INSPIRE SHARE CREATE HEALTHY LOCAL TOGETHER

Category: cheese

Summer has arrived and along with it are a plethora of weekend backyard parties with friends and family. BBQs are often a staple of these soirées. With the summer heat, we are always looking for lighter flavour packed dishes to put on the grill that will even impress all those carnivores.

In addition to vegetables being fantastic for your health, there are other reasons why you might want to consider using vegetables instead of meat on the BBQ. Grilling vegetables is a healthier option as they do not produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are carcinogenic compounds that result from grilling meats at high temperatures.

Halloumi & Vegetable Greek Kebabs

mexican breakfast bowl

The holiday season is wrapping up and soon the whole country will be on the healthy eating bandwagon trying to achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

Forget what happened over the past couple of weeks — most of us overate. You are not the only one! Stop carrying around guilt about it. Move forward and make mindful choices in the New Year.

What really counts is what happens from now until next December. Make small, maintainable changes to your everyday eating habits that will improve your health in the long run.

Well, the snow is sticking around up in my hometown and it’s getting darn chilly here in Vancouver. Time to dust off the slow cooker!

Some things don’t go over well with me when it comes to slow cooking foods. I need the right recipe. I don’t like it when all the vegetables start to taste the same and get all mushy. That being said, there are many fabulous recipes out there. They usually revolve around he same theme: warm, hearty and they pair well with fresh, hot biscuits!

biscuits

Pizza Muffins!

COMMENT

The time has come, summer is over and it’s back to school!

Parents with kids going into kindergarten aren’t quite ready to let go yet and every other parent is counting down the days with big red X’s on the calendar!

Whether you want them to go or not, you still, sadly, have to pack their lunch.

So, what to pack?

What is your favorite cuisine?

Such a tough question…

I was recently asked what my favorite cuisine was and struggled to come up with an answer. After making this recipe I think I might have to go with Mexican! Although others (Indian and Thai) are VERY close runners up.

I went on a girls trip to Cancun a few years ago and still think about how delicious the guacamole and fresh salsa were!

IMG_20130805_193553

This recipe is a lot easier to make and healthier than authentic enchiladas but just as tasty! It reheats and freezes perfectly too. Using flavored tortillas can add a punch of flavor and fun color. Or, if you have the time, you could get really fancy and make your own!

Salsa Chicken

COMMENT

It’s March!!!!!

march_calendar

…. are you wondering why I am so excited??

It’s National Nutrition Month!

How should you celebrate this fabulous month? Making the delicious recipes off my blog is a good start, but why not make a nutrition month goal?

The theme of nutrition month 2013 is “Best Food Forward: Plan, Shop, Cook, Enjoy!”  Here are some tips for some things to try this month:

  • Get each family member to write down their favorite recipe and the shopping list for it; keep those lists on hand for quick ideas when you’re in a pinch at the grocery store
  • Have each family member responsible for planning meals for 1-2 days out of the week (kids are more invested in helping and eating if they help plan and this is a great teaching tool for them as well!)
  • Get a dry erase board and stick it to your fridge, use it to write out your weekly meal plan. That way whose ever home first knows what’s for dinner and can start the prep.
  • Write a shopping list … and stick to it! This will help you spend less money on impulse buys and things you don’t need at the store.
  • Start your prep when you unpack your groceries: hard boil some eggs, wash and chop veggies, put washed fruit in a bowl by the front door, portion and freeze large packs of meat etc.
  • Cook and enjoy food with friends and family. There are countless studies showing the benefits of enjoying good, wholesome foods with others.

If all else fails my most important nutrition month tip is to stick to real, simple foods!

In honor of promoting real and simple food I am blogging about my favorite weeknight chicken recipe. It is so fast (about 5 min to prep) and so delicious!

IMG_9583

Salsa Chicken

Source: modified from allrecipies

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
  • Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Place chicken breast in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle both sides of breasts with taco seasoning
  3. Top each breast with 1/4 cup salsa (sometimes I like more, especially if it’s homemade salsa!)
  4. Bake in preheated oven 25-35 min, or until internal temp reaches 165 F
  5. Sprinkle chicken evenly with cheese and bake for another couple min until the cheese melts
  6. Top with Greek yogurt and serve

The first time my mom made this recipe she accidentally bought vanilla Greek yogurt to top it with…. and liked it! ..Weird I know… I think moments like this run in the family. What recipe “mistake” have you made that ended up working out?

I was so intrigued when I first heard about socca. It seemed like something I would totally love, it’s healthy, easy to make and great for bringing to parties!

socca-4

This is such a versatile little flat bread, just think of your favorite flavor combo and add it in! I tried it plain first because I was curious about the base flavor but I recommend add ins to amp it up! Fresh and dried spices, cheese(s), olives, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded zucchini (drained), caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms – you name it!

One of my favorite combos is adding sauteed mushrooms, onions and sundried tomatoes to the batter and then serving the socca cut into strips with a truffle oil dip (1/2 cup plain greek yogurt mixed with 1.5-2 tsp truffle oil and a dash of salt).

socca2

For my first attempt I made it a little thicker, kind of like an unleavened pancake, but I prefer a thinner crispier (and cheesier) socca now. You can use it as a wrap, pizza crust, flat-bread, savory crepe or use it in place of naan or a pita.

1 cup of chickpea flour has 21g of protein, 10g of fiber and 25% daily value for iron (for men, women have higher needs) and as an added bonus this flatbread is gluten free for all those with sensitivities and allergies out there!

upbeet.ca socca

Socca – Chickpea Flatbread

-1 cup chickpea flour (I found it at superstore labeled Besan)
-1 cup lukewarm water
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Add Ins and/or topping ideas

-red pepper flakes, garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika ….
-3 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
-1 cup shredded zucchini (make sure to squeeze out all of the excess moisture)
-caramelized onions
-sauteed mushrooms
-shredded cheese
-olives/olive tapenade
-sundried tomatoes
-1.5 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
-sauteed greens
-shredded potato
-chutney
-fried/scrambled eggs

Instructions

1. Sift the flour and whisk together with the water, olive oil,  salt and any other preferred dried spices in a small bowl. Let rest for 1/2- 2 hours or up to 12 hours (in a pinch I have skipped the resting). Then stir in any other desired add ins.

2. Set an oven rack six inches below your oven’s broiler and turn it on. Heat a cast iron skillet or oven proof frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat.

3.  Coat the bottom of the pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Whisk the chickpea batter and then pour 1/3 – half into the hot pan. Tilt the pan to help it spread evenly if needed.

4. Cook the socca a few minutes until set and browned on the bottom. Then pop under the broiler until you see the top of the socca begin to blister and brown. The socca should be flexible in the middle but crispy on the edges (or however you like it… it depends on the use how crisp or flexible you want it- I prefer it crispier)

5. Slice it into wedges or squares, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little good olive oil. Top with any desired toppings or use for your favorite dip. Repeat with any remaining batter.

Best served immediately while still warm, but can be refrigerated and re-toasted for up to a week.

(Socca can also be baked in a 450 F oven. Pour batter into a hot, greased baking dish and then broiled to finish. You really can’t go wrong, experiment and cook it however you like it best!)



Upbeet

- Formerly known as Apron Strings and Healthy Things -

© 2014 Upbeet. All rights reserved.