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.

 

 

Advertisements
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!

Main Courses · Rice and Beans

Mushroom Fried Rice

Aside from being great with a stir fry or a batch of ginger beef, this makes a great side dish for a pork roast or chops.   Or, toss in a diced chicken breast and you have a complete meal in a bowl (and one pot!)   Cook the rice a day in advance for best results.  If you forgot to cook your rice in advance, you can use warm rice.  The flavours will still be there, but the texture may be a bit mushy.    Inspiration for this dish comes from LCBO Food and Drink Holiday 2017

Mushroom-Fried Rice

4 Tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper (optional)

4 cups sliced button or brown mushrooms

4 green onions,  sliced – white and  green parts separated, greens sliced and reserved

1 Tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups cooked white rice, cooled

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons sherry

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups roughly chopped spinach, tough stems removed

Sesame oil for garnish

Sesame seeds for garnish

Additional thinly sliced green onion for garnish

In small bowl, combine water, sherry, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.  Set aside

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large wok over high heat.  If using chicken, add to wok and stir fry until nearly cooked through.   Using more oil if needed, add the mushrooms and cook 1 minute, just until they begin to soften.  Add 2 more Tablespoons oil, the white parts of the green onions, ginger and garlic.  Stir quickly around in the pan for 1 minute.

Add rice and stir to coat rice with oil, pressing to break up any lumps.  Add sliced green onion tops, stir briefly, then add reserved water/sherry mixture.  stir to combine, season with salt & pepper.  Stir in the spinach until it is mostly wilted, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced green onion over top.  Serve hot.

 

 

Main Courses · Rice and Beans

Lentils with Sausage

This is a tasty budget friendly meal and it is ready in under an hour.  After all the over the top food eaten during the holidays, I am happy for a simpler, lighter meal this week.  For a vegetarian version, skip the sausages and serve over cooked brown rice.

This recipe comes from the Lentil Hunter, and one of my favorite TV personalities, Chef Michael Smith.  Did you know Canadian lentils are shipped world wide?   Awesome!

Lentils with Sausage

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 cloves  garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups green lentils
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
6 Italian sausages
1 baguette
Additional olive oil for drizzling

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Stir gently without browning for about 5 minutes,  the heat will brighten the flavours and colours. Add the tomato and stir a few minutes longer, 10 minutes in total.

Add the lentils and stir for a few moments, evenly coating each seed with a thin film of oil. This will help the lentils stay distinct. Pour in the water and toss in the salt.  Increase heat to high, and, stirring gently, bring the works to a full, furious boil.  Reduce heat, lowering the pace to a slow, steady simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the lentils cook through and tenderize, about 30 minutes.

As the lentils simmer, cook and brown the sausages in frying pan.  When they’re done  transfer the sausages and any liquids or brown bits to the lentils in their pot.  Alternatively, you could simply submerge the raw sausages in the simmering lentils. By the time the lentils are done, the sausages will have cooked through.

Cut the bread into long, thin slices and toast, bake or grill until lightly browned and delicious.

When the lentils are done, serve them with the sausages and crisp bread. Feel free to slice the sausages or simply serve them whole. Drizzle the works with olive oil, too. Enjoy!

© Chef Michael Smith

 

 

Beef · Main Courses

Oven-Braised Beef Short Ribs

One of the best things about going back to Alberta, is of course, THE BEEF!!

I was very fortunate during my last trip home, as we were gifted with the most wonderful beef short-ribs  from the farm of a family friend.  Yes, free range, grass fed, IMG_7138hormone and antibiotic free (Dare I say organic?) Alberta Beef!

As always when I am home, there isn’t a ton of time to be standing over a stove so we skipped the searing and just popped the roaster straight into the oven.  This is a very simple recipe, with the oven doing all the work to bring out the flavour of the meat.  You can fancy it up any way you like, if you are so inclined, by using a rub on the ribs, subbing red wine or beef stock for the water or adding additional vegetables to the braise, but the great thing about this recipe is that is excellent just as written.

I was very happy with the way our simple recipe turned out, and think we did that cow proud with our results.   I turned the leftovers into a Ragu to serve over pasta later in the week.  Predictably, I did not think to take photos of our efforts, but I did find some reasonable likenesses on the good old internet.

images

Oven-Braised Beef Short Ribs

5 – 6 lbs beef short ribs

3/4 cup water or beef broth

2 onions, sliced

salt and pepper

Mashed potatoes for serving

Preheat oven to 325F.  Season ribs with salt and pepper and place in large roaster.  Scatter onions over top and add water.  Cover tightly with foil or lid and place on rack in middle of oven.

Check after 3 hours, and add a bit of water  if most of braising liquid has evaporated.

Continue to cook, covered, for another hour, or so, until meat gives no resistance when pierced with a fork.  Remove short ribs to serving platter.  Pour braising liquid through a sieve into a bowl, skim fat and serve alongside the ribs and mashed potatoes.

 

 

Chicken · Main Courses

Chicken Parmesan

Even though this is a classic dish, much loved by seemingly everyone in the food industry,  I had never tasted Chicken Parm until last night.   Based on its appearance alone, never was I tempted to order it in restaurants.  Seeing plates of breaded chicken swimming in tomato sauce flying past our table did little to pique my interest in trying it.

The other day,  when a Chicken Parm recipe showed up in my news feed, I finally decided to see what all the fuss is about and actually took the time to read it.   As a bonus, the video included in the link made it look pretty easy to put together.  It seemed the perfect dish to serve to friends last night.

Be warned, it will take the full 1 hour and 40 minutes, but the sauce and breading can be done before hand.  So, if you want to spend time with your guests, instead of hiding behind your stove, make the sauce and bread the breasts in advance.  Then, about half an hour they arrive, preheat your oven, warm up that sauce and start frying the breasts.  You will be popping them into the oven just as your doorbell rings.  Let it bake while you enjoy appy’s with your friends.  Once it comes out of  the oven it can rest for up to half an hour before serving.

This recipe serves 6 with enough sauce for everyone.

And the moral to this story is not to judge a dish on its appearance alone.

IMG_2783

The Sauce

2 Tablespoons oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

One 6 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 1/2 teaspoons sugar

One 4-inch Parmesan rind (or 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan)

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

The Chicken Parmesan

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 cup flour

3 eggs, beaten

6 medium chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons (plus more) canola oil

12 thin slices mozzarella

500 grams spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

 

Make the tomato sauce:

In a medium saucepan heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, cook 5 minutes, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened,  about 8 to 10 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes, basil, vinegar, sugar and Parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer,  stirring occasionally and breaking up whole tomatoes with back of spoon, until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.

Remove from heat, discard the Parmesan rind and, using an immersion blender,  blend the sauce until mostly smooth but still retaining some texture.  (See Cooks Notes 1 )

Season with salt and pepper to taste.   (See Cooks Notes 2 )

 

Make the Chicken Parmesan

In a medium bowl, whisk together the panko bread crumbs with 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan and the dried oregano.

Place the flour on another plate and the beaten eggs in yet another shallow dish (like a pie plate).   Line up the 3 dishes next to each other in this order:

flour

eggs

panko/parmesan mixture.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. One by one,  dredge the chicken breasts in flour, followed by egg and then panko, making sure to completely coat each breast.  Press a little bit to be sure the coating sticks.  Place chicken breasts flat on a plate until ready to fry.  (See Cooks Notes 3 )

Preheat the oven to 375° and spread half of the tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.   Cook the chicken breasts, turning once, until golden brown, 5 – 6  minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan, nestling them into the tomato sauce. Spoon the remaining half of the tomato sauce over the middle of each breast.  DO NOT  completely cover all of the breasts with tomato sauce.  Put 2 slices of mozzarella over the sauce on each breast and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top.

Bake until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size.  If you have an oven-safe thermometer, now is a great time to use it.

Garnish with basil and serve over plain spaghetti tossed with a little olive oil.

Cooks Notes:

  1. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let mixture cool and puree in food processor or blender
  2.  Sauce can be made 3 days in advance, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.  Rewarm sauce before continuing.
  3. I breaded the breasts 2 hours in advance, covered loosely with plastic and refrigerated.  Maybe it will work if it sits even longer, but the breadcrumbs might get too soggy.  If anyone tries, let me know.

 

Uncategorized

Red Savina Hot Sauce 

Thinking I need to try this one.

Cast Iron Dan

The other day, I had someone on Facebook ask me what I do with all those peppers that I grow. That’s a good question, so I guess I should share what I make with all of that hot fruit! I make habanero hot sauce! The variety of habaneros that I grew this year are called Red Savina, which are about twice as big and twice as hot as the normal orange habaneros. Some of the peppers this year are over two inches in diameter!

I’ve been making this sauce for 5 years now and every time I think that I should change the recipe – I end up deciding to leave it just the way that it is! It is smoky, sweet, savory, citrussy and very hot… but not too hot! It doesn’t take much, but its a great condiment for tacos, burgers and most everything else. My youngest daughter…

View original post 277 more words

Uncategorized

Arugula Salad with Apples and Walnuts

What can be better than apples and walnuts together.    My version is pretty close to the original.  Why mess with perfection?   I served alongside Za’atar chicken breast, and some pan seared veggies.  Serves 4 as a side.

arugula salad
Arugula Salad with Apples and Walnuts

3 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt and pepper

4 cups arugula, any tough stems removed

3 leaves romain, torn

1/4 cup parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

1 apple, thinly sliced

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2 Tablespoons unseasoned sunflower seeds.

Combine yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper in small bowl, whisk to combine.

Toss arugula, romaine, parsley and apple slices together with the dressing.   Sprinkle walnuts, cranberries and sunflower seeds over greens and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Salads

Oriental Cucumber Salad

This is a nice change from plain old cucumbers in a salad.   The tender skin on long english cukes means you can peel them or not.

IMG_2729
Oriental Cucumber Salad

 

3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

3/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 tsp white pepper (optional)

1 long english cucumber, thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1/4 red Serrano pepper, minced (optional)

Mix rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper together.  Set aside.

Toss the cucumber, scallion, cilantro and Serrano together in large bowl.   Pour rice vinegar mixture over top, toss well and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

It goes pretty well with Gochujang pork, but I am sure you will find tons of stuff to serve this with.