You know, 2013 has just flown by. Christmas is already almost upon us, and coincidentally, it's the time both my girls are missing their two front teeth.
Do you find festive season cooking stressful amidst all the other 1001 things to do? How many gatherings are you setting up for different groups of friends and family? It's a wonderful time but I try to keep things as simple as possible, so I can focus on the right things - people.
Last week, I got a batch of Perfect Italiano cheeses to try out, and they've got some incredibly easy recipes that are great not just for busy festive periods, but also for everyday home-cooking.
As Gordon Ramsay said on TV this morning on his Ultimate Home Cooking show, "Home cooking has to be easy. It's got to be fast. It's got to be delicious."
Mmmh, cheese, few things are more delicious than cheese. Wait, bacon is. But cheese is special. My kids love cheese too.
Perfect Italiano also just launched Perfect Bakes (450g) which is a full flavoured cheddar blended with Mozzarella for stretch and Parmesan for bite. It's designed for baked dishes like lasagne, baked rice/pasta/vegetables.
For the festive season, they have designed a five-course menu from appetizer to dessert - Food Fixes in 15. What's really helpful are the 15-second demo videos that show you just how easy the recipes are. You can view the full descriptions and recipes online at http://perfectitaliano.com.sg/foodfixesin15/
I made two of the main dishes.
First Dish: Turkey and Mushroom Pasta Bake
See how easy it is? You can find the full recipe here:
The ingredients are simple - mainly turkey breast and mushrooms, onions and garlic, pasta and pasta tomato sauce, cream and olive oil. You can actually freely experiment with other ingredients. I'm thinking chorizo and spinach next time.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, and toss in turkey and mushroom slices.
Pour in tomato sauce and cream.
Transfer pasta to a baking dish.
Liberally top the pasta with the Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes cheese.
Bake in the oven at 180 deg C for about 20 mins or until golden brown, depending on your oven.
The pasta bake is ready to eat! The Perfect Bakes does cook nicely without getting oily. It also browns beautifully. Normally I bake it for a bit longer for a deeper brown (I love "chao-tar" burnt bits), but decided to try this lighter brown this time.
Oh nice, oh very nice, if I may say so myself.
Second Dish: Chicken Cordon Bleu
I realise I have never made Chicken Cordon Bleu before. I don't even order it in restaurants, as most times, it just fails to impress. But I surprised myself - I quite like the homemade version using this unbelievably easy recipe.
All you need are chicken breasts, honey baked ham, cheeses, and stuff for breading (beaten egg, flour and breadcrumbs, plus toothpicks).
Place the slice of honey baked ham on top of the horizontally-halved chicken breast and top with Perfect Italiano Mozzarella and Parmesan.
Fold the chicken breast over and secure with toothpicks. Dredge in flour, then in beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry the breaded chicken. It cooks really quickly so just a few minutes will do.
Mmmh, nice hot and crispy chicken with all that cheese oozing out.
The kids certainly enjoyed this, despite a shaky tooth or two. "I want this one again."
Perfect Italiano products are available at major supermarkets in Singapore. You can view the full range here. There are also plenty of other recipes to explore. Meanwhile, happy meal planning for the festive season, and advance wishes for a lovely Christmas 2013!
If you're making any of the five festive dishes, you can share them on Instagram with hashtags #perfectitalianosg and #foodfixesin15 ! You can also follow @perfectitalianosg on Instagram too!
Thanks to Perfect Italiano for sponsoring this post and the products. My children have more to eat this Christmas!