Weekly menu for the 4th week of april

Happy “Pasquetta” !

In Italy, Easter Monday is called Pasquetta, you can translate it into “little Easter” and it is the day that traditionally families would go and have a pic-nic in the countryside or the seaside.

We are not going to have a picnic this year, but we will be out of town :-)

This week’s menu will start with Tuesday . . .  as we are not home on Monday and I will not be cooking !

Tuesday I’ll prepare a quinoa salad for the children’s lunch, and some cotolette for dinner ( cotolette are traditionally veal cutlets that are dipped in egg and then breaded and then fried. I usually make them with pork loin as I like the pork flavour better . . . .

Cotoletta

Wednesday is pizza day at school. The kids have swimming until late in the evening, so dinner will be Carbonara – spaghetti with egg and pancetta . . .  yummmmmmmm !!!!

Ravioli

Tursday we will have a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, and some Ravioli Amari for dinner.

Friday lunch will be a potato and tuna salad, dressed with a little bit of mayo and some chopped pickles. For dinner I will make some drumsticks with herbed butter and baked in the oven . . . . with potatoes.

Saturday lunch will be one of the easiest and quickest dishes in the world . . .  spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino . . .  spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, and red pepper (we make them without the red pepper . . .  the kids like it better ). And dinner will be one of my favourite “Frittata in Trippa”: frittata strips served in tomato sauce.

Sunday lunch we will make some pasta with my raug ( meat sauce) and for dinner I’ll make  Saltimbocca alla Romana – veal cutlets with a slice of cheese and a slice of ham . . .  I’ll post the recipe on Friday !

Nautrally every meal is accompanied by lots of vegetables, a salad, and fruit . . .  but I don’t need to plan it ahead – it is simply ALWAYS there !

Bitter Ravioli

Bitter Ravioli are a tipical dish of a small island in the south of Sicily called Pantelleria. They are served either as a first course or as a dessert, as a matter of fact, it is a tradition to serve them with honey every time a big step is accomplished while building a new house, for example when the roof is finished or when the floor is layed.

This time I made them to be eaten as a first course, I made 2 different shapes to tell them appart as the half moon shaped ones were made with fresh ricotta and fresh mint, and the tortellini shaped ones were made with fresh ricotta and dry mint . . . both versions were delicious !!

Ravioli amari

Ingredients for 4 people:

For the pasta: 4 eggs, 400g of durum flour

For the filling: 400 g fresh ricotta, 2 o 3 leaves of fresh mint

Directions:

To make the pasta, set the flour in a crater on the work surface ( or if you wish to avoid a mess you can mix it in a bowl), add the eggs and work together untill all flour has been absorbed and the dough is smooth and elastic (a good 10 minutes of hard work!) . Cover with plastic paper and let rest in refrigerator for 15/20 minutes.

In the meantime prepare the filling: chop the mint leaves very finely and add them to the ricotta, mix well so that the mint is spread right through the cheese.

Then take the pasta out of the refrigerator and cut in 4, you will use 1/4 of the pasta at a time and keep what you are not using covered with plastic wrap.

Start rolling the pasta out with the pasta machine ( or by hand if you wish . . .). In order to reach the right consistency, I suggest that you fold the pasta and let it go through the pasta machine a couple of times before you start making it thinner.

When you reach the thinnest step on your pasta machine, you will cut out circles ( or other shapes as you prefer) with the pasta cutter, any pasta that is left over will be rolled out again and used.

On each circle of pasta you will set a small dollop of ricotta, using your finger you will slightly wet the perimeter of the circe ( this will work as a glue for the ravioli).

Ravioli

Now you can close the ravioli shaping them like a half moon, or like tortellini, or you can simply put an other circle of pasta on top and press the sides together.

The only thing that you should be careful is to take out as much air as possible while closing the ravioli, otherwise they might explode while cooking as the air will expand with the heat.

When the ravioli are ready you should dust with flour to avoid them sticking to the surface or to eachother.

Fresh tortellini

Ravioli must be cooked in a large pot of salted boiling water, a few seconds after they come to surface you can take them out of the water with a slotted spoon and dress them with melted butter ( or honey if you are building a new house !)

Ravioli amari

Third week of April weekly menu

Such beautiful days we have had recently, it is hard to believe the weather forecast when it tells us that Wednesday there will be MORE SNOW !!!

. . . it’s ok, we will be prepared with warm comforting food :-)

Monday, the kids have pizza at school, it’s a great way to start the week for us because we just prepare vegetables and fruit for their lunch ! And our dinner will be pork tenderloin medallions wrapped in bacon and pan seared, then deglazed with balsamic vinegar . . .  mmmmm.

Pork Medallions

Tuesday lunch will be a turkey breast sandwich with lots of lettuce inside and many vegetables . . .  and maybe I’ll bake some cupcakes and add them to the lunch box today. Dinner tonight is Salmon Filet en papillotte ( salmon filet cooked in a pouch made with parchment or tinfoil – absolutely delicious !!).

Salmon filet en papillotte

Wednesday is an other pizza day at school, and a swimming lessons day in the evening, we get home at 8:00 so I want dinner ready! I will make a potato gateau: mashed potatoes all dressed up with egg, milk and cheese, then layered with ham and mozzarella, and baked until cooked and crunchy on top.

Thursday I’ll make a rice salad for the children and for us . . .  steamed basmati rice, dressed with chopped bell peppers, cucumbes, cherry tomatoes, some kalamata olives, strips of ham and cheese. Our dinner tonight will be pasta alla Amatriciana – and ancient italian recipe made with onion, pancetta ( cooked in some olive oil) and a good tomato sauce. I’ll make spaghetti, and top them with a nice dusting of romano cheese.

Friday: one of the best thing about potato gateau, is that it tastes excellent the next day ( if it lasts !) so the children are home from school and can have the potato  gateau and a salad. And dinner will be spare ribs, baked at 160* C for 4 hours . . . . melt in your mouth !!

Saturday lunch will be one of our favourites: grilled cheese sandwiches ( quick, easy, and not too much thinking !!) and dinner will be a nice home made pizza !!!

Lunch on Sunday is hopefully sunny so we can BBQ some hamburgers outside for lunch. Keeping ourselves light for dinner, have some friends over to celebrate Easter, eat my famous lasagna. I make it ALL  from scratch, the meat sauce simmers for hours while I prepare the white sauce that let’s everything blend together, and the lasagna sheets . . .  just eggs and flour. Delicious !

Lasagna

 

This dishes available to order this week are: asparagus and ricotta bundles, ragu sauce, meatballs, potato gateau, amatriciana sauce, pork medallions, and lasagne.
With 24 hour notice I can also have Tuscan bread, sandwich bread, and hamburger buns available.

Hamburger buns – 5 ingredients !!

hamburger bunSince we have moved to Canada, one of the things that we noticed is that there are soooooo many ingredients in the food !!

The one that surprises me the most is bread ! In tuscany we make our bread with 3 ingredients: flour, water, yeast ( here is my recipe for tuscan bread) !

I have decided to bake my own !

I’ve tried many ricipes from the web, some are very elaborate, some are too quick ( in the sense that they use baking powder instead of yeast) and some just didn’t taste great.

My source is often a website called vivalafocaccia.com – I love the recipes and the way they are explained in an easy and simple way.

The recipe for the “panini al latte” is on video here 

Panini al latte

I will write the recipe as I have made a few changes, and the original is only in italian!

Ingredients:

  • 200g milk or water (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) warm - I used water
  • 400 g flour ( 2 3/4 cups) I used half all purpouse and half Manitoba flour
  • 25g yeast if fresh or 8 g if dry (4 tsp of dry yeast)
  • 14 g sugar (3 tsp) I only used 1 1/2
  • 8 g salt ( 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 30 g of shortening or butter ( 1/4 cup) – optional . . . I used shortening
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 2 egg yolks to make them shiny

Procedure:

  • In your mixer bowl melt the yeast and sugar with the water and add 3/4 of the flour, the egg whites and the shortening
  • Mix for about 3 minutes
  • then add the remaining flour with the salt
  • Mix for 10 or 12 minutes
  • then dump onto a clean floured work surface and fold it on itself once or twice
  • lightly grease a container with olive oil and set dough into it, gently rub a couple of drops of oil on dough, cover the container and set aside to rise ( if using right away, you can set the container inside your oven which will be turned off but with JUST the light on).
  • Recipe calls for 1 hour at least of rising.
  • What I did at this point is, since I wanted to bake the buns the next day, I put the covered container in the refrigerator over night.
  • Next morining I followed the instructions on the video:
  • I dumped the dough on the work surface and folded it in 3 ( like puff pastry), and in 3 again ( to make a square) – my dough for some reason was more sticky than the one on the video
  • I let it rest for 15 minutes instead of 10
  • then cut the dough into 8 balls ( each about 100 g) and followed the instructions for rolling the buns out.
  • Then I let it rest for 1  hour instead of 30 minutes – the dough was still chilly from the fridge
  • I brushed the buns with egg yolk ( that I had beat with a tsp of water and a pinch of salt) and sprinkled them with some seseme seeds
  • Buns were cooked in the hot oven for almost 30 minutes ( a bit more than the recipe calls for)

They were delicious !!!

Thank you Vittorio from Vivalafocaccia.com !!

cut hamburger bun

Menu for second week of April

Pasta with Broccoli

So the second week of April begins . . . and the snow is almost all melted :-D

The children’s spring sports activities have started and are going well.

My new job at the Beild House B&B  is great and having my family weekly menu plan is so handy !!!

Here is this week’s menu:

Monday:  pizza at school for lunch, and for dinner . . . Arista: a typical Tuscan dish. Arista pork boneless roast cooked on the stove top with rosemary, sage, garlic and red wine . . . we all love it with roasted potatoes !

Tuesday: Lunch will be quinoa salad with a whole bunch of fresh veggies in it. Dinner will be pasta with my specialty ( or I should say . . . one of my specialties) Ragu sauce. My ragu sauce is made with lean ground beef, and is cooked slowly for many hours, you can really taste the deepness of the flavours . . .  with just the right amount of tomato !

Wednesday is Pizza again for lunch ( we all love it !) – dinner is Basmati rice pilaph with shrimp and peas. With one dish we have all the categories we need: carbohydrate, vegetable and protein – and it is Gluten Free !

Thursday – A wrap with Chicken breast and romaine lettuce and other crunchy vegetables will be great for lunch. And for dinner I’ll make Pasta with broccoli. The blanched broccoli will be stir fried in olive oil, garlic and a touch of anchovy paste, the pasta will be cooked in the same cooking water as the broccoli, and will then be added to the pan with the broccoli and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Delicious !

Friday – Lunch will be Pasta with pesto for the kids, and the usual carrots, celery, cucumber, grapes or kiwi or apple . . . depending on what is available in the refrigerator – Dinner tonight will be my famous Meatballs – here is the recipe for my Polpette

Saturday – We will make a nice Frittata for lunch . . . maybe with zucchini, or onions, or with potatoes, or onions and potatoes . . .   For dinner I’ll make one of my husband’s favourite dishes: pasta with chickpeas.

Sunday – I think it will be a beautiful sunny day, and we will make Hot Dogs on the BBQ for lunch . . . maybe I’ll have time to bake home made hot dog buns . . .  Dinner tonight will be Mushroom risotto.

Risotto with mushrooms

This week, the ragu, the meatballs, and the frittata will be available to order, and I will also have involtini and tuna meatballs available if you wish

 

Polpette . . . aka Meatballs !

Meatballs in tomato sauceThese meatballs are so tasty . . . . delicious !

Ingredients:

  • 60 g old bread
  • 60 ml milk
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp granular stock
  • parsley – finely chopped
  • 20 g finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp red wine
  • breadcrumbs

Procedure:

  • crumble bread and soak in milk
  • chop onion and put in cold water to purge
  • put meat, egg, parmesan, stock, wine, parsley in large bowl and mix together
  • add drained onion and soaked bread after squeezing the excess milk out
  • mix well then form little balls (I use an icecream scoop to form them)
  • roll balls in breadcrumbs
  • cook in frying pan with oil
Tips:
When I make these I usually use about 1 kg of ground beef. I freeze the meatballs so when I know I’ll be home late for dinner, all I have to do is thaw them during the day and they are ready after a few minutes in the frying pan  !
How do you make your meatballs ? why don’t you send me your recipe?

Menu for the first week of April

Here we start with the menu for the first week of april:

Monday March 31, children have pizza for lunch at school, so today I will prepare some carrot sticks, sliced cucumber and kiwi for them to snack on. Dinner tonight will be Asparagus and Ricotta bundles.

Asparagus and Ricotta Bundles

Tuesday April 1, I will make a ham and cheese sandwich for the kids, with vegetables and fruit for snacks. I will be working untill late tonight, so dinner will be easy to get together, Penne with fresh pesto and cherry tomatoes.

Wednesday April 2, an other pizza day at school, and just like monday I’ll chop up some vegetables for the kids lunch. Dinner tonight will be late as the kids have swimming untill 7.30 . . .  I think that involtini would be a great solution.

Thursday April 3, lunch for kids and adults will be a nice BLT and chopped fresh vegetables and fruit. And a nice and easy dinner will be Tuna Fish Meatballs.

Tuna Fish Meatballs

Friday April 4, I will make pasta with tomato sauce for the children’s lunch . . .  along with the usual fresh vegetables and fruit. Dinner tonight will be mashed potatoes and sausage.

Saturday April 5, Lunch will be at home, and we will make some ricotta and spinaci ravioli and dress them with butter and sage. Dinner tonight will be out  :-)

Sunday April 6 - sunday is a relax day . . .  we will eat left overs for lunch and have breakfast for dinner :-)

I hope this menu will give you some ideas for your dinners, if you would like to a meal, this is what can be ordered:

  • Asparagus and Ricotta Bundles – home made lasagna sheets folded in a bundle and filled with asparagus and ricotta
  • Involtini – Veal cutlets filled with ham and cheese and cooked in a butter and sage sauce
  • Tuna Fish Meatballs – “meatballs” made with tuna, ricotta, and a scent of lemon. Here you can find the recipe for the Tuna Fish Meatballs