Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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A Greek quinoa salad that’s full of vegetables

If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest salad person, especially boring green salads. This Greek quinoa salad on the other hand, is not boring in any way shape or form. Full of veggies and flavour, this super simple and healthy quinoa salad is the perfect side dish for your summertime meals.

Greek Quinoa Salad

How to make it

When it comes to salads, it’s important to have different textures to make the salad more exciting. The other important piece is to chop everything in a uniform way. You don’t want some vegetables 3 times the size of others, so it’s important to cut everything in a consistent way.

A lot of the flavour comes from cooking the quinoa in vegetable broth, so be sure not to miss this step! Alternatively, you could cook your quinoa in water, but in that case you’ll have to add some seasoning at the end.

Greek Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad

A deliciously fresh and flavourful cold Greek quinoa salad
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Greek

Equipment

  • Medium pot
  • Medium bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup quinoa cooked as per packet instructions
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ¼ English cucumber quartered
  • ¼ small orange pepper diced
  • Handful cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tbsp red onion finely diced
  • 6 olives I used green olives stuffed with garlic
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 tbsp feta cheese crumbled

Instructions
 

  • Cook 1 cup of quinoa as per the packet instructions, adding the vegetable bouillon to the water for added flavour. Once cooked, set aside and let it cool.
  • In a medium bowl, add the quinoa, lemon juice, cucumber, pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion, olives, parsley and feta. Mix until well combined and it's ready to serve!
Keyword cold quinoa salad, greek, greek quinoa salad, quinoa salad

Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The quickest, easiest tartar sauce

This super easy tartar sauce is made out of ingredients you’ll most likely find sitting in your fridge. It’s so quick to make why would you buy a store-bought version?!

Honestly, I came up with this recipe because I needed a sauce to top off my crab cakes and I let me tell you, I absolutely blew myself away. I’m quite picky when it comes to my tartar sauce and this one really hit the mark. It’s a must have for me with my fish and chips and most other fried seafood.

Variations:

To make this recipe vegan, simply use a vegan mayonnaise and relish!

Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce

A super easy tartar sauce made from the staples already in your kitchen!
Prep Time 3 mins
Course Sauce, Side Dish
Servings 4 side servings

Equipment

  • Small bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • tsp relish
  • ¼ lemon juiced
  • ½ tsp dill fresh or dried

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, relish, lemon juice and dill.
  • Enjoy right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Keyword sauce, tartar sauce

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Happy national Mac and Cheese day!

Mac and cheese, mmmm. What a great comfort food that’s perfect as a side or as the main dish. There are just so many options when it comes to this dish! Depending on what cheese you decide to use and whether you decide to add protein or vegetables, the opportunities are endless.

This time, I decided to stick to a classic recipe because I had a bunch of cheese in the fridge that I needed to use. So sticking to the quarantine mentality of using what you got, I made a mozzarella and cheddar version. Our neighbourhood ribfest stand was still up, so we decided to pair it with Silver Bullet BBQ’s ribs.

Mac and Cheese

The key …

It absolutely crushes my soul when I see people post their recipes where they just throw shredded cheese in with some macaroni and bake it. When making mac and cheese, you MUST make a cheese sauce. Otherwise, you’ll have chunky, stringy, half melted cheese on plain pieces of macaroni.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Macaroni enveloped by smooth, creamy, cheesy mozzarella and old fort cheddar sauce and baked with a crunchy top layer.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Medium sauce pan
  • Medium pot
  • 10 x 10 baking pan

Ingredients
  

  • 454 g cut macaroni cooked al dente
  • cups mozzarella shredded
  • cups old fort cheddar shredded
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 10% cream
  • dash nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs or panko

Instructions
 

  • Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions, about 11 minutes or until al dente.
  • In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and mix until well combined and a roux is formed.
  • Add the cream, reduce to a medium-low heat and stir constantly. After a few minutes, once the cream is warm, slowly begin adding your shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese, a handful at a time, stirring constantly. Once the first handful of cheese melts and is combined, continue to add the cheese, a handful at a time until incorporated. The sauce will thicken as the cheese is added and melted. Once you've added all your cheese and the sauce is a smooth texture, turn of the heat and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 380°F. Put half of your cooked macaroni into a baking pan and coat with cheese sauce. Mix so it's well combined before adding the remainder of your macaroni and cheese sauce. Once your mac and cheese is combined, top with seasoned bread crumbs and bake for 15 minutes. Then switch to a low broil and broil for 5 more minutes or until bread crumbs start to brown on the top.
Keyword mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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A super simple carrot ginger soup

This is the perfect recipe to help you get rid of some of your staple vegetables that are on their last leg. This nutritious carrot ginger soup is so easy to make and will be ready in 30 minutes. Just the perfect healthy soup for any time of the year!

Carrot Ginger Soup

I’m not going to lie…

I miss soups now that it’s summer! I have 2-3 different soups every week in the winter time, but once that summer heat hits I definitely scale back. That being said, I still love a great healthy soup for lunch even in the hot summer months. I haven’t had soup in a couple of weeks and this one truly hit the spot. The whole theme of this quarantine has been use what you have on hand and today it was carrots! Using vegetables that are on their last leg, along with my homemade vegetable stock also helps me minimize my food waste. That’s probably my favourite part of making homemade soups, using what you have available to you.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

A simple carrot ginger soup topped with a little cream and nuts for some added crunch.
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 27 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • Large pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 6 medium carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ginger jarred or grated
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups vegetable stock homemade or low sodium
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Put a large put on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 1 minute. Next, add the celery, carrots, garlic powder, ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock and vegetable bouillon and turn to high heat. Once the contents come to a boil, turn down to medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  • Blend the soup in a high powered blender on high for 1 minute. Once smooth, it's ready to serve!
  • Serve with a dollop of cream and some nuts for an added crunch.
Keyword carrot, carrot ginger, carrot ginger soup, ginger, homemade soup, soup

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Homemade vegetable stock from all those scraps

Honestly, one my favourite kitchen takeaways from this quarantine is definitely homemade vegetable stock. Why throw out all those wonderful vegetable scraps when you can make a beautiful stock out of them? The best part is you’re in full control of the sodium content unlike the store-bought version. Thanks to this discovery, I’m able to use every part of my vegetables and minimize my waste.

Vegetable Stock

I’m sure there’s many different ways to wash and dry your vegetable scraps, but I’ve found it’s super easy to use a mesh bag (pictured above). I prep my meal, throw all the scraps in my mesh bag, rinse them and hang them to dry over the sink. Then I forget about them for most of the day and package them away once they’re dry.

Vegetable Stock

Once the vegetable scraps are dry, I store them in a freezer bag. Once full, I make my stock and it couldn’t be easier.

How to make it

In a large pot, add your frozen vegetable scraps and just cover them with water. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Then, walk away. Not too far, but you can leave it be for at least 2 hours, max 4. It’s so easy and doesn’t really require your attention so it’s something you can do it in an evening. Once removed from heat, let the contents cool. Once cool, remove the large chunks and strain the remaining liquid for a smooth vegetable stock.

I always keep old pasta or salsa jars for storing soups and stocks. Whether I keep them in the fridge for instant use or freeze them for later, they’re so convenient to have around! This stock will be good in the fridge for about 2 weeks and up to 4 months in the freezer.


Strawberry sauce

Strawberry Sauce

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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A Polish strawberry sauce…

This is definitely not your average snack or meal. I’ve never heard of anyone eating something like this other than my Polish family and my boyfriend’s Polish family. I think it’s just an easy and delicious way to save fresh strawberries from going bad, so here you are! I honestly couldn’t think of a more creative name for it, so let’s stick to what it is, a fresh strawberry sauce.

It’s interesting how different families from different regions from Poland enjoy this sauce differently. My family traditionally serves this sauce over rice, while my boyfriend’s family serves it over a curly egg noodle. Both are delicious, so it really comes down to what you prefer!

Strawberry sauce

How to make it

This is so easy to make and will be done in just a few minutes, but the key is to use fresh strawberries! Strawberry season is just about to come to an end here in Southern Ontario after it’s late start this year. Luckily, we managed to make it out to Herrle’s farm to handpick a few pints of some fresh strawberries. That’s what’s so special about this dish, is that you can really only enjoy it for about a month every year (at least here in Ontario).

Once your remove all the leaves/strawberry tails, mash them up. Again, based on your preference, you can leave the sauce a little more chunky or mash them until there are no chunks at all. When adding sugar, add a little at a time and taste as you go. If your strawberries are already quite sweet, you won’t need as much. Add some sugar and sour cream and you’re ready to serve!

Strawberry sauce

Strawberry Sauce

An easy Polish fresh strawberry sauce served over rice or noodles.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Polish

Equipment

  • Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries stem removed
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp sour cream

Instructions
 

  • Wash the strawberries and remove all the stems. Place them in a bowl and with a potato masher mash the strawberries to your desired consistency (chunky or smooth).
  • Mix in the sugar and sour cream and serve over a bed of rice or noodles.
Keyword fresh strawberries, meatballs in mushroom sauce, strawberry sauce

Bocconcini Salad

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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A super simple and fresh salad…

After my latest Flora Friday post featuring basil, I just had to use the fragrant culinary herb in my next meal. This bocconcini salad highlights basil perfectly because its flavour enhances and brings the entire dish to life. This salad is super fresh and so quick and easy that it’ll only take you a few minutes to throw together. Paired perfectly with Italian cuisine, last night’s Italian themed dinner featured this delightful salad making it the perfect accompaniment to our chicken parm and inspired taste’s focaccia bread.

Bocconcini Salad

It’s all about quality…

Any recipe with few ingredients requires the best quality ingredients. There’s no where to hide with this bocconcini salad so I definitely recommend using top quality ingredients. Fresh basil from the garden brings a fragrant freshness to the salad. While perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes ensures you have a nice crisp bite each mouthful. Lastly, dressing your bocconcini salad with a high quality olive oil and salt will provide a noticeably tastier difference.

Tips and tricks

  • Cut your cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise as well as the bocconcini cheese. I find the smaller bites allow for better flavour distribution and the tomato juice adds to the dressing.
  • When chopping your basil, stack your washed basil leaves on top of one another. Then roll the stacked leaves and proceed to chop, which will result in uniformly thin stripes of basil.
Bocconcini Salad

Bocconcini Salad

A simple, fresh and fragrant salad.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Small bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes rinsed and halved lengthwise
  • 100 g bocconcini halved
  • ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
  • ½ tsp salt to taste
  • ½ tsp pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil extra virgin

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the cherry tomatoes and cut into halves.
  • Cut the bocconcini cheese into halves.
  • Chop the fresh basil into uniform thin stripes.
  • Combine the tomatoes, bocconcini, fresh basil, salt, pepper and olive oil into a service bowl and mix until the salad is fully dressed.
Keyword basil, bocconcini, Bocconcini Salad, cold pasta salad, italian, tomato

Coconut Red Thai Curry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Here in Ontario, we’ve officially skipped spring and jumped straight into summer. With no time to let our bodies adjust to this sudden heat wave, sometimes the best way to temper your body is by eating a hot dish instead of a cold one, so here’s a deliciously fresh vegan Coconut Red Thai Curry that will help your internal temperature adjust to this sudden burst of summer.

coconut red thai curry

With minimal equipment, fresh ingredients, and so many options to make this suit your own taste buds, this quick and easy 30 minute dinner is perfect for a busy schedule.

Not vegan?

Not vegan or don’t like vegan food all that much? Don’t worry! This coconut red Thai curry definitely doesn’t have to be exclusively vegan. We’re still very much in quarantine so this dish was whipped up with whatever I had left in my fridge and pantry, but you can easily substitute the chickpeas for any other protein you like.

coconut red thai curry

Alternative options:

  • Replace the chickpeas with chicken or seafood and you still have yourself a yummy and fresh curry.
  • If you’re not the biggest fan of coconut, I’d recommend cutting the amount of coconut milk in the recipe in half and in turn add more broth instead. However, if you do this, you may need to add a bit of cornstarch (mixed in with the broth before adding it to the curry) to thicken it up.
  • If you don’t like coconut at all, you can omit the coconut milk, but I’d recommend replacing it with some heavy cream to ensure you’re left with a curry like thickness. If you use broth only, this will end up being more of a soup than a curry.

Coconut Red Thai Curry

A fresh vegan red thai curry full of vegetables and coconut flavour.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Large pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 small carrots peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 red bell pepper julienned
  • 1/2 green bell pepper julienned
  • 1 medium yellow onion julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste store bought or homemade
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • fresh cilantro for garnish
  • 1 cup uncooked rice for serving; cook as per instructions

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, on medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions for about 1-2 minutes. Add the bell peppers and carrots and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and salt and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, soy sauce, red thai curry paste, rice vinegar and lime and mix until well combined. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and add the coconut milk. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the bean sprouts and continue to simmer until they are the texture of you're liking, which personally I let simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve on a bed of the rice of your choosing and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Notes

If you don’t like rice, you can also serve this delicious Vegan Coconut Red Thai Curry over some rice noodles. 
Keyword coconut, Coconut Red Thai Curry, curry, Red Thai Curry, Thai, vegan