Mushroom and Leek Pasta with Chicken Sausages and Prosciutto

Fall brings along with it shorter and colder days. It also brings with it a huge variety delicious warm soups, pastas, baked goods, roasts… you get the gist. For me, when I come home from an 8 hour work day and/or a trip to the gym, I want an extremely simple, delicious, warm bowl of pasta to satisfy my carb cravings. This pasta dish in particular does not include that many ingredients and holds so much flavour that I can assure you’ll go for a second plate.

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Not only is it incredibly easy to make, its also light on the wallet. I get the majority of my pasta tips from one of my favourite chef’s: Mario Batali, cuz I’m basic and watched the Food channel religiously growing up. The guy has amazing tips on how to make fresh pasta, how to mix certain sauces with specific pastas, how to get the most flavour in a simple pasta dish, anything! I highly recommend watching a couple his shows on YouTube and adding in some of tips to your own cooking! The tip I incorporated into this dish was the process of taking out the pasta right before it is al dente, and finishing the cooking process in the sauce. This is most likely a super well known tip to the majority of pasta aficionado – but to me it was fresh and totally upped my pasta game!

Some substitutes if you don’t have all the ingredients available to you:

  • I used a rosemary chicken sausage from my grocery store’s deli counter because I  wanted something lighter but you can definitely substitute it with any mild sausage or just omit it all together! Sausages are often one of the cheaper meats on sale – so this is definitely a great dish if you’re feeling like you wanna save on dinner!
  • If you find buying a block of parmigiano reggiano to be difficult or pricey (it can be), what I used to do was just replace it with Grana Padano which is a much cheaper cheese and holds a similar flavour to the ultimate king of cheeses parmigiano reggiano.
  • You can also definitely substitute the pasta to whatever you’d like/have in the pantry! I just felt like rigatoni today :).

Let’s get started!

Mushroom and Leek pasta with Chicken Sausages and Prosciutto

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings:

    • 2 chicken sausages($2.33)
    • 3 Tbs olive oil ($0.20)
    • 2 cloves garlic ($0.04)
    • ½ pack of brown mushroom ($1.00)
    • 1 packed cup of spinach ($0.40)
    • ½ a leek ($0.50)
    • 50g prosciutto ($0.75)
    • ½ cup of parmigiano reggiano ($0.06)
    • 150g rigatoni pasta ($0.25)

    Total cost for 2 services: $5.53*

    Single serving for $2.76

    Serves 2, takes 20 Minutes

Compared to the $15-17 a plate at restaurants!

*DEPENDING THE COST OF THE INGREDIENTS IN YOUR AREA, THE COST MAY BE MORE OR LESS. I LIVE IN A FAIRLY INFLATED PART OF TOWN, SO CHANCES ARE YOUR COST WILL BE LESS.

 


DIRECTIONS

Prepare your ingredients! Shop up basically everything except the spinach, mince the garlic, and cut the prosciutto into large slices. What I did was I cooked the sausages in the casings then sliced them after they cooked so they could keep their shape. Put a large pot of water on boil to prepare your pasta and salt it so it tastes “like the sea.”

Ingredients - Leek mushroom pasta

Pour in the EVOO into a pan on medium heat, and put in the prosciutto. Once it crisps, add in the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms cook or “sweat”, you can move onto the next steps. This can take couple minutes.

mushrooms-pasta

Once the mushrooms cook, add in the leeks and the garlic and let it cook. Mix for a minute or two, then add in your sausages.

spinach-pasta

Once everything is well mixed, add in your spinach. The pasta is almost done! Pour in 2 ladles of the salted water into the pan, then drain your pasta. Next, add in the parm and add in salt & pepper to taste. Your final step is to add in the almost-al-dente pasta, and cook it in the pasta water infused with what you’ve made so far. This shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes.

 

Finished! Enjoy your super fast and super delicious plate of pasta 🙂

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Flavour-Packed Basil Fried Rice

Ah, fried rice. The best thing to come out of miscellaneous leftovers and dry old rice. We’re all guilty of cooking too much rice every now and then, but I’m more guilty of cooking too much and throwing it out. The problem with fried rice for me was that I find a lot of it is usually so bland and boring. So I decided I wanted to change that and see what I could do to make it taste better and have less food waste!

Eventually, this recipe became my go-to whenever I had leftover rice, chicken, beef, tofu, and certain veggies that were starting to go bad. I found that the best part of this recipe is that you can always alternate proteins & the veggies and it still holds the strong flavours anyone can really enjoy.

When it comes to fried rice, it’s usually best to use 1 or 2 day old rice that’s been kept in the fridge. That way its a bit more dry and can hold in more flavour without getting too mushy.

Here’s the basics of the recipe, you can always add in more vegetables you have left over.


Flavour-Packed Basil Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings:

  • 2 cups of cooked day-old rice (1 cup of uncooked rice)($0.38)
  • 4 Tbs canola oil ($0.20)
  • 1 large egg ($0.24)
  • 3/4 cup of chopped cooked chicken (or your choice of protein)($1.10)
  • 1 medium sized carrot ($0.16)
  • 2 scallions ($0.18)
  • 1/2 zucchini ($0.395)
  • 1/3 cup of corn ($0.06)
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh basil ($0.398)
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbs Dark Soy Sauce ($0.03)
  • 2 Tsp Oyster Sauce ($0.06)
  • 1 Thai chili (optional)

Total cost for 2 services: $3.32*

Single serving for $1.66

Serves 2, takes 20 Minutes

Compared to the $10-$12 at restaurants!

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

Basil-Fried-Rice-Ingredients
Gather & prepare your veggies and chop it all into small cubes (corn not pictured). I had a left over chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, so I just chopped that into cubes and it worked perfectly! Next, whisk the egg in separate bowl.

Place a wok on the stove at medium-high heat. Once your pan heats, add in 1 Tbs of the oil. As soon as the oil gets hot, add in the egg and scramble.

Basil-Fried-Rice-Eggs

As soon as it scrambles, remove the egg to a separate dish and pour 2 Tbs of the canola oil.

Basil-Fried-Rice-Vegetables

Next, add in your veggies. I used carrots, zucchini, and some corn. You can definitely add in whatever vegetable you have left over such as broccoli, bok choy, peppers, etc. as long as the flavour doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

Basil-Fried-rice-mix

Stir for a bit and then add back in your eggs, and then add in your protein & the rice vinegar.

Mix for about 30 seconds to wait for the vinegar to cook off, then add in the rice!

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Break apart the rice and mix it in as much as possible and add in your last tablespoon of canola oil.

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Once the rice, meat, and vegetables are well mixed, add in the basil, green onions, soy sauce, and oyster sauce (and the Thai chili if you want it to be spicy!).

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The oyster sauce can be substituted with vegetable Hoisin if you want, but I really recommend the oyster sauce as it adds it’s unique flavour (and no it does not taste like fish if you’re worried!)

Now really start stirring and really fry the rice. Once everything is mixed well and the basil becomes aromatic, take the rice off the heat and serve.

All done within 20 minutes!

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I really hope you enjoy it, and feedback (postive or constructive) is always appreciated! 🙂


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

6.8kg of Premium Calrose Rice ($14.99) – $0.22/100g
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
12 Large Eggs ($2.97)
Pack of 4 chicken breasts ($9.33)
1 Zucchini ($0.79)
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
Pack of Basil ($1.99)
500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
750g of Frozen Corn Kernels ($0.99) – $0.132/100g
3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00

Simple Green Chicken Curry

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Not too long ago I went to a Thai restaurant and ordered a curry for the first time. I was never too big of a fan of coconut milk in the past so I would never order the curries. But, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and I’m so happy I did. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with Thai curries and have been constantly making them because they are so simple to make, so fully packed with flavour, and are perfect for leftovers & reheating!

This is a recipe where you can definitely replace the protein with Tofu for the dish to become fully vegan, and it’ll still hold all of the flavour! I’ll fully disclose that this is not an authentic recipe, but merely my interpretation of the curries I have had at restaurants with my personal twists!

When it comes to the Thai curries, red is the most spicy, yellow is the most mild, and green is great middle ground so it quickly became my favourite. I get my curry paste in Chinatown because you can usually huge jar for a fraction of what you pay for at general grocery stores. However, if you want the recipe to be vegan, definitely read the ingredients in the curry paste because shrimp paste is usually a main ingredient. If it isn’t in the ingredient list for the paste, you’re in the clear!

This is the one I used:

Green_Curry_Paste

The vegetables you add in can be according to your preference. I added in my favourites. Adding in mushrooms would work really well too!


INGREDIENTS & COSTS for 2 generous servings:

1 Chicken Breasts($2.33)
1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
1/2 Medium sized onion ($0.10)
2 garlic cloves ($0.04)
2 Tsp Ginger ($0.02)
2 1/2 Tbs Green Curry Paste ($0.09)
2 Bay leaves ($0.04)
3 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.15)
1 Carrot ($0.16)
3/4 cup chopped Broccoli ($0.38)
1/2 Bell Pepper (I used both orange and green) ($0.52)
1/2 can Coconut Milk ($0.49)
1/2 a Chicken Bouillon cube dissolved in 1 1/2 cup of hot water ($0.09)
Fresh Basil (Thai Basil if you can find it!) to garnish ($0.25)
Cilantro to Garnish ($0.08)
1 Thai Chili (optional) ($0.05)

Takes 30 minutes

Total Cost = $4.80!*

Compared to the $16-$20 at restaurants! EACH! So double that number.

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

Prepare your vegetables:

Mince the ginger, garlic, onions, and optional Thai Chili. Then slice your peppers, carrots, broccoli, basil, cilantro, and any other veggies you want to add to your curry!

Green_Curry_Chicken_Vegetables

Next, cut up your chicken. I chose to cube it, but in the end I think maybe slicing the chicken might have made it a better consistency. Oh well, if you don’t learn from your own recipes you’re doing it wrong amirite? I then dusted some corn starch on the chicken just to have a bit of crispiness on the meat. If you choose to swap in some firm tofu it would be perfectly fine and dusting it with some corn starch would help with an outer crunch as well!

Thai_Curry_Chicken - Chicken

Once everything is ready to go in, put a pot or wok on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the canola oil once the pan is hot to avoid sticking, and once it’s hot throw in your garlic, ginger, onions, and (completely optional!) Thai chili.

Thai_Green_Curry_Chicken_onions

Once it starts to get a bit golden, throw in the green curry paste. Make sure to stir quickly as it may stick to the bottom of the pan. If it does a bit too much, just lower the heat!

Thai_Green_Curry_Paste

After the curry paste gets infused with the onions and garlic, add in your choice of protein and the bay leafs. Stir until the chicken looks crispy and well cooked through.

Thai_Green_Curry_Chicken

Almost done! Now pour in your coconut milk and hot chicken broth. Note! That not all coconut milks are made equal. Some are thicker than others and it can change the consistency of your curry. The can I bought was fairly thick so I used a bit less than half the can. I also just always use bouillon cubes instead of boxed chicken broth – it’s cheaper and lighter to carry from the grocery store so it works for me! Let the coconut milk and broth boil for about 5 minutes to get the curry to thicken.

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If you feel like there isn’t enough liquid in your curry, just add water, the taste won’t change much since most of it comes from the curry paste. Once it thickens, add in the rest of your vegetables and stir for about 3 minutes for them to soften.

Thai_Green_Chicken_Curry

Finally, turn off the heat and throw in your basil & cilantro. Stir it in and you should immediately smell the difference in your curry.

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And voila you’re done making a delicious and simple green curry! Serve warm with some jasmine rice.

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INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store


Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
1 Orange Bell Pepper ($1.02)
Garlic – $0.88/100g
Ginger – $0.43/100g
75 g Red Hot Thai Chili Peppers ($3.99)
1 Broccoli crown ($0.99)
1 bunch of Cilantro ($2.49)
3 Lbs of Yellow onions ($2.00)
400 g Mae Ploy Thai Green Curry Paste ($2.49) – $0.62/100g
3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00
1 can of Coconut Milk – $0.99
900ml Chicken Broth – $1.49
Aurora Chicken Bouillon Mix – $1.19
20 g of Dried Bay Leaves – $4.49

Fresh Chicken Summer Rolls

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Summer rolls are my go-to quick meals in the summertime and occasionally in the Winter when I want a light but filling meal. They can be packed full of your favourite veggies, proteins, herbs, and always be delicious. Though a lot of people know what summer rolls are – it seems a lot of people also don’t seem to realize how easy (and cheap!) they are to make!

In most restaurants, two of these wraps can go for $5-6. It’s a lot more cost saving (and fun) to be making these at home! Try to go through this recipe and see if it becomes a staple for your own hot summer days.


INGREDIENTS & COSTS FOR 6 WRAPS
TAKES 30 MINUTES, SERVES 2

1/4 of a package of thin vermicelli noodles ($0.49)
6 Rice Paper Wraps ($0.39)
1 Carrot ($0.16)
1/3 Cucumber ($0.66)
6 Romaine Lettuce Leaves ($0.30)
1/2 cup of fresh Basil (Thai Basil if you can find it!) ($0.49)

FOR THE PROTEIN: (You can use any protein you’d like, ex: substitute chicken with 1/2 block of Tofu)

1 Chicken breast ($2.33)
1 Tsp Corn Starch ($0.01)
2 Tsp Soya Sauce – 1 for marinade, 1 for sautéing ($0.02)
1 Tsp Ginger ($0.01)
1 garlic clove ($0.02)
1 scallion ($0.09)
1 Tbs Canola Oil ($0.05)
1 Thai Chili Pepper (Optional)

Total Cost = $5.02* – $0.83 each!

Compared to the $5-6 for 2 at restaurants! For the amount you make – its comparing $5.00 to $15.00-$18.00! That’s a great trade off.

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

The very first thing you should do is boil a small pot of water for your vermicelli noodles. I personally think the texture of the noodles is the most important part of these wraps, they should never be wet and soggy! While the water boils, gather all your ingredients!

ingredients-summer-rolls-fresh-healthy

Preparing your protein should be the next step. Chop the green onions then mince the garlic, ginger, and Thai chili if you opted for it to be spicy! Next slice your protein (I used chicken), then add in the cornstarch and soy sauce. Mix it all together!

By now your water should be boiled. Add in the 1/4 package of vermicelli noodles. Lower the heat to medium and cook the noodles for about 2 minutes. Once the noodles look cooked, drain and rinse using a sift. Try to squeeze are much water out as possible and cool the noodles in the fridge. Putting the noodles in the fridge allows it dry out a bit more and allows it to have a great texture!

chicken-ingredients-rolls

Once your protein ingredients are ready, set a pan on the stove at medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and wait for it to heat. Once heated, add in the ginger. As soon as it gets aromatic, add in the protein. Stir for about 2 minutes and wait for the chicken (or your choice of protein) to cook through. Once it does, add in the green onions, garlic, soy sauce, and chili. Now stir quickly for another 30 seconds and take it off the heat. Set it aside.

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Now that your protein is set, start cutting up your veggies! I chose the julienne most of the vegetables so it’s easy to fit into the wraps.

chopped-vegetables

Once your veggies are ready, you can now start making your wraps! Take the noodles out of the fridge and shake them up a bit so they pull apart.

Take a large flat bottom pan or bowl (wide enough to fit the rice paper) and fill it with warm tap water. Grab a couple paper towels and put them next to the pan, you’ll be using these to dry the rice wraps! Put a rice paper wrap in the warm water and wait for it to get soft – it shouldn’t take more than 1 minute. Once it does, take it out and try to shake off as much water as possible, then dry it on the paper towels. This allows it to stick and hold better as your make your roll! Place the wrap on a cutting board or a flat surface and start filling!

summer-rolls-healthy-instructions-copyThe easiest way to wrap is to pull up the bottom half, then the side of the wrap, and then roll it up. And there you have it! In less than 30 minutes and 5 dollars, you have a wonderfully light but filling, healthy lunch for two!

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These wraps can be further enjoyed with sriracha, hoisin sauce, and especially my All Purpose Thai Peanut Sauce! I can’t recommend that enough, it’s just wonderful.

This recipe can be gluten free if you substitute the soy sauce used in the protein to a GF soy sauce!

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Enjoy! And any feedback is 100% appreciated.


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) receipt, weekly flyer, and their website, as well as my Farmboy receipt.

Pack of 4 Chicken Breasts – $9.33
500 g No Name 100% Pure Corn Starch ($2.29) – $0.46/100g
500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
Garlic – $0.88/100g
Ginger – $0.43/100g
Romaine Lettuce – $1.50
3 Lbs Carrots – $2.00
1 Cucumber – $1.50
Basil – $1.99
400 g package of Thin Vermicelli Noodles – $1.99
Six Fortune Rice Paper Wraps – $2.99(comes with 45-50 papers)

Ginger Scallion Noodles

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If I could eat every meal at David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar I would. Unfortunately that’s not the reality so I decided to do my best to recreate one of his simple noodle bowls at his restaurant! I adapted the recipe from his Momofuku cookbook to contain ingredients that you won’t have to travel far for, and all can be done within 10 minutes!

Once you master this noodle bowl, it’ll become a staple easy lunch I promise!


Ginger Scallion Noodles

Ingredients & Costs

  • 1/4 of a package of wheat noodles ($0.42)
  • 1 tbs Ginger ($0.03)
  • 1 garlic clove ($0.02)
  • 2 scallions ($0.18)
  • 1½ tbs Canola Oil ($0.075)
  • ½ tbs Rice Vinegar ($0.09)
  • 1½ tsp Soy Sauce ($0.03)
  • ½ tsp Salt ($0.01)
  • 1 Thai Chili Pepper (Optional)
  • Total Cost = $0.85*

    Compared to the $8-10 at noodle bars!

    *Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

    Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


    DIRECTIONS

    First you should note that the noodles in the recipe are everything! The cookbook highly recommends you use fresh ramen noodles, I just ended up using fresh wheat noodles that you can get at any Chinese grocery store in Chinatown! They’re always my go-to noodle for small bowls and soups.

    Wheat-noodles-thin.jpg

    One package can definitely be enough for 3-4 people, so I only use a quarter of the package for a small bowl for my lunch!

    First things first, mince your ginger and garlic as small as you can! Ideally, if you have a food processor, you can toss them in there. Cut your scallions so they are about 1 1/2 inches long and slice vertically. Adding the Thai chili pepper is completely optional, I just love to have heat to any noodles I eat! While doing this, put a pot of water on the stove.

    ginger-scallion-noodles-vegetables

    Once everything is chopped up, grab a small bowl and pour in the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, all the veggies, and mix!

    ginger-scallion-noogles-mix

    By now your water should be boiling, toss in your noodles and they should be ready within 1 minute! While waiting, use a small pan and pour your ginger mixture in. As soon as it gets aromatic, wait 15 seconds and take it off the heat. Once your noodles are ready, drain, rinse, and toss it into the pan with the heated mixture.

    Mix the noodles in with the sauce and your noodles are ready within seconds!

    Feel free to add in extra sides at the end (ex. Kimchi, pickled cucumbers, pickled cabbage, etc) it’ll all taste yummy!

    ginger-scallion-noodles1

    And that is one of the easiest lunches you can make! And all for under $1!

    Hope you enjoy it, any feedback & comments are definitely appreciated 🙂


    INGREDIENT COSTS

    I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) weekly flyer and their website, and a local Chinese grocery store

    1 Lb of Shanghai Fresh Wheat Noodles ($1.69)
    355 ml Seasoned Rice Vinegar ($4.59) – $1.29/100ml
    500 ml Rooster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
    Garlic – $0.88/100g
    Ginger – $0.43/100g
    946 ml No Name Brand Canola Oil ($4.19) – $0.44/100ml
    1kg Windsor Table Salt ($1.69) – $0.17/100g
    1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)