Cooking with Chef Paula Zavala

A fabulous Saturday afternoon in my kitchen with local Markham via Mexico Chef Paula Zavala. I was lucky to be able to attend her virtual Thai Food Cooking Class today. On the menu – Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken or Shrimp, Chicken or Pork Skewers with Peanut Sauce and Thai Caramelized Plantains or Bananas.

Chef Paula hosts a few weekly classes virtually from her kitchen. Definitely recommend doing your mise en place prep before the class. In addition to her weekly classes, you can also book a private class too. What a fun and safe idea to enjoy with family, friends and/or your team for a little holiday cheer from the comforts of home. Gracias Chef Paula for a great few hours of connecting with others, learning and my delicious Saturday evening dinner. ♥️

Vegetable Lasagna

It has likely been a decade since I have tackled a lasagna but this one was definitely worth the effort. Creating a béchamel sauce for a lasagna is something new to me but made a big difference to the creaminess of this dish.

Recipe is my take on of the vegetable lasagna made by Chef Devan Rajkumar @chefdevan of #ChefDevatHome IGTV videos.

Shopping List:

Lasagna Noodles, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, Butter, Flour, Milk, Pesto, Your Favourite Vegetables


• Lasagna – Use fresh pasta if possible. I bought lasagna sheets from my local Longo’s and will never use a boxed one again.

• To add creaminess to the lasagna, make a BĂ©chamel sauce – one of the five mother sauces. It is essentially three tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of floor. Cook in out over low to medium heat for three to four minutes to form a roux. Add two cups of hot milk and whisk until creamy. Add a pinch of nutmeg.


• Parchment paper at the bottom of the baking dish

• Add sauce at the bottom of the dish with a bit of oil from a sundried tomato jar if you have on hand. I used a Just Sauce Roasted Garlic Jar for my lasagna.

• Lasagna Noodles – you may need to cut them them to fit the dish you are using

• Mozzarella Cheese

• Béchamel Sauce

• Lasagna Noodles

• Repeat the above. I added sautéed onions, mushrooms, spinach and zucchini on some layers and for others added pesto sauce to the mozzarella and béchamel sauce.

• Avoid thick layers.

• Once I ran out of my béchamel sauce, I added the top lasagna noodles and covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper and chilli flakes if you wish.

• Cover with parchment paper and then with foil. Cook in a preheated oven at 350F for 45 minutes to one hour.

• Remove from the oven and take off foil and parchment paper. Add mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the top and broil for 3-4 minutes. Turn the oven light on and do not walk away. Critical to ensure you do not burn the top.

• Let sit for 20-25 minutes and enjoy!

P.S. It is even better the next day.

Nigella Lawson’s Moonblush Tomatoes

When the perfect recipe lands in your inbox and you have all the ingredients, you head to your kitchen. Meet Nigella Lawson’s Moonblush Tomatoes. I used fresh thyme as I had it on hand and it calls for Maldon Salt which is worth the splurge.

Sweet dreams wee ones. See you in the morning!

Good Morning Moonblush Tomatoes.

Nigella’s Moonblush Tomatoes = super simple linguine. Five ingredients – tomatoes, linguine, evoo, fresh thyme and parmesan cheese. Super simple and absolutely delicious.

Buon Appetito!

What Should I Make For – Crispy Asian Chicken Wings

Making chicken wings at home is super simple. I love this recipe for Crispy Asian Chicken Wings from the What Should I Make For Blog. Whether you marinate for a few hours or overnight as I did this time, these wings are definitely full of flavour.

Eat Yourself Skinny Spicy Shrimp

I love Shrimp. It is super simple to cook making it a simple weekday meal option. If you are looking for a new recipe, try this Spicy Shrimp one from the Eat Yourself Skinny blog. Since I watch my sodium content when cooking, I used a lot less salt than the recipe called for but it didn’t lack any flavour because of all the other spices. Super simple to pull together and definitely delicious!

Basic Good Carbs Soup

Basic Good Carbs Soup from the Eat Burn Sleep blog is perfect for these chilly late autumn days. I omitted the salt as the Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot had more than enough sodium, simmered for an hour, puréed and garnished with chives. Enjoying a bowl for lunch and freezing the rest for a simple weekday dinner.

Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

Love how food evokes so many memories from growing up. Sweet and sour spare ribs were one of my childhood favourites. There never seemed to be enough sauce to put over rice so definitely need to increase the ingredients. Thankful to find the cookbook that contained the recipe and the page reflects how often we made this. Definitely a family fave for mine.