How To: Healthy Breakfast – Savoury Squash Pancakes

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I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a long time.

It’s been bookmarked in my “recipe to try folder,” along with so so SO many more. Well, thank goodness for national food holidays. When #pancaketuesday rolled around last month, it was the perfect excuse for a breakfast-for-dinner meal.

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And oh how glad I was that I made these. They are deceivingly simple sounding. Just some roasted and mashed squash, an egg, some cheese and yogurt, and flour. That’s basically it. And somehow, through the magic that is Smitten Kitchen, they become addictive little pancakes that you eat so fast you thoroughly regret not making a double batch.

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These pancakes are honestly perfect for any time of day – feeling like a savoury breakfast but also want pancakes? Make these! Feeling like you want something a little different for lunch? Make these! Feeling like a breakfast for dinner type meal? Make these! Feeling a little peckish mid afternoon? Make these! The fact that they come together lickety-split makes it really easy not to miss out. They also freeze wonderfully so make up that double or triple batch, you won’t regret it.

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I’ve eaten them plain, topped with a dab of butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup. But my favourite way is to top them with a little extra plain yogurt. But you do you – I imagine a soft poached or fried egg on top would be lovely.

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So make them and tell me your favourite way to eat them, okay? And if you’ve made a double or triple batch, give me a ring!

Dara

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Savoury Squash Pancakes

Serves 4-6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast, Main Dish, Side Dish
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (halved and seeds removed)
  • 1/3 cup 2 % Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 3/4 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • butter (for frying pancakes)
  • additional butter or yogurt, maple syrup, sour cream (for serving)

Note

These pancakes are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I love them as a side to eggs and topped with some extra butter or yogurt. You could definitely cook up a double batch as they freeze really well.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place squash flesh side down on baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until very tender. Remove and let cool slightly and scoop out flesh and mash. Measure out 1 cup of mashed squash and store the rest in the fridge or freezer for another time.
3. In a large bowl whisk together squash, yogurt, eggs, cheese, salt, and baking powder until combined. Add flour and stir until just mixed in.
4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat and add some butter to coat the bottom of the pan (I used about 1 tbsp or so). Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon batter onto pan, flattening it slightly with the back of a spoon.
5. Once brown on the bottom side, flip and cook until brown on the other side. If the pancakes are cooking too quickly, turn down the heat slightly. If you aren't eating them right away you can keep them warm on a parchment lined baking sheet at 200 degrees.
6. Serve as is, or topped with some maple syrup, additional butter, or yogurt.

How to: Make your Own Mushroom Bourguignon

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This post was inspired by the leftover wine I had sitting around from Christmas.

Just kidding.

No such thing.

But if there is such a thing in your home, this recipe will make excellent use of it.

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It’s also an adaptation from my blog hero Deb Perlman via Smitten Kitchen. I’ve been making and swooning over it for years, but haven’t shared it before because, well, it’s a lot of work.

I’ve adapted the method and have done my best to streamline this crazy delicious meal for you without sacrificing on flava flave. Start to finish you’re looking at about 45 minutes. Perhaps not a quickie weeknighter, but definitely do-able if you have a little extra time to spend.

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Those up there are pearl onions and they are flippin delish. Though I’ve seen food TV chefs cook with pre-peeled frozen packages of them, I have never found them frozen myself, so I take the extra step to peel them, which I admit is a pain in the A.

You can absolutely leave them out if need be though.  I have in the past and it really is still excellent.

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I’ve also adapted this dish to make it truly vegetarian (vegan, actually). Use a good quality vegetable broth instead of beef and use a little cornstarch and water for thickening rather than the butter and flour.

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It’s a really great and satisfying vegetarian main. Perfect for a dinner party and dynamite served over my creamy baked polenta. I promise, it tastes as luxurious as it looks.

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Freeze whatever you don’t eat, too.

Imagine coming home on a blistery winter’s night after a long day of work and having to simply pop a bowl of this in the microwave for dinner?

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Heaven I tells you.

Erin

Mushroom Bourguignon

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Website Lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2lb cremini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 Medium carrot (diced)
  • 1 Small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups pearl onions (peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • 1.5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • more salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • parsley and sour cream/greek yogurt for garnish

Note

The pearl onions are a delicious addition to this stew, but you can leave them out if you have a hard time finding them.  To easily peel them, drop them in boiling water for 1 minute and drain. Slice off the very end of each side and slip the peel off.

Directions

1. Heat canola oil in a large pot over high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté (they will squeak around in the pan) until they begin to release their juices. About 3-4 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, red wine, salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are soft and liquid is reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Add beef broth, tomato paste and pearl onions and continue to simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, mix together softened butter and flour until it forms a paste. Stir it into the mushrooms, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
4. Remove from heat. Serve with smashed potatoes, egg noodles or your carb of choice to soak up all the wonderful gravy. Garnish with sour cream or greek yogurt and parsley, if desired.

How to: Use Walmart.ca Grocery Pick-Up and Make Grab-and-Go Breakfast Frittata

December can be a real son of a gun.

I won’t lie friends.  As I write this post, I have about 86 things on-the-go and I’m struggling to get my act together. Don’t get me wrong, decorating the tree, using copious amounts of butter for my holiday baking and watching my 1-year-old lose her mind (in a bad way) on Old Saint Nick’s lap, totally gives me the Christmas warm and fuzzies.

But having to juggle all that with work, commuting, holiday parties, dog walks, exercise, laundry, dinnertime and grocery shopping? How ‘bout no?

PS, I’m calling your bluff if you tell me you don’t hope for your kid to be a little scared of Mall Santa. Why? Best photos ever.

Point is life is busy. Add a hectic holiday schedule in to the mix and, well, my Christmas goose is cooked.

Lately I’ve been looking for ways to streamline…life, in any way I can, so when Dara and I were approached to work with Walmart Canada in promoting their urban Toronto Walmart.ca Grocery Pick-Up service through Penguin Pick-Up, I thought, “Gee, what perfect timing.”

I know Walmart Supercentres (which carry groceries) have been a thing for a long while, but in my 13 years of living in the heart of this great city, I haven’t lived close enough to one to consider them a viable option. Having somewhere to grocery shop close to home is #1 on my list of “Reasons I Shop Where I Shop.”

With their new walmart.ca grocery pick-up locations at Yorkville, Yonge & Davisville, Leslieville and Harbourfront, Walmart is now officially in the hunt for my hard earned grocery dollars.

First, let me briefly tell you how it works. Then, I’ll give you the inside scoop on why it’s kind of great. Finally, a recipe (obvs)!

You can visit Walmart.ca or download the Walmart Canada app on to your Smartphone. The app will take you through a quick tutorial to show off some of its cool features.

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The online shopping aisles, which allow you to browse by category, are both intuitive and easy to navigate. You can also browse by Rollback items (sale items) in each category, so it’s like you’re carrying the flyer in one hand and pushing your cart with the other (that’s what I call streamlining).

If you know what you’re looking for, you can also use the search engine.

*Warning: if you search ‘yogurt’ be prepared for over 200 hits! The variety is actually staggering.

Add and remove items from your virtual cart as you go and when you’re all set choose a location  and a two-hour time window for pick-up. You can even pick up same day via Penguin Pick-Up, for orders placed before 11 am.

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Side note: If you’re feeling weird about someone else picking produce for you, let me tell you that, first, I totally get it (I was there too) and second, don’t. Their experienced shoppers are awesome and pick the best of the best. Truly, I couldn’t have picked better myself.

I picked up my order at the Leslieville Penguin Pick-Up location, where the entrance and parking are well marked.  A nice young man came to greet me at my car window with a tablet and confirmed my order with a piece of ID then proceeded to load up the trunk.  I was in and out under 5 minutes. Guys, 5 minutes!!! (more streamlining!)

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On top of the obvious time savings, another reason I like this service is the quality guarantee. If you’re not totally happy with any product in your order, you’ll be credited or refunded without fuss by calling customer service. I was even reminded of this when I picked up my order.

Finally, and this is the big one, you save money. Like, a seriously decent amount. With Toronto real estate and rental rates soaring and the cost of food also on the rise, peeps like Dara and I, who also appreciate good quality fresh food, are looking outside the box to find new options. The prices online are the same great in-store prices Walmart is known for.

Here’s a new recipe using fresh groceries from my most recent pick-up order. I wanted to choose something that showcases fresh produce, you know, the me being-a-dietitian thing.

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These simple grab–and-go breakfast frittatas are a quick, healthy, get-out-the-door-before-traffic-is-a-disaster breakfast. Make 12 at a time and freeze what you don’t eat within a couple of days and heat them with a quick zip in the microwave when you’re ready for more.

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Customize as you will, but always be sure to cook your fillings thoroughly before adding the egg and baking. You want to avoid too much moisture.

 

img_0609img_0613img_0617I wish you luck in your holiday streamlining too, friends!

Erin

Grab and Go Breakfast Frittatas

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 9 Large eggs (beaten)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 Tsp salt (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 227g cremini or white mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 3 Cups fresh chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 75g)

Note

I love this Bon Appetit Guide to Making a Perfect Frittata and used their great guidelines to make these.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and a 1/4 tsp of the salt.
2. In a large frying or sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushroom and cook until most of the moisture is cooked out and they begin to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add red pepper and cook until softened, another 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, mix in spinach and remove from heat once it begins to wilt. Season with the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.
3. Spray the inside of a 12 cup muffin pan thoroughly with cooking spray or brush with butter. Divide the vegetable mixture among the cups, about 2 tbsp each. Using a ladle, pour egg mixture over top, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way. Sprinkle each with crumbled feta cheese.
4. Bake for 18-20 minutes until frittatas are puffed and very lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes, and run a small spatula or knife around the edge of each cup to remove them.
5. Eat within 2-3 days if refrigerating or freeze in packs of two, first by wrapping them in paper towel and then transferring to small freezer bags. Reheat in microwave for about 1 minute on high in the paper towel (depending on your microwave you may need more or less).

 

How To: Quickie Meal – Panko Crusted Baked Tilapia

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This was one of those dinners that was so good I made it again the very next night. Seriously. It may have also had something to do with the fact that I had a costco size tray of tilapia fillets that had to get used up. But that’s besides the point.

The fact that my husband looked up half way through his meal and stated “this is the best fish you’ve made in a long time” should also convince you why you too should purchase a costco size tray of tilapia fillets. It also made me wonder what was wrong with our last of couple fish dinners...

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If you’ve been reading our blog for some time now, you know that Erin and I have a thing for creamy sauces. What would these fish tacos be without that lime crema? So it shouldn’t shock you that underneath the crunchy panko exterior lies a very flavourful mayo coating that helps to keep the tilapia nice and moist.

I’ve been known to make a double or even triple batch of this mixture and use it on everything from fish to veggies to salad.

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This tilapia can act as the perfect main to a one pan supper. I served it with some green beans and tomatoes that I roasted right along side the fillets. The best part? The clean up! Roll up the aluminum foil and done. No muss no fuss – just the way I like it!

Dara

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Panko Crusted Baked Tilapia

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1/8 Tsp pepper

Note

The mayo mixture is delicious and also makes a great dipping sauce. I like to double it and remove half to serve on the side with the cooked fish.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl mix together mayo, mustard, lemon juice, and oregano.
3. Place tilapia fillets on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Spread tops of tilapia evenly with mayo mixture and sprinkle with panko. Spray with cooking spray.
4. Bake for about 6 minutes on the top oven rack and then switch oven to broil. Broil for about 3 minutes, until panko is golden brown. Remove and serve with additional lemon wedges on the side.

How to: Slow Cooker – Daal

There is no shortage of slow cooker recipes popping up all over the place now that it’s fall. So why should you try this one? Because.

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And also, it was a “perfect on the first try” recipe. A simple, healthy, flavourful stew that tastes great right out of the slow cooker and even greater the next day for lunch.

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I tend to use my gigantic slow cooker in fits and starts. I find it does a great job of braising meat slow and low, but vegetables? Not so much.  In my experience, they get obliterated beyond recognition.  Sure, you can shorten the cook time. But then why use a slow cooker? Isn’t the idea to set it and forget it for the day? All this to say, since I seldom cook with meat at home, mine has been getting hauled out a couple of times a year at most. And I’ve decided, it’s just not enough to justify all of the valuable kitchen real estate it occupies.

So it’s been slow cooker testing mania all up in here.

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This recipe is a mash up of a slow cooker daal I found in The Best of Bridge Family Slow Cooker cookbook and my favourite stovetop daal recipe from Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer. Guys. It’s really really good.

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I really like the combination of split peas and red lentils.  The lentils break down quite a bit more than the peas and give the daal a rich, thick texture.  If you’ve only got one or the other though, it’s all good.  Roll with it.  Fiddle with the spices if you like, too.  Add a pinch of cayenne for heat. Replace some of the chicken stock with coconut milk, or simply add a can of coconut milk and make it more of a soup.

When it’s done, jazz it up however you like.  Add fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley), a dollop of yogurt or sour cream or a squeeze of lime. Sprinkle on some toasted almonds or pine nuts or top with some cool, creamy avocado cubes.  It can be as humble or as fancy as you like.

Eat up, buttercups.

Erin

Slow Cooker Daal

Serves 6-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried split yellow peas (well rinsed)
  • 1 cup red lentils (well rinsed)
  • 1 Small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 796mL (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes (chopped roughly in the can with scissors)
  • 3 cups no salt added chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Directions

1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker, stir once or twice to combine. Set on low heat for 6-8 hours until split peas are cooked through but maintain their shape. Serve with rice, naan or something to soak up the delicious juices.