Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Shrimp, Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Penne

Shrimp, Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomato Penne

Oh my goodness, you guys, it has been awhile since I’ve posted on here! I went back to work on October 12 after being off on a year-long maternity leave, and life has taken on a whole new level of busy! Here are some random things I’ve learned about being a working mom after a month of being back at work:

  • Working is a break from parenting – at work, I’m able to go to the bathroom whenever I want, enjoy my coffee uninterrupted, have a free lunch hour where I can go to the gym or go shopping, etc. I am so grateful to have had the luxury of a year-long mat leave, but I’m not going to lie, I love the independence of being back at work again.
  • That being said, there is no better feeling in the world than going home and seeing my baby’s big smile and outstretched arms, ready to embrace me!
  • I am exponentially more efficient at work after coming back from mat leave. With a baby and parental responsibilities waiting for me at home, I am not able to put in extra hours at work anymore. As a result – I am superhumanly efficient at work. Time spent away from my baby is a huge sacrifice so I make sure that every minute is utilized smartly. I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve gotten done at work this month!
  • I am so tired. All the time.
  • I’ve never meal planned so hard in my life. With me working Mondays through Fridays, and my husband working shiftwork, all of our meals and grocery shopping trips are planned out at least a week in advance. Lunches are packed the night before, I know exactly what I’m having for breakfast the next morning, and our dinners are planned out for the week.

If you follow me on Instagram and watch my Insta-stories, you would have seen me experimenting with a new pasta recipe. This shrimp, asparagus and sun-dried tomato penne is definitely one of my new weekday favourites.  I’m always on the lookout for easy weekday recipes that my baby can also enjoy, and pastas are usually a huge hit with both the baby and husband. We were over at a friend’s house for dinner last weekend, and they had served a shrimp and asparagus pasta. I had never thought to combine shrimp and asparagus in a pasta before, so I was inspired to create my own recipe.

Shrimp, Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomato Penne Ingredients

This recipe was so delicious! The combination of tomato paste and heavy cream made a perfect rose sauce and the addition of freshly grated Parmesan added another hit of creamy texture. Make sure to buy a hunk of Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself though. It’s worth the expense! Pre-grated, canned Parmesan contains fillers in it and it doesn’t melt and combine as well.

I loved having these leftovers for lunch the next day, so I will for sure be adding this to my regular weekday meals rotation!

Shrimp, Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomato Penne closeup

Shrimp, Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Penne

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped and drained
  • 1 tbsp of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 lb (one small bunch) of asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 15 pieces of uncooked Black Tiger shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined (feel free to use more shrimp!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried crushed chili flakes
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used an Italian pinot grigio)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • one box (500 g) of penne
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Heat the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and saute for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to a bowl.

2

Add the sun-dried tomatoes, shrimp, 1/4 cup basil, garlic, oregano, and chili flakes to the same skillet and saute until the shrimp are just pink, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the asparagus.

3

Add the chicken broth, wine, tomato paste and heavy cream to the same skillet. Boil until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 7-8 minutes.

4

Turn the heat down low and add the shrimp/asparagus mixture into the sauce. Let it simmer on low.

5

Cook the penne according to package instructions. Drain and add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce.

6

Add remaining 1/4 cup of basil and the grated cheese.

7

Toss the pasta until the penne is well coated with the sauce.

8

Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Strawberry Overnight Oats

You guys, I don’t know where the year went but I have 9 days left of maternity leave! I feel like it was just yesterday where I was telling myself that I had 9 months left of maternity leave! I’m excited and ready to go back to work, but I can’t help but feel wistful of the year that went by. I wish I could just rewind the year and relive it again, knowing what I know now.

So with my return to work date looming, one of the luxuries I’ll be giving up are the slow leisurely breakfasts with my baby, making avocado toast and eggs for the both of us, with HGTV playing in the background. Instead, I foresee frantic mornings where I’m rushing to do my hair and makeup (which I’ve done maybe a handful of times this entire mat leave), actually put together a decent outfit instead of just staying in sweats or rompers all day, grab a breakfast, and rush off to work.  I’ve been thinking of quick healthy breakfasts that I can make the night before to make my mornings a bit easier, and I thought I’d give overnight oats a try. I’ve seen a lot of Pinterest recipes about overnight oats but I’ve never really tried it before. I happened to have a spare mason jar at home, so I attempted a strawberry overnight oats recipe.

For my overnight oats, I used some quick oats as the base, maple syrup as the sweetener, vanilla as the flavour enhancer, almond milk as the dairy alternative, chia seeds as the healthy boost, strawberries as the fruit, and vanilla Greek yogourt as the dairy base. I didn’t have any plain Greek yogourt, but I thought the vanilla flavour would just enhance everything well.

I mixed everything except the strawberries into the mason jar and left it in the fridge overnight. I added sliced strawberries to it in the morning and ate it cold. It was definitely filling, just the right amount of sweetness, and so delicious. However, I think next time, I’ll top it with a spoonful of granola along with the strawberries just to add a bit of crunch to it. I like the fact that with this breakfast, I could either eat it quickly at home or take it with me to eat in the office.

This strawberry version is definitely a keeper for me, as I usually have strawberries in my fridge at all times. This weekend I’m making a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and I’ll have leftover pumpkin puree, so I’m going to attempt a pumpkin spice overnight oats recipe. I’ll keep you guys posted!

Strawberry Overnight Oats

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: N/A

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any dairy or dairy alternative)
  • 1/4 vanilla Greek yogourt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 sliced strawberries

Instructions

1

Place all ingredients except for the strawberries in a mason jar. Stir and cover tightly with lid.

2

Refrigerate overnight.

3

When ready to eat, stir, then top with sliced strawberries and granola (optional).

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Hello everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a dessert recipe on here, but if you saw on my Instagram stories, I made the most delectable dark chocolate raspberry brownies the other day that I just need to document. I love sharing my recipes with others through this blog, but the main purpose why I started this blog was to document recipes for myself that I want to make over and over again. There’s nothing easier (and more satisfying) than searching your own blog for a good recipe!

I’m visiting my sister right now and I used her KitchenAid stand mixer for this recipe, and now I really really want one. I never thought I baked or cooked enough to warrant the purchase of one, but it just makes it so much easier! I would love a turquoise KitchenAid stand mixer to match my kitchen, so I’m adding it to my Christmas wish list! My sister also has the best Le Creuset pots and pans, so cooking in her kitchen has been a dream. I feel like I’m on a cooking show or something. Looks like my Christmas wish list this year will just be a list of new kitchen gear!

These brownies are rich and moist, and the bites of raspberry add the perfect tartness to balance out the rich dark chocolate. I like to enjoy my brownie with a nice glass of Cabernet, while my husband enjoys his with a glass of scotch. Pick your pairing, and enjoy!

Print Recipe
Serves: 9-12 Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chopped 70% or 80% dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole fresh raspberries

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

2

In a large glass measuring cup, combine the chopped chocolate and butter and microwave for about a minute and a half. Stir until the chocolate and butter are completely melted into each other. Add the vanilla, and set aside.

3

Add the dry ingredients together (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt) into a medium bowl, whisk together and set aside.

4

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar until thick and light, about 4-5 minutes. If you're using a stand mixer, add the dry ingredients in and continue to mix. If you're mixing by hand, use a spatula and gently stir the dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.

5

Add the melted chocolate into the stand mixer (or fold in by hand).

6

Spread the batter into your baking pan.

7

Sprinkle the top with the whole raspberries (don't stir them into the brownies, just sprinkle them right on top).

8

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out relatively clean.

9

Cool completely and enjoy!