Pasta Experiment v.1.0

Lately, all I’ve been eating is soup and cupcakes.  Now a girl can only live off these two things for so long (luckily it takes far longer to get sick of the latter) before she needs to climb out of her winter-induced food rut.  In the end, both these foods failed to satisfy my number one craving… my insane desire for CARBS.  Hence the creation of this pasta dish.

UPDATE: This is a screenshot of the hilarious/devastatingly upsetting email I got from my mom shortly after she read this post.  My mom is a dietician and doesn’t 100 per cent approve of the cupcake quest aforementioned in this entry.

And yes, I said creation.  Alright, so maybe I was partially inspired by a Canadian Living recipe, but the only thing that was similar about the two recipes were the caramelized red onions and the walnuts.  Nonetheless, here is a 1/10 credit to them for this veggie loaded dish.

But I do feel like I should start making more of my own dishes.  I’ve apparently garnered some sort of reputation for being a foodie, and to live up to this title I need to start experimenting around more with my meals.  Through the creation of different dishes, I’ve discovered that I’m atrociously bad at naming said meals.  As a journalism student, I can’t write headlines, and as a foodie, I can’t name recipes.  Shame on me.  So for lack of any sort of naming talent, I decided to call this one Pasta Experiment v.1.0, in hopes that I can one day change the title to something that vaguely resembles a proper recipe name.

Now that I’m having a petite pity party, I also feel bad about the pictures.  As most of you are aware, the winter has made the days dreadfully short.  This, combined with the fact that I often cook these meals at 9 p.m. when I finally get home from school, all contribute to the re-heated wonder that occurs for almost all my photos.  What this means is that the day after I make this meal, I yank my leftovers out of the fridge and slop them down on a pretty plate during the bright morning hours.  I then photograph this delicious looking meal while drinking my orange pekoe tea, and send my stomach into a series of unhappy gurgling fits until it gets fed a proper lunch.  Such a first-world problem, I apologize.

But enough with my ranting, here are the pictures…

Also, you can find my recipe after this short photographic interlude.

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Greek-Style Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese (better known in student terms as the beloved Kraft Dinner) is something that most people my age can’t live without.  I am no different, and sometimes experience cheesy pasta cravings so violent that I don’t know what to do with myself.  As much as I love good ol’ KD, I thought I’d expand on the classical student meal of choice and try Canadian Living’s most recent twist on the original.  I made an adaptation of the recipe, the original of which can be found in the January edition of the magazine.  The dish is appropriately located under the “hearty foods to go” section – the perfect section for a busy student who is always on the run and in dire need of a quick and delicious foodie fix.

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Pizza Awesome

NAME CREDIT: Ariel Hartman.

I couldn’t think of a title for this post, and I tried googling all the ingredients and the interweb gave me no ideas.  In a moment of panic, Ariel forced me to call it this.  Apologies.  (she is now saying the title like a valley girl)

Before we start, an admittance of guilt: I feel absolutely horrible that I haven’t blogged for nearly a week.  I’ve had so much school work to do, and I shouldn’t even be blogging right now…  Lets be honest, I really just needed to stop doing work for two seconds.  Last night I made a cake (which will be my next post) and tonight, a pizza.  Sometimes a girl just needs to eat.

Alright, on to the actual post…

Guess what everyone?  WE GOT A BREAD MAKER!!!  Ariel had been telling us for months that she was going to get her mom to send us the one they never used and we finally got it delivered all the way from B.C. earlier this week.  It just so happens that this is the same bread maker that we have at home, so whenever the little thing churns, I get super nostalgic for the times when my mom would make fresh bread when I was young (I would always pick away at the bread before we were supposed to eat it, that’s why there were always holes in the crust, sorry mom).

Anyways, since I have been dying to use this miracle machine for a while now, I decided making pizza dough in it was the best way to begin my bread maker adventures.  Britt found a great recipe online and we decided to go splitsies on the dough and make two different delicious kinds of pizza.

I was originally planning on making a margarita pizza, but considering I’m not a huge fan of basil (the main ingredient in this kind of pizza) I decided to sort of improvise on this recipe.  I splurged on a delicious $8 mozzarella ball which melted into the most smooth yet chewy perfect cheese I have ever eaten in my life.  When I arranging the ingredients on this pizza I was being slightly ridiculous, perfectly aligning the spinach and peppers in a circular flower pattern.  Ariel gave me a few weird looks, but in the end I think it worked out for the best!  If you can’t tell from the picture, there is mozza cheese, baby spinach, red peppers, grilled chicken and red onion on the pizza.  Also, I added the red onion just so this pizza didn’t have a Christmas colour theme, but in the end it actually multiplied the tastiness by 10!

Special thanks goes out to Mer-Face (Ariel) for helping hold my pizza while I took pictures of it!  Balancing this baby on the patio wall would not have been easy, so I was mucho grateful!  Also, she got a new profile picture, bonus!

Spinach Alfredo con Pollo

I am currently sitting on a semi-comfortable metal bench at the Ottawa Greyhound Station waiting for the midnight bus home.  Little Iman is sitting next to me, watching My Fair Lady with a look pasted on her face that can only be described as sheer innocence.  At this point, I realize I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time than update this blog, so here we go.  Now that you know my exact location, the fun begins!  Oh, one more thing before I start: I love that my iPhone allows me to tether internet to my laptop.  The magic of technology, right?

In case some of you were thrown by the fancy name of this post, I apologize.  Since this was a recipe that I sort of partially invented myself, I didn’t have the standard copying-and-pasting of the Canadian Living recipe to rely upon.  This being said, I sat on our futon for about 10 minutes this evening, half watching Hells Kitchen (that guy Louis is kind of cute) and half trying to figure out what the formal name for white cream pasta sauce was.  Thank god my fabulous roommate Natalie came along.  She quickly fed me the words “alfredo” and “con pollo,” the second of which apparently means “with chicken.”  Who would have known?

Considering this was something I just whipped up quickly the other night, it was super delicious and filling.  I was dying for a major carb fix and knew that only spaghetti could satisfy this endless craving.  I also had lots of whipped cream leftover from Capital Cupcake Camp, so I decided to make and try my first white pasta sauce ever.  The sauce was adapted from Canadian Living’s Basic White Sauce recipe with a few tiny alternations made here and there to allow for the thickening properties of flour to kick some ass.

Inside the sauce was chopped red pepper, baby spinach, onion, garlic and chicken (hence the con pollo).  Overall, this pasta dish was really easy to make and produced some extremely satisfying leftovers (seriously, all I’ve eaten in the past 24 hours has been this pasta, it makes about four servings).

Since this is my own creation, here are the instructions!

Use the Canadian Living recipe listed above to make the basic white sauce, stirring in an additional tablespoon of flour when sauce is simmering, to allow for a thicker consistency.  After sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, add it to:

– 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
– 1 onion, chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 thinly sliced red pepper
– 1 cup of baby spinach, whole

(all of these things should be fried on a non-stick pan in the order listed above with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil prior to sauce-adding, about 15 minutes)

While the sauce and vegetables are cooking, add 200 g. of spaghetti (about two big handfulls) to a pot of boiling water.

Mix spaghetti and sauce mixture together to combine awesome tastes.

Final step?  ENJOY!

Wish me luck on the bus!

A Pre-Night Class Feast! (Maple-glazed pork chops and spinach pilaf)

This may have been the best meal I’ve ever eaten.  No joke, I was so happy with the way this entire thing turned out, that I came home from my night class and started to snack on the cold, refrigerated leftovers.  I have absolutely no shame.

My concerned parents have recently been questioning my protein intake, and I was interrogated by both my mom and dad a few days ago on the phone, about whether I was eating eggs, peanut butter, cheese, ANYTHING.  My answer: a hesitant “sort of.”  To convince my dearest parents that I was, in fact, not going to shrivel away from a protein deficiency, I decided to splurge on some meat.  Kind of craving pork chops, I bought a package of four from the grocery store, for about $8.  Eight dollars may not seem like much to the average spender, but considering I bought the cheap, almost expired $2 meat last year, this is a definite step up.

I also wanted to get rid of the extra spinach I had from my salad a few days ago, and was desperate to find a recipe that was not some sort of pasta dish.  I struck gold when I found this Spinach Pilaf recipe on the Canadian Living website.  Having never made a pilaf with rice before, I was kind of nervous as to how this one would turn out.  I halved the recipe (to make 2 servings) and the only alteration I had to make was to add an extra 1/4 cup of vegetable stock.  My roommates will vouch for me in saying it was delicious!!  Mmm, just typing this post I am tempted to sneak upstairs and grab a spoonful (I wrote this at night, at which time I had already brushed my teeth, major logistics fail).

For the pork I used CL’s Maple-Glazed Pork Chops recipe, since I needed a fast garnish so I wouldn’t be late for my night class.  Finally, I attempted to make some sort of vegetable packet with farmer’s market carrots and zucchini.  Due to poor planning and my impatience, the carrots were still a little crunchy, but the rest was amazing!

I definitely suggest the two recipes listed above for students!  Such an easy meal, yet super impressive once plated and served (yes, the “bed of spinach” is for decoration, don’t roll your eyes at me).