Linguini alla vodka

There’s a contest running right now from the Tomato Magazine called The Tomato Challenge at the Edmonton Home + Garden Show. To win a $250 prize pack, you make an original recipe using two of the following products from the Italian Centre shops: Pavoncella Tomatoes, Pomodorino Tomato Sauce, Ontario Jumbo Ravioli, Riscossa Pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Kimbo Coffee.

Since I could not figure out how to incorporate coffee into pasta, I stuck with the basics and made a delicious creamy tomato vodka sauce to go with some Riscossa Linguini. This delicate dish tasted like it came right out of an Italian restaurant. It was incredible, and now it is going to be added to my staple recipe rotation.

DSC_0329First things first, chop up some onions and cry for a bit.

DSC_0330Add garlic and brown.

DSC_0331Add vodka and simmer for 5 mins.

DSC_0332For this recipe, I used Pavoncella tomatoes from the Italian Centre.

DSC_0334I’ve never used whole tomatoes in a recipe before, but they were incredibly fresh tasting and delicious!

DSC_0335To break them up, I squished them with my hands. This was so much fun! (and messy!!)

DSC_0337Into the pot they went. I let the whole mixture simmer for about a half hour.

DSC_0341Next, add cream, basil and seasoning.

DSC_0343Once your linguini is cooked, toss it all together.

DSC_0346Serve, sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and feel as though you are lounging off the Amalfi Coast.

Linguini alla Vodka

You will need:

1 medium onion

1 head of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup vodka

1 can Pavoncella Tomatoes

1 cup heavy cream

2 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1 package of Riscossa Linguini Pasta

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to serve

Begin by dicing the onion and mincing the garlic. Heat oil in a large pot and brown onion and garlic together. Add vodka and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl and use your hands to squish into smaller pieces. Transfer to pot and simmer for a half hour. Begin boiling water for the linguini. Once sauce begins to thicken, add cream, basil and seasoning. Cook linguini to al dente. Toss pasta and sauce together and serve topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Enjoy with a glass of Italian red wine.


Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos

We took baby on vacation for the first time last week to Mexico. It was a blast! We rented a super huge house for my whole family. There were three babies, two kids and 10 adults. Quite the traveling party, let me tell you. When I got home, I couldn’t be happier to be in my own kitchen cooking with ingredients that I love and use regularly. The weird thing about cooking in someone else’s kitchen is that you don’t have access to all of the tools you’re use to. For me, the big thing was not having my knives. Cooking with dull, oddly shaped knives drove me nuts. I never realized how much my knives were an extension of my hand! When I got home, I wanted to cook all the things.

These tacos were absolutely delicious. My only regret was not having a bigger bag of shrimp to drench in the sauce.

DSC_0348First things first, make your own homemade sweet chili sauce.

DSC_0350Bring to a boil to thicken and let cool.

DSC_0352Next, cook your shrimp until no longer pink.

DSC_0353Add mayo to the sauce and toss the shrimp in it.

DSC_0356To serve, I used the sweet kale salad (sans dressing) as a topper. You can get massive bags of this bad boy from superstore.

DSC_0359Roll it up in a tortilla and devour it. Yum!

Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos

You will need:

3.5 tablespoons vinegar

1 clove garlic

2 tsp fresh minced ginger

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tsp red chili flakes

1/3 cup mayo

1 lb shrimp, peeled

Tortillas and salad, to serve

Begin by mixing the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer to thicken. Once thick, cool and add mayonnaise. Cook shrimp in a saucepan and add sauce. Serve on a tortilla with salad. Enjoy!


Veggie Packed Bolognese

I’ve been having a lot of fun in the kitchen lately. Anna’s naps are getting longer, leaving me more time to exercise my creative spirit in the kitchen. We’ve had a really nice winter so far, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to eat hearty stewed meals that simmer on the stove top or in the crockpot for a long time. This is the perfect example of one of those meals. I made it at 10 am when the baby girl was fast asleep and let it simmer on the stove all day long.DSC_0148

I wanted to add as many veggies as possible to boost the nutrition factor. These are my favourites.DSC_0149

First things first, cook down some onions with butter in a big old pot. DSC_0150

Next, brown the ground beef. DSC_0151

I diced all the veggies up and set them aside while the meat and onion are cooking.  DSC_0153

Add one can of diced tomatoes and half a can of tomato sauce to the mix. DSC_0155

Throw it all together with oregano, Italian seasoning and basil. DSC_0159

Then simmer on the stove for as long as you can. DSC_0170I served it atop of some whole grain rotini pasta, for a hearty, winter meal.

Veggie-Packed Bolognese

You will need:

1 lb ground beef

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large onion

2 bell peppers

1 zucchini

10 mushrooms

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp Italian seasoning

2 tsp basil

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 jar of pasta sauce (I used no sodium added)

Pasta, to serve

Begin by melting some butter in a large cast iron pot and dicing the onion. Cook down with the garlic. Add ground beef and brown. Add veggies and spices and cook down. Add tomatoes and pasta sauce and let simmer on low for at least an hour. Serve atop your favourite pasta with Parmesan cheese and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Sesame Ginger Salmon

I’ve recently read that breastfeeding moms should be consuming 400mg of DHA (omega 3) per day, to help to pass along those brain-building nutrients to their babies. Well, if that gives me an excuse to eat more salmon, I am all for it! Also, with the rising cost of groceries lately, I’ve found that the price of fish has remained relatively stable. Has anyone else noticed this?

This recipe has quickly become a new favourite of mine. The marinade is sweet and tangy, and is quick to put together. DSC_0112Here is the mandatory ingredient shot for the marinade.

DSC_0107Combine ingredients into a flavourful marinade for the salmon. Reserve some of the marinade to serve.

DSC_0108Pop the salmon in a large Ziploc bag.

DSC_0110And marinade for several hours in the fridge, turning the bag occasionally to incorporate the flavours.

DSC_0113Line baking dish with tinfoil. This makes for easy clean-up.

DSC_0114Bake at 400 until fish flakes easily.

DSC_0117Serve with rice and veggies of your choice. Drizzle reserved marinade onto rice and fish.

Sesame Ginger Salmon (Modified of Damn Delicious)

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I used regular vinegar and it turned out just fine)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (While fresh is always more flavourful, I used dried and it turned out great!)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 salmon fillets, or one extra large salmon fillet

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade to serve.

In a large Ziploc bag, combine ginger marinade and salmon fillets. Marinate for several hours (the longer the better), turning the bag occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking dish with tinfoil for easy cleanup.

Place salmon, along with the marinade, onto prepared baking dish and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Serve salmon immediately with rice and veggies of your choice. Enjoy!