Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Monday, February 27, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

Soooo apparently I took a break from blogging...life just got in the way. But now I am BACK and have a whole bunch of yummy recipes to post!
First off is something warm and hearty for the winter months....not that we are having much of a winter here in the Toronto area! TOTALLY not complaining!

 This soup requires a lot of chopping...so I like to get it all done before I even turn on the stove. Finely Chop 1 Large Spanish Onion and 2 Garlic Cloves.
 Chop 2 Celery Stalks and 3 Carrots
 This is a butternut squash. This is HARD to cut....most of the time I will try my best with my sharpest largest knife and cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until soft (375F for about an hour). But today I didn't have the time to roast it, so I chopped it up...and I swear it probably took me just as long. So if you can...roast it...flavour city!
 Here is my chopped up squash...at this point i was tired...and did not feel like soup any longer. But I knew my devoted readers would be upset at a half finished recipe....
 In a heavy bottomed soup pot melt about 1 Tbsp of Butter over Medium/High heat.
 Add the Onion, Garlic, Celery and Carrots. Saute until the onions turn translucent.
 Now add all the squash and about a dozen mini red and regular potato's sliced in half. Or if you only half regular sized potato's use about 4 of them chopped. I like to leave the skins on for extra goodness. Stir all this to combine.

 Add about 1 quart of stock or just enough to cover the veggies. Season with salt and pepper.
I like to add 1 bay leaf and about 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme to the pot too. Once the soup starts to boil turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1 hour.
 All the veggies should be thoroughly cooked and soft.
 Using a hand blender (or pour soup in batches into your full size blender). Blend the soup until smooth.
 Taste at this point for additional seasoning (S&P) and just to give it a kick, I add a tsp of Cayenne Pepper.
Serve with Crispy bacon bits on a cold Winters night!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Say "I Love You" with Bacon

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Heart Shaped Baked Bacon with Multi Grain Pancakes and Strawberries

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spaghetti Squash = Yum!

I really really REALLY love pasta. I could eat it every day...and I used to when I was a young teenager who played sports 6 days a week and had a wicked awesome metabolism. I would seriously eat it almost every day after school with butter, garlic and parm. Absolutely nothing healthy about that. Now that I am in my thirties eating pasta every day just doesn't work for me anymore...(insert sad pudgy face). And I have to work out 3 times as hard to work off all the empty carbs and calories that the glorious pasta gives me.

Now, I have heard through the food blogging world that spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta. So I decided to try it. It does not taste like pasta...however it was still pretty delish and very easy to make!!

 Cut your squash in half and with a spoon remove the seeds.
 Drizzle the insides of the squash with Olive Oil and your baking sheet then place the squash cut side down on the sheet. Bake in the oven at 350F for about 1 hour or until soft when pierced with a fork.
 The olive oil have the squash a nice caramelized finish! Let the squash cool for a few minutes or until cool enough to handle.
 With a fork start scraping out the flesh. I found this to be so neat...how it just came apart in spaghetti like strands.
 1 squash produced a LOT of "Spaghetti"!
 I tossed the squash with some roasted tomato's that I crushed and sauteed with some Olive Oil and Fresh Basil.
I topped it with some Chili Lime Shrimps and Voila! So yum and so good for you!! I just might eat this more often than Pasta...might....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bacon Barley Risotto

This was my attempt at trying to make Risotto healthier. However, I failed when I proceeded to add bacon, butter and cheese to it. At the end of the day this made a great alternative to Rice risotto...and mighty tasty too! But I have to say...butter does make everything better...100%!
Say Hello to Barley. I use it a lot in soups and stews...and now risotto!
In a large deep saucepan add about 8 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped and cook until browned but not quite crispy yet. Add 2 chopped shallots to the mix.
Once the shallots start to turn a little translucent add 1 cup of barley. Just like risotto, you want to toast it slightly on medium heat. Then add 1 Cup of your favourite white wine. They always say...only add wine that you like to drink yourself!
Once the wine has been absorbed into the barley start to add hot chicken stock 1 ladle full at a time, stirring constantly and letting the stock absorb before adding more. I usually have about 1 litre of stock boiling whenever I make risotto. Don't let the Barley get too dry though...you want to keep it pretty "loose" at all times. At this point I check for seasoning, salt, pepper etc.

Once you get to the point where the barley is cooked (about 30 minutes), add 2 tbsp of butter, 1 handfull of chopped flat leaf parsley and 1/2 Cup of grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Stir to combine and serve this creamy delicious meal to your friends and family! They will love it!