Tag Archive | Easy

5 Salad Recipes in Under 5 Minutes

Salads are a go-to when it comes to dinner for me. Often, I rely on a powerhouse salad for the bulk of the meal, but sometimes I just want a light salad to accompany and compliment whatever else I’m choosing to make, just as a side. Yes I am a vegetarian, but no I do not only eat salad. ;-) 

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Whether it be a tofu stir fry, or spaghetti squash casserole, I don’t think an extra salad on the side could ever go wrong. These are some of my favourite “easy to whip up in a hurry just before dinner is set on the table” salads, that have never failed to disappoint! You can add as much as you want, or keep it plain and simple, but either way I love using this simple formula as a base for nights I’m in a rush or craving a salad as a side to my meal. The formula can be used to create countless other combinations, but I’ve listed my favourites that I think work best together below. Enjoy, and be creative! 

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Basic Formula: (slightly modified for a couple, but this is where to start) Bed of greens + thinly sliced red onion + sliced fruit + roasted nut + dressing + dried fruit (optional)

1. Spinach-Orange Zinger

Spinach + thinly sliced red onion + sliced orange or mandarin + roasted slivered almonds + balsamic vinegar dressing

2. Berry Bliss

Arugula + thinly sliced red onion + strawberries + roasted walnuts + raspberry vinaigrette dressing

3. All Peared Up

Mixed greens + thinly sliced red onion + sliced pear + dried cranberries + roasted pecans + balsamic vinegar or raspberry vinaigrette dressing

4. Pistachio Dream

 Kale + + thinly sliced red onion + avocado + blueberries + pistachios + lemon avocado tahini dressing or balsamic vinaigrette dressing 

5. Classic Apple Walnut

Spinach + thinly sliced red onion + sliced apple + roasted walnuts + raisins + apple cider vinegar dressing

**Note: The pictures are courtesy to the amazingly talented photographer Michael East (AKA Dad). You can visit his own personal site to see more of his awesome work here michaeleast.zenfolio.com. The recipe for the pictured salad will be posted soon!**

 

 

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Curry Amaranth and Vegetable Stuffed Carnival Squash

T’is the season of the squash! It seems everywhere I look I’m finding all sorts of stuffed squash recipes, so I thought it was about time I posted my own. Stuffed squash is incredibly easy and simple to make, and there are endless ways to mix and match through spicing, vegetable combinations, and different grains and nuts. It’s a great meal to make when you don’t have a meal already planned, as its super easy to adjust based on what ingredients are available to you. (The amaranth could easily be swapped for cous cous or quinoa, and the veggies could be adjusted accordingly). Pair it with a salad, or even just eat is as a complete meal, and you are good to go!

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This was my first time trying  carnival squash (fresh from the farm!), and I was very pleased. I originally bought it for it’s prettily striped rind for decoration on my counter, but I knew I should eat it eventually. It does taste quite similar to butternut squash, but with a little less sweet, nuttier flavour. Although I’m no squash expert, I’ve read that choosing a squash that’s heavy for its size is the way to go, and it worked out great for me! So I’d definitely recommend keeping that in mind when choosing your own.

stuffed squash 1

A lot of recipes ask for vegetable broth for cooking the grain in, but even the low sodium varieties are often still very high in sodium. For added flavour without the use of vegetable broth or bouillon, I  like to saute my veggies in the pot I plan on using to cook my grain in, and add my water and grain right in once they are cooked. This way the grain can really absorb the flavours of the veggies. The walnuts were originally added as a garnish and weren’t going to be a main ingredient, but I ended up adding more once I took a bite because they added so much to the dish. So don’t skip out on them! Also, don’t feel the need to follow the recipe strictly, I just used vegetables I had in my fridge. It will work well with most vegetables (as long as you like the kinds you use!), so just use this as a guideline. :-) Happy squashing!

Curry Amaranth and Vegetable Stuffed Carnival Squash

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized carnival squash
  • 1 cup dry amaranth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup broccoli
  • 1 leek
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off top of squash, remove seeds, and scrape clean. Place face down on pan with 1/4 inch of water. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until soft.

2. Chop up broccoli, leek, red pepper, and red onion. Saute chopped vegetables with minced garlic and olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat. Once cooked, add curry powder, water, and amaranth, cover, and let simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

3. Once the squash is cooked, remove from the oven. Spoon amaranth mixture inside squash, packing it down with the back of a spoon. Cut squash into desired amount of servings (the amaranth mixture should stick if packed tightly). Note: There may be extra amaranth. I just packed the extras away in the fridge to use the next day.

4. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts to serve and enjoy.

Orange Cinnamon Orange Pekoe Tea

The other day while waiting for some water to boil over the stove (because somehow I still don’t own a kettle), I started thinking about alternative ways to sweetening teas. I have never personally been one to add milk or sugar to my tea, but I understand a lot of people do. I wanted to find a way to make a sweeter, dessert-like tea to enjoy before bed, without the added sugar–because a teaspoon of sugar here, and a teaspoon of sugar there will certainly start to add up! Especially when drinking tea in copious amounts like me. :-)

orange cinnamon orange pekoe tea

This recipe is super simple, and uses common ingredients you most likely already have on hand. It’s a great way to spice up traditional orange pekoe tea. The added ingredients bring out the subtle and mild flavours of the tea, so it’s perfect for those times you want a more powerful tasting drink, without the added sugar that comes along with other beverages.

Orange Cinnamon Orange Pekoe Tea

Makes One Cup of Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 orange pekoe tea bag
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Few drops of vanilla extract

Prepare tea, and stir in orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla. Top with orange zest and cinnamon to serve. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon. Note: the orange zest sinks to the bottom, so don’t worry about them in your drink.

Avocado Topped Tomato with Green Onions and Cilantro

Often when I buy avocados, they unfortunately either go bad, or they get turned in to guacamole. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I do love guacamole, but because I’m not too familiar with avocados I find it hard to be creative and use them in other recipes.  So lately I’ve been reading about all sorts of recipes featuring avocado to get more ideas to experiment with in my kitchen.

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A common one I’ve been stumbling upon involves mixing avocado and tahini to make a dressing or dip, which inspired me to create my own variation. It’s super simple (I didn’t even have to pull out my food processor for it!) and can easily be modified for all sorts of other uses–as a spread for sandwiches, thinned out for a salad dressing, as a healthier alternative for Alfredo sauce on pasta– the ideas are endless! I’m obviously not the brilliant creator, but I thought I would share my variation to others to encourage them to try it themselves. After trying my own spin on it, I can certainly say I will be making it way more often!! tomato topped avocado 2

This recipe is perfect as a snack between meals, or as an appetizer before a large family dinner as it’s super fast and easy to prepare, and great for presentation! I added chia seeds because you can’t really taste them and they add an extra nutritional kick. You could also blend the cilantro and green onion right into the avocado mixture, I just kept mine separate to use as a garnish to make it pretty for pictures. :) Enjoy!

Avocado Topped Tomato with Green Onions and Cilantro

Makes Three Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1-2 cups spinach or field greens
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste

1. In a blender (I used my magic bullet), blend avocado, lemon juice, and tahini until well blended. Add field greens, garlic, and chia seeds, and blend until a thick mixture is formed.

2. Slice tomato into thin slices. Make sure you slice it width wise, or the tomato slices will fall apart.

3. Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro, and pepper to taste!

Three Ingredient Banana Pancakes–With a Twist!

After watching the bananas on my counter turn from green, to yellow, to speckled, and finally black, I knew it was time to do something with them before my kitchen turned into fruit fly infested madness. So today I woke up with a specific mission: Three ingredient banana pancakes (which really turned into five or seven ingredient pancakes once you include the toppings and tweaks I made, as usual.. but that’s besides the point. :-)

I don’t actually remember where I originally saw or heard of the three ingredient pancake recipe, but it is quite popular, and I’ve wanted to test it out for a while. And after recovering from being sick all week, I thought it was the perfect opportunity–because who doesn’t love a pancake breakfast when they’re sick?

The recipe is really simple and quick to whip up, and literally only three ingredients (+ 2 + 2) :) After bite number one, I completely fell in love with everything about these pancakes. I can easily say it is my   favourite recipe on my blog (even though it isn’t completely mine), and it hit the perfect spot. When cooking the pancakes in the pan, I noticed they were really crumbly and difficult to flip. (Or I’m just a bad pancake flipper…) But because of the banana, it was easy to just squish the pieces back together with the spatula. This was also the first time I combined microwaved frozen raspberries with vanilla yogurt as a topping and OH MY was it delicious. It has probably become my new obsession. The recipe makes three pretty large pancakes, but they are really quite filling. I made three pancakes, expecting to eat them all myself, but I was very full after eating half of it, and set the rest aside for later, or for someone else to enjoy. (And I eat a lot!)

Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Pancakes with Raspberry Topping

Makes 3 large pancakes

For the Pancakes

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mine were small-medium sized)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cacao nibs (or dark chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 teaspoon for each pancake)

For the Topping

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt

1. In a medium sized bowl, peal and mash bananas. Once mashed, combine rolled oats, egg, cacao nibs, and coconut sugar, and stir until well mixed.

2. Heat 1/4 teaspoon olive oil over a small skillet on medium-low heat.

3. Pour 1/3 pancake mixture onto pan. Once underside is golden and edges are slightly crispy, flip pancake using a spatula. Once pancake is cooked, use the spatula to place pancake on a plate, and repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remainder of the pancake mixture.

4. Heat frozen raspberries in a mug in the microwave on high for 1 minute and thirty seconds, or until liquified. Stir in vanilla yogurt, and pour over pancakes.

5. Sprinkle with whole raspberries and cacao nibs for garnish, and serve warm!