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Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Parmesan

With the approach of fall, leaning towards cozy sweaters and comfort food is the norm- and nothing says comfort like spaghetti!

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy hot meals and delicious treats! It can be challenging to stay on top of healthy habits once the cooler temperatures set in!

It takes all of this author’s motivation to get up and go to the gym when the cold sets in! I find making meals with healthy bases helps me to stay on track, and not to mind so much when I don’t make it to that spin class!

Here’s a twist on a classic homemade meal that is one of my favorites-you know, the one your grandmother used to force you to eat more than 2 helpings of! This time though, it’s incorporating more plants, healthy fats and tons of good taste! I dare you to try this and not have 3 servings…at a fraction of the calories!

 

Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Parmesan

When cooked, spaghetti squash separates into strings that can be covered in sauce, much like

pasta – a grain free alternative! It is full of fibre, vitamins and nutrients that help build up those

antibodies -definitely something that’s good to increase with the onset of cold season! The

squash and zucchini hold up well together, while the cheeses create a mouthwatering finish.

This warm fall classic will have you and your loved ones asking for more-make sure to double

your recipe if you like to have leftovers! The portions outlined below makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1/3 cup caramelized onions (see below for these instructions)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parimigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Pierce the spaghetti squash with a fork in several places. Microwave it on high power for 12 minutes, rotating every 3 minutes. Let the squash cool, then cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the zucchini, onions and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into a shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Remove the baking pan from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Top the vegetables with the grated cheese and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add the onions and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often, until they are soft and brown. Let cool and then store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

These caramelized onions are easy to do and are a great addition for any of your favorite dishes! Add them to meals like salads, sandwiches and more!

Enjoy this plant based meal which is guaranteed to taste better the next day!

That is, if you manage to have any leftovers!

 

Easiest way to make cream of mushroom soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

This cream of mushroom soup is easy and delicious. It is great all year round but especially now that the weather will be getting colder.  There are numerous benefits to making this soup, including the fact that mushrooms are high in antioxidants that helps the body to improve its immune system and keep your skin healthy.

An added benefit is that this soup can also help you to decrease your risk for cancer as well as improve your body’s ability to fight off toxins overall.  This recipe will serve 4-6 people.

Ingredients

1tsp Salt

1tsp Black Pepper

1tsp of Crushed Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Margarine/ 2 pats of Butter

8 oz Package of Mushrooms

1 Large onion

2 Ribs of Celery

1 Beef Bouillon Cube

¼ cup of Cooking Red Wine or Sherry

3 cups of vegetable stock

½ cup of milk or cream

Method

Rinse and clean the entire package of mushrooms, slice them and set them aside in a bowl, then dice the onion and celery. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of margarine to a medium size pot, then add all of the diced vegetables to the pot with 1 teaspoon of garlic.

Sautee gently on medium high heat until the vegetables become tender, the mushrooms brown, and the onions become translucent. Add 1 Bouillon cube to the vegetables then add ¼ cup of red wine or sherry. Give everything a quick stir then add 3 cups of stock and let the soup simmer coming to a boil for 20-30 minutes.  Let the soup cool then blend in a blender until smooth. Return soup to the pot then add milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

If you wish to make your own stock, there is an easy recipe below that you can try.

Homemade Vegetable Stock

3 cups of water

1 tablespoon of butter

1 celery rib

1 small onion

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of pepper

Instructions

Dice celery and onion then add them to the pot with remaining ingredients. Let the contents simmer for 20 mins.

Cream of pumpkin soup perfect for autumn

Cream of pumpkin soup is an easy and great soup all year round, but is especially a nice and warm addition now that we’re in the colder months. Pumpkin soup is a crowd pleaser which is filled with beneficial vitamins and minerals,that helps to improve skin, hair, prevents heart disease and helps to maintain healthy vision.

Ingredients

1tsp Salt

1tsp Black Pepper

1tsp of Crushed Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Margarine/ 2 pats of Butter

1 1/2 lb. Pumpkin

1 Large onion

2 Ribs of Celery

3 cups of vegetable stock

½ cup of milk or cream

Instructions

Cube the pumpkin and place in a bowl. Dice the remaining vegetables. Add margarine and the garlic to the pot, and Sautee for a minute. Then add the pumpkin and other vegetables and continue to Sautee. Next add vegetable stock to the pot and let soup boil for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Add the soup to the blender and blend until smooth. Return soup to the pot and stir in the milk. Reheat for 5 minutes. Serve.

Bonus:

I love making my own vegetable stock and it’s so simple, I added it to this recipe!

Homemade Vegetable Stock

4 cups of Water

1tablespoon of Butter

1 Celery Rib

1 small onion

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of pepper

1 Bay Leaf

Instructions

Dice celery and onion then add them to the pot with remaining ingredients. Let the contents simmer for 20 mins. Remove the Bay leaf and then the contents can be added to a soup.

 

 

 

Ace lemon chicken: the summer staple

Now that the summertime has officially arrived, it’s time to think about what to cook up for dinner during these warmer months. Sure, there’s always the trusty barbeque food like hot dogs and burgers, but lemon chicken is just as classic.

This is an old family recipe of mine and it’s one I’m going to share with all of you. So, switch it up a bit this summer and serve some citrus!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup of chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of freshly grated lemon peel
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of melted butter
  • 3 minced garlic cloves

Tools:

  • Pan
  • Baking dish
  • Meat thermometer

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Stick your olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the chicken breasts, skin-side down, into the olive oil.
  • Fry them for about 1-2 minutes or until the skin goes brown.
  • As soon as the chicken skin has browned, move the breasts into a baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, seasoning, chicken broth, and lemon zest. Mix everything together and pour it over the breasts in the dish.
  • Stick your chicken in the oven for about 25-35 minutes or until fully cooked. Whip out that meat thermometer and stick it into the chicken to keep track of the temperature. You’ll want to reach about 165 – 175 degrees F.

Pro Tip:

  • You can also cut a lemon into slices and place them on the breasts when they’re done. It adds a nice aesthetic appeal and gives them that added bit of zest.

Lemon chicken is one of those staples in the home that needs to be eaten at least once in the summer. Everyone loves a good chicken breast and once it’s coupled with the tangy flavor of lemon, it’s hard to resist not going back for seconds. Just make sure you make enough for everyone coming over!

Soup’s on!

Soup’s on in my kitchen no matter what season, and it is easy to make and cheap to make as well.

I love chicken noodle soup as it is my comfort food, served with/without crackers or baguette bread! The soup also stands perfect alone. I find using leftover pre-cooked chicken is the best for flavor and then adding the broth.

It is my mother’s recipe. No matter how hard of a day I have at work, or a hard run, having some chicken soup makes me feel better.  I am told I make a mean soup!

Christine Blanchette’s Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients: 

Chicken pieces.

1 container of Chicken Broth

2 whole carrots

1 small onion

6-8 white mushrooms

Pepper

Pasta – your favorite noodle shape

Directions:

I use left over chicken pieces from a pre-ready cooked chicken.

Take a medium sized pot and cook the whole pre cooked chicken carcass in boiling water

Remove from the water the carcass, and remove the chicken pieces

Add chicken broth

Cut carrots into small pieces

Cut onion into small pieces

Cut mushrooms into small pieces

Add the vegetables to the soup

Add about a handful of pasta or enough to make it thick

Add lots of black ground pepper or to taste

You add whatever other vegetables.

Serves 6 depending on how much you like

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Toronto eatin’: leftover turkey soup

Let’s be honest — you can only eat leftover Christmas dinner for a few days before it makes you want to throw up. Even a good turkey sandwich only goes so far. Instead, why not put some turkey aside to make something different. A good turkey soup is perfect for lunches or dinners, and excellent on a cold winter day.

The recipe I’m going to share is for a chicken vegetable soup I make on a regular basis. Just swap our turkey for chicken and you are good to go!

Start by sautéing garlic and a chopped onion in a large pot. Add in chopped vegetables of your choice (carrots, mushrooms, celery). Stir for a few minutes. Add canned corn and green beans. Pour in two cups of chicken broth and some pepper and salt to taste. Since the turkey will already be cooked, add it in last. Shred it up before putting it in the soup.

If you want to make it more of a Minestrone soup, you can add a can of tomatoes. Boil for 15-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.

In a separate pot, cook a cup of rice. When you are ready to serve the soup, warm it up with a few spoonfuls of rice. By cooking the rice separately, you avoid the starchiness of the liquid. You can substitute rice with potatoes or macaroni noodles, but the cooking process should still be the same.

Toronto drinkin’: signature holiday cocktails

I went to a holiday party the other weekend and the hosts served a signature cocktail.

A signature cocktail adds a lot of class to a get together, especially when that party is BYOB. It’s a nice touch that shows the host was thinking about their guests. It adds class to a simple party. These signature cocktails are also fun to make and will fill you with pride when friends and family ask for seconds. Here are some simple, easy cocktails you can make for your holiday parties this weekend:

Mulled Wine: Why serve plain old wine when you could serve a holiday delicacy like mulled wine. The beverage warms the soul from the inside out! It’s ten times better than regular sangria. Combine one bottle of red wine, 1/4 cup of brandy, 1/4 cup of honey, one orange, two stars of anise, eight cloves and two cinnamon sticks.

Juniper Champaign: Champaign is nice, but it can sometimes have a bit of a funny aftertaste. Juniper syrup is a lovely addition to any cocktail. Simply mix together juniper berries, orange zest, cardamom, and half a cup of water and half a cup of sugar. Boil and let cool. Add a squirt of juniper syrup and a fresh pine sprig for a festive, celebratory beverage.

Cranberry Mule: This twist on a classic is perfect for afternoon cocktail. Combine equal parts cranberry juice and vodka. Add ginger beer, lime juice, and some cranberries to garnish. This drink is sweet, but packs a punch.

Orange gin martini: Not every drink has to have cranberry. Try adding some one and a half ounces of blood orange juice, half an ounce of Campari, a dash of vermouth, and one and a half ounces of gin. Mis together in a cocktail shaker with some ice and pour in a martini glass with a sugared rim.

Coconut warmer: Sure, you can serve the typical hot chocolate or eggnog, but why not create a new concoction? Mix an even amount of coconut and whole milk together with two to three teaspoons of hot chocolate powder (or homemade chocolate syrup). Heat up and stir in one and a half ounces of rum. Top with coconut whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

What are your favourite signature cocktails? Let us know in the comments below! 

Toronto eatin’: easy cauliflower ‘fried rice’

If you feel like you’ve been eating badly this holiday season and you want to ‘lighten up’ your dinner menu, there are many great alternatives to dishes that contain rice. In some homes, rice is a staple and in others it is avoided at all costs. Cauliflower fried rice will make you feel less guilty, but still fill you up. Personally, mashed cauliflower or cauliflower mac and cheese is a favourite of mine to make every time I want to switch it up and reduce my carb intake. Cauliflower fried rice will be another one to add to the list.

Ingredients:

  • One large cauliflower head
  • 2 large eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 1 tsp fresh hopped ginger
  • 5 table spoons soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots ( or broccoli mix)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 1tsp salt (or more if needed)

Directions:

  1. You can choose to grate your cauliflower or just place in a food processor to make your ‘rice’
  2. Add vegetable oil to a hot skillet and lightly scramble your eggs with a dash of salt. Remove eggs and set aside
  3. Add more oil to fry the scallions, garlic, ginger and onion, stir until softened- not brown
  4. Add the cauliflower along with some salt and the soya sauce
  5.  Stir constantly and cook until tender
  6. Add the eggs, sesame oil and sugar
  7. Taste to add more seasoning if necessary

It’s that quick and easy to have delicious guilty-free fried rice at home. you can use this dish as a side or even add cooked chicken strips.

Will you try this recipe at home? Comment below

 

5 low-carb Christmas recipe ideas

Christmas foods may offer temptation and delight, but if you’re interested in a more low-carb Christmas, maybe for personal of health reasons, Women’s Post has got you covered. Here are five low carb christmas recipe ideas to enjoy over the holidays.

Parmesan Spinach Bake

If you’re thinking about replacing the side order of mac and cheese at the dinner table, this creamy parmesan spinach bake will leave you wanting more. It simply a combination of spinach, cream cheese, and parmesan

Thyme and Honey Roasted Carrots

This can be such an elegant dish once prepared the right way, You can choose to keep the carrots whole or cut them lengthwise while baking and sprinkle with thyme and honey.

Studded Peppers with Bacon and Blue Cheese

It doesn’t get more delicious than mixing blue cheese with bacon. These stuffed peppers can be cut in quarters to offer up as an appetizer.

Baked Cajun Shrimp with Lemon

The perfect combination of spices and zing will make your shrimp burst with juicy flavour as you slowly let it bake in a bed of lemon cajun juice. Talk about adding some heat to your holidays.

Low Carb Coconut Chocolate Mousse

This easy to make chocolate treat will be the perfect finish to your holiday meals. It’s also dairy free and egg free. Simply combine coconut cream, cocoa powder and chocolate to whip up the most creamy and chocolatey dessert.

What will you be making for Christmas dinner? Let us know in the comments below!

Recipe: holiday-themed maple creme brûlée

As Christmas is slowly sneaking up, it’s time to start thinking about your holiday menu. Or maybe you need some ideas for when you will be entertaining guests? Maple creme brûlée is a perfect example of a French-Canadian inspired dessert for the holiday season. It’s simple, creamy, delicious — and a little more impressive than the typical sugar cookie.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream ( or whipping cream )
  • 1/2 cup Canadian Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp maple sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp Demerara sugar ( for topping )

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan, scald the cream until small bubbles start to form. Then remove from heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla extract, maple sugar and maple syrup. Blend well.
  4. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot cream and stir until smooth and of a uniform colour.
  5. Fill your baking dish or individual ramekins with the custard mixture, but only halfway.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.
  7. Once done, leave the custards to cool for about 40 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours.

To Brûlée:

  • Preheat the broiler, or prepare your brûlée torch.
  • Place the custard dish on a baking sheet and evenly sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top of the custard.
  • Once sugar is even this means caramelization will be equal and ensure a crunchy top layer all around.
  • Broil /torch until light brown.

Hope you will enjoy cracking into this delicious treat. Let us know in the comments.