A straightforward kid-friendly meal that comes together quickly and features 100% Canadian AAA Angus Beef Strip Loin from Walmart Canada.
Comfort food defined pasta packed with vegetables and that family-friendly Alfredo flavour.
It’s been quite around here lately. Partially due to my husband traveling for work, but also due to me wanting to hunker down and share more recipes and info closer to my heart. Getting back to the basics of blogging because of the food my family and I love. As well as food that just works. Nutritious, simple, and delicious. And I truly mean delicious. Food that the whole family gets excited about without serving chicken nuggets on repeat.
Soups. Not the traditional type of comfort food we may think of, but I know that soup is my go-to comfort dish. Warmth, easy scents that can send me down memory lane and general ease of preparation make soup like a warm hug. Although we’re not quite out of summer, the thought of leaning over steaming hot liquid, wrapping my cold hands around the piping hot bowl, and inhaling the fragrant scents that seem to be welcomed breath have me craving soup regularly. Whether it’s a gourmet bowl of bisque or the ubiquitous red and white can of soup, they both have a way of grounding me unlike any other dish. This is another Canadian Food Creatives Collaboration with 9 Autumn Soups to send a bowlful of warmth your way. I made Roasted Chicken Minestrone as my contribution – a one pot meal that is ready to compensate for those colder, shorter days ahead. Big thanks to Diana of 365 Days of Easy Recipes for hosting!! Be sure to head to the end of this post to see all the soup recipes
The anticipation of eating is a wonderful experience. These days I’m making our dinners multiple hours in advance of suppertime and I often find myself literally wanting to dive in head first into these dishes. The house smells amazing. The kids want to know exactly what it is that I’m taking photos of (usually when I take photos it means the food is extra good, or as one of my twins says “this supper is extra yummy to me mommy”). And I can’t wait to see if all the recipe testing, planning, and effort has paid off. Making this Roasted Chicken Minestrone Soup, filled with fresh vibrant herbs was a pleasure … although the wait felt significant.
Up until recently, soups haven’t had much time at our supper table. Having very small children has limited the amount of soup I make due to the temperature (way too hot for them) and the difficulty of eating it (balancing thin liquids on a smaller spoon). I tried serving it at a cooler temperature in a cup for them to drink, but they still weren’t into it. This dish was much more successful. In large part because it was whole pieces of chicken and pasta – more stew-like, making it way easier for them to eat. I’m hoping that soup becomes a much more frequent dish for us as it’s easy to prepare in advance and make large batches of … making my life way easier. Don’t forget to scope out all the Autumn Soup recipes at the end of this post!
Do your kids like soup? Tell me your secrets! I need a gateway for the colder seasons ahead.
Fall forward into colder and shorter days with a comforting bowl of Roasted Chicken Minestrone Soup - one pot meal!
5 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
More comforting soups from my fellow Canadian Food Bloggers:
Recipe inspired by a Donna Hay‘s Roasted Spatchcock Minestrone
Already apparent, but isn’t pasta a great family meal? My twins especially love spaghetti or other long noodles for their “fun” aspect while eating them. No matter how hard I try to cut up the noodles, they’re always able to slurp a couple up. And this Summer Tomato Pasta was no exception. I make a version of this pasta on the regular during the summer. It’s so easy and I love that I can cram as many tomatoes as I want in it. 😉 Plus, whipped ricotta got anyone else jumping for joy?
I usually switch up the cheese since I don’t often have ricotta sitting around (which is actually kind of troubling since ricotta generally makes my life MUCH better) and will use a sprinkling of pecorino or parmesan. In the past, I have also added in some crispy prosciutto or cooked ground chicken if we’re in need of some high iron foods. Sometimes I add asparagus or cauliflower if I don’t have enough tomatoes to stretch the meal the way I want it to, however, note that the cauliflower will take significantly longer to cook and should be the first thing you’d start cooking in the pan.
Another really great and easy pasta dish that my family loves is this Creamy Garlic Pasta dish which can be found here. I’ve made versions of these recipes regularly and they’re recipes all 3 of my kids gobble up … and if we’re being honest my husband and I do I our fair share of gobbling up pasta too. 🙂
Ready by the time the water is boiled, this Summer fresh pasta is filled family friendly tomatoes and creamy whipped ricotta.
5 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
It’s been a number of months since I’ve had an opportunity to update you on our growing family and share what I’m currently obsessed with making that’s super quick and easy. Baby Lucy is 7 months old and total riot. She’s enamoured with her sisters and pretty much loves life. Our twins were really good babies, however Lucy is a little gem of a baby and I cannot get over how lucky we are. She laughs constantly, puts up with many (somewhat fierce) hugs from her sisters and always has the best smile on her face. We’re still in the very intense phase of baby land, which leaves me extremely pressed for time. I physically cannot get everything I want to get done each day, not to mention the occasional crippling exhaustion that I’m facing from the ongoing night feedings. To assist with what little time I have to prepare dinners, I’ve been making a lot of quick easy pastas that are bowls of comfort and love. This Creamy Garlic and Basil Pasta has been a staple in our household at least once per week for the last month.
The pasta has 1/2 cup of cream so it’s not heavy since the pasta makes about 6 servings resulting in very little cream per serving. I add in pasta water at the end to extend the sauce and the hit of garlic and fresh basil round out the recipe. The pasta I was using came in a 500 grams package; if the pasta you’re using is 1 pound / 454 grams, leave everything else as is. It’ll still taste delicious and work out fine. I used a small amount of sliced prosciutto in this recipe; peas are an excellent vegetarian replacement or addition to this recipe. You can either add the peas to the pasta water or to cream sauce at the end to cook. They should only take a couple of minutes (frozen or fresh).
I’ve been trying to document little moments in all 3 baby books. Funny things the twins are currently saying, how Lucy folds into me for one final hug before I place her in her crib for the night, and other touching moments that I don’t want to risk forgetting. Z&I have also been very curious as what they were like as babies. We’ve been looking through their baby books, photos, and photo albums from when they were tiny babies. They even liked to get rocked by me in Lucy’s room when they’re in need of some extra love. It’s been a really wonderful time to be at home with all 3 of them. It has also been so time-consuming that other things are falling off my plate. Working out, housekeeping, socializing are getting the short end of the stick, but I wouldn’t want to trade these special moments for anything. This blog is still not getting as much attention as it needs, but it’s not going anywhere and I am still having a lot of fun with it (when I have some spare time to dedicate to it). I try to balance life so that I’m not all about my kids (hence this food blog), but given Lucy’s age and demands I’m not shuffling things as much and I’m going all in with the kids.
My friend and fellow blogger over at Peaks and Harbours, Bethany took the image above for her series “People of Vancouver”, if you missed it you can read the article here. All 5 of us squeezed onto one sofa cushion for a final family shot that rainy afternoon. It makes me smile the way all 3 girls are doing their own thing, each so different and yet, so similar. It’s been an interesting time watching the twins grow and become individuals more and more each day. They still refuse to be separated and I tends to watch over Z more than the other way around, but watching them interact and play is truly heartwarming. They still have their moments of bickering and making me want to pull my hair out, but I hope they always love each other and watch out for each other in this way.
Are you making anything quick and easy these days? I’d love to hear about it and spice things up before the twins declare that they don’t like pasta any more 😉
A bowl of luscious comforting pasta with creamy garlic and basil.
5 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
For me, nothing can be as basic AND delicious as pasta. It doesn’t take much for pasta to be turned into a wholesome and fantastic meal. Head on over to Peaks and Harbours for the full recipe and ingredient for this luscious Pasta with Peas.
Tomatoes all day everyday right now. At the height of the season I seek out the almost over ripe tomatoes which are heavy and smell juicy. When cut open the juices ooze from the tomato and all I can think about it eating them. It’s basically a buy, eat, repeat kind of situation.
I used farro pasta in this recipe, but any type of dried pasta will do. Whole wheat, gluten-free, and good old regular pasta will all fit the bill. The cheese is also interchangeable. If you feel more like parmesan than mozzarella have at it. I like the way the cheese slightly melts and becomes gooey between the pasta and the tomatoes. Makes for a special treat. If you don’t like or can’t eat nuts this dish is also quite good without the hazelnuts. They’re primarily there to add some great texture to the dish.
500 gr / 1.1 lbs dried spaghetti (farro, whole wheat, or any other spaghetti of your choice)
1 pint small tomatoes, such as cherry, strawberry, etc., halved
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
8-10 whole basil leaves
1/2 cup crushed hazelnuts (roasted is tastier, but non-roasted will work too)
100 gr fresh mozzeralla cheese, torn into small bite size pieces
salt and pepper
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water as per package instructions, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent and soft. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 7-10 minutes, string occasionally, until tomatoes have released most of their juices and begin to brown. Add reserved pasta water and gently combine.
Remove skillet from heat and add basil leaves, stirring until just combined.
Add pasta to a large serving bowl, top with torn cheese, tomato mixture, and then crushed hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper.
Creamy alfredo gets a tasty hit of Spring and some zest with lemon and pepper in this recipe. It’s my hint of green for those of us who are ready to party this season. The satisfaction that comes from eating creamy alfredo is most definitely still here, but it’s livened up with lemon and fresh black pepper. I had this for dinner last night and I’m craving it again already.
If you would like to add meat to this dish, it’s easy. Cooked bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta are all excellent choices. Store bought roast chicken, shredded, is also an easy way to make this meal carnivore friendly.
Adapted from: House and Home Magazine, September 2011 issue.
1 cup whipping cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter (if you use salted, reduce content of salt in this dish)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 lb pasta shells (I used large, not jumbo though)
1/4 fresh chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
In a medium sauce pan over med-low heat, add 3/4 cup of cream and stir in garlic, butter, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 min, being sure not to let it boil.
Cook pasta as per package instructions and with 1 minute left in the cooking time add peas to the pot. Drain (saving pasta and peas). Set aside.
Add remaining cream to sauce, then lemon zest and juice, and parmesan. Stir and let simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
Pour sauce into empty pasta pot and add in cooked pasta and peas. Stir to fully coat pasta and peas.
Dish into bowls and top with parsley, more parmesan and black pepper if desired.
I’ve been working my way through various recipes that I can batch cook, freeze easily, and that both Z & I love. Since Z hates cheese, except for goat’s, and Isla dislikes dishes such as Shepard’s Pie, I’ve been looking for a mac and cheese dish where I can replace the mac with orzo and the cheese with goat’s cheese. It also has to have vegetables in it; preferably green ones. I finally found a winner! Hurrah!
I made up this recipe to suit where my kids are with eating solids. You may wish to adjust it to suit yours too. In other words, don’t be afraid to leave the vegetables or meat in larger chunks. You can also substitute the orzo for your child’s favourite pasta.
Makes 8 double servings
2 cups dried orzo
1 large head of broccoli, washed and roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 liter cream
200 gr. goat’s cheese, preferably chèvre
1/2 of a store bought roasted chicken (ask the staff to cut a whole one in half for you), meat removed from bones and chopped, skin removed and discarded.
Place broccoli and onion in a food processor and process until the contents are a size that works for your child (I still blitz ours until it’s pretty fine as one of my girls has a sensitive tummy). If you’d don’t have a food processor, chop broccoli and onion by hand. Set aside.
Cook orzo to al dente as per package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
Heat cream and rosemary in a large sauce pan on medium-low heat until reduced by half, be sure not to let it boil over. This should take 20-30 minutes. Add goat’s cheeses, and broccoli/onion mixture; cook for 7 minutes. Add pasta and chicken and cook for 5 more minutes until all ingredients are cooked/heated through.
Spoon into freezable containers. I use ramekins, top with plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag.
Defrost and reheat to serve.