Caprese Panzanella with Chicken

Chicken. Bread. Cheese. Tomatoes. Basil. Heaven. That is all.

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the chicken-

  • 4 6oz chicken breasts, pounded to the same thickness for even cooking
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, oregano and thyme
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 2 TBSP EVOO (for pan frying)

For the salad-

  • 1 1/2 C (226G) FRESH mozzarella cheese, diced into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 1/2C fresh torn basil leaves
  • Balsamic vinaigrette or glaze (optional)

For the Tomatoes-

  • 3-4c cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper + a little more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, thyme and oregano
  • 1-2 TBSP EVOO

For the croutons-

  • 6c day old bread or buns (approx 3 Portuguese rolls) diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2C EVOO
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line 2 baking pans with tin foil.
  2. In a large bowl, add your cubed bread, olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands to make sure everything is mixed up. Pour on to one of your tin foil lined pans. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. In the same bowl, add your tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add your garlic cloves, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and oregano. Toss everything together with your hands and make sure everything is coated evenly. Pour tomato mixture on to the second tin foil lined pan. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until nicely roasted.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together your chicken seasonings. (salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder.) Once mixed, season both sides of your chicken breasts.
  5. In a pan over medium heat, add your 2 tbsp of olive oil. Let it get nice and toasty. Add your chicken breasts to the pan. Let cook on the one side for about 5-7 minutes. Once browned nicely on that side, turn the chicken over and continue cooking until it is fully cooked through. (This will be about another 7 minutes.) Once your chicken is fully cooked (check with a meat thermometer for a temperature that reads 160F) remove from the pan and to a cutting board to rest.
  6. Slice your chicken in to thin strips, or dice it.
  7. In a large salad bowl, add your roasted tomatoes, croutons, chicken, mozzarella cheese and torn basil. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette or a balsamic glaze. Or eat it without it! It is delicious either way!

Bacon Penne Carbonara with peas and Leeks

For the love of BACON. Lazy nights equal lazy suppers. Although this dish only takes moments to prepare, it definately does NOT lack in flavour! Pasta, garlic, leeks, fresh peas, bacon and cheese. Need I say more?

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 3c dried penne pasta
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 leek, quartered and sliced and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1.5c fresh peas
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • parmigianno reggiano
  • parsley, rough chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

bacon penne carbonara

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, salt the water. Add your penne, and cook until el dente.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add your bacon. Cook bacon to your liking, drain as much fat as you can.
  3. Once the bacon is almost done cooking, add in your leeks, peas and garlic. Cook until leeks are softened and peas are bright green. (Only a few minutes)
  4. In a measuring cup, gather 1 cup of starchy pasta water and add the 2 egg yolks to the water. Beat the eggs and water together and then pour over your bacon mixture.
  5. Drain the pasta and add it to the large skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley, toss everything together and serve!

Spinach salad with a creamy brie poppy seed dressing

A few weeks ago, I got a call from my doctor about my most recent routine bloodwork and how my hemoglobin level dropped pretty significantly. (Thanks baby #2!) I was advised to take extra iron supplements, which is obviously a pretty standard thing to do. Iron pills make me so bloody sick that I can’t even function properly, so I stopped taking them… Instead, I just started incorporating more iron rich foods in to my diet and I seem to be much better now! One of those iron rich foods I added in to my diet was SPINACH. I usually do eat spinach, but I swear by now we’re eating it 3-6 times a week depending on how much I have on hand!!

ANYWAYS. I made my Apple+pear+brie stuffed pork tenderloin for dinner again tonight, and I had to revise the recipe. Instead of using 1 full apple AND one full pear to stuff such a tiny tenderloin, I used only half. I also had brie left over from this that I know I am not going to use any time soon. SO, I decided to make a salad consisting of the left over apples, pears and brie. It was an interesting approach and I did not think this would work. Low and behold, it was DELICIOUS. You must give this salad a try!!!

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the salad:

  • 3-4 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 of a pear, diced
  • 1/2 of an apple, diced
  • 1/2c walnuts (pecans will work also. Or mix together.)

For the dressing:

  • 4 TBSP spreadable brie cheese
  • 1/4c white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4c + 1 TBSP Evoo
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 TBSP poppy seeds

Directions:

  1. Toss all your dressing ingredients in a measuring cup or little bowl and whisk until everything is nicely incorporated.
  2. In a separate salad bowl, toss in your spinach, apples, pears, and walnuts.
  3. Dress your salad and eat up!

Corn and Bacon Carbonara

One of the best things in the whole world besides everybody’s love for bacon, is pasta! And what better way to eat pasta than to eat it freshly made? There is something so mouth watering about a home made pasta, it is simple, delicious and SUPER fast cooking. If you don’t feel like making pasta, most grocery stores sell fresh pasta in the refrigerated section, or you can even just use boxed stuff. Whatever makes you happy. This recipe is also a good way to use up corn from the garden in the summer!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of bacon, diced
  • 1lb fresh pasta such as fettuccini, spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ears of corn, shaved OR 2 cups frozen corn (whatever you can get.)
  • 1/2C parsley, loosely packed and rough chopped
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) +1 tbsp if needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1C fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Large egg YOLKS (save the whites for breakfast.)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, salt the water.
  2. In a large skillet just over medium heat, add your bacon. Cook your bacon to your desired doneness. I love crispy bacon, so I cook the heck out of it. Once cooked, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate (To drain excess fat.) DROP your pasta – cook according to package directions.
  3. Drain as much bacon fat from the pan as you can. Add 1 tbsp EVOO, and let it get nice and warm. Add your onions to the pan, cook until they start to go translucent. Add in your corn kernels and your garlic, give it a nice good stir, cook for a couple minutes until the corn is cooked or warmed through.
  4. In a cup or measuring cup add your egg yolks, slightly whisk them. Add in 2 cups of starchy cooking water from the pasta pot and whisk in your 1 tbsp of corn starch. Add this to your skillet full of corn and onions. Add your bacon back in, season with salt and pepper (ALWAYS taste before you season, and season accordingly.) At this point I turn the heat just between low and medium.
  5. Drain your pasta and add it to the skillet – TOSS everything together. your sauce should be thickened up a bit add more liquid if you prefer. OR just drizzle the pasta with a bit of good EVOO!
  6. Garnish with parsley and make it RAIIIIINN with cheese. And then have more at the table for serving because you can never have too much cheese. Right?

Home made Raviolli with spinach and ricotta filling

I honestly believe there is nothing in this world as amazing as home made pasta. It is SO fresh and so delicious, I swear I can’t go back to store bought boxes of pasta. You just need to find a really good recipe, and I have tried many. My favourite is from Chef Michael Smith. I made a home made tomato sauce as well, but I will not be posting it for a while, so you will have to make or buy your own!14355589_10157410985795099_816792382677748228_n

Ingredients:

-1 lb favorite pasta dough, rolled into  thin strips

-16 fl oz or 2 cups ricotta cheese

-4 cups spinach, chopped as small as you can get it!

-salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg

-1 egg, beaten

-1/4 cup parmigianno reggiano

For topping-

home made or store bought tomato sauce

basil

grated parmesan

 

Directions:

mix your ricotta, spinach, egg, parmigianno, salt and pepper and nutmeg together in a bowl.

Lay your pasta flat on a floured surface. Using a cup, or ravioli cutter, cut out circles big enough to hold 1 tsp of filling, or big enough to fold the pasta over itself. I cut out enough circles so I could put another piece of pasta over the filled ravioli. And then i just used an egg wash to help the edges stick together.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, season the water with salt. A LOT of salt. Add your ravioli and cook for 7-9 minutes.

Add to a plate, throw pasta sauce on top and add some grated parmesan cheese and some basil.


Apple & Pear Stuffed Pork Loin

This pork tenderloin recipe has been an absolute hit! I am so happy that so many of you like it! Along with the revamping of the rest of my blog, I am also revamping some recipes and photo’s. The recipe for this is pretty much almost the exact same, but it has a different cooking method to ensure moist and juicy pork, and we added in some brie cheese. (Because why not?!) Hopefully you like this version just as much (if not more) than the last one! The fruit content has been cut down to a reasonable amount to stuff the pork tenderloin without too much overflow and waste. The left over apple and pear in this recipe that is NOT used on the pork, is used in this Spinach salad with a creamy brie poppy seed dressing. Enjoy!

Ingredients: (serves 2-3 with some left overs.)

  • 1/2 of an apple, sliced thinly. It’s your choice to peel or not to peel.
  • 1/2 of a pear, sliced thinly. it’s your choice to peel or not to peel.
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 TBSP Evoo
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 pork tenderloin, butterflied and pounded to 1/4″ thick. (Thinner is better. don’t worry if you can’t get it quite this small.)
  • Enough salt, pepper and smoked paprika to season BOTH sides of your tenderloin
  • 3 heaping TBSP Brie cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. In an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp EVOO. Let it get nice and warm. Add your sliced apples and pears. Cook until soft. Add in your sliced garlic and rosemary. Cook until your garlic is fragrant. Careful not to Burn your garlic. Remove from heat.
  3. Lay the mixture out into a line closest to one edge of your ALREADY seasoned pork tenderloin. Add the cheese along the line (all things stuffing the pork should be going from one side to the other.) Drizzle your maple syrup on top of the garlic and pear mixture.
  4. Start rolling your pork. Bring one end of the pork OVER the stuffing. Keep rolling nice and as tight as you can. Once you’ve rolled up the pork, secure it in at least 4 to 5 places with butcher twine.
  5. In the same oven proof skillet over med-high heat, drizzle another TBSP of EVOO. Let it get nice and hot. Sear your pork tenderloin on all sides. Let it sit for a few minutes on each side to get nice and browned to lock in all that flavour. Don’t flip your pork if the cooking side is still only white. IT MUST BE BROWNED.
  6. Once pork is seared on all sides, place it straight into the oven at 425F for 10-13 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 145F.
  7. Take pork out of the oven and move to a cutting board. Let it rest for 5-8 minutes. Then slice, and serve!

 


Grilled lemon arugula salad

Easy and delicious salads are the best thing ever. It takes seconds to throw together and it goes great with any protein! The grilled lemon really adds a zing to the salad!

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Ingredients:

-8 cups arugula

-1 whole lemon, halved and grilled until brown and black

-1/2c pecorino romano cheese

-1/4-1/2c good EVOO

-salt and pepper to taste

-1/2c almonds, crushed

Mix all ingredients except the lemon in a bowl. Drizzle the grilled lemon in to the salad. Serve!