Łazanki (Polish Cabbage & Noodles)

Łazanki (Polish Cabbage & Noodles)

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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A classic Polish dish, łazanki aka Polish cabbage and noodles

Łazanki (Polish cabbage & noodles) is technically a poor man’s dish, but just because it’s cheap to make doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious! The key to making it as flavourful as possible it to use quality bacon and all of the bacon grease. I got this recipe from my mom, and since moving out it’s become one of my staple dishes. With so few ingredients, it’s super quick and easy to make, perfect for a busy evening. The best part? It leaves a lot of leftovers for a couple so I automatically have lunch for the next few days.

I’ve always loved this dish, but I found it super interesting that it’s a common dish served in Polish prisons. However, it’s a much cheaper and less flavourful version. Watching Inside the World’s Toughest Prison’s, the prisoner’s definitely didn’t appreciate or like this dish as much as I do, but then again, their version isn’t nearly as good as my mom’s. Since it’s so cheap to make, and you can really use any meat you want instead of bacon, but I recommend trying my classic version before you start experimenting.

While the ingredients are few and simple, it’s important to use the proper noodles (image below). These little square egg noodles can be found at most European foods specialty stores.

Łazanki (Polish Cabbage & Noodles)
Łazanki, Polish cabbage and noodles

Łazanki (Polish Cabbage & Noodles)

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Polish

Equipment

  • Large pot
  • Medium pot
  • Large pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small green cabbage shredded
  • 2 medium carrots shredded
  • 250 g Kliseczki Wiejski or any small square egg noodles
  • 375 g bacon diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pan, cook your diced bacon on medium-high heat for 13-15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, add olive oil to a large pot and turn to medium-low heat. Add the shredded cabbage, carrot and pepper, and cover with a lid.
  • Next, bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Cook the egg noodles as per packet instructions or until al dente, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside the cooked noodles.
  • After about 15 minutes cooking the bacon, add the onion to the bacon pan and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  • Once the onion and bacon are done, add the entire contents of the pan, grease included to the large pot with cabbage. Add the noodles as well and mix the everything until well combined and you're ready to serve.
Keyword cabbage and noodles, Polish, Polish cabbage and noodles, Łazanki

Lasagna

Lasagna

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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My all time favourite food… LASAGNA!

MMMMM. I could literally eat lasagna everyday for the rest of my life. It’s by far my favourite food, so much so that I even had the nickname Garfield once. The options are endless in terms of the flavour profile you choose to go for, so I’m sure this won’t be my one and only lasagna recipe.

A couple years ago, my partner and I went on a trip to France and Italy. It was my mission to find the best lasagna. I wasn’t planning on getting it in France, but one random evening, in a random restaurant I placed my order. It was the BEST of the trip. I still remember it to this day. And that beats out each of the 4-5 lasagnas I tried while we were in Italy.

Lasagna

It’s all about the layers…

I love all lasagna, especially my mom’s. She used to always make it for me when I’d come home after weeks or months away. While this recipe is pretty close to my mom’s, I have made a few changes.

Lasagna

Lasagna

Lasagna noodles layered with ground beef with veggies, mozzarella, ricotta cheese and baked to perfection.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • 12 x 16 inch pan
  • Large pan

Ingredients
  

  • 450 g lasagna noodles cooked as per packet instructions
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 100 g white mushrooms chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 375 g ground beef extra lean
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 650 ml Primo sauce I used thick and zesty herb and garlic
  • 454 g ricotta
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • cup mozzarella grate
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook lasagna noodles in salted water until al dente, as per packet instructions. Set aside once done.
  • In a large pan, on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Wait til hot and sauté onion for 2 minutes. Next, add garlic, salt and pepper and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Add in the ground beef and Italian seasoning and cook for approximately 8 minutes or until beef has browned.
  • Once browned, turn down to medium-low heat. Add chopped red pepper and zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Next, add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Turn down to low heat, add the Primo sauce and parmesan cheese. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Now it's time to assemble your lasagna. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Start with some sauce on the bottom of your pan, then lasagna noodles, mozzarella, beef, ricotta, noodles, repeat. There will be 3 layers of noodles. On top of the last layer, top with sauce and mozzarella. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Rest for 10-15 minutes and serve!
Keyword lasagna

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Crab cakes using imitation crab…

If you follow my blog, then you know I love using imitation crab. It’s so cheap compared to fresh crab making it the perfect substitute. I had an extra pack in my fridge and decided to make some delicious crab cakes topped with my homemade tartar sauce. These fried little crab patties are jammed packed full of flavour. Filled with plenty of finely diced veggies, even the kiddos will love this simple dish.

Crab cakes

Variations:

While I used imitation crab, this can easily be substituted for the real thing. I’m absolutely sure that using real crab meat would elevate this dish ten fold, but you have to work with what you got. Imitation crab definitely saves money, but if you’re feeling bougie, use the real thing instead!

In terms of what you put inside your crab cake, it’s really up to you and you can use most veggies you’ll find in your fridge. Don’t be afraid to change things up!

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Might not be made of real crab, but these imitation crab cakes are delicious and won't burn a hole in your pocket!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 6 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Large pan
  • Medium bowl
  • 2 small bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 227 g imitation crab chopped finely
  • 1 stalk celery chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp red onion chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp bell pepper any colour, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ¾ lemon juiced
  • splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Caesar dressing Renée's or your preferred brand
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 medium eggs beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, combine the imitation crab, celery, red onion, bell pepper, old bay seasoning, dried dill, lemon, Worcestershire sauce, Caesar dressing, and pepper. Form patties about the size of your palm.
  • In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs and set aside. In another small bowl, fill with bread crumbs. Take your patties and coat them first with egg, then breadcrumbs, then egg again and lastly breadcrumbs.
  • In a pan on high heat, add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, fry the crab cakes on each side for 3 minutes. When done, place crab cakes on paper toil to absorb any excess oil and they're ready to serve!
Keyword crab, crab cakes, imitation crab, seafood pasta

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Happy national Mac and Cheese day!

Mac and cheese, mmmm. What a great comfort food that’s perfect as a side or as the main dish. There are just so many options when it comes to this dish! Depending on what cheese you decide to use and whether you decide to add protein or vegetables, the opportunities are endless.

This time, I decided to stick to a classic recipe because I had a bunch of cheese in the fridge that I needed to use. So sticking to the quarantine mentality of using what you got, I made a mozzarella and cheddar version. Our neighbourhood ribfest stand was still up, so we decided to pair it with Silver Bullet BBQ’s ribs.

Mac and Cheese

The key …

It absolutely crushes my soul when I see people post their recipes where they just throw shredded cheese in with some macaroni and bake it. When making mac and cheese, you MUST make a cheese sauce. Otherwise, you’ll have chunky, stringy, half melted cheese on plain pieces of macaroni.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Macaroni enveloped by smooth, creamy, cheesy mozzarella and old fort cheddar sauce and baked with a crunchy top layer.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Medium sauce pan
  • Medium pot
  • 10 x 10 baking pan

Ingredients
  

  • 454 g cut macaroni cooked al dente
  • cups mozzarella shredded
  • cups old fort cheddar shredded
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 10% cream
  • dash nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs or panko

Instructions
 

  • Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions, about 11 minutes or until al dente.
  • In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and mix until well combined and a roux is formed.
  • Add the cream, reduce to a medium-low heat and stir constantly. After a few minutes, once the cream is warm, slowly begin adding your shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese, a handful at a time, stirring constantly. Once the first handful of cheese melts and is combined, continue to add the cheese, a handful at a time until incorporated. The sauce will thicken as the cheese is added and melted. Once you've added all your cheese and the sauce is a smooth texture, turn of the heat and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 380°F. Put half of your cooked macaroni into a baking pan and coat with cheese sauce. Mix so it's well combined before adding the remainder of your macaroni and cheese sauce. Once your mac and cheese is combined, top with seasoned bread crumbs and bake for 15 minutes. Then switch to a low broil and broil for 5 more minutes or until bread crumbs start to brown on the top.
Keyword mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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A super simple carrot ginger soup

This is the perfect recipe to help you get rid of some of your staple vegetables that are on their last leg. This nutritious carrot ginger soup is so easy to make and will be ready in 30 minutes. Just the perfect healthy soup for any time of the year!

Carrot Ginger Soup

I’m not going to lie…

I miss soups now that it’s summer! I have 2-3 different soups every week in the winter time, but once that summer heat hits I definitely scale back. That being said, I still love a great healthy soup for lunch even in the hot summer months. I haven’t had soup in a couple of weeks and this one truly hit the spot. The whole theme of this quarantine has been use what you have on hand and today it was carrots! Using vegetables that are on their last leg, along with my homemade vegetable stock also helps me minimize my food waste. That’s probably my favourite part of making homemade soups, using what you have available to you.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

A simple carrot ginger soup topped with a little cream and nuts for some added crunch.
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 27 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • Large pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 6 medium carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ginger jarred or grated
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups vegetable stock homemade or low sodium
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Put a large put on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 1 minute. Next, add the celery, carrots, garlic powder, ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock and vegetable bouillon and turn to high heat. Once the contents come to a boil, turn down to medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  • Blend the soup in a high powered blender on high for 1 minute. Once smooth, it's ready to serve!
  • Serve with a dollop of cream and some nuts for an added crunch.
Keyword carrot, carrot ginger, carrot ginger soup, ginger, homemade soup, soup

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Homemade vegetable stock from all those scraps

Honestly, one my favourite kitchen takeaways from this quarantine is definitely homemade vegetable stock. Why throw out all those wonderful vegetable scraps when you can make a beautiful stock out of them? The best part is you’re in full control of the sodium content unlike the store-bought version. Thanks to this discovery, I’m able to use every part of my vegetables and minimize my waste.

Vegetable Stock

I’m sure there’s many different ways to wash and dry your vegetable scraps, but I’ve found it’s super easy to use a mesh bag (pictured above). I prep my meal, throw all the scraps in my mesh bag, rinse them and hang them to dry over the sink. Then I forget about them for most of the day and package them away once they’re dry.

Vegetable Stock

Once the vegetable scraps are dry, I store them in a freezer bag. Once full, I make my stock and it couldn’t be easier.

How to make it

In a large pot, add your frozen vegetable scraps and just cover them with water. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Then, walk away. Not too far, but you can leave it be for at least 2 hours, max 4. It’s so easy and doesn’t really require your attention so it’s something you can do it in an evening. Once removed from heat, let the contents cool. Once cool, remove the large chunks and strain the remaining liquid for a smooth vegetable stock.

I always keep old pasta or salsa jars for storing soups and stocks. Whether I keep them in the fridge for instant use or freeze them for later, they’re so convenient to have around! This stock will be good in the fridge for about 2 weeks and up to 4 months in the freezer.


Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked Salmon Dip

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The smoked salmon dip that makes you keep coming back for more…

I LOVE dips. It’s probably because I’m such a snacker and I love snacking on a dip. A few crackers here and there will curb my hunger until the next meal. This smoked salmon dip is perfect for parties, so quick to throw together and will sure to be a hit! I mean afterall, using smoked salmon is always sure to impress.

Smoked Salmon Dip

To serve…

To serve this smoked salmon dip, I make my own baked crostini, because frankly, it’s WAY cheaper than buying the store-bought version. A $1 baguette will make about two $4-5 store-bought version crostinis. All you have to do is slice your baguette into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Lightly coat with olive oil and your preferred spices and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350°F or until lightly browned.

Smoked Salmon Dip

How to make it

It couldn’t be easier to throw this dip together. Simple dice all the ingredients very finely, add them together and mix until well combined! Serve with your own homemade crostini or store-bought crackers and enjoy.

Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked Salmon Dip

A simple but deliciously fresh smoked salmon dip that's sure to impress!
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack

Equipment

  • Small bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 150 g smoked salmon diced
  • 2 tsp capers chopped
  • 2 tsp red onion finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh dill chopped
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese herb and garlic

Instructions
 

  • Finely dice the smoked salmon and red onion. Finely chop the capers and dill.
  • Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve and serve with your choice of crackers.
Keyword dip, salmon, smoked salmon, smoked salmon dip

Strawberry sauce

Strawberry Sauce

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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A Polish strawberry sauce…

This is definitely not your average snack or meal. I’ve never heard of anyone eating something like this other than my Polish family and my boyfriend’s Polish family. I think it’s just an easy and delicious way to save fresh strawberries from going bad, so here you are! I honestly couldn’t think of a more creative name for it, so let’s stick to what it is, a fresh strawberry sauce.

It’s interesting how different families from different regions from Poland enjoy this sauce differently. My family traditionally serves this sauce over rice, while my boyfriend’s family serves it over a curly egg noodle. Both are delicious, so it really comes down to what you prefer!

Strawberry sauce

How to make it

This is so easy to make and will be done in just a few minutes, but the key is to use fresh strawberries! Strawberry season is just about to come to an end here in Southern Ontario after it’s late start this year. Luckily, we managed to make it out to Herrle’s farm to handpick a few pints of some fresh strawberries. That’s what’s so special about this dish, is that you can really only enjoy it for about a month every year (at least here in Ontario).

Once your remove all the leaves/strawberry tails, mash them up. Again, based on your preference, you can leave the sauce a little more chunky or mash them until there are no chunks at all. When adding sugar, add a little at a time and taste as you go. If your strawberries are already quite sweet, you won’t need as much. Add some sugar and sour cream and you’re ready to serve!

Strawberry sauce

Strawberry Sauce

An easy Polish fresh strawberry sauce served over rice or noodles.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Polish

Equipment

  • Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries stem removed
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp sour cream

Instructions
 

  • Wash the strawberries and remove all the stems. Place them in a bowl and with a potato masher mash the strawberries to your desired consistency (chunky or smooth).
  • Mix in the sugar and sour cream and serve over a bed of rice or noodles.
Keyword fresh strawberries, meatballs in mushroom sauce, strawberry sauce

Sheppard's Pie

Sheppard’s Pie

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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Not your traditional Sheppard’s Pie…

Traditionally, sheppard’s pie is made with lamb but to be honest, I only found that out a few years ago! My mom has always made her sheppard’s pie with ground beef, so that’s what I’m used to. This dish is so easy to throw together and you basically have a full meal in one go. Delicious beef in a savory gravy with peas, corn and carrots topped with a creamy mashed potato makes for a scrumptious sheppard’s pie.

Sheppard's Pie

How to make it

This dish is the perfect Sunday meal. Serve alone or with a side salad and you’ll be sure to please all!

Start off by boiling your peeled russet potatoes, or your potato of choice, in salted water until tender. Mash your potatoes until you reach your desired consistency. Next, prep your meat mixture by sauteing the onion and garlic and then adding the meat to brown. Once your meat is cooked, drain any excess grease and add your peas, carrots and corn. Now, you can assemble your pie! Add in the meat mixture and your choice of gravy. Stir in the gravy until well combined and then top with your mashed potatoes. For aesthetic purposes, take a fork and score the top of your pie in whatever pattern you choose! Bake the pie to bring it all together but be sure you let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Variations:

Instead of beef, you can use ground lamb for a much more traditional sheppard’s pie.

Feel free to use whatever gravy you have on hand or your favourite brand. This time I used a packet of poutine gravy and it was amazing!

Sheppard's Pie

Sheppard’s Pie

Not your traditional pie, but this beef sheppard's pie is a meal all in one!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Medium pot
  • Large pan
  • 12 x 16 pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 5 medium russet potatoes peeled
  • 42 g gravy packet cook as per instructions
  • 398 ml can of peas and carrots drained
  • 398 ml can of corn drained
  • splash milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Peel and quarter the russet potatoes and place in salted water in a medium pot and cook over high heat. Once water starts boiling, turn down to medium-high heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • In the meantime, sauté the onions for 1 minute. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté for an additional minute. Next, add the ground lean beef and cook until browned for about 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain any excess grease. Add the peas, carrots and corn.
  • Returning to the potatoes, drain and mash them in the pot. Add salt and pepper, butter and a splash of milk and mash until your reach a smooth, creamy mashed potato consistency.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. To assemble your pie, add the beef mixture and gravy to a 12 x 16 pan and mix until well combined. Top the mixture with mashed potato and spread evenly over the top. Using a fork, score the top of the potatoes. Bake for 10 minutes. Next, switch to a high broil and broil for approximately 8 minutes or until potatoes start to brown lightly on the top.
  • Let the pie rest for at least 10 minutes and you're ready to serve!
Keyword beef pie, pie, Sheppard’s Pie

Jalapeno Poppers

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Jalapeno poppers in 2 ways!

Mmmmm, jalapeno poppers! These irresistible cheesy and spicy appetizers are easy to make and sure to impress your friends. Perfect for any celebration like Canada day today or really any event. This simple recipe beats the frozen store-bought version any day!

Jalapeno Poppers

Snacky’s, appy’s, finger food – these jalapeno poppers are the perfect pre-meal appetizer or perfect for your guests to grab and munch on while entertaining. I absolutely love finger food and to be honest, sometimes I’d prefer to have a platter of tasty little eats as opposed to a full proper meal.

Variations…

Here are 2 different ways to create these super yummy jalapeno poppers, bacon wrapped or breaded and deep fried. Both are absolutely delicious, but it really depends on your personal preference, time and the ingredients you have on hand.

The bacon-wrapped option is much quicker and my personal favourite. The breaded version on the other hand adds a crispy crunchy texture that imitates the poppers you’ll find at your local bar or the grocery store. My advice? Try both!

Tips:

  1. Spice level. If you follow the recipe but omit the jalapeno seeds, you’ll end up with a quite mild jalapeno popper. To make spicy jalapeno poppers, add the seeds and more hot sauce!
  2. Jalapenos are generally pretty tame when it comes to spicy peppers, but to be on the safe side, wear gloves while handling them.
  3. When is oil ready for frying? Oil is ready when you can flick some water into it and it starts bubbling immediately.
Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers, 2 ways

Baked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and fried panko coated jalapeno poppers.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 poppers

Equipment

  • Deep fryer or oil and a pot
  • Bowl
  • Baking sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 6 whole jalapenos halved lengthwise
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese finely grated
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce I prefer Tabasco or Frank's, but feel free to use your preferred hot sauce.
  • 3 strips bacon cut in half
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • Wash and slice the jalapenos lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds of the halved jalapenos and set aside.
  • For the filing: in a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, cheddar cheese, hot sauce, salt and pepper until well combined. *For a little spice, add the seeds of 1-2 jalapenos. For a lot of spice, add the seeds of 3-4 jalapenos.
  • Fill each halved jalapeno with the cream cheese filing.
  • For the bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, preheat oven to 400℉. Cut the bacon strips in half. Wrap half a slice of bacon around 6 jalapeno pepper halves filled with the filing. Bake at 400℉ for approximately 20 minutes or until bacon fat is rendered and is cooked to your liking. 
  • For the deep fried jalapeno poppers, heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot on medium-high heat. To prepare the remaining 6 jalapeno pepper halves, set up the flour, beaten egg and panko in 3 separate bowls. Dip into the flour, egg, flour, egg, and panko. Fry the breaded jalapeno poppers until golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. 

Notes

Each jalapeno makes 2 poppers, so keeping that in mind when portioning out your servings.
 
Keyword bacon wrapped, baked good, cream cheese, fried, jalapeno, jalapeno popper, popper