Creamy Carrot Farrotto

I tried something new. And I liked it.

Last night’s dinner was billed as an easier alternative to risotto and it won accolades from my Italian husband. Using farro instead of arborio rice, the carrot farrotto only took about 30-40 minutes to make, was really inexpensive (only about $3 worth of farro from the Bulk Barn was needed), and was really tasty. The carrots made the dish sweet, but the stock that everything cooked in also made it a bit salty. I did spend $11 on a brick of parmasan, but we only used about a fifth of it and will have it for many future meals.

I found this recipe in my Skinny Taste cookbook, but you can also make it online follow the instructions posted on Take a Bite Out of Boca.

Parmesan Spinach Mac and Cheese

So the worst month of the year work-wise for me is finally over. Move-in: my most favourite month of the year! We kicked off this  month with the worst head colds we’ve had since January, but also with some tasty meals. My contribution was this parmesan spinach mac and cheese from Life’s a Strawberry. It was pretty fast to prepare (as far as homemade mac and cheeses go) and definitely helped meet our calorie requirement for the day.

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Parmasan Spinach Mac & Cheese

Sweet Potato Curry

Monday night we made the Sweet Potato Curry from the cookbook Eating in the Middle (page 61). I was really excited because it smelled so delicious, and I’d just had a great curry wrap on the weekend at a festival downtown. Unfortunately, it lacked flavour and needed a lot more spice to bring it up to snuff. Hopefully the leftovers are tasty though because 4 servings = about 12 servings!

It smelled SO good

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Arugula Pizza

My husband Lenny makes the best pizza dough. It is rarely the same process twice, however, it always tastes delicious. He has also introduced me to the balls of mozzarella that you can buy in the deli section, as opposed to the bars of cheese in the dairy area of the grocery store, and they make a world of difference in the quality of your pizza. If you need a recommendation, my personal favourite is the Tre Stelle Mozzarella Ball.

Pizza from last Friday

In terms of a dough recipe, here is a Wolfgang Puck-inspired recipe that Lenny has adapted for use in a breadmaker.

You will need:

  • 1 1/8 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp bread machine yeast
Optional (but tasty!):  Add a 1/2 tbsp of chopped dried rosemary and 1 tsp dried oregano to the dry ingredients in the dough.

Layer the ingredient according to your manufacturer’s instructions (mine uses wet, dry, then yeast) and set it for Dough. Hit start and come back in 1.5 hours (or delay it till later).

When it’s ready, roll the dough ball out onto a floured work surface, knead briefly for a minute, then place into a lightly oiled bowl to rest for 30 more minutes. Cover with a moist cloth and set in a warm place.

After the dough has increased in size (about 50% larger) punch the dough down and roll back out onto your work surface. Roll out into a pizza-like shape and assemble your pizza. 14-16 minutes in a pre-heated 425-degree oven will give you a nice crispy crust if cooked on either a pizza stone or perforated pizza sheet.

Buon appetito!

Frittata

In Week 17’s Meal Plan, I had a frittata on the menu. I’ve had a few people write about how I usually make one of those, so I took some pictures to share with you. Frittatas are super easy to make, can use up whatever vegetables you have on hand, be made vegetarian very easily, are very inexpensive to make, can be used for any meal of the day, and introduce you to new cheeses! What more could you ask for in a quick meal?!

Step 1: Chop and start cooking the veggies that will take the longest!

Red peppers are chopped and cooking.

Step 2: Chop or shred your cheese, and beat some eggs, salt, and pepper together.

I used the last of the Emmental cheese from our Farmer’s Market visit and about 6 eggs for this dish.

Step 3: Toss the eggs and veggies that don’t take as long to cook into the pan.

I added some chopped tomatoes that we had left over from a previous recipe.

Step 4: Add your cheese.

Now cooking with cheese!

Step 5: Cook on medium-low heat until the eggs aren’t runny anymore.

Ready for serving!

Step 6: Serve and enjoy!

Ready to eat!

BLT’s and Berry Salad with Goat Cheese

Our approach to BLT’s and Berry Salad with Goat Cheese from Skinnytaste turned out to be a bit of a fail, but still OK in the end. A miscommunication with the hubster meant no berries in our berry salad, but other than a bit extra bland (thank goodness for local greens making it more flavourful!), it was pretty good. I’m not sure it was worth the time to make the cheese balls though, so don’t think I’ll plan on remaking this particular salad recipe in the future.

The BLT’s were knocked up an extra level with bagels from the Great Canada Bagel, so they were more exciting than planned.

File this one under relatively-fast low-cooking-required summer dinners.

 

Chicken sausage and Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Last week one of the meals that I did make was chicken sausage and Grilled Brussels Sprouts from Skinnytaste. I love grilled vegetables so finding a non-onion-y and non-garlic-y “sauce” that I could use to flavour them was pretty exciting. I ended up making my own balsamic glaze as I didn’t want to buy an entire container of it, and it was pretty simple: just boil 4 tbsp of balsamic with 1 tbsp of honey for a few minutes. It was super tasty and will be something I think I’ll try with other vegetables too!

Not the most appetizing shot, but this dinner was delicious, I swear!

Campfire Series: Cheesy Potatoes & Chicken Sausages

Last summer we really fell in love with the Schneider’s Chicken Sausages. Aside from being delicious at home, they were also great for camping because they were really flavourful and already cooked — no need to worry about raw meat!

We ate them chopped into dishes, but pretty much on their own. To add some additional calories (camping with two dogs involves a LOT of exercise!), we wrapped them in Pillsbury dough hot dog wrappers, wrapped those in tin foil, and then roasted them on the fire for a tasty but healthier version of a Pogo.

Roasting on the fire. Yay for metal shishkabob sticks! They made this dish way easier to cook than had we done it on wood sticks.

One of my favourite sides with this dish was cheesy potatoes. We bought frozen hashbrowns and then parceled those out with some pre-shedded cheese and bacon bits left over from a salad on the first night. What a great creation!

Homemade Pogo on the left and cheesy potatoes on the right.

Campfire Series: Calzones!

We were supposed to go camping this past weekend, but ultimately decided that living in our own home without air conditioning this year has been camping enough for us so far. It didn’t stop me though from thinking about foods we have made in the past while camping though so I thought I would share some with you! Conveniently, last summer we were dog-sitting our pal Digby while camping so I took pictures of pretty much everything, including making some of our most successful meals!

On of our favourite things to eat outside of camping is pizza, so I did my best to create something in that realm suitable for a campfire. Using Pillsbury biscuit dough, we were able to make this happen! Here are the steps to follow:

On aluminum foil, spray some non-stick spray and then spread out some of the dough to make a circular shape.

Add your sauce and toppings. Bonus points if you remember to shred the cheese ahead of time and then put it into portioned containers before leaving for camping, like we did! It made many meals a lot easier to make.

Fold the dough in half and crimp the foil around the calzones. Cook them until you think they are done!

Take a pretty picture before you dig in!

All ready for eating.

Delicious!

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole

We finally got around to making the One Pot Stuffed Pepper Casserole from Damn Delicious and it turned out pretty well! I think a lot of people would really love this dish. It made a large volume, so be prepared for 6+ servings, unless you’re feeling super hungry. This recipe also didn’t call for very much cheese, but a little cheese went a long way.

At the final stage of cooking.

Served up and ready for dinner!