Sunday, January 30, 2011

Healthy Spinach Quiche


This is a delicious and versatile quiche that you can serve for breakfast, brunch, as an appetizer, or as a main course! It's packed with tons of veggies like spinach, onions, garlic, red pepper, carrots, tomatoes, and garlic - making it a colourful and nutrient-dense meal. Baking the quiche without a crust also makes this a healthy gluten-free meal choice for all of you who are on the lookout for healthy recipes that taste great! For more information on 34 of the amazing health benefits of spinich, check out this article written by Helen of Well-Being Secrets: http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/spinach-health-benefits/


Ingredients:

1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 medium red pepper; chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
5 sundried tomatoes (packed in oil), roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8×8 inch baking dish with butter.

Place the frozen spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the spinach is cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly and set aside. You can also thaw the spinach in a bowl in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then squeeze out any excess water.

Saute the red peppers, onions, carrots, garlic, sundried tomatoes in a pan over medium heat until the vegetables are slightly softened.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in the egg, milk and butter until combined. Mix in the spinach, vegetables, and cheddar cheese.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.


*Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts


Ingredients:

2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 whole lemon, zested
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.

Cut off the rough ends of the brussels sprouts and remove the loose outer leaves. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, lengthwise. Toss with olive oil.

Evenly spread out the brussels sprouts on the prepared baking sheet, making sure not to crowd them. Bake for about 25 minutes, until they begin to get brown and crispy. 

When you remove them from the oven, toss the brussels sprouts with the lemon zest, salt, pepper, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.



*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vegetable Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Vegetarian comfort food at its finest!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 cups dried brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 340g pkg. pre-cooked soy "ground beef" protein mixture (Yves Veggie Ground Round or Schneider's Oh Natural! Meatless Ground Burger are great brands) - For a non-vegetarian dish you could substitute the soy protein mixture for cooked lean ground beef
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
2 zucchini, diced
4 red potatoes
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
1/3 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 and 1/3 cups grated old Cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced


Directions:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Fry diced onion, celery, carrot, and garlic until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in lentils, soy protein (or ground beef if substituting), cumin, oregano, and half each of the salt and pepper; cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, broth, and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add zucchini. Cook, covered and stirring often, until thickened and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into 2-inch chunks. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potatoes, covered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and reduce to dry saucepan. Mash together with milk, butter/margarine, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.

Scrape lentil mixture into a 13"x9" baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and green onions. Bake in a 375 degrees F oven until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings; you can halve this recipe if you are serving less people, but be sure to bake it in a smaller dish.



*Recipe adapted from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection cookbook. By Allison Kent and the Canadian Living Test Kitchen. Published Sept. 14 2010 by Transcontinental.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Homemade Baked Pita Chips

 
These are a great, healthy alternative to store-bought chips that are usually fried and contain all kinds of preservatives. They are crunchy, full of flavour, and perfect for dipping! You can even customize the spices you use based on your own personal preference or the dip you are serving them with.

Ingredients:

6 whole wheat pitas, split in half and cut into even triangles
2 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
3 tsp. lemon pepper
3 tsp. ground cumin
Extra virgin olive oil


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Combine the spices in a small bowl. You can adjust the quantities of the spices depending on how strong you want the flavour to be. 

Arrange the pita triangles in a single layer on the baking sheets. Don't layer or crowd them on the sheets otherwise they will not bake evenly. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of each pita triangle with olive oil, then sprinkle on the spice mixture. 

Bake for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Place the baking sheets on wire racks and allow the pita chips to cool completely. Serve with hummus or your favourite dip! Click here for my hummus recipe.


*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cinnamon Pancakes



Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt. sugar and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, all at once, and stir or whisk just until combined. The batter should have some small lumps. Make sure you do not over mix the batter or the pancakes will be tough.

Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium high heat until a few sprinkles of water dropped on the pan or griddle splatter. Using a pastry brush, brush the pan with a little melted butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Using a small ladle or scoop, pour about 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto the pan, spacing the pancakes a few inches from each other. When the bottoms of the pancakes are light brown and bubbles start to appear on the top surfaces of the pancakes, turn over to cook the other side until lightly browned.

Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the pan with melted butter between batches. Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup or whipped cream and berries. This recipe serves 3-4 people, so double it if you have a crowd or want leftovers.


*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creme de Cacao Chocolate Cake

 
I made this cake for my Grandpa's birthday this year because his favourite is chocolate cake with vanilla icing - a simple but always delicious dessert. I experimented just a little and infused the cake and icing with some Creme de Cacao liqueur to amp up the chocolate flavour and help Grandpa really celebrate, hehe ;). Of course this is a more adult-friendly cake because of the liqueur, so you may not want to make it for your next child's birthday party! The liqueur makes this cake super moist and chocolatey, and it's a perfect party cake.

Ingredients:

1 and ½ cup flour
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 Tbsp. vinegar
6 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water
1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips
3-4 Tbsp. Creme de Cacao liqueur
Vanilla frosting or whipped cream mixed with 3 tsp. Creme de Cacao liqueur
Chopped chocolate for garnish



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a square or rectangular cake pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray. If you use a square cake pan you will get a smaller, thicker cake and if you use a rectangular pan you will get a larger, thinner cake. Baking times will have to be adjusted for the different pan sizes.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, baking soda, and cocoa. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, vanilla, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes if using a square pan or 20-25 minutes if using a rectangular pan. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan, then gently turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Place the cooled cake on a serving platter. With a toothpick, poke holes evenly over the surface of the cake. With a pastry brush, brush the Creme de Cacao over the cake. You can use less or more liqueur depending on how strong you want the flavour to be.

 Stir 3 tsp. of Creme de Cacao into the vanilla icing or whipped cream and frost the cake once the surface has dried. Sprinkle chopped or shaved chocolate over the frosting to garnish.


*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chocolate & Nut Popcorn Munch



The perfect combination of salty, sweet, and crunchy - this stuff is seriously addicting!



Ingredients:

1 bag microwave buttered popcorn
1 300 g pkg. milk chocolate chips (or about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 and 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup peanuts
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cereal (Life, Chex, or Shreddies work best)
1 Crispy Crunch bar (or other similar bar), roughly chopped

Directions:

Microwave the bag of buttered popcorn and set aside to cool.
In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the peanut butter and chocolate chips for approx. 90 seconds, or until smooth. Only microwave the mixture for small amounts at a time so the chocolate won't burn.
 
Transfer the popcorn out of the bag into a large mixing bowl by hand, so you don’t get any unpopped kernels in your mix. Add the coconut, peanuts, walnuts, and cereal to the popcorn and mix. Slowly pour in the melted chips and peanut butter mixture and gently mix until it’s all coated. It is easiest to use your hands to mix.
Add in the chopped Crispy Crunch bar and mix until is it evenly distributed. Spread the mixture onto waxed paper on a cookie sheet or into a large wax paper-lined plastic container and refrigerate for about an hour. Break the popcorn up into clusters and serve in a big bowl or tin. Store in the fridge so it doesn't melt.

*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gingersnap Cookies



These cookies are chewy and soft, with nicely cracked tops and a bit of crunch from the sugar coating. They are a staple around my house at Christmas time! This recipe makes a lot of cookies because my mom usually makes them to give away as gifts or to put out at holiday parties. If you have lots of extra cookies then they freeze really well for longer storage and they are also a great cookie for mailing too. 


Ingredients:

1 and ½ cups butter
1 and ½ cups white sugar, plus extra for rolling
2 eggs
½ cup molasses
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the molasses and beat until well combined.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour some white sugar onto a small plate. Pinch of Tbsp.'s of dough and roll them into balls, then roll or dip the tops of the balls in the sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


*Recipe from Karen McMillan

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mint Chocolate Brownies

Nothing evokes the holiday season more than these dense, fudgey chocolate bursting with refreshing peppermint flavour. You know it's going to be a good brownie when you get that shiny, cracked top!

Ingredients:

¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter 
1 and 2/3 cups white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 and ½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 and 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 pkg. mint chocolate chips - Some stores only carry these as a seasonal item for Christmas, so if you can't find any then substitute with semisweet or milk chocolate chips and add 1 tsp. of peppermint extract to the brownie batter.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, allowing it to come up and over two sides. If using foil, spray the foil with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the cocoa powder, followed by the vanilla extract and eggs.

When mixture is smooth, add in the salt and baking powder and whisk thoroughly, breaking up any lumps in baking powder and taking care that it is thoroughly distributed.

Scrape down the sides of bowl and stir in the flour. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly to edges.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. When the brownies are done the edges will be firm and the centre may still be a big gooey, but it will set as the brownies cool. Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack and chill before slicing.