Reduced Fat Spinach and Corn Mac and Cheese

Okay people I know it’s summer and you’re thinking “Mac and Cheese? Really???”, but trust me on this one. Or rather, trust Vaish at Chefette Spicy on this one.

When I saw this post of hers I knew I had to make it. I frantically added the ingredients to my grocery list and went out that night (at 9) to do groceries so I could make this pasta happen asap. Also my fridge was weirdly empty and that was just freaking me out. Just fyi, I am now at the other extreme and equally freaked out.

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Corn, spinach, and cheese. What’s not to love? I usually find that ‘lightened’ up versions of dishes just don’t work for me, but Vaish clearly knows what she is doing because this recipe is DELICIOUS. Like really, really freakin’ good. And you know the desi in me couldn’t help, but add a few green chilies – and then the desi of me remembered she had a jar of Sambal Oelek in her fridge…I am not a fan of hot sauce on everything, but on this it really works. 

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Spicy Thai Noodles

I like recipes that are quick, easy, and spicy. When this one at A Small Snippet checked all three boxes then I knew I had to give it a try. I tweaked it a little and have written the recipe as I made it. I do confess though that the ‘dressing’ for the noodles made a lot more than I needed. What I love though is that I have been able to keep it in the fridge, shake it up and add to noodles with whatever veggies I have on hand and some lime and it’s delicious every time.

This recipe is infinitely adaptable, feel free to play with it as you go along, especially with spice levels, my family (minus the tot) likes things pretty spicy which is why I use a full 2 tbsp of chilli flakes and add in diced green chillies. If you wanted to make it more ‘substantial’ then you could even add protein to the mix in the form of shrimp, tofu or chicken. Or, for a purely vegetarian version, omit the fish sauce.

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The original recipe calls for cooling the dressing and noodles, I had mine warm – it was raining and warm spicy noodles really hit the spot.

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Perfect Pasta with Mushrooms

Some time ago when I had posted the Jamie Oliver Cheat’s Fresh Pasta recipe a friend of mine had asked about the pasta with mushrooms that I had made when she was visiting. While I was meandering through the grocery store (which is what happens when I leave my list at home) I saw a box of mixed mushrooms and figured why not.

And I am so glad that I did. I had forgotten just how incredible this simple dish can be. I usually make this with the meatier Portobello mushrooms, but today I picked up a mix of shiitakes, chanterelles and baby portobellos and it was perfect for a spring day. Flavorful,  but not too over the top, satisfying yet I could still move from point A to point B after. This recipe is a modified version of a Jamie Oliver recipe that I tried several years ago and have made countless times since. The original recipe is at the food network site here – yes, I am a gigantic wimp and scaled down the red chilli. Those dried red chillies are really spicy okay! Do I get points for increasing the garlic? Well, given what it does for this dish, I certainly think I should 🙂

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Deliciously Easy Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes. Pasta. Balsamic Vinegar. Ten minutes. One Meal. Sold yet?

Okay so when I say ten minutes I am not factoring in the time it takes my pasta water to boil, but really ten minutes of active cooking time for one meal is pretty amazing as far as I am concerned. This recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution book, also known as, the start of my love affair with J.O. I am not a fan of the ‘cheffy’ dishes as he calls them, I do not grow pea shoots in my back yard, I am not entirely sure I want to make a dish that requires many lengthy steps (lasagna is a notable exception), and at the end of it I want my food to be homey and flavorful so for the longest time J.O. and I did not see eye to eye. This book/show changed things. I have tried many recipes from the book and they have been mostly home runs.

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I once made the mistake of using suspiciously watery grocery store brand balsamic vinegar in this dish and it did not work at all. Currently we have some really good balsamic vinegar that we bought at a specialty store in the Distillery District in Toronto. It has a very deep flavor and as such I only used about a tablespoon and a half and found it to be perfect as is. I also make this with whatever pasta I have on hand. Check out how fun the shape I used today is – it is like the edge of a lasagna noodle!

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