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Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup

Tofu and Wakame Miso Soup
With the cooler weather here I have been thinking about soups more and I thought that I would take the opportunity to update the recipe for one of my favourite soups, miso soup. Miso soup is a Japanese soup consisting of dashi and miso paste along with other ingredients that vary depending on region, season and taste. You will find miso soup on the menus at a lot of Japanese restaurants and it's super easy to make at home! One of the more common ingredients combos for miso soup is tofu and wakame (an edible seaweed) and it is the version that I probably make the most. One of the things that I like about miso soup, other that the fact that it's packed with flavour and umami along with being healthy, is that it usually only take a few minutes to make which makes it perfect busy work day meals!

Lasagna Dip

Lasagna Dip
Last week when I made the lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash I tried to keep things nice and light and healthy but I could not help but think about doing something similar only a bit naughtier, a hot melted cheesy lasagna dip! I am a huge fan of dips, especially when they have plenty of hot melted cheese and since lasagna is one of my favourite meals I knew that a lasagna dip was sure to be amazing! The basic idea behind this dip was to use the layers of a lasagna in a dip including a base of cheese and a quick, easy and tasty tomato meat sauce all topped off with plenty of melted mozzarella! My mom always made lasagna with cottage cheese for the cheese layer so I am rather partial to that but ricotta or even cream cheese would also work well. For the tomato based meat sauce I kept things lighter and healthy going with turkey for the meat and I packed the sauce with plenty of flavour! I have to say that this dip is truly spectacular and it really does remind me of lasagna, though it is a lot easier to make and perfect for enjoying while watching the game!

Pumpkin, Chorizo and Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin Chorizo and Black Bean Soup
I can't believe that October is almost over and that means that the pumpkins will soon disappear so I wanted to get at least one more pumpkin recipe in and this time it's a pumpkin soup that is perfect for the cooling weather. Really this soup is just a combination of two of my other favourite pumkin soups the pumpkin and black bean soup and the pumpkin and chorizo soup but despite it's simplicity it is super tasty! I mean you really cannot go wrong combining pumpkin with black beans and spicy Mexican style chorizo sausage in a warm and hearty soup! This soup has it all, the pumpkin and partially pureed black beans make it nice and thick and creamy, the chorizo sausage and remaining black beans give it a nice hearty texture and the chipotle chilies in abobo make it nice and smoky and give it a healthy amount of spicy heat to keep you warm! This pumpkin, chorizo and black bean soup is a great way to enjoy the last of the pumpkins this season and a great way to keep warm in these cooling days!

Apple, Cheddar and Bacon Fritters in Caramel Sauce

Apple, Cheddar and Bacon Fritters in Caramel Sauce
I always enjoy making fritters out of different fruits and vegetables and I recently realized that I had not shared my recipe for the classic fritters, apple fritters! I have really been into apples lately so as soon as I had the idea of apple fritters they quickly made it to my meal plan! Although basic apple fritters are amazing all by themselves I like to kick them up a bit by adding cheddar cheese and since bacon also goes so well with this combo I like to throw some in as well. These apple fritters are super easy to make, you pretty much just need to shred the apples and cheese, squeeze and drain the shredded apple, mix everything up and then fry them in a pan. The apples, bacon and cheddar combo makes for an amazing blend of sweet and savoury in these fritters that are nice and crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside! I like to snack on these apple and cheddar fritters just as they are but they are also absolutely divine when topped with caramel sauce.

BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Quesadillas

BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Quesadillas
After making the apple, bacon and cheddar sticky buns earlier this week the flavour combination has been on my mind and I could not resist using it again, this time in some quesadillas. Even with the apple, bacon and cheddar the quesadillas felt like they still needed something and BBQ chicken was the perfect solution, adding a sweet heat along with a hint of smokiness. There is just something magical about this combination of sweet juicy apples, melted cheddar cheese, smoky bacon and spicy BBQ chicken and I will definitely be enjoying a few more of these quesadillas over the next few weeks this fall!

Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin Hummus
It's time for another pumpkin recipe and up this time is a super quick and easy pumpkin hummus that is perfect for fall entertaining and and it is nice healthy to boot! Hummus is typically made with mashed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice but it is easy to add flavour to it like in this case by adding some pumpkin puree. Given the use of pumpkin in this humus it only seemed natural to add a hint of cinnamon to make things a little more exotic. I like to serve the pumpkin hummus topped with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) along with some toasted whole wheat pitas for dipping making for one light and healthy snack!

Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds so one option that I enjoy for this pumpkin hummus is the addition of some ground pepitas which adds another layer of pumpkin flavour!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Winter squash is in season and one that I do not use nearly often enough is spaghetti squash so when I came across the idea of a lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash I pinned it right away to try later! Lasagna is a layered pasta dish typically containing noodles, a meat sauce and a cheese or bechamel sauce and it is topped with plenty of cheese and baked until golden brown and bubbling. This lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash takes the basic components of lasagna including the meat sauce and the cheese layer and stuffs them into a spaghetti squash, which essentially replaces the noodles, and bakes them until the cheese has melted. Since this dish goes with healthy spaghetti squash instead of noodles I decided to keep things on the lighter side going with ground turkey for the meat and a low fat cottage cheese for the cheese layer. Even though this lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash is designed to be healthier it certainly does not sacrifice anything in the way of flavour! You will definitely not miss the noodles in this tasty lasagna!

SweeTango Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Pecan Sticky Buns

Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Sticky Buns
One of the best things about fall is that it is apple season and this year I discovered a tasty new apple, the SweeTango apple! The SweeTango apple is a cross between the Honeycrisp and the Zestar and they have the best qualities of both of them! SweeTango apples are grown in a few states in the US and a few provinces in Canada and they are only available for a few short months in the fall. After enjoying snacking on some SweeTango apples it was time to put them to the test and use them in a recipe and the first recipe on my list to try was some SweeTango apple pecan sticky buns!

Apple pie has to be one of my all time favourite things and I was a kid when I first came across the idea of serving apple pie covered in cheddar cheese. It wasn't until a few years later until I finally embraced the idea of combining sweet and savoury by adding cheddar cheese to apple pie and to my surprise I found that the combination was amazingly good. When I first got my hands on some of the SweeTango apples I could not resist using them to make some apple pie inspired pecan sticky buns and I just had to try throwing some cheddar cheese into the sticky buns! As you know, I am a complete bacon addict and I just had to try adding some bacon to the apple pecan sticky buns since bacon goes so well in sweet dishes and when combined with both apples and cheddar cheese.

Since you need to let the dough rise two times, these sticky buns require a bit of time to make but they are actually pretty easy requiring very little actual work. One of the great things about making these sticky buns is the amazing aroma that fills the house while they are baking and it only heightens the anticipation! These SweeTango apple, bacon and cheddar pecan sticky buns turned out amazingly well! The sweet and savoury combo of the SweeTango apples and caramel when fantastically well with the melted cheddar and bacon! The SweeTango apples themselves worked really well in this baked dish and I can see myself using them in many more!

Pork Tinga Quesadillas

Pork Tinga Quesadillas
I have been on a quesadilla kick lately so when I made the pork tinga tacos the other day I made sure to make a large batch of pork tinga so that I would have leftovers for quesadillas. At it's base a quesadilla is simply melted cheese in a toasted tortilla so I kept these quesadillas nice and simple filling them with the pork tinga along with the cheese. Although these quesadillas are great just like that, while I was enjoying one I could not help but think that I could make them even better with the addition of some avocado. Instead of just throwing some avocado into the quesadillas or serving them with mashed avocado for dipping I decided to go with something a little different and I treated the quesadillas like a base and topped them with an avocado spread, almost like a pizza. Of course I could not stop there and I mixed some salsa verde into the mashed avocado and sprinkled on some diced onions, crumbled cotija cheese and fresh cilantro. I have to say that these 'pizza' like quesadillas were certainly fun to eat and so amazingly good! The cool and creamy avocado topping plays beautifully well with the spicy chipotle pork tinga and all of the melted cheesy goodness!

Shrimp Linguine in a Tomato and Feta Sauce (aka Shrimp Saganaki Linguine)

Shrimp Linguine in a Tomato and Feta Sauce
October is National Pasta Month and that means that it is time for some pasta! Pasta Fits into a healthy diet, a busy lifestyle, and a tight budget; it is super versatile and always fun to work with! This shrimp linguine is inspired by one of my favourite Greek dishes, shrimp saganaki, where shrimp is cooked in tasty tomato and feta sauce and it works really well as a pasta dish! If you are looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal this recipe fits the bill literally only taking as long to make as it takes to boil the water and to cook the pasta. When in season, fresh tomatoes, dill and parsley really make this dish sing but otherwise pantry staples, canned diced tomatoes and dried herbs, also work well so you can enjoy this tasty pasta all year round. No matter how you cut it, this shrimp linguine in tomato and feta sauce, aka shrimp saganaki linguine, is a great way to celebrate National Pasta Month and it is sure to make a regular appearance in your meal rotation!

Do you have a favourite pasta recipe? Share it with the National Pasta Association for the chance to win their Pasta Presto Recipe Contest with a $1500 prize!

Hot Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprout Dip

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Dip
I cannot believe that it is already mid October and I still have not done anything with my favourite winter green vegetable, brussels sprouts! As soon as I had this thought I had to resolve the problem and I knew exactly what I was going to make first, a brussels sprout dip which I have been wanting to try ever since I came across the idea on Minimalist Baker. You could cook the brussels sprouts any way that you want for this dip but roasted brussels sprouts are the bees knees so I went with them and since I was roasting them I threw in a few cloves of garlic to as well. (Roasted garlic is the best!) Once the brussels sprouts have been roasted this dip is as easy to make as mixing it all up and baking until the cheese is all melted, ooey and gooey! Given how much I enjoy both brussels sprouts and hot cheesy dips, I knew that this roasted brussels sprout dip was sure to be a winner and it did not disappoint!

With this dip there is no reason to not eat your brussels sprouts! Even brussels sprouts haters will be asking for the recipe!

Chipotle Roasted Pumpkin, Mushroom and Kale Quesadillas with Chipotle Pumpkin Crema and Kale Salsa

Chipotle Roasted Pumpkin, Mushroom and Kale Quesadillas with Chipotle Pumpkin Crema and Kale Salsa
It's time for another pumpkin recipe and this time I have some smoky chipotle roasted pumpkin quesadillas for you! Lately I have been enjoying the pumpkin and kale combo and I figured that you could not go wrong throwing them together into some quesadillas along with plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese! Mushrooms also go well with both pumpkin and kale so I roasted some up along side the pumpkin with a dusting of smoky chipotle chili powder. Although these quesadillas would be perfectly tasty just like that I could not resist making another batch of the kale and pepita salsa to got with them and since I was roasting pumpkin anyways, I roasted some extra to make a chipotle pumpkin crema. I have to say that these chipotle roasted pumpkin, mushroom and kale quesadillas are some of the tastiest quesadillas that I have had in a while and the kale and pepita salsa and chipotle pumpkin crema take the to whole new levels of amazingness!

Texmex Hot and Brown

Texmex Hot and Brown
Up next for my roast turkey leftovers was a hot brown sandwich which I had been wanting to try for a while. The hot brown sandwich is a take on welsh rarebit where toast is served topped with roast turkey, tomato, bacon and a mornay sauce that is broiled until the mornay sauce is bubbling and golden brown. While I was researching the hot brown sandwich I came across the idea of a Texmex style hot brown sandwich on Homesick Texan which sounded much more interesting than the original and I just had to switch tracks and make it instead! This Texmex style hot brown uses a mornay sauce that is spiked with green chilies and it is topped with tomatoes, bacon, guacamole and crumbled cotija cheese and it makes for one really tasty meal! If you are looking for a way to enjoy some of your roast turkey leftovers you really cannot go wrong with this Texmex style hot brown sandwich!

Roast Turkey Cobb Sandwich

Roast Turkey Cobb Sandwich
Although planning the Thanksgiving dinner is always fun I have even more fun planning on how to enjoy all of the leftovers! I usually start with the turkey breast which is perfect for sandwiches and up first this year is this monstrous roast turkey sandwich inspired by the cobb salad with layers of lettuce, tomato, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, roast turkey and an egg. A cobb salad normally uses hard boiled eggs but I really could not resist going for a fried egg, sunny side up, for that amazing runny egg yolk! I have to say that this is one of the tastiest roast turkey sandwiches that I have had in a while! The only problem is how to get your mouth around it! :)

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo with Crispy Fried Sage

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo with Crispy Fried Sage
My next new pumpkin recipe of the season is a super quick, easy and tasty creamy pumpkin alfredo pasta! The pumpkin sauce for this pasta is loosely based on an alfredo sauce which is typically made with butter and melted cheese, usually parmesan, and it also commonly contains cream. This sauce starts out with the butter and a touch of garlic and then moves on to the cream and parmesan along with some pumpkin puree. Instead of using the parmesan as the primary cheese flavour I cut back on it and went with a tangy goat cheese which pairs particularly well with the sweet pumpkin puree. The sauce is finished off with some sage and a hint of pumpkin pie spice to tingle the senses and the pasta topped with some irresistible crispy fried sage.

This pumpkin goat cheese alfredo does not require a lot of pumpkin puree so it is perfect if you had a bit left over and since it comes together in less time than it takes to cook the pasta it is a great weeknight meal but it is also special enough to impress guests!

Fully Loaded Hasselback Potatoes

Fully Loaded Hasselback Potatoes
I have been seeing hasselback potatoes around for a while now and I have been wanting to try making them! They are basically a potato that is sliced thinly and baked until the outside edges get nice and crispy, kind of like french fries, and the inside is nice and tender like a baked potato; the best of both worlds! In addition to being pretty amazing just like that, the space in between the slices are perfect for holding things like melted cheese. For my first hasselback potatoes I decided to go with a 'loaded' baked potato theme topping them with plenty melted cheese, bacon, sour cream and sliced green onions. Depending on the size of your potatoes these make for a side with small ones or even a meal with larger ones.

50 Thanksgiving Recipes

50 Thanksgiving Recipes

I can hardly believe that it's already that time of year but the holidays are upon us starting with Thanksgiving which is being celebrated next weekend here in Canada! Of course that means that it is time for a roundup of Thanksgiving recipe ideas! Thanksgiving is a busy cooking day starting in the morning with a hearty breakfast or brunch before moving on to snacks/appetizers in the afternoon and then finally the big meal which generally consists of a turkey or other roast, several sides and a dessert! What a tasty day indeed! My mouth is already watering just thinking about all of the good food! For me though the real fun starts the next day when it's time to start coming up with tasty ways to use all of the leftovers!

The trick to a successful Thanksgiving is to have a day full of tasty food without being so swamped with cooking that you don't get a chance to enjoy it and that means that you need to do a bit of planning. Many desserts can be made several days ahead so that is a good place to start followed by the cranberry sauce and casseroles which can often be assembled the day ahead and then just baked on the big day. In addition to having a closet sized kitchen, my oven is tiny and it can barely fit one large roasting pan so forget about cooking a casserole at the same time as the turkey. I usually try to limit my sides to one casserole that requires oven time and I get it in after the turkey has cooked, while it is resting and being carved. Up next is a simple stove top side but who wants to be standing over the stove in the kitchen when you have guests so pull out that slow cooker and make use of it! Many casseroles can be made in the slow cooker in addition to things like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, etc.

What are your favourite time saving Thanksgiving tips?

Pork Tinga Tacos

Pork Tinga Tacos
Today is national taco day! I am a huge fan of tacos and of course I have some tacos to share with you today, some tasty pork tinga tacos. Pork tinga is a Mexican style 'stew' with moist and tender shredded pork along with chorizo in a tasty chipotle tomato sauce that is just perfect for filling tacos. I like to keep my tacos nice and simple and a great place to start after adding the meat is some cilantro, onions (fresh or pickled) and a splash of lime juice. You really cannot go wrong adding some creamy avocado to cool your mouth down and cheese is almost always welcome! Once the tinga is made these tacos only take a few minutes to throw together making for one really quick, easy and tasty taco meal!

Tinga de Puerco (Pork Tinga)

Tinga de Puerco (Pork Tinga)
Today is national taco day and of course that means that I have some tacos to share with you but before we get to the tacos lets talk about the meat, pork tinga. Tinga is a Mexican style 'stew' where the meat is simmered in a chipotle and tomato sauce and it is commonly made with chicken or shredded beef but I am really into this version with moist and tender shredded pork and Mexican style chorizo sausage. Although the list of ingredients is rather long, this recipe is actually quite easy to make. You start out by simmering the pork butt until fork tender and then you make the actual stew along with the chorizo, chipotles and tomatoes and the stew itself only takes about a half an hour to make. This recipe is also slow cooker friendly and you can throw the pork butt/shoulder into the crockpot in the morning and then you just need to shred it and make the stew in the evening for dinner. Despite the simplicity of this dish it is quite tasty and to goes well served over rice and beans and of course in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc.

Pumpkin and White Bean Turkey Chili with Kale and Pepita Salsa

Pumpkin and White Bean Turkey Chili with Kale and Pepita Salsa
Up first for my new pumpkin recipes this season is a light, tasty and healthy pumpkin turkey chili with white beans. This pumpkin chili is nice and simple and it includes the pumpkin in the form of pumpkin puree along with a hint of pumpkin pie spices which work really well with the smoky chipotle chili heat. All said and done this chili really only requires about a half an hour of active time followed by some simmering making for a relatively low effort meal.

I always like to try to include green vegetables in my meals and I did so here by topping the pumpkin turkey chili with a fresh kale and pepita salsa. The kale and pepita salsa could not be easier to make, you simply puree some raw kale along with cilantro, jalapenos, pepitas and lime juice in a food processor and it is ready to go. I have to admit that I was eating this kale and pepita salsa by the spoonful before it even made it to the dinner table; I will definitely be making it a lot more over the next few weeks!

Mini Pepper Nachos with Corn, Black Beans and Avocado

Mini Pepper Nachos with Corn, Black Beans and Avocado
I have been seeing these cute little mini peppers around the web for a while now so when I came across them in the grocery store for the first time I picked some up immediately. Of course I knew what I was going to use those mini peppers in first, these mini pepper nachos! I kept the mini pepper nachos nice and simple, stuffing them with some nice and healthy ingredients including corn, black beans, pico de gallo and avocado before covering them in plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese! The mini sweet bell peppers work amazingly well in nacho form, providing a nice sweet base that is perfectly sized for finger food! These mini pepper nachos are sure to please at your next party and given how healthy they are, there will be no regrets!