Category Archives: Garlic

Super Easy and Quite Healthy Crock Pot Lasagna

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The last time I was trying to lose weight, the one dinner that I missed the most was Lasagna. I was lucky to find, and adapt, this incredibly, tasty AND healthy version that is quick to put together. You can simply leave the lasagna to cook in your crock pot while you do other things around the house. It makes a great dinner, and as with all Lasagna recipes… it makes an even better lunch!

Quick and easy slow cooker lasagna that can be good to go in just a few minutes

Quick and easy slow cooker lasagna that can be good to go in just a few minutes

Crock Pot Lasagna
(6 servings)

1 Onion, chopped

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1 pound Lean Ground Beef

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 1/2 tsp.  Italian Seasoning, dried

1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

28 oz Crushed Tomatoes , canned

15 oz  Tomato Sauce, canned

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1 cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese

1 package Frozen Spinach, chopped

1 1/2 cups Part-Skim Mozzarella, shredded

6 Lasagna Noodles, no-cook variety

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

OPTIONAL: 1 cup Zucchini, shredded & 1 cup Fresh Mushrooms, diced

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1. Brown ground beef, onions and garlic with seasonings on stove in pot large enough to accommodate all the sauce ingredients.
To save time on this step I just use 3-4 cups of my usual spaghetti sauce from the freezer.

2. Once the meat is cooked, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce (and optional vegetables). Simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Mix the thoroughly drained spinach with ricotta and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella in a bowl.

4. Snap your lasagna noodles in half (depending on the size of your crock pot) using the edge of your counter, as shown.

5. Place 1/3 of the meat mixture in the bottom of your crock pot. Then layer 1/2 of the cheese mixture on top. Lay 4 lasagna noodles on the cheese mixture, and repeat all layers one more time.

6. Place the crock pot cover on top, and turn your crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours.

7. Just prior to serving, turn off your crock pot. Mix 1/2 cup parmesan with 1/2 cup mozzarella, and add to your Lasagna as topping, and let melt for 10 minutes.

What is the secret ingredient in favourite Lasagna recipe?
Please feel free to share your tips in the Comments section below.

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Spicy Marinated Mushrooms – A Great Holiday Appetizers

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At this time of year it’s a great idea to have a few last-minute appetizers to pull out of your fridge to wow unexpected guests. These marinated mushrooms are super easy to make, and hold well for 3 to 5 days in the fridge, or can try canning them for a longer-lasting product.

Tender, spicy mushrooms for the fungi-fan in your family

Tender, spicy mushrooms for the fungi-fan in your family

Spicy Marinated Mushrooms

1/2 bag White Button Mushrooms, small
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
5 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce, Low-Sodium
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or more)

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1. Boil a large pot of salted water.

2. Place the mushrooms whole into the boiling water for 7 minutes.
I do not recommend washing your mushrooms until just before you are going to cook them – a light washing is fine. I scrub mine 4 at a time in my hands under running water.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and sririacha.

3. Once the mushrooms are done boiling, drain them, and place them into a large resealable container.

4. Pour the liquid over the mushrooms, stir together, and cover with the lid.

5. Let your container sit on your kitchen counter to cool.
Allow the mushrooms to begin their marinading process at room temperature for a couple of hours.

6. Then you can refrigerate your mushrooms, and use as needed.

7. Create an Antipasto Platter by adding Roasted Red Peppers and Roasted Garlic. Serve the mushrooms with on a platter with room-temperature cheeses, deli meats and crackers or baguette.

TIP: The spicy taste is great!!! For a more intense flavour, pull the mushroom stems out of the caps before boiling which will allow the marinade to permeate into the mushroom from the inside.

These little, succulent snacks go well with any appetizer spread

These little, succulent snacks will go well with any appetizer spread you can dream up this Holiday season

Other Uses…

* Diced the marinated mushrooms up and use as a condiment on burgers or beef dip sandwiches.
* Mince them up to use as a mushroom tapenade on french bread.
* Pop off the stems, and pipe in some soft cheese like Boursin for a fancier appetizer.
* They’d be a great accompaniment to any steak.
* Excellent choice for use in any salad, especially to dress up a Caesar salad with fresh tomatoes.

What do YOU like to have with these mushrooms?
Please feel free to share your uses below in the Comments section.

Manitoba-Made Beef Short Ribs

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Click the logo for more great recipes featuring Manitoba made product

Last week I was cruising through my local butcher, and saw some packages of beef short ribs. I’d learned previously that my Food Fare (Portage and Mount Royal) only carries Manitoba Beef, so I knew I was getting a great quality product.

You might ask why I would bother to make Short Ribs for lunch… well I didn’t… I made them for dinner the night before. And wow were the leftovers amazing! So DO make extras when you try this recipe, because, like Lasagna, they are even better the next day!

Here’s a really, simple recipe that you can try (especially if you’re living in Manitoba) as it features Bon Vivant! Korean BBQ Sauce – a BIG favourite in our home. I love all of their products, but this one is my #1 choice.

Just five ingredients needed

Just six ingredients needed

By the way, I think that this recipe would also make a

n awesome appetizer for a small party.

Falling off the bone short rib goodness

Falling off the bone short rib goodness

What you will need…

Peanut Oil

10 Beef Short Ribs

1 Large Onion, rough chopped

4 cloves Garlic, rough chopped

1 cup Korean BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup Orange Juice

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of Peanut Oil on High in a deep, Dutch Oven, kind of pot.
I prefer to use Peanut Oil for searing as it has a higher smoke point than most cooking oils. But if you’re allergic to nuts, then pick one of these other choices, or use whatever you have on hand.

2. Pat your short ribs dry (on both sides) with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture otherwise it will hamper your ability to get a good sear on the meat.

I learned that trick from watching Julie & Julia!

3. Carefully place each rib into your hot oil, but do not crowd the pan.
I only put 5 ribs in at a time.

4. Sear the bottom side of the rib for 1 minute, then flip and sear the other side for a minute.
It’s okay to cover the pan while searing to avoid oil spatters.

5. Remove the seared ribs to a clean plate, and repeat for remaining ribs until all the ribs have been seared off.

Sear the ribs in smaller batches

Sear the ribs in small batches

6. For the next step, turn down your stove to medium high, and place your chopped onion and garlic into the oil to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

You should have a nice base of onions to lay the ribs upon

You should have a nice base of onions to lay the ribs upon

7. Pour in a cup of your favourite BBQ sauce, and 1/2 cup of orange juice.

You could even add bell peppers to this or any other vegetable to make it more stew-like

You could even add bell peppers to this or any other vegetable to make it more stew-like

8. Place the ribs on top of the onions so that they sit-up about halfway out of the braising liquid.

9. Cover the pot, and turn down the heat to Medium-Low. Cook at a light bubble for 2 hours.

NOTE: Be careful not to over-cook the ribs though… I went a bit beyond the 2 hours, and they were REALLY falling off the bone.

10. Serve with my Oven-Baked Basmati Rice recipe. I also like to mix my veggies right in to the rice before I serve it.

Don't these just make your mouth water?

Don’t these just make your mouth water?

This recipe made 3 portions.

Don’t forget to save a bowl of this yummy goodness for your LunchFor1 the next day. You can thank me tomorrow!

UPDATE: January 6, 2013This recipe is just so tasty that we wanted to make it again already using the homemade sauce.

UPDATE: January 6, 2013
This recipe is just so tasty that we wanted to make it again already using the homemade sauce.

This was my first time cooking Short Ribs,
but I’m keen to know how you cook your Short Ribs.

Please feel free to leave your recipe details in the Comments section.

Hubby’s Home Sick Today Soup

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So my dear husband, who never ever calls in sick… is home sick today with a bad head cold. Our pups, who wanted to be featured today are so accommodating and work great as “nurses”! We just have to call “nap time” and they are right there to cuddle.

Jeff in bed with his Dog Nurses - Toby & Mitzie

Jeff in bed with his Dog Nurses – Toby & Mitzie

I was feeling bad for my hubby last night when he went to bed at 830pm, so I prepped some homemade soup and tucked it away – just in case.

My interpretation of Italian Wedding Soup

My interpretation of Italian Wedding Soup

1/2 Spicy Italian Sausage, raw

12 Baby Carrots, chopped

1 Celery Stalk, chopped

3 cups Broth (any kind)

2 tablespoons Pasta Stars

1 tablespoon Minced Onion, dried

3 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Lime Juice

1 teaspoon Veggie Spice Blend

Salt & Pepper to taste

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1. Bring the broth to a boil.

2. Add vegetables, and cook for 5-10 minutes.

3. Remove the sausage’s casing and pinch off 1/2 inch ‘meatballs’, adding them to the boiling broth as you go. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Aim for a very small, bite-size meatball

Aim for a very small, bite-size meatball as it will cook better and faster for you

4. Add pasta stars and cook another 5-10 minutes. Squeeze in some lime juice at the end to finish.
NOTE: This time I didn’t cook them separately, and the stars got very large and plump overnight. Thankfully, I didn’t lose too much broth liquid.

5. Cool to room temperature, and place in fridge overnight to amaze someone the next day with a quick to reheat lunch.

6. Serve with a great slice of artisan bread. This one I slathered with my tummy-tempting, homemade chevre cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.

Italian Wedding Soup with Flax Artisan Bread spread with Sun-dried Tomato Chevre Cheese

Italian Wedding Soup with Flax Artisan Bread spread with Sun-dried Tomato Chevre Cheese

And for dessert… Deb’s Whipped Shortbread cookies. I had one, and Mr. Sicko had THREE! But more about all our cookie options following yesterday’s Cookie Monster Christmas Cookie Exchange on another LunchFor1 Post.

Our #1 favourite Christmas Cookie - Whipped Shortbread

Our #1 favourite Christmas Cookie – Whipped Shortbread

Jeff was VERY patient in waiting for me to photograph his LunchFor1 today! Thanks honey – feel better soon.

What do you like to eat when you’re feeling under the weather?
Please feel free to share your ideal comfort food in the Comments section.

Hamburger Soup & Roasted Garlic Buns

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For lunch a couple of days ago, I pulled this soup out of my freezer for a quickie meal with a girlfriend who was dropping by, just in case she needed some sustenance on her Errand-Running Day. But it ended up being LunchFor1, and I had a blessed bowl of comfort after a busy, and somewhat stressful, morning. This recipe makes a nice, hearty soup that is perfect for enjoying with a big group, or to make ahead and freeze for future use. This was my #1 Choice as the go-to soup that my husband and I made a couple months ago in the days following my surgery. And it froze so wonderfully!

It’s been such a chilly week here in the middle of Canada, but it’s supposed to warm up for the weekend – YEAH!

A Spoonful of Comfort – Hearty Hamburger Soup

I REMEMBER…

I first had this soup about 30 years ago, and you’d think because I can remember exactly who made, when, and why, that I would have been making it every Winter for the past 30 years – NOPE. I only recently tracked it down again thanks to an old friend of mine (Thanks Shelley). And now that I’ve adapted it, I would like to share it with you, because it’s also inspiring my newly created blog – LunchFor1.com. Follow me on Twitter @LunchFor1 for easy meals that are good eats any time of the day!

But, back to the story…

There I was a 10-year old figure skater on test day, both nervous and hungry, and in need of a little, quick comfort. The nice lady at the rink’s canteen, Eleanor, had made a batch of Homemade Hamburger Soup for all of the hungry, little tikes to eat while we waited our turn before the judges.

All these years later, I still remember the heartiness and the smoothness of this soup, as well as the yummy chewiness of the barley. The key to this soup is spending the time to cut the veggies up into a fairly small pieces – 1/4″ to 1/2″ dice. The soup was a like a hug, and it’s stuck with my taste buds for these past three decades!

And for a great side-dish to this meal…

It’s a smart idea, at this or any time of the year, to keep a few Roasted Garlic heads in your fridge for these “lunch emergencies”. It was super easy for me to pull out the pre-roasted garlic head from the fridge, pop the cloves out, and quickly mash them up in order to dress up my lunch selection with an upscale spread.

Better than butter is this Roasted Garlic Spread made from mashed roasted garlic cloves - much healthier too!

This Roasted Garlic Spread is better than butter, and much healthier too!

From time-to-time, when you’ve got the oven roasting something, simply take a whole head of garlic, chop off the top portion, and place it on a piece of tin foil. Then I pour 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil on the garlic, add a pinch of sea salt, and grind some fresh pepper over it. Then I wrap it up in the tin-foil, and set it in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes. Then let it cool and slide it (tin foil and all) into a storage baggie, and place it at the back of your fridge for future use.

Or, for creating a big-batch of Roasted Garlic check out my Stove-Top Roasted Garlic post from March 2012.

But back to the star of this post – the soup… here’s the recipe…

Anna’s Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 1/2 pounds Extra Lean Ground Beef
(or 700g of any ground meat of your choice)
1 Yellow Onion, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1  can Diced Tomatoes (28 oz./840mL)
2 cups Hot Water
3 cans Beef Consomme or Broth (30 oz./ 900mL)
1 can Tomato Soup (10 oz./ 300mL)
4 Carrots, 1/4″ dice
1 Bay Leaf
3 stalks Celery, diced
2 tbsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 cup Pot Barley

1. Boil water in a small pot. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 cup Pot Barley. Cook for 30 minutes. Drain and add to soup.

TIP: I prefer to cook my barley separate from my soups so that my soups
do not get overly thick from the barley’s starch.

2. Dice all the vegetables.

TIP: However, I like to mince my onions and garlic in my food processor so that
it becomes very fine – it’s much faster and easier that way.

3. Brown the beef, onions and garlic in large stock pot.

4. Add the liquids and tomatoes, and bring it all to boil.

5. Add all of the vegetables, and spices.

6. Cook for another 1/2 hour (or more), and serve with Mashed Roasted Garlic Spread and fresh buns.

It’s SOOOO good that you should probably plan to make a double batch,
and freeze some for an easy lunch on another chilly day!

What is your favourite soup to use for comfort on a cold day? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Taking an old favourite 'upscale' with a fancied-up dinner roll.

Taking an old favourite ‘upscale’ with a fancied-up dinner roll.

This soup isn’t your ‘cup of tea’?
Check out the other soup ideas that I’ve Pinned on Pinterest.

Watch for my next post on Homemade Chevre Cheese!

It takes SO little to make your own Chevre cheese at home.
An expensive indulgence for much less than you would think!
STAY TUNED THIS WEEKEND!