ROAST VEGETABLES ~ TRENDING!

‘The BEST’ OVEN-Roasted VEGETABLES!

CHANGE THE WAY YOU ROAST VEGETABLES: For goodness sake! After making over 1,000 meals with roast veggies, I started experimenting and made some modifications. I knew I had a winner when I got huge compliments for  my ‘new’ roasted vegetables. It is still my all time favorite veggie recipe!  One reason is that it’s so easy to make! At a dinner party, one of my friends proclaimed  “These veggies are so good. I cant believe how good they taste!”  The potatoes are crispy,  yet soft and  fluffy on the inside.  The red peppers were especially a big hit.  I have been asked to share this recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it!


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INGREDIENTS

1 medium potato* (any kind),  cut into 1  inch cubes
1 yam* peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 carrot and/or parsnip peeled and sliced into 1 inch slices
6 brussels  sprouts
1/2 head garlic, cloves separated and skins removed
2 large shallots, peeled and quartered ( sweet or red onions  )
2  red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut lengthwise into 1  inch strips
1/2 cup Calamata olives, pitted
2-4 tablespoons olive oil ( more oil, the better )
2 sprigs of FRESH Rosemary or Thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
* If you decide to leave the  skin on large tubers before roasting,  wash and scrub well. Soak in cleaning vinegar for at least 15 minutes before chopping.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees(232 C ) and prepare vegetables.
  2. In a large bowl, toss potatoes, yams, carrots and brussels sprouts with  olive oil and salt.  Add to roasting pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes

    Cubed Potatoes, Yams, Parsnips & Carrots

  3. Add garlic and shallots to  the pan  and toss with the other vegetables. Roast for 20 more minutes

    Garlic And Shallots

  4. Add chopped bell pepper and olives to the pan and sprinkle with black pepper.  Add 2 rosemary sprigs on top of the vegetables. Return to oven
  5. Cook for 20 minutes longer until vegetables are nicely browned but not charred. Because the peppers are only cooked in the last  20 minutes, they are still juicy, tender and tasty.  As all oven temperatures vary, please check the vegetables as they roast.

Fresh Rosemary

TIP:  Make sure you use FRESH ROSEMARY (or thyme – if you don’t have rosemary on hand ). Rosemary needs to be fresh, or not at all. When chopping vegetables err on the larger, chunky  side.  You can always  substitute/add your favourite veggies.  Keep in mind  THE 20 – 20- 20  MINUTE ‘Roasting’  Rule: The firmer vegetables go in first. Then, add the onions and garlic with the most tender vegetables in the final 20 minutes: mushrooms, green tomatoes,  peppers.

VARIATIONS
1.  I add baby turnips  if they look especially fresh and small at the market that day.  As you know, this recipe bakes in 3 BATCHES. The hard root vegetables are roasted first.

Turnips

2. The softer onions and garlic are next in the next 20 minute intervals.

3.  In the third and final stage,  the lighter,  succulent vegetables are added. Friends ask me how my roasted peppers stay so juicy and tasty?   They are only roasted for the last 20 minutes.  The peppers add such a great flavour  and sweetness to the mix.   Try the black olives. If you are not a fan, just  leave them as the flavour is very complementary to the mix. Please  try them before you pass judgement.

Oven Roasted Vegetables

The great aroma for these roasted vegetables comes from  the garlic and shallots along with the rosemary of course. HINT: Use up what you’ve got. Look in the fridge and pantry and roast it!


THE POWER OF ROOT VEGETABLES
The starchy root veggies will satisfy your sweet tooth. You not only feel fuller afterwards, weight loss benefits prevail.
From their high-fiber content to their many nutrients, root vegetables boast  a long history of medicinal and dietary uses.  These vegetables can be served cold as well.  They sell these cold  at those expensive gourmet shops.  Cooked and then cooled potatoes (as well as quinoa, barley and rice). All have resistant starch.  Resistant starch burns more slowly and helps you lose weight. They appear to help you burn fat up to  24 hours later. Why?  No one knows. But what is known is that once resistant starch gets to the colon, your body ferments it and produces an anticancer agent called butyrate – yet another health benefit.

Roast Winter Vegetables on the BBQ

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

THAILAND
Pineapple is widely available in Thailand. In Canada, pineapples peak in the winter. But, they can be purchased year round. Tourists traveling to Thailand also enjoy their exotic unique foods. These light dishes have become a great addition to our western meal planning. We value the healthy benefits and spicy flavours. This dish will please everyone especially the kids!
With influences from Vietnam and China, Thai food has evolved over time to become its own traditional culinary style. Thai Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Pad Sapparot) is a spectacular dish! Once you taste it, I think you will agree with me that it will become a regular dish on your dining room table.
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THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE ~30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked jasmine rice (leftover rice works great too)
  • 4 oz. skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 5 oz. shrimp or pork
  • one pineapple
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. mushroom soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 stems green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup unsalted cashews
  • strips of red pepper
  • cilantro for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.  If you find it hard to cut, put in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to harden slightly and then cut. Reserve along with the shrimp.
  2. Cut a pineapple in half lengthwise. Cut out the triangle of the hard core and freeze for your next smoothie.  Remove and dice the pineapple flesh into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. Mix the mushroom soy sauce and fish sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Turn your wok or sauté pan on high and add the oil and garlic, fry for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and shrimp and stir fry until the chicken is about halfway cooked through (about 1 1/2 minutes), then move to one side and turn the heat to medium. Break the eggs directly into the pan. Fry the eggs without breaking them up for about 2 minutes, until they are partially set.
  5. Push the eggs and meat to one side and add the rice to the other side.  Add the soy sauce and fish sauce directly on the rice and then with a shoveling motion, combine the two sides of the pan, tossing, stirring for 2 minutes, mixing the rice with the eggs shrimp and chicken, working from the bottom so that the rice has a chance to fry in the oil and everything  is integrated.
  6. Sprinkle black pepper on the rice and add cashews, green onion and the reserved pineapple chunks. Transfer to the hollowed out pineapple halves, garnish with the red pepper slices, chopped cilantro and serve. ENJOY!!!

“Chunky” Good For Extra Crunch! YUM!

VARIATIONS
Add chicken, pork or  shrimp or ALL THREE! Allergic to nuts..don’t add them!

Vegan Version With EXTRA Pizzazz `Crimp Cut Edges’.

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW?
ALL THE GOODNESS OF PINEAPPLE
That prickly sensation in pineapple is the Bromelain in pineapple. It is purported to be an anti-aging element which prevents blood clotting since it acts as a blood thinner much like spinach. Today, there is less bromelain in pineapple than 50 years ago, due to the change in the soil’s composition.

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WHAT TO DO WITH THE PINEAPPLE SKINS?
Marinade chicken with your favorite recipe. Tie the pineapple skins to the chicken and grill on your stove top or outdoors for that added flavour.

Confucius Say…..!

Chili Recipe ~a winner

Winning Chili Recipe to Remove the Fall Chill!
Another great fall dish is chili.  We had a taste testing dinner and this was absolutely the winner!  (I have one book just devoted to chili.) This is such a versatile dish that takes well to freezing as well as serving to a crowd. chili_football  The guests can serve themselves. A great dish for those fall sports parties.  Those TRUE CHILI aficionados claim there should only be meat and no beans in chili.  What the beans do is to maintain you blood sugar at a steady even level with no spikes and you have energy for hours. A fantastic meal for diabetics.
FAST FOOD: When you have to stop at a fast food place in lieu of starving, chili is a fabulous choice.  Better than salads since these will come with dressings filled with sugar and preservatives.  I will also freeze dishes like chili in individual oven proof dishes.  When  I come home from a busy day, I immediately take one out the the freezer, defrost and bake.  Serve with a salad with your homemade dressing and it’s a tasty, satisfying and healthy meal.  This recipe seems like there are a lot of ingredients but you will find almost all of them already in your pantry and the flavour is worth it!  Perfect for game day!

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INGREDIENTS
img_chili1/2 cup dried black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup  dried red kidney beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4  cloves garlic, minced
6  jalapeno chilies, stemmed and seeded
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb. cubed beef chuck or blade steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2  tablespoons chili powder
1  tablespoon cumin seed (ground)
1  stick cinnamon 3 inches long
2  28 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1  12 oz  can stout beer
2  tablespoons tomato paste
1  tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion for garnish (optional)
1 cup strong cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
1 diced avocado pear for garnish (optional)
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Put the beans into separate pots and cover with 3″ of salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.  Cook covered, stirring occasionally until beans are tender about 60 minutes.
2.  Heat a heavy bottomed 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add  a few tablespoons of the olive oil and the diced onions 4-5 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic, green pepper, celery, and chilies.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes, adding more olive oil if required.
3.  Add meats and cook until brown.
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4.  Add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cocoa and tomato paste.  Cook for a few minutes and then add tomatoes and beer.
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Add beans (drained).
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5. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 or 2 hours.
6. Ladle into bowls and let people help themselves to the garnishes.IMG_1436

Serves 8 to 10 adults

Ratatouille ~ With Pizzaz

I am so in love with the beautiful flavour of the fresh tomatoes that linger on in the season that I had to make some to enjoy them.  So I decided to make ratatouille.   In the beginning of the process the eggplant got charred to carbon in  literally minutes in my Vulcan convection air oven.  So not to give up I moved to a frying pan and made the ratatouille anyway substituting poblano peppers for the eggplant.  My Italian friend said it was the best ratatouille she had ever had!  Gone was the bitterness that was imparted by the eggplant and the heat of the poblano was not really noticeable.  It added just a background of mild heat and umami if you will.  We used this as an accompaniment for our meal and as a filling for our omelets the next morning.  Yummy!  Here is the recipe. Yet another healthy sugar free, gluten free one.
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INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
2 zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon thyme
1 yellow bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
2 tomatoes (skin removed)
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INSTRUCTIONS

1)  Dice and saute onion in oil a few minutes until translucent
2)  Dice and add garlic and saute for a few minutes longer
3)  Dice zucchini and add to pan  along with the lemon thyme
4) Next add diced yellow and poblano peppers and saute a few minutes longer
5)  Dice the tomatoes and add to the pan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes longer.
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The resulting ratatouille will taste more like vegetables and is not dripping in tomato sauce.  It lacks the bitterness that eggplant imparts.  It is so fresh, tasty and versatile.  Serve it with your meal, in your lasagna,  and in your omelets.  Adding this with cheese to your morning omelet will also enhance the flavours and it is great for single servings and it has multipurpose uses.  This is for the “who’s- got-time?” – to cook – crowd  but we want to eat tasty and healthy food!

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Manhattan ‘Mock’ Clam Chowder -20 Minutes!

In 1934,  A Maine legislator introduced a bill that outlawed the use of tomatoes in any clam chowder recipe!  Today, both New England and Manhattan chowders are loved. But, there is still a healthy competition between the two.shanty  This is a mock clam chowder in that the mussels are 2 to 1 with clams. They are both in the same family tree.  ( Clams are more expensive than mussels ).  Nutrient rich seafood.

Do you suffer from a fear of cooking shellfish?

Please, please get over it and you’ll save a huge amount of money by making clams and mussels at home instead of at a restaurant!

It’s so easy to make and  s-o-o-o-o-o delicious. Some Kids gobble them up! I must confess I found this version of the  mock Manhattan Clam chowder with mussels 

musselsandclams

Clams Are Small, Round and Light Colored.  Mussels are Darker and Long Shaped

in a sweet little Shanty pub on the shores of  New York, USA. The owner shared his secret with me. Now, I am passing it on to you. ( S-H-H-H-H )  A recipe that is nowhere to be found on the planet except at the Shanty (now gone) I have never shared this recipe with anyone before.  I hope you will enjoy it!
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INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
8 oz. slices mushrooms
1/2  of a 750 ml bottle of white wine
1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
1 8oz. bottle clam juice
1  5 oz. can baby clams
2 lbs. mussels
5 leaves fresh basil
1/4  tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (to taste) or 1 tiny red pepper 🌶️
1 tablespoon chopped flat leafed parsley
3 mild Italian sausages (optional – instead use 1/4 to 1/2  tsp of fresh ground fennel or anise)
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INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat oil in heavy soup pot or cast iron pot.
2. Slice onions and add to pan.  Heat until translucent.
3. Slice and add garlic and hot pepper.  Saute for a few minutes.
4. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes.
5. Remove sausages from casings and fry them breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Fry about 5 minutes. If you skip the sausages – add a dash of ground fennel or anise. The way they do at the restaurants. (You will know where that great flavour comes from)
6. Add wine and cook for 20 minutes.
7. Add the can of plum tomatoes roughly breaking up the tomatoes with your hands or a spoon.
Add the bottled clam juice and canned clams (or fresh de-bearded clams) .  Bring to a boil.  Add the basil leaves along with the chopped parsley.
8.  Add the mussels which have been rinsed,  and the opened ones discarded.   Cover and cook for 3 minutes  until all the mussels have opened.
9. If any of the mussels will not open discard them.

Cook for 3 minutes - until the mussels open

Cook for 3 minutes – until  all the  mussels open

Serve

Serve “Mussel Soup Supreme” with garlic bread.

HAT2FOOD TIP:  When your raw mussels are open, tap them on a hard counter.  If they do not close then discard them as they are dead and can make you sick.  If they close then they are fine to cook and enjoy. Check your clams for a beard. Simply pull them out and discard any broken clams.  The Italian sausage gives a pleasant mild fennel flavour to the soup.  If you don’t add  sausage then add a dash of fennel, if you have it around. The spices are up to you, if you want to experiment. A bit of oregano might be nice.

mussels_soup_basilVARIATIONS  You can add lobster, shrimps, scallops or any other seafood you have on hand to make this into a seafood soup.  If you are adding raw lobster to the soup then add that first as it takes longer to cook.  It will turn pink and then add any shrimp or scallops last since they require only a few minutes of cooking or they will become tough and rubbery.  If you add canned lobster include the liquid from the can for more flavour.  You can add almost any fish except salmon. It has too much of a strong flavour for this dish. Sherry can also be added while you are cooking these last bits of seafood. Sherry complements the flavour of the seafood.. . .
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SEAFOOD SENSATION!
For decades the Portuguese classically make dishes which combine mussels and clams in their beautiful copper cataplanas. This seafood extravaganza is absolutely delicious!

Mussels and Pork

Mussels And Clams In A “BIG” Clam Shell

didyouknowNUTRIENT-RICH
Mussels and clams are a rich source of many essential vitamins and minerals, such as the B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, iron, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and zinc. They outshine most other foods when it comes to their vitamin B-12, selenium and manganese content. A 3 ounce portion of moist-heat cooked blue mussels provides 20.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12, meeting 340 percent of the recommended daily value for this nutrient, according to NutrientFacts.com. Vitamin B-12 is essential for a healthy nervous system, the formation of red blood cells and proper growth and development. The same amount meets 108 percent of the DV for selenium and 288 percent for manganese. Selenium is important for immune system function and supports the thyroid gland, while manganese is involved in bone health and energy metabolism.  Mussels are rich in sodium as well which is why this soup did not need any salt added.