, onion, zucchini and believe it or not, watermelon. It was all topped with cheese Panko and was pretty tasty! I will have to write that recipe out and take photos another time. 

And I probably should explain my accidental use of frozen watermelon which turned out really yummy! I thought it was frozen red pepper until I started sauteing it. Yeah, pretty funny. But it added an interesting flavor to the vegetables.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Making Gnocchi From Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Making Gnocchi From Leftover Mashed Potatoes
I love Gnocchi. Any kind - ricotta, pumpkin,'s all wonderful tummy warming goodness.  

It's so easy to make that I'm not sure why I don't make it more often. This past Thanksgiving which we celebrate in October here in Canada, I had so many leftover mashed potatoes that I wasn't sure what I could do with them. 

Making Shepherd's Pie is one way I use my leftover mashed potatoes but I had too many. Suddenly it dawned on me that I could quickly make some potato gnocchi with them.
It takes about 5 minutes to make gnocchi and they freeze beautifully. Just put them on parchment paper on a baking tray and pop i your freezer for about half an hour. Then put them into ziplock baggies for future meals. 

When you are busy and need a quick but yummy meal, pull them out of the freezer and drop (still frozen) into boiling water. When they rise to the top they are ready to eat. Pour some homemade tomato sauce over top, add some grated cheese (I used shredded mozzarella), add a salad and you've got a meal that took about 10 minutes to make.


Here's all you need - about 2 cups of mashed potatoes (leftover or fresh. 2 large potatoes makes about 48 gnocchi)

about 1 cup of flour. You might need a bit more, or a bit less. Go by the feel of the dough as you mix it. 

1 beaten egg. Some cooks just use the yolk. 

about 1/4 block of cream cheese. I use the light kind, but it's your choice

about 1/4 c. of milk. I used whipping cream in the photos you see here, because I had some in the fridge that needed using before the expiry date


Mash the potatoes with the cream cheese and milk. You can add a bit of butter if you want but it's not necessary. Fluff them up with a fork if you don't have a ricer. Let them cool. And I hope you didn't throw out the potato water. I freeze all my vegetable water to make soup stock. It has flavour and all the nutrients that got boiled away from the vegetables into the water.

  Next lay out a pastry sheet if you have one. It makes cleanup easier. I swear that next time I make gnocchi I am wearing disposable medical gloves! My hands get covered in sticky dough and there is always something I forgot to get out of the drawer which I need half way through...

 Mix flour with your mashed potatoes

Mix about 1/2 cup of flour with the mashed potatoes then dump the mixture out on your pastry sheet. Make an indentation in the middle and mound the sides up around it. 

Put your beaten egg in and start mixing the dough with your hands. Just scoop up the edges and incorporate into the egg. Add more flour as needed until you have a nice dough that is pliable but not sticky. 

Cut the dough into 4 roughly equal pieces.

One at a time you are going to roll the dough out with your hands into a sausage shape until is about 12 inches long and 3/4 inch around. 

With a pastry cutter or sharp knife, cut the sausage into equal pieces about 1" long.

Make a nice indentation in each gnocchi with your finger. This will hold the sauce when you cook them.

When you're done rolling and cutting each piece of dough, put the gnocchi pieces on to a piece of parchment on a baking tray and pop in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Then freeze them in dinner size quantities. For us it is 6 pieces per adult. The instructions for cooking them are above. Just add a salad or green vegetable and you've got a fast, yummy and economical supper!

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
This is a sauce I make in large quantities then I freeze it in individual batches for future meals. It's great over gnocchi, or any kind of pasta. You can add ground cooked meat or meatballs plus more spices to create a simple yet delicious spaghetti sauce.

Here's what you need:

12 tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh basil leaves (2)
2 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Here's all you do - wash 12 tomatoes and cut in half. Place them on a baking tray and brush with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then sprinkle a bit of sea salt over them.

Bake in a 350' oven for about 15 minutes until the skins start to wrinkle.

Let cool slightly and peel the skins off. They fall off easily.

Put the tomatoes in a saucepan and rough mash them with a potato masher. Add 2 fresh sweet basil leaves, some salt and pepper plus about 2 tsp of brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I like to add sliced garlic (2 cloves) but you can mash it if you prefer

Bring to a boil then simmer until the sauce has reduced to the consistency you like. I take the basil leaves out before freezing this sauce.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preserves: WIld Grape Jelly

Preserves: WIld Grape Jelly
We have a lot of wild grapes growing on our property. But every year we miss our chance to harvest them! So this year I made sure we gathered one bucket full so I could try making Wild Grape Jelly. I have to say it was easy (but messy!) and it tastes amazing.

But please be sure you are picking wild grapes! There is a similar poisonous plant . If you are not sure of the difference see this website for an image of the edible grape. One thing to check is the seed - edible wild grapes have a round seed but the poisonous look-a-like has a crescent shaped seed. The leaves are quite different too, with the poisonous plant having smooth edged leaves while the edible grape vine has more jagged edges.

Poisonous Plant Leaf
Edible Wild Grape Plant
The time-consuming part of our jelly making was hubby's obsessive washing of those grapes. He flushed out tiny spiders and a couple of snails, then washed the grapes thoroughly. We didn't bother removing the stems, but hubby picked through carefully and removed any green grapes or ones he didn't like the look of.

We ended up with about 17 lbs of washed grapes. Tben it was my turn. 

I looked up several online recipes and it seemed that you need 3 cups of water for every 3 lb. of grapes. So after I put the grapes in my big stock pot, I added 15 cups of cold water. I didn't crush the grapes at all, even though the recipes I looked at said to crush them before starting to boil them. But heck, those same recipes said to remove the stems! Which I didn't do either. 

After bringing the grapes and water to a boil, I let the pot simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then hubby took our potato masher and mashed them up a bit. 

The recipes I looked at said to let the mashed grapes drip through cheesecloth or a jelly strainer overnight. I didn't want to wait so I took my huge fine-mesh colander, put it over a clean bowl in the sink and dumped the grape mash in, a bit at a time. Word of warning - this is messy and grape juice stains. We covered the taps and counter tops with paper towels and hubby started dumping and crushing. We used my heavy grill press that I use when I make my special grilled sandwiches to push the mash down into the colander and get the juices running free.

Washing the grapes
This method worked really well and we soon had 17 cups of beautiful purple grape juice to make jelly, and a huge pile of grape seeds, stems and skins for our pot-belly pigs to enjoy.

I poured 15 cups of the grape juice back into my stock pot, and added 23 cups of white sugar. Every recipe I saw said the ration was 3 cups of grape juice + 4 1/2 cups of sugar. But I threw in a little extra because our grapes this year were very tart. After adding the sugar, I brought the mixture to a rapid boil and let it boil for one minute. 

Then I added 5 boxes of pectin. I only had 3 boxes of powdered pectin and two containers of liquid pectin so I used them all. I had no clue if it mattered that I mixed powder and liquid but it worked. Afer adding the pectin and stirring it very well, I brought the mixture to  a rapid boil again and boiled it for 2 minutes. I kept stirring the whole time. Then with a metal spoon I scraped off as much of the froth as i could. 

Boiling the grapes and stems with water
Then it was time to pour the grape juice into sterilized mason jars. To sterilize your jars just pop them in a 275' oven for 10 minutes. Put them on a baking tray, open mouth up. 

Leave about 1/8" air space at the top of every jar when you fill them. Then wipe the rims of each jar down with a damp cloth and seal with lids that you have boiled in water for 10 minutes. 

Put the jars in a hot water bath in your canning kettle and leave them to boil for 10 minutes. Take them out and let them cool. You should hear a loud pop as each lid seals properly. Before labelling and storing them make sure each jar is sealed by pushing down on the lids. If the lid moves, the jar is not sealed and must be used immediately or discarded.

Straining the grape mash
Hubby is pushing the grape mash to get the juices out
Lots of seeds and stems for our pigs!
Measure out the juice in 3 cup lots. You add 1 package of Pectin and 4 1/2 cups of sugar for every 3 cups of juice
Pectin and sugar
Jelly has boiled and it's time to scrape the froth off the top
This is the froth you don't want in your jelly
 Filling the sterilized jars

Hot water bath

Jars are cooling

Enjoy your beautiful purple jelly on a crumpet or piece of toast or even on vanilla ice cream as a special treat.