Left-over Chicken Fettuccine In A Light Cream Sauce

The other night I made some delicious Turkish Chicken and have been having a creative food-fest with the leftovers.  Yesterday I made some Chicken Salad and today, pasta!  Yummy, yummy pasta.  I have to start by telling you I don’t really like Alfredo sauce.  I find most of it sweet and rich and too thick.  I have never really had an Alfredo Sauce that made me stop and swoon the way I’ve seen some of my girl friends do.  Hence, I’ve never made it.  This sauce is sort of like Alfredo, but since it doesn’t use heavy cream it is not as sweet and rich and also not as fatty.  You’re very sad, I know.  I like light sauces, I almost always pick a tomato based sauce over a cream sauce, with the exception of some white wine creations which I love.

Don’t have any leftover chicken?  Slice and saute a chicken breast and set aside before starting.

You Will Need

  • 10oz of fettuccine
  • 2 tbsp pasta water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups of sugar snap peas
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 leftover chicken thighs, chopped
  • 100g of smoked Gouda (or any other favourite)
  • 1 cup of half and half cream
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Prepare pasta as per package directions, reserve 2 tbsp of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.  Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and add onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook 2 or 3 minutes until softened, add peas and red pepper.  Cook until tender crisp, about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 min more until fragrant.  Add cheese, cream, pasta water and chicken and bring to a simmer. This needs some salt and a generous amount of ground pepper.  Don’t be shy with the pepper, you won’t be sorry.  Add pasta and simmer until slightly thickened.  Serve immediately and garnish additional Parmesan.

 

Coconut Brownie Bars

By: Julie

Makes 1 7×11 pan of awesomeness.

Time:  6 hours including chill time.

Last week, while eating the brownies I made I had a thought.  An epiphany really.  A dream of coconut and dark chocolate that would eclipse even the bountiful bounty bar.  And then I made these:

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If you are a fan of Nanimo Bars, these bars are right up your alley. They have a cocoa-brownie bottom, with a coconut filling and a dark chocolate top.  If you are in to rich chocolate and coconut, you will love these.

You Will Need:

For the brownie bottom

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs

For the coconut center

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut

For the chocolate top

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 tbs butter

Prepare the Brownies

Preheat the oven to 320F and line a 7×11 pan with parchment paper (I haven’t tested it but I’m sure an 8×8 would work just as well).

Combine the butter, cocoa, brown sugar and salt in a pan and stir until combined and butter is just melted.  Remove from heat.  When the mixture is luke-warm, stir in vanilla, and then eggs, one at a time until well combined.  Add flour and stir until flour is incorporated.  Spread mixture into prepared pan and place in the center of oven for 18-20 min until just a few crumbs stick to a wooden skewer.

Allow to cool completely.

Make The Filling

Combine the coconut with the condensed milk and spread evenly over brownie mixture.

Make The Top

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with butter and stir until combined.  Remove from heat and allow to cool until mixture is close to body temperature, then pour over coconut.  Spread evenly and place pan in fridge.  Cool for two hours and transfer to freezer.  Freeze for an hour before cutting.  This will allow you to get a clean cut without smooshing the bar and having coconut ooze out.  Cut small, they are packed with a punch and are rich.

This dessert should be served cold and kept in the fridge to keep it’s shape and texture.

 

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish and Dill

I love the tang of buttermilk, I love the zip of horseradish, and Dill is quickly becoming my favourite herb.  So why not put them all together?

I was making some sticky dry garlic ribs and didn’t have a side planned so I used the opportunity to be creative.  I would normally serve these with something beefy to compliment the horseradish but they held up well to the pork ribs.

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You Will Need

  • 4 cups peeled and quartered yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes in generously salted water until tender.  Drain well.  Add butter, salt and buttermilk and mash.  I do this by hand, but feel free to cream them with electric beaters if desired.  Add the dill and horseradish and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Munro Honey & Meadery

Honey and Meadery.  Well.  Sign me up!

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20160320_122445In the tiny town of Alivinston there is a diamond in the rough.  And it’s sweet.  It is Munro Honey and Meadery20160320_122451

Inside their beautiful gift shop there are magical things.  Things that will make your mouth water and serotonin will flow out of your brain like… well, honey.

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I haven’t had the chance to sample very much mead.  We had a tasting of both dry and sweet varieties, as well as some with fruit.  I must say, I prefer the dry.  The honey lends a sweetness all its own and I found the sweeter varieties a bit too cloying for my taste.  They would make fantastic desert wines or summer sangria though. I will return to test this theory.

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While I haven’t had a lot of mead,  I have sampled a lot of honey.  Munroes blueberry blossom is something special. It’s so perfumed and floral that you just want to breath in the jar for eternity. Don’t leave without the honey comb.  It’s $4.  If you are only going to buy one thing, buy this.  It’s worth the trip.  I had it today on a fresh slice of Basic White Bread and if I only had one thing to eat everyday for the rest of my life it would be this.  And maybe something with vitamin C so I didn’t die of scurvy.  The honey comb tastes of flowers and sunshine and all things good in the world.  I am sitting here now, full from a fantastic roasted beet salad I made for dinner, but thinking I could totally fit another slice of that in.  A dessert fit for Queens.

Quick Tip – Pork Chop Brine

By Julie20160325_174452

Tired of eating tough, dry, bland pork?  Try brining.  It makes your pork tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful.  I prep this quickly in the morning, and then the chops are ready for cooking.

You Will Need

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Place a large freezer bag in a big bowl, this will keep it stable while you’re mixing the brine.  Add the salt and sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved completely.  Add the cold water and the pork.  Place in the fridge for 4-8 hours.  Rinse meat and pat dry before cooking.

This sounds like effort but it is very simple.  And worth it.

Chewy Brown Sugar Brownies

By: Julie

Serves: 9 brownies in a brownie pan or 1 8×8 pan.

When the whole salted caramel thing really exploded in the world of baking I was in heaven.    However, there is one problem with this.  I really hate making caramel.

So, in the interests of cheating, I decided to swap out the plain old white-granulated-sugar and replace it with some delicious brown sugar.  Brown sugar can back-fire easily… it can make things overly chewy and hard if over-baked.  However, that didn’t happen here.  The slight chew was pleasant and the outside of the brownies were crispy and delicious.  The brown sugar added a slightly caramelized flavor and I increased the salt to get the desired effect.  When I want chocolate I make brownies.  When I want brownies in a hurry I make them with cocoa powder instead of chocolate.  Don’t be afraid, I promise cocoa brownies are in now way inferior.

I used a special brownie pan that I have had kicking around, just waiting for an experiment like this.  This particular one is Pampered Chef but I have seen similar pans from other culinary companies.  I like it because the center of the brownies cooked through before the edges got too hard.  Also the edges were lovely and crispy (like muffin tops).

You Will Need

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of your best vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Make The Brownies

Preheat oven to 325f. If using a brownie pan, lightly grease.  If using am 8×8 pan, line with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa, brown sugar, and salt.  As soon as it’s melted and blended, take it off the heat.  It will be granular, but don’t worry – it will be lovely in the end.

When it’s still warm, but not hot (body temp is what you’re going for), add the vanilla and stir.  Add the eggs one at a time and stir until well blended.  Then add the flour and mix well.  Add the chopped walnuts and mix.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven.  Cook for 25-30 min until a skewer put into the middle comes out almost clean.  If using a special brownie pan, remove immediately from pan by inverting onto a cooling rack.  If using a square pan, allow to cool and remove from pan before cutting.

 

 

Linguine with Fresh Grape Tomatoes and Basil

By:  Julie

Serves: 6

Time:  20 min

My favourite smell on earth, next to my freshly-bathed baby’s hair, is basil.  It’s floral and sweet and divine.  I really could eat a plate of linguine with some basil and olive oil and call it a day, but my family would look at me funny, so to appease them, I will add something tomatoey.  This dish is super fast, fresh and delicious.  I like to use pretty multi-coloured tomatoes but whatever you have is just fine.

You Will Need

  • 1.5 lb of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb of linguine
  • 3/4 cup of basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp chile flakes (optional)

Cook the linguine according to package directions, and reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in an extra large saucepan or pot over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes, salt, pepper and basil and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the pasta water and the linguine and toss to combine.  Top with additional basil if desired.