This meal really surprised my husband and me. It sounded and looked good, but I’ve never made bean patties before and I was worried they’d be a bit flavourless. Plus, I knew James would probably not be looking forward to having a bean patty for supper instead of meat, but I just didn’t give him a heads up before supper. Better for him not to be dreading it all day then to have the awful surprise just before he eats. Hehe. Except, this was no awful surprise. It turned out to be a crave worthy meal that was packed with flavour. It truly wowed us. And, went straight onto our list of repeat dinners.
The original recipe was served as burgers on a bun but that sounded too heavy for me so we had ours on a bed of spinach with a drizzle of ranch dressing. It would be a great lunch served as is, on a bed of lettuce, or you could round it out with sides for dinner. I’m sure you could double the recipe and freeze some of the uncooked patties to keep on hand for a quick meal later on. Whichever way you serve it, do make sure to give them a try. You just might be surprised.
Parmesan, Kale & White Bean Burgers
These can be made ahead and chilled until ready to cook.
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large leaves kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked white beans (or 2, 15 oz. cans rinsed and drained)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
In a skillet set over medium heat, cook onion and garlic, in bit of oil, until softened. Add kale, water and spices. Cook until kale is wilted. Mash beans in a large bowl with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Add kale mixture and remaining ingredients, mashing as you go. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Divide and form into 6 patties. Cook on the grill or the stove top over medium heat, until both sides are browned and patties are heated through.
Optional: Serve over a bed of salad greens with a drizzle of salad dressing.
I’m so bad at serving sides with dinner. For some reason it’s just not on my radar while I’m menu planning. Only once I’m finished making supper do I think, “huh, maybe I should have made something to serve along with this”. Oh well, the good thing is we don’t over eat very often. ;)
I have made this Parmesan Walnut Broccoli many times though. It’s so quick and easy that even if I think to make it last minute it doesn’t put off dinner. Besides my family loves broccoli so I know there’ll never be any complaints when I serve it. Especially when it’s tossed with toasted walnuts and parmesan. Mmm.
This year I even had some broccoli growing in my garden. Nothing’s more satisfying than going outside, cutting some broccoli and whipping up a quick and, virtually free, side dish. “It was me! I did that!”
(That was a Madagascar reference for those who can’t hear my bad imitation. I heart King Julien.)
Parmesan Walnut Broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 heads broccoli (or 1 large), cut into florets
salt and pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Cook broccoli in oil over medium-high heat until it begins to soften, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and walnuts; cook until broccoli is crisp tender and walnuts are toasted. Toss with lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parmesan to serve.
Risotto is one of those things that’s so easy to make but is considered a labour of love simply for the fact that it needs so much babysitting.
When you have a baby on the floor searching for (and finding) every dust bunny and minuscule piece of something disgusting, who also must absolutely see what it all tastes like. And, a preschooler who thinks he’s a chef and wants to add all sorts of inedible things to dinner while your back is turned. Extra babysitting is not the thing you need.
I love cooking with my kids. And, I know it would be possible for me to make traditional risotto if I kicked them out and cooked by myself (I’m not a great multi-tasker) but I love that they want to be in there with me and I love how much my son is interested in cooking (and therefore interested in eating). So, simple and easy is the way to go for me. But, I still want to enjoy some creamy risotto with my pan-fried chicken and brussels sprouts.
This baked risotto is much simpler then the original (seriously, all you do is stir it up and throw it in the oven) and it free’s up space on the stove top when it feels like things are overloaded. Of course, the results aren’t quite as perfect as traditional risotto. But it comes close. The only thing lacking, I would say, is the little bit of the crispness that you normally get from toasting the rice in a bit of fat first. But the results are so tasty and creamy, with that loose risotto feel, that it will be hard for me to go back to the original except for on the rare occasion (read: special company).
This is just a very basic recipe. It’s great on its own but you can also feel free to dress it up with different spices, throw in some cooked veggies or meat and turn it into a one pot main dish. It would be a great way to breathe new life into some of those holiday leftovers.
Tip: To reheat the leftovers (as I did for the picture above) add a bit more stock or water to bring it back to a loose consistency. (This is what it looks like fresh from the oven. :))
Simple Parmesan Baked Risotto
1.5 cups arborio rice (a.k.a. risotto rice)
4.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
Stir together the stock and rice in a 10 cup baking dish, cover tightly with foil (or lid). Bake at 355ºF for 40 minutes or until rice is al dente (cooked but crisp) and most of the stock has been absorbed (it will still be quite loose and wet). Stir in parmesan and butter until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
I used to not be a fan of chicken and tomatoes together. There was something about it that just seemed off to me. Give me cream with my chicken and tomatoes with my beef! That’s what I used to think. I’m not sure what changed my mind. I guess a part of growing up is that your palate begins to change and things you didn’t like before suddenly become appealing.
I’ve been making this dish for quite a few months now. It’s one of my absolute favourite things to eat. Every time I eat it, it tastes even better than I remember and I wonder why I don’t make it more often (because I’m too busy trying new recipes, that’s why!).
This Chicken Parmigiana is not authentic and to be honest I haven’t found an authentic recipe that I’ve liked… yet. But the pictures always look so tasty that I had to give it a go on my own. This version is faster, through the use of homemade shake’n bake, and healthier, since we’re baking it in the oven rather than shallow-frying it in oil.
This meal comes together in under 30 minutes. It may be a step away from the original but what it lacks in fat it more then makes up for in flavour. It has become one of our favourite weeknight meals and I’m hoping it’s a hit with your family as well.
Cut chicken breasts in half widthwise to create 4 thin chicken breasts. Flatten with the heel of your hand until approximately even thickness. Mix together shake’n bake and parmesan. Coat chicken in shake’n bake mixture. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, combine pasta sauce, garlic and basil in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and keep warm. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Once chicken is cooked through, remove and set the oven to broil. Top each chicken breast with a large spoonful of pasta sauce, a slice of cheese, some grated parmesan and a sprinkling of basil. Place under broiler until cheese is bubbly.
Serve spaghetti topped with pasta sauce and a chicken breast.
Nothing is more frustrating to me then wasting food. Whether it be because I burnt something, forgot about it in the back of my fridge, made something less then stellar, or simply bought too much of it. Whatever the case, I hate to throw away food.
One of those foods that seems to always go bad before it”s eaten in our house is bread. One of my largest hinderances to baking fresh bread is knowing that it will probably go stale before we are even halfway through it. And, since I don”t like anything to be a hinderance to me in the kitchen, I got to work figuring out ways to use it up without having to gag on the dryness.
Two of my favourite ways to use up those bread scraps are to make homemade croutons and breadcrumbs. Not only does it save us money, but since they are things that we use on a regular basis, it”s nice to know that they are much healthier being made at home. Not to mention extremely easy.
Below are instruction on how to make both croutons and breadcrumbs as well as recipes for Parmesan Garlic Croutons and Italian Breadcrumbs. Here are a few tips on how to go about it.
Do not use already stale bread. If you don”t like to eat stale sandwiches you won”t want to eat stale croutons either.
If you find yourself with lot”s of little scraps that don”t seem worth the effort to turn into something else, freeze them. Once you have a larger collection, pull them out and get to work.
If you do freeze your bread, this will probably mean you have a variety of breads stored away. The combination of breads will add a more complex flavour as well as some pizzaz to both the croutons and the breadcrumbs.
If there is any moisture in either the breadcrumbs or the croutons, they will not be able to store at room temperature without going mouldy. If you would like, you can store them in the freezer. If they regain any moisture, simply give them a short toast to perk them up.
To make croutons: cube some bread, toss it with oil and herbs, and bake at 375ºF until golden and crisp (15-20 min).
If you use only olive oil and no other perishable ingredients you can store these sealed at room temperature.
If you use butter in place of oil, or fresh herbs or garlic, you must store the croutons in the freezer.
In order to achieve the crispy breadcrumbs you purchase at the store, you will want your bread to be completely dried out and toasted. To do this, place slices of bread on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake at 300ºF for 10-15 min. until dry, flipping halfway through cooking time.
If your bread is already quite dry and you are only making a small amount you can rather toast it in the toaster until dry.
Once the bread is toasted, allow it to cool completely and then chop it roughly and place it in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs are created.
If you are not able to achieve fine crumbs then the bread still has too much moisture. Place the crumbs onto a baking sheet and bake again until completely dry.
Always allow to cool so that no moisture can build up, then process again until you are able to achieve the texture of crumbs that is desired.
There is one sound that fills my heart with immediate joy the moment I hear it. That is, the pitter patter of my sons little feet. It is the warning bell that cuteness is on it’s way and I had better brace myself to not let it get the better of me. There is something so unbelievably cute about a little toddler that thinks they are the centre of the universe. There is no lack of confidence there. That seems to come when we are older and realize that even though we were told that we are the handsomest, smartest, cutest, most loved little person on the planet, not everyone shares that opinion. But, I am thoroughly enjoying listening to my son’s pitter pattering and thinking it is the cutest sound that anyone has ever heard. Waiting to see that little, big head come around the corner and that excited smile that lights up his face when he spots him Mom. I know that these moments are fleeting so I am trying to treasure and enjoy them while I can.
These are one of my favourite appetizers. They are easy to make ahead, only take five ingredients, and taste absolutely delicious. They are a crowd pleaser with their simple flavours and buttery packaging. I have made these many times and gotten rave reviews. They are perfect for any holiday gathering. Like say, Thanksgiving? :)
To inspire anyone that might be in an appetizer rut, what appetizers do you like to serve at Thanksgiving?
1/2 pkg. puff pastry, thawed (from a 397g pack) (or 1/6 of this recipe)
egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 Tbsp. water)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. cayenne
170g deli ham (approx. 11 slices)
Roll pastry out to a 14×10 inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise, so that you have two sheets 14×5 inches. Brush egg wash over both halves.
Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. parmesan and cayenne over one pastry sheet. Layer ham evenly on top, leaving a little bit of a border on all sides.
Place other pastry sheet, egg side down over top of ham. Seal edges by pressing down with rolling pin. Brush top with egg wash.
Roll up starting at a long side to form a 14 inch log. Press down to seal seam.
Cut log into 24 (1/2 inch) pieces. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with more egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. cheese.
Bake at 400ºF (200ºC) for 12 -14 min. until golden brown.
Makes: 24 appetizers
* These are great served warm or at room temperature.
** You can make these ahead and store them in the freezer. Either wrap them up as the log and freeze. Then to serve defrost in the fridge, slice and proceed with the recipe. Or you can slice them, place them on a lined baking sheet until frozen and store them in a plastic bag. This way you can bake them from frozen making sure to egg wash and sprinkle them with parmesan before baking.