Tag Archives: healthy

Tomato Lentil Coconut Soup

25 Jan

My 2016 resolution is to make at least two new recipes every month. I felt like I’d fallen into a rut, making the same five or six dinners over and over. I needed some motivation to try my hand at something new that would be enjoyed by everyone at the table. Soup is kind of perfect for this sort of challenge: it’s an easy, diverse, hearty option that can be anywhere between light and brothy or heavy and creamy. Wherever it may fall on that spectrum, it has got to be satisfying and the one I made this weekend was fantastic. It only took 30 minutes from start to finish – there really isn’t much prep at all. The flavour definitely improved overnight, so I’d recommend making the soup the night before and enjoying it the next day.

The recipe calls for butter but if you happen to be looking for a vegan recipe, you could certainly substitute the butter for oil.

Ingredients

1 tb butter
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ts  coriander
1 ts fresh ginger, grated
1 cup red lentils
1 can coconut milk
2 c water
1 796ml can diced tomatoes
2 ts honey
1 ts salt
1 ts black pepper

Directions

1. In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat and toss in the onions. Cook til soft, roughly 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.
2. Add in the garlic, coriander and ginger. Sauté til aromatic, 1 minute.
3. Pour in the lentils, coconut milk and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are very soft.
4. Remove from the heat. Add in the tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper and blend . (I used my immersion blender, but you can certainly pour it all directly into a blender.)
5. Season to taste!

soup

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Crazy Healthy Quinoa and White Bean Soup

10 Feb

It’s cold out there in the big city. There’s snow on the ground, icicles hanging from eavestroughs and lots of grumpy, bundled up people. By the time you get home from a long day and maybe long commute, you want to get warm and eat something good. And quickly. I came across something perfect for just this scenario that has the added bonus of being really healthy. Vegan, even! It only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and is full of flavour, textures and fantastic ingredients. Give it a try and I think you’ll quite enjoy it.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1b vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ts cumin
1 ts coriander
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1/3 c quinoa, rinsed
2c vegetable broth (you could use chicken broth if that’s what you’ve got)
2c water
1 can white kidneybeans, drained and rinsed
2c baby spinach or 1c frozen spinach (thawed and drained)

Directions

1. In a medium pot, heat the oil to medium. Add in the onion and carrot, cooking til the onion becomes translucent (3-4 minutes).
2. Add in the garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and quinoa. Stir to combine, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and water, bringing everything to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in beans and spinach until heated through, just a couple more minutes and you’re done!

soup

Mexican-style Salad

30 Sep

In an attempt to make some healthier choices (I’m even back at the gym after a prolonged absence. Helllooooo, muscles I’d forgotten about!), I’ve been ransacking some cookbooks I haven’t opened in a while for inspiration. In the book Get Naked in the Kitchen, there is a pretty great recipe for a Mexican taco salad bowl. I made minor adjustments to the original to suit both my taste and what was in my cupboard. The end result had everything you could want in a healthy meal: it was filling, it was easy, it had lots of flavour, it was balanced, it came together in 25 minutes and it’s 100% adaptable. You can substitute the lemon juice for any vinegar, the brown rice for white or quinoa, the flavouring of the black beans or the black beans for another kind be it white, pinto, black-eyed peas…whatever you like. You could also throw in some tortilla chips for extra crunch. Give it a go!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

3-4 c greens (I used baby arugula)
2 tb olive oil + 2ts for beans
1 tb lemon juice
1 c brown rice, cooked
1 can black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 ts cumin
1 ts chili powder
splash of water
1/2 sweet pepper, chopped
1 avocado
Salt & pepper
handful of cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Cook the rice according to directions.
2. In the meantime, heat the 2ts of olive oil in a pan to a medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion and sauté until the onions are translucent, about five minutes.
3. Add in the beans, cumin, chili powder. Toss in salt & pepper to taste. Stir together and then add a couple of splashes of water to the pan. Turn up the heat and cook another 5-10 minutes until the water evaporates.
4. Slice the avocado in half. Remove the pit and cut the flesh into cubes. Season with salt, pepper & lemon or lime juice.
5. Toss greens and red pepper in a bowl with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Split evenly on two dishes, making a well in the middle.
6. Plate rice in the well among the greens and then top with beans, avocado, cilantro and hot sauce if you so choose.

Slow-Cooked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

30 Apr

Of my non-essential kitchen tools, my slow cooker is the one I use the most. (Maybe I should take it off the non-essential list.)  I love it because it can be used to make so many dishes from breakfast right through to dessert. Currently, it’s mostly being used for overnight oatmeal. I’ve tried out a few variations but my favourite is a version of apple cinnamon oatmeal that smells incredible in the morning when you get up. I am in no way a morning person so anything I can do to make those groggy moments a little easier is good for me. Just throw the ingredients in the night before et voilà: healthy, filling, warm breakfast that requires little more than scooping it into a bowl….although you can’t go wrong adding a little bit of quality maple syrup to your oatmeal in the morning. Just sayin’.

I make a double batch so we have enough for several meals. I highly recommend doing this. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days and you can always freeze it. (If you do decide to make the larger batch, I recommend adding a little bit more than double the cinnamon.) The recipe below is based on one over at The Yummy Life.

Ingredients

3 apples, peeled & cubed
1.5c milk
1.5c water
1c uncooked steel cut oats
2 tb brown sugar or maple syrup
2 tb butter, cut into small pieces
1 ts cinnamon
1 tb ground flax seed, optional
1/2 ts salt

Directions

1. Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD. You will need a drill to remove the cooked on oats if you don’t coat the slow cooker.  Trust me.
2. Add in all the ingredients and stir.
3. Set the slow cooker to to low and cook for 7-8 hours. (If doubling, give it an extra hour.)
4. In the morning, inhale the goodness that awaits you. Scoop some into a bowl, add a little milk, and you’re good to go. You could opt to add more maple syrup, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins or anything else your little heart desires.

Warm Cauliflower & Herbed Barley Salad

21 Feb

I am always looking for new ways to incorporate grains and veggies into our diets.  This recipe appeared in an issue of Bon Appetit magazine and I thought it had excellent potential. Yes, the dressing has mayo but it’s only one tablespoon for an entire head of cauliflower and a pile of barley.

A lot of people don’t seem to care for cauliflower that much (“It smells like feet!” a friend once exclaimed), but I’ve always liked it. It’s especially nice here with little caramelized spots lending some sweetness to each floret. You can most definitely do this salad ahead of time and it’s even better the next day. I made mine without the beans as none of those goes over particularly well in our house, but I have no doubt they could work in the salad. Instead, I doubled the amount of barley.

Serves 4 with lots of leftovers.

Ingredients

1/2 c pearled barley
1 tb lemon zest
3 tb lemon juice
1 tb mayo
1 ts Dijon mustard
6 tb extra virgin olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 15-oz can of corona, gigante or butter beans
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
2 tb fresh tarragon, chopped
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Place barley and 1.5 cups of water (or broth) in a large saucepan with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes. Set ‘er aside.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice, mayo, Dijon mustard and 5tb of olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.
3. Heat a large pan to medium and add the remaining oil. Toss in the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Turn the florets over occasionally and cook roughly 10 minutes, until you start to see brown spots appearing. Add in 2tb of water, cover and steam for two more minutes.
4.  Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Add half of the parsley and tarragon, barley and dressing. (If you’re using the beans, this is when you would add them.) Stir to coat everything thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
5. Divide the salad among 4 bowls. Garnish with lemon zest and the rest of the herbs.

photo

Fresh Canteen Grocery Service

16 Sep

You worked all day. Getting home in rush hour is a hassle and you just didn’t have the time or desire to hit the grocery store. You’re home now and you’re starving. You want to have something healthy for dinner but you don’t have all the ingredients you need so you throw your hands up in the air and pick up the phone and order delivery.

Let’s rewrite this scenario:  you worked all day. Getting home in rush hour is a hassle and you just didn’t have the time or desire to hit the grocery store. You’re home now and you’re starving. You want to have something healthy for dinner…so on your way in the door you pick up the box of ingredients you ordered from Fresh Canteen and prepare yourself a healthy, flavourful, properly portioned meal.

This second scenario sounds more appealing, non?

From six possible entree options, I tried out the Jamaican chicken dinner. The box was delivered Tuesday afternoon and I received an email notification when it arrived. (Note: in speaking with owner Matt O’Leary , he told me that the boxes are packaged with materials and ice packs that allow the ingredients to remain unrefrigerated for up to 24 hours. Additionally, all the materials are recyclable. ) When I got home, I opened up the box to find all the ingredients I would need: two chicken breasts, pineapple salsa vegetables and herbs, 1/2 cup of quinoa and individually packaged spices. Included in the box was a step-by-step recipe card with clear instructions and pictures.

fc box

Food is snug as a bug in its recyclable packaging.

fc menu

Helpful recipe card.

The whole meal, from the time I opened the box to the time I sat down to eat, took 40 minutes. It didn’t require me to use any special kitchen tools and the only things I needed from my own pantry were salt, pepper and vegetable oil.  I wondered if there would really be enough food for two of us but we were quite full – in fact, there actually might have been too much salsa. That being said, having extra red pepper and pineapple salsa on hand is not a bad thing: it makes for a good snack later!

fc chicken

fc veg

fc final

Fresh Canteen is serving most of the GTA thus far, delivering a package of three meals once per week. “We know people are going to order out, too,” Matt tells me, “but at least they can have enough food in the fridge for a few days so they can eat healthy meals at home.” FC is a great service for those who love to cook but don’t always have the time to get to the grocery store. Each week the menu options change and there are fish, chicken, beef and vegetarian dishes from which you can choose. Check them out, folks. It’s a great service run by friendly, knowledgeable people who care about your food as much as you do.

Turkey Meatballs w/ Vegetables & Rice Noodles

26 Sep

New house, new kitchen, new recipes! Tried this one out last night and it was a whole pile of filling, healthy deliciousness. Definitely give it a whirl: it’s easily adaptable and pretty quick to make. J pickled the red onions and cucumbers that he served and it added a great sour bite to the sweet and spicy sauce that accompanies the dish.

You could also serve the meatballs as an appetizer, serving the sauce on the side as a dip.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1 tb sesame oil
1 tb chives/green onions, finely diced
2 ts cornstarch
1 pinch chili flakes (optional)
1 ts salt

1 tb hoisin sauce
1 tb rice wine vinegar
1 tb oyster sauce
1/2 tb Sriracha sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tb soy sauce

bell peppers, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 red onion, juilenned

2 green onions, sliced
1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
2 lime wedges

1-2 packages rice noodles, cooked according to instructions

Directions

1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients. Do not overmix. Refrigerate for anywhere from 2 – 24 hours.
2. Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with foil. Dampen your hands and roll out roughly 16 meatballs. Bake 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs and preheat your broiler. Cook for 5 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, if you plan to stir fry the veg, heat a pan with 2 ts of olive oil to medium and sauté for 4 -5 minutes. If you’re pickling them, however, you can skip this step.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Adjust flavouring to taste – some people like it hot, some salty, some sweet.
5. Place the noodles at the bottom of a bowl and layer in the vegetables and meatballs, topping with green onion, cilantro and a lime wedge for garnish. Either pour the sauce on top or serve on the side.

Turkey meatbals

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