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!

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard BBQ sauce

If you’re all for a different kind of barbecue sauce, I suggest this one! It is a bit spicy, so if you don’t normally eat a lot of spicy foods your head might sweat! This BBQ sauce is made with mustard and a delicious combination of spices. Try it out!

mustard BBQ pork

Ingredients: (serves 2)

For the pork-

  • 1 Lb pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 TSP each of dried: Rosemary, garlic powder, thyme and onion powder
  • 1/4 TSP chili flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP EVOO

For the sauce- (This makes about 2 cups so there will be left overs.)

  • 1/3C Ketchup
  • 1/2C Mustard
  • 3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP worchesterchire sauce
  • 3 TBSP Franks red hot sauce
  • 3 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/2 TSP each of dried: onion powder, garlic powder and smoked paprika
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a small bowl, mix together  your spice rub ingredients – rosemary, garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Rub the spice mixture all over your pork tenderloin.
  2. In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add your EVOO. Once the oil is nice and hot, add your tenderloin to the skillet. Brown it on all sides to get a nice crust.
  3. Once the tenderloin is browned, move it right to the 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until its internal temperature reads 145F.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk all of your sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  5. Once the pork is done cooking, remove it from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest 5 to 10 minutes. Once the tenderloin is rested, slice it into medallions and serve with the mustard BBQ sauce.
  6. Serve this with mashed potatoes and a broccoli cole slaw! Yummy!

Spring Gnocchi with fresh herbs

Dinner tonight is super fresh and super simple! There’s a little bit of chopping, and we cheated by buying our gnocchi instead of making it today. Oops! No time for that today! This was quite the refreshing dish. I love all the green in it! Give it a try!

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 700g fresh potato gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, diced and rinsed to remove dirt
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, tough ends broken off, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 large green onions, whites and greens separated, and sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced (not minced. we want nice big but thin pieces.)
  • 1c Peas
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2c parmigiano reggiano + more for serving
  • few leaves of basil, torn
  • 1/2c parsley, rough chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp EVOO and 2 tbsp butter. Let the butter melt and the oil get nice and hot. Add your gnocchi in and brown on both sides.
  2. Once your gnocchi is browned, add in your leeks, asparagus, whites of the green onions and garlic. Cook until the leeks and asparagus start to get tender. (a few minutes.)
  3. Add in your fresh peas, remaining 2 tbsp butter, greens of the green onions, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add your lemon zest and your lemon juice, 1/2c parmigianno reggiano, parsley and basil. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle with more cheese!
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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and spring veggies

This Thai Curry uses a home made green curry paste that you can find here

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Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 3 medium carrots, sliced on the bias (about 1/2C)
  • 7 stalks of asparagus, hard ends snapped off, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 large green onions both whites and greens sliced on the bias, keep whites separated from the green.
  • 1 398ML can of coconut milk or cream
  • 2 6-8oz chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 tbsp Green Thai Curry Paste
  • 2 TBSP china lily soy sauce
  • 2 TSP coconut sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2.5C cooked basmati rice (for serving.)

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Directions:

  1. Heat 1/2C of the coconut milk in a wok over low heat. Add your green curry paste and mix until well combined.
  2. Add your cubed chicken and turn the heat up to just over medium. Cook until your chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add in the rest of your coconut milk, soy sauce, coconut sugar, carrots, asparagus, white parts of the onions, and kaffir lime leaves. Let the curry come to a boil. Once the curry is boiling and foaming, turn the heat back down to low to let the curry simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until your vegetables are tender-crisp. (To your liking.)
  4. Once the curry is done cooking and your vegetables are done, stir in your green onions and torn basil leaves. Serve immediately over steaming hot basmati rice
  5. Enjoy!!

Green Thai Curry Paste

Spring is in the air!! It got up to maybe 13 or 14 degrees today in Edmonton, and let me tell you it was AMAZING. 13 degrees is pretty warm for me after our winters… sadly. Needless to say, I was feeling extra inspired for my meal plan I made this morning! I want to do spring dinners with all the beauty produce that is out and in season! If only I could cook this way the whole year round and not go broke, I would be the happiest girl in the whole entire world!

First meal of this weeks plan is a green curry with chicken and spring veggies, with a home made green curry paste. It is so much better to make your own so you don’t have a store bought container in your fridge with one or two spoonfuls out of it until you end up throwing it out 6 months later. What a waste. Grab your mortar and pestle (or a small blender or food processor) and lets get to it!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 TSP ground cumin
  • 1/2 TSP ground coriander
  • 1″ piece of lemon grass, OR 1 TSP ground lemon grass
  • 2.5 TBSP fresh grated, and peeled ginger root
  • 2 small kaffir lime leaves (it is okay to use dried leaves.)
  • 1.5 TBSP shallot, minced (About half of a shallot.)
  • 1 TSP fresh grated turmeric
  • 1.5 TBSP grated garlic cloves (about 3 large cloves)
  • 5 large basil leaves, minced
  • 2 red Thai chili’s, minced (Use more if you want spicier.)
  • 1/8 TSP freshly ground sea salt

Directions:

Add all your ingredients to your mortar and pestle or food processor and turn it into a paste. This makes about 3.5 TBSP of green curry paste.

I scaled down the spice of this as my 13 month old eats what we eat for dinner, and he sure does not approve of anything too spicy. That being said, up that chili pepper amount and use green Chile’s with red Chile’s. This is a little less than medium spice.


Lemon Parm Orzo with Peas

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Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/4c Orzo
  • 2 1/2c chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 TBSP EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2c peas
  • 3/4c freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (or any other hard parm like cheese)

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, add EVOO. Let the oil heat up and then add your dried orzo to the pot. Stir every minute or so until your orzo is nice and browned and fragrant. Now add in your chicken stock or water. Let your pot come to a boil, and then reduce your heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Let cook until nice and fluffy. When there is a few minutes left of cooking, add in your peas.
  2. Once your orzo and peas are done cooking, turn your heat down to low. Remove the lid and add in your lemon zest, lemon juice, pecorino romano cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Mix it all up and serve!
  3. It doesn’t hurt to grate a little extra cheese on top!!

Juicy chicken with a dijon sauce

This is a recipe that has been on my blog for about a year now, and it needed some serious TLC. It was good before, but this is a much better version of it. Juicy BBQ’D chicken with a white wine dijon sauce. Make this alcohol free by using low sodium chicken stock in place of wine. Did I mention that this is a super quick cooking meal? It is!

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Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 2 6-8oz chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thick
  • fresh ground sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp parsley, rough chopped (optional.)

For the sauce:

  • 1 TBSP EVOO
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, small dice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1c of your favourite white wine
  • 1 heaping TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1 heaping TBSP grainy dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven or outdoor grill. (oven to 425.)
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp EVOO. Once the oil is hot, add your onions and brown them. Once your onions are browned, add your garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Once your garlic is fragrant (1-2 min) deglaze your skillet with your white wine, stirring the mixture. Let the liquid reduce a little.
  4. Add in your dijon mustards (both kinds! if you only have one, then thats fine. add 2 tbsp of one kind.) and add in your butter. Once mixed, add in your cornstarch dissolved in water, and turn your heat down to low.
  5.  Season your chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place on your BBQ on a medium heat. Because the chicken is pounded nice and thin, it will take literally only minutes to cook. Cook for a few minutes on one side, and then flip and cook for another 5 minutes or so. I suggest using a meat thermometer and checking the internal temp of the chicken (165.)
  6. if you’re using the oven – season your chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. in a skillet on just over medium heat, add EVOO. Once your oil is hot, add your chicken. Brown it on both sides. Throw it into the 425 oven for 10-15 minutes.
  7. remove chicken from the grill and top with your dijon sauce. Sprinkle some fresh parsley over it if you like!

Take-Out Mongolian Beef

This Mongolian beef stir fry is a delicious weeknight dinner and it’s decently quick to whip up. (minus marinating your steak. but you can really just omit that step if you wanted to.) You’ve got to give this a try!!

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Ingredients: (Serves 4)

Marinade/Sauce:

  • 1 large flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain. As THIN as you can get.
  • 1C China Lily soy sauce
  • 1/3C water or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (more if you want it spicier.)
  • 2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar (Or a sherry vinegar.)
  • 1/4c Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar (You can omit this and use honey instead.)
  • 1″ ginger, finely grated (or minced. I freeze peeled ginger and grate it as I need. WAY easier.)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced. I would use 5 if they’re smaller.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste. (I suggest tasting the sauce before adding salt. depends on your soy sauce and how salty it already is. This is why I use china lily, it is DELISH and not crazy salty like most soy sauces.)

For the rest:

  • 1.5C dry rice + 3 cups water (Or you can use noodles. whatever makes you happy!)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
  • 1 small Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced into strips
  • 1/2 + 1.5 Tbsp corn starch, separated
  • small handful of Cilantro (or flat leaf parsley if you hate cilantro.)

Directions:

  1. In a freezer zip lock bag or bowl, add ALL marinade/sauce ingredients, including your thinly sliced steak. Marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  2. Start cooking your rice according to package directions.
  3. Remove sliced steak from the marinade to a piece of paper towel. (KEEP THE MARINADE. we are USING this and not wasting it.) Dry it as much as you can. In a bowl, add 1/2 c cornstarch and add your beef to it. Toss the beef to coat.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with about 1.4c EVOO, vegetable or cooking oil. Once the oil is hot, add your beef. Let it sit and cook and get crispy, then stir it up to crisp up the rest. When you’ve stirred the beef to crisp the other side, add your peppers and onions. Let them cook together for a couple minutes.
  5. Add 1.5 tbsp corn starch to your marinade. Mix it together, and then add it to the skillet with the beef and veggies. Let the sauce come to a boil for a minute or two. Turn the heat down to low-medium and let it thicken up and cook your peppers and onions a little bit more.
  6. Once the peppers and onions are cooked to your liking and your sauce has thickened up a bit, remove the skillet from the heat. Spoon on top of your steaming hot rice or noodles and throw some parsley or cilantro on it. 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?

Pork loin with white wine and herb gravy

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Ingredients: (Serves 2)

For the pork-

  • 1 LB pork tenderloin
  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 1 TSP each dried thyme, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Gravy-

  • 1C white wine
  • 1/4 TSP garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/4C heavy cream
  • 1 TSP corn starch

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together your thyme, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread all over your pork tenderloin.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  3. Heat an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Add your EVOO. Once your oil is hot, add your tenderloin and sear it on all sides.
  4. Once your tenderloin is nicely seared, put it in the oven for about 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 145F.
  5. Once your tenderloin is done cooking, remove it from the oven and the skillet and place it on a cutting board. cover it loosely with tin foil and let it rest for about 7 minutes.
  6. Place the same skillet back over medium heat. Add your garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, rosemary and black pepper. Whisk the seasonings together in the pan for a little less than a minute. Add in your white wine and whisk everything together, getting all the nice browned bits of pork and seasoning from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine reduce by a little less than half. Add your butter, season with salt.
  7. Mix your cornstarch with your heavy cream, and then add to the gravy. Whisk and let thicken.
  8. Slice your pork into medallions, and serve with the gravy.
  9. Serve this with roasted carrots and potatoes. season them with salt, pepper and garlic powder, or whatever seasoning you like. bake at 425 for about 20-25 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Grab your pork loin. Make tiny slits all over the loin and slide your garlic slices in. I call this “studding” my loin. Once finished, in a plastic zip lock bag, add half the rosemary sprigs and half the thyme sprigs. Add your salt and your water. Braise your loin for 24 hrs or more. You can also SKIP this step if you don’t have the time.

Preheat your oven to 375F.

In a skillet over med-high heat, add EVOO. Remove your pork from the braising liquid. Dry the loin with a towel or paper towel. Season all sides of the loin with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, and parsley. Add the loin to the pan. Brown on all sides.

NOTE: I cooked this with balsamic carrots. SO, I placed the sliced carrots in the bottom of a roasting pan, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and then I placed the garlic loin in the centre. i also added about 1/4-1.2c chicken stock to the pan. Place in the oven, and cook through. About 30-40 minutes or so, depending on the size of your loin.

In the sauce pan that you browned your pork in, deglaze with white wine. Let it reduce to half. Add your chicken stock. Next, add in the remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs.Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. whisk in your flour coated butter. Once the pork tenderloin is done, add 1/2c of the cooking liquid to the gravy. Simmer until ready to serve.