Category Archives: Recipes

Here are some of favourite, family and sometimes failed recipes. Bon appétit!

Hummus

It’s been awhile since we posted (ok way too long). I guess life sometimes gets in the way of the things we really enjoy like cooking, eating, exercising and blogging.

Well, we’re back! After being members of GoodLife Fitness for many years (Greg was a member for almost 12 years), we recently both transitioned to Greco Lean +Fit. We look forward to the challenge, and the many new healthier recipes we will be making or trying to make.

So to kick things off…I made hummus from scratch today (insert applause)! Something I’ve done before, but never really seem to get it right (either too much garlic, not enough garlic, not smooth enough, etc.).  I came across this recipe on SmarterFitter via Pinterest, it’s apparently an adaptation of a Mark Bittman recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups drained well-cooked or canned chickpeas (reserve cooking liquid)
  • 1/4 cup tahini, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled, or more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

In the blender (or food processor, or even your Magic Bullet) combine the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Begin processing, add a little water or cooking liquid to make smoother (I added probably a 1/4 cup of water). Now to the taste-testing (the best part), it needed a little more garlic, lemon juice and pepper (all to taste). I sprinkled it with paprika (might be a bit too much, bag got away from me lol). Greg doesn’t like parsley, so I didn’t “pretty-it up”.

We enjoy the hummus with raw veggies or even spread on a brown rice cake. ~kM

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Lobster Bisque

If it has lobster in it, I’m either going to make it or order it! I love the flavour and there is something almost special about eating lobster (you almost feel little spoiled right?). If I had my choice between clam chowder or lobster bisque, I would definitely pick the latter, and therefore the attraction to this particular recipe from Food,Wine & Mode Podge.
Ingredients:
1 to 2 cups cooked lobster meat (we used the frozen/canned lobster meat from Farm Boy)
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning (we couldn’t find the recommended Old Bay at Loblaws, so we used the President’s Choice variety and it seemed to work)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 cup chicken stock (lobster stock is recommended, but you can use chicken stock like we did)
Preparing this recipe with Greg certainly made all the steps a lot easier.  You start by combining the lobster meat (defrosted) with the sherry. Cover and refrigerate. We weren’t sure how long the lobster needed to marinate in the sherry, but figured the 30 minutes or so it took to prepare the rest of the recipe was probably enough time.
Melt butter until it stops sputtering in a hot pan over medium heat. Then add: onion, celery, carrot, salt and pepper and seafood seasoning. We initially used a little less seasoning than the recipe calls for (we add more later to taste).  Stir veggies until they are translucent and begin getting soft. Add the tomato paste and let cook for a few more minutes, and then the flour, cook for two to three minutes, constantly stirring (I know the mixture looks dry, but don’t worry).
While whisking, add the cold milk, the half and half and the stock, bring to a boil for approximately one minute (don’t stop whisking!). Turn your heat down and let simmer until it is slightly reduced.
Now the recipe is like a choose your own adventure book, remember those?  You can either use your immersion blender and blend until the soup is smooth OR you can strain your soup through a fine mesh strainer, using your muscles to  press down on any solids. We definitely chose the blender 🙂
Now the fun part…tasting! Feel free to add more seafood seasoning (we did), salt, pepper. And then the piece de resistance you add the lobster and sherry mixture to your pot and let it simmer making sure your lobster is heated through.
Served with some crusty bread, this is by far the best lobster bisque we have ever had, seriously. ~kM

Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

I love tacos, but the shells (soft or hard) just make the meal so heavy and full of unwanted carbs/calories.  So since our recent visit to Sidedoor, I’ve been inspired by their beef with butter leaf lettuce wrap and house pickles, and I now substitute the traditional taco shell for Boston lettuce. I can now eat even more and not feel full (or guilty), it’s perfection.
I came across this recipe one night while browsing Pinterest (another new foodie hot-spot I’ve discovered).  The recipe is from a great site called SkinnyTaste, creator Gina Homolka provides healthy, family friendly recipes like this one:
Ingredients:
1.3 lbs lean ground turkey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 small onion, minced
2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
3/4 cup water
4 oz can tomato sauce
8 large lettuce leaves from iceberg lettuce (I use Boston lettuce, the large leaves are perfect for wrapping, might even want to double-up)
Brown the meat in a skillet, once brown, add the seasoning, mix well.  Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce.  Cover and let simmer on low for approximately 20 minutes. Wash lettuce and pat dry.  Place a spoonful of meat mixture in the middle of the a lettuce leaf and add your favourite toppings (i.e. low fat cheese, salsa, fresh cilantro, etc.).
This is one of our favourite go-to weekday meals, it’s quick and easy to make, just perfect when you’re on the go.~kM

Easy Barbecue Slow Cooker Ribs

Greg always says he wants to find the perfect chili recipe, the perfect rib recipe (I think he wants to be ready if asked to participate in a cook-off or something). So when I came across this recipe one day on a blog called Mmm…if for Mommy, I knew we had to try it.  I liked it because we had most ingredients in our pantry, and the little oven worked required was actually after the 6 to 8 hours in the slow cooker (perfect if you want to prepare them on a weeknight).
Ingredients:
1.5 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste, approx. 1 tsp each
2 lbs pork (baby) back ribs – leave the membrane on the ribs to help hold them together
1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Diana’s rib sauce)
Vegetable oil spray
Mix the first five ingredients in a small bowl and rub all over the ribs.  Then place the ribs standing up along the sides of the slow cooker (see picture), meaty side down and facing outwards.  Pour the barbecue sauce all over the ribs, cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
Once the slow cooking is done, carefully remove the ribs and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet with a rack place on top and sprayed with vegetable oil, place ribs bone side up, set aside as oven preheats on broil (place oven rack approximately 10 inches from the broiler element).  In the meantime, strain sauce (using a mesh strainer) from slow cooker removing all excess fat, place into a saucepan, and bring to a boil, and then reduce heat by one-third for approximately 15 minutes.  Brush sauce on ribs with and place in oven for approximately for 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove ribs from oven, flip ribs over, brush again with sauce and place back in oven for another 9 minutes (brushing them with sauce a couple of times throughout).  Serve remaining sauce as a side.
These ribs were fall-off-the-bone good, and we would definitely make them again.  I think I would experiment a little with the barbecue sauce we use, I think that is where the goodness lies.~kM

Banana Bread

There are a few recipes I remember my mother making growing up: shortbread cookies, magic bars, cheesy olive balls, etc.  Like many of us my mother had her go-to recipes, the ones that she had memorized, that turned out perfect every time, and that people always wanted the recipe for.  I’m proud that her banana bread is now one of those recipes for both my sister and I.
I’m not sure where the recipe came from, I think the only change my mother made over the years was the addition of chocolate chips – it was a good change. She made it for school fundraisers, potlucks, holidays; for family, friends, colleagues, everyone loved it and it was a great excuse not to eat bananas.
Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas mashed
2 eggs
4 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (not sure if you can use an insert, I haven’t tried). Mix banana, eggs, butter and sugar in a large bowl until blended well.  Sift in dry ingredients, add chocolate chips if using.  Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for approximately one hour.  Let banana bread cool in pan, then gently remove it.
Serve warm or cold, I prefer it plain, Greg and my sister, Sara, both like it with a little butter.
The smell, the taste brings me back to a time when my mom was still in the kitchen, it’s a true comfort food ~kM

Carrot Ginger Soup

I love and hate this time of year.  I love the pretty fall colours, the cozy clothes, but I hate the heavy meals and the calories the usually come along with them. Finding recipes that warm me up but don’t tip the scale is really hard in the fall and winter months.  I did come across this Carrot Ginger Soup recipe from the Dietitians of Canada Simply Great Food cookbook (one of my favourites).
Ingredients:
3 cups water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. vegetable bouillon powder
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. grated gingerroot (tip: use the side of spoon to remove skin before grating)
1 1/2 cups milk
Bring the water to a boil and add all ingredients except the milk.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender (approximately 40 to 45 minutes).  Remove from heat, you might want to let cool just slightly so that you can work with it.  Transfer the mixture into a blender or food processor and purée on high  until smooth.   Return to saucepan, add milk and heat over low (don’t boil).
This recipe makes six, one cup servings, with each serving only 66 calories!  Probably less because I used skim milk in my recipe (it’s the only milk we had), the texture is a little less thick, but the flavour is not lost. A warm, almost Thai influenced soup, rich in vitamin A (helps keeps your eyes and skin healthy), low in sodium and super easy to make (maximum ten minutes of preparation time and 50 minutes of cooking time).  Chop a little fresh cilantro when you’re ready to serve, et voilà!~kM

Homemade Chicken Broth

When Greg and I are in a pinch for supper during the week, we sometimes buy the whole roast chicken available at the meal counter at our local supermarket.  Once we’ve picked off all the meat, I like to make homemade chicken broth perfect for soups.
Homemade chicken broth is easy to make, plus unlike many of the store-bought varieties it has a lot less sodium.  I came across this recipe for homemade broth while searching for a chicken noodle soup recipe (also really good).  There always seems to be something comforting about the Chef at Home, Chef Michael Smith, and now that the fall weather is settling, a recipe like homemade chicken broth to warm you up, is just what the doctor order.
The recipe is fool-proof really (just chop, add water, boil, strain and cool), maybe I can convince Greg to start making it 🙂
I’ve played with the fresh herbs, the grocery store didn’t have thyme, so I used savory.  Both provide more than enough flavour to the broth without being overpowering.
One tip – I have found straining the broth using cheesecloth has left the least amount of residue.
So what are my plans for this broth? Let’s just say, it will involve more chicken and some slurping~kM

Laura’s Barbecue Stuffed Peppers

We just spent a great Canada Day weekend at a friend’s cottage.  It’s a love hate relationship when I go to a cottage, I love the time I spend with friends, love being outdoors, love the great meals, but hate the overeating.
This weekend was no different, however instead of a large meal on Canada Day, we shared many of our favourite appetizer recipes with our friends, Laura and Gary, and their neighbours.  It was a wonderful smorgasbord of veggies, dips, cheeses, and Laura’s tasty stuffed peppers:
Ingredients:
Small red, yellow and orange peppers (you can buy them in a package of four from your grocery store)
3 tbsp. red chili paste
3 tsbp. olive oil
1tsp. curry powder
Cheese (brie, havarti – one that melts nicely), cut into cubes
Clean and cut the peppers in half, removing all seeds and placing on a baking sheet (one you can use on the barbecue.  Combine red chili paste, olive oil and curry powder (to taste) in a small bowl.  Spread approximately 1 tsp. of the red chili paste mixture inside the peppers and two or three pieces of cheese on top.  Grill on a low to medium heat barbecue until cheese has melted.
A perfect summer dish that is sure to impress your guests too! ~kM

Red Wine Sangria

I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the successful and popular Summerlude this past Sunday, so after an afternoon of getting my garden ready for the season, I decided to create my very own.
What does it take exactly? Well according to the Summerlude Facebook page, it looks like a good sangria, some Latin sounds and socializing on the rooftop patio of the Hard Rock Cafe with those of us that love our great city.  I was going to have to improvise I little.  I have a little patio (on solid ground), I think I have “Red Red Wine” on my iPod (I know it’s not Latin), Greg and my golden retriever, Cooper, are home (so it won’t be a big party),  and most importantly I have the ingredients to make a sangria.
Ingredients:
3 cups red wine
2 oz (60 ml) apricot brandy
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 orange sliced in rounds
1/2 lemon sliced in rounds
1/2 lime sliced in quarters
1 cup ginger ale or club soda
Stir all the ingredients except the  ginger ale, and refrigerate for one to two hours if possible.  Once ready add ice, ginger ale and serve.
I might have missed the event of the summer, but on this particular Sunday I couldn’t have asked for better end to my weekend. ~kM

Sheldon Says: Easy Grilled Pizza

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were faced with a rather perplexing dilemma.  We both had a craving for pizza, but it was just so darn beautiful out that a hot, greasy take out full of pepperoni just didn’t seem right.  The solution:  a fresh, homemade grilled, veggie pizza.
Confession:  it was too nice out to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and since I knew it would take some work cutting all the veg, I cheated and used Greek pita (the kind without pockets) for the crust.  I cut up some Roma tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, zucchini and onion.  I then marinated them all in a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice, along with some store-bought, pre-mixed Italian spice.
To assemble the pizzas I spread a little olive oil infused with roasted garlic on the pita, topped with a mixture of the grilled veggies and then some grated mozzarella .  On to the Q for about 10 minutes (until cheese melted) and then topped the hot pizza with a few fresh arugula leaves to add a little peppery taste.  Perfect with a deep earthy red like The Lucky Country Shiraz (Australia) we picked up at the LCBO. ~SS