February 26 to March 4

This week was a busy week since I had so many meetings that I had to go to during the evenings. I really tried to make sure that I was home in time to make some kind of dinner. This week there was a learning curve of trying to cut a mango and trying to make biscotti. I really pushed myself to try and attempt new skill sets. I believe I really learned some new techniques that I will use in the future. 

 

February 26 - Garlic Pasta

Garlic is always a good thing, no matter what you make it with. Making Garlic Pasta is amazing. I wish there would have been a little more garlic flavour since I could just barely taste the garlic. I made the pasta with a new Super Greens pasta and with the flavour of garlic and tomatoes, it was very good, just wish there was more garlic. I also made garlic bread and a salad to compliment the pasta. 

  • 1 pkg angel hair pasta
  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic (I used 6 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Place tomatoes in a kettle, and cover with cold water. Bring just to the boil. Pour off water, and cover again with cold water. Peel. Cut into small pieces.
  2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
  3. In a large skillet or saute pan, saute the garlic in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. The garlic should just become opaque, not brown. Stir in the tomato paste. Immediately stir in the tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until the pasta is ready; add the basil.
  4. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse in cold water. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and then mix into the sauce. Reduce the heat as low as possible. Keep warm, uncovered, for about 10 minutes when it is ready to serve. Garnish generously with fresh Parmesan cheese.

 

February 27 - One Pot Lasagna

This is one of my brother’s favourite meals that I make, so before he headed off to Vancouver tomorrow I decided what better meal to make than one of his favourites. I absolutely love that this is a one-pot meal since everything is made in a single pot and kept in there until serving. It is a very time consuming meal though since you have to reduce the sauce and when you add in the noodles, you have to steam them. Once soft you add all the cheeses and cook a little longer, I have to get a nice crisp on it or my brother won’t like it was much. 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Italian sausage links, casing removed (I used 1 pound of beef instead)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces farfalle pasta (these are bowtie pasta)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  2. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in mozzarella and Parmesan until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop, top with dollops of ricotta and cover until heated through, about 2-4 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

 

February 28 - Turkey Pot Pie

I have never made a pot pie because I am not a fan of any kind of pot pies. It is the filling that I really don’t like. So I was making this one for my parents since they like pot pies. After making the filling there was not a lot of sauce so I decided to try it and this was really good. It almost tasted like Turkey stew and it was good. My parents really liked this one so much that I will have to make it again and maybe next time I make it as a stew instead of a pot pie. 

  • 1 10 inch double crust pie (I used store bought pie crusts)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided (don't need this is you use store-bought)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll out bottom pie crust, press into a 10 inch pie pan, and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the bouillon and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the turkey and flour. Add the milk, and heat through. Stir the turkey mixture into the vegetable mixture, and cook until thickened. Cool slightly, then pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Roll out the top crust, and place on top of filling. Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to let out steam.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

 

March 1 - Chip Dip

It was such a long day and when I finally got home it was super late. I decided to throw together some chip dip since it is one of my favourite chip dips. I never buy chip dip, I always make my own now. This dip is easy since you throw everything into a bowl and mix. Every time I make this for my friends they absolutely love it, one time my friends came over and was actually disappointed that I hadn’t made it. Now I know that I have to make it whenever we have people over. It is that good.

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp bon apetite
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion flakes

1. Mix all in a bowl. Refrigerate before eating.

 

March 2 - Mango Sorbet

I have wanted to try and make a sorbet for some time and I wanted to attempt to cut a mango so I decided why not try and make a Mango Sorbet. Cutting a mango is a lot harder than some would think, I read up on it and then I attempted. I failed, but I got enough mango to make the sorbet so it was a success in my books. The flavour is so good, not over powering. I also only added 1/2 the sugar since I want to make it a little healthy. Overall the flavour is very good and everyone seemed to like it. I will attempt to make another kind of sorbet during the summer months, since that is when it will be the best I am thinking. 

  • 1 cup mango (I used fresh, you could also use frozen)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or nutri-bullet and blend until smooth.
  2. Place in the freezer until serving.

 

March 3 - Almond Biscotti

Never made biscotti before since I always believed that they were very difficult to make. Now after making them, it isn’t that hard, just time consuming since you have bake them, cut them, and then bake them again. Next time I would make it all in a single chunk instead of making two smaller chunks. The flavour was very good, just enough almond flavour, not overpowering which I was worried about using almond extract. I would like to try and make another kind of biscotti, maybe Cranberry Orange or something else next time. Maybe I will be able to make all them instead of us going to buy them all the time. 

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp aniseed, lightly crushed (I didn't have this, still tasted good)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • zest of 1 small orange
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Chop coarsely and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a baking sheet.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and aniseed and stir well, set aside. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the almond extract and orange zest. Gradually add in the flour mixture, the dough should still be stiff. Add the almonds and knead with your hands. Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to a floured work surface.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Form each half into a flattened log. Place on the baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg mixture. Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Place the sheet on a rack to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer logs to a work surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into slices. Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheet. Return the slices to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven, and open the door slightly, let cool for 30-35 minutes. Transfer biscotti to racks to dry and crisp.

 

March 4 - Meatballs and Sauce

These meatballs are very easy to make since you throw the meats and spices into a bowl and mix it all. The texture of the pork and veal together fell like what I imagine a brain would feel like. I know strange, but thats me. These meatballs are baked for 12 minutes, but I baked for 30 minutes) and then stewed in the sauce for another 20. I don’t like raw meat. It says that the meatballs can be served by themselves with the sauce, but I thought why not make it with some pasta, a salad, and some garlic bread. These are my favourite meatballs I have made so far, they have had the most flavour of all. Everyone seemed to really like this, so again this would be another recipe I have to make again. 

Meatballs:

  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 3/4 lb. ground veal
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 6 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (I didn't use the cayenne, too spicy)
  • salt and pepper

Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the meatballs, in a bowl, combine the pork, what, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, coriander, cumin, cayenne, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Mix well.
  2. To shape the meatballs, dampen your hands with water and roll the mixture between your palms, forming about 30 balls, each about 1 inch. As the balls are formed, place them on an engrossed baking sheet. Bake until almost firm to the touch, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. While the meatballs are baking, begin making the sauce. In a frying pan, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer slowly until thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the meatballs and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper and continue to simmer slowly until sauce thickens and meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. 
  5. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a bowl and serve hot, or at room temperature.