Sunday, July 10, 2016

Maple Sesame Roasted Carrots

I had an eye opening experience this winter when, deep in the throes of meat and potato season, I realized I was eating a disproportionate amount of protein and carbs as compared to vegetables. The star of the show I was calling dinner featured juicy steak, crispy chicken, or some kind of amazing pasta dish - and then onto each plate I would place the token vegetable.

A spoonful of frozen mixed veggies, some sorry ass boiled broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower (if I was feeling ambitious), or a scoop of pickled beets would take up tiny slivers of space on the dinner plate while constantly being overshadowed by the much sexier array of main dishes and sides I was spotlighting.

It occurs to me, this is familiar territory... myself at grade 7 dances. While the pretty girls were asked to slow dance to Stairway to Heaven, I sat on the bench and adjusted the tape on my glasses.

Lonely. Nerdy. Forgotten.

People, think about the message we've been sending the carrot! 

Well verily, just as I blossomed from a shy 7th grader to become the bastion of fabulousity you know and love today, so too shall the carrot! No longer a scrawny afterthought on the side of a plate, with a little TLC, I've turned the lowly carrot into a Goddess of culinary supremacy!

Behold...




 And the carrot shall rise!

In all seriousness, this dish is absolutely spectacular. I served it to my husband as the main event last night and though he was somewhat icy at first over the prospect of getting a plate full of carrots and rice, once he got into it, he was raving. And not in a bad way.

The carrots roast to a tender perfection and then are slathered in a sesame maple glaze and roasted again until the glaze gets sticky. Served over Jasmine rice with more of the sesame maple glaze, salted peanuts, and cilantro, you get a perfect balance of sweet and salty on the palette and, I promise, you won't have left overs!

I love this dish so much, I would totally ask it to dance. Only to Tupac. Because hip hop.

Try this, please - and let me know if you do...

Maple Sesame Roasted Carrots
Visit the printable recipe here: Maple Sesame Roasted Carrots

Serves: 2 as a main dish, 4 as a starter or side
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar  
  • 2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch chili pepper flakes
  • 12 carrots, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • fresh chopped cilantro
Directions 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Shake the first 6 ingredients together in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Toss the carrots, whole, in the olive oil, place each on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with the salt.
  4. Roast for app 45 minutes turning periodically until they're browning on all sides.
  5. Remove from the tray to a large bowl and pour have of the sesame sauce you made earlier over the carrots, toss well, place back on the baking sheet, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and return to the oven. Roast an additional 5-7 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn, until the sauce has caramelized onto the carrots. 
  6. Serve the carrots on plates over a bed of cooked Jasmine rice (as per the photo). Drizzle equal amounts of the reserved sauce over each plate and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sesame Ramen Salad

I've been eating a mostly plant based diet for over a month and I have to say I've never felt better. I'm not sure if that's because I'm not eating meat, or more likely, because I'm eating from a much wider variety of fruits and vegetables - either way I'm having a lot of fun doing it!

This summer I'm going to be all about trying fruits and vegetables in new ways and I'm looking forward to grilling radishes, making all kinds of different pestos, and generally stepping up my veggie game.

In the spirit of that, I've also been experimenting with new ways to make old favourites - like Ramen - and trying some of the amazing products available like Mandarin Crispy Chick'n.


My friend told me about this gmo free, organic product and from the first bite of these delicious nuggets I was hooked! Better still, they go perfectly with today's recipe for Sesame Ramen Salad.


 Easy and oh so tasty! Please enjoy the recipe...

Sesame Ramen Salad
Visit printable recipe here: Sesame Ramen Salad

Ingredients Maple Sesame Dressing
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar  
  • 2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch chili pepper flakes
Place all ingredients in a jar, shake well, refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients Salad 
  • 3 packages Ichiban Ramen, flavour packets removed (I buy the miso flavour and then use the seasoning packet for other dishes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 stalk diced celery
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled into ribbons using carrot peeler
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced, peeled cucumber
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts
Directions
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil
  2. Chop and dice the vegetables and peanuts
  3. Immerse the Ramen in the boiling water and using forks turn them over, move them around, and cook just until they begin to come apart - no more than a minute. They should still be slightly under-cooked when you drain them. 
  4. Drain and then immerse in cold water. Drain again and give them a second cold water bath. 
  5. Drain and place in a large salad bowl. 
  6. Add the cilantro and all of the vegetables and toss with the dressing. 
  7. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and chopped nuts and toss again. 
  8. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

West Coast Salad

I was out of town on business last week and had a delicious salad called the "West Coast Chopped" at Original Joes. It was so delicious, I decided I wanted to create something like it at home - and WOWZERS people!!!! This might just be the best salad I have ever had or made!

































A scrumptious combination of candied maple chick peas and pecans sit atop a bed of greens, chopped veggies, avocado, and mandarin orange segments. Everything gets tossed in a maple infused salad dressing that is so damn delicious you'll be licking the bowl, and then topped with crumbly, creamy, slightly salty chevre cheese.

The nuts and the chick peas pack enough protein to make this a filling dinner salad for two, or an amazing first course for 4-6!

West Coast Salad 
Printable recipe here:  West Coast Salad

Ingredients, Salad
  • 1 – 15 oz can Chickpeas  
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups salad greens
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1 cup tinned mandarin orange segments, drained 
  • Chevre cheese
Ingredients, Dressing 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Directions 
  1. Mix the salad dressing ingredients together, cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
  2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Spread on a parchment lined sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and shake the pan around periodically to promote even browning. 
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon together.
  4. Place the roasted chick peas and pecans in a large bowl and coat evenly with the butter and maple syrup mixture. 
  5. Return to the parchment covered pan, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and continue to roast for about 10 minutes. Watch these carefully as you don't want the nuts to burn. 
  6. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. 
  7. When ready to serve, place the salad greens, veggies, avocado,  and mandarin orange segments into a large bowl and toss with about 1/3 cup of the salad dressing or enough to suit your tastes.
  8. Place on individual plates.  Sprinkle with desired amounts of cheese and candied pecans/chick peas

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Vegan Spaghetti with "Meat" Sauce - so Amazing no one will believe it's meatless!

I haven't posted a recipe for almost three months. This because I was feeling uninspired and in need of a break - and what a break it's been! Not only am I feeling recharged and ready to get back into the world of cooking and recipe development, I do so now with a whole new slant on things because I've become a vegetarian.

This isn't to say, for all you non-veggies out there, that I think any less of my classic Kitchen Witch recipes - not at all people - my food is DAMN good! So check out my recipe index for all your favourites.

But here's where I'm going to have some fun...

I'm going to take the best of the best of my favourite Kitchen Witch recipes and convert them into vegetarian or vegan versions of the original without losing the essence of the recipe, the taste, texture flavour etc. and I'm starting with my recipe for Old Fashioned Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.


The original, as pictured above, is every bit as delicious as it looks and is one of my family's all time favourite dinners. I've been making it exactly as is for so many years my husband has the flavours memorized - so I knew this was the perfect recipe to try an adapt and fool him with, because that's the other twist: I'm going to re-create the recipes and try to pass them off as the orginals!

That said, I have to admit sweet, sweet victory with my first attempt!


My sauce turned out so delicious and so identical to the original my husband was shocked! Better still, just like the original, it made lots and freezes beautifully so one recipe will feed a family of 4-6 for 2 or 3 meals!

But how did I do it?

The biggest challenge for getting the taste right was to try my best to duplicate the depth of flavour sweet Italian sausage brought to the original recipe. So I went to my pantry to see what I had, and when I spotted the chick peas I wondered if anyone out there in google land had ever made a version of sausage with chick peas.

Lo and behold, someone had! So I took an idea from Sophia at Veggies Don't Bite, for Chickpea Vegan Sausage Crumbles and modified the spices to re-create the taste I was looking for. I also subbed in Yves veggie ground round (LOVE this product!), and added sesame oil, and Tamari Soy sauce for that elusive umami/depth of flavour.

If you love a good spaghetti sauce, I hope you'll give this version a try. I think you'll be surprised by how amazing it is! Or come and visit me in the Casa de Kitchen Witch on Youtube! I always have wine and I love having company :-)



Vegan Spaghetti with "Meat" Sauce
Visit the printable recipe here: Vegan Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 package Yves Veggie Ground Round (about 2 cups)
  • 1 540 ml tin chick peas
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Italian "Sausage" spice blend (see below)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 tsp each black pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar 
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 1 796 ml (28 oz) tin Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 680 ml tin tomato sauce
Directions
  1. Drain the chick peas and dry well on a paper towel. 
  2. Roll the chick peas on the paper towel and remove the skins on as many of the chick peas as possible - they come off very easily. 
  3. Mash the chick peas until they resemble a crumble. Sprinkle with the sausage spice blend, toss well, and bake on parchment paper in a 425 oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Saute the diced onion, diced celery and sliced button mushrooms in the extra virgin olive oil just until the onion is soft and translucent and the mushrooms begin to go golden.
  5. Add the garlic and continue saute about a minute until it becomes fragrant.
  6. Add the Yves ground round and the sesame oil and break it up in the pan using a spatula.
  7. Add the chick pea crumble, the Italian plum tomatoes, tomato sauce, the dried herbs and seasoning, the Tamari soy sauce and the sliced black olives. Stir, reduce heat, cover, and continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. Serve over spaghetti cooked to al dente. 
Italian Sausage Spice Blend Ingredients 
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes for "hot" ( 1 tsp for "medium) (1/2 tsp for "mild)
  • 3/4 tsp ground celery or ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
Mix well and store in an air tight jar.





Sunday, March 20, 2016

Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Burgers

 This week's recipe is so easy and delicious I can't say enough about it! I got the idea while eating crunchy, delicious buffalo wings at a pub one Friday night and thought... I wonder what a buffalo flavoured chicken burger might be like?

The rest, as they say, is history!



Visit the printable recipe here: Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Burgers

The crunch, the tenderness of the chicken, and the flavours all add up to a big mouthful of delicious! So join me in the Casa de Kitchen Witch and let me show you how easy these are to make!




 Ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Sauce
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing or mayonnaise
  • 2 cups whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 4 ciabatta buns
  • iceberg lettuce
  • sliced tomato
Directions 
  1. Mix the red hot sauce and blue cheese dressing together.
  2. Butterfly the chicken breasts and slice into 4 equal portions.
  3. Coat the breasts on either side and then dredge on the breadcrumbs.
  4. Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes.
  5. Serve on buns with mayo or more blue cheese dressing, lettuce, and sliced tomato. 


Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.  

   

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chipotle Chorizo Eggs Benedict

With the spring equinox and Easter just around the corner, I thought I'd try something different breakfast wise - and what better dish to play with than classic eggs benny? Confession: I've always been a sucker for a good poached egg - so slather that in hollandaise sauce and I'm pretty much in love.

But what if I got a little jiggy with it and spiced things up with chorizo sausage, and chipotle? People, WHAT IF??

I'll tell you what if... MASSIVE DELICIOUSNESS!!

So join me this week in the Casa de Kitchen Witch and I'll show you just how easy these are to make! 

Visit the printable recipe here: Chipotle Chorizo Eggs Benny

 

Chipotle Chorizo Eggs Benny

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon finely crushed/chopped chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • Adobo sauce to taste
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 lb chorizo sausage
  • 3 extra crispy English muffins
  • 6 large eggs
  • fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
Directions
  1. Gently heat the sour cream and mayo, and then whisk in 1 tbsp of crushed chipotle peppers, along with enough adobo sauce to suit your taste and the fresh squeezed lime juice.
  2. Remove the sausage meat from their casings. Divide into six equal portions and form into 6 patties
  3. Fry the chorizo patties in a non stick pan until cooked through and crispy. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. Split three English muffins and then lightly butter each half.  Place the english muffins onto a non-stick baking sheet and broil until lightly toasted.Turn the oven off and keep warm until ready to serve.
  5. Poach 6 eggs for three minutes. 
  6. Place a sausage patty onto each toasted English muffin half followed by a perfectly poached egg, a generous dollop of the chipotle sauce, and finish with fresh cilantro.
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.  
   

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole - Healthy(er) Version

The first time I ever had grits was on a trip to New Orleans. The hotel I stayed at had the most incredible breakfast buffet featuring classic American dishes like biscuits and red eye gravy, corned beef hash, and something that looked and tasted like cream of wheat that the hotel claimed was grits.

I'm not gonna lie. As a Canadian who had been hearing about, reading about, and yes, even dreaming about this magical edible from the south for years, the pale, somewhat flaccid, mound of goop in my bowl was a huge disappointment.

I left the Big Easy with a love of beignets, po boys, and the entirety of the French Quarter, but sadly, returned to Canada with a skewed impression of grits.

Flash forward a few years. I was taking an Italian cooking class and one of the dishes we prepared was Polenta. From the first bite of the cheesy, corny goodness we were slathering in tomato sauce, I was hooked - so imagine my surprise when the chef/instructor informed the group that polenta is very similar to grits.

I was back in business!

Since then I've cooked grits in many different ways and have adapted some of the old time recipes I've found to make them lighter and healthy(er) without losing the integrity of the dish or the flavour  - which is exactly what I've done with this week's recipe for Shrimp and Grits Casserole.




















This recipe is such an easy dish to throw together - I often prepare it the night before or in the morning before work. That way, when I get home I can pop it into the oven and get about the more important business of a glass of wine and a good book.

Get the printable recipe here:  Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Or cook along with me in the Casa de Kitchen Witch and I'll show you step by step just how easy this is to make!




Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 % milk
  • 1 1/2 cups no sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry corn grits or polenta
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese
  • 4 cups cooked shrimp
  • 2 tsp of Creole seasoning spice
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 tbsp of finely diced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1m 540 ml can stewed tomatoes or Rotel
  • 1/2 cup(s) light Cream Cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the grits; reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the cheese, egg, and cayenne pepper. Spoon mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
  4. Bake 15 minutes.
  5. Saute the onions and peppers in a non-stick pan misted with cooking spray or olive oil over medium high heat until they just begin to grow soft and translucent. Add two tsp of creole spice and the chopped garlic and saute until the garlic is soft and fragrant ( about 45 seconds). Add the can of stewed tomatoes, bring to a boil and then turn to low and leave to simmer five minutes. Add the cooked shrimp and the cream cheese and stir until well incorporated. Remove from heat.
  6. When grits have baked for 15 minutes, pour the shrimp mixture over the warm casserole, sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese, and bake for another 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before serving. 

Nutritional analysis

Serving size: 388 grams

Amount Per Serving
Calories 265
Total Fat 6.8g
Saturated Fat 3.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 166mg
Sodium 707mg
Vitamin A 35%     •     Vitamin C 61%
Calcium 31%     •     Iron 39%
Nutrition Grade A-

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fully Loaded English Muffin Pizzas - Pepperoni and Mushroom and Ham and Pineapple

It's funny how food can evoke such powerful memories - both good and bad. Take liver for example, I can honestly say that some of the most traumatizing moments of my childhood involve that heinous, horrific smelling "food."

And don't tell me I've never had it cooked right. My mother and her mother before her were both amazing cooks and though they tried 95 different ways from Sunday to make it palatable for me, I just couldn't do it. Not then, not now, not ever.

At the same time, there are meals and dishes that give me such warm, fuzzy feelings when I think of them they can actually cheer me up when I'm feeling blue: the heart shaped valentines day cookies my mom would send me to school with every year in February, her sweet and sour spare ribs over rice, and English muffin pizzas.

The first time I ever had one of these was at an after school program I went to. Every day we would be given a different snack in between playing with Fischer Price toys or working on our colouring skills and on Wednesdays it was my favourite: English Muffin pizzas - these ones made with little pieces of cut up fried hot dog dotting the top.

Soon enough, other cooks were coming up with their own variations of this delicious snack figuring out they weren't just economical, delicious, and easy to make, they could also be made ahead and frozen!

And while English Muffin pizzas the way I had them as a kid were very good, with a few little updates from me, these little suckers are truly spectacular!

I've done two variations and both are equally delicious.

Get the printable recipe here: Fully Loaded English Muffin Pizzas

Or join me in the Casa de Kitchen Witch and I'll show you how easy these are to put together!




Fully Loaded English Muffin Pizzas
Ingredients
  • 12 english muffins, split
  • pizza sauce
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup ham cut into small dice
  • 1 tin pineapple tid bits 
  • thin slices of pizza pepperoni (app 96)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
Directions

  1. Heat the pepperoni slices in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp around edges, about 2 minutes. Remove from the and blot out any additional fat in paper towel. Do the same with the ham, sauteing just until it begins to crisp.  
  2. Saute the onions, and peppers until they're soft and beginning to caramelize. Remove to a bowl.
  3. Saute the mushrooms until they begin to lose their water. Add the garlic, and Italian seasonings. Set aside in another bowl.
  4. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat to broil. 
  5. Lightly brush the muffins with extra virgin olive oil and place onto a foil lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler just until they begin to toast to lightly brown.
For the All Dressed Pepperoni
  1. Coat each English muffin half with sauce. Sprinkle cheese on each English muffin. Place 4 pepperoni slices on top of each pizza. Sprinkle on the mushrooms, peppers, and onions and top with a little more cheese.
For the Hawaiian
  1. Coat each English muffin half with sauce. Sprinkle cheese on each English muffin. Sprinkle the top of each pizza with the ham, green pepper, and onion. Add pineapple tid bits and top with a little more cheese.
  2. At this point, you can bake these off or freeze until later. If freezing, place the baking tray into the freezer until the pizzas are completely frozen. Individually wrap each pizza bun in plastic wrap and then store in large freezer bags.
  3. Freeze for up to 3 months or bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. To use frozen Pizza English Muffins: Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Nutritional AnalysisCalories: 287
Total Fat 17.1g
Saturated Fat 6.8g
Trans Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 38mg
Sodium 714mg
Potassium 161mg
Total Carbohydrates 17.5g
Dietary Fiber 1.9g
7%
Sugars 2.6g
Protein 16.3g
Vitamin A 5%     •     Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 26%     •     Iron 12%

Nutrition Grade B

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

This is the time of year I absolutely CRAVE comfort food and my recipe for Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is about as comforting as it gets - not to mention spectacularly delicious!




















There are other Chicken Spaghetti recipes out there that I've tried and enjoyed, but none of them gave the exact flavour profile and creaminess I was looking for. I wanted something velvety, and cheesy, but I didn't want the recipe to be overloaded with fat, sodium, and calories.

So I took the to the Kitchen Witch test kitchen and today's yummy recipe was born!

The recipe is so good because I've combined the casserole classic, Cream of Mushroom soup with light cream cheese, and the marriage between the two is just incredible. 

Visit the printable recipe here: Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Or join me in the Casa de Kitchen Witch for a glass of wine and a chat as I show you how easy this is to make!




Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilies (optional)
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli florets
  • 1 cup no sodium added chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup light Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 tin low fat cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups Cracker Barrel reduced fat shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet misted with olive oil, saute the chicken, and mushrooms until the chicken is almost cooked through. 
  3. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and chiles and continue to saute another few minutes until the chicken is completely cooked. 
  4. De-glaze the pan with the chicken stock and then turn to low. Add the cream cheese, and mushroom soup, and then stir in the steamed broccoli.
  5. Cook the spaghetti for 5 minutes - just before it's al dente - and then mix enough of it together with everything else in the pan just until it still looks nice and creamy (about 3 generous handfuls of partially cooked spaghetti) 
  6. Place the mixture in a 9- by 13-inch casserole pan that's been treated with oil or cooking spray and top with the 2 cups of cheese. 
  7. Bake covered for 30 minutes and then remove the cover. Bake uncovered another 10-15 minutes until bubbly.
Nutritional Analysis

Calories per serving: 363
Total Fat 16.9 g
Saturated Fat 8.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 91 mg
Sodium 348 mg
Potassium 422 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Protein 27.6 g
Vitamin A 15%     •     Vitamin C 36%
Calcium 21%     •     Iron 10%


Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spicy Chicken with Ramen

There's a restaurant in town that specializes in Asian noodles and every so often I get a yen for one of their meals - the only problem being, the noodles often sound better than they actually taste. Not to mention the amount of sodium I'm certain goes into the dishes. So this week I got back into my Kitchen Witch test kitchen and created a noodle bowl of my own thats a little more healthy and a lot more tasty.

 It's super easy to make, economical, and really, really good!

So join me today in the Casa de Kitchen Witch and I`ll show you how I did it!




Spicy Chicken With Ramen
Visit the printable recipe HERE

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken tenders cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1⁄2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 2 stalks diced celery
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Siracha sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts
  • 2 packages hot and spicy ramen noodles
Directions
  1. Whisk together the garlic, ginger, honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, Siracha and sesame oil. Set aside.
  2. Lightly sprinkle the chicken tenders with about 1 tsp of the spicy broth flavouring mix from one of the Ramen packages.
  3. In a large non-stick pan misted with olive oil or cooking spray, saute the chicken tenders until cooked through. Add the green onions, celery, and red pepper and continue to saute another minute or two until the veggies are beginning to soften.
  4. Put the rest of the opened flavouring package for the Ramen into a large pot of water and bring it to the boil. Add both packages of Ramen noodles and cook just until they begin to pull apart (about 1 minute max) and then immediately drain. (save the additional flavour packages to use in future soups)
  5. Place the noodles back into the wok and gently toss into the chicken, veggies and sauce (if the sauce has cooled bring the heat back up but don't bring to the boil because you don't want to over cook the noodles.
  6. Add the peanuts and cilantro and serve in large bowls.

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lentil Stew with Sweet Italian Sausage and Apples

It's always interesting when people tell me they've never eaten lentils. This because lentils have been part of the human diet since neolithic times - but in the modern age of highly processed foods, legumes like lentils tend to get overlooked.

This is a shame because lentils are easy to prepare, tasty, and a great way to stretch your dollar budget. In fact, this is why I have so many lentil recipes on this blog - because I just love them. On their own in a vegetarian stew, slow roasted with salmon, or cooked with a protein like bacon, ham, or Italian sausage.

Which brings us to today's recipe for Lentil Stew with Sweet Italian Sausage and Apples.




















Filled to the brim with vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, turnip, new potatoes, and spinach, this dollar stretching meal is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter day. And the addition of sweet Italian sausage, fresh thyme, and apple adds a depth of flavor to this stew that is so delicious it's almost surprising.

This is what I love about cooking - it gives me the opportunity to take real ingredients like nutrient rich vegetables, fiber filled lentils, iron rich greens, and turn them into a dish that could be served to your family on a busy weeknight, or at a dinner party with friends because it really is that impressive.


















Serve this with a crusty loaf of your favorite Italian or french bread and a crisp glass of cold, dry apple cider and, as always, let me know if you try this recipe.

































As well, be sure to subscribe to follow this blog, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. I upload new recipe blog and video every week week! 

Visit the printable recipe here: Lentil Stew with Sweet Italian Sausage and Apples

Or cook along with me at the Casa de Kitchen Witch on Youtube!




Lentil Stew with Sweet Italian Sausage and Apples

Ingredients
  • 5 sweet Italian sausages, sliced and halved
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bundle of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup apple cider, apple juice, or apple wine
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and large diced
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 6 baby potatoes, peels on and cubed
  • 1 apple, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Directions
  1. Brown the sausage, celery, and onion in a large non stick pan until the onion begins to get soft (app. five minutes)
  2. Add the garlic, continue to saute another minute stirring constantly. Add the thyme bundle, the apple cider and the lentils. Stir until everything is incorporated and the liquid has been absorbed into the lentils.
  3. Add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then turn to med low. Cover and simmer stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, turnip, potato and apple. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add the chopped spinach and vinegar. Continue covered at a simmering boil over med low heat for 5 minutes until the spinach is cooked. 
  6. Remove pot from heat and let sit covered for 15 minutes before serving.

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

 


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Healthy(er) Tuna Noodle Casserole

Early in my marriage my husband and I ate a lot of tuna. Not because we loved it, but because we was po. Not poor, not economically challenged, but po. Cambpell's mushroom soup on macaroni noodles and calling it alfredo po - and if you added canned tuna to the mix, people, that stuff was good!

But as my husband and I paid off our student loans and moved forward into gainful employment, tuna noodle casserole slowly became a thing of the past. And you know how it is with memories, the more time passes, the sweeter everything becomes. At least, that's how it is with tuna (and reminiscing about grandpa passed out under the Christmas tree).

So in a bout of nostalgia, I made a tuna casserole this year over the Christmas holidays and hoping to invoke warm feelings from the past, I used a recipe from a church cook book that included cream of mushroom soup, powdered french onion soup, tuna, peas, cheddar cheese, egg noodles, and crushed potato chips on top - and people, I won't lie to you, it was tasty. Except I felt like I'd sucked on a salt lick about 15 minutes after dinner. Not to mention the bloating.

Not to be daunted, I decided tuna noodle casserole would be the perfect Kitchen Witch recipe to make healthy(er) in the New Year. So I set to lightening it up, increasing the nutrients, upping the fiber, and lowering the fat and sodium - and what resulted was this:




















A delicious, flavour filled, old fashioned casserole with crunch, texture, and unctuous creaminess in every bite!

So if you're a hibernating bear like me and like the comfort of old fashioned food in the winter (but don't want to get your ass stuck in the cave door on the way out come spring) give this recipe a try because it really is Just. That. Fabulous.

































If you try this recipe, please let me know! I love hearing from people who have tried my food!

As well, be sure to subscribe to follow this blog, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. I upload new recipe blog and video every week week! 

Visit the printable recipe here: Healthy(er) Tuna Noodle Casserole
Or cook along with me at the Casa de Kitchen Witch on Youtube!

Healthy(er) Tuna Noodle Casserole

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 8 sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 diced white onion 
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced 
  • 1 stalk diced celery
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 bundle of mixed herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups no sodium added chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 tins chunk albacore tuna packed in water
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup light parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4 cups whole wheat egg noodles 
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  1. Saute the mushrooms, peppers, celery and onions in a non stick pan misted with olive oil or cooking spray until the onions grow soft and the mushrooms release their water and begin to brown. 
  2. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and continue to saute for an additional minute stirring frequently. 
  3. Add the chicken stock, herb bundle, lemon zest, lemon juice, spinach and peas. Bring to the boil, cover, and let simmer 10 minutes until the peas are cooked through. Stir in the tuna, sour cream, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
  4.  Cook the egg noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes (just until al dente), and drain
  5. Mix everything but the breadcrumbs together in a 3 quart casserole treated with cooking spray, top with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling.
  6. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. 
  7. Serve with a tossed green salad.  
Nutritional Information per 294 gram serving

Calories: 232 per serving
Total Fat: 5.4 grams
Cholesterol: 37 mg
Sodium: 218 mg
Potassium: 203 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 35.4 grams
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 grams
Sugars: 2.4 grams
Protein: 11.9 grams
Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.
     

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

    Baked Chicken Taquitos

    Happy New Year everyone!! After a fabulous Christmas (and lots of incredible meals) I'm ready to jump feet first back into my life and back into the world of cooking, writing, and making videos - all the while having to navigate everything with a full time career, husband, and an attention seeking dog.

    That said, I'll be continuing on my path toward making delicious dishes healthy(er) while I embrace my inner Ninja in and out of the kitchen. To get things started for the New Year I've resurrected a tried and true, super easy recipe from the past for Baked Chicken Taquitos.


    I didn't come up with this one myself - in fact, I don't remember where I first saw this recipe - but I've added some of my own flair to it by poaching the chicken in Siracha and spices and oh! What a difference this little Kitchen Ninja move makes!!

    These are super crunchy and crispy with flavour galore and because they're baked, not fried, you can go ahead and eat them knowing you're doing something nice for yourself and for your family. Serve with a a side salad and sparkling water and if you try this recipe, please let me know! I love hearing from people who have tried my food!

    As well, be sure to subscribe to follow this blog, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. I upload new recipe blog and video every week week! 

    Visit the printable recipe here: Baked Chicken Taquitos

    Or cook along with me at the Casa de Kitchen Witch on Youtube!




    Baked Chicken Taquitos
    Wonderful as a meal or an appetizer!


    Ingredients
    • 1/3 c. (3 oz) light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    • 1/4 c. salsa
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. onion salt
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)
    • 2 Tbsp. sliced green onions
    • 2 c. shredded cooked chicken (I poach mine in water with a drizzle of Siracha Sauce, 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1/8 tsp of cumin, and a little salt for this recipe)
    • 1 shredded cheese
    • 8 Flour Tortillas (soft taco size)
    • Coarse Sea Salt
    • Extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray
    Directions
    1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray.
    2. Stir the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic to combine, then add the cilantro and green onions.
    3. Add the chicken and cheese and combine well. You can prepare up to this step ahead of time, just store the mixture in the fridge
    4. Lay all the tortillas out and equally distribute the chicken mixture among them on the lower 1/3 of the tortilla, about 1/2 in. from the edge.
    5. Roll it up tightly. You can also cut these into smaller segments to make into appetizers. Lay all the taquitos seam side down and make sure they are not touching each other. Cover tightly, label and freeze at this point if doing as a make ahead. Thaw on counter before baking.
    6. When ready to bake, spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or brush the tops lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
    7. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes turning once at the halfway point or until crisp and the edges start to get golden brown.
    8. Dip them in salsa, sour cream, or guacamole. 


    Author:

    Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada, the $20,000.00 winner of the online competition "The Real Women of Philadelphia" and a finalist on the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.