Tag Archives: fiesta friday

Italian Sausage Penne

Italian Sausage Penne

Gah!!! I can’t believe it’s only 1 week until Christmas. ONE WEEK!

This past week has been a busy one. I spent a few hours at the start of the week with my sons grade 3 class showing them how to make gingerbread cookies. I don’t think there are a lot of people who willingly choose to teach 24  – 8 year olds how to bake, in fact, I believe I might have been the only one, but for some reason I felt this was an opportunity to volunteer and have a lot of fun. I had to laugh at all the grossed out expressions when they smelled the molasses that we needed to add. It definitely wasn’t the most relaxing morning, but I’m glad I stepped up to help out.

There have also been the usual Christmas parties and concerts. And of course, some close to last minute, Christmas shopping. It’s always so busy at this time of year. I’ve been having a hard time focusing on meal planning and creating, so I’ve fallen back on some old recipes. One of those recipes is this Italian Sausage Penne. It’s quick and easy, and best of all, it’s a dish that everyone in my family enjoys.

This recipe has been around in our house for a number of years. It’s actually something my mom used to make when I was a teenager and has been carried over into my house. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, although my guess would be either a Canadian Living magazine, a Company’s Coming cookbook or from one of my moms several Best of Bridge cookbooks. Those seemed to be the most prominent cookbooks in our house at the time. This recipe takes 30 minutes, it doesn’t have too many ingredients and it’s super simple. Exactly what I’ve needed these past couple of weeks. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with the fast-approaching holidays, hopefully this recipe will help you out, as well.

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

500g Italian sausage

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 – 398 mL cans of diced tomatoes

1 tbsp  dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

375g package of penne (mine was 454g, so I used a bit less than the whole thing)

Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the penne according to the package directions. Drain the penne, then place it back in the pot and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the sausages and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are browned and cooked throughout. Remove from the pan and set aside until cook enough to handle. Drain most of the drippings, leaving only about 1 tbsp.

Add the onions to the hot skillet and cook for just a few minutes until beginning to sweat, then add the garlic. Continue cooking for about 1 minute before adding in the tomatoes, basil and oregano. Stir together and bring to a simmer over low heat.

While the sauce is simmering, slice the cooled italian sausage into 1/2″ think slices. Add it to the skillet and continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the sausage is warmed through.

Pour the sauce over the penne and stir. Serve with fresh parsley and parmesan. Serves 4 – 6

 

As always, I’ll be sharing this recipe with all the lovely people at the Fiesta Friday blog Party. This week it’s being co-hosted by Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. For more recipe inspiration, check them out.

Also, be sure to follow my Pinterest page. I’ve been pinning holiday recipes like a mad women. There’s just so many things I want to try to make. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Hey guys,

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a new recipe, but I’m back and just in time for Christmas. I’m also just in time to be co-hosting the Fiesta Friday blog party along with Sadhna of Herbs, Spices and Tradition. I’m thrilled to be one of the co-hosts this week. A little over a year ago I was lucky enough to stumble over this blog party. Since then, almost every week, I join the party and get to see what some of my fellow food bloggers have been up to in their kitchens. Not only am I constantly jealous, awed and hungry, I’m also continually inspired and challenged in my own cooking. If you have a recipe you’d like to share, we’d love to see what you’ve been cooking. Click here to read the guidelines. Also, don’t forget to link your post to fiestafriday.net, my site, Kitchen, Uncorked and my co-host Sadhna of Herb, Spices and Tradition

This week I’m sharing a recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate. As I mentioned in my last post, I was on vacation in Mexico (for the first time ever). Although there wasn’t a lot of inspiration to be found in an all-inclusive buffet, I did stumble across this little gem one morning. Mexican hot chocolate is typically made with Mexican chocolate bars. These are made with cacao beans that are ground with sugar, almonds, cinnamon and sometimes vanilla. I didn’t have any Mexican chocolate, although looking back, I’m a little annoyed that I didn’t think to grab some while I was away. I improvised by using dark chocolate and adding my own cinnamon. This recipe is ridiculously easy to make and has only a few ingredients, but it’s deliciously rich and creamy. A perfect treat, just in time for Christmas.

100 grams Dark Chocolate (I used 75%)

2 tbsp brown sugar  (a little more if you’re using a darker chocolate)

3 cinnamon sticks

6 whole cloves

1 1/2 Cups milk

1/2 Cup heavy cream

Place all the ingredients in a small pot over low heat. Stir often until well blended and hot throughout, about 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving. Optional: Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Serves 2

 

Beef and veggie chili

 

beef and veggie chili

So, here we are on the eve of Halloween. My kids have been crazy excited ever since our annual family pumpkin carving last weekend. It’s one of my favourite traditions, although I’m going to be honest, I don’t really love carving pumpkins. It’s messy and kind of gross digging the guts out of the pumpkin. Also, I’m a horrible artist. Seriously horrible, unless you want me to draw hearts or flowers, which I can usually manage. I don’t think hearts and flowers will win a pumpkin carving contest, though. Typically, I am the carver and my husband is the gutter/scooper and draws the outline. It seems fair 😉 The kids, though being very enthusiastic about choosing the perfect pumpkins, are typically bored within roughly 10 minutes and disappear to play with their cousins. This year, my son drew his own outline and my daughter requested an Olaf jack-o-lantern. No, we didn’t win, but we did get to gut 4 pumpkins (I did help a little, there were 4 of them!!); 1 for my son and 3 for Olaf. Did I mention that I don’t like gutting pumpkins? Yeeck!

pumpkin carving contest

This years submissions

 

You can never really expect great weather on Halloween, but this year it’s promising to be extra rainy…buckets being dumped from the sky kind of rainy. There’s nothing to be done, we will march on through the rain, but I figure the best defense, is a great offence. My plan of attack is to fill our bellies with healthy, stick to your ribs comfort food and I think this beef and veggie chili will be just the thing to keep us warm through it all. Enjoy and I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 Cup celery, diced

1 Cup carrot, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 lbs lean ground beef

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp cinnamon

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 – 398mL tomatoe sauce

1/4 Cup water

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until starting to sweat and become aromatic. Toss in the ground beef, breaking it up while it cooks. After about 5 minutes, once the beef is mostly cooked through, add in the tomatoes, chili powder and cinnamon. Stir together for about 1 minute, then add in the tomato sauce, water and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and allow it to continue cooking for another 20 – 30 minutes, adding a little extra water if necessary. With about 5 minutes left, stir in the bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 – 6

This week I’ll be sharing this recipe at the Fiesta Friday blog party and at Fabulous Foodie Fridays. If you’re looking for some great recipe ideas, you should check them out.

 

 

Apple Sangria

Apple Sangria

This fall, I’ve been obsessed with apples and have been enjoying them more than I ever have before. I’ve found myself trying to incorporate them into as many different recipes as possible, but this recipe for Apple Sangria might just be the best idea I’ve had yet. I created this recipe two weeks ago for Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-laws house. Most guests would typically show up with dessert or an appy to share, but not me. I’m the family member that shows up with three jugs of sangria. Some would argue that that might make me the favourite 😉 I brought a tomato zucchini casserole to share, as well, but the sangria was the star for sure.

Typically from Spain or Portugal, sangria is usually made with red wine, a sweetener, cut up fruit and finished with a splash of brandy. For this recipe, I decided to use the same basic method, but used white wine instead. I also added a couple little extras to change things up a bit. When you go to make this (and I promise, you’ll want to) you don’t need to spend a lot on the bottle of wine. You’re going to be playing around with it, so just choose something that’s inexpensive, but that you still enjoy the taste of. Also, sangria takes time to allow the flavours to blend together. I like to leave it for at least 24 hours, but 48 hours is even better. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

2 apples, sliced

1 handful of fresh sage

1 bottle of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

1 Cup apple juice

1 oz brandy

1 Cup sparkling wine

In a large pitcher, toss in the apples and sage. Add the white wine and apple juice and gently stir it all together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Just before serving, gently stir in the brandy and sparkling wine.

This week I’ll be sharing this recipe at the Fiesta Friday blog party and Fabulous Foodie Fridays. Join me in checking out some truly delicious recipes.

 

Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself lacking inspiration in my cooking. I’ve been falling back on a lot of past favourites or quick, easy to throw together dinners. I’ve actually found myself feeling a little blah about cooking, which rarely happens to me. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been busier than normal. I also think that the turn in the seasons is making me feel a little more sluggish than usual. Whatever it is, it seems to have passed in the last couple of days and I’ve been playing around with a couple new recipes, starting with this gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes.

The idea for this recipe came to me last week when I had the opportunity to visit a local family farm for an incredible farm to table feast. Hosted by Hills Foods, the event was attended by notable, local chefs, food purveyors, foodies and media, and had a strong focus on local, sustainable and ethical food. You can read more about my visit here.

Although the feast was almost entirely meat-centric, there was one side dish that caught my attention; a delicious gnocchi prepared with peas and oven dried tomatoes. This recipe is my attempt to re-create the dish at home.

1 package potato gnocchi

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp oregano

1/4 Cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes, until they begin to float to the top. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and oregano. Saute for a few minutes until beginning to turn opaque. Add the gnocchi, making sure to spread them evenly around the bottom of the skillet (you may need to do this step in two batches). Cook for about 5 minutes, gently tossing or stirring part way through, until the gnocchi are lightly crisp. Stir in the peas, sun-dried tomatoes and salt to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings as a side dish.

 

 

 

 

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