Recently I had some extra  chicken and decided to use it up by making a chicken pot pie.  It’s so yummy and the ultimate comfort food!  You can definitely use turkey as well.  I’ve never been one to love heated up left over meat of any kind unless its doused in gravy.  I will eat cold meat but reheating left over meat is something I try to avoid.  This recipe solves the dilemma very quickly and tastily 🙂

For the pastry, I’ve used the same recipe for years and years and its definitely a no fail recipe.


1 lb Tenderflake shortening

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

Using a pastry blender or two knives cut the shortening into the flour and salt mixture until it resembles a coarse crumble.


1 cup cold water (250 ml)

1 egg

1 Tblsp vinegar


Mix the wet ingredients together.  Add to flour/shortening mixture and knead until it comes together in a ball.  Add the wet ingredients a bit at a time as sometimes you don’t need the entire 1 cup of fluid.

If the dough is too sticky chill it for an hour or two.  Roll it out on a floured surface and line a 9″ pie plate.  Prick the bottom surface with a fork in several spots to prevent the pastry from puffing up.  Set aside and prepare the filling

Chicken filling

2 cups of diced chicken, white and dark meat

2 large carrots diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion diced

1/2 bulb of fennel sliced thin and chopped

2 russet potatoes peeled and chopped.

1 cup sliced cremini , button or shitaki mushrooms

1 litre of chicken stock (store bought or home made)

salt and pepper to taste

Thyme fresh or dried or any other seasoning you feel like adding.

1/4 – 1/3 all purpose flour for thickening

Add the vegetables and saute until becoming translucent and slightly carmelizing.  Add chicken and chicken stock and stir well. Mix the flour in 1/2 cup of stock or water and add to vegetable/chicken mixture.  Cook until thickened and then pour into pastry shell.

** If you want it to be gluten free, you can use Gluten Free gravy mix instead of an all purpose roux for the thickener as well as a gluten free pastry mix for the crusts.

Roll out second round of pastry and add top layer.  Add a few slices to top to act as air vents.

Depending on how deep the pie plate is this may make two pies.  If I have too much for one pie but not enough for a full second pie I have put the remainder in a small casserole dish and use pastry for the top layer.  Its a little lighter for a meal than having 2 layers of pie crust.  Just as tasty though!! 🙂

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 min or until the crust is lightly browned.

You can serve with a side salad or coleslaw.  So delicious!!


I hope you give this a try. The picture above should have a darker crust but my oven was starting to give me grief and I couldn’t set the temperature accurately.  Still waiting for my new oven to be delivered! Yay!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤  – Charlene




Paella is a Spanish dish that I’m sure has as many variations as the French have of Tourtiere.

This is my version (even though I’m not Spanish).

I finally got a Nordic ware Paella pan. It’s like a large frying pan but it has a large flat surface. Love it!!  It really makes the cooking so much easier.


Gluten free Chorizio sausauge (I used 3 – 8″ sausages)

Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless ( I used approx. 8)

Prawns – 15 good sized prawns

2 cups of Aborio rice

2 1/2 quarts of unsalted chicken stock (depends on what I have)

1 small can of diced tomatoes

pinch of saffron

1 cup of frozen peas

Cut the sausage into bite size pieces and brown until cooked through on medium heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.


Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and brown and cook through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Leave the drippings in the pan and add the 2 cups of rice. Stir around and let the rice just start to brown a very slight bit.


Add in the quart of stock and the saffron threads and stir. At this point I turn the heat down to low so the rice can simmer. Aborio rice takes about 40 min to cook.

Add the diced tomatoes with the juice and mix.

You may have to add more stock or you can add water.  The heat can vary on your stove (I’ve got a gas stove).  Just keep checking the rice so that its cooked well.

Once the rice is past the el dente stage, add the chicken and chorizio and heat up.


Add the peas and let them cook for a  couple of minutes. At this point I turn the heat back up to medium high to high.


Now nestle the prawns into the mixture and cook until the prawns are pink and cooked through.  Stir and let the bottom brown and carmelize a bit without burning it.



You can add mussels, clams and lobster, crab.  Anything goes. You just have to adjust the cooking time.

Serve and enjoy!!!

Live Life Fully ❤


fall    Well, since yesterday was the first official day of fall, and today it’s been raining, it seemed like a great day to make soup!

I actually made this soup last week (on another rainy day) without a recipe and it turned out so tasty that I decided to try it again.


2 Tblsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup of  onion

2 stalks of celery

1-2 carrots (depending on size)

1/2 bulb fennel

1 cup of mushrooms (I used Cremini and then Shitake)

1/2 of a medium sized Red Kuri or Kabocha squash

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes

2 quarts of chicken stock

1 pre cooked chicken

1/2 can of coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp of crushed pepper flakes

Start by adding the Olive Oil to the stock pot and setting the element on medium heat.  Chop the onion, celery, carrots and fennel and cook until softened and starting to carmelize very slightly.


Peel and chop the squash into small chunks. Add to pot once first 4 ingredients have softened. Cook for a few minutes so that the squash starts picking up some of the carmelization from the bottom of the pot.



Add sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes and stir to incorporate.

Pour 1 litre of the chicken stock into the pot. At this point I add 2 legs and 2 wings from the cooked chicken. Stir all together and then simmer on low for 30 – 40 min until thickened and liquid is reduced.

Remove the wings and legs and take off the meat and put back into soup.  Add some more of the chicken to the pot depending on how much you  want. At this point I add the 2nd quart of chicken stock. Cook for another 20 minutes or longer if you like the soup to be a bit thicker. The squash disappears and you just have the colour and flavour left.

Just before serving I add 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir. Heat on low until heated through.


Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty rolls.

This soup can also be made using vegetable stock and omit the chicken and you have a vegetarian option.




Bear with me as I just have to talk about how much I love being a mom and grandmother 🙂

I always knew I wanted to have children from the time I was little. It was never something that I flip flopped about. I just always wanted to be a mom.  I looked after my younger sister and brother from the time I was 10 years old. I started babysitting when I was 12 until I was finished high school.  Looking back, I envisioned myself having 2 kids shortly after being married at 21.  In reality I met my husband when I was 25 and we didn’t get married until I was 29 and then had my first child at 31.  Ten years after what I thought was my ideal age 🙂  My kids are all approximately 2 years and 9 months apart. (just lucky)  I wanted them to get along and not fight.  I think I managed that pretty well. They all talk and get together on a fairly regular basis either at home or at their respective homes and they all have a terrific sense of humour. We regularly have running family chats on “Whats App”. In our family if you are thinking of joining it, you have to have a good sense of humour and be ready to give and take.

Now that my kids are starting to get into relationships and having children themselves it’s really wonderful to see how they’ve grown into such wonderful people.  Even though they will always be my kids and I will always worry about them, my greatest joy is becoming a grandmother.  Some people look at it as being seen as old, but I am absolutely thrilled to have that added to my list of names.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, niece, and now grandmother. My greatest accomplishments!!!

I’m sitting my grandson for the next 5 days. I’ve done this before and we’ve had a couple of sleepovers. It really is so much fun. You get to re-live all of those milestones. He is almost 11 months old and such a little gem!!!  His mom and dad (my son) are such good parents and “little man” is so loved and the happiest little fellow around. 

I love having my kids and grandson over for a family dinner on Sunday or even during the week.  We talk and laugh and laugh and talk some more and it really is the best having family around. 

My kids love coming over especially for a home cooked meal ha ha.  I try to make meals that I can prep before, cook quickly and not spend too much time away from the visiting. I always have offers to help with prep and serving and cleaning up and of course offering to take leftovers off my hands ha ha.  The only stipulation is bring back the containers!!!

So here is one of our faves…

Barbequed chicken and roasted vegetables and usually a salad of some sort. Dessert will be for another post.

For the CHICKEN I will either use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Thighs are very forgiving and stay tender and juicy (but not too juicy 😦 )  I make this type of chicken at least 2 times a week.

So the amounts are approximates. I’m not a measurer for this type of thing so adjust if required.

4 Tblsp of Extra virgin olive oil

Juice from half a small lemon

1 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard

1 tsp of Cavenders Greek Seasoning (not sure if this is a Canadian thing)  If you can’t find this you could just make a mixture of dried Oregano, salt and pepper, garlic salt, dried rosemary and anything else you feel like adding 🙂

Then depending on what herbs I have growing, I will add fresh parsley and fresh rosemary. 

Mix it all together and coat the chicken with it.  I use a Weber barbeque so I will put all 3 elements on medium and grill on one side for 5 – 10 min until it’s golden brown and carmelized and then flip it over and cook another 10 min until that side is golden as well. It turns over easily if you’ve let it cook long enough. The secret to juicy chicken is to not keep flipping it over and over and not poking it with a fork. If you push it with your finger it should still be a bit spongy.  I never use a meat thermometer but you could do this as well.


Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces. I like using the new potatoes that are available in the market gardens right now.

Carrots cut into the same sized pieces as the potatoes. This ensures they all cook at the same time.

Onions (I like Walla Walla when in season) I just use maybe 1/4 of one sliced thin.

Cauliflower, This is something new I’ve tried and it really gives a wonderful taste to the cauliflower.

Depending on what I have in the fridge or what’s in season I will sometimes add Parsnips, Mushrooms, Beets.

The amounts of each vegetable depend on how many you are serving and how many leftovers you want.  I ad lib all the time.

Then put everything into a pan that can sit on the barbeque and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt and pepper to taste and mix so all the vegetables are coated. I will sometimes start the vegetables ahead of time so that they have time to cook and will be finished at the same time as the meat. These you can turn frequently so that they carmelize and crisp up.



I used chicken breasts and they are dressed and ready to go as well.
I used chicken breasts and they are dressed and ready to go as well.



And there you have it. A tasty and easy meal. With this one I made a quick caprese salad made with this lovely bocconchini cheese from Beast and Brine, a local deli.

Enjoy your meal and your family!!

Live life fully ❤


I thought I would post about a salad I make fairly often, especially in the summer.

I rely on those little pre roasted chickens that you can get in the grocery stores. The kind that sit under a heater cause they are already cooked.  My family make fun of me for always calling them “little chickens”, but they are little! ha ha.  They are my “go to” for sandwiches, salads, quick dinners for those nights when I have no inspiration what so ever. (it happens 🙂 )

Here is a quick recipe for Chicken salad that I love making for lunch and sometimes supper.

Chicken, shredded or cut into small cubes

1 apple (I use Gala apples)

2 stocks of celery chopped

1/4 cup of shredded carrots

1/4 cup of dried cranberries and or sultana raisins

If I have grapes I’ll cut those in half and use some of those as well.

Mix all of these ingredients together with enough mayonnaise to moisten. I don’t like it too gloppy. (not sure if that’s a word)

All of these are general amounts. It depends on how many people you are cooking for.

As a garnish I will use some sliced avocado and then spiced pecans.  Yum, my mouth is watering!!!

I use a little bit of butter and some Bay seasoning and sauté the pecans over medium low heat, watching that they don’t burn. Keep stirring them.

collarphoto 1photo 3

As you can see in the picture I put the salad on a bed of romaine. This was my husbands portion 🙂

It’s a quick and easy meal and very filling.  Play with it and make it your own.

Enjoy and remember…

Live life fully ❤