Easy One Pan Spaghetti and Meatballs

by Susan Reesor

Here’s a tasty meal for a cold winter’s night or a fast dish to take to a potluck meal. The pasta and the meatballs cook in the baking dish in the marinara sauce along with some extra water. It’s delicious and best of all there are hardly any preparation dishes to wash. Do you want to eat more vegetables? Add some chopped, frozen spinach to the tomato sauce. Picky eaters may not even notice it.

Serves 4-6
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

12 ounces spaghetti, broken in half
24 oz. (730 ml) jar of marinara sauce (or make your own quick tomato sauce from a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper)
2 cups water, plus extra hot water as needed
1 pound lean ground beef
¾ cup bread crumbs
⅓ cup prepared basil pesto
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” baking dish. Spread the uncooked, broken spaghetti into the prepared dish.
  2. Using hands, combine beef, bread crumbs, pesto, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl just until combined. Break off and roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs (about 16 meatballs).
  3. Pour marinara sauce and water over pasta and toss gently with tongs to coat.
  4. Nestle the meatballs on top of pasta in dish. Cover the top tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove dish from oven and stir pasta thoroughly, scraping sides and bottom of dish. Return uncovered dish to oven and continue to bake until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Remove dish from oven. Toss to coat the pasta and meatballs with sauce, adjusting sauce consistency with extra hot water as needed. Let cool for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with grated Parmesan.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.

Changing seasons and looking back

by Jay Reesor

As is our tradition in the fall, our farm market closes the first Saturday after Hallowe’en.  I am really glad that we have chosen that date to close because this year, November’s weather was, well, less than ideal! The combination of  some very cold,  sometimes snowy, sometimes wet and almost always grey weather has made it difficult to get fall work done.  Everything from getting the straw on the strawberries to getting everything stowed away for the winter was challenging.

And for my neighbours, who have crops still in the field waiting to be harvested, this fall’s weather has being very frustrating.  I’m hoping that the brunt of winter can hold off until at least Christmas.

Looking back, it was a great farming season with excellent crops of strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and squash. Sure, a couple of our minor crops were a little disappointing, but there’s always next year.  We’re always thankful for our wonderful customers stopping by regularly to support us.

At this point, southern Ontario is fortunate to have fairly steady and consistent weather patterns, favourable to growing good crops. I am very grateful for good soil and reasonable weather to grow our crops. I’m also grateful for amazing people with whom to work helping us to grow good food. Not everyone in our world has this privilege!

Strawberry Cream Scones

This is a tender scone that you can stir up quickly in one bowl.  Because they are made with cream you avoid the sometimes tricky step of cutting in butter. Serve them with freshly cut strawberries and whipped cream, strawberry jam, or enjoy them plain.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whipping cream (35%)
1/2 cup chopped strawberries (optional)
sugar & cream, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Begin to stir in the cream and then gently add the strawberries, if using. Stir only until the dough comes together.

Gather the dough into a ball with your hands, adding any leftover bits from the side of the bowl. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Fold it over itself two or three times and pat it into a 1-inch thick circle.

Brush the top with a bit of cream and sprinkle with sugar. Using a large, sharp knife cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges and separate them, so that they have room to rise and to brown. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.

Makes 6-8 scones.

Adapted from Dinner With Julie, Rhubarb Cream Scones.

A fresh start

by Jay Reesor

It’s a new season! A new season filled with its own unique weather issues and questions.  Will it be too hot and make it a difficult strawberry season?  Will it be too dry? Making it a challenge for our sweet corn crops.  Will it be too cold and not let the pumpkins mature and making them stay green until late into the season?  Will it be too wet and not let us get our field work done on time? It will probably be a little bit of all of these challenges, but every year that I have been farming we’ve always had some kind of a crop.  I’m grateful for that!

And with the new season comes a new group of young adults to work along with us in the farm market and in the fields. Getting to know our new young staff and reconnecting with returning staff is one of the pleasures of a new season. I’m hoping we all have a safe and productive season working together.

I hope this new spring season is a good one for each of our readers. Thank you for your patronage to our farm and store through the years. And if you are a gardener, remember, the best food is the food you grow yourself. So, get growing!

Inspecting the spring strawberry fields became more fun recently with my grand-daughter at my side and my visiting Alberta cousin Art Reesor, on the right.

Key Dates for Ontario Produce

Depending on the weather, here are some seasonal produce start dates to keep in mind:

  • Asparagus: Now
  • Rhubarb:  Now
  • Strawberries:  About June 15
  • Pick Your Own Strawberries: About June 21
  • Peas: Pick Your Own & Ready-Picked About June 21
  • Green beans: Late June
  • Sweet Corn: About July 21
  • Pick Your Own Pumpkins: Early October

Celebrating a good crop year

It has been a good year here on the farm. All of our  main crops did really well including the strawberries,  sweet corn and pumpkins, despite some very wet weather in the spring and very dry weather in the summer.  Our early green bean crop, however,  was totally rained out in the spring and was almost a total failure.


Usually seen on a tractor in the summer, Jay spends some time helping out at our town market in the winter. 

I am grateful for our successes and for all of the people who helped with our crops including my farmer nephew Grahame, and neighbours Jacob Reesor and Peter Reesor. These guys all worked really hard in the strawberry, sweet corn and pumpkin fields to contribute to a successful cropping year.

What do we do with our failures?  Our green bean crop was so bad most of it was not worth harvesting.  We can quit and feel sorry for ourselves or we can learn from our failures, make improvements and move on. That’s what we’re doing with the green beans and I have found that’s the best recipe for success with personal failures as well.

I hope all of our readers have a wonderful Christmas season and a peaceful and rewarding new year.

Sweet & savoury inspiration for your holiday meals

Enjoy our gourmet deli meats, Ontario and Quebec cheese, fresh and frozen soups, entrées, fruit cake and loads of pies, including lemon meringue, pecan, pumpkin, caramel apple and our famous fruit pies.

We have lots of baking available every day. But if you want particular pies or cookies for Christmas day, please call 905-640-2270 and order by Thurs., Dec. 21 to avoid disappointment.

Check out our Christmas baking list to see the 14 kinds of Christmas cookies we’re making this year (including gluten free shortbread). You can buy them by the package and we offer trays of mixed squares.


One of our bakers, Pam, getting a tray of our made from scratch chocolate chip coconut macaroons into the oven.


Try our Quebec style tourtière, a delicious blend of beef, pork, onion and spices. 


Fudgy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, one of the classic Christmas cookies we’re making this year.

Gift-giving made easy

New this year are gorgeous, handmade, hardwood bread boards made by young Stouffville woodworker Alex Tachdjian.  He makes them in various shapes, sizes and combinations of maple and walnut.

It’s that chocolate time of year! New at Reesor’s this year are Belgian chocolates made by Aunt Sarah’s of Thornhill. Everyone who has been tasting the samples brought to us by Erin Brazier the daughter of chocolatier Peter Brazer has been loving them. There are boxed chocolates, bark and bars.

A gift of food is always appreciated  and our already-assembled gift boxes, the Taste of Summer or the Breakfast Box, are filled with our most popular foods. Or we can custom assemble boxes for you. Ordering and shipping info is here: Reesor’s Gift Boxes

Can’t decide what to put in a gift box? We offer gift certificates in any amount, so your family and friends can choose their own favourite foods.

Treat your mom or yourself to some decadent chocolate baking this week-end

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Our bakers are pulling out all the stops this week with lots of chocolate for you and your mom.

  • Chocolate-Drizzled Pecan Pies–mini & regular-sized
  • Nutella Cheesecake
  • Turtle Cake–a chocolate layer cake with rich caramel sauce between the layers, chocolate frosting and pecans embedded on the sides.
  • Hummingbird Cake–banana layer cake with pineapple, coconut, pecans and cream cheese frosting.
  • Nutella Swirl Buns–our week-end Cinnamon Buns made with Nutella and no cinnamon. They were a hit at Easter.
  • Coconut and chocolate macaroons

And NEW! NEW! NEW!

We have cream puffs! They are tender puffs filled with pastry cream that has been gently mixed with whipped cream and then dipped in chocolate.

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You can place your order for any of our baking by calling us at 905-640-2270.