Pesto Tortellini bites

By Corinne

This appetizer has a short ingredient list, but is big on flavours. They come together quickly and can be prepared the day before your party if desired.

Makes: about 25-27 skewers with 3 tortellini each if you use the whole package

Time: about 10 minutes to cook pasta, assembly depends on how many you decide to make. It took me about 10 minutes to put together about 20.

You will need:

  • 350g rainbow tortellini (or plain will also work)
  • 3 tbsp of pesto
  • seasoned sundried tomatoes in oil
  • bamboo skewers or toothpicks

Cook tortellini according to package directions- if using fresh tortellini, usually the boiling time is only 2-3 minutes. Do not over cook. Drain and stir in a generous 3 tbsp of pesto. Let cool completely. This part can be done the day before if desired.

Slide a tortellini, piece of sundried tomato, tortellini, piece of sundried tomato and tortellini onto wooden or bamboo skewers. Repeat. That’s it. You’re done.

These can be prepped the day before and stored in an airtight container overnight if needed. I usually serve these cold, though they are certainly good heated.

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BBQ Honey Mustard Ham

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By Corinne

This is a fast and easy supper, and a bit of a different take on a ham, which is usually served roasted whole rather than sliced and grilled on the BBQ. Instead of taking hours, this recipe takes a total of less than 20 minutes including prep and cook time. The glaze is simple and amounts are easily increased if you would like to make more. It’s fast and easy enough to prep and cook that you can manage even when babysitting 3 children under 8!

Time: about 15 to 20 minutes including prep and cook time

You will need:

  • 3-4 tbsp of dijon mustard (I love the president’s choice brand dijon as it has a bit of a bite)
  • 3-4 tbsp of liquid honey
  • 1-2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce OR balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5-2lb boneless fully cooked black forest or Virginia ham

Whisk together mustard, honey and soy into a small bowl. Slice boneless ham into slices about 1/4″ thick.

Heat BBQ to medium heat. Place ham slices on grill, keeping lid closed as much as possible. Grill for about 2-3 min and then flip. Using a silicon brush, brush glaze over each slice. Grill for another 2 min and flip again, repeating glaze on the other side. Grill for another 2 min and glaze again. Repeat one more time so each side has been glazed twice and all glaze has been used.

Curried Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup

By Corinne

Lately I’ve been having a bit of an autumn love affair with parsnips. They are one of those vegetables we didn’t eat growing up, so I’ve come to this love rather late in life. At our local market there are a few vendors who sell them but for some reason I’m particularly enamored of these.

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I don’t even think they’re ugly. They’re sort of adorable. Can vegetables be adorable? Mostly though, they are delicious.

This soup is creamy and smooth, without being heavy. Most of the creaminess comes from the pureed vegetables rather than an excessive amount of cream.

Time: 30-35 min.  10-15 min prep, 20 minutes cook.

Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 1 large onion – diced
  • 2 stalks celery- diced
  • 2 cups parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups small florets of cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups diced potato (I left the skin on mine, whatever you prefer)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 1 chili pepper (if desired) minced
  • 7 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth, or veggie broth.
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin *I toasted and freshly ground my cumin- if you don’t, you may need to add more than this and adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste (if needed – I didn’t)
  • freshly chopped cilantro

Add 2 tbsp of butter to pot on medium heat. Dice onion and celery and add to pot once butter has melted. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While onion and celery are cooking, prep other vegetables.

When onion and celery are softened and beginning to get some colour, add the garlic and chili (if using) and stir for about one minute until garlic is fragrant – do not allow the garlic to burn.

Add the broth slowly, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of pot.

Add the diced parsnip, cauliflower, and potato and increase the heat to medium high to bring to a boil.

Keep at a gentle boil for about 20 minutes until veggies are soft. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed – though this will depend on the saltiness of the broth you used.

Stir in cream and serve with fresh chopped cilantro.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Snap Peas and Cherry Tomatoes

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By Corinne

This is one of my favourite mid-week meals. It’s healthy, comes together quickly, and the combination of bright cherry tomatoes and snap peas is delightful. One caution, because you leave the cherry tomatoes whole, they are VERY hot and juicy when you go to eat them, be careful not to burn your tongue!

Serves: 2 – though is easily scaled up (because I wanted some leftovers for lunch, I also made a side of toasted orzo)

Time: about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken breasts

You will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • lemon pepper seasoning
  • 8oz snap peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1 clove of garlic if desired
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed  pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with lemon pepper seasoning. Cook chicken until browned and no longer pink inside, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from pan, place on a plate, and cover to keep warm.

In the same pan, add snap peas, then after a minute or two, cherry tomatoes. If necessary, add another tbsp of oil. Cook, stirring occasionally until snap peas and cherry tomatoes have some colour and some of the tomatoes have started to split – about 5-7 minutes. If desired, in the last minute of cooking add 1 crushed clove of garlic and salt and pepper to taste. You may find you don’t need to season the peas and tomatoes as some of the lemon pepper seasoning is likely stuck to them from the chicken 🙂

If necessary, you can add the chicken back to the pan to reheat when tomatoes and peas are almost finished cooking, I find this is generally unnecessary as long as you cover the chicken to keep warm.

Toasted Orzo

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By Corinne

This is a quick and tasty side dish. If you have some fresh herbs, add them at the end when you mix in the cheese. If you’ve been following the blog, you may notice that I often use fresh asiago instead of fresh parmesan. I find it has a similar delicious nutty flavour, but is generally less expensive.

Time: 25 min-  most of this is hands off time.

Serves:2-3 as a side

You will need:

  • 1 cup orzo*
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie broth  or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or use 2 cups of broth if not using wine)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh shredded asiago or parmeasan

Place butter in a pot to melt over medium heat. When butter is bubbly, add orzo. Do NOT add the broth at this point! Stir pasta in butter for about 3-4 minutes until about half of it has turned brown and toasty looking.

At this point, add the wine and broth of your choice, and cover. Cook about 15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally, until nearly all liquid is absorbed. When liquid is almost all absorbed, remove from heat and keep covered for about 5 min. Stir in shredded cheese and herbs if using and serve.

*if you find this isn’t QUITE enough for you, but doubling would be too much, try 1 1/2 cups of orzo, 3 cups of liquid for a bit more 🙂

Favourite Marinated Feta Dip

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By Corinne

This is a dip I always request from my friend TL- though I think I am more generous with the lemon and less generous with the oil. I also fondly call it my ’emergency’ feta dip, as I can make it in minutes,  I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and people always seem to love it and think there is something magic about it. This is the basic favourite, feel free to improvise- there is a lot of room for variation with the seasonings. In the summer when I have fresh herbs I use them- they are prettier. Sometimes, I put in some thyme when I have it. Delish served with little rounds of bread, crackers… or umm… with a spoon.

Time: 10 minutes or less

Serves: 4-6 as a little appetizer with bread

You will need:

  • 250 g (1 3/4 cup) crumbled feta
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced
  • generous grind of black pepper
  • 4-5 tbsp oil (olive or canola)

Crumble feta and add all ingredients together. Mix well.  Best if you can let it sit for an hour or two to let the flavours get right in there, but also good eaten immediately 🙂 If you let it sit, you might find that the oil and lemon separate a bit, just give it a good stir before serving.

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