Monday, March 29, 2010

Lazy Lasagne

So we had this damn leftover spaghetti sauce, and even though we're so close to garbage day I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out.
I had some leftover 5 cheese tortellini so I layered it with the sauce and some parmesan and baked it all for about 30 minutes. It was really good.
I'm sure I didn't invent this recipe, but I still feel rather smug for thinking of it on my own. Plus I'm always pleased to use up leftovers in a way that makes them not seem like leftovers.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Biscuits

Fresh out of the oven. The house smells great and I can't wait to dive in.
I even used my food processor, for the first time, to make them and it couldn't have been simpler.

I did it!!!

Oh man was it good! I knew it was rich but I didn't know it involved so much butter. Oh well I don't care. I came home from work exhausted from the week. I was in a bad mood, it was too early to go to bed, too late to nap, nothing was on TV, the beautiful weather has turned into COLD weather. So while Clutterbuck episode after episode of "Big Love" , his new favourite show of all time, on the TV, I poured myself into cooking.

Nothing is more satisfying then trying a recipe for the first time and it turning out exactly as you have been picturing it. I don't know about you but this doesn't always happen for me. There have been several instances when I've taken on a new recipe and the end result has been incredibly unsatisfactory...what a let down...However, that is not the case here.

Mushroom risotto. A definite success in the Smart household. I've even got leftovers that I cant wait to eat for lunch!

Here's the final meal:

  • Mushroom risotto
  • Mixed veggies
  • Turkey breast marinated in some herbs and garlic
Now I'm trying decide if I want to make these cheese biscuits this morning. We're going to the Keg tonight, it's Clutterbuck's father's birthday. So I'm off the hook for dinner.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Made spaghetti last night. It was good...I guess

A few years ago when I was living on my own I realized my love of spaghetti, nothing fancy just your standard meat sauce with any type of long noodles. I would make it almost weekly and live off it for days (this is notable because I rarely eat any kind of leftovers!). Then a few years after that when I was dating an Italian I fell in love with his family's spaghetti. A very light sauce made with homemade canned tomatoes (I proudly canned my own one season), a few onions, garlic and angel hair pasta. Same thing, I'd make it all the time and then live off it. Same concept just different recipe.

Its amazing how your tastes the last few years I just can't get that excited about either recipe. The recipes haven't changed, the ingredient list hasn't changed, well actually it has a bit because of my new love of mushrooms, I put them in everything. The difference now is that I've got a whole bunch of it sitting in my fridge at home and all I can think is "Shit, what am I going to do with it now? garbage day isn't until Tuesday". Clutterbuck probably won't eat it because all those tomatoes are too acidic for him.

Is there a way to make a spaghetti sauce that is good for one sitting and doesn't create a weeks worth of leftovers? And don't say "Oh just freeze the leftovers" Because A) I won't, and B) We don't have room in our freezer anyway.

Tonight I'm going to make a mushroom risotto for the first time ever...I'm much more excited (and a bit apprehensive) about that. I'll deal with the spaghetti another time.

Speaking of taste changes....mushroom risotto?!? HA for anyone who's known me for a few years, would I have even entertained such a dish when I was younger?? HELL NO, I would have turned my nose up faster than you can say Jack Robinson. (Wikipedia)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tuna Melts on Thursday

Pretty self-explanatory. Tuna, Mayo, Celery, Cheddar Cheese on Flat Hamburger Buns. Although I should mention that Clutterbuck said "This is the BEST tuna melt I have ever had!"....he's easily amused.
This weekend hasn't been very exciting food wise. We've been snacking on this and that and I haven't really cooked at all. Tonight we're having asparagus and Presidents Choice Chicken Pot Pie (the reduced fat one). I'm still holding a grudge against Loblaws for not having snow peas OR sugar snap peas AND for not making it any easier to decide what to make for dinner. So therefore, I've avoided any food shopping. That'll show them!!
Now Clutterbuck is in his office finishing up his final assignment for this year (a big paper on something to do with labour relations...yuck), and I'm watching the Food Network. I'm a sucker for the Food Network Challenges. Normally they are about creating some ridiculous cakes, but this one is a competition between food stylists. They are using everything they can to make the food look good for photographs (i.e. soap bubbles on orange juice to look freshly poured, or lard as ice cream so it doesn't melt under the lights).
Thats about as good as it gets at the moment. Anyone have any ideas for quick and easy weeknight meals??
L - I did get your hot and sour soup suggestion. I will give it a go, but it will have to be a weekend project.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It started out so well...

I went to the gym yesterday right after work. After a lengthy run, Not only was I feeling rejuvenated and healthy I was full of dinner ideas (because whats better to think about while working out than food??) . I had a wicked craving for snow peas or sugar snap peas and headed off to Loblaws to pick some up and plan a meal around them...or just buy a huge amount and eat them as the meal...seriously the craving was that huge.

While still enjoying my exercise high I sent Clutterbuck a message asking if he'd like me to make extra dinner for him and leave it in the fridge. He was at school and planned to remain there until a relatively tedious assignment was done. I figured the least I could do is offer him some sustenance when he got home, plus the way I was feeling I could have taken on another pasta making session. He was totally into it....I think all he'd had to eat was an Oh Henry. was all downhill from there!

First of all they didn't have snow peas. WTF??? Don't give me that "They aren't in season" crap, because since when does that apply to anything anymore (except for maybe Quince, right Em?). This completely threw me off. I then proceeded to walk up and down the produce aisle several times, stopping once to lean in to the mister because I was hot and sweaty from the gym (is that bad?), searching for something that could be a satisfactory replacement. I'm pretty sure if anyone was watching me they thought I was crazy. My hair was all frizzy, I'm in sweaty sweats, and I'm walking around aimlessly muttering meal ideas to myself. I settled on green beans...not the same!

My energy after that promptly disappeared! It was like I somehow contracted mononucleosis between the produce and the meat counter. I wandered around from aisle to aisle, using my mini cart (love those!) as a makeshift walker, CONSIDERING everything and yet not wanting any of it. Suddenly I regretted my offer to make dinner because not only did I not have the energy to make it, I didn't even have the energy to decide what it was.

  • Stir fry would be good...but too much chopping
  • Maybe some pasta?...meh we eat that all the time
  • What about a salad?...nope salad never appeals to me as a theres the pesky chopping again
  • Oooh Maybe a frozen dinner...blech, too much salt and it doesn't really count as leaving dinner in the fridge
  • Oh I know maybe a grilled cheese, hmm I had that last night...and again, not the greatest "left over"
I ended up spending a LONG time in front of the Indian sauces and after much questioning of Clutterbuck on the blackberry (he's the Indian food connoisseur), I/we decided on Tika Masala sauce with a can of chick peas and some Naan bread. I don't particularly love Indian food, but I do LOVE Naan bread.

I grabbed the rest of what I needed and headed to the check out. It was such a beautiful day out and I remember thinking as I parked "I should park as far as I can away so that I can enjoy the weather". Eff that idea! I just wanted to be at home.

I got home and discovered we had a President's Choice (dinner for 2) frozen Tika Masala already. BRILLIANT!!!!

So after all these grand plans dinner became:

  • Microwaved Tika Masala (Chicken)
  • Steamed Green Beans
  • Heated Naan
It actually wasn't so bad, and it definitely pleased Clutterbuck when he returned home after I was asleep, but I couldn't help laugh at myself and how quickly I amended my grand plans. Oh well...such is life.
This was Phoebe when I got home. She had been out and about with the dog walker all day. Her face describes how I felt...we were in it together!

Monday, March 15, 2010

In other news

Since I'm home alone and having uninteresting leftover pizza for dinner I have to random facts to blog about instead of food:
1) I bought a hyacinth plant the other day and its bloomed fully today (see pizza and champagne post). The smell is just so wonderful, I wish they would last longer.
2) This is the first day in months I haven't wanted to put my pjs on before 7pm. This is because we set the clocks forward on saturday and this is the first day I've actually noticed the change. Woo hoo! Bring on summer!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pizza and Champagne

Pretty self explanatory. Clutterbuck is cooking. He orders a mean pizza. And he decided he had a hankering for champagne. So we dashed out to the LCBO 5 minutes before closing grabbed a bottle of bubbly and headed back home to our couch.

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The Final...

Definitely a success. I'm still feeling rather smug. Although I think the pasta machine is a must. A uniform thickness and the ability to roll without a rolling pin would be much better.
Ravioli or lasagne is the next challenge.
Oh and one more thing, as an afterthought I threw in some fresh mushrooms to roast with the rest of the veggies. YUM! They sucked up all the roasting juices and were fantastic.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

What a perfect day to...

Make pasta!

I've always wanted to try this and can't think of a better time than a rainy Saturday. I've been toying with the idea of investing in a pasta machine, but after a slow day like today I needed a challenge, and since I already have a box of store bought pasta ready to go in case of failure, why not practice before I invest in the pasta machine.

The recipe is so ridiculously basic: flour, eggs, salt. I started with a pile of flour with a well dug in the middle, cracked the eggs into it, added a bit of salt, and started to "attack the eggs", as one youtube video put it. Slowly you start to incorporate the flour from around the eggs and a dough begins to form. I think my dough was a bit too dry, and didn't have that yellow colour that I've seen in other pasta doughs.

Anyways after lots of mixing and kneading I had something that resembled pasta dough. I let it sit for a bit and then I rolled it out as thin as I could (which it clearly didn't want to do). I rolled it up like a jelly roll and sliced it into thin pieces and unrolled them. They resembled fettucine or tagliatelle...but still perhaps a bit dryer than they should be.

Here they are drying on a broom handle (clean of course)

Phoebe noticed them at some point and was very interested...she spent a good 5 minutes trying to get a better angle to look up at them.

Once they had dried a bit I put them in a ziploc bag and let them sit at room temperature, as directed when searching "how to store fresh pasta" on google. I boiled a bit of water and threw a few noodles in, they seemed satisfactory, but I'm still apprehensive. I opted not to add more flour when putting them in the bag because of their dryness to begin with, but now I'm worried they will become one big dough ball while sitting together in the bag.

Now I'm going to roast some veggies (tomatoes, zucchini, pearl onions, garlic) and then toss them with some pesto, sundried tomatoes and some of the fresh cooked pasta. I will post a picture of the finished product, as well as mine and Clutterbuck's review of the successfullness (is that a word) of the whole dish.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home Alone

I was home alone for dinner this evening. Enjoyed some mushroom tortellini with broccoli tossed in some pesto. Perhaps my favourite meal. Its so simple, full of flavour, and doesn't feel too heavy. I discovered my love for this meal when Clutterbuck made it for me on our second date (I later learned that this dish and omelets are his best dishes).
I received word that I was getting a great new opportunity at work so I'm also having a glass of celabratory wine.

Breakfast for Dinner

Clutterbuck was still feeling under the weather and it was a bit of a busy evening last night. I went to the gym, and we did a couple loads of laundry at the Laundromat, plus we're trying to conserve funds.
So it was a fridge surprise night. Dinner became:
  • Egg, Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Omelet
  • Hashbrowns
  • Salad (Romaine, Red Peppers...its all I had and the plate needed some green)
Again I'd say a success. If for nothing else then the discussion it created. Turns out we both have very strong opinions about how to cook an omelet. Clutterbuck, obviously felt he had the more credible point of view due to his lengthy experience as a cook at the Zellers restaurant (The Skillet), but I feel I'm still qualified to make an argument on this matter (even if I never worked at the Skillet, which I don't necessarily think overqualifies you for a culinary argument like this anyway...just saying).
The first disagreement was what to whip into the eggs. I said milk, he said water...i googled it and the first recipe I found called for water. 1 point Clutterbuck.
The next was whether to mix all the ingredients (except cheese) into the egg mixture before pouring them in the pan, then flip, add the cheese, and plate. He argued that this is how it was done at the Skillet (well exCUSE me!). I argued that this is more like making scrambled eggs with stuff in them. An omelet is supposed to be a base of eggs folded around a filling, and it should be light and fluffy on not overcooked in the middle. My method of choice would be to pour in the egg mixture, let it set up a little, add the ingredients and the cheese, fold over and plate immediately. 1 point Smart
The last discussion was over the spelling of omelet. I still haven't made a decision about this one. Google it. There are responses to every possible spelling. Clutterbuck initially suggested: Omlette - WRONG. I felt myself wanting to type: Omelette - possibility. However, I started blogging about it (spell check), and looked up recipes and its also spelled Omelet....So I'm completely confused, and now have decided to just spell it differently every time I use it until someone can give me a definitive spelling.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Clutterbuck is sick with a cold, so tonight we had Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup and Grilled Cheese.

He's having Nyquil for dessert, I'm having a glass of leftover wine and we're settling in to watch the movie "Doubt".

The grilled cheese (never an obvious choice for dinner for me) reminded me of other simple but yummy meals from my childhood. Tuna melts, mini pizzas (on english muffins). I must keep these in mind for nights like this when our palates or stomachs aren't feeling very epicurious
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Taco Salad

Took the leftovers from yesterdays tacos: meat, onions, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, added a bunch of lettuce and the remaining shells (crunched up)...put them all in a Tupperware container and enjoyed it for lunch at work today. Taco Salad, just like that. Should have taken a pic but was too hungry....just imagine all the stuff in the last pic in one bowl and you've got the idea.

Definitely a success!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


The finished product. Very yummy! And they were actually enjoyed at the table, a rare event!

Oh and I should add we did have the Oscars on in the background while eating as well.

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Why didn't I think of this sooner

While this blog probably won't be shared with many people (most likely just you mom), this is going to be my new attempt to document successful (a.k.a to be made again) and unsuccessful (pretty self explanatory) meals consumed in the Smart-Clutterbuck household.

So, without further ado.....

After a day of enjoying the unseasonal warm weather on Queen street with the puppy, we have now settled into watch the tube (the Oscars are on but not here). After I finish this inaugural post I plan to get to work on dinner, which will be....

Beef Tacos (Old El Paso of course) with salsa, guacamole, sauteed onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and some shredded romaine.

We're also enjoying a nice bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio (VOGA). It was a gift from Clutterbuck for Valentines Day.

Pictures to come.....