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


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.

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

– 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

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.

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

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. 

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

– 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

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