Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs in Creamy Vodka Sauce

Anyone remember that children’s song “On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed!”

I used to love that song! I still can’t eat spaghetti and meatballs without singing it to myself!

What you need,

For the meatballs,
1 lb. lean ground beef
½ of a medium onion, finely diced
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup panko or Italian style bread crumbs
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg

For the sauce,
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ of a medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1 680ml can of Hunts tomato sauce, I like the onion/herb & spices
1/4 cup vodka
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

½ a box of spaghetti – cooked according to package directions
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

To make the meatballs start by heating your oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray it with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl combine the ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, soy sauce, egg and parsley.
Gently mix well with your hands until well combined.
Roll into balls using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each ball.

Place onto the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the meatballs over halfway through.
Once they are done remove from the oven and set aside until the sauce is ready.

Meanwhile make the sauce. In a large deep skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften and are fragrant. Add the basil, red pepper flakes and tomato paste to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce and vodka. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add in the heavy cream and the parsley. Stir to combine

Add in the cooked meatballs and simmer them in the sauce for 10 minutes or so.

While the meatballs are simmering in the sauce you can you cook your spaghetti.

Top the cooked pasta with a few of the meatballs and some sauce. Sprinkle with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

This meal was comfort food to the max, we loved it! The creamy vodka sauce is amazing! It is velvety and sweet, seriously delicious!
The left-overs made great lunches.



Recipe adapted from Key Ingredient

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Upside-Down Cranberry Apple Cake

I am trying to use up all the food in my freezer before I move.
I found a couple of bags of frozen cranberries hiding at the back of my fridge freezer.

I remembered seeing this recipe online awhile back and thought it would be the perfect way to use up a bag!

This recipe for Upside-Down Cranberry Apple Cake is amazing.
It is moist and flavourful, plus it is super simple!

What you need,

1/3 cup butter, melted
¾ cup packed brown sugar
3 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (2 layer size)
1 pkg. Jell-O vanilla instant pudding (4 serving size)
4 eggs
½ cup sour cream
½ cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add the melted butter to a 9x13 inch baking dish. Tilt the dish to coat the bottom and sides.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bottom of the pan.
Top with the fruit in an even layer.

In a large bowl beat together the cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream, water and vegetable oil until smooth.

Pour the batter over the fruit and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden and a tooth pick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for about 1 hour. Run a knife around the edges of the pan.
Place a large platter over the top of the cake and carefully invert the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature.
A little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream really tops it off!

This cake is simple and delicious.
It would be perfect for a dinner party, it looks so pretty!


Recipe from Kraft Canada

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Favourite Things Friday Vol 55 - Sunsets

One thing I am really going to miss about my current apartment is the view.
I have seen so many amazing sunsets from my balcony.

No two are ever the same.

There is nothing more beautiful that a sunset.
I am so grateful that I have gotten to live here for so long!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!
Mine will be filled with boxes and packing tape...



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Taco Salad

We went apartment hunting this weekend. I haven’t looked for a place in so long I forgot how hard it is to find a good one.
One of the places we looked at had a Boston Pizza right across the street, which could be dangerous!

Boston Pizza used to have a taco salad on its menu. It came in one of those huge tortilla bowls! It was always one of my favourites.

This is a much simpler version but still very tasty! No huge tortilla bowl, but really they never tasted that great anyway.

What you need,

1 cup taco spiced ground beef, cooled
2 cups lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, diced
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 green onion, chopped
2 cups nacho chips, crushed into smallish pieces
¼ cup Catalina or Russian salad dressing
Salsa and Sour Cream for serving + some whole nacho chips

In a large bowl combine the ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, green onion, toss to combine. Crush about 1 ½ cups of the nacho chips and toss them into the beef mixture.
Pour the dressing over and stir until well coated.

Serve the salad on a large plate with sprinkle the remaining half cup of crushed nacho chips over the top.
Serve with some salsa and sour cream and a few whole nacho chips.

I love this salad, it is simple and quick, such a great way to use up left over taco meat!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What’s been going on over here…?

Whew, I am pooped! It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here.

Firstly, we just found out that my in house taste tester is being transferred to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, for work.
It is really exciting and we are super happy but the thought of moving and packing is freaking me out!

I have lived in the same apartment for 12 years! I barely remember moving in here.
We are headed over to the island this weekend to find a new place, and then I have to book movers and start packing.

Plus I had to quit my job. I am a little sad about it because I have been there a very long time and I am really close to the people I work with.
But this is a fantastic adventure and I am sure I will find something new.

Then my Dad was here for a week over Thanksgiving. It was fantastic! My Dad is so laid back and relaxed I love spending time with him.

He booked 2 days of fishing on the Fraser River; he was after a giant sturgeon.
It was amazing! The weather was fantastic.

Except some morning fog, creepy right‼

We caught about 15 sturgeon 1 was over 6 feet long and the monster was 7 foot 7 inches, both my in house taste tester and my Dad had to reel it in, that is how big it was!

I had the biggest fish on that I never caught. My Dad had to help me push the rod up so I could reel in line. I fought hard for 25 minutes, but the fish came off right at the boat. I almost cried, and my arms hurt for 2 days!

This is my Dad in all his glory! Sturgeons are all catch and release. It was fun to have a look at these prehistoric looking fish but it was good to know we were letting them go to get bigger and bigger!

We cooked a big Turkey feast on Thanksgiving which tasted amazing! Then we spent some time outside, the weather here was super sunny and nice.
I am so thankful I got to spend time with my Dad!

Things might be a little quiet around here for the next month or so, with all the packing and moving, but I hope to keep cooking right up until the move.

Please share any moving/packing tips you might have‼ I need all the help I can get.



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Salted Peanut Bars

If you are anything like me you have already scarfed a couple bags of Halloween candy. I really wish they wouldn’t put that stuff out so early, I can’t help myself.

My in house taste tester really loves the little caramels. He bought a huge bag of them the other day so I stole a couple handfuls to make these insanely tasty bars!

These Salted Peanut Bars are amazing! They are the perfect mix of salty and sweet.

What you need,

2¼ cups roasted salted peanuts
50 caramel squares, unwrapped (14oz.)
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp. water
Non-stick cooking spray

Lightly coat and 8x8 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper and spray it again lightly with the non-stick spray.

Cover the bottom of the pan with 1¼ cups of the peanuts.

In a medium sized sauce pan combine 1 tablespoon of water the marshmallows and caramels. Over medium heat cook until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir often, it should take about 8 minutes.

Pour the mixture over the layer of peanuts; spread the caramel mixture all the way to the edge.
Sprinkle the remaining cup of peanuts over the top.

Cool until set, about 4 hours.  Cut into 16 small bars.
Store between parchment in an airtight container for up to a week.

These bars are ridiculous. Go buy a bag of caramels and whip up a batch, you won’t regret it.

I hope all my Canadian readers have a fabulous Thanksgiving! My Dad is here so we are making a Turkey tomorrow with all the trimmings‼ I can’t wait!


Recipe from Martha Stewart