Friday, January 30, 2015

the simple five: easy guacamole

Since Super Bowl is this weekend, many people are preparing "game day" foods (staples such as nachos, chips, chilli...basically anything comforting).  While some of those foods aren't exactly the most healthy, here's an easy and delicious way to add some nutrients to your game day menu.


5 Ingredient Easy Guacamole
(Makes about 3 to 4 cups)

While storing in the refrigerator, a trick to prevent the guacamole from turning brown is to place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture.

  • 5 ripe avocados
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped.
  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Cut avocados in half, remove seed and and scoop into a bowl.
  • With a fork, mash the avocado, leaving it slightly chunky in texture (if desired).
  • Stir in the juice, garlic, salt and red onion.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with tortilla chips (or as a condiment for game day foods like chilli, nachos or burgers).

Friday, January 23, 2015

the simple five: roasted garlic cauliflower

I've read somewhere in those food magazines that cauliflower is the "new vegetable of the year".  Not sure why it's considered "new", since it's been available at grocery stores longer than kale has.  No matter the reason, I'm embracing this new "trend", using this wonderfully dense vegetable as a great side dish instead of potatoes.  It's quite filling, very nutritious, and easy to make.

What I also like about this dish, besides that it only uses five ingredients, is the fact that you can use the leftovers for soup. I've added this to potato and cheese, or broccoli and cheese soup with wonderful results (can you tell I like cheese in my soups!).


Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
(makes approximately 6 servings)

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3 tsp dried thyme (or about 4 sprigs of thyme, if you're using fresh)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼  cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425°. 
  • Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets; 
  • Toss on a large rimmed baking sheet (I used my cast iron skillet) with olive oil, thyme, and garlic cloves.
  • Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle the grated parmesan on top of the cauliflower.  Put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2015

the simple five: five ingredient breakfast sandwich

In order to regulate the salt, sugar and fat intake in our diets, I try to avoid the temptation of convenient drive through/fast food establishments by cooking ahead of time and making use of our freezer. Although it may be convenient to go through the drive through for quick meals (especially in between commutes to work, school, extracurricular activities and social events), with a little planning, this recipe provides a (relatively) healthy and delicious breakfast, ready in minutes and can be taken to go.

I especially like this recipe for early morning commutes.  Usually a large batch of sausage patties are made on a weekend, serving what is needed for that morning, and freezing the remaining for subsequent breakfasts.  It makes the morning rush so much easier.


Five Ingredient Breakfast Sandwich
(makes approximately 8-12 sausage patties)

  • 1 teaspoon each of various spices and herbs to personal taste (I used chopped garlic, ground thyme and sage).
  • 2 pounds organic ground turkey or pork
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Whole wheat english muffins
  • Cheese of choice (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss are good choices).
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix the garlic with the pork.  Add the thyme, sage and maple syrup.  Mix well until very well blended.
  • Using a spoon or your hands, form the meat into patties about 4 inches round.
  • Place as many patties that can fit in a cast iron skillet or glass baking dish.  
  • Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, flipping sides midway, until patties are brown.
  • Toast the english muffins.  
  • Slice the cheese and place with the sausage patties, onto the english muffins (or you can bake eggs in a muffin tin at the same time as the sausage patties).
  • FREEZE FOR LATER:  You can freeze half of the sandwiches that will be consumed at a later date.  Wrap individual sandwiches into paper towels and place in a ziplock bag.  Freeze (good for up to 3 months).  When you want to heat the sandwiches, remove  the number of sandwiches you require and heat in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes, depending on the temperature of your microwave.

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Simple Five: Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert traditionally made with cream, egg white and honey, which is then baked in the oven. This version is a simpler, non-bake version than the traditional panna cotta, and is served chilled (similar to a custard or pudding).

I love how flexible this dessert is considering there the basic recipe has only five ingredients. You can add any kind of flavourings to it (vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup) according to taste, and it can be served anytime of the year.  It's a fresh dessert alternative, particularly after heavier meals (or if you want something light after the indulgent holidays). It's easy to make ahead of time and kept in the fridge until it's ready to serve (perfect for dinner parties).


Simple Panna Cotta
(Makes approximately 6 servings)

  • 4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • ⅓  cup sugar
  • 4 cups of half and half cream
  • 1 ¼  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • Pour 2 cups of the cream into the saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over top. 
  • Let soften for 5 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look wet (this is called "blooming the gelatin").
  • Warm gently over low heat, whisking frequently for approximately 2 minutes or until the gelatin is dissolved (the cream should not be boiled...remove if you see steam and let it cool down).  
  • Add the sugar into the cream stir until dissolved.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. 
  • Whisk in the remainder 2 cups of cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
  • Pour into small bowls or ramekins and chill for approximately 2 hours. (If you want to un-mold the panna cotta, chill overnight in greased bowls/ramekins).
Serve as is...or topped with any fruit, sauce or or chocolate shavings.