I experiment a lot with recipes. I am not a chef; I am not even enrolled in cooking school. I am simply trying to enjoy the monotonous task that cooking has become after my 20+ years of actually having to make meals on a regular basis.

I emphasize the word “experiment” -- as that is what some of my recipes fails look like. Yes, sometimes the dogs won’t even eat my creation. But don’t worry, there isn’t any room for those recipes here. Below you will only find tried, tested, and dog-worthy culinary delights:)

I have two specific parameters that MUST be met. First, they have to be healthy, and second, they have to be easy to make; a.k.a. relatively zero effort.

There are a few “themes” that I generally follow when I experiment;

  1. Something Old : “clean up” a regular family favourites

  2. Something New: something I have never tasted before

  3. Something formerly known as ‘gross’: I try to find a recipe for a food that I think is gross -- to try and learn to like it:)

SOMETHING OLD -  Pasta bake

This one is super tasty, super easy, and there isn’t a huge mess to clean up. I can also hide random vegetables in this and no one knows. I hate carrots, but I put them in this bad boy and I can’t taste them!!

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb/ 455g ground turkey (or chicken, pork, beef, or none - you decide)
1 ½ cups shredded or diced carrots and/or zucchini
1 small onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of water
26oz / 740g can crushed tomatoes
8oz / 225g brown rice pasta elbows (or penne or fusilli - pick a short noodle)
2 Tbsp fresh basil (you can use dried but the fresh makes a huge difference)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

How to make it

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil.

  2. Cook the ground meat (if using).

  3. Add carrots and/or zucchini, onion, and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

  4. Add water, crushed tomatoes, and pasta.

  5. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

  6. Stir in shredded cheese until it melts.

*slightly altered from The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids,Tosca Reno 2008
 

SOMETHING NEW - Spaghetti squash w/ spinach & artichokes

Most of my life, I had an aversion to squash - it always sounded gross, and I stayed far away from it. I had never tried spaghetti squash until recently. Not only is this recipe yummy, it’s also kind of fun to eat out of the squash itself!

Ingredients
1 spaghetti squash, seeded
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
salt & pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
3 cups packed baby spinach
1 1/4 cups artichoke hearts, chopped
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

How to make it

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half.

  2. Place the spaghetti squash in a deep oven-safe dish, cut side up.

  3. Pour about half an inch of water in the dish, cover and bake at 350℉ until soft, about 40 minutes.

  4. Remove and let cool slightly, and scrape up the strings from the squash with a fork.

  5. Put the spaghetti squash string in a separate bowl.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan.

  7. Add the onion and cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

  8. Add the garlic and cook about 60 seconds.

  9. Add in the sour cream, cream cheese and half of the parmesan cheese and stir until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth.

  10. Stir in the spinach and artichoke hearts and cook until the spinach has wilted.

  11. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the spaghetti squash strings and combine.

  12. Scoop the combined spaghetti squash string back into the squash halves.

  13. Top each squash with the shredded mozzarella and the remaining parmesan.

  14. Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  

*slightly altered from Taste and Tell Blog, 2014

 

SOMETHING FORMERLY 'GROSS' - Cauliflower pizza w/ grilled veggies & yogurt sauce

Things that make you go “eww”. For me, that is cooked cauliflower. Unless of course, it is doused in some kind of cheese sauce. It even smells bad and looks kind of like a brain. Gross. I was very apprehensive trying this on; positive this was going to suck I had an alternate meal on stand-by. Lo and behold -- I was wrong. Absolute awesomeness.

Ingredients for the crust
12 cups cauliflower cut into florets (about 2 medium heads)
1 Tbsp garlic minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp basil
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese
2  egg whites

How to make the crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 400℉ and line a pizza pan with parchment paper.

  2. Steam cauliflower florets until soft, about 10 minutes.

  3. Let it cool.

  4. Chop the cauliflower until it is the size of rice. I use a manual food processor. I have to do it in several batches.

  5. This step is KEY. Dump the cauliflower into a thin kitchen towel, it may take a few batches, and wring out all of the excess moisture.

  6. Transfer the cauliflower back into a large bowl and add in the garlic, salt, spices pepper, parmesan cheese, and egg whites. Mix until well combined.

  7. Divide the cauliflower into 4 balls, then flatten so you see a ridge around the perimeter.

  8. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the sauce
½  cup Plain greek yogurt
½  cup firmly packed fresh basil roughly chopped
2 tsp garlic minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste

How to make the sauce

  1. Combine the greek yogurt, basil, garlic and oil in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.

Ingredient-ideas for the toppings
1 zucchini sliced
2 roma tomatoes sliced thick
½  Tbsp olive oil
½  cup parmesan cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

How to make the toppings

  1. Preheat your broiler to high heat.

  2. Combine the sliced zucchini, tomato and olive oil in a small bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

  3. Broil about 2-3 minutes a side and remove from the oven.

  4. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of each pizza crust and broil for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and melted.

  5. Remove from the oven, and spread some sauce on each pizza.

  6. Top with the grilled veggies.

*slightly altered from Food, Faith, Fitness, 2015

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