Banana Prune Muffins

Banana Prune Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Not everyone likes prunes. I’m not the biggest fan, but it was suggested I have some. So I buy a bag, and realized I needed to find recipes or I would waste a lot of them. Came across this recipe, did a few modifications (made it my own) and voila, another muffin recipe and to my own surprise, quite good.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of mashed banana
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chopped pitted prunes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour muffin tin or use paper liners (I use reusable silicone muffin liners)
  3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil and egg and beat until smooth.
  4. Blend in banana and vanilla.
  5. Mix together in another bowl flour, baking powder, baking sodium, salt and cinnamon.
  6. Stir into egg mixture until just moistened.
  7. Mix in the prunes.
  8. Spoon into muffin cups.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 187
  • Fat 5.2 g
  • Sugar 30 g
  • Carbohydrates 33.6 g
  • Protein 2.7 g
  • Fibre 2.0 g

This muffin was surprisingly good. It was very moist, sweet and had a good texture. You could serve it plain, or heated with a dab of butter. Whatever you choose, have fun and make it your own.

Baked Cajun Garlic Butter Cod

Baked Cajun Garlic Butter Cod

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like cod. It’s easy to make. It’s juicy. Best of all it’s quick.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb of cod
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 orange or lemon sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a 9 x 13 baking dish place slices of fruit and the 6-4
  3. ounce pieces of cod over them.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk butter,garlic and cajun spices.
  5. Spread evenly over fish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 123
  • Fat 4.5 g
  • Sugar 0 g

Cod is a nice fish to work with. It keeps it’s shape, is versatile and is quick. This is a meal I would serve to guests. If your cajun spice is very spicy, you might want to reduce the quantity and add a bit of paprika for color. If you want it spicier you can chop up a jalapeño to the butter mix.

I served this with a 1/2 cup of rice and some broccoli. Made for a colourful plate and well balanced. What you serve it up with is up to you. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I like tacos, I like pasta, I had no tortilla shells or wraps, so I thought, what the heck. How can I go wrong. Here is a quick meal, hearty meal, a fun meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of penne 454 g or 1 lb
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 2 branches of celery
  • 1 cup of packed spinach
  • 1 cup of packed torn kale
  • 1 can of diced chili tomatoes (you can use standard but add 1 tbsp of chili powder)
  • 1 envelope of taco mix
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef.
  2. Remove ground beef from pan and set aside. Put in vegetables in fat from beef and cook the veggies until still a little crispy.
  3. Add tomatoes and taco mix and stir until well blended.
  4. Add back the meat. Simmer on low heat.
  5. In another pot, cook pasta as per instructions on the box.
  6. Drain pasta once cooked, put back in pot and add the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir to coat completely.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 338
  • Fat 7.2 g
  • Sugar 4.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 50.2 g
  • Protein 20 g
  • Fibre 3.5 g

This is a quick meal. It is colourful. Nutritious. And most of all fun. If there are other veggies you’d rather, put them in. You can add jalapeño if you want spicy. You can sprinkle cheese on it if you want more of the taco feel to it. Serve it with a salad and you have a complete meal for 8. Remember have fun and make it your own.

Stovetop Apple Pie Filling

Stovetop Apple Pie Filling

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Who hasn’t gone to the store and bought apples that looked so great and by the end of the week, oops, that was too many. I know I have, more than once. I hate wasting food. Too many people go hungry everyday for us to waste good food. I do my best to extend the life of food. Here is an easy recipe that is delicious, quick, and versatile.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 medium apples
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • 2 tbsp of butter (salted)
  • 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp of Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Peel, core and slice apples.
  2. Melt butter with cinnamon over medium heat.
  3. Add apples, sugar and water.
  4. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for 4-6 minutes, or until slightly softened. 
  5. In a small dish, combine cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water.
  6. Add to the pan and bring to boil and stir until thickened.
  7. Let bubble 1 minute.
  8. Let cool.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 88
  • Fat 1.9 g
  • Sugar 16.1 g
  • Carbohydrates 18.8 g
  • Protein 0 g
  • Fibre 2.6 g

This is the equivalent of 1 can of apple pie filling. This recipe is so versatile, you will buy extra apples just to make this. You can use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogourt, ice cream, add a bit of granola and it becomes a great snack, or heck you can use it in a pie crust too. So many possibilities for you to have fun and make it your own.

Sunflower and Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread

Sunflower and Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread

  • Servings: 8-10 of 60 grams or 2 slices of 2 ounces each
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I started with white bread, moved up to whole wheat and now I’ve graduated to healthy multigrain bread. I’m having fun with bread. Who knew that making bread that you don’t need to kneed would be fun.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups of water (120-130 degrees Fahrenheit or 50-55 Celsius)
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup of flax seeds (whole)
  • Vegetable oil spray

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast together. At this time you can add the sunflower and flax seeds and stir them around a bit.
  2. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix in until it’s all incorporated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 20 hours.
  4. After rise time, spray an 18×12 inch sheet of parchment paper on counter with vegetable spray. Set aside.
  5. On clean floured counter use your cupped hands to drag dough in small circles to form smooth ball.
  6. Preheat oven at 425 and place dutch oven as your oven heats up (approximately 10 min)
  7. Transfer ball to centre of greased parchment sheet. Use parchment to lower dough into Dutch oven (let extra parchment hang over pot edges) Cover pot with lid and put back in oven for 30 minutes
  8. Remove lid and put back in until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Place on cooling rack to cool.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 213
  • Fat 0.374 g
  • Sugar 0.31 g
  • Carbohydrates 39.21 g
  • Protein 7.57 g
  • Fibre 5.1 g

Trick for yeast, make sure your water is hot enough but not too hot. Yeast is a living organism. Also got to find out that one of my issues with yeast was that I stored it in the cupboard next to the stove. Guess what, big mistake. I was killing it with the heat. Lessons learned.

Making this bread reminded me that with patience anything in the kitchen can be conquered. Seriously, this bread is so easy to make and it is good too. You add other seeds, just make sure to keep that in calorie count. I’m open to suggestions so help me with this. Have fun and make it your own.

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Chocolate pudding, healthy? I know right? Doesn’t sound correct. I’m expecting lots of sugar, but low and behold, that is not the case. I’ve traded a few recipes with this young man, who has the makings of one day being a great chef if he wishes, and this is one of his. His great aunt that lives with them is diabetic so he made sure to make this so she can eat this too.

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 6 tsp of maple syrup

Directions

  1. In a food processor put in bananas and avocado and pulse until creamy and without lumps.
  2. Add vanilla, cocoa, salt and maple syrup and pulse until well integrated.
  3. Put in ramekins and place in fridge for 30 minutes to cool.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 166
  • Fat 6.7 g
  • Sugar 15.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 29.4 g
  • Protein 2.5 g
  • Fibre 6.3 g

As you see in the pictures I added light cool whip about a tablespoon and berries. This is where you can have fun. Top it with whatever you like. If you are not diabetic, you can shave some chocolate on top.

I asked the young man why maple syrup instead of sugar? He told me that although calories are about the same, maple syrup has a lower glycemic index and maple syrup contains some minerals. For diabetics, this is still to be taken as a treat with a lower carb and sugar meal like a nice tuna salad and this for dessert. After all it is about choices and it all starts with a bite. So make your choice on the first bite so your last one can be sweet if you like. Again have fun with this and make it your own.

Turkey Lasagna

Turkey Lasagna

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Lasagna is the true definition of comfort food in this house. Like most things, it is also so versatile. I love experimenting with it.

Ingredients

  • 12 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 30 ounces (2-3/4 cup) of béchamel or white sauce (see link), multiple recipe by three for lasagna dish
  • 16 oz of cooked turkey
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 30 spears of semi cooked asparagus
  • 4 ounces of shredded old cheddar
  • 4 ounces of shredded light mozzarella
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced thinly

Directions

  1. Cook lasagna noodles as required by package and rinse in cold water.
  2. Steam asparagus for approximately 6-8 minutes (until still firm but cooked)
  3. Prepare your white sauce (see recipe link)
  4. Shred your cheeses and mix well.
  5. Chop your turkey into small pieces.
  6. Put a small scoop of white sauce at bottom of lasagna pan.
  7. Place row one of three noodles, cover with 1/2 cup of sauce, add turkey.
  8. Place row two of three noodles, cover with 1/2 cup of sauce, add spinach and 1/3 of the cheese.
  9. Place row three of three noodles, cover with 1/2 cup of sauce, add asparagus.
  10. Place row four of three noodles, cover with remaining sauce, add cheese and spread the red pepper.
  11. Put in preheated oven at 350 for 30 minutes.
  12. If needed, put on broil for a few minutes if cheese needs to brown a little.
  13. Let sit for 5 minutes, cut and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 371
  • Fat 9.8 g
  • Sugar 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates 29.4 g
  • Protein 25.8 g
  • Fiber 2.6 g

I love lasagna. I’ve experimented a lot with this comfort food. This version has been a success. It is also quite filling. Serve it with a salad and you have a complete and healthy meal. Remember have fun and make it your own.

White Sauce or Bechamel Sauce

White Sauce or Bechamel Sauce

  • Servings: 1 1/4 Cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This is a very versatile sauce. It’s uses are endless. It can be used over eggs, over pasta, over fish by adding certain spices. Here is the basic with a hint of spice which is optional. It is also a light version.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups of skim milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp of dyhydrated chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne (or to taste, optional)
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, don’t let it brown. (about 2 minutes)
  3. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add dehydrated chicken broth, cayenne and pepper, lower the heat and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 340
  • Fat 20.4 g
  • Sugar 15.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 27.2 g
  • Protein 11.9 g
  • Fiber 0 g

This sauce is a staple. You can omit the cayenne if you don’t want the spiciness. Stir in 1/2 cup of grated cheddar and it becomes a cheese sauce. Add dill and this is great over salmon. You can serve it over chicken. Add mushrooms and it’s just great over pork chops. Remember to have fun and make it your own.

Protein Rice Salad

Protein Rice Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Who says salad needs to be boring? Not me. I used to say that a salad was a side not a meal, now I know better. Here is a version that I have done. It’s a great summer meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 cup shredded carrot (I use the carrot peeler to get thin strips instead of shredded)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked white rice (brown rice would be better)
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs
  • 1 large red bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp of chopped green onion
  • 2 ounces of cheddar cheese cubed
  • 2 tbsp of apricot jam or jelly
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Assembly is easy. Divide everything in two. Put spinach at bottom of large bowl.
  2. Cover with rice.
  3. Spread the carrot around the bowl.
  4. Spread the red pepper, green onion, and jalapeño if used.
  5. Put the sliced egg, the ball of tuna and cubed cheese dividing the plate into thirds.
  6. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  7. In the centre put the apricot jam or jelly.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 436
  • Fat 17.8 g
  • Sugar 11.9 g
  • Carbohydrates 38.9 g
  • Protein 32.4 g
  • Fiber 2.8 g

This salad is fun. It reminds me of summer. The ingredients are what I had on hand. I wanted to make sure that it was high in protein as I was having this after having done a workout on the treadmill. You don’t like cheddar but prefer mozzarella, use that. You want it spicy add that jalapeno. You have left over cooked chicken, use that instead of tuna. You don’t have cooked rice, you can cook some spaghettini or rice noodles. The possibilities are endless. Remember have fun and make it your own.

Seafood Chowder

Seafood Chowder

  • Servings: 4 or 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Who doesn’t love a chowder? It can be a full meal or a tasty appetizer. It’s rich, it’s decadent, it’s sinful. It’s just good.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 branches of celery chopped up small
  • shrimp tails about 30
  • 4 cups of water
  • 6 ounces of cooked cod
  • 1 can of corn niblets 341 ml or 12 oz
  • 1 can whole baby clams 142 g or 5 oz
  • 1 can of crab meat 120 g or 4 oz (doesn’t have to be high end)
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp of dehydrated chicken broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of old bay spice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of coffee cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In one large pot put the 4 cups of water and shrimp tails and bring to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. In a stock pot, heat oil and cook onions until translucent and add celery and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes
  3. Skim your shrimp tail broth of the froth and remove tails with your skimmer.
  4. Add shrimp broth to the onions and celery.
  5. Add remaining ingredients except cream and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add cream and stir.

Nutrition Per Serving

    First number is fully meal 4 plates,
    second number is appetizer size 8 servings
  • Calories 342 / 171
  • Fat 14 / 7 g
  • Sugar 10 / 5 g
  • Carbohydrates 22 / 11 g
  • Protein 27 / 13.5 g
  • Fibre 2.6 / 1.3 g

This chowder is hearty and it’s great on a cold rainy day. Or when you just want to indulge yourself a little. If you don’t like cod, change the fish. You can add shrimp. (I don’t as I find they get too rubbery) You can add extra veggies likes carrots and/or broccoli stems, chopped fine. If you would rather use fresh shellfish, just remember that it has to be cooked to go in this chowder.

If you serve this as a main course, just add a little salad and some Country Biscuits or Homemade White Bread to complete the meal. Remember have fun and make it your own.