Roasted Tomato and Prawn Linguine

Nothing really compares to a bowl of warm, olive oily, pasta, does it? I almost considered using the whole wheat pasta I keep in my kitchen but I changed my mind at the last moment and I'm so glad I did!  This dish can be even simpler and cut down to the bare essentials, like olive oil, garlic, basil, and cheese but I always love adding more. Fresh basil season is right around the corner. This leafy green is something I cannot get enough of and adds the perfect flavor to the tomato. As with all my recipes, get creative! Love lemon? Add a little more for some zing! Maybe even add some red chilli flakes to give it a little heat. Have fun with this one. Bon apetit! 

1 handful of whole cherry tomatoes 
½ cup shallots, peeled and halved
2 servings of linguine pasta
Half lemon
2 portabello mushrooms, sliced 
1 cup spinach, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup prawns, peeled 
1 tbsp butter 

2 tbsp oil
pinch oregano
salt and pepper for seasoning

handful fresh basil, chopped 
grated parmesan cheese

Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the tomatoes and shallots on pan. Coat with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and oregano. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to wrinkle.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta. Season water with salt just before adding pasta to the pot.

While those are cooking, heat a cast iron or non-stick pan with butter. Let the garlic sizzle in the pan for a few minutes on medium-high. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon and be sure it doesn’t overheat and burn. Adjust heat as needed. Add the prawns to the pan and a squeeze of lemon juice. It should sizzle loud! Once the prawns have started to pink, pull them out of the pan and set aside (they will continue cooking later).

Add mushrooms to the buttery garlic pan. Continue cooking until soft. Then add spinach and remaining lemon juice. When shallots and tomatoes are finished roasting, add them to the pan as well. Don’t over-stir or it will crush the tomatoes. Use tongs to gently turn them.

Finally, drain the pasta and add it to the pan along with the prawns. Gently turn with tongs for a few minutes until everything is well mixed and the prawns are fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Place pasta in a serving dish. Top with grated parmesan and chopped basil.

Italian Sausage Breakfast Casserole

I love eggs for breakfast. I remember back in school I would sometimes wake up extra early so I could make myself a hot breakfast with eggs and hash browns instead of my usual cold cereal. This casserole is the perfect mix of these two worlds: it’s warm AND easy. I make this casserole at the beginning of the week and just heat up my portion that morning. I add a fried egg on top and it’s perfect. It’s like brunch on a weekday. It’s also extremely colorful with the purple potato and yam. I really hope you enjoy!

3 Italian sausages, removed from their casings
1 large purple potato, cubed
1 large yam, cubed
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3-4 large mushrooms
1 cup chopped spinach
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk (any kind will do, I always use almond milk)
1 large egg

salt & pepper for seasoning
pinch of ground rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a casserole dish.

Heat oil in a medium pan and add ground sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the sausage is nearly cooked but still pink-ish in the middle. Don’t worry, it will continue to cook in the casserole dish. Turn off the heat and add your chopped mushrooms in the pan so they soak up all the yummy sausage oils.

Meanwhile, toss chopped yam, potato, cherry tomatoes, spinach, onion and garlic in a bowl. Add desired amount of shredded cheese and seasoning.

In another small bowl, beat one egg and then add cup of milk. Pour mixture into chopped vegetable bowl. Once mixed, add in sausage and mushroom mix.

Pour into a greased baking dish. Shred desired amount of cheese on top.

Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes or until the pan stops bubbling and the potatoes are soft. Let cool on a rack for 5 min before serving.

Add a fried egg on top and voila! Breakfast!

Rosemary and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

These cookies kind of blew my mind. I wanted to bake so I thought I'd use one of my favourite herbs in the mix: rosemary. It's so fragrant and can be used in sweet or savoury recipes. I didn't know how the gluten-free flour would change the texture but I was delightfully surprised. I adapted this recipe from Nourished and added lemon for an somethin' somethin'. I also cut down on the gluten-free flour so they'd be flakier and a more buttery. They are super easy to make. I really hope you enjoy these little treats! 

½ cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp honey
1 ½ cup gluten free flour
1 tsp rosemary, finely minced
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt

Cream together the honey and butter. You can use a food processor or hand blender. I personally like to hand mix because there’s less mess and your arm gets a mini workout!

Add lemon juice, zest, and rosemary and mix well. Slowly add flour to the bowl, cutting with a fork until you have a doughy mixture.

Roll cookie dough into small cylinders and wrap in parchment or wax paper. Chill in the fridge for up to an hour or until the dough is firm.

After an hour, slice the cookies off the roll about half an inch in width. If you want, you can cook the whole batch or save a portion of the raw cookie dough in the freezer for another time. Make sure it's sealed tight to avoid freezer burn.

Place cookies on a baking sheet an inch apart from each other. Bake at 325 degrees for around 10-15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. If you’re not sure, gently lift one of the cookies off the sheet with a spatula and check the bottom. If the cookie bottoms have a deep golden brown colour, they’re ready.

Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes and enjoy! 

Crispy Brussel Sprout Chips

I’m a snacker. Especially at night. I wrote a blog post about the voice in my head that always wants to snack. So I’m always on the hunt for the next best crunchy, salty snack for those post-dinner cravings. On accident, I was making roasted brussel sprouts for dinner and a few of the outer leaves fell off in the pan. They crisped right up in the oven and were delicious. I decided to try tearing apart the entire sprout! It took some time and I’m not convinced yet that it’s a better alternative to kale chips, but I love these little guys and they tasted really good! Here’s to the midnight snackers out there and the  potato chip-alternative. What kind of foods do you eat when you’re in the mood to nibble?

2-3 cups lb of brussel sprouts (they will shrink quite a bit when cooked)
juice of half a lemon
2 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Clean the sprouts by cutting off the bottom of the sprout and tearing away any browning leaves. Keep all good looking leaves in a separate bowl. To get to the small inner leaves, take a paring knife and cut into the root of the sprout like your digging out the eye of a potato. This will help the other leaves tear off more easily.

Once all the leaves are torn off, toss in a bowl with olive oil and lemon juice. Massage with your hands to make sure every leaf is covered. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast sprouts in the oven for 30-40 minutes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Stir sprouts 2-3 time as it cooks. When they are ready, nearly all the leaves will be browned and crispy. And your house will smell the brussel sprouts. 

Birds Nest Lemon Coconut Macaroons

For this Easter Weekend I wanted to make something a little extra special to go with our dinner. My mom makes coconut macaroons for a treat once in a while and when she does, she loads them up with lemon zest! And they are so good. I wanted to give them a try with this super light & gluten-free recipe from The Primalist. I added way more lemon to the recipe to give them that extra zing. They are less chewy than traditional macaroons but incredibly light and fluffy. I hope you enjoy. Happy Easter Weekend!

2 cups shredded coconut
2 egg whites
2 ½ tbsp honey
¼ tsp salt
Zest of 2 lemons
Lemon juice of half a lemon
1 small package Cadbury Mini Eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk together egg whites, salt, and honey until frothy. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Finally, mix in coconut until well coated in the egg mixture.

Place large drops of mixture onto a baking sheet. To get the nice round shape, scoop the mixture up into a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon. Pack it into the spoon and tap the back with your finger until it falls out onto your sheet.

If you’re having problems with the mixture falling apart, add in more coconut to stiffen the mixture. You can also add a bit more honey as it acts as a really nice glue.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottoms are a deep golden brown. After they’ve been out of the oven for a few minutes, gently press your mini egg into the center.  Continue to cool for a few minutes and serve! 

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Last weekend, I had the irresistible urge to make Lebanese food. I just wanted something so fresh and green. So I spent all Sunday making falafels, hummus, and tabbouleh. You know, the works! Come Monday morning, I have leftover fresh mint leaves. I don’t use mint to often so I wanted to try something really fun with it. I came across a recipe for a chocolate mint smoothie and it called my name. Here is a refreshing smoothie for a late morning or afternoon pick-me-up. 

¾ cup plain greek yoghurt
1 handful of mint leaves
½ cup fresh spinach
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup chocolate chips
1 cup almond milk
1 ½ cups ice

(Recipe adapted from popsugar.com)

 Blend all ingredients together until smooth. I have hunch that cocoa might work better for a smoother chocolate flavor, but I wanted that pop of green. Hope you enjoy! 

Lemon and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Every once in a while, I will buy a huge bag of separated and peeled garlic for a dollar. That’s right, one dollar! I just can’t resist. But I can never seem to use it fast enough. So roasting the garlic is the perfect way to use it all up for our house. Not great for kisses, but excellent for the belly. I always have a can of chick peas on hand just for this very purpose. Here is my super simple recipe for roasted garlic hummus.

½ cup garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 can chick peas, rinsed
1 tbsp tahini
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup water

salt & pepper for seasoning

Preheat the oven on 375 F. In a sheet of tinfoil, add your garlic cloves to the center and coat generously with olive oil. Pinch tinfoil together to make a packet and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. (If you only have a garlic head, don’t worry about peeling it by hand. Oh She Glows has the perfect recipe for How to Roast Garlic still in its peel). 

In a blender or food processor, blend the chick peas, oil, water, tahini, s&p, lemon juice, and garlic once its finished roasting. If it’s too thick for your liking add more water or lemon juice. Make sure you taste before adding any more.

Blend until smooth, pour into a serving dish and enjoy!