Tag Archives: veggies

Fridge-Pasta

Versatile Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Pasta

We consider pasta to be the great unifier. No matter what you have in your fridge, chances are you can make a pretty good meal if you toss it together with some pasta.

This recipe uses a something-from-nothing sauce, relying on a few fridge and pantry staples like anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. The vegetables we’ve included are easily switched out for ones you have on hand, and swapping the chicken for another protein like shrimp or sausage would work just as well. So get ready to clear out your fridge and make a delicious pasta dish all at once. You call it magic, we call it dinner.

Fridge-Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon zest
175g penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 227g pkg (about 1 1/2 cups) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini (about 3/4 cup), cut into 1/4-in cubes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
3 anchovies, minced
1/2 bunch kale (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup Parmesan, finally grated (optional)

Fridge-Pasta

Directions:
1. Toast panko crumbs in a small dry pan set over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Let cool then mix with parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.
2. Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain pasta.
3. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp oil, then mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
4. Lower heat to medium, then add remaining oil, anchovies, garlic and chili flakes. Cook until garlic has softened and anchovies have disintegrated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until slightly softened, 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and season with salt. Add kale, then chicken, pasta and cooking liquid. Stir until kale is wilted and sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
5. Divide pasta among plates and top with bread crumb mixture and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Looking for more ideas? Learn 14 Clever Ways to Use Almost-Expired Food.

How to Hasselback All Your Veggies

Hasselback potatoes are an incredible way to bring boring potatoes to life. The thin slices, crispy edges and soft, buttery insides make them a show stopper at any event. Why reserve this amazing cooking technique for potatoes when there’s an endless list of fruits and vegetables that benefit from the hasselback treatment. The thin slices help inject flavour into the centre of the veggie, and there are limitless flavour combinations.

Here are some tips on how to hasselback a variety of vegetables at home, plus the best cooking methods and times.

Hasselback 101
The key to hasselback is perfect slices that don’t quite go all the way through the veggie, leaving a beautiful fan, ready to crisp up in the oven.

Start by arranging veggies on a cutting board between two chopsticks. The chopsticks are there to prevent you from cutting all the way through the vegetable. Using your knife, make incisions into the vegetables at 1/8-inch intervals. Brush each vegetable with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at the recommended times and temperatures below.

hasselback zucchini

Zucchini
Follow method above. Roast zucchini on a baking sheet at 400°F until tender, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

hasselback squash

Butternut Squash
Peel butternut squash and cut in half lengthwise. Remove pulp and seeds. Arrange cut side down on cutting board and proceed with method. Disperse 6-8 bay leaves into the slices of the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Roast in the oven on a baking sheet at 425°F until tender, about 40 minutes. Drizzle maple syrup over squash 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

hasselback beets

Beets
Be sure to peel the beets before scoring. Follow method above. Cover beets with foil and bake in a 375°F. Remove foil after 20 minutes and continue to bake until beets are tender, about another 25 minutes. Serve with fresh basil and ricotta, or creamy horseradish.

Pear or Apples
Cut pears or apples in half lengthwise. Proceed with recipe, omitting olive oil, garlic and salt. Instead, brush pears with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 375°F until just tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt and chopped walnuts.

Try this recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Hasselback Potatoes.

3 Healthy Baked Veggie Fries

Homemade vegetable fries, baked right in the oven, are a healthier way to get your fry fix. Just like potatoes, sturdy vegetables such as rutabaga, carrot, parsnip and zucchini, can withstand the heat of the oven needed for a crispy, golden-brown exterior and tender interior. These nutrient-rich frites offer great flavours and texture, in a healthy-carb package that was made for dipping.

Here are three simple variations of oven-baked French fries, along with a few tips on how to get them crisp, plus tasty dip ideas.

Italian-Zucchini-Fries-2

Veggie Fry Baking Tips
– After slicing, pat vegetables dry with a cloth or paper towel to remove excess moisture.
– Coat veggies in cornmeal or panko bread crumbs to add another layer of crunch to the exterior.
– Use the convection setting on your oven if you have it; baking at a higher heat (400ºF to 425ºF) for slightly less time. Circulating air means a crispier exterior.
– Use a high-temperature cooking oil, such as grapeseed, avocado, camelina or olive oil (not extra-virgin) to avoid smoke in the hot oven.
– Enjoy the fries as fresh as possible – like their deep-fried counterparts, these will soften as they cool.
– Make sure your parchment paper brand can withstand heat up to 425ºF.

Dip Ideas
Classic ketchup
Curry mayonnaise
Tzatziki
Greek yogurt with chipotle and lime
Garlicky honey mustard
Marinara sauce
Homemade cheese sauce

Rutabaga-Fries-1-1

Rutabaga Herb Oven Fries

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch matchsticks
2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp herbs de Provence or dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Add all ingredients to prepared baking sheet and toss to combine; spread into a single layer.
3. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender and golden brown on the underside. Serve.

Italian-Zucchini-Fries-3

Italian Zucchini Panko Wedge Fries

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning or dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
2 zucchini, halved crosswise and lengthwise, cut into thick sticks
1 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine panko, Italian seasoning or dried oregano and salt on a plate. Coat zucchini in oil. Press zucchini into breadcrumbs and line up on prepared baking sheet.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until zucchini is tender and golden brown on the underside. Serve.

Sesame-Carrot-Fries-1

Sesame Carrot Shoestring Fries

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 carrots, peeled, halved crosswise and cut into thin matchsticks
1 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, toss carrots with olive oil, sesame oil, tamari and sesame seeds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until carrots are crisp and beginning to caramelize. Serve.

For more healthy alternatives, check out these 13 baked versions of your favourite fried foods.

Budget Shopper’s Guide: The Dirty Dozen

FN_RReardin_29Aug

Every trip to the grocery store begins with the same internal debate: should I spend $6.99 on a carton of organic strawberries, or settle for the $3.99 conventional ones? While the budget-focused side (read: shopaholic side that wants a new fall wardrobe) of our brain is pushing to cut corners wherever possible, the practical side is insisting on thinking about the longer-term benefits of buying organic. Fact: Research shows the benefits of organic food consumed over a lifetime, outweighs the cost of the conventional variety, but what about the long-term effects on our wallet? A few extra dollars added to every grocery bill is bound to add up to quite the hefty sum over a lifetime. But what if it isn’t essential we buy everything organic? What if there’s an outlined list of items you must buy organic, taking the cheaper route on the rest?

Enter: The Dirty Dozen. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an annual rating of conventional foods with the most pesticide residues. This informs us budget-friendly shoppers of the most effective ways we can reduce pesticides in our diet, without having to splurge on the higher-priced option every time.

The EWG highlighted twelve fruits and veggies that tested positive for the most amount of pesticide residue compared to other produce items. This list includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, and potatoes. Furthermore, all samples of imported nectarines and 99% of apples tested positive for pesticide residue, potatoes had more pesticides by weight than any other item, and a single grape contained 15 pesticides. That’s gross, guys. Suddenly that new fall wardrobe doesn’t seem as important.

And what about the other produce on your shopping list? You’re welcome to skimp on the conventional ones. The EWG’s Clean Fifteen is a list of fruits and veggies that are least likely to hold pesticide residues. This list includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

So there you have it. Next time you’re at the grocery store, leave the debate behind because when it comes to the Dirty Dozen, going the cheap route really isn’t an option when buying produce that’s covered in pretty scary stuff. And if you still can’t spend the extra dough on organic items? Well, you can always add the dirty dozen items all together and restrict your diet to include only those on the Clean Fifteen. Sound good?

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

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