Monthly Archives: July 2012

skillet lasagne.

Did you know that today was National Lasagna Day? Neither did I until a friend of mine told me! Thanks to her, I was able to plan appropriately and ensure we had lasagne for dinner today! Being at work all day, I didn’t have time to make an actual one, but I made one of our favourite recipes. Skillet lasagna!

Skillet Lasagna
1 jar of marinara (or tomato sauce)
3 cups water
8oz lasagne noodles, broken up into pieces
1 lb italian sausage, casings removed.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 cup ricotta (I normally use lower fat cottage cheese. works fine!)
1/2 low fat mozarrella, shredded
Freshly ground pepper
Extra grated parmesan cheese

Combine sauce and water in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add lasagne noodles and cook until tender.

While the noodles cook, cook sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Break the meat into crumbles as you go. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and add to sauce and noodles.

Combine parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, parsley and pepper and scoop onto skillet and simmer until cheeses are melted.

Serve and sprinkle with extra cheese and parsley.



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dijon chicken with a creamy herb sauce

I stole this recipe straight from the Looneyspoons cookbook: Celine Dijon Chicken. The apple juice component made it perfect for the kids and the adults didn’t mind it either. We paired it with some steamed rice and honey mustard and bacon dressed green beans straight from our garden.

Dijon Chicken with a Creamy Herb Sauce

1 cup apple sauce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp fresh pepper
2 tsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cornstarch

Whisk together apple juice, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, shallot, thyme, rosemary and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chicken breasts. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Reduce heat and add apple juice mixture. Simmer on medium heat, covered, for 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.

Boil remaining liquid for 3 minutes until slightly reduced. Mix sour cream, honey and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to skillet and cook until sauce is bubbly and has thickened. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

 Steamed Green Beans with lemon, honey mustard and bacon
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup minced red onions or shallots
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp hnoey mustard
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Steam beans for about 6 minutes until tender crisp.

While the beans are steaming, cook bacon, onions and garlic over medium heat until bacon is crisp and onions are tender. Remove from heat and add honey mustard and lemon juice. Mix well and add beans. Stir to coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve hot.


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pork tenderloin, two ways.

Pork tenderloin was on sale for over $4/lb off at the grocery store last week. Like any sucker for a good deal, what did I do? I stocked up obviously. We’ll be eating pork tenderloin for a few months I’m sure! I tried out this new marinate and was happy with the results. I overcooked the meat slightly and would have like a sauce to compensate for my slightly dry pork but otherwise, it was very tasty.

Marinated pork tenderloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin

Mix the first 9 ingredients together in a small bowl.

Place pork in large ziplock bag and pour marinade over it. Turn the bag several times and make sure pork is coated evenly. Marinate in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 and transfer pork to small roasting pan. Roast, uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let the meat rest for 5-8 minutes. Slice thinly and serve. Pork should be slightly pink in the middle (unlike mine which over cooked!)

I served the pork with rosemary roasted potatoes (follow my favourite potato recipe and throw in some sprigs of fresh rosemary) and lemon garlic steamed broccoli.

There was a lot of pork. Enough to make a full meal out of leftovers. I decided to go with my go-to recipe for pork tenderloin today and make a delicious variation of Singapore noodles; I say variation because Singapore noodles usually come with shrimp and since I’m allergic to shrimp, my recipe has none! They also don’t usually have cabbage which again, my recipe does.

They were out of the thin vermicelli at the store up the street and I ended up with a fatter version of your typical rice vermicelli. Jenny, the old chinese woman who runs the shop told me these were the best noodles and that she cooked with them all the time. She gave me some instructions on how to cook them (Soak in hot water, no boil! no rinse!) and I must admit, I loved these noodles better than the vermicelli I normally use!

Singapore style rice noodles with pork
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp cornstarch (I omitted this because my meat was already cooked!)
3 tbsp oil (I used peanut)
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 cups cabbage, sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 sweet bell pepper, sliced
3 tbsp chicken broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chili sauce (I use sriracha)
1 cup bean sprouts (I omitted these!)
3 green onions, sliced

Cook noodles as per the package instructions.

Toss sliced pork into cornstarch and 1-2 tbsp of water. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil and cook meat until well browned. Transfer the pork to a plate and keep warm.

Wipe out the wok and cook onion, garlic and ginger for about 1 minute. Add cabbage, carrots and bell pepper. Stir fry for 2-4 minutes until veggies are cooked but still crisp.

While the vegetables cook, whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, curry powder, sugar and vinegar. Add to vegetables along with meat and sprouts. Stir and add noodles. Stir fry until heated through. Serve and top with sliced green onions as garnish.


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all we are saying, is give peas a chance.

After seeing a bushel full of fresh Ontario peas and being unable to resist them, I decided to try and incorporate them into my(almost) once a week soup dinner tradition. Fresh green pea soup it was!  After scouring google for the right recipe I decided that none out there suited me perfectly. Hence, I decided to create my own using a mish-mash of ideas I’d read about in my search. The results were pretty tasty!

Fresh minted green pea soup

 1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large ribs celery, diced
4 cups (1 tetra pack) of vegetable or chicken broth
1.5 cups potato, cubed
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped roughly
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups fresh shelled peas (frozen would work great, too!)
2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded (I saw this in a cookbook. It seems weird but the results weren’t!!)
1/4 cup heavy cream (35%)
Sour cream and mint for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onions and garlic. Stir and cook until slightly transluscent. Add carrots, celery and cook for another minute or two.

Add broth, potatoes, mint, ginger, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer for half an hour.

Add lettuce and peas. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the lettuce is wilted and the peas are cooked.

Puree using an immersion blender, blender or food processor. Add heavy cream and puree again until the mixture is velvety smooth.

Serve in bowls and top with sour cream and mint.


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brown rice pilaf with cranberries and pistachios

I’ve been growing tired of my same old plain rice or potatoes lately and have been doing my best to try and branch out. I’ve experimented with a few new recipes and some have been huge hits!  I tried this recipe out last week and may have eaten the whole container of leftovers myself. Maybe.

Rice pilaf with cranberries and pistachios

2 tsp olive oil
2 cups of finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 cup minced red onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup uncooked rice (the recipe called for brown but all I had on hand was white)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
2 tbsp minced parsley
2 tsp lemon zest

Heat olive oil in a medium pot. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Cook until they begin to soften.

Stir in rice and cook for another minute. Add broth, salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Remove from heat and stir in cranberries, pistachios, parsley and lemon zest. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. I really do wish I could take awesome pictures and make my blog posts more visually appealing. Alas, I have a horrible P&S (point and shoot, but I think it actually stands for piece of sh!t.) camera and zero photographic knowledge. Along with cake decorating classes,  one of my future goals is to get a better camera and take a few beginners photography classes.


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roasted asparagus with balsamic vinegar and feta

I love summer and all the fresh produce that comes with it! I do, however, find myself in a rut when it comes to cooking all those local goodies and am always excited to when I find new recipes to try out.

Last week I tried a new recipe for roasted asparagus that was absolutely to die for: roasted asparagus with balsamic dressing and feta cheese. It’s ridiculously simple to make and the results are mouth-watering!

Roasted asparagus with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese

1.5 lbs asparagus spears
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt and ground pepper
¼ cup crumbled feta

Preheat your oven to 450F. Trim the tough ends of your asparagus and arrange on a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with garlic. Roast for about 6-8 minutes.

Remove from oven and place the asparagus on a serving platter. Drizzle with vinegar, salt and pepper. Top the vegetables with feta.

When I have more time, I will try this recipe again using a balsamic reduction. I think the sweetness of the reduction paired with the salty feta would be amazing!


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i’m back. honest.

I guess I decided to take an extended holiday. I only went away with the boys for a week, but it has apparently taken me 10 days to recover from my own vacation. I’ve been cooking. Sort of. I just haven’t have the energy or the will to come down into our sweltering basement (who’s ever heard of a hot basement? Clearly this house has been built on some unknown entrance to the pits of hell. But that’s another story altogether!)
and post. But, here I am. Back with a (sortof) vengeance.

It was truthfully pretty hard to cook last week what with the incredible heat wave we had here in TO. Temperatures were in the high 30 C’s for almost a week and our wee little window AC units were having a hard time keeping up. That means that my cooking was kept to a minimum. We did however, have a lovely BBQ steak dinner to celebrate our last day of “vacation” on the Sunday we got back to the city.

Grilled NY strip loin, these BBQ potatoes, corn on the cob and fresh raspberry crumble with homemade whipped cream.

The crumble was to die for. I love raspberries. Love them. And I clearly love them even more when topped with crispy, butter and brown-sugar laden goodness. Throw some fresh whipped cream on top and I’m blown away!

Raspberry Crumble
2 quarts fresh raspberries
1 tbsp cornstarch
3-4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats
Dash of salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place raspberries in a bowl and toss with cornstarch. I find the cornstarch gives them some body and they don’t get all soggy and messy.

Pour in white sugar and toss.

In another bowl combine the butter, vanilla and brown sugar until smooth. Slowly mix in flour, salt and rolled oats. The mixture will get thick and crumbly. Just keep mixing until all of it is somewhat “wet”.

Add the berry mixture to an oven-safe dish and top with oat mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until topping is golden brown and the berries are bubbling.

Scoop out generously and serve whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream!)

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