Classic Bolognese

Although it still feels like summer, and we still eat outside when it’s sunny enough, fall is definitely here – back to school time makes me crave those classic dishes from my childhood: shepherds’ pie, chili, classy chicken, and spaghetti loaded with sauce. When we start getting back into the groove of fall schedules, I like to make a habit of preparing twice (or more) as much dinner as we need, and freezing the surplus for an almost instant dinner on another night. A classic bolognese is the perfect candidate for the freezer – and makes use of fall veggies in season, like garlic, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers, if you’re inclined to add any. Or roughly chop a bunch of veggies and skip the meat altogether for a vegetarian bolognese.

This recipe is fairly small, but can be doubled or even tripled for a larger batch – or bulk it up with extra veggies and tomatoes. Often when I have overripe tomatoes I’ll toss them in the freezer whole, then add them to sauces later.

Classic Bolognese
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Ingredients
  1. olive oil, for cooking
  2. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  4. 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  5. 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 3 slices bacon or pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  7. 1 lb. lean ground beef, or half ground beef and half ground pork
  8. 1 28 oz. (798 mL) can diced or whole plum tomatoes, drained
  9. 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  10. a few basil leaves
  11. salt and pepper
  12. 1/2 cup half & half (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bacon in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the lumps of meat until no traces of pink remain. Add a splash of wine if you like, and cook until the liquid evaporates.
  2. Crush the tomatoes with a fork and add them along with the balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for half an hour to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Add the basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste, stir in the half & half and simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve over pasta with grated Parmesan cheese at the table. Serves 4-6.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Orzo Salad with Cherries and Lime Vinaigrette

Orzo Salad with Cherries and Lime Vinaigrette

We love a good picnic salad. This one is made with orzo pasta and takes full advantage of summer cherry season. Feel free to use other fresh produce if you have it — strawberries would also work well and the kernels off of a fresh ear of corn would also be a tasty addition.
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Nicole Gomes’ Apple Beer Mac & Cheese

mac & cheese
For the 2016 edition of the Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off, our friend Chef Nicole Gomes was one of four of Canada’s top chefs to battle it out with their best gourmet Mac & Cheese recipe. The contenders all look amazing, but we gave Nicole’s a try – a 5 cheese version made with a splash of beer and a unique twist: grated apples, sauteed in butter. It was delicious, of course, and fed the family very well tonight. Thanks Nicole – and thanks Canadian cheese!

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Best Seafood Lasagne

A Best of Bridge favorite! Serves 8 – 10 and best of all it freezes well

Best Seafood Lasagne
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Ingredients
  1. 8 Lasagne noodles
  2. 2 Tbsp. butter
  3. 1 cup chopped onion
  4. 1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  5. 1 1/2 cups creamed cottage cheese
  6. 1 egg, beaten
  7. 2 Tbsp.chopped basil or 2 tsp. dried
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. 2 – 10 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup
  10. 1/3 cup milk
  11. 1/3 cup dry white wine
  12. 1 – 5 oz. can crab
  13. 1 lb. shelled deveined cooked shrimp
  14. 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  15. 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Place 4 in 9″ X 13″ pan. Cook onion in butter. Add cream cheese, cottage cheese, egg, basil, and salt and pepper.
  2. Spread 1/2 mixture over noodles. Combine soup, milk and wine. Stir in crab and shrimp. Spoon 1/2 mixture over cheese layer. Repeat all layers. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered at 350F. for 45 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese, brown under broiler and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

The beach is a place at the seashore where people lie about how rich they are in town.

Pasta with Peppers

The perfect pasta dish for a harried work week – just a few ingredients but loads of flavor

Pasta with Peppers
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Ingredients
  1. 4 peppers (use mixture of red, green and yellow)
  2. 1/3 cup olive oil
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1/2 lb. spaghettini
  5. 2 cups grated Asiago or freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cut peppers into strips. Saute in oil with garlic. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Pour pepper-oil mixture over hot pasta and toss with grated cheese. Serves 4 as a side dish.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

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Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese

Comfort Food.

Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups macaroni (625 ml)
  2. 1/4 cup butter (60 ml)
  3. 1/4 cup flour (60 ml)
  4. 2 cups milk (500 ml)
  5. 1 tsp. salt (5 ml)
  6. 1 tsp. sugar (5 ml)
  7. 1/2 lb. processed cheese, cubed (250 g)
  8. (Velveeta)
  9. 2/3 cup sour cream (150 ml)(fat free
  10. is fine)
  11. 1 1/3 cups cottage cheese (325 ml)
  12. 2 cups grated old cheddar cheese (500 ml)
  13. 1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs (375 ml)
  14. 2 Tbsp. butter (30 ml)
  15. paprika
Instructions
  1. Cook and drain macaroni and place in a 2 1/2 quart (2.5 L) greased casserole. Melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour; mix well. Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt, sugar and cheese. Mix well. Mix sour cream and cottage cheese into sauce. Pour over macaroni. Mix well. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and crumbs over top. Dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. May be frozen at this point. Bake at 350F (180C) for 45-50 minutes. Serves 6.
Notes
  1. Book Reference – The Best of the Best – Vol. 1 (Page: 145), Grand Slam (Page: 135)
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/
The face of a child can say it all – especially the mouth part of the face.