Archive for May, 2014

May 20, 2014

Baked Seafood Pasta

I think this is my first attempt in making a baked pasta other than lasagna. It’s pretty simple: make sure everything is cooked before throwing it into the oven, then put it in the oven to heat and baked the cheese. Really, you can put anything you want in there, but all I had was some frozen shrimp and leftover imitation crab. It was quite delicious!

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
3 lasagna noodles, cooked
300 mL Classico tomato & pesto pasta sauce
2 sticks of imitation crab, sliced
a handful of shrimp, cooked, peeled
1 clove of garlic, minced
Cheddar and Asiago cheese for topping

Directions:
Set your oven to either broil or 350F. I tried it with broil but the layers underneath the cheese weren’t hot enough. I like it hot! Otherwise, put it in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or so, or until desired internal temperature. At this point, it doesn’t matter if the internal temperature reaches 74C — all of the ingredients are already ready-to-eat!

Cook the lasagna noodles until al dente, or desired softness. Don’t break them up before cooking them or else it just gets messy. Slice them in to 1 inch segments and set aside.

Cook the shrimp if they’re raw. They don’t have to be in the water long, otherwise they turn rubbery.

Put the crab, shrimp, garlic and sauce together in the oven-save container and mix well. Add the noodles and mix. You may add more sauce if you’d like to cover the dish.

Top with as much cheese as you’d like. I like to have a thicker layer because I love the gooeyness.

 

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May 16, 2014

Potato Beef Bean Tomato Soup

Image

Okay, so it is a bit of a long name that I made for it, but it covers most of the items that I put in it. It is thick and delicious for sure, and can definitely feed more than 6 people. My family of 4 had a big bowl each and I also threw a frozen pizza in the oven as well because at the start, I was worried that the soup was going to be a lot thinner. I had eyeballed the chicken stock as well as every other liquid in it. It turned out great and can be eaten on its own with perhaps some bread on the side to mop up the last drops of soup.

I also wanted to say that my version was adapted from 365daysofcrockpot.com. I was originally going to use the slow cooker but turns out I procrastinated too much and opted just to use the stove instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 15 oz chicken stock
  • 2 large red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 jars of Ragu pasta sauce
  • 1 can bean salad, with liquid
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Cheddar cheese

Directions:

Brown the ground beef until thoroughly cooked. Lightly season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Drain the oil and set aside.

In a large pot, put in potatoes, carrots, chicken stock, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, garlic, oregano, pepper, and garlic powder. Bring to boil and keep it at a gentle boil for about 30 minutes to get a head start on the softening of the hard vegetables. Then throw in the rest of the stuff: red onion, bean salad, zucchini, and some cheese. Just let it keep boiling. The main items that you want soft are the potatoes and carrots, so every so often, poke at a potato and see if it is the right softness.

I think this took me about an hour, but I can’t remember. I made this early this week and finally I have time to blog about it now.

Spoon the soup in to bowls, top them off with some cheese, and eat!

May 8, 2014

Crock Pot Lasagna

Crock Pot Lasagna - Before Before

Crock Pot Lasagna - After  After

So lately I’ve been looking in to crock pot recipes (as fondly remember how my Mom would always accidentally say “crack pot”). I’ve always been in to single-bowl recipes: throwing everything in to a pot or pan and having it done with, whether or not there is time in between cooking of each item. My biggest problem in the kitchen is using one bowl for each item, and one spoon for each tasting. As a health inspector, I can’t stand to cross contaminate!

I made this on Sunday at a friend’s place. Turned out quite well, except 2 hours wasn’t quite enough because some of the noodles came out al dente, which I like for spaghetti/fettuccine/etc, but not so much lasagna.   Definitely will cook it for 2.5 hours this time.

You can use whatever you like, really, and as much as you want. I’m not particularly a cheese person (I love cheese, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t like too much of it at one sitting. However, I LOVE crispy cheese. I meant the kind that browns on the top in the oven.), but I really like it in this recipe.

I admit that I eyeballed the whole thing, so the measurements for the spices are definitely estimates.

Ingredients:
0.78 kg regular ground beef
250 g lasagna noodles, uncooked (about half a box)
750 mL 2% cottage cheese
1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced 2-3 mm
400 mL pasta sauce
Cheese, grated
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground pepper
A pinch of salt
A sprinkle of parsley as garnish
Crock pot

Directions:
Brown the meat completely in a pot or pan, and drain the excess oil. Sprinkle in oregano, ground pepper and salt, and mix well. Set aside.

Now pull out the crock pot. Spread some pasta sauce on the bottom, and lay down a layer of noodles, breaking them as needed. Then half of the cottage cheese, half of the ground beef, noodles. Then a good layer of sauce, the rest of the cottage cheese, layer all of the zucchini, more sauce. Then noodles, sauce, and cheese. Then sprinkle on the parsley. So really, the layering would look like this (from top to bottom):

(top)
Parsley
Cheese
Pasta sauce
Noodles
Pasta sauce
Zucchini
Cottage cheese
Pasta sauce
Noodles
Ground beef
Cottage cheese
Noodles
Sauce
(bottom).

Easy enough! Now put the lid on, set your crock pot on high for 2.5  hours, and done! Now you just have to find something to do for 2.5 hours. Add maybe 30 minutes to rest so the excess water will disappear from the bottom. I would think that crock pots vary in temperature just like ovens, so it would be best to wait the 2.5 hours without peeking, then take a spatula to it to see if the noodles are soft.

After all that… eat it!!

May 7, 2014

Sweet Potato Vermicelli

Potato Vermicelli

So tonight I made some noodles. The usual thing with our family is that if someone isn’t home when dinner is being prepared, then no dinner for the latecomer! At least that’s how it is for me — if I don’t show, then no food. That works for me, because that makes me more independent: don’t wait for me! I can cook food myself. So I do.

I took a look in the fridge upstairs, then downstairs, then the freezer. Nothing really appealed. Then I took a look at the table and saw some noodles that my mom had bought. Of course, if anything is different from the norm, nobody will touch it, except me. I’ve never made potato vermicelli before, so I picked up the package and took it with me upstairs. I just read the instructions, and there I went, making dinner and way too much of it. I ended up eating all of it because I was scared it wasn’t going to be all that good the next day. Anyway, the result turned out great! Minus the food baby.

Ingredients:

  • Half of a 400 g package of potato vermicelli (this will feed 2-3 people, or one reallllly hungry person, so for one person, maybe use a 1/3 of the package). I’ll attach a picture at the bottom.
  • 1 chicken thigh, sliced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Half of a carrot, grated
  • Half of a cucumber, sliced however you like
  • 1/3 of a medium red onion (this one had been sitting in the fridge a while, so what would be 1/3 of a fresh onion was really only 1/4 all fridge-dried and stuff)

Sauce portion:

  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce (estimated)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper (estimated)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (estimated)
  • 3 pinches of white sugar

Directions:

Heat up a pan with a little bit of cooking oil, and cook the chicken slices until half way done. Add some soy sauce (1 tbsp) and then continue to cook the chicken until done. Set aside.

Boil the noodles for about 5 minutes. Taste a bit of noodle to make sure it is soft enough. These noodles should be like jelly and soft all the way through, not al dente like pasta. Yuck. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

While that’s boiling, using the same pan as the chicken on medium heat, add a little bit of oil again, then saute the onions and carrots. When they’re soft, add the cucumber. Toss a few times, let the cucumber soften. Set aside.

Now, the sauce: To save on dishwashing, use that same pan again and throw in all the sauce ingredients. Let it simmer on low heat so the sugar dissolves instead of burning. Once that’s done, add the noodles and toss to coat the noodles. Then add the chicken and vegetables. You can turn up the heat to medium again so to warm up the whole dish. I’ve always liked my noodles warm.

Eat!

Potato Vermicelli package

I also realize that I have a strong lack of descriptors for every post I’ve written so far. I can say that this dish tastes… Asian?