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Monday, May 31, 2010

Meatless Monday... Take 3 - Baked Tortellini

It's time for my weekly "Meatless Monday" post! Last week was Victoria Day up here in Canada, so I didn't have time to post. Today I wanted to make something tasty and filling, I went with a Martha Stewart "Baked Raviolli" recipe. I made a few adjustments and it tasted fantastic. This was my first time using tortellini, and it was fantastic. I will definitely be making this recipe more often.

Just take a peek at the magic beneath the layer of melted cheese.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped (or in my case, grated.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, or oregano
2 cans (56 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 pound store-bought tortellini (I had herbs and three cheese. SO good!)
mozzarella and Parmesan to taste

Note: This will make a lot of sauce, I was able to freeze about a Tupperware full!


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Soften onion, garlic, salt and pepper in the oil. Add in the thyme and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Whilst all of that is going on, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook tortellini until they float to the top (this will happen super quickly, make sure you watch the pasta!) Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. (The sauce that you have not set aside for freezing!)

Poor the pasta and sauce into a large oven safe dish and cover with mozarella and Parmesan. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Make this now. It is the most delicious meal ever.

- Lou

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Baked Ravioli

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cheesy Garlic Bread!

Garlic bread... everyone loves garlic bread. It's the best snack ever. (Other than the icky effects on your breath...) It's so easy and quick to throw together, and everyone always has all the ingredients lying around... it's just the perfect dish! I like to put a little cheese on mine, how do you like yours?

your favourite type of bread (preferably whole wheat as it's better for you!)
2 tbs butter (softened)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
cracked ground pepper to taste
cheddar cheese (optional)
a pinch of thyme


Preheat oven to 250 F.

Slice your bread to your desired thickness. Soften the butter in a microwave, crush your cloves of garlic into the butter and mix it around to create a paste. Brush the paste onto your slices of bread. Layer the cheese on top of the butter mixture and top with a sprinkle of thyme. Drizzle a little olive oil over the pieces of bread and put it in the oven for 5 minutes. (Note: You can also grill the garlic bread and it's wonderful.)

This is just a nice and simple garlic bread recipe, you can always add spices and other herbs to spice it up! Also, using whole wheat bread makes this a little less indulgent... at least that's what I tell myself!

- Lou

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Radiant Red Pepper Risotto

Risotto is one of those classic Italian dishes that one would be crazy to try and make. Let me emphasize crazy. Especially when it is 32° C (about 90° F) and sunny outside, and you will be slaving away in front of a hot stove continuously for about 30 minutes. Yes, insane... and not to mention, extremely, extremely hot. As insane as it seems in theory, it really is worth it, because the result is utterly scrumptious. Well judging by the multiple servings my family had... it is very good. I found this recipe for red pepper risotto here. When I stumbled upon it the other day, I just knew I had to make it! This would be my second attempt at making risotto; the first try was a major flop. I put too many onions, and if you know me, then you will know how much I hate cooked onions. For this risotto, I didn’t really make any changes to the recipe other than excluding a little onion.

7 cups Chicken Broth, Low-Sodium
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Small Onion, Diced
2 whole Red Bell Peppers, Diced
1-¾ cup Arborio Rice
¾ cups Dry White Wine
Salt To Taste
½ teaspoons Turmeric
5 ounces, fluid Goat Cheese
½ cups Grated Parmesan


Bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Grate onion, and chop red pepper. In medium-low heat heat up olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion until translucent. (1-2 minutes). Add the red peppers and cook for about 9 minutes.

Add the uncooked rice and stir it around with the peppers and onion mixture. Pour in the white wine and cook for another couple of minutes. Now, being adding the broth a cup and a half at a time. With each addition stir gently, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Repeat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rice is al dente. (Note: you may not use all the broth.)

At the end, stir in a little more liquid and turn off heat. Stir in turmeric and add cheeses and stir. Serve immediately!

Not only is this wonderful the first night, but it makes the most amazing left overs!!

So it's time to get over your fear of risotto and dig into this wonderful risotto!!

- Lou

Recipe adapted from: Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman: Red Pepper Risotto

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spicy Sunset BBQ Chicken

I love spicy food. I don't know why, but I just l-o-v-e it. So when I was trying to think up what I wanted to do with the chicken for dinner, I decided why not go spicy? And did I ever go spicy! Not only was the the chicken spicy and sweet, it was also one of the most colourful recipes I have ever created! So as promised in my most recent post, here's a yummy BBQ chicken recipe!

Let's just marvel at the beautiful colour; yes... it was that bright. So, how do we get to this scrumptious, yummy, delectable, mouth-watering, positively deeeelicious (and all the other synonyms) final result? Follow me!

Ingredients (Marinate)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
6 small chicken breasts

Ingredients (Sauce)
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/8 tsp Soya sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/8 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp water
salt & pepper to taste


Mix the marinate ingredients together in a bowl and marinate your chicken in for 15-30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating get the BBQ started! Grill the chicken until your desired doneness.

For the sauce, melt the butter and whisk in all of the other ingredients. Make sure it's nicely mixed. If the sauce seems too thick, add another tablespoon of water.

Brush your chicken with the sauce and allow it to cook for another couple of minutes.

And voila, some good ol' fashioned, mind blowing spicy BBQ chicken, Lou style of course!


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pasta Salad

I would like to start by saying that in my last "Meatless Monday" post (found here) someone pointed out to me that fish is considered meat. I would like to clear it up that for myself I have never considered fish a type of meat, but everyone has their own opinions on the matter, and mine is that fish isn't meat. Therefore my "Meatless Mondays" posts may contain fish sometimes.

This week I have decided to make a vegetarian only meal of a colourful and delectable pasta salad! Perfect for a "Meatless Monday" or a nice and light summer meal. This recipe for pasta salad is absolutely amazing, not only is it very simple, and containing fresh vegetables but seriously, every single person who has tried this pasta salad has immediately fallen in love. When my friends come over they request this all the time!

1 package of your favourite pasta (rotini, fussili and penne work best.)
4 small pickles
2 green onions (green parts only)
8 kalamata olives
half a red pepper
1 carrot (grated)

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (note: using dark balsamic vinegar will make your pasta brown.)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 1/2 tbsp dried basil
1 1/2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl.

Cook and drain the pasta, following the directions on the box. Toss the warm pasta (make sure it's warm in order to infuse the pasta with the flavours of the dressing!)

Next, chop up all of the vegetables and add them to pasta. Toss and serve!

Please note: This is an amazing school or work lunch. Throw it in a Tupperware and you're good to go!

- Lou

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Friday, May 14, 2010

What's something everybody should be able to bake? - Pound Cake!

Now, I'm in no way, shape or form a good baker. I love cooking, but baking is so not my thing! But I decided that I would face my fears on this fine Friday and try my hand at baking something... something extremely simple. So I was browsing around Martha Stewart's website and I asked myself "What's something that everybody should be able to bake?" and then it popped up, like a sign from God; a classic pound cake.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs


Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter the pan you will be baking it in (Note: Martha suggests a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.)

Mix butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl. Beating until pale and fluffy (around 3-5 minutes.) Next, add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Slowly mix in the flour mixture until it's just combined.

Spoon batter into a pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the cake is golden and when you insert a cake tester it comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the pan.

I have to say it was quite the delicious cake, perfect for what I would imagine to be served at tea time in England!

- Lou

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Meatless Mondays!

Has anyone heard of the Meatless Mondays initiative? I think it's an amazing idea, which is really easy to do and will make a big difference. If people all around the country, and the globe took part in meatless Mondays campaign not only would we be healthier but we would also be doing our part in saving the environment!

Meatless Mondays is an international campaign which originates all the way back to WWI. Now that I think of it, I do remember learning this in history class last year... Anyway, it came back around in WWII but it was recently recreated as a public health awareness program in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future. Recently the campaign has earned lots of publicity through the endorsement of celebrity chef Mario Batali as well as Sir Paul McCartney and Gwyneth Platrow (to name few!) It's gained more publicity through respected news outlets such as CNN, The Los Angeles Times, Macleans Magazine, The Toronto Star, The New York Times, The Times Of India, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post. If you wish to see what they said about "Meatless Mondays" click here.

I have decided to endorse this initiative and have planned it into my weekly menu! As for today's meatless dinner... French Roasted Salmon, with garlicky green beans and mushrooms!

Really a pretty simple and basic, yet extremely delicious and satisfying meal! The recipe for the salmon is my own adaptation off of the "French Roasted Salmon" recipe from I have to say that this is seriously, without a doubt, the best salmon I have ever had.

Ingredients (for salmon seasoning)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tbs Dijon mustard
3/8 tsp chili flakes (you can add less/more depending on the heat level you want.)
1/8 tsp pepper
salmon fillets (really any size you want...)


Preheat your oven to 450° F. Grease an oven safe dish with a little olive oil to avoid the salmon sticking.

Salmon Garnish

Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk them together. Place your salmon in the dish and season with sea salt. Brush the tops and sides of the salmon with the garnish you have just prepared.

Bake them in the oven uncovered for 12 minutes. Once the 12 minutes is up, turn the oven off, cover the salmon and leave them in there for about another 8 minutes! And voila, you should have mouth watering, perfectly cooked salmon!

And there you go! Delicious salmon!

- Lou

Recipe adapted from
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

It's tough to believe that one of the sweetest and most delicious vegetables is also one of the best for you. Most people associate sweet potatoes with thanksgiving, but I think that they should be eaten all year 'round. And I have to say, when you're in the mood for a nice tasty snack there is nothing easier and tastier than some savory, sweet potato fries! (well not really fries, since I bake 'em!)

Let's discuss the nutritious nature of sweet potatoes. They are one of the "super vegetables" and many people say that sweet potatoes may in fact be one of the healthiest vegetables for you. They are full of vitamin A and vitamin C, vitamin B6 as well as proteins which are unique to root vegetables. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants which help to eliminate chemicals which damage cells. Want to know more nutritious info about sweet potatoes? Check out this analysis.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

1 sweet potato
2 egg whites
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 425 F
. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and a little olive oil to ensure your potatoes do not stick.

Chop the sweet potato into your desired shape. (I like matchstick.)

Whip two egg whites together in a boil and drench your sweet potatoes in the egg white mixture. Lay them out on the wax paper and garnish with salt and pepper to taste. Pop them in the oven for 20-30 minutes, and voila!

- Lou

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