This is a fast, light tasting and hearty dish for all seasons! It’s not hard to make, just takes a few steps and some confidence if you haven’t made pasta without the tomato sauce. Make it gluten-free by dredging chicken in cornstarch instead of flour and use gluten-free pasta)
I came up with this recipe when I had lots of broccoli and wanted to use it in a different way. I checked the fridge to see what was there and this is what I created…try it with grilled or roasted meats of any kind, as well as burgers. It could also be a great accompaniment to a traditional quiche or frittata.
6 to 8 cups chopped broccoli
1 apple, skin on, cut into about one-inch pieces
about ⅛ cup thinly sliced red onion (the thinner, the better!)
about ⅛ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
a little less than ¼ cup olive oil
about ½ cup rice vinegar
about ½ tsp salt
about ¼ tsp ground pepper
Toast pine nuts until golden brown, about 4 minutes in pan on the stove on medium. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Set aside to cool
Combine broccoli, apples, onions and nuts in a serving bowl
Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and combine well
Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow dressing to absorb into broccoli, especially if using raw broccoli
Variations: Use raw or lightly steamed broccoli. Use walnuts or pecans instead of pine nuts, or make it nut-free. Keeps nicely in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days
This dish can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. When it’s breakfast, I keep the flavours simple – olive oil, sea salt and a bit of pepper. If it’s lunch or dinner, add herbs and spices to taste. This plate can be seasoned to the flavours of many cultures! This plate is also a good gluten-free option. And, as a bonus, this meal is quick to clean up if you use the same pan for the eggs as you did for the veggies and rice.
2 large eggs per person
⅓ cup cooked brown rice person
⅓ to ½ cup chopped vegetables per person
1 tsp to 1 tbsp olive oil (or butter if you prefer)
½ avocado, sliced per person
In frying pan, saute ¾ cup fresh vegetables in olive oil until hot but still crisp. Add cooked rice and a sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper. Remove mixture from pan, cover with a lid and set aside. (Because eggs cook quickly, this mixture will stay warm until eggs are cooked and you are ready to serve)
Add a little more olive oil or butter to pan. Add eggs and cook to desired doneness on each side if doing over easy eggs…(only a minute or so on each side if you like a runny yolk)
Remove eggs, rice and veggies to a plate.
Slice half an avocado, tomato, or other fruits
Variations: If you don’t like over easy eggs, choosing scrambled, fried, poached or hard-boiled eggs would work too. Use any vegetables or seasonings you like! Add chopped fresh herbs to kick up the presentation and elevate the dish to another level!
For many of us Friday night signals the end of the weekly routine and a chance to do things differently than you’ve been doing all week. Maybe you’re going out for dinner, getting takeout and meeting friends for drinks, or ordering pizza for the family and watching movies. It’s all good, as you lessen the work responsibilities and focus a little on time for being with family and friends more intensely for a few days.
My husband and I both had very busy jobs and often worked long hours, so we looked forward to ordering pizza Friday nights and having a glass of wine as we tried to let go of the busy week and think about what we might do on the weekend. This routine worked really well for us for many years. A couple of years ago my work location changed and I was only 10 minutes from home. This shortened my commute considerably, so I was home earlier in the evening and found myself with more energy on Friday nights. This enabled me to return to thinking about planning favourite Friday night meals that my Mom used to make that were simple, delicious, quick, and different from what we were eating during the week. In a future blog post, I’ll feature a bunch of my Mom’s kid friendly Friday night favourites.
One of the things my Mom and Dad loved to eat on Friday nights was Vermicelli all ’aglio e olio often with anchovies. I would never eat it as a kid, but as an adult I have come to enjoy a similar dish – Linguine Vongole (Pasta with Clam sauce). It’s a quick and easy recipe and tastes and looks fancy, so you can serve it for company too. This is a great example of what I mean when I say simple at-home dishes can have a gourmet taste and feel. You can use fresh clams for this too, but the canned baby clams are very good and easy to keep on hand to satisfy your craving for this classic Italian dish.
The recipe I use is from my favourite cookbook – Recipes from Pasquale’s Kitchen, published in 1984 by Doubleday Canada. I have a number of cookbooks that I enjoy very much, but this one got me into cooking in my early 20’s. Pasquale Carpino was a chef we used to watch on Tele Domenica on CFCF-TV in Montreal in the 80’s and 90’s. He was entertaining and seemed to really enjoy cooking, and was one of Canada’s first celebrity chefs. He sang Italian Opera songs while he cooked, and his food looked delicious! I’m a big believer in the idea that when you cook with love and happiness the meal will always turn out well (or you’ll think of a way to recover it!). Here’s a picture of the book…… Continue reading
You won’t believe how easy and delicious this recipe is…a great way to add more vegetables to your everyday meals and easy to dress up for company. If you’re short on time, opt for pre-cut vegetables from your grocery store.
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 small broccoli, chopped
1 small cauliflower, chopped
1 8-oz bag of matchstick carrots (approx 4 cups) (this cut of carrots saves chopping and cooking time!)
1 medium zucchini, chopped
Baby spinach leaves, approx 5 ounces or 4 cups
1 litre or so of good quality chicken broth
¼ cup shredded cooked chicken (optional)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp sea salt (used smoked sea salt, if you have it)
¼ tsp black pepper
Heat butter or oil in soup pot. Add celery and onion. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes
Add all vegetables and cover with broth. (In order for the soup to have some thickness, broth should be just cover the vegetables)
Simmer until vegetables are soft (usually 10 to 12 minutes)
Once vegetables feel soft when tested with a fork, use immersion blender to blend the soup to your desired consistency
Add chicken, if using, season to taste, stir and serve
Variations: Use any vegetables or seasonings you like! For a completely vegetarian dish, use vegetable broth instead
Cabbage has many health benefits and is a versatile vegetable to use in cooking. This side dish recipe is quick and easy and you can change up the flavour by using spices that suit your taste and the flavour of your main dish. Sometimes I use smoked sea salt instead of regular sea salt for a more intense flavour. This simple recipe can be used with many dishes. Finish with chopped fresh herbs, if desired.
1 small to medium cabbage
2 tbsp olive oil
1 to 2 cloves minced garlic
Splash of cold water (about 2 ounces)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut cabbage into chunks
Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat
Add cabbage and garlic. Stir to coat with olive oil. Cook about 3 minutes or until pan is almost dry
Add a bit of water and cook to tender crisp. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If you prefer the cabbage softer, add an ounce or two of water until the cabbage reaches your desired texture)
I found this recipe on the package of PC Blue Menu Soup Mix in the winter of 2017 and I could not believe how easy and tasty it was! I also add chopped carrots and celery in the last 15 minutes of cooking, and if I have some cooked chicken bits in the freezer that I saved from my last roast chicken, I add that too. But the recipe is very delicious on it’s own, so go ahead and enjoy this easy, hearty dish!
1 cup mixed grains/legumes (brown rice, barley, split peas, lentils)
1 – 20 ounce can diced tomatoes (I prefer the no salt version)
1 litre (4 cups) low salt chicken broth
2 cups water
1 small chopped onion
Half to one tbsp Olive Oil
¾ cup chopped carrots (optional)
¾ cup chopped celery (optional)
¼ cup cooked chicken shredded or finely chopped (optional)
Heat olive oil in pot; add chopped onion and cook until fragrant and translucent
Add the mixed grains/legumes
Add the can tomatoes
Add chicken broth
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 60 to 80 minutes. Grains should be tender, but not too soft
Optional: In the last 15 minutes of cooking add chopped carrots, celery chicken, or whatever vegetables you prefer!