Monday, September 24, 2007

Healthy Newfie Style Pea Soup

We had Jiggs Dinner Sat. night. It was awesome. Whenever we have Jiggs Dinner (it's also known as a 'boiled dinner' or 'corned beef and cabbage' in other parts) I always get in the mood for pea soup. I usually make it out of leftover peas pudding but we like the peas pudding so much we hate to save it for soup. So today, since it's blustery and chilly, I made a pot of soup without using the leftover peas pudding but I did use the very tasty leftover broth from the boiling pot for the Jigg's Dinner. It turned out so good that from now on I'm always saving my leftover broth from Jigg's Dinner for pea soup! (It will freeze well so I won't have to make pea soup right away)

Serves 8, almost 2 cup servings (at least!) - 5 points per serving

  • 2 slices back bacon, diced
  • 2 ounces (60 g) prosciutto, diced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery (don't like celery - try using 1 tbsp of celery seeds from the spice aisle, you can even grind them up to make celery powder, you just want the undertone for the mirepoix(fancy french word for stock base))
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley and thyme
  • 1 450g/1 lb bag of dried split peas, yellow or green
  • 9 cups of low sodium veggie broth - you could need more broth if the consistency of the soup needs it for your preference.
Saute the bacon and prosciutto over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, celery and carrots and sweat (cook until tender over medium heat). Add the parsley and thyme and cook one minute. Add in the peas and broth. Simmer until the peas are the consistency you like. You may need more broth to make it the way you like it.

I topped ours with croutons (don't forget to add the extra points!) but it didn't need it. It's a pretty filling soup on it's own.

I used 6 cups of broth leftover from our Jigg's Dinner the night before. It was really fat free. I had trimmed a lean cut of corned beef when I made the Jigg's Dinner so there was no fat in the leftover broth. Plus it sat in the fridge overnight so any fat would have risen to the top to be skimmed off. I used the last 3 cups of broth from the organic section of the Superstore. It's a low sodium veggie broth.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini

This picture is deceiving. These veggies are huge! and I got all 3 of them for $1!

I'd like to say that my garden overfloweth but I didn't have a garden this year... but watch out next year! Here I have 3 recipes that are great for the zucchini harvest and the tomato harvest! And they are all super healthy and freeze beautifully. So here's to farm fresh veggies in the dead of winter! (I'm adding point values for those of you doing weight watchers and for those of you who aren't - it still gives you an idea of how healthy the dishes are!)

Healthy and Quick Zucchini Au Gratin - Serves 6 - 3 points per serving.


  • 2 cup zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • 4 tbsp italian seasoning or fresh herbs of your choice

Place a layer of zucchini, followed by tomato, then yellow squash. Mix the cheeses together and place a thin layer on top of the yellow squash followed with some of the herbs. Repeat this until all of the ingredients are used, Ending with cheese and herbs.

I make on 4 serving square casserole and 2 individual casseroles but you can use a bigger dish and make all 6 servings in one. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Substitutions: Fresh herbs for the dried italian seasoning mixture, can diced tomatoes for the fresh and you can omit the yellow squash if want.

Indian Curry Chickpeas and Zucchini - 6 servings - 4 points per serving


  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (or mix some cumin, coriander, turmeric and Madras curry powder - try your own combination of indian spices!)
  • 28 oz (large) can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (use more if it's dry)
  • 28 oz can of tomatoes (or about 3 cups fresh)
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 2 cups diced yellow squash
  • 1 cup string beans, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute onions until brown, add garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Add in curry powder, chickpeas, broth and tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add in the zucchini, yellow squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add in fresh green beans if you have them for the last minutes. Then remove from the heat immediately.

Greek Pork and Zucchini Sauce (serve with rice or pasta) - Serves 6 - 5 points per serving without the rice or pasta


  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of lean ground pork
  • 28 oz can of diced or chopped no salt added tomatoes (or use about 3 cups fresh)
  • 2 tbsp of greek seasoning (or use dried oregano and a bit of dried mint)
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 2 cups diced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Saute the onions until brown. Add the garlic and saute one minute then add the pork and brown. Sprinkle with the greek seasoning (or if you have no greek seasoning just use some dried oregano and add in some dried mint if you have it). Add in the tomatoes and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add in the Zucchini and yellow squash and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the cheeses and serve over rice or pasta.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

First the the nutritional void and then to the market!

Welcome to The Rock!

I just returned from Newfoundland. If you remember last year after my trip I had a rant about the storage of cooked chicken (48 hours+ in the oven, just sitting there). Well this year was no better but I won't bore you with the details. Lets just say I don't do leftovers in NFLD.....

I will rant briefly about the pointless murder of cows and pigs as cooked by my grandmother. She put in 2 small beef roasts to cook for supper (served around 5 pm) in a 425 degree oven at around 10 am. Yup, you heard me, 10 am. Luckily we had already decided to get chinese food for supper (I won't talk about the quality of that but greasy and over cooked is the best way to describe it) so we weren't required to gnaw our way through what could only be described as shoe leather. Why, oh why would anyone do that to a poor piece of meat?! What did that poor cow ever do to my grandmother to deserve such a sad ending?! And this explains why Newfies like gravy on EVERYTHING - it's the only way to get it down!

My Uncle, who is eligible for sainthood, and we aren't even catholic, did buy me some bologna, also known as Newfie steak. I like a piece fried up with my toast for breakfast. Yup, breakfast of champions! He also shared some of his river trout with us. He caught over 400 this year! Here he's frying them up but he does mine on the bbq and they are delicious.
While I'm at it, lets talk vegetables. And potatoes don't count. While there is nothing wrong with potatoes, a person can not live on them alone! They have limited nutritional value and no one should be eating them every single day. I'm currently carrying a lump of mashed potatoes right around my mid-section. As soon as I landed home, first thing I did was have a salad!

On the reverse side, this morning I headed to the market. It was packed and that alone renewed my spirits and my faith in the ability for humankind to carry one without sucking the health care system dry. I got some beautiful fresh string beans, salad greens and basil. I stocked up on corn which I'll clean and roast on the bbq tonight. Then I'll take the leftovers and remove them from the cob and freeze it. I just had some from last summer done up like this and it was perfect! I will always keep roasted corn niblets in my freezer from now on. They just taste better.

I also got some blueberries. I think I'm going to make some muffins out of them. And have them on my oatmeal for the next few mornings. I always have frozen ones in the house but it's nice to support the local farmers and buy then in season. I can always freeze any extra. I'll share the muffin and/or scone recipe if they turn out well. I'm going to try substituting yogurt for the buttermilk called for in both recipes. I'll let you know if it works or not!

I also got an amazing deal on zucchini. 3 large, huge ones for $1! I'm going to cook most of it and freeze it. I'll share the recipes as I do them. First one I'm doing for sure is what I call Zucchini Au Gratin but healthy. I layer in thinly sliced zucchini, tomatoes, herbs and cheese (mozza or parm or both) until the casserole dish is filled. I use a low dish like a lasagna pan or quiche pan. Just bake it up and freeze it. Defrost and warm and you have farm fresh right in the middle of winter! I also have some ground pork and feta - I may do a greek inspired casserole or stuffed zucchini. I'll post the recipes when I have success but it will be soon as I like to get things out of the garden and cooked up quickly. It's just a good rule of thumb to ensure freshness!