Tag Archives: Veggies

Veggie Quesadillas

This is a great dinner for a summer night when it’s just too hot to eat anything huge and heavy.  Or a fancy party snack! It’s just veggies, cheese and flavour; light, simple and satisfying!

I took some veggies that were laying around – peppers, zucchini, corn and sautéed them with garlic and a few other spices for a few minutes on a high, hot heat.  This just seared them a bit, so they kept a bit of crispness.  Nothing worse than soggy veggies 😦

Quesadilla Filling

So, just lay a tortilla flat and top with cheddar cheese and a few scoops of the veggie mixture. Heat a frying pan up on medium heat, add some butter and let it get sizzly. Then, add the tortilla and top with more cheese and a second tortilla on top. If you cover this with a lid for a few minutes, you will ensure maximum cheese melty-ness.  This particular trait is essential if you’re looking for a high quality quesadilla!

Fried up Quesadilla

When the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy (don’t forget to flip once the first tortilla is golden brown), chop into sections and serve with sour cream.  🙂  Bring a fork to clean up the extra filling!

Veggie Quesadillas

Veggie Quesadillas Recipe

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 big cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp dried vegetable seasoning
1/2 tsp onion salt
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups assorted veggies, chopped (sweet peppers, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, etc.)
¾ cup black beans (optional)
1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
8 Tortillas (Flour and corn both work)
Sour cream for dipping

  1. Stir together 2 tbsp olive oil, vegetable seasoning, onion salt and salt and pepper.
  2. Mix together vegetables and black beans, and stir in olive oil mixture.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan until hot and add garlic.  Cook on medium heat until golden brown and intoxicatingly aromatic.  Throw veggies in, and turn heat up to high.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring pretty regularly to avoid burning.  But don’t be afraid of a little delicious charring!  Remove mixture to a bowl.
  4. In same frying pan, add cooking spray or a bit more olive oil and heat.  Add one flour tortilla, a handful of cheese, and a few scoops of the veggie filling.  Then add some more cheese and another tortilla.  Cover the frying pan with a lid to allow the cheese to melt fully.
  5. When bottom tortilla is golden brown, flip and cook the second tortilla until it is golden brown as well.
  6. Remove to cutting board and cut into sections.
  7. Serve with sour cream and guacamole for dipping!

Leave a comment

Filed under Apps & Sides, Vegetarian

Honey Plum Chicken

Plums are juuuuust coming into season now, and I suggest using them in the following fashion: chop up some fresh ones and cook with honey, soy sauce and red wine.  And sautéed garlic, of course. Now use this intoxicating saucey/broth mixture to cook some chicken breasts.  The chicken will become infused with this sweet and savoury flavour combination, and the texture will be beyond juicy.     Mix in some veggies too if you like.   Also don’t forget to drizzle the sauce over some buttered basmatti rice, and your delicious, saucy meal will be ready to eat!

Start by chopping up some colourful veggies if you like…


Sear up some chicken and chop up some plums…

Honey Plum Chicken

Mix together the wine, honey, soy sauce and plum preserves and pour over the chicken.  And feel free to use a skillet if you’d prefer.  It gives everything a bit of a “rustic” flavour…I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it’s definitely a good thing.

Simmering Honey Plum Chicken

Mix in your veggies and serve on a bed of rice.  Or noodles.  Noodles are always an option for me. And don’t forget what I said before about the drizzling of the sauce.  It’s mandatory.

Ta da!

Honey Plum Chicken

Honey Plum Chicken Recipe

2 – 4 Large chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves
2 cups red wine
2 bay leaves
¼ cup plum preserves
½ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
2 plums, pitted and chopped
2 cups chopped veggies
Green onion, sliced

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a large bowl and add the red wine and bay leaves.  Toss to coat and leave to marinate about 1 hour in the fridge.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the plum preserves, the honey and soy sauce.  Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Remove the chicken from the wine, then brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the garlic.  Stir it around in the bottom of the pan for a couple of minutes to release the flavour.
  5. Add 1 cup of the wine, the chopped plums and the honey-plum-soy mixture.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, and juicy.  At least 20 minutes.  Add veggies a few minutes before serving so they stay tender-crisp.
  7. Serve on a bed of noodles or basmati rice, and cover with spoonfuls of sauce.


Filed under Main Courses

Veggie Rice Paper Wraps

These are highly addictive.  It’s the peanut sauce’s fault, really.  That, combined with crunchy veggies, vinegar tossed vermicelli noodles and fresh basil, mint and cilantro is extremely good news for your taste buds.  Some sort of marinated and grilled meat (like char siu) can only improve the situation, so don’t be afraid to add some if you aren’t of the vegetarian persuasion.  You can (and I have) eat a ton of these in one sitting, and still walk away from the dinner table feeling satisfied but not over-stuffed.  I love that quality in a recipe!

So in the spirit of the new year, and in the interest of trying to make up for  a little bit of the holiday gorging that went on the last few weeks,  this recipe is both delicious and healthy.  I’ve fed them to my large family a few times and they always disappear.  Serve them with Pho Bo  for an impressive feast!

The list of ingredients is flexible, and they’re a great way to use up extra veggies, too.  MMMMMmmmmmmMMMMMM!

Rice Paper Wrap Prep

Dip one of the wraps in some hot water until it becomes soft enough to wrap and eat. Then pile on your toppings of choice!

If you do serve these to a big group, get a few pie plates and scatter them around the table.  Add a few centimeters of water to each.  Boil the kettle and bring it to the table with you so you can add hot water to the pie plates whenever they start cool off.  This will make soaking the wraps much easier.  And it’s kinda fun too!  Doesn’t take much, I know.

Loaded Veggie Rice Paper Wrap with Char Siu Pork

One time I made these and added BBQ’d steak.  This was a good decision.

And yes, I like to put my peanut dipping sauce straight onto the wrap.  That way no bite is without peanut sauce!

Another Loaded Rice Paper Wrap

Wrap it up and take a bite.

Rice Paper Wrap exposed

If at all possible, have it along side some pho and red wine 🙂

Vietnamese Dinner Party Feast

These are a guaranteed hit for potlucks too!  After you assemble them, just line a tupperware with a damp tea towel to keep the rice paper moist while you transport them.  Then just slice them in half to serve, and watch them disappear!

Pot Luck Rice Paper Wraps

Rice Paper Wrap Recipe

Specific amounts of the following ingredients aren’t really necessary since nothing is actually cooked together.  Just use whatever you need for the amount of people eating.

Rice paper wraps
Vermicelli rice noodles
Red pepper, thinly sliced
Carrots, thinly sliced
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Bean sprouts
Romaine Lettuce, ripped into roll sized pieces
Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, mint)
Peanut Dipping Sauce
Rice Vinegar
Granulated sugar
Marinated and grilled steak or pork tenderloin (optional)

  1. Cook vermicelli noodles according to package directions, then toss with rice vinegar and sugar, to taste.
  2. Add hot water to pie plate or deep, round dish, and soak rice paper wraps for a few minutes until pliable.
  3. Top with vermicelli noodles and other toppings of choice, then wrap and roll it all together.


Filed under Apps & Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian

Split Pea and Bacon Soup

Brrrrrrrrr!  It’s getting cold out there, and one of the best ways to warm up is with this hearty, delicious and totally good for you soup.  I used back bacon this time because it’s a salty, wonderful and healthy substitute for regular bacon.  But of course don’t let me deter you from using regular bacon or ham in this soup, they will only add to the deliciousness.   I think the best way to prep the meat is to cook it up in a frying pan until it’s a bit crispy, and then throw it in right before serving.  The crispiness will add some tasty texture.

Split Pea and Bacon Soup Ingredients

Get everything going in a big soup pot. The peas take a while to hydrate, so you’ll have to be patient with this one!

Soupy goodness

But it’s well worth the wait.  And don’t forget the fresh baguette.

Split Pea and Bacon Soup

Bacon and Split Pea Soup Recipe

4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
2 cups split peas, rinsed and sorted
4 thick slices back bacon or ham
1 white onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary or thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper

1.    In large soup pot, combine broth, water, split peas, back bacon, onions, carrots, celery, and spices.  Bring to a boil, and skim off any scum.
2.    Cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until peas are soft.

Leave a comment

Filed under Soups & Stews

Thai Green Curry

Thai food is still a work in progress for me.  I love it deeply, but I can never make it taste like it does in restaurants.  This makes me a little nervous to think about how much cream, coconut milk and oil they must be using…but anyways, until I get to the bottom of this mystery, this recipe will more than do the trick when the craving for Thai food kicks in.  Which is almost daily if I’m being totally honest.

Get your ingredients lined up…

Thai Green Curry Ingredients

Get a good flavour base going with some oil, shallots, garlic, curry paste and salt and pepper.

Curry Base - Shallots, Garlic and Curry Paste

Add some chicken and cook until nearly done, then add your coconut milk, lime juice and soy sauce and cook until sauce thickens a bit.  Just before you’re done cooking, throw the veggies for a few minutes on a hot, high heat to finish everything off at the same time.

Thai Green Curry

Serve with basmatti rice and fresh basil 🙂

Thai Green Curry with Basmatti Rice

Thai Green Curry Recipe

2 Large chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
1 – 2 tbsp green curry paste
¼ cup shallots, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste
14 ounce can coconut milk
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 cups fresh veggies, chopped
¼ cup crushed peanuts
2 tbsp fresh basil

1.    Heat oil or butter in large skillet or frying pan.  Add shallots, garlic, salt and pepper.  Heat on med-high for a few minutes until semi-soft and golden brown. Add curry and stir for a minute or so, until everything is combined.
2.    Add chicken to pan and cook for 8 minutes or so until almost cooked through.
3.    Add coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce and cook until desired consistency is reached.  About five minutes before cooking time is done, throw your fresh veggies into the pan so they will be tender-crisp at serving time.
4.    Garnish with crushed peanuts and fresh basil.


Filed under Main Courses

Crunchy Coleslaw

I hesitate to use the word “asian” to describe a recipe like this coleslaw, because it sounds a bit too generic and simplified, or “Kelsey-fied”, if you will. (Apologies to any Kelsey’s fans out there).   I’m fully aware of (and enjoy!) all the subtelties of cusine that comes out of asia, but what if I say it’s asian inspired….does that still make me sound ignorant?
ANYWAYS,  this recipe uses lots of ingredients typically found in asian cooking, like ginger, peanuts and bean sprouts, so for the sake of being somewhat descriptive, I’ll refer to this coleslaw as a “vaguely asian inspired crunchy coleslaw”.  I wonder if anyone has ever put this much thought into coleslaw before?  My guess is probably not.
So this coleslaw has an oil and vinegar base, meaning it isn’t as heavy as coleslaw can sometimes be, and is great as a side dish for something like Sweet and Spicy Glazed Drumsticks, or even a healthy lunch.

Crunchy Coleslaw ingredients

I pulsed the cabbage in the food processor a few times to get it small enough to eat so it wasn’t awkward, and sliced the other veggies thinly by hand.

Crunchy Coleslaw

Throw on a light, zesty dressing and you’ll have a flavour-packed dish that’s ready in no time.  The longer it sits in the fridge, the more the flavours will intensify so don’t be afraid to serve it again a few days later.  The raw veggies make sure the whole thing stays crunchy, too.

"Vaguely Asian inspired Crunchy Coleslaw

Asian Coleslaw Recipe

½ head red cabbage (green works fine too)
1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced
½ cup thinly sliced carrots
1/3 cup roasted peanuts


1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Comment

Filed under Salads

Barley Risotto with Leeks, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

Another healthy one!  It’s a record!  This barley risotto isn’t heavy like typical risottos (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but maybe after a food/carb heavy thanksgiving weekend you feel like something lighter.  You could even substitute some leftover turkey for the grilled chicken in this flavour-packed and zesty dish that could work as a side or a main.  Oh, and leeks are HUGE right now; take advantage of them!

Chop your leeks and garlic up to get started.  Sometimes leeks get dirt buried deep into their layers, so to clean them, cut dark green part off and remove any outer layers.  Trim the root end, then cut the leek in half lengthwise and rinse to remove any dirt.

Leeks and Garlic

Heat some oil in a small soup pot or large saucepan.  Throw in leeks and garlic, and sautée until fragrant and soft. Then add the barley and white wine, and stir until the barley is well coated.

Sautéed Leeks, Garlic and Barley

Add some broth and let it cook until the barley is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  About 45 minutes to an hour.  But the good news is you don’t have to constantly stir it like you do with regular risotto!  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

Add your veggies about 5 minutes before serving, and top with some grilled chicken. Then add generous amounts of Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Barley Risotto with Leeks, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

Barley Risotto with Leeks, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup barley
¼ cup white wine vermouth
3 cups chicken stock (add more as needed)
1 cup other chopped veggies (I used Broccoli and zucchini here)
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Large chicken breasts, grilled

1.    In saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook leek and garlic, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in barley until well coated.
2.    Stir in wine until absorbed.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until barley is tender.  If needed, stir in a little more stock or hot water near the end of cooking time to maintain a creamy consistency.  Stir in veggies, lemon zest and juice and Parmesean; season with salt and pepper.
3.    Top with grilled chicken.

From:  G.I. Cookbook

Leave a comment

Filed under Main Courses