How To: Quickie Meal – Tortellini Salad with Mushrooms, Arugula, and Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

IMG_9317

One of my husband’s favourite foods is cheese tortellini. Second probably to the one and only KD, as I may have mentioned once or twice.

I on the other hand, could take or leave tortellini. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta just as much as the next person. But I usually find the store bought tortellini devoid of much cheese and very unsatisfying. In this salad however, lets just say it has made me a tortellini convert.

This cold salad is an update on your usual creamy pasta salads found at your summer bbqs. Savoury roasted mushrooms and crunchy arugula combine with a generous amount of parmesan cheese and a delicious tangy vinaigrette. And served cold, it is perfect for this crazy summer heat!

Tortellini lovers everywhere rejoice – this one’s for you!

Dara

IMG_9318

Tortellini Salad with Mushrooms, Arugula, and Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted from The Vintage Mixer

Ingredients

  • 350 Grams cheese tortellini
  • 16oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 5oz arugula
  • 1/3-1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

This salad stands great on it's own as a vegetarian main and is also a delicious side for bbq chicken or fish. You can substitute any other tortellini you like - pesto or spinach filled would be fantastic. This pasta salad holds up well and is still tasty the next day.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and fresh thyme and place evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes until tender and set aside.
2. Cook tortellini according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl with mushrooms, arugula, and parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add dressing and toss again to evenly coat.
Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
3. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Share!

How To: Healthy Breakfast – Double Maple Overnight Oats

IMG_9356

I tend to go in waves when it comes to breakfast choices.

Oatmeal for one week, cereal the next, pancakes and yogurt and granola are also on rotation. But right now I’m on an overnight oat kick. Way back when we were blogger newbies, I posted a recipe for an overnight oatmeal variation. While it is still delicious, I now enjoy more creative variations for my grown up and sophisticated palate.

IMG_9349

For this version I used the classic oatmeal topping of maple syrup to add sweetness and flavour. These oats get a double dose of maple flavour by using a maple brewed tea as part of the soaking liquid. I was generously gifted a bottle of pure maple syrup and a pack of Canada true maple tea by Canada The Store. I love the subtle maple flavour of this tea and in combo with the classic maple syrup – oatmeal heaven!

IMG_9351

Another thing I’ve learned since that first overnight oatmeal post, is that chia seeds are a key component of overnight oatmeal. I find they really thicken up the mixture as it sits overnight. I usually like to soak my oats in part almond milk and part yogurt, but for this version, I left the yogurt as a topping to really let the maple flavour of the tea and syrup shine through.

IMG_9352

One of my favourite things about these oats are the toppings – it’s like when you go to a self serve frozen yogurt bar. You can add whatever you like to jazz these up – nuts, fruit, dried fruit, go WILD!

IMG_9350

Assemble these the night before and then trust me, you will be so excited for breakfast you won’t be able to sleep! Thank goodness for the caffeine jolt in these oats from the maple tea. Your serving of breakfast and caffeine all in one!

Dara

IMG_9353

Double Maple Overnight Oats

Serves 2
Meal type Breakfast, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of maple tea
  • 1 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • plain Greek yogurt, walnuts, and blueberries (to garnish)

Note

You can top these overnight oats with whatever toppings you'd like - sliced strawberries, raspberries, raisins, almonds, pecans, more sliced bananas, and another drizzle of maple syrup would all be delicious. I find these oats sweet enough but for a little extra sweetness top with vanilla yogurt in place of the plain. The oats will keep for up to five days in the fridge.

Directions

1. Place tea bag in a cup and add 1/2 cup boiling water. Let it steep for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Place banana in a medium bowl and mash. Add oats and remaining ingredients and stir t combine, ensuring oats are covered with liquid.
3. Place oat mixture in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. In the morning, divide among two bowls and top with yogurt, blueberries, and walnuts.

 

How To: Snack Healthy – Peanut Butter Bars

IMG_9294

I honestly can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this recipe with you. My husband actually looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed “You haven’t posted this yet?!” So, my sincere apologies for holding out on you.

IMG_9283

IMG_9285

I think I’ve made these bars about a million times – okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But I’ve definitely made them at least 10. And that’s a lot of times for such a successful food blogger like myself. I kid.

It’s hard to believe that the simple combination of peanut butter, eggs, honey, vanilla, and baking soda come together to produce what is best described as a cross between a brownie and fudge. I throw in a handful of chocolate chips for good measure, but you could totally leave them plain too. But really, when is a little chocolate ever a bad thing. It’s all about balance people.

IMG_9286

IMG_9296

You will read this recipe and think, really? Yes, really. I think these taste best when they are cold from the fridge. You definitely want to let them cool or they will crumble. Which also is delicious over some yogurt or ice cream, but I prefer them in bar form. I’ve also made this recipe with almond butter in place of peanut butter and it is also delightful, although I prefer this peanut butter version.

I will warn you they are highly addictive, so don’t be surprised if you turn your back and the whole pan is practically gone – not that that has ever happened in my house. 😉

Dara

IMG_9295

Peanut Butter Bars

Serves 1 pan
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp vanilla
  • handful chocolate chips

Note

These bars will crumble warm from the oven so make sure to let cool and store in the fridge. I actually like them best cold from the fridge. They also freeze really well.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 pyrex with cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl and mix until combine. Add in chocolate chips and stir together.
3. Pour peanut butter mixture evenly into 8 x 8 pyrex and bake for 23 minutes. It will be semi firm and brown around the edges. Let cool on the counter for at least 20 minutes. The bars are best cold from the fridge.

 

How to: Recipe Makeover – Broccoli Slaw

I love a classic.  Books, movies, and mayonnaise laden salads included.

Honestly, I’m never really happy at a barbecue without a creamy potato or pasta salad, so let’s leave those alone for now.

This one’s a fun little update on the creamy bacon-y version of the classic broccoli salad.  Not to worry, I don’t completely ruin the fun.  There’s cheese, guys (and a little mayo still).

IMG_4809

Also, if you want to add crispy bacon or even better, crispy proscuitto, I will allow it. I’m generous like that.

Erin

Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1 Small head of broccoli (chopped into small florets)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 50g cheddar cheese (about ⅓ cup cut into small cubes or grated on the large side of box grater)
  • ⅓ cup toasted pecan pieces
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note

Toast pecans in frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Directions

1. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
2. Add dressing and toss to combine thoroughly. For best results, allow to sit for 1 hour before serving.

How To: Quickie Meal – Pasta with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and Broccoli Rabe

IMG_9230

When it comes to taking care of household chores we all have our roles.

I take care of the cooking, he takes care of the garbage, we both share day to day clean up and laundry duties. I think we have a pretty good groove going. And sometimes, we both step out of our chore box to help each other out, which is always a nice and welcome surprise.

IMG_9221

IMG_9225

Normally when I’m planning on going out for dinner, my husband and daughter dine on leftovers or a frozen pizza always kept on hand in case of a dinner emergency. Well, this past week when I was venturing out for a girls night out, I whipped up this super easy and super delicious pasta, surprising my hubby with a restaurant-worthy meal. #wifepoints

IMG_9223

Even if you don’t normally take on the “cook” role, this pasta is so easy you may choose the cook rather than clean up duties tonight. With just a few simple ingredients – olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt, the pasta is so flavourful. If you normally fear broccoli rabe for it’s usual bitterness, the boiling of this grown up version of broccoli takes away the sharp bitter flavour.

And this one big bowl of pasta is also a one pot meal. So you could score double points by taking on the cooking and clean up duty. But probably better to keep this a secret – no one wants to pick up extra household chores!

Dara
IMG_9230

Pasta with garlic, red pepper flakes, and broccoli rabe

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound whole wheat short pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (ends removed and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • parmesan cheese (grated)

Note

Use any short pasta you have on hand - penne, rigatoni, fusilli, even macaroni would work.  I used half a box each of penne and macaroni because that's what I had. You can adjust the red pepper flakes depending on your spice level preference.

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package direction. 5 minutes before it's finished, add the broccoli rabe. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and place in a large serving bowl.
2. In the same pot, add oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Heat over medium heat until fragrant and the garlic is starting to brown.
3. Pour over pasta and broccoli rabe mixture and toss to coat. Add as much parmesan as you'd like and toss again. Serve with additional parmesan on the side.