On my ad-free cooking blog I only post recipes that people tell me they love – some are healthy, some are not, but they are all delicious! I record these recipes because I love to cook, and people tell me they appreciate looking at and trying out my recipes. Please write a comment if you have any thoughts about my posts so I know if I should keep experimenting with new recipes, documenting them, and paying to keep this blog advertisement-free. Thanks for the feedback! Enjoy!
My friend Maureen has been making this soup on a regular basis for years. I’ve made it a few times too, and am happy to finally be sharing it. This soup is super delicious, healthy, and . . . there’s wine in it! It also makes some beautiful leftovers.
I highly recommend using a great chicken stock, preferably a homemade one.
It comes from the Whitewater Cooks Cookbook. The main change I made was to use turkey rather than beef for the meatballs. Turkey it s bit lighter, more heart healthy, and my main eater doesn’t eat beef. The only other change I made was to substitute the type of pasta, from Acini de Pepe to orzo (because that’s what I had in my cupboard), and to cook it separately. There are two reasons for cooking the pasta separately: everybody can add as much as they want to their soup (I prefer it light on the pasta), and I don’t like the leftovers as much when there is pasta in it because I think it gets too gludgy. Oh, one more change: I used fresh basil because I think dried basil tastes nothing like fresh. I keep fresh basil in my freezer for occasions like this.
Hope you love it too!
What you need for the meatballs:
450 grams (1 pound) ground turkey
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
What you need for the soup:
2 tablespoons butter (or less if you prefer, as I do)
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced (I will add more next time)
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
3 litres (12 cups) homemade chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup orzo (or small pasta of your choice)
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup red wine
1 pound fresh spinach, chopped
Parmesan cheese for garnish
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 350F before making the meatballs. Prepare a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. Form bite-sized meatballs with your hands and place them on the baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then turn to medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes.
In another pot cook the orzo.
Add some salt and pepper to the soup, then add the meatballs. Allow the soup to cook for a few minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through.
Add the lemon juice, red wine and the chopped spinach and let it cook for a few minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls with some orzo. Grate some Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
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.
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
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar passata (strained tomato sauce)
1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)
red wine (optional)
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
400-500 grams (less than a pound) ground turkey breasts
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.
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:
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)
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:
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!
The roasted tomatillo salsa on these enchiladas is really what makes it a special dish; you get that slightly smoky taste, and there are those authentic bits of char you can see in there. You can use whichever fillings you like, or you can follow the suggestions in my recipe.
There are three main steps to this recipe: roast the vegetables for the salsa and cook them, assemble the tortillas and pour the salsa over top. Then bake for just a few minutes. The best part of course is devouring them, nicely garnished with cilantro and maybe some Cotijo cheese.
This recipe comes from Rick Bayless’s website. After visiting one of his restaurants in Chicago a few years back I started searching through his recipes and trying some out. This one was a big hit when I made it recently. (Once again, the eating experience outshines the photo.)
Some changes were made to the chicken filling. The recipe called for just shredded cheese, but I squeezed some lime juice over the chicken, then I added some cilantro, avocado, Cotijo cheese and a bit of Ancho chili powder and salt. I also meant to add some pinto beans but forgot about them, so they were served on the side. I love a nice crumbly, salty Cotijo cheese sprinkled on top of these; I buy a locally made one at Whole Foods in Vancouver.
I also made one change to the tomatillo salsa – I chopped up some of the cilantro stems and tossed them into the salsa as it was cooking.
If you have some bottled tomatillo salsa on hand it can be helpful in case you don’t have quite enough to cover the enchiladas, or if you really don’t have time to make the salsa you can substitute with bottled green salsa.
I served this with a jicama/cucumber/mango/orange salad, and some pickled red onion to put on the enchilada.
Warning: serving this meal may cause arguments over who gets the leftovers.
What you need:
1/2 kg tomatillos
4 garlic cloves with peels on
2 fresh Serrano chiles
1 small onion, sliced about 1cm thick
1 & 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used a bouillon cube)
olive or vegetable oil
1 bunch chopped cilantro
cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken, mainly the breasts with a bit of other meat)
juice of one lime plus more for serving
1 avocado, sliced
pinto beans (optional)
Ancho chili powder
8 corn tortillas
What you do:
Preheat the broiler in the oven and move the rack to the highest position.
To prepare the roasted tomatillo salsa, remove the husks from the tomatillos and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the garlic, onion and Serrano peppers on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 4 minutes. The vegetables should begin blackening. Flip them over and let the other side blacken for a few minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool somewhat.
Turn the oven heat to 400F (200C).
Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and take the stems off of the peppers.
Using a blender or immersion blender, purée the vegetables and any of their juices, along with half a teaspoon or so of salt, leaving some chunks of tomatillo.
Sprinkle some salt and Ancho chili powder over the shredded chicken, then pour the juice of a lime over it. Add the chopped cilantro and toss the chicken to evenly coat it. Prepare the sliced avocado and crumble some of the Cotijo cheese. Set the chicken ingredients aside while you finish preparing the salsa.
Add a drizzle of oil to a pot and bring it to medium-high heat. Add the salsa ingredients to the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, and allowing it to thicken. Add the broth and about 1/4 cup of cilantro and continue to cook for about 5 minutes more until thickened a bit. Season with salt, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer while you assemble the enchiladas.
Wrap the tortillas in a cloth and microwave for a minute.
Stir a little bit of the salsa into the chicken mixture, then add a little bit of the salsa to the bottom of a baking dish.
Lay out one tortilla at a time, adding some chicken, avocado, and Cotija cheese (reserving some to garnish). Roll the enchilada, the place each of them in the baking dish. Spoon the salsa over the top of the enchiladas, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges.
Bake the enchiladas for about 4 minutes, then garnish with cilantro and Cotija cheese before serving.