Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce


I love a good Alfredo sauce. Usually they are pretty heavy and full of cream, this amazing sauce is just a mixture of milk and chicken broth, the creaminess comes from the pumpkin puree. It also adds a really great sweetness to the sauce, which I just loved!


This simple pasta comes together in under 30 minutes and all you need to add is some lovely steamed asparagus and you have a perfect weeknight dinner!


What you need,

2 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used 2% because it is what I had)
1½ cups chicken broth
½ cup pureed pumpkin
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 pkg. fresh spinach cheese ravioli
½ cup toasted pine nuts

In a large nonstick skillet heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and is foamy add the garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add in the flour and stir cooking for 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes light brown and has a nutty smell.
Whisk in the milk and chicken broth.  The sauce should start to thicken up pretty quick.

Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Add the parsley, sage, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese to the sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat.

Serve the pasta right away sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts and a little extra Parmesan cheese.


I really loved this pasta. The sauce was creamy and sweet and the pine nuts added a really great texture.

My in house taste tester wasn’t sold on the nuts but I really liked the contrast to the thick creamy sauce. Serve the nuts on the side if you think your people might not like it!

Enjoy!

Jen

Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Hoisin Sauce


Sorry I have been gone forever it seems! I was at my sister’s house last week, helping her get ready for her New Baby to arrive in a few weeks! I am so super excited to be an auntie again, I can hardly stand it!  We spent the weekend hanging out of the couch talking and the rest of the time prepping freezer meals to help make her life easier once the little one comes.  It was so fun to spend time with her in the kitchen, we worked really well together


Now that I am back I am trying to get back into making some quick meals for us. I have been a little uninspired since I started back to work. I get home later and I have such a great list of "go to" weeknight meals I have been lazy about trying anything new.

These amazing lettuce wraps were a perfect stepping stone back into simple fast tasty dinners.


They are crisp and fresh and they have a ton of flavor. Just toss a couple spring rolls in the oven and you have a great meal in about 30 minutes‼

What you need,

For the Sauce:
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
4 tsp. hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice (about ½ a lime)

For the Filling:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tbsp. canola oil
6 thinly sliced green onions (about 2/3 cup), divided
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if you like, divided
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp. Sriracha Sauce
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1 cup steamed fried Chinese noodles (optional)
1 head Bibb lettuce leaves separated

To prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the water, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and red pepper flakes and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice.

To prepare filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add the ground chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes until browned and cooked through. Add 1/3 cup green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and Sriracha; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cucumbers, carrots, and remaining green onions.

Spoon a couple tablespoons of the filling onto each lettuce leaf, drizzle with the sauce and top with a few crunchy noodles.


These lettuce wraps were FANTASTIC‼ They sauce is to die for, and the salty sweet filling with the cool crunchy veggies was perfection.
We LOVED them!

Enjoy!

Jen

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Friday, November 7, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 88 – Breakfast for Dinner



My mom worked shift work as a nurse when we were growing up. She often got off work at 8am and slept during the day waking up at 3 or 4 pm before heading back to work at 8pm that evening.

My Dad more often than not made us all a big breakfast for dinner on those days! Guess it made sense since it was sort of breakfast time for Mom.


I love a classic breakfast. Perfectly seasoned hash browns, always with green onion. Thick cut bacon, perfectly crisp. A fried egg or 2 with a just runny yolk. A couple pieces of nice grainy toast. Maybe a fresh cut tomato on the side!

Perfection!


My Dad always saved a half of piece of toast till the end that he slathered in jam. I always do it too! It is like a nice little dessert after your breakfast dinner‼


So make yourself some breakfast for dinner this week, it is the BEST!

Have a safe and happy weekend everyone!

Jen

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 of My Favourite "Go To" Easy Weeknight Meals

Working is hard... I know a lot of you out there work full time jobs and take care of husbands and kids and pets and everything else. Making dinner is just one more thing on the list of things to do.

I thought I would share 5 of my all time favourite easy weeknight meals.
They are all super simple and they all come together in less than 45 minutes.

First up this Creamy Tomato and Cheese Tortellini with Sausage.
I found this recipe on Kevin & Amanda earlier this year and I think I have made it 10 times, at least. My in house taste tester LOVES it and so do I!


This Broccoli Chicken is one of my all time favourite meals period! It is so good, I can't even tell you!


If you are looking for quick and easy comfort food, this Burger Shlaka is a winner. I grew up on this stuff. It is probably the most requested dish by my in house taste tester!


You can never go wrong with a BLT, and the Basil Mayo just takes these basic sandwiches up a huge notch! Add a few curly fries and you haver a perfect quick dinner!


This is one of my Dad's classics, this Pasta a la Stan is a very frequent meal around here. It is simple and delicious and it makes GREAT left overs!


There you have it 5 fantastic dinners. They are simple and fast and will make your dinner planning a breeze!

I hope you enjoy them as much at your house as we do at ours!



Jen

Monday, November 3, 2014

M&M Cookies



I am going to visit my sister and brother in law this weekend; I am so excited I can hardly stand it!


I feel like I can’t show up empty handed so I made them some cookies.


I decided on some classic M&M Cookies this time. They are pure heaven, chewy on the inside and crisp on the edges and chock full of mini M&M’s!


What you need,

1 cup butter, room temp
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 275g bag M&M Mini Baking Bites
(I used salted butter if you don’t add ½ tsp. salt)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated.
Stir in the vanilla.  Sift in the baking soda and flour and salt if you are using. Mix until well combined.  Stir in the mini M&M’s.

Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes until just brown around the edges but still a little soft in the center. I prefer a chewy cookie, if you like yours a little crunchier you can cook them a minute or 2 longer

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for a week or in the freezer up to 3 months.


You really need to make a batch of these cookies like right now! They are so amazing! I may have taste tested 1 or 5 of them. Hopefully my sister likes them as much I did!


Enjoy!

Jen