If eating healthier is on your list of new year’s resolutions, here’s a recipe to get you started right! Here’s the best part, it’s gluten free, healthy, and delicious! That’s the most important part, it has to be delicious because I believe food is something that should be enjoyed. This recipe is inspired by one of my childhood Hong Kong Chinese restaurant favourites, spaghetti bolognese. Without further adieu, let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need:
Spaghetti Squash Bolognese | Serves 4
**I rarely cook with measurements so some of these are approximates
1 small spaghetti squash
about 1 lb ground beef (substitute other meats if you prefer)
3 cloves garlic, minced
half an onion, finely diced
2 handfuls of mushrooms
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut your squash in half carefully (I had to ask Kelvin for some help but I’m sure you could YouTube a video), and scoop out all the inside bits. Similar to what you’d do to a pumpkin on Halloween.
Drizzle some olive oil onto the squash and rub it to spread the oil evenly. Then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place cut side down onto your baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
While the squash is baking, start prepping the bolognese sauce. Cook the ground beef in a large pan with some olive oil. Once it’s cooked, add in the garlic and onion and cook until fragrant.
In a separate pot, heat the tomato sauce, tomatoes, and oregano. Bring it up to a boil then let it simmer until the squash is done.
Add in mushrooms into the beef mixture and cook until all the liquid is dissolved. Here’s a trick to avoid mushrooms letting out too much water: instead of washing the mushrooms under the tap, use a damp paper towel and polish the dirt off.
Once the squash has finished baking, take a fork and start running the teeth through the squash. Magic will happen and you’ll see the “spaghetti noodles” appear right before your eyes!
If you want to get fancy, toss the noodles with the tomato sauce and beef mixture, place it back into the squash shells, top with cheese, and broil it until the cheese is all melty and just a tad bit crusty and perfect.
If you’re me and you’ve made one too many chocolate cakes this season, you want to step it up a notch but not add in too much effort right? I mean, it is the holiday season and there’s no need to overcomplicate recipes and stress yourself out even more. So why not take the classic chocolate cake and kick it up a notch? But by “up a notch”, I don’t mean by adding something as simple as caramel or whipped cream. I’m getting at adding something a little more boozy ;). What I’m trying to say is, add some red wine into that cake! I got the inspiration from Smitten Kitchen.
Red wine gives it a natural looking red hue that is not fluorescent, while maintaining it’s wine flavour and complementing the chocolate flavour. Also, the wine content does not bake out so this cake is definitely meant for those of legal drinking age because the flavour is quite strong (you’re welcome!). So without further adieu, let’s get started:
Girls Night In Chocolate Cake
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
3/4-1 cup red wine (depends how boozy you want it to be)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Start by preheating you oven to 325F and prep a 9″ round cake pan by buttering, flouring, and laying a circular piece of parchment. This will make clean up a bit easier and I’m all about as little clean up as possible.
Cream butter and sugars for 2 minutes.
Add eggs in and mix thoroughly.
Add red wine and vanilla and stir until combined. The mixture may look strange at this point but don’t fret, it’ll all work out.
Sift together all the dry ingredients and mix in about 3/4 of the mixture. Then fold in the remaining 1/4 of the dry mixture.
Pour into cake pan and smooth out.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. When the cake is “done”, the top of the cake should still be a bit shiny and smooth. This helps maintain the moist texture of the cake.
Let cool and enjoy! I dusted the top of mine with powdered sugar and using a stencil, but a mascarpone or whip cream frosting would be delicious as well.
**Tip: for optimal fudginess, wrap cake layer in saran wrap and throw it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. The freezer does wonderful things for chocolate cake texture.
Christmas is just around the corner and I don’t know about you but I’m doing a lot of baking. I love giving them as gifts because I think it’s personal and shows that you put effort into it. Instead of writing a blog post for each recipe, I’m going to link you to them. I’ve tried them out, they’re great, and I honestly wouldn’t change anything about them. So here are some of my favourite cookie recipes this year, in no particular order:
Time allotted: 1.5 hours because the hot mixture takes time to cool dwn
A twist on a classic favourite. Browning the butter gives it an extra nutty flavour and salt balances out the sweetness perfectly. For me, instead of refrigerating the dough, I made sure to cool down the melted butter completely before continuing so that I didn’t have to refrigerate the dough.
Time allotted: 1.75 hours because baking time is 45 min.
Another classic that many may remember from their childhood. Shortbread it something that is very easy and requires little ingredients. All you need is butter, flour, and sugar. Easy right? In the recipe, it says to cool the dough in the fridge for an hour but if you have a very cold fridge like mine, just pop it in their for 30 minutes.
These are so good. They have the perfect texture and just the right amount of sweetness. In my variation, I added the zest of one entire lemon and I thought that brought the cookie up to another level. This recipe makes a lot of cookies so they’re perfect to bring in to work or as gifts.
Again, so good. I brought these to a gift exchange and they were gone instantly. If you don’t have all spice or nutmeg, the cookie is just as good with cinnamon and ginger. I upped the amount of ginger because I love that flavour. I would refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes because for me, the dough was very soft and hard to work with. If you’re able to without refrigerating, do it because I made a couple like that and the texture was amazing! Just a tad difficult to roll.