Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘broccoli’


Or sometimes known as “pastry with stuff in it”.

Now I know that I have been on a gluten-free kick lately and by no means have I abandon it.  But I haven’t actually been diagnosed with any sort of condition that prevents me from partaking in gluten, I just notice that I feel a lot better when I don’t eat it.

But once in a while, there are some things that I think just might taste better when using wheat flour.

And as a friend pointed out to me, the more you DON’T eat gluten ( assuming you don’t have a real condition that forbids it) the less trouble it will give you when you only eat it once in a while.

So I just felt like making something a little rich.   The weather hasn’t been so nice lately so eating something comforting always help.

I’m calling it “Leek and blue cheese galette”.

Start with a batch of your favorite pastry recipe.   Now IF you can make it gluten-free and taste good….then all the power to you!!  But my pastry was made with whole wheat flour.   Make a batch and put it in the fridge to chill for at least half hour.

Meanwhile, get your filling going.

Mine was super simple, cause that’s what I had.   And that is the beauty of a galette, you can fill it with just about anything, savory or sweet.

So I sautéed up:

  • 1/2 super thinly sliced leek ( I would have used more but that’s all I had)
  • 2 -3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt & pepper

But then I realized there really wasn’t quite enough there so I chopped up a couple of brocoli florets and tossed them in too.

Set aside and wait for pastry to be cooled.

Chop up some blue cheese or whatever cheese you have and would like to use.


When the pastry is chilled, divide into as many portions as galettes you will make, and then on a floured surface, roll out a nice round disk, maybe 8″ diameter.

Place it on a parchment covered tray (easier to fill on tray than try and move it later) and then put a generous mound of filling in the center, then top with cheese and then squash it all down a bit.   I also added a bit of Asiago cheese at the last minute.

Then just start turning the pastry in towards the middle, sort of folding it over itself.  It is okay to have some of the filling under the pastry, but most of it will be exposed.

Continue until the whole round is folded in.

Repeat with as many as you will be making.

Now I just forgot, but it is a good idea to brush the pastry with something, like a beaten egg or milk, just to help give it that nice shiny pastry look.  But no big deal it you forget.


Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and pastry looks baked.

Serve as desired.

You could also make smaller ones as party snacks or appetizers.

I paired them with a nice little arugula salad with shaved Asiago and oil and lemon  dressing.


My crazy arugula is still growing away out on the deck!!  I keep hacking it down and it just grows back!!  Let’s see if it lasts through the winter!!


Pineapple Chicken

For those of you who have been following along for a while, you’ll know that I don’t usually eat in Asian style restaurants.

Not that I don’t LOVE that food, it’s just that with my shell-fish allergy it is just too high risk to make sure I don’t accidentally eat the wrong thing?

So I often have to rely on trying to recreate my favorite dishes so that I know exactly what is in them.

Pineapple chicken used to be one of my favorite dishes from the Chinese take-out.   I am embarrassed to admit that I used to love that heavily battered stuff in the super sticky unnaturally red sauce.  I even liked the frozen version that you could bake in the oven in the tin foil box!

My how times have changed.

I think you will find this version just a tad healthier.

You will need:

  • skinless, boneless chicken ( breast or thighs)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper cut into triangle chunks
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks in own juice.  ( drain but keep juice for sauce)

Start by dicing the chicken into bite size bits and add to a hot  skillet with a few sloshes of a neutral oil.

Brown on all sides and then add onion, peppers and ginger, keep cooking.

After a few minutes, add the vinegar, soy sauce and chili flakes.   And if you like things sweeter, at this point you could add a tbsp of brown sugar or the sweetener of your choice.

Mix well, then add the pineapple chunks, stir in, turn down the heat and let simmer until everything is cooked through.

Once everything is well heated and chicken is cooked, it is time to make the sauce.

Add to the reserved pineapple juice, 2 tsp of cornstarch and mix it in until it is completely dissolved then add to the chicken and keep stirring until you see that the sauce is thickened up.

I served it with some “orange scented” basmati rice.  Which basically means I used orange juice as half of the cooking liquid and then added some fresh orange zest just before serving.

For greens, I cooked up some brocoli with a bit of bok choy and fresh ginger with a splash of soy sauce and sesame seeds.

There you go.  A healthier version of an old favorite and you know exactly what you put in it!

Pineapple Chicken

Chicken and Broccoli bake

I had a roommate long ago who used to make something like this.  It was very comforting and I often try to recreate it, but haven’t quite figured it out.

This version does the trick though.

I started with some frozen chicken breasts.   But don’t fret, we can use that to our advantage!

I popped them into a sauce pan with about 4 cups of water, give or take, with a shot of olive oil and about a table-spoon of “poultry seasoning” and a pinch of salt and then put them on to boil.

Meanwhile, I chopped up a nice size onion and browned it up in a bit of oil in a large skillet with a clove or two of chopped garlic.

When they were brown enough, I poured them into a good size casserole dish and spread them evenly on the bottom.

Then I fished the chicken breasts out of the boiling water ( which is now very much like chicken broth!) and popped them into the skillet with the onion flavours still lingering!

Brown the chicken breasts to give them a little colour and a lot more flavour.

While those are browning, wash and chop up a head of broccoli, in hind sight, I would have chopped it smaller than I did, but if you like bigger bits of brocoli feel free to chop them to  the size you like.  Spread them into the casserole over the onion.

I then added a few handfuls of fresh chopped parsley to help give it some colour.

Meanwhile back at the chicken……

As they browned up, I fished them out of the skillet one by one and sliced them into 2-3 bite size morsels then tossed them back in the skillet and repeated till all were cut.  Then I added about 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to zing it up a bit.

Meanwhile, add two cups of short grain brown rice to the casserole dish and toss everything together making sure everything, especially rice, is coated with any juices or flavours going on in there.

Then arrange  the chicken bits in the casserole in some sort of evenly distributed pattern.

Then get about four cups of the left over “chicken water”  ( thought we were just gonna waste it didn’t you??) and pour it all over everything, making sure that most of the stuff, at least all the rice anyway, is submerged.

I think my roommate used to use a can of “cream of something” type soup in hers and that’s what made it so much more creamy or saucyer than mine.  Feel free to experiment, but just make sure you have double the liquid to whatever the rice amount is.

Then cover tightly with tin foil and place into a 375 oven for at least 45 minutes.

After that time take it out and test the rice to see if it’s done.   If it is, sprinkle the top of everything with a good few handfuls of your favorite grated cheese.   I used smokey cheddar and then replace in the over UNCOVERED under the broiler and turn it up to 500 degrees and watch it closely.   It should only take about 5 minutes or less to melt and brown the cheese.

Your done!

Serve at will!

What’s good about this stuff is, it works well the next day as a work lunch, either re-heated ( but I don’t use micro waves) or at room temperature  it is just as good!

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

Mini meat loaf with broccoli pesto pasta

I like the thought of broccoli pesto.  Good way to hide vegetables!  I’m all about that!

Pretty much make it like any other pesto only instead replacing the basil or “green item” with broccoli.

Here’s what I had and whizzed it up in the food processor:

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • florets of one small broccoli head
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 goat cheese ( you could also use parmesan)

Mix well till it is almost a paste and then transfer to a sauce pan and heat.

Broccoli pesto

Meanwhile make the pasta of your choice.  And when it is cooked to your desired tenderness, drain and toss it in the “pesto sauce”.

But before you do any of this, assuming you want the whole meal deal, you will need to get your meat loaf in the oven!

I just got this great “mini loaf” pan.  It makes very cute items.

Make up a batch of your favorite meat loaf recipe and instead of putting it in one big loaf pan, fill up one of these and it make nice little personal loafs.

One tip I have for the meat loaf here.  I had some left over “chili con carne” from the other night so I tossed it in the mix.  That was great because it replaced where you might put….say….ketchup or whatever like that.  Kept them moist, added great flavour and the beans added fibre.

I was pleased how it turned out.

Mini meatloaf

Once the loaves are cooked and the pasta and pesto are heated through, you are ready to serve.  Very easy meal and you have your protein, starch and vegetables in a jiffy!

Mini meat loaf with broccoli pesto pasta

Squash sauce

Squash squash everywhere!

It is that time of year and what with Canadian Thanksgiving rapidly approaching it’s time to dust off your squash recipes!

Squash squash everywhere!

I had some left over squash soup  ( click here for that recipe ) from the other day that needed used up but wasn’t really enough for both of us  to eat as actual soup, so what to do?


I made squash sauce of course.

Extremely simple.  Put the soup in a sauce pan ( does that automatically make it sauce??) and add a little stock or water to it to thin it out.  Then I took the hand blender to it to blend up the hunks of kale and mushrooms that I so carefully added to it when I was making the soup!

THEN I added a good glob of Boursin cheese and melted that down into it.

Presto chango now you have a beautiful rich sauce for your topping pleasure!!

We had it on some grilled chicken which I put on top of some left over spaghetti squash that I sauted with some garlic, onion and a little butter.   And then a side of brown rice and broccoli and you have a pretty healthy meal chalk full of hidden vegetables!!

Chicken with squash sauce

My favorite Vegan meal

 Near the end of my time in holistic nutrition school ( click here to check out my school) I had to do a work study.  Because my focus was on health cooking as a way to spread the gospel of good nutrition, I choose to work at a restaurant in Toronto called FRESH (click here to check out restaurant).  It was at Fresh that I got the basic idea for this dish, although I’m still not sure what we should call it really. A “Rice Bowl” prehaps?
This is one of my favorite things to make when I’m home alone, or feel the need like to get maximum nutrition for my effort.  It sounds a bit complicated because there are a lot of elements, but once you’ve made it a few times, it gets easy and there are even short cuts you can take.
Let’s begin.

Right off the top you want to put on a pot of your favorite brown rice.  I always use organic short grain brown rice because I just love the taste, nice and nutty, but you can use whatever you like and hopefully if you are a person who reads food blogs, I’m assuming you know how to make rice.

Then choose a protein product.  You could grill up some marinated tofu or in the case of this particular time, I  used pre-marinated tempeh. 

Marinated Tempeh

 I like this brand because it comes pre-cut and already marinated.

Grill it up in a fry pan with a little oil.

Meanwhile you are going to want to steam up some greens.  On this occasion I used broccoli and kale.  You can either steam them on their own in another pot, or the lazy way like me, where I add them to the top of the rice pot when the rice is about half way to three quarters cooked.  You’ll be eating them all out of the same bowl in the end so getting a little on each other while cooking won’t hurt!

Then it’s time to make the sauce.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soya or Bragg sauce
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter OR tahini
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water

Whiz this all up in a small food processor or with a hand blender.  If you don’t have an appliance then chop the garlic and ginger very finely and then mix all ingredients together.


 Now that we have all of our elements ready to go, it’s time to assemble.

Start with a bowl and fill it with about a cup of cooked rice.  Then add the broccoli, kale or whatever cooked greens you are using.  Then the next layer is the protein, tofu or tempeh.

To finish it off, add sauce and then the toppings of your choice.  I like things like toasted cashews or sesame seeds, chopped green onions, grated carrot, sprouts of your choice or whatever bits of other live things you might have.

Then at the very last-minute, to make it a super healthy item, a good splash of flax oil!

This bowl is SO packed with nutritients and surprise suprise, it actually TASTES good too!!


Balcony garden

Well I’m back home now after my various adventures in Montreal and Toronto and need to get back to living my regular life.

I was so happy to see that while I was away, things have started to grow on my balcony.  Over the years I have experimented with trying to grow all sorts of things and you would be surprised what you can actually grow in unlikely places!

Oregano and mint

This is oregano ( on the left) and mint ( on the right) that I planted three years ago now.  It grows up and I hack at it all summer, using it however I fancy, then around November it appears to die right off, but then in spring it grows right back!  And now the mint seems to be taking over most of the box!!

I started my by balcony garden by combing the garage sales and picking up different kinds of vessels.  Window boxes, buckets, big flower pots, and then things to put them on, like children chairs and tables and little shelves so that things are at different heights.  It is a fun pursuit to furnish your garden.

But my favorite things to grow in are my recycling bins that I brought with me from Toronto.  My “blue box” and my “grey box”.  I got them fresh and clean one earth day when they were giving them out in the park and never used them for actual recycling so they are perfectly food safe and they already have wholes punched in the bottom which are great for drainage.

Then I took my knapsack and went down to the beach and filled it with as many small stones as I could carry……actually I made several trips to get enough stones to fill all the bottoms of my vessels.  You need the stones both for drainage and for the roots to have some space to breath because straight dirt can become too compacted.

Then away you go, you can grow all sorts of things.

Last summer I was so excited because I got some little broccoli plants and was thrilled at the idea of growing my own.  The plants were growing like gang busters and it was so fun watching the little heads of broccoli emerge from the centre.  I watched them and watched them but then had to go away for a week and hoped that they would be ready to harvest upon my return.

Unfortunately they peaked while I was away and by the time I returned they had flowered up like a hydrangea flower!!  I was so sad.  And who knew that broccoli flowered like that??

Broccoli plants

Flowering broccoli

So keep an eye on your garden or things can get out of hand!

One thing I had a great success with was cucumber plants.  I just got four little plants at the store and planted one in each corner of the container.  Two made it and two didn’t.  But the two that did, grew like crazy and we enjoyed many cucumbers well into the fall.

Cucumber plant

I always try to grow a tomato plant or two but it never really gets warm enough for them, so I am lucky if I get a red tomato or two by October.

But now’s the time to start planning.

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