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: 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.

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: Big Batch – Thai Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

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Have I told you how I won the cookbook lottery jackpot?

Just before we rang in 2017, I found out I won not one, not two, but TWELVE cookbooks! Do you know how many cookbooks twelve is? A LOT! So much that they are all still sitting in a pile on my bedroom floor as we have absolutely no room to put them anywhere else. I think an Ikea run may be in order soon.

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So, I have started to try to always go to one of these new cookbooks when I need some dinner inspiration, instead of relying on the easy Mr. google. One of the cookbooks I have been loving lately is the new Oh She Glows Everyday. Every recipe I’ve made so far has been spot on, and this soup is no exception. And no, this is not a sponsored post. I seriously am just crushing hard on this cookbook.

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We already have a very delicious and creamy Thai sweet potato soup that uses coconut milk to add that richness. This version has a different approach – almond butter. The almond butter gives this soup a deep flavour and velvety texture without the use of any cream or dairy. Kind of like the peanut butter in our sweet potato, white bean, peanut butter stew. I would imagine peanut butter would also make a great substitute for the almond butter if that’s what you have on hand. Or if you need it nut free, try sunflower butter – but I would try to find the all natural unsweetened variety.

The almond butter also adds a boost of extra protein and fat to this soup, making it more filling than the average bowl. I also loved the crunchy almond topping – but you could also leave it off and go with a super smooth bowl of soup if that’s more your thing. Me, I’m all about the textures!

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My new favourite thing when my girls are napping is to curl up with a cup of coffee, a snack, and a cookbook, or two, or three…

Dara

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Thai Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4-6
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Soup
From book Adapted From Oh She Glows Everyday

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 Cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Cups water
  • 3 Cups carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 Cups sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • cilantro (chopped)

Almonds

  • 1/2 cup almonds (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

Note

The toasted almonds are also delicious tossed into a salad for some crunch. The soup freezes well - just portion in individual containers for a grab-and-go lunch or dinner.

Directions

1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot.
2. Add onion and sauté for a couple minutes. Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the curry paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Place almond butter in a small bowl with about 1/2 cup of broth and whisk to combine. Add the almond butter mixture, carrots, sweet potato, remaining broth, and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes and carrots are very tender.
5. Using an immersion blender, puree soup in the pot until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped cilantro and almonds.
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6. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss almonds with soy sauce and spread out evenly on baking sheet.
7. Bake for about 10 minutes, until brown and toasted. The soy sauce will have dried up and the almonds will firm up as they cool.
8. The almonds will keep in a container on the counter for a couple weeks.

How to: Recipe Makeover – Mushroom Stroganoff

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I have been dying to share this recipe. I would be shouting ‘MUSHROOM STROGANOFF!’ from the rooftops if it was at all socially acceptable.

Short ingredient list. Cooks in under thirty. A monkey could make it.

That’s a classic triple threat, right there.

Wait. It’s also just-try-holding-me-back-from-eating-the-whole-pot delicious.

Quad threat.

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I’ve been holding this little recipe card in my pocket for a few weeks, since I tested it out in the same week I shared our recipe for Mushroom Bourguignon.

I figured, no one wants to be over mushroomed, Erin. Hold your horses. So I held on. And that was tough, because I think you need this in your life.

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Rich, creamy and savoury just like the classic beef version but with meaty cremini mushrooms instead. This would delight any vegetarian, I guarantee it.

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The combo of goat cheese and greek yogurt give it that signature stroganoff tanginess while doing double duty as a good source of protein.

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And the egg noodles?

Egg noodles for President.

That’s all I have to say about that.

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Just looking at this photo makes my salivary glands go bananas.

Guys, you’ve gotta make this one STAT.

Erin

Mushroom Stroganoff

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5lb mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 package wide egg noodles
  • 1 Small package goat cheese
  • 1 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • 1 bunch green onions (sliced, white and green part separated)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Directions

1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt butter and add mushrooms, sautéing until cooked through and most of the liquid is evaporated. Add white parts of onion and cook for another minute until all liquid is evaporated.
2. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir for 30 seconds until dissolved. Add beef broth, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles per package directions in salted water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid when done.
4. Add goat cheese to mushrooms and stir until melted and evenly dispersed. Remove from heat, stir in yogurt, green onions, salt, pepper and parsley.
5. Add cooked noodles and toss with mushroom sauce, adding reserved pasta water slowly until desired sauce consistency is met. Serve immediately.