My daughter and I recently spent time shopping together and trying menus from a few restaurants.
As a spin-off from our experiences, we have been trying to replicate some of the most enjoyable restaurant dishes in our own kitchen.
Here are some simple replications to satisfy your appetite and hopefully provide your body with comforting whole foods.
Chicken Vegetable Soup
This soup mimics a Moroccan chicken dish we tried, but with fewer ingredients.
2 tbsp. vegetable oil 30 mL
2 carrots peeled and finely diced 2
1 small pepper finely chopped 1
1 onion peeled and finely diced 1
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or 1 tsp. Garlic powder 5 mL
1 handful spinach, finely chopped 1
1/2 c. chopped fresh or dried mushroom 125 mL
2 tbsp. soy sauce 30 mL
splash white wine (optional)
4 c. chicken broth, either from bone broth or prepared (I like using McCormick cubes) 1 L
1 c. chopped chicken, cooked 250 mL
1 c. egg noodles or pasta 250 mL
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped 30 mL
1 thinly sliced green onion 1
seasoning salt, salt and pepper to personal taste
Put the vegetable oil into a stock pot and heat over medium heat. When heated, add the vegetables, garlic, dash of cumin, soy sauce, and wine, if desired.
Saute them for a few minutes, until their colours become more intense. This is what gives the soup flavour.
Add the chicken broth and bring it to a simmer.
Add the chicken and the noodles or pasta and continue cooking until the noodles are tender. Stir in the parsley, green onion, seasoning salt, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: if desired, add in about a 1/2 c. (125 mL) rinsed chick peas for more texture and fibre.
Source: adapted from www.chefmichaelsmith.com
In a restaurant, you are always served a side of bread or crackers with a soup entree. These melts are satisfying with soup or on their own for a casual meal.
4 bagels or English muffins, whole grain preferably, split in half 4
1/2 c. mayonnaise or ranch dressing 125 mL
2 c. cooked and cubed chicken 500 mL
1/2 medium tomato, diced fine 1/2
2 finely cut green onions 2
1/4 c. finely chopped yellow pepper 60 mL
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese 500 mL
1/2 c. bacon bits, pork or turkey 125 mL
Spread a thin layer of dressing on the bagel or muffin halves. Sprinkle with chicken, followed by tomato, onions, yellow pepper, cheese and bacon bits. Broil on a baking sheet for three to four minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serves six to eight.
Cheesy Hamburger Wraps
For those who may find bagel melts too filing, try this cheesy beef side.
1 lb. ground beef 450 g
4 slices of finely chopped bacon 4
3/4 c. grated cheese of your choice (I like Tex-Mex mix) 175 mL
1 pkg. refrigerated crescent roll packs 1-235 g pkg.
Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
In a skillet, brown the meat and onion, drain extra liquid and stir in the cheese until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
On a baking sheet, roll out the dough into a 14 X 7 inch rectangle. Spread the meat mixture onto the dough. Roll up the dough gently with your hands.
Hold firmly and seal any perforations. Place seam side down on a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Slice into pieces. Serves four.
Source: adapted from www.kraftcanada.com.
Baked Fruit Pudding
Frozen fruit contains nearly the same nutrients as fresh and is more economical when most fruits are out of season in Canada.
Just watch for no added sugars on the label because is better to adjust the sugar yourself based on your own tastes.
This is basically baked fruit with a bit of topping. It tastes like pie. Enjoy it with creamy ice cream or whipped cream.
6 c. frozen fruit 1.5 L
squeeze fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. flour 60 mL
1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1 mL
1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
1/2 c. flour 125 mL
1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1 mL
1/8 tsp. nutmeg 0.5 mL
1/4 c. cold butter 60 mL
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
Layer the peaches, or fruit of your choice, in a prepared casserole dish or a 9 X 13 inch (22 X 33 cm) pan. Squeeze lemon over top.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with the dry ingredients until crumby. Sprinkle over the fruit.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden.
Chai Tea Latte
This warm beverage has become a staple at our house. The warm milk helps to promote relaxation and warmth.
I have a small Breville Frother in my kitchen that I recommend if you often make warm lattes.
I also like to use Tazo’s prepared chai latte mix with milk in my frother.
The at-home taste is just as good as lattes served in a gourmet coffee shop.
In the mornings, we also add collagen protein to the milk before frothing. If you would like to prepare your own chai mix, here is an excellent recipe.
2 c. water 500 mL
2 whole cloves 2
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
1/2 tsp. ground ginger 2 mL
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom 2 mL
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 2 mL
1/2 tsp ground allspice 2 mL
2 black tea bags 2
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup 30 mL
1/2 c. chai tea recipe (above) 125 mL
3/4 c. whole milk 175 mL
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup 15 mL
pinch ground cinnamon
To prepare the tea:
In a saucepan, bring the water and spices to a boil. Whisk the spices in the water.
Once the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat and allow the spices to steep for five minutes.
Then turn the heat back on and add the black tea bags and maple syrup. Return to a gentle boil, then turn off the heat.
Allow the tea bags to steep in the water/spice mix for five more minutes.
Remove the tea bags and strain the tea with a fine strainer. Reserve 1/2 c. (125 mL) of chai tea for the latte.
Store the remaining tea mixture in the fridge for about two weeks.
*This mix will have sediment after sitting on the bottom of the container, so you may have to strain it again after it has been stored in the refrigerator.
To make the latte:
In a saucepan, bring the milk, maple syrup, and pinch of cinnamon to a slight boil, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning.
Once the milk has bubbles, remove from heat. Using a hand frother, blend the milk until it’s bubbly.
Pour 1/2 c. (125 mL) of chai tea in a cup. Slowly add the warm, frothy milk to the tea.
Sprinkle the top of the chai latte with an extra pinch of cinnamon, if desired.
If using a small appliance frother, add all of the ingredients to the beverage container and run a frothing cycle.
The ingredients will be heated in this appliance, which eliminates the need to preheat the milk.
Serve immediately. If you want a dairy-free option, try using coconut, almond or soy milk.
The taste will be different but still very satisfying. Serves four. Source: www.livesimply.me.
It is the time of year that our immune systems can become compromised by cold or flu viruses.
Here are some tips to overcome some those viruses:
Try to consciously book about an hour of down time each day.
Call it your reset, which is a preventive measure for good health.
Washing your hands regularly can be effective against germs.
As well, wash door knobs, telephones, electronic remotes, taps and eating surfaces, anywhere that everyone in the household or office shares contact.
Just use good old soap and water, nothing fancy.
Along with probiotics and vitamin D, don’t forget to up your fibre intake to aid your body in cleansing.
Do this by incorporating more fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, in a form that is as unprocessed as possible.
Be sure to check labels for fibre amounts on processed foods and aim for items with at least two to three grams or more fibre.
By increasing your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, you will also be getting enough vitamin C in your diet, which is important to good health.
As well, increasing fibre aids in weight loss.
Consume more zinc, which is a mineral that aids in cell renewal.
Oysters are the best food choice, but are not everyone’s favourite snack.
Other ways to get zinc are to consume animal proteins, beans, seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fortified, high-fibre breakfast cereals.
This is a great time of year to commit to boosting your protein intake to keep your body strong.
I have tried many sources of protein supplements, all had good and bad points.
I have trouble selling many of them to my family in such things as smoothies because they can always pick out the gritty texture and taste of the protein supplement.
Recently, I have been enjoying a collagen powder supplement, a protein that supports our body’s structure and the health of our skin.
It dissolves quickly in hot and cold liquid and has no taste.
Top-rated brands are Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen and Vital Proteins (Collagen).
It’s a great dietary boost for those who do not get enough protein in their diets, available in health food stores and online.