Dinner

Dinner

If you are looking for an easy to make gluten-free, dairy free dinner, this is sure to please the whole family.
 
Makes 8 - 10 Servings
 
Ingredients:
2 large eggplants
2 yellow onions

3 bell peppers

6-8 medium zucchini 

4 large tomatoes

1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

3-4 sprigs thyme

1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons

Extra basil for garnishing

Salt and pepper
 
Directions:
Peel the eggplants, if desired, and chop them into bite-sized cubes. Transfer them to a strainer set over a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Let the eggplant sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
 
Dice the onions and roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep each one in a separate bowl.
 
Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large (at least 5 1/2 quart) Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and peppers to a clean bowl.
 
Add another teaspoon of oil to the pot and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions and peppers.
 
Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the cubes gently with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm two teaspoons of oil in the pan and sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables.
 
During cooking, a brown glaze will gradually build on the bottom of the pan. If it looks like this glaze is beginning to turn black and burn, turn down the heat to medium. You can also dissolve the glaze between batches by pouring 1/4 cup of water or wine into the pan and scraping up the glaze. Pour the deglazing liquid into the bowl with the vegetables.
 
Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, whole sprigs of thyme. As the tomato juices begin to bubble, scrape up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan.
 
Add all of the vegetables back into the pan and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. Shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables in larger, more distinct pieces; longer cooking times will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.
 
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before taking the ratatouille off the heat, stir in the basil. Sprinkle the extra basil and a glug of good olive oil over each bowl as you serve.
 
Leftovers can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to three months. Ratatouille is often better the second day, and it can be eaten cold, room temperature, or warmed.
Notes:
• Making a Smaller Batch: This recipe can be cut in half and adapted to use whatever vegetables you have.
• Flavour Extras: For something different try adding a tablespoon of smoked paprika, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a quarter cup of red wine, or a splash of vinegar to the ratatouille.
 
 1/2 cup quinoa cooked in one cup of broth or water
 
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roasted in oven till soft at 350C for about 50 minutes.
(I sprinkled cardamom on mine)
 
1 red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 tbsp coconut oil
Saute above ingredients till soft
 
Wash and chop into large pieces 6-8 large leaves of Kale.
 
Assemble the cooked quinoa, cooked sweet potatoes and sauted onion, garlic and ginger root into a roasting pan, I used a square stone.  Mix in the raw kale and add about 4- 8 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 4-8 tbsp of olive oil or melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup of maple syrup.  You can add more spice if you like such as cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and/or nutmeg.  I added some epicure Thai seasoning this time.
 
Throw in the oven at 350C till the kale is softened through. 
I actually turned it down to about 200 and let it sit for about an hour till dinner was ready.
 
Top with greens and add a chicken breast for a complete meal.
 

 

A Christmas Dinner would not be complete without the cranberry sauce, but I don't love all the added sugar and gelatin you find in the store bought canned versions.  My daughter and I make cranberry sauce every year over the holiday and often times the recipe will vary with what we might add to it like apples, oranges, pineapple, cinnamon, ginger or cloves.  

 

Not So Sweet Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients
2 bags of fresh cranberries (they are usually 12 ounce bags)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup maple syrup stevia to taste
2 tsp cinnamon
tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
Juice and zest of one orange

Directions
Put cranberries and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).
Reduce to a simmer and pour the juice and zest over the cranberry mixture, add in the maple syrup and stevia to taste.
Simmer 10-15 minutes and remove from heat.
Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

NOTE: This is not as sweet as store versions. Taste at the end of cooking. Add a little more maple syrup if needed.

I made this chili with a vegetarian cooking class a few years back and it was a huge hit! You could also use quinoa in place of the bulgar.

Thai Chili

A delicious combination of vegetarian chilli and red curry with a hint of coconut.

Ingredients:
1 ½ tsp red curry paste
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
½ cup uncooked bulgur or pot barley
½ medium sweet potato
1 large green bell pepper chopped
3 cups cooked kidney beans
½ cup light coconut milk
2 cups tomato puree
2 scallions chopped
Fresh ground pepper to taste

One: In a pot add curry paste, cumin and a bit of broth. Mash mixture and stir until paste is no longer in lumps. Add remaining broth, bulgur, potato and bell pepper.
Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Two: add beans, coconut milk, and tomato puree to pot and stir. Cook, uncovered for 7 minutes until bulgur is tender and chilli is thick. Stir in scallions and black pepper to taste.

 

Spring has finally sprung and many folks turn to grilling their dinner.  We actually grill all winter long but definitely more frequently once the snow is gone.

This recipe is from an Ebook my friends and I wrote called Chillin and Grillin.  It is free right now when you sign up for my newsletter.

This recipe was created by my friend Melanie, and le's be honest, getting more veggies into our family is a good thing.  Veggies are more cost effective than meat and are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients:
 
½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic peeled and minced 
1 ½ tbsp minced rosemary
1 ½ tbsp minced thyme 
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bell peppers (colour is your choice), seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 medium zucchinis (1 green and 1 yellow), cut into 1-inch rounds 
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
 
Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes or use metal skewers.
Combine the balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Skewer the vegetables, alternating between different coloured vegetables.
Place the skewers on the grill and cook, brushing the vegetables with the vinegar mix and turning every 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, 12 – 15 minutes.
A stir fry is a quick and healthy dinner you can make any night of the week with any combination of vegetables and/or meat you prefer.  My daughter has braces, so eating veggies that have been cooked are easier for her to chew.  A stir fry will leave a little crunch left in your veggies so the nutritional content is higher.  Be sure to fully cook your meat first however.
 
Cauliflower pieces
Broccoli pieces including the stem
Celery, sliced
Carrots, sliced
Zucchini, sliced
Mushrooms, sliced
Tomatoes, quartered
Peppers, sliced in strips
Onions, sliced
Edible-podded peas (optional)
Chicken breasts, steamed
 
The quantity of each ingredient depends on the number of people to be served.  A heavy cast iron frying pan or a wok should be used.  Sautè in butter or coconut oil. using medium heat, any combination or all of the listed vegetables.  Begin by cooking the vegetables that take longer to tenderize (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli).  After a few minutes, add the rest of vegetables, except the tomatoes.  Turn heat to simmer, cover pan or wok, and cook until all vegetables are barely tender.  Add tomatoes and cook about 1 minute longer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add prepared chicken and serve piping hot.
 
Preparation of meat:  Stem chicken until tender.  Remove skin and bones.  Cut in large chunks.  Brown in a separate pan in butter.  Set aside until you are ready to combine with vegetables.
 
½ cup split peas
1 small onion
Coconut oil for frying 
1 teaspoon Sesame oil
1 medium diced carrot 
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (about ¼ of a medium squash) 
1 teaspoon grated ginger 
400 ML or 13.5 Fl Oz Coconut Milk 
½ cup lentils 
2 cups broccoli tops 
1 dash cardamom 
1 dash cumin 
½ teaspoon turmeric 
½ teaspoon paprika
 
Note: Cardamom, turmeric, cumin and paprika together make a mild curry if you don't have those spices just use a powdered curry to taste instead or add powdered curry to the spice mix for a stronger curry flavour. If you want it really spicy, add cayenne.
Boil split peas until tender. Dice carrots, butternut squash and broccoli.
Sauté onions until light brown. Add carrots and butternut squash. Add Sesame oil. Add grated ginger.
Stir in coconut milk. Put heat to medium, stirring constantly.
Add drained tender split peas. Add broccoli tops and lentils. Add spices. Simmer on low heat for at least one hour stirring occasionally. Serve hot.