Broccoli and Aged Cheddar Soup 

It’s the coldest day of 2017, so warm up with a bowl of this flavourful veggie packed soup. Safe for my vegetarian, gluten-free and (if you omit the cheese) diabetic friends.

Recipe:
1 large white onion, chopped rough
2 celery stocks, chopped rough
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped rough
3 garlic cloves, chopped rough
2 crowns of broccoli, (peel strips off the stem for garnish and cut and set aside 1 cup of small flourettes) roughly chop the rest including the stem
1 1/2 – 2 litres water (enough to cover the veggies, plus a little more)
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed (set aside 1/8 cup for garnish)
2 tbsp fresh dill, plucked off the stem
2 cups extra old white cheddar cheese, grated (set aside 1/8 cup for garnish)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Method:
– heat a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil
– add onions, celery and carrots
– stir, cook for 8 mins
– add garlic and broccoli (reserve the cup of small flourettes, they’ll be added later)
– stir, cook for 5 mins
– top with water, enough to cover the vegetables, plus a little more
– let simmer for 30 mins
– add chickpeas and dill, cook another 10 mins
– remove from heat and puree everything together with an immersion blender
– return to heat
– add the remaining broccoli flourettes and cheese
– cook 4 mins
– season with salt and pepper to taste
– garnish with shaved broccoli stems, chickpeas and grated cheddar cheese
* You can also freeze the leftovers, for an easy meal on another day

Yield: serves 5, about 2 litres

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Southern Cornbread 

Treat yourself with a classic comfort food. Pair it with chili, baked beans or anything covered in barbecue sauce!

Recipe:
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have any, make your own with 1 1/2 cups 2% milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice, let sit for 5 mins before using)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Method:
– preheat oven to 218C (425F)
– grease an 8 inch square pan
– in a large bowl blend together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt
– in another medium bowl blend together the eggs, buttermilk and butter
– add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just incorporated (the batter will still be lumpy)
– place in the middle rack of the oven
– bake for 24 mins
– remove from oven and let rest in the pan for 10 mins
– remove from pan, cut into 9 squares, serve

Yield: 9 slices

Veggie Turkey Chili 

It’s definitely cold out, and I know with the holidays around the corner you need an easy dinner recipe that will warm you up.  This one pot chili is ideal on a day like today! Add some extra veggies to your bowl to make it more well-rounded. This one is safe for my gluten-free and lactose-free friends (omit the sour cream and cheddar cheese garnish)!

Recipe:
1 onion, diced small
1 carrot, peeled, diced medium
2 celery stalks, diced medium
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 can (740ml) diced tomatoes  (keep the juice)
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cooked white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 green zucchini, diced small
olive oil
cheddar cheese
sour cream

Method:
– heat a large pot on medium high heat, add olive oil
– add onions, carrots and celery, saute for 5 mins, stirring often
– add garlic, saute for 4 mins, stirring often
– add turkey, break it apart into small pieces with a wooden spoon
– cook for 7 mins
– add tomatoes and all the juice, bay leaves, paprika, pepper and salt
– bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 1 hour
– add beans, stir, simmer for 20 mins
– add zucchini, stir, simmer for 6 mins
– pluck out bay leaves and add additional salt to taste, as needed
– serve hot, garnish with cheddar cheese, sour cream, additional veggies if desired (I added roasted broccoli) or corn bread (see the recipe for Southern Cornbread)

Yield: 6 servings

A Healthier Twist on Burgers and Fries 

You can’t beat a classic meal of burgers and fries. This healthier take with lettuce buns, black bean guacamole and butternut squash fries will fill you up and allow you to feast more often without the guilt.

Recipe:
For the burgers:
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 head Boston bibb lettuce, wash and separate the leaves
accompianments as desired (sliced tomatoes, red onion, pickles, cheese etc)

For the black bean guacamole:
1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tsp fresh cilantro leaves
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

For the fries:
1/2 large butternut squash, cut into long thin slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt

Method:
Tip: – make the burgers the day before and keep refrigerated in a sealed container
– the day of, make the fries first, then cook the burgers
– make the guacamole as the burgers and fries cook

For the burgers:
– place all ingredients (except the lettuce and accompianments) into a large bowl and mix until incorporated
– make slider size patties so they will fit on the lettuce
– keep refrigerated in an airtight container until cooking (up to 2 days)
– to cook, preheat a large pan on medium high heat
– add olive oil and place burgers flat, cook for 6 mins until a sear has formed
– flip over and cover the pan with a lid, cook for 7 mins or until an internal temperature of 71C (160F) is reached (to check the internal cooking temp, insert the needle of a calibrated probe thermometer into the side of the burger reaching into the center)
– serve the burgers on a lettuce bun with guacamole and accompaniments

For the guacamole:
– place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth
– cover, keep in the refrigerator until use (up to 4 days)

For the fries:
– preheat oven to 204C (400F)
– line a baking sheet with parchment papper
– toss squash in oil and salt
– lay each squash fry flat on the baking sheet
– bake for 15 mins
– turn oven off and let the fries remain in the closed oven for 10 mins
– serve hot

Yield: 8 burgers, 2 servings of fries, 1 cup of guacamole

 

Autumn Gnocchi with Browned Butter and Sage 

Enjoy the last bit of fall with this colourful gnocchi. This one is a twist on the traditional potato gnocchi, and instead has the addition of butternut squash and sweet potato. Gnocchi is best to make ahead of time and freeze, since it is a bit time consuming. Make it on a cold fall day where you don’t have anything else to do.

Recipe:
1 small sweet potato, leave whole
1 small butternut squash, leave whole
1 egg
3 1/2 – 4 cups all purpose flour , sifted (plus more for dusting)
salt and pepper
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp fresh sage, sliced thin into ribbons
2 tbsp pine nuts
Parmesan cheese for serving

Method:
For preparation:
– place whole sweet potato and squash in a pot, cover with water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil
– boil until tender (stab with a fork to check when cooked), about 1 hour
– once cooked, drain the water and cool the sweet potato and squash under cold running water
– once cool enough to handle, peel the sweet potato and squash
– with a spoon, hollow out 1 1/2 cups from the middle of the sweet potato and 1 1/2 cups from the squash
– place the sweet potato and squash in a large bowl and mash until smooth
– season with 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper
– add the egg and 3 1/2 cups of flour
– using your hands, mix everything together
– the mixture should be soft but firm enough to hold together, if it is still soft, add another 1/2 cup of flour
– on a clean surface, sprinkle flour
– pour the mixture out of the bowl onto a corner of the floured surface
– cut a piece of dough off the large piece and roll it out into a thin log shape on the floured surface (as you roll it out you may need to sprinkle more flour), once rolled out sprinkle more flour on top of the log
– cut bite-sized pieces on a diagonal and place on a floured baking sheet (if desired, roll each gnocchi on the back of a spoon to make them have grooves)
– continue this process until all the dough has been made into gnocchi (about 2 baking sheets worth)
– once a baking sheet is full, place it in the freezer
– once they are entirely frozen transfer to a plastic zip-lock bag if not serving immediately (cook them from frozen for a quick meal on another night)

For serving:
– fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil
– heat a large pan on medium high heat
– once boiling add gnocchi, stir gently; they are cooked when they float to the top (approx 5-7 mins), drain when cooked
– in the pan, add butter and allow to melt and come to a bubble
– add sage and pine nuts
– briefly toast everything together (fresh sage will get dark when heated so don’t add it too early)
– add cooked gnocchi to the butter and toss together
– serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Yield: 2 baking sheets worth, 4-6 servings

Walnut Brownies 

The denser the better, enough said. 

Recipe:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup & 1 tbsp white sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:
– preheat oven to 176C (350F)
– in a microwave safe bowl, melt butter with olive oil
– add sugar, eggs and vanilla
– mix with a whisk for 2 mins
– add flour, cocoa powder and walnuts
– mix until just combined
– pour into a greased 8×4 pan and top with chocolate chips
– bake for 25 mins
– remove from oven, let rest 5 mins
– cut into squares and serve

Yield: 8 squares

Orange Basil Infused Chicken Stir-fry

This marinade is so good! You can use it on whatever protein you like, here I did chicken but feel free to mix it up. For the veggies, I’ve used my usual go-to mix of carrots, onion, green beans, yellow and red peppers, bok choy and broccoli. Im not walking you through that part because I’m hoping this will shy you away from the recipe and let you be more creative. Choose whatever veggies you like, just as long as they’re cut up moderately small. 
Recipe:
4 skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
your choice of veggies for the stir-fry 
cooked rice noodles

For the marinade:

1/2 cup pulp free orange juice
2 Tbsp lime juice
4 garlic cloves, chopped rough
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
For the stir-fry:
1 naval orange, zested and juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced thin
1 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp cold water

Method:
For the marinade:
– pour all marinade ingredients into a large seal-able bag
– add all sliced chicken into the bag
– push out most of the air from the bag and seal tightly
– rub the marinade into the chicken so it covers every piece
– let sit in refrigerator (over night preferably)

For the Stir-fry:
– grill chicken until cooked and discard remaining marinade
– heat a large pan on medium heat
– add veggies and cook until they are halfway done
– in a small saucepan  on medium-high heat, add garlic and cook until golden brown
– add orange juice, zest and turmeric
– mix the cornstarch and cold water in a bowl and whisk until no clumps remain (this is called a slurry)
– pour this into the orange juice pan while whisking
– whisk until it begins to thicken
– once thickened add basil
– add sauce to the pan with the veggies and toss with the cooked noodles
– serve and top with chicken

Yield: 8 portions

Flatbread Dough 

There’s nothing more rewarding than making your entire dinner from scratch. Though it is a bit time consuming, the majority of the time spent doesn’t involve labour. You’ll just have to stay patient while the dough proofs. 

Recipe:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
extra all purpose flour (for dusting/rolling)

Method:
– in a large bowl add yeast, water and oil
– with a fork, gently dissolve the yeast by stirring for 5 seconds
– let stand 5 mins
– add flour
– use the fork to pull the liquid from the bottom into the flour
– when the liquid is incorporated and the dough starts to form together stop mixing
– flour a clean flat surface
– pour dough out onto the floured surface
– kneed the dough by pushing it into the table and rolling the dough’s edge over the middle part of the dough (if it’s sticking to the counter, add some flour to the counter and kneed the dough into the flour)
– once the dough is smooth on the outside, form a round ball
– place in a large bowl lightly coated with olive oil, cover and let stand for 30 mins
– preheat oven to 232C (450F)
– after the dough has expanded in size, remove from bowl and place onto a floured surface
– divide into 4 smaller portions
– flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough until thin (it’s best to first flatten the dough with your hands and the finish with the rolling pin)
– lightly grease a baking pan and place dough on top
– top with desired ingredients (try using pesto; see Traditional Pesto with Spinach recipe)
– bake for 15 mins
– slice and serve
Note: you can freeze the dough in balls and thaw it when needed

Yield: 4 balls of dough

Cinnamon Apple Chips 

Keep the doctor away with these guilt-free munchies. Gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan it’s a win-win. 

Recipe:
3 medium size apples (use what you like; I used Ambrosia), washed and cored
cinnamon

Method:
– preheat oven to 93C (200F)
– wash and dry apples, leave the skin on
– using an apple corer, remove the core
– using a mandolin, slice the apples thin from top to bottom OR slice them thinly by hand
– line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper
– lay the apples flat, do not overlap them
– sprinkle with cinnamon
– place in oven for 2 hours
– remove from oven and allow to cool
– to crisp them up more, separate the slices from the paper and leave on the tray to cool

Yield: 1 mason jar full, 2 baking sheets

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