Category Archives: Sidedish

Mac and Cheese now with covert veggies

Yes, I messed with that classic, the precious macaroni and cheese. Yes, I added vegetables. Hear me out though! Years ago kraft came out with a healthier mac that included cauliflower in its sauce. I tried it, it was ok…except that cauliflower upsets my tummy. Notice you don’t see me using it much? Well, I finally got to thinking there must be a better way. After a bit of playing around I have found it. I was torn for awhile between pumpkin and carrot,  but in the end carrot won. Mostly because I used up all my pumpkin making all my other delectable treats.

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  • 227 grams high fibre dry macaroni
  • 370 grams carrots, cut into chunks (I just washed them and left peels on)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 cup light shredded cheese (I blended some cheddar and mozzarella but have fun trying out new things, I would include a sharp cheese in the blend though)
  • 1/4 cup light shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbl light cheddar cheese spread
  • 3 tbl shredded romano or parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven 375F and spray a 9×9 baking dish.
  2. Cook the pasta as directed to al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup of liquid.
  3. Place carrots in a microwave safe container. Add 1/2 cup water. Microwave for 4 minutes or until soft. Add reserved water from the pasta and puree until smooth.
  4. Add the carrot puree to the pasta and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the “sauce” thickens.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add the mustard powder, 1 cup of shredded cheese blend, cheese spread and romano/parmesan cheese. Stir until creamy and season to taste.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the 1/4 cup light cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling.

Serves 4. Each serving contains 338 calories, 8.2 grams fat, 53.3 grams carbs, 2.6 grams fibre, 17 grams protein. A great comfort food, I forgot about the carrots in it after the first bite and just carried on loving a creamy noodle dish of num. A little side salad and you have accomplished so many of your daily veggies or better yet cut this into smaller pieces and have it as a side dish. A 6 serving side dish is 225 calories, 5.4 grams fat, 35.6 grams carbs, 1.7 grams fibre, 11.3 grams protein.

Hardcore Hobbit: Mushroom “Stew”

Hobbits and mushrooms are like a glass and milk! they just go together. It has been fun juggling ideas to make this recipe come to life. So much pondering. Finally I had a tasty, filling idea come to me, I bounced it off my husband and he added an idea that made it even better. In the game mushroom stew is made with just mushrooms and coney stock. Well, I don’t keep coney stock on hand so I went with chicken. Still, it needed something to make it exciting. That’s when my husband suggested “what about a blend of different types of mushrooms.” So simple and so brilliant. The end result smelt so delicious when cooking it was maddening…and tasting it warmed us to the core. A definite win.

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  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
  • 1 cup lobster mushrooms, sliced to desired size (I like to cut mine small)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbl rice bran oil (or other suitable cooking oil)
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the poultry seasoning, then add the quinoa. Stir, cooking for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and wine to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

It may not technically be a stew but I figured the mushrooms were being stewed as much as I would go for. Serves 4. Each serving contains 255 calories, 6.6 grams fat, 33 grams carbs, 3.4 grams fibre, and 7.5 grams protein. Experiment with your own mushroom blends, that is a big part of the fun with this dish. Great as a side or as your main.

Colcannon

While not a hardcore hobbit recipe this is definitely one every hobbit should know. Oh it is so nummy! I’m a bit funny about cabbage sometimes, it’s one of those veggies that I keep forgetting I actually like. I will wrinkle my nose at it but then I remember all those dishes it plays a role in that I love…okonomiyaki, that tasty katsu dog at Japadog, cabbage rolls, moshu, the list goes on. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that colcannon would join that list of favourites once I sat down and had it. Fact is, it is just a creamy cloud of tasty on a plate. Let’s get to this healthier version of it!

  • 2 medium potatoes, I used red and did not peel, I like the colour, cubed
  • 1 cup green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 2 tbl light butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  1. Place the potatoes, cabbage and some salt in a pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are fork tender, usually about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain and return to the pot, add the milk, butter, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mash until desired texture achieved.
  4. Serve with green onion sprinkled on top.

Serves 2 generous portions. Each serving contains 275 calories, 6.4 grams fat, 47.9 grams carbs, 5.7 grams fibre, 9.8 grams protein. Great special occasion dish, although I’m thinking adding a bit of sliced ham to this would make an amazing main dish. Yum!

Hardcore Hobbit: Blackberry Jam

This tasty jam can certainly be enjoyed in a variety of ways. This is an ingredient recipe in LOTRO. According to the game it is made with blackberries, water, and mixed spice. This then goes on to be the ingredient for so many other hardcore hobbit recipes. I can’t wait! I have been anxiously watching our blackberry bushes all summer. You won’t believe how busy the bees were! Now we have oodles of blackberries and the first thing that absolutely had to be made was this blackberry jam. I like the tartness of the berry so I did not add much sugar at all. If you like a sweeter jam you may want to add more than I did. With the success of this basic jam I am definitely going back to make more. I think the next will be a blackberry lavender jam and a blackberry passionfruit jam. Num! Definitely harvest season around here.

  • 4 cups crushed blackberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice (I made my own by juicing a few fuji apples)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp light cooking margarine
  • 1 pkg no sugar needed pectin (I call it insurance in case my apple juice doesn’t come through)
  • 1 cup sweetener of choice (I used splenda but honey would be divine)
  • 4 small canning jars
  1. Boil the jars, lids, and seals to sterilize and prep for the jam. Keep them hot until ready for filling.
  2. Strain 2 or 3 cups of the berries to remove the seeds. Blend the strained liquid with the remaining crushed berries in a pot.
  3. Add the apple juice, margarine, cinnamon, and cloves to the berries.
  4. Stir in the pectin until dissolved.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the sweetner of choice.
  6. Stir constantly while boiling for 3 minutes then remove from heat.
  7. One at a time remove jars from the hot liquid, ladle in the jam, leaving about 1/2 inch from the top. Wipe the rim clean. Top with the sealing disk. Screw down the top. Repeat for the rest of the jars.
  8. Return the filled jars to the boiling water, make sure the jars are covered by atleast an inch of water. Boil for 10 minutes or longer if you are at higher altitudes.
  9. Remove the jars from the water without tilting them. Allow to sit upright and undisturbed for 24 hours.

Makes 4 250 ml jars. 1 tbl of jam sweetened with splenda is 7 calories, .1 gram fat, .5 gram fibre, 2.1 carb, and .1 gram protein. 1 tbl of jam sweetened with honey is 22 calories, .1 gram fat, .5 gram fibre, 5.7 carbs, and .1 gram protein. Contains all the num needed to last through winter for two hungry hobbits.

 

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette

A good wander over to the farmers market yielded these tasty little gems called garlic scapes or garlic greens. These are basically the flower stem of a garlic bulb. They give you that garlic flavour without too much garlic bite. They have a really short season though so grab them when you can! They do freeze nicely though. I love garlic dressings, my mom makes a Croatian salad that I just adore that has a lovely simple garlic dressing. In my opinion the bitier the better. For those who want milder garlic joy though a garlic scape dressing would definitely be the way to go.

  • 3 garlic scapes or more, chopped
  • 1 cup vinegar of choice (in this version I used malt)
  • 1 tbl extra virgin avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Add the ingredients to a blend and blend until smooth.

I love how simple salad dressing can be! Makes 8 servings (2 tbl each). Each serving contains 19 calories, 1.1 gram fat, no fibre, no protein, 3 grams carbs. Aren’t those the best salad dressing nutritionals ever? It doesn’t take much to go far with this dressing. Now that salad season is upon us this is definitely the time to hit the farmer’s market and get those ingredients to start making your own dressings and salads!

Tzatziki

Making your own tzatziki is really fun and I love the ability to customize according to taste…which storebought just doesn’t do. I’ve mentioned my love affair with garlic, well I like my tzatziki to reflect that. Perhaps you like a fresher more lemony taste to yours? Or perhaps a different texture? Go nuts there are so many ways to enjoy tzatziki! My favourite? On a ham sandwich instead of mayo. Num! With all the Mediterranean dips I’ve been working on my summer evening Mediterranean al fresco dinning experience is getting closer and closer! I can’t wait!

  • 1 cup no fat greek style yogurt or non fat yogurt strained in cheesecloth overnight
  • 1 small cucumber peeled, seeded, finely grated, and squeezed dry.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (less if you are not as in love)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh dill (optional)
  1. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and allow to sit for atleast 2 hours. Overnight is best!

Serves four generously (about 1/4 cup). Each serving contains 45 calories, .2 gram of fat, 7.3 grams of carbs, 3.9 grams of protein, and .4 gram of fibre. Great on falafel!

Hardcore Hobbit: Hard Tack Ration or Green Onion Cakes

Now, the description in game for these does not sound like a very fun dish at all. They keep you alive and complaining about the bad food for days. Well this will not do for hobbitses such as ourselves. The ingredients for this dish are flour, salt and water, to make it epic we add chives. Well, let’s upgrade those chives to green onions! So here I’ve made an easily transportable and tasty green onion pancake style hard tack ration. I love how the green onion gives them a subtle sweetness too. Suitable for keeping soldiers alive and happy with their food for days.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbl canola oil
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • butter flavoured cooking spray
  1. Combine the salt and flours in a bowl. Add the boiling water and oil, stir until a dough forms. If it is a bit too sticky add more Whole Wheat flour. Knead the dough for five minutes.
  2. Roll the dough into a long snake and cut into twelve pieces.
  3. Roll the pieces into flat rounds, spray the top and sprinkle with a bit of green onion.
  4. Roll it up like a jelly roll.
  5. Press the roll down a bit on the seam and then coil it into a snail shape. Allow them to rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Flatten each of your “snails”, roll them into a pancake shape. You can allow these to sit until ready for cooking if you are premaking or cook right now.
  7. Preheat pan to medium and spray. Heat the pancake on one side until golden, flip and press down a bit. When golden on both sides they are ready to serve! Great hot or cold.

Makes 12 hard tack rations. Each ration contains 72 calories, 1.4 grams of fat, 13.7 grams of carb, 1.3 grams of fibre, and 2.2 grams of protein. These are great served with a bit of that asian hot sauce with the rooster on it. Num!