Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Donna Hay's Baked Carbonara

I think I need an online break. You ever feel that way? Kinda meh...(shrug of shoulders). Maybe it's the weather.  

Anyway....let's talk pasta as it's one of my favorites. I want to talk about something I enjoy and for me, it's pasta.  I had the benefit of growing up in a suburb south of Philly and visiting my friends' Italian kitchens. Friendship and great food.  ♥ There are times I get nostalgia about Pennsylvania but I realize my memories are from a time long gone.  Things wouldn't be the same now, I know that. Doug and I considered moving to Philadelphia when we were in our early thirties ...obviously that didn't pan out.  Now it is too much snow and cold weather for us to think about a move like that.  Who moves from Florida to a place with snowy winters?! Don't want that. (See.  I am very grousy today)

The point of this post is to hook up with cooking clubs so, pitter patter, let's get at 'er.

This week I had already planned a Ramen noodle stir fry and later on revisiting Jacques Pepin's Penne with ham and vegetables.  While perusing a Donna Hay cookbook I saw this baked carbonara.  So I switched the menu around.

I couldn' possibly ask Doug to eat three different pasta meals in one week so something had to wait.  We did the Ramen and then turned out I didn't have all the ingredients for the Pepin recipe so.....Baked Carbonara!

We love this version and plan to have it again sometime. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good pasta dish. The Donna Hay cookbooks are good.

Baked Carbonara

Cook 14 ounces of ziti or fettucine (I used penne and a bit less than the called for amount). Drain and set aside.

Cook 6 chopped slices of bacon until crisp. Whisk together 4 eggs, 1 cup cream (I used half-and-half) and about 1 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese.

Place pasta in large ovenproof dish, top with bacon and egg mixture. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes.

See you in February!

Sharing with I Heart Cooking Club and  Marg at The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking series.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Roasted parsnips and carrots

 The theme this week at I Heart Cooking Club is Veggie Forward. My original plan was to prepare a Curtis Stone recipe for vegetable Korma.  That didn't pan out as I need to go shopping so I opted for roasted root vegetables. 

A huge pan of roasted parsnips, potatoes and carrots were a good accompaniment to roast chicken.  This is from an Ina Garten recipe - and when you think about it, you don't actually need a recipe to roast veggies.

I added more veggies to the plate by  preparing asparagus and topping with fresh Parmesan cheese.   That Korma will be coming up but in the meantime, here is an adaption of Ina's recipe.

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

2 pounds parsnips, peeled
1 pound carrots, peeled
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chunked (my addition)
3 TB olive oil
1 TB salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
2 TB fresh minced dill or parsley

Preheat oven to 4oo F.  Slice the carrots and parsnips into 1 inch pieces. Chunk the potatoes and mix all veggies onto a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Roast for 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the vegetables.
* I added chicken to the pan and cooked it all together for 45 minutes.  Then dust with chopped parsley.

Sharing with I Heart Cooking Club for the Veggie Forward theme this week.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Lentil and Tomato Soup

 Today I am sharing a healthy lentil soup recipe inspired by Giada DeLaurentis and Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.  It's been chilly here with morning temps greeting us at 37 F / 3 C.  A  hot lunch was planned and I had just about everything in the pantry and fridge.

Except carrots. Once again, I found myself out of carrots. I guess I use way more than I thought because, how can anybody be out of carrots? This turned out pretty well with a little bit of extra onion and celery to replace the bulk of the carrot.

As this is an adaption of both Giada DeLaurentis and Deb's recipes so I will direct you to this link HERE.  It looks good and it is good.

Here is a snap of our lunch topped with fresh Parmesan cheese.

It was easy to prepare and a nice warming bowl of comfort on a chilly day. We had it with a grilled cheese one day and that was quite satisfying.

Lentil and Tomato Soup

2 TB olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can of lentils, drained
2 cups or so of chicken broth
A few sprinkles of dried thyme 
2/3 cup ditalani pasta
lots of shredded Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and then add onions, garlic and celery.  Cook until veggies are softened. 
Add lentils and tomatoes, mix well.  Add the broth, more if you like it soupier. Add thyme, salt, pepper and pasta.  Let that simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.  Rolls or grilled cheese go well with this meal.

To make it vegetarian use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Just FYI - the measurements are approximate as I usually free pour/add spices or herbs, pasta too.

Sharing with

I Heart Cooking Club

Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Goals for January
(reading, watching, listening and kitchen stuff)

It's Dry January for us and I can report, so far so good :-) Okay, it's only nine days into the new year but I am pleased with how things are going. Besides the sobriety, here's what else is going on here.

Foodie goals for this year are, as always, to prepare healthier food and limit the sugar intake.  We all go off the rail with healthy habits now and then so I'm not proclaiming I'll never eat sugar or takeaway.  I just want to be more mindful this year and hope to stick to it. 

Real food and moderation won't require deprivation.  Dark chocolate is stocked here and will be enjoyed now and then :-) This ought not count as a recipe but - here is Ina Garten's simple Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil salad.  I drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the tomatoes to add some taste.  It really isn't tomato season here - it needed something.

Books, Movies and Music 

I am participating this year with a nonfiction reading group and my first book is about Stonehenge. We've been fortunate enough to visit Stonehenge twice and it was amazing.

Next up is a medical memoir called Trauma. Also started a series new to us called 19-2 about a police department in Canada.  We like it so far.

Doug recently bought some Eva Cassidy CDs and wow, what a voice.  She has a tragic story, dying at 33 of cancer. Read about her HERE and if you have a chance, by all means look up her singing Fields of Gold.  Her voice is amazing.

I am hoping to stay active and particpate with the online cooking and reading groups I've gotten to know over the past decade. We will see how well I stick to my intentions.  

Hoping you all are safe, healthy and happy!

Sharing with

I Heart Cooking Club

Marg at The Intrepid Reader for Weekend Cooking

Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sunday

Friday, December 31, 2021

New Years Eve and the last toast for 2021

Tomorrow is a new year and a fresh start.  Happy new year to my friends in the southern hemisphere who have already marked the beginning of 2022. Most of my friends from Australia and New Zealand frequent my book blog so they may not see this greeting but - happy new year !

We are participating in Dry January again so tonight is the last evening of imbibing. 

 My last bottle of wine for the year is a 2017 Trapiche Medalla Malbec from Argentina.

Doug's preference is Elijah Craig and I know he was wishing for a bottle of Blantons to finish out the year.  Blantons is as scare as a unicorn in these parts.

We will have a fire tonight (this is a photo of our bonfire 2 nights ago) and watch fireworks from our yard.  It's a rural area so we will see lots of fireworks and hear much gun fire. 

 I am happy Loki isn't afraid of loud noises. He has his own seat around the firepit.

I hope you have a safe and happy new year's celebration. May all your goals come true for 2022!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Potluck and Year End Favorites from I Heart Cooking Club Chefs

It's Potluck and the year end roundup at I Heart Cooking Club. The last theme for 2021 - this year seemed to go by so very fast.  In no particular order here are some of my favorites from the featured chefs this year.

 Donna Hay's Chicken Pancetta and Mushroom Stew

I always add extra mushrooms to every recipe and this one is no exception.

Nigel Slater's Lemon and Asparagus Risotto

I love his diary type books.  It's a pleasure to read and get insight into his kicthen techniques.  

Easy and cheesy and full of veggies and pasta.

This one takes some work but if you like cheese - this will rock your world!

We love this simple and healthy dish and have made while camping several times.  We are big fans of sweet potatoes and this is chock with it. The spices will remind you of curry but it's not hot/spicy at all.

Now that I see this one I may make it again tonight!

For Potluck I submit Curtis Stone's Chicken and Chorizo Paella.  This is from his book What’s For Dinner and we have it every few months. It's a one pot meal with rice, veggies and protein.

I have prepared many other dishes from the I Heart Cooking Club's lineup of chefs but these stand out for 2021. It's been fun cooking for the theme and I can't wait to see the line up for I Heart Cooking Club next year.

Happy New Year to all!

Sharing with:

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Loki Chronicles - his 10 month anniversary!

Since I have had a few people ask about Loki I thought I'd give the 10 month update.

Loki is a hot mess but he has made remarkable progress since his adoption in February. This marks month 10 with us. Have you ever had that one special "heart dog" in your life? We have loved all our pets but Aja was our heart dog. We were lucky to have her and there will never be another like her in our lives but I am happy to have given this little guy a chance. We have improved his life 100% and he's turning into a good dog. Loyal and loving. He's also a good camper.

He sleeps now. When we first got him his eyes were always bloodshot due to lack of sleep.  He was worried we would leave him alone.

Enjoying the back yard.

He still hates a bath.

There is a park we used to take him to and he ended up with a girlfriend.  She always stuck by his side when we'd take him into the dog park and she's the only dog he has shown even a small amount of affection.

He enjoys outings and going inside any store that will allow it.  Here he is helping Doug at Ace Hardware.

This didn't last long.

Camping at Stephen Foster Cultural Center in Florida.

Camping at Lake Seminole Georgia.

So, that's the 10 month update.  He has his first Christmas with us tomorrow. 

With that note I wish you all a merry christmas if you celebrate and I'll see you in a week or so!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Beef Vegetable Soup

 Here we are on a rainy Sunday afternoon here in north Florida.  Hard to believe the Christmas festivities will all be over this time next Sunday. In one week my brother would have had his 77th birthday... man, the time flies.

I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday in however you celebrate it, if you do.  We don't exchange gifts or decorate anymore but I like watching Christmas movies, listening to holiday music and going camping this time of year.

Ending this week with a variation of a childhood favorite, my mother's beef vegetable soup. Since I may not get to hook up with Deb for Souper Sunday next week I thought I'd get my last soup post in today.

This soup doesn't require a recipe or measurements. I use a couple of marrow bones and add beef, fresh veggies such as tomatoes, carrots, onions, corn, green beans, zucchini and potatoes.  My mom added cabbage and lima beans but that's not happening this time :-)

After all of the ingredients are in the pot cover with water.  Add oregano, basil and salt. 

A handful of egg noodles are a great addition if like pasta. Just let it simmer for hours and you'll have a nice batch of hearty soup.

This didn't quite capture the scene of cool weather though the window with this lonely bowl of soup but...there you have it. Any bread will good as an accompaniment. 

Donna Hay's Baked Carbonara

I think I need an online break. You ever feel that way? Kinda meh ...(shrug of shoulders). Maybe it's the weather.   Anyway....let's...