Tag Archives: pasta

Week of February 16, 2015

Apologies – I had to take another week off. I’ve been working a ton lately, trying to get as much done as possible before the new job starts. I’ve had a bit of trouble catching my breath and decided I wasn’t going to do any meal planning; rather, I just made up combinations of ingredients I had available each evening … or let JW cook for me! How lucky am I? ūüôā

We just got back from a long weekend in Niagara Falls. Because we both felt like we needed to take a breather, and because it was Valentine’s Day, JW and I¬†decided (very spontaneously!) that we would spend the weekend eating out, drinking good Niagara wines, playing (losing!) at the Fallsview casino, reading a good book, and soaking in our hotel’s jacuzzi. It was¬†wonderful. ‚ô•

 Monday РZucchini, leek and bacon pasta


Today was Family Day, a public holiday in Ontario. Unfortunately, we realized too late that all the grocery stores had closed early because of the holiday! We were left to throw something together with what we had in the fridge. We found inspiration at All recipes, and only made a few tweaks to work with what we had on hand.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package pasta
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only),¬†sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley, or to taste
  • 1 small zucchini


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta at a boil, stirring occasionally, until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 8-10 minutes; drain.
  2. Fry diced bacon in a large skillet until browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon into a bowl with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels. In a clean skillet, cook and stir leek and zucchini until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Return bacon to skillet with the veggies and stir in pasta. Gently mix in sour cream and season with black pepper and parsley.

Tuesday РEating out: Kingyo

Photo cred: Kingyo
Photo cred: Kingyo

My supervisor is visiting from out of town¬†on Tuesday, so we are going to go for dinner at Kingyo, one of our favorite restaurants. The food is phenomenal — the most authentic Japanese food I’ve had outside of Japan! My personal favorites are the stone-grilled beef tongue, the fresh grilled mackerel with daikon radish, and the stone bowl¬†slow-stewed pork belly on rice.¬†I can’t wait!

Wednesday РFish stew with fennel

Photo cred: Epicurious
Photo cred: Bon Appetit

JW and I are not the biggest fans of fennel, but it came in our basket this week and I immediately thought to make a fish stew, which my mom made once with fennel and it was simply divine. I found a tasty-looking recipe here.


  • Good glug of extra-virgin¬†olive oil
  • 8 ounces small waxy potatoes (such as baby Yukon Gold), scrubbed, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cr√®me fra√ģche (I actually used non-fat sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless flounder or fluke fillet, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add fennel and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is soft, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add water to pot and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10‚Äď12 minutes. Stir in cr√®me fra√ģche. Add flounder, cover pot, and reduce heat. Simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir dill into stew; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Thursday РGrilled cauliflower salad

Photo cred: Stacey Snacks
Photo cred: Stacey Snacks

I’m still a little obsessed with my new Ottolenghi cookbooks. Here is a simple salad that will make good use of yesterday’s leftover dill and the cauliflower in my basket; I will serve with some fresh salmon, on special at my grocery store this week.


  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin¬†olive oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • Handful¬†baby spinach or arugula¬†leaves
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and black pepper


  1. Make the dressing by hand or in a food processor or blender: mix toggether the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously or run the machine while adding oil in a slow trickle. You should end up with a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 3 minutes only. Drain through a colander and run under cold tap water to stop the cooking. Leave to dry. Once dry, mix with another drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
  3. Place a ridged griddle pan over the highest heat and leave for 5 minutes to get really hot — alternatively, cook them on the broil setting of your oven until charred (this is probably what I will do). Grill the cauliflower in batches, making sure they‚Äôre not cramped. Turn them as they grill until nicely charred. When done, transfer to a bowl. While the cauliflower is still hot, toss with the dressing, followed by the dill, spinach and tomatoes.
  4. Check the seasoning before serving and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Friday РSaudi rice and lamb

kebsa 3

A few weeks ago, JW took me to the House of Spice, a tiny store in Kensington Market that he thought I would like. He was so¬†right. They had everything – spices I had never heard of, and others I’d been searching for for years! I got particularly excited when I found a bag of dried limes, which are essential for making authentic-tasting middle-eastern dishes, such as this one.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250 g ground lamb
  • 2 dried limes, cut into halves
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 tsp¬†cumin powder
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 tsp¬†cinnamon
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 tsp¬†cardamom powder
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 tsp¬†black pepper
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 tsp¬†saffron, leaves
  • 3 lamb or beef¬†stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp¬†tomato paste
  • 4 1‚ĀĄ2 cups water
  • 2 1‚ĀĄ2 cups basmati rice,¬†rinsed


  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Fry onions for 3-4 minutes or until golden in color then add garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Add minced lamb and fry for 5 minutes or until it becomes brown in color. Add dried limes, spices, stock cubes and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute then add the water and bring to boil.
  3. Add the rice, bring to boil with occasional stirring, cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Week of October 6, 2014

I just returned from a wonderful, long weekend in Quebec City. I got to reconnect with colleagues, visited with friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and Sunday afternoon we had a surprise baby shower for one of my dearest friends. It was precisely what I needed, and now I am back and ready to tackle October!

While waiting for my flight home to board on Sunday evening, I did one of my favorite airport things: bought a cooking magazine to leaf through on the plane! I opted for Ricardo’s most recent issue, which was a special edition on reducing food waste (in addition to all kinds of tasty recipes, of course). I found a lot of the suggestions very useful!¬†Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • I am always throwing away entire cans of tomato paste (most recipes only call for a couple of tablespoons, at most, and I am terrified of botulism so I never keep the leftover) but Ricardo offers up an¬†amazing solution for avoiding all this waste: when finished using what you need from the can, scoop little portions of tomato paste (about 1 tbsp) onto a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen solid, collect them in a freezer bag and store them for future use.
  • Instead of throwing away scraps of rinds and peels (e.g., after peeling carrot or onions,¬†or removing the tough¬†leaves from¬†celery, radishes, carrots or whatever), keep them in a freezer bag for the next time you’re making soup stock.

Without further ado, here is this week’s meal plan!

Monday¬†–¬†Stuffed squash

Nothing is more autumny than squash! This recipe was adapted from the original.


  • 2 medium sized acorn squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1lb extra lean ground pork
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fat free chicken broth
  • Generous pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oven to 450¬į F. Place the squash halves cut-side down in a baking dish, add 1/4 inch water, cover with foil, and bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Spray a large, nonstick skillet with nonfat cooking spray. Add in onion, garlic and 2 tbsp broth and saute until onions begin to become transparent, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add in ground pork, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Cook until pork is cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Turn heat to low and add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has minimized, stirring occasionally.
  5. Fill the hollow of each acorn squash half with 1/4 of the ground pork mixture. Serve immediately.

Tuesday РRogan Josh

Significantly adapted from the original.


  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons¬†tomato pur√©e
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 kg boneless lamb shoulder
  • 10 whole cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 2 small¬†cinnamon sticks
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt and¬†pepper¬†to taste


  1. Put the ginger, garlic, yogurt and tomato purée into a blender. Blend well until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Heat oil in a wide heavy pot over a medium heat, brown the meat cubes in several batches and set to one side.
  3. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon into the same hot oil. stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color.
  4. Now put in the onions. Stir and fry for 5 minutes until they turn a medium brown color.
  5. Put in the yogurt tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, garam masala, salt and pepper. Add the meat cubes and juices.
  6. Add the water and bring to the boil, scraping all the browned spices off the sides and bottom of the pot. Cover and cook on low for an hour (or until meat is tender).
  7. Every 10 minutes give the meat a good stir. When the meat is tender take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and boil away some of the liquid.
  8. The fat that collects in the pot may be spooned off the top before serving.

Wednesday¬†–¬†Broiled trout with sun-dried tomato pesto


This week’s fish recipe courtesy of Ricardo!


  • 1 1/2 lb (675 g) skinless trout fillet
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) store-bought sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) crumbled feta
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into¬†bite size pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the broiler. Oil a large baking sheet.
  2. Lay the trout fillet on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Spread with pesto. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange the asparagus around the fish. Lightly drizzle theasparagus with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of the fish.
  4. Serve the fish and asparagus together. If desired, accompany with 15-minute brown rice.

Thursday¬†–¬†Lemon chicken pasta

All recipes

I’m not typically¬†a fan of pasta, but JW really loves it. I’ve discovered¬†this recipe, which makes us both happy — he loves the pasta, and I love the lemony tang.


  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (8 ounce) package rotelle pasta
  • 1 cup milk (or cream, if you don’t mind the fat)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken in a lightly greased baking dish. Squeeze lemon over both sides of the chicken breasts and season both sides using 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink inside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
  3. Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into cooked pasta, along with the milk (or cream) and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.



There are really no ingredients or instructions here. Just make your own pizza dough, and top with fresh veggies, meat, herbs and cheese. Bake until golden!