How To: Recipe Makeover – Vegetarian Chilli Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

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I’m at a loss for words.

Seriously – I sat in front of my computer for a good hour just staring. I knew I wanted to share this recipe with you but the only phrase that kept popping in my head was “MAKE THIS NOW!”

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I feel like these are a tad late to the dinner game. They would have been perfect for your super bowl watching party, and even better as a fun Valentine’s Day dinner. And we even missed the boat on the Oscar party night. But fear not, there are lots more holidays and celebratory events on the horizon. Or really, I think Monday, or Tuesday, or even Wednesday is a good reason to make this 30 minute meal. Or maybe Friday can now be called FRY-day and we can all celebrate together. Thoughts?

This recipe came about after a craving for nachos hit one night. Couple that with my daughter’s new found love of sweet potato fries (V for victory!) and my need to use up some vegetarian ground round and half a can of tomato paste. Boom – loaded sweet potato fry nachos. My Irish friends would be so proud.

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You make your own baked fries here so they are a bit better for your ticker. I also leave the skin on my taters to get some extra fibre, and frankly, I’m just lazy. The chilli is a bean-free vegetarian version because beans aren’t agreeing with the tummies of some members of my family these days. TMI? But you could totally add a can of black or kidney beans in with the chilli mixture if you would like.

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I’ve also added some veggies into the mixture because I am a dietitian and all and topped the whole pan off with a good helping of some extra old cheddar. Go for the good stuff here – the older the cheese, the more flavourful. And please PLEASE buy the full fat variety. That low fat cheddar is not going to melt well and is going to seem more like plastic than cheese. I’m sorry, it’s true. When you buy the real deal here you get more flavour for less. Trust.

We ate these as is, but next time they are going to be FULLY loaded and topped with all the guac, sour cream, and jalapeños money can buy!

Dara

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Vegetarian Chili Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes (cut into wedges)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil (divided)
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tsp pepper
  • 1 red pepper (diced)
  • 1 zucchini (diced)
  • 1 package yves ground round
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 2 Tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Note

You could swap out the soy for ground turkey, chicken, or beef if you would like. Or replace it with a can of black, white, or kidney beans. The chili would also be great on top of a baked white or sweet potato, on pasta, or as a burrito or taco filling.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place sweet potato wedges on baking sheet and toss with 1 tbsp canola oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. Bake in the oven about 30-40 minutes, until brown and tender.
3. While sweet potatoes are baking, heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat and add remaining 1 tbsp canola oil.
4. Add red pepper and zucchini and cook until soft. Add ground round and cook for a minute or two, breaking it up with a spatula into crumbles. Add paprika, chili powder, cumin, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar and mix to combine.
5. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
6. Once sweet potatoes are done, top evenly with chili and then sprinkle cheddar evenly on top. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve plain or topped with some diced avocado, salsa, and Greek yogurt or sour cream.

 

How to: Recipe Makeover – Eggplant Parmesan

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We’ve been teased with a few days of warm weather over the last couple of weeks.

But I’m on to you, Mother Nature.  I’ve been a Canadian gal long enough to know you’re about to screw us over with a blast of icy garbage.

This ‘spring is just around the corner’ optimism hasn’t got me fooled! On the contrary. I’m still cooking comfort food. Crikey. I’m still cooking casseroles.

I promise, this one will take the edge off when winter does return with a vengeance.

And oh. It will.

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Do we have any eggplant haters out there?

Confession. I used to be one. In fact I was an extremely picky eater as a kid, but I had an especially big hate-on for bitter, spongy eggplant.

It turns out, all an eggplant needs to taste goddang delicious is a little love.

I haven’t had a bitter eggplant in a long time. Most of the bitterness long associated with eggplants has been bred out of the ones we’d find at the grocery store. Farmers 👈🏻 geniuses. Choose eggplants that have smooth skin and a very firm texture for freshness.

Salting the eggplant in this recipe isn’t to cut the bitterness, but to remove some of the excess moisture. Following the roasting step, you’ll be left with creamy, dreamy smokey slices of slightly salted eggplant that will be almost impossible to avoid eating on their own. You really can’t skip this step for this recipe because excess moisture will result in a really soupy final product.

As for the sponginess factor, eggplant, if given the chance will absorb a boatload of oil.  In this recipe we control the oil it can absorb by brushing lightly with oil.

Remember our AMAZEBALLS Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches? Here, we’re avoiding super spongy eggplant by providing a coating for the slices before we fry them up in oil.

And so there we have it. Eggplant: unmasked!

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As you read through the recipe below, you may find this tomato sauce recipe to be familiar. It’s a slight take on the insanely simple Three Ingredient Sauce we shared with you last year. No time for homemade sauce? Use your fave store bought. No brainer.

Half homemade is awesome too, guys. (Maybe just a smidgen of fresh basil to sprinkle in though?)

Now, layer away!

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Get your slippers ready, pour yourself a glass of red and scoop out an extra large portion of eggplant parm.  You are now prepared for winter’s final blast.

Erin

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Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 5-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
From magazine Inspired by Eggplant Parmesan from Food and Drink Winter 2017

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 can (796mL) Canned Whole Tomatoes with juices (preferably San Marzano Tomatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 Medium yellow onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 2 Large cloves garlic (peeled and left whole)
  • 8-10 basil leaves (chopped)

Eggplant Casserole

  • 2 Large eggplants (sliced into 1/4 inch rounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (about 300g, grated)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cooked garlic cloves (removed from cooked tomato sauce)

Directions

Tomato Sauce
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add tomatoes, butter, onion and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add basil and cook for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
2. Remove onion and discard. Remove garlic and set aside to cool. Crush any large tomato pieces with the back of a spoon.
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3. Preheat oven to 400F. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt on both sides and lay them in a single layer on a wire rack or over some paper towels. Let sit for 15 minutes, pat extra moisture dry with paper towels.
4. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and brush slices on both sides with 2 Tbsp of the canola oil. Bake 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned.
5. Meanwhile, mince cooled garlic cloves and combine with breadcrumbs, remaining Tbsp of canola oil and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
6. Spread 1/3 tomato sauce over bottom of oiled 8"x11" casserole dish. Place single layer of slightly overlapping eggplant sliced overtop. Combine mozzarella and remaining 3/4 cup parmesan and sprinkle 1/3 of the cheeses over eggplant slices. Repeat layering 2 more times.
7. Sprinkle bread crumb topping over casserole.
8. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling, cheese is melted and panko is golden brown. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Facebook Live Cooking Demonstration @ 8pm

And we’re back!

Sorry for the delay folks – we had wanted to bring you a super duper LIVE video in January but winter + daycare is the pits! Seriously, the worst!

Thank g-d for these frittata muffins! Can you believe after three food demos we have yet to share a breakfast recipe with you? That’s just crazy. Considering how much we love brunch foods – it’s about time don’t you think?

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We do too! So tonight, LIVE at 8pm on our How To Eat Facebook page, we will be showing you how to make our grab-and-go frittata muffins.

So grab your whisk, a carton of eggs and milk, and lets all chat and cook together! Then we can all go to sleep knowing we have breakfast in the fridge ready and waiting. Because you all have 9pm bedtimes too, right?

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And just like in previous demos, in case you are previously engaged tonight at 8, the video will stick around forever and ever. So check us out!

Dara & Erin

 

How To: Healthy Breakfast – Baked Plum & Almond Butter Oatmeal Pie for #ChileBrunch

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Fruits From Chile and I am eligible to win a prize associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Pie for breakfast? Sign me up!

Now wait a second. Isn’t this a so-called “healthy recipe” blog written by two registered dietitians? What’s the deal here?

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This ain’t no ordinary pie! One of our most popular breakfast recipes is the baked peanut butter and apple oatmeal. Have you made it yet? You should! It’s hearty, loaded with peanut butter, dense and doughy, and most importantly, delicious. So that got me thinking, why not change things up a bit and make a breakfast that would catch everyone’s eye, even that of the 3 year old with the ever changing taste buds. And oatmeal pie was born! #kidapproved

It also so happens that this said 3 year old has recently fallen in love with plums. So once I heard about this fantastic contest hosted by fellow dietitian Christy Brissette of 80 Twenty Nutrition and Fruits from Chile to develop a brunch recipe, I knew exactly what the star of this breakfast pie would be.

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If you’ve ever strolled through your store and grabbed a plum or two, chances are you were probably picking up fruit from chile. Same goes for your nectarines, grapes, and peaches. The plums I bought were perfectly juicy and also beautiful – check out that colour! The perfect pie topper.

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I paired the plums with a good serving of almond butter – not only does it add some extra staying power to your usual oatmeal, the almond flavour pairs so well with the sweet plums. With some ground flax for fibre, an egg for protein, and a hint of brown sugar, this pie is perfectly suitable for your breakfast meal. I don’t like my morning bowl of oats to be super sweet, but if you wanted to add some more sweetness, top your slice with a drizzle of maple syrup.

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I scattered some walnuts on top for some extra crunch, but they are totally optional. What’s not optional? The plums! Serve up a slice as is, topped with an extra dollop of almond butter, a spoonful of yogurt, or some more of those delicious fruit from chile plums. Totally fancy enough for your next brunch party and easy enough for a mid-week breakfast treat.

Before you know it we will be serving you cake for dinner! Crazy town!

Dara

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Baked Plum & Almond Butter Oatmeal Pie

Serves 5-6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 Cups almond milk
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup plums (thinly sliced)

Optional

  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)

Note

This pie could also be baked in an 8 x 8 pyrex baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. It won't be a pie, but it will still be delicious!

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine oats, flax, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl combine almond milk, egg, applesauce, and vanilla.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Add almond butter and stir again until evenly incorporated.
4. Pour mixture into pie plate and evenly place plum slices on the top. Sprinkle with walnuts and bake for about 30 minutes, until brown and cooked through.
5. Serve topped with additional almond butter and plums, yogurt, or a drizzle of maple syrup.

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How To: Snack Healthy – No-Bake Tahini Oat and Cinnamon Balls

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Erin and I were talking about our blog recipes over a recent dinner. It seems we each have a style.

Most of our soup recipes were developed by Erin.  Have you tried our chicken soup? Or the hot and sour soup? Just two of our SOUP-er bowls (I apologize – that’s the last time I use that joke, pinky swear). With this weekend’s recent snowmageddon, I have craved a bowl of soup or two, but for your everyday soup needs, Erin is your gal.

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Now our breakfast and snack recipes on the other hand, those were mostly conceived by mois. It may have something to do with the fact that I have a daughter who the second she gets into the car after school pronounces “snack and water please.” With this statement in mind, I have tried to come up with several easy and healthy snack recipes I can keep on hand to help quench her after school hunger (and mine!) and help prevent both of us from getting “hangry.” Because no one wants to see that.

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These no-bake bites are similar to our most popular recipe, the no-bake peanut butter oatmeal ball. In this version, I’ve swapped the honey for maple syrup, the peanut butter for tahini, and added a healthy dose of cinnamon. I wanted to try to create something that was nut-free so you could feel good about tucking it into your kids lunch boxes for their afternoon snack as well.

I am also having a moment with tahini – I want to put it on everything, and in fact, I do! This sesame seed butter is delicious in salad dressings, spread on toast, and even drizzled on your morning bowl of oatmeal. If you don’t have tahini on hand and still want to keep these balls nut-free, sunflower butter would make a great substitution.

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As I am typing this I have just downed two balls, and am thinking of going for my third. I encourage you to do the same.

Dara

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No Bake Tahini Cinnamon Oat Balls

Serves 12 balls
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1tbsp ground flax seed

Note

These one-bowl, no-bake snack balls come together in less than 10 minutes. If you wanted to jazz them up, add in a handful of chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped nuts.

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Place in the fridge to firm up for about 10 minutes. Roll into golf ball sized balls and store in the fridge.