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.




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!

Appetizers and Snacks · 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



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.



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.

4 grapefruits
2 avaocados
2 fennels
a handful of lamb’s lettuce
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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Vanilla-Scented Oatmeal with Chia and Coconut

I know, it was the stuff of nightmares for some of us as children, but as adults, we can hardly overlook the benefits of a bowl of oatmeal.  Aside from being warm and comforting on a cold winters morn, it is also low calorie, and an excellent way to help keep our cholesterol in check.

If we can dress it up a bit, so much the better.

Vanilla-Scented Oatmeal with Chia and Coconut

-Serves 2-

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

4 teaspoons chia

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup flaked coconut

milk or coconut milk and extra brown sugar for serving.

Combine rolled oats, water, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg in pot.  Stir to combine and bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Stir in chia seeds and vanilla.  Spoon into serving bowls and top with flaked coconut.  Serve with milk and additional brown sugar.




Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean with Anchovy Dressing



Don’t let the anchovies throw you off.  They add the ‘pop’ this dish needs to make it great.

This serves 4 for a light lunch 8 or as a starter salad.

Aside from tasting good, this salad is very pretty.  then scrape skins off using your fingers or a paring knife.   Plate individually for best effect, or  bring it to the table on a large flat plate and serve it family style.

Thanks to Martha Stewart for this one.

4 red bell peppers

2 oil packed anchovy fillets, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup flat leafed parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (from 15 oz can or home cooked) drained and rinsed

2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan (optional)

1 cup arugula or mixed baby greens

Char bell peppers over the flames of a gas burner or bbq, using tongs to turn as skin blackens and blisters (about 10 minutes per pepper).  Alternatively, you can do this under the broiler, turning as skins blacken.  Transfer blackened peppers to medium bowl and cover the bowl with a plate.  Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, whisk anchovies, garlic, vinegar, oil and parsley in medium bowl to blend.  Add beans and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and let stand while you finish preparing the peppers.

Remove charred skins from peppers, using your fingers or a paring knife.  Cut peppers in half, remove and discard stems and seeds.  Arrange on platter and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Spoon beans over top, and scatter arugula over top.  Sprinkle parmesan over top and serve.



How To...

How to Char & Peel Bell Peppers

1. Char peppers over gas flame until skin is black and blistered. Transfer to bowl, cover with plate and let them steam for 10 minutes or so.
Char peppers
2.  Peel the peppers using your fingers and a sharp paring knife. Careful not to tear the flesh. It helps to have a bowl of water handy to help remove all the skin.
3. Pat dry with paper towels
char peppers 3
4. Cut slit down one side and remove seeds, and stems if desired.

Roast Chicken and Broccoli

We have a house full of guests, and our housekeeper, Marival,  has finally succumbed to whatever virus is going around lately.    So, while she is home suffering thru the virus, the cleaning of our guest rooms falls to us.

All of our rooms are rented, which means  a lot of laundry as well as guests with various needs that our require attention.

We are also having a pergola built on our roof top, and supervising the workers is one more thing that takes time out of our day.  Add to that our actual jobs that we get paid for and normal every day responsibilities and Kevin and I are kept busy these days.

Mostly, I am grateful for days like today because I am reminded of just how much abundance there is in our lives; though I will be very happy to see  Marival healthy and back at work again!!

Busy days are perfect for a sheet pan dinner that requires a minimum of fuss to prepare and not a lot of pots to wash.  Thanks, Canadian Living!!   This recipe will serve 4 and is ready in under an hour.


Roast Chicken and Broccoli


1/2 cup packed basil leaves , finely chopped

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes . finely chopped

1 clove garlic , minced

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Roasted Chicken:

4 chicken legs with thighs,  legs and thighs separated

1 Tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 sweet red pepper , cut in chunks

1 red onion , halved, then sliced lengthwise in 1/2 ” slices

1 head broccoli , cut in florets (about 4 cups)

Put it together:

Vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together basil, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic,  salt and pepper. Set aside.

Chicken and Veggies: Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange chicken on baking sheet; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper.   Toss to coat.  Bake for aprox 20 minutes, depending on size of legs and thighs.  Add red pepper and onion during last 10 minutes of baking.  Bake until chicken is no longer pink inside and red pepper and onion are slightly tender.

Broccoli : Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, cook broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain well.

In large serving bowl, toss together broccoli, red pepper and onion with about half of the Vinaigrette.  Top with cooked chicken and drizzle remaining vinaigrette over chicken.




Snowy Chocolate Cookies

Perfect for anytime really, but chocolate is so appropriate in February.   This makes about 20 cookies so you may want to double up.

Snowy Chocolate Cookies

Snowy Chocolate Cookies

1/2 cup butter at room temp

1/3 cup white sugar + 3 Tablespoons, separated

1 egg yolk

3/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup icing sugar (plus more for dusting)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in medium bowl and set aside.   In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter with 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in flour mixture until combined.

Place the 3 Tablespoons of sugar and the icing sugar in separate bowls.

Roll dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon each.   Roll each ball in sugar to coat.  Shake off excess, then in icing sugar, shaking off excess.  Place 1 1/2′ apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Press to about 1/2′ thickness, just until edges of cookie start to crack.  Bake 1 sheet at a time, until no longer shiny.  About 10 minutes.   Let cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.  Once cool, dust with additional icing sugar.