Sunday, 31 May 2015

BBQ Chicken Legs Spice Rub

Barbecue chicken drumsticks are my favourite summer staple. This spice rub was a last minute solution to, "what do you want on this chicken?" It is easy to throw together and makes just the right amount to spice 16 drumsticks. We served Lemon Pesto pasta salad with these (pesto recipe to come!), which was a perfect mix of warm spices with tart pesto.

Coats 16 drumsticks

Ingredients

1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried chili flakes
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine spices, sugar and herbs in a small bowl. Sprinkle spice rub evenly over chicken drumsticks. Rub spices in to chicken skin. Turn drumsticks over, and spice opposite side. Barbecue or oven roast drumsticks.

Nutrition (per 1 chicken drumstick, skin on)

Calories 79
Fat 2.7g
Carbohydrates 0.3g
Protein 12.7g

Other chicken leg recipes:

Roasted Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs
Jerk Chicken Marinade
Spicy Coconut Lime Chicken Drumsticks

Monday, 25 May 2015

Slow Cooker Turkey, Barley & Lemon Soup


I know soup seems like an odd thing to cook in May, but three things prompted me to make it:
1.  We were in the middle of a cold spell (Ottawa in May...you just never know).
2.  I needed to make something that was freezer friendly, since we are going on vacation and I knew I wouldn't be able to get through my groceries in time. This way, I could make enough for weekend meals, freeze the rest, and not have to worry about fresh veggies going bad.
3.  We went to Panera for lunch last week, and I had a bowl of chicken, lemon and orzo soup that was very good, so I wanted to try a similar recipe. If you prefer boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe, feel free to swap that. When I looked at the chicken at the grocery store, it had a lot of fat on it, and the turkey breast looked more appealing. I also chose to use barley because it's a whole grain, and it will stand up to the cooking time.

Barley is whole grain that is high in fibre, protein, potassium, and iron. One cup of uncooked barley will yield three cups cooked (you will need to use three cups of water to cook it, which is why there is a lot of water added to this soup). Barley contains gluten, and has a chewiness similar to that of past. It has a mild nutty flavour.

Serves 6

Ingredients

184g (1 cup) pot barley
1 garlic clove, minced
4 green onions, sliced
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
500g boneless, skinless turkey breast, sliced in half (or two 250g chicken breasts)
2 tsp lemon infused olive oil (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Black pepper, to taste
900mL no salt added chicken broth (or homemade Slow Cooker Turkey Broth)
1L water
1 bay leaf

Directions

Pour the barley on the bottom of the slow cooker pot. Layer garlic, green onions, celery, carrots and turkey breast. Add olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary and black pepper on top of turkey breast. Pour in broth, and add water to top up. Add bay leaf on top. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. When 4 hours is complete, remove the bay leaf, and break turkey breast up into pieces. Stir soup together and serve.

Nutrition (per 1.5 cup serving)

Calories 254
Fat 12.9g
Carbohydrates 32.7g
Fibre 6.7g
Sugars 5.7g
Protein 21.1g

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Chicken Fajitas Over Rice

I swapped tortillas for brown rice alongside this chicken fajita mixture. Taco seasoning or fajita sauces are high in sodium, so I recommend making your own spice blends and using a little oil, lemon or lime juice, and water as needed to fry the chicken and veggies. I ate this as is, but you could add toppings such as shredded cheddar, salsa, or guacamole if you like.

Serves 4

Ingredients

120g instant brown rice, cooked
500g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, julienne
1 yellow bell pepper, julienne
1 zucchini, sliced
2 tsp canola oil, divided
2 tbsp lemon juice, divided
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Black pepper, to taste
Water, about 1/4 cup, as needed
Canola spray, for greasing

Directions

Cook rice as per instructions and set aside.

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Spray skillet with canola spray, then add 1 tsp of canola oil. Set temperature to medium heat. Add onion and chicken pieces to skillet, and pour half the lemon juice and half the spices onto the chicken. Stir frequently, until chicken is fully cooked and onions have caramelized. Transfer chicken and onions to a plate and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tsp of canola oil to skillet, increase heat to high, and add bell peppers. Add water as necessary while cooking. When peppers are half cooked, add zucchini slices. Pour remaining lemon juice and spices over veggies, stirring frequently. When veggies are fully cooked, add chicken, onions and rice in to skillet, and mix. Serve with fajita toppings.

Nutrition (fajitas with rice, no toppings)

Calories 351
Fat 7.3g
Carbohydrates 34.4g
Fibre 3.6g
Sugars 6.1g
Protein 36.2g

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Pretzel & Dark Chocolate Granola Bars


I love making homemade granola bars and protein bars. They are versatile, convenient, and best of all - delicious! I usually make a big batch, cut them into bars, and then wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them for an easy to grab snack. For this recipe I added dark chocolate chips, but other substitutions could be flaked coconut, chopped almonds, or dried cherries. 

Ingredients

2 cups oats
1 scoop protein powder (I used Quest protein in vanilla)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1/2 cup crushed pretzels
1/3 cup dark chocolate mini chips

Directions

1. In a pan toast oats over medium heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
2. In a sauce pan, melt coconut oil and honey over medium heat. Turn heat off and add vanilla and salt, and stir. Let cool. 
3. Stir in the protein powder into the coconut oil mixture. Add the toasted oats, pretzels, and chocolate chips. 
4. Press into a baking tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes before cutting into slices. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Blueberry and Lemon Scones


I love scones - no seriously, I really love scones! They are so simply, but when made correctly are flaky, slightly sweet, and absolutely perfect when paired with a cup of tea! The key to making scones is not to over mix the batter, otherwise they may come out harder than desired. 

Ingredients

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
5 Tbsp butter (must be cold)
1 cup fresh blueberries (washed and dried)

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar with a whisk. 
2. Add the blueberries and toss very gently. 
3. Cut in the butter gently and just mix batter with hands until just mixed (don't over mix)
4. Gently press dough onto a lightly floured counter into a circle about 2 inches thick. Cut into 8 slices like a pizza. 
5. Place onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

**TIP** If you want to bring out the flavours a little more, add 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice with 2 Tbsp icing sugar and drizzle onto each scone. 







Mushroom and Cheese Quiche


For Mother's Day this year we had a brunch at my sister in laws place so I wanted to bring something that was portable and could easily be reheated. I love quiche, but sometimes it can be filled with empty carbs and fat. With a  few small tweaks this quiche became a light and delicious meal that was filled with protein and fiber!

Ingredients

3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp buttermilk

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into half moons
1 cup of mushrooms (I used cremini and shitaki)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp herbs (I used thyme and rosemary)
3 eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
1 cup cheese (I used 1/2 old white cheddar and 1/2 gruyere)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. In a magic bullet blend together the oats, flour, and salt until oats are finely ground.
3. In a large bowl pour the oat mixture and cut in the butter until it resembles small crumbles. Add the butter milk until the mixture comes together as a dough.
4. Roll dough on the counter until it is about a foot round. Place in pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
5. In a sauce pan add oil and onions. Cook over medium heat until cooked through (about 12 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and herbs. Let cool.
6. In a large bowl add eggs, egg whites, and evaporated milk. Whisk. Add mushroom and onion mixture.
7. Poor half the cheese on the bottom of the crust, add the egg mixture, and top with the remaining cheese.
8. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned and cooked through (test with a knife).

Monday, 11 May 2015

Grilled Veggies with Sriracha Pesto

Did you know that basil is the most nutrient dense herb? Pesto is a great way to include basil in your diet, and it includes heart healthy monounsaturated fats from olive oil and walnuts. It also adds protein from parmesan cheese to a vegetarian dish.

Simon recently received The Sriracha Cookbook as a gift, and I couldn't wait to try out some of the recipes (there is also a vegetarian version of this book, by the way). I bought a grill wok, which was only $10.00 at Winners, and I happened to have two very large basil plants, so sriracha pesto coated grilled veggies seemed like the way to go!

I adapted the recipe from the cookbook based on how much basil I had (the recipe calls for less basil and the addition of spinach), and I reduced the amount of cheese. We served these veggies as a side with grilled chicken breasts and sweet potatoes.

For the pesto (makes about 1 1/2 cup):

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts
1 cup Thai basil, packed
1 cup Italian basil, packed
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp sriracha
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Toast walnuts in the oven at 325 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Allow to cool.

Add walnuts, basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, sriracha, salt and pepper to food processor. Blend until uniform in appearance, scraping down sides as necessary.

Refrigerate pesto until serving. Use on top of grilled veggies, grilled chicken, or pasta.

Nutrition (per 2 tbsp)

Calories 171
Fat 16.6g
Carbohydrates 2.1g
Fibre 0.8g
Protein 5.7g


For the grilled veggies (8 servings):
Note: The amount in the picture is half of the veggies coated in pesto, or 4 servings. We had to grill in two rounds to make 8 servings (the wok could only fit that much).

Ingredients

2 yellow zucchinis, sliced
2 green zucchinis, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped into squares
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into squares
1/2 onion, chopped into squares
Half of the Sriracha Pesto recipe for coating
Canola spray, for greasing grill wok

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all of the sliced vegetables. Toss in sriracha pesto until evenly coated. Spray grill wok with canola oil spray, then transfer vegetables to wok. Grill on the barbecue, tossing vegetables often, until vegetables are cooked through.

Nutrition (veggies with pesto)

Calories 152
Fat 12.6g
Carbohydrates 6.6g
Fibre 2.4g
Sugars 3.0g
Protein 5.5g

Friday, 8 May 2015

Greek Yogurt Spinach Artichoke Dip

Greek yogurt is the perfect base for creating a healthier veggie or chip dip (8.1g of protein per 1/4 cup!). This cold dip tastes best after refrigerating for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to come together. If you prefer a smooth consistency, you could put all the ingredients into a food processor, but I chopped the veggies by hand for a chunky dip.

Makes 2.5 cups

Ingredients

500g plain Greek yogurt (1 container)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
2 cups (packed) arugula and baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, diced
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Serve with pita chips and veggie sticks for dipping

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition (per 1/4 cup)

Calories 84
Fat 4.5g
Carbohydrates 3.1g
Fibre 0.6g
Protein 8.1g

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Cheesecake Protein Pancakes



Who doesn't love pancakes? Seriously, they are fantastic - especially on the weekends! This recipe is a healthy twist on your basic pancake recipe that is filled with protein. The texture of them resembles cheesecake, believe it or not! They are tasty, filling and make a great breakfast or mid aftnoon snack.

Ingredients

2 egg whites
1 egg
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 scoop Quest vanilla protein (or Lean Dessert)
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 oats

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in a Magic Bullet until smooth. The mixture will be thick.
2. Heat a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Poor batter into pan - depending on the size you like. It will make 2 large pancakes or about 4-5 smaller pancakes.
3. Flip after 1-2 minutes, or until just slightly browned.

I like to top mine with pure maple syrup or with frozen berries that have been microwaved to make a liquid jam mixture

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Greek Feta Turkey Burgers


One of my favourite things about summer is that you can barbecue your meals - which always makes everything taste 100% better. Burgers are great because they are versatile and extras can easily be heated up the next day. If made correctly with the right ingredients, burgers are an excellent addition to your healthy eating plan. I usually make my burgers bunless, but you're always welcome to add a bun to yours! 

Ingredients

1 package lean ground turkey
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary 
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup tzatziki 

Instructions

1. Preheat bbq
2. In a large bowl combine the turkey, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, egg, and bread crumbs. With a fork mix until just combined. 
3.  Add the feta cheese and lightly mix until combined.
4. Form into 4 patties and place on the bbq. Cook for 10 minutes and then flip and cook for another 10 minutes.
5. Top with tzatziki sauce 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Pizza Cinnamon Buns


I love taking food that I love and making it different and fun... and with this recipe I did just that. Everyone loves pizza - if made correctly, it can be healthy, and it is very versatile in terms of toppings. This recipe is very simple, as I made it for my fiancee, but you could definitely add more vegetables or change it to bbq sauce. 

Ingredients

1 package fresh whole wheat pizza dough
1 small can pizza sauce
1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 package turkey pepperoni 
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Spray a pizza stone (or baking tray) with cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle flour on your counter so that dough doesn't stick. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 1 cm thick, with a rolling pin. 
4. Spread sauce onto rolled dough making sure it gets close to the edges. 
5. Spinkle with mozzarella cheese and top with turkey pepperoni. 
6. Starting at one end, roll dough up making sure the toppings stay in. You should have a log once all rolled up. Take a very sharp knife and cut log into 2 inch chunks. 
7. Lay flat onto the baking tray and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 

Garlic & Parmesan Broccoli Bites



Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out the natural flavours and sweetness of vegetables. These broccoli bites are tasty, healthy, and super fun to eat! So long mushy broccoli!

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli, stalks removed and chopped into small pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed with a garlic press
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Spray a pizza stone or baking sheet with cooking spray
3. In a large bowl combine the broccoli, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.
4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and flip. Sprinkle with 1/2 Tbsp parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for another 10 minutes and remove, and sprinkle with the last 1/2 Tbsp cheese