Lentil Soup

Lentil SoupWith the change of seasons comes great days for soup! Here’s another favourite.

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 quart chicken broth (no salt added)
1 cup red lentils, washed
1 large carrot, diced
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Heat a little olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the tomato paste and spices and stir, cook until fragrant – about two minutes.

Add the broth, lentils and carrot. Bring to the boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer until the lentils are soft, which will be around 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree to desired consistency, then add in the lemon juice.

Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine MeatballsGreat for everyone and a nice twist on regular meatballs. Just add some veggies and you have a complete meal!

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked white rice (I used basmati)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce/tomato puree (not ketchup!)
1 cup water
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together apart from the last three, and roll in to balls. Makes around 18, depending on the size.

Brown the meatballs in a pan, then drain and discard any excess grease. Add the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for around 40-45 minutes until the meatballs are cooked and the rice is tender.

Peanut Butter Bread

Peanut Butter BreadAnother quick bread – this one is so quick, by the time the oven has heated up it’s ready to go in! You could also try using it as sandwich bread – jam in the middle maybe? In Canada I use Golden Valley jam which has no sugar – just fruit and pectin.

1/2 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
1/2 cup natural unsalted peanut butter
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 8×4 inch loaf pan.

In a mixer or large bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients until combined. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture slowly to the batter.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out on to a wire cooling rack.

Banana Bread

Banana BreadI like making quick breads – so much less fussing than with cookies or muffins! Quick to throw together and then get it in the oven. This is a fave – typically banana bread is loaded with sugar, but this one is a much healthier option!

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
11/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 cup mashed ripe banana – approx 3, depending on size

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8×4 inch loaf pan.

In to a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. In a stand mixer (or hand mixer if you’re up for extra effort!) combine the sugar, vanilla and butter, beating at medium speed until smooth. Add the egg, and continue to beat until fluffy and light in colour. Add the bananas, and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture slowly, and mix until just combined. Pour in to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out on to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

Pasta Pie

Pasta PieWe all love this – tastes like lasagne but with half the effort! I also liked that I could make it in stages while keeping an eye on my daughter. I could cook the spaghetti, then play, then cook the meat sauce, play, mix the cheese mixture, play, then assemble and in to the oven. Yay!

8oz spaghetti (could use other pasta), cooked
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan (divided)
1 pound ground beef/chicken/turkey (I used beef)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups of your favourite pasta sauce
1 cup ricotta (could use cottage cheese)
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350F. Put the cooked pasta in a bowl and mix with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Mix eggs and 1/4 cup parmesan in a bowl, then mix with the pasta. Put the pasta in a deep dish pie plate or springform pan and spread so it covers the bottom.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan and brown the meat. Pour the pasta sauce in and mix to combine.

In a bowl mix the ricotta, remaining parmesan, and Italian seasoning. Spread this over the pasta, then add the meat sauce, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the top.

Put the dish on a baking pan/sheet pan (it can leak!) and bake for 30 minutes.


Veggie Rice Cakes

Veggie Rice CakeGreat to have as a side for dinner, and versatile – you can mix up the vegetables and seasoning depending on taste.

1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheddar/mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup vegetables – I use corn, peas or steamed broccoli
Pinch seasoning – coriander, cumin, Italian etc
2 large eggs, beaten
Oil for frying

Combine rice, breadcrumbs, cheese, vegetables and seasoning in a bowl. If you’re using broccoli. cauliflower etc I would steam them first before adding. Add eggs and mix together. Shape mixture in to patties (somewhere around 1/8 – 1/4 cup size is good). Heat oil in pan and add patties, cook around 2 minutes each side until golden brown.

If you’d like to freeze these, do so before cooking them in the pan. When you’re to use them, just defrost and cook.

Egg & Veggie Bites

Egg Veggie BitesThese are so yummy! I love these just as much as my daughter – possibly more so!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
3 large eggs
1/4 cup cream (could use half and half or whole milk)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 12 hole mini muffin pan. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion until clear, then add the carrot and zucchini. Cook until soft, around 7 minutes in total. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool,

Beat the eggs, cream, and parmesan cheese together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in cooled veggies. Add flour and baking powder.

Spoon the mixture in to the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Veggie Fritters

Veggie FrittersThese fritters are tasty and have great veggie content. They are very forgiving and you can change the seasoning if you like, or even swap out the veggies for something else, likeĀ  corn, or chopped steamed broccoli.

1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 zucchini, grated
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup ricotta (can substitute milk)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour (either all purpose or whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix everything in a bowl until combined – if mixture looks a little dry, add a bit more ricotta/milk, or flour if a little wet.
Heat some olive oil/cooking spray in a frying pan on medium heat and add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan. Cook until golden, then flip. Once the other side is golden, remove and put on a plate lined with paper towels.
These freeze well.


Oat Bars

Oat BarThese would be the thing I make the most I think! Zoe would eat one most days as a snack or part of her lunch. They’re so easy to make – by the time the oven has heated up they’re ready to go in the oven. And so portable!

2 cups old fashioned oats (rolled oats)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk (I use whole milk but almond milk or another substitute should be fine)
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups mix ins – nuts, seeds, dried fruit. I’ve also been known to add in some peanut butter or almond butter. Raisins and cranberries are popular!

Heat oven to 375 F. Mix the first five ingredients in one bowl, and then next five in another. Pour the dry in to the wet, then add your mix ins. If adding peanut butter or almond butter make sure it’s runny (warm it up) so it mixes well.

Grease a 7×11 baking dish and pour in the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes and then cool. Cut in to age-appropriate squares. Freezes great!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Curried Butternut Squash SoupMy daughter is a big fan of dipping – so bits of whole wheat toast dipped in soup is a winner in her books!

1 butternut squash (approx 2lbs)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups no salt added/low sodium chicken broth
2 apples or pears, peeled, cored and diced

Preheat oven to 375F. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds & membrane. Place squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast around 45 minutes, until soft, and scoop out flesh from the peel. Discard peel.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt, ginger, and curry powder,cook until the onion is soft. Add broth and bring to the boil,then add squash and fruit. Simmer around 30 minutes.

I use an immersion blender to puree this, however you could also use a standard blender. Immersion blenders are so handy though and take up hardly any space in the kitchen!

I freeze this soup in batches and then just pull out a bag for a quick and easy lunch. One batch makes around 8 toddler sized portions.