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.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Chicken & Vegetable Meatloaf

Chicken & Vegetable Meatloaf
Who doesn't like meatloaf? It's such a wonderful comfort food on a cold day. 

My meatloaf pictured on the left is chock full of goodies - carrots, celery, garlic, onions and more.

It's a great way to fool kids into eating vegetables because you can puree the ingredients in a blender if you prefer rather than leave them chunky as I have.

Here's what you need:

* 2 packages of ground chicken (substitute ground beef if you like it better) total weight 900 grams (2 lbs)
* 1 stalk of celery finely diced
* 2 medium carrots, finely diced
* 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
* 1/2 to 1 onion finely diced. I used the white part of leeks (to equal about 1/4 of a cup) rather than onion as I had some in the fridge that needed to be used
* 1 heaping tsp. of Italian seasoning 
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp black pepper
* 1/2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 1 beaten egg
* 1 tsp. ground flax seed (optional)
* 1/4 - 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs. You can use Italian seasoned bread crumbs if you want but don't use Panko as it is too coarse for this recipe
* 1/4 - 1/2 cup ketchup. Use spicy ketchup if you like a little more zip to your meatloaf

Here's what you do:

Saute the carrots, celery, onion and garlic in the Olive Oil for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly softened. Let that cool while you mix all the other ingredients in a small bowl. If you don't like chunky, forget the saute part and simply blend the carrots, celery, onion and garlic in your blender until the consistency suits you. Then add it to the other ingredients.

You should adjust the ketchup and bread crumbs to suit the texture of your meatloaf. If it's too dry add more ketchup. Too wet? Add more bread crumbs.

The flax seed adds fibre and those important Omegas.

Mix well and pack into a medium size loaf pan. Put a thin layer of ketchup on top, cover with tin foil and bake in a 350' oven for 90 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 to 10 minutes. You can add grated cheese to the top for those last 5 minutes if you wish. When cooked, drain the fat and place meatloaf on a nice platter to take to the table.

I like to serve my meatloaf with homemade Mac & Cheese and a green salad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Moroccan Soup With Lentils, Chickpeas & Chicken

I had to work very hard to produce this yummy Moroccan soup. The original recipe had far too much cumin in it, which I did not know until I'd made a large batch and tasted it. 

So I began adding items (Carrots, Chicken & Rice) and adjusting spices to offset the heavy cumin flavour. Eventually I got it right and ended up with a yummy, albeit spicy, soup/stew. 

I'm afraid I have no photos of the process but on the left is the finished product. It made a huge pot which should freeze well and feed hubs and I for several meals.

Here's what I used:

2 chicken breasts cut into small stew-size chunks
3 medium carrots, cut into rounds
3 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 Tbsp of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can lentils, drained 
1 can tomatoes
1/2 lb of cauliflower flowers
6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. I actually used turkey stock and it added a nice flavour
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 - 1 tsp of cayenne pepper depending how spicy you like your food
1 tsp. cinammon
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of uncooked rice

Optional: Omit the chicken and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian meal 

Here's what I did:

Saute the chicken pieces in hot oil until nicely browned on both sides. Remove from pan and put pieces in a large pot on the stove. Saute the onion, celery, garlic slices and carrot in the hot oil (add a bit more if needed) until the onion is soft and translucent. Toss all of this into the soup pot with the chicken.

Now add all the other ingredients except the rice. Bring to boil, reduce heat andsimmer for about 1 hour. Meantime cook the rice in a pot of water. 

When the soup is ready (the vegetables must be soft) put 1/2 cup of rice in each soup bowl and 2 cups of the soup. Serve with Naan or fresh rolls. 

Makes a very filling, nutritious and yummy soup for a cold winter evening.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Sauce

Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Sauce
Sample Photo of Pumpkin Gnocchi
It takes about 5 minutes to make gnocchi and they freeze beautifully. Just put them on parchment paper on a baking tray and pop in 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.


* 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
* 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
* 1 beaten egg. Some cooks just use the yolk.
* 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. 


In large bowl, stir together pumpkin purée, Parmesan cheese, salt and nutmeg. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 3/4 cup of the flour. Stir in enough of the remaining flour a bit at a time, to make soft, sticky dough that pulls away from bowl but still sticks to spoon and fingers. 

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...

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.
Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Sauce

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. Just add a salad or green vegetable and you've got a fast, yummy and economical supper! 

To cook, just drop in boiling water. When the gnocchi pop to the surface they are ready. Serve with a sage sauce.  

Ingredients for Sage Sauce:
1/3 cup  butter 1/4 cup  pine nuts 12  fresh sage leaves  

In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook pine nuts until lightly toasted and butter just begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add sage leaves; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape over gnocchi; toss to coat. 

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.