Caesar-Style Avocado Dressing

Caesar dressing is a crowd favorite. But finding a healthy, dairy-free store bought alternative is near impossible. Make your own, and feel like you’re doing your body some good, rather than feeling like you’re indulging in something guilty! Use it as a dip for veggies or as a salad dressing (adjust the water accordingly).

1 ripe avocado (only the fleshy part of course)
1 garlic clove, smashed, peeled
2 tsp capers, drained
2 tsp tahini
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp water (add more depending on if you prefer a thicker dip or thinner for a dressing)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
black pepper to taste
salt if needed (I find the capers have enough salt for me, but adjust per your taste buds)

– add all ingredients in a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle
– blend until smooth
* this consistency is thicker, and more like a dip, if you intend to use it for a salad dressing, add 3 tsp more water and blend until smooth (you can keep adding water if you prefer it even thinner)
– serve with veggies or toss with salad

Yield: about 3/4 cup


Asian Peanut Stir-Fry with Rare Flank Steak

It has been a while since I posted something! I’ve been so so busy this semester it seems like writing out recipes wasn’t at the top of my priority list. But this stir-fry is definitely at the top of my list now.

You can’t go wrong with peanuts and lime, one of my favorite combinations! Ditch the store bought sauces that are packed with sugar, salt and preservatives, you can make your own easily with a little help from this recipe!

For the steak:
250g slab flank steak, trimmed
2 tbsp red wine (I used an old Merlot)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, chopped rough
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper

For the stir-fry:
1 small white onion, sliced thin
1 carrot, peeled, sliced thinly on a bias
2 celery stalks, sliced thinly on a bias
1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 green zucchini, sliced thinly on a bias
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp all natural peanut butter
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil
1 avocado, sliced thinly
lime wedges for garnish

For the steak:
– the day before you make the stir-fry, mix all ingredients together in a large seal-able container (big enough to lay the steak flat)
– add steak and ensure it is covered all over with marinade
– store in the fridge
– take out of fridge about 45 mins before cooking, allow to rest at room temperature

For the stir-fry:
– heat a rondeau pan on medium high heat, add oil
– add onion, carrots and celery, cover and cook 5 mins
– heat another pan (big enough for the steak) on high heat, add a small amount of oil
– in the rondeau, add bell pepper, cover and cook 5 mins
– in the separate pan, place steak down and allow to sear for 4 mins
– flip and cook another 4 mins
– remove from pan and allow to rest on a room temperature plate, covered with foil, for about 8 mins,
– in a bowl combine garlic, peanut butter, water, soy sauce, lime juice and hot sauce
– add sauce to the veggies and add zucchini, toss so sauce is spread evenly over veggies, cover and cook 5 mins
– with a sharp knife, slice steak against the grain into thin slices
– serve stir-fry with steak, sliced avocado and a lime wedge

Yield: serves 2

Pan Roasted Chicken with Drunken Onions

Date night, girls night, solo night in, whatever tonight looks like for you, cook up a fancy-ish meal, without the fuss. This one will make you feel like a superstar chef, and bonus: it’s real easy. Enjoy!

2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 small white onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
4 kalamata olives, chopped rough
1/4 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp 10% heavy cream
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

– preheat oven to 190C (375F)
– heat a pan on high heat, add olive oil
– season chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper
– place in pan, sear until golden brown, about 3 mins, flip and brown the other side
– if your pan is oven safe, place in oven; if not, transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
– place in oven, about 15 mins or until chicken is cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 74C (165F)
– while the chicken cooks, heat a pan on medium heat
– add a tbsp of butter, add onions
– cook until soft, about 8 mins, stir frequently to avoid them from browning
– add garlic and olives
– cook until garlic is soft, 5 mins
– add wine, cook for 8 mins, until mostly evaporated
– lower heat, add cream, cook for 5 mins, until heated through
– season with salt and pepper to taste
– serve over chicken

Yield: serves 2

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Make these tonight! More nutritious than potatoes and all the crisp, without the grease.

3 green zucchini, washed, sliced lengthwise into long strips
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup milk
lemon wedges for garnish

– preheat oven to 218C (425F)
– place flour in a large bowl, set aside
– place eggs and milk in a large bowl, whisk together, set aside
– place Parmesean, breadcrumbs, basil and oregano in a large bowl, mix together, set aside
– create a breading station, place ingredients from left to right: sliced zucchini, flour, eggs, breadcrumbs, and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
– taking one at a time, dip zucchini into flour to evenly coat, shake off any excess, place in egg mixture
– wish a fork, toss the zucchini until it is evenly coated, using the fork, lift the zucchini out of the eggs and place in the breadcrumbs (using a fork allows your hands to stay clean so you don’t get the breadcrumb mixture wet with egg)
– toss zucchini in breadcrumbs until evenly coated
– place on baking sheet
– continue this process until all zucchinis are battered
– ensure all zucchini are side by side on baking sheet, not overlapping
– bake in oven for 20 mins, until crispy
– serve hot, sprinkled with coarse sea salt and garnish with lemon wedges on the side 

Yield: Serves 4

Loaded Chicken and Greens Soup

If you’re sick with a cold, or want to warm up from the snow, this soup is what you need! It’s packed with tons of greens, veggies, iron and protein. Safe for my gluten free, lactose-free and diabetic friends.

1 medium size white onion, diced fine
2 carrots, peeled, diced small
2 celery stocks, washed, trimmed, diced small
4 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
2 liters no salt added chicken stock
1 liter water
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped fine
1 cup cooked white kidney beans, rinsed
1/2 bunch rapini, trim the ends, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (white or dark)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (or flax oil if you have it)

– heat a large stock pot on medium heat, add oil
– saute onions, carrots and celery for 3 mins
– add garlic, saute for 5 mins
– add chicken stock, water, bay leaf, parsley and dill, cover and let simmer for 45 mins
– add rapini, cook uncovered for 10 mins
– add spinach, beans and chicken, cook uncovered for 5 mins
– add pepper and a generous amount of salt (there is no salt in the broth so you will need a good amount to bring out all the flavours)
– serve hot
Note: for my vegetarian friends, you can sub for veggie stock and omit the chicken!

Yield: about 2 1/2 litres, 5-6 servings

Veggie Curry Bowl with Spicy Garlic Potatoes

If you go to a shawarma joint and all you smell is garlic, you’re in the right spot. Every place makes their garlic potatoes a bit differently but this reenactment is sure to taste similar. This recipe is safe for my gluten-free, lactose-free and vegan friends.

10 mini red potatoes, washed (leave the skin on)
7 garlic cloves, minced as fine as possible to a paste consistency (use mortar and pestle if you have one)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
your choice of veggies (I used 1 yellow bell pepper and 1 large carrot), chopped into large pieces lengthwise
1 cup chickpeas, cooked
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh cilantro

– preheat oven to 204C (400F)
– toss veggies and chickpeas with olive oil, turmeric, coriander, cumin, curry powder, thyme and salt and pepper
– place on baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven until veggies are soft and chickpeas are crunchy, about 20 mins
– place potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil
– boil until soft, about 15 mins
– drain and set aside to cool
– in a large bowl mix together garlic, hot sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper
– add potatoes and toss until coated
– pour out onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper
– smash each potato with the palm of your hand to flatten
– bake in oven until crispy on the outside, about 8 mins
– serve everything in a bowl, garnish with fresh cilantro

Yield: 2 servings

Southern Cornbread 

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

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

– 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)!

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

– 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.

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

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


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