Monday, 28 September 2015

Black Bean Pico de Gallo Soup

Thank you to the two gym members who brought me vegetables from their gardens this week! I received a variety of tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini and eggplant. This meal was inspired by a recipe my friend Steve sent me, and it just so happened to include so many of the fresh vegetables I received.

You'll need either an immersion blender to use inside the pot, or you can transfer the soup to a blender.

You can use canned diced tomatoes if you don't have fresh tomatoes on hand. You can add pre-cooked diced chicken to this recipe when you add the beans and corn, or you can keep it vegetarian. The nutrition information is based on the vegetarian version. We served this as a side to grilled chicken legs.

Serves 6


1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
3 medium tomatoes, diced
3 cups no salt added vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 tbsp lime juice
19oz can black beans, drained
3/4 cup frozen corn

3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 avocado, sliced


Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the chopped onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are translucent. Stir in the spices, lime juice and jalapeƱo, and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and cilantro, stir, then shut off the heat.

Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or allow to cool, then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth).

Add broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the blended soup back in to the pot and stir well. Add the black beans and corn and heat through.

Top soup with shredded cheese and sliced avocado.

Nutrition (including toppings)

Calories 371
Fat 15.3g
Saturated fat 5.2g
Carbohydrates 43.0g
Fibre 11.4g
Sugars 4.9g
Protein 18.5g

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Chicken Fajita Fried Rice Bowls

Fried rice is one of my favourite foods to make in a big batch because it reheats so well for lunch the next day! I decided to combine the burrito bowl concept with fried rice to make a fajita version.

Cook the rice either the night before or the morning of, and allow it to cool fully and refrigerate it. I also cooked the chicken in two batches, since I didn't want to crowd the pan.

Serves 6


180g brown rice, cooked and cooled fully
1kg boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tsp canola oil, for greasing
Juice of 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green zucchini, sliced and quartered

Toppings (2 tbsp for each serving):
3/4 cup Tex Mex shredded cheese
3/4 cup salsa


Slice chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Grease a wok with canola oil and set to medium heat. Place chicken pieces into wok and squeeze lime juice over chicken. Season with spice mix. Stir fry chicken until fully cooked, then transfer to a plate. Juices from chicken will remain in the wok.

Turn heat up to high and add garlic, peppers, zucchini and onions. Stir fry vegetables, stirring constantly. When vegetables are cooked yet still crunchy, add the rice and mix well. Stir fry the rice, stirring constantly. Add the chicken pieces to the wok and mix.

Scoop servings into bowls and top with cheese and salsa while chicken and rice is hot, so the cheese melts.

Nutrition (including toppings)

Calories 444
Fat 16.6g
Saturated fat 5.7g
Carbohydrates 32.1g
Fibre 3.5g
Sugars 4.2g
Protein 41.1g

You might also like:
Mexican Fried Rice

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Stuffed chicken is such an easy to make, yet impressive looking dish! We served this with Yukon Gold potato wedges and roasted broccoli.

Larger chicken breasts are easier to butterfly, so I used chicken breasts that were five per kilogram. They make a very large serving size, so you can slice them in half to serve if you prefer. To butterfly the chicken, use a sharp knife to slice all the way down the side, so that the chicken breast opens like a book.

Makes 5 servings


1kg boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
142g (5oz) baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Canola oil spray, for greasing pan


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with canola oil spray.

Grease a skillet with olive oil and set to medium heat. Add garlic and spinach and saute until spinach wilts. Set aside to cool.

Butterfly chicken breasts and lay them open on pan lined with foil.

Add feta cheese to spinach mixture, and mix to combine. Place a line of spinach and feta mix on one side of chicken breast, then flip the other side of the chicken over top of it and fasten shut with toothpicks.

Place pan in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked (juices will be clear).

Nutrition (1 chicken breast)

Calories 285
Fat 9.2g
Carbohydrates 1.8g
Fibre 0.6g
Sugars 0.7g
Protein 48.0g

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Cinnamon PB2 Cake (with chickpeas)

We set out to make peanut butter blondies, but ended up with this cake. Since we have made black bean brownies before, I assumed that using chickpeas would give us the same texture. Instead, we ended up with a fluffy and moist peanut butter cake that doesn't taste at all like chickpeas (don't worry). The peanut butter muffins and cakes I have made before were all quite dense because I used actual peanut butter, but in this one, we tried PB2, which is powdered, dehydrated peanut butter. It works amazingly well in lieu of flour. It is less grainy in texture than using almond flour, and because most of the fat is removed, it is much less dense than almond flour.

Since I wasn't actually planning to bake a cake, I didn't plan for anything to top it. Next time I make this (this would make a perfect cake for a Halloween party), I'd like to try baking it as an upside down cake covered in apple slices, then drizzle the caramel-like topping I used for my Apple Cinnamon Beavertails:
1 tbsp coconut oil, divided
3 tbsp natural peanut butter (smooth)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Allow the cake to cool completely before icing. In a small saucepan, combine 1 tsp of coconut oil oil, peanut butter and maple syrup and stir to combine over low heat.  Pour icing mixture into piping bag (or into a sturdy plastic sandwich bag, then make a small cut off one corner to pipe out icing).  Pipe out icing onto beavertails and serve.

This cake can be baked in an 8x8 inch square glass dish, and cut into 16 square pieces, or in a round 9 inch cake pan and cut into 12 pieces. The nutrition information is for 16 pieces without the apples and caramel topping (this cake is so good, it's great to eat as is!).

Makes one 8x8 cake


15oz can chickpeas, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup PB2
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup water
Canola spray, for greasing pan


Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease cake pan with canola spray.

In a food processor or mini chopper, combine chickpeas, eggs, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Food process until the mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine PB2, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and coconut flour. Mix until uniform. Pour contents of food processor into dry ingredients, and fold together. Add water to mixture and mix.

Pour batter into cake pan and spread the batter evenly with a spatula. Bake for 22-24 minutes, until cake edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool to set.

Nutrition (per 1 square slice of cake)

Calories 172
Fat 6.2g
Saturated fats 3.4g
Carbohydrates 23.2g
Fibre 5.8g
Sugars 7.7g
Protein 7.6g