Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tortellini Pasta Salad

SUMMER!! WHOO HOOO!!! Man, it has been so great here the last month or so. So sunny and warm. I do love me some summer. Sadly, cooking dinner in the summer is my nemesis… turning on the oven in the summer is a no go, we don’t have air conditioning and it just gets TOO hot in here.

I have been trying to do more cold dinners lately. That pretty much limits us to salad, which is fine, I love salad but sometimes you just want something new and exciting

This Tortellini Pasta Salad is just the thing! I made this Italian version the other day, it was a delight.

Super easy, super flavorful and no oven!



What you need,

1 pkg. Tri-Colored Cheese Tortellini (I used the fresh stuff from the fridge section of the grocery store)

2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets

1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup cucumber, chopped

1 cup small tomatoes, halved

1 cup mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings

1 cup green olives (or whatever olives you like)

1 cup House Italian Dressing (I used Kraft, but whatever kind you like!)

Parmesan Cheese for garnish



Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Add the broccoli and asparagus in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and veggies and run under cool water for a minute or so.

Drain really well so the pasta isn’t wet. Place the pasta and veggies into a bowl and drizzle with ½ the dressing. 

Put the bowl in the fridge for an hour or so until the pasta is chilled. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and olives. Add the rest of the dressing and some salt and pepper if you want. Stir really well to combine.

Let the salad sit in the fridge another ½ hour or so to let the flavours meld.

Garnish with a little Parmesan cheese before serving if you want! I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to, but you do what you like!




There you have it, a simple and delicious summer pasta salad. It is filling and makes GREAT left overs!

I also made a caprese version the week before, I just forgot to take pictures. It had little tomatoes, pearl bocconcini cheese, basil and spinach. I used a balsamic vinaigrette. I had a little grilled chicken left over from dinner the night before so we tossed a little of that on top as well.  This version was great as well. 

I feel like the possibilities are endless…A Greek version, a Southwest version you get the idea! Use what you have I promise it will be delicious!



Enjoy!



Jen

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Super Simple Strawberry Shortcake


We have been eating a lot of berries the last couple weeks. They strawberries have been especially tasty lately. I bought a big flat the other day and knew I was going to have to make something to use some of them up.



I decided Strawberry Shortcake would be the perfect treat.  I decided to cheat a little and use a cake mix. If you want to make your own cake, good for you! I also used whipped cream from a can, cause that is how I roll!

Despite my cheats it tasted delicious!


 

What you need,

1 Yellow Cake (I used a French Vanilla boxed cake and made it according to the directions on the box)

3 cups strawberries, sliced

1 tbsp. sugar

Whipped Cream



In a bowl stir the strawberries with the sugar and let them sit at least an hour before making the shortcakes.

When you are ready cut yourself a nice sized piece of cake and slice it in half, horizontally.

Add a layer of sliced berries onto the bottom layer of cake, top with whipped cream, add the top layer of cake, add more berries and more whipped cream until you have a tower of awesomeness!



Stuff in your face!

There you have it, super simple, super tasty! This would be a great dessert for a crowd. Or just for you and your sweetie! We ate strawberry shortcake 4 nights in a row and it was delightful!

Enjoy!



Jen


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Kraft vs. Jif - A Cookie Comparison

I have been a Kraft Peanut Butter girl for my whole life. I never cared to eat any other peanut butter… ever!



They recently started selling Jif Peanut Butter in Canada. I wasn’t particularly interested in this fact but my in-house taste tester was. He immediately wanted to try it. I reluctantly agreed…

We came home from the store and immediate opened the Jif, and my trusty jar of Kraft. We each grabbed a spoon and gave them a taste. I tried the Kraft first and was like yep, Kraft, it is the best. Then I tried the Jif, it was good. It was really good. I had to have a couple tastes, but it is really creamy, and it has a deeper roasted peanut flavour than the Kraft.



We did the toast taste test the next morning and we both blind tested the Jif as our favourite.

So, there was only one test left… Peanut Butter Cookies!

This is my all time favourite cookie recipe. I have been making it forever. It is always a winner.

I made one batch using Kraft and one batch using Jif.

I make them side by side, at the same time. I baked them alternating pans between the 2 kinds. Cooled them on separate racks and waited for my in-house taste tester to get home so we could get down to business.


So, I ate 10 or 12 cookies in the name of science of course! Again Jif came out on top, for both of us.



The Jif cookies were a little puffier, and the centre was a bit denser which created a slightly chewier cookie. My favourite cookie trait is its chewiness!

The taste was similar but the Jif does really have a stronger peanut taste.

So, after all this I may be converted… After all these years of being a Kraft girl I think I just may be making the switch to Jif. Who woulda thunk it!

What is your favourite peanut butter?

Whichever it is, make these cookies they are truly the best cookie ever!



Enjoy!



Jen

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Depression Era Chocolate Cake


I have a big pile of recipes that I have been meaning to make for years. I decided to re-organize them the other day when I saw this recipe for chocolate cake that doesn’t have eggs or milk I had to try it!

I guess this cake was pretty popular back in the day, due shortages and costs of milk and eggs.


I was a little worried the cake might not have the right texture but man was I wrong. This cake is amazing. Light and fluffy, really chocolatey. I slathered on some simple icing but you wouldn’t’ have to, I just like icing, a lot!





What you need,

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water



For the icing,

2 tbsp. butter, melted

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 cup icing sugar

1 tbsp. milk

¼ tsp. vanilla extract


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 baking pan well with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.

In a separate bowl whisk together the vanilla, vinegar, vegetable oil and water.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mix just to combine.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely before putting on the icing.

To make the icing beat together butter and cocoa powder. Add in the icing sugar, milk and vanilla and beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.

Spread the icing evenly over the cake, once it has cooled.




This is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever made. It is super simple and uses every day ingredients. It makes a nice small cake which is great when there is only 2 of you.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!



Jen

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo Bake



I think that the pasta section of this blog has by far the most recipes in it. So why not add yet another one to the list!


This simple pasta is a great weeknight meal, it comes together super quick and there is a bit of a cheat by using store bought Alfredo sauce.


I love mushrooms and chicken together so this dish was a real winner for me.
The sauce is creamy but not too rich, it really was very delicious!

What you need,

2 chicken breasts cut into half inch pieces
Season Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
8-10 button mushrooms sliced
1 jar Alfredo sauce (I used Classico Roasted Garlic)
½ cup of milk (I used 1%)
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup dry pasta, use any shape you like, I used the crazy spiral kind

Start by heating your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish.

In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
Season the chicken generously with season salt and pepper.
Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and crisp. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan, add a bit more oil if you feel like you need to.

Cook for 8 or 9 minutes until they begin to soften and turn a nice golden brown. Remove them from the pan as well.

Pour the jar of sauce and milk into the pan and let the sauce heat up. Scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure you get all those good chicken and mushroom bits!

Season the sauce with salt and pepper if needed.

Add the chicken and mushrooms to the sauce and let it simmer on low for a few minutes. Stir in all but 1 teaspoon of the parsley.

Meanwhile cook the pasta to package directions. Make sure you drain it when it is still pretty el dente, it will continue to cook in the sauce while it is baking.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Add a little more milk if the sauce seems too thick.

Pour the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Top with the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  

Remove the pasta from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Serve hot with a nice side salad for a perfect dinner!


This pasta was so good! I love a baked pasta, that crispy cheese is my soul food!

It also made great left over lunches the next day.


Enjoy!

Jen