Tag Archives: dinner

Dinner Made Easy

12 Jul
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Oven roasting brings out the incredible flavour of tomatoes and is a great method for intensifying the sweetness of just about any vegetable.  Pair some roasted vegetables with either grilled fish, chicken or steak, and some kind of salad (click here and here).  Your family or guests will be impressed!

OVEN-ROASTED TOMATOES AND MUSHROOMS  (serves 4):

Ingredients:

  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 16 white mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper or red-pepper flakes if you like it hot

Directions:

  1. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Toss everything in a large bowl and arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the tomatoes are very soft but still hold their shape.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm or at a room temperature.
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Mushrooms

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Thai-Style Soup with Corn and Seafood

10 Jun

Corn and eafood soup, Thai-style

I’ve made this recipe for a few years now and it’s always excellent.  I shared this recipe with my friend and her boyfriend proclaimed at first bite that this was by far the greatest soup she made! This soup makes great leftovers.

Adapted from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • ¼ canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 8 scallions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium fish sauce
  • ¾ lb mixed seafood
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ tsp ground red pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place 1 ½ cups of the corns and ½ cups of the broth in food processor or blender.  Process until smooth and set aside
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper and jalapeño pepper and cook for 3 minutes.  Add scallions and cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add fish sauce, reserved corn-broth mixture, and remaining corn and broth.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened.
  4. Stir in seafood, cilantro, and red pepper (if using).

A Pizza Tradition

17 Feb

My boyfriend and I celebrated Valentine’s Day the day after as on Thursday our Team was performing at the Toronto Bachata Festival pre-party.

This is the third year I’m lucky enough to spend Valentines Day with the same guy, and we’ve got a tradition now: we make His and Hers pizza.  I cook, he cleans 🙂

To drink?  How about a bottle local Sparkling White Wine. It’s bubbly so it feels celebratory, and goes well with a light meal.

We went the easy route and made pizza with store-bought dough (whole wheat, of course).  We selected our own toppings:

His: mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto, salami, tomatoes, peppers, pesto,  Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Hers: arugula, minced garlic, tomatoes, prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And we both had chocolate cupcakes for dessert too!

Back stage – getting ready to perform

Mad for Peanut Butter? Try this soup!

11 Feb

Peanut Butter Soup

As you may have noticed in my previous posts, we eat a lot of soup through the cold late Fall and Winter months (Click here and  here).  Some soups served as a first course, while others, more substantial versions, are the meal itself (click here and here).  This delicious soup is one of those soups that is hearty enough to stand alone.  The soup has a bisque-like consistency without the cream – the peanut butter melts into the broth!

This robust and creamy vegetarian soup is very satisfying. You may think you’re cheating by eating such an indulgent dish, but fear not– it’s full of good-for-you mono-saturated fatty acids.  Another reason to love this soup is that it comes together in a snap and cooks up in little time. I’ve tried this wonderful soup three years ago and it has become one of our favorites.

Adapted from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook:

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs of selery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (I used dill)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and carrots; cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and 2 cups of water.  
  3. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat until vegetable are very tender.
  4. Transfer the vegetable to a food processor or a blender and process until smooth.
  5. Return to the pot and stir in the peanut butter, lime juice and remaining 1 cup of water.
  6. Cook for another 5 minutes until the peanut butter melts.
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro or any other fresh herb and serve.

How To Make The Best Meatless Cabbage Rolls (Holybtsi)

21 Jan

Cabbage rolls aka Holybtsi (“Голубці”)

I don’t even have a picture of the finished product – they were gone as soon as I served them.

My mom was a cabbage rolls queen and she used to make amazing cabbage rolls for the holidays.  They always bring great memories of my childhood.  They are usually made with meat and are full of flavour.  It doesn’t get more Ukrainian than that!

If you wish to make tradition cabbage rolls with meat you will need a pound of ground pork (or beef, or turkey) and 1/2 cup of rice.  These cabbage rolls freeze well; do so before baking.  Recipe can be doubled.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage (regular green cabbage stays tough)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (arborio, short grain or sticky rice work well too; basmati rice – not so much)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can tomato juice (low sodium)

Directions:

  • Using a sharp knife, cut around the core and remove it.  Separate the outer leaves  – Savoy cabbage works best.
  • Bring a pot of water to to a simmer over high heat.  Place 2-3 leaves at a time into the water and cook for up to 2 minutes, just until they are pliable.  Remove and set aside.

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add onions and carrots and cook for 10 minutes until they are tender.  

  • Stir in tomato paste, salt and pepper.  

  • Add this mixture to rice and mix it well with dill.

  • Trim large centre vein of each leaf.  

  • Place the rice mixture in the centre of each leaf.  

  • Fold bottom of of each leaf up over the filling, then fold each side up and over.  Roll up snugly 🙂

  • Transfer rolls to pot and add tomato juice.  

  • Cover and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes.
  • Serve with sour cream.

Whole Roasted Stuffed Fish

12 Jan

Whole Roasted Stuffed Fish

Elegant dish for your holiday table.
Don’t be afraid that it would be difficult to skin the fish!  This is done easily and quickly if you lightly salt the whole fish and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

I always ask the fish guy at the store to clean the fish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole rainbow trout, 1.5 to 2 lbs.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs.  You can use buckwheat flour or cream of wheat or matzo meal.
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill (or any other herb you like), finely chopped. 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Leave the head intact.  With a sharp knife cut the skin close to the head.  Insert your finger (or a knife)  and separate the skin from the flesh going in the direction of the tail.  I find my fingers are the best tool for this job 🙂

  • Trim the fins and cut the bone when you reach the tail.  
  • Separate the flash from the bones and set the skin aside.  Sorry for my peeled nail polish 🙂

  • In a food processor finely chop the fish together with sauteed onions and carrots.  Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add some chopped dill or parsley or any other herb of your choice.  Add minced garlic, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Take the skin and fill it with the mixture that you just made. Do not fill too tight, otherwise the skin may burst during baking.

  • Line a cookie sheet with some foil, lay out a line of bay leaves and put your stuffed fish on top of them.

  • Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and squeeze some lemon juice on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes in the oven that was preheated to 375F.
  • Let it cool a bit, slice it and arrange on a platter.

I didn’t add any eggs to the stuffing as it was our Christmas Eve dinner which requires dishes with no meat, dairy, and eggs.  For any other occasion I would definitely add 1 egg.

Soup For Supper? You bet!

20 Dec

This classic French Onion Soup underwent a major Flat Belly Diet makeover!  The cheese has been replaced with lots of tender strips of beef tenderloin so the sodium level in this dish is much lower.  Hope you’ll love it 🙂

Beefy Onion Soup

Adapted from the Flat Belly Diet.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz beef tenderloin cut into very thin strips
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 c reduced-sodium beef broth or water
  • chopped cilantro
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until golden. 
  2. Add the beef and cook for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add the broth or water, pour in the vinegar, and bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook fro 15 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro.   Serve with 1 slice whole grain French bread, toasted, and rubbed with garlic.

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