Quick Bolognese Sauce

This recipe for quick bolognese sauce simply bursts with flavour. It is also a quick, easy meal for during the week. It’s adapted ever so slightly from a Barefoot Contessa recipe to include whole San Marzano tomatoes instead of crushed. I prefer the chunks of tomato in it over the crushed version. I also dropped the pepper a bit as I found it too strong.

quick bolognese sauce

I’m not sure what it is about San Marzano tomatoes but they are simply the best. This, of course, could explain the wonderful flavour to this sauce. Or it could be the wine. You be the judge.

Quick Bolognese Sauce

2 tbsps olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided (now go ahead and pour yourself a glass too)
1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
Freshly ground salt and pepper
1 lb of pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Stir in garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Pour 1 cup of wine into the skillet and scrape up any brown bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Break up the tomatoes using the back of a fork or a potato masher. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

While sauce is cooking, take a sip of wine and then bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, add the nutmeg, basil, cream and remaining 1/4 cup of wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until thickened.

Drain pasta and spoon into pasta bowls. Ladle bolognese over pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan.

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Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing



I recently had the opportunity to test the new Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressings. What I love about these dressings is that they’re made with real fruits and vegetables, have no artificial flavors or colors and, most important in this post-heart attack home, is that they are also low in salt and fat.

I’m happy to share the recipes I tried with Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressings because they each have a bold, fresh taste that is perfect for salads, but also because I found them extremely versatile and perfect for so many other recipes. I tried these dressings with greens, which were delicious by the way, but I also set out to see what else I could use these dressings in.

So without further adieu, meet the versatile Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressings, perfect for salads and so much more.

Fire Roasted Tomato with Basil Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing

1 lb fresh pasta
Assorted vegetables for roasting (I used eggplant, zucchini, red onion, tomatoes)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Kraft Fire Roasted Tomato with Basil Dressing
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 400F. Slice zucchini, eggplant, and red onion, and tomato in 1/2 inch slices. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Roast in oven 25 to 30 minutes or until brown and cooked through. Toss occasionally while in oven to ensure even roasting. About ten minutes before vegetables are done, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and throw in a large bowl. Remove vegetables from oven and cut larger pieces into bite size. Toss vegetables, pasta and dressing in bowl. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top and serve immediately.

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing

Salad Option:Toss fresh watercress and cherry tomatoes with Kraft Fire Roasted Tomato with Basil. Serve with sliced baguette.

Roasted Yellow Pepper, Garlic & Lime Guacamole

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing

I actually took this recipe from the side of the bottle, since I’m a huge guacamole fan. Also, avocados, are good for the heart.

2 avocados, chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/3 cup Kraft Roasted Yellow Pepper, Garlic & Lime Dressing

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing Guacamole 2

Salad Option: Toss baby greens, chopped tomato, cucumber and a handful of cilantro with Kraft Roasted Yellow Pepper, Garlic and Lime Dressing.

Berry Balsamic Baked Goat Cheese Appetizer

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressingn Goat Cheese Appetizer

Inspired by a recent trip, this recipe is a great appetizer and is extremely simple to make.

4 oz goat cheese
Half a square of store bought puff pastry
1 egg for egg wash
1 cup of each of Honeydew and Cantaloupe melons
8 tbsp Kraft Berry Balsamic Dressing

Preheat oven to 425F. Beat one egg with 1 tbsp water for egg wash. Wrap goat cheese log in pastry and place on rimmed baking sheet, seam side down. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile drizzle 1 tbsp of Kraft Berry Balsamic Dressing on each plate, add a tablespoon each of Honeydew and Cantalouple melon. Slice log into 8 and place each piece on top of dressing and melon. Drizzle a little more dressing on top if you desire.

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing Goat Cheese Appetizer

Salad Option:Toss fresh baby spinach with halved strawberries, chopped walnuts, and red onion with Kraft Berry Balsamic.

Garlic Parmesan with Roasted Cauliflower Warm Potato Salad

Kraft Fruit & Veg Dressing Warm Potato Salad

3 lbs fingerling or baby potatoes
4 oz pancetta, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
1/2 cup Kraft Garlic Parmesan with Roasted Cauliflower Dressing

Boil potatoes until soft. While potatoes are cooking, fry up pancetta until crisp. Drain potatoes and let cool slightly until you can handle them and then slice in half in a large bowl. Toss with crisp pancetta, green onions, dressing and Parmesan. Spoon onto plate and sprinkle a little more Parmesan on top before serving.

Kraft Fruit and Veg Dressing Warm Potato Salad 2

Salad Option:Try a traditional Caesar salad here with fresh, crisp romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, bacon, and croutons tossed with Kraft Garlic Parmesan with Roasted Cauliflower.

 

Looking for some inspiration of your own? Kraft Canada has an incredible salad creator to help you come up with your own masterpiece.

Kraft_Logo_RGB

This is a sponsored post by Life in Pleasantville on behalf of Kraft Canada.

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Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

My husband was on vacation the last two weeks and took over the kitchen. This was a mixed blessing. On the plus side, he’s a damn fine cook. I’m keeping him.

On the negative side, his meals tend to be a little caveman-ish. You know? Meat. Lots and lots of meat. I’m a little over meat right now. So tonight I made up this Lemon Garlic Spaghetti and it was FABULOUS. Even the meat eater loved it.

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

1 lb dried spaghetti
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 lemons
7-8 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp for sautéing garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for on top of pasta
1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water

Place a large pot of salted water on stove and bring to boil. While waiting for water to boil, toast pine nuts in a small sauté pan over medium high heat until they begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside. Mince garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft and just starting to turn golden, set aside. Cut a chiffonade of basil and place in prep bowl. Zest three lemons, so that you have at least 1 tbsp of lemon zest, and squeeze juice through small strainer. You should have at least 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

When water comes to boil, place spaghetti in water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water and then pour pasta into strainer and wipe out pot so that it’s dry and place back on burner over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup of reserved water, olive oil, heavy cream, sautéed garlic, and lemon zest and bring to boil for two minutes. Add pasta back into pot and toss well. Pour 1/4 cup lemon juice over pasta, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and toasted pine nuts and continue to toss until liquid is absorbed. This is a good time to taste test and see if you want it more “lemony”. If so, add remaining lemon juice and remainder of pasta water if you find your pasta too dry. Toss in basil as final step. Serve with sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

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Macaroni Salad

Remember the macaroni salad your mom used to make for picnics and the beach? Whatever happened to that anyway, right? Well, here it is. It’s every bit as good today as it was when you were a kid and it’s a perfect summer side with chicken & ribs, or burgers. It’s also the perfect make-ahead salad when entertaining company around the barbecue.

Macaroni Salad

4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup grated carrot
4 radishes, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook until tender. Rinse under cold water and drain. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the onion, celery, green pepper, carrot, radishes and macaroni. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving to let flavours develop, but is best if made a day ahead. Stir well before serving.

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Lobster and Shells

I am currently obsessing over dill. I simply can’t get enough. So when I came across this recipe in my Barefoot Contessa book How Easy is That?, I knew I had to try it.

Lobster and Shells

Kosher salt
Good olive oil
1/2 pound small pasta shells
Kernels from 4 ears of corn
6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and small-diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound cooked lobster meat, medium diced
3/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup minced fresh dill

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt and some olive oil. Add the pasta and cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Add the corn to the pasta and cook it for another two minutes, until the corn is tender. Drain the pasta and corn together in a colander and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Add the scallions, diced pepper, tomatoes, and lobster, tossing gently to combine. Allow to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Pour over the pasta and mix well to bind the ingredients. Stir in the dill, 4 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 6 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Check the seasonings and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Pleasantville Note: Lobster is expensive. There’s no two ways around it. So make this for people you really, really like. For those you’re sort of iffy on, a great substitution would be a pound of small cooked shrimp.

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Pasta with Asparagus & Caramelized Onions

First off, I’d like to start a petition please to classify pancetta as a food group. Line forms behind me. Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, you won’t be surprised to hear that there is pancetta in this recipe, along with caramelized onions and asparagus. Cue the singing angels because it’s yummy. This has been a springtime staple now for 7 years in this house! Another delicious recipe from the bible, Fine Cooking.

Pasta with Asparagus & Caramelized Onions

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, peeled if thick, and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (about half a batch) Caramelized Onions
3/4 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
3/4 lb. dried gemelli, penne or rotini
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tsp. sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put 2 Tbs. of the oil and the pancetta in a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta begins to brown and renders much of its fat, 5 to 7 min. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels. Raise the heat to medium high, add the asparagus, and season with 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir often until the asparagus starts to brown, about 3 min. Add the caramelized onions and chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 4 min. Stir in 1/4 tsp. pepper and set aside in a warm spot.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, until it’s just tender, about 11 min. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the asparagus. Set the pan over medium-high heat and toss well. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano, the vinegar, and the cooked pancetta and continue cooking, stirring, for 1 min. to meld all the flavors. If the pasta begins to dry, add the reserved pasta water. Serve with a drizzle of the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and a sprinkling of the remaining Parmigiano.

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Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

February is all about being heart smart, so I’ve decided to kick that month of right with a recipe that is healthy AND delicious! This recipe is from my mother and she found it in a Heart Smart book years ago. It’s become a staple at her house and mine.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1 tsp each butter and olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 can baby clams
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 tsp each dried oregano and basil
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 package linguine noodles

In saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Drain clams, reserve liquid. Set clams aside, add liquid from clams and the wine. Stir for about 5 minutes until reduced slightly. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes uncovered. Add clams, cook until steaming hot. Serve over spaghetti, fettucine or linguine. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Pleasantville note: Feel free to add some crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit.

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Super Skillet Pasta

This used to be my mother’s go-to recipe when she was in a rush and there really wasn’t much in house. She always kept the ingredients for this on hand and now I do too. So, what’s for dinner tonight?

Super Skillet Pasta

1 pouch Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp. oregano
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
2 cups medium shell pasta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

In large non-stick skillet or Dutch oven (I use my Le Creuset), brown beef and drain. Add onion soup mix, oregano, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, stir in pasta. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in parmesan cheese. Top with shredded mozzarella and place under broiler until melted and bubbling.

You can use any ground meat in this, chicken, turkey, veal, pork. It’s all good.

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Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato and Sausage Sauce

Ahhh, comfort food, so nice to have you back in my life. This is one of my all time favorites for when the weather gets cooler. Torn from the back of Bon Appetit in 2000, it’s a well loved recipe, easy to make and delicious. Plus, as an added bonus, leftovers make a terrific lunch in a thermos the next day.

Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato and Sausage Sauce

2 tbsps olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup whipping cream*
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
1 tbsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper

1 pound fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add sausages and sauté until no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add whipping cream and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, sage and crushed red pepper. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Return pasta to same pot; add sauce. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Pleasantville Note: *I’ve made this recipe using half & half and it tasted just as great. You just have to simmer the sauce a little longer to let it thicken.

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