Home Made Tortellini

After dealing with the usual daily grind and running errands I really felt like spending some time creating in my kitchen.  I’ve been craving something a little luxurious and decadent.  Enter, home made from scratch, tortellini with a 3 cheese stuffing and special sauce and mozzarella broil.  

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After making my pasta sheets, I cut 3” circles, gave them an egg wash and filled and formed my tortellini.  The filling is a mix of ricotta cheese 1 cup, 1/2 cup soft goat cheese, 1/4 cup cream cheese 1 tsp dried parsley, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp thyme. 

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Then they go in boiling salted water for about 5 mins until tender.  Drain gently and well.

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Then I lined them single layer into a 9X14 inch pan.  In a separate sauce pan, I heated a jar of my home made meat sauce and added half a container of Mascarpone cheese and blended well.  I then poured this over the tortellini. 

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I then put a nice layer of mozzarella cheese over all.

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Lastly, a few minutes under my broiler…the cheese was nicely bubbly and browned.  This dish was totally superb.  Melt in your mouth pasty morsels that packed a cheesy burst of flavour.  I’m going to make more of these for the freezer tomorrow!

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I sided it with a fresh simple wedge salad.  The whole meal was an experience and so worth the time and work.  It will be great in the future to have them frozen for quick lunches and suppers.  Don’t forget to click the pictures for the full effect.  Any questions, please ask!!!

Chicken Stew (aka chicken pot pie filling)

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The weekend.  Finally we’ve got some real nice spring weather that looks like it just might stick.  1000 and 1 things to do and even at 55 years old I still get that spring-wanting-to move mountains feeling.  So, even with these extra busy days on the farm, I still want us to eat healthy hearty meals.  Enter: the slow cooker.  I’ve been having a hankering for some down home cooked chicken stew and my one of my husband Peter’s favourite dishes (he has many) is chicken pot pie.  Well, doesn’t it work out well that chicken stew is chicken pot pie filling?

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This morning, I cubed three generous cups of chicken breast, 1.5 cups of potato, three carrots, two large stocks of celery and tossed them into the bottom of my slow cooker.  Next, I added 4 cups of chicken broth (I use my home made, but any high quality store bought will do).  Now, you can add half a cup of chopped onion at this point, but I like to use….pickled pearl onions about 4 generous tablespoons.  Next, I add 1 teaspoon of sage (rubbed or ground), 1 tablespoon ground garlic, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 2 tablespoon dried parsley.  Don’t add salt at this point.  Now, set your slow cooker to low and go away.  Leave it alone. 

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Okay, now your busy day is almost done.  Smell that chicken stew!  Now we want to thicken the deal.  Turn your cooker on to high.  Wait ten minutes with the lid still on.  In a measuring cup, put in two heaping tablespoons of corn starch.  Add water and stir until there are no lumps.  Slowly add this in stirring gently.  It should thicken nicely for you.  If not…wait a few minutes, stir again and if it still does not thicken add another tablespoon of corn starch in your measuring cup, add water stir until smooth and slowly add this to your cooker.  Remember you do not want this too thick.  Now…slowly add your salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time, stir, taste, add, stir taste add until you have it right where you want it.  SALT CAN BE ADDED AND NOT SUBTRACTED, this is why we add salt carefully.  Some people get carried away and ruin many dishes by not taking their time.  Also, you can add any spice you think would be nice at this stage.  I added 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper for that little kick.  At this point your chicken stew is perfect.  Add bread and butter or a nice buttermilk biscuit and enjoy!

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For those of you who want to venture further and create a chicken pot pie…. Either buy or make a regular pie crust and spoon in your chicken stew.  Don’t feel you have to use it all.  You don’t want it to run over.

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Cover the the top, making sure you vent it.  I cut out a heart shape for my vent.  Be as creative as you wish or as plain as you like. 

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I pop the left over chicken stew in the freezer in lunch sized portions.

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Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes until your crust is golden brown.

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I add interest and sparkle with a side of cranberry sauce.  Tonight’s salad was tomato cucumber.  Any questions…just ask!  Don’t forget to click the pics for the full effect.  Thanks for viewing! Leasa

The Simple things…are often the best.

Boy, does this one ever take me back.  Good old cooked cabbage.  Simple.  Boiled, a little butter, salt and pepper and there you have it.  One 89 gram serving is 54% of the vitamin A you need for an entire day.  Cabbage is rich in fiber, filling and just plain good for you.  Tonight, I walked my dogs for longer than I planned so I needed a quick yet filling, delicious meal.  My mom used to cook cabbage often when we were little and I have been thinking of her so much lately.  Missing her, wishing I still had her here with me.  Cooked cabbage.  How perfect.  It was just my husband Peter and I for supper tonight, so I peeled two potatoes, opened a can of corn, wedged a small left over head of cabbage and boiled it until soft.  In my fry pan I cooked four VG farmer’s sausage and there we had it…a filling, healthy, old fashioned supper.  On the side we had prepared mustard and of course our usual salad.  Just what we needed today.  Thanks Mom.

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Pressure canning….so glad I did.

One of the best pieces of equipment I have in my kitchen has to be my pressure canner.  No more do I have to put my left over sauces in the freezer and watch the ice chips grow and the ‘freezer taste’ ruin them.  Yesterday morning I put on a meat sauce for a spaghetti dinner and let it simmer all day and built it’s goodness by melding all those flavours.  As usual, I had lots of left overs.  So out comes my pressure canner, I washed 5 – 500 ml jars and lids, loaded them with very hot sauce, lids in place and into the canner they go.  After the mandatory 10 minute vent, they come to pressure and get timed for one hour.  All sealed and beautiful, ready for me any time over the next two years.  Of course they don’t last that long.  Quick healthy lunches, sauce for a lasagna that is rich, home made and hearty, sauce for chicken parmesan or whatever else I can think of.  It’s there, no funny additives or preservatives….just home made and waiting.  Click he picture to get a good look.  Pressure canner…an investment I would recommend. 

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