How To: Recipe Makeover – Vegetarian Cobb Salad

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I know this title may read like an oxymoron.

Bacon and chicken are two of the ingredients typically found in a Cobb salad, joining eggs, blue cheese, tomatoes, and avocados. But who says you can’t deviate from the original now and then? What would life be like if we were all the same, right?

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When I posted this picture of my unique cobb salad creation on instagram, one person commented this was definitely not a cobb salad. It may not be typical, but it is MY cobb salad, my VEGETARIAN cobb salad to boot!

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Instead of chicken and bacon, we’ve got black beans and sweet potatoes. Instead of blue cheese, creamy and tangy goat cheese. Instead of eggs, sweet beets. I’ve kept the usual avocado and tomatoes. And when all of these ingredients are arranged oh so prettily on top of a bed of romaine, a vegetarian cobb salad is born. Top it all of with an herby mustard vinaigrette and you’ve got one heck of a delicious summer meal.

So call it what you want – a vegetarian cobb salad, a fully loaded salad, a rainbow salad, or just an extremely tasty salad. Bottom line, make this salad.

Dara

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Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Serves 2-4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of romaine
  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 can of sliced beets (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 large avocado (diced)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Note

This may not be your typical cobb salad, but it is just as delicious. Feel free to sub the usual blue cheese for the goat cheese, or feta would also work well. Chickpeas or kidney beans can replace the black beans. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 and toss sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until brown and tender. Set aside.
2. On a large plate place a layer of romaine lettuce. Top evenly in rows with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, goat cheese, and beets. Top with dressing or serve on the side for everyone to toss themselves.
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3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.

How To: Slow Cooker – BBQ Pulled Chicken

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Looking back through our blog archive the other night during a 2 am feeding session, I noticed that the first meal I cooked after my older daughter was born was a slow cooker sesame chicken. 

Now, two and half years later, I have again used the genius slow cooker to cook my first dinner after having our second daughter two weeks ago. So you will have to excuse me if this blog post doesn’t make much sense as I am still in the thick of the newborn haze. Once again, thank goodness for the slow cooker!

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There is minimal thought or effort required to produce this sweet and tangy tender pulled chicken. Dump the onions and chicken, mix up the sauce, pour it on top, flip the switch to low, and dinner is done in about 5.5 hours. No muss, no fuss.

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Similar to our other pulled chicken, this too is so versatile. It can be served over any grain or pasta, in a wrap or on a bun, or with some sweet potato fries and slaw as I served it. It is also freezable so it is perfect for when you too don’t have your wits about you for whatever reason – simply defrost and dinner is ready.

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It also makes a delicious 3 am snack – that breastfeeding hunger is real I tell you!

Enjoy!

Dara

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

Serves 6-8
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 2 Cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp tabasco sauce
  • pinch of salt

Note

This sweet and tangy chicken is so versatile - serve it over a salad, rice, pasta, in a wrap or on a bun. Or serve as I did with a side of sweet potato fries. It also freezes well so you can make it ahead for those busy weeknights.

Directions

1. Place onions on the bottom of your slow cooker. Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts and place onto of the onions.
2. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken breasts to evenly cover them. Cook on low for about 5.5 hours, or until chicken is tender and pulls easily with a fork.
3. Using two forks, shred chicken breasts. Serve over crusty buns, on top of the grain of your choice, or just dig in!

How to: Seasonal Cooking – Thai Sweet Potato Soup

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Anyone else disturbed by the amount of their grocery bill lately?

Not OK.

With the tumbling loonie, word on the street is grocery costs will continue to rise. It’s all of that fancy imported food we like. Like cauliflower, the caviar of 2016.

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Not to worry though, friends. I’m here to give you an insider tip on how to save some sweet cash.

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Buy local! Yup. Not only does Ontario still have a good variety of locally available fresh produce (check it out here), you can also buy frozen ‘product of Canada’ fruit and veg. In fact, a lot of it is on sale this time of year.  Perfect timing.

Oh, you need some incredibly well tested recipes which feature local foods? I happen to know of a cookbook that’s just the ticket.  Homegrown is selling like mad though, so you bes’ be ordering a copy STAT.

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This super cinch recipe makes use of Ontario roots – sweet potatoes and carrots.  I’ve added a few thai inspired ingredients because thai food kicks ass. Is there a better reason?

Serve it as a side or a starter for any of our other Thai-inspired recipes (um, it seems we’re sort of obsessed with thai food):

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce Pizza

Thai Kale Salad with Sesame Tofu

Shrimp and Mango Fresh Rolls

Thai Chicken Cabbage Wraps

Thai Mango Salad

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Enjoy!

Erin

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Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1lb sweet potatoes (approximately 2 medium - peeled and chopped)
  • 1lb carrots (approximately 4 medium - peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated or minced ginger
  • 1l low sodium vegetable stock (divided)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (plus additional lime wedges for garnish)
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup roasted, chopped peanuts (for garnish)
  • parsley or cilantro (for garnish)

Directions

1. Add potatoes, carrots, ginger, 3 cups of stock and coconut milk to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 until potatoes and carrots are very soft.
2. Remove from heat. Using a hand blender or counter top blender, puree soup until smooth. Blend in additional stock as needed to reach desired consistency and reheat in pot if necessary. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
3. Divide soup among 4 bowls and top with parsley/cilantro and peanuts. Serve with a lime wedge.

 

 

 

 

How to: Healthy Side – Roasted Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

Guys, first off I’d like to thank you all so much for your many encouraging words after last week’s honest rant about having a newborn.  Commiserating is the best isn’t it?  Seriously, you’ve all made me feel like a normal, loving mother (*as I listen to my girl scream her face off trying to fight a desperately needed nap).

This week I have something much more fluffy and fun to write about.  A cookbook! One that sells in ACTUAL bookstores, for which I developed 6 original recipes!

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The book is called Homegrown and is written by Mairlyn Smith (published by Whitecap).  It celebrates Canadian food and only Canadian food. Within it you’ll find 160 recipes featuring the best damn food our country has to offer.  Fruit, veg, beans, grains, meat and seafood; it’s got it all – from east to west coast, too. The recipes were developed by Mairlyn and members of the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA).

When I learned I’d have the opportunity to contribute to this important book as a Professional Home Economist (PHEc) and member of OHEA, I was bursting with ideas. Being a local food junkie, the whole idea of featuring Canada’s best fits perfectly within my philosophy of choosing ‘homegrown’ whenever possible.

The book has been released just in time for the holidays (subtle hint: buy it for gifts!) and I got my 3 pre-ordered copies this week.  You can find it in stores now.

PS It’s currently Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release.  Fancy!

Because I tested and re-tested my own recipes while this book was in the works, I’ve been looking forward to trying some of my colleague’s recipes.

This one comes from  Rosemarie Superville, PHEc and food stylist.  It is SO insanely good. And healthy and colourful. Ooh, and quick and easy. It’s all the things a great recipe should be.

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And lookie whose recipe is on the opposite page!

You’ll notice there are some pretty obvious non-Canadian spices in the recipe. Using a variety of spices and condiments was the one rule we bent, because as Mairlyn says “we’re not writing a pioneer book!”.

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If you want your own copy of Homegrown (and trust me, you do) you can buy it through Amazon or Indigo-Chapters online or at a brick and mortar bookstore near you.

Erin

Roasted Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

Serves Makes 4 ½ cups, one serving = ¾ cup

Ingredients

  • 1 Large sweet potato (peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tspcanola oil (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 can (540 mL) lentils (well rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup cooked edamame (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ⅓ cup dried canberries
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro ((I used parsley))

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In large bowl toss together sweet potato, 2 tsp canola oil, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Spread evenly on pan and roast 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown and tender. Cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together ¼ cup canola oil, vinegar, maple syrup, cumin, coriander, curry powder, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
4. Add cooled sweet potatoes and remaining ingredients and toss gently to coat. Chill at least 1 hour to blend flavours.

 

 

 

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!
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6. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.