My herb garden is overflowing with sage, rosemary, parsley, chives, mint and basil. Time is running out, so I need to use as many fresh herbs as possible in my favourite family dishes. One of our best is this super quick pasta dish made with a few uncomplicated ingredients – Crispy Sage and Bacon Pasta. In the process of crisping the sage leaves, you need to use fresh sage leaves which is a key feature of this delicious pasta dish. You will have it on the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Just pour a glass of wine, relax and enjoy this delicious herb from your garden.…
Quick and Easy Dishes
Everyones chili preferences are very personal; for example, hot and spicy, meaty, vegetarian – the sky is the limit. Chili maestros will always tell you that they make The Best Chili. Well, I am here to tell you that I make the ‘best chili’ and this is the recipe that will back up that claim! If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have been experimenting with recipes that are ‘Blenditarian’, (also known as ‘Blend-and-Extend’ in Canada). By definition, ground meat recipes are stretched with finely chopped mushrooms. For my version, I add finely chopped vegetables with the mushrooms to create an even more aromatic flavour. This represents a more sustainable and nutritious approach to healthy eating. This all ties in very well with the new Canada Food Guide recommendations of eating less meat and more vegetables. I have created a base called Savoury Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable Blend. This blend (or base) can be used in a wide variety of easy to make recipes.
In this post, you will learn how to prepare this base blend to utilize it to make a fabulous chili – “The Best Chili”. I make the blend base ahead of time and freeze it in family size portions. Once you have the blend base made, dinner can be on the table in less than ten minutes. Enjoy!
This Meat, Mushroom and Vegetable base can be used to make many dishes such as: Spaghetti Sauce; Sloppy Joes; Taco Salad; Hamburger Soup; Beef, Cheese and Macaroni Casserole; and much more. (Refer to “What Else Can I Do With This Recipe?” Section below to learn more).…
This recipe for Mini Sized Smashed Potato Pizzas is Grey Cup Party food at its best! It is quick and easy to put together, but more importantly, delicious! They are little pizzas made in a handheld form. Make lots – your guests will be clamouring for more.
I was involved in a food challenge a few years ago that wanted us to develop original recipes for the Little Potato Company. On my blog, you will find the results of my creativity including a family-sized version of Smashed Potato Pizza, as well as Sausage and Potato Stuffing, Bacon Cheese Potato Cups and Potato Crusted Quiche (all gluten-free recipes). I have re-invented the Smashed Potato Pizza and made it into small appetizer sized pizzas. These Mini Sized Smashed Potato Pizzas have the crispy edges that are so appealing and flavourful. Toppings are kept simple given the well-seasoned smashed potato base; sliced grape tomatoes, chiffonade of basil, sliced green onion, mozzarella and bocconcini cheese, and crispy bacon bits. Don’t forget to serve the Mini Sized Smashed Potato Pizzas with Dressed Up Sour Cream….
BLENDITARIAN CHALLENGE SERIES
Prelude: Blenditarian.Com has initiated a monthly challenge that incorporates their Blenditarian approach into interesting and fun dishes. To clarify for my readers, a Blenditarian is “one who believes the mighty, meaty mushroom makes meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable.” This approach stretches ground meat by adding finely chopped mushrooms to create a flavourful and more nutritious dish. The theme for the month of September honours National Mushroom month is all about incorporating“The Blend”(mushrooms + meat) into dishes that can be served in a bowl. As Blenditarian.com states: Bowls are a convenient (and delicious!) way to enjoy your favourite grains, veggies and proteins in one simple dish. There are no boundaries regarding what you can add to your bowls – including The Blend. With this in mind, I developed a bowl recipe that is enhanced by using the Blend. You will enjoy trying this recipe for Egg Rolls – Exposed in a Bowl.
Egg rolls are an American Chinese appetizer that most everyone is acquainted with. They are typically filled with pork, cabbage and other vegetables, enclosed in a wheat wrapper and deep-fried. The filling on its own is a healthy low-carb option that is also gluten-free and dairy free. While the filling is typical of what you would find in any egg roll, mushrooms were added to the turkey meat, together with onions and garlic. The remaining vegetables (carrots and cabbage) were cooked until ‘al dente’ to add texture to the dish (See Method, step 4)….
BLENDITARIAN CHALLENGE SERIES
Prelude: Blenditarian.Com has initiated a monthly challenge that incorporates their Blenditarian approach into creative and fun dishes. To clarify for my readers, a Blenditarian is “one who believes the mighty, meaty mushroom makes meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable.” This approach stretches ground meat by adding finely chopped mushrooms to create a flavourful and more nutritious dish. The theme for the month of August is all about incorporating “The Blend”(mushrooms + meat) into a back-to-school weeknight dinner dish. As Blenditarian.com suggests, “It’s that time of year: school is back in session and schedules are jam-packed. Make back-to-school dinners tastier and better-for-you by adding The Blend (mushrooms + meat) – a quick and easy technique that’s perfect for adding nutrients to dishes for those who are always on the go or simply looking for a way to incorporate more veggies into meals.” Therefore, I am sharing a recipe below for Back-to-School Blenditarian Sloppy Joes that you will want to try!
This recipe utilizes a package of savoury meat blend (the first Urb’n’Spice Blenditarian recipe). I keep several pouches in my freezer for quick meals like this and for other quick meals like date night spaghetti sauce, chili, and hamburger macaroni casserole (recipes coming soon in future Blenditarian posts). This recipe for Back-to-School Sloppy Joes can be made in under ten minutes with just a few additional ingredients.
Planning a menu for a pure white dessert can be a challenge. Having said that, I created a Greek Yogurt Lemon and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta for Canada Day. Panna Cotta is a natural choice for its purity of white colour and its simplicity to make. I love the fresh look of panna cotta, a gelatine set custard made from dairy products which often include cream and/or milk. In this recipe, Greek yogurt is used because of its tangy taste.
Creating a pure white dessert requires eliminating vanilla bean paste because it would tint the custard to an ivory colour. To solve this problem, I added just a smidgeon of vanilla bean powder, which will show only the tiny specks of the vanilla bean seeds in the dessert while retaining the purity of the white colour. As well, I used lemon in two ways (juice and zest) as a flavouring ingredient, which compliments the tangy Greek yogurt.
BLENDITARIAN CHALLENGE SERIES
Prelude: Blenditarian.Com has initiated a monthly challenge that incorporates their Blenditarian approach into interesting and fun dishes. To clarify for my readers, a Blenditarian is “one who believes the mighty, meaty mushroom makes meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable.” This approach stretches ground meat by adding finely chopped mushrooms to create a flavourful and more nutritious dish. The theme for the month of June is all about incorporating“The Blend”(mushrooms + meat) into brunch dishes. For this reason, I have developed a recipe for Savoury Blenditarian Brunch Pork with Vegetables & Fine Herbs.
A Thai dish called ‘larb’, which is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand, has inspired this Savoury Brunch Blenditarian Pork with Vegetables & Fine Herbs dish. The addition of many types of vegetables just adds to the appeal. I enjoy having vegetables cooked in creative ways to produce different textures. I also like the idea that the dish can be served warm, cold or at room temperature.
BLENDITARIAN CHALLENGE SERIES
Blenditarian.Com has initiated a monthly challenge that incorporates their Blenditarian approach into interesting and fun dishes. To clarify for my readers, a Blenditarian is “one who believes the mighty, meaty mushroom makes meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable.” This approach stretches ground meat by adding finely chopped mushrooms to create a flavourful and more nutritious dish. The theme for the April Blenditarian Challenge is “Go Green for Earth Month.” The challenge is to create an earth-‘friendlier’ dish by incorporating The Blend (mushrooms + ground meat) into “power greens.” For this reason, I have developed a recipe called Turkey, Mushroom and Power Greens Pasta. It is a recipe that can be adapted for many dietary needs, such as dairy-free, gluten-free, heart-healthy, and is also Weight Watchers friendly.
When you use chicken or turkey in a ‘Blend’, it is called a ‘blond blend’. Lean ground turkey is an excellent choice, not only because it is a low-fat protein option, but also because it readily assimilates the flavours of the ingredients. In this recipe, spices such as cumin and chilli powder lend a subtle earthy spiciness, and using paprika helps to create an appealing golden colour to the meat mixture. The use of fresh herbs (parsley and basil) adds brightness to the dish.
Let’s talk about power greens. Power greens can be described as a nutrient-dense superfood of leafy greens contributing an energy boost with high amounts of Vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, dietary fibre and potassium. The greens can be used individually or can be found in a mix often comprised of baby spinach, Swiss chard (both red and green), and kale. For this recipe, I utilized Dinosaur Kale (also known as Tuscan kale, or black kale). I love the look of the curled dark glossy leaves. It is a sturdy green with a tough stalk. I removed the stalk by slicing along each side. Once all of the stalks have been removed, I gathered the leafy ‘strips’ and sliced them thinly (a chiffonade cut). I added the prepared kale to the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking.
It is time for the new school year and thoughts of healthy lunch box treats dance through every parent’s head. I was talking to my daughter today as she was pulling hot spiced chickpeas from the oven. Roasted chickpeas are a family favourite, especially for her little boys. I decided that this would be a great idea for a school make-ahead snack. Roasted chickpeas are something that I have made many times using various blends of spices and seasonings, but it was my creative husband who asked, ‘can you make them like those roasted bar nuts?’ Why not? The result is my recipe for Crispy Roasted Chick Peas. For this particular recipe, I opted for kid-friendly seasonings and spices, unrefined sugar, and an optional dusting of maple sugar for extra crunchiness.
The Inspiration of UrbnSpice Series
I enjoy appetizers and small plates (what we like to call ‘tasties’) casual type of dining. Using puff pastry is a quick and easy way to make this Caramelized Mushroom Tart appetizer. One of my favourite variety of mushrooms is crimini mushrooms. Their dense, dry texture make them the perfect mushroom for caramelizing. What better way to celebrate Canada 150 than making this delicious tart with Canadian grown mushrooms.