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.
- 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
- Preheat oven 375F and spray a 9×9 baking dish.
- Cook the pasta as directed to al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup of liquid.
- 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.
- Add the carrot puree to the pasta and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the “sauce” thickens.
- 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.
- 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.
What a lovely Scottish dish this one is, some of you might know this better as mince and tatties. In LOTRO you make this comforting food using leek stock, carrot, taters, herbs, and beef. Like the description says this is a simple and extremely satisfying meal. A traditional approach to this tends to be a bit of a…well…rustic presentation. I’m going to pretty it up a little but I feel it’s still rustic and so tasty. I played around a bit with my usual gravy recipe too, instead of flour I worked with potato starch. A very successful experiment, I have to say as a thickener, potato starch is pretty awesome and of course, gluten free for those who worry about that.
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- 4 red potato
- 2 cups leek or beef stock
- 2 tbl potato starch
- 2 tbl light butter
- In a bowl combine beef, carrot, onion,worcestershire sauce, cloves, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Form into small, slider sized patties about 2-3 oz each.
- In a med-high heat pan sear each patty for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan melt the butter.
- Add the potato starch and stir to create a roux.
- Whisk continuously as you pour the stock slowly in.
- Allow the gravy to come to a boil for 2 minutes then lower the heat to a simmer. Season gravy to taste. Add the patties and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile wash and cube potatoes. Bring water to a boil in another pot. Add potatoes, cook until fork tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drain, add a bit of stock and mash.
- Serve your mince patties, with a mountain of tatties (having a close encounters moment like I did is not required), and gravy. Enjoy!
Makes 6 patties, a whole bunch of potatoes, and more gravy than you actually need…I’m a gravy eating monster and I couldn’t finish it. Each patty contains 142 calories, 9.7 grams fat, .4 gram carbohydrate, 0 fibre, and 10.6 grams protein. Each 1/2 cup of potato contains 117 calories, .1 gram fat, 26.7 grams carbs, 4.1 grams fibre, and 2.9 grams protein. Each tbl of gravy contains 12.5 calories, .8 gram fat, 1.4 grams carb, 0 fibre, and .1 gram protein. *phew* That was a lot of math today. You know what would finish this dish even better? An english pea puree. That is another story though.
I am back and as requested I have made a recipe featuring root vegetables. I absolutely had to make a pie, what is hobbit life without pie? This pot pie doesn’t have much of a topper but as we have found in the past a topper is not needed to make a delicious pie. I had a lot of fun wandering around the produce section picking out root veggies to put in this. I have found that this recipe can work with whatever veggies appeal to you most. In the game this pot pie is made with rye flour, leeks, turnips, carrots, butter, and milk. I skipped the milk but it’s still creamy! There was a part of me that wanted to save posting this for Pi day, being a root pie and all.
Herb Savoury Crust
- 125g flour
- 100g rye flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbl poultry seasoning
- 1 tbl dry mustard powder
- 1/4 cup rice bran oil
- 4 tbl cold water
- 1 tbl butter
- Sift together flour and baking powder.
- Add seasonings to the flour mixture and stir.
- Combine the water and oil in a measuring cup. Beat with a fork until emulsified.
- Drizzle over the flour mixture and add the butter. Combine until you get a good dough, do not overwork though. You may need to add water if this is too dry.
- Roll out and place in pie dish.
- 1 Purple Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed (which is not purple inside as I had hoped, boo)
- 2 Parsnips, peeled and cubed
- 1 Carrot, peeled and cubed
- 1 Celery Root, peeled and cubed
- 1 Leek, thoroughly rinsed, sliced white part only
- 1 Garlic clove
- 2 tbl Rice Bran Oil
- 1 Rosemary sprig, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tbl flour
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a pot, add garlic, stir and quickly add veggies and seasonings. Stir again and add wine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Combine water and flour in a separate bowl until smooth. Add to vegetable mixture and stir. Cover again and cook for 20 minutes.
- Pour veggies into the prepared crust. Top with leftover dough cut into nice shapes.
Pie (the easy part)
- Preheat oven 350F.
- Assemble pie, brush topper pieces with egg white (optional)
- Bake pie for 30 minutes.
- Allow to rest 5 minutes, cut and enjoy!
Makes 8 servings. Each serving contains 226 calories, 9.4 grams fat, 30.5 grams carbs, 4.9 grams fibre, 4.7 grams protein. So filling, so creamy, so warming! I think this might be my go to savoury pie crust this season. It’s flaky and sturdy. Even stays together when you reheat leftover pie in the microwave. Yes, the hearts are there because February is heart health month and they are tasty! This crust puffs them up a bit like a biscuit. Nummy!
Otherwise known as the Vietnamese sub. This is one of those times that food network helped me find a new food to try. The show that clinched me having to try these subs featured a food truck named nomnom (you can already see why my curiosity was piqued.). Everyone flocked around this truck to get their unique sandwiches. I had to try it. So on our next visit out to Vancouver we hit vietsub, which many claim makes the best banh mi in Vancouver. I’m not a connoisseur yet but that was definitely one tasty sandwich. It was spicy, the pickled veggies had a delightful crunchy pungency that coupled blissfully with the creaminess of the dressing. Oh yes, I am a banh mi fan. I can’t go toddling off to Vancouver everytime I crave one though. So, this is my attempt at my bon ami the banh mi.
- 2 sub buns
- 1 tbl light mayo
- 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (optional, I like my bahn mi to bite back)
- 2 tbl liverwurst
- 2 tbl fish sauce
- 2 tbl soy sauce
- 2 tbl canola oil
- 2 tbl brown sugar, unpacked, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 lb thin flash fry top sirloin steak
- 1 carrot, thinly julienned
- 2 oz daikon radish, thinly julienned
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbl rice wine vinegar
- Combine the mayo and sriracha, cover and refrigerate.
- Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, canola oil, 1 tbl sugar, garlic and pepper in a bowl. Add the flank steak. Cover, refrigerate and allow to marinate for atleast 4 hours.
- Combine the carrot, daikon, remaining sugar, salt, and rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Cover, refrigerate and allow to pickle for 4 hours. Turn once during this process. Drain.
- Heat a skillet to medium. Sear the steak for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain.
- Cut open the rolls, spread the cut top side with half the spicy mayo mix and the bottom half with 1 tbl of liverwurst.
- Top with the beef and the pickle mixture. Repeat with the other bun. Serve.
Serves two bon ami. Each serving (without bun) contains 216 calories, 10.8 grams fat, 1.4 grams fibre, 8.7 grams carbs, and 20.3 grams protein. Check out that protein! This is a great post workout treat.
Posted in Comfort Foods, Craving Buster, Dinner, Lunch
Tagged Beef, Bread, carrot, daikon, fish sauce, Garlic, liverwurst, soy sauce, sriracha, vinegar
A few weeks ago my husband and I went out to a vegetarian style restaurant with some gaming buddies of ours called Rebar. You may have heard of them, they have a cookbook that many people swear by. I ended up ordering their almond burger. It was quite tasty and did not disappoint….especially with it’s topping of aioli and alfalfa sprouts. I love alfalfa sprouts…my dad used to call them frog hairs…which made me love them more…I was a very strange little girl. I remain a very strange girl ofcourse. I had been toying with the idea of a lentil slider for some time and this burger inspired me to add almonds. I loved the texture that the almonds in their burger gave. It definitely was that last missing touch to the slider I’ve been aiming for. So, thank you Rebar for the inspiration! Remember, it is good for yourself and the environment if you have atleast one meat free meal a day.
- 1/2 cup dry red lentils
- 3 tbl dry couscous
- 5 crimini mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 green onion
- 3 carrots, grated
- 4 tbl sliced almonds
- Cook the lentils according to the directions on the package. This is usually 1 1/2 cup of water and lentils simmering for 12 minutes or so.
- Using a blender, combine the garlic, mushrooms and half of the still hot lentils.
- Pour into a bowl. Add the sliced green onions, dry cous cous, carrots, almonds, and remaining lentils. Stir until well combined. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Form the mixture into 10 slider patties. Freeze for atleast 4 hours.
- Grill or pan fry, usually about 2 minutes per side.
Makes 10 lentil sliders. Each contain (without bun or toppings) 48 calories, 1.3 grams fat, 7.2 grams carbs, 1.8 grams fibre, and 2.2 grams protein. Great served as an open face slider topped with a bit of light mayo mixed with sriracha sauce. Num! In fact these are so nice and light why not serve them as a lovely trio outside?
So, here we are, all drenched from those april showers. It is still so cold out there! Must comfort our little hobbit selves with a bit of soup I say. In LOTRO chicken carrot soup is made from carrots, green onion, and chicken stock. To do something different with the soup I added some matzo or matza balls to it instead of noodles, rice, etc. All I did was use a mix and drop them in during the last 20 minutes of cooking. So delicious. If you havent’ tried matzo balls before you should really give them atleast one chance. They are delicious and filling! My husband has been asking when I plan to cook with them again. One day I will definitely have to make some of my own, for now I trust the mix. Another fun addition was the use of “carrot noodles” they make it so the carrot flavour is everywhere in the soup but more fun texture wise.
- 3 medium carrots
- 6 cups hardcore hobbit chicken stock
- 150 grams shredded cooked chicken (may already be in your stock)
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tbl italian seasoning
- 10 matzo balls (optional)
- Using a peeler shave the carrots into noodles. Cut the length if they are longer than desired.
- Add all the ingredients except the matzo balls to a crockpot. Cook low for 6-8 hours.
- Add matzo balls during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Makes 5 servings. Nutritional info does not include the matzo balls as they are optional. Each serving contains 66 calories, .6 gram of fat, 4.7 grams carbs, 1.2 grams of fibre, and 10.4 grams of protein. These servings are pretty big too! About 2 cups of broth and carrots. Plenty of room for a couple of matzo balls I say!
My first taste of butternut squash soup was at a marche restaurant in Toronto. I was so blown away by its creaminess and flavour I worked hard to recreate it. I think I’ve come close and on top of that it is completely healthy. Theirs probably had cream in it but I have found that this recipe just doesn’t need it. It is tasty and creamy all on its own. Pair this with some fresh baked bread and you really have a heavenly meal. It’s a favourite of mine really, especially when it is cold and rainy. Which happens often out here!
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
- 2 lbs butternut squash, cubed
- 1 bartlett pear, cored and chopped
- 6 cup water or chicken stock
- 2 purple basil leaves, chopped finely
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and leeks. Saute until carmelization occurs.
- Add the squash, pear, stock or water, basil and pie spice. Season with some salt and pepper. Allow to simmer until the squash and pear are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Puree the soup using a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender until it is smooth.
- Reheat the soup and serve.
Makes 8 large portions. Each portion (about 2 cups) is 72 calories, .8 gram fat, 4.4 grams fibre, 17.2 grams carbs, 1.3 grams protein. Calculated if water is used instead of stock. If you need a bit of extra creaminess a dollop of fat free sour cream is excellent in this. I don’t usually do that, made for a pretty picture though!
Putting the peasant back into this peasant food inspired haute cuisine dish. This is only vaguely close to the cooking processes used for this dish today. It’s easy and tasty this way though…and I don’t argue with tasty. She fights dirty. Ofcourse, the other thing that makes this dish a good idea for hungry hobbits all over the world….MUSHROOMS!! See? Tasty fights dirty bigtime. The key to make this healthier is really in the cut of your stewing beef. Try to get one that only has a bit of marbling. If you can get sirloin stewing beef then you are golden. Some butchers offer “steak ends” which are the bits they cut off those sirloin steaks to make them beautiful. These are awesome lean cuts that are perfect for this dish. The other reason I absolutely had to post a beef dish today? I was watching ‘Come Dine with me Canada’. On it was this woman who kept complaining that when she was dieting all she could eat was chicken, that is why she dislikes chicken. Sheesh. No idea what diet she was trying but I seem to be doing just fine and NOT living on just chicken. So there. It’s not a beautiful picture, as I embraced it’s peasant roots, but it sure was tasty.
- 1 slice bacon, chopped
- 1 pkg crimini mushrooms, sliced or puree (according to preference)
- 8 pearl onions (I used red pearl onions for colour)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbl cornstarch (I like my boeuf with a thick sauce, if you don’t skip this)
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1/2 chicken broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 large potatoes, cubed
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 8 oz stewing beef
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a pan to medium, add bacon, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the bacon is crispy. Drain the fat and pour into a crockpot.
- Toss the beef in cornstarch to coat then add to the pan and brown. You just want to sear the meat here, not cook it. Pour into the crockpot.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping off the browned bits from the pan. Pour into the crockpot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and allow to cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours.
Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains 278 calories, 5.7 grams of fat and 3.8 grams of fibre. Very diet friendly to me. Living on chicken, heh, the very idea!
Posted in Comfort Foods, Crockpot Creations, Dinner
Tagged bacon, Beef, carrot, celery, Garlic, mushroom, Onion, Potato, wine
Now a part of me would call this a coq au vin rouge but…since I’m not using a rooster it just doesn’t seem all that traditional. Now if you are looking for a cheaters version of coq au vin, then I think I can help you out. Not only is this a lovely fancy sounding dish it really is quite economical. It would amaze the people in finances when I would tell them how much I spent on groceries and that the week of groceries included dinners such as coq au vin. I’m not sure why though considering the dish has humble rustic beginnings. Since we are all trying to save a bit before those holidays hit us, I figured this recipe might come in handy for some folks.
- 4 skinless chicken thighs (bone in gives more flavour)
- 2 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 tbl flour
- 4 red potatoes, washed and quartered
- 2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 fat free chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp herbs de provence
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bag. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
- Heat a sprayed pan to medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a crockpot.
- Add the bacon to the pan and cook stirring occasionally for one minute. Add the onions, mushrooms, remaining flour and garlic. Stir in the wine to deglaze. Transfer to the crockpot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
This makes 4 servings. Each serving contains 275 calories, 5 grams of fat and 4.5 grams of fibre. Great served on rice if you really need a super filling meal or with a side of lovely crusty bread. Delicious!