Start 2014 off right with good food!
A year in review always seems like such a long thing to think about. An entire year has passed by and a new one starts. Within that year we have done many things we want to remember and some we would rather forget. We think about those we have lost and miss and celebrate the new that we have met.
I know it may seem just as easy to remember the year of 2013 in food and enjoy what is to come in 2014, but honestly all the days that have passed I cannot remember all that I have made, ate or wanted to create. I can however tell you the food memories that have remained because of the situations surrounding them. That is usually one of the best ways to remember your food memories. If it was a celebration or you were with awesome friends or a great restaurant that you know you will go back to. And of course every person at these events remember it differently.
My first memories are of what we ate at different family functions or celebrations before sometimes who was even there! I also usually remember what the favourite dish was (especially if it was something I made), only to note to make it again for others.
It’s interesting because I have friends that can remember the wine we drank at a dinner but not the food, everyone is different.
I have another friend who writes down the menu or dishes she has served to friends when they come over. What a brilliant idea! Something I only wish I had thought of many years ago.
I like others have many food photos that I should have taken the time to go back and title the dish and in some cases the restaurant I was at to remember just how awesome that dinner was. But alas time slips away.
There are so many magazines, cookbooks and family recipes I want to try and make and have all good intentions but time again passes.
Our lives get busy and we still need to eat but perhaps not always for the enjoyment and fulfillment of it. Respecting food and it’s sources has been a big topic in food for 2013 and I think will continue for the upcoming year. It can be worthwhile to stop and explain where food comes from to our younger generation, sometimes even when they don’t ask. This became apparent to me when I had done school presentations about fruits and vegetables and the fact that some children didn’t know we grow alot of delicious food right here in our own backyard.
Try some new things. I love seeing children opening up their food worlds when they look at something new and taste it only to find out that it is a wonderful experience. Sometimes it is more of the adults that are hesitant, it’s okay to be scared but the new food you might be tasting could turn into a new favourite.
Try a new recipe or many. Have you cooked with kohlrabi or kale? Check it out at the grocery store next time and pick it up. You can do a little research on it and I guarantee you will will find tons of recipes to enjoy both these green vegetables raw and cooked. It’s nice to be surprised in the kitchen when it turns out something new puts a smile on your kids’ faces.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the kitchen this simply means it’s okay to use some shortcuts when you’re cooking. I enjoy making many things and having them on hand, but some convenience can help things run more smoothly in your kitchen especially when it’s busy. So don’t worry about having that container of pasta sauce or chicken broth to add flavour to a dish.
Enjoy your time in the kitchen. For many it’s a chore to make dinner and that may not change, but once in awhile head into the kitchen to make something fun and remember that it can be a great place to unwind and enjoy life.
Take a class. You may want to better some of your culinary skills or learn some new recipes. Try a cooking class with a friend for a fun evening out you may be surprised at just how much fun you do have and dinner will be served.
If you can, go out for dinner sometimes. This one is purely for “research”. It is nice to go out for dinner and have someone else cook for you and see what chefs are creating in their kitchens. Perhaps some inspiration will ensue.
So as this new year begins you may want to try out a few new things in your kitchen. But you also may want to keep things the same. As the saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I wish you a wonderful 2014 and hope people enjoy their time in the kitchen with friends and family and good food.
Make this spaghetti and meat sauce dinner fun and serve it up like a pie! Bake the mixture in the pie plate then serve it to your family in wedges with a crisp green salad for a new twist on a family favourite.
8 oz (250 g) extra lean ground turkey
2 tsp (10 mL) canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) Italian herb seasoning
2 cups (500 mL) chopped fresh or frozen broccoli
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) pasta sauce
6 oz (175 g) spaghetti, cooked (about 3 cups/750 mL cooked)
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) all purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) 1% cottage cheese
In a large saucepan cook turkey for about 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain in sieve to remove fat. Return saucepan to medium heat with oil and cook onion, garlic and Italian seasoning; stirring for about 2 minutes or until onion is softened. Return turkey to saucepan and add broccoli and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In another saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in milk and cook, whisking for about 5 minutes or until starting to thicken and bubble. Whisk in cottage cheese and remove from heat.
Add spaghetti to turkey mixture and stir in 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cheese sauce. Pour into 10 inch (25 cm) deep dish pie plate; pressing down to flatten. Spread remaining cheese sauce over top and bake in 350 F (180 C) oven for about 25 minutes or until bubbly. Broil about 6 inches (15 cm) away from broiler for about 2 minutes or until golden on top, if desired. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges to serve.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tip: Make the spaghetti pie ahead of time and do not bake. Wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Cover with foil and reheat in 350 F (180 C) oven for about 45 minutes.
Look for great flavoured pasta sauces like Antonella’s Tomato Basil or Roasted Garlic or Christine Cushing’s Fresh Basil or Spicy Garlic sauces to add a big zip of flavour to this recipe and help you out in the kitchen for 2014.
Chunky Vegetable Miso Noodle Soup
You can find miso paste in the healthy or organic section of your grocery store or health food store. Bulk food stores carry it as well and look for the lighter coloured pastes like white, yellow or red as they are less salty tasting and lighter in flavour.
1 tsp (5 mL) canola oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 parsnip, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced mushrooms
4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth
2 cups (500 mL) water
2 cups (500 mL) egg noodles
1 tbsp (15 mL) miso
1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen peas
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh basil or cilantro (optional)
In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and cook green onions and garlic, for about 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in carrot, parsnip and mushrooms. Add vegetable broth, water and miso; bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. Add peas and basil, if using and cook for 1 minute or until peas are hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tip: Pick up sliced mushrooms and keep frozen peas in your pantry to help add veggies to your dinner more often.
If you haven’t tried parsnips yet, they add a subtle sweetness that you may just get addicted to.