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Easy Bolognese

Hello everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I have been neglecting this blog a bit lately, but I just paid my annual maintenance fees for it and that motivated me to keep this blog alive! I have been posting my cooking process on my Instagram stories about once a week, but I just never translate those stories into a blog post. I’m positive I’ve showed on my stories how to make this easy bolognese recipe before. This is a family favourite of ours, and I make it probably once every two weeks. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s filling, and it calls for 1 cup of red wine which gives me an excuse to drink the rest of the bottle!

This is also my go-to main dish when my husband and I are having another couple over for dinner. Served with a salad and garlic toast, it’s more than enough to feed four ravenous adults.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese recipe. I made a couple tweaks to the recipe.   I don’t add fresh basil all of the time. I had a basil plant in my backyard and I would add basil to the recipe when my plant was alive and thriving. However, I managed to kill it off so now I add some dried basil to it instead. My main tweak to the recipe was to reduce the amount of wine added. I found that the extra 1/4 cup of wine that she calls for in her recipe is just a bit much and I could still taste the wine after it was done cooking. Considering I also feed this to my toddler, I didn’t think that was such a good thing. Also, 1/4 cup less wine in the recipe is 1/4 cup more wine for me to drink instead! Speaking of wine, I sometimes get asked what wine I use for my cooking. I cook with the same wine I would drink. And lately, it’s been this Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon. This retails for about $24 dollars in Regina, but whenever I go to Calgary I buy a case or two from the Costco liquor store. I was just in Calgary for the July long weekend, so my wine cabinet is stocked up with Liberty School. That should last me for another couple months until my next trip to Calgary at the end of August.

You can use any type of pasta you want, but I tend to use the bowtie pasta that you see in the pictures or this mafalda corta:

It’s the perfect shape to catch all the beefy goodness of the bolognese and it’s a fun shape for my toddler to grab onto.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be making this again tonight!

 

Easy Bolognese

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500g bag of dried pasta (I like bowtie or mafalda corta)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1/4 tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cooking until meat is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes). Drain off any excess fat from the skillet.

2

Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.

3

Pour 1 cup of the red wine into the skillet. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box/bag of pasta.

5

Add the nutmeg, dried or fresh basil, and heavy cream to the sauce and simmer for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.

7

Serve and enjoy with Parmesan on the side!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Creamy Garlic Steelhead Trout with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Wow, it has been MONTHS since I’ve posted anything on here. Honestly you guys, this working mom thing is no joke. I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel all day every day – wake up, go to work, go home, make dinner, play with my child, bathe my child, put her to bed, go to bed myself by 9PM, repeat. And then weekends are just a blur of playing, laundry and housework. Work has been crazy busy but it’s also been a lot of fun. Although I do try to make dinner every day, I will confess that due to my workload and my husband’s crazy hours, we do end up ordering Skip the Dishes at least once or twice a week. However, when I’m on the ball and I’ve meal prepped and grocery shopped and put out the right things to defrost the night before, dinner isn’t usually too difficult to throw together after work. I have a whole repertoire of easy 30 minute meals that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Now if only I can find some time to take photos of the meals and blog about them!

Now that summertime is here, I try to hit up the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday during my lunch hour and support local vendors as much as I can. I buy a lot of my produce at the Farmer’s Market but they do have a few vendors that offer meat products too, like Reid’s Meats. A few weeks ago, I visited the Reid’s Meats storefront here in Regina for the first time and picked up quite a haul of locally and ethically sourced meats. For just over $100, I bought two steelhead trout fillets, one whole chicken, two packages of chicken bangers, two pounds of ground beef, and two flatiron steaks. I plan on featuring these products in a series of recipes over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Purchases from Reid’s Meats

Today’s recipe is going to feature the beautiful steelhead trout fillets that I bought. They were the fresh fish feature that day and they were just so gorgeous! I try to make a fish dinner at least once per week, but our go-to is usually salmon. I don’t buy trout in the grocery stores as they tend to look quite anemic and unappetizing. I was excited to see such beautiful trout fillets at Reid’s Meats, as this might be another economical protein that I can add to our family recipe repertoire.

My little toddler will eat any type of pasta, so this was a good recipe for her to get her pasta fix and try some healthy fish as well! And with this being a quick 30 minute meal, I was able to easily distract her with her favourite movie (Moana) while I quickly whipped this up.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I’ll try to pop on here more regularly and share some more recipes but no promises! With the beautiful summer weather, all I want to do during my spare time is go outside and read books in the sunshine!

Creamy Garlic Trout with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 steelhead trout fillets, skin off
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 5 oz jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil (drained of oil), roughly chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups half and half cream
  • Salt and pepper (to season fish, and to taste)
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the trout on both sides with salt and pepper, and sear in the hot pan for 5 minutes on each side. Once cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.

2

Melt the butter in the remaining juices leftover in the pan. Add in the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the onion and fry for another 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and allow to reduce slightly (about 3 minutes). Add in the sun-dried tomatoes and fry for about 2 minutes.

3

Reduce heat to low, add the heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

4

Add in the spinach leaves and allow to wilt in the sauce. Add in the parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for another minute until the cheese is melted.

5

Add in the cornstarch slurry and allow to simmer for another 4 minutes until the sauce thickens.

6

Add the trout back into the pan, spoon the sauce over each filet, and allow to simmer for another minute.

7

Serve over your pasta of choice!

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 by 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.