October 18, 2011

Simply Spring Spinach Salad

Spring. A season that, in Canada, means sunshine, blooming flowers and snow melt. It is a time where you walk down the street with a big smile on your face, a bounce in your step and no worries about the fact that you probably should have worn shoes instead of your flip flops. I love spring!

In Canada.

In Adelaide, on the other hand, it is probably the worst season! This is not to complain about Adelaide, or spring for that matter - it is simply to state a fact. The summer is a lot too hot, but hard to complain about that (talk to me in a couple months...).  Autumn is absolutely amazing - the absolute best, consistent, sunny weather. And winter, it is great...for winter.

You see, it all comes down to expectations. Coming from Saskatchewan, my expectations for winter are pretty low. But, in the same vein, my expectations for spring are very high! So, although it is starting to get much nicer now, and summer is still 1.5 months away, spring here has been rather unpredictable, windy and rainy.

One thing that doesn't change, no matter how far we are from home, is the seasonal food and recipes. And this salad is SO easy (I cheat and use store-bought dressing) and it tastes more like spring to me than anything else! I've been making this one for a long time, and it never gets old.

1 bag baby spinach
1 pack fresh strawberries, sliced
1 advocado, diced
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese

Toss and dress with whatever dressing you like! Recommendation: Kraft Poppy Seed, which I can't find here so I used Newman's Own  Light Balsamic and it was a lovely combo!

Serve and prepare to take your praise!

October 16, 2011

Roasted Veg Lasagna

Here's a winner for you. This recipe is from Jeanne, my mother in law who is an amazing cook. She made this for me at the farm and we took the leftovers home, which was a really nice treat the next day. 

We decided a chauffeured wine tour was in order to celebrate my 26th. Having been on many wine tours before (umm, we live in Adelaide which has at least 5 world-renowned wine regions within an hour's drive - I've died and gone to heaven) I knew that...well, I might not be the best hostess upon our return.  And since everyone comes over to drink the bottles we bought throughout the day (totally unnecessary) I needed to have something to serve. But, being me, I couldn't order pizza for all. So I spent the night before roasting vegetables like it was my job and put them all together for this fantastic dish that went amazing with a homemade caesar salad (using this recipe for dressing) and bottle of Adelaide Hills shiraz. 
Sorry I don't have the token served up picture, I guess I just wasn't thinking about that when it was served ;)

Roasted Veg Lasagna - you'll never go back to meat

3/4 pound medium fresh mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
2 red pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 jar pasta sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
15 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  1.  Brush veggies with olive oil and roast in oven heated at 350. (15 minutes, flip over, 15 more minutes, remove mushrooms and roast zucchini and peppers for 5-10 mins more)
  2. Prepare your cheese mix- combine ricotta, parmesan, egg
  3. Prepare your tomato sauce – mix jar of sauce with diced tomatoes including liquid
  4.  Put a ¼ cup sauce in pan
  5. Layer – 5 noodles, half ricotta mix, ½ veggies, 1/3 of sauce, 1/3 of mozza
  6.  Layer once more
  7.  Top with 5 noodles, rest of sauce and rest of cheese
  8. Bake covered at 350 for roughly 45 mins, uncover and bake for 10 mins longer (brown top and bubbly sides)

Serve and prepare to take your praise!