HEALTHY FARE

Zucchini Boats

Chunky Guacamole

Portuguese Chickpea Soup

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Oma's Potato Salad

Lentil Tacos

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Glazed Salmon

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Fish Curry

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Baked Eggplant Parmesan

First time in 20 years that an eggplant recipe I tried turned out exactly as advertised. Delicious and simple, and baked not fried. Panko crumbs make it crispy. Side of cauliflower-pasta tossed in STORE BOUGHT pesto (chickens, why stress yourselves out?). Didn't use the shishi "Japanese eggplant" recommended. Just good old eggy eggplant, cut into 1" thick strips. Tweaks: rubbed eggplant slices with garlic before smothering with topping, and added dried oregano to the panko. Not so good reheated the next day though (which is why it falls just shy of 5 chickens).

from @thegiadzy

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Fish Tikka Curry

Jamie Oliver promised it would be "Fantastic" (this word is actually in his recipe title - I'm sure the male ego will at some point be the subject of a future blog post) and it actually was. A little surprisingly, the fish just gets grilled or panfried separately and then added to the curry at the end, but it was still tasty tasty tasty. Add as much or as little spice as you like, depending on how many endorphins the day requires. Jamie's lucky we're good sports, as we tagged him in a post of this dish, but he DIDN'T RESPOND.

from @jamieoliver

 
 

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Glazed Salmon

We first made this recipe while staying at an Airbnb country home by Horseshoe Valley. We learned about the benefits of maple syrup (lecture style) before our cooking lesson there began. Originally, the hostess' recipe called for reducing a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. We cut the labor by using an already-reduced balsamic syrup. Play with the ratios of ingredients a bit to your taste. Also throw in a garlic clove if you're feeling it. Marinate for about 20 mins, then bake for about 20 mins (depending on the size of your salmon) at 400F. Since our trip, we have been making this recipe regularly, using the tastier and leaner wild sockeye salmon (vs. farmed Atlantic). What made last night's dinner even better was the gigantic fresh Ontario asparagus! Using the "KISS" method of cooking, clean and trim these before throwing them in the microwave with a bit of salt, and spoonful of water. Cover in plastic and steam for about 3-4 mins (depending on desired level of crunch). When done, drain and toss the veg with EVOO, fresh lemon juice and S&P. We went carb-free, but this could definitely be served over couscous/quinoa/rice etc. Dinner's done in 20 minutes!

**Included in the slideshow are a few photos from our stay!

Check out our host, at Forks in the Trail

 
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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Why have we bought hummus at the store all these years? Most of these contain unhealthy oils like canola or soybean,  unlike this recipe which uses EVOO (and we even bought organic chickpeas!) This roasted red pepper hummus is one of a couple of twists on a classic (just chickpea) hummus recipe found at themediterraneandish.com. Done in 5 minutes once the red pepper strips are roasted. Just put everything in a food processor and you're good to go! Heed the suggestion of letting this sit for a day before diving in, though, as it helps the flavours to combine ... if you can wait that long! Serving suggestions include topping with fresh chopped cilantro and drizzling with olive oil. Pita crisps or fresh veggies make nice dipping tools. Emphasis on the dipping!

from @themediterraneandish

 

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Lentil Tacos

This recipe comes to us from a fantastic cookbook Claire received as an "off to university present" from a close family friend. "Plant-Based on a Budget" (positively reviewed by Moby! Followed by Alanis Morissette!) is great staple for young adults looking to save money while eating healthy, and also comes equipped with standard recipes like how to bake a pie crust and how to cook rice. Anywhoo.... who needs ground beef when you can use lentils for tacos? These turned out absolutely delicious, although we used the standard hard taco shells from the grocery store, and would probably heed the book's suggestion of using soft shells next time, preferably home-made ones. Unfortunately our avocado wasn't ripe enough to use as a topping; that would have probably put this meal .... over the top! Otherwise just use whatever taco toppings you'd like. We found some fresh chopped cilantro gave it some authentic flavour. P.S. try to use organic lentils if you can find them (we didn't this time) since conventionally grown lentils typically have high levels of glysophate contamination. What you save in buying a cheap staple ingredient you may consider spending on upping the health factor.

from @plantbasedonabudget

 
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Oma's Potato Salad

This was the potato salad we both grew up with - Oma's potato salad! If she had made it, it would of course be 5 chicken-worthy (because nothing tastes as good as mom's cooking!). We're not sure if this is actually a traditional German recipe, but it came from her kitchen so it has to at least be close. Ingredients are: potatoes (any kind really, we used russet, boiled and cooled in their skins, then peeled and sliced); diced red onion; diced dill pickles, boiled eggs (about one per potato, if your potatoes are as huge as ours), S&P, sour cream (or greek yogurt, if you're counting calories); a glug of olive oil, and... pickle juice! (Tip: don't toss your pickle juice once your pickles are done! It makes a great flavoured vinegar for any salad dressing that lends itself to a dill flavour, or you can even re-pickle other veggies in it - look it up! @iamtabithabrown has a whole IG post on it) Combine everything but the potatoes and eggs first to make a creamy, chunky dressing. Go bold on the amount of seasoning since the potatoes have a tendency to suck up the flavours (Oma always said, just when you think it's salty and tangy enough add more salt and pickle juice). Then gently fold in these last two ingredients and let the flavours of the salad combine for a couple of hours in the fridge, ideally. Fresh chopped dill would be lovely as a garnish, although we just had parsley so that's what we used.

 
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Grilled Sweet Potatoes

What makes these 5 chickens is the tangy contrast of a lime-cilantro dressing. Super simple to make, this is a great summer side for any grilled meat, although we paired them with a vegetarian quinoa salad, also delish. Tweaks on the recipe cited below: no need for agave nectar as a sweetener, we just use honey or maple syrup, whatever we have on hand. Also, no need to pre-boil these (we raised an eyebrow at the 20 minutes suggested pre-cooking time!); with an extra 5 or 6 minutes of grill time, these can go straight onto the barbecue. Just peel and slice the raw potatoes and toss with olive oil and salt before putting on a medium-hot grill. About 5 minutes a side. Then toss them in the dressing and go! Ideally served hot and fresh so the grilled outside stays crisp.

from @cookincanuck

 

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Portuguese Chickpea Soup

The best approximation of a soup our Uncle Julio (from Porto) used to make: tweaks to the linked recipe were only to sneak in a few cubes of sautéed pancetta for extra flavour (instead of the bouillon cubes the author recommends) and replaced potatoes with navy beans for a softer background. In fact, half of the beans were just smushed with a potato masher rather than blending half of the soup with an immersion blender: more to chew on that way! Fresh cilantro and lemon juice at the end made it flavourful and freshened up the otherwise heavier side of a bean and cabbage combination. And there's no way our beans were boiled and skinned first - just used them straight out of the can!

from @196flavors

 
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Chunky Guacamole

This homemade (no real recipe) version contains: one ripe avocado, diced red onion, diced fresh tomato, a spoonful of salsa, fresh chopped basil and mint (since we didn't have cilantro on hand), fresh lime juice and S&P. Tip: let the diced red onion sit in the lime juice for a few minutes before combining with rest of ingredients to tame the potency a bit. We enjoyed this with organic blue corn tortilla chips (Tostitos makes these!).

 

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Zucchini Boats

Stuffed zucchini, a culinary staple! This version was a quinoa taco version (so Mexican flavours), but could work equally well with an Italian twist (so try arborio rice, or orzo, mixed with tomato sauce and the legume of your choice, or ground veal if you're not vegetarian, and then lots of mozzarella on top!). We didn't have black beans on hand (as per the recipe), so we added sauteed vegetarian sausage. We also cheated a bit and used a "Seeds of Change" garlic quinoa/brown rice package (have you tried these? they're great! 2 minutes in the microwave and  done!. This saved us 20 minutes of raw quinoa cooking time on a 33 degree C day)! Served with salsa on the side, these boats ended up being a perfect summer meal by the lake for us. Tip: as with stuffed peppers, the naked and cored zucchini should be lightly salted and pre-baked before stuffing and fully baking in the oven, so the zucchini is properly cooked in the final product. The link below is for her meat taco zucchini boats, but the vegetarian version can be found on her Instagram profile!

from @choosing_balance