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Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Summer Pasta Salad

pasta salad

To me, a delicious pasta salad is the perfect accompaniment to any BBQ meal during the summer. I’ve experimented with so many different version of pasta salads – changing up the type of pasta, the dressing, the vegetables….but I’ve settled on this one as my all time favourite.

The dressing is simple – just mayonnaise and lemon juice – and the pasta shells just reinforce the summer, beachy theme. Also, the shell shape is the perfect receptacle to absorb and catch all the other ingredients. The carrots add the right amount of crunch, and the red onion add the much needed zip. The thick cut bacon and cheddar cheese add in the perfect saltiness and decadence.

This pasta salad paired perfectly with some BBQ chicken skewers and a crisp glass (or two, or three…) of pinot grigio!

Summer Pasta Salad

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of small pasta shells
  • 6 strips of thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped,
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, cubed (medium or old cheddar will add the most flavour!)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt

Instructions

1

Boil the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain under cold water and set aside to cool.

2

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta with the remaining ingredients and toss until everything is nicely coated with the dressing.

3

Cover and let the pasta salad chill for about an hour. Enjoy with some BBQ chicken and a crisp cold white wine!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Whenever I hear “Salisbury steak”, I think of those Hungry Man frozen dinners. Prior to this recipe, I had never had salisbury steak before – definitely not on my Vietnamese mom’s rotation of recipes! I only knew of it from seeing it on frozen dinner boxes at the grocery store. But just recently, for some reason I started googling Salisbury steak and I thought that it sounded like it would be a very hearty and comforting meal.

I’ve tried and tweaked a few recipes now, and this is what I’ve landed on. The little teaspoons of ketchup, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire in both the beef patties and the mushroom gravy add incredible flavour.

The husband definitely enjoyed this meal, and even the baby devoured the beef patty. The toddler is still as picky as ever, so she of course did not even try it.

Tip: If you make the beef patties the night before, this is a really quick meal to whip up on a busy weekday evening!

Serve this recipe with mashed potatoes and a side vegetable like asparagus or green beans for a truly comforting meal.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45

Ingredients

  • FOR THE BEEF PATTIES:
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • FOR THE MUSHROOM GRAVY:
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 package of crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the beef patties (except for the olive oil). Using your hands, mix well and shape into 4 round patties.

2

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep non stick pan. Add patties to the pan and cook until they are golden brown on both sides and fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the patties from the pan.

3

Onto the mushroom gravy: the diced onion in the same skillet, for about two minutes. Add in the garlic and the butter, and cook for another minute.

4

Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for about 5-7 minutes until they are browned, mixing frequently. Season the mixture with some salt and pepper.

5

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining gravy ingredients: 2 tbsp flour, 2 cups of beef broth, 1/2 tsp worcestershire, 1/2 tsp dijon, 2 tsp ketchup and salt and pepper. Pour into the mushrooms and cook until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes.

6

Add the patties back to the pan and cover with the mushroom gravy. Cook until the patties are heated through again.

7

Serve with mashed potatoes and a side vegetable, and drown everything in the delicious mushroom gravy!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured/ Meal Planning

Ground Beef Stroganoff

I don’t know about everyone else, but ever since this pandemic hit, I’ve been ordering take-out way too much. I’ve justified it a few different ways: 1) I’m supporting local restaurants; 2) I’m too stressed with work to cook; 3) I’m trying to survive a pandemic – I deserve this! Also, it seems like my social media is just flooded with really great takeout deals from local restaurants so the temptation is much higher too.

Anyways, I’ve decided I needed to slow down on the takeout a bit, because both clothes and money are getting a little tight. The husband and I have both been working out of the home this entire time, so I still need to find recipes that I can easily make in under half an hour, with a toddler and a baby demanding attention, and can be easily reheated for the husband when he gets home later. This ground beef stroganoff checks all the boxes. It takes 30-40 minutes in total (including prep time), the only prep is washing and prepping the mushrooms, garlic, and onion (and that can all be done the night before if needed), it is easily reheated, and makes for great leftover lunches. Oh! And it is also a one-pot meal, so less dishes to do afterwards!

This will be a regular rotation in my meal prep for sure!

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 package of cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 small onion, or 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 package egg noodles, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • fresh parsley, for garnish
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and browned. Season with salt and pepper.

2

Add ground beef and cooked until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook for 1 more minute.

3

Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

4

Stir in the white wine.

5

Stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

6

Add in the egg noodles and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

7

Stir in sour cream, and let it heat through for another 2 minutes.

8

Serve and garnish with the parsley, if desired.