Sausage & Tortellini Soup

14 Jul

This dish is a total home run. Adapted from a Kitchn recipe, it takes about 30 minutes to cook, holds really well over a few days and is devoured by everyone who’s eaten it. I make mine with mild Italian sausage to keep it edible for the foodNURDling but it would be tasty with a spicy sausage, too! Another bonus: it freezes well so you can toss some in the freezer for another meal down the road.*

Serves 2-3 with leftovers.

Ingredients

Splash of canola oil
3-4 hot or mild Italian sausages
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2c dry red wine or chicken stock
1 28oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
2c low-sodium chicken stock
1tb balsamic vinegar
1ts brown sugar
Parmesan rind or a few heaping tablespoons of grated parm
1 package fresh or frozen tortellini
2 cups roughly chopped spinach
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pan to medium high. Add in the sausages and sear, 3-4 minutes. Flip the sausages over sear the other side for 3-4 minutes. Once the sausages have browned a bit, start breaking them up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. This allows the sausages to caramelize instead of steam. Once broken up and cooked a bit more, remove the sausages with a slotted spoon to another bowl, leaving behind the fat.

2. Reduce the heat and add in the onions and generous pinch of salt, sauteing until soft, roughly 6-8 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook til fragrant, 15-20 seconds. Add the red wine (or chicken stock), turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Scrape up the delicious little bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.

3. Add in the canned tomatoes and their liquid. Using kitchen scissors, cut up the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Toss in the stock, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and parm. Stir all together and then add a pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the whole thing to a boil and add in the tortellini. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the spinach to the pot and stir. Once the spinach has wilted, taste your soup and add any salt and/or pepper to taste. (If you’re using the parm rind, you can remove it at this point.) Serve with a bit more parm and a drizzle of olive oil.

*if you find that the leftovers are a bit thick, you can add a bit of water when you are reheating.

Advertisements

Lunch in a Jar, Pt. 3: Coconut Barley w/ Zucchini, Asparagus & Feta

4 Apr

I love kitchen tools whether they’re essential or absurd (who DOESN’T need a hot dog slicer??). On that note, I think spiralizers fall right in the middle: you don’t neeeeeeed one but they’re neat! Why not have fun with your food and eat it in a different way? Inspired to bust out this particular gadget, I based my next lunch jar on using it on some zucchini. I also made up some chewy coconut and lime barley, tossed in some salty feta and added in bright, blanched asparagus and corn. Lots of flavour and super filling, I’m making it again next week!

IMG_4276

Makes 3.

Ingredients

1 zucchini, peeled and spiralized (or, in a pinch, use a peeler to cut into ribbons and then slice those ribbons thinly)
5-10 stalks of asparagus, diced
1 c corn
1c barley
3 tb shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 lime, juiced
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1/3 c feta, crumbled
drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Directions

1.Place 3 cups of liquid (water, broth, coconut milk) in a pot along with 1 cup of uncooked barley and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Once cooked to desired chewiness, add in the shredded coconut, lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil to blanch the corn and asparagus. Once the water has boiled, toss in the veggies and cook for just a couple of minutes. Drain the pot and put the veggies into ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove and set aside.

3. Layer your ingredients: barley, asparagus, corn, zucchini & feta. If you’ve got any leftover cilantro, you can toss that on top, too. When you’re ready to eat, toss in a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you’re set!

IMG_4277

Lunch in a Jar, Pt. 2: Cold Soba Noodle Salad

3 Feb

The next step in the never-ending quest to make work lunches interesting, I made up some spicy, crunchy, filling cold soba noodle salads. This past week’s incarnation was vegetarian, but you could toss in chicken or pork should you so desire.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it will last up to 5 days in your fridge and nothing goes soggy, assuming you don’t add something highly perishable like bean sprouts. That means you can prep a week’s worth of meals all at once and not have to think about it again til the weekend!

To make a less spicy version, cut the sambal oelek in half. Unlike the soup jars, you won’t add any liquid to these so the sauce won’t get watered down at all.

Makes 4 jars.

Ingredients

2 tb peanut butter
2 tb sambal oelek
4 ts soy sauce
3 ts rice wine vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1 ts sesame oil
2 bundles soba noodles
1 sweet pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup corn
1 cup edamame
1 ts sesame seeds

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sambael oelek, soy sauce and rice win vinegar. Slowly add in the oil and whisk til smooth. Set aside.
2. Cook the soba noodles according to the package. Remove from water, rinse til the noodles are cold and lightly toss with sesame oil.
3. Spoon the sauce into the bottoms of the jars. Add in the noodles, peppers, carrots, corn and edamame. Top each with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
4. Close  up the jars, toss ’em in the fridge and grab as needed for a tasty lunch.

jars

Lunch in a Jar, Pt. 1: Noodles!

12 Jan

Always on the hunt for tasty lunches to bring to work, I’d bookmarked a few recipes for meals in a jar. They are so appealing! They’re contained, they’re colourful and they’re endlessly adaptable. I could have soup with noodles just about every day in winter so I opted to make that first. I based it on a Michael Smith recipe but made a bunch of alterations to suit my tastes.

soup-prep

Makes 2 meals

Ingredients

1 chicken breast, poached and cubed
1 carrot, shredded
2 large handfuls bean sprouts
3 tb cilantro, chopped
2 tb peanuts chopped (optional)
1 package ramen noodles
2 tb ketchup
2 tb smooth peanut butter
2 tb grated frozen ginger
1 tb soy sauce
1 tb fish sauce
1 ts hot sauce
1 ts lime juice

Directions

1. Mix together the ketchup, peanut butter, ginger, soy, fish sauce, hot sauce and lime juice making a flavour base. Taste and adjust as necessary, keeping in mind you’ll be adding water that will dilute the flavour. Spoon half into the bottom of each mason jar.
2. Layer in the shredded carrot, chicken, bean sprouts, cilantro and peanuts (if you’re using them). Place in the fridge til you’re ready to eat.
3. Two options for cooking the noodles. Just pick based on the size of your mason jar!

a) Place the noodles in a bowl (for the love of all that’s good, discard the sodium-laced flavour packet that comes with them) and pour boiling water over. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Pour off some of the water into the mason jar, cover and shake then pour everything out into the bowl.

OR

b)Break up the noodles in the package and pour them into the mason jar. Pour hot water into the jar, cover and wrap up in a towel. Give the jar a gentle shake and let sit 6-7 minutes.

soup

Super Addictive Granola Bars

9 Jan

Happy 2017, y’all! It’s chilly out there, but I found a great way to keep the kitchen warm: turn on the oven and make some divine granola bars. The inspiration came from Smitten Kitchen and I’ve followed her recipe fairly closely, omitting the corn syrup. For the mix of dried fruit and nuts, foodNURDling and I used 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of peanut and cashew pieces and then made up the rest with dried dates, dried apple slices and peanut butter chips. The thing I like most about this recipe aside from its versatility is that it’s not overly sweet; the bars aren’t shiny like the store-bought ones. There’s still LOTS of sweet stuff in these but you won’t feel the need to brush your teeth right after eating them.

A note that you will want to cool these suckers down completely before cutting them. They’re a bit crumbly and will fall apart if you cut them while they’re still warm!

Ingredients

1 2/3 c quick rolled oats
1/3 c oat flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
2-3 c dried fruits and nuts – suggestions: peanuts, walnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried dates, dried apricots, dried cherries, raisins, pepitas, chocolate/peanut butter/butterscotch chips…
1/3 c peanut/nut butter
1 ts vanilla
6 tb melted butter
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tb honey
1 tb water

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9x9x2 baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease/spray the parchment paper and any exposed parts of the pan.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the fruits & nuts. In a separate small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the the wet into the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread the mix into your prepared pan and press firmly to make sure they are molded right to the pan. If you find the mix very sticky, you can place a piece of plastic wrap on top and press on that. Voila!
4.Bake for 30-40 minutes. You want a bit of a crispy edge to the bars, so don’t be afraid to leave it for the full 40 – you can always check at 30 and decide if they are right for you. They’ll be soft to the touch in the middle but they’ll set when completely cool.
5. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack. I placed the whole thing in the fridge after 15 minutes and left it there for another 30. Once cool, cut them into squares with a serrated knife and place them in an airtight container. They freeze well if you’re not going to eat them all in a few days.

bars

Right out of the oven and smelling deeeeeeelish.

Slop, Sloppy Joes

13 Oct

It’s cooling off, thank goodness, which means I am back in the kitchen! The brutal heat of this Toronto summer kept me from really digging in and trying new dishes, often opting for easy sandwiches, wraps and salads that didn’t involve, y’know, moving or turning anything on. But all that is behind us now, so back to hanging out at the stove making tasty dishes!

This recipe makes an enormous pot of Sloppy Joes, one of my favourite things to eat when I was younger. When we were kids, my grandmother would make them when we were up at the cottage and it was such fun to eat this messy, saucy sandwich! It fed a whole whack of grandkids and this recipe will certainly feed a hungry crowd with leftovers. I froze what we didn’t eat in the first couple of days for handy weeknight oh-man-what-am-I-gonna-feed-this-family moments.

Ingredients

2 tb vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
2 sweet peppers, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 heaping tb of chili powder
2 tb cumin
1 tb salt
2 packages ground beef
2 796ml cans diced tomatoes
2 156ml cans tomato paste
1 tb red wine vinegar

rolls, hamburger buns
hot sauce, optional
shredded cheese, optional

Directions

1. Heat the oil in the largest pot you have to medium heat. A Dutch oven would be perfect for this, but a pasta pot would do!
2. Toss in the onion, garlic, peppers and celery. Cook until softened, occasionally stirring, roughly 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for an additional minute, allowing the flavours to brighten.
4. Add the two packages of ground beef, breaking it up as you go. You don’t want to brown the meat here as it will only make it tough, so make sure you keep stirring things around.
5. Once all the pink is gone from the beef, add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and vinegar. Give everything a good stir and simmer for a few more minutes. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
6. Pile a heaping scoop – or two – on to a soft bun. Top with hot sauce and/or shredded cheese if you so desire!

joes

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins!

4 May

That recipe title needed an exclamation mark. Two kinds of chocolate in one muffin? Get excited!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 3/4c all-purpose flour
2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
2 tb cocoa powder
3/4c white sugar
1c + 1/4c chocolate chips
1 egg
1c milk
1/3c vegetable oil
1 ts vanilla

Directions

1. Line or grease a muffin tin and preheat your  oven to 400F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, including 1c of the chocolate chips.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
4. Combine the wet into the dry, bearing in mind that you want the batter to be a bit lumpy.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups and then top with the remaining chips. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins have risen and darkened.

 

%d bloggers like this: