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


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. 
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

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. 

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)

– 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. 

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

– 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


Traditional Pesto with Spinach 

Sneak some iron and Vitamin K into your pesto with this easy addition. Plus, it means you can add less fresh basil, which is less of a burden on your wallet. This recipe is safe for my gluten-free and vegetarian friends!

2 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup fresh basil
1 1/2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese, grated OR 2 quarter size chunks (not the stuff in the can)
1/4 cup pine nuts (you can sub walnuts if they’re cheaper)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

– blend all ingredients in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle until smooth
– see below for suggested ways to cook with pesto
– keep refrigerated for up to 5 days or freeze

Things to add fresh pesto to:
– add to freshly cooked, hot pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese
– use as a base for pizza or flatbread (see flatbread dough recipe)
– saute veggies and toss with pesto during the last minute of cooking for a quick stir-fry
– spread on toast, top with avocado and tomato
– spread it on a turkey sandwich with aged cheddar cheese

Yield: 1 1/2 cups pesto


Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini

Get into the fall spirit with this colourful, Thanksgiving-themed dish! This recipe is safe for my gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian friends.

1 butternut squash
1 tsp honey
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped rough
1 cup kale, chopped rough
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 lemon wedges
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lactose-free Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt

– preheat oven to 204C (400F)
– wash and scrub the outside of the squash with warm water
– slice it in half lengthwise, leaving the stem on
– hollow out the seeds
– drizzle with olive oil and honey
– place skin side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
– bake for 1 hour
– in a bowl, blend tahini, water, Greek yogurt, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, set aside until serving
– place pine nuts on a baking sheet, place in 204C (400F) oven for 2 minutes, set aside until service
– heat a pan on medium high heat, add olive oil
– saute garlic for 1 min
– add kale and cook until wilted
– add garlic and kale to a bowl and add sage
– once squash is done, cut out chunks from the center, keep a boarder around the skin so the hollowed out shell can stand on its own
– add the squash chunks to the garlic and kale, smash the squash slightly and blend everything together
– add the mixture back into the shell of the squash, drizzle with tahini, pine nuts and serve with a lemon wedge

Yield: serves 2


Garlicky Basmati with Turmeric

Despite going to culinary school, rice was the one thing I always found hard to make. I could never seem to get it right until my aunt shared her method with me (and hers is the best!). This is rice 101 and you can use this same method for cooking basically any type of rice, no culinary school required.

2 cups boiling water
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1 tsp turmeric
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt

– add 2 cups (plus just a little more) water to a small pot on high heat
– bring to a boil
– add the rice, turmeric, garlic and salt and stir gently once or twice
– cover and reduce heat to a low simmer (if you have an electric stove, your burner will take some time to cool down, move the pot so it’s half over the element and half off, this will keep it from boiling; once the element cools down, add the pot back over the entire element)
– simmer for 20 mins or until liquid is absorbed
– taste a piece of the rice, if it isn’t cooked add a bit more water and let it simmer a few more minutes
– once cooked, lightly fluff with a fork and serve hot
* The key is to not stir the rice while it cooks or it will become sticky!

Yield: 2 servings (2 cups)


Pan-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Carrots

You can’t go wrong with a recipe that only requires one pan. Let’s face it, the less dishes the better. This one is a real winner, everything tastes good, the chicken is juicy and there’s minimal dishes.

2 chicken breasts, skin-less, bone-in (one side will have the rib bones, one won’t have any)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped rough
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 medium size carrots, peel and trim the ends
10 cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper

– heat a rondeau pan on medium high heat
– preheat oven to 190C (375F)
– in a microwave safe ramekin, add the butter, garlic, lemon zest and juice and rosemary
– microwave until the butter is melted, stirring everything together
– season the chicken well with salt and pepper on the side without the bones and brush with melted butter, discard the brush or whatever you’re using to brush the raw chicken and do not return it to the butter because you will contaminate it
– place chicken butter side down in the hot pan, season the side facing up (should have the bones) with salt and pepper and using a new brush, cover with butter
– sear until golden brown, about 3 mins
– turn over and sear the other side, about 3 mins
– remove from pan and place on a plate
– in the same pan, add some of the butter and the carrots
– toss the carrots in the butter so they are coated and ensure they are lying flat side by side on the bottom of the pan
– return chicken, bone side down, on top of the carrots
– place in middle rack of the oven for 20 mins
– add white wine and finish cooking for another 40 minutes, or until chicken is done (reaches an internal temp of 74C, 165F when probed in the thickest part)
– periodically baste the chicken with butter while in the oven and turn the carrots
– during the last 8 minutes in the oven, add the cherry tomatoes to the same pan
– serve hot

Yield: 2 portions


Rustic Ratatouille 

Welcome in the fall with this warm, Rustic Ratatouille! This recipe gives the traditional French dish a Mediterranean twist, while still staying true to its roots. Safe for my vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free friends.

2 shallots, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, chopped rough
3 yellow bell peppers, chopped medium
1 small eggplant, chopped medium
1 small green zucchini, chopped medium
2 tbsp capers, drained
1/8 cup kalamata olives
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh basil
1 can diced tomatoes (764 ml)
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

– heat a rondeau pan to medium high heat, add olive oil
– saute onions and garlic until garlic turns golden brown in colour
– add peppers, cook for 4 mins
– add eggplant, zucchini, herbs, capers and olives, saute for 2 mins
– add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and then lower the heat, cook for 10 mins
– season with salt and pepper as needed
– serve hot

Yield: 4 servings 


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