Since the beginning of June I have been receiving a box of farm fresh fruits and vegetables from Coopers Farm every Thursday. Two weeks ago a wrote about Why I (Sometimes) Choose Organic and included a photo of what was included in that week’s delivery. So what was in yesterday’s box? As pictured below, there was: 1 broccoli, some strawberries, 1 cantaloupe, a bunch of basil, 1 medium white onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 large cucumber, a bunch of yellow beans, 3 sweet banana peppers, a bunch of jalapeno peppers, and several tomatoes (which I forgot to include in the photo)! Sadly, there was no corn – hopefully there will be some again next week, because last week’s corn was truly some of the best tasting corn in the world! Still, even without the corn, this week’s delivery is pretty great.

I’ve already used the strawberries to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp using the recipe I posted yesterday for Blueberry Crisp. I just can’t get enough of that crumble topping!

For lunch I made some Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers and also used some of the stuffing in zucchini halves left over from last week’s box, similar to the Zucchini “Boats” With Home Fries I posted last month. I sprinkled a generous amount of chopped basil over top the stuffed peppers and zucchini. It was so yummy!

I will probably use the yellow beans as a side vegetable for a meatball dinner, similar to the picture below. I made this last month but haven’t gotten around to posting the recipes for the meatballs, coleslaw, and German potato salad, so stay tuned for those coming very soon.

I cooked the broccoli this evening and will use it in tomorrow’s lunch: Noodles and Cheese – definitely one of my children’s favourites.

The cucumber, garlic and onion will either be used in a Refreshing Cucumber Soup or in a Mixed Bean Salad for which I would also use some of the tomatoes and basil. Here is a photo of the Mixed Bean Salad (just pretend you see some mixed beans in there!). Recipes for these to follow soon. If you can’t wait, you can make this Cucumber Salad With Kefir Dressing recipe I posted in the spring. You can subsitute greek yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk for the kefir.

My kids have already been eyeing the cantaloupe, so that will probably be one of their snacks tomorrow!

So that leaves only the peppers. Honestly, I have no idea what I will use them in but I promise to tell you if it turns out to be blog-worthy!

How would you use the contents of this week’s box?!

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Summer has arrived! Time to fire up the BBQ and enjoy a delicious meal outside on your deck or patio! One of my absolute favourite meals is Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce (see below for recipes). It’s very simple to make and is healthy and tastes so good. It’s currently my favourite meal to prepare for guests, and we enjoyed a wonderful evening out on our patio with our condo-dwelling friends last weekend. The weather was fantastic and we were able to have a late dinner (after the children had been put to bed!) out on our patio where we then played a game of Settlers of Catan by candlelight until almost mid-night. I cannot wait to do it again soon!

Because I wanted to be able to eat dinner with our guests after our children had gone to bed, I served Guacamole with some super healthy tasting “Haddad Bakery – High Protein Pita Bread” (which I purchased for the first time at No Frills and will likely purchase again soon) as soon as the children had finished eating their dinner. Then, once the little ones were in bed, we got the BBQ going and my husband grilled the chicken, which had been marinating for six hours. We also added some fresh asparagus (which had been included in that week’s CSA delivery), corn (which had been boiled while I made a quick dinner for the children) and red pepper halves (which had been roasted in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes earlier that evening) to the grill. Meanwhile, I prepared the quinoa-filling for the red peppers. I did make some minor changes to the quinoa-filling compared to the recipe I posted earlier this month in order to make it a more “fitting” side for Chicken Souvlaki. Essentially, I omitted the chilli powder, cumin, and salsa and added chopped garlic scapes since these had been included in my weekly CSA delivery and I wanted to incorporate them into the meal. I had made the Tzatziki Sauce while the children ate their dinner. After serving the food, our friend Andrew insisted I take a picture of his plate for my blog and so that is why you are getting the details of our dinner that evening instead of just the recipe for the Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce!

After dinner we savoured a surprisingly not-very-sweet Tiramisu Cake, which I had made for the first time. The recipe is from my Williams Sonoma”Dessert” collection and I have wanted to make it for years, but had never gotten around to making it. Every recipe that I have ever made from that book has turned out AMAZING, so I wasn’t surprised when this cake left us wanting more. We did, however, manage to save some for the next day and I have to say it tasted even better the second day because the coffee and rum “syrup” and marscapone cream had more time to seep through the cake layers while it chilled in the fridge overnight. I will definitely be sharing the recipe in a future post, even though it is not “simple and healthy”, like the other recipes on my blog would indicate. But hey, we all deserve a little indulgence once in a while, right?!

Here is the recipe for the Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce!

Chicken Souvlaki – Ingredients (serves 6)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

2 tsp grated lemon rind

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp thyme

3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (or turkey breast or pork) – I generally use one breast per adult

Chicken Souvlaki – Directions

Combine all ingredients except the meat in a large bowl. Add meat (I prefer to leave the chicken breasts whole, though traditionally souvlaki is prepared by cutting the meat into 1-inch cubes and then skewered). Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight). Grill on BBQ.

Tzatziki Sauce – Ingredients (serves 2 – 6, depending how much tzatziki you like with your souvlaki – I typically double the recipe!)

1 and 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (once again, my favourite one is PC’s 0% Greek Yogurt)

1/4 cucumber, peeled & seeded (I tend to use more)

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp white wine vinegar

salt to taste

Tzatziki Sauce – Directions
Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

What is your favourite summer BBQ meal?!

Chicken Parmesan Bake

May 6, 2012

Imagine you’ve had an extremely busy day and now you are supposed to quickly prepare a healthy and super-delicious meal using the chicken breasts you had thawing in the fridge since last night, but the thought of all those dirty dishes to wash once dinner has been served and devoured is enough to make you want to order in a pizza instead. What if I told you I have a recipe that, approximately 35 minutes after starting to follow said recipe, results in a healthy and super-delicious meal with just one dish to clean?!  Impossible, right?! That’s what I thought, too, when my friend first told me about this recipe not that long ago. I have made it several times now and it has always exceeded my expectations.

You can click here to view the original recipe (literally, as there is no written recipe – it’s a video demonstration!), or you can read below to see my (healthier still) version of this recipe.

Ingredients:

1 jar of your favourite tomato sauce (as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my two favourites are the “Blue Menu” tomato sauces by “President’s Choice” available at No Frills, etc. and “All Natural Marinara Sauce” by “White Linen Collection – Gourmet Pasta Sauce” available at Costco – both are low in sodium and contain no added sugar)

fresh Basil leaves, chopped

1 – 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed (optional)

4 – 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I typically purchase the chicken breasts with the skin on and bone in and remove these myself – it’s usually cheaper this way AND allows me to make homemade chicken stock with the discarded bones – I’ll be doing a post on how to make your own chicken stock soon!)

1/2 bag whole grain, garlic croutons

shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese – as much or as little as you like!
 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour some tomato sauce into a 2.8 L baking dish (I prefer glass), just enough to provide some moisture for the chicken breasts, which you then place on top of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the chopped basil and garlic (if using) over top of the chicken breasts.

Pour tomato sauce over chicken breasts (I LOVE tomato sauce, so I am generous here). Next, sprinkle croutons over top, however much or little you like. (I would have used more if I hadn’t run out!) Sprinkle cheese over top, again as much or as little as you like.

Place in oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

Steamed broccoli makes a good accompaniment. Or, as pictured above, enjoy with some brown and wild rice and a garden salad with my Honey Mustard Salad Dressing!

 

Guacamole

April 30, 2012

One of my favourite snacks is freshly made guacamole with toasted whole wheat naan bread. Though my kids aren’t really a fan of “the green stuff”, they are willing to try it every now and again and I am confident that one day they will call this one of their favourite snacks, too! Update: My middle child now officially likes (maybe even “loves”) guacamole, and the other two are almost there! This is living proof that if you keep offering you child healthy foods, they will learn to like them!

This “recipe” is one I have come up with by experimenting over time.

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

1 clove garlic, finely chopped or pressed

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

lime juice of 1 small lime

1/2 medium tomato, diced (or smaller)

salt & pepper to taste

whole wheat naan bread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place naan bread on baking sheet. Bake for 3 – 5 minutes, turning once after 2 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into triangles (I use a pizza cutter to do this).

Cut avocado in half, lengthwise. Discard pit, and spoon out flesh into a small bowl. Add garlic, onion, and lime juice. Mash everything together to desired consistency (I like mine a bit lumpy!) and then add the tomato and salt & pepper and stir gently.

Serve immediately, but be sure to share and ENJOY!

Yes, avocado is relatively high in calorie and fat content, but it is the “good” kind of fat, so “avocado is definitely a food we should be including in our diets”, according to Canada’s leading nutritionist, Leslie Beck. See the following link for more about avocados on Leslie’s website.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy avocados?