Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Like any self-respecting foodie, I often have the Food Network on TV in the background of our household. At the gym, I also like to have the Food Network on while I’m doing cardio. My only complaint is that there are waaaaay too many cooking competition shows, and not enough true cooking instruction shows. I can’t stand shows like Chopped or Cupcake Wars because I feel like there is limited learning opportunities in those shows. I love the true cooking instructional shows like Giada At Home or Pioneer Woman.

This broccoli mac & cheese recipe is adapted from the Pioneer Woman recipe. And in true Pioneer Woman fashion, it is a simple, guilt-inducing, satisfying, comforting meal. I mean, it has three cheeses in it, one of which is Velveeta! I never thought in this lifetime I would purchase Velveeta!

I’ve adapted it somewhat – I didn’t have celery, so I omitted that. I added garlic into my recipe for some more kick. I also changed some of the quantities of cheese – the recipe called for a cup of cubed Velveeta, but I just used half the block so that the other half can be saved and used when I make this recipe again next week. I know it sounds contradictory considering this recipe contains processed Velveeta, but remember to buy real cheddar and Parmesan and grate it yourself! Canned, pre-grated cheeses won’t melt as nicely in this recipe. Tip: buy your cheeses from right from the deli aisle – the stuff that you find in the dairy aisles buy the yogourts and sour creams are all processed and contain fillers. I made sure to buy a block of cheddar and a block of Parmesan right from the deli aisle, grated them myself, and they melted beautifully in this recipe.

The original Pioneer Woman recipe can be found here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/broccoli-cheese-mac-n-cheese-3703650

My adaptation is below. I served mine with some baked chicken breasts and lots of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Enjoy this comforting dish and try not to feel too guilty about it!

Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 box of macaroni (I used a 375 g box of Catelli macaroni)
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, broken into very small florets
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half cream
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 block of Velveeta cheese, broken into small pieces
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and a grease a baking dish (I just used a bit of olive oil in my 9x13 ceramic backing dish).

2

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

3

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and broccoli, stirring often for about 5-6 minutes. The vegetables should be soft enough that you can use your wooden spoon to break the broccoli pieces.

4

Sprinkle on the flour and the mustard powder and coat the vegetables.

5

Pour in the milk, chicken broth and half and half, stirring often, as it warms up. Do not let it boil.

6

Add the cheddar, Velveeta and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and stir until they have all melted into the sauce.

7

Add the macaroni and stir. It should be beginning to thicken up now.

8

Add salt and pepper to taste.

9

Pour into the prepared baking dish.

10

Combine the breadcrumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the dish.

11

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles

Swedish meatballs over egg noodles

Hey guys, I’m back with another pasta recipe! I’m on this pasta kick lately because Baby E will just devour any pasta dish that I put in front of her. And when she’s nice and full after supper, she will sleep 12-13 hours straight at night. There are times when she doesn’t eat much supper and then she will get up in the middle of the night around 4AM and need some milk before going back down.  Needless to say, if pasta will get her to sleep 12-13 hours a night, then pasta I shall make!

I am always on the lookout for recipes and meals that use ground beef, because we always seem to have ground beef on hand. I buy my ground beef from two places: 1) Costco – I buy the organic lean ground beef that comes in a three-pack for about $28; or 2) Ranchhouse Meats in Shaunavon, SK.  My mother-in-law works there, and whenever she visits, I always make sure to place an order of various meats to stock my freezer. Ranchhouse sources the finest locally grown meats and poultry, and I feel much better feeding my family meats that are as pure as possible.

Here in Regina, we have another local business that sells locally and ethically sourced protein – Artisanal Reid’s Butchery, or Reid’s Meats for short. I haven’t purchased any meats from them yet, but my amazing team at work got me a gift certificate to Reid’s Meats for Christmas, so I plan on visiting their storefront soon and purchasing some products to feature in some new blog posts!

This recipe makes about 12 larger-sized meatballs, which is perfect for our family of three. Baby E will usually crush two meatballs along with the egg noodles, and the husband and I have 5 each with our noodles. I love the rich creamy gravy, the buttery egg noodles, and the hearty meatballs.  I also like the fact that I can make the meatballs ahead of time during Baby E’s noon nap, and that just makes supper prep so much easier later in the day. I’ve made this after work on a weekday before, and even when you don’t have the meatballs prepped ahead of time, it’s still an easy, quick meal to make. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs

Swedish Meatballs over Egg Noodles

Print Recipe
Serves: 2-3 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package egg noodles

Instructions

1

In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic pepper, egg, and salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined.

2

Roll into 12 large meatballs. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook turning continuously until brown on all sides and cooked throughout. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil.

3

Start boiling the egg noodles, as per packaged instructions.

4

Add 4 tbsp butter and the flour to the same skillet and whisk until it turns brown. Add the beef broth and heavy cream. Add the worcestershire and dijon mustard and bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and let simmer on low while the egg noodles finish.

6

Drain the egg noodles and toss with a little bit of butter.

7

Plate the noodles, and smother with the meatballs and rich sauce!

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!