Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week of January 25, 2009

Last week's meals were quite good. I was especially happy with the home-made pizza (although I made my crust in the breadmaker and not using the recipe I posted) and thought it tasted excellent. My boys, Thing 1 and Thing 2, were not as excited and thought "it tasted better from the store". Hmm. Interesting.

With my little girl turning one I took my first shot at baking an angel food cake. It's not that it was especially difficult, but you do need everything to be "just so" and perfect, or it won't turn out absolutely wonderful. My first one I made too late at night, I was exhausted and forgot two ingredients, so I ended up making one again the next day. It was very good, although not as light and fluffy as I anticipated. I think that was because I baked it while one child was around (two were napping, one was at school). He was a good helper, although I don't believe I whipped the egg whites long enough . . . perhaps the "peaks" weren't of the desired firmness. It was still very tasty - everyone loved it.

After not being able to find an icing recipe that replicated the ones my grandmother used to make for us when we were kids, I went with this Caramel Whipped Cream from Martha and frosted the cake with that.

Can you say TO DIE FOR?

It was the best whipped cream I have EVER tasted in my life. It was the perfect match to a light, airy cake (well, you know, the one in the picture was anyway).

I'm trying two new recipes in the crockpot this week . . . it's January and freaking cold and I should be using it more. I'm also trying Beth's version of the Chickpea and Beef dish below, it varies slightly from the original that I tried a few months ago.

Sunday: Crockpot Taco Soup
Monday: Pasta with Meat Sauce (from freezer)
Tuesday: Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Wednesday: Lasagna from freezer, salad, garlic bread
Thursday: Veggie Omelets
Friday: Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives
Saturday: Spicy Sauteed Chickpeas and Beef with Cilantro

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Breakfast Bagel

When I was young and working and single (yeah, *way* back then) I used to spend many weekend mornings at a local Ottawa bagel shop. They made famous their "breakfast bagel". As the years went on I continued to eat there on a regular basis, converting most of my family and friends into true Montreal-style bagel lovers.

Having three little ones and being on a stricter budget than I was then, I now make breakfast bagels at home for our family most weekends.


You'll need:

cheddar cheese

Start by cooking your bacon. My tried and true method of whipping up perfect, crispy bacon is to bake it in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook it for 15-20 minutes and it comes out beautifully. Less mess than spattering all over the stove top!

As bacon finished cooking, toast bagels lightly. Also cook your eggs in any manner you'd like them. I usually do slightly over-easy as that's how we enjoy them.

Stack your egg on your one half of your bagel, top with cheddar cheese and 3-4 slices of bacon.

If you're peculiar - like me - you'll add a little ketchup before you take your first bite.

Perfect for any weekend breakfast or lunch!

Week of January 18, 2008

I tried to choose recipes this week that were not overly difficult as this will be my first week with four kids to watch all day. I anticipate supper time being a little more dicey than normal now, so I'll have to adjust my cooking expectations accordingly. I will be watching my friend's son as she returns to work this week, and he is almost 11 months old.

Sunday: Dinner at Granny's
Monday: Spinach Salad with Tomato and Bacon (now a favourite here)
Tuesday: Quesadillas
Wednesday: Penne with Tomato, Tuna and Lemon
Thursday: Home-made Pizza
Friday: Easier Baked Penne
Saturday: Out for dinner with friends

I found this and thought it was a great idea for my kids, so I'll give it a go this week:
Home-made trail mix

And since we have two very special birthdays coming up on Thursday . . . I'll give this Angel Food Cake a whirl.

Recipes . . .

From Anne Lindsay's New Light Cooking (this is a favourite of ours that I have been cooking for years thanks to my friend Christine who made it for me ages ago and I subsequently went out and bought the book!)

Penne with Tomato, Tuna and Lemon

8 oz penne pasta
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (19 oz) chopped tomatoes (or 3 cups fresh)
1 can water-packed tuna, drained
2 T drained capers
1/4 cup coarse chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated rind of half a lemon

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat, cook garlic, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes, stirring, until garlic is softened, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes, tuna and capers; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until thickened slightly.

4. Stir in cooked pasta, parsley, lemon rind, and salt and pepper to taste.

From Healthy Mum, Happy Baby

Even Easier Baked Penne

3 cups penne
25 oz pasta sauce or 3 cups (I'll use Beth's Quick Meat Sauce from my freezer)
1 cup ricotta
1 T fresh basil
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cup mozzarella, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9x9 inch baking dish.

2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 8-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 2 cups pasta sauce, ricotta, and basil; season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pasta sauce mixture and toss gently to combine. Spread 1/2 cup of remaining pasta sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the pasta mixture into the baking dish and drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup pasta sauce over top. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

5. Cover baking dish with lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spinach Salad with Spicy Shrimp and Mango

Tonight's Spinach Salad with Spicy Shrimp and Mango? To. Die. For.

Now go make it. It's a perfect weeknight light meal. Paul and I made it to the bottom of the bowl in no time.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week of January 11, 2009

: Roast Chicken (didn't get to it last week)
Monday: Spinach Salad with Spiced Shrimp and Mango
Tuesday: Pasta with Shrimp and Broccoli
Wednesday: Tomato Soup with Sausage and Pasta
Thursday: Leftovers or Freezer meal
Friday: Creamy Noodle Bake
Saturday: Out to dinner with friends. Yes, grown ups.

We received a mango in our food basket this Friday, and I'm not a big mango user, so I was at a loss for what to do with it. I found the salad recipe above, as well as this smoothie that I think I'll try for breakfast one morning.

Gloomy Day Smoothie

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week of January 4, 2009

The holidays were a whirlwind around here, full of good meals, tasty drinks and appetizers and decadent deserts. The past few weeks are almost a blur of excitement and festivities, but it's always good to start a fresh page and begin a new year. Menu planning in 2008 was a miracle for me, it changed the way I cook, buy groceries, and plan my day. Planning online here at A Crafty Mom Eats seemed more "permanent" than when I used to scribble in meal plans on my fridge calendar. And I love the ease at which I can go back and see what we ate for a particular week, or to quickly pull up a recipe I know the whole family enjoyed. I will definitely be continuing in 2009!

Sunday: Last of the leftovers
Monday: Quick Meat Sauce
Tuesday: Roasted Vegetables and Soup from freezer
Wednesday: Pierogies and Vegetables
Thursday: Cayenne-rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Friday: Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
Saturday: Roast Chicken

Although we were away for Christmas and I didn't do a lot of holiday cooking, I did manage to try a few new recipes.

I made Slow Cooker Butter Chicken for New Year's Eve dinner and I thought it was absolutely delicious! My husband, on the other hand, was not a huge fan as he felt it wasn't "buttery" enough. I suppose you could add far more butter than the recipe calls for (1/4 cup) but I truly felt like the mix of other spices and flavours were enough to make this chicken dish a real winner. Easy, and way cheaper than our favourite Indian take-out.

I also made Braised Chicken with White Wine, Tomatoes and Peas one cold, frosty night just for my husband and I. It was nice and a refreshing change from some of the heartier meals we've been eating lately. I thought the tomatoes made for a nice sweet taste, and we liked this dish far more than I had anticipated. It also met the EASY and SIMPLE criteria, so I'll definitely be making it again.