March 25, 2014

Broccoli White Bean Soup

Broccoli White Bean Soup

Winter is still showing no signs of slowing down here in Ontario, so despite it technically being spring, I'm still eating comfort food like cozy warm soups.  Which I'm not complaining about, as soups (at least the versions I make) are one of the easiest and quickest meals to prepare and they make great leftovers to be welcomed home to after a cold bus ride home after school!

This broccoli white bean soup is not only quick and easy to prepare but is nutritious and filling too.  I've used beans as a soup thickener before (like in this curried chickpea and kale soup or this roasted tomato white bean soup) and though it doesn't give it the same silky smooth texture that full fat cream would, I actually prefer the slightly chunky texture and thickness that beans add, not to mention it's a great way to sneak in protein to a vegetable soup!

Broccoli White Bean Soup

In addition to the white beans, this simple soup mainly just consists of broccoli and vegetable broth along with some basic flavourings like onion, garlic, and lemon juice.  I added nutritional yeast to the soup to give it a bit of cheesy, nutty flavour (and added nutrition) without any cheese, but some shavings of good quality parmesan on top are also critical for flavour.  I decided to only halfway puree my soup to leave some texture in it, but you can definitely puree it all if you prefer a smooth soup.

While you won't trick anyone into thinking this is a traditional butter, cream, and cheese filled broccoli soup, it's a great alternative if you're looking for a more nutritious but still comforting version of broccoli soup!

Broccoli White Bean Soup

Broccoli White Bean Soup

Adapted from Whole Living

Serves around 3-4


1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium to large yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (540mL) can of no-salt added white kidney beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan if desired)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper (I used around 1/2 teaspoon each)
Shaved parmesan for topping


Steam broccoli in a steamer basket, covered over simmering water, for about 3-4 minutes, until bright green and tender.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened and translucent, about 6-7 minutes.  Add the beans and broth and bring to a simmer.  Add broccoli and red pepper flakes and stir.  Remove from heat and puree about half to two-thirds of the soup either by transferring to a blender or using an immersion blender.  I wanted to leave some texture to the soup, but you can puree all of it if you prefer the soup to be smooth.  Return to saucepan and stir.  Stir in the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm, topped with shaved parmesan.

March 12, 2014

Turkey & Kale Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

Turkey & Kale Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

I mentioned in my most recent monthly recap that I've been having to make a lot of quick and easy meals lately, often just throwing together whatever I can find in my fridge or pantry.  This sometimes means that my meal is missing a key component though, like a protein or vegetables.

But when I know I have a busy week ahead and I actually take the time to make sure I have something more substantial but also healthful around to eat, this turkey and vegetable pasta bake is usually my go-to meal!

Turkey & Kale Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

This easy pasta dish is made by tossing together some whole wheat pasta, sauteed veggies (including onion, mushrooms, and kale) and seasonings, lean ground turkey, canned tomatoes, and just enough cheese, then baking it in the oven, which is the most time consuming (but hands-off) part. 

You end up with a well-balanced meal with plenty of whole grains, fiber, protein, and nutrients, that's hearty and filling!  I've reduced the amount of cheese that I used when I first made this dish (so it has much less than many baked pasta dishes) and find there's still plenty of cheese to satisfy me.  And if you're vegetarian, I think you could easily throw in some black beans or chickpeas instead of the turkey for added protein.

Turkey & Kale Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

I love that this is a baked pasta because I can just cover the dish with saran wrap and throw it in the fridge, then I can easily cut out a square of pasta to throw in a container for lunch the rest of the days of the week.  The pictures I took here were right after this pasta came out of the oven; it does firm up afterwards.

I've made this many times already and I'm sure I'll make it many more times until I get sick of it :)  If you have any great go-to meals to have around for busy weeks, feel free to share as I'm finding I need them more and more!

Turkey & Kale Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

Turkey & Kale Whole Wheat Pasta Bake

Adapted from ifoodreal

Serves 6-8


1 (375g or 13oz) box of whole wheat penne, rotini, or fusilli
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups sliced white or cremini mushrooms
4 cups (packed) chopped kale
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes  (I don’t use the whole can; maybe around 3 cups) OR 1 jar of your favourite pasta sauce (I've used this one)
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes (I usually use a seasoned variety)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375°F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente, according to times on package directions.  I’ve used penne, rotini, and fusilli for this before and all work fine.  Drain when finished.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add turkey, season lightly with salt and pepper, and use a wooden spoon to break it up as you cook, letting cook until evenly browned (around 5 minutes).  Remove turkey and set aside in a bowl.  Using the same saucepan, add your garlic and onion and cook until slightly softened for a few minutes.  You can add a small amount of oil to the pan first if needed.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are browned, another 5-7 minutes.  Add the kale and cook until wilted, stirring often.  Add the cans of tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, a pinch each of salt and pepper or to taste, along with the turkey and the cooked pasta to the pan.  Stir and let cook over low-medium heat for a few minutes.  Add half of the mozzarella cheese (1 cup) and all of the parmesan cheese and stir.

Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and top with remaining mozzarella cheese (1 cup).  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving (this is important!).

*Note: If you want to use spinach instead of kale, use about a 5oz container of baby spinach and stir in to the mixture when you add the turkey and pasta.

March 09, 2014

Monthly Recap - February 2014

I'm a bit late in posting this, but here's my February recap for those who want a little extra Sunday light reading! :)

snow in Ontario

February has been pretty snowy and cold here in Ontario, as it has in most places, I'm sure!  I hate the days like the ones pictured above where driving becomes very difficult - I would love to be in one of those cities that shuts down when the weather's like this, almost every day would be a snow day! :)

blue sky and snow

Days when the sun is shining and the sky is blue are much easier to tolerate though!

snowshoeing in Ontario

On Family Day (a holiday in many parts of Canada), my family decided to enjoy the outdoors with some snowshoeing.  It was my first time snowshoeing and while I didn't just float atop the snow like I'd imagined, it was still fun!


The place we went had a free s'mores setup by a fire so we treated ourselves to a couple of s'mores and hot chocolates afterwards!

david's tea

I've also been spending plenty of time staying warm indoors, and drinking this coffee cake tea from David's Tea's winter collection, which is amazing - it smells just like coffee cake!

super bowl eats

It's hard to believe the Super Bowl was this month; it seems like so long ago already!  For our little gathering to watch the big game, my sister made some whole wheat pretzel bites with mustard sauce, we threw in some veggies and dip for light snacking, and I made Oh She Glows' black bean chili dip which was super easy and made a lot!  We used the leftovers in wraps afterwards which worked out well!

buffalo turkey burgers

For our main course I made buffalo turkey burgers using my favourite buffalo chicken burger recipe but with ground turkey instead of chicken.  My phone pictures don't make any of these dishes look appetizing but they were all so good!

valentine's day

These are some of the treats I got to enjoy on Valentine's Day! My dad got me the flowers and the amazing selection of desserts in the top right corner, including cinnamon heart macarons, tiramisu truffles, chocolate covered strawberries, and eclairs, all from the market.  The half of the shortbread jam cookie was from my sister who made a batch and shared - they were so good!  My fiance got me the bouquet of chocolate covered strawberry 'roses' which I loved, and in return I made him stuffed chicken with wine sauce and a strawberry arugula salad for dinner.  So much goodness for love day!


Dinners this month have often been things I've thrown together quickly after getting home late, using whatever I can find in my fridge.  I actually really enjoyed this salad which contained massaged kale, lettuce, shredded carrot, sunflower seeds, and a homemade vinaigrette.

mushrooms on toast

I've also been on a bit of a mushrooms-on-toast kick lately.  I love sauteeing sliced mushrooms in olive oil then adding a splash of balsamic vinegar, and spreading them on some toasted multigrain bread with cheese, salt, and pepper.  So good!

chickpea pasta

Pasta is another dish I make often when I have no time or groceries in my fridge.  This pasta dish had whole wheat penne, storebought pasta sauce, carrot ribbons (the only veggie I had in the fridge), olives, parmesan, and chickpeas for protein.  It was actually pretty good!

sweet potato fries

I tried making buffalo sweet potato fries for an easy dinner one night too, but I think I used too much buffalo sauce, and without some blue cheese to balance it out, they were a bit too spicy!  I want to try these buffalo sweet potato fries some time soon though!

pumpkin ravioli

This President's Choice pumpkin filled ravioli was another quick and easy dinner one night.  We just boil the pasta and toss it with a little bit of olive oil and parmesan cheese.  Not the healthiest dinner but a nice treat!
chocolate banana smoothie
This smoothie was one of my favourite breakfasts this month - it had almond milk, a frozen banana, cocoa powder, instant coffee, oats, and a spoonful of peanut butter.  When I know I won't have time to drink my morning coffee for a while after waking, I love throwing a scoop of instant coffee into a smoothie or oatmeal for breakfast to give me a little caffeine boost until I can have my much-needed morning coffee!

coconut chia granola

I also absolutely loved this coconut chia granola I found at the grocery store.  Mixing it with coconut Greek yogurt and blueberries makes for a fantastic combination!

lentil soup

I ate out a couple times too this month, with one of my favourite lunches being this yellow lentil soup with naan bread from a small Bangladeshi and Indian restaurant.  Perfect for this winter weather and really filling!

southwest bowl

My other favourite lunch out was at Jack Astors, where I enjoyed this quinoa bowl with black beans, pick de gallo, shredded cabbage and cucumbers, avocado, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, and a chipotle dressing.  This is definitely a meal I'll have to try to recreate at home!

Of course, the highlight of my month was my trip to Seattle, which I wrote about here if you missed it!

And the last thing I want to share with you from February is that I finally joined Instagram!  My username is onceuponacuttingboard if you want to follow along!

March 04, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

Today  is one of my favourite days of the year, Pancake Tuesday!  Better known as Fat Tuesday, it's a day traditionally meant for eating richer, fatty foods before Lent, which somehow led to eating pancakes (though I don't really agree that they're a rich or fatty food!)  To my family and I, it just means it's a day to eat pancakes for dinner!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

As a kid I always loved the traditional blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes for pancake dinner, but now I love using the day to try new flavours of pancakes I've never had before.  Last year I made these delicious earl grey vanilla tea pancakes with honey tea syrup, and the year before that was these caramel latte pancakes, which I also loved.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

But it's getting harder and harder to think of pancake flavours that haven't been done before, so this year I decided to combine two flavours into one!  And what better combination than the best of friends, chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

These really are no harder than regular pancakes because the chocolate and peanut butter batters are basically the same, the only difference being the addition of cocoa for the chocolate batter versus peanut butter for the peanut butter batter (duh, I know).  Because the peanut butter batter is thicker, you'll pour the chocolate into your pan first in a pancake shape, then swirl the peanut butter batter on top just using a simple ziplock bag.

The browning of the pancakes hides the swirl a little, but I still love the contrast in colours you see, and the balance of peanut butter and chocolate in the taste is absolutely perfect - I love that you can taste both equally!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

These may just be my new favourite pancakes, and with a certain peanut butter loving fiance's birthday coming up this weekend, I think I have the perfect excuse to make them again soon!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Pancakes

Recipe by Once Upon a Cutting Board but peanut butter pancake batter adapted from

Makes around 10 pancakes

For the Chocolate Batter:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Peanut Butter Batter:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

*note: feel free to replace the whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour if you don’t have whole wheat


Prepare the chocolate and peanut butter batters separately, but notice that the batters contain almost identical ingredients (the chocolate batter has cocoa and the peanut butter batter has peanut butter), so you can prepare them side by side, making it easy. Add all your dry ingredients to two separate bowls for the separate batters and whisk the mixture together, then add the wet ingredients to each bowl and gently whisk or fold just until the wet and dry ingredients are combined. Note that for the egg, you can lightly beat one egg then divide it in two for the two batters. Transfer the peanut butter batter to a squeeze bottle or a Ziplock bag with a small corner cut off.

Heat two large non-stick skillets over low-medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray if needed. To make the pancakes, you’ll pour the chocolate batter into a pancake then swirl the peanut butter on top because it’s a thicker batter. Pour chocolate batter by about 1/4 cup full onto the pan, then immediately swirl peanut butter batter on top. It will look something like this:

chocolate peanut butter swirl pancakes

Cook for a couple minutes until bubbles form on top, then cook for one to two minutes on the other side, until cooked through. If you let the pancakes brown too much, it will hide the swirl, so you want to try to cook these over low heat, which may require a bit more time than usual. Repeat with remaining pancake batter; you will end up with more peanut butter batter leftover so just use that to make a few plain peanut butter pancakes. You can serve those in the middle of your stacks to help balance out the chocolate flavour.

Serve pancakes warm, with pure maple syrup if desired. 

Ingredient Index

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