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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baked Mac and Cheese Remix

I think I'm on a pasta roll...
I did a Jess style Baked Mac n Cheese, and the added ingredient is... drumroll please..
Didn't have smoked gouda or egg, but did have 2 zucchinis I cooked in EVOO before blending to add some texture to my creamy cheddar sauce.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Creamy Asparagus Pasta

Asparagus + Cream = Love
I made this for myself one day Eric wanted fries, again, and I wasn't feeling it. This is light and vege, so it could be a side dish to a piece of meat .. grilled chicken or pork chops.
Serves 3 as main course
1 jar white asparagus (or green, whatever)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4-5 fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp lemon zest
dash of nutmeg
3/4 cups heavy cream
salt/fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan
few leaves fresh basil
300g pasta cooked al dente (I used a little more than half the package)
1. Empty the jar and cut the tips off the asparagus. Put the rest in a blender with the garlic and a little water.
2. Sautée the mushrooms in some EVOO and salt to extract the moisture.
3. Add the asparagus mixture, nutmet, and lemon zest to the mushrooms on low heat and heat through. Then add the cream, heat, and add salt and pepper. Do not under salt!
4. When the pasta is al dente, reserve 1/4 cup cooking water and drain the rest. Toss with the parmesan, then add to the pan with the asparagus mixture. Add the asparagus tips and mix to coat thoroughly. Let leat through until desired tenderness of pasta is obtained. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water.

Serve garnished with some fresh basil leaves.
I used a mix of bowtie pasta and serpentini mainly because I couldn't decide which ones I wanted. It could work with any pasta, though. The mix of lemon zest is an interesting touch! I'm going to start using more of that and nutmeg to my cream sauces.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Artichoke and Tomato Cream Linguini

Artichokes make my heart go wild. Really! I stole this one from Pioneer Woman and then added Italian Sausage for the carnivore hub. Then I realized it was a lot like my first time cooking with artichokes and italian sausage, but much much much better!
Serves 6
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Small Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 can whole Artichoke Hearts Drained and gently squeezed
  • 3 diced tomatoes or 1 can with Juice
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 cups Chicken Broth
  • ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Linguini or Thin Spaghetti
  • 1 tsp dried Basil
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped
  • 2 or 3 cooked and crumbled Italian Sausages
1. Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sautée for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Add the cooked sausage and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.
Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.
What a dream! Eric loved it too although he claimes not to like artichokes. If I was going to do this vege style, I'd use vege broth and add 1 more can of artichoke hearts. Also, I would not quarter my artichoke hearts as I did here.. they fell apart. I served with grated swiss, fresh ground pepper, and of course, red pepper flakes (on my plate only). I will definately do this again and definately do it vege style, too!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Zucchini and Eggplant Stuffed Lumaconi

This is my first time stuffing pasta.. very delightful experience! Lumaconi are like huge thick macaroni that you can spoon your stuffing into before popping into the oven for a heat-through. Stuffing the pasta with a magical mixture is a little laborious, but well worth the effort!
Serves 5-6

1 bag Lumaconi (500g), cooked al dente and drained
2 zucchini, chopped
2 eggplants, cubed
4 tomatoes, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp EVOO
2 balls fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
2 handfuls shredded swiss
salt/fresh ground pepper
1 cup pesto (mine was thick)

If making your own pesto, here's what I blended together:
1 large bunch fresh basil
a chunk of parmesan
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Walnut oil (I didn't have toasted pine nuts)
lots of EVOO
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the EVOO in a heavy based pan and throw in the veggies and garlic. Add a little salt and pepper to sweat the veggies. Stir around and cook until very soft, about 15 - 20 minutes.
2. Pour in the pesto and 1 handful shredded swiss. Heat through and add salt and fresh ground pepper until it tastes divine.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F and start stuffing your lumaconi and placing them inside their baking dish. You will burn your hands.
I put 1 tbsp of the sauce mixture + a small piece of mozzarella into each lumaconi. You should hopefully have enough stuffing for all, otherwise, just hide the unstuffed ones under the rest.
4. Once everyone is stuffed and you have no more sauce (if you do, pour it over the rest), sprinkle the remaining handfull of shredded swiss on top and pop into the oven until the cheese melts (about 10-15 minutes).

Serve hot and enjoy and be surprised your husband and/or guests didn't even notice there was NO MEAT!!

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Creamed Corn

I stole this one from her again. I didn't make it in the crock pot though. I even made just enough for me because Eric wanted fries.. as usual.
1 small can of corn, drained (or 1 cup frozen)
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cream cheese
salt/fresh ground pepper
1. Sweat the onions in the butter with a dash of salt.
2. Add the corn and cook on low, stirring for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the cream cheese and fresh pepper and heat through for about 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Melt like butter when you eat. I added some red pepper flakes to mine and served as a side to ribs. Oddly, this does not in any way remind me of home, but completely defines comfort food!

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Northern France/Southern Belgium has got stewed beef DOWN!! They cook it in beer, what a lovely idea. I saw this in a brewery and decided to try it. It turned out just the way it was supposed to, so I'm very proud.
Serves 3-4
1.5 lbs beef, cut into large cubes
2 large onions, chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cloves
2 dark beers (approx 66 cL)
some slices of toasted bread cut into cubes (usually gingerbread, but I didn't have any)
1. Brown the beef in the butter in a large pot. Season with some salt and pepper.
2. Add the onions until they start to sweat, then sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes (so as to not color the onions too much)
3. Deglaze with the vinegar, then add the brown sugar, thyme, cloves, and bay leaf. Add the beer and bring to a boil.
4. Turn down the heat and let simmer, covered for 3 hours. At this point, I closed my pressure cooker and let it cook under pressure for about 45 minutes - 1 hour. I think next time I'll just throw it all in the crock pot. I just didn't plan ahead enough, but it is definately a crockable recipe.
5. About 10 minutes before serving, uncover and let the sauce thicken. At this point, stir in the toasted gingerbread cubes.

Serve with some boiled potatoes or home fries!
This is a meaty meal, so add a salad for some vegetable freshness. I just didn't have any left because the dragons ate it all (Eric didn't mind.) Since I didn't have gingerbread, I toasted some white bread and sprinkled a little cinammon, nutmeg, and ginger on it. I'm not sure it's a real replacement, but it was very tasty!

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Monday, June 6, 2011


  • Gazpacho. It seemed appropriate provided the situation: Hot Weather and my Injured mouth. I do Love Gazpacho, though. Spices, tomatoes, and Spain- ahhHHhh. Had plenty-o-servings of Gazpacho while traveling through Spain in '05. So, I think it is about time that I made my own. Making Gazpacho is fun, however slightly laborious considering all of the vege chopping. ...And so it began, Maliya and I hopped on our bikes and rode to Fresh and Easy to pick up a slew of veges. I chopped (....and Chopped), she stirred. =)  

  • 5 small ripe tomatoes
  • 1 Bullion Cube
  • 2 large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 small can chopped black olives
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups broth
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (after research, i learned that a lot of gazpacho recipes top with hard boiled eggs... sure, why not)

  • Directions:
  1. Cut a cross in the base of each tomato. Boil Water- add a builon cube to season. Cover with boiling water for 1 minute, plunge into cold water, drain and peel away the skin. Chop the flesh so finely that it is almost a puree.
  2. Mix together the tomatoes, 1 of the chopped cucumbers, 1 of the chopped green pepper, green onions, garlic, olives, onion, vinegar, chicken stock, oil and tomato paste, and season to taste. 
  3. Blend for about minute or until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  4.  Upon serving, mix in additional chopped veges: chopped onion, green pepper, scallions, cucumber, boiled egg. Serve chilled. 

Serve with Croutons on top:
Make Garlic Herb Croutons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cut two 1/2 thick slices from a loaf of bread. Remove the crusts and cut each bread slice into 16 cubes. In a bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 crushed cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 1tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary and a pinch of chili flakes. Add the bread cubes to the herbed oil and toss until all the oil has been absorbed. Lay the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the croutons are golden brown. Turn once during baking.
Chopping Cucumber:
There are serveral of ways to do this- depending on your preference. Some people peel the skin and slice lengthwise, remove the inards- and then chop. I just sliced and chopped up with everything on/in. 

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baked Mac n Cheese

So, for the last supper (prior to wisdom teeth being pulled), I had Tyler's Cheeseburger for lunch and Grilled Steak with Mac n Cheese for dinner. Great last meal, since my diet only includes Ensure and Soup for the next two weeks. And don't get me wrong, I love soup- but not during the summer heat.

Anyway, Mac n Cheese- an all time, American favorite.

12 ounce package of Macaroni (get the larger, thicker ones)
1 egg
1 cup cream
2 tbls butter
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup smoked Gouda, shredded
some Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
large handful of Bacon Crumbs
Italian Bread crumbles to top

1. Preheat oven to 350*, lightly grease 2qt baking dish
2. Boil a large pot of water, add macaroni for 5 mins (until half cooked)
3. Whisk egg and cream together in a bowl. Add butter, bacon and cheese. Stir well.
4. Place lightly cooked macaroni in the baking dish. Pour the egg, cheese mixture over the macaroni, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir well. Press the mixture evenly around the dish. Top with thin layer of Italian Bread Crumbs
5. Bake uncovered for 30 mins.
6. Remove Pan and add a very thin layer of Parmesan cheese. Pop in Broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp the top.

I am interested in tweaking this up here and there and sharing some re-mixes! =)

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Why do baked potatoes taste better out of the crock? They really do. I actually stole this method from the Crockpot Lady. It's really easy.. wash, dry, stab with a fork, wrap in foil, plop in the crock for 6-8 hours.
Prepare desired toppings:
sour cream
cheddar cheese
fresh ground pepper
red pepper flakes (what is wrong with me?)

Then have a ribs and potato party and show those French inlaws that they can also be blown away with American food that you have to eat with your hands!

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It's the same as a hamburger, but swap out the ground beef for ground horsemeat. High protein, lowfat, delicious!
I know I'm going going to teach anyone how to make a homemade burger, but my picture came out really nicely. I topped it with lettuce, sliced tomato, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and cheddar cheese...mmmm
mustard and mayo, some home fries, and down it went.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

Mmm. Love risotto. I especially love making it- something is very calming, and almost therapeutic, about it.


  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced (i didn't use this, but would be a yummy touch)
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced (Sandra Lee Tip: canned sliced mushrooms)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a different large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Where's the meat!? Served with grilled Pork Chops =)

Here is another recipe for Asparagus Risotto.

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Filet Mignon in Mustard Sauce

Fancy. I'd only had filet mignon in classy restaurants before. When it went on sale, though, I had to give it a whirl. It is actually a very tender part of the animal; pork, veal or beef. I only found pork, so here it goes..
Serves 4-5
2 filet mignons
4 tbsp good mustard (not that neon crap)
5 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 handful fresh mushrooms, sliced
some chopped parsley
1 tbsp butter
1. In a bowl, mix together the cream, mustard, and pepper and set aside.
2. In a heavy based pan, heat the butter and brown the filet mignons on all sides.
3. Deglaze with 1 or 2 tbsp of the mustard and cream mixture, and add the mushrooms. Cook on high for about 5 minutes.
4. Pour in the rest of the mixture, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. The filet mignons should be cooked through if you use pork. You can make it rare if it is veal or beef. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

I cut the filet mignons and served with basmati rice and steamed broccoli, with sprinkled parsley on top.
Just delicious!

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