Thursday, 17 September 2015

Italian cooking

Some weeks are just so busy it's hard to find time to do basic things like cooking. With hubby away and a conference to attend, I was very grateful for the forward planning I did over August Bank holiday when I prepared, cooked and froze some good home cooked meals. This was a fresh one but I've included it as I realise I have been favouring the flavours of Italy. This was a vegetarian canneloni that I made up while a friend was staying. I will definitely cook this again. 
I used spinach (salad type), asparagus and broccoli a my main veg but added spring onions for flavour. I used lasagne sheets and rolled them by hand which wasn't as hard as I'd feared. But I added chopped mozzarella to the veg mix as I rolled the pasta. I made up a basic tomato sauce using red pesto, tomatoes and traditional spices and poured it over before sprinkling parmesan cheese over the top. I served garlic bread to start and then the canneloni was  accompanied by roast potatos and caesar salad. It was delicious and very well recieved by all!

One of my make ahead dishes was meatballs. I usually use beef and pork with breadcrumbs but this time only used beef and an egg to help bind and hold the meatballs together. I also added chilli and paprika which was a different take on my usual cumin and coriander with the staple garlic and oregano. The egg doesn't hold them as well as breadcrumb but it does make for a better taste. For the sauce I used a carton of tomatoes, puree and some cherry tomatoes which also add texture to the sauce. Finally I placed the meatballs in an over proof dish and poured the sauce over. These are still waiting to be devoured.
I totally made this one up using the ingredients available so chicken cut into goujons, fried and then sprinkled with oregano, sage, basil and parsley. I cooked the onions and pepper in a separate pan in garlic. Placing the chicken in the bottom of the ovenproof dish, I layered the peppers and onions on top, then a layer of pesto with more cherry tomatoes and cooked before removing, leaving to cool and freezing.  I served this with pasta this week and was pleasantly surprised. Italian dishes all go down well with our children and are so easy and can be served with a variety of carbs; potatoes, pasta or garlic bread and as a healthier option roasted med veg or caesar or balsamic salad. Bellissima!

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