Summer Holiday Long Weekend Recipes

Summer Holiday Long Weekend Recipes

The first of the summer holidays is upon us and that means that it's a great time to pull out some of my favourite recipes for such an occasion! When the weather is nice it's hard to resist heading outdoors for summer festivities and whether you are doing barbecue, going out for a picnic or just eating a meal in your backyard you are going to want to have some tasty recipes at the ready! Very often the centre piece of the meal is going to be grilled meat such as burgers, chicken, fish, ribs, etc. but don't forget the side dishes and with all of summers bounty available you are spoilt for choice between all of the vegetables, fruits and berries. Of course there is always the classic BBQ pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw which just screams summer and if you have a smoker it gets even better! Whatever your plans are for the holiday, make sure that it is filled with plenty of tasty food!


Asparagus Noodle Carbonara

Asparagus Noodle Carbonara
I have been having fun using vegetables as "noodles", like zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), and now that the asparagus is here I could not resist slicing up some asparagus to make asparagus noodles! Slicing the asparagus into noodles can be done with a vegetable peeler, a mandoline or just with a knife and although it takes a bit of effort it's definitely worth it! The fist "pasta" that I decided to make with asparagus noodles was a carbonara pasta which is a nice and simple pasta with a creamy egg, bacon/pancetta, parmesan and black pepper sauce. Once you have the asparagus noodles sliced this recipe takes very little time to make where you just need to cook the asparagus tips and the pancetta, add the asparagus noodles and quickly cook before adding the sauce and mixing everything together. (The eggs in the sauce are cooked by the residual heat in the pan without turning into scrambled eggs.) This asparagus noodle carbonara is so nice and light and summery good! I really enjoyed the aldente asparagus noodles and they work amazingly well as a lighter substitute for regular pasta noodle! I can't wait to experiment with asparagus noodles some more!

Grilled Asparagus with Marinated Roasted Red Peppers, Feta and Kalamata Olives

Grilled Asparagus with Marinated Roasted Red Peppers, Feta and Kalamata Olives
Here's a new asparagus recipe to kick off the summer season, some grilled asparagus with marinated roasted red peppers, feta and kalamata olives. The idea came from when I was enjoying some marinated roasted red peppers recently and I thought that the sweet, tangy and salty combo of the roasted red peppers, feta and kalamata olives would be fabulous on smokey, juicy, tender/crisp asparagus! This recipe is really easy to make where you mix up a simple balsamic marinade and marinate the roasted red pepper, feta and olives in it for a while before grilling up some asparagus and serving them together! This makes for either a great side or as a warm or chilled salad for any summer meal!

Asparagus Recipes

Asparagus Recipes

The local asparagus season is in full swing which is great because it's one of my favourite foods! Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to show up after a long cold winter so I always enjoy its arrival and eating plenty of it! It is a very versatile vegetable that can be used in many different ways from soups to salads, sandwiches, sides, casseroles, etc and I like to experiment with new ways of using it during the brief period before the rest of summers bounty starts to appear. Here are a few of my favourite asparagus recipes and expect a few new ones soon since I just picked up a ton of it at the farmers market!

Cuban Mojo Grilled Pork Chops

Cuban Mojo Grilled Pork Chops
Now that grilling season is here I have a new recipe for the grill for you, these tasty cuban style mojo grilled pork chops! These pork chops are super simple, you marinate them in a cuban style mojo sauce which is a sour orange sauce with plenty of garlic with some additional oregano and cumin! After the pork has marinated it's grilled to perfection and then served topped with more of the mojo sauce and sautéed onions! Excluding the marinate time these grilled pork chops take almost no time to make making them a great weeknight meal and they are also nice on a weekend barbecue party! I like to serve these pork chops with a side of cuban style black beans and grilled pineapple or a pineapple salsa.

Cajun Shrimp Cauliflower Alfredo Linguini

Cajun Shrimp Cauliflower Alfredo Linguini
Today I have a tasty cajun style blackened shrimp cauliflower alfredo linguini dish for you! This is basically an alfredo pasta dish with the alfredo sauce made lighter by using cauliflower rather than cream and it's just as nice and creamy and good! Some cajun seasoning is added to the sauce to add the cajun flavours and the shrimp is also seasoned with it before it is quickly blackened, by cooking it in a heavy bottom pan/skillet at a fairly high temperature, and added to the pasta and the creamy cauliflower alfredo sauce. Even with the extra step of steaming the cauliflower, this cajun shrimp cauliflower alfredo linguini comes together in no time making it a nice and quick and easy meal that is perfect for busy week nights and it's also impressive enough to serve to guests!

Salmon in a Tomato and Feta Sauce (aka Salmon Saganaki)

Salmon in a Tomato and Feta Sauce (aka Salmon Saganaki)
With spring finally here I have started to think about lighter meals and this salmon baked in a tomato and feta sauce, inspired by the flavours of shrimp saganaki, was at the top of my list! Shrimp saganaki is a Greek style dish where the shrimp is baked in a tasty tomato and feta sauce that is just begging to be accompanied by crusty bread to soak up all of the extra sauce. It is commonly served as an appetizer but it also makes for a great meal and I had been thinking that serving salmon topped with the same tomato and feta sauce would make for a really nice meal! For this recipe you pretty much just make a simple tomato sauce, spread it out over the salmon, top with the feta and bake until the salmon is ready. I often like to add a splash of ouzo (a star anise/black liquorice/fennel flavoured liqueur) to the tomato sauce to add that hint of something exotic to it but a more pantry friendly version is to use ground fennel seeds which are perfect in this sauce! Parsley is the main herb in the tomato sauce which adds an amazing freshness to it and I also like to add a touch of dill as it also adds that something special to the sauce! You could mix the feta into the tomato sauce but I like to sprinkle it on top and that way it gets all nice and slightly melted and a little bit charred on the top! This salmon baked in a tomato and feta sauce (aka salmon saganaki) is a perfect light spring/summer meal and right now it's great when served with some of the fresh locally grown asparagus!

Get Your Grill On!

Get Your Grill On!

This last week we finally had a taste of some real spring like weather with the sun shining and it getting warm enough to head out without a jacket! That means that grilling season is finally here! (Well, for those of us that were not willing to bundle up, get out and fire up the grill all winter long.) So dust off your barbecue, fire it up and get your grill on! Whether you are cooking for family or friends the warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to move things outdoors, and who doesn't love to cook under open, sunny blue skies with fire! It's easy to cook an entire meal on the grill with everything from mains like juicy steaks, meat on a stick, burgers and sandwiches to sides like grilled vegetables and even desserts with grilled fruits. Below you will find a few of my favourite recipes for the grill and I am looking forward to sharing some new ones this summer! Happy grilling!

Mother's Day Recipes

Mother's Day Recipes

This weekend is Mother's Day and a great way to show her how much you care is with some home cooking! Start the day off right for mom with breakfast in bed or a special brunch and then keep things going with some tasty snacks in the afternoon followed by and quick and easy dinner that is sure to please! You don't need to be a master chef to treat mom to some home cooking on Mother's Day; most of these recipes are super easy to make and she will definitely appreciate the effort! Whether you treat mom to a full day of home cooked meals or just one dish you can't go wrong with one of these recipes and any one of them will make this Mother's Day one that mom will never forget!