I grew up eating quite a bit of Chef Boyardee - for those of you that don't know it's ravioli in a tomato sauce from a can. Yeah I know it's from a CAN but hey as a kid I loved that stuff. Here is my grown-up version of ravioli in tomato sauce, but it is definitely a much more sophisticated version. This is so simple to make and I think you'll have the whole family singing for more!

Serves 4

  • 1 pkg of fresh cheese and spinach ravioli (or your favourite ravioli)
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomato oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili flakes (more if you like it really hot!)
  • 1/2 cup corned beef, chopped
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 (28 oz.) can of whole tomatoes
  • 5 cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

1. Open the ravioli package and place them into a bowl, making sure that you take apart any ravioli that stick together. This will make it easier later on for you. Set this aside for now.

2.  Preheat a large deep heavy bottom pan on medium high heat, and drizzle in the sundried tomato oil from the jar. Add in the chopped onion, minced garlic, hot chili flakes, corned beef, salt and pepper. Make sure not to over salt since there is a fair amount in the corned beef. Saute for 3 minutes.

3. Then pour in the can of tomatoes, break them up using a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Add in the cremini mushroom slices, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, and the red wine. Turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer gently for about 30 minutes with the pan mostly covered, stirring occassionally. Make sure that there is a bit of the pan open so the steam can be let out. You want the sauce to thicken.

4. Add in the chicken stock at this point, stir to incorporate, then add in the fresh ravioli pieces. Gently toss it together, and turn the heat even lower, cover the lid and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the ravioli has cooked through. Serve immediately with a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and torn basil leaves.

Cook's suggestion: If you don't want to cook the ravioli in the sauce, or wish to make the sauce ahead for later, then go ahead and put on a large pot of boiling water and cook the ravioli later on. Follow the package instructions. Omit the addition of chicken stock in the recipe.
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I wanted to create a steak dish that was like a fajita (i.e. has peppers and onions) but without the flour tortilla. The steak, peppers and onions simmer slowly in a tomato-brown sauce that is rich and thick. It is best served along side roasted or mashed potatoes. You'll have the whole family asking for more. Really who doesn't love a good steak dish?

Serves 2 generously

  • 4 thin steaks (if your steak is a thicker than 1/2" I suggest you pound it thin)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning blend
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5-8 dashes of hot sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 each: red and orange bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water or red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sauce (i.e. HP Sauce)

1. In a large bowl, add in the oil, soy sauce, steak seasoning, black pepper, hot sauce, and chili powder. Using tongs, swish the steaks around the marinade. Ideally, you would want to place it into the fridge covered for a good 30 minutes, but if you don't have the time it's not necessary.

2. Take the steaks out of the fridge, and preheat a large non-stick heavy bottom pan on medium high heat. Once the pan has come up to temp, add in the steak and the marinade juices. Sear the steaks on both sides. This should take about 3-5 minutes per side. Take the steaks out and place them onto a plate and set aside.

3. Add in the sliced onions, peppers and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Pour in the water or red wine, and make sure to stir all of that sticky goodness from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the tomato paste and the HP sauce into the pan. Note: add 1 tbsp of oil to saute the onions and peppers if the pan is too dry.

4. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, and add the steaks back into the pan. Cover the pan and let the steaks simmer in the sauce for about 30 minutes, or until the steaks are tender and the sauce has thickened nicely. Once done serve the steaks immediately along side mashed potatoes.

Cook's Tip: If the sauce is a bit too thick, then add a few spoonfuls of water or beef stock to loosen the sauce.
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Last month I was surfing the channels on my t.v. and saw Five Ingredient Fix on the Food Network. The lady (sorry can't think of her name right now) stated that she had a brilliant idea for making a super easy banana ice cream that took really no effort. This I had to see since I love bananas. She just froze the pieces of banana, and then put them all into a food processor and turned it on. The finished product was something that looked exactly like ice cream. I was amazed, a five year old could do this on their own. There are quite a few additions you could make to vary the flavours of this ice cream. So without further adieu, here is the recipe. Let your kids help you in the kitchen with this! They'll love it!

Serves 4

  • 3 bananas, peeled and cut into chunky pieces (need to freeze)
  • milk (to help thin it out if needed)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (optional)
  • toasted peanuts or cashews, chopped (optional)
  • miniature chocolate chips (optional)

Take 3 bananas, peel and cut them into chunks. Place them onto a baking sheet and place them into the freezer until solid. Place the frozen banana chunks into a food processor and puree the bananas. If you need to loosen the mixture then add a bit of milk as needed. To add another layer of flavour you could add in 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Serve into individual dessert bowls and sprinkle miniature chocolate chips and/or toasted peanuts/cashews. Enjoy!
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Here is a secret food love of mine...curry! It really doesn't matter to me what kind of curry. It could be Thai, Indian, Japanese, and hey even Korean; it all tastes great to me. I just love the smokey, spicy and creamy combination, and when eaten together with rice, it just is a wonderful mesh of flavours in my mouth. When I was pregnant with our little girl last year I absolutely craved this spicy sauce. During lunch hour breaks at work I would go find the nearest curry restaurant and eat! Here is a mild version of a shrimp coconut milk based curry that I happen to love. My husband gobbled up this sauce in no time. If you're a bit scared to try spicy dishes but you're wanting to try a mild version of curry, I say give this version a try! It's a good one folks.

Serves 3

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 tsp each: ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and tumeric
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can of coconut milk (you can use lower fat version if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cup white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 400g of shrimp, peeled and deveined (used frozen shrimp for quick use)
  • 1/2 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • cooked white rice (to serve)

1. Preheat a large shallow pan or wok, on medium high heat. Drizzle in the oil, and add in the chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Saute for 1 minute, then add in the ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. Let the spices cook with the onion for 2 minutes.

2. Add in the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and water at the same time. Stir until all of the flavours have come together. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium, and let the sauce cook down for a good 12-15 minutes. Note: if you're using a low fat coconut milk then you might need to let the sauce cook down for an additional 3-5 minutes.

3. Add in the sliced mushrooms and the shrimp, let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp. The sauce should look a bit thick and creamy. Sprinkle in the chopped parsley or cilantro, squeeze in the lime juice and serve immediately over rice. Enjoy!

Cook's addition: If you don't like shrimp you could always try chicken instead. Just chop the chicken into bite size pieces and I suggest cooking the chicken in the pan first, transferring it into another bowl and when the sauce is cooked, then add the chicken back in.
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