Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Perfectly refreshing, colourful, and versatile. Looking for a healthy dish to bring to a pot luck, picnic or just a great way to end a meal, here is a healthy option.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of strawberries, chopped
  • 1 lb of fresh pineapple (canned pineapple pieces if you don’t have fresh, drained)
  • 12 oz of fresh blueberries
  • 12 oz of red grapes, sliced in halves
  • 4 kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 3 mandarine oranges (canned mandarines drained will work)
  • 2 bananas, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tsp of lime zest (zest from 2 medium limes)
  • 1.5 tbsp of fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Add all fruit to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, lime zest and lime juice.
  3. Pour over fruit and toss to evenly coat, and serve

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 143
  • Fat 0.4 g
  • Sugar 27.1 g
  • Carbohydrates 36.6 g
  • Protein 2.0 g
  • Fibre 4.1 g

This is a very versatile recipe. Use the fruit you like best and/or have available. Keep in mind that the longer between the time it is made and served, your pineapple will start changing color. It will absorb the juice of the strawberries and such. This is a little tart due to the pineapple, lime and mandarines. You can make this using melons, watermelon, mango, peaches. The possibilities are endless. All you need is a little imagination to have fun and make it your own.

Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner

Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner

  • Servings: N/A
  • Difficulty: N/A
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I was making a recipe called Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese and thought I would compare the values of Kraft Velvetta Vs Kraft Cheez Whiz vs Kraft Mac and Cheese (KD). I have done my recipe with both Kraft Velvetta and with Kraft Cheez Whiz. Of course, like every else, I’ve also had Kraft Mac and Cheese.

The purpose of this exercise was to compare value to the nutrients. I wanted to compare price to the fats, protein, vitamins and of course convenience.

Convenience Kraft Dinner Mac and Cheese wins hands down. It is the easiest, quickest and needs a total of three items, the Kraft Dinner, milk and margarine. My recipe needs tomato soup, pasta, Velvetta or Cheez Whiz, milk, margarine, onions. Then I wanted to compare pricing. Of course this varies where you are and if you are using generic or brand names. For the purpose of this exercise I used brand names and all from one store, Walmart.

I calculated to make the same quantity which would serve six. However, I didn’t count the salad or veggie you should be having with this to make a balanced meal. Nor did I add any extra protein. Conclusion of the pricing was pretty simple. Cheapest was with Cheez Whiz, at 1.05 a plate, Velvetta at 1.10 and Kraft Dinner which I found expensive at 1.27 a plate. Kraft Dinner has more calories, more fat, more sugar, and less calcium and Vitamin A per serving.  Mind you, it is much quicker and works well in a pinch. I have used it as side dish many times and will continue to do so.

Now for the comparison of the Cheez Whiz light and Velvetta light which one or the other was required for my recipe, here is what I came up with:

Cheez Whiz LightVelvetta Light (2% fat)
30 g or 1 ounce30 g or 1 ounce
60 calories62 calories
3 g of fat3 g of fat
2 g of carbohydrates3.3 g of carbohydrates
2 g of sugar2.4 g of sugar
3 g of protein5.5 g of protein
0 g of fiber0 g of fiber
8% of daily calcium10% of daily calcium
2% of daily Vitamin A5.5% of daily Vitamin A
4.88 for 15 ounce jar5.48 for 16 ounce package
7.98 for 32 ounce package
comes to $0.325 per ouncecomes to $0.342 per ounce
comes to $0.25 per ounce

To me, this was an easy choice. The 2 calories, 0.4 g of sugar more vs the 2.5 g of protein extra made all the difference. Now mind you, if budget is the issue buying the large container of velvetta was also very appealing. I’ve seen both these items go on sale for lower than that. 

Results, I vote for Velvetta. The main reason for this exercise was to see which was worth more for the buck. We should think of doing this for all foods we buy. We need to make sure we are eating the right foods, and are getting the most we can for the price and convenience. A non processed food would have been a better alternative, but pricing is not always the option. 

This was a fun exercise on something we use often and never took the time to compare. 

Eat right, eat healthy, eat economically and always have fun and make your recipes your own.

Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese

Velvetta Tomato Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Mac and Cheese is very popular right now. You go to almost any restaurant and it’s on the menu. This recipe is actually quite old. I’ve used variations of this recipe for at least 40 years. It is economical, relatively healthy and can be modified in so many ways, we could probably fill up a whole recipe book with all it’s versions. You can use this as a base or as is.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of elbow macaroni
  • 300 g of velvetta light cheese chopped into small pieces (11 ounces)
  • 1 cup of low fat milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 can of tomato condensed soup (I used Alymer low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp of cajun spices

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente and drain (reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  3. In the same pot, melt butter and add onion. Stir until translucent and tender.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, and add milk, water, tomato soup, and cheese.
  5. Stir until cheese is melted and this is a nice smooth sauce. If too thick, add a little milk. It might seem a little runny but don’t worry it will get absorbed into the pasta,
  6. Add spices, salt and pepper.
  7. Add pasta and stir to cover all of the pasta and make sure that the pasta is warm.
  8. Serve. That easy.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 437
  • Fat 8 g
  • Sugar 12 g
  • Carbohydrates 67 g
  • Protein 19.5 g
  • Fibre 5.1 g

So as you see this was easy peasy. This is a very economical meal. I looked at the prices for the cheese and the pasta vs Kraft Dinner. Mind you there is nothing wrong with Kraft dinner but there is more sugar, less calcium and vitamins and if you are not using generic mac and cheese, can actually be more expensive with Kraft Dinner. I’ve written a comparison between Kraft Cheez whiz, Kraft Velvetta light and Kraft dinner, see Economical Comparison of Velvetta, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Dinner. On the average you can make this for approximately 1.10 a plate. Now is the fun part, I was asked what about veggies. This is not a balanced meal and they were right. I suggested a nice green salad with this, or you can add spinach, steamed broccoli or streamed cauliflower. You can also add drained canned veggies or thawed and drained frozen veggies. All depends on your budget and/or tastes. If you want to add protein feel free to do so, including a very economical black bean or white kidney bean drained. This is where I tell you have fun and make it your own.

Gouda Mac ’N’ Cheese

Gouda Mac ’N’ Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A young chef (OSM) asked me if we could try this recipe together. Who doesn’t like Mac ’N Cheese? I said sure, why not. This turned out pretty good. We adjusted from the original recipe to reduce the fat content. This was made with left over cooked chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked chicken (1.5 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen peas (thawed)
  • 5 ounces of Gouda grated (just under 1 cup)
  • 3 ounces of Sharp Cheddar grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 avocados smashed
  • 1/4 cup of light margarine
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of milk (used nonfat)
  • 1/4 cup of panko
  • 1 lb of macaroni (454 g)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parmesean grated or shaved to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a large deep dish baking dish
  3. Cook macaroni until al dente and set aside in a very large bowl.
  4. Add chicken, avocado and peas. Stir well.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place margarine in skillet, add flour and make a roux. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Add milk and chicken broth, keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of skillet until thickened.
  8. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. (if sauce is too thick, add a little broth)
  9. Add in chicken, veggie and pasta and stir well to coat the pasta.
  10. Pour into baking dish.
  11. Sprinkle the panko on top evenly and add Parmesean if desired.
  12. Bake for 45 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 567
  • Fat 23 g
  • Sugar 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 54.3 g
  • Protein 43.3 g
  • Fibre 4.9 g

You can serve this with a nice salad. If you don’t have cooked chicken, you could use cooked turkey and if all else fails, use drained canned tuna. If you want some spice to it, add some cayenne or hot sauce. This recipe has so many possibilities. You can change the cheeses, the protein, the spices, so it’s all up to you. Have fun and make it your own.

Berry Strudel

Berry Strudel

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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I was asked if I had a recipe that was low in sugar and looked good. Went digging and this is what I came up with.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of berries (I used raspberries)
  • 2 tbsp of instant tapioca
  • 1 tsp of grated lemon zest
  • 5 sheets of phyllo dough thawed 12 x 17 inches
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tbsp of crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of greek plain yogourt
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Mix berries, tapioca and lemon zest and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Place a parchemin paper on your work surface, as this is what you will use in your baking sheet.
  4. Place one sheet of phyllo dough and lightly butter it. (Make sure to place a damp towel on the remaining four sheets so they don’t dry out)
  5. Spread 1/2 tbsp of crushed walnuts on the sheet.
  6. Repeat three times.
  7. Place the last sheet over the four others.
  8. Spread the fruit mixture on a horizontal line approximately 2 inches from the edge and from the ends.
  9. Gently roll and fold the ends under.
  10. Place the roll with the parchemin paper on the baking sheet.
  11. Place the baking sheet on the lowest rack.
  12. Cook for 18 minutes until golden brown. If it browns too quickly place a piece of foil over the top and continue baking.
  13. Once cooked let cool for approximately 20 minutes, serve luke warm.
  14. In the meantime, mix yogourt with brown sugar.
  15. Cut into 8 pieces and serve with yogourt on the side.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 124
  • Fat 7.6 g
  • Sugar 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates 12.1 g
  • Protein 2.5 g
  • Fibre 3.2 g

This is a refreshing dessert. It looks great (for a fancier look, lightly sprinkle some icing sugar over the top). It is low in sugar, a great dessert for diabetics. You can vary the fruits inside. Berries work great as they don’t need extra sugar. Like I always say, have fun and make it your own.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

  • Servings: 8 1 cup portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Is there ever a wrong time for pumpkin? What you will find here is a soup that is great as is, or can be used as a base. The puree I used was one I froze from a pumpkin I cooked, you can use canned puree (just be sure not to use pie filling)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 4 cups of pumpkin puree
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of cajun spice
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat
  2. Add onion and cook until tender.
  3. Add garlic cook for approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Add puree, broth and spices.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 60 minutes.
  6. You can either serve or if you want smoother, use your blender to puree it even more.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 107
  • Fat 1.8 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Carbohydrates 11.6 g
  • Protein 5.1 g
  • Fibre 3.3 g

This is an easy soup that is both nutritious and low calorie. It can be served as an appetizer or as a main course. As a main course, use two servings. You can serve it with a nice sunflower and flax seed bread (see recipe), white bread (see recipe) or country biscuits (see recipe). You can use this as a base for a vegetable soup. You can thicken it with a little flour and use it as a sauce. So basically, have fun and make it your own.

Pasta Genovese CG Version

Pasta Genovese CG Version

  • Servings: 6 portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I always try a recipe as written the first time. Then I have fun and make it my own. One of the last recipes I posted was a recipe I found, Pasta alla Genovese. It was good, nothing wrong with it but it lacked a little something. Here is my version.

Ingredients


– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 blade roast or cross rib roast of approximately 2 lbs or 0.8 kg
– 2 onion thinly sliced
– 1 onion soup mix package
– 1 tbsp of steak spice
– 1 tbsp of chilli powder
– 1 can diced tomatoes 16 oz or 540 ml(I used aylmer accent chilli, if you do, omit chilli powder)
– 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
– salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. In a stock pot heat oil.
  3. Brown meat on all sides.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cover with onions, spreading this evenly.
  6. Add onion soup mix.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix flour and beef broth until smooth.
  8. Add broth, steak spice, canned tomatoes, and chilli powder if you are using.
  9. Cover and cook for six hours.
  10. Once cooked shred meat with forks.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 260
  • Fat 10.9 g
  • Sugar 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates 9.6 g
  • Protein 29.4 g
  • Fibre 1.2 g

You can serve this over a pasta of your choice (or someone told me over rice is nice too), not calculated in nutritional facts. A nice green veggie or salad complete the plate. Now is your turn to have fun and make it your own. Let me know how you have changed it.

Pasta alla Genovese

Pasta alla Genovese

  • Servings: 8 generous portions
  • Difficulty: Easy
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You find recipes in different places, different books, for different reasons. This book was created as a fundraiser for the Fondation du CHUS during the pandemic. This is a University Hospital in Sherbrooke. The recipes were contributed and paid for publication by doctors, students, and celebrities. This one is from Neurologist Sylvie Gosselin.

Ingredients


– 2 tbsp of olive oil
– 2 tbsp of butter
– 1 blade roast or cross rib roast of approximately 2.2 lbs or 1 kg
– 10 cups of thinly sliced onions, approximately 10 large onions
– 5 ounces of prosciutto, or 145 gr chopped
– 8 cups of large pasta as fettuccini or spaghettoni (2 lbs or 1 kg)
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Parmesean grated or shaved to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. In a stock pot heat oil and butter.
  3. Brown meat on all sides.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cover with onions, spreading this evenly.
  6. Top with prosciutto.
  7. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 hours. Baste meat occasionally.
  8. Once cooked, remove from broth. Remove bones and shred meat with forks.
  9. In a separate pot, heat salted water and cook the pasta, per package instructions.
  10. During that time, put stock pot on ring and bring to a boil and reduce the broth to approximately 3 cups. Return meat to broth (if necessary).
  11. Serve over pasta and sprinkle parmesan over it.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 435
  • Fat 14.7 g
  • Sugar 9.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 38.9 g
  • Protein 40.3 g
  • Fibre 5.6 g

You can serve this with a green veggie or a nice salad. I always make a new recipe as indicated the first time. Then I adjust to our tastes by adding spices and such. That’s the way to have fun and make it my own. Your turn to do the same.

Tourtiere a.k.a. Meatpie

Tourtiere a.k.a. Meatpie

  • Servings: 8 Slices
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I had a dilemma. I was asked, by a friend, for something that was truly French Canadian. He wanted to showcase my culture as I had assisted in his love of cooking. He asked for Tourtiere. Oh boy, how embarrassing, I didn’t know how to make one and heck didn’t even have a recipe.

Had a girls night and a friend of mine was serving Tourtiere. It was amazing. So this goes out to my friend Louise Mallet. Thank you for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of ground meat (1 lb lean ground beef, 1 lb lean ground pork, 1 lb ground veal)
  • 1 medium potato boiled and mashed (separately) (reserve water)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 cup of boiling water (I used the potato water)
  • 1 tbsp of tourtiere spice (I used El-Ma-Mia) (see picture)
  • 2 packages of frozen pie shells (I used Tenderflake deep dish)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In large skillet, cook meat with onion. Should be a little pink
  3. Add water and bring to a boil
  4. Lower heat to simmer and add mashed potato and spices
  5. Cook for another 25-30 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure that meat and potato are evening incorporated. (Fat will absorb)
  6. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes (if you add it when it’s too hot, the dough will get soggy)
  7. Divide the mixture into two pie shells
  8. Cover with the remaining two pie shells and crimp. Make slits in top to help let out the steam
  9. Bake for 45 minutes

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 500
  • Fat 26 g
  • Sugar 2.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 23.1 g
  • Protein 40.6 g
  • Fibre 0.4 g

My friend Louise used a 9’’ ceramic pie plate which is deeper and fit all the meat mixture in. Mind you, you need to divide her Tourtiere into 8 pieces as it is a mile high. You would reduce the calories of the pie shells. The math above is with the frozen pie shells. So cut each of my version into 4 so it still serves 8.

My next lesson to learn is how to make pie crusts that are not to be used as frisbees or deadly weapons (lol). This is truly a French Canadian meal that some serve with a gravy, some with Ketchup, and some just plain. Choose what you serve it with and have fun and make it your own.

Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I’m all about versatility. Had a banana that was aging. Bought the wrong yogourt. If at all possible, nothing goes to waste in our house. I find this a great thing to add to a meal, especially if it is low in protein.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup of plain greek yogourt (I bought high fat by mistake so the calories will reflect this)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 cup of Exotic Orange Pineapple Juice (Oasis)
  • 1 cup diced frozen Avocado
  • 1 tsp of splenda (optional)

Directions

  1. Put everything in the blender and mix until smooth (depending on your setting, mine has one for smoothie)
  2. Fill 4 – (500 ml/2 cup) mason jars 3/4 full
  3. Chill and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 230
  • Fat 13.7 g
  • Sugar 14.9 g
  • Carbohydrates 25.1 g
  • Protein 5.7 g
  • Fibre 4.1 g

Smoothies are fun. I like adding avocados to mine as they add that silky feel to them. I would normally have used 0% fat greek yogourt that has a higher protein count but the selection was limited and truth be told, I rushed and didn’t read the label correctly. That would have reduced the calorie count by 50 each serving and added 5g of protein. You can use frozen berries instead of the juice and it will add back the vitamins. Just add a little more milk for volume. Use the fruit you like best and you can even use yogourt with fruit. All you need is a little imagination to have fun and make it your own.