Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ricotta Humous

This recipe is an example of how with a little creativity, you can make a recipe with a replacement ingredient.

1 can of chickpeas
1 cup ricotta cheese
seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil

pan fry the chick peas with olive oil and seasonings. Throw it in a food processor and blend - VOILA!

Yummy.... it's a good fat :)

UPDATE: Okay, I just tried this with eggplant instead of ricotta and it's a hit! It's so creamy... and no, it's not like babaganoush. Note: I don't like more than a tsp of tahini in my humous, if any at all, but add it if you like it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Last Minute Pasta Dish

8pm, virtually nothing in the house to eat (all my frozen pizza back ups are gone).

Grocery store list:
1 pack natural ham slices (no preservatives)
1 block of parmasan cheese

Already at home:
1 egg
1 bag of pasta (rotini, but anything would work)

In a pan: sautee onions till tender and add chunks of ham (peas also are a good fit) add a wee bit of broth or water/boullion. Make pasta. When it's done, drain the water and put the egg in and stir until "cooked". Add the pan ingredients to the pasta and grate tons of cheese over it. Serve with pepper and a bit of salt.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1 Week Meal Plan Night 4

Tuna, Veggie & Bean Lettuce Wraps
Description: tuna mixed with sautéed peppers and onions with beans and seasonings in iceberg lettuce wraps
1-2 cans of tuna
1 can of white or black beans (NOT white kidney beans - they have NO flavour)
any type of stir fry veggie:
Bragg's or soya sauce
s&p and/or some kind of seasoning, like fajita seasoning (btw, I know someone who sells Epicure - let me know if you are interested!)

Stir fry all the veggies (chopped) and add tuna, beans and sauces/seasonings after the veggies are tender. Cook all together for a few minutes and DONE!

Wash the iceberg lettuce and pull apart in leaf "cups". Spoon the cooked mixture inside the leaf and wrap it up and eat! Grated cheese on top is optional.

The next day, you can put the cooked mixture in some veggie or chicken stock with some coconut milk and it makes an almost vegetarian, dairy free chowder!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1 Week Meal Plan Night 3

Honey Chicken Bake
Description: chicken breasts baked in a honey-mustard-curry sauce
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per adult (sauce is for up to four before you need to double)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup of mustard
1/4 cup oil or butter (optional)
1-2 tsps of curry powder
1 tsp salt

Combine everything (but the chicken) in a bowl and mix until smooth (softening the butter might be necessary, although I always leave chunks of butter and they melt as the dish cooks). Pour over chicken in an oven safe dish. Bake at 385 degrees for about an hour, basting a couple of times throughout the bake.

This dish can be prepared the night before.

Side: Roasted Cauliflower
Olive oil
powdered or minced garlic
salt & pepper

Directions: Cut up cauliflower in florets and coat with olive oil, garlic and s&p. Spread out on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven with the chicken for 20 minutes (flip half way through)

Leftover sauce from the honey chicken bake, and leftover cauliflower with some chicken stock and coconut milk make an incredible pureed soup.

Monday, August 15, 2011

1 Week Meal Plan Night 1 & 2

Night 1
Peas & Q's Pasta
Description: Rigatoni with peas, ham, onions & mushrooms
Peas (1-2 cans, opened and drained)
1/2 red or yellow onion chopped
1 pkg of cooked ham, cut into small strips
2 handfuls of mushrooms (washed and chopped)

1 tbsp oil
2-3 tbsp of Bragg's or chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese - garnish

Cook Rigatoni according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, in a pan or skillet, sautee onions in oil 1-2mins, add mushrooms and ham 1-2 mins, then add the peas. Stir mixture with a bit of stock or Bragg's (or soya sauce) and mix the contents of the pan into the drained pasta (in the pot). Serve with parmesan cheese.

Side: Italian tomato salad
6-8 Roma tomatoes (add any other type or colour of tomato, just make sure they are ripe, but firm)
4-5 tbsp of fresh, extra-virgin cold pressed Olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, or 2 tbsp of dried oregano
coarse salt (to taste)

Cut tomatoes into bite size pieces, pour olive oil, coating the tomatoes, stir with the basil or oregano and salt.

Night 2
Southwest Gratin
Description: Thin-sliced yams, potatoes, onions with turkey bacon and baked with salsa, sour cream and topped with cheese

2-4 yams (skinned)
2-4 potatoes (Yukon Gold) (skinned)
1 red onion
1 pk of cooked back bacon, or turkey bacon (cut into quarters)
sour cream (optional)
grated cheese (cheddar, mozza, parmesan, monterey jack)

Get a large baking dish and drizzle the bottom with olive oil and minced garlic. On the thinnest setting of a mandolin or food processor, slice the first three ingredients and layer them on an angle (like dominoes that have been knocked down) Tip: layer a small wad (about 6 slices) of yam, then a wad of potato, a pinch of red onion and then 1 thick slice of meat. This makes it go faster then layering one at a time. Add wallops of sour cream, and salsa randomly on the top (optional: onion dip mix lightly sprinkled on top - I love the Epicure 3 onion mix - no msg). Cover with cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes. If you used thicker slices, it might need a bit more time. (optional: bake covered allowing a few minutes at the end uncovered for the cheese to bake) Potatoes should be soft and edges slightly crisped.


All the ingredients of the pasta dish can be added to an omelette the next day if you leave about 1/2 cup aside of it.

The tomatoe salad can be added to fresh pasta as a summer sauce or stewed and added to lasagna, soup, or any tomato-based sauce.

The juices from the potato bake make an awesome stock for soup.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Wait is OVER! The MENU

Here are the recipe titles and descriptions for the meal planning challenge of next week. I will post two recipes at a time, starting on Sunday. I will post the shopping list (in two parts, for freshness) today.

Night 1
Peas & Q's Pasta
Description: Rigatoni with peas, ham, onions & mushrooms
Side: Italian tomato salad

Night 2
Southwest Gratin
Description: Thin-sliced yams, potatoes, onions with turkey bacon and seasonings baked with salsa, sour cream and topped with cheese

Night 3
Honey Chicken Bake
Description: chicken breasts baked in a honey-mustard-curry sauce
Side: roasted cauliflower

Night 4
Tuna, Veggie & Bean Lettuce Wraps
Description:  tuna mixed with sautéed peppers and onions with beans and seasonings in iceberg lettuce wraps

Night 5
Description: either sauteed veggies, or seasoned ground beef with all the classic trimmings

Night 6
Colourful Veggies Chicken
Description: chicken thighs cooked on the stove top with zucchini, carrots and red peppers in a tasty soy broth
Side: Rice or Dreamy Couscous

Night 7
BREAK!!! All moms need a break from cooking - tonight you a) get your hubby to cook, b) your kids to cook c) you order pizza or take-out or d) you go out to eat!

Alternates if one of the recipes REALLY doesn't work for you:
Roast Chicken with root vegetables

Open-faced cordon bleu melts

The Shopping List

Around the house
·       Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
·       Salt (fine & coarse)
·       Pepper
·       Curry Powder
·       Red wine or Balsamic Vinegar
·       Sugar (pinch)
·       Butter
Product Suggestions
·       Bragg's Liquid Aminos (instead of Soy Sauce)
·       Vegenaise Grapeseed or Original (instead of mayo)
Day 1-4
·       Pre-cooked ham (whatever style, deli meat, whole ham, etc.)
·       precooked turkey or pork back bacon
·       Chicken breasts (1 per person)
SPICES/ Condiments
·       honey
·       mustard
·       butter/oil
·       curry powder
·       Oregano
·       Salt (fine & rock)
·       1 bunch fresh basil or cilantro
·       pepper
·       olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed)
·       red vinegar or balsamic
·       onion dip mix (I recommend Epicure three onion dip mix - not hiddeningredients)
·       salsa
·       soya sauce
·       ranch dressing
·       Shredded Cheese (monterrey Jack, mozzarella, etc.)
·       Feta cheese
·       butter
·       sour cream
·       2 cans of white beans
·       1 can of coconut milk
·       2 cans of tuna
·       1 can sweet peas
·       1 tetrapak of Chicken or Veggie Stock
·       1 bag sweet yellow or red onion (1 red onion in any case)
·       1 bag of carrots
·       6 Roma or firm, but ripe tomatoes
·       2 heads of Iceburg or firm Romaine lettuce
·       1 bag of yams
·       1 bag of yukon gold potatoes
·       2 heads of cauliflower
·       1 bag of mixed peppers (yellow & red)
·       2 stalks of celery
·       squeeze of fresh lemon
·       1 bag of Rigatoni, penne or rotini pasta
·       1 box couscous
Day 5-7
·        1-2 packs of Chicken thighs
·        3 med Zucchini
·        1 head of Iceberg or firmRomaine lettuce
·        ground beef
·        tomatoes
Whole Chicken
new potatoes
Italian bread or ciabatta,     or foccacia bread sliced length wise in half
pieces of roast chicken     (premade or prebought) optional: use deli chicken
sliced ham

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meal Plan Week

Hey Folks,

Part of my passion with cooking is making it easy for families to have tasty, healthy meals. So I am still experimenting with the best way to communicate this and I am doing a meal planning week through my blog. My hope is that if you are participating you will check in every couple of days to get the directions and give feedback on how it's going.
This Thursday (August 11, 2011) I will post the shopping list and the menu. The following week we will go through the recipes, strategizing making meals stretch into another meal and also how to prep more meals in one sitting to make it faster. It won't be a huge committment since I will have everything posted - you just need to be willing to participate for the whole week!

Invite your friends by hitting "share" :)
Feel free to become a "follow"er on this blog.

Cheers! Miriam

Friday, July 29, 2011

Flour tortilla Pizzas

1 flour tortilla per child, 1-2 per adult
pasta sauce
Pre-cooked veggies (peppers, onions sauteed, cooked yam in slices)
Cheese (soy, cheddar, mozza, feta)
Meat (pepperoni, salmon, ham, bacon) cut into bite size pieces
Olives, capers

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) bake tortillas for 4-5 mins or until lightly crispy and remove from oven
3) Spread pasta sauce to the edges, and load with toppings, covering it with cheese
4) Return to oven until cheese melts 2-3 mins

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kitchen Sink Breaky

Another victorious easy meal! This time a breakfast/brunch winner. Minutes this is.... minutes!

3 eggs
a bit of milk (goat's, cow's, unsweetened almond milk)
Bread (any type, slightly stale, or fresh - whatevs)
Some type of filling ingredient - candied or smoked salmon, ham, mushrooms
Cheese (feta, swiss, cheddar)

Line the bottom of a pie pan with a teenie bit of butter or olive oil and then the bread - no more than an inch high (cut buns into 3 slices sideways). Whip up the eggs and milk and pour over the bread. Add the meat or veggie and cover or add cheese.
Salt and pepper optional

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Meatloaf 2 in 1

Okay this is another "make one meal and use the leftovers the next day" meal.

Night 1 - meatloaf (I bought mine pre-made, feel free to share any good recipes for this since I have never made one!) with corn on the cob.

Save extra corn and meatloaf

Night 2 - Meat loaf cut up into chunks reheated in a pan on the stove top with red onions, pieces of cut off corn, sliced celery and salsa (lightly coat). Serve it with fresh avocado.


Gratin-ishness (gluten-free)

I just recently tried a Potato, Tomato & Zucchini Gratin and I loved it! Well, it required me to whip out my mandolin (slices food very thin) and it inspired another recipe:

Yummy Southwest Bake

2 yams
2 potatoes (Yukon Gold)
1 red onion
1 pk of cooked back bacon, or turkey bacon, or something like that
sour cream (optional)
grated cheese (cheddar, mozza, parmesan, monterey jack)

On the thinnest setting, slice the first three ingredients and layer them on an angle (like dominoes that have been knocked down) in a roasting pan that has a bit of olive oil and minced garlic in the bottom. Add spices on top (I used Epicure Herb & Garlic), pepper, a coarse salt and wallop the sour cream, salsa and spread the cheese over it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. If you used thicker slices, it might need a bit more time.

NOTE: If you have too many thin slices, do a second layer on TOP of the first layer and put the condiments on top of THAT layer.

You will thank me for this recipe!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Product Review: Vegenaise

Vegenaise - especially the grape seed one. It is WAY better than mayonnaise in my humble opinion and a good dairy free alternative.

Baked Salmon Meal

1 boneless salmon, skin on (whatever size you need to feed your family)
4 tbsp of Vegenaise or Mayonnaise
1 tbsp of barbecue sauce

1 bunch of asparagus
2 tbsp of butter or earth balance

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, mix mayo & bbq sauce and slather on salmon, skin side down, in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 mins. Let it sit for a few minutes and serve!

Break off the bottoms of asparagus, fry asparagus in a frying pan with some butter and minced garlic until tender, but still crunchy. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Serve with potatoes (mashed, smashed, roasted, boiled - let me know what kind of recipe you want and I will post one)

Sausage Pasta

1-2 packages of flavoured sausages (I got tomato basil this time, and italian another time)
1 jar/can of plain tomato sauce
1 bag of pasta (spaghetti, penne, rotini)
1 tub shredded parmesan cheese

squeeze sausage out of the casing into a frying pan and cook through. Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. In the mean time, cook pasta. Add cheese and serve.


Tip: how to serve a sauce on pasta. Method 1 - add sauce to the entire pot of cooked pasta, Method 2 - add a bit of sauce to the pasta and stir to keep it separated and put a scoop of the sauce on top of the pasta in each plate. Method 3 - put a bit of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil in the pot of cooked pasta and stir and add the sauce to the top of each plate (one additional benefit to this is that the leftover pasta does not have any sauce on it and it's separated and ready to use for a different dish).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunshine Muffins or Cupcakes - My version of a popular recipe with GF option

Okay, so I haven't had any trouble with substitutions and alternative flours for my gluten-free friends, so I will often post the alternatives, or if I forget, haggle me.
These muffins, could also be cupcakes. I heard it once said that muffins were "mini cake wads" and I translated that to cupcakes. It's really the same ingredients except muffins usually have chunky bits. So that is what separates this recipe out: add chunky bits and it's muffins, add icing, and it's cupcakes.
Either way, they are stupid easy because you can do them in a blender or food processor and just pour.

Sunshine Muffins (regular or gluten free (GF))

1 orange
1 cup orange juice (Add 1 additional cup for more with the dense GF flours)
1/4 oil (or apple sauce/oil combination)
1 1/2 cups flour (GF option: oat flour or soy flour, brown rice flour and buckwheat flour combo)
1/2 cups of sugar (increase by 1/2 cup for cupcakes)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

optional: 1/2 cup cranberries or
sprinkle with dark chocolate flakes or
or sprinkle with millet or
ice with a lemon icing

Juice 1-2 oranges, cut 1 orange into 8 pieces (rind and all) and throw all the wet ingredients in the blender. Slowly add the dry ingredients until mixed. Pour into muffin tins

Bake for 15-20 minutes @ 375 degrees. Makes a dozen muffins/cupcakes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Red Lentil Soup Surprise


1 cup red lentils

1 chopped onion

minced garlic (as much as you want)

4 med carrots chopped

1 pack of chicken stock

2 tbsp of barbecue sauce (the "surprise)

leftover ground beef


sautee onions & garlic, add stock and carrots and bring to a boil, add lentils until they are soft (about 15mins) and throw in the beef, barbecue sauce and maybe add a bit of water and salt if the lentils sucked it all up.

Product feature:

Amazing Dad's BBQ Sauce

It's organic, gluten free, has honey instead of sugar and it doesn't have a million of unpronouncable ingredients.

Chicken stuffed w/Tomato Basil Feta in Marinara

I recently had some friends over for lunch and when I told them I was making Chicken stuffed with Tomato Basil Feta in a Marinara Sauce, I impressed them to the point of getting this reply "wow, you must be a chef!" Well no, I'm not, but I am a mastermind at discovering stupid simple recipes that make me seem like a chef. So I pass the magic on to you with this one:

8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
1 brick of tomato basil feta (or substitute)
1 jar Paul Newman's Marinara sauce
1 package of pasta or rice

  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. cut the feta brick into 8 slices
  3. put chicken in a casserole dish and raise the skin and stuff the feta brick in each chicken thigh. Wash hands thoroughly!!
  4. pour the marinara sauce on top of all the chicken
  5. bake in the oven for about 50-55 mins
Make pasta and serve it alongside - EASY!!!

Waste Not, Want Not

If you want to get more out of this meal for another meal, try this:
  1. save one chicken thigh for this next meal
  2. pour the cooking juices from the casserole dish in a container (including sauce chunks) and store in the fridge over night
Next day:
  1. scoop off the fat from the chicken juices and discard - what is left is a flavourful tomatoey chicken stock
  2. peel off the skin (discard) and pull off pieces of the chicken for a soup

Chicken & Vegetable Soup in V8 Juice
1 bottle of V8 juice
2 carrots
1 stalk of celery
1 onion
leftover pieces of chicken
leftover chicken stock

Sautee chopped onions, then add chopped carrots and chopped celery and cook until lightly tender(optional: add cooked chick peas or beans or be creative!). Add leftover chicken stock and let it "melt" as well as the chicken pieces. Add V8 juice (or other brand) and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and voila!

Let me know what you think!