Evelyn Chartres Author

Beef and Macaroni au Four

Ground beef and macaroni with a pasta sauce is pretty much a staple of Canadian cooking. There is also seems to be no end in sight for variants on this particular dish and it is readily available in stores.

This variant is quick and easy to make. I use melt some shredded cheese on top using an oven. While I use a four-cheese or Portobello mushroom pasta sauce, any variants that catch your eye will do!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (225 g) of elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of butter
  • 1 pound (450 g) of ground beef
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of finely chopped onions
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of finely chopped roasted red peppers
  • 2 cloves (5-10 mg) of pressed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Italian Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of pepper
  • 22 fluid ounces (650 ml) of pasta sauce
  • ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (per portion)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Prepare macaroni in accordance with package instructions.
  3. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  4. Add beef, onions, red peppers, garlic and seasoning.
  5. Cook until meat is no longer pink, then drain meat.
  6. Return to heating element then add pasta sauce and macaroni.  Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
  7. Place a portion in a stoneware dish then cover in shredded cheese. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

Balsamic Chicken Bites

A tasty dish that I have made for years. Based on a recipe for Chicken Kung Pao and it’s easy to make. The difference in vinegar really makes the flavour pop! Serve with snow peas and rice to make a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (120 ml) of onions
  • 2 cloves (5-10 mg) of pressed garlic
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of roasted red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of shaved fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil
  • 1 pound (450 g) of chicken
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of cornstarch

Preparation

  1. Chop onions and red pepper then add to a small bowl with pressed garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Set aside.
  3. Combine chicken and cornstarch in sealable container. Toss to cover the chicken.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
  5. Add chicken and cook until it is no longer pink. Remove from skillet.
  6. Add onions, red pepper, ginger and garlic into the skillet. Cook until onions are transparent.
  7. Return chicken to skillet.
  8. Quickly stir bowl then add contents to the skillet.
  9. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
  10. Remove from heat and ready-to-serve.

Tuscan Sausage

I am not too sure if this recipe has anything to do with dishes served in Tuscany. However, this dish combines Italian sausage, potatoes, mushrooms, peas and pasta sauce to create a ready-to-serve meal in less than an hour.

This recipe can be heavily varied based on the type of pasta sauce used.  I typically opt for a four-cheese or spinach pasta sauce, both variants are crowd pleasers!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 g) of Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound (450 g) of potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of garlic butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cumin
  • 10 fluid ounces (285 g) of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 ounces (85 g) of diced onions
  • 3 ounces (85 g) of diced red peppers
  • 22 fluid ounces (650 g) of pasta sauce
  • 6 ounces (170 g) of thawed snow peas

Preparation

  1. Cook and slice up the sausage.  I typically use an outdoor grill to enhance the flavour.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into ¼ inch cubes (0.6 cm). Rinse then heat in the microwave until the potatoes have begun to soften for approximately 3 minutes (halved).
  3. In a 8.75 inch skillet (22 cm) melt butter on medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and cumin. Sauté until mushrooms are a golden brown. When done set aside.
  4. In a well-oiled 3.5 quart (3.3 l) sauté pan, cook onions and red peppers until onions become transparent.
  5. Add potatoes and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add sausage, mushrooms and pasta sausage. Reduce heat to low/medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Add snow peas then allow to heat.  Ready to serve.
  8. Optionally place individual portions into a pot of stoneware then cover in mozzarella cheese.  Heat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350°F (180°C).