Zucchini "Pasta" with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

Since I’m participating in a 6 week Transformation Challenge, my diet has been limited to a certain amount of calories and some of my favourite foods are not allowed to be eaten. :(

Some nights for dinner I’m making two separate meals. One for Geoff and I and another for the kids.

Last night ‘Dinner Tonight’ was no exception. The kids enjoyed a Spaghettini with their favourite Egg Yolk and Parmesan Cheese sauce. And Geoff and I had a Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with Shrimp, Pancetta in a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth. The lemony broth high acidity was a great compliment to the fatty taste from the pancetta.

KIDS DINNER

Spaghettini with Spinach and Grape Tomatoes in a Egg Yolk and Parmesan Sauce

Spaghettini with Spinach and Grape Tomatoes with an Egg Yolk and Parmesan Sauce

OUR Dinner

Zucchini "Pasta" with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

The pictures from the “Dinner Tonight” on @the5oclockrush Instagram and Facebook feed received a lot of compliments and requests for the recipe.

So here it is…..

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

Serves 3-4

 Mise En Place

  • 1 pkge. President’s Choice® Large Raw Zipperback Pacific White Shrimp 31-40, thawed, and peeled, reserve shells
  • 1 pkge. Baby spinach, steamed, squeezed dry and finely chopped (½ cup)*
  • 2-3 fresh zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 pkge. President’s Choice® Italian Diced Pancetta
  • ½ cup leek, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh goat cheese
  • 20 whole grape tomatoes
  • 6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp. coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher Coarse Sea Salt
  • Water enough to poach shrimp shells
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 whole peppercorns
Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

Place shrimp shells in a shallow pan with bay leaves and peppercorns cover with water until it is approx. 1 inch above the shells. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan. The broth should have a pinkish hue and slightly shrimp flavour. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the liquid into a saucepan. Press out as much liquid as possible. Throw out the used shells.

Shrimp Broth (Fume)

Poaching Shrimp Shells for Broth

Shrimp Broth

Shrimp Broth

Add the lemon juice to shrimp broth and add the goat cheese and whisk until smooth. Keep warm on very low heat. FYI The sauce may curdle from the lemon juice and if overheated.

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with Spinach, Shrimp, Pancetta and Grape Tomatoes

In a large non-stick frying pan with a lid, place the fresh baby spinach. Cover. Turn the heat on high and steamed. The spinach will take very little time approx. 3-4 minutes and will reduce by half from the cooking process. Drain and squeeze the excess water from the spinach finely chop and measure, and set aside a ½ cup.

You can always substitute frozen chopped spinach; thaw, drain, squeeze and measure ½ cup.

In the same large non-stick frying pan, cook the Italian pancetta on medium-high until crispy; then add the chopped celery and leeks. Cook for 3-5 minutes until celery has coloured but still crispy. Add black pepper. Remove the pancetta and celery from the pan; set aside.

Crispy Pancetta with Celery and Leeks

Crispy Pancetta with Celery and Leeks

Toss the shrimp with kosher salt. Using the same pan and the fat from the pancetta, cook the thawed, peeled shrimp on high heat. Toss the shrimp in the pan and keeping the shrimp moving. Only cook until the shrimp is pink. Overcooked shrimp will become a chewy rubbery texture. Remove from pan and set aside with pancetta.

Wipe down the pan with a damp paper towel. Add coconut oil to same pan and cook the spiralized zucchini. Cook on medium high heat; continually tossing for 3-5 minutes. Keep the zucchini crisp not a soggy texture. Add in the cooked finely chopped spinach to incorporate and warm through. Then add whole grape tomatoes to warm. A couple quick tosses in the pan. ;)

Zucchini "Pasta"

Zucchini “Pasta” made with Spiralizer

Serve the zucchini ‘pasta’ in a bowl with the shrimp broth and top with shrimp, pancetta, celery and leek mixture.

**Tip: When using shellfish, such as lobsters and shrimp in other seafood dishes; reserve shells and place in a freezer bag to use at a later date for an intense flavourful broth. Or a fantastic fish soup.

Zucchini 'Pasta' with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ with Shrimp, Pancetta, Cherry Tomato served on a Goat Cheese Lemon Shrimp Broth

What is a Spiralizer?

Spiralizing is turning vegetables and fruits into noodles. The spiralizer allows you to transform a healthy, low-calorie, low-carb vegetable into a giant bowl of pasta! It means that within minutes a great dinner is complete with a sauce and protein that won’t break the diet bank.

I purchased my Spiralizer for approx. $14 at Zehrs. It comes with 3 blades.

Spiralizer

Spiralizer

Blade 1 creates a thin ribbon noodle; also great for making potato chips

Blade 2 creates a thicker spaghetti noodle; great for cucumbers

Blade 3 creates the thinness spaghetti noodle; my favourite for zucchini thus far.

The vegetable/fruit that you choose cannot be hollow, seeded or have a tough core. It should be at least 1.5″ in diameter and at least 2″ long. The vegetable/fruit must have a firm, solid flesh (no squishy, juicy fruits or veggies.)

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ vs. Regular Wheat Spaghetti  The nutritional differences between regular spaghetti and a bowl of zucchini ‘pasta’. Spaghetti comes in at a whopping 221 calories and 43 grams per serving, while zucchini ‘pasta’ weigh in at 41.6 calories and 7.6 carbs.

Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

My dinner options for Wednesday were very slim. I had already used the “egg” option on Tuesday night with Mini Goat Cheese, Bacon and Leek Quiches. I was contemplating the grilled cheese cop-out since I need to be out the door and on the ice for 7pm.

This box of Spelt grains in my cupboard was calling to me for sometime. I have never cooked Spelt or even made a Spelt Risotto. I did know that the grains could be cooked in the same method of risotto.

I had all the ingredients for a risotto and decided to tackle it in the short time frame.

I love cooking Risotto. And I think I have pretty much mastered the process. ;) Risotto is a great change-up from rice or pasta.

I found that the Spelt grains were much more forgiving than Arborio rice. I could actually walk away from the stove which is something you shouldn’t do. And I used a little more stock than when I cook a regular risotto. I tasted the texture of the spelt  a lot through the last part of the cooking process.

If I had planned better I would have used sage instead of the herbs listed in the recipe below; it tasted fantastic with that combination. It was a hit with the family. And an awesome vegetarian option especially since it is high in protein.

I recently hosted a birthday dinner for my friend Emma. The Menu’s theme for the Dinner Party was Spring even though the weather was NOT. I made an awesome Risotto with Roasted Shrimp, Peas and Edamame.

Birthday Dinner Pictures below:

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Rollup

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Roll-up

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

Continue reading

Ricardo’s Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

Today is the last day of March and the weather is not very Spring-like in Ontario. It actually snowed today in southern Ontario. It is hard to believe that Easter is this weekend. There are those key main ingredients when I think of an Easter dinner: Ham, turkey or leg of lamb are the traditional choices.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was approach by Ricardo’s team to review a recipe from the Easter category on my website. The Ricardo’s Cuisine website has an enormous selection of recipes for any occasion and daily dinners, plus the level of difficulty ranges from very quick easy to more elaborate and technical recipes.

Ricardo’s Cuisine has 139 Delicious Easter Dinner & Dessert Recipes which offers many unique choices for a complete Easter dinner. Ricardo’s Cuisine has also made it easy with an Easter Meal Planner that includes Ricardo’s Favorite Easter Menu.

There were so many recipes to choose from the Easter section alone. There are some very Canadian and Québécois recipes such as Daniel Vézina’s Maple Sugar Pie which include lots of maple syrup. <3  I wanted to attempt the Bell Pepper and Asparagus Tart and the Cream of Asparagus Soup with Parmesan and Poached Eggs. But in this short time frame, and I wanted to choose a recipe that would be Dinner Tonight for the 5 o’clock rush.

I chose to review Maple-Glazed Drumsticks which is a simple non-traditional Easter recipe.

I think the recipe for the Maple-Glazed Drumsticks is very simple and cost-effective for a large Easter gathering or would be great for any occasion such as a potluck or buffet. This recipe could easily be adapted for wings and would be awesome in the heat of summer on the bbq (still on foiled-lined baking tray or disposable foil tray).

I marinated the chicken legs overnight and I basted them twice during the cooking process. The flavour was a great combination of sweet and tangy. The legs were sticky and the kids enjoyed them and asked for seconds. I served the Maple-Glazed Drumsticks with Basmati Rice with mixture of melted butter and coconut oil and sweet corn.

Now I want to tackle the Maple Pull-Apart Bread Recipe because the kids favourite ‘big name grocery store’ maple bread is always out of stock and this would be a great replacement. ;)

Ricardo’s Maple-Glazed Drumsticks Recipe

Prep Time 15 min Cooking Time 45 min Serves 4
Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

My Dinner Plate of Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

Mise En Place

Marinated Chicken Legs

Marinated Chicken Legs

  • 12 chicken drumsticks, with the skin*
  • ½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

In a glass dish or in a resealable plastic bag, combine all the ingredients except for the drumsticks. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drumsticks and coat well with the marinade. Cover the dish or seal the bag. Refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Drain and reserve the drumsticks marinade for basting. Spread the drumsticks on the baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Brush the drumsticks with the marinade several times during cooking.

Finish cooking under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the drumsticks are golden brown. Serve with rice or roasted potatoes and a green vegetable.

Ricardo's Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

My Dinner Plate of Ricardo’s Maple-Glazed Drumsticks

*For a deeper flavour, you can, using the tip of a knife or kitchen shears, make three or four incisions lengthwise in each drumstick before marinating.

The 5 o’clock rush has not been compensated by Ricardo Cuisine for writing this post and all opinions shared are my own.

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Life has been very busy since the holiday season ended. Of course I’m feeding my family and making daily dinners. I just haven’t had the opportunity to blog the recipes I have been developing. The recipes are on many Post-its in my Recipe Journal. I need to light a fire under my fingertips and get typing.

Over the holidays, my friend and professional photographer, Lana was visiting and she gave me some great DSLR lessons. Since I take all my blog and Instagram pictures in ‘real time’ as I’m cooking my family’s dinner and the end plate is my dinner plate. She helped me with my camera settings, i.e. ISO, f-stop etc. and lighting for my night shoots in my kitchen and at my permanent staging table. What a wonderful difference from the iPhone pictures I was using previously on the blog. The pictures are visually more appealing and more professional. Check out Lana’s Facebook Viva Image Group – Photography and Videography Service

Tonight’s dinner, as with most of the 5 o’clock rush dinners, came to fruition at about 5pm ;) with what was available in the fridge and freezer. Swedish Meatballs smothered in gravy and served on a spaetzle is very comforting for a late January dinner. And it is very simple to whip up.

If you are a regular reader of the 5 o’clock rush, you will know that I stock pile a LOT of ingredients ahead and save leftover components in the freezer. The kids are disappointed when is no room for ice cream!

The caramelized onions were made ahead from previous recipe. Caramelizing onions are very time-consuming so when I make them I usually double up.

If you have leftover kale from your kale chips or salad, remove stems from cleaned kale and place in a Ziploc freezer bag and it can be chopped to add to soups or sauces

And the balsamic mushroom enhancers are also in the freezer from a previous adventure Flavour Enhancers for Future Recipes ** but with reduced balsamic vinegar for added flavour.

Check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush to see my daily dinners photos.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Makes about 40 Mini Meatballs Serves 4-6
Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My Dinner Plate Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 1-500g pkge. Bechtle™ spaetzle or egg noodles

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup cooked caramelized onions *
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic mushroom enhancer **
  • ¼ cup frozen kale or spinach, chopped ***
  • 1 tsp. rosemary, stem removed and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Gravy

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup cooked caramelized onions
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter or canola oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock, homemade or terra packed
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic mushroom enhancer
  • 1 tsp. coarse grain Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • green onions, sliced
  • finely chopped rosemary

Garnish

  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil or melted butter
  • sour cream

Place a large pot of heavily salted water on the stove to boil.

In a large bowl, combine extra lean ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, balsamic mushroom enhancer, kale, and cooked onion; season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon or your ‘gloved’ hands, stir until well combined. Using a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop, fill scoop with mixture and form about 40 meatballs.

Meatball Mixture

Meatball Mixture

Using enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

To make the gravy, melt butter in the same cast iron skillet. Add the finely minced garlic and caramelized onions. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the grainy mustard and balsamic mushroom enhancers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in meatballs, rosemary, sliced green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.

Cook spaetzle according to package instructions.

Drain noodles, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve immediately, garnished with sour cream, if desired.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My Dinner Tonight Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My actual Dinner Plate of Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle (6:45pm)

* To make a quick version of caramelize onions:

Caramelizing onions is a long slow process to develop the sweet, rich flavours which can take up to 90 minutes to prepare. This is a ‘cheater’ version.

Chop a large onion into a medium to fine dice.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become soft and rich brown colour, about 10-15 minutes. Add a little sugar to speed up the process.

Dinner Tonight-Swedish Meatballs

Dinner Tonight-Swedish Meatballs iPhone photo (6:45pm)

Loaded 'Baked' Potato Pizza

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

If you are regular viewer of the 5 o’clock rush especially on Instagram, you will notice that I like to include a starch with my daily dinners. This could be rice, pasta, bread and especially potatoes.

So when I had this awesome opportunity to create a unique potato recipe using The Little Potato Company ® I was more than thrilled.

 

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

The great features about these potatoes are:

  • Proprietary potatoes – grown to full maturity
  • Available year-round and always in stock
  • Even cooking time
  • High quality – grown with care and hand-sorted
  • Fresh – straight from the farm
  • Quick – pre-washed, no peeling, no waste or extra prep
  • Nutritious – fat, gluten, and cholesterol free
  • Thin skinned – excellent source of potassium
  • Easy to prepare – roast, microwave, oven, BBQ
  • Great plate appeal

I received two of The Little Potato Company ® varieties:

Something Blue ™ has a unique, beautiful contrast of colours – yellow flesh with purple streaks, and bright blue/purple skin. Something Blue delivers a well-balanced, slightly exotic flavour that has great colour retention, and is excellent for roasting or barbecuing.

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

Blushing Belle ™ is extremely versatile, and adapts well to a variety of cooking methods. Named after its blushing red skin and buttery yellow flesh, Blushing Belle delivers a soft, light texture with mild, delicate flavor. Excellent roasted or mashed.

The Little Potato Company ® potatoes are also available in a MICROWAVE READY varieties.

Providing freshly steamed, perfectly seasoned potatoes in just minutes, Microwave Ready kits are all about making wholesome and delicious that much easier. Simply microwave in the conveniently included steam tray, toss with the precisely pre-mixed seasoning and voila – full-on flavour the whole family will love. The only hard part will be deciding which flavour to try first!

My ‘chef’ thinking cap came up with this recipe for Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza.

Some of the components of a Loaded Baked Potato that I enjoy are bacon, chives, broccoli and loads of cheese or cheese sauce put on another favourite of mine…..PIZZA! And then add sour cream for dipping.

I decided to make a homemade crust for this recipe. The pizza crust recipe is from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummond who is an adventurous and creative food blogger. Ree’s recipe below is better made ahead at least 24 hours in advance. But it is super easy and very user-friendly.

There is always the option to use a store-bought pizza crust or even Naan bread.

My Favorite Pizza from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Makes 2 Crusts

Mise En Place

  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low-speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it.

*** It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup extra old Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Herb cheese
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. Red Hot sauce

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and Red Hot until cheese is melted.

There is a new cheese sauce available on your grocery store shelves, which can be used in a pinch.

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

Loaded "Baked" Potato Pizza with Sour Cream

Loaded “Baked” Potato Pizza with Sour Cream

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

Mise En Place

Toppings Mise En Place

Toppings Mise En Place
Bacon, Green Onions, Chives and Broccoli

  • Pizza Dough recipe above, halved
  • 1 cup favourite pizza or tomato sauce
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese sauce, recipe above
  • 2 cups mozzarella, grated
  • 6 The Little Potato Company ® Blushing Belles potatoes™, cooked and sliced
  • 6 The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoes™, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
  • 4 green onions, cleaned and sliced on the bias
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

NOTE: I cooked The Little Potato Company ® Blushing Belles potatoes™ and The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoes ™ for 9 minutes as I wanted to ensure that the potatoes remain the ‘circle’ shape. ;)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet using HALF the pizza dough, and lightly coat the dough with a little olive oil and lightly flour both sides. Pull and stretch on the dough, working it into a thin rectangle shape. No rolling necessary; the dough will be very thin, which is what you are looking for. The dough is very forgiving, if a hole or tear develops in the crust just pinch to seal.

Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

Once you achieve the desire size and rectangle shape lightly drizzle some olive oil over the crust using your fingers to spread it all over the dough.

Coat the pizza dough with the pizza or tomato based sauce and cheddar cheese sauce leaving a ½ inch border for a crust.

Pizza Crust with Sauce and Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Pizza Crust with Sauce and Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Sprinkle with mozzarella.

Add The Little Potato Company ® Blushing Belles potatoes™ slices and The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoes™ slices alternately as you would pepperoni.

Add the remaining toppings of bacon, broccoli, and green onions.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives.

Slice with a pizza cutter. Serve with sour cream for dipping.

TIP: Use your kitchen shears to cut the cooked bacon and to finely cut the fresh chives.

The Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza was a hit with the family especially with the sour cream for dipping.

All of the toppings including The Little Potato Company ® potatoes could be the leftovers from a previous dinner. The other crust was made into a traditional pepperoni and cheese pizza.

Loaded "Baked" Potato Pizza

Loaded “Baked” Potato Pizza

Loaded 'Baked' Potato Pizza

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

All views are my own. I was contacted by @LittlePotatoCompany to write my honest review about their products. The 5 o’clock rush was not paid to write this post.