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Showing posts from November, 2011

Slow Braised Beef Stew with Balsamic and Rosemary

Beef Stew has to be the ultimate cold weather, cozy comfort food. Call me crazy, but I find the whole process of making the stew to be therapeutic. Peeling and chopping the vegetables. Carefully browning the chunks of meat in small batches until they are a deeply caramelized. Slowly braising that tough, chewy cut of meat for hours- until it is so tender it melts like butta in your mouth. Not to mention the mouth-watering aroma wafting through the air, making you so hungry you can hardly stand it.

I have discovered that adding balsamic vinegar to the braising liquid is the secret to the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef and gives the stew a wonderful deep, rich flavour. This stew will need to cook for at least three hours- not the kind of meal you would want to make on a busy week night.

Slow Braised Beef Stew with Balsamic and Rosemary
serves: 6 to 8

2 lbs. chuck roast, excess fat removed, cut into 1 1/2 " chunks
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves, chopped
4 cups beef stock
3 Tbsp. Wo…

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

Traditionally, Fettuccine Alfredo is a simple dish made with heavy cream, lots of butter, lots of Parmigiano Cheese and pasta.  Delicious? Yes!   Figure friendly? No!   A couple of months ago, I would have had no problem inhaling a big bowl of this buttery, cheesy goodness, but times have changed and I am now really trying to be aware of every bite of food that I eat. Whenever I am contemplating eating higher calorie foods, I ask myself - " Is it worth the calories?" The answer is almost always no. I have discovered that I can make a healthier, lower calorie version of almost any dish that I am craving, that tastes just as good- if not better- than the original.

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic
serves: 3 to 4

1 tsp. olive oil
2 whole heads of garlic, roasted and peeled
4 oz. light cream cheese, cut into cubes ( let cream cheese come to room temp.)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, plus extra …

Chicken and Broccoli in Peanut Sauce

There is no doubt that take -out style Chinese food is delicious, but it is loaded  with sodium, sugar, fat and calories. Making it yourself is a much healthier option, but just as yummy. I think some people are intimidated at the thought of making Chinese food at home but it really isn't that difficult. Because every thing is cooked so quickly, it is important to have every single ingredient prepped and ready to go - this is called " mise en place" which means every thing in place. Whenever I make any Asian-inspired  dishes, I make sure the flavours are well balanced - sweet, salty, sour and spicy, as well as a variety of textures. Throw away all those take-out menus that are cluttering up your junk drawer, you aren't going to need them any more.

Chicken and Broccoli in Peanut Sauce
serves: 2

! boneless, skinless  chicken breast, sliced in thin strips
1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets, blanched in boiling water until tender-crisp
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh peeled …

Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter and Parmigiano Cheese

Incredible. Fabulous. Scrumptious. Delectable. Amazing. Mind-blowing. Wildly Delicious. Heavenly. Mouth-watering. Luscious. I don't have enough words in my vocabulary to adequately convey just how incredibly delicious this dish is.This deceptively simple little side dish is jam-packed with browned buttery goodness. A little browned butter magically transforms plain ol' spaghetti squash in to a dish that is so incredibly rich and sinful tasting you will feel like you are totally blowing your diet. No need to worry. When butter is lightly browned, it is so highly flavourful, a little goes a long way. There is no doubt about it - browned butter makes everything better.

Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter and Parmigiano Cheese

1 whole spaghetti squash
freshly grated Parmigiano
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lay a lightly  dampened cloth underneath your cutting board (this will keep the cutting board from moving around while you are trying to cut the squash, actually you…

Guilt-Free Buffalo Chicken Bites

Who doesn't love Buffalo Chicken Wings? Or any deep-fried, salty, crispy- skin chicken  for that matter. Especially when they are paired with an icy cold pint of deliciousness. Or two. Or three.

There is no doubt that deep-fried chicken wings are one of the best inventions since sliced bread, but my thighs don't really care for them, thank-you very much, so I have had to come up with a healthier, lower fat and lower calorie version. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( boneless chicken thighs would also work), sliced them up and marinated them in hot sauce before lightly breading them. They were then baked in the oven until crispy and golden brown. I like to serve these with carrot and celery sticks and a low fat blue cheese dressing. These are seriously good. I think I actually prefer this version. No bones to deal with and not as messy!

Buffalo Chicken Bites
serves: 2

1 large boneless, chicken breast
1/3 cup hot sauce, I used Frank's Chili Lime
3/4 cup flour (whichever …