On My Kitchen Table: Vegetable Fettucine Alfredo With Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Mushroom Alfredo Sauce

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It’s been awhile since I last posted photos of my mum’s home cooking, so I figured I’d try my best to get in at least one more post before the sun really starts setting early.  I’ve come to the realization that if I want to take photos of my mum’s cooking, I can only do so during the spring and summer months with the exception being weekend breakfasts.  If I’ve learned anything over the past year writing this blog, it is that I absolutely HATE using flash on my camera, I HATE the yellow glow that my kitchen light casts on everything in photos, and chasing the sun does not always result in the nicest photographs.  Taking 10 photos resulting in only one nice one and cursing about it later also does not help. 

Okay, so I took away more than one nugget of knowledge over the past year, but I’m not lying when I say that I can’t take any more photos of home cooked dinners after September.  By the time I get home, wash up, put away my things, and head on down to our kitchen table, I’m already squinting and reaching for the lightswitch.  And I know other food bloggers who face the same dilemma!  How did I manage to post so many photos of my mum’s culinary endeavours last winter then when I first started the blog?  Here’s a secret: they were all “backlog” photos, meaning I had a stockpile of photos I had saved for months, even before I went live with the blog.  Aside from some of the scrapbooking, I don’t talk about “behind-the-scenes” stuff much (maybe I should?!), but this was definitely one of the ways I prepared weeks, even months, in advance before Ate by Ate’s launch and I’m relieved it paid off!

We had pasta night yesterday and I thank my lucky stars that my brother made the initial suggestion because, really, we don’t eat pasta as often as we’d like because of my dad’s distaste for it.  But as my mum likes to say, “it’s one meal, he can suck it up!”  She says this any and every time she wants to make pasta for the three of us or when she wants to go to Frankie Tomatto’s for some occasion or another.  Ah, marriage 😀  And funny enough, these photos are actually of my dad’s plate of pasta just before he sat down at the dinner table.  When my mum asked me why I was taking photos of his and not mine, I said, “his looks a little prettier on the plate” to which she replied, “oh…I’m sorry!”  *snort* I had a good laugh over that and told her I didn’t care how the heck mine looked; I was just grateful to be having pasta! 

Anyway, the pasta of choice was fettucine alfredo and we had ourselves a gorgeous Fall colour inspired dinner that left me in a happy food coma for the rest of the night: fettucine pasta noodles with green and yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and chopped green onions (I love green onions/scallions so much I will eat it with almost everything) with a creamy fusion of roasted red pepper and mushroom alfredo sauce.  I relish meals like this and it was the perfect meal to warm us up on a chillier day.

In less than a week, the official first day of fall – September 23rd – will be upon us and I don’t know about you, but I am so, so excited about all the fall activities going on, the cooler weather, and the anticipation of tree leaves changing colour.  I’m really hoping to get out to an apple orchard this time around (can you believe the last time I went to one was when I was 6?!) and continue getting in as many farmers’ markets visits as I can before the outdoor ones start packing up for the year.  I’m preparing SO much fun stuff for the blog and I can’t wait to unveil a fabulous Fall Food series at the end of the month!  There will be lots more details to come, but for the time being I leave you with my weekend food baby.  

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On a Cold Winter’s Night: Mum’s Ground Chicken and Ground Pork Dishes

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One of my mum’s go-to dishes when it’s frigidly cold out is lean ground meat with veggies.  It’s warm, it’s comforting, and really easy to eat as the ground meat is bite-size and therefore very conducive to the hungry shovelling method of eating! 😀  Even though I may not be vegetarian, I am anal about having vegetables with every meal (and if vegetables aren’t available, I eat fruit to supplement) and we always include plenty with the ground meat dishes. 

I’m really accustomed to eating these meat dishes with white rice, but they’re just as good with spaghetti or fettuccine noodles when used to make meat sauce, or as meat filling for tacos, pasta, or wontons.  We’ve gone the lean ground beef route for tacos and tortillas (yay taco bar!), and my grandma and I have made mixed up batches of ground pork for dumplings and wontons to steam for noodles.  Ground meat is really versatile and when seasoned with lots of yummy herbs it’s fab!

Above are two variations: ground pork with yellow bell pepper wedges and king oyster mushrooms, and ground chicken with crunchy chopped celery.  To marinate the meat, my mum will use a bit of corn starch, chopped or minced garlic, black pepper, dry basil flakes, chopped parsley, and either lemon juice or lime juice.  To cut down on sodium, we avoid using salt or soy sauce and opt for herbs and spices instead to flavour the meat.  Marinate for a few hours and you’re good to go!  It’s the coldest weekend of the winter so far, so I hope everyone is staying warm, having some good eatss, and having a good weekend 🙂