There’s just something about a roasted red pepper that takes a meal to the next level. Last night it was just me and the kids for dinner and so I decided to make something vegetarian. Thursdays is when my weekly CSA box arrives so it made sense to use at least one of its (entirely green!) contents – enter broccoli. I had opened a new jar of tomato sauce (my favourite one is from Costco – see picture below) at lunch time for some 10-Minute Pizza and so I decided to boil some whole wheat Fusili and voila – I had a quick and tasty meal for the children. I usually stay away from carbohydrates at dinner time, but I was famished and the children’s dinner smelled soooo good, and who really wants to eat like a rabbit every lunch and dinner!?!? Then I recalled the roasted red pepper in the fridge, left over from a BBQ dinner earlier this week, and together with some of the fresh basil in my CSA box I served myself a big bowl of bliss!

How to Roast a Pepper on the BBQ:
Spray* with olive oil (or rub on some oil using your fingers)
Place on hot BBQ and turn pepper every few minutes (leave BBQ on medium-high)
Remove the pepper once it has softened and blackened (approximately 10 – 15 minutes)
Let pepper cool slightly and then peel the skin off and discard the skin, stem, and seeds

How to Roast a Pepper in the oven:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray* with olive oil (or rub on some oil using your fingers)
Place pepper on baking tray or in casserole dish
Remove the pepper once it has softened and blackened (approximately 15 – 20 minutes)
Let pepper cool slightly and then peel the skin off and discard the skin, stem, and seeds

* Several years ago I purchased a refillable oil mister and highly recommend them, as they make it possible to use as little oil as necessary for stir fries, etc. I have seen them at Winners, Kitchen Stuff Plus and Costco.

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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!

 

If you have ever wondered how to incorporate cabbage into your diet other than through cole slaw and cabbage rolls (and it’s not likely you’re eating these on a regular basis!), then this is THE recipe for you! The best thing about this recipe is that it requires only one pot (well, really a large frying pan or wok) and it can be seasoned using different spices to suit your taste! A very good friend of mine recently came up with the recipe when she wanted a quick, tasty way to incorporate cabbage into her diet. I have since made this dish several times, and though the kids turn their noses (tonight I served them chicken enchilada “pie” instead – recipe to follow soon!), my husband eagerly helps himself to seconds (and sometimes thirds)!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey (ground chicken or beef will also taste great)

1 onion, sliced or diced

1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cabbage, shredded (I use a mandolin to do this)

1 – 2 carrots, coarsely shredded

1 – 2 Tbsp curry powder (or, you can leave this out entirely!)

1 – 2 cups tomato sauce (my favourite for this recipe is from Costco and is called, “All Natural Marinara Sauce” by “White Linen Collection – Gourmet Pasta Sauce” – I highly recommend using this over the PC Blue Menu version for this recipe unless you’re in a pinch)

1 and 1/2 cups water

Directions:

Cook the meat (I used ground beef tonight, though I actually prefer it with ground turkey) in a large frying pan or wok, over high heat.

Once no longer pink, add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add cabbage and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and cook for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder (if using) and stir.

Add 1 – 2 cups tomato sauce (depends entirely on how “saucy” you want it to be).

Add water and reduce temperature to medium. Continue cooking for approximately 25 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and sauce thickened.

Serve with “Cucumber Salad” (see my recipe on a prior post) or garden salad using “Honey Mustard Dressing” (see my recipe on a prior post). And if you haven’t banished carbs from your dinner menu as I have (in an effort to finally lose the remaining pregnancy weight), serve with brown rice or quinoa! Oh, and a dollop of plain greek yogurt or drizzle of kefir would taste great, too!

Will you be giving this recipe a try? Please post a picture and give your verdict once you’ve done so!