Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

I first posted this recipe in 2006.  I am now starting to go through my recipes and update them.  During this process I found we hadn’t made this one in awhile and it needed some tweaking.  So I am re-writing the recipe today and making it tonight.

For this dish you can use any type of pasta you like…for us H enjoys the bow tie pasta as she thinks they’re butterflies.   The sauce in this dish is more like a gravy, delish.  Change up your spices to whatever you feel like. Tonight I used garlic powder, coriander seeds, a seafood seasoning mix and old bay.  It was fabulous.

Adapted from Sandi Richard, The Dinner Fix

Chicken & Mushroom Pasta

3 – chicken breasts, boneless/skinless and cut into 1 inch pieces
1-2 tbsp – olive oil
1 tsp – butter
2 small shallots, diced
10-12 brown or white mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp – flour
1/2 tsp – spices (use your favourite, Mrs. Dash, lemon pepper, poultry seasoning, a BBQ blend – experiment!)
1 can – mushroom soup (Healthy Request – no msg)
2/3 cup – chicken broth
1/4 cup – orange juice (we used a little less)
1/2 cup – dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1 1/2 cups – baby carrots, or carrots peeled and chopped into small pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 375 g box Bow Tie Pasta
Parmesan cheese, grated (for on top)

Put some olive oil in a sauce pan and heat over med-high. Season chicken with salt & pepper and add to pan. Cook until nicely browned. You may need to saute in batches.  Remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil if needed and your butter. Toss in your shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes then add your mushrooms. Stir well and cook an additional 2-4 minutes. Sprinkle in your flour and spices mixing well.

Once your mushrooms are starting to brown stir in your chicken stock.  Mix well.  Add in your mushroom soup whisking until smooth. Whisk in orange juice, white wine (if using) and carrots, simmering until carrots are tender.

Cook your pasta in salted water until al dente. Put aside 1/2 cup hot cooking liquid. Drain and put into serving dish. Pour sauce and half of reserved cooking liquid on pasta and toss to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.  If you want to loosen sauce a little more add the rest of the cooking liquid.  Pour yourself a glass of vino and enjoy.

Read Full Post »

Making lasagna is easier than you think…do not be intimidated.  Get your ingredients ready and put aside a little time (love) to make the lasagna and you will be so happy you did….there’s nothing like a home made lasagna.  Right now H does not like lasagna but that is ok. I still make it a couple times a year because the rest of us love it. 

I’ve been making this lasagna for so long without a recipe I had to measure out the ingredients so I could blog about it.  And here we go….

Simple Lasagna

1.5lbs ground beef
2 jars of your favourite pasta sauce OR 4 cups of homemade tomato sauce
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (or more if you love mushrooms)
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 container ricotta cheese (500gr)
2 cups or more mozzarella, shredded
1 cup provolone, shredded or slices
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
1 package oven ready lasagna noodles
salt & pepper
1 head garlic
1-2 cups fresh spinach, washed & chiffanade (chopped)
Hot pepper flakes
Olive Oil

Use either a 9×11 baking dish or 9×13. Spray with pam.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Slice the top off your garlic and place in either a garlic baker or on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt. Wrap foil around garlic to seal or place lid on garlic baker and put in oven for approximately 45-50 minutes or until garlic soft.

In a sauce pan over medium high heat add your oil. Drop in your mushrooms and saute until nicely browned.

In a heavy pot add another glug of oil (1 tbsp) and add your diced onions. Once the onions have cooked for a couple minutes add your burger. Cook until burger is browned (fat released from burger will also cook away). Always cook your burger until browned as the browning adds incredible flavour to the meat. Add your sauce, oregano, basil, roasted garlic and season with salt & pepper. Mix well. If your mushrooms are ready toss them in too. If you like hot pepper flakes now is the time to add them (1/2 tsp to start). Let the sauce simmer at least 30 minutes to combine flavours. 

Here is my mini chef H adding the sauce on the noodles.

In a bowl add all of your ricotta cheese. Mix in your fresh spinach, 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella and a dash of salt & pepper. If you do not like spinach substitute parsley.

You are now ready to assemble the lasagna. I start with a ladle of meat sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Spread it around. Then add a layer of your ready to bake lasagna noodles. Another layer of meat sauce on top of the noodles…you want them to be covered so don’t be stingy here. Then noodles. At this point (I call it mid point) you are ready for your ricotta mixture. Spread it all over the noodles evenly so you have a nice layer of ricotta cheese. And then another layer of noodles. Spread more meat sauce on the noodles. More noodles go down and finally your last layer of meat sauce. If you have leftover meat sauce don’t worry as it can be frozen and used in a pasta dish layer. On top of the last layer of meat sauce spread out your mozzarella. We tend to use alot…even cheddar at this point. Add your provolone and parmesan.

Photo: Lasagna all assembled with slices of provolone on top.

Tent with aluminum foil (allowing air for lasagna to breathe) and bake about 45 minutes. Then take the foil off and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit on counter 15-20 minutes to settle. Serve and enjoy.

Photo: Lasagna resting and ready for eating.

Photo: Lasagna plated.

Read Full Post »

I admittedly have never made a Bolognese Sauce.  How crazy is that?!   The family loves my basic beef spaghetti sauce and as so if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!

As I was preparing my menu for the week I found Jamie Oliver’s recipe for an easy Bolognese Sauce and decided it was time to try a new sauce.  This is an Italian Classic sauce made in different ways, using wines and herbs.  Jamie’s version is simple (no wine) and very tasty.   I made it.  The family loved it.  It’s a keeper.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Bolognese Sauce

3 slices bacon, sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped small
2 celery stalks, chopped small
2 tsp oregano, dried
1 tsp basil, dried
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 x 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Fresh basil

Add your bacon to a pan and cook over medium heat. After bacon has been cooking a few minutes add your oregano. Cook bacon until lightly browned. Add your onions, carrots, celery, garlic and stir to combine. Cook until vegetables have softened. Add your ground beef & pork, the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Fill half the empty tomato can with water and add to the pan. Stir in a good pinch of salt & pepper.

Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour stirring occasionally. Remove lid and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce so it does not dry out (add water if you need to). Remove from heat and add your parmesan, stirring to combine. Tear and stir in your basil.

Serve with your favourite kind of pasta, extra parmesan cheese on top, additional fresh basil on top, a drizzle of olive oil and more salt & pepper as needed.  A glass of vino and/or a green salad goes nicely with this meal.  Enjoy.

Read Full Post »

Good soup on a cold, fall/winter day. Many variations of Minestrone soup available, this is one version we enjoy. We prefer to cook our pasta and add it separately so as it sits and/or overnight it does not soak up all the soup broth.

Adapted from Mable Hoffman’s Crockery Cookery

Beef Minestrone Soup, Crockpot

1 lb beef stew meat
6 cups beef broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced (dried works too if you do not have fresh)
Splash (tbsp) worcestershire sauce
Splash hot sauce
1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
1 (15oz) can cannellini or white navy beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cup cooked macaroni
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Let’s begin…
In a skillet over medium high heat, add a little oil and quickly sear your stew beef in small batches. Transfer to crock pot.

Next add in your broth, onions, thyme, parsley, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, tomatoes, cabbage and salt/pepper to taste.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. At about 8 hours add in your beans, zucchini and cook another 30 minutes or so.

Meanwhile cook your pasta, drain, mix in some butter and set aside.

When serving ladle some soup into a bowl, add some macaroni and top with a good heaping of parmesan. Yum.

Read Full Post »

Vegetarian Lasagna

I used to make this regularly when I was single. Leftovers could be frozen and I had an instant defrostable meal when I didn’t feel like cooking. Enter husband, carnivore, meat eater. Doesn’t do so well without meat in his diet. And so vegetarian cooking only happens these days when a Vegetarian comes for dinner.

However…we are embarking on a long weekend here in our fair city and I’m craving a meatless dinner.

Vegetarian Lasagna

1 1/2 cups sundried tomatoes (dry pack)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 large zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4-6 cups fresh spinach, lightly steamed
8 oz box lasagna noodles, oven ready
2 cups ricotta cheese (or 1% cottage cheese)
2-3 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Here we go….
Boil sundried tomatoes in water until softened (3-4 minutes). Drain. Mix 1 tbsp oil with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Add your softened tomatoes and stir. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain and blend in mixer until consistency is spreadable.

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add your zucchini and mushrooms. Saute until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine fresh & frozen spinich in a bowl.

Mix 3/4 cup mozzarella into the ricotta.

Assemble your lasagna…
Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with pam. Put a layer of noodles on bottom. Spread on some of the sundried tomatoes and 1/4 of the ricotta cheese mixture ensuring you cover the noodles. Add another layer of noodles and spread with 1/3 of your spinich mixture, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 zucchini/mushrooms. Add more noodles. Repeat the layers starting at the beginning with the sundried tomatoes until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of noodles. It doesn’t have to be perfect! On the top sprinkle any leftover mozzarella cheese and the cheddar cheese. Feel free to use more cheese if you have it.

Bake in preheated 350F oven for 45-50 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Always let your lasagna stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tasty, relatively healthy and ohhh so delicious!

Read Full Post »

This Pasta dish is good hot and cold the next day. I love sundried tomatoes and pesto. If you make your own pesto – fabulous, use it in the recipe. Otherwise pick up your favourite pesto for this dish.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Chicken Pesto Pasta

15 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil, & drained on paper towel)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp oil
5 cups farfalle
3/4 cup pesto
pinch of salt & pepper
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Let’s begin
Cut your chicken crosswise into strips making them about 1/4 inch each. Put oil in a pan and heat over med-high. When oil is ready add chicken stirring often for 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside. I typically give my chicken a quick pinch of s&p while in the pan. Move pan off heat.

In pasta or large pot start your boiling water. Once boiling salt your water and drop your pasta cooking for 7-8 minutes or until al dente. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, set aside and drain your pasta. Return it to the pot and add sun dried tomatoes, chicken, pesto, salt, pepper and the cooking liquid cooking for an additional minute to combine and warm everything. Pour into serving dish and garnish with nuts and parmesan cheese.

This should make 4-6 servings. If you love them you can also garnish with sliced olives.

Read Full Post »

I am not really a leftover person. I can typically only handle 1 maybe 2 days of leftovers and even then that’s pushing it. Husband on the other hand could live off them all week. And so I must make our leftovers interesting….well for at least one meal 😉

Today for lunch we had leftovers!!  Here is what I came up with:
Serves 2-4

Leftover Pork, Rice and Spaghetti Noodle Fry

BBQ’d Pork Chops (Leftover from spicy orange porkchops and really not that spicy)
1 cup Leftover buttered spaghetti noodles, roughly chopped
1 cup Leftover Basmati Rice
1/2 cup Leftover Peas, cooked
Parmesan cheese, handful shredded
1/2 tsp Oregano
Seasoning salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp Butter

Put your butter into pan and melt over medium heat. While butter is melting start slicing (thick or thin) your pork chops. Add rice and chopped spaghetti noodles to the pan and cook approx. 5 minutes stirring a couple of times. Add your sliced pork chops, parmesan cheese and oregano to pan. Mix well and let cook another 5 minutes. Finally add your cooked peas, stirring to combine and cook until just heated through (about 1-2 minutes).

You could really add any leftover vegetable to this meal, so feel free to experiment with your leftovers!

Read Full Post »

Crockpot or Slowcooker?  You will see I can not decide which term to use in this post.  Either way in the photo of the casserole I have not included the bread crumb Topping.  Sometimes they like it…other times they don’t. And so this time it was grated cheese as the Topper of choice.

Slow Cooker recipes are all the rage again. Everywhere you look there are slowcooker recipes showing up left, right and centre. Even Rachael Ray, a confessed non crockpot fan has been presenting crockpot recipes on her show the past 2 years (perhaps ratings were low?).

In August 2011 many people became aware of the Crockin Girls, (formally Crockpot Girls) a couple of Southern ladies who decided to team up, create a page on Facebook and share some of their crockpot recipes. What they didn’t plan on was getting over 1 million followers in a matter of weeks! Who knew there was such a void in the market for crockpot recipes.

As for me – I am happy to see the explosion of slowcooker recipes since I’ve been using mine for the last 20 years and love the variety of recipes to try and of course dinner ready at the end of a long day.

Here is one that 3/4 Bakers enjoy.  Think of this as a healthy (no additives) slowcooker hamburger helper. You can use any ground meat you want…I’ve tried both ground beef and chicken.

Adapted from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

Crockpot Cheesy Hamburger Casserole

1-2 tbsp oil
1-1.5 lb ground meat
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp (each) seasoning salt and pepper
1/2-1 cup beef broth (change to chicken if using ground chicken or turkey)
1 cup tomato sauce
4oz cream cheese softened, cut into cubes
1 pkg egg noodles, cooked just to al dente and buttered

1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted
Mix all topping ingredients together and set aside

Get Busy
In a saucepan heat your oil and cook your ground meat until nicely browned. Set aside.

In same saucepan cook your onions and celery adding another drop of oil as necessary. Cook until softened. Add garlic, mustard, oregano, salt, pepper and cook for about 1 minute stirring continuously.  Then add in your beef broth and tomato sauce stirring until blended.  Add in your cream cheese and stir until melted.

Now you are ready to assemble your meal. Spray your slow cooker with Pam. Spoon in approx. 1 cup of cooked ground meat spreading all over bottom. Add a layer of cooked noodles and then some sauce. Repeat until all ingredients used, finishing with the sauce.

Now alternately you can pour all the meat on the bottom, spread all the noodles on top and then pour the sauce all over (covering entirely) the noodles.  Both ways work.

Turn on low.  In my slowcooker this meal is done in 3-4 hours.

Your topping (if using) goes on the last 30 minutes of cooking (or until bubbling), just to melt the cheese a little. During this time you can drink some wine and ask your partner to make a salad!  Enjoy.

Read Full Post »

As the rain commeth down and Fall is upon us I am feeling more like soups these days.  I did not grow up eating home made soups or alot of soup in general, but I want my kids to have home made soups in their lives and so I continue to try out different soups to tempt their little palates! 

This is a tried and true one that is quick, easy, tasty and the kids can help!

Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Yum-O

Meatball and Orzo Soup

1 tbsp oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 stalk celery, chopped/minced
4 cups chicken and/or turkey stock
1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey
3 tbsp parmesan
3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp poultry spices (thyme, sage, oregano)
1 egg
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp parsely, chopped
1/2 cup orzo
s&p to taste

In a bowl mix the ground bird with the cheese, bread crumbs, poultry spices, egg, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet.

While rolling your meatballs heat up the oil in a pan on the stove.  Saute your onions, carrots and celery for approx. 5 minutes.  Add your stock and bring to a boil.  You can then start dropping your meatballs directly into the boiling broth/soup.  Once all your meatballs are in add your orzo and cook for 7-8 additional minutes.  Serve immediately.  This is how RR does it.

My own spin: I typically double this kind of recipe (usually burger is sold in a lb and it’s just easier) allowing for leftovers.    I further will cook my orzo seperately and add it to each individual soup bowl so the orzo does not absorb all the broth as it sits over night in the fridge (or freezer)!

Read Full Post »

Came across this quick, easy and friendly Kraft.ca recipe today and since I had some leftover roasted chicken that needed to be used up…add in some noodles…taco seasoning…well it sounded like a winning combination!  
Serve topped with green onions, cilantro, salsa and/or sour cream….guacamole would work too.
Adapted from Kraft.ca
Enchilada Pasta Bake
4-1/2 cups medium pasta shells, uncooked
2 tsp. oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can (14 fl oz) black beans, rinsed
3 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 cups Kraft Tex Mex Shredded Cheese
extras: salsa, sour cream, guacamole, peppers (chopped)

HEAT oven to 375°F.

COOK pasta as directed on package.  Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add yellow onions cooking 3-5 min. or until tender, crisp stirring frequently. Stir in seasoning mix and tomatoes; cook and stir 3 min. Add chicken, beans and half each of the green onions and cilantro; mix well. Remove from heat.

DRAIN pasta. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Pour into greased (pam) 13×9-inch baking dish; top with cheese.

BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until pasta mixture is heated through and cheese is melted.  Since we all have our own topping preferences I typically serve it family style allowing everyone to help themselves to the pasta and their toppings.  Simply delicious!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »