November 14, 2012

Spagettini with Olives and Grape Tomatoes

This is a very quick pasta dish that is fantastic if you love olives.


Ingredients:

1/2 pound of spaghettini (half the box)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1.5 cups of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup of sliced green olives
1 pint of grape tomatoes
pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and the grape tomatoes for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.  In a large pot, cook spaghettini as per the instructions on the box.  Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta but reserve the pasta water.  Add the drained pasta to the sauce pan with the tomatoes.  Add the olives, cheese, bread crumbs and 2/3 cups of the pasta water.  Stir together and add more water/olive oil if needed. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche

This quiche is great for brunch, lunch or dinner! This recipe makes two 9-inch quiches.

Ingredients:
2 frozen deep dish pie shells (9 inches)
8 large eggs
2 cups of milk
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
150 grams of goat cheese, crumbled
1 medium red onion, chopped finely
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 pack of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dry basil
1.5 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 teaspoons of hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes on medium high heat.  Then add the diced red pepper, dry basil and a half teaspoon of salt.  Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in thawed and drained chopped spinach.  Let the mixture cool.  In a large bowl, beat 8 large eggs with 2 cups of milk. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot sauce and the cooled onion and spinach mixture.   Gently stir in the goat cheese and 1.5 cups of cheddar cheese.  Leave a half cup of cheddar cheese for the top of the quiches.  Pour the mixture into the 2 frozen pie shells.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cook for about 50 to 60 minutes at 375 degrees fahrenheit.  Let cool 15 minutes before eating.

October 31, 2012

Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce

This is one of my favourite pasta dishes.  It takes a little more time than opening a jar of sauce, but so much tastier!
 

Ingredients:
1 box of  penne (454g/16oz) (or any other type)
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped or minced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of dry basil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of white sugar
1.5 cups of jarred/canned tomato pasta sauce
6 tablespoons of heavy cream

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and onions.  Sauté for about 10 minutes on medium high heat.  Be sure to stir to avoid burning the mixture.  Once the onions have cooked down, add the diced tomatoes, salt, sugar and dry basil.  Cook for another 10 minutes on medium high heat.  Finally add the jarred/canned tomato pasta sauce and heavy cream.  Heat for another 5 minutes.  The reason for adding the jarred/canned sauce is to give the pasta some colour and body. Cook pasta as per instructions on the box.  Be sure to add some salt to the water when boiling the pasta.  Drain your pasta (never rinse), and combine with the sauce and enjoy! 

Optional:

Try adding green bell peppers or mushrooms.  I would add these in with the onions.  You could also add some baby spinach during the last few minutes to make this dish even healthier.  You can definitely add some ground chicken or beef for those meat eaters.

October 24, 2012

English Muffin Pizzas

These quick pizzas are a hit with kids.  You can even let them put together their own...it's amazing how they prefer to eat the food that they helped create.

Ingredients:

6 English muffins
pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella or marble cheese
any toppings you like (pepperoni, green peppers, ham, pineapple, onions, etc.)

Directions:

Split the English muffins into halves and place onto a baking tray.  Spread some pizza sauce onto each muffin halve.  Add your favourite toppings and top with the shredded cheese.  Bake on the middle rack at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes.  If you like your pizza more crunchy, you can toast the muffin halves for a few minutes before placing the sauce and toppings on. 

Optional:

I like vegetarian pizza, so I like to dice some onion, green pepper and mushrooms and sauté them in a little bit of olive oil and dried Italian seasoning.  I use this mixture instead of raw veggies. 

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

These biscuits are easy to make and you can add ingredients to make different flavours.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of cheddar cheese
3/4 cups of sour cream
2 tablespoons of water
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients and mix together.  Then add sour cream, cheese, olive oil and water to form a dough.  The dough will appear dry at first. Mix with your hands until it comes together.  Add extra water if necessary.  The dough should not be sticky.  Shape into 10 to 12 round balls and form each ball into a biscuit shape.  Place on a baking tray and bake for about 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees F on the middle rack.

Variations:

You can omit the cheese, salt, olive oil and rosemary and add sugar, cinnamon and raisons for a nice sweet variation.  You can also change up the herbs and cheese to suit your taste.  The olive oil in the recipe is optional, but I do like the flavour it gives.  Try adding orange or lemon zest for nice fragrant biscuits.  The possibilities are endless!

October 21, 2012

Turkey Pin Wheels

These simple turkey pin wheels are a great sandwich alternative.  Typically pin wheels are made with flour tortillas, but this recipe uses whole wheat bread instead.

Ingredients:

8 slices of whole wheat bread
6 tablespoons of cream cheese
3 teaspoons of packaged taco seasoning
1 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, marble or a tex mex blend)
about 100 grams of sliced turkey

Optional:
I like to add some chopped pickled jalapeno peppers for those who like a bit of a kick.

Directions:

Mix the taco seasoning with the cream cheese in a bowl until well incorporated.  Cut the crusts off the slices of bread and flatten the bread with your hand.  Then add an even layer of cream cheese onto the bread.  Sprinkle some cheese on 3/4 of the bread and place some turkey on top of the cheese.  Now roll the bread starting at the edge where the cheese and turkey are.  Once you have a log shape, slice the log into 6 pieces.  This recipe makes 48 little pin wheels.

October 20, 2012

Chick Pea Salad

This is a fairly easy salad that can be eaten as a meal for lunch.  It can be eaten cold or at room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 can of chick peas (540 ml), drained and rinsed
1/2 green pepper diced
10-15 baby carrots chopped into circles
20-25 grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1.5 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
black pepper to taste



Optional:

1/4 cup finely diced red or white onion (this really improves the taste of the salad, but you may not want to add it if you are taking this to work).  You can also add some freshly chopped basil for added flavour.

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir gently until well mixed.  Taste the seasoning and make the appropriate adjustments (i.e. more salt/pepper/basil or lemon juice).  Let the ingredients mingle together for about an hour in the fridge or on the counter.  I prefer the salad cold.  This recipe makes about 2 servings.