Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baked Tomato, Mushroom & Spinach Tortellini

Herb and cheese filled tender tortellini slathered in a rich tomato sauce with sautéed mushrooms and spinach baked with cheese, what more do I need to tell you about this amazing dish?

It really speaks for itself, just look at it! It is a thing of beauty.



I will eat pasta all day everyday, but bake it with some cheese and well it takes it to a whole new level.

This dish came together super fast. I quickly sauteed the mushrooms and spinach while the pasta was cooking, added the pasta and the sauce to the sauteed veggies added a few spices and that was that.

Just pour the whole mess into a baking dish and throw some grated cheese on top. Bake for about 25 minutes and you too can have this amazing cheesy pasta!




What you need,

1 pkg. fresh tortellini, I used Herb & Cheese but you use whatever flavor you like

1 jar of your favorite tomato based pasta sauce, I used Classico Tomato with Basil

¼ cup milk (I used 1%)

2 tbsp. butter

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

½ tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

2 cups grated cheese, I used a combo of cheddar and mozzarella



Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the Pasta according to package directions, less 2 minutes, drain and set aside. They pasta will cook a little more in the oven so under cook it a little so it doesn’t get too overcooked.

In a large non-stick pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened and starting to brown. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and garlic powder.  Add the tomato sauce, milk and sugar to the pan and stir to combine.  Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the pasta into a baking dish, sprinkle it with the cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. I like to broil the pasta for a few minutes at the end just to brown up the cheese!





Ok people, there you have it, a wonderful hearty pasta dish you and your whole family will love!

Add a nice Cesar salad on the side and you win at dinner!



Enjoy!



Jen






Sunday, September 24, 2017

Oatmeal Krispie Chocolate Chip Cookies


Sometimes you just need a cookie… or like 3!



These Oatmeal Krispie Chocolate Chip Cookies are just what you need.

They are nice and crisp on the edges and super chewy in the middle, which I love.
The addition of rice krispies really adds a nice texture!





What you need,

1 ½ cups butter (I used salted cause I always do!)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt (I only used ½ a tsp. because I used salted butter!)

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups quick oats

2 cup rice Krispie cereal

2 cups chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.

In a large bowl beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one a time and beat until well incorporated.

Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Add the oats and cereal and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop the batter by the heaping tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 9-10 minutes until golden around the edges but still soft in the middle.

Cool on the pan for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



You can stash the cooled cookies in an airtight container for about 3 days, not like they will last that long! Or you could freeze them 2 per little zip lock bag and save them to toss in school and work lunches. I know a little pack of these cookies would brighten my day!

What else can I say… MMMMM Cookies! Really really good cookies!



Enjoy!



Jen

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Nectarine Oatmeal Muffin


Wow, I have been a very bad blogger lately. But it was summer and I had sunshine to enjoy!


Today it is feeling very fall-esque! Which isn’t a bad thing, I am looking forward to warm sweaters and big bowls of soup!


For me Fall equals muffins, all kinds of muffins! I wanted to use up the last of the summer fruit, some juicy sweet nectarines and pair them with some warm fall spices, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.




What you need,
Click Here To Print


2 cups all purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

½ tsp. ground ginger

1 cup quick oats

3 nectarines peeled and diced pretty small

2 large eggs

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ cup vegetable oil

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners. (I got 20 muffins)

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and oats.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and vegetable oil. 

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Then add the diced nectarine and fold to combine.


Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin papers. Sprinkle the tops with a little coarse sugar if you like, I did!

Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.


Let the muffins cool on a wire rack completely before packing them up.

I like to wrap the muffins individually in saran wrap then put them in a large zip top bag and stash them in the freezer for lunches or snacks later on!




These muffins are beyond amazing. Nice and moist with such great warm fall flavors.

Happy Fall everyone.



Enjoy!!



Jen


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Twice Baked Broccoli Cheddar Potatoes


I have been trying to make one or 2 meatless meals a week lately. Not for any health reasons just because I am kind of tired of meat!


I decided to whip up some twice baked potatoes and thought hey why not toss some cheese and broccoli in there, so I did.



Man, these potatoes, they are amazing. So crisp and creamy and full of flavor. They were really filling and a nice mixed green salad paired perfectly with them.

There is only the 2 of us so I just made one large, I mean BIG potato, but if you have a family just double or triple the recipe!





What you need,

1 large russet potato, washed and dried

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp. milk or cream

2 heaping tbsp. sour cream

1 tbsp. butter

¼ cup grated cheddar cheese + a little extra for topping

½ cup or broccoli chopped into very small florets

Salt and Pepper to taste

Poke holes all over your potato, then microwave it on high for 3-5 minutes until it starts to soften.  Then rub it in olive oil and sprinkle it all over with salt and place it on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until the skin is crisp and the potato is fully cooked through, 30-45 minutes. I rolled my potato over halfway through.

Remove the potato from the oven and let it cool until you can handle it.  Cut in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the middles leaving a little potato around the edge to hold the filling in when you re-stuff it.

Mash the inside of the potato with the milk, sour cream and butter. Stir in the cheese and broccoli and season to your taste with salt and pepper. Try not to eat all the filling with a spoon, I almost did, damn it was tasty!

Re-stuff the potatoes with the filling, heaping it in there. Top with a little extra cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until it is hot and melty.

Stuff in your face… well maybe make a salad and have that too…





These potatoes, what can I say, just look at them, they are a thing of beauty.

They taste like a dream.

You won’t miss the meat in this meal at all! I promise!



Enjoy!



Jen




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Grilled Sausage & Veggies Packs

In my quest to make decent dinners without turning on the oven I whipped up these totally delicious, super simple tinfoil packs. They are full of smoked sausage and lots of veggies. You can prep them the day before and then all you have to do is toss them on the BBQ for 20-25 minutes and you have a complete meal, no fuss no muss!



And feel free to use whatever veggies you like I think the possibilities are endless here!




What you need,

1 lb. pre-cooked sausage, cut into 1-inch rounds

(I used Harvest Smoked Summer Sausage but you can use whatever you like, chicken or turkey would be awesome!)

1 ear corn, cut into 1-inch rounds

1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

6 button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on how big they are

1 small zucchini cut into 1-inch rounds

2 medium potatoes cut into ½ inch pieces

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. season salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. granulated garlic

½ tsp. granulated onion


In a large bowl combine all the veggies and sausage. Drizzle with the oil and spices and toss well to coat.

Using a double layer of tinfoil divide the mixture into 4 packs. Dollop ½ tablespoon of butter over each pack. Close each pack tightly. Try to make them pretty flat.

I stashed mine in the fridge overnight and cooked them the next day for dinner…

Heat your grill to medium.  Cook the packs for 10 minutes then flip and cook for another 10 minutes. I flipped mine a final time for 5 more minutes. Remove them from the grill and carefully open each up, watch that steam, it is HOT!

I emptied all the pack onto a platter and served them that way, but you could serve each person their own pack.

I served mine with a little sour cream and a little mustard.


This is going to be a weekly summer dinner in my house. We ate it all up! I thought for sure there would be left overs but nope, we scarfed it all down!

There was so much flavour the veggies were perfectly tender and the sausage got a little crisp.

Absolutely fabulous! And I didn’t have to use the oven! WhooHoo!



Enjoy!


Jen 


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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies


Do you want a cookie?? Well I have a good one for you, Coconut Oatmeal! So simple and so delish!


This is a really basic cookie dough that comes together in a flash but don’t let that fool you these cookies are amazing!


What you need,

½ cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup shredded coconut

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream the butter and both sugars together, until light and fluffy.
Add in the egg and beat well.
Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour.

Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is fully incorporated. Add the oats and coconut and mix until just combined.

Drop by the heaping tablespoon onto the prepared sheets. Press the dough a little to flatten. These cookies don’t spread out too much so if you press them a bit it makes for a nicely shaped cookie.

Bake one pan at a time in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes. Until the edges are golden and crisp but the center of the cookie is still soft.
Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for about 3 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days if they last that long! They also freeze really well.


I love the simplicity of this cookie. They are so sweet and delicious, and quite frankly you can have them for breakfast because really it is just like having a bowl of oatmeal in cookie form.

Enjoy!


Jen