Pasta primavera

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Pasta primavera is a dish made from pasta and fresh vegetables. Sometimes chicken is added but the meal is usually vegetables only. Ingredients such as broccoli, carrots, peas, onions, and green bell peppers, and tomatoes can be used. The pasta used can be bowtie or penne.

To make pasta primavera you will need 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips, 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips, 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips, 1 onion, thinly sliced, 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips, 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs, 1 pound bowtie pasta, 15 cherry tomatoes, halved, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.

Next preheat an oven to 450 degrees F and on a large heavy baking sheet, toss all the vegetables with oil, salt, pepper, and herbs.

Put half of the vegetable mixture onto a large baking sheet and arrange evenly. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta in a separate bowl of water until al dente for about 8 minutes. Next toss the pasta with the vegetables in a large bowl and combine.

Add the cherry tomatoes and enough of the left over cooking water to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

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Poached salmon

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Fish is known to be one of the most light-weight ways of adding protein to one’s diet and of course fish oils are very important. Salmon is renowned for being Omega-3 fatty acids and is a very tasty filling fish. Grilled, broiled, baked, or poached, salmon makes an excellent meal for dining in or out. For a quiet dinner for two at home try this poached salmon.

All that is needed is 1 to 1½ pounds salmon fillets, pin bones removed, Salt, ½ cup dry white wine, ½ cup water, several thin slices of yellow onion and/or 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced, A few sprigs of fresh dill or a sprinkle of dried dill, A sprig of fresh parsley, and freshly ground black pepper.

To prepare: first the salmon fillets with salt. Then place wine, dill, water, onions, and parsley in a saucepan and sauté over a medium flame. Next add the salmon fillets with the skin-side down in the pan and cover, cooking for 5-10 minutes depending on the fillets’ thickness. Be careful not to overcook and serve with freshly ground black pepper.

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Beef Pot Roast, taste in a pot

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When we think “roast” we often think “oven” but one of the tastiest roast meals is pot roast beef which can be done simply and easily on the stove top.

Pot Roast is an excellent meal to serve for an evening entertaining friends for a dinner party. It can be served with baked potatoes and gravy and a side salad of lettuce and tomatoes.

The ingredients required are 2 teaspoons olive oil, 4 pounds boneless chuck roast,1 onion, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Meat should be seasoned and left to marinade prior to cooking.

First preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven on top of the stove over a medium high heat. Then add meat and sear for around 4 minutes, searing all sides for 3 to 4 minutes each. Remove from the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper, add garlic, and 1 bay leaf. Replace meat in the pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and cook for a further 1 ½ hours. Garnish with onions and gravy.

A variation on this dish involves searing the meat. Once browned, add water, and boil until tender over a low flame. 

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Greek-style Roast Chicken

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Roast Chicken is always a favourite for a simple yet stylish dish to serve when entertaining.

There are many different ways the roast chicken can be prepared but it can be given a twist by adding Greek Yogurt to the marinade. The yogurt helps the chicken retain its moisture while in the oven.

This recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts with the skin still on, salt, ground black pepper, to taste, 1 cup plain Greek non-fat yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 cloves garlic, and 3 tablespoons olive oil.

After seasoning the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, place them in a gallon sized re-sealable bag. Mix together the yogurt, cumin, smoked paprika, orange juice and garlic and pour into the bag with the chicken. Marinate chicken for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Over a medium flame, heat olive oil. Add chicken with the skin side down and cook for 2 minutes until chicken is golden brown. Place pan in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes until cooked.

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Yummy Cheese Fritters

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Cheese fritters are a great meal that can be enjoyed if you prefer to have something filling or a snack sans meat or fish. The best thing is that fritters can be made with any left-over bits of cheese whether it is cheddar, feta, gruyere, pepper jack or mozzarella.

They can also be served with marmalade or chutney to give them a little extra zest. First in a bowl sift flour, salt, and cayenne or black pepper, chopped onions, chopped scallions, and thyme. Make a hole in the centre of the blended flour and add two eggs. Whisk batter combining the eggs with two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of milk. Next grate in the cheese and stir all together.

Let the mixture sit for a few minutes while you heat a saucepan with oil. Once the oil is hot use a large spoon to scoop up batter and drop medium size dollops in the pot. Fry until golden brown. Once cooked, remove the fritters and place in a sieve or silicone paper to drain off extra oil. The marmalade can be bought or you can make you own using sugar, cider vinegar, sweet peppers, oil, and garlic. Over a medium heat carmelise sugar and onions, sweet peppers, and garlic. Turn down flame until sauce is thick. Do not allow the mixture to burn. Turn off stove and allow marmalade to cool.

Serve and enjoy!

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