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Food Journal

Pesto Pappardelle Recipe

pesto pappardelle

I love pasta. More than pizza in fact. Whenever hubby gets pizza cravings, I immediately check what pasta options there are. When my latest Try the World box arrived a few weeks ago, it had products hailing from Italy. As expected, pasta ingredients were in there, so it wasn’t a surprise to find a Pasta recipe inside the box. My hand immediately started itching to cook some delicious pasta.

The recipe was for Pesto Pappardelle. The recipe called for some ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls). I didn’t find any in our supermarket, so I opted to use some mozzarella sticks, which I grated on the pasta before serving.

This recipe serves 2.


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 jar pesto sauce
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1 package pappardelle
  • 1 cup ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls)


  1. Heat a large skillet over moderate heat and add butter. When butter is melted, add peas and cook for 2 minutes. Then mix in the jar of pesto sauce.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add package of pappardelle and cook until al dente, for about 4-5 minutes, then drain.
  3. Add the cooked pappardelle to the pesto and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Distribute into 2 serving bowls and add 1 cup of ciliegine (or grated mozzarella). Serve, and enjoy!


  • Save some cooking water to stir into the pesto. It loosens the sauce while helping it adhere to the pasta.
  • For added flavor, use some truffle zest or truffle sauce on the pasta. Don’t use too much as too much truffle can overwhelm any dish.
Food Journal

Oven Cooked Turkey Legs Recipe

Oven Cooked Turkey Legs

I remembered this large turkey leg my husband and I bought during Calgary Stampede a few years ago. It was one big meaty leg. It was so big, my husband and I had our fill for it during dinner.

I crave for that cooked leg. Unfortunately, we don’t have a deep fryer at home to fry it in. We also don’t have a grill to barbecue it on. And I’m not a fan of barbecuing. I like eating the barbecued stuff but I’m not good at barbecuing or grilling. I can’t stand cooking for too long with that smoke all around me.

Thank goodness for the good ol’ oven. I figured that I could cook the turkey legs the same way one can cook a while Turkey during Thanksgiving. The good thing about this decision is you use ingredients on a smaller scale.

So please check out my recipe for Oven Cooked Turkey Legs.


1 clove of garlic, sliced
2 turkey legs
6 tbsps butter
salt to taste
1 cup chicken stock, or as needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse the turkey legs and pat dry.
  2. Stand the turkey legs upright (as if the turkey were standing). Press a knife downward into the deep tissue, creating 2 or 3 long pockets. Press slices of garlic into each opening.
  3. Pull back the skin on the legs. Rub turkey legs with half of the butter, and season with a little salt.
  4. Put the skin back into place, rub with more butter, and season lightly with salt. Then lay the legs in a roasting pan.
  5. Pour the chicken stock into the roasting pan. Put in remaining butter into the chicken stock.
  6. Roast uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  7. Add more chicken stock or water if needed while roasting, and baste every 30 minutes with the stock.
  8. Once cooked, transfer legs onto a plate. Then serve.
  9. Should you prefer, you can make gravy out of the stock left in the roasting pan.

You can use cut celery stalks in replacement of garlic, to press through cut thigh pockets.

The process is easy. It’s the waiting time that kills especially when your whole house smells like turkey. 😀

Any oven-baked recipes you want to share? Just put it in the comments below.

Food Journal

Beef Stew Recipe

Beef Stew recipe

Besides chicken soup, beef stew is another recipe that is perfect for a cold day. Especially once you get home after combating the almost -30 F cold. Once you step into your home’s threshold, you are embraced by the warmth and smell of cooking stew. The atmosphere just screams of “home” doesn’t it?

Serves 2.


  • 1/2 pound boneless chuck steak, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch lenghts
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
  • salt and pepper


  1. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or lrage, flameproof casserole dish over high heat.
  3. When the oil begins to smoke, add the steak and cook while stirring frequently for 5-8 minutes, or until well-browned. Then transfer cooked meat to a bowl using slotted spoon.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until translucent.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook while stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Beat in 1 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up all the sediment from the bottom of the pot.
  7. Stir in the remaining stock and the carrots, celery, ketchup, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and 1 tsp of salt. Return the steak to the pot.
  8. Bring back the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour.
  9. Add the potatoes, replace the lid, and simmer for additional 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium, stirring occasionally for another 30 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
  11. If the stew becomes too thick, add a little more stock or water.
  12. After cooking, let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

The house smells divine cooking this thing! Try it!

Food Journal

Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pies

I recently purchased a photo cookbook titled Cook Visualize the Perfect Plate. It has now become my favorite cookbook-slash-coffee table book in the house. What I like about the book is it gives you step-by-step photographs of each recipe, guiding your cooking experience to near perfection of what to expect in each step. It’s a dilemma I encounter sometimes with photo-absent recipes when you have no idea of you are doing the steps correctly.

This is the first recipe I tried from the book. It came out perfect and delicious. The only non-perfect aspect of my chicken pot pie were my dough crimps. Have to practice on that. But oh, I was just so happy to successfully cook anything with pie crust from scratch. 😀

Serves 2.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups cold chicken stock
  • 3 tbsps butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pound skinless, boness chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 sheet of store-bought rolled dough pie crusts
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook over medium heat. Stir frequently for 8 minutes until golden.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, and half the stock into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender.
  4. While the pot is simmering, melt the butter in another large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the remaining stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until thick.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the vegetable mixture. Add the chicken peas, and thyme.
  6. Simmer everything continuously for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, if needed. Divide the mixture among large ramekins (individual ceramic dishes). For this recipe, we used 2 ramekins.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out 2 circles, each 1 inch larger than the diameter of the ramekins.
  8. Place the pie dough circles on top of the filling, then crimp the edges. Cut a small cross in the center of each circle.
  9. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
  11. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

How about you, what is your Chicken Pot Pie recipe? Do share!

Food Journal

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot Experience

mongolian hotpot, our orders

This morning had been full of errands, consisting of cashing a cheque, grocery shopping in two supermarkets, dropping hubby’s coat at Stich It for some tailoring and dry cleaning, hubby getting a haircut, and me going gaga over some live crabs at T&T Asian supermarket.

It is no problem for us to have so many errands. The killer was the chilly wind blasts that stung our faces. It hurt really bad!

To reward our productive day, by lunchtime, hubby and I went to Mongolian Hotpot in Pacific place. It was a first for us to dine in a Hotpot (or “shabu-shabu”, as what we call it in our homeland) restaurant during winter here in Calgary. What better way to beat the cold but with flavorful broth and myriad of food choices.

Mongolian Hotpot Interiors
It was warm, spacious, and cozy. A perfect refuge against the winter cold.

Hubby and I found the interiors to be inviting and warm. The minimalistic structure is accentuated tastefully with geometric decorations on the wall, abstract paintings, and some framed photos. The place isn’t a grand pose of some high-class luxury by any means, but the comfort of its atmosphere makes it feel like it is one. We felt very sorry leaving the premises after our meal when we felt the blast of cold air mercilessly hitting our faces on our way back to the car. “Back to reality”, hubby says. Bahumbug.

And may I say their washroom is divine. It is very clean and fresh-smelling when we used it. And we want to say thank you to our asian server (I forgot to get her name, drats!), who was very helpful with giving us intructions how to go about doing our first order in the restaurant. Without her help, we might have ordered more than we could eat.

Mongolian Hotpot's secret special broth
Mongolian Hotpot’s secret special broth

Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot boasts of its soup bases from their own secret recipe consisting of freshest ingredients featuring up to 36 different herbs and spices. The broth is aromatic and flavorful and is decorated with ingredients such as goji berries, jujubes, black cardamon pods, ginseng, garlic, and herbs. This is a broth that works with anything you put in it, may it be meat, vegetables, dimsum, and sauces.

There is a spicy variant for their broth for those who wants some kick into their meal. You can order both broth variants, which will be served in a metal bowl divided in the middle. A cheaper way to do this is to order the house broth, then get as many chili oil or sauce from the sauce bar to mix your own spicy broth in your own serving bowl.

Mongolian Hotpot Guide
They even provide suggestions at your table. Perfect for new customers like us.

The best thing about hot pots is the freedom of creating your own meal. You can order anything ala carte, but we chose the other route, which is you have to pay $20+/adult for an eat-all-you-can-eat hotpot choices. That way, we didn’t have to conscious of the number of items we order and just enjoy the experience.

our mongolian hotpot orders
We took something from each category of their menu. Appetizer, Meat, Seafood, Side Dish, Meat Ball, Dumpling & Wonton, Vegetables, Noodle, and Drinks. Oh, we didn’t order any Tofu. Too bad.

Here are what we ordered together with our broth:

– 2 orders Szechuan Style Kimchi
– 10 pcs of Lamb Shoulder Slices
– 10 pcs Fatty Beef Slices
– 4 Luncheon Pork Pieces
– 4 Mussel Pieces
– 2 Pork Livers
– 4 Quail Eggs
– 8 Shrimp Ball Pieces
– 8 Veggie & Pork Dumpling Pieces
– Spinach Leaves
– Green Leaf Lettuce
– 4 Orders of Rice Vermicelli
– 1 Bowl of Steamed Rice
– 2 Iced Lemon Tea (Free Refills)

Mongolian Hotpot Sauces
(Clockwise, starting from the yellow sauce at top left: Garlic Oil, Soy Sauce, Chili Oil, Cilantro, and Chili Paste.

Much credit is given to their sauce bar. You can take as much as you want to season your hotpot orders with. I was surprised to find Peanut Butter there too, but I wasn’t too keen to trying it. I do eat Peanut Butter. I just don’t go gaga over it like others.

The Verdict

Hubby continuously says he wants to go back. I’m glad to hear that since it isn’t always he says that after eating at a restaurant. He has this principle that once he tries a new place, he’d rather go to a new one than return to a restaurant. I’m the opposite. So hearing him being adamant about returning to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot placed a smile on my face. That means I don’t have to work much on persuading him to return to this restaurant. Haha.

Our meal was so good I forgot one important thing… dessert. I always have dessert at the end of each meal. Good thing I bought some ensaymada from the Asian supermarket. Thus, I made it an entry to my #1000papercranes challenge. I forgot to have a crane with our Hotpot because I was to hungry and excited to remember.

Espesyal Mamon

When I saw the word Mamon and the brand Jackn’Jill, I remembered home. <3 Cheers to Asian and Mongolian flavors!

Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot

Calgary, AB
999 36 Street NE Unit 100A
Calgary, AB T2A 7X6
(403) 475-6889

Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00am-11.00pm

Food Journal

Slow Cooked Pot Roast for Dinner

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I don’t get busy. Whenever I foresee myself being too busy the whole day to cook, I rely on my slow cooker for a scrumptious dinner. This way I don’t have to monitor the meat while it’s cooking the whole day. As an added bonus, the house smells like Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t love that smell right?

So for dinner, here is a recipe for a Slow Cooker Pot Roast.


  • 1 (5-6 lbs) boneless pork loin roast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, slivered
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Rub pork roast with salt and pepper.
  2. Make tiny slits in meat and insert slivers of garlic.
  3. Put 1 sliced onion in bottom of stoneware.
  4. Add pot roast, remaining onion, and other ingredients.
  5. Cook and cover on Low 10-12 hours (5-6 hours if cooking on High).


  • For additional browning, broil pork loin before slow cooker. Place roast in broiler pan, then broil for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain. Place in stoneware and continue as recipe directs. Or you can just brown all sides of mean in frying pan for a couple of minutes.
  • To make the sauce (Optional)
    1. When done transferring pork roast to a serving plate, get leftover sauce from crock pot.
    2. Mince some cremini mushrooms.
    3. In a small sauce pan, combine sauce and mushrooms over low heat.
    4. Dissolve 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp water (or more if necessary).
    5. Slowly add dissolved cornstarch into sauce. Continue stirring until sauce thickens.
    6. Once sauce thickens, continue stirring for a few seconds. Turn off the stove, and serve the sauce beside the pork roast.

If anyone has any other recipe variation of a slow cooked pork roast, don’t hesitate to share!