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Chickpeas, also known as: ceci bean, garbanzo bean, chana, sanagalu Indian pea and Bengal gram are very good for you.  They contain Vitamins, Iron, Minerals, Fiber, Calcium and Protein to name a few. For a more detailed breakdown on the nutritional value of chickpeas go to the Nutrient Analysis

You can use them in stews, chili’s, roasted, toasted, pureed, dips, soups, salads…the possibilities are endless.

I recently made this recipe for a BBQ.  Simple and delicious made this salad a winner.

Chickpea & Artichoke Salad

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (or grape), halved
1/2 cup pepper (any colour), diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 jar marinated (in oil) artichoke hearts
salt & pepper to taste

Drain artichokes in a bowl, keeping liquid. Cut into quarters. Set aside.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add artichokes and reserved liquid to bowl. Add a good amount of pepper and sprinkle of salt, tossing to combine.

You can let salad sit in fridge and marinate or you can serve immediately.

Feta and kalamata olives would be a nice addition to this salad.

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Everyone in our house loves pizza.  But our pizza likes are as individual as our personalities.  Hubs is meat & mushrooms and doesn’t stray far from it.  Kids vary between ham/pineapple, pepperoni with a few veggies or olives thrown on depending on their mood & the alignment of the sun, moon & the stars.  Me I prefer mostly veggie style pizzas with a variety of ingredients including chicken.  I also love to experiment and try new variations. So we tend to make pizza more often than we order them in as this enables us to make our pizzas to our individual tastes. 

With pizza on the lunch agenda this week I decided to jump the gun after trying some delicious Tandoori Naan Bread last night and have pizza for lunch today.   Inspiration Struck.  The Tandoori Naan bread has Tandoori (curry) spices in the bread and it is seriously delicious.

I calorie counted this more for curiousity sake, not because I am calore counting.  It comes in under 500 calories for the entire pizza….if you can finish it that is.

For those wondering about the Naan bread, here in Calgary I purchased it at the Co-op Grocery Store.  Remember when you make pizzas you do not have to use just pizza sauce…instead try tomato, BBQ, pesto…..experimentation is the name of the game.

Tandoori Chicken Naan Pizza

1 piece Tandoori Naan bread
1 tbsp mango chutney
1/4-1/2 cup leftover roast chicken, shredded or cut up
1/3 cup grated pizza cheese or straight mozzarella
1/4 of a pepper (yellow, red, orange), sliced or diced
Handful of cilantro, torn

Spread your mango chutney all over your naan bread. If you need more use more but your calorie count goes up 40 calories per tbsp of mango chutney used.

Next layer on your chicken and peppers. You can sprinkle on some cilantro and then add your cheese.

Broil in oven for about 2-3 minutes or until cheese melted and bubbling. I bake mine on a pizza stone but a cookie sheet or pizza pan works just as well.

Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes before slicing.  Since I love cilantro I add fresh on top. If you do not like cilantro, flat leaf parsley will work too.

Hmmm…next time I may sprinkle on some spanish/purple onions.

Simply delicious!

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I’ve made these skewers too many times to count over the years.  Oddly enough I have never posted the recipe to the blog.   

The photo is not the best and taken just after the kabobs came off the grill.  (Husband skewered them which is why they appear unevenly skewered.) Sometimes when you have guests waiting and smelling the food, trying to get the perfect shot doesn’t always work.  And sometimes husband grabs the camera and starts taking pictures without thinking about the end result (keener to get a better shot than me).  Will try and take a better photo next time.

This mushroom kabob is a delicious accompaniment to any grilled meat.

 

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Mushroom & Green Onion Skewers
 

1/3 cup soy sauce (your favourite kind)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp white wine, dry
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp dried ginger (fresh works if you have it)
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
6 green onions
20 large fresh mushrooms

small bamboo skewers

Soak bamboo skewers in water for minimum 30 minutes.

Combine soy sauce thru hot pepper sauce in a small pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir regularly until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside. This is your sauce.

Cut your green onions into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Clean your mushrooms.

Thread mushrooms onto skewer, stem end first followed by a piece of green onion placed crosswise. Do not overcrowd mushrooms but continue until you have filled your skewers.

Brush mushrooms/onions with sauce.  Grill over medium heat, basting regularly with sauce until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.

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I really like bulgur wheat.  I’ve been eating it in tabouleh for over 20 years.  One more thing I can thank my mom for since she is the one who first ventured into the world of tabouleh and healthy eating many moons ago.

Thing is you can add almost anything to grains and make them yummy. I would eat them every day if I could.

This combination of flavours is lovely.  The grapes add sweetness.  The feta is salty and tangy lime. The toasted walnuts bring a whole new flavour profile of nutty goodness to the salad. And the arugula brings a tangy zest that does not overpower or get overpowered by the rest of the family. Simply Delicious.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame

Bulgur Salad with Arugula & Grapes
 
3/4 cup fine Bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tsp lime zest
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup feta crumbled
1 cup red, seedless grapes, halved
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup arugula

Place bulgur in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and give a quick stir. Cover bowl and let sit 20-30 minutes or until water is absorbed and bulgur tender.

Stir in lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add your cheese, grapes, walnuts and green onions. Mixing well.  Spoon into a bowl or on a plate and top with a good handful of arugula.  Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4

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Miles behind on my recipes, yikes. January was a blur as we were sick most of the month.  Bouncing back in February and trying to get caught up on EvErYtHiNg has made life challenging at best. Plus I am trying to make more time for myself (exercising) and not feel guilty about it.

And so I have yet another variation of couscous to share. Bound and determined to get the family eating more grains I keep trying different ways to eat it. I used to try and sell couscous, barley and bulgur wheat as little wee noodles to the kids…ya they caught on 😉

With couscous you can add or delete whatever you like (ie: flat leaf parsley for cilantro).

Couscous with Carrots, Cilantro & Green Onions

1 1/2 cup water (or stock)
1 cup couscous
1/2 carrot, grated
1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley)
2-3 green onions, sliced
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

In a saucepan bring the water to a boil. Stir in couscous, carrot, green onions, salt and pepper. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand approximately 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork, pour into a bowl, mix in chopped cilantro and olive oil. Serve garnished with sesame seeds and more cilantro if you like it!

Here is a photo of the couscous with Carrot, Cilantro & Gr. Onion.  Also on the plate is Carrot & Mint Salad and Crispy Lime Ginger Chicken Thighs (with the skin removed).

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A new cooking show came on the scene last Fall (2011) called The Chew. It is a daytime talk show that focuses on food/cooking and general lifestyle topics. The hosts are Iron Chefs Mario Batali and Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz (Dr. Oz’s daughter). These 5 have a great onscreen connection.  And I love this show…it gets Tivo/PVR’d daily.  Even hubby enjoys sitting down and watching the show with me because of the personalities of the hosts and how dang funny Carla & Clinton are!

This carrot salad recipe has been adapted from a recipe Michael Symon shared on The Chew. Chef Symon adds peanuts in his salad. I didn’t the first time I made it and I enjoyed it muchly.  Although the next time I make it I will try sliced almonds (healthier) instead.

 

Carrot & Mint Salad

3 or 4 medium sized carrots
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
5 green onions (scallions), sliced
1/2 cup olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
salt & pepper

You can either use a mandoline or food processor to slice your carrots as they should be uber thin.  Place sliced carrots in a bowl.

Pour your cumin seeds in a pan, place on stove and turn heat to medium high. Shake the pan a few times and watch closely as they will toast quickly. Once toasted take off heat and seat aside to cool slightly.

Tear your mint and toss it into the bowl with the carrots. Add the sliced green onions. And finally throw in your toasted cumin seeds. If you are adding nuts do it now.

Whisk together your olive oil and vinegar and add to vegetables in bowl. Season with salt & pepper and mix well to combine all flavours.

Serve with grilled meat or fish.

*My food photos aren’t the best at the moment – a work in progress!

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A perfect grilled meat accompaniment. This fares perfectly with Chicken Skewers and Peanut Satay Sauce.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes

Fiery Noodle Salad

8 ounces dried chow mein noodles
1/2 medium red onion, peeled & rough chopped
1 fresh red chile (seeds, ribs and stem removed)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
olive oil
Food Processor

Put your noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and a plate. Let them soak for about 5-7 minutes.

Place the red onion in the processor. Add the red chile, and cilantro. Pulse until finely chopped.  Pour into a large bowl. Add your soy sauce, 1-2 tbsp olive oil, lime juice, sesame oil and fish sauce. Mix well.

Drain your noodles, give a quick rinse with water, drain again then add to bowl. Stir well to combine flavours of sauce with noodles. Serve with Chicken Satays in Lettuce Leaf Wraps.

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Here is another delightful vegetarian meal. Good at lunch, brunch or dinner. You can always omit cilantro if you do not like it and replace with parsley.

Adapted from The Best of Bridge Series

Mexican Vegetarian Casserole

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 x 4oz cans diced green chilies, drained
3-4 tbsp cilantro, fresh chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2″ strips
14 oz can refried beans
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cups monterey jack cheese, grated
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Toppings
Sliced olives (green or kalamata)
Green Onions, sliced
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spray a 9×13″ baking dish.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and saute onion until soft. In a medium bowl combine onion, eggs, ricotta cheese, chilies, cilantro (if using), cumin, salt and pepper.

In this order layer half the tortilla strips, ricotta mixture, refried beans, chopped tomatoes and cheeses. Repeat layers one more time finishing with cheese on top.

Bake uncovered, until bubbly, approximately 30-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!

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Carrots Au Gratin

This is a great side dish to a holiday meal. It also works well as a Sunday Supper Side.  It’s been in my recipe collection a very long time and it’s still a favourite go to!

This serves 4 so double it or a crowd!

Carrots Au Gratin

1/2 – 3/4 cup Corn flakes (crunch them in a ziplock)
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2-3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2.5 cups sliced carrots
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper to taste
Pam

Preheat Oven to 370F

Here we go
Combine crushed corn flakes and all the melted butter in a small bowl. Set aside. In a pot over medium-high heat bring water to a boil.  Add in your onions, carrots, salt and pepper.  Turn down to a low simmer and parboil ingredients until tender.

In another pot melt 1 tbsp of butter over med-high heat.  Add your flour stirring for 1 – 2 minutes. Slowly pour in your milk until all combined. Let mixture thicken. Then add your cheese a spoonful at a time stirring to mix well. Once all cheese has been added, pour your sauce into your carrot mixture and stir to combine.

Almost there
Pour in your cheese sauce/carrot mixture into a casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Top with crushed corn flake/butter mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of oven and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

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Lemony Coleslaw

After finding some of the produce in my fridge dying a slow death, I pulled out some recipe books looking for some inspiration.  A large head of Napa Cabbage was crying to be used as were some lemons so I decided to make Lemony Coleslaw…and Lemony it was.  I couldn’t figure out how this dressing was going to come together, taste good and fool my husband (who loathes sour cream).   But it did and he had seconds without knowing the star ingredient – mission accomplished!

Adapted from Atco Blue Flame Kitchen

Lemony Coleslaw 

3 tbsp water
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1 pinch sugar
1/2 tsp lemon peel zest
Pinch salt & pepper
4 cups cabbage, shredded (we used Napa but regular will work)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup green onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (shelled)

Make dressing – In a cup whisk together first 8 ingredients (water through salt & pepper) until well blended.

In a bowl mix together your cabbage, carrots, green onions, parsley and sunflower seeds. Add your dressing and toss until well combined.

At this point you can let your salad sit (in the fridge) until the rest of your meal is ready. Stir well before serving.

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