Recipes

Barley Butternut Squash Risotto

barley-butternut-squash-risotto-crop
I made this wonderful side dish for Thanksgiving dinner this year! It’s one of my all-time favourite recipes from Lucy Waverman’s cookbook Dinner Tonight.

Barley contains a unique fibre called beta-glucan. This type of fibre has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Butternut squash is filled with beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, and important for vision and a healthy immune system.

Ingredients
5 cups chicken stock or water (I use lower sodium chicken stock)
2 T olive oil or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups diced butternut squash (about 1/2 small butternut squash)
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
salt and pepper to taste
2 T chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Heat stock in pot until simmering.
2. Heat oil in heavy pot on medium heat. Add onion and cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until onion is soft.
3. Add squash and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in barley and sauté for 1 minute or until barley is coated with oil.
4. Add 1 cup stock, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley absorbs most of stock. Add 2 more cups stock and cook for 20 minutes or until most of stock has been absorbed.
5. Stir in 1 cup more stock and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stock and cook and stir until barley is tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season well with salt and pepper.
6. Beat in parsley and cheese. Serve immediately. Risotto thickens as it sits, but it can be reheated by beating in more stock or water.

Makes 4 servings.

Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls

Shrimp Rice Rolls

A refreshing light meal or cool summertime appetizer when it’s just too hot to cook! Bonus – you can use fresh mint and basil straight from your garden!

Ingredients
2 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
8 rice wrappers (about 8.5 inches in diameter)
12 cooked, large shrimp – peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh mint leaves
1-2 carrots, julienned about 2 inches long
1/2 cucumber, julienned about 2 inches long

Shrimp Rice Rolls ingreds

Directions
1. Boil water in a kettle. Pour boiling water into a large bowl. Soak rice vermicelli in hot boiling water for about 5 minutes or until noodles are soft. (Or boil rice vermicelli in water for 5 minutes.) Drain.
2. Fill another large bowl with warm water. Carefully dip one rice wrapper into the warm water for 8-10 seconds so that the rice wrapper softens.
3. Place rice wrapper flat on a cutting board. Place 3 shrimp halves in the middle of the rice wrapper. On top of the shrimp, layer on 3 basil leaves, 3 mint leaves, about 1 Tbsp of rice vermicelli noodles, 2 carrot sticks, 2 cucumber sticks. Leave about 2 inches uncovered on each side of the rice wrapper.
4. Fold the short uncovered sides in towards the centre. Tightly roll up the rice wrapper.
5. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. As you are rolling up the remaining rice wrappers, cover the already made spring rolls with a damp towel to prevent the rice wrappers from hardening.
6. Serve with a sweet chili or peanut dipping sauce.
Makes 8 spring rolls.

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin recipe
Flavourful and tender, you’ll love this on its own, in a Bánh Mì or in a Cuban-style sandwich.

Directions
2 pork tenderloins (about ¾ – 1 lb each)
¼ cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Dijon or honey mustard
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Trim off the silver skin on the pork tenderloin.
2. In a small bowl, make the marinade: whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, mustard, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
3. Place the pork tenderloin in a large re-sealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight, turning the bag occasionally so that the pork is all coated.
4. Preheat oven to 375°F.
5. Transfer the pork tenderloin to a foil-lined baking dish.
6. Cook in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the centre reads 160°F.
7. Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing.
8. Pour any remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Drizzle over pork slices. Serve with green a green salad.
9. Use leftovers to make a Bánh Mì sandwich or a Cuban-style sandwich (see recipes below).

Makes 4-6 servings

Bánh Mì Sandwich
Slice a piece of French baguette lengthwise. Spread mayonnaise on each half of the bread. Add leftover pork slices, julienned cucumbers, julienned pickled carrots*, cilantro and a few slices of jalapeño pepper.

*To make Pickled Carrots: Combine ¼ cup white vinegar (or rice vinegar or cider vinegar) and ¼ cup white sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the carrots. Let the carrots stand for at least 30 minutes or overnight so that carrots soften. Drain well before adding to sandwich.


Cuban-style Sandwich

Slice a Panini roll lengthwise. Spread butter on the outside of each half. Spread mustard on the inside of each half. Add leftover pork slices, Swiss or provolone cheese and a few thin slices of pickles. Place sandwich in a heated Panini grill or sandwich press. Grill the sandwich until cheese has melted.

Pomodori Gratinati (Crunchy Tomatoes)

tomatoes cruncy recipe Florence

On my recent trip to Italy, Chef Stefania Borgioli taught me how to make this delicious dish! A great recipe for your garden tomatoes!

Ingredients
10 ripe tomatoes ( Sammarzano or Roma type)
1 garlic clove
Parsley
Basil
3 handfuls of bread crumbs
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese to taste
Salt

Directions
1. Cut tomatoes in half; gently remove the seeds, and salt them a little.
2. In a blender put all of the other ingredients to make a “panure” (breadcrumb mixture).
3. Put the tomatoes in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Stuff the tomatoes with the panure.
4. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.
5. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. Perfect also to dress pasta.

Recipe printed with permission from Chef Stefania, Toscana in Bocca, Florence, Italy.

Lemon Garlic Pasta

Lemon pasta crop.JPG

My kids love the taste of fresh lemons, so we created this pasta dish together.
It’s super easy, and best of all, I always have the ingredients on hand. Use this recipe as a guide and feel free to adjust to your own taste – add more garlic if you’re a garlic fan, add more lemon if you like it more lemony.

To make this a meal, top the pasta with your favourite protein and a big handful of vegetables. I like adding pan-seared shrimp with peas or grilled chicken with diced cherry tomatoes!

Ingredients
4 cups cooked, hot, drained linguine or spaghetti pasta
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
1-2 T fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. In a pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about about 45 seconds or until you can smell its wonderful aroma!
Be careful not to burn the garlic.
2. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Remove from heat.
3. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and 1 T lemon juice. Toss.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Taste test and add another 1 T of lemon juice if needed.
Optional: Add fresh basil leaves.

Recipe of the Month – Curry Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp recipe - 2

This has become one of my go-to dinners when I’m pressed for time. I always have all of the ingredients on hand, including frozen shrimp which I defrost quickly under cold running water as I’m chopping the onion. Thanks to AllRecipes.com for this wonderful recipe!

Ingredients

1 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T cornstarch
1 T water
2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté onion, red pepper and garlic until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
2. Season with cumin, coriander and curry powder. Cook for 1 more minute. Stir in coconut milk, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes.
3. Sir in shrimp, and increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir until shrimp is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with 1 T water. Stir into shrimp mixture and cook until sauce has thickened. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.
5. Serve with your favourite grain.

Recipe – Prosciutto-wrapped Mango Bites

Prosciutto wrapped mango bitesI found this fantastic appetizer recipe at myrecipes.com. Just 5 ingredients and takes 10 minutes to make. The taste is out of this world! Definitely a keeper!

Ingredients
1 ripe mango, peeled
1 ½ cups loosely packed arugula
1 package fresh basil
4 very thin slices of prosciutto or ham
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Preparation
1. Cut mango into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices (about 16 slices in total). Place 1 mango slice on top of 3 arugula leaves and 1 to 2 basil leaves.
2. Cut each prosciutto slice lengthwise into 4 strips. Wrap center of each mango bundle with 1 prosciutto strip. Arrange on a serving platter, and sprinkle with pepper.

To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed. Cover with damp cloth and chill 30 minutes.

Options: You can substitute slices of honeydew, cantaloupe, apple or pear for the mango. If using apple or pear slices, dip them in lemon or lime juice first to prevent them from browning.

5 Reasons Why I LOVE Lentils!


1. Lentils are cheap. I paid $2.99 for a big package of dried green lentils which should be enough for at least 10 servings. Costing it out, that’s about 30 cents for a solid serving of protein! Not bad, especially when foods costs are skyrocketing these days.

2. Lentils are nutritious. A 3/4 cup serving of cooked lentils is a substitute for meat, an excellent source of iron and packs in about 25% of my daily quota for fibre.

3. Lentils need no soaking.
Unlike many other dried beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked prior to cooking – a real time saver!

4. Lentils are versatile.
For week 3 of my Pulse Pledge, I made Easy Lentils and Rice. Last week, I used a can of lentils to make an amazing Lentil Shepherd’s Pie.

5. Lentils are delicious. They add texture and soak up any spices or flavours in your recipe. Give these nutritious gems a try!

Easy Lentils and Rice

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients
1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red or orange pepper, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
1 cup dried green or brown lentils
2 cups sodium-reduced chicken or vegetable broth

Directions
1. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Fry onion, garlic, celery and red pepper for a few minutes. Add cumin and salt. Continue cooking until onions are soft.
2. Stir in the lentils.
3. Add broth and bring to boil.
4. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes until the lentils are tender.
5. Serve over cooked rice, whole grain couscous or quinoa.

Pulse Pledge Week 2 – Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

[Thrilled to meet Chef Michael Smith!]

If you haven’t yet signed up for the Pulse Pledge, I encourage you to do it now and join this amazing global food movement! The challenge is to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks – and you can do that!

Pulses are dried peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas. They’re super nutritious, delicious, versatile, economical and a sustainable food!

For Week 1 of my Pulse Pledge, I whipped up a delicious gluten-free Chickpea Chocolate Cake and shared with my friends and family.

This week, I made Lentil Shepherd’s Pie – it’s my all time favourite lentil recipe and tastes fantastic! I hope you’ll give it a try! I think Chef Michael would approve!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 6 servings
Serve with a side salad or other vegetable.

Ingredients
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) stewed tomatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) green lentils (drained and rinsed)
pepper
3 cups mashed potatoes (about 3 large)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
4 green onions
salt

Directions
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrots and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add tomatoes and break them up (if needed) with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
3. Stir in lentils, season with pepper to taste. Transfer to a deep 8 cup (2 L) baking dish.
4. Combine potatoes with cottage cheese and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over lentil mixture to cover completely.
5. Bake, uncovered, in 400 F (200 C) oven for 35 minutes or until heated through.

Recipe Source: The Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook, 1991

Comments/Review: You could also use dried green lentils instead of canned. Just simmer 1 cup (250 mL) of rinsed lentils with about 5 cups (1.25 L) of water for 25 minutes or until tender, then drain well and add to recipe.

Chickpea Chocolate Cake (gluten-free)


What can you make with one can of chickpeas? A delicious gluten-free chickpea chocolate cake! I raved about this cake in my recent nutrition trends interview on BreakfastTV Toronto. Super easy and tastes amazing!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 T icing sugar (for dusting)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
2. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate chips for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds after the first minute, until chocolate is melted and smooth. If you have a powerful microwave, set the power at 50%.
3. Combine the beans and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the sugar and baking powder. Pulse to blend.
4. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend until smooth. Transfer batter to the prepared cake pan.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Recipe Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/149550/garbanzo-bean-chocolate-cake-gluten-free/

Comments/Review: Instead of a food processor, I simply used a Magic Bullet to blend the chickpeas and eggs (half of the chickpeas with 2 eggs at a time). I then poured everything into a large bowl and added the sugar, baking powder and melted chocolate. When I first made this recipe, my then 7 year old daughter declared gleefully, “I’m so lucky. I got the piece of cake without any bean in it!” Fooled her!