Oven Simmered Asian BBQ Chicken #SundaySupper

I love finding leftovers in the fridge or freezer, even if I know I’ve put them in there for a specific reason. I mean really, leftovers from a whole roasted chicken have so much potential – there’s the meat, of course, but also the lovely flavour-rich bones waiting to be cooked down into stock. The same thing happens when it’s time to clean out the pantry – ours is a double-deep, one and a half times wide behmoth that holds everything we could hope for and more… sometimes to the extent that we lose items bought for a single recipe and never thought of again.

Oven Simmered Asian BBQ Chicken

It was in pursuit of more organized kitchen storage facilities that this recipe came to fruition. Between a hunk of roasted chicken meat from an early Summer roast, a half of a red onion from recent Greek salad making, green garlic from the farmer’s market and some Asian BBQ Sauce from San J, I knew exactly where I was headed… a twist on my old favourite pulled BBQ meat sandwich filling. Since the meat was already cooked (albeit not dried out), I oped to tenderize it by marinating it overnight in the sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic. The next day, mixed with onions and a little more chicken broth, it cooked it low and slow in the oven until the meat had absorbed all the flavour and was back to falling-apart tenderness. There was just enough sauce clinging to the meat and in the bottom of the dish to make proper sloppy sandwiches on toasted rolls or topping a bowl of freshly steamed rice and greens – and if my family is any indication a forkful right out of the fridge makes for a divine midnight snack!

This week, Amy of kimchi MOM is hosting a #SundaySupper celebrating Asian (and Asian-inspired) cuisine. Whether authentic or Asian-esque, you’re sue to find something delicious!

Small Bites

Soupy Goodness

Big Plates

On the Lighter Side

Cheers!

Oodles of Noodles

Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Oven Simmered Asian BBQ Chicken

Oven Simmered Asian BBQ Chicken
Makes 2 cups, 4 servings
2 cups chopped, cooked skinless chicken meat (for best results use a mix of light and dark)
150 mL San J Asian BBQ Sauce (about 10 tbsp or ½ bottle)
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
2 stalks (bulbs and stems) green garlic or garlic scapes, minced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup low sodium chicken stock (gluten free if needed)

  1. In a greased, non-reactive loaf pan or small casserole dish, combine the chicken, BBQ sauce, vinegar, ginger and green garlic.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Add onions and chicken stock, cover the pan with foil and cook at 300F for 2 hours.
  4. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to 325F and continue to cook for 3 hours.
  5. This tastes better after a night in the fridge!

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 199.3
Total Fat: 2.5 g
Cholesterol: 59.5 mg
Sodium: 711.9 mg
Total Carbs: 16.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 23.4 g

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Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi

Now that you have all that delicious carrot pickle on your hands (granted, it’s still marinating… right?) what are you going to do with it all? Well, how about a delicious, vegan version of the most common foil for it – the popular Vietnamese sandwich Banh Mi? 

I only stumbled onto the wonders of Banh Mi after removing meat from my diet, so I don’t know how authentic using marinated tofu really is. But it doesn’t matter – the flavour and texture of the finished product – tangy, crusty sourdough bread, sweet, spicy and sour pickle, lightly crisped, almost floral tofu and spicy-sweet Sriracha laced Veganaise – is out of this world and will tempt vegans and omnivores alike.

*Note: the NI accounts for eating all the marinade. Obviously this isn’t the case – only about 19 calories, .6 g fat, 554 mg sodium and .5g carbohydrate are absorbed into the tofu (not the 64 calories,  2.1 g fat,  1,847.8 mg sodium and 1.9 g carbohydrate a serving of just marinade contains)


Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi
Serves 4

Tofu:
1 (350g) pkg extra-firm tofu, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
5 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp pureed lemongrass (like Gourmet Garden)
1 tbsp coconut oil
 
Sandwich:
4 sourdough demi-baguettes (or 2 regular baguettes, halved crosswise), sliced in half
4 tbsp nayonaise(or homemade vegan mayo)
2 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
1 cup Spicy Shredded Root Pickle
Thinly sliced cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes and chopped cilantro to taste
Tofu:

  1. Wrap tofu in a clean tea towel and press under a heavy weight for 1 hour.
  2. Slice crosswise into ¼” pieces and set aside.
  3. In a large plastic bag or a shallow glass baking dish, combine the remaining ingredients and shake to distribute well.
  4. Add the tofu, seal the bag and gently distribute the pieces through the marinade (try to get them in one layer).
  5. Let marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Drain the marinade and blot tofu dry with paper towel.
  6. Heat oil in a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the tofu in one layer (you will likely need to do this in batches).
  7. Cook the tofu until both sides are golden brown with a nice firm crust.

Assembly:

  1. Toast the baguette until golden.
  2. Combine the mayonnaise and Sriracha and spread evenly onto one half of each sandwich.
  3. Layer with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and tofu.
  4. Top with Spicy Shredded Root Pickle and cilantro to taste.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 569.9
Total Fat: 19.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3,000.7 mg
Total Carbs: 68.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 18.6 g

Ricotta – Tofu Tomato Toasts for #SundaySupper

I am all about eating seasonally and locally when at all possible. Living in the northern climate that we do, our growing season is short and fairly mild – but what we manage to glean from the backyard and our nearby farmers we savour. One of the crops we are never short of is tomatoes, mostly due to the fact that not only do I grow unique, heirloom varieties but my stepfather plants three or four types of “conventional” tomatoes each year. Now that it’s coming round to the start of the harvest season (especially after the unseasonably warm Summer), our garden is overflowing with the candy-like produce. After waiting all year for the “true” taste of the fruit-vegetable, warm and juicy straight off the vine, we’re not letting any of them go to waste!

While it may still be Summer outside, we’re all more or less working full weeks – no trips to the beach (although with Lake Ontario that’s not really a loss) or camping weekends like I remember from my childhood. Simple, fast meals are the order of the day, and if we can get lunch or dinner on the table that uses what we’ve grown out back so much the better! For #SundaySupper this week, meals in under 30 minutes are on the menu! No desserts or drinks this week, either – just good, simple entrees, snacks and appetizers that are perfect for families going back to school, work and life! Keeping the season in mind, I’m sharing one of my favourite lunches that can also serve as a simple supper with a bowl of soup or a garden salad. Tofu and ricotta puree into a creamy spread with a touch of tang and freshness from herbs and lemon. Spread on bread that’s been flattened out with a rolling pin (or wine bottle…) and topped with slices of summer candy before being quickly broiled to soften everything into a delicious whole and you’ve got a meal for kings and hungry gardeners alike.


Ricotta – Tofu Tomato Toasts
Serves 2
1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
3 oz low-fat, firm silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu)
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
4 slices whole grain sandwich bread, preferably a hearty type such as Country Harvest Vitality 100% Whole Wheat
2 large or 4 small plum tomatoes, sliced thinly crosswise

  1. In a food processor, combine ricotta, tofu, herbs, garlic powder, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece of bread and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Toast both sides lightly under the broiler, then spread with even amounts of the ricotta mixture and a layer of tomato slices.
  5. Place back under the broiler and cook 2-3 minutes, until toasty brown and hot.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 277.7
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Cholesterol: 9.5 mg
Sodium: 382.9 mg
Total Carbs: 38.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.0 g
Protein: 17.0 g

Need more inspiration? Check out the #SundaySupper Back to School menu!

Ricotta – Tofu Tomato Toasts for #SundaySupper

I am all about eating seasonally and locally when at all possible. Living in the northern climate that we do, our growing season is short and fairly mild – but what we manage to glean from the backyard and our nearby farmers we savour. One of the crops we are never short of is tomatoes, mostly due to the fact that not only do I grow unique, heirloom varieties but my stepfather plants three or four types of “conventional” tomatoes each year. Now that it’s coming round to the start of the harvest season (especially after the unseasonably warm Summer), our garden is overflowing with the candy-like produce. After waiting all year for the “true” taste of the fruit-vegetable, warm and juicy straight off the vine, we’re not letting any of them go to waste!

While it may still be Summer outside, we’re all more or less working full weeks – no trips to the beach (although with Lake Ontario that’s not really a loss) or camping weekends like I remember from my childhood. Simple, fast meals are the order of the day, and if we can get lunch or dinner on the table that uses what we’ve grown out back so much the better! For #SundaySupper this week, meals in under 30 minutes are on the menu! No desserts or drinks this week, either – just good, simple entrees, snacks and appetizers that are perfect for families going back to school, work and life! Keeping the season in mind, I’m sharing one of my favourite lunches that can also serve as a simple supper with a bowl of soup or a garden salad. Tofu and ricotta puree into a creamy spread with a touch of tang and freshness from herbs and lemon. Spread on bread that’s been flattened out with a rolling pin (or wine bottle…) and topped with slices of summer candy before being quickly broiled to soften everything into a delicious whole and you’ve got a meal for kings and hungry gardeners alike.


Ricotta – Tofu Tomato Toasts
Serves 2
1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
3 oz low-fat, firm silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu)
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
4 slices whole grain sandwich bread, preferably a hearty type such as Country Harvest Vitality 100% Whole Wheat
2 large or 4 small plum tomatoes, sliced thinly crosswise

  1. In a food processor, combine ricotta, tofu, herbs, garlic powder, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Preheat the broiler.
  3. Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece of bread and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Toast both sides lightly under the broiler, then spread with even amounts of the ricotta mixture and a layer of tomato slices.
  5. Place back under the broiler and cook 2-3 minutes, until toasty brown and hot.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 277.7
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Cholesterol: 9.5 mg
Sodium: 382.9 mg
Total Carbs: 38.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.0 g
Protein: 17.0 g

Need more inspiration? Check out the #SundaySupper Back to School menu!

Real Food… Really.

Ever wonder how much food do we eat these days?
I mean real food. Fresh-from-the-farm (via markets or grocery stores), raw ingredients, homemade meals and treats, macaroni and cheese that doesn’t involve either a vibrant orange, chalky powder or some form of “processed cheese food”? Food your mom grew up with, maybe food you grew up with, made with love and eaten as a family?
I get it – I’m just as guilty as any of us (and considering the general readership of food blogs being what they are, I’m preaching to the choir here). Yes, I use canned tomatoes and beans to make things fast sometimes. Yes, I eat ketchup and 1-minute oatmeal and I don’t grind my own peanut butter or shred my own coconut. Though I have made pasta dough and stocks from scratch, more often than not you’ll find dried noodles and tetra-paks of chicken broth in my cupboard. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about what I’m putting into my body or the systems of all those I care for. I may use canned tomatoes and dry pasta sheets to make lasagne for Sunday dinner, but you can bet I’ll be flavouring up those tomatoes with fresh garlic, herbs and spices, layering it over the noodles and the filling of browned meat and whatever seasonal vegetables look tasty when I shop. Of course the half hour it takes to put together the pan is longer than unwrapping a frozen “homestyle lasagne” and sticking it in the oven… I’m not a machine with vats of pre-chopped, cooked, shredded and moulded ingredients! But at the same time, my family can sense that the resuled was cooked, not just re-warmed, even days later when they’re eating leftovers.
I’m not a martyr – I know nobody will have the time every night to put together a 3 course meal from ground zero. We all have lives, jobs, commitments and deadlines that don’t allow for unbridled hours in the kitchen. But making the choice to make real food and cooking a part of your daily routine will go a long way in re-shaping the future generations we’re raising. Even if it’s just in the form of using in-season vegetables and fruit for snacks, or having your kids stir a pot of pasta or make muffins with you on a weekend begins to bring back those basic elements of home life that began to die off when the microwave was invented.
I’m not alone in this belief system, either. Foodies and families from both sides of the cash register, including some of the “big guns” like Hellmann’s, are beginning to take a more prominent stance in the re-acceptance of meals and ingredients made with natural, simple ingredients. While I know there are those out there who can subscibe to a 100-mile diet or organic everything in their homes (and sometimes out), I know that for me at least adopting a lifestyle focusing on fresh and seasonal produce, but not relying on an “organics” tag to make buying decisions works. I would much rather use a good-quality, no-salt-added can of tomatoes in the middle of the winter than peeling, chopping, seeding and cooking flavourless red blobs, and I’ll definitely eat my fill of pencil-thin asparagus from the time I see the “Foodland Ontario” bands on them in April. As for the whole organics thing, well… they can’t win ’em all. I wouldn’t be able to afford to sit here typing at my computer if I bought everything certified organic. But you know what? A lot of farmers out there can’t afford to certify their business as organic and keep the label every year. So when I do go out to the farmers markets around me over the summer, I ask about the produce I’m picking up, especially if it’s something I wouldn’t peel first. A simple “what’s your preferred pest management system?” will help you choose what you’re going to spend your money on, and while you’re at it decide if it’s worth paying $4 for a head of organic lettuce from another country when you can buy a fresh-from-the-farmer, non-certified bundle of greens for $2.
Processed foods, especially convenience food ingredients, can be trickier. For instance, this is what you get if you open up a can of Lucky Leaf brand peach filling for your next BBQ dessert:
Peach Slices, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Food Starch-Modified (Corn), Sugar, Salt and Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid to Maintain Color. Color Added.
That’s ten ingredients… including the big bad-boy HFCS, and three kinds of refined sugar. And food colouring? Since when was a perfect peach not vibrantly hued on it’s own? That would be why there’s a shade called “peach” out there! Not to mention that aside from being gooey-sweet, the filling has no added “oomph” from any other spice. I mean really – for the 18 grams of sugar and 90 calories in every 1/3 cup portion? I’d rather make my own with ingredients you don’t have to source from a company with a name like CHEMaster.
Not all of premade products are evil though, the trick is to read the labels – if you can’t pronounce what you’re reading… if your grandmother would believe an ingredient was a bathroom cleaner before believing it should be eaten, it’s safe to say it’s probably not the most wholesome choice. Times are changing too – Hellmann’s Mayonnaise’s latest campaign not only is promoting it’s removal of Xantham Gum, Phosporic Acid and Beta Carotene from it’s formula, but had introduced a whole “Real Food Grant” program. This awards program is giving away $100 000 Canadian in funding to deserving advocates of tying family and food together who want to bring their plans to bear in their community. Whether the ideas are huge or tiny in scale, if they involve bringing the awareness of true nutrition to the younger generation as a whole and involving them in keeping it alive, they’re good! If you’re interested, the PDF file of information is here and the official grant homepage is here.
In terms of pie-making, peach pies don’t have to stay a strictly summer treat just because they’re homemade! If, like me, you happen to live in an area that has both an insanely short and an insanely rich peach season, why not pick up a few extra baskets at the market when they’re at their peak (and cheapest)? I’ve had great success with making pie and crisps with the bags of frozen filling I made last summer, including one last month for the Club staffers. As a bonus, my filling only has 5 ingredients, including Chinese 5-Spice (totally optional), six grams of sugar and 56 calories for the same amount as the pre-canned stuff. So you have to get sticky one time a year for a half hour of peach peeling? Come on! You can lick your fingers… try enjoying that while putting the can into your cart!
Easy-Freeze Peach Pie Filling
The tapioca flour here is key to the consistency in the finished pie, since it isn’t affected the same way as cornstarch and flour by freezing. Makes enough for one 10″ deep dish pie, or one regular 9″ pie and a small peach crisp!
4 lbs ripe, fresh peaches, peeled
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup tapioca flour (not pearls or granules)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Chinese 5-Spice powder (optional, use your favourite spice)

  1. Slice peaches into thin wedges, trying to preserve as much of the shape and juice as possible. Place into a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar, tapioca starch, salt and 5-spice.
  3. Pour over the peaches and toss to coat.
  4. Use immediately

    OR:

For later pie:

  1. Line a pie plate with greased foil. Spoon filling into the foil to the rim of the pie plate.
  2. Cover with another layer of greased foil and place in the freezer.
  3. When frozen, remove the foil bundle and store in a heavy-duty freezer bag.
  4. To use, unwrap (still-frozen) filling and place into prepared pie shell. Top with crust and bake immediately at 375F for 55 minutes.

    OR:

For cobbler or crisp filling:

  1. Place amount required by the recipe in heavy-duty freezer bags, gently pressing to form a single layer of fruit. Place bags on cookie sheets and freeze solid, then store as desired.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 55.7
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 48.4 mg
Total Carbs: 14.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 0.5 g

You can make anything you want with the filling too, just like with the regular stuff – thawed out, they’re delicious spooned over ice cream for an instant summer dessert or made into a simple, fast crisp with an oatmeal topping. To keep with the theme of Marye’s blog event Real Food… Real Quick (amen to you for starting that!), I’d pop the crisp into the oven before sitting down to a dinner of grilled vegetable sandwiches.

The sandwiches are pretty dead-simple (and quick!) to put together – but their whole taste relies on the freshness of the ingredients you choose. In the height of summer, sliced zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant topped with fresh, juicy tomatoes are a sure winner, come slightly cooler days of early fall rich onion and earthy mushrooms fit the bill nicely. The tangy, herb and garlic yogurt sauce is reminiscent of Greek tzatsiki, and is delicious both on the sandwiches as well as alongside any grilled meats.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Sandwiches
Serves 4
1/4 cup non-fat Greek style yogurt (like Oikos)
1 clove garlic, crushed through a press
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp paprika
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 red bell peppers, sliced into thick strips
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 multi-grain sandwich rolls, split
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
  1. Preheat the grill to high heat and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic, oregano, dill and paprika (make ahead: up to 1 day ahead – store covered in the fridge).
  3. Drizzle eggplant, zucchini, and peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place on the grill and cook 3 minutes per side.
  5. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, place buns, cut side down, on the grill to toast.
  6. Serve grilled vegetables on the toasted buns topped with a few slices of tomato and the yogurt mixture.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 236.5
Total Fat: 9.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 210.9 mg

Total Carbs: 32.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.2 g
Protein: 7.6 g

So, how do you embrace real food? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Real Food… Really.

Ever wonder how much food do we eat these days?
I mean real food. Fresh-from-the-farm (via markets or grocery stores), raw ingredients, homemade meals and treats, macaroni and cheese that doesn’t involve either a vibrant orange, chalky powder or some form of “processed cheese food”? Food your mom grew up with, maybe food you grew up with, made with love and eaten as a family?
I get it – I’m just as guilty as any of us (and considering the general readership of food blogs being what they are, I’m preaching to the choir here). Yes, I use canned tomatoes and beans to make things fast sometimes. Yes, I eat ketchup and 1-minute oatmeal and I don’t grind my own peanut butter or shred my own coconut. Though I have made pasta dough and stocks from scratch, more often than not you’ll find dried noodles and tetra-paks of chicken broth in my cupboard. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about what I’m putting into my body or the systems of all those I care for. I may use canned tomatoes and dry pasta sheets to make lasagne for Sunday dinner, but you can bet I’ll be flavouring up those tomatoes with fresh garlic, herbs and spices, layering it over the noodles and the filling of browned meat and whatever seasonal vegetables look tasty when I shop. Of course the half hour it takes to put together the pan is longer than unwrapping a frozen “homestyle lasagne” and sticking it in the oven… I’m not a machine with vats of pre-chopped, cooked, shredded and moulded ingredients! But at the same time, my family can sense that the resuled was cooked, not just re-warmed, even days later when they’re eating leftovers.
I’m not a martyr – I know nobody will have the time every night to put together a 3 course meal from ground zero. We all have lives, jobs, commitments and deadlines that don’t allow for unbridled hours in the kitchen. But making the choice to make real food and cooking a part of your daily routine will go a long way in re-shaping the future generations we’re raising. Even if it’s just in the form of using in-season vegetables and fruit for snacks, or having your kids stir a pot of pasta or make muffins with you on a weekend begins to bring back those basic elements of home life that began to die off when the microwave was invented.
I’m not alone in this belief system, either. Foodies and families from both sides of the cash register, including some of the “big guns” like Hellmann’s, are beginning to take a more prominent stance in the re-acceptance of meals and ingredients made with natural, simple ingredients. While I know there are those out there who can subscibe to a 100-mile diet or organic everything in their homes (and sometimes out), I know that for me at least adopting a lifestyle focusing on fresh and seasonal produce, but not relying on an “organics” tag to make buying decisions works. I would much rather use a good-quality, no-salt-added can of tomatoes in the middle of the winter than peeling, chopping, seeding and cooking flavourless red blobs, and I’ll definitely eat my fill of pencil-thin asparagus from the time I see the “Foodland Ontario” bands on them in April. As for the whole organics thing, well… they can’t win ’em all. I wouldn’t be able to afford to sit here typing at my computer if I bought everything certified organic. But you know what? A lot of farmers out there can’t afford to certify their business as organic and keep the label every year. So when I do go out to the farmers markets around me over the summer, I ask about the produce I’m picking up, especially if it’s something I wouldn’t peel first. A simple “what’s your preferred pest management system?” will help you choose what you’re going to spend your money on, and while you’re at it decide if it’s worth paying $4 for a head of organic lettuce from another country when you can buy a fresh-from-the-farmer, non-certified bundle of greens for $2.
Processed foods, especially convenience food ingredients, can be trickier. For instance, this is what you get if you open up a can of Lucky Leaf brand peach filling for your next BBQ dessert:
Peach Slices, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Food Starch-Modified (Corn), Sugar, Salt and Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid to Maintain Color. Color Added.
That’s ten ingredients… including the big bad-boy HFCS, and three kinds of refined sugar. And food colouring? Since when was a perfect peach not vibrantly hued on it’s own? That would be why there’s a shade called “peach” out there! Not to mention that aside from being gooey-sweet, the filling has no added “oomph” from any other spice. I mean really – for the 18 grams of sugar and 90 calories in every 1/3 cup portion? I’d rather make my own with ingredients you don’t have to source from a company with a name like CHEMaster.
Not all of premade products are evil though, the trick is to read the labels – if you can’t pronounce what you’re reading… if your grandmother would believe an ingredient was a bathroom cleaner before believing it should be eaten, it’s safe to say it’s probably not the most wholesome choice. Times are changing too – Hellmann’s Mayonnaise’s latest campaign not only is promoting it’s removal of Xantham Gum, Phosporic Acid and Beta Carotene from it’s formula, but had introduced a whole “Real Food Grant” program. This awards program is giving away $100 000 Canadian in funding to deserving advocates of tying family and food together who want to bring their plans to bear in their community. Whether the ideas are huge or tiny in scale, if they involve bringing the awareness of true nutrition to the younger generation as a whole and involving them in keeping it alive, they’re good! If you’re interested, the PDF file of information is here and the official grant homepage is here.
In terms of pie-making, peach pies don’t have to stay a strictly summer treat just because they’re homemade! If, like me, you happen to live in an area that has both an insanely short and an insanely rich peach season, why not pick up a few extra baskets at the market when they’re at their peak (and cheapest)? I’ve had great success with making pie and crisps with the bags of frozen filling I made last summer, including one last month for the Club staffers. As a bonus, my filling only has 5 ingredients, including Chinese 5-Spice (totally optional), six grams of sugar and 56 calories for the same amount as the pre-canned stuff. So you have to get sticky one time a year for a half hour of peach peeling? Come on! You can lick your fingers… try enjoying that while putting the can into your cart!
Easy-Freeze Peach Pie Filling
The tapioca flour here is key to the consistency in the finished pie, since it isn’t affected the same way as cornstarch and flour by freezing. Makes enough for one 10″ deep dish pie, or one regular 9″ pie and a small peach crisp!
4 lbs ripe, fresh peaches, peeled
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup tapioca flour (not pearls or granules)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Chinese 5-Spice powder (optional, use your favourite spice)

  1. Slice peaches into thin wedges, trying to preserve as much of the shape and juice as possible. Place into a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar, tapioca starch, salt and 5-spice.
  3. Pour over the peaches and toss to coat.
  4. Use immediately

    OR:

For later pie:

  1. Line a pie plate with greased foil. Spoon filling into the foil to the rim of the pie plate.
  2. Cover with another layer of greased foil and place in the freezer.
  3. When frozen, remove the foil bundle and store in a heavy-duty freezer bag.
  4. To use, unwrap (still-frozen) filling and place into prepared pie shell. Top with crust and bake immediately at 375F for 55 minutes.

    OR:

For cobbler or crisp filling:

  1. Place amount required by the recipe in heavy-duty freezer bags, gently pressing to form a single layer of fruit. Place bags on cookie sheets and freeze solid, then store as desired.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 55.7
Total Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 48.4 mg
Total Carbs: 14.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 0.5 g

You can make anything you want with the filling too, just like with the regular stuff – thawed out, they’re delicious spooned over ice cream for an instant summer dessert or made into a simple, fast crisp with an oatmeal topping. To keep with the theme of Marye’s blog event Real Food… Real Quick (amen to you for starting that!), I’d pop the crisp into the oven before sitting down to a dinner of grilled vegetable sandwiches.

The sandwiches are pretty dead-simple (and quick!) to put together – but their whole taste relies on the freshness of the ingredients you choose. In the height of summer, sliced zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant topped with fresh, juicy tomatoes are a sure winner, come slightly cooler days of early fall rich onion and earthy mushrooms fit the bill nicely. The tangy, herb and garlic yogurt sauce is reminiscent of Greek tzatsiki, and is delicious both on the sandwiches as well as alongside any grilled meats.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Sandwiches
Serves 4
1/4 cup non-fat Greek style yogurt (like Oikos)
1 clove garlic, crushed through a press
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp paprika
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 red bell peppers, sliced into thick strips
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 multi-grain sandwich rolls, split
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
  1. Preheat the grill to high heat and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic, oregano, dill and paprika (make ahead: up to 1 day ahead – store covered in the fridge).
  3. Drizzle eggplant, zucchini, and peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place on the grill and cook 3 minutes per side.
  5. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, place buns, cut side down, on the grill to toast.
  6. Serve grilled vegetables on the toasted buns topped with a few slices of tomato and the yogurt mixture.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 236.5
Total Fat: 9.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 210.9 mg

Total Carbs: 32.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.2 g
Protein: 7.6 g

So, how do you embrace real food? Drop me a comment and let me know!

The Post – Thanksgiving Glut: Leftover Turkey Sandwiches with a Twist

Happy post-turkey day everyone! Need ideas for all those leftovers?? I have one!!!

I was inspired by Milestone’s Bar & Grill’s Smoked Turkey Club (Andrew’s choice sandwich when we last made the trip) to make this sandwich: A toasted cranberry sourdough, with double-smoked bacon, spicy house-made avocado salsa, sliced roma tomato, and whole-grain mustard mayonnaise. Andrew assures me that it is a remarkable sandwich, so I made my version of all it’s components made my own with our turkey leftovers!

Cranberry-Wheat Bread
1 loaf
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tsp brown sugar
½ cup + 2 tbsp warm water
1 cup flour
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the flour, wheat germ, oats, egg, oil and salt; stir well to combine. Stir / knead in cranberries.
  3. Knead by hand until smooth and supple, about 10 minutes. (I used my dough hook this time around for 5 mins on speed 7).
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat.
  5. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 1 hour.
  6. Punch down, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface
  7. Form a loaf and place in a lightly greased loaf pan.
  8. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Bake 45 minutes.

Avocado Salsa
Serves 4-6
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and diced
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
6 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fruity olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Can be made up to 4 hours in advance.

Whole-Grain Mustard Mayonnaise
1 serving
1 tsp old-fashioned grainy mustard
2 tsp light mayonnaise

  1. Blend ingredients together in a small bowl and serve.

Thanksgiving Afters Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich
1 tbsp Whole-Grain Mustard Mayonnaise
2 medium slices Cranberry-Wheat bread, lightly toasted
3 oz cold roasted turkey, shredded
2 strips turkey bacon, cooked
2 slices roma tomato
1 tbsp Avocado Salsa

  1. Spread mayonnaise on one piece of the bread.
  2. Add the turkey, followed by bacon and tomato slices. Add salt and pepper if you’d like.
  3. Dollop the avocado salsa on top of the tomato and top with the other bread slice.

I used turkey bacon for the double-smoked, since regular bacon is kind of icky to me (I hate cooking it and the smell!) and Andrew is trying to eat a little healthier. Plus, this sandwich is all about the bird, so why not? Unfortunately tomatoes are out of season (though I still have… lets say, 5 gazillion of them on my counter!), but I guess we can’t win em all!

So, in sum, I’ll say that this sandwich is my entry to Show Us Your Sarnie, and the deeeelicious bread is sent in for World Bread Day! Don’t forget guys, the deadlines (October 20 and October 16, respectively) are fast approaching!

The Post – Thanksgiving Glut: Leftover Turkey Sandwiches with a Twist

Happy post-turkey day everyone! Need ideas for all those leftovers?? I have one!!!

I was inspired by Milestone’s Bar & Grill’s Smoked Turkey Club (Andrew’s choice sandwich when we last made the trip) to make this sandwich: A toasted cranberry sourdough, with double-smoked bacon, spicy house-made avocado salsa, sliced roma tomato, and whole-grain mustard mayonnaise. Andrew assures me that it is a remarkable sandwich, so I made my version of all it’s components made my own with our turkey leftovers!

Cranberry-Wheat Bread
1 loaf
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tsp brown sugar
½ cup + 2 tbsp warm water
1 cup flour
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the flour, wheat germ, oats, egg, oil and salt; stir well to combine. Stir / knead in cranberries.
  3. Knead by hand until smooth and supple, about 10 minutes. (I used my dough hook this time around for 5 mins on speed 7).
  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat.
  5. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise 1 hour.
  6. Punch down, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface
  7. Form a loaf and place in a lightly greased loaf pan.
  8. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Bake 45 minutes.

Avocado Salsa
Serves 4-6
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and diced
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 red onion, diced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
6 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fruity olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Can be made up to 4 hours in advance.

Whole-Grain Mustard Mayonnaise
1 serving
1 tsp old-fashioned grainy mustard
2 tsp light mayonnaise

  1. Blend ingredients together in a small bowl and serve.

Thanksgiving Afters Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich
1 tbsp Whole-Grain Mustard Mayonnaise
2 medium slices Cranberry-Wheat bread, lightly toasted
3 oz cold roasted turkey, shredded
2 strips turkey bacon, cooked
2 slices roma tomato
1 tbsp Avocado Salsa

  1. Spread mayonnaise on one piece of the bread.
  2. Add the turkey, followed by bacon and tomato slices. Add salt and pepper if you’d like.
  3. Dollop the avocado salsa on top of the tomato and top with the other bread slice.

I used turkey bacon for the double-smoked, since regular bacon is kind of icky to me (I hate cooking it and the smell!) and Andrew is trying to eat a little healthier. Plus, this sandwich is all about the bird, so why not? Unfortunately tomatoes are out of season (though I still have… lets say, 5 gazillion of them on my counter!), but I guess we can’t win em all!

So, in sum, I’ll say that this sandwich is my entry to Show Us Your Sarnie, and the deeeelicious bread is sent in for World Bread Day! Don’t forget guys, the deadlines (October 20 and October 16, respectively) are fast approaching!

Burger and Fries… Vegetarian Style

Some days you really get a hankering for a burger and fries. But really, with all that supersizing, at 610 calories and almost 30 g of fat in McDonald’s fries, plus a Big Mac weighing in at 530 calories and 30 g of fat, we tend to cringe a little bit at the thought of the tipping scales. Besides, if you’re going to have a burger and fries for dinner, I for one would like some taste, not just meat, cheese and mayo on a bun, thank you very much! So, in order to satisfy my cravings and help the family eat a little better I came up with two better-for-you but still high in taste recipes, served together they’re the perfect “burger n’ fry” combo.

Personally, I like spicy fries, but feel free to just use salt if you want, or nothing at all. These are “wedge-style”, and have a nice kick to them.

Country Fries
4 servings
3 medium baking potatoes
1 egg white
1 tsp each paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and salt

  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  3. Cut potatoes into 36 wedges, place in bowl of cold water.
  4. Whisk egg white, paprika, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a large bowl until frothy.
  5. Dry potato wedges, add to egg white and toss to coat.
  6. Spread on baking sheet and bake on bottom rack 25 minutes, turning half way through.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 130.3
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 22.0 mg
Total Carbs: 28.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 4.5 g


As for the burger part of this burger n’ fry meal, I have never ever had a tastier burger than the Jamaican Jerk burger from an Ottawa staple that has been talked about on the blogs before: The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro. Their menu is huge, with 62 topping combinations, 7 burger patties, 2 buns and 12 sides to choose from! They also have an incredible selection of milkshakes that are all to die for, though my favourite will always remain the chocolate peanut butter. As far as burger toppings go, apparently the combination of Kraft Dinner and a hamburger is a winner (according to my old history teacher) but I always return to my classic favourite. My recipe is for all intents and purposes what you can expect to recieve if you ordered a Jamaican Jerk burger with a portobello mushroom cap and a whole wheat bun. Insane tastiness with just the right amount of kick to get your heart beating, a good warm-up for those -40C winters in the capital!

Jamaican Jerk PortaBurger
Makes 4
½ C. vegetable oil
½ C. vegetable broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 Habanero peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 T fresh ginger, grated
1 T chopped fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ C red wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. allspice
4 T fresh lime juice
4 portabella mushroom caps, stems removed
4 slices pepper-jack cheese
4 slices ripe beefsteak tomato
4 T chopped green chili peppers
4 whole-grain rolls, sliced and toasted

  1. Add all ingredients through lime juice to a blender.
  2. Puree until smooth.
  3. Arrange mushroom caps in a small, deep dish. Pour marinade over.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 4 – 6 hours, turning caps halfway through.
  5. Heat grill to medium-high. Remove caps from marinade and blot dry.
  6. Place caps (gill side down) on grill, cover and cook 4 minutes.
  7. Flip, top each with a slice of cheese and cook, covered, 4 minutes more.
  8. Place 1 slice tomato on the bottom half of each roll. Top with mushroom caps, then add 1 tbsp chilis to the top of each. Top with remaining bun half.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 329.8
Total Fat: 17.7 g
Cholesterol: 25.2 mg
Sodium: 381.7 mg
Total Carbs: 33.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.4 g
Protein: 13.9 g

Burger and Fries… Vegetarian Style

Some days you really get a hankering for a burger and fries. But really, with all that supersizing, at 610 calories and almost 30 g of fat in McDonald’s fries, plus a Big Mac weighing in at 530 calories and 30 g of fat, we tend to cringe a little bit at the thought of the tipping scales. Besides, if you’re going to have a burger and fries for dinner, I for one would like some taste, not just meat, cheese and mayo on a bun, thank you very much! So, in order to satisfy my cravings and help the family eat a little better I came up with two better-for-you but still high in taste recipes, served together they’re the perfect “burger n’ fry” combo.

Personally, I like spicy fries, but feel free to just use salt if you want, or nothing at all. These are “wedge-style”, and have a nice kick to them.

Country Fries
4 servings
3 medium baking potatoes
1 egg white
1 tsp each paprika, garlic powder, black pepper and salt

  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  3. Cut potatoes into 36 wedges, place in bowl of cold water.
  4. Whisk egg white, paprika, garlic powder, pepper and salt in a large bowl until frothy.
  5. Dry potato wedges, add to egg white and toss to coat.
  6. Spread on baking sheet and bake on bottom rack 25 minutes, turning half way through.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 130.3
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 22.0 mg
Total Carbs: 28.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 4.5 g


As for the burger part of this burger n’ fry meal, I have never ever had a tastier burger than the Jamaican Jerk burger from an Ottawa staple that has been talked about on the blogs before: The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro. Their menu is huge, with 62 topping combinations, 7 burger patties, 2 buns and 12 sides to choose from! They also have an incredible selection of milkshakes that are all to die for, though my favourite will always remain the chocolate peanut butter. As far as burger toppings go, apparently the combination of Kraft Dinner and a hamburger is a winner (according to my old history teacher) but I always return to my classic favourite. My recipe is for all intents and purposes what you can expect to recieve if you ordered a Jamaican Jerk burger with a portobello mushroom cap and a whole wheat bun. Insane tastiness with just the right amount of kick to get your heart beating, a good warm-up for those -40C winters in the capital!

Jamaican Jerk PortaBurger
Makes 4
½ C. vegetable oil
½ C. vegetable broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 Habanero peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 T fresh ginger, grated
1 T chopped fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ C red wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. allspice
4 T fresh lime juice
4 portabella mushroom caps, stems removed
4 slices pepper-jack cheese
4 slices ripe beefsteak tomato
4 T chopped green chili peppers
4 whole-grain rolls, sliced and toasted

  1. Add all ingredients through lime juice to a blender.
  2. Puree until smooth.
  3. Arrange mushroom caps in a small, deep dish. Pour marinade over.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 4 – 6 hours, turning caps halfway through.
  5. Heat grill to medium-high. Remove caps from marinade and blot dry.
  6. Place caps (gill side down) on grill, cover and cook 4 minutes.
  7. Flip, top each with a slice of cheese and cook, covered, 4 minutes more.
  8. Place 1 slice tomato on the bottom half of each roll. Top with mushroom caps, then add 1 tbsp chilis to the top of each. Top with remaining bun half.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 329.8
Total Fat: 17.7 g
Cholesterol: 25.2 mg
Sodium: 381.7 mg
Total Carbs: 33.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.4 g
Protein: 13.9 g