30 Minute Meal : Tortellini with a Sausage Pasta Sauce

FRUGAL MEAL TIME-SAVER THAT TASTES DELICIOUS   Italian tortellini are some of the best stuffed pasta you’ll find at the grocery store in the frozen food section for about $1.99 a bag. Tortellini is a meal that your family will love especially when you are in a pinch for time or are on a tight budget. If you are adventurous and want to make fresh tortellini they would beat out any store-bought brand but it can be a bit time consuming. Since we have a busy toddler running around and I’m working 2 jobs we’re cheating today with frozen ricotta stuffed tortellini for this 30 minute-meal. Since having our boy things have changed a bit in the kitchen which means until he is a bit older we have to compromise on some of the store-bought items that we normally would attempt to make at home. I’ve been a tortellini lover for years now because when I lived in the UK tortellini was very inexpensive to buy and fit nicely with my tight budget. What I like about tortellini is how you can bulk out the meal with meat and vegetables to stretch it. Back then I would eat tortellini about […]

Mr.CBB’s Cheesy Crock-Pot Lasagna

Crock-pot Lasagna, no way, you can’t make lasagna in a crock-pot. I’ve made beef stew, beef chili, chicken, meatballs and sauce and even Easter Dinner in the crockpot but never the mother-load of all baked meals, a lasagna. Crock-pot Crock-pot, come out come out wherever you are. I swear it took off when it overheard me saying I was going to make a lasagna in it. Even the crock-pot had some reservations about this turning out anything like the traditional oven baked Italian lasagna recipe that most people sink their mouths into. That’s what I used to think until I actually gave this a try. I used my typical oven baked lasagna recipe to create this except I didn’t have ricotta on hand so I substituted for cottage cheese to make this dish. So, sit back and enjoy the layers in this one-pot lasagna recipe!! How To Boil Lasagna Noodles No need to worry about boiling lasagna noodles with this recipe although if you opt to boil them it’s not rocket science. I would get a huge pot and fill it with water until boiling and drop in a few lasagna noodles at a time and cook until al dente (5-7 minutes), […]

Mr.CBB’s Shrimp, Rapini and Radicchio Penne Pasta In A Creamy Pesto Sauce

I’m almost sure you are licking your lips because this shrimp, rapini and radicchio penne pesto pasta is calling out your name. That or you are reading this before lunch or dinner. Have you ever wandered into the market or the grocery store and noticed different types of vegetables and fruits from around the world. You look at them and think, wow they look different, I wonder what they are and how to cook or eat them. I know you are nodding your head because we have all done it. Don’t be shy to purchase new products just because you don’t know how to prepare them. Learn about them and give it a shot like we did. The best part is you don’t have to spend money in fancy restaurants to eat this food. With a little research and patience you too can have restaurant style quality meals in your home at a fraction of the cost.  Like my mate Edward says, “If you can read, you can cook”! I’ve actually had ladies stop me after looking inside my cart to ask me what something was and how I cook it (OK maybe it was a pick up line attempt, they do […]

Mr.CBB’s Spinach and Ricotta Fettuccine

Spinach and Ricotta pasta is our take of the stuffed spinach and ricotta cannelloni but using pasta instead and no sauce. We thought there has to be a quicker way to make a baked pasta dish then having to stuff tubes and baking them in the oven. This recipe is so creamy you literally can’t stop stuffing it in your mouth. The ricotta when heated melts just that little bit and when mixed with the pasta, garlic, spinach and Parmigiano creates a magical combination that is hard to resist. This meal is one of those quick meals that should only take about 15- 20 minutes to make especially if you want a good meal during the week-night when you are pressed for time or just tired from a long day. What is Ricotta?  Nothing goes to waste when making cheese and that’s how the birth of ricotta came to be a cheese by-product. Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese which is made from a sheep, cow, goat or buffalo milk with the cow’s milk often used in America and Canada. Ricotta is also low in fat. Ricotta means “re-cooked”  which uses whey the liquid that is left over when straining the curds from making cheese. If you […]

Mr. CBB’s Crispy Chicken Parmigiana On Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Parmigiana is one our easy go to recipes when we want something tasty and warming to the soul. It’s also not a budget breaker either but we always keep our eyes open for great deals on chicken breasts in our local supermarkets. Although we like to splurge once a week In 2013 we decided we are keeping our kitchen busy with healthy recipes and lots of vegetables. This baked chicken recipe is simple to put together and takes about 25-30 minutes in the oven. You do have to lightly fast fry the breaded chicken breasts in a bit of extra virgin olive oil for this recipe as I prefer super crispy chicken.  Once you lay the fried chicken on top of the sauce it will hold up better if it is golden brown and crispy. This is a fairly healthy baked chicken parmigiana recipe but you can simply bake the chicken in the oven until it is crispy to make this dish even healthier. I used 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this chicken parm recipe but needed to flatten them out. What I did was take out some wax paper or you can use cling wrap and wrap the […]

Mr.CBB’s So-Much-Better-Than-Take-Out Pizza

If you want to make pizza at home instead of take-out delivery pizza it’s easy, tasty and won’t break the budget. Pizza Delivery is still a big phenomenon around the world especially when it comes to parties, gatherings, weddings, or just treat night for the family. These shops make it even easier for the average consumer who has internet access as you can now order pizza online without having to make a phone call. The easier they make the process the less hassle you will believe it is. Making homemade pizza does take a bit of time but if you plan ahead you can easily make the perfect pizza crust and a good Italian pizza sauce. After all the history of pizza  also known as a pie points in the general direction of the Italians towards Naples, Italy. Pizza is pronounced “pittsa” which is funny because we have heard Italians pronounce it that way.Unlike Canadians, Italians savour their pizza like a small snack and don’t particularly eat it as a meal. Great thing is you don’t have to be Italian to make an Italian Pizza recipe. I will always say the best pizza is a stone oven baked pizza although most Canadians don’t have a […]

Reader Question: Meal Planning For The Budget

Meal planning and budgets go hand in hand but not everyone takes the time to do them. Although meal planning is a weekly chore the more you do it the easier it will get for you. For people who want to stick to a grocery budget creating a simple meal plan helps them to be creative in the kitchen while saving money in their wallets. This week’s reader question pertains to my nightly “What’s For Dinner” post on my Facebook fan page. If you follow the blog regularly you know that we have a Grocery Budget of $190 a month. We work with this number to create healthy, quick, frugal meals whilst trying to get the best bang for our buck. We often have people ask us how to grocery shop because they want to learn how to save money in their budget. It all starts with a commitment otherwise you may make it through the first week and return to your old ways. You also know that we like to use coupons but only on items that we know we will use in our meals. We have gone back to basics and have saved so much just by cutting out the “wants” and […]

Too Much Fresh Basil? Try Mr.CBB’s Basil Garlic Cubes

BASIL IS A THING OF BEAUTY   Are you faced with too much basil in your garden? Last year when we planted fresh basil we struggled to get enough to even make a few tomato salads. We use basil in just about anything we cook that we can jazz up the flavour like pasta, salads, dips, meat and potatoes etc. Basil in oil is a wonderful thing and if you haven’t tried it you are missing out on some incredible flavours.I don’t know many people who don’t fancy basil but you can get all sorts of different types of basil such as lemon-basil and chocolate-basil as well. You can easily grow a garden in a small space including herbs all you need are small pots to get your seeds going and before you know it you will have more basil than you know what to do with. It’s not as lucrative of a herb as mint is that grows like a weed but with some love and care this plant will grow in abundance for you depending on where you live of course. Pairing basil and garlic together with some extra virgin olive oil is like a match made in […]