If you’re looking for a stress free and delicious way to serve your family – I’ve got you covered with some of my favourite recipes from Italpasta! As the mom of two always-hungry-teenage-boys, I love that I can use Italpasta (dyk: Italpasta uses only 100% Canadian wheat to make their pasta!) as a blank canvas for a variety of suppertime creations that will be gobbled up in no time flat – watch my recent CHCH segment below…..
This divine “starter” is a guaranteed show stopper. It presents as beautifully as it tastes, and will have your guests raving for days. Serve as an appetizer, or as a cheese course with Port for an after dinner nibble.
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) corn syrup
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
½ cup (125 mL) mixed salted nuts
½ cup (125 mL) dried cherries (or cranberries)
2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)
9 inch (1 kg) round double cream Brie wheel, slightly warmed
Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small sauce pot. Cook over medium heat stirring only once or twice until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Continue to cook for about one minute without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda (mixture will poof up). Stir in nuts, dried cherries, rosemary and cayenne. Place Brie wheel on a wooden cutting board or platter and pour caramel mixture over Brie. Serve with an assortment of crackers and fresh fruit.
Does mealtime have you (and your family) stressed out? As a chef, food media specialist and busy mom of two teenage boys – the best advice I can give you: get Back To Basics!! Yup, I’m talking an old school brown bag lunch, and for supper: good ol’ meat and potatoes!!
See below for all products and recipes featured on CTV Morning Live Ottawa and Daytime Ottawa.
Country Harvest 12 Grain Bread – a perfect canvas for a delicious and nutritious sandwich. Click here to learn more about the nutritional value of Country Harvest Bread.
Need and excuse to eat more veggies? Get dipping! Gay Lea Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese Dips come in two mouth watering and good-for-you flavours: Roasted Red Pepper and Dill Ranch. Click here to learn more about smooth dips.
Dinnertime Made: Fast, Easy and Delicious
Southern BBQ Sheet Pan Dinner (only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes to prepare) – click here for the recipe.
And for dessert…Double Peanut, Chocolate and Pretzel Bars – click herefor the recipe.
Whether your gang is looking for new weeknight supper solution, breakfast on-the-go, or a sweet Canadian inspired treat (PB Nanaimo Bars!!!) while watching the Olympics ~ PeanutBureau.ca has you covered!!
Peanuts & peanut butter are staples in Canadian homes (DYK: The average Canadian eats nearly 3 kg of peanuts per year!), are an economical protein source, and can be enjoyed far beyond a PB & J sandwich, or by the handful!!
Click on each pink title for recipe links.
Clickhereto learn about the health benefits of peanuts and peanut butter.
These homemade bars make a perfect spring break (*or lunchbox) treat and are much healthier than commercial granola bars.
¾ cup (175 mL) vegetable oil or coconut oil (*if using coconut oil, bars will be “crunchier” at room temperature
¾ cup (175 mL) liquid honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500 mL) large flake rolled oats
1 cup (250 mL) each; dried cranberries and chopped pitted dates (about 20 to 25 dates)
½ cup (125 mL) each; all purpose flour, finely chopped peanuts, ground flax seeds, green pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate chips
1 tsp (5 mL) each; ground cinnamon and ground ginger
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
pinch ground nutmeg
½ tsp (2 mL) finely grated orange zest
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until very well combined. Press batter evenly into a parchment paper lined 9 X 9-inch square baking pan. Place in center of oven and bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden and toothpick placed in center of bars comes out with little crumb. Remove from oven and cool completely. Cut into 16 bars.
‘Tis the season to give your debit and/or credit card….a break? YES!! How you ask? With thoughtful, homemade gifts from the kitchen. I developed the following DIY ‘Gifts From The Kitchen’ as fun-to-make: teacher/coach/neighbour/grandparent gifts/hostess gifts/stocking stuffers and/or little party favours placed at each table setting. These festive recipes are simple to prepare, use ingredients you likely already have on hand, and will not have you regretting gift giving come January.
Grab the kids, roll up your sleeves, crank up the holiday hits and get busy in the kitchen!
Black Bean Brownies w/Candy Cane Cheesecake Swirl
A decadent and fibre rich holiday inspired indulgence – I’ll take two!!
1 (540 mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup (125 mL) softened Gay Lea butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped 70% dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips)
1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp (1 mL) quality ground coffee
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
Candy Cane Cheesecake Swirl
¾ cup (175 mL) Gay Lea Nordica smooth plain cottage cheese *click here to learn about smooth cottage cheese*
5 tbsp (75 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) mint extract
½ tsp (2 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 egg, whisked
Garnish: 2 oz (60 g) quality dark chocolate
¼ cup (60 mL) Crushed candy canes (*Note: don’t attempt to crush whole candy canes it just makes a big mess. Most bulk food stores now sell pre-crushed candy canes)
Method: Preheat oven to 350 F (160 C). Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (along bottom and up sides) and set aside.
Place beans in food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until very finely chopped. Add remaining brownie ingredients and pulse until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl when needed. Measure out 1/2 cup (125 mL) batter and set aside.
Pour remaining batter into prepared pan.
Stir together ingredients for cheesecake swirl until well combined.
Gently fold cheesecake mixture into reserved 1/2 cup (125 mL) brownie batter.
Pour cheesecake/brownie mixture on top of brownie in pan.
Place brownies in centre of preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until edges are set and centre is slightly jiggly.
Remove from oven and cool completely.
Cut into 16 brownies. Drizzle individual brownies with chocolate and garnish evenly with crushed candy canes.
Tournament Survival Tips: Save Money and Stay Fuelled
If you have children in sports, you know first hand how costly tournaments can be.
Hotels, gas and eating three meals a day (plus snacks) ‘on the road’ can add up quick for the average family of four.
One of the easiest ways to save money and fuel your growing athletes is by: packing a weekends worth of nutritious snacks and meals. As the mom of two active teenage boys, I come by this topic honestly and passionately. My pack-and-go recipes will save you hundreds of dollars over basketball/soccer/lacrosse/dance/hockey season, and will nourish yourself and your family while on the road. All recipes use pantry staple items and take very little time to prep. Hint, Hint…get those teens in the kitchen, prepping and packing meals/snacks.
Click on each pink title to learn more about the featured product.
Get Up And Go Morning Muesli
This recipe makes for a quick, satisfying and budget friendly breakfast the whole family can enjoy.
Fuel up and save money while on the road!!
1 cup (250 mL) large flake oats (quick oats will also work)
2 tbsp (30 mL) each; ground flaxseed and chia seeds
2 apples; well washed, cored and finely diced *leave skin on
¼ cup (60 mL) green pumpkin seeds
Place all ingredients (except for pumpkin seeds) in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. *Garnish each portion evenly with pumpkin seeds. Yields 4 cups (1 L). Makes 8, ½ cup (125 mL) servings.
Introducing: Gay Lea Nordica Smooth plain cottage cheese, yes, smooth!! No lumps (not one) and contains 15 grams or protein and only 100 calories per 1/2 cup (125 mL) serving. Click here for more recipes made with Gay Lea smooth cottage cheese.
Cut a round cap off the top of the cottage loaf. Reserve top. Hollow out the inside and top of the loaf to make a bread bowl, leaving about ¾ -inch of bread inside the crust. Spread mayo mixture all over inside of bread bowl and inside the cap. Place spinach leaves at the bottom of bread bowl and layer with sliced eggs, cheese, cucumber, grated carrot, red pepper and avocado. Place cap back on sandwich and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. To serve: remove plastic wrap and cut into 8 wedges. Click here for more tasty recipes made with Burnbrae Farms Eggs.
Burnbrae Farms Eggs2Go are a healthy and convenient protein source on-the-go. Find them in the deli section of most major grocery stores. Look for Dill, Salt & Pepper, Hot Sauce and Teriyaki flavours also.
Homemade Sports Drink
In a pinch, many of us reach for commercial sports drinks. Most sports drinks are loaded with artificial colours, processed sugars and poor taste. With a few pantry staple ingredients, you can prepare your own hydrating sports drink for pennies per serving.
*As an avid runner myself, I often double or triple the recipe in the summer months (*and keep refrigerated). This way, we have plenty on hand for a post run sip, when my kids are heading to soccer, basketball or bike park, or when my husband is running out the door to baseball.
1 bag herbal tea *my kids prefer peach, or berry flavour *I prefer ginger
¼ (60 mL) orange juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) honey or maple syrup
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
Boil water. Â Remove from heat and steep tea bag for at least 30 minutes. Chill. When ready to prepare, remove tea bag and stir in juices, maple syrup and salt to cooled tea. Shake (*if placing in a mason jar) or stir well to combine. Consume within two days of preparing. Makes about 4 cups (1 L).
Protein Packed Rocky Road Bars
A perfect post game sweet treat ‘bite’. Loaded with plant protein and no baking required!!
1 lb. (500 g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup (250 mL) natural peanut butter
⅓ cup (75 mL) butter OR coconut oil
2 cups (500 mL) mini marshmallows
1 ½ cups (750 mL) peanuts *I like to use salted
1 cup (250 mL) dried cranberries (*or dried blueberries or dried cherries)
Place chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high heat, stopping to stir every 30 seconds until melted (about 2 minutes total). Add peanut butter and butter. Let mixture stand for about 10 minutes. Fold in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into a parchment paper lined 8-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and cut into 24 snack size squares.
If you’re looking for economical, delicious and healthy side dishes to add to your weeknight mains (or, Thanksgiving side inspiration) Walmart Canada has you covered! Walmart carries ‘Canada #1 Grade’ fruits and vegetables in all Supercentre locations. Celebrate fresh Canadian produce with good-for-you recipes! Happy Autumn Eating!
Sauteed Kale with Golden Raisins & Onions ~ click here for the recipe
Zucchini-Feta Pancakes ~ click here for the recipe
Green Beans & Carrots in Coconut-Turmeric Curry ~ click herefor the recipe
Peaches, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Corn and Garden Fresh Herbs….
What to do with all your fresh local produce you ask?
I’ve got you covered with some healthy, delicious and simple to prepare recipes!
Click here to watch my CTV Morning Live Ottawa segment.
Click here to learn more about the health benefits of Gay Lea Nordica Smooth (yes, you read that correct – no lumps!) Plain Cottage Cheese. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #NothingPlainAboutItTomato, Peach, Olive and Herb Salad
This foolproof salad is a perfect pair to any grilled meat or fish off the bbq.
3 tomatoes, cut in wedges
2 ripe peaches, pitted and cut in thick slices
1/2 cup (125 mL) corn kernals
1/3 cup (75 mL) sliced pitted olives
½ cup (125 mL) chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as: mint, dill, basil and parsley
drizzle of avocado oil or olive oil
1/3 cup (75 mL) crumbled feta or goat cheese *optional
Toss together all ingredients. Drizzle salad with oil. Garnish with cheese if using. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
For summer salsa (omit cheese): finely dice tomatoes, peaches, olives and toss with chopped fresh herbs. Toss and serve on grilled chicken, salmon or beef, or serve with nacho chips for dipping.
Layered Summer Dip
No backyard party is complete without a go-to layered dip!
1 cup (250 mL) chopped mixed herbs (such as: dill, parsley, basil, chives and mint), divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) hot sauce (optional), or to taste
zest and juice of one lime
1 ½ cups (375 mL) tomato peach ‘salsa’ (recipe above) or prepared salsa of choice
1 cup (250 mL) grated Ivanhoe cheddar
Stir together smooth plain cottage cheese, ½ cup (125 mL) chopped mixed herbs, garlic, hot sauce, lime zest, juice and cumin. Place on bottom of glass pie plate or trifle dish. Layer with salsa and grated cheddar. Garnish top evenly with remaining ½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh herbs. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to one day. Serve with pita wedges or nacho chips.
Garden Stuffed Sandwich *click here for the recipe
Rosemary & Vanilla Bean ‘Cream’ with Peaches and Blueberries
½ vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 ½ tsp (7 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 ripe peaches, pitted and chopped
½ cup (125 mL) blueberries
Garnish (optional) maple flakes (found at bulk food stores) or finely grated dark chocolate
Stir together plain cottage cheese, maple syrup, vanilla bean (or extract) and chopped fresh rosemary. Divide chopped peaches and berries evenly between 4 glass dessert bowls. Garnish evenly with vanilla rosemary ‘cream’ and garnish evenly with maple flakes or chocolate.