Here’s a tasty and simple way to spice up some pepitas/pumpkin seeds. It’s a nice little appetizer, or a snack with your favourite beverage. Vegan, gluten-free and all that!
It’s super simple:
- Squeeze some lime onto a bunch of pepitas in a baking dish.
- Sprinkle on some salt and Ancho chili powder, or any chili powder that you have on hand.
- Throw them in the oven at about 250F for 10-15 minutes, until they get a bit crispy. If you hear them popping you know it’s time to take them out. Just make sure you move them around in their baking dish once or twice through the process.
- Yum! Once they are cooled you can store them in an airtight jar for a few days – if they don’t get gobbled up right away!
Love falafel, but hate to deep fry? Then this one’s for you!
It’s got all the yummy and protein-y goodness of a falafel, minus the deep frying. It’s super easy to whip up if you’ve got a food processor. It is delicious. (this photo doesn’t do it justice; I’ve made this a number of times, and we end up eating it before I remember to take a photo. So finally I got this shot, not the best, but not nothing.)
I served it with a tomato and cucumber salad on the side, and my guest made it into a pita sandwich – both were delicious! In my opinion it must be served with this delicious tarator sauce, but maybe you have your own favourite.
This recipe came from the awesome cookbook called Taste of Beirut by Joumana Accad. I’ve taken it out of the library so many times and tried a whole bunch of recipes, and I think I finally need to buy this book!
The recipe says to serve at room temperature, but it was also good straight out of the oven. I didn’t change much with this recipe, just the order in which the ingredients are added to the food processor. The most recent batch I made I halved the recipe, using one egg. It was plenty for dinner for two plus leftovers – love leftovers!
What you need for the loaf:
- 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 large eggs
- 1/ 2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup cilantro (I like to use the stems too)
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika or Aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
What you need for the tarator sauce:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
- salt to taste
What you do for the loaf:
- Heat the oven to 375F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Add the chickpeas, eggs, bread crumbs, onions, parsley, cilantro and garlic to the bowl of the food processor and process until the mixture becomes doughy.
- Add the baking powder, seasonings and olive oil and process again until all the ingredients are combined.
- Spread the mixture into the lined loaf pan and even out the top surface a little.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, then check to see if it is done; mine needed more time. You will know when it is done if a knife inserted in the centre comes out pretty much clean.
- While the loaf is baking you can make the sauce.
What you do for the sauce:
- Mix the garlic in with the tahini.
- Add a little bit of lemon juice and mix well. Add lemon juice and water a little at at time until the sauce is creamy but not too runny.
- Add salt to taste.
Here’s my own recipe a yummy turkey meatball in tomato sauce. It something I’ve been making regularly for years, but I never think to record what I’m putting in, or to take a photo of it. So, at long last, here it is.
I love this recipe because the turkey makes it a bit lighter than a beef meatball, and both the sauce and meatballs have a great combination of flavours. At the end of the sauce cooking time, a little secret is to add some garlic that you have just heated in a bit of butter. This one is so great if you make it ahead of time, as it only gets better when it sits. It freezes well, so if you make a big batch you will have a quick meal that you can thaw someday when you need it.
You can make the meatballs and add them to your favourite tomato sauce, or use the recipe that I’ve provided. Fresh basil is a must for the sauce, and the Parmesan rind adds some great flavour.
I’ve served this with pasta, or zucchini noodles, with some Parmesan grated on top.
What you need for the sauce:
- about 1/4 cup diced onion
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar passata (strained tomato sauce)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)
- red wine (optional)
- fresh oregano
- pinch of flaked chili pepper
- parmesan rind (optional, but really makes this taste great!)
- 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
What you need for the meatballs:
- about 1/2 cup panko or other bread crumbs
- about 1/4 cup milk or cream
- 1 egg
- 400-500 grams (less than a pound) ground turkey breasts
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons chanterelle mushroom powder (optional)
- butter and olive oil for frying
What you do:
- In a large frying pan or pot, heat a glug of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the diced onion and lower the heat a bit so that it cooks but doesn’t brown. Add half of the garlic and cook for a minute, just until the onions are translucent.
- Add the passata to the pot, then put some water into the jar and give it a shake to get the rest of the tomato sauce out, then add that to the pan. Add the oregano, chili pepper flakes, some of the basil, as well as the optional tomato paste and red wine. Place the Parmesan rind in the pot and let that simmer on low heat while you prepare the meatballs. The longer you cook the sauce the better!
- To make the meatballs, combine the bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl, then add the egg and mix it all together.
- Put the ground turkey, some salt and pepper, nutmeg, grated Parmesan, garlic, onion, and optional chanterelle powder in the bowl with the wet bread crumbs. Use your hands to bring the ingredients together, being careful not to over-mix.
- Add a bit of olive oil and/or butter to a large frying pan and let it get hot without burning. Form meatballs with wet hands; I find that this works best when I roll them a bit with my palms and then toss them back and forth a bit to make them round. After you form each meatball place it in the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan – you may need to do this in several batches. Roll each meatball once one side has browned, until most of the outside has been browned. They do not have to cook through, as they will continue to cook in the sauce for quite a while. Once the meatballs have browned move them from the frying pan into the pot of sauce, then continue to brown the rest of the meatballs.
- Let the sauce cook on a low simmer for at least half an hour, but preferably longer. I find that tomato sauce splatters so much, so I like to put a splatter guard over it; it keeps in the sauce, but lets the steam escape.
- Near the end of the sauce cooking time, heat about a tablespoon on butter with a clove of minced garlic in it. Add the butter and garlic to the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a grating of Parmesan cheese.
This soup made the perfect meal on a cold winter evening, and paired well with Savoury Cheddar Muffins.
As with most soups, the broth you use is so important to bring a fullness of flavour. I had some homemade chicken broth in the freezer, but turkey broth would also be perfect here. If you don’t have a homemade broth it might be wise to splash out a bit on a better quality broth like the one made by Pacific.
I bought some raw turkey breasts for this recipe, but left-over roast turkey or chicken would also be great.
What you need:
- olive oil
- 1 leek, halved lengthwise and then sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 3-4 carrots, sliced
- 1-2 turkey breasts (or leftover turkey or chicken meat)
- 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of sage
- pinch of thyme
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup pot barley
- salt and pepper to taste
What you do:
- Chop the veggies.
- Heat a small glug of olive oil in a large pot. Add the veggies and cook, stirring from time to time, until they soften a bit.
- Push the veggies to the sides of the pot (or remove them from the pot if you want) and place the turkey breasts in the pot. (Unless you are using leftover meat which you will add with the broth). Cook the turkey breasts for a minute or two on each side; it doesn’t need to cook through yet, as it will continue to cook when you add the broth.
- Add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, broth and barley. Bring to a light boil and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is cooked but not too soft.
- Remove the turkey breasts from the soup and shred them, using two forks or your hands. Put the turkey meat back in the pot.
- I like to keep the salt and pepper until the very last moment, as the flavours of the soup develop as it cooks, and you may over-season if you add it sooner. Also I think the salt makes the veggies a bit mushier. So add salt and pepper to taste just before serving.
A new favourite! These savoury muffins were super delicious fresh out of the oven, served with a nice bowl of soup. They have cheddar, spinach and spring onions in them, and they are nice and light. They also work well as a breakfast or snack muffin.
Of course they were best eaten fresh out of the oven, but I heated one up the next day and that one was really good too! I’ve got a few in the freezer for when I need a last minute addition to a meal.
I found the recipe on myfussyeater.com, and only changed a few things: I omitted the red peppers, and I added a bit of salt to the tops of the muffins. As well, I never buy self-raising flour, so in my version printed below I have included ingredients to substitute for self-raising flour. The recipe called for medium eggs, and I only had large so I used those – seemed a fine substitution to me. Also, I didn’t have quite enough butter so I topped it up with olive oil. I used more spring onions than the recipe indicated.
What you need:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup (150mL milk)
- 1/2 cup (150mL) butter, melted
- 2 cups grated aged cheddar
- 3 spring onions, chopped
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
- freshly ground pepper
- salt for the top of the muffins
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
- Line muffin tins with 12 liners, spraying them if they are not parchment.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then stir in the milk and the melted butter (let it cool before adding it or it will solidify when you add it). Mix in the grated cheese, spring onion, and spinach.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, then add the salt and pepper and the crumbled stock cube.
- Hand mix until just combined; I added a little bit more milk because mine seemed way too dry.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and crack a little bit of salt on top of each.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of a muffin it should come out dry.
- Cool completely before freezing, but enjoy them while they are warm!
Why have I never made an almond and cherry baked good before? My apartment smelled so wonderful after baking these; the almond smell is dreamy! These muffins are a bit more on the mini-cake side, meaning I don’t think they’re the healthiest muffins I’ve ever made. That’s not to say I didn’t have one for breakfast a few times . . . and they’re really good with tea!
We ate one of these while they were warm, which is when they are at their best, but they were also great the next day. I froze the rest as soon as they were cool, and they were still really good when thawed.
I found the recipe on this site: Pretty Simple Sweet. The original recipe uses sweet cherries, but I used sour cherries, and I think they pair really well with the almond flavour. I tend to like to balance sweetness with tartness.
The recipe calls for baking the muffins for a few minutes at a higher temperature, then lowering the temperature for the rest of the baking. My oven is really finicky; I have to set it for higher than the required temperature, but then I have to lower it once it is at the right temperature or it will get too hot. So for me this was quite challenging. The good news is, by checking for a light brownness, and then using a toothpick to check if they had baked through, they baked successfully. Yay!
What you need:
- 1 & 3/4 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 cup yogurt (I use 3.5% fat, my homemade recipe)
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 & 1/2 cups (300 grams) cherries, halved and pitted
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra to sprinkle on top
What you do:
Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners; I also sprayed them with baking spray.
- Toast the 1/2 cup of almonds in a frying pan or in the oven.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
Mix the egg with the yogurt, oil, and vanilla and almond extracts in a medium bowl.
- Pit and cut the cherries in half. If they are really juicy or if you’re using frozen berries, you can toss them in just a bit of flour to prevent bleeding. Prepare the cherries right before you are going to add them to the batter so that your finished product will look pretty.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold the batter with a rubber spatula just until combined. Be careful to not over-mix, which would toughen the final product. We want nice light muffins. You can expect the batter to be thick and lumpy.
- Fold in the toasted almonds and cherries.
Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a few un-toasted almonds.
- Bake for three minutes, then reduce the temperature of the oven to 375F/190C and bake for 12-17 minutes more. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick; the muffin should be tender but not wet.
- Cool the muffins still in the tins for about 10 minutes, then place the muffins on a wire rack to cool.
- Allow the muffins to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They can be stored on the counter for a day or two, or frozen for a few months.