Roasted Zucchini, Onion and Walnut Spread

Home Made Cooking | Salads

Isn’t life amazing? And busy? And amazingly busy? Yeah, I’ve noticed.
The fact that I wasn’t posting for a while does not mean I stopped cooking (well maybe for a bit there) or eating (I wish). I WAS keeping it on the low side though, which means I preferred to snack on things than to have an actual full meal. That said, snacks do not have to be unhealthy you know.
On one of  my phone calls to my mom we were (as usual) talking about new recipes we tried lately. My mom was raving about this zucchini spread she made. She is trying to go easy on gluten and dairy and looking for substitutes to say cheese spread or mayo based salads and spreads.
I gave her recipe a try and it was a hit! Zucchinis, walnuts and onions, all mixed together, forget the nutritional values (oh they’re good), the taste was amazing. I made a whole bowl and it was gone the morning after. The kids couldn’t stop munching on this with crackers.
I made it again and again and the same enthusiasm every single time. I guess it’s really good then.
This one is vegetarian, nutritious, very easy to make and has almost no fat in it. The only thing you’ll need to make it (aside from the ingredients) is a food processor.

Vegetarian Spread - Roasted Zucchini onion and Walnuts

Roasted Zucchini, Onion and Walnut Spread
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Snack, Spread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
This delicious and nutritious spread is my new addiction. With Zucchinis, onions and walnuts, it will upgrade any cracker.
Ingredients
  • 4 Zucchinis
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 3 Handfuls Walnuts (about 1¾ cup)
  • 1 tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
  2. Slice the zucchinis into ½ inch thick rings and the onion into ½ inch half circles (cut each whole slice in 2) and place on a parchment paper layered baking sheet .
  3. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil on top of zucchinis and onions and place in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the veggies soften.
  4. Place the walnuts in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it soak for about 20 minutes (you can do this while the veggies roast). After 20 minutes drain and remove from water.
  5. In the food processor, place the roasted veggies, hard boiled eggs and walnuts and process until almost smooth.
  6. Add in the salt and 2 tsp olive oil and give it a quick process again. Process until even.
  7. If your spread is too chunky to your taste you can add 1 tsp olive oil or a bit of water to smooth it. It should be a tiny bit chunky, not completely smooth.

Vegetarian Spread - Roasted Zucchini onion and Walnuts

Vegetarian Spread - Roasted Zucchini onion and Walnuts

Isn’t life amazing? And busy? And amazingly busy? Yeah, I’ve noticed. The fact that I wasn’t posting for a while does not mean I stopped cooking (well maybe for a bit there) or eating (I wish). I WAS keeping it on the low side though, which means I preferred to snack on things than to […]

Read More

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Vegetables – Using your countertop home panini press to grill vegetables

Home Made Cooking | Salads

It’s starting to look really nice out here. Of course, we still get the occasional rain and wind but it’s mostly above zero temperature and the feeling that winter is (finally!) over.

And when the weather is nice, all I want to do is grill my food. I just love the BBQ and the fact that I get to cook outside the house, avoiding the smells, the mess and the need to clean after. It’s like a picnic at home as far as I’m concerned; but sometimes even though it looks nice out, it’s not nice enough to stand there, by the BBQ and grill those veggies.

A while ago I figured out something most of my friends probably already have (I’m slow like that sometimes), I figured I could use my home griddle, my panini press, to grill my veggies.

What a revelation right? I found out, that if I switch from the griddle plates to the grill plates (the striped ones) I could grill my veggies at home, and thus upgrading almost every meal.

Needless to say the kids loved the way the vegetables taste and look and that it was all gone in seconds.

although what I made was zucchini and bell peppers, you can do the same thing with almost any grill-able vegetable. The lemon added so much flavor and made the vegetables taste even lighter.

A quick fix for your side dish – that’s what this is.

Grilled Vegetables at Home with Lemon Garlic Marinade

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Vegetables - Using your countertop home panini press to grill vegetables
Author: 
Recipe type: Grilled Vegetables
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Grilling indoors, what a perfect way to enjoy your vegetables. And using your counter top grill is so easy! how come I never thought of this before?
Ingredients
  • 2 Large Zucchinis - Sliced Lengthwise
  • 2 Bell Peppers - Sliced into wedges
  • 2 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil
  2. Place the vegetable slices on a plate and brush one side with the lemon garlic mix
  3. Install the grill plates in your griddle/ panini press and preheat to 400F (Medium-High)
  4. Place the vegetables on the grill with the brushed side facing down and brush the top with the lemon garlic mix (this way both sides are now covered with the mix)
  5. Close the press and let the vegetables grill for about 7 minutes or until soften a bit and grilling stripes appear

Grilled Vegetables at Home with Lemon Garlic Marinade

Grilled Vegetables at Home with Lemon Garlic Marinade

It’s starting to look really nice out here. Of course, we still get the occasional rain and wind but it’s mostly above zero temperature and the feeling that winter is (finally!) over. And when the weather is nice, all I want to do is grill my food. I just love the BBQ and the fact […]

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Scrumptious Lentil kohlrabi Salad with Roasted Sesame

Salads

Some ingredients are seriously under appreciated. When was the last time you had Kohlrabi for example? or when was the last time you used lentils in a SALAD. Yeah..thought so.

That’s why when I saw that Canadian Lentils  are having a ‘lentils recipe revelations challenge’ I immediately knew I want to put the under appreciated ingredients in the spotlight, so I did.

The timing was perfect because I was preparing everything for our Friday dinner and so I had the best taste testers there is – the hungry ones.

I used the red lentils because they have such unique texture and most of all – they are SO easy to cook. By the time I grated the other ingredients, the lentils were already cooked and ready to be added to the salad.

I mixed everything together, and ran upstairs with the bowl to have my husband try the new creation. The reaction was ‘hmmm, special, real good, when are we eating?’ and that’s when I knew I nailed it 🙂

So this recipe is super easy, super nutritious and has a great flavor combination along with a special added texture to it.

It’s one of those salads you want to serve when you want everyone to wonder how you did it. Lentils rock and Kohlrabi is no longer a stranger to this house, will you welcome it into your kitchen too? 🙂

Red Lentil Kohlrabi Salad with Roasted Sesame

Scrumptious Lentil kohlrabi Salad with Roasted Sesame
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Lentils
 
A great combo of flavors that come together into a wonderfully nutritious and scrumptious salad. Using lentils and kohlrabi was never this easy.
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Red Lentils
  • 3 Cups Hot Boiling Water (boiled in the kettle)
  • 1 Kohlrabi - Peeled
  • 2 Medium Carrots - Peeled
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro (about 10-15 sprigs)
  • ½ Lemon - Juiced
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Roasted Sesame (roast your sesame by placing in a pan over medium heat and stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes or until it is roasted)
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the hot boiling water in a medium pot and add in the red lentils. Cook over medium heat and let it cook while boiling for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. You want the lentils to be cooked and soften but not turn into mashed lentils.
  2. Once the lentils are ready, pour them into a sieve to drain the water and place in the salad bowl.
  3. Coarsely grate the kohlrabi and carrots and add into the bowl.
  4. Chop the cilantro (sprigs and leaves altogether), add into the bowl and add in the lemon juice and olive oil.
  5. Add salt to taste and the roasted sesame seeds and toss everything together.

Red Lentil Kohlrabi Salad with Roasted Sesame

Some ingredients are seriously under appreciated. When was the last time you had Kohlrabi for example? or when was the last time you used lentils in a SALAD. Yeah..thought so. That’s why when I saw that Canadian Lentils  are having a ‘lentils recipe revelations challenge’ I immediately knew I want to put the under appreciated […]

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Rice Salsa in Baked Wonton Cups

Salads

When I was asked if I’ll take part in the “USA Rice Blogger Challenge” by USA Rice Federation, the answer was clear – YES.

I received a few recipes for review, photos, info sheet and a great video and the task was to create something creative using USA rice.

We all use rice, some on daily basis, some less but the bottom line is that we all use it.

Have you ever considered taking 3 seconds to see where your rice is coming from? I usually do that when buying my rice at the grocery store, not that it matters, but I’m just weirdly curious like that.

After taking part in this challenge I think I will keep track more closely when it comes to the origin of my rice. Again, not that it matters, but apparently nearly 65% of rice consumed in Canada is grown in the US – Interesting.

So now I had to decide what to do and what kind of rice I’ll be using.

There’s white rice, brown rice, long grain, short grain, medium grain, so many options. So I went with the one I personally think is the prettiest (Hey, you want your food pretty or not?).

Black rice (Black Japonica) was the rice I decided to go with. I’ve never made this kind before but reading the cooking instructions on the package made it clear that this rice is no different than other. So I boiled some water and coked my rice on the stove-top for only 35 minutes – and now, I was ready to roll.

I decided to go with an easy yet fancy dish, I was SUPER craving something with garlic and I had wonton wraps in the fridge. Suddenly it was all so clear – I’m going to make wonton baked cups with black rice salsa. Fresh, delicious, healthy and fast.

I made exactly 12 shells with rice salsa and it took my family 12 minutes to make sure there’s none left.

These are great for entertaining, for using rice leftovers and for a quick snack.

And just before we go on to the recipe, I wanted to share this video with you all. Just a little something about preparing and getting to know your rice:

 

Black Rice Salsa in Wonton Baked Cups

 

Black Rice Salsa in Wonton Baked Cups

 

Rice Salsa in Baked Wonton Cups
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Rice; Snack; Entertaining
Serves: 12 baked mini cups
 
Whether you just feel like having something really good, you're entertaining or just want to make your salsa look fancy. All you need is this recipe.
Ingredients
  • ¾ Cup cooked Japonica Black Rice (or any other rice)
  • 1 Fresh Tomato – Chopped
  • ¼ Purple Onion – Chopped (you can use the white one)
  • 1 Garlic Clove – Diced
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • 12 Wonton Wrappers
Instructions
For the Baked Wonton Cups
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
  2. Using a muffin pan (I used the mini muffin baking pan), line each cup with a wonton wrapper. You want the wonton to form a cup.
  3. Place in the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes until cups are golden brown and baked.
Prepare the Rice Salsa:
  1. Put the tomatoes, onion, garlic, rice and cilantro in a bowl
  2. Mix in the olive oil, lemon juice and salt
  3. Scoop one tablespoon at a time and place in the baked wonton cups

 

Black Rice Salsa in Wonton Baked Cups

Disclaimer: I was provided with the funds to purchase ingredients for this recipe challenge

When I was asked if I’ll take part in the “USA Rice Blogger Challenge” by USA Rice Federation, the answer was clear – YES. I received a few recipes for review, photos, info sheet and a great video and the task was to create something creative using USA rice. We all use rice, some on […]

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Tomato Salad With Fresh Mint and Goat Cheese – Mint and Goat Cheese Caprese

Salads

 

It’s Friday, I’m making dinner, I’m done cooking and now moving on to the salad, I open the fridge and find out that all I have is tomatoes…great! Now what? I improvise.

If there’s anything that’s really refreshing in the summer and really comforting during the winter is mint. Yup, fresh mint leaves. I feel I can add them to almost anything, so I try.

This salad was so easy, tomatoes, mint and goat cheese, what could be easier? The goat cheese and the olive oil combined into a great tasting salad dressing and the mint gave the salad its extra freshness. Minimum efforts; minimum ingredients; maximum flavor and satisfaction.

 

Tomato Mint and Goat Cheese Salad

Tomato Salad With Fresh Mint and Goat Cheese - Mint and Goat Cheese Caprese
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
 
Quick salad with fresh mint flavor and creamy goat cheese.
Ingredients
  • 5 Tomatoes – Sliced
  • 1 tsp Chopped Mint Leaves (about 10 leaves)
  • ¼ Cup Goat Cheese – Crumbled
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients gently together (you don’t want to squish the tomatoes) and you’re done.

Tomato Salad with Mint and Goat Cheese

  It’s Friday, I’m making dinner, I’m done cooking and now moving on to the salad, I open the fridge and find out that all I have is tomatoes…great! Now what? I improvise. If there’s anything that’s really refreshing in the summer and really comforting during the winter is mint. Yup, fresh mint leaves. I […]

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Seared Maple Basil Mini Scallops – A Nova Scotian Delight

Home Made Cooking | Salads

Summer is here! It’s 29 degrees Celsius outside as I type this and I am just thrilled!

Of course, witnessing the sun and warmth through a glass window while sitting in my office at work is not your prefect definition to “enjoying summer” but I’ll take it! (Since really, there is no other option). So yeah! It’s here and with it the desire to eat light.

 

When you think of eating light what comes to mind? For me it’s salads! And when I say salads I don’t mean the mayo based ones or just garden salads, I mean salads with an added bonus ingredient like pasta or fish or chicken perhaps.

 

So I was thinking of salads the other day and then I thought to myself “what can I add as an added bonus ingredient?” but wait, I live in Canada, Nova Scotia, Halifax, one of the best spots to get fresh sea food. Hey, why not enjoy the local goods and the fact that I can get fresh seafood right here, right now? So I did! I went and made myself (and the family – hunger didn’t make me forget about them yet) a green yummy salad with garlic mustard dressing and (drum roll) fresh seared mini sea scallops!

 

My son was thrilled, we all ate healthy and I was excited because guess what? This dish fits in perfectly with this month’s theme for the “Canadian Food Experience Project” which is “A Regional Canadian Food” and what’s classier for the Nova Scotia region than sea food.

 

As for the recipe itself, this one is super easy, very fast and will go perfectly as an added bonus ingredient on top of your green salad (garden or tossed). Enjoy!

 

Seared Maple Basil Mini Scallops

 

Seared Maple Basil Mini Scallops - A Nova Scotian Delight
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Appetizer
Cuisine: Seafood, Salads
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Living in Nova Scotia, you have to crazy if you don't try the fresh seafood this region has to offer. So I did, in a salad, so there - A healthy dish with an added bonus of NS. You can top up any salad with these yummies.
Ingredients
  • 300gr Fresh Mini Sea Scallops (Thawed Scallops can also be used)
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Dry Basil
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Black Pepper – Pinch of each
Instructions
  1. Rinse the mini scallops and pat them dry
  2. Place in a medium bowl and add all the other ingredients
  3. Stir well until mini scallops are fully coated and let it rest in the bowl for 10 minutes to absorb flavors
  4. Preheat pan or iron skillet over medium-high heat
  5. Using a spoon scoop the scallops and place on preheated pan along with maximum 1 tbsp of whatever excess marinade you have left (if any. If there is none that’s OK)
  6. Let scallops sear in the pan while occasionally stirring. Sear for about 8 minutes until scallops get a light golden color.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature over your favorite green salad (garden, tossed etc.)

 

Seared Maple Basil Mini Scallops

 

The Canadian Food Experience project includes me and many other Canadian food bloggers (participants). It’s a project where we share our Canadian food stories and experience. We hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity and hopefully raise recognition to Canadian food and food bloggers and make our Canadian voice shine.

Seared Maple Basil Mini Scallops

Summer is here! It’s 29 degrees Celsius outside as I type this and I am just thrilled! Of course, witnessing the sun and warmth through a glass window while sitting in my office at work is not your prefect definition to “enjoying summer” but I’ll take it! (Since really, there is no other option). So […]

Read More

Homemade Dill Pickles

Home Made Cooking | Salads

I love beer! There, I said it! But what does it have to do with this post? Ahhhh…this post is about one of the best things to go with beer – Dill Pickles. And not just any dill pickles, homemade ones.

Ever since I can remember myself my favorite type of dill pickle was the homemade one. Other than the fact that it tastes so delicious and garlicky I always loved eating the pickles when they’re not quite pickled yet, just half way. That stage when they are semi sweet and semi salty – yum!

So every year when I feel spring has sprung and the days are getting warmer, I pickle something. Could be carrots, cabbage, cauliflower or tomatoes, but I love pickling. I add a lot of garlic and put it aside. The really hard part about making pickles yourself is the wait, because you have to wait a few days before you can consume them 🙂 and that my friends, is hard.

I made a big jar of pickles last week and yesterday we opened it and had a few with our hot dogs. Mmmmm hot dog with homemade pickles, ketchup, mustard, soft bun, I couldn’t ask for anything better. Of course that regardless, I had to have my beer with a side of something salty – pickles duh.

Homemade Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles
Author: 
Recipe type: Pickles
Cuisine: Pickles
 
Homemade Dill Pickles. So easy to make, only a few ingredients and you're done.
Ingredients
  • 1½lbs (680gr) Small Cucumbers (the smaller the better)
  • 2 Carrots – Cut into thick slices
  • 9 Garlic Cloves
  • 10 Dill Sprigs
  • 1 Liter Boiling Hot Water
  • ¾ tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Salt (regular)
Instructions
  1. Prepare a clean, large glass jar with lid
  2. Wash the cucumbers and carrots well
  3. Peel the garlic cloves
  4. Place the cucumbers, carrots and garlic in the jar. Make sure you spread them so that you have a few cucumbers topped with a few pieces of carrot and a couple of garlic cloves in between. You do not want to have a separate layer of each.
  5. Place a sprig of dill in between as well; randomly.
  6. In a large bowl mix boiling hot water with the sugar, salt and vinegar and gently start pouring the mix into the glass jar until it is topped up.
  7. Seal jar with its lid and place if possible in a bright place on your kitchen counter (brighter places are better)
  8. Turn the jar upside down once a day to give everything a light stir
  9. The pickles will be ready after 5 days. Give them a taste and if you like them saltier let them stand a bit more.
  10. Once pickles are ready, keep them in the fridge (this will slow down/ stop the pickling)
Notes
**Very important to make sure the jar is clean

Homemade Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles

I love beer! There, I said it! But what does it have to do with this post? Ahhhh…this post is about one of the best things to go with beer – Dill Pickles. And not just any dill pickles, homemade ones. Ever since I can remember myself my favorite type of dill pickle was the […]

Read More

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Salads

I think that people think that if you love cooking and baking you must love most foods. Well, I’m not sure about the others but I don’t. For example, I will never be able to clean up a fish and then cut and cook it, same goes for chicken. I also don’t like quinoa, brown rice, squash, tofu and other foods that are supposed to be good for you (and me). But sometimes when I manage to camouflage these ingredients I end up having a really good and healthy dish.

 

It’s all good as long as I don’t know about or feel the taste of the original unwanted ingredient.

 

My husband on the other hand loves this healthy nutrition stuff, so when I make something that is extra healthy using wholesome ingredients and some of the ingredients I don’t particularly like it’s a win-win; because then my husband is happy, the kids are eating even healthier and I get a bonus – extra vitamins and minerals for me.

 

The real challenge is usually thinking of a way to camouflage these ingredients. Keeping this in mind, imagine how thrilled I was when I made quinoa salad and it turned out so delicious.

 

This Mediterranean quinoa salad is full of flavor and screams “refreshingly healthy”. Give it a try 🙂

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, basil

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Greek, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
A refreshing salad with feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and quinoa. It's like spring in your spoon.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Cooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 3 Sun Dried Tomatoes - Chopped
  • ¼ cup Kalamata Olives - Chopped (You can also use black olives)
  • ½ cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 tsp Chopped Fresh Oregano
  • ½ tsp Chopped Fresh Basil (about 1 large leaf)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, basil

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, basil

I think that people think that if you love cooking and baking you must love most foods. Well, I’m not sure about the others but I don’t. For example, I will never be able to clean up a fish and then cut and cook it, same goes for chicken. I also don’t like quinoa, brown […]

Read More
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