Beef · Main Courses · Pasta · Pork

Bolognese Sauce

BologneseA family favourite in our house, and so easy to put together.  It does take time, so its a good ‘Sunday afternoon when there is nothing much to do’ project.  The good news is that the flavours are even better the next day, so make on Sunday to enjoy later in the week.  After a long day at the office, dinner will be a snap!  Just boil your favourite pasta and you have a quick and easy mid-week dinner.  This serves 8 generously, and freezes very well.

 

Bolognese Sauce

 

3 Tablespoons oil

2 yellow onions, diced

5 celery ribs, diced

3 medium carrots, shredded

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 lb bacon finely chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

1 lb lean ground pork

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

14 oz can tomato puree

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup water

1 cup milk (whole milk is best, but skim will work too, if that’s what you have)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Get your big pot out… not that one, the bigger one – 6 – 8 quarts.   There is lots of stirring and simmering involved here and you will want the extra room a larger pot gives you.

Heat oil in pot over medium heat.   Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until onion is translucent and vegetables are slightly soft.  Do not let them brown.  About 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium- high, add bacon, beef and pork and cook, stirring to break up  any chunks until meat is no longer pink.  About 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato paste  until well combined with meat and vegetables.  About 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato puree, wine, water, milk, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered until liquids reduce and sauce is thickened.  About 2 hours.  Remember to stir occasionally while sauce simmers.

Spoon over cooked pasta and serve immediately or cool sauce uncovered, at room temperature.  Once sauce has cooled, cover and refrigerate.  Will keep  3 days in the fridge or frozen up to 3 months.

 

 

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Welcome

Welcome to Heathers Fresh Cooking!

I love food, and you do too, if you are reading this.  I especially love food that is prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients and few processed foods.

My recipes have all been tested in my own kitchen by me.  My “support team” and hardest critic is my husband Kevin.   He is my board to bounce ideas off of, he helps me research recipes, he tests and tastes along the way and encourages me every step of the way.

I hope you enjoy my offerings!

Muffins and Quick Breads

Peanut Butter -Banana Muffins

A nice change from banana bread.

 

Peanut Butter -Banana Muffins

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup peanut butter (like Skippy, not natural)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup mashed bananas

2 Tablespoons milk

2 eggs beaten

peanuts for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place 12 muffin liners in muffin pan and spritz lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Measure peanut butter, oil bananas, milk and eggs into another bowl and stir/mash to combine well.   Add to the flour mixture and mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Be warned, there will be lumps.  Careful not to over mix or your muffins will be tough.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.   Add peanuts on  top for garnish if using.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, then dump onto wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

Beef · Main Courses · Soups and Stews

Beef Chili

Yes, I know, I have already posted a chili recipe, but I like this version too.   The dried chilies in this recipe add a nice depth of flavour that will help chase away those winter blues.    They are easily found here in Mexico, but depending on where you live, you may have to do a bit of searching.  If your local grocery doesn’t carry them, look around for a Mexican or East Indian market.  They often carry spices that the big name stores do not.   I realize it could be a bit of a treasure hunt for some of you, but I’m pretty one bite will convince you that finding the chiles was worth the effort.

This serves 8.

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Beef Chili

4 large ancho chiles

2 dried guajillo chiles

2 dried pasilla chiles

3 cups boiling water

3 Tablespoons canola oil

2 kilos boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2″ slices

Salt & pepper

2 large onions

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 bottle Corona beer (or any other kind you like)

1    14 oz can diced tomatoes

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

sour cream and grated cheese for serving

Wipe chiles with a damp paper towel to remove any dust or sediment.  Remove stems and seeds from all of them.  Tear into large pieces and place in large heat-proof bowl.  Pour boiling water over, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to soften chiles.

Meanwhile, season beef with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, brown beef on both sides – about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium add onions and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent and very soft.  About 6 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic, cook one minute more.  Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring one minute more.  Add tomatoes and brown sugar and scrape bottom of pot to loosen any spices stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Add the beer, increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the beer has evaporated.  10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put chiles and their soaking liquid into blender and blend on high until smooth.  About 1 minute.  Cut beef into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add beef, chile puree and 2 cups of water to pot.  Bring to boil, reduce and let simmer, uncovered, until meat is very tender and liquid has thickened slightly.  About 2 hours.

Stir in beans and cook just until they are heated thru, another 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheese and /or whatever else floats your boat on the table so guests can help themselves to toppings.  Round the meal out with a  salad, baked potatoes or rice and garlic bread.

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Breads

Naan Bread

A happy day it was, when we learned how to make this at home!  these instructions are for grilling this bread on a charcoal grill, however, a gas grill or cast iron pan stove top will work just as well.  It may take some practice, and your first batch(es) may not be perfect (or edible), but if you are reading this, you probably already know that learning this will be well worth the effort.  Enjoy.

Pumpkin-Spice Hummus
Naan Bread with Pumpkin-Spiced Hummus

Naan Bread

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more for finishing)

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup plain yogurt (not greek) or sour cream

2 Tablespoons melted butter,  ghee or canola oil (plus more for finishing bread)

Whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl.

Stir milk and yogurt and 2 Tablespoons melted butter together to combine and pour into flour mixture.  Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn  out onto lightly floured board.  Dough will be sticky.   Adding flour as needed, knead until a soft, smooth dough forms.  About 7 minutes.

Form into ball and place in lightly oiled bowl.  Turn to coat, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm draft- free place until dough is doubled in size.  30 – 45 minutes.  (Instant yeast works faster than regular, so keep a close eye on it)

Punch down, divide into 10 pieces.  With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and place on lightly floured cookie sheet.   Cover with flour dusted kitchen towel and let rest 10 minutes.   (If you are not making the bread right away, place the tray in the fridge -up to 3 hours covered with a kitchen towel).

Preheat grill to HOT.

On a lightly floured surface, and with  floured hands, pat and stretch dough into about an 8″ circle.  (honestly, the shape doesn’t matter.  You need to be concerned that the dough is more or less uniform thickness, about 1/8 inch.  You could roll the dough out, but the bumps left by your fingers  give the bread an interesting surface texture).

Toss onto preheated grill and let sit until dough starts to  bubble and the surface looks slightly dry, 2 – 3  minutes.   Flip over and cook for another minute or two, until charred in spots.  remove from heat, lightly brush with melted butter (or ghee) and sprinkle very lightly with salt.  Repeat for remaining pieces.

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Toss on preheated grill
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Fresh Naan!!

 

 

Fish and Seafood · Main Courses

South Indian Fish Curry

Full of flavour yet mild enough for those of you who are not lovers of spicy food.

The good folks at LCBO where this recipe came from suggest a cold Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc to compliment the flavours in this dish.

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South Indian Fish Curry

South Indian Fish Curry

Spice Mix

2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 whole star anise

1  teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

4 – 5 Tablespoons water

The Fish

2 Tablespoons oil

1 large onion, diced

salt

3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced

2 teaspoons grated ginger – from about 1″ fresh ginger root

1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 lb Mahi- Mahi, Red Snapper or other firm white fish cut into bite size pieces

Garnish

Cilantro leaves

lime zest

In spice grinder, mix coriander, cumin, peppercorns, mustard seeds and star anise and blend until finely ground.   Transfer to bowl and stir in tumeric and curry powder.  Add the water to make a paste & set aside.

Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt.  cook until onions are soft and just beginning to turn brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute.   Reduce heat to low, scrape onions to side of pan and  spice paste to the spot you have cleared.   Cook spice paste, stirring constantly, until most of the water has evaporated – about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and coconut, increase heat to medium high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to med low and cook until sauce is slightly thickened – about 10 minutes.

Season fish with salt and add to pan, gently stirring to coat with the sauce.  Cover skillet and cook 4 – 5 minutes, just until fish is cooked through.

Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime zest and serve with plenty of rice and Na’an bread to soak up the sauce.

 

 

 

Chicken · Main Courses · Uncategorized

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Confit and Lemon

Don’t let the long fancy name stop you from trying this one.  Garlic confit is nothing more than garlic cloves simmered in oil.   Keep the leftover oil to drizzle over the finished dish, onto your next pizza or use it to make a killer vinaigrette for your side salad.

If you don’t have preserved lemons, sprinkle the finished dish with lemon zest just before serving.    If you do have preserved lemons already in your fridge, this dish is a reason to make some more.

We like this with some couscous or quinoa and some green beans on the side

This will serve 4.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Confit and Lemons

10 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

8 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry

salt & pepper

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 Preserved Lemon peel flesh removed, peel finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 small lemon

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley or mixed herbs

Make the garlic confit:  heat garlic and oil in small pan over low heat until garlic begins to turn brown and is tender.  10 – 15 minutes.  Leave in pan and let cool.   You can do this a day or 2 ahead if you want.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Using 2 large skillets, over medium high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil you poached the garlic in each pan.  Cook chicken skin side down until skin is golden, about 5 minutes.  DO NOT TURN.   Leave chicken skin side down and transfer pans to oven and bake 20 – 25 minutes, until thermometer inserted into fleshy part of thigh registers 165F.

Remove thighs from pans to platter, keeping skin side up.   Keep warm.  Remove garlic cloves from oil and roughly chop or smash.

Bring chicken stock to boil in one of the pans, stirring to scrape  up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.    Reduce broth to about 2/3 cup.  Whisking constantly, add butter 1 piece at a time until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  About 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in preserved lemon, lemon juice, the chopped garlic and all but 1 Tablespoon of the herbs.

Pour sauce onto platter, arrange chicken thighs over top, skin side up, and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon herbs for garnish.

Serve immediately.

Credit for this goes to Bon Appetit, November 2017.  No link to the original as it doesn’t seem to be on their site.

 

 

Soups and Stews

Onion Soup

Yeah, it was going to be French Onion Soup, but we ended up eating the cheese earlier this week in Quesadillas and sandwiches.

It turned out to be a happy accident,  because this is still very tasty, and much lower in calories than if I had remembered not to use all the cheese.   Of course, you can still top this with a handful of Gruyere or Swiss cheese to make it authentic,  if you wish.

Caramelizing the onions will take you 45 minutes to an hour.  You cannot rush this process so be patient.  The flavour you get by caramelizing the onions is the key to the success of this soup.

Of course, I did not take a photo, so had to borrow one from the internet, but this is a reasonable facsimile of how the soup turned out.

This will serve 2 for a light dinner or 6 as an appetizer.

Image 2018-03-02 at 1.53 PM

Onion Soup

2 Tablespoons butter

3 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 lbs)

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine (basically, something you like the taste of, but not too sweet)

2 cups chicken stock (canned or homemade)

4 cups beef broth (canned or homemade)

1 cup leftover cooked beef, cut into small cubes (optional)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Toasted slices of French Bread for topping

Parmesan curls for garnish

salt

pepper

Over low heat in large saucepan, melt butter.  Add onions and garlic and a pinch of salt.  Cover & cook, checking & stirring occasionally, until onions are very tender and have a nice even brown colour. About 45 minutes – 1 hour.  Be patient.

Add wine to pan, increase heat to medium and simmer, stirring until wine is evaporated – about 3 minutes.

Stir in mustard and chicken and beef broth.  Add cooked beef, if using.  Stir well and let simmer 20 minutes.   Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper to taste if needed.  (This can be prepared 1 day ahead, just let soup cool to room temp before refrigerating overnight.  Reheat before continuing. )

Spoon hot soup into bowls and top each with a toast slice and some parmesan curls.

 

Uncategorized

Grab a Grapefruit…

Beautifully photographed, and the salad sounds pretty good too.

Mrs. Twinkle

…and off we go! Here goes with my first post this year. It’s a juicy grapefruit salad.

Ingredients
4 grapefruits
2 avaocados
2 fennels
a handful of lamb’s lettuce
dressing
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper

Cut the grapefruit into small slices. Chop up the avocados in cubes and slice the fennel. Scatter the lettuce into a bowl and add the grapefruit, avocado and fennel. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

No need to start the year with a guilty conscience. Now enjoy this!

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