Week 6 - January 29 to February 4

I had high expectations of myself this week and I really shouldn’t have since when you are riding on a high of everything going great, you know there will be a failure sometime in the near future. To start off the week I wanted to make cabbage rolls without all the work of cabbage rolls so I made unstuffed cabbage rolls which were absolutely amazing, they tasted like cabbage rolls. They were so good. Midweek I made Baked Chicken Parmesan which was the best meal I have ever made and it was so beyond delicious that I know for a fact I will have to make it again in the near future. Now the Buttermilk Bacon Muffins turned out more like scones which was not such a bad thing but I used the wrong kind of bacon which made it really weird. We had a guest over on Friday night and we had Ribs and Chicken so I made a really nice Pear and Goat Cheese Salad which was absolutely delicious. Then on Sunday I attempted to make fresh pasta and completely failed, like beyond failure. So I still made the same dish I was going to do with the fresh pasta, only I had to change it to store bought. I will try and make fresh pasta again in the future.

 

January 29 - Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

This was so amazing, minus after putting everything together it took a while to make since the cabbage had to soften before we could enjoy the meal. I didn’t add the rice to the recipe like I was originally going to, instead we had rice as a side and put this over it. It was not a very complicated recipe to make, just very time consuming. The best part was the whole house smelt like cabbage rolls without that gross smell of blanched cabbage. It was so great. After it was all said and done, my Mom had wished that I had added a little dill since that is also a spice we add to cabbage rolls, which I didn’t know. So on the next round I would add in a few more spices to make it even more like cabbage rolls. 

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 cloves)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and onion in the hot Dutch oven until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes; drain and discard grease. Add cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, garlic, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat, and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.

 

January 30 - Maple Pecan Pie

So I completely dislike pecans but after this was all made, it was so good, I enjoyed it so much. Mixing everything together in a bowl and them placing into the pie shell was the easiest part. I was afraid that baking the pecans in the “slime” you bake it in would change the flavour, and it did a little bit, but not a lot. I feel like this was a success, minus the fact that I was missing 1/4 cup of Maple syrup, so maybe if I would have had all of that you would have been able to taste more maple. The only thing I would change is that next time I would like to try and make my own pie dough, so that way the crust would be a little thicker.

  • tart pastry
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry. Transfer to 9 inch pie pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Add the maple syrup, corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt; beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in the pecan halves. Carefully pour the filling into the pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees and continue baking until the filling has puffed around the edges, about 25 minutes. Let the pie cool and on a wire rack. Serve warm.

 

January 31 - Baked Chicken Parm

I love Chicken Parmesan but I don’t like that everywhere you get it, it’s fried. So this is a take on the same thing, only I baked it in the oven. The chicken took forever and I was so scared that the chicken was going to dry out, because you cook it then you place it on the tomato sauce and then bake again. The chicken was so moist and delicious. I paired it with spaghetti and I could not believe how good it was. The sauce that you have to make is so good, instead of crushed tomatoes, I used diced tomatoes and it was so good. I like the chunkier tomatoes to add some texture in the sauce. I also put some parmesan cheese and moose cheese on the top when I baked it the second time. I didn’t pile on the cheese, I just put enough to slightly cover the chicken. It was nice that it wasn’t completely cheesy. Overall this was the best meal I have ever made, my whole family said it was the best one as well. I have been told that I will have to make this again sometime. I cannot wait!

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped (I used 5, I like garlic)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken:

  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cutlets (I used chicken breasts, worked the same)
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  1. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens a bit and flavors meld, about 10-12 minutes. Taste sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary, cover and keep warm.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment, or Silpat. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the chicken in the next steps.
  4. Make the coating: In a large bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Add the chicken cutlets to the mixture and coat well on both sides.
  5. Dredge the chicken: In another bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well and stir in the melted butter. Transfer to a shallow plate. Dredge the chicken pieces in the breadcrumb mixture, gently pressing the breadcrumbs into the chicken cutlets. Place dredged chicken on the lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake: Bake at 450°F on the center rack of the oven until cooked and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve: Serve with a side of rice, noodles or pasta. Ladle sauce with the chicken.

 

February 1 - Buttermilk Bacon Muffins

This seemed like it was going to be a great muffin, only thing is I used peppered bacon, don’t do that. Use normal bacon. These turned out more like scones than they did muffins. But the flavour was still pretty good I thought, minus the fact that I should have used the normal bacon instead of peppered. The peppered bacon made it too peppery and it actually would kind of burn if you got a piece with just the bacon. You also have to put a cut up apple in the recipe, I don’t know why, inside it was super soggy. So my overall experience with these are I would never make these again, or I would change the recipe to make it better in a way. Maybe act like they are scones instead of muffins. 

  • 6 slices of bacon (I used Peppered Bacon, don't do that)
  • 1 small golden delicious apple
  • 2 cups flours
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 12-cup standard muffin pan.
  2. In a frying pan, fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and cool. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Peel, core, and finely chop the apple and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk mixture, apple, and the bacon to the flour mixture and stir until the batter is blended.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake until toothpick is clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan and then move to wire rack for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

February 2 - Pear Goat Cheese Salad

Watercress is the lettuce you are supposed to use for this salad, but when I found it in store it was so gross and soggy that I decided to use Butter Leaf Lettuce instead and it was amazing. I think that the Butter Leaf Lettuce added another flavour profile to the salad. I bought tart cherries because that is all that Bulk Barn had, and after mixing them with the pear and lemon juice, it tasted really good. I also made the sherry vinaigrette from scratch which was very easy and delicious. 

  • 2 film ripe pears (I used 3)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 bunches watercress (I used Butterleaf Lettuce)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • sherry vinaigrette
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 oz. goat cheese
  1. Peel, halve, and core the pears, then cut each pear half into 4 wedges. As the pears are cut, place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Add the watercress and cherries to the bowl with the pears.
  2. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the watercress mixture, then toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add more vinaigrette, if desired.
  3. Divide the salad among individual plates, top with the goat cheese, serve right away.

 

February 3 - Pad Thai

One of my favourite meals, but trying to make it for the first time was strange. I bought the vermicelli noodles but after making the Pad Thai with them, I would change it to spaghetti or fettuccine noodles. Just to give it more volume. I didn’t use fish sauce since I only needed a little and all the bottles were huge, I skipped that and added a little soy sauce instead for the fish sauce. As for flavouring the chicken, I only used garlic, salt, and pepper, next time I would look at a Pad Thai sauce or something to give it another flavour profile since it seemed to be lacking some kind of flavour. Overall though it still tasted really good and with making those simple changes and maybe adding some ingredients I would totally make this again. 

  • 6 oz. dried vermicelli
  • 4 tbsp peanut or corn oil
  • 1/3 lb chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 5 cloves minced)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (I used 1 tbsp Soy Sauce, didn't want it too salty)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  1. Place the noodles in a bowl with hot water to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to dry.
  2. In a wok, warm 1 tbsp oil, swirling to coat the bottom and sides. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken. Stir and toss until cooked. Add the garlic and toss, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add another tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the eggs and stir until soft curbs form, about 1 minutes. Add to the chicken.
  4. Add the remaining oil. Add the noodles, distributing them evenly in the pan so they cook evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Using a spatula, flip and again spread evenly. Cook, until tender, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Push the noodles to the side of the pan, add the sugar and fish sauce to pan. When sugar dissolves, using tongs or 2 large forks, toss the noodles with the sauce. Add half each of the bean sprouts and peanuts and all the chicken and eggs; stir and toss. Turn out onto a warmed platter. Garnish with the remaining bean sprouts and peanuts and with the pepper flakes, green onion, and limes. Serve right away.

 

February 4 - (Not Fresh Pasta) Fettuccine Alfredo

This was a complete epic fail. I wanted to make my own fresh pasta but the dough was to dry and would not knead properly and after adding a little more liquid the batter clung but didn’t roll. So overall the whole idea of fresh pasta will have to be tried again after doing some research on how to make the dough. So to not completely ruin the night, I made my famous fettuccine alfredo with store bought pasta. I was going to make it with the fresh noodles and it would have been so much better. I even burned myself trying to make tonights dinner, after the pasta not working I got flustered and couldn’t get my grove back. I said at the beginning of this process there would be success and failure, and I guess there is my first real failure.

For the pasta dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup butter (I used 1/2 cup butter)
  • 3/4 pint heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 dash garlic salt (I put almost 2 tsp, plus 2 cloves minced)
  • 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccini and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter into cream over low heat. Add salt, pepper and garlic salt. Stir in cheese over medium heat until melted; this will thicken the sauce.
  3. Add pasta to sauce. Use enough of the pasta so that all of the sauce is used and the pasta is thoroughly coated. Serve immediately.