Ah January.  I’m always a bit sad to see the holiday season go, but on the other hand it’s nice to get back into the routine of regular life.  I’m not really a ‘resolutions’ kind of person; however, did anyone out there make any cooking/healthy eating resolutions?  Maybe to eat more often at home, or plan a few suppers ahead of time each week??  Eating well and organizing are what January means to me!

Hope you can find something you’d like to eat this week, below!  Here’s a glimpse at what we’re eating…

Tortellini with Mushroom Sauce from Everyday Food.

This is fairly simple and quick to prepare, but tastes like a restaurant dish!  My local grocery store didn’t have shiitake mushrooms, and so I used cremini instead.  Serve with a large spinach salad with oil & vinegar dressing.  Delicious!!

The recipe calls for chopped fresh parsley; however in the winter, fresh herbs are expensive and often go to waste.  So I have a secret weapon in my freezer: President’s Choice frozen chopped herbs in an easy to shake box.  So handy and a great timesaver.  Try them this winter!

People often think pasta is unhealthy – but it isn’t.  The problem is not with pasta itself, but the portions of pasta that we eat.  Did you know that 1 cup of cooked pasta is considered an appropriate serving size?  Measure it out, and you’ll be surprised at how this compares to your typical portions.  Balance your smaller pasta portion with more veggies!

Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Chili from Cooking Light.

A vegetarian dish that packs a flavour punch!  It’s really simple to roast your own peppers, and the flavour is well worth the extra effort.  The other must-have ingredient are the fire-roasted diced tomatoes.  Since the Canadian canned version didn’t have chipotle chiles in it, I added a roasted jalapeño pepper for heat and spice.  I was pretty surprised to see ‘roasted diced tomatoes’ in a can, and wonder if this is a new product here in Canada?  I really hope they stick around because they could really add flavour to a lot of dishes.

Although this dish is vegetarian, the beans and the quinoa are a great source of protein!

Salmon with Lemon, Capers and Rosemary from the Food Network.  I will be adding roasted potatoes and acorn squash as sides.   This dish reminds me of the salmon I recently had at my brother’s wedding!  It was wonderful, and so I hope this recipe is as well.

Sesame beef stir-fry from Cooking Light.  Hubby loves stir fry, and we don’t eat enough red meat (rich in iron!) in the winter when we aren’t grilling as often.  The 4 cups of spinach that are added to the stir-fry are also a great source of iron!  🙂

Enjoy!  Happy Cooking!!

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I’ve been attempting to bake more often.  As you know, I cook much more than I bake; but baking is something that I also like to do!   Since nutrition is my thing, we don’t keep too many treats around the house, but over the holidays we do indulge a bit more than usual!  It has been a busy month, but I’ve managed to make the following items:

Simple sugar cookies from Real Simple.  A traditional Christmas treat.  Mine were a tad crispy, and I think it’s because I had to roll them out with quite a bit of flour to prevent sticking… I’ve recently read that some people use powered sugar instead of flour when rolling out cookies.  Maybe I will try that next time.  Do you have any special tricks?

White chocolate and peppermint brownies from Real Simple.  Follow the Double Chocolate brownie recipe and then once cool, melt 6 ounces of white chocolate with 1 tsp of canola oil and spread on top of the brownies.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped candy canes and let sit before cutting into squares.  Festive and delicious!

Meringues cookies! yum!  Meringues remind me of the holidays!  And they are so light and airy, how could you possibly feel guilty eating one?  These are in the oven as I type, and I can’t include a picture of mine (so a website photo is included in case you don’t know what they are!).  They bake for about 1.5 hours on low and you have to leave them overnight in the oven once it is off.   Meringues are really simple and use only 4 ingredients: egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and pure vanilla extract.  Try them this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!!

The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with shopping, wrapping, visiting, cooking and baking.  If you don’t plan your meals in advanced, we can often end up relying on take-out, fast food, or microwave meals.  Here are some delicious meals that you may want to incorporate into your supper plans for this week before Christmas!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Cooking Light.  The use of whole wheat noodles, and the fact that the main cheese used is 1% cottage cheese makes for a healthy version of a comfort dish.  Watch your portion and try to balance it with half a dinner plate of salad.

Spanish spaghetti with olives from Cooking Light. I used saffron that my mom brought back from England for me.  Apparently saffron is much cheaper in Europe than it is here.  Also as a side note – the scent and taste of saffron brought me right back to Costa Rica.  They used a lot of it in the dishes we had during our honeymoon.  yum.  This supper was a wonderful change from traditional spaghetti.  Saffron, capers, olives – oh my!  It sounds exotic, but don’t be afraid to try it.  With whole wheat spaghetti and a large side of salad, of course!

Lo-mein with Pork from Everyday Food.  If you use the quick cooking Asian noodles for this dish, it cuts down on the cooking time!  Also, using smaller cuts of pork (if you don’t have leftovers from the pork tenderloin, as the recipe states) makes for faster cooking.

Have a merry and delicious Christmas!!

I have a confession.  Although I love Canadian Thanksgiving and all that comes with it (the crisp air, the orange leaves, pumpkins, etc), I am a bit envious of American Thanksgiving.  It kinda feels like a party to which we Canadians aren’t invited.  I think having 2 Thanksgivings would suit me just fine.  You?  Reminising on Thanksgiving inspired our Sunday night meal.

Here’s what we had, along with the rest of our supper plan for this past week.

Turkey Stuffing Bake – All the flavours of Thanksgiving without the 7 hours of work!  yum.  This has moved up the ranks as one of my favourite fall/winter meals.  So good.

Crispy chicken and apple salad from Everyday Food.  This is a great fall salad.  Serve with some crusty whole grain bread to round out the meal.

Greek Chicken and onions, tomatoes and tzatziki also from Everyday Food.  I love greek food!  We had some olive tapenade and baguette as well with this dish.

Pork tenderloin and roasted fall vegetables  This is a great easy meal.  I added roasted baby potatoes for our starch for this meal.  The leftover pork can be used in a salad for lunches!

Happy cooking!

Here’s the Supper menu for this past week!  As we head into the start of the holiday season; quick and nutritious meals are a must!

Ravioli and vegetable soup – This supper was easy and wonderful.  I used fresh beef tortellini to ensure there was some  meat for my protein-loving hubby.  The ingredient that really helped cut down on the prep time of this dish was Arctic Gardens spaghetti blend vegetables.  I had no idea something like this existed until this recipe.  It was great for a quick weeknight meal.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan  – Not everyone likes eggplant, but I love it in this dish.  This recipe takes longer, having to bake the eggplant beforehand, but it is definitely worth it.  I suggest you try this vegetarian meal!

Roast Chicken with Parmesan-Brown Butter Orzo – If I see a recipe with the words ‘Brown Butter’ I’m hooked.  Brown butter is my go-to fall flavour.  It’s amazing.  I actually remember the first time I ordered ‘brown butter’ pasta; it was in Miami (about 5 years ago) at a wonderful restaurant on the main strip.  This orzo makes an excellent fall side-dish!

Pot roast with bacon and vegetables from Everyday Food – for this meal, I used pancetta instead of bacon.  It is easier to create larger cubes of pancetta than bacon, and pancetta is delicious.  I halved this recipe (since we are just 2 people) and therefore I had to cut the cook time in half as well.  I luckily have pots that can go from stovetop to oven, so I didn’t need to use a dutch oven here.   The dutch oven I have wasn’t large enough for the pot roast.  This is the perfect ‘stay in on a cold Saturday night’ supper! 🙂

Tell me – what have you been making this season?

Happy Cooking!

Have you begun decorating for Christmas?  I am trying to hold off until next weekend (American Thanksgiving) – but we shall see!    It doesn’t seem as though snow is anywhere in the near future and so that helps delay the Christmas festivities around here.

Here is the dinner menu for this week in the middle of November!

SundayBeef and Tomato Stroganoff from Everyday Food.  This was a delicious Sunday comfort meal that we enjoyed with a salad!  It takes a bit of extra time, and so that is why it’s the perfect weekend meal.  I couldn’t find papardelle pasta, and therefore used tagliatelle instead!  Both are egg noodles, so they are easily interchanged.

MondaySalmon and Potatoes in Tomato Sauce  This is a one pot meal!  Yeah for fewer dishes and quicker cleanup.  I was pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of salmon and tomato sauce together.  For some reason, that is not a flavour combination I think of when I think of salmon – but it worked!  I couldn’t find pitted kalamata olives at the grocery store, however my container of mixed olives worked well as a substitution.

Tuesday – Seasoned pork chops, baked sweet potatoes, roasted parsnips.  To prepare the parsnips: peel and cut into 1 inch pieces, sautee in a pan with oil and sprigs of fresh rosemary until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday – Roasted chicken and potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar from Two Peas and their Pod.  More delicious fall produce.  I love brussel sprouts!!!  I used to just boil brussel sprouts and that would be that.  But recently roasting and flavouring with different vinegars is really helping this vegetable bring greater versatility to meals!

Thursday –  Dinner will be pasta with chickpea-tomato sauce.  Towards the end of the week (and on Grey’s nights!) I try to aim for quicker, less labour intensive meals.  This is a vegetarian dish that can be improved with the use of whole wheat pasta.  The chickpeas add protein, iron and fibre!

Happy Cooking!

Another week, flying by.  What have you been having for supper?  I’m cooking lots with pumpkin and have been on a baking blitz lately.  For a work function, i just recently made these pumpking gingersnaps from Two Peas and their Pod.  Delicious!  And as Maria promised, they are wonderfully soft inside.  A must try if you get a chance this weekend.

This week we had Beef and Pineapple Red Curry from Everyday Food magazine.

(sorry for the poor picture quality.  It was a quick iphone pic.)

It was almost as good as take-out, and really did only take me the 30 minutes of activity time that the recipe states.  I don’t often make thai dishes, as the constant need for (high-fat) coconut milk in these recipes turns me off – but I decided to live on the edge a little and be a tad naughty for once.   Try this recipe!!

Another favourite we had this week was this Mexican Frittata.   I love frittatas.  They are a great vegetarian option, they are quick and delicious!  Who doesn’t love eggs at supper?   But you do need to have 10 eggs on hand – so you definitely need to plan before you have this dish.

I’ve had some busy weekends lately; so I’m looking forward to a slower pace for this one, where I can do some good weekend cooking!  Hmm…I’m still planning so I will let you know what I end up preparing this weekend and what’s on track for next week!

Happy Cooking!

Has anyone purchased anything new for your kitchen or new cookware lately? Any new fall cooking routines or favorite meals?  I didn’t get a chance to update the blog with my menu from last week.  It was busy with Canadian Thanksgiving, and then getting back into the routine of the week.  However I will mention our dinner on Friday this past week.  We had one of my favourite, soul warming soups.  If you love butternut squash this one is for you.  And it’s so simple!  Husband even got it ready for me, and did the chopping and step 1 of the recipe while I was stuck at an appointment.  Make a point to try this one this fall!

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup with crusty bread, yum yum yum!

And here’s what we’ll be eating for supper this week:

SundayChicken and Tomato No-Boil Pasta Bake from http://www.thekitchn.com.  This meal takes a bit of time, and that’s why it’s perfect for a Sunday.  However it’s worth it since you will end up with leftovers for the week!    To prepare the cooked chicken, I poached chicken breasts in dried herb seasoned water.   I also used whole wheat rigatoni, and 1% milk and both worked out well!   Serve with a baby spinach salad.

Monday – Leftovers from Sunday night

Tuesday – Baked salmon, crispy chickpea salad (recipe below), pumpenickel bread.  I make a lot of mixed dishes, but felt like focusing on unique side dishes this week.  So the protein can be cooked as you traditionally would, and then the main interest of the dish will come from the side!

Crispy chickpea salad (source: Nutrition Action newsletter Oct 2011)

Toss 2 chopped red bell peppers and 1 drained 398mL can of chickpeas with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.  Roast at 425F for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then toss with 4 cups of arugula or baby spinach and 1 tbp of balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday – Another dish with a featured side!  Quinoa is a wonderful gluten-free, iron and protein rich complex carbohydrate.  Baked seasoned chicken, and Edamame, Quinoa and Shiitake Mushroom Salad from Cooking Light

ThursdayMushroom and black bean tortilla casserole from Everyday Food.  This is one of my favorite vegetarian entrees for fall/winter.  The mushrooms add such a nice flavour.  Make sure to use corn tortillas if you can find them – the taste is worth it!!  And I promise – you won’t miss the meat!

Friday – It’s ‘dinner for one’ tonight, so I will be making something a bit less labour intensive.   Tonight’s meal will be pressed ham and pear sandwiches with salad on the side.  I will be using in-season Ontario Bartlett pears, yum!

Happy Cooking!

It was a rainy, chilly fall day in Ontario yesterday.  Perfect for getting the oven going and baking some delicious treats!

Pumpkin cranberry muffins!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp+2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 can (14oz) pure pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl
  2. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and milk in a small bowl.  Beat until just blended.
  3. Add pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, stir until just moistened.  Fold in cranberries.
  4. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes and remove to wire racks to cool.
Enjoy!!

Sometimes I get home from work, and the last thing I feel like doing is making dinner.  I put it off.  I check my e-mail, walk the dog.  And then I resign myself to the fact that I know I have to eat, that making a fresh, healthy dinner is SO much better for us and that it won’t take that long!  And it doesn’t – once I get started. Sometimes all it takes is a plan.  It’s a much more palatable idea to make a nice supper after a long work day, when you know what you’re coming home to make.  It’s that time you spend running to the store, staring at the cupboards, and checking cookbooks or online recipes that make dinner time more frustrating!  So plan your suppers with my help!

Here’s what we are eating this week.

SundayChicken Tenders Parmesan from Everyday Food.  An easy and comforting meal, serve with whole wheat pasta.

MondaySpinach and Proscuitto Lasagna from Everyday Food.  This was a bit more labour intensive, but I knew the efforts would equal amazing leftover lunches for this week!  It says it serves 4, but from my ‘dietitian perspective’ this dish could serve 6-8.

TuesdayLighter General Tso Chicken.  I swear, this stir-fry is just as good as from a restaurant!!  Just make sure to really follow the directions, and put the chicken in the pan half at a time, and then remove before adding the snow peas.

Wednesday –  I originally had plans to be out at dinner tonight, but it fell through.  So instead (since I’m cooking for 1 tonight), I did a simple supper.  I sauteed some diced Ontario tomatoes with olive oil for about 8 minutes, mixed with cooked pasta and pieces of goat’s cheese.  Delicious and simple.

Thursday – No recipe for this night.  My features will be the lovely fall produce!  Seasoned, oven roasted salmon, baked acorn squash, brussel sprouts, roasted potatoes.  Yum!

Have you made any amazing meals lately? Please share!!

Happy Cooking!