Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peppered Pears

If you are looking for an appie for the holidays, maybe something light and refreshing to precede a big holiday meal, this is a surprisingly delicious option. The idea was related to me by the head honcho at my work, I thought it sounded interesting and it was the perfect simple and light appie I was looking for.

You can see on the plate that I served the pears with some prosciutto and cheese (Irish cheddar)on separate skewers. It was widely agreed that the best combination was all three together, pears prosciutto and cheese living in sweet harmony in one bite, so next time I will skewer accordingly.

Peppered Pears
freshly cracked black pepper

Peel/ core pears and cut into bite-size chunks. Squeeze fresh lime juice all over them, covering thoroughly.Sprinkle pepper over all sides and pile on a serving plate. Skewer with toothpicks.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Amaretti Cookies and Cranberry-Pistachio Bark

More Christmas baking, and still more to much for cutting back this year! Every year my mom and my sisters and I bake a bunch of cookies/treats and then do a cookie exchange, making up trays of delectable treats for friends, family and coworkers. This year I resolved to only bake two kinds, but that hasn't worked out for me. I just had to make these cute amaretti cookies from Alive magazine, not only are they made from healthy ingredients but they are also gluten-free, perfect for my mom (we try to make all our xmas baking gluten free so that they can all intermingle without concern). They turned out just like the picture in the magazine, and SO yummy!

The bark is, of course, a Christmas no-brainer. Cranberries, good...pistachios, good...chocolate, definately good! Yup these qualify as all good. And I must get it out of my house before there is none left for our cookie trays. I used craisins and pistachios for both kinds, both dark and white chocolate, but you could use any kind of dried fruit and nuts...cashews and flame raisins would have been nice in the dark chocolate. Next time!

Amaretti Cookies
from Alive magazine

1 3/4 cups almond meal
1/2 cup natural brown sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
zest of 1/2 lemon, grated finely
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup natural brown sugar
30 whole almonds (15 blanched and 15 natural)

Combine almond meal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, almond extract, and lemon zest in food processor until smooth (I just did it old-school with a wooden spoon). Refrigerate for one hour. Add egg whites and sorghum flour, combining well; dough will be soft and sticky. Scoop out a teaspoonful and roll between damp palms and then drop into a small bowl containing 1/3 cup natural brown sugar. Gently roll around in sugar, shake off excess. Place on a baking sheet lines with parchment paper and press one whole almond in the centre. Repeat with remaining dough, placing balls 1 inch apart.Bake in a 325F oven for 18 minutes or until golden. Remove to a rack and cool. Sotre in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week, or freeze them.

Makes 30. The original recipe says 40, but they lie.

Cranberry-Pistachio Bark
This doesn't really qualify as a recipe, it's really just a cheat but man it's yummy and is always a favourite on the cookie tray. Just melt down a block of good chocolate that you've chopped into bits (I did two kinds, Callebaut dark and white). Stir in a good handful of craisins and another of pistachios, you should have about the same amount of nuts/fruit as chocolate. Pour it all onto a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper, spreading it in a thin layer. Stick that in the freezer until it firms up, then take it out and peel it up off the paper. Break it into jagged peices. Done! And no one has to know how easy it was ;).

OPTIONAL: Just to be fancy, I decorated each kind with the alternate colour of chocolate. Reserve a couple of spoonfuls of chocolate after it's melted and before you add the fruit and nuts, then after you've spread the mixture out on the tray, just heap some melted chocolate on a spoon and wave it over the tray so that it drips in fine lines.I know I know, it's all very high-tech.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Parmesan Chicken Casserole

This recipe is my pick for Light Bites. It looked and sounded like a good fall comfort meal with a bit of zing. But, I will be interested to see what the other bloggers in the group thought of it, because I don't think I did it right. On close inspection, the recipe seems like there must be a mistake - it involves over two cups of liquid absorbing into the rice during only 15 minutes in the oven?! Doesn't seem right, but then again, it also says to use boil-in-a-bag rice which I have never cooked with and didn't intend to. I don't mean to be a rice Snobby McSnobberson, but boil-in-a-bag, really? Not in my house. Of course there is the possibility that said rice is somehow magic and can make 2 cups of liquid absord in 15 minutes, if so my bad. Instead, I used par-cooked rice and added less liquid to the casserole itself, I had to cook it for 50 minutes and even so the dish was a bit watery. Next time I'll use a bit of thickener in the liquid to it will be a lovely sauce...I say "next time" because this dish was SO yummy, definately a do-over is in order. Instead of plain brown rice I used a combo of red, brown, and wild, and added some red peppers and celery when sauteeing the onion. I also strayed from the recipe by seasoning and browning my chicken before adding to the dish. It seemed like the right thing to do. See the pool of liquid on the left side of the rice? Yeah baby, that liquid will next time be saucified.

Parmesan Chicken and Rice Casserolemodified from Cooking Light

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 celery rib, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup mixed rice (dry)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half cream
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 tsp cornstarch or flour

1. Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the rice in a small pot, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and celery to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme, and some black pepper; sauté about 8 more minutes, until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent.
3. Add wine and vegetable mixture to rice; cook until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat and spoon rice mixture in an even layer into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4. Season chicken thighs with 1/2 tsp thyme, salt and pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Brown both sides in a pan on high heat (chicken does not need to be cooked through). Place thighs on top of rice mixture.
5. Combine remaining broth, cream,1/2 tsp thyme and some pepper, stirring well; I am thinking that at this point adding a bit of cornstarch or flour would be beneficial, maybe 2 tsp or so. Pour over chicken and rice mixture.
6. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Severed Foot Cheeseball

I love Halloween, it's probably my favourite holiday of all.It gives me a chance to be creative in a gruesome way that is only acceptable this time of year! One of my best creations, in my opinion, is the Severed Foot Cheeseball. It's a Sherylyn original, conceived of in a moment of macabre brilliance, lol. The cheeseball recipe comes from my mom, and we have made versions of it for as long as I can remember. For Christmas we'd decorate them with red-pepper poinsettias, in summer they'd have carrot and radish blossoms on chive stems. But in my opinion, this Halloween version takes it to a whole. New. Level.

Severed Foot Cheeseball

The cheeseball mixture:
2 blocks reduced-fat cream cheese (NOT fat free)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar (I use reduced-fat for that as well)
1/2 cup finely grated Swiss cheese (or asiago or parmesan, anything really sharp)
1.5 cups chopped ham (I used black forest for that touch of black in the mix)
1/2 cup chopped olives with pimentos
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 drops of green food colouring

Reserve 1 Tbsp of the cream cheese for decorating. Throw all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well (easiest in a stand mixer if you are a wimp...otherwise a little elbow grease should do it!)and add green food colouring until desired pale green mouldy shade is reached. Shape into a foot-like blob and chill until firm (overnight is best).

1 mushroom stem
1/2 red pepper, chopped into a macerated mess
5 black olive halves
reserved 1 Tbsp cream cheese tinted pale blue for veins

Using a butter knife, shape the blob into a nice foot-like shape (should be easier now that the cheese is stiffer). Use your own foot as inspiration, or ask someone to be a foot model for you. You will want a foot and ankle so that you have a bit of a leg stump to decorate.

Once you are happy with your foot shape, pile the red pepper mush onto the stump. Jam in the mushroom stem, and then form the red pepper mush around the bottom of it.

Use the black olive halves for toenails (I trimmed down the four smaller toenails for a more realistic look).

Using a toothpick, drag the blue cream cheese across the top of the foot in a veiny pattern (examine your foot model!)

That should do it. Gruesome AND delicious, the perfect combo! I served this at work for a Halloween Potluck and did another for my Halloween-edition book club meeting, along with mummy fingers (spiced ground lamb wrapped in phyllo shreds served with sweet chili sauce), fruit decorated with insects, banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, and lots of red wine.

Here is a picture of my fabulous book club ladies in their literary-inspired costumes! We had a Nancy Drew, a Zorro, a Mad Hatter, and a John Steinbeck...can you pick them out? I was Sylvia Plath, it was a great deal of fun and I was really impressed with everyone's's a shame you can't see more of the room, it looked very spooky with the candles, cobwebs, window ghosts, pumpkin lights, and other Halloween decorations, along with the Rob Zombie movie "Devil's Rejects" muted in the background and Halloween-themed CDs I put together with songs like Bahaus's Bela Lugosi's Dead, Alice Cooper's I Love the Dead, Rob Zombie's American Witch, White Stripes' Little Ghost, etc. I was so proud.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Artichoke and Potato Gratin

I admit, the picture is not great and does this dish absolutely no justice. Because I gotta tell you, this was one of the most amazingly delicious potato dishes I have ever eaten, maybe THE best ever. I printed off the recipe from another blog several months ago and it got shoved off into the Big Pile of Recipes. Last weekend I decided to spend some time organizing them, finally, and came across this recipe. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided it was time to make it, and boy am I glad I did! It was so good, we could could not stop exclaiming all through dinner "This is so delicious!". The sharp tang of the cheese and the wine sauce, the saltiness of the ham and tender artichokes, the textures and flavours all layered together to form one rockin gratin. This is how food should taste.

And the best part is that this dish achieves this amazing level of deliciousness without a smidge of cream and only a small smidge of butter. Who knew a scalloped potato-type dish could be improved by removing the very thing that I figured made it so delicious? I made a couple of minor modifications from the original recipe that came from Bon Appétit, the recipe does not need improving on but I just wanted to cut back on the ham content to make it a side dish rather than a main dish. Even with less ham the sodium content is pretty high, so better to pull some of that out. The calorie count is entirely reasonable, especially if you serve it with a lower-calorie protein like chicken or fish and a steamed veg...we had it with steamed broccoli and sauteed chicken with a pomegranate glaze for a total calorie count of 589, perfect for a weekend dinner. Try this. You will thank me.

Artichoke and Potato Grain
modified from Bon Appetit (just barely!)

•1 tsp butter
•2 cups thinly sliced leeks or onions
•kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•400g russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced (I used mixed baby potatoes and it worked great)
•150g ham, chopped
•1 jar artichoke hearts, rinsed and sliced lengthwise
•90g (about 1 cup) finely grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
•1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
•1/2 cup dry white wine
•2 tsp flour or cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks or onions; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside.In the same pan, saute the chooped ham until very lightly browned.
Cover bottom of baking dish with 1/3 of potato slices, overlapping as needed, and season with pepper. Scatter 1/2 of ham and leeks/onions over, then 1/2 of artichoke hearts, and sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layering with potato slices, ham, leeks, and artichokes, reserving a few leeks/onions for top. Cover with remaining potato slices and sprinkle with remaining leeks/ onions and cheese.
Whisk broth, wine, four and some ground pepper in a small pot over medium heat until flour dissolves. Bring mixture to boil; cook until smooth and thickened and slightly reduced, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Pour over gratin. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover gratin with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking. Bake 30 more minutes or until potatoes are soft, topping is browned, and juices are bubbling. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Makes 3 servings.

Nutritional Info: 389 calories, 13.5g fat, 23.7g protein, 52.2g carbs, 5.2g fibre, 1000mg sodium.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sausage and Bean Casserole

Ah Fall, with your cooler weather and promise of winter you put us in the mood for comforting soups and stews and casseroles. Since I've been on a casserole kick for a while now, this Light Bites choice of recipe was welcome. When I read over the ingredient list, I thought heyyyy this is just a fancied up wieners n beaners! Cool, I'm in!

The verdict? Hmm. Not a fan. It was only ok, despite attempts to jazz it up. I found it lacked depth...the brown sugar gave it sweetness but there wasn't enough flavour going on for that sweetness to enhance. I have the leftovers for lunch and am not particularly excited about it...and I even added bacon. Bacon, man! That should make anything awesome! Mind you it was low-fat peameal bacon so maybe the lack of fat in this dish just made it fall flat for me, I dunno. I am generally on the low-fat bandwagon, but not today folks. I'd only recommend making this as a last-minute meal; the trouble I went to soak beans overnight and whatnot was not really worth it, so the original recipe's recommendation of using rinsed canned beans is more in keeping with this recipe. Kids would probably love it.

Sausage and Bean Casserole
adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 slices peameal bacon (uncooked Canadian bacon), chopped
200g light smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1/2 chicken stock cube
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white beans, cooked al dente
1/2 teaspoon harissa
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 slice whole grain bread

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, and bacon to pan; sauté for 10 minutes or until browned. Add turkey sausage, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add chicken stock cube, brown sugar, tomato paste, dried thyme, mustard, freshly ground black pepper, beans, and harissa. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs.Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over bean mixture, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned.

Buttered Sweet Potato Knot Rolls

This recipe represents my second entry for Light Bites, a Friday blogging group I joined. If you are confused because today is Tuesday, well what can I say, I have a busy life.

These rolls turned out so perfectly, and don't you love my cute little knots? I didn't think I could make them so pretty, but turns out it's a lot easier than it looks! I used yam instead of sweet potato (I think Americans call yams sweet potatoes anyway so it's probably the right thing), and replaced some of the flour with whole wheat flour but other than that stayed true to the Cooking Light recipe. Therefore I'll post the link rather than the recipe:

Buttered Sweet Potato Knot Rolls

They are soft and pillowy and a whole lot of delicious!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lemon Bars, Dark Cocoa Cookies, and Cranberry Almond Macaroons

A trio of cookies for a departing coworker! I baked last night like it was my job.It was actually really fun, starting off with this big mess of bowls and spoons and ingredients covering every surface, then one by one completing a task and cleaning that part up, and in the end I had clean counters and neat rows of baked cookies. Of course I forgot to take picures, so instead my pics are of the remnants. The lemon bars were the biggest hit!

Each of the are made with a healthy component, like whole wheat flour or trail mix or yoghurt, but lets face it, cookies are meant to be savoured and enjoyed and to me that means real sugar and butter.I only made substitutions where I figured I could get away with it and not sacrifice taste, and they all worked out very well. And the last ones are gluten-free, to boot.

The first is a recipe I got from another blogger, Apples to Zuchinni, that came from a Cooking Light recipe.

Dark Cocoa Fudge Cookies
adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 Tbsp butter
7 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 cup raw (Demerara) sugar
1/3 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

1.combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside
2.cream butter and sugars with the yogurt and vanilla
3.add dry ingredients until moistened
4.drop by level tablespoons full onto parchment paper
5.bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until nearly set in the centers on the sheet for 2-3 minutes
7.transfer to wire cooling racks

Makes 18 cookies
Each cookie: 97 calories, 4g fat, 1.5g protein, 17g carbs, 1g fibre, 70g sodium.

These lemon bars were a huge hit. The recipe came from an online friend whose delectable description of them made me demand the recipe. They are super-tangy and sweet and delicious, and my addition of whole wheat flour gives them a bit of texture and nutty flavour. Watch out, these are pucker-licious!

Lemon Bars

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup butter
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp ww flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup lemon juice – about 3 lemons

Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare crust: beat flour, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Press dough into 9in x 9in pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Prick crust with a fork and bake for 25 minutes.
Just before crust is done baking, prepare the filling: Beat ingredients for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. (Don’t make this ahead of time).
Pour filling onto hot crust, and bake 25 minutes more. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 20 bars.
For each bar: 119 calories, 5g fat, 2g protein, 17g carbs, 1g fibre, 70mg sodium.

And last but certainly not least, my personal favourite, coconutty yumminess in the form of macaroons. The recipe is from my mom, who has been making them as a Christmas treat for years. I left off the red and green glace cherry decorations and used craisins and cranberry-almond trail mix as the fruit and nut component, but you can use any dried fruit and nuts/seeds in this. Dates and walnuts, sour cherries and almonds, apricots and pecans, figs and cashews, the possibilities are endless. And a few mini-chocolate chips thrown in wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings either.

Cranberry Almond Macaroons

1 cup fancy shredded coconut
1 cup finely shredded coconut
1/2 can sweetened condensed skim milk*
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
3/4 cups cranberry-almond trail mix, finely chopped
1/2 cup craisins, chopped
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract

Add all ingredients to a large bowl a stir thoroughly.
Dollop teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bunch together with finger so the drop is solid.
Preheat oven to 300F.
Bake at 300F till lightly golden- about 25 min. They burn easily, so watch them during the last 10 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in oven for another 30 minutes. This prevents them from going soggy.

*If you realize at the last moment you don’t have any condensed milk, a perfect substitution is 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp dry skim milk, 6 Tbsp sugar, and 2 Tbsp hot water. Combine all and whisk or blend in blender until well combined (I had to give it a shot in the microwave to dissolve all the milk and sugar). Chill for 30 minutes to set.

Makes 25 cookies.

Per cookie: 106 calories, 4g fat, 2g protein, 16g carbs, 1g fibre, 40mg sodium

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce

This recipe represents my first entry for Light Bites, a cooking/ blogging group I joined. Every Friday we blog a recipe from Cooking Light, which just happens to be one of my favourite magazines. This week's recipe is Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce, woo a dish right up my alley! And I only did a few minor modifications ;). I added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to add a bit of tang with the sweetness, upped the bacon (because I agree with Pam ,you can never have too much bacon, though I did use the slightly leaner cut of side bacon) and I used locally raised chicken thighs instead of breasts. I have nothing against breasts, but recently had a bad chicken breast experience and so preferred to use the moister, more flavourful thighs. Also added a few herbs, cayenne, and thickened the sauce with a bit of cornstarch, as others who'd reviewed it mentioned it was too thin and I can't stand a thin sauce, the cornstarch was perfect and made it a lovely, glossy sauce.

Verdict? Two yums up! Appley, bacony deliciousness. The chicken pretty much just came along for the ride, but I'm glad it did. Since I got behind and have a massive box of tomatoes to salsify this evening, I just had the chicken straight up for dinner, but I think the suggested sides of wild rice and broccoli would be perfect.

Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce
adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 2

4 side bacon slices, chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 tsp each freshly ground black pepper, Herbs de Provence, and cayenne
1 onion, sliced
3/4 cup unsweetened apple cider
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Sesaon chicken with pepper, herbs,and cayenne and add chicken to drippings in pan. Cook 8 minutes on each side or until brown. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender and lightly carmelized, stirring occasionally. Add cider, broth, and bacon; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup (about 5 minutes). Add cornstarch and stir well to combine, when sauce had thickened add chicken back to pan. Cook for another 5 minutes or so to allow sauce to penetrate chicken.Serve with rice and broccoli, or if you have a vat of salsa to make, just chow it down.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Curried Chickpea Stew

With fall arriving, I have this urge to delve into comfort-food recipes and have been making soups,stews, and casseroles galore. This recipe originally came from a friend, and got morphed with a soup I tried at a restaurant last week and wanted to replicate. The result is belly-warming deliciousness. My dad would disagree, two of the foods he hates the most are yams and curry lol....this is the Anti-Dad Stew I guess! I've never been a big fan of curry myself, until recent years when I realized there are all sorts of different curries...I actually do like most of them.
I wanted to have red lentils in this stew to thicken it, but when I went to the pantry I discovered I was curry, meet quinoa. A nutritious alternative that worked quite well, I believe, but red lentils would be super too.

Curried Chickpea Stew
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 cup diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 yam, peeled and cut into 1” cubes (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, diced
1/3 cup quinoa or red lentils
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil and add onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté on medium heat until onion is translucent., about 10 min.
Add stock, yam, tomatoes, and curry powder. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, with lid offset, for one hour.
Add carrot and quinoa. Simmer for 30 more minutes.
Add chick peas and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in cilantro and add pepper to taste.

Crockpot directions:
Combine all ingredients except cilantro in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours. Season the stew with pepper and stir in cilantro.

Nutritional Information per serving: 248 calories, 3.7g fat, 10.2g protein, 42.8g carbs, 7.6g fibre, 552mg sodium.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Oat Maple Muffins

A friend and I were talking muffins a few weeks ago, and I asked her to share a recipe she had found for for Pumpkin Oat muffins. They sounded so delicious, and despite having never made this recipe before, I threw caution to the wind and made my own modifications on the first run. Ha! I am such a rebel. I am currently basking in the glory of muffin success, gloating over my incredible muffin skillz, and soaking up the muffin love from coworkers. Hey take it while you can get it eh! Tomorrow might bring some horrible mashed potato mishap or grilling disaster.

I admit I had to borrow this picture, as I did not have time to take one before the muffins were inhaled. I searched the internet far and wide to find a picture that looked like my muffins, and looked like a picture I would take. This is close, I even have that plate!

Now lets talk muffins. These little beauties are packed full of what a friend calls "West Coast healthiness". Spelt and whole wheat flour, oats, oat bran, ground flax, and pumpkin make up the foundation of these muffins, with added deliciousness from raw sugar and maple much so that I thought maple should get a front seat too! It's important to not overcook these, they have such wonderful moistness it would be sad to cook it away. I cut down the cooking time to 25 minutes and I think that was just perfect. Next time I might add something with texture, like apple bits or grated carrot or walnut peices. All would be awesome additions!

Pumpkin Oat Maple Muffins
modified from

•1 cup spelt flour
•1 cup whole wheat flour
•1/2 cup rolled oats
•2 Tbsp oat bran
•2 1/2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp baking soda
•1/4 tsp sea salt
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
•6 Tbsp raw sugar
•3 Tbsp maple syrup
•1 Tbsp flax meal
•3/4 cup low fat milk
•1 can (397ml) pumpkin
•2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
•1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
•2 Tbsp olive oil
•1 egg

•2 Tbsp raw sugar
•2 Tbsp rolled oats
•1 tsp olive oil
•pinch sea salt

1.Preheat oven to 375°F.
2.In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir through until well combined.
3.In another bowl, add the remaining wet ingredients, and stir through until well combined.
4.Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and gently fold and mix through, until just combined (do not over mix).
5.Spoon the mixture into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners.
6.In a small bowl, mix the sugar, oats, oil, and salt together with your fingers, and then sprinkle on top of each muffin.
7.Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutritional values: Each muffin is 166 calories, 4g fat, 5g protein, 31g carbs, 3g fibre, 100mg sodium.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mushroom-Jalapeno Bison Burgers

Ah, summer, time for grilling and drinking Caesars out on the patio. Is there anything more delectable than the smell of grilling meat wafting through the languid summer air? I don't think so. I also adore the smell of cut grass as a summer favourite, but it does not make me want to eat it. Grilling, however, turns me into a rabid dog whenever I pass a house with that unmatchable scent emanating from the yard.

These burgers will turn you into the envy of the in those old commercials for Johnsonville brats, I'd make enough to feed a crowd ;).

And if that isn't enough good press for you, these burgers are low in calories, low in fat, and extremely high in yumminess! You also get the benefit of grass-fed, hormone-free meat, as bison are raised in fields not pens. That also means they had a decent life, as livestock go. Yay! You can taste the happiness. The addition of mushrooms means that the meat is stretched further, replaced by the mighty mushroom - fat free, protein rich, moisture-lending,earthy-tasting goodness. The resulting burger is lean yet juicy and packed with flavour. Add some kick from jalapenos, and maybe a slice of sharp cheese and man oh man I will be knocking down your door at dinner time.

Mushroom-Jalapeno Bison Burgers
900g (two 1-lb packages) ground bison
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/2 egg
1/4C canned jalapenos, chopped
6 large or 12 small mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp salt
A few grinds of pepper (about ¼ tsp)

Sauté onions and mushrooms in a non-stick pan with some cooking spray until soft and mushrooms have released about half of their moisture, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with hands. Squish through fingers until all ingredients are well-combined, do not over-mix! Remember, every time you overmix a kitten dies.

Divide mixture into 8 equal portions and form into patties, pressing firmly. Refrigerate until ready to cook (this helps them firm up a bit). Grill or cook in non-stick fry-pan until cooked through and brown.

If you like cheese on your burgers, top with slices of cheese and allow these to melt before removing burgers from heat. Pop on a bun, whole wheat for me, and garnish how you like.

I don't have to tell you what to do next ,do I?

Nutritional info: Each burger patty is 152 calories, 5g fat, 25g protein, 3g carbs, 0g fibre, 220mg sodium.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thai Salad with Honey-Peanut-Lime dressing

This salad recipe is based on one from a lovely little cookbook I was given for Christmas last year. It's a Favourite Brand Name cookbook "3 books in one" with Chinese. Thai, and Japanese recipe sections. I love this book! And this recipe has no brand name items in it at all, same as many other recipes, so not sure why it's called Favourite Brand Names. Just as well! Apparently the recipe originally came from the National Honey Board, so it really gets around ;).

I've modified it, of course, I can never leave any recipe alone. One modification was including both Napa cabbage and romaine lettuce - the recipe had suggested either, which confused me as they are totally different things. I think including both makes it a cool coleslaw/salad morph. The dressing was way too sweet so I cut back on the honey (that it came from the Honey Board is now making sense!)and added extra lime juice for more tang. Also, I used basil instead of mint, but I think mint would be wonderful too. A few other changes and voila, a salad that has gotten rave reviews every time I make it!

You can add some chicken to it for a full meal deal, I've included the recipe for honey-lime glazed chicken as well. Enjoy!

Thai Salad with Honey-Peanut-Lime Dressing
1/2 head Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into cute little crescent-moons
2 medium carrots, matchsticked
1/3 cup sliced red onion
2 small oranges, peeled and cut into segments (or suprêmes, if you are fancy)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

5 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or mint
1 Tbsp minced jalapeno
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp lime zest

Whisk together dressing ingredients until well-combined. Pour over salad ingredients and toss to coat.

Nutritional values: Makes about 10 cups of salad. For each cup: 99 calories, 4g fat, 2.7g protein, 14.2g carbs, 2g fibre, 42mg sodium.

Variation: Add Honey-lime chicken: Combine 4 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp jalapeno, 1 clove minced garlic. Add 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, toss to coat and let sit in fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Grill on medium heat for 15 minutes, turning once, or until no longer pink inside. Let rest. When cool enough to handle,pull into shreds.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pasta L'estate

This dish sings with the bright summery flavours of dill and lemon, balanced with the briney saltiness of capers mellowed in a tangy wine sauce. Is that flowery enough for you? I can't help myself, this dish inspires poetic thoughts!

Regularly, I am not a big fan of white pasta. I wish I could get whole wheat tortellini, because sometimes nothing but tortellini will do! One day I will make a bunch myself and freeze them for future use. In the meantime, I have a shameful little bag of white flour tortellini lurking in my pantry. By weight, it's slightly lower in calories than other dried pastas, I guess because the stuffing is less calorie-dense.

This dish could be modified to use any whole wheat pasta, but today we are looking at spinach and ricotta tortellinis in all their white flour glory. I used a very small portion and and pumped the dish up with tons of shrimp and asparagus, low-cal powerhouses loaded with protein and nutrients, respectively. I wanted a sauce that didn't add a lot of extra calories or richness, something light and summery, and one of my absolute favourite flavour combinations is lemon, capers, and dill. So in they all went to create a lusciously lovely summer pasta dish. I looked up "summer" in Italian just to name this dish ;).

Sherylyn's Pasta L'estate

1/2C dry pasta (corn or rice pasta for GF)
1 clove garlic, crushed
10 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 2" peices
1/4C chopped onion (I used spanish onions from my balcony, exciting!)
1/4C frozen peas (fresh would be awesome)
200g frozen peeled and deveined shrimp
2 Tbsp snipped dill
1/4C dry white wine
1/4C low-sodium chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp capers
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated

Boil pasta as directed. In the meantime, heat a wok on medium-high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Add garlic and onion, sauté for one minute. Add asparagus and saute for another minute. Add chicken broth and stir occasionally until broth is nearly evaporated. Asparagus should be al dente at this point.

Things are going to move very quickly from this point. Add shrimp, dill, peas, lemon, capers and pepper. Sauté until shrimp is pink, maybe one minute. Remove vegetables and shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl,leaving behind liquid, add half the wine and simmer. Allow the liquid to reduce to a couple of tablespoons, then add the cornstarch dissolved in the reserved wine. It will thicken very quickly, stir contstantly until it's a thick paste and add the vegetables and shrimp back in. Add the parmesan as well and toss to coat.

Nutritional values: 436 calories, 11.8g fat, 43g protein, 38.7g carbs, 7.3g fibre, 900g sodium.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

I've never made a veggie burger. Heck, I never even tried one until this year. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around a burger that isn't meat. I love meat! Why take out the meat?? Meat can be lean, meat is tasty and has more protein than any veggies could dream of having. But,people sure seem to like them, so I gave one a try at a place renouned for their veggie burger, Rebar restaurant in Victoria. It was fabulous! Even so, it took me a while to get going on making one for myself, though I've been compling recipes galore...lentil-quinoa, mushroom-pecan-rice, black bean, and a zillion different flavour combinations. Today, I decided to embrace the bean.

Black beans are full of fibre and nutrients, and have some protein too. Not like a pork chop or anything...but some. And combined with a whole grain, they form a complete protein. I do love the little guys in chili and burritos and soups and salsa, so why not a burger? I combined a few recipes for maximum flavour and a bean-rice-nut combo that sounded good to me, and put my own spin on it. The resulting mash was a little scary, I admit. I formed it into patties that were disturbingly mushy..there was no way these would make it on the grill. Instead, I pan-fried them with a little cooking spray. All I can say is thank goodness for non-stick pans. The gooey rounds did brown nicely and seemed to firm up a bit....I tasted a little corner to see what the situation was. Hmm tasty, but sandwiching it in a bun seemed foodhardy; as others had warned me, black bean patties are quite mushy and will likely just squish out if bitten in a bun. However slapping it on a plate was not at all appealing...what to do. I decided to place them open-faced on a half bun with some cheese on top and bake it to melt the cheese and get the bun crispy, like I do with sloppy joes. Filled with trepidation, I pulled them out of the oven, two little soldiers all covered in cheese and smelling yummy. At first bite, I fell in love. OMG. These taste like MORE...the only problem with them was stopping at just two. I don't know how to describe the taste, but if I tried it would include spicy and savoury and delicious...and the cheese is essential. I cannot emphasize enough how important the melted cheese is. Make these. You'll thank me!

Sherylyn's Spicy Black Bean Burgers
1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight
1/2 cup whole-grain rice (I used a blend that had black, red, brown, and green rices in it as well as some other grains)
1/2 cup spicy Clamato juice
1 Tbsp flax meal
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Cook the beans according to directions, then drain, reserving 2 Tbsp of liquid. Add that to the flax meal in a small bowl and mix. Cook the rice in the Clamato juice and 1/2 cup water and cool.

Combine all the ingredients and pulse in a food processor until everything is uniformly combined but not pasty (I used a food grinder and ran it all through using the coarse grind plate).Form into 6 patties. At this point it would be to your advantage to refrigerate them for a while to firm up; I just plunged ahead.

Heat a frying pan on medium heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the patty tops too. Slide the patties into the pan and cook for about 8 minutes per side, until brown and crispy-ish on the outside. Careful with the flipping, they are pretty squishy.

Place a patty on half of a whole wheat bun, and top with sharp cheddar. Bake at 400 for about 6 minutes, just until bun is crisp and cheese is bubbly.

Enjoy! Totally worth the effort.

Nutritional values: Each patty has 135 calories, 4g fat, 4.4g prtein, 22.8g carbs, 3g fibre, and 100ish mg sodium.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Appies 101

I am calling this post "Appies 101" because these little morsels are embarassingly simple to make. Gosh they are sure are pretty though, eh?

If you can hollow out stuff and stuff bits of stuff into other stuff, you can make these. I am not writing them up as proper recipes, it's really not necessary as you'll see. Exact amounts are not needed; what IS needed is patience for all the mini stuffing, and self-control not to eat them all up as you go!

Caprese Bites

So named because they are basically a one-bite caprese salad. Just cut the tops off of a bunch of cherry tomatoes and hollow them out. Season with a little salt and pepper, then stuff in a basil leaf and a pearl bocconcini. Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I used a dropper to get just a drop on each). Repeat for as many times as you can stand; these little guys will be VERY popular and go fast!

Cucumber Cups Stuffed with Herbed Cream Cheese

Cut an English cucumber into 1.5" slices. Using a melon baller, hollow each one out, removing the seeds but not all the way through (leave a "bottom" on them). Mix together cream cheese, chopped fresh dill, chives, parsley (whatever you've got as long as it includes dill, dill is KEY here), and a smidge of minced garlic, dehydrated onion or onion powder, salt and pepper. If you can let the mix sit in the fridge overnight, even better. Just before serving time, stuff a teaspoon or so into each cucumber cup, and garnish with a sprig of dill.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Published at last!

Hi folks
Just wanted to crow about having some of my food pics published at last! There is a new website that has accepted my submissions. If you visit the site you might recognize some of the food as mine! So excited and proud!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trail Mix Cookies

These cookies are adapted from a Clean Eating recipe...I was skeptical that one could make a whole batch of cookies with the only fat being one tablespoon of nut butter, but it worked great! I tried a few different versions before settling on this one. It's a pretty flexible recipe, as long as you keep the same proportions of liquid to dry. I added in a bunch of seeds and nuts cuz that's just how I roll. What you end up with is a deliciously crunchy cookie that is healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Well, almost!

Have you tried these yet? If not, you really should!

Trail Mix Cookies

1 1/4C wild oats
1/2C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp finely chopped walnuts
1/4C dark chocolate chips
1/2C golden syrup (or honey or agave syrup)
1 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla
olive oil cooking spray

Combine the dry ingredients (oats through chocolate chips) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until well-combined. Add them to the dry ingredients and stir it all together. Form into 20 cookies (about one heaping tablespoon each)and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil. If you like a flat, crisp cookie, flatten them out to desired thickness, as they don't flatten during cooking at ALL. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Nutritional values: For one cookie (1/20 of recipe): 97 calories, 3.2g fat, 2.6g protein, 15.9g carbs, 1.5g fibre, 50g sodium.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cranberry Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers are the absolute best kind of burgers, in my humble opinion. I never make beef ones, but do make bison ones once in a while, which are also good. I just love the versatility of turkey though; you can add all sorts of different flavours to dress it up. These ones taste like Thanksgiving, if Thanksgiving was a summer BBQ!

I like to use ground turkey thigh. If you are fancy like me, you can grind it up yourself in your meat grinder. I just looooove being able to do that, as I know there is nothing in the ground meat but turkey thigh, no skin or fat bits or goodness knows what else. However, that said, the ground turkey packets are perfectly fine for this. I don't recommend using breast meat as it dries up too much, and there are no other moisteners in this recipe.

I am leaving the recipe as I'd regularly do it, with just the turkey thigh, but yesterday (due to availablity issues) we did them with a combination of mild Italian turkey sausage, chicken breast, and chicken thigh, and they were FABULOUS. The extra fat content in the sausage balanced out the chicken breast, so all was well in Yummyland.

Cranberry Turkey Burgers

500g (about 1 lb) lean ground turkey thigh
1/8C chopped onion
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C dried cranberries
1 Tbsp A-1 sauce or BBQ sauce
1 tsp each fresh thyme and sage, chopped (or 1/2 tsp each of dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients well, but do not overmix (will makes meat tough). Form into 4 patties (this makes large patties, you could also make 6 medium ones or 8 sliders) and refrigerate until ready to grill, at least ½ hour. Grill on BBQ or use stovetop method.

Stovetop method: Preheat a frying pan on medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and place burgers in pan, patties should not touch. Cook on both sides until browned and cooked throughout, about 8 minutes per side.

These are lovely with a slice of havarti cheese melted on top, served on a whole wheat bun with dijon mustard, mayo, lettuce leaves, and maybe some red onion. I would not use stronger-tasting condiments, as they would overpower the delicate cranberry and sage flavours.

TIP from my mom: Roughly chop the craisins to get a more even distribution and release the cranberry goodness.

Nutritional values: for each large burger patty, there are 194 cals, 6g fat, 24g protein, 8g carbs, 1g fibre, 292mg sodium. With bun, cheese, and condiments, mine came to 400 calories. Add a salad and you've got a perfect summer meal!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Orange-Ginger Glazed Pork Medallions

Tenderloin of pork is such a wonderful meat. Lean, nutritious, and yet so...tender. Aptly named, I guess! This recipe is based on one I clipped from a food magazine many moons was about healthy takes on comfort foods. I am not sure I'd consider this a comfort food, or even all that healthy of a recipe; the healthiness can really be attributed to the type of meat itself rather than working any healthy magic. It's really yummy though, and overall a good choice for dinner. Really quick too!

Orange-Ginger Glazed Pork Medallions
adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook Issue April 2008

400g pork tenderloin (about one medium-sized tenderloin)
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp siratcha or other hot sauce

Cut pork into medallions about 1.5" thick and season both sides of each one with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and and coat with olive oil cooking spray. Place pork medallions in, leaving room between each one, they don't like to be crowded. Brown on both sides. By the time they are well-browned they should also be cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. While they are cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl. Remove the pork from the pan and put on a plate to rest. Dump the bowl of marmalade mixture into the still-hot pan, this will deglaze it and let the sauce simmer down until it's thickened, maybe 3 minutes. Put the pork and any juices on the plate into the pan with the sauce; toss the medallions around to coat. Done and done!

I like to serve this with a quinoa pilaf, ideally with extra sauce to drizzle over the pilaf...but that's optional! Serves two hungry people.

Nutritional values: For half the recipe: 316 calories, 8.9g fat, 12.2g protein, 16g carbs, 0 fibre, 200mg sodium.

And because I thought it was funny, here is a picture of my actual non-styled dinner including the massive pile of greens that dwarf the medallions:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Enchiladas! Olé!

Please excuse the photo. It's mine lol. This is what happens when you take food out of the oven 10 minutes before it's done to take pictures. I promise to fully cook it next time and replace this sad picture with one that shows bubbling, melty cheese and browned tortilla edges.

Mexican food is one of my favourite cuisines, certainly in the top 5. And Taco Bell does not count as real Mexican food, in my books....loses something in the translation. When I first had authentic Mexican food, it was a revelation. Unusual, complex, warm flavours and real comfort food. Over the years my own style has evolved a bit towards more authentic south-of-the-border flavours, but is still definitely on the side of a North-Americanized version...though I do like it spicy!

These enchiladas are lower fat, higher protein and just plain fun. You can mix and match the fillings; I have four presented here, but DO NOT be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and instructions!! You can pick and choose one or a couple or do all of them at once. They freeze well, so are great for making up individual lunches, and make delicious next-day leftovers as well. It's an awesome way to use up leftover roasted chicken, too.

As cool as these are, the real star in my opinion is the guacamole. Once again my favourite Biobest yogurt steps up to the plate to make a truly special addition to a great meal. The guacamole is made lower in fat and $$ by stretching out the avocado with the yogurt. Yes, avocados are good fat, and should be a part of a healthy diet, but eating a whole avocado at a time is about 260 calories. You can have a lot more for a lot less with the yogurt added in, and trust me, the flavour does not fact it's improved and has a lighter feel to it.

Enchiladas with Chicken, Peppers, Beans, and Creamy Cheese Fillings

Makes 12 enchiladas, which is 4-6 servings
These enchiladas have chicken, beans, sautéed peppers, and a creamy cheese inside. You can mix and match two or three of these, or use all of them at once, it’s up to you!

1 leftover roasted chicken with about ½ the meat left, OR three or four pieces of roasted chicken, dark and/or white meat
1 C grated cheddar cheese
12 corn tortillas

For the pepper mixture:
2 large or 3 medium bell peppers
1 large onion
2 jalapeno peppers, 2 cerrano peppers, or any hot peppers of your choosing
½ tsp each of cumin, chilli powder
¼ tsp each of salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper

For the bean mixture (OR use a can of refried beans with chillies):
1 can of mixed beans
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp each of cumin and chilli powder

For the cheese mixture:
½ small tub light cream cheese
¾ C plain yogurt, drained to ½ C, OR ½ C light sour cream
¼ C of pepper mixture

For the sauce:
1 small can of crushed tomatoes
Hot sauce to taste

1.Prepare pepper mixture: Chop onions and peppers into a small dice. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and sauté the vegetables on medium heat until they are soft and lightly browned. Remove from heat and put into a bowl, set aside.

2.Prepare bean mixture: Spray same frying pan with cooking spray and add garlic. Once it is sizzling, add beans and mash with a fork or potato masher while stirring, until coarsely mashed. Cook for two minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

3.Pull chicken meat apart into shreds, set aside.

4.Grate cheddar cheese into a bowl and set aside.

5.Prepare cheese mixture: Put cream cheese in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the yogurt and ¼ C of the pepper mixture and stir to combine.

6.Prepare the sauce: In a bowl, mix together half of remaining pepper mixture and the can of crushed tomatoes. Blend with an immersion blender (or in a blender). Add hot sauce to taste.

7.Assemble: Pour 1/3 of the sauce into a large baking dish (like a lasagne pan) and spread to cover the bottom. On a plate or cutting board, lay out four tortillas and spoon a portion of each chicken, bean mixture, pepper mixture, and cheese mixture. Roll up and set in pan seam side down. Continue with remaining tortillas, laying them all in rows in the pan, preferably in a single layer. Cover with remaining sauce and the grated cheddar cheese.

8.Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes, just until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and lightly browned.

9.Optional items to serve with: sour cream or plain yogurt, chopped green onions, salsa, chopped tomatoes or shredded lettuce. And, of course, guacamole!

Nutritional values: for a serving of two fully loaded enchiladas: 346 calories, 7g fat, 24g protein, 44g carbs, 3g fibre, 580mg sodium.

Sherylyn's Famous Light Guacamole:

1 ripe avocado
equal amount of Biobest yogurt (about 1/3C but will depend on size of avocado)
juice of 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
two grinds of black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed - optional (I actually prefer it without)

Remove the avocado flesh from the skin and stone, and roughly chop. Put into a flat-bottomed bowl and mash with a fork until mostly smooth but with some texture. Add yogurt, lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic if using, and combine with the fork. Done! So simple and lightly, deliciously fresh-tasting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A story about bamboo shoots

This isn't a recipe post, I just wanted to tell you guys about an awesome thing I just discovered; fresh bamboo shoots are a-mazing!

I am lucky enough to live somewhere with a large asian population, and therefore a very well-stocked Chinatown. The little grocers carry everything from gooeyduck to lemongrass. A few weeks ago I came across a strange-looking item that the sign said was bamboo shoot. I have wanted to try it, espcially since I saw a recipe for kung pao chicken that called for it cut into little squares, and that seemed so much more appealing than the canned strips. Don't get me wrong, I have love for the canned strips. They are nearly calorie free and packed with fibre, and make an excellent addition to asian soup and stir-fries. But I could not turn down the opportunity to try the fresh version!

So I bought one and took it home. I was uncertain of how to handle it, and the poor thing ended up sitting in my vegetable drawer for a couple weeks. Then last week I was cleaning out the fridge and it was do or die time for my little bamboo shoot. I put it on a cutting board and weilded a large knife; no, that would not be the way to approach this creature. It needed a more delicate touch. I peeled the tough layers off the outside, using a paring knife to remove them at the stem, peeled and peeled and peeled until there was nothing left but a pale, naked, tender centre. This I chopped into little cubes, and proudly surveyed my work. Not without trepidation though; the smell was a little disturbing. Let's just say it smelled like something you don't expect or want your food to smell like. I was a little put off and scared, so I threw it in a tupperware with some salted water, like it comes in the cans, and banished it to the fridge once more.

Today I was feeling brave and pulled it out to make kung pao chicken.I threw it in with the rest of the veggies, unsure of how much cooking it would need if anything. At least it didn't smell weird anymore. After a few minutes of cooking, I sampled a peice to see how it was cooking...

and let me just say YUM. YUM-O. Deliciously tender yet crunchy, very mildly bamboo-y, it mostly just tasted like the sauce. But the texture was SO lovely. It added the perfect element to the dish, with the chicken and chewy noodles and tender veggies. I will definately be getting this again!

Also, as a side note, I recently tried fresh water chestnuts too. They are also WAY better than the canned ones, so crunchy and juicy and taste a bit like coconut. Who knew? Wht great fun to try new things, and how lucky am I to have these so afforadably available.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Coconut-Lime Meringue Cupcakes

I bet you are thinking, Wow have her photography skills ever improved since last post! Nope, I just had to borrow a picture from another, much more talented food photographer as I did not get a chance to take a picture of my cupcakes before they were inhaled by coworkers. I did have one lonely cupcake to bring home, but well there was a sudden sunshower, a lack of umbrella, and a fear of ruining hairdo so my cupcake carrier ending up subbing as umbrella and the poor last little cupcake got a little mangled in the process. Just imagine this is what my cupcakes looked like, except greener...for St. Patty's Day!

These cupcakes were a huge hit. Everyone raved about the lime curd, which was my own invention. The cupcakes were inspired by a fellow food blogger's Lemon Merigue Cupcakes, and a love of that song that goes "put de lime in de coco-nut". Lime and coconut, what a delicious combo! So I morphed together a modified lemon curd recipe from Cooking Light magazine, a recipe for Swiss meringue from Martha Stewart, and a recipe for low-fat chocolate cupcakes that I modified to coconut instead. Lots of modifying, which can end up distastrous, but these were pure success! The lime curd was the big star, so tart and tangy and a perfect foil for the coconutty cake and sweet meringue. So much taste got packed in there it pushed out lots of calories ;)...they ended up being just 147 per sweet delicious wonderful cupcake. A few people commented that the petite size was the perfect amount.

Coconut-Lime Meringue Cupcakes

For the cake batter:
1 2/3C cake flour, preferably whole wheat
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2C raw sugar
1/4C applesauce
1 egg, separated
1 egg white
1 T oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C light coconut milk
1 C skim milk
2 tsp coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners (I use silicone ones). Combine flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Beat the sugar with the applesauce, egg yolk, oil and vanilla.

Beat egg whites until fluffy.

Stir in flour mixture into applesauce mixture alternately with milk until just combined. Fold in egg whites. Pout the batter into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden on top and toothpick comes out clean.

For the Lime Curd:
1/3C raw sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
pinch salt
1/3C freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 large juicy lime. It's hard to tell which ones will be juicy, so I'd have back-up limes just in case.)
2 egg yolks
2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp lime zest

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan andwhisk in juice and egg yolks. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, a simmer one minute (it should thicken nicely). Remove from heat, add butter and lime zest. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature before using.

For the Swiss meringue:
1/4C raw sugar
1 egg white
1 tsp lime juice

Combine the ingerdients in the metal bowl of your mixer, andsuspend over a pan of simmering water, stirring until sugar is dissolved (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer to mixer stand, beating wit whisk attachment on medium for 10 minutes then on high for 10 to 15 minutes, or until glossy and high peaks form.

Assemble: Cut a shallow reservoir into the top of each cupcake, removing a 1/2 cm disc. Fill each reservoir with about 1 Tbsp of lime curd. Put meringue into piping bag and pipe onto each cupcake, or simply spoon a dollop on and form into peaks by whacking lightly with the back of a spoon. If you have a blowtorch, singe the meringue a bit, if not just leave them white. They are super-cute either way!Refrigerate until ready to devour.

Did you make it through all these steps (whew!)? Trust me, it's worth it.

Nutritional values per cupcake: 147 calories, 3g fat, 3g protein, 27g carbs, 1g fibre, 120mg sodium.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Peanut Butter and Honey Baked Oatmeal

I've never been keen on oatmeal. I remember having to eat it as a kid, to sustain us through the frigid prairie winter was ok but I preferred Fruit Loops, you know? As an adult, I have only experienced the packet-version of oatmeal, those sugary sludgey boil-in-a-cup things that I never found very sustaining at all. I wondered what all the hoopla was about oatmeal being so filling and whatnot. Then I realized those packets were not really oatmeal at all; well only as much oatmeal as, say, cheez whiz is cheese. Time to try some of the real stuff.

I've been seeing a lot of baked oatmeal recipes around lately, and that sounds better to me than the gluey potfuls I remember from childhood, so I thought I'd give one a go. I ended up using several recipes and creating a hybrid of them. My very own Franken-oatmeal. All it needs is a brain and it is ready to take over the world, muah ha ha! It's hearty and filling and warms the belly, and the brown sugar crust gives each spoonful a hit of sweetness without the whole dish being over-sweetened. And it totally passed the late-morning hungries test. I didn't even notice it was lunchtime until 12:30! That doesn't happen often for me. So two thumbs up on the Baked Oatmeal: one for taste, one for sustainability.

This recipe makes two hearty portions. If you prefer a smaller breakfast, you could easily make this into three portions instead.

Peanut Butter and Honey Baked Oatmeal

1 C wild or rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 C milk (I used 1%)
1/2C water
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp honey
2 tsp demerera sugar

Preheat oven to 375F and spray two large ramekins with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat egg, milk, water, peanut butter, and honey together. Add oats and cinnamon and combine well.Pour into ramekins, dividing evenly, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tsp demerera sugar and broil until sugar melts and bubbles, about 90 seconds. Serve with extra milk.

Nutritional values: 430 calories, 13.5g fat, 19.6g protein, 60.2g carbs, 7g fibre, 176mg sodium.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken with Shirataki Noodles

I first heard of Shirataki noodles some time ago, but was skeptical of them. They are an asian-style noodle that come in fettucine shape and spagetti shape, and are only 20 calories per serving (comparable to a serving of regular pasta that's 200 calories). How can they make them so low-cal? What could be in these freak noodles?? I have never been one for "fake foods", so I was not terribly interested until I discovered they are actually an all-natural food, made from the root of a plant with some tofu thrown in to improve the consistency (they are rather chewy). They are high in fibre and so keep you feeling full for a good long time. Some complaints I had heard about them were that they were fishy-smelling,rubbery, and generally unappetizing. The good press seemed to focus mainly on the calorie count, so I was not very optimistic about results. Well I have to say, I LOVE these noodles! I love the chewiness, and I find that when you follow the prep directions carefully, the odd fishy smell is completely removed and they are a blank slate for whatever flavour you put on them. I don't think I will be using them as a pasta replacement; pasta (whole wheat for me) has it's place in a healthy diet, too. But sometimes you just want a nice protein-filled dish without too many carbs but still with some bulk to it and a good vehicle for sauce.

My variation of Kung Pao Chicken is just that. If you want to make it a more balanced meal, feel free to replace the Shirataki noodles with some other noodles, like whole-wheat spagettini or rice noodles, or even omit the noodles completely and serve it over a bed of brown rice. It's really versatile that way. Oh and delicious; don't forget delicious!!

Kung Pao Chicken with Shirataki Noodles

1 lb. skinless chicken thigh meat, cubed
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking sherry or red wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
6 dried red chili pepppers, sliced
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can bamboo shoots
1 large carrot, diced or sliced
1 stalk celery, diced or sliced
1 small onion, sliced
8 mushrooms, quartered
1 small red pepper, diced
1 package Shirataki noodles** or cooked brown rice
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews, roasted and unsalted
2 stalks green onions, sliced

2 T low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp cornstarch
Mix together in a small bowl.

Make the kung pao chicken: Mix the chicken with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, cooking sherry, and sesame oil. Let sit for 30 minutes. Heat a wok, sauté pan, or large frying pan on high heat. When hot, spray with cooking spray and add the chicken and stir-fry until browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken the from pan to a bowl. Add oil into pan and toss in the ginger, garlic, and red peppers, stirring until the oil is fragrant. Add the veggies and stir for several minutes, then toss in chicken, bamboo shoots, and noodles if using. Pour in the sauce and continue to stir-fry until the chicken is coated and veggies are tender-crisp. Add the green onions, stir, sprinkle with nuts and serve hot.If not using the noodles, serve over rice.

You don't have to put the nuts on. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

Makes two very generous servings.

Nutritional values: For shirataki noodle version without nuts: 426 calories, 12.6g fat, 46.4g protein, 28.6g carbs, 5.4g fibre, 570mg sodium.

**VERY IMPORTANT Instructions for making the Shirataki noodles palatable: Drain package into a colander and rinse well with water. Throw noodles into a large bowl and microwave for 1.5 minutes (or put in boiling water for one minute). Drop back into colander and rinse again. When you think they are well-rinsed, rinse some more. Then put them back into the bowl, fill with fresh water, and swish around for a minute or two. Drain again and rinse some more. When you are starting to feel horribly guilty about all the water wastage, they are finally done. Drain well and drop them onto a bed of paper towels and pat dry (after all that water, you will feel guilty about the paper towel wastage too, but I can't help you with that.) Now they are squeaky clean, dry, and ready for use!

If this seems too terrible and labour-intensive to contemplate, go ahead and make some brown rice instead.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roasted Herbed Root Vegetables

It was a chilly, damp bike ride home today, so I was craving warm comfort food. This dish of starchy veggies fit the bill....comfort does not have to mean bad for you! Yams, parsnips and onions combined to form sweet roasty goodness packed with vitamins, and filled the kitchen with delectable smells. I ate this with a grilled pork loin chop and some lemon-roasted asparagus I had tucked in beside the other veggies. With just one bowl for mixing and one pan for roasting, clean up was a breeze. Gotta like that!

Roasted Herbed Root Vegetables

1 large yam
1 large parsnip
1 small onion
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp herbs de Provence or Italian herbs
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Clean the yam and parsnip with a vegatable brush. Do not peel, the richest concentration of vitamins is just under the skin!* Chop all the vegetables into one-inch chunks and toss into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to coat. Turn out onto a large baking pan or cookie sheet,spreading out...these guys like lots of space to do their thing. Bake in a 400 oven for 30 minutes, turning with spatula after 15. Easy peasy! Makes two servings.

*Unless your parsnip is old and growing hair like mine was, in which case by all means, peel, ew.

Nutritional values: One serving (1/2 of recipe) is 318 calories, 4.6g fat, 3.9g protein, 66g carbs, 10.5g fibre, 300mg sodium.

These veggies are absolutely delicious served with my green onion, herb, and yogurt dip (just combine 1/2C yogurt with 2 tsp reduced-fat mayo, 1 finely chopped green onion,1T chopped dill or other herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. If you like a thck dip, drain the yogurt for an hour before combining).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Multi-grain English Muffins

I've been wanting to try my hand at homemade English muffins for a while now. Why? Who knows. To see if I could, I guess. And because I have heard they are way better than store-bought. And because I wanted to make them multi-grain.So I got up early on Sunday morning ad whipped up a batch for breakfast....they turned out great! I'm so proud. Look at those lovely golden pillowy babies! They were delicious, too.

I based my recipe on Alton Brown's from the Food Network. I love his show, they way he teaches about the science of food. The recipe sounded easy and did not require a lot of rising time, so I gave it a go, and would recommend it...with a few adjustments, of course! I cut back the sugar, used multi-grain flour instead of white, and changed a few of the instructions to produce a better final product.

English Muffins
adapted from Alton Brown's

1/2C non-fat powdered milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp shortening
1/2C hot water
1/2C cold water
2 tsp quick-rise yeast
1/8 tsp sugar
1/3C warm water
240g (2 scant cups) multi-grain bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
non-stick vegetable spray
cormeal for dusting

In a bowl combine the powdered milk and cold water. In another bowl, combine the hot water, , 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Combine with the milk water and whisk briefly. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the milk mixture. Add the flour and baking soda and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast-iron pan to to 300 degrees F (med-low heat)and the oven to 350F.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings* onto the pan and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Sprinkle cornmeal onto pan and place 2 spoonfuls into each ring, filling to about 2/3. Cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip with metal spatula. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Romove the metal rings and place on a baking tray, bake for another 6 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Split with fork and serve. Makes 8 muffins.

*If you don't have metal rings, tuna cans with both ends cut off works well.I did two at a time and cycled them through the pan and oven, two by two like Noah's ark.

Nutritional values: each muffin has 137 calories, 2g fat, 6.3g protein, 24.8g carbs, 2g fibre, 332mg sodium.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Brandied Chicken Paté with Green Peppercorns

Yesterday after work I went to the grocery store to buy some liver. Now before you think I've gone off my rocker (ewwww does anyone really like liver?) let me tell you why. I got it stuck in my head to make my own paté. I love paté, but I don't love all the fat they put in it, plus the best paté comes from the sausage guy at Granville Island who does not have nutritional values provided, so who knows how many calories are in it. Don't get me wrong, I still intend to have that as a treat once in a rare while, but when I came across this recipe for Lightened Up Paté I totally thought, I can do that. It involves a 1:1 ratio of chicken livers and chicken thighs, no pork fat or chicken fat at all (though I did add a tablespoon of cream to give it a nicer texture). Healthy, really, since liver is very high in iron and other nutrients, as is chicken thigh meat, and they are both pretty good calorie-wise. Now I have never bought chicken livers in my life, nevermind cooked them, but I really wanted to try this. So I thought I'd suck it up and just do it, and if it was a disaster, I bet my cat would like it! I purchased said livers, and said chicken thighs, and cooked them all up according to the directions (apparently liver should still be light pink in the centre, I had to keep mushing them up to check, man it took a long time to cook those things!), cooked up the onions and some garlic to go in, added some other touches of my own, blended it all up and voila, paté! Delicious paté, too!! How totally exciting!

Brandied Chicken Paté with Green Peppercorns
adapted from Lightened Up Chicken Paté with Brandy at

200g chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
200g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" peices
2 tsp olive oil
1/2C finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper, black or blend
2 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp brandy
1 Tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp green peppercorns

First prepare your chicken livers and thighs, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high and add oil, onions, and garlic. Season with remaining salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chicken livers and continue to cook until livers are seared on the outside and light pink on the inside (do not overcook). Transfer to a bowl or food processor.

In the same pan, add the thighs and sauté until they are browned, then add wine and simmer until cooked throughout and wine is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add the thighs and the remaining ingredients to the bowl of liver and onions. Using either a food processor or a handblender, pulse until mixture is smooth and uniform. Transfer to a vessel of your choosing and chill for at least 2 hours. I went with plastic-wrap-lined ramekins (fills three small ramekins) because I intend to freeze two of them. Using the plastic wrap means you can just pop it out and invert it cleanly onto a plate.

Serve with slices of baguette (I bought a multigrain ficelle and it's perfect with this), crackers or any GF cracker for those with gluten intolerance, cornichons, and hey remember that bottle of wine you had to open to use 2 stinkin' tablespoons in this recipe? Well that wine would go awfully nice with this too ;).

Nutritional values: for 1/6 of recipe (about 4 Tbsp): 95 calories,3.5g fat, 10.8g protein, 1.4g carbs, .2g fibre, 144mg sodium.

Not bad considering store-bought paté is around 160 cals/14g fat for the same amount!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lemon Chicken

For as much chicken as I eat, I can't believe I only have one chicken recipe on here so far! So, here is another to tempt your palate...tangy,sweet Lemon Chicken. I adapted this recipe from one my mom used to make, that one involved breading and frying and simmering in the crock-pot for hours and hours. I cut back on the added sugar and fat as well as the chicken skin, and made it much more time-efficient too!

Lemon Chicken

6 chicken legs, skin removed
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
1/4C frozen lemonade
1/4C vinegar
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp demerera sugar (or brown)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
juice of one lemon

Place the chicken legs in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish, and bake in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the chicken and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, basting the legs with sauce twice during cooking.

Serve with brown rice. If you put some rice on to cook right before you put the chicken in the oven, they will be done at the same time. Gotta like that.

Serves 2
Nutritional Values (for half the recipe): 304 calories, 5.4g fat, 27.5g protein, 36g carbs, 0 fibre, 450mg sodium.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hot and Miso Soup

I love a good bowl of Japanese miso soup. I also love Hot and Sour Soup, I think it's Chinese. There are elements of each soup that I adore, like the spiciness and thickness of Hot and Sour, and the tang and depth of flavour of Miso. So, I decided to do a soup morph...Hot and Sour, meet Miso... muah ha ha, two cultures unite to form one Super-Soup!!! Also this soup is a rich source of very low-fat proteins, and it's insane how much of this soup you can eat for very few calories. It is very quick and easy to make. It fills you up and warms your belleh!

Hot and Miso Soup

6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 square rice vermicelli noodles
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Sambal Olek (chili-garlic paste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 C mushrooms, sliced
170g (half a package) medium tofu, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 bunch gai lan or other dark leafy greens, chopped
200g raw shrimp or prawns
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 green onions, sliced

Heat the broth and add the next 7 ingredients (up to tofu). Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then add the greens and prawns. Simmer one minute and then gently swirl in the egg whites. Garnish with green onions. Makes three generous portions, great for lunches!

Nutritional Values: 164 calories, 4g fat, 20g protein, 11g carbs, 1g fibre, 900g sodium. Yeah the sodium is high, sometimes you just have to deal and drink lots of water.

Alternative ingredients: Sometimes I also add bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, broccoli, or shredded cabbage.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cajun Basa and Swiss Chard

Go Fish!

This post represents Whats for Eats on Day 2 of Fish Challenge 2010, which fulfills this week's quota of vegetarian or pescetarian meals. Superstah! It's also a two-fer-one, fish and a side!

This was the yummiest meal! I crispy-coated the basa (you might recognize this technique from my crispy-coated chicken thighs post, works just as good here) using lots of spicy goodness and an egg-white wash for extra crispiness. This was the first time I've had swiss chard, and I was slightly underwhelmed. Not sure what I was expecting...I had just tried kale for the first time a few years ago and loved it, and two years ago discovered the AMAZING deliciousness of cabbage sprouts (they are only available for a few weeks in the spring - almost time!!) so I guess I was expecting to be blown away. It's so pretty, but turns out pretty does not mean yummy. Don't get me wrong, it was tasty and I felt very virtuous eating something so healthy, but to be honest the best part was the feta cheese. Heh. Anyway the fish was the real star of this meal. My portion was about double what's in the picture, and still came in under 300 cals including the breading. Cool eh! And it's just so yummy I could eat it every day, really makes me wonder why I haven't been eating more fish! The recipe below is for one person, so just multiply by however many people you are cooking for.

Cajun Basa and Swiss Chard

For the fish:
200g (one fillet) basa
splash of milk
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp hot sauce (any kind)
1 Tbsp egg white
1/2C mesa sunrise cereal flakes
1/4 tsp each cayenne, oregano, paprika, cracked black pepper
dash sea salt
olive oil cooking spray
lemon wedges

Cut the fish into four peices and dunk them in the milk. Let them soak while you prepare the crumbs: Combine cereal, 1/2 Tbsp flour, and spices in blender and pulse until desired crumby consistency is reached. Dump crumbs onto a plate. Then prepare your egg wash: combine egg white and hot sauce in a bowl and whisk. Pat your fish dry - not totally dry just not dripping wet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 Tbsp flour. Dunk each peice in the egg wash, then roll in crumbs. Spray a baking tray (or cookie sheet) with olive oil, and place fish pieces on it not touching. Spray the tops of the fish pieces lightly with olive oil and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.

While fish is cooking prepare Swiss Chard:

1/2 bunch swiss chard (about 4 leaves, stems intact)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp olive oil
20g low-fat feta (about 1" square), crumbled
1 Tbsp currants
cracked pepper and sea salt

Wash and cut swiss chard into 1/2" slices. Heat oil in a wok on med-high heat and add garlic. When it begins to brown a little, add the chard and toss around to get the garlic on top. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the currants and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. The chard should be wilted and the stems cooked through but not browned. Add the feta and pepper, and maybe a tiny bit of salt but check it first because the feta is quite salty so you may not need it. Remove from heat and squeeze a bit of lemon over top.

Serve the fish and swiss chard with lemon wedges. Feel ever-so-healthy for eating both fish and dark leafy greens in same meal.

Nutritional values: Fish: 294 calories, 9g fat, 29.4g protein, 23.6g carbs, 2.3g fibre, 270mg sodium. Swiss chard: 138 calories, 8g fat, 8g protein, 11g carbs, 3g fibre, 272mg sodium.