January 31, 2014

Healthy 'Cheezy' Roasted Cauliflower

Healthy 'Cheezy' Roasted Cauliflower

Even though my team didn’t quite make it to the Super Bowl this year, I’m still looking forward to this Sunday, not only to watch some very talented players compete in what should be an exciting game, but also to enjoy one of my favourite parts of the big game – the food!

Healthy 'Cheezy' Roasted Cauliflower

This year I’m going to try to keep things a little healthier than normal, though. I’ve been so busy with schoolwork over the past week that I feel like I haven’t been eating nearly as well as I usually do. Case in point: last night’s dinner consisted of peanuts, crackers, and a granola bar. Not the most nutritious meal I've ever had.

Healthy 'Cheezy' Roasted Cauliflower

These cheezy cauliflower bites are the perfect healthy snack food to go with the big game, or to enjoy anytime! Throughout the football season we’ve been making roasted cauliflower tossed with buffalo sauce (in fact, this was how I finally got Ryan to admit that cauliflower can taste good), but I changed things up this time by going with a cheezy ranch type flavour. But without the cheese (hence the use of the ‘z’)!

Nutritional yeast (which indeed lives up to its name and is full of nutritional value, but with a cheesy nutty flavour) coats these cauliflower florets along with some mustard, seasoning, and a bit of olive oil, then they get roasted in the oven until they’re slightly crispy and delicious.

Healthy 'Cheezy' Roasted Cauliflower

The original recipe is from Clean Eating Magazine, though I made quite a few changes like adding more spices, adding mustard to complement the cheesy flavour and decrease the amount of oil needed to get the spices tso stick, and rather than dipping each cauliflower in oil, I just tossed everything together with some oil to cut the amount needed in half.  You might end up with less of the coating sticking to each piece this way, but I still thought there was plenty.  

There are other versions of this online that call this type of dish ‘cauliflower popcorn’, which I resisted because this really tastes nothing like popcorn, but it is still so tasty and will disappear quickly, so plan accordingly if making it for the game this weekend!

Healthy 'Cheezy' Roasted Cauliflower

Cheezy Roasted Cauliflower

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

Serves 2-4, depending on serving size


Non-stick cooking spray
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. 

Chop cauliflower into bite-sized florets and add to a large bowl.  Pour olive oil and mustard into bowl and toss until cauliflower is thoroughly and evenly coated.  In a small bowl, mix nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.  Pour mixture over the cauliflower and toss until evenly coated.

Spread cauliflower in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle any leftover seasoning overtop.  Roast  in preheated oven for 20 minutes, remove from oven and turn cauliflower over, then roast for another 20-25 minutes, until browned.  Serve warm.

January 22, 2014

Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup

Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup

And just when we thought the worst of the cold weather was over, it came back this week to give us a reminder of why summer is so great!

I'd almost forgotten already what it feels like when your nostrils start to freeze up as soon as you step outside and your lungs hurt when you breathe in the cold air.  Needless to say, I'll be spending as much time indoors as possible this week and enjoying lots of hot chocolate and soup!

Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup

I've actually been making a lot more soup than normal lately, not just because of the weather but because I received an immersion blender for Christmas that I've loved trying out!  It makes pureeing soups so much easier than transferring it in batches to a blender, and more importantly it means a lot less dishes to clean up after, which is probably my favourite thing about it.

I have my eye on so many soup recipes I want to try now, but onion soup has stood out as the most comforting option lately, and it was an excellent choice!

Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup

This caramelized onion and potato soup is very similar to a French onion soup, but easier and faster to prepare, and perhaps a little bit healthier.  I didn't cook my onions quite as long as you would for a French onion soup - just long enough to give them that deep golden brown colour and rich flavour - and I also cooked them in just a bit of olive oil instead of tons of butter.  The other  main differences are that this version contains some garlic for flavour and potatoes for thickness, and that I pureed it all into a smooth soup (though next time I'll probably leave a few chunks in there for texture - I just got carried away with my immersion blender!).  Then I topped it with a simple piece of toasted whole grain bread with some melted cheese instead of baking the whole thing in the oven (with a lot more cheese).

You end up with a rich but light tasting soup that's perfect for a cozy winter evening indoors!

Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup

Caramelized Onion & Potato Soup

Adapted from different recipes found on Whole Living, Yankee Magazine, and Bon Appetit

Serves around 4 as main course servings; 8 as smaller side dish servings


2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
6 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons (or 3-4 large onions)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
8 cups (2L) low sodium beef broth
1-1/2 to 2 cups chopped yellow potatoes
2 bay leafs
2 sprigs of thyme
4-7 slices thick rustic whole grain bread
4-8 slices gruyere, swiss, or provolone cheese


Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, stir to coat with oil, and let sit for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper and stir.  Cook for an additional 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and caramelized with a deep golden brown colour.  (Cook for up to 45 minutes if needed).  Add vinegar to deglaze the pan.  Add wine and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Let simmer until reduced slightly, about 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over onions and stir.

Add beef broth, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are softened.  Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  If desired, puree soup with an immersion blender or by transferring in batches to a blender.  You may puree all of the soup if you want it to be smooth, part of the soup for some texture, or none if you want it to be chunky, depending on what you prefer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat broiler.  Arrange cheese on bread and broil until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Serve alongside or on top of soup.

January 18, 2014

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese / Recipe: http://www.onceuponacuttingboard.com/2014/01/avocado-green-goddess-grilled-cheese.html

A simple grilled cheese sandwich with melted cheese oozing out of buttered toasty bread is pretty much perfection on its own, but sometimes it's also fun to get creative and mix things up a bit.  I'm not sure where the line is drawn between grilled cheese becoming basically a grilled sandwich, but I think this version retains the key elements of a grilled cheese, just kicked up a notch!

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

In this version, I whipped together an avocado green goddess dressing, with a ripe avocado, a bit of light sour cream, and lots of herbs.  You could stop right now and just use this as a veggie dip (and indeed you can do that with your leftovers!), but we're going to keep going...

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

And spread that sauce on some fresh sourdough bread, adding sliced mozzarella cheese to a second slice and throwing in some spinach for some extra green colour and a boost of nutrition!

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

Then we put it all together and grill it up so everything gets warm and toasty, and we have our avocado green goddess grilled cheese sandwich ready to eat!

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

I loved the bright flavour of the herbs paired with the creamy avocado and melted cheese, and the sourdough bread was the perfect choice to sandwich it all together.

I used part-skim mozzarella cheese for its mild flavour, which let the green goddess sauce really take over, but if you want to be able to taste the cheese more, you could definitely use something a little stronger like a white cheddar, provolone, or maybe an herbed havarti.  You could also leave out or increase the amount of spinach in this sandwich, or use something like arugula for a bit of peppery bite.  There are so many ways to customize this!

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

If you're into football, this would also make a great game day snack for this Sunday, especially if you'll be cheering for the 49ers along with me!  I actually made this with San Francisco in mind, as it's the birthplace of green goddess dressing and is famous for its sourdough bread (and the 49ers mascot is named Sourdough Sam!).

But of course, if you don't care about or even hate football, you can still enjoy this for your Sunday lunch before you do something much more productive with your day than I will be :)

Have a great weekend!

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

Avocado Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

Idea inspired by Kenny Callaghan on Today; Recipe adapted from Panini Happy and my green goddess salmon sliders

Makes 4-8 sandwiches


For the avocado green goddess sauce:
1 ripe avocado, flesh scooped out
1/4 cup light or non-fat sour cream
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional, omit for vegetarians)

For the sandwiches:
8-16 slices of fresh sourdough bread, sliced about ½” thick
~4-8oz part-skim mozzarella cheese (or your cheese of choice, such as white cheddar, provolone, Havarti..)
Spinach – a few leaves per sandwich, depending on your preference
Margarine or butter for toasting the bread, if desired


To make the sauce, add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.  Start with only 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice and add the rest after tasting, if desired.  Adjust other amounts as well, if desired. 

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat.  Prepare sandwiches: Spread 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of sauce on a slice of bread, per sandwich.  I used 1/4 cup per sandwich which is a lot of sauce, so if you don’t want the sauce to be overpowering, use only 2 tablespoons to spread a thin layer.  Note that there is 1 cup of sauce total, so using 1/4 cup per sandwich will allow for 4 sandwiches, and using 2 tablespoons will make enough for 8 sandwiches.  Season with a little extra salt and pepper, if desired.

Add desired amount of sliced cheese to other slice of bread and top with spinach leaves.  Combine two slices of bread to form a sandwich and very lightly butter one side of the bread.  Place that side face down in preheated skillet and cook until golden brown.  Butter other side of bread and flip until cooked.  Remove from heat and eat warm.

January 13, 2014

White Chickpea Chili

White Chickpea Chili - a healthy and easy vegetarian twist on white chicken chili

With the cold weather a lot of us experienced last week (except those lucky people in California!), I’m sure we’ve all been eating lots of warm comfort food lately.  When it gets that cold out all I want for dinner is soup, stew, or chili, but as these can often involve a lot of cooking time to develop enough flavour, during the week I need something that’s a little more quick and easy to prepare.  

Enter white chickpea chili!

White Chickpea Chili - a healthy and easy vegetarian twist on white chicken chili

I love white chicken chili as a refreshing change from tomato-based versions, but I decided to make it a little easier and cheaper to make by using all beans and no chicken.  This vegetarian white chili includes mashed chickpeas throughout for thickness, whole chickpeas and white beans for texture (and tons of protein, so you won’t miss the meat!), some corn for a little sweetness, jalapeno for spice, and then vegetable broth, garlic, onions, and seasonings for plenty of flavour.

You end up with a healthy vegetarian chili that’s inexpensive, easy and fairly quick to make, and full of flavour.  Perfect for these cold winter nights, and also Sunday playoffs if you usually associate football with chili (and if you're still watching - my team's still in it so I'm all about the football food!)

Hope you all had a good weekend and are dethawing a bit now!

White Chickpea Chili - a healthy and easy vegetarian twist on white chicken chili

White Chickpea Chili

Adapted from The Neely’s white chicken chili recipe

Serves about 4


1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (use more if you want it to be spicier)
2 (540mL) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided
1 (540mL) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded white cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro
Light sour cream
Chopped ripe avocado (not pictured in my version but it would be a nice addition!)


Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno, stir to coat with oil, and sauté until soft and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse and drain your cans of beans, keeping one can of chickpeas separate. Transfer those chickpeas (1 can) to a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher until most beans have been smashed. Set aside.

Add cumin, chili powder, and oregano to the onion mixture in the pan. Stir to coat and let cook for about 1 minute. Add vegetable broth, lime juice, corn kernels, mashed beans, and remaining beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and let cook about 10-15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm in bowls topped with shredded cheese, cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, avocado, and additional lime wedges, if desired.

January 06, 2014

Monthly Recap - December 2013


I'm a little bit late on this, but I couldn't forget to do a monthly recap of some of the things I did and ate in December, one of my very favourite months!  Let's get to it:

 eggnog pancakes

We enjoyed these eggnog pancakes a few times.  So festive!

vegetarian pasta

Made this simple pasta dish one night using Field Roast vegetarian sausage, which Ryan said tasted a lot like regular sausage.  Filling and perfect for a winter's night!


Ryan brought me back some new yogurts to try from the US and I loved them all!  We always love getting new yogurt flavours when we take a trip across the border :)

meals out

We went out to eat a few times: I shared a ton of sushi with my family at Sushi 168 and enjoyed veggie burgers at a couple other restaurants, my favourite being from Moto Burger in Windsor, where they brew their own beer and their veggie patty is made up of "mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, corn, butter beans, chick peas, lentils, garlic, cilantro, and curry motor sauce".

tea and soup

I got stuck with the flu for a couple weeks at the end of the month and enjoyed lots of tea and chicken noodle soup (thanks Mom!)

windsor detroit

We went to Windsor and Detroit where we saw a gigantic Christmas tree and cheered the Red Wings onto victory!


It was very wintery this month!


The snow has been quite pretty..

winter driving

But it's not so fun when you're driving.
Today's driving is supposed to be terrible with tons of snow, wind, ice, and cold (actually all schools in the city were closed today, which doesn't get to happen too often) and temperatures Tuesday morning in Waterloo are going to be -21C and -35C (-31F) with the windchill - brr!  Stay safe out there everyone!


My mom taught me how to sew last month so I could work on a Christmas gift project, and I'm so happy to have finally learned - it's been on my list of things to do for a long time now!

frozen yogurt and eggnog

One of my favourite dessert treats to make last month was adding a couple scoops of espresso chip frozen yogurt to a little bit of low-fat eggnog with a good splash of kahlua. So good!


I did lots of Christmassy things and took lots of pics in front of the Christmas tree - I can't resist bokeh Christmas pictures!

12 days of craft beer

As a Christmas gift to Ryan I put together a '12 Days of Craft Beer' box with different beers from Ontario and Quebec (which I picked up from Gatineau while visiting Ottawa last month) for him to open each day leading up to Christmas.  It was fun to make and watch him open!

christmas eve food

On Christmas Eve my family put together a delicious spread of charcuterie, dips, pizza, baked brie, and for dessert my sister provided pudding and mince pies.  All so good!

roasted chestnuts and eggnog

We also enjoyed roasted chestnuts and homemade eggnog that my sister and her boyfriend made - it was amazing!  The recipe she used was Alton's Brown's (but without the bourbon) if you're interested in trying it yourself next year!

christmas meals

On Christmas Day we had our traditional overnight blueberry stuffed french toast in the morning, and for dinner I enjoyed mashed potatoes, roasted veggies and onions, and a pecan chickpea loaf that my sister made.  A healthy and still delicious meal (until I followed it up with lots of cookies for dessert!)


Sad to see another Christmas come and go but looking forward to a new year!  Hope you all had a fantastic month!

January 01, 2014

Favourite Recipes of 2013

Happy New Year!

We had a great New Year's Eve enjoying some craft beers at our favourite pub with a couple friends, and today we're taking it easy and watching the Winter Classic (Go Red Wings!).  I hope you all had a great time ringing in 2014; I can feel that this is going to be a good year!

Anyways, it's that time again to look back on the past year and remember all the food that made it memorable.  I haven't been able to share as many blog posts this year because I've been so busy with other things, but it was still just as hard to choose my favourites because I love every recipe I share on here!  Nevertheless, I've chosen some of my most loved recipes in several categories - enjoy!

Breakfast - California Omelette 

California Omelette with avocado, tomato, pesto, mozzarella

It was difficult to choose a savoury recipe over some of the delicious pancakes I've tried this year, but the combination of avocado, pesto, mozzarella, and tomatoes in this fluffy omelette made this my most memorable breakfast of the year!

Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Crostini

This elegant but simple appetizer stood out for the surprisingly delicious combination of flavours from roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, shallots, and a balsamic reduction.

Asian-Style Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup gets a fun twist in this version with the addition of Asian ingredients like soba noodles, ginger, chiles, lime juice, bok choy, cilantro, and lemongrass - also good ingredients for fighting off a cold!

like mushrooms, bok choy, cilantro, fish sauce, lemongrass, and lime juice, and the use of soba noodles instead of more traditional egg noodles or other pasta.  This gives the soup such a great depth of flavour that still has the comfort factor and familiar taste of chicken noodle soup but is a little more exciting!

Even better, the addition of ingredients like ginger, garlic, and spicy chiles are great for fighting off a cold (at least I hope that's what I'm telling myself!) - See more at: http://www.onceuponacuttingboard.com/2013/03/asian-style-chicken-noodle-soup.html#sthash.V2tpeiJS.dpuf

Summer Salad with Chicken, Corn, Tomato, Avocado, Cucumber, & Feta

This is just all the best fresh ingredients of summer tossed together in one bowl - easy summer food at its finest!

Entree - Kenyan Ugali with Peanut Stew 

 photo ugalitwithpeanutstew2_zps2d92c777.jpg

One of my goals at the start of last year was to try more dishes from other cuisines, and my first attempt at Kenyan ugali was a success!  I have no idea how traditional my version even was, but the creamy peanut vegetable stew on top of thick cornmeal was so hearty and comforting!

 Chocolate Biscoff Cupcakes with Biscoff Cream Cheese Frosting

This was the year I finally got my hands on delicious Biscoff and these cupcakes were a great way to use it!

I think it's also worth mentioning your top 3 recipes of 2013, as determined by the posts with the most pageviews this year.  It turns out they were all quinoa recipes - I'll have to be sure to post more this year!

#3 - Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Quinoa

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Quinoa

#2 - Asian Inspired Mandarin Quinoa Salad

Asian-Inspired Mandarin Quinoa Salad

Thanks for following along this past year and cheers to 2014!

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