How To: Quickie Meal – Hoisin Chicken and Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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This past weekend we purchased our first two pints of local Ontario strawberries of this season. I think there may be some strawberry jam happening in the near future.

June is prime time for local produce – rhubarb and strawberries and asparagus, oh my! While June may not scream SWEET POTATOES, this recipe is too good to not shout share.

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One of the best things about this recipe is the sauce. That should be no surprise here coming from a self proclaimed saucy gal. The sweet and salty hoisin sauce is mixed into the quickly stir-fried ground chicken and vegetable mixture – I’ve used broccoli and red peppers but really any vegetables would work. And when I say quick I really mean quick. Once your prep is done, and this could be done a day or two in advance, this meal comes together lickity split.

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And lets talk about the stuffed sweet potatoes for a second. Looking back, it seems we have a little thing for stuffing vegetables – stuffed spaghetti squash, stuffed eggplant, stuffed peppers, a Mexican stuffed sweet potato, and now this version. Our motto – when in doubt, stuff it!

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Make ‘em, stuff ‘em, enjoy ‘em!

Dara

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Hoisin Chicken and Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted From Cookin' Canuck

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp five spice powder (divided)
  • 2 tsp ginger (grated)
  • 1 pound ground white meat chicken
  • 1 large bunch broccoli (cut into florets)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)

Sauce

  • 6 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce

Note

Once your chopping is done, this meal comes together in literally 10 minutes. You could substitute any vegetables for the broccoli and red pepper - mushrooms, green beans, or zucchini would all work great. Ground turkey or beef could also be used in place of the chicken.

Directions

1. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Micowave for 4 minutes, turn them over, and microwave another 4-5 minutes, until soft. Remove and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle. Slice them lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving the skins intact.
2. Mash the flesh in a large bowl with 1/4 tsp five spice powder. Stuff the mashed sweet potato back in the shells, dividing it evenly among all four shells. Set aside.
3. Heat a large non stick wok or skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add ginger and cook for about 30 seconds. Add ground turkey and 1/4 tsp five spice powder and cook until fully cooked through and beginning to brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
4. Add broccoli and red pepper to skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and sauce to the skillet and cook until everything is coated with the sauce and heated through.
5. Spoon turkey mixture on top of sweet potatoes and dig in!
Sauce
6. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

How To: Healthy Lunch – Asian Bean Salad

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Do you know that the last time we posted a healthy lunch post was way back in April with a delectable quinoa salad? I know, it’s just terrible! It’s the beginning of September, back to school season, and we are seriously lacking recipes and posts in the healthy lunch department. Let me make it all better with this delicious and oh so simple Asian bean salad.

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I actually had to do a serious and thorough reading of past blog posts to make sure I hadn’t posted this recipe for you in the past (with almost 200 recipes!!!! it’s easy to lose track). It’s a household staple that I really can’t believe it has taken me this long to share it with you.

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When I said this recipe was simple, I meant it was really REALLY simple. The dressing is just three ingredients – apricot jam, olive oil, and rice vinegar. A sweet and sour combo that works so well in this bean salad.

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And what else could you want in a healthy lunch for the back to school season besides simple?

So I think it’s fair to say this recipe makes up for the lack of healthy lunch recipes in the past months, don’t you?

Dara

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Asian Bean Salad

Serves 6
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Misc Pre-preparable
By author Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds green beans
  • 1 package frozen and shelled edamame
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 5 green onions (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Note

The bean salad is great as a vegetarian main for lunch or a side for chicken or fish for dinner. It's best made a day ahead of time so the beans can soak up the flavourful dressing. Some grated ginger or garlic would be a great addition to the dressing.

Directions

1. Steam green beans and edamame until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut green beans into 1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl with edamame.
2. Add green onions, red pepper, and black beans to green bean mixture and mix until combine.
3. Mix together jam, oil, and vinegar and pour over bean mixture. Toss until mixture is fully coated and season withs salt and pepper to taste.

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How To: Quickie Meal – Thai Kale Salad with Sesame Tofu

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We are definitely making up for our long and cold winter – this weekend was hot hot hot! I normally am not one to complain about a beautiful sunny summer day. It’s never a bad thing when you have a drink in hand and a pool to sit by.

However, when your air conditioning breaks in your condo for the umpteenth time and your thermostat is reading 78 degrees, a hot summer day becomes problematic.

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And that is when a no cook meal comes in handy. And when I say no cook, I really mean NO COOK. I too was a bit skeptical of eating tofu simply as is. But after enjoying a cold tofu salad at my local sushi spot, I was sold. The sesame seeds add a nice nuttiness to the tofu and once it’s all drenched in the luscious peanut dressing, it really is drool worthy.

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The kale just needs a little massage (don’t we all!) before getting topped with all the other goodies. Working in the lime juice, oil, and maple syrup helps to soften the kale and make it that much more tender and enjoyable.

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If you like an extra kick, top it with an additional squirt of spicy sriracha. Then drizzle the whole bowl full with the scrumptious peanut sauce if you’re planning to finish it all right away. Keep the sauce on the side for leftover lunches throughout the week. Although, if I had to guess, I would say you may find yourself spooning the sauce straight from the bowl into your mouth. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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IMG_3789 Even though my air conditioning is yet to be fixed and the temperature is still hovering around 76 degrees, I can still enjoy a delicious dinner without adding to the stifling heat. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stick my head in the freezer!

Dara

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Thai Kale Salad with Sesame Tofu

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (stems removed and chopped)
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 4 radishes (sliced)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup cashews (chopped)
  • 1 block extra firm tofu (cut into cubes)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha (plus more for garnish if you like things spicy)
  • hot water

Note

This salad keeps well for a day or two, but keep the peanut sauce separate. You could replace any of the vegetables with some sliced cucumber or red onion. The peanut sauce would also be great as a dip for vegetables or spring rolls or drizzled over some grilled chicken.

Directions

1. Add kale leaves to a large bowl and drizzle with lime juice, olive oil, and maple syrup. Massage kale with fingers until leaves are slightly wilted and bright green (about 1-2 minutes).
2. Add kale leaves to a large bowl and drizzle with lime juice, olive oil, and maple syrup. Massage kale with fingers until leaves are slightly wilted and bright green (about 1-2 minutes).
3. Place tofu cubes in a large zip lock bag or bowl and toss with sesame seeds until evenly coated.
4. Place tofu cubes in a large zip lock bag or bowl and toss with sesame seeds until evenly coated.
5. Top kale with sliced peppers, radishes, tofu, carrots, and cashews. Drizzle with peanut sauce and serve.
6. Top kale with sliced peppers, radishes, tofu, carrots, and cashews. Drizzle with peanut sauce and serve.
Peanut Sauce
7. Combine all ingredients except hot water. Add hot water about 1 tbsp at a time until sauce is pourable. It took me about 1/4 cup of hot water.
8. Combine all ingredients except hot water. Add hot water about 1 tbsp at a time until sauce is pourable. It took me about 1/4 cup of hot water.

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How To: Healthy Lunch – Cashew Quinoa Salad with Asian Grilled Chicken

Saturday night we switched the clocks forward an hour in anticipation of the warm spring weather. I normally wouldn’t complain about losing an hour of sleep in favour of ditching the winter boots and heavy jackets.

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Except, what we now have is an hour less of sleep, heavy jackets and winter boots, and snow on the ground. So how is this fair? 

Well to make up for this, I have a treat for you today. Not one, but TWO recipes – who doesn’t love a good 2 for 1 deal? (and this totally makes up for this long and cold winter we’re having, right?)

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While this cashew quinoa salad can certainly stand alone as a delicious and healthy lunch or light dinner, the addition of an Asian flavoured grilled chicken breast adds a little bit of extra protein. Not a fan of chicken? The marinade would also work great on salmon, tilapia, steak, or tofu.

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And just like our other delectable quinoa salad, you could definitely just throw in a can of beans or chickpeas and call it a meal.

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Not only is the quinoa loaded with crunchy cashews, but it gets an extra nutty flavour punch from the gingery peanut dressing. I just realized I gave you another gift to beat these winter blues – the dressing can certainly be used on almost anything, from a leafy green salad to a sandwich spread or vegetable dip.

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While we may still need our down filled jackets and UGG boots for a little while longer, you can now spring forward with gusto to a delicious lunch with these two new healthy and flavour packed recipes.

Dara

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Asian Grilled Chicken Breasts

Serves 2
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad
Misc Freezable

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Note

These chicken breasts pair beautifully with the Asian flavoured quinoa. They are also great as a make ahead and stored in your fridge or freezer. Chop them up or cut into strips and add some extra protein to your next salad or pasta or roll them in a tortilla or pita for an easy lunch option.

Directions

1. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil and place in a zip lock bag with chicken. Let marinade in fridge overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
2. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. At the same time, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
3. Grill chicken on grill pan for about 5-7 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fully cooked through.

Cashew Quinoa Salad with Peanut Dressing

Serves 4-6
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Website Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups quinoa
  • 1/2 head red cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 red pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 2 carrots (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup cashews

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp ginger (grated)
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2-4 tbsp water (to thin dressing to desired consistency)

Note

This quinoa salad makes a great lunch or side for dinner. I've served it with grilled chicken but it would also be great as a side to salmon or steak. Or toss in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas for a vegetarian main dish.

Directions

1. Place quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine quinoa with remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Pour dressing over quinoa and toss until coated.
Dressing
3. Combine peanut butter and honey in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and add in remaining dressing ingredients. Add some water, a tbsp at a time, until dressing is pourable.

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How To: Quickie Meal – Thai Chicken Cabbage Wraps

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After a slew of vegetarian dinners, lunches, soups, and healthy sides, I think it is high time we satisfy our hungry carnivorous readers out there.

I think we’ve mentioned it before, while we both tend to cook vegetarian most nights of the week, I still keep my freezer stocked with chicken breasts, lean ground meat, and ice cream….wait, what?

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And lean ground chicken breast is the perfect vehicle to be slathered in a delicious and spicy peanut sauce and piled high into sturdy cabbage leaves. We’ve posted in the past a fantastic tofu lettuce wrap recipe, but I find these cabbage leaves are able to hold a lot more of this hearty filling, so you can pile these babies high with toppings galore!

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The filling comes together in literally 15 minutes – the rest of your time is spent chopping and dicing as many or as little vegetables to garnish the wraps as you’d like. Note the baby monitor – vegetables chopped and dinner cooked just before the afternoon nap is over. You can definitely have this one on the table in no time!

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No matter what vegetables you choose to top your leaves with, do not skimp on the sauce. I think that anything would taste good slathered in this spicy and sweet peanut sauce.

This quickie meal would also make a fun dish for a dinner party. Like our tortilla soup, everyone can customize their own plate to their liking.

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So head to your butcher and grab your wok and cook up a terrific Thai inspired meal tonight!

Dara

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Thai Chicken Cabbage Wraps

Serves 2-4 (depending how hungry you are!)
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Website Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger (grated)
  • 1/2 red pepper (diced)
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 4 green onions (chopped)
  • 1 can water chestnuts (drained and chopped)
  • 1 head green cabbage (leaves separated)

sauce

  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 7 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sriracha

garnish

  • 4 green onions (chopped)
  • 5 radishes (sliced)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and cut into strips)
  • 1/2 red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup cashews (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup parsley or cilantro (chopped)

Note

These cabbage wraps would also work great with ground turkey. You could also use bib or iceberg lettuce in place of the cabbage, they just won't be as sturdy. Do not skimp on the sauce!

Directions

1. Preheat a non stick wok over medium high heat and spray with non stick cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, red pepper, and ginger and stir fry for about 3 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened.
2. Add ground chicken breast and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Add 1/2 of the sauce and stir to combine. Add green onions and water chestnuts and cook another minute or two, until heated through. Serve in cabbage leaves topped with the garnishes of your choice and a spoon or two of extra sauce.
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3. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and microwave for about 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds.
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4. Set aside cut up veggies and nuts to top the cabbage leaves with.