Herbed summer squash pasta bake

IMG_2707Adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients:
250 g De Cecco pasta
olive oil
3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
Juice of half a lemon
45 g (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts separate
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
25 g (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
350 mL (1 1/2 cups) broth
thyme, oregano, salt and more pepper to taste
finely grated parmesan cheese
smoked Gouda, cubed small
chopped basil

Directions:
Cook the pasta to al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and fry the zucchini for 10 minutes without burning, browning both sides. Remove, and sprinkle the squash with some lemon juice. Melt butter in the pan on medium heat and fry the scallion whites and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the flour until absorbed by the butter. Slowly add the (milk) broth, incorporating each time you mix it together. Season with lemon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and mix in all herbs. Season to taste. Add the gravy sauce to your baking dish. Add the pasta, squash, and cheeses. Stir to combine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil.

I subbed broth for the whole milk and smoked Gouda for the mozzarella. It made the sauce a quite nice gravy, surprisingly. I also had two tomatoes and some reserved puree that needed to go somewhere so… Mystery pasta bake. Yum! In hindsight, however, this would have been super delicious without the addition of tomatoes, although Amber really didn’t mind them.

~Jessica

Home Fries

IMG_2704Adapted from The Kitchn and Serious Eats

Ingredients:
vegetable oil
2 red potatoes
1 red bell pepper
1/2 large red onion
3 garlic cloves
Seasonings: smoked paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, scallions (optional)

Directions:
Chop the potatoes. Cover them with cold water in a pot and a pinch of salt. Heat until water boils for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat. Drain, coat in a little oil, and set aside. Chop the rest of the vegetables. Fry the onions in some vegetable oil/butter over medium-high heat, then the garlic, until fragrant. Fry the bell pepper. Set aside. Fry the potatoes until they sear, without crowding, then add back the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste. Top with scallions or parsley (chives could do as well).

I do love garlic butter roasted mushrooms, so I was inspired to incorporate this form of protein in the morning brunch (also because we had run out of yogurt. Ack). So of course I needed to know the best method How to saute mushrooms. Cut thick, cook hot, don’t overcrowd. Done. Accompanied by some freshly grated Parmesan, a dash of salt and pepper and olive oil, and a wedge of smoked gouda. The omelette included scallions, salt, pepper, and just before I folded it in half, several strips of the same smoked gouda (melts wonderfully when reheating leftovers).IMG_2706

~Jessica

Triple Grilled Cheese

IMG-20170501-WA0011.jpgButter both sides of the bread. Add cheese. Fry until cheese melts. Put the slices together and fry a little more in the pan, flipping once. Serve hot.

A classic Grilled Cheese involves 1 slice of cheddar per bread slice. I added muenster and crumbled goat cheese, garnished with a side of kale chips. (Because there was cheese in the fridge that needed to be used, if you know what I mean). Next time I will add more cheddar and a little less goat cheese (strong flavor overpowers the sandwich).

~Jessica

Strawberry chia jam

IMG_2693.JPG

Fresh  out of the pot

Adapted from Nadia Lim

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries, frozen
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chia seeds
splash of vanilla extract (optional)
splash of water
splash of lemon juice

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except chia seeds. Cook in a small pot over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir until thickened, breaking up the fruit. Sweeten to taste. Add the chia seeds and stir for a minute. Let jam cool slightly, then transfer to heatproof, sterilized jars (I adore Bonne Maman preserves, so I always save up their jars). Cover and let cool completely. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

IMAG1293After looking up all of those interesting ways to use chia seeds, I became fascinated with this simple recipes. Only berries and sugar and chia seeds are essential, but I had the rest in the pantry, so hey, why not? All the little chia seeds look like strawberry seeds in the photo! I thought the vanilla flavouring unnecessary, so I wouldn’t add it next time. And it wasn’t overly sweet, as most jams are — a nice change!

~Jessica

Chia seed pudding, part II

IMG_2689Adapted from Wellness Mama retry of this

Ingredients:
2 cups almond-coconut milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

IMG_2686

sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon

Instructions:
Whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight. Eat with fresh fruit in the morning.

IMG_2687

pre-almond topped

I wanted to try a chia seed recipe without using yogurt, because I love my yogurt, but I wanted to use up the almond milk before it expires (one week after opening, according to the label).

So I layered 3 spoonfuls of chia pudding with 2 spoonfuls of whole milk plain yogurt. Added chopped strawberries and toasted chopped almonds and a spoonful of jam to finish. This made enough chia pudding for six (small) servings.

IMG_2690

~Jessica

Chia seed pudding

IMG_2677Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk
1 cup plain Greek/organic whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped and sugared
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:
Mix almond milk, yogurt, honey, vanilla, pinch of salt, and chia seeds together. Let sit 30 minutes before covering. Refrigerate overnight. Toss the berries in a wee bit of sugar and the almonds together. Serve pudding topped with the sweet nut-berries.

IMG_2679

I prefer using the metric system on this blog but I was terrible the first time I tried to “eye” the amount for all the ingredients, so I’ll leave them be. I don’t really like vanilla-flavored nut milk, so I was glad this worked out fine as long as I substituted honey for the maple syrup, which made it rather too liquid and not as viscous as a pudding out to be. I didn’t have sliced almonds so I chopped them myself before toasting them in the pan for a few minutes, until they had that nice warm toasty smell. Amber had a sizeable bag of chia seeds in the fridge, and she was just eating them raw before — hence, this for breakfast.

~Jessica

Slow cooker chili con carne

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My sister just had a new baby, so we’ve been trying to create protein-rich, one pot meals that aren’t too complicated. Photo above includes the leftovers paired with a mushroom spinach cheese omelette and smoked gouda on English muffin.

Adapted from smitten kitchen

lean ground turkey (we had beef in the freezer)
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
chili powder, ground cumin, kosher salt, paprika, oregano, Dried red pepper flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1-2 jalapenos or other fresh hot pepper, minced (we can’t tolerate too spicy though!)
1 bell pepper
vegetable/olive oil
1/2 bottle fresh tomato sauce or tomato puree
3 tablespoons cider vinegar (we forgot, next time!)
1 bottle beer (next time!!)

Heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in your slow cooker. Serve with sour cream and grated cheese.

~Jessica