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: Quickie Meal – Oven Baked Sweet Chili Chicken with Eggplant & Zucchini

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Erin and I have been having a moment with sweet chilli sauce.

We’ve been putting that red and sweet sauce on pretty much everything. Have you tried it? It’s addictive. I had never thought to make my own before. I mean, why would I when the store bought variety is so darn delicious. But then I came across this recipe and it just looked too good and too easy to pass up.

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Now, you are probably asking the same thing I did – why make it myself? When you make this sauce from scratch you can control the sweetness. So you don’t have to use a boat load of sugar – here we use a mere half cup of honey to add that familiar sweet flavour. Now don’t misunderstand me – honey and sugar – the same thing. Your body processes all sugar in the exact same way. Sugar is sugar people! My point is that you can control how much of the sweet stuff you add, just like you can also control the heat in this recipe. So if you like things super spicy, throw in a little extra red pepper flakes. If it’s too much, dial it back. That’s the benefit of the “make your own” category – you know exactly what’s going in it and you get to have full reign over the finished product. The type A dietitian in me likes this very much!

So now that you’ve made a quick and delicious homemade sweet chilli sauce, we’re going to pour it all over some diced chicken breasts, zucchini, and eggplant. Now chicken breasts can be tricky – they have a tendency to dry out pretty darn fast. So that’s why we are baking them at high heat for a very short period of time and turning the broiler on for the last little bit so you still get that crispy texture and brown colour without ending up with rubbery and flavourless chicken. Because that is no fun.

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I love Japanese eggplant and zucchini in my traditional stir fry, but you can use other quick cooking veggies like green beans or peppers. Make sure to cook up a batch of quinoa or rice to go with this chicken. You need something to soak up all that delicious sauce you just put your blood, sweat, and tears into, right?

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Did I tell you this was a one pan wonder? My other new obsession. Two thumbs up for less clean up.

Dara

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Oven Baked Sweet Chili Chicken with Eggplant & Zucchini

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Sallys Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into cubes)
  • 2 zucchini (sliced)
  • 2 Japanese eggplant (sliced)

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 Tsp salt

Note

You can prepare the sauce a day or two in advance if you would like. Red peppers or onions would work well in place of the zucchini and eggplant. If you don't want it too spicy, reduce the red pepper flakes to 1 tsp.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Sauce
2. In a small sauce pan whisk together all sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer and continue to whisk, for about 3 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside.
3. Place chicken, zucchini, and eggplant in the prepared baking dish. Spoon sauce over top until all the chicken and vegetables are evenly coated.
4. Bake for 25 minutes, until vegetables are soft and chicken is mostly cooked through. Switch oven to broil and cook for another couple minutes, until chicken and vegetables begin to brown.
5. Remove from oven and serve chicken and vegetables with sauce over your grain of choice to soak up all that delicious sauce.

 

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: Make your Own – General Tso’s Tofu

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Yo. Meat lovers.

If ever there were ever a reason to start eating tofu, here it is.

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A perfect storm of intense flavour, perfect texture and…damn it, it’s just glorious. Trust me.

The inspiration behind this one is Dana over at The Minimalist Baker. Both Dara and I have been infatuated with this recipe since discovering it.  We’ve even inspired a few friends to try it, with resounding success!

My version is super close to the original, with a few less steps. Delicious: simplified *fist bump*

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When using extra firm tofu, to get the ‘meatiest’ texture possible, you want to remove as much moisture as possible. This is what wrapping in towels and weighting it will do.  However, if you need dinner on the table 10 minutes sooner, you can skip this step. Just pat the tofu dry before marinating.

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Ginger is one of my fave flaves. I’ve probably mentioned this a zillion times, but it’s totally worth mentioning again.  Freeze your ginger and grate it with a microplane. I don’t even peel it (👈🏻badass).  It’s such a quick and efficient way to use fresh ginger and there’s no waste, because you can just baggie-it and pop it back in the freezer for next time.

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I quickly realized this recipe requires a double batch at our house (pictured above). I’m guessing you’re gonna want to go that route once you try it, too. Maybe even triple-sies.

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Let’s talk about the cornstarch step.  I’ve tried the recipe with and without this.  Again, not totally necessary from a flavour perspective, but you’ll get some some nice crispy bits if you follow this step.

I found using a non-stick frying pan or a wok worked best to stir-fry the tofu.  When I tried using a non-non-stick (does that make sense?), it was kind of a sticky burny mess, even with lots of oil.

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I’ve left stir-frying the garlic and ginger right until the end.  When cooking at a high heat, these delicate flavours will burn quick and taste like hell when they do.  So no burning stuff, k?

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Once you add the marinade, it will begin to get thick and a little sticky and it will smell completely irresistible. Add the tofu, sprinkle on some seeds and eat the heck out of it. FAST. Before anyone else can.

Erin

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General Tso Tofu

Serves 3-4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Website Adapated from The Minimalist Baker's General Tso's Tofu

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 bunch green onions (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Marinade & Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1.5 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or more to taste)

Directions

1. Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towel or a clean, dry dishcloth. Place wrapped tofu under a heavy pot or under a plate weighted with some canned goods. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Cut tofu into approximately 1" cubes.
2. To a large shallow dish, add ingredients for marinade and whisk to combine. Add cubed tofu and toss until all sides are coated. Marinate for at least 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer tofu, piece by piece to a large freezer bag. Reserve marinade and whisk in 1 Tbsp corn starch.
3. Add remaining 2 Tbsp of cornstarch to freezer bag, seal bag and toss to combine. Tofu should have a gummy coating.
4. In a large non-stick sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, heat 2 Tbsp of the canola oil. Carefully add tofu and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, stirring and flipping tofu pieces to evenly brown on all sides. Remove tofu and set aside.
5. Add remaining canola oil and heat over medium-high. Add green onions, stir-fry for one minute. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
6. Add reserved marinade, reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add tofu pieces and stir to combine and evenly coat tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Serve immediately to enjoy the crispy tofu bits.

How To: Stock Your Pantry with Walmart.ca Grocery Pick Up & Make Quinoa and Chickpea Bowls

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I pride myself in my meal planning abilities.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think preparing food for the upcoming week and planning each night’s dinner is one of my best skills; that, and juggling.

But raise your hand if you feel life has just become busy with a capital ‘B’? I can imagine seeing a lot of raised hands. So there are definitely weeks where the weekend meal planning session falls to the wayside. How then, are you expected to get a healthy and Instagram-worthy meal on the table? Enter, “your pantry.”

Having a well-stocked pantry is key for creating easy and healthy everyday meals. Getting dinner on the table is way less daunting when you know you already have over half of the ingredients on hand. So, when we had the opportunity to partner with Walmart Canada on a new program that would give all our How To Eat friends a little help in this department, we jumped right in.

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Go to Walmart.ca using your computer or the Walmart Canada app, add your selections to the cart, click on your pick up zone and boom – your order is ready faster than ordering takeout. The minimum purchase is just $50. The four downtown Toronto pick-up locations are conveniently located at Yonge & Davisville, Yorkville, Leslieville, and Harbourfront. Simply choose your preferred location and pick-up time, with as little as one day’s notice or same day if ordered before 11 a.m., add in a $3 service fee and you are done.

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Way back when we were blogger newbies we shared our top 15 pantry items. We are now four years older and wiser and have created an updated list of our top 10 pantry must-haves. When I used the Walmart app to order my pantry essentials, I found the system not only easy to use, but extremely affordable. My pantry items accounted for just $34.90 of my total order. And don’t forget, price matching!

You can also save your pantry ‘favourites,’ so when you run low and need to restock, the items are easy to access and add to your cart. Also, when preparing your oder, everything in your cart will remain there, even as you log in and out throughout the week. It’s a living shopping list you can build on!

Top 10 Pantry Essentials

  1. Canola oil – I love the versatility of canola oil. It’s perfect for high heat cooking and is also a neutral flavour in salad dressings and baked goods.
  2. Apple cider vinegar – There are a lot of great vinegars out there, but this is my go-to. I love the subtle sweetness it adds to dressings and sauces.
  3. Chickpeas – These are a great way to bump up the protein in any salad or stir fry. They are also delicious as roasted for a snack or mashed into a sandwich filling.
  4. Quinoa – It cooks in 15 minutes, has more protein than any grain, and is just as delicious for breakfast as it is for dinner.
  5. Peanut butter – Go for the all natural kind that actually tastes like peanuts. Loaded with good-for-you fat, it’s the perfect snack or breakfast and when added with some soy sauce, makes for a delicious sauce.
  6. Maple syrup – Buy the REAL deal here. Perfect on pancakes and in salad dressings and can be used interchangeably with any other liquid sweetener.
  7. Whole wheat pasta – You get the added bonus of extra fibre and having a box in your pantry means you are always 10 minutes away from dinner on the table.
  8. Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds – Raisins, apricots, dried cranberries, or any dried fruit for that matter can jazz up a salad or an ordinary bowl of oatmeal. Toss some nuts into a salad in place of croutons for some crunch or just toss ’em in your mouth for a snack.
  9. Canned tuna – Choose light tuna for lower mercury levels.
  10. Spices and herbs – salt & pepper are a must, but having some other key spices can take an ordinary dinner to a new level. Essentials for me are cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, curry powder, oregano, cinnamon, and thyme.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list, you can easily add some fresh ingredients to these staples and create delicious and healthy meals. All of these products are available online at Walmart.ca and at such an affordable cost. Note, if for some reason they are out of one of your essentials, they will gladly choose an appropriate substitution for you.

I decided to take my now perfectly stocked pantry for a whirl with this delicious quinoa and chickpea bowl.

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This recipe comes together in no time at all using mostly pantry ingredients you already have on hand. Because you already have gone online and stocked your kitchen with this list, right!? Good.

Chickpeas, quinoa, and peanut butter – three of my kitchen pantry must-haves – form the base of this vegetarian bowl. Apple cider vinegar and maple syrup help form the sweet and creamy peanut dressing.

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All I’ve added is some fresh baby spinach and roasted sweet potatoes. While this bowl is a complete meal on its own, you could also throw in some canned tuna, any leftover grilled meat or fish, or some roasted tofu to up the protein. Any leftover veggies you want to use up in your fridge could be tossed in as well. Make a large batch on the weekend, and you have lunch or dinner set for the week ahead.

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Whatever you do don’t forget the sauce – it just turns this bowl of grains, beans, and veg into one of those oh so trendy Buddha bowls found at every vegetarian restaurant these days. Except way more affordable, healthful, and delicious.

You are only one click away from having this meal on your table. So what are you waiting for?!

Dara

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Quinoa Bowl with Chickpeas, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spinach and Peanut Sauce

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 5oz baby spinach
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Note

While I've assembled these bowls individually, you could also toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and store in the fridge until you are ready to eat. It will keep in the fridge up to 5 days. The quinoa, sweet potatoes, and peanut sauce can all be made a day or two ahead of time.

Directions

1. Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub sweet potato with canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. Divide quinoa among four bowls. Top with spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Drizzle peanut sauce over top and dig in!

This post is sponsored by Walmart Canada as part of the Walmart.ca Grocery Pick-Up program. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.