Spring Orzo with Peas and Arugula

Spring has sprung so it’s time for bright, light and lemony dinners. This Spring Orzo is perfect hot or cold and makes the perfect side dish to any spring meal!

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So I know I was just complaining about snow a few days ago, but when you go from Calgary to LA and the temperature changes really drastically in just a few hours you easily forget how cold and wet it was and suddenly feel like it’s Spring again. Last weekend I wanted to eat comfort food and turn on Christmas music and now all I can think about is fresh produce and BBQ’s.

Now, I don’t know about you but when I think about summer I think of fresh peas right out of the garden. I’m sure that growing up my mom always wondered why she didn’t ever have any peas left, or perhaps she knew the truth and really only planted them to keep us occupied while we were in the yard.

This orzo is the best of summer all wrapped up in one dish. The citrus, sweet peas and arugula make it so fresh and with the addition of red pepper flakes, it gives it a little kick that makes it perfect.

It’s also great both hot and cold so if you need to bring a side dish to a picnic or BBQ this is a great option. Served with a great piece of grilled chicken or fish this is a meal fit for warm days and nights!

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prep time 10 minutes

cook time 15 minutes

total time 25 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1/2 lb orzo

5 cloves of garlic

1 lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

5 tbsp salted butter

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup arugula

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

3/4 cup grated parmesan

salt + pepper to taste

Instructions

Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil then cook orzo according to the directions.

While the orzo is cooking mince garlic and zest the lemon. Add oil to a medium frying pan and add in garlic and lemon zest. Cook for 1 minute then add in Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Cook another 1 minute then stir in butter and simmer for 2 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked drain then add back into the pot. Stir in butter mixture, juice of the lemon, arugula and peas. Mix until fully combined and arugula is wilted then add in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Maple Glazed Bacon Wrapped Carrots

These maple bacon carrots are the perfect addition to any dinner table!

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Ok, so Easter is almost here and it’s time to post the obligatory extra yummy, only eat a couple of times of year vegetables. But I guess you can look on the bright side and say at least your eating vegetables right!

When I first made these carrots Aaron said they were the best carrots he had ever had, and that’s a big deal because he LOVES roasted carrots! But let’s be honest, who doesn't love bacon and maple syrup!

These are also really easy to make which when you already have a big meal to make is a win. You can wrap your carrots in advance and bake when you're ready. I do recommend you use a medium-sized carrot because if you small carrots they will cook quicker than the bacon and your carrots will be mushy and no one likes mushy carrots.

These carrots are also extra delicious with the addition of the maple syrup and pepper. These are classic flavours that pair so well together and also pair so well with a big classic turkey dinner. Give these a try this weekend, I guarantee that your family will thank you!

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Ingredients

12 medium carrots

12 strips of bacon

1/4 cup maple syrup

freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Clean and peel each carrot then wrap 1 strip of bacon and place it on a prepared baking sheet.

Brush each carrot with half of the maple syrup then sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes flip then brush with remaining maple syrup and additional pepper. Bake another 10 minutes or until bacon is crispy and carrots are tender.

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Brown Butter + Sage Cauliflower Puree

Switch up your usual mashed potatoes with this indulgent and creamy cauliflower puree, I promise you won’t even notice your eating vegetables.

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Ok, seriously guys this is a recipe that is just so yummy! With Easter coming I have been thinking about ways to lighten up what tends to be a heavy meal without losing all of the amazing flavours that are expected during the holidays. Now for me, the mashed potatoes are one of those things that if done well are the highlight of the meal, but with this Cauliflower puree you may have a new star.

Now, have you guys made brown butter before? If you haven’t you seriously need to go and make some right now!!! it’s so easy and honestly so good. The extra flavour that it adds is nutty and it will leave your guests wondering what your secret ingredient is. Another bonus, this cauliflower stands alone so if your meal doesn’t include gravy, no problem.

I also love the flavour of sage in this puree but you can use any herb that you love. Thyme or Rosemary would be super lovely and based on what you are serving for dinner it's easy to adjust to make it with complementing flavours.

I also use my food processor to make my mashed cauliflower but you can use a traditional masher, blender or mixer. The best thing is that unlike potatoes you don’t need to worry about your puree becoming overly starchy with over mixing, so go ahead and get that cauliflower silky smooth.

So this Easter switch things up and serve Cauliflower Puree, I’m sure your guests won’t even miss that mashed potatoes!

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 15 hour

total time 35 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower

4 garlic cloves

10 sage leaves

4 tbsp salted butter

1/3 cup cream or milk

salt

Instructions

In a large pot place cauliflower florets and garlic cloves and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer until fork tender (approx. 10 minutes). Drain then place in a food processor and blend on high until smooth.

Finely chopped half of the sage leave and place them in a small pot with the cream or milk. Turn on low and allow to warm. In a second small pot add in butter and remaining whole sage leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook until butter becomes foamy then golden brown then carefully remove sage leaves.

To the pureed cauliflower add milk, butter and salt to taste. Blend to combined then serve immediately.

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Panzanella with Grilled Nectarines, Burrata and Truffle Oil

This fresh summer salad is the perfect side dish to any bbq or wonderful light spring meal!

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Happy Monday! Can you guys believe that it’s already almost the end of March? I know I talk about it A LOT but I am really ready for Summer.

So when I think about summer salads one that I truly love is a really good panzanella. Now if you have never had a panzanella you are really missing out. it’s a really great way to use bread that is past it’s prime, and it is also filling enough to have as a meal.

I also really love the addition of truffle oil. I strongly suggest that you go pick some up if you don’t already have it in your pantry. It can really elevate so many dishes - one of my favourite being popcorn. Serious - don’t knock it till you try it!

So even if it’s not warm and sunny where you live you will feel like it is if you serve this salad for dinner tonight. So go ahead and dream - I promise, summer is coming soon!

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prep time 10 minutes

cook time 12 minutes

total time 22 minutes

servings 2 - 4

Ingredients

2 nectarines

2 large heirloom tomatoes

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1.5 cups crusty bread

1/4 cup fresh basil

1 ball of burrata

salt + pepper

balsamic reduction

truffle oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to broil. Roughly chop or tear bread into 3/4 inch pieces then place on a baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until bread is crusty and browned. Set aside to cool.

Slice nectarine into 1/2 inch segments and grill using a grill pan or bbq (approx. 3 minutes per side).

In a large bowl place chopped heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, grilled nectarines and bread. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and season with salt + pepper - toss to combine.

To serve place salad on a serving tray or in a bowl then top with burrata. Drizzle with more balsamic reduction and truffle oil.

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Butternut Squash "Steaks" with Rosemary and Garlic

These butternut squash “steaks” are the perfect side to a classic steak dinner or a great main on your meatless nights.

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I don't know about you but I sometimes have a hard time coming up with sides for a traditional style dinner. There is the typical potato or rice option, but sometimes you just want something different.

This past week I picked up a beautiful butternut squash but my usual go-to recipes just weren’t speaking to me. So after a bit of research, I found a bunch of recipes for the classic steakhouse butternut squash “steaks” and I knew it I had to try it.

Let me tell you, they are delicious! With the fresh rosemary and garlic, these are perfect as a side dish, a vegetarian “steak” for your non-meat eating friend, or a wonderful addition to a big hearty salad.

I hope you enjoy switching up your typical side dishes as much as I did!

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prep time 10 minutes

cook time 20 minutes

total time 30 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small butternut squash

4 tbsp butter

5 cloves of garlic

2 springs of rosemary

Instructions

To prepare your steaks cut the ends off of your butternut squash and cut in half, seed and peel. Slice into 3/4 inch pieces and season with salt + pepper.

In a cast iron or large frying pan melt butter then add in “steaks” in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches). Cook until the first side is browned then add in sliced garlic and rosemary. Flip your squash and begin basting with garlic rosemary butter while the second side browns.

Cook until squash is fork tender then serve immediately.

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