Recipes

Tortellini Alfredo

Opening a restaurant is not easy. It’s been an extremely busy start to the new year when that’s your major focus. Since Monday, I’ve been putting in 12+ hours each day at the restaurant to get it ready. I’m about to leave in a few minutes for another long day and that means my time for leisurely cooking is pretty much close to nothing. However I have managed to get some cooking time squeezed in. For example, this Tortellini Alfredo was a dish I whipped up in less than 20 minutes… so cooking is still possible despite a busy schedule. So if I’m able to get a meal on the table with minimal time, I’m sure others can too!
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Healthy Fettucine Alfredo

I’ve been making a mess lately.

Healthy Fettuccine Cauliflower Alfredo

A mess that starts with slurpy delicious noodles and ends with creamy healthy sauce.

I’m of the belief that Alfredo sauce is King. Even deep red tomato sauces (which are supposed to be deep and red) are at their best with the addition of a little cream. Which makes them not deep red anymore and more like a pinky-orange. Pink is fun, right? It’s just like I just try to make everything into Alfredo. That’s just what it’s like.

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Easy Vegetable Chow Mein

 



2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac calendar; people born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever and kind to others, although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented but stubborn. They like entertainment and are popular among friends.

A simple recipe to celebrate Chinese New Year and one that is on the table quicker than phoning up for a Chinese Takeaway, my recipe for Easy Vegetable Chow Mein is filling and has NO MSG in it, as many take-away dishes often contain. Making a vegetable chow mein is easy, as long as you have all of your ingredients prepared and ready for stir-fry take off! I have always added peppers to my chow mein, as well as carrots, but mushrooms are also great veggie additions as well as mini sweetcorn. For a truly authentic way of serving this Chinese take-away classic, serve it in small bowls with chopsticks……and lots of napkins!

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Grilled Chicken Caprese Pasta

If you love Italian food then this is a deluxe meal you will most definitely want to try! It is fancy, loaded with fresh goodness, creamy, hearty and beyond good! You get everything that’s on your average Caprese Chicken and so much more, with the tender pasta, fire roasted tomato sauce, additional garlic (because I think they never put enough garlic in the store-bought bottled spaghetti sauce, you could even add two cloves to the recipe), and yes of course the perfectly grilled chicken breast strips. This is a meal you are going to remember. If you wanted to really splurge you could even add in some cooked Pancetta or Bacon, yum! Sorry I didn’t get many pictures (I wanted more pictures with the grilled chicken showing through it’s kind of hidden in there), this was my families Sunday dinner and I couldn’t resist that gooey gooey cheesy goodness long. It was calling my name. I looked over to my husband and the cheese was dripping clear from the fork near his mouth to the plate sitting in his lap (yeah we ate this fancy meal on the couch, not usual but once in a while its fun =). Enjoy!

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Recipes

Cheeseburger Macaroni

homemade-cheeseburger-macaroni-recipe-23This delicious, incredibly cheesy dish is another one of our favorite weeknight dinners. It’s beefy, hearty and whips up in less than 20 minutes. Hope you love this one as much as we do!

 

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Start with one pound of lean hamburger meat, browned and drained.

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Add a package of taco seasoning.

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And one can of this. The good stuff.

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You don’t even have to bother to drain it!

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Gosh, I really like Rotel.

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Add two cups of beef broth.

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(You can also just use water if you want.)

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And one cup of elbow macaroni. You’ll be glad you did.

By the way, I’ve tried other shapes of pasta in this recipe, and none of them seem to work as well as good old macaroni. Gotta love it.

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Stir to combine, and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 12-14 minutes until the macaroni is tender.

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Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of flour.

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Whisk to combine, and continue to cook, whisking until the roux is fragrant and light brown in color, about 5 minutes.

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Whisk in 3/4 cup of milk.

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And bring the sauce to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened.

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Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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Whisk until melted. Heaven help me.

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Now one last step for the sauce, this stuff needs some seasoning! Add 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. I love this seasoned salt and pepper.

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Here’s what your hamburger and noodles should look like after 12-14 minutes. Don’t worry if there’s still some beef broth in there. You may want to taste test a noodle for doneness at this point.

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If you like it, go ahead and pour in the cheese sauce and stir gently to combine.

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Glorious! Beef. Cheese. Rotel. Taco seasoning. Does it get any better than this? Enjoy!

Cheeseburger Macaroni

 

1 lb lean hamburger meat
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)
2 cups beef broth (or water)
1 cup elbow macaroni

Brown and drain hamburger meat. Stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, beef broth, and macaroni. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 mins until macaroni is tender.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce….

2 Tablespoons butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes until fragrant and light brown in color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.

 

 

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Lightened Up General Tso’s Chicken

                                                                                                      

Lightened Up General Tso's Chicken

So, I’m sick. Like really sick. Like when you feel so badly, that you just lie on the couch all day staring into space and are completely useless. That kind.

Sickness aside though, I have to share this recipe with you! It’s been a while since I last shared a Chinese dish. That’s because the last three I have tried were horrible and I just wouldn’t do that to you guys. Chinese food can be tricky to master. The sauces have to be just right, not overly sweet, and the chicken has to have the right texture.

Lightened Up General Tso's Chicken

We love General Tso’s chicken in this house, but I don’t love the fact that it’s fried and contains a ridiculous amount of sodium. This version lightens things up a bit by cooking the chicken in cornstarch with minimal oil and the sauce also got a makeover with less sodium. It’s just sweet enough thanks to the addition of apricot jam. Both myself and my husband really liked this one. I brought some leftovers for lunch the next day and it was still really good (maybe even a little better!). And that is saying a lot for me because I am really weird about reheated chicken.

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LIGHTENED UP GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN

yield: 4 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 20 MINUTES

total time: 35 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • up to 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the diced chicken, corn starch, salt and black pepper. Stir together until the chicken is well-coated in the corn starch.
  2. In a non-stick 12-inch skillet, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken, turning the pieces over every so often for about 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin, apricot jam, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sriracha, and the water.
  4. Place the skillet back onto the heat. Add the remaining vegetable oil for the sauce. Add the garlic and grated ginger and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixed and whisk until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked chicken back in with the sauce and toss to coat. Serve over rice or vegetables. Top with sesame seeds and/or sliced green onion if desired.
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