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100 Alberta Favourites (June 9, 2005)


"Mom, what's for dinner?" and she'd come out of the kitchen in her apron, hair just slightly damp, and say, "Chicken pot pie, tonight, and tell your sister to come in and get cleaned up! Supper in five minutes."

It was always a delicious meal, especially when she served potatoes as well, and there was a fresh, warm fruit pie for dessert, which sometimes... oh please... was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Recipes and memories of our childhood are precious, and it's fun to remember and enjoy and introduce them to your family of today.

100 Favourites: Celebrating a Century of Cooking in Alberta is a project from our good friends, the Home Economists in the Alberta gas utility, ATCO. They staff the Blue Flame Kitchen, and are marking 75 years of serving Albertans with their unique "kitchen" service to the public.

The original home service department was established in 1930 to help homemakers get the best results when using the "exciting new cooking fuel, natural gas."

"You can do better with gas" was the motto of the time. During this era, new appliances that used this "wonderful fuel" were introduced into Alberta's marketplace. These appliances helped revolutionize household chores, making life easier and more efficient. It was the job of the utility home economists to show homemakers how to operate the appliances. New recipes were developed and tested, thereby encouraging homemakers to use their new gas appliances.

As well, the home economists were available by telephone to solve any other household problem!

Times have changed, but the Blue Flame Kitchen still answers over 40,000 inquires annually about food, cooking and other questions related to the science of everyday life.

100 Favourites: Celebrating a Century of Cooking in Alberta was published as a memento of the Centennial and the anniversary of the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen, and we know you'll love relaxing and letting the nostalgic photographs and recipes take you back to those simpler times.

Best part? While these recipes use convenience foods, they've been freshened and updated! Come on... pick up some rhubarb and berries and treat your family tonight. Start your own traditions today!

P.S. There's a nice little bonus with the cookbook: an ATCO Alberta passport with discounts, chances to win rather nice prizes and give you some interesting history as well. Thanks, Blue Flame!

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (68 KB)


Mediterranean Chicken Pie

Well, this old classic got dressed up, went off to Greece and shed her heavy clothes! A far cry from the frozen peas and thick sauce of the past, ATCO's updated version is sassy enough for company dinners! It's got all the flavour you could possibly want, and we love phyllo pastry instead of the usual thick crust. Best of all, this is a make-ahead dish, so you get to enjoy the evening with family and friends!

Serves 8–10

  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) long-grain rice
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) canned chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups (750 mL) cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded dry pack feta cheese
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) oregano, crumbled
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) rated lemon peel
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) mayonnaise
  • 1 can (10 oz/284 mL) cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup (125 mL) butter, melted
  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry, halved crosswise

In a medium saucepan, sauté onion in oil until softened. Add next 5 ingredients (rice through pepper) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool. Stir in next 8 ingredients (chicken through soup). Lightly brush a 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) baking dish with some of the melted butter. Brush top of one halved sheet of phyllo with butter and place, buttered side up, in dish. Repeat with 5 more halved sheets of phyllo. Spread chicken mixture evenly over phyllo. Top with remaining 6 phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with butter. May be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Bake, uncovered, at 375°F (190°C) for 45–50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Ontario barrel-aged Chardonnay, Tavel rosé


Three-Cheese Potato Bake

An ultimate comfort food; everyone loves potatoes, and the addition of cheeses is almost gilding the lily. Never mind – live a little and enjoy this rich dish, perfect for a light meal or to take to your next pot luck supper. We liked the last-minute convenience of using frozen potatoes and ingredients off the shelf. And hey... Mom doesn't have to bribe your brother to finish them!

Serves 10–12

  • 2 lb (1 kg) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 2 cups (500 mL) sour cream
  • 1 can (10 oz/284 mL) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded Velveeta cheese
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) butter, melted
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) onion powder
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
  • Paprika

Combine all ingredients except paprika in a bowl. Transfer mixture to a greased shallow 3 quart (3 L) baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika. May be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let stand for 20–30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F (180°C) for 50–60 minutes for until bubbly and heated through.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Beaujolais, Valpolicella, Rhône white


Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb season is here, and strawberries abound in the market. The combination is nectar, and makes a wonderful, richly coloured pie. You'll dazzle everyone with this dessert – and be quietly delighted at how easy it is to assemble! Don't for get the ice cream!

Serves 8–10 (or four in our family...)

  • Pastry for a double-crust pie
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sugar
  • ½ cup (125 mL) packed golden brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) flour
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
  • ¼ (1 mL) nutmeg
  • 4 cups (1 L) sliced rhubarb (½ inch/1.25 cm)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) sliced strawberries

Divide pastry dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough; fit into a 9½ inch (24 cm) deep-dish pie plate, allowing for ½ inch (1.25 cm) overhand. Roll out remaining dough into an 11 inch (27.5 cm) circle. Cut into ½ inch (1.25 cm) wide strips; set aside. Combine next 6 ingredients (sugar through nutmeg) into a large bowl. Stir in rhubarb and strawberries until thoroughly combined; spoon into crust. Arrange pastry strips on top in a lattice pattern. Trim, fold and flute edges of pastry. Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F (180°C). Continue baking for 45–50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and thickened. Cool pie on a rack.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Late Harvest Riesling, Banyuls, Moscato d'Asti


Want your own copy of 100 Favourites: Celebrating a Century of Cooking in Alberta? Of course you do. Contact the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen on the web at or call the Cookbook order line at 1-800-840-3393.

We wish to thank the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen for permission to publish photographs and recipes from 100 Favourites: Celebrating a Century of Cooking in Alberta. © 2005 ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen.


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (68 KB)




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