Spring Risotto

My favorite chef taught me how to make the best risotto in a tiny Italian kitchen, and it’s the only method I’ve used since. This recipe has seasonal additions including hand picked fiddleheads from the forests in Gravenhurst, Ontario. When cooking fiddleheads, be sure to boil them for at least 7 minutes before adding them to another dish or serving them.

Recipe:
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 L chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 large white onion, diced small
1 cup green beans, cut in half
1 1/2 cups fiddleheads
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
olive oil

Method:
– bring a small pot of water to boil, add fiddleheads and cook for 7 minutes, drain and set aside
– heat a rondeau pan on medium heat and add olive oil
– add onions and cook for 5 mins
– add green beans and cook for 3 mins
– add rice and cook for 5 mins, stir often
– add wine and stir until evaporated
– add a small amount of stock, keep stirring until evaporated
– continue this process for 20 mins
– add fiddleheads and spinach
– continue to add stock and stir for 5 minutes (or until all the stock has been added)
– add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Spinach Turkey Meatballs

Need a way to make meatballs healthier? This recipe does just that. By using extra lean turkey and wilted spinach, you can cut the fat and increase the good stuff like iron and Vitamin K. Serve them with classic spaghetti, or make it more well rounded by pairing it alongside brown rice and veggies.

Recipe:
5 cups fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound, extra lean ground turkey breast
1 egg
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lemon, zested
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
olive oil

Method:
– heat a pan on medium high heat
– add olive oil and saute garlic and spinach together
– once the spinach is wilted, set aside and let cool
– in a bowl, mix together the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and the cooled, cooked spinach
– roll into meatballs
– sear in a pan with olive oil or simmer on the stove in tomato sauce until cooked

Yield: 11 large meatballs

Orange and 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. I’m thinking you should let your culinary skills shine in this once, hence why it’s up to you to choose and cook your veggies and noodles. This is a safe recipe for gulten-free and diabetic friends. You may be thinking if you’re diabetic, you shouldn’t have oranges, but when eaten moderately alongside green vegetables, they provide many key vitamins and nutrients such as folate, fibre and Vitamins A and C. The combo of veggies in this recipe is sure to keep everything in balance, enjoy!

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 not from concentrate orange juice
2 Tbsp lime juice
4 garlic cloves, chopped rough
2 tsp 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
1 tsp cornstarch (don’t be scared, cornstarch contains no gluten)
3 Tbsp cold water
salt to taste

Method:
For the marinade:
– pour all marinade ingredients into a large sealable 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 halfway done
– in a small saucepan  on medium-high heat, add garlic and cook until golden brown
– add orange juice, zest and turmeric
– in a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and cold water together 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
– add chicken and serve

Yield: 4 portions

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Trust me, if you like banana bread you’ll use this recipe lots! If you want to change it up, substitute walnuts or coconut instead of chocolate chips. This also makes for an amazing French Toast breakfast (use the egg batter recipe from Almond Cinnamon French Toast), mhmm!

Recipe:
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups AP flour, sifted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or walnuts or shredded coconut)

Method:
– preheat oven to 350F
– in a large bowl, mash bananas
– add sugar, egg, vanilla and butter, mix
– add baking soda, powder, flour and choco chips, mix until just incorporated
– bake for 55 mins
– cool and serve

Yield: 1 loaf

The Perfect Boiled Egg

When I was in culinary school I had a three hour lab on egg cooking and I couldn’t get the boiled one right… until now!

Here’s how to boil the perfect egg:
– place egg in a pot with water and cover
– bring to a boil
– as soon as it boils turn off the heat
– leave the covered pot on the element for 8 minutes
– drain and run the egg under cold water
– peel shell

Pan-Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Crispy Potato Wedges and Wilted Peppers

I’m a big fan of rosemary, lemon and garlic so this dish is all about that.

Recipe:
2 chicken breasts, trimmed
4 lemon wedges (half a large lemon)
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (for the chicken)
3 white potatoes, washed and cut into thin wedges
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
2 orange bell peppers, julienne thin
1 red bell pepper, julienne thin
2 garlic cloves, minced (for the peppers)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Method:
For the potatoes :
– preheat oven to 204C (400F)
– toss potatoes with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil
– lay flat on a baking tray and roast in oven for 40-45 mins
– finish with 1 min of broiling to get them crispy

For the chicken:
– season the chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper
– heat an oven-safe pan on high, add olive oil and sear the chicken until golden
– flip over, add the garlic and cook until garlic is golden brown
– add the juice of 2 lemon wedges and place in the oven to finish, about 10 mins
– sear 2 lemon wedges for garnish

For the peppers:
– heat a pan on medium heat, add olive oil and peppers
– cook for 10 mins covered
– add garlic and cook uncovered for 10 mins until very soft (they will be soft like roasted peppers when they’re done)

Yield: 2 portions

 

 

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

If you’re looking for a guilt-free pasta, look no further! This bowl will satisfy the pasta craving and make sure you eat your vegetables. A spiralizer will be your best bud for this job, but it’s totally possible to do it without one (I did this batch by hand). This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and diabetic friends. Other great vegetables to use for this are broccoli stems, parsnips and sweet potato.

Recipe:
For the noodles:
2 medium zucchinis, washed
1 large carrot, washed and peeled
Parmesean cheese for garnish, grated

For the pesto:
4 cups fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil (plus more as needed)
salt and pepper

Method:
For the noodles (with a spiralizer):
– spiralize the zucchinis and carrot
– place thin layers of noodles between paper towel and pat dry

For the noodles by hand:
– using a peeler, peel one side of the zucchini in the same direction until there is a flat base (about 4 times)
– flip the zucchini over and use the flat side to keep it in place on the cutting board
– continue to peel wide strips of the zucchini, stacking each piece in a low pile
– slice each pile lengthwise into thin strips
– do the same thing for the carrot
– place thin layers of noodles between paper towel and pat dry

For the pesto:
– blend all ingredients in a food processor or a mortar and pestle until smooth
– add more olive oil as needed to thin it out
– season with salt and pepper

For the cooking:
– in a large pan on medium heat, heat some olive oil and add the noodles
– cook for about 2 minutes
– add 2 tbsp of pesto and toss
– serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Yield: 2 portions

 

Almond Cinnamon French Toast

French Toast is even better if it’s made with Baba’s Easter bread. That’s what I’ve used here, but you can obviously use whatever bread you like. Serve it with a fruit salad so you get that much needed morning vitamin boost!

Recipe:
For the egg batter:
one egg
2 Tbsp almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
For the Toast:
3 thick slices of bread (your choice)

Method:
– whisk together all above ingredients
– dunk in bread and coat all sides with egg
– heat a pan on medium heat
– add butter and cook bread until golden
– garnish with cinnamon and maple syrup

Yield: 3 pieces of French Toast

Pan-Seared Ribeye with Rosemary and Garlic

Sometimes a steak this nice just needs something simple with it. Rosemary and garlic do just that. Keep your steak the center of attention with simple side dishes such as steamed broccoli and smashed sweet potato.

Tip: A cast iron pan is a great investment. It is the absolute best for searing steaks. If you don’t have one you can just use your regular pan, but you wont get nearly as much flavour and crunch on the sear.

Recipe:
1 thick cut ribeye steak with good marbling
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Method (for a steaked cooked mid rare):
– heat your pan on high and add the butter
– generously season both sides of your steak with salt and pepper
– once the pan is hot add the steak
– let sit undisturbed for 3 minutes
– add the rosemary and garlic, be sure there is enough butter to saute everything together
– continuously spoon the butter over the steak for 2 minutes
– flip the steak and cook the other side for 5 minutes while spooning the butter over it
– let rest at least 5 mins before serving

Yield: 1 steak

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