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.

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:)

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!:)

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! 🙂

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. 🙂

Creamy Herb Chicken

For my first home cooking lab I made creamy herb chicken. I served this dish with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, steamed carrots and steamed broccoli. I tried to make a balance meal, that would appeal to all members of my family, as we all have different dietary concerns. I cooked the chicken in a sauce and the recipe for the sauce was very simple, with it only consisting of garlic, corn starch, milk, parsley and a variety of herbs and spices. To cook the chicken, I pan fried it until it was cooked all the way through and then I used the same pan to make the sauce. This sauce seemed like it would be easy to make as the recipe was so simple, but once I started making it I realized it completely relies on me “tasting to season!” The sauce needed to be super flavourful, with rosemary and thyme coming through strongly and not being overpowered by the garlic. I tasted and seasoned many times, until I felt the sauce was perfect. I did not use a recipe for the garlic mashed potatoes, so I was really worried about the garlic flavour being too strong, but my mom was in the kitchen with me, helping me “wing” the mashed potatoes! My vegetables turned out delicious and really balanced out the meal. I made this meal the first night my older sister was out of her 2 week travel quarantine, as she lives in New York and flew home so she was quarantined for 2 weeks upon her travel. This was the first family meal we had and it was so amazing to be surrounded by ALL the people I love and a delicious meal. This meal symbolized me welcoming my sister home. My family loved all the flavours in the chicken and how all the different dishes of the meal tied together so well. I rated this a 5/5 and would definitely make it again:)

Mexican Rice

For my favourite lab so far we made some delicious Mexican rice! This lab was inspired by our guest chef from LaSelle College, who demoed the rice the day before we made it. This dish was full of so many flavours and fresh ingredients, which made it so amazing to eat. This dish is meant to be super flavourful and have “layers” of flavours, so the biggest challenge for me was to make sure I could bring all those flavours out. A super important step is to “season to taste” multiple times during the lab, to make sure you aren’t missing any flavours and that the flavours coming through. This dish was something super different from everything we’ve made before as it was a super cultural dish, using new flavours and ingredients from our other labs. I absolutely loved this dish, as the ingredients were so fresh and all the delicious flavours made it so enjoyable to eat and because of that I rated it 5/5 stars! I have made this dish 2 times for my family and they loved it as well. Something amazing about this dish is the fact that it is so balanced, with beans for your meat and alternatives, rice for grains and multiple vegetables. This makes a perfect lunch or dinner food, especially when having company over!