Thursday, March 31, 2011


This week I tried a recipe for Quinoa Cakes I'd seen on CBC's Steven and Chris show. They were cooking with "Best Recipes" Kary Osmond. This can be found here. I actually followed the recipe to the letter which is not something I usually do. While it was a bit time consuming (you have to cook the quinoa ahead and let it cool and once you assemble the cakes you have to refrigerate them for an hour) you could do it on the weekend and have leftovers for another meal during the week or for lunches. It was worth the effort! This recipe got rave reviews around here. Quinoa is a complete protein so it's great for a vegetarian meal. It has a fun texture that's quite appealing to most picky eaters. I came across another recipe for a Quinoa Bowl which looks like lots of fun because you can play with the ingredients. Treat it like a pasta or rice and toss with whatever you have on hand. Blue cheese, feta or parmesan finish off the dish (I'm a cheese-a-holic). ps. it's pronounced Keen-wha!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tuscan Chicken and Bean Stew

Keeping with the theme of cheap, easy and healthy, I bring to you this delish stewie soup recipe.

Tuscan Chicken and Bean Stew
Serves 4 -6

1 cup navy or cannelloni beans, dried (or 19 oz can)
2 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
3/4lb chicken breast, bone in, skin removed
4 cups water
2 tsp dried rosemary and thyme
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper as necessary
1 pk or 5 nuggets frozen spinach or 4 cups fresh chopped (as much as you want, use Kale or Swiss Chard if you're feeling frisky!)
1/2 cup or so of grated parmesan cheese for serving.

Soak the beans overnight covered in water if using dried. Drain and set aside.
Heat bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook until just crispy. Remove from pot and set aside
Toss onions in pot with bacon fat. Cook until soft and browned
Add in Chicken breast and brown on all sides
Add in beans, water, rosemary and thyme and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (20 - 30 minutes) (this makes a chicken broth which is why I used just plain water)
Remove chicken and tear chicken off the bone. Return the chicken to the pot
Check beans, making sure they are tender. Don't add tomatoes until the beans are as soft as you want them. (the acid in the tomatoes will stop the cooking process for the beans)
Add in the tomatoes. Check the taste and salt and pepper as necessary.
Simmer 10 minutes
Add in the spinach and heat through or until wilted.
Serve each bowl topped with a good shake of parmesan cheese.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Sweet Potato Hash

This recipe rocks it out of the house. Seriously. And it's cheap, healthy and surprisingly quick. Food costs are expected to rise 7 - 10% in the next while so I'll really be focusing on cheap, healthy eats. The best way to combat rising food costs is to buy local! So hit those farmers markets!
This recipe calls for pork but you can use your favorite sausage and leave out the 1/2 tsp each of the dried spices. Try to buy the lean sausage. Take the sausage out of the casing and break it up in the pan as you brown it.

Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, canola oil or a bit of bacon fat (I use a combo of oil and bacon fat to give the pork more flavour - if using sausage, omit the bacon fat)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb lean pork sirloin, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp each, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper and coriander.
  • Salt as necessary
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a pot with about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Heat over high and boil about 5 minutes until just fork tender. Drain
  2. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium high heat with the oil/fat.
  3. Saute the onion until soft
  4. Add the pork, garlic and spices and cook through. Check for salt and add as necessary
  5. Add the drained potatoes and cook until browned, about 5 minutes
  6. Add the maple syrup and nutmeg and heat through

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Shrimp Quesadillas

Last night I made a quick and tasty dish with some frozen, cooked shrimp. I always have cooked shrimp in the freezer because they make a great low calorie, lean protein evening snack with a little cocktail sauce. But they're also great for quick meals, salads, to throw in with pasta...

Here's what I did
Per serving:
2 tortillas
red onion
lime juice (just a little squeeze on the avocado)
chili powder
garlic powder
onion powder
red pepper
Layer all the goodies on one tortilla, cover with the other tortilla and bake at 350 until the cheese has melted.

This dish inspired me to think of other ways to make quesadillas or tacos. Leftovers of any meat, fish or seafood will work. It's a great way to make a little go a long way. And each person can customize their own. I don't like mushrooms in general so I left them off mine. Easy!

You can be traditional and use salsa and sour cream. I find most fish taco recipes don't use a lot of or even any tomatoes or salsa and I find it's a nice break to leave them out. The point of this type of dish is to do what you want. You have a nice blank slate - fill it as you see fit!

ps. these were deadly tasty!