February 12 to February 18

This week started out really good, and then a slight change happened at the end of the week. I have never made lasagna from scratch before and I found it really interesting to make. It also helped that it was delicious. I was really excited to make the Pot Stickers because I have never made them before as well, and I was able to get some words of advice from a colleague which was nice. Overall this week was very successful and interesting.

 

February 12 - Lime Pecan Cookies

These were an interesting recipe since you use all of one lime and some pecans. Having pecans crushed and mixed sugar made the cookie dough very crumbly and strange. I would have hoped it would have been more of a soft dough instead of a crumbled one. Overall the cookies tasted very good, very refreshing with the lime, I just didn’t like the texture that the  pecans gave the cookie. Plus they were a drop cookie and it ended up being a bigger cookie than I would have liked. 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pecans. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.
  3. Using a rasp grater, grate the lime zest; you should have 1/2 tsp. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, using mixer, beat together 1/2 cup sugar and butter until light, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the egg white, lime zest, 2 tsp of lime juice and continue beating until fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Reduce the speed and beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time. Add the pecans and beat until blended.
  6. Using a small spoon, scoop up spoonfuls of the dough and, using your hands, form the dough into balls. Place the dough balls on the prepared sheet. Using your thumb press down each ball to flatten.
  7. Bake until the cookies just begin to colour at the edges, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool.

 

February 13 - Prosciutto Salad

This salad was relatively easy in the long run, I personally liked that I got to make the vinaigrette with it. The only thing I didn’t like was the vinaigrette, the apple cider vinegar was not that good. Everything worked really well together and overall the family really liked the salad. I wish the prosciutto was a little less fatty though, then it would have been a little better. I also could not find fresh figs, so instead I changed it to strawberries and it tasted really good. 

  • 2/3 cup pear nectar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 5 oz. mesclun salad greens
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 4 figs, quartered
  • 1 oz. parmesan cheese
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the pear nectar and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut off the stems, feathery tops, and any bruised outer stalks from the fennel bulb. Reserve the tops. Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise, then cut away and discard the core. Slice crosswise paper-thin.
  3. In a bowl, combine the mesclun and arugula. Add half of the dressing and toss well. Divide the greens among individual plates. Top the greens with the fennel, prosciutto, and figs, and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
  4. Using a veggie peeler, cut the cheese into thin shavings and place atop of the salads. Season with pepper and serve.

 

February 14 - Lasagna

I purchased the oven-ready noodles so I wouldn't have to worry about cooking them. I used more beef than the recipe asked for, but I think it was still good. The recipe called for a lot of sauce which I think was good because then I would know for sure that the noodles would be soft with the more liquid. I wish I would have bought more Italian Sausage then there would have been more flavour in the meat. Overall the meal was very good, the ricotta really added additional flavour which was very good. I plan on making this again with a couple minor changes. 

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 2 cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

 

February 15 - Pot Stickers

I was really nervous about making these because I had no experience even trying to make these, but I had watched a video prior to attempting these. I started off rough, the wrappers didn’t stay closed, then I figured added a little water to the wrapper to help close it really started to work. Once I made 20, I remembered that I had a cool gadget that would close them a lot quicker. So I made an additional 23 with that. The recipe said it would only make 12, but I got 44 out of this recipe. I don’t know how big their wrappers are they were using, I used the pot sticker wrappers from CO-OP, they seemed to work really well. I cooked all of them up and then froze some for another day. 

  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 cup chopped napa cabbage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • ground pepper
  • 1 pkg. pot sticker wrappers
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  1. To make the filling, in a bowl, combine the pork, turkey, green onions, cabbage, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sherry, and a pinch of pepper. Mix well.
  2. For each pot sticker, transfer a wrapper to a work surface. Put 1 rounded teaspoon filling in the center. Fold the wrapper in half and press together firmly to form a fully sealed edge. Using your thumb and forefinger, form 3 evenly spaced pleats. Flatten the bottom so the pot sticker stands upright, then place pot sticker, seam side up, on a floured baking sheet and cover.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a frying pan, warm 1 tbsp oil. When oil is hot, arrange 12 pot stickers in the pan, seam side up. Fry uncovered for 5 minutes. As the pot stickers in the centre brown, move to the edges and move to cook evenly. Add 1/4 cup of the broth, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes longer. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pot stickers to a heatproof platter and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

 

February 16 - Sweets Plate

I had a meeting so I decided to make some cookies and some cupcakes to take with me. I made Oatmeal Cookies and M&M Cookies as well as Coconut Cupcakes. Everything was so soft and moist, unfortunately I could not make it to my meeting so I kept it all at home and was able to enjoy the cookies over the weekend. I had placed everything in my travel box and is still in there. The cookies are delicious and soft and I cannot wait to continue to eat them. 

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the cupcakes I used a White Cake Mix Box and added coconut extract to the mix.

 

February 17 - Coconut Buttercream

Since I made the cupcakes yesterday I decided to make some coconut buttercream to add to my coconut cupcakes. I mixed it all up and it ended up being very soft so I put it into the fridge to stiffen up so I could pipe it on the cupcakes. The buttercream really added coconut flavouring to the cupcakes and it was absolutely delicious. 

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 2-4 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Combine the butter and coconut milk in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat until combined and creamy.

  2. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar, beat on medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened. Gradually add in the remaining sugar, one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on how soft the butter is. 

  3. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

 

February 18 - Muffins

I was really unsure what to make for today, so I decided to make a couple kinds of muffins, I made Blueberry Muffins and Banana Walnut Muffins. When I eventually got to try them the blueberry muffins were delicious even though I don’t like blueberries. The Banana Walnut Muffins have very good flavouring, but I really don’t like all the walnuts that are in them. They stayed very moist and I a pleased to see that even after a couple days they are still moist. 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Beat the egg and sugar until combined.
  2. Add oil and yogurt, stir. Stir in flour mixture. Spoon the batter into a muffin pan for 6 muffins. 
  3. Bake for 25 minutes at 320 degrees.
  4. For the Blueberry, add 1 tbsp Cinnamon and a cup of Blueberries. For the Banana Walnut, add 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 sliced banana, and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.