Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baked Rigatoni

I am a busy busy woman. I often tell myself that I don't have enough time to make home made meals. This often leads to a lot of take out food, a lot of money wasted and far too much rich food. I find that they key is to making food during my busy week is to be prepared. I need to make sure that I know what I'm going to make and to have the ingredients on hand. I also like to make a big batch of something that I can have for lunch or dinner for a few days in a row.

As winter approaches, I have been feeling like eating hearty dishes (insulation?). This recipe is an example of how fast and easy it can be to make a delicious, home-made meal.

Baked Rigatoni
3/4 of a 900 gram bag of rigatoni
2 large cans of your favorite pasta sauce (I used roasted garlic and tomato)
3/4 of a 454g tub of ricotta cheese
1/2 fresh lemon
1 package pre-sliced mushrooms
freshly ground pepper
1 cup of frozen peas
1 bag of pre-grated cheese (or do it yourself! I used a cheddar blend).

1. Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water for about 9 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled down. Put the pasta back in the pot and cover with tomato sauce. Add in peas and stir to combine.
2. Sauté mushrooms in garlic and olive oil until tender. I turned up the heat to high at the end to brown them. Add them to the pasta mixture.
3. Put the ricotta cheese into a bowl. Zest the lemon onto the cheese and squeeze in the juice of half of the lemon. Top with freshly ground pepper and mix.
4. Add half of the pasta mixture to the bottom of a large casserole dish. Top with dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture. Cover the ricotta with the other half of the pasta. Top with the grated cheese (I was very generous) and baked in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Raw Chocolate Truffles

I've posted already about 'balls' on this blog. I really do think they're a delicious, nutrient filled snack. I brought them into the pub one time and my friend Jess loved them. I've been telling her I would make her balls for months now- and today was finally the day. Today was a bit different, however, because this time I made up the recipe myself so I could share it with you. I must warn you- the ingredients for this recipe are quite pricey...but they are so good for you and so worth it. This recipe makes about 2 dozen truffles. One recipe uses only half or less of a jar of nut butter so it goes a long way.

By the way...did you know how amazing raw, unprocessed chocolate is for you? (It's good for your heart, your happiness, it's full of magnesium, antioxidants and so much more!) 
Mmmm Cashew butter
Raw Chocolate Truffles   
3/4 cup of cashew butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of agave syrup
1/2 tsp of vanilla bean powder
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maca powder
pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp high quality coconut oil, softened 
1 1/2 cups high quality raw chocolate powder
unsweetened coconut/chocolate powder for dusting

1. In a large bowl, beat the cashew butter, maple syrup, agave syrup, vanilla bean powder, balsamic vinegar, maca powder, salt and coconut oil until smooth and creamy. 
2. Beat in raw chocolate powder in 1/2 cup additions until smooth with a wooden spoon. 
3. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour or until firm enough to handle. 
4. Set up a plate with coconut and a plate with cacao powder. Spoonful small amounts into your hand and roll into a ball. Dust with coconut or cacao powder. I had to make the truffles in rounds, putting the mixture back in the fridge to firm up. Store in an air tight container or give to someone special! Keep these bad boys in the fridge! 
Change things up: add a few drops of peppermint oil or orange oil to part of the mixture to give a different flavor. You could also add goji berries or dust with crushed cacao nibs for more crunch.  
Chantalle has the most amazing raw chocolate.
This is the brand of vanilla powder I use,
but I also use real vanilla beans sometimes.


The final product! Yum! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Comfort Soup

I made this soup after my colleague brought minestrone soup to school one day for treat day. Soups are one of the only areas I really feel confident making things up. I've realized that my theory when it comes to making a lot of food is 'put in what I like'. It seems to be a good place to start! The recipe for this soup is a bit loose- feel free to add or omit wherever you feel fit! 
2 sweet onions, peeled and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large coins
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
large handful of green beans, washed and chopped (1 inch)
1/2 a red pepper, seeded and diced
1 zucchini, cut into half circles
1 cup frozen organic corn
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 carton of vegetable broth + 1 cup
1 large can whole plum tomatoes with juices
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp dried basil
lots of freshly ground pepper and sea salt
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup corn macaroni 

1) Sauté the onions, carrots, garlic, rosemary and basil for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add sweet potato and sauté for a few minutes longer. 
2) Add the red pepper, green beans, broth and tomatoes. I like to break the tomatoes up a bit with my wooden spoon. Bring to a boil over high heat and then turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potato is tender firm. 
3) Add the zucchini, corn, beans and corn macaroni and simmer until the noodles are cooked (around 10 minutes). 
4) Enjoy steaming hot with lots of freshly ground pepper, some sea salt and a few shavings of parmesan cheese. 

(I have to admit- I totally did not keep track of my cooking times- use your best judgement! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do.)