Parmesan and spinach Risotto

Risotto was made out to me to be quick and simple, but it was anything but that. I really found risotto to be very challenging and a very hands on dish to make. I have never made anything like Risotto, a cheesy Italian rice. I watched many videos in how to make risotto because I had no experience in it and one of my biggest take aways, that became really helpful in my cooking was that once you add the arborio rice to the oil you must wait until you hear the rice “clicking.” Once I heard these clicks, I knew that I was okay to start adding my wine. I used the wine the recipe had called for, but I was worried that the alcohol wouldn’t reduce enough and we would have a strong alcoholic taste. Luckily the wine taste reduced down when I started adding the chicken broth and the risotto started coming together! I felt that the rice was turning out to be watery and not creamy enough, until I added the cheese which really brought out the desired creaminess. I personally do not love the taste of parmesan, so the rice was not my favourite dish to eat. My family on the other hand really enjoyed the rice as they are big fans of cheese. I rate this dish a 2/5 as I feel it does not have much nutrition to it and I did not like the flavours at all. I probably won’t make the risotto again, unless my family would like to eat it again.

Gluten free Waffles

For my fourth home lab, I made gluten free waffles which I served with bacon. I chose this recipe because my mom cannot eat gluten so I decided to make a recipe that she could enjoy! Making gluten free waffles is just like making normal waffles, but using gluten free flour. I used my waffle iron to make the waffles, which gave them the light and fluffy texture desired. both leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder) were present in this recipe, which help it rise and take its big round shape. Something I had to be careful with was how hot the waffle iron got and how that heat made it difficult to get the waffles out of the iron. Because the waffles were missing the gluten which makes them elasticly and holds everything together, I was struggling with getting the waffles out of the iron in one piece. The waffles fell apart super easily and it made them hard to present. Making gluten free waffles from scratch and not from a mix makes them taste the exact same as normal waffles, just a slightly different texture. My mom really liked how they turned out and said that “they were some of the best gluten free waffles” that she had ever eaten! I also really enjoyed the waffles and rated them a 3/5, just because they didn’t stay together so well and had a different texture than im used to. I will not be making the waffles for myself again because I like regular flour but I will definitely make them for my mom again!:)

Chicken Stir Fry

For my third home cooking assignment, I made a chicken stir fry served over rice. This is a dish my mom often makes for me on dance nights, because its easy and hits many of the food groups. Some safety in this lab was knife and stovetop. Another thing to be cautious with when cooking chicken is any cross contamination. To start my stir fry I made sure my chicken was completely cooked through. I had onions, carrots, pepper, broccoli and snow peas in my stir fry. Once I was certain my chicken had no pink, I added my veggies starting with the onions, cooking them in the sweet stir fry sauce I made from scratch. I needed to make sure that the veggies were tender enough to eat, which called for cooking them in the sauce for quite some time. A big skill used with this meal is patience when waiting for the veggies to reach the right texture. The sauce was simple and its product standards were to be sweet and flavourful. I served my stir fry over rice, which is the most common way to serve it, which makes it a super colourful dish with all the veggies contrasting with the white of the rice. This was a super easy meal to prep and make and would be a great one for any busy week night! I rate this a 5/5 because of the authentic asian flavours and how balanced it was. I will for sure be making it again!

Greek Week!

When we started foods class I was so looking forward to greek week at school! Making greek at home was still a great experience for my cooking abilities, but I know at school it would’ve been so much better! This was definitely the most challenging foods lab I’ve done yet. I made all 6 dishes in one day, where at school we make it over the course of a week. It was very stressful for me having so many dishes on the go at one time, but I managed and made a delicious meal for my family. For the greek meal made Chicken Souvlaki, roasted potatoes, Tzatziki sauce, Greek salad, homemade pita bread and Kourabiedes for desert. I started my process in the morning, making the chicken and letting it marinate all day in its sauce. I then made my pita dough so I could let it sit and rise for the day. I then made the Kourabiedes, which are a Mexican style christmas cookie. The cookies were a easy recipe and did not take much time at all to make. Once all the my “prep work” was done, I started the harder stuff. I started my potatoes in the late afternoon, which were a relatively easy recipe, but I was worried all the flavours I desired wouldn’t come through once I baked them! Once the potatoes were in the oven, I started my Chicken souvlaki. I decided to do my chicken on skewers like I always have them at My Greek Restaurant. I Put my chicken in with the potatoes, and started the easier things; cooking the pitas, greek salad and tzatziki. The last hour of cooking I was really juggling putting the finishing touch on everything and making sure it was all staying warm. I realized how much work I put in to the meal once it was all set on the table. The different colours of the dishes was so beautiful, and because your eyes eat first, I was sooo excited to Dig in! My meal was absolutely amazing. All the greek flavours really came through in each dish, especially the tzatziki and potatoes, which were my favourite parts of the meal. The homemade pitas were 100x better than the store bought ones, and ally family members agreed with that. I rated this a 5/5 and will definitely be making it again. It was such a wholesome meal having everything made from scratch and was something I was so proud to serve my family:)

Chocolate Lava Cake

This week I made a delicious and simple desert, the chocolate lava cake. Chocolate lava cakes are basically flour-less cake, consisting of butter, chocolate and sugar. My cake was super rich with a liquidy, melty centre. This was my first time making chocolate lava cake, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was! Presentation is a huge factor when serving these cakes, as the cake itself is pretty plain looking, so you must dress it up! I challenged myself to creatively decorate my cake so it looked nicely presentable. I garnished the cake with a chocolate covered strawberry, sifted powdered sugar and a smear of chocolate ganache sauce I also made. Another challenge I had was working with only 1 ramekin, so I had to alternate baking each cake. I ate one of my cakes (which was amazing!) and I brought the other one to my best friend. She loved the cake as well and described it to be “magical” “rich” and that it “melted in her mouth.” Some safety needed in this lab were; oven and electric mixer. I rated this a 5/5 as it was just as good as the lava cakes from Cactus Club, which is my favourite desert! I will totally be making this again as it is so simple and something impressive to serve when having people over!

Chicken Supreme

For home cooking lab number six, I decided to make a meal that brought my family comfort food, a meal which consisted of chicken supreme, roasted sweet potatoes And roasted carrots.For dessert for this meal, I made my own cookies and cream ice cream. For the entirety of my meal, the safety I needed was for Lab was the oven, electric mixer, knife and the food processor. My biggest goal for this lab, was to successfully make the ice cream, as it was a new process to me! The chicken supreme recipe is something that has been passed down from my grandmother, and it basically is chicken marinated in a sour cream mixture and breaded in Panko bread crumbs. For the chicken I had to keep in mind my families dietary concerns, so I made a gluten-free batch and a regular batch. The roasted sweet potatoes and carrots were fairly easy, but roasting sweet potatoes i was challenged in seasoning them perfectly. The ice cream for dessert was a lengthy process, this is the most challenging part for me as I’ve never made a frozen dessert before and I wanted to make sure the cream didn’t turn into ice, but it froze in a way that it was creamy and soft but not solid. Something to keep in mind when cleaning up during this lab is the cross contamination with raw chicken. in this lab I got to put my knife skills to test when I was cutting the sweet potatoes into cubes that were similar size and shape. My chicken cooked to perfection and super flavourful. Overall every aspect of my meal met product standards and I have already made this exact meal again since I made it for my home lab! This lab is definitely one of the hardest I’ve done yet, as I was working with recipes and ingredients that I’ve never worked with before. A success for me and this lab was achieving the product standards of ice cream. I rate this meal a 5/5 and I would totally recommend this as a great meal when you are looking for comfort food!:)

Breakfast home lab

For my breakfast Home lab I made croissants, a tropical smoothie, and a traditional wife saver breakfast casserole. My meal was very inspired by my family‘s Christmas morning. For Christmas we always have wife saver casserole and croissants, So I decided to try it out for myself. Between all the dishes, my lab required oven, grater, knife and blender safety. To start I made my wife saver casserole a day earlier than I was going to serve it. The wife saver casserole is really unique, As it is an egg casserole with ham, cheese, bread and corn flakes. I had to do step one of this lab the night before I was going to serve it, which was soaking the bread in the egg so it would cook perfectly in the morning. Having this prep On the casserole the night before made everything so much easier on the day I was serving my meal. The next morning I added the ham and cheese and corn flake layer to my Casserole, and popped it in the oven. While my casserole was in the oven, I started my smoothie. This movie was a tropical smoothie, with a relatively easy recipe, that resulted in a sweet and tasty product. Once my casserole out of the oven and my croissant dough had risen enough, I popped the croissants in the oven and bake them until they were flaky and crispy on the outside. All of my dishes that contributed to making this meal hit their product standards. My wife saver casserole had to texture on each different layer, it was flavourful, and was golden brown. My croissants had flaky layers, Were golden brown and tasted buttery. My smoothie was well blended, was sweet and fairly thick. Throughout the lab I made sure I maintain a clean kitchen and I washed all the dishes after cooking. A skill you need to make this meal is time management and organization as you have lots of things cooking at the same time. That was the biggest challenge for me, making sure I had everything prepped and ready to go so I could place it in the oven. I would definitely make this meal again as it honoured my family’s Christmas morning tradition and it was super delicious. I rated this a 4.5 out of five, as the smoothie didn’t go super well with the other dishes, but it was still delicious! I loved my choice of recipes and so did my family:)

Butter chicken

For my 5th Home cooking lab, I decided to make a family favorite, butter chicken. My family has always loved butter chicken ever since we got into it a couple years ago at a wedding, but we have never actually made it ourselves. I decided I would attempt this traditional Indian dish at a time when my family could use some comfort food. Butter chicken is a relatively easy recipe but it requires a lot of taste and seasoning. This lab required Stove top and knife safety. I would say butter chicken is a fairly healthy meal, as it has a grain, a meat and vegetables. This dish is a healthy dinner or lunch food because it is so balanced, with the chicken and chick peas for meat and alternatives, rice as a grain, onions, tomato sauce as Vegetables. It is a balanced meal that leaves you very full. I found this recipe is super difficult, just because I was working with spices that I had never worked with before, and cooking dishes from a culture I have never been super immersed in. Lots of what I worked with I was not sure what it tasted like on its own and how much to add so it would be perfectly seasoned. I had to follow a recipe that gave me super exact measurements on all the spices, just so I could make sure our butter chicken was perfect. The butter chicken turned out amazing, it was perfectly seasoned, the chicken and chickpeas were cooked to perfection, and all the flavours came to life. My family was so happy when they found out I was making butter chicken for dinner, as it is one of everyone’s favourite food and it brought so much joy to everyone in such a hard time. My family and I agreed that we would definitely make this dish again and rated it a five out of five. If you were looking for a balanced recipe, that is super filling and has a variety of flavours in it, butter chicken is for you! 🙂

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes at home!

For one of my labs in quarantine, I decided To make a sweet dessert for my mom, that fit her dietary restrictions. My mom is a coeliac and is not able to eat many different foods, hence why I made such a plain dessert, the gluten free vanilla cupcake! To go along with the cupcake I made a basic buttercream icing. The safety for this lab was oven safety an electric mixer safety. These cupcakes were not the most nutritious, As they have a high sugar content, to hide the texture and taste of the gluten-free flour. Gluten-free flour is often very grainy and has a distinct taste to it, which can ruin the experience of you eating a cupcake. Because these cupcakes were missing the gluten, which often helps pastries and don’t rise, I was really worried that the cupcakes were not going to rise. The product standards of a cupcake is to be soft and moist, golden brown, small peak, and to have a smooth top. I believe that I met product standards, and luckily my cupcakes did rise as they had to leavening agents in them, baking soda and baking powder. The process of making the cupcake was pretty easy as I have made cupcakes in the past but I have never worked with gluten-free flour so it was a new sort of process for me. During the process of making the cupcake I was cleaning up and making sure my kitchen stayed organized. I believe my process was very steady and organized and because Of my organization the products turned out. I did not get to try these cupcakes, as I made them for my mom, but my mom has tried tons of gluten-free desserts and she said that these were some of the best cupcakes she had ever eaten that were gluten-free! My mom said that she would definitely have me make these cupcakes for her again and that she rated them a 5/5!

Chicken Delight

For my second Home cooking lab, I made chicken delight. This recipe is really special to me as my nana used to make it and then she passed the recipe on to my mom, and now I am making it! This recipe is something totally strange that you would never think would work, but it has been in my family for decades now and we make it all the time! This was my first time actually making this recipe that I have been eating since I was super young and I had no idea how weird it was. For this dish I oven baked in the chicken in a sauce that consists of three ingredients. For me I had no idea how weird and easy this sauce would be as it consists of Ketchup, honey and soya sauce. The chicken in the sauce was super easy to make and I served it with rice, steamed carrots and steamed broccoli. Surprisingly the challenge for me in this lab was cooking the rice. I always have troubles cooking rice as it often burns when I make it because I never add enough water. This time, my mom was home to help me so she helped me add the perfect amount of water and left the rest of the cooking to me. My rice didn’t burn for the first time, which was a huge success for me. When I took my chicken out of the oven I could smell the sweet sauce I have known for so long and I was so excited to eat it. This classic dish in my family brought so much joy to everyone when I served it on the table. The chicken was super tender and juicy, and the sauce thick and sweet (just how its supposed to be.) Normally we serve the chicken with potatoes, but I decided to serve it on rice and it was even better than on potatoes! I LOVE this meal and so did my family, and I can’t wait to keep making it and hopefully pass the recipe down to my kids some day. 🙂