Category Archives: dinner

Never Spare Me The ‘Sparagus

Yes, I know, I know;  I disappeared from the joys of expressing ones self in blogging.  A lot, and I mean a lot has been going on in my life, which I will get to writing as the days and weeks go by, but for now I am looking forward to getting my feet wet again with a simply delicious season-appropriate recipe.

Each seasons brings out natures finest in fresh food offerings.

Summer is probably best known for the berry season.  Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.  Then we have juicy plump tomatoes that are warm from the sun and we promise ourselves as we slurp the tomato we will never eat a tomato in the winter again.  And what do we do?  Buy tomatoes in December.  A friend grows heritage tomatoes and I got a bunch off her last spring and I ate one like an apple in the car on the way home.  O M G!  It is amazing how they taste like, well like a tomato should.
Falls’ crisp cool air is symmetrical to the crisp bite into an orchard apple or pear.
Fall also gifts us with beautiful squash, potatoes, garlic, leeks and the every delicious versatile cabbage family that doesn’t hold anything against the baby cabbage aka Brussel sprouts.

And then we have spring.  You know what is one of my favourite spring foods? You guess it.  ASPARAGUS!  Never spare me the ‘Sparagus.

Oh as an interesting FACT, did you know this about asparagus?

“Depending on which study you read, between 22% and 50% of the population report having pungent pee after eating asparagus. But that doesn’t mean only some people’s bodies generate that smell. Researchers believe that, during digestion, the vegetable’s sulfurous amino acids break down into smelly chemical components in all people. And because those components are “volatile,” meaning airborne, the odor wafts upward as the urine leaves the body and can be detected as soon as 15 minutes after you eat this spring delicacy.

But only about one-quarter of the population appears to have the special gene that allows them to smell those compounds. So the issue isn’t whether or not your pee is smelly; it’s whether you’re able to smell it. If you smell a funny fragrance in your urine after you eat asparagus, you’re not only normal, you have a good nose.”

Ref: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-pee-smells-funny-eat-asparagus

Good news (or is it), I have good nose.

Asparagus is also said to be good for Kidney stones.  I get stones and as soon as I feel them, and trust me YOU KNOW, I eat a bundle of asparagus and within 24 hrs I am feeling much relief.  I just make a point of eating asparagus 2-3 times a week when I feel the stones reappear (and hold my nose when I pee).

Ok, enough chatter, lets get your fork and knife ready, this is a doozy!

Chicken Breast stuffed with Asparagus & Provolone Cheese

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
1 bundle of asparagus (always tastes best from your own backyard or a friends)
2 cups of bread crumbs – add garlic powder, basil, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.
2 eggs beaten
4 slices of Provolone cheese
Olive Oil
Cooking string

Put olive oil in pan.  Add enough to cover bottom of fying pan plus a little more.

Lightly steam your asparagus for 1 min.

Cut your chicken breasts in half but leave joined – butterfly.

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Add a slice of provolone and 3-4 asparagus pieces to the middle of your butterflied chicken breast.

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Tie up your chicken breast, but not too tight.  Just enough to hold it together.  Dunk the stuffed breast into the egg and roll it around to make sure it is good and covered.  Put in bread crumb mixture and cover completely.

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Turn on oil in pan to preheat while you do the rest.  med-high should work.
Place all your stuffed breast in the preheated pan and turn all 3 sides when browned.

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Preheat oven to 425 while your stuffed chicken is cooking.  Line a flat sheet (cookie sheet) with tinfoil.
Flip chicken breast to cook all around.

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Here they are, all browning up and ready to transfer to oven.

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Place in pre-heated oven, uncovered for 10-15 mins.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. **Remember to remove the string before eating**

Because I love asparagus, I also made a steamed batch of asparagus with fresh garlic and shredded lemon rind and a Greek themed salad.

Dinner is served and what a fine feast it was!

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Delicious!

And my 2 delicious sides!

Hope you give this recipe a try, it does not disappoint.

Cheers!!!

Sandy

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Spinach & Broccoli Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing

This salad is Flyp, the teenagers, worst nightmare come true but I love it. It gives a satisfying crunch, with a bit of tang from the dressing, it’s different than a typical salad and it’s full of flavour. Tonight it will compliment my baked chicken wings beautifully.

Ingredients For Salad
2 1/2 cups of broccoli florets cut very small. Rinsed.
2 cups of of baby spinach. Rinsed.
1 red pepper diced
3 tbsp of diced sweet onion, or purple onion. Adjust onion quantity to own liking
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds

Toss all ingredients from above into a big bowl and set aside. Make the dressing below.

Honey Dijon Dressing
1/3 cup of honey (I use local unpasteurized honey)
1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
4 tbsp Organic unpasteurized Apple Cider a Vinegar (more or less depending on preferred tang/taste)
3/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cracked pepper to taste

Place all ingredients (except Olive Oil) in bowl in order listed. Whisk until well mixed. Add EV Olive Oil and whisk until creamy texture is achieved.

Pour 1/2 of the dressing over salad and mix evenly. Add more dressing according to preference. Sprinkle salad with some more sunflower seeds and refrigerate until ready to eat. Refrigerate left over dressing.

I like dried cranberries and raisins in this as well. Einstein doesn’t, so I leave out for him but I often add to mine. I’m sure slivered almonds would taste great too but we are a peanut and nut free home.

I hope you give it a try and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Popeyes Twisted Spinach Salad

Popeye was definitely onto something when he liked spinach so much.  Thankfully we don’t have to eat it out of a can (gross)!

This salad holds its own all day, every day.  It’s a meal, or its a side dish.  It’s absolutely delicious is what I know for sure.

Check it out!!

Ingredients

3 cups of cleaned organic baby spinach

3 hard boiled organic eggs

Paper thin purple onion slivers – to your liking.  Onions are always a preference thing for me when it comes to recipes.

Real Bacon Bits (left over bacon from breakfast – takes discipline but you can do it)

Place spinach in a flat-ish bowl.  Cut up eggs and sprinkle on top of spinach.  Sprinkle with bacon bits.  Crack some fresh pepper over the top.

Are you looking to a tasty dressing to compliment this? Here you go..

Honey Dijon Dressing

1/3 cup of honey (I use local unpasteurized honey)

1/4 cup of Dijon mustard

1/3 Organic Unpasturized Apple Cider

1tbsp of Non-GMO reduced sodium soy sauce

1/3 – 1/2 cup cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (depends how much you’d like to yield)

A few cracks of fresh pepper

Place all ingredients (except Olive Oil) in bowl in order listed. Whisk until well mixed.  Add EV Olive Oil and whisk until creamy texture is achieved.

Drizzle over dressing when ready to eat.  Refrigerate left over dressing.

**Start with adding only 1/2 of the apple cider vinegar and taste.  Add more to your liking.  Some people don’t like the strong vinegar taste, others don’t mind.**

Parmesan Crusted Potato Wedge

Nothing quite like a baked potato wedge to compliment your meal.  Add some herbs, garlic and parmesan cheese and you can’t go wrong.

In our home these make it to the breakfast table with Sunday morning breakfast or dinner table.

Recipe

4 large organic potatoes
Cleaned and cut into wedges

Toss in enough olive oil to coat all potato wedges
2 garlic cloves grated over hand grater into wedge mixture
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or more if you like)
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste.

Throw in rest of ingredients into potato amd olive oil mixture and stir well. Ensure potato wedges are well covered with all ingredients and place on baking sheet (I line with parchment paper) and cook @ 400 convection bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft all the way through with fork.

Enjoy with your favourite dip. I like on their own 🙂 I’m a simple gal.

A Plate Of Comfort

Sometimes you just need a plate of comfort for dinner.

We usually eat nicely balanced meals followed by fruit for dessert. However, every once in a while I make a big comfort plate for us.

This is diced cabbage, slivered sweet onions, garlic, red pepper, kielbasa and soft pierogis.

It’s very simple, but warms the soul on these chilly winter evenings.

No quantities in my recipe as it can be made to your own liking. We love fried cabbage and Flyp will eat most of it out of the pan before it makes it to the table so I have to over budget in cabbage.

Recipe

Peel and slice kielbasa and then cut slices in half
Brown in pan with olive oil
Dice up cabbage (we use about 1/4 cabbage)
Sliver some sweet onion
Thinly slice a red pepper (or any colour)
Fresh garlic to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Your favourite pierogis. We use our last of the homemade batch in the freezer.
Fresh cut chives
Sour Cream

Start to sauté onions, cabbage and garlic in pan with olive oil.
In boiling water, cook your pierogis entirely.
Drain cooked pierogis and add to pan of cabbage and onions and add red peppers and kielbasa. Mix it all thoroughly allowing red peppers to heat entirely and pour onto platter.

Dress with salt and pepper to taste.Serve with sour cream fresh cut chives.

Lasagna Rolls

image

A nice change to a traditional style lasagna. They’re as good as they look!! My guys gobble these up like there is no tomorrow.

I use organic whenever possible. Substitute where ever if you do.

Sauce
1 can tomatoes
2 garlic gloves (grated with grater or diced)
1/8 cup
Salt and pepper to taste.

Cimageheese stuffing
1 tub of ricotta cheese
Fresh herbs, basil, Rosemary, Thyme. Each to your own liking.
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Misc.
1 box of lasagna noodles
1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Put tomatoes in food processor and purée. Cook tomatoes for 30mins on medium/low with a low bubble. Grate in garlic gloves, add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5-7 more minutes. Remove from heat and pour in EVOO.  Mix well.

While tomatoes are cooking, bring salted water to a boil and cook as per directions on box. Stir often, don’t over cook. Al dente is best.

Dice/mince up the herbs. In a bowl empty ricotta cheese, adding egg and beat with a mixer. Add herbs and salt, pepper and mix for another minute. Stir in parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Preheat Oven to 400
Drain lasagna noodles and let slightly cool. In a lasagna tray cover the bottom with the tomato sauce.

Take a noodle, lay it out flat. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture along length of noodle. Roll it up and place in lasagna tray. Repeat until tray is full.

Pour sauce over top and make sure everything is covered. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover snugly with tin foil and cook for approx. 30-40 mins. Remove tin foil and out on broil for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from oven and enjoy!!!

Each oven is different. Please always watch your cooking and adjust as needed.

Pasta-Less Vegetarian Lasagna

This recipe is primo!!! It’s got some prep time behind it (1 hour) but it is so worth it.  Put your favourite music on, make a big mug of tea and get down to business.

My meat loving partner and teenage son gobble this up! I prefer to call it a veggy stack.  A lasagna without lasagna noodles isn’t a lasagna in my books.

I do make a few changes.  I don’t like mint, I don’t like parsley.  I don’t add either. I add the basil, rosemary and thyme to the ricotta cheese mixture.  I also bake in over for at least 1 hour.  I find the potatoes need it.   I also use sweet onions instead of red onions.  Just a preference.

This recipe is a must.

Pasta-less Vegetarian Lasagna

ingredients
2 firm, medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt and pepper
2 firm, medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup EVOO, plus more for brushing
1 head garlic
2 cups fresh ricotta
2 cups grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 ball mozzarella (1 lb), shredded
1/4 cup finely chopped mint and parsley (2 tbsp each)
1 egg beaten
1 28 ounce can san marzano tomatoes
a few basil leaves
3 tablespoons grated red onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 small baking potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick on a mandoline
1/4 cup finely chopped rosemary and thyme (2 tbsp each)

directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Peel the eggplants, leaving on some of the skin so they look striped, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Salt and let drain on kitchen towels for 30 minutes. Slice the zucchini 1/4 inch thick on an angle; salt and let drain with the eggplant

Pat the eggplant and zucchini dry with a kitchen towel. Divide between 2 baking sheets, brush with EVOO and roast until slightly golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Peel the garlic and place the whole cloves in a small pan; cover with 1/2 cup EVOO and cook over low heat until the cloves are soft and caramel in color, 15 to 20 minutes.

Combine the ricotta with 1 cup each parmigiano-reggiano and mozzarella, the mint-parsley mixture and egg; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup each parmigiano-reggiano and mozzarella.

Place the tomatoes and their juices in a food processor. Puree with all of the garlic cloves, 3 to 4 tbsp. of the garlic oil, the basil leaves, onion and sugar; season with salt and pepper.

Lower the oven to 400 degrees . Spread half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish; layer in half of the eggplant and zucchini, then dollop one-third of the ricotta mixture on top. Next, shingle half of the potatoes on top and season with salt and pepper, a sprinkling of the chopped rosemary-thyme mixture and a drizzle of the remaining garlic oil. Top with another third of the ricotta mixture. Layer with the remaining eggplant, zucchini, ricotta mixture and potatoes; season with the remaining rosemary-thyme mixture and garlic oil. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and the parmigiano-mozzarella mixture.

Cover the lasagna with greased parchment and wrap with foil; bake on a baking sheet for 40 minutes; uncover and bake until deeply golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.