Hamburger Soup

Hamburger Soup

  • Servings: 10 of 1 cup
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Cold weather is upon us. Comfort food is a must. I love seeing the leaves turning colours, cooler nights for sleep, but salads get pushed aside for cozier foods. Here is one of them.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves or 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 19 ounce can (540ml) of chopped tomatoes
  • 10 oz can (284 ml) tomato soup (preferably sodium reduced)
  • 1 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of low sodium beef broth (I use campbell)
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and sliced (relatively thin)
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage

Directions

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the meat and drain off excess fat.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook on low heat until onions are tender.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato soup, worchestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetables and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 122
  • Fat 4.8 g
  • Sugar 5 g
  • Carbohydrates 8.5 g
  • Protein 11.2 g
  • Fibre 1.7 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. We had it as a main course and it made 6 bowls. You can serve it with a nice sunflower and flax seed bread (see recipe), white bread (see recipe) or country biscuits (see recipe).

Overall, it was a nice comfort food for a cooler night. If you want it spicy, you can add a little cayenne pepper to taste. You can add extra veggies like frozen corn. Possibilities are endless, so have fun and make it your own.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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THIS IS NOT GOOD IF YOU ARE COUNTING CALORIES. This is a good salad, a little high in calories but hey once in a while, you have to say, ok, I will indulge. I started this recipe as this was something I had in a restaurant but their version was 1000 so I did all I could to reduce it. I have a few more tricks that I will mention in closing. So let’s get to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Taco Seasoning Mix (Old El Paso)
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans (if you use canned, make sure to rinse)
  • 1 lb of extra lean ground beef
  • 45 grams or 1.5 ounces of Cheddar Cheese (reduced fat)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 corn on the cob
  • 1 cup of Salsa (Herdez Salsa)
  • 1 cup of Cilantro chopped
  • 2 cup of Spinach
  • 2 cup of Cooked white rice
  • 2 jalapeño chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put tortilla shells in mold and cook for 10-12 minutes
  3. In a boiling pot of water cook corn for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Once cooked, rinse with cold water to stop cooking and shuck.
  5. In a pan, brown the ground beef and make sure to loosen.
  6. Add Taco mix and cook using directions on package.
  7. Now is assembly, shell, put in rice at bottom, put black beans, taco mixture. Then top with corn, onion, jalapeño, avocado, cheese, cilantro, spinach and salsa.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 622 each
  • Fat 18.9 g
  • Sugar 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 82.8 g
  • Protein 31.7 g
  • Fibre 8.3 g

I started making this at home ironically because I had left over rice and thought of the salad we sometimes have at the mexican restaurant. Want to save time, everything can be prepared ahead of time. Just don’t cut your avocado until the last moment or you can use guacamole. If you want to save some calories, omit the rice at the bottom. I usually use my own salsa which is made to my taste and heat level. I’ve seen this recipe done with refried beans instead of black beans, and brown rice instead of white rice. The possibilities are endless, you can use fish, chicken, pork, completely vegetarian, beyond meat, anything. Let your imagine go, have fun and make it your own.

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Pork, the other white meat. It is easy to get in a rut with certain meats. Pork chops are one of them. I don’t know why but I usually end up doing the same way over and over again. This time I thought I needed to do something different. I was looking around the kitchen and started seeing this come together. It was quick, easy and ended up working out quite well.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops approx. 4 ounces (thickness will make your cook time vary)
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c of honey
  • 1/4 c of water or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp of rice wine vinegar (if you don’t have any you can use white vinegar)

Directions

  1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Heat oil in an oven proof pan or skillet (I use a cast iron pan) on medium high heat. Sear chops on both sides until golden and cooked through (about 4-5 minutes per side) Transfer to plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Saute garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  4. Preheat oven to broil with rack on top shelf.
  5. Add honey and water and vinegar. Increase heat to medium high and continue to cook until the sauce reduces down and thickens slightly (about 5 minutes) while stirring occasionally.
  6. Add chops back into the pan and baste generously with the sauce.
  7. Place pan in oven for 2-3 minutes or until edges are slightly charred and serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 332
  • Fat 12 g
  • Sugar 14 g
  • Carbohydrates 15 g
  • Protein 29 g
  • Fibre 0 g

The honey and garlic give this a nice change of pace. If you want a little kick to it, you can add cayenne pepper to taste. Add a little something green like parsley or cilantro or even curled cucumber. Just makes it pretty. Serve it with rice, vegetables, pasta, delicious  homemade multigrain bread (see recipe) and/or a salad. Be creative. Have fun and remember to 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.

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.

Coconut Shredded Pork

Coconut Shredded Pork

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Oops, that is not a package of pork chops. Every four months or so, we thaw out our freezer. We rotate the meat and such and make sure to use the older stuff. In the last few months, I’ve been using a vacuum seal method which helps prevents ice formation in the packages. Well this week, when we did our freezer, I came across an older package that looked like pork chops. Upon thawing, I realized, oops, that’s not pork chops but a chunk of pork. Now what do I do with it? This is what I came up with. Coconut Shredded Pork.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lbs of pork chunk or shoulder
  • 1 cup of light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 tbsp of blacked cajun sauce (I use Cool Runnings)
  • 2 tbsp of flour

Directions

  1. Cut pork into small pieces.
  2. Place in airtight container with the coconut milk and cajun sauce.
  3. Put in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.
  4. Place everything in a dutch oven or thick pan. Add shredded coconut and flour and mix well.
  5. Cover with foil.
  6. Place in preheated oven at 275 for 4 hours.
  7. When you remove from heat, shred pork with two forks.

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories 280
  • Fat 12.55 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Carbohydrates 7.5 g
  • Protein 32.6 g
  • Fibre 1.6 g

You can serve this over pasta, rice, couscous. That is all up to you. The veggies are up to you. I did mine over jasmine rice and canned peas. The choices are limitless. Have fun and make it your own.

Szechuan Orange-Ginger Chicken

Szechuan Orange-Ginger Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This is much easier and faster to make than it sounds. Chinese dishes from Szechuan region of China usually have a spicy flavour. If you prefer milder, use less chili paste, and if you are like me and like it hot, use a little more. Even as is, this is delicious either way. I served with plain white rice as to not take away from the flavour of this meal.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breast
  • 1 large sweet green pepper coarsely chopped
  • 1 large sweet red pepper coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tsp of bottled chili paste
  • 2 tbsp of sherry or bourbon
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp of minced fresh ginger root

Directions

  1. Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes, set aside
  2. Chop green pepper and red pepper in about 1 inch cubes
  3. Chop onion coarsely
  4. Peel orange, remove rind and cut into thin julienne strips about 1.5 inches long, set aside. Squeeze orange and reserve 1/4 cup of juice
  5. In a small bowl, combine juice, paste, sherry, sugar and cornstarch, stir until smooth
  6. In wok, heat oil, add chicken and stir fry for 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove chicken. Add orange rind, garlic and ginger root and stir-fry to 10 seconds. Add peppers and onion and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes
  7. Add chili paste mixture and bring to a boil
  8. Return chicken to wok and stir until heated through

Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calorie 264
  • Fat 12.3g
  • Carb 6g
  • Sugar 0g
  • Fiber 0g
  • Protein 41.4g

I served this with plain rice but if you want to be carb conscious then I would suggest pasta as per 1/2 cup of white rice compared to 1/2 cup of vermicelli is 10 grams of carbs less. Good option for diabetics.

Now for spicy, well you can use chili paste or dried chili peppers or hot chili sauce. If you use dried peppers, make sure to watch the quantity of the seeds you put in. The more seeds, the hotter it gets. If you want a little more orange flavour to it, just add more zest. Remember most of all to have fun and make it your own.

Lemon Vegetable Linguini with Salmon

Lemon Vegetable Linguini with Salmon

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A meal that looks good is always a sure way to make mouths water. The prep in this one is what makes the difference. I chop everything ahead of time because once you start cooking all three things cook at the same time. Multitasking is an asset here.

Ingredients bowl 1

  • 1 large onion chopped

Ingredients bowl 2

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients bowl 3

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 green pepper coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper coarsely chopped
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of lemon zest

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of linguini pasta
  • 1 1/2 lbs of salmon filet
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Parsley florets

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place fish on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put one tablespoon of lemon juice with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes. No longer.
  2. AT THE SAME TIME, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta per package directions.
  3. AT THE SAME TIME, heat oil in 6qt stock pot over high heat. Put in onion and lower to medium high.
  4. Once onion is softened, add bowl 3, cover and reduce heat to medium. Over the next 10 minutes stir occasionally.
  5. When spinach has reduced and peppers are a little tender add bowl 2 mix until heated through.
  6. Place pasta on serving platter. Top with vegetables. Remove the skin from the salmon and cut into serving sizes. I use 4 ounces per person. Add a floret for parsley on each salmon filet.

Nutrition Per Serving, 1 biscuit

  • Calories 546
  • Fat 14 g
  • Sugar 6 g
  • Carbohydrates 64 g
  • Protein 36 g
  • Fibre 6.3 g

It can be quite intensive doing all three at once. If you choose to do something ahead of time the best one is pasta. If you choose to do so, once the pasta is cooked, spray some cooking spray throughout so the pasta does not stick together. Just reheat before putting on platter. This has a very nice presentation. It’s relatively quick to make if the chopping is all done ahead of time, thus giving you time with your guests. Change the pasta, you can add kale, more lemon, less lemon, you can add some cayenne if you want some heat. Have fun and make it your own.

Spicy Baked Chicken with Tomato Salsa

Spicy Baked Chicken with Tomato Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Summer time is here and we often look for something to bring on picnics that are not sandwiches. This is one of those things you can bring that makes for a nice change of pace.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 of minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs of skinless chicken pieces, be it breasts and thighs

Salsa Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small nonstick skillet, toast chilli powder, cumin, paprika and turmeric over medium heat for about 20 seconds or until it begins to darken. Remove from heat. Stir in oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper, garlic, lemon juice and oil and brush over chicken.
  2. Arrange chicken on rimmed baking sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven, uncovered turns halfway through and basting twice with juices, for 30 to 40 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced.
  3. Tomato Salsa: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together tomato, coriander and salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with chicken.

Nutrition Per Serving, 6-8 ounces of chicken

  • Calories 260
  • Fat 10 g
  • Carbohydrates 6 g
  • Protein 37 g
  • Fiber 1 g

As I mentioned this is good cold but hot is good too. Served with fresh bread or some rice with an extra vegetable makes a nice dinner. You can make this spicier if you want. The side dish is your choosing. Depending what you are looking for is where you can have fun and make it your own.