Sun Dried Tomato and Sausage Pasta #SundaySupper

This week for Sunday Supper we were given the challenge to create a dish only using 5 ingredients. Now I love cooking meals from scratch but often times I don’t have the time for a meal that takes a lot of effort and I need something quick and simple so this challenge was a welcome one. Getting creative with a small amount of ingredients is handy not only for busy days but for when the pantry is low and funds prevent you from restocking right away, which has often happened in this house. I find that the challenge of cooking with a small amount of ingredients is that it ends up low on flavour and I am happy to say this recipe was not lacking in the flavour department. With good quality sausages and fresh basil this dish had what we look for in a dish without the hassle of a lot of prep which in my book makes it perfect.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Sausage Pasta

400g (14 oz) pasta shapes
6 good-quality sausages*
140g (5 oz) sun-dried tomatoes
4 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
a generous handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped

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Bacon and Braised Beet Greens

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved beets, that wonderful purple root vegetable that so many people don’t like I just can’t get enough of so pass your portion over to me. But as much as I loved beets I had no idea that their greens were just as edible. So for all this time those tasty greens have been tossed away without a second thought. This year was the first year that I attempted to grow beets for myself. It wasn’t a great year for the garden and I was sad to discover weedy, thin beets when I pulled them out of the ground. But even though the beets were tiny their greens were gorgeous and it got me wondering. After a quick search I was delighted to discover that they are edible so I thought I would give it a try as a side dish. I was using some bacon in another recipe and there is something about bacon that really compliments cooked greens so I decided to throw it all together and see what happens. To be honest would have made a wonderful main dish but this recipe size is what I had on hand so it made just enough for Chris and I to have it as a side. It reminded me of the taste of Kale with the slight earthiness of beetroot. It was a great way to contribute to less waste. So the next time you shop at your farmers market and see these lovely leaves attached to your beets don’t forget they are just as tasty.

Bacon and Braised Beet Greens

2 large handfuls of beet greens, chopped (discard the stem)
4 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 handful of grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil

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Baked Fish Fingers

One major issue I have people tell me about their picky kids is that if it isn’t in the ‘shape’ of their favourite foods then they don’t want to try it. So in other words if the fish fingers don’t look like fingers then good luck getting them to try it. I am not at that stage of picky eating yet with my 14 month old but it did get me thinking. First of all where do our kids get this? Is it because most kids are only given quick and easy frozen fish fingers or is there just something about the shape that appeals. I am often trying to find easy, wholesome finger food ideas for my daughter to eat is that what later on causes this need for finger shaped food? I have no idea but as parents all we can do is try. I often make a breaded baked fish as a substitute for us getting fish from a chippy, which my husband has decided is too greasy for his taste. But I had never thought to try to make the fish into finger sizes. It really wasn’t that bad as far as being more time consuming then breading the fish whole, but it would be just as easy to bread the whole fish for those less pick and then making the finger size for the pickier members of our family. And the nice thing about this size for the smaller members of the family is it is really simple to pick up. Usually I just give Morgan cut off pieces of our fish to eat, which she eats happily, but because these were made to fit in her hand I noticed she found them easier to eat and she actually ate more of her meal then what ended up on the floor. Which makes me happier because less mess to tidy up after dinner.

What are your thoughts about this picky stage for toddlers? Is it inevitable, something that all toddlers go through? Or do we as parents accidentally cause them?

Baked Fish Fingers

500g (1 lb) skinless fish fillets (such as sole, flounder, tilapia or other firm white fish)
120g (1 c.) plain flour
2 large egg, beaten
60g fresh breadcrumbs*
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

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Spiced Apple Ale #SundaySupper

It is apple season and I am so excited to start cooking up some apple inspired dishes. We have a neighbour who not only lets us picks their apples but since they don’t have the time to do anything with it, being two single guys they don’t cook much, they beg us to hurry up and pick them so they can stop cleaning up the rotten ones. Who am I to say no to free apples. So for my first batch of apple inspired dishes I decided to share something I made last year that was a big hit. This spiced apple ale, don’t be fooled by the name it is very low in alcohol content, captures the wonderful flavours of Fall and the holidays and other then taking up space for a week is so easy to make that you have no excuses not to make this and wow your guests at your holiday party.

Spiced Apple Ale

4 Liters (1 Gal.) water
1 Kilo (2 lbs) apples
500g (1 lb) sugar
1 oz root ginger
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
3 1.5L empty soda bottles

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Mexican Rice

On Sunday I served up my Grilled Fish tacos and I paired with with Mexican rice. I am a bit of a rice addict so over the years I have tried really hard to master each rice dish I come across. And that means a lot of research on technics. Because as simple as it is to make just plain rice it can be difficult for your rice dish to turn out like you have had it in restaurants unless you learn some of the tricks. For example did you know that the way to get the best fried rice is by using chilled, pre-cooked rice? And the other trick I learned is when you want a pilaf rice you need to rinse the rice and allow all of the starch to wash away. Mexican rice is version of a pilaf and when done right is good enough to eat on its own. It perfectly compliments any Mexican dish and once you know how to do it is actually quite simple to put together.

Mexican Rice

185 g (1 c.) long grain white rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
355 (1 1/2 c.) broth (I used veggie)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 pepper any colour, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
25 g (1/2 c.) chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

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