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Fall in Love with These Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas (Recipes, cooking tips, photos included)


Fall in Love with These Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

Culinary pros offer tips and tricks for preparing dishes that woo

Toronto, Ont., January 30, 2018 – Wondering what to serve that special someone on Valentine’s Day? Certain foods lend themselves to a romantic meal better than others, says one of Canada’s top chefs.

According to John Morris, Executive Chef of the CN Tower, date night meals should be kept simple, light and mess-free. “Think short noodle cuts and lighter seasonal ingredients, such as seafood or vegetarian fare,” he said, adding that seasoning with pungent spices should be minimized.

Chef Morris shared his ideas for simple, creative date night dishes at a recent culinary speed dating event for journalists and bloggers at the top of the CN Tower, where 10 up-and-coming Toronto chefs wooed guests with their culinary skills. The chefs, graduating student chefs from Toronto’s leading George Brown Chef School, prepared a variety of noodle dishes and had seven minutes to impress each guest before their dishes were scored according to simplicity, creativity, personality, and taste.

The creators of the top three dishes each received a $2,000 scholarship prize for courses at George Brown Chef School, courtesy of event sponsor No Yolks® noodles.

Taking first place was Chef Lucas Hum, who created an “Eggless Bacon Carbonara” dish. Chef Kshitiz Sethi took second place with his “Royal Rose Pudding” dish and Chef Janikka Murray placed third with a recipe called “Mushroom and Bacon Stroganoff.”

Chef Morris explained that shortcut noodles, such as No Yolks, make an ideal date-night meal as they are quick and easy to prepare, light and great tasting.  “Shortcut noodles go with just about any ingredient so it’s easy to be creative and have fun with a noodle dish, whether it’s with sauce or as the base for a noodle soup,” he said, adding that cooking together can enhance the overall mood on date night.

He also emphasized the importance of balance when preparing a dish. “Aim for a combination of noodles, protein, and vegetables to ensure an easy to digest yet satisfying meal, and of course save room for dessert,” he suggested.

Envisioning an ideal date night dish, Chef Morris created a Valentine’s Day recipe, called Saucy Shrimp Noodles with Lemon Fetish Goat Cheese, that features noodles combined with lemony-flavoured shrimp, wine, and cheese (see recipe below). “The combination of aromatic wine sauce-infused noodles and flavourful, light-tasting shrimp deliver an elegance to this dish that’s perfect for a romantic date night,” he said.

No Yolks® noodles sponsored the event to support up-and-coming Canadian chefs as part of its #BringHomeNoYolks campaign. As Canada’s only yolk-free, cholesterol-free and low-fat noodle brand, “No Yolks®noodles are a popular choice for daters of all ages, particularly among college students and young professionals who don’t have the time to cook, but still want a great-tasting meal that makes a good impression,” said Alistair Senn, No Yolks® Senior Brand Manager. “Our message is that No Yolks® noodles are light, simple and fail-proof to make, go with just about any ingredient and happen to be healthy to boot.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/NoYolksCanada/ for recipe ideas.

Recipes, along with a summary of date night meal tips from Chef John Morris, Executive Chef of the CN Tower, follow below.

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Interested in giving one of your lucky readers an opportunity to win two cases of No Yolks noodles ($60 value)? All you need to do is organize a contest of your choice for Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec) and, once a winner is chosen, simply send us the winner’s address and telephone number and No Yolks will deliver the prize. What’s more, No Yolks will help promote your contest on the No Yolks Facebook page. Email us at info@gailbergmanpr.com to participate.

Date Night Meal Tips from Chef John Morris:

  • Use shorter cut noodles for neat and easy consumption.
  • Cook noodles in a large pot to allow plenty of room for the noodles to move around and prevent sticking.
  • Limit ingredients that linger after consumed, such as garlic, onions and pungent spices.
  • Use light-tasting ingredients such as seafood, and limit heavier ingredients.
  • Cut leafy and or larger ingredients (such as broccoli, kale, and spinach) into smaller pieces so they are easier to chew and do not get stuck in teeth.
  • For impressive plating, top noodle dishes with a small ingredient such as shrimp, using an odd number of ingredients per dish (seven instead of six, for example) for more visual appeal.
  • Pipe sauce artistically to create designs, such as a heart, on the plate.
  • Warm serving plates in a 200oF oven before plating to keep food warmer longer and allow for extra time to plate for presentation.

Saucy Shrimp Noodles with Lemon Fetish Goat Cheese

By Chef John Morris, Executive Chef, CN Tower

Product: No Yolks® Broad Noodles

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients: 

Tomato Basil Sauce

1 tsp (5 mL)              olive oil

4                                  garlic cloves, halved                       

4                                  basil leaves, torn

4                                  vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

                                    sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Main Dish

4 cups (1 L)              No Yolks® Broad Noodles

1/4 cup (50 mL)       sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup (125 mL)     white wine

1 tsp (5 mL)              lemon juice (or to taste)

1 tsp (5 mL)              finely grated lemon zest

6                                  fresh oregano leaves

1/2 lb (225 g)            peeled and deveined frozen raw shrimp, thawed (about 24 large shrimp)

                                    freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup (50 mL)       crumbled Lemon Fetish goat cheese (can be substituted with Feta cheese, if desired)

                                    microgreens

Instructions:

Tomato Basil Sauce

Step 1: Heat olive oil in saucepot at medium heat.

Step 2: Add garlic and cook until tender. Stir to avoid browning.

Step 3: Add basil and stir quickly for a few sections. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Season to taste with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Main Dish:

Step 1: Prepare noodles according to package directions.

Step 2: Meanwhile, bring the tomato basil sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest and oregano to a simmer in a large skillet set over medium heat. Stir in the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until no pink remains. Season to taste with pepper.

Step 3: Serve the tomato sauce-shrimp mixture over the hot cooked noodles. Garnish each serving with Lemon Fetish goat cheese and microgreens.

Tip:

Prepare tomato basil sauce in advance to save time on the day of cooking.

Eggless Bacon Carbonara

By Chef Lucas Hum, George Brown Chef School

Product: No Yolks® Dumpling Noodles

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 5 servings

Ingredients: 

1 lb (450 g)                bacon, diced

4 cups (1 L)              No Yolks® Dumpling Noodles

3 tbsp (45 mL)         butter, unsalted

1 head                       garlic, roasted

1 cup (150 g)            cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup (120 ml)       heavy cream, 35%

1/2 cup (65 g)           parmesan cheese, grated

                                    salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: 1/4 cup leeks, finely sliced and 1/2 bunch basil, chiffonade

Instructions:

Step 1: Place diced bacon in a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cookout the fat, stirring occasionally until crispy, about 8 minutes.

Step 2: Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

Step 3: Remove crispy bacon bits and set aside. Drain remaining bacon grease on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan.

Step 4: Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter to melt. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute.

Step 5: Stir in heavy cream, then add the cooked and drained noodles to the skillet and toss to coat. Stir in parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6: Serve hot, topped with crispy bacon bits, leeks, and basil to garnish.

Tip:

Consider frying the leeks in the bacon fat to create a crispy leek garnish to add texture.

Royal Rose Pudding

By Chef Kshitiz Sethi, George Brown Chef School

Product: NO YOLKS® Fine Noodles

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Makes: 4-5 servings

Ingredients: 

6 tbsp (90 mL)         mixed nuts (almonds, pistachio, cashews), chopped

4 cups (340g)           NO YOLKS® Fine Noodles

1 cup (250 mL)        khoya cheese or unsalted ricotta cheese

6 cups (1500 mL)    whole milk

4 tbsp (60 mL)         desi ghee butter or unsalted butter

4-5 pcs                      green cardamom and saffron, ground into a powder

10 tbsp (150 mL)     sugar (or to taste)

Garnish chopped nuts of your choice and a sprinkle of rose water.

Instructions:

Step 1: In a pan on high heat, sauté nuts in butter for 2 minutes. Add noodles and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 2: Add the crumbled khoya or ricotta cheese and mix until it breaks down. Slowly add milk and bring to a boil. Continue to boil on medium high for about 15 minutes until it becomes thick or pale in colour.

Step 3: Add the cardamom/saffron powder and sugar and boil for 2 minutes.

Step 4: Finish with rose water and garnish with chopped nuts of your choice.

Tip:

Add milk slowly to avoid lump formation and stir continuously to avoid sticking at the bottom.

You can skip the ricotta cheese or khoya and increase the amount of milk by 50% and boil to get the right consistency (ricotta cheese makes the cooking faster).

This dish can also be served cold, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with rose jelly and chocolate.

Mushroom and Bacon Stroganoff

By Chef Janikka Blair Murray, George Brown Chef School

Product: No Yolks® Extra Broad Noodles

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

Ingredients: 

1 tsp (5 mL)              olive oil

3 slices                      bacon, diced

1                                  shallot, diced

2 cloves                    garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL)         flour

4                                  cremini mushrooms, sliced

4                                  black oyster mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp (15 mL)         champagne (any kind) or sparkling wine

1/2 cup (125 mL)     mushroom stock or broth

1/4 tsp (1 mL)           salt

Pinch                         pepper

1/4 tsp (1 mL)           thyme, dried

1 tbsp (15 mL)         Greek yogurt

1 cup (250 mL)        No Yolks® Extra Broad Noodles

1 tsp (5 mL)              truffle oil (optional)

Garnish: Goat cheese crumble

Instructions:

Step 1: In a large pot, bring water to a boil.

Step 2: In a separate pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and cook bacon partially. Add the shallot and garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, approximately 3 minutes.

Step 3: Add flour and mix well for 1 minute or until well coated. Add two types of mushrooms and cook until softened. Add champagne and mix well for 2 minutes.

Step 4: Add mushroom stock, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil.

Step 5: Turn heat down to medium low and stir in Greek yogurt. Once fully incorporated, remove from heat.

Step 6: Once water has boiled in the separate pot, add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and mix noodles with mushroom sauce.

Step 7: Serve with truffle oil drizzle, if desired, and crumble goat cheese on top.

Tip:

Use homemade or store bought stock. The taste of the stock will determine how much seasoning to add to the sauce.

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Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Bow Tie Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto Arugula and Pine Nuts Chef Peter George, CN Tower, Toronto


Chef Peter George, Toronto Recipe

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15 min

Servings: 4

Ingredients: 
Continue reading

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Top Toronto chef featured in unique cookbook that aims to help feed city’s hungry


Cookbook Cover

Catelli® Pasta Unveils Unique Cookbook as Part

of Program to Feed Toronto’s Hungry

 

“Gourmet Family Meals for Under $10” features recipes from top Canadian chefs,

including Chef John Higgins of Toronto’s George Brown College Chef School

 

Toronto, Ontario – April 8, 2013 – Catelli® pasta is helping to battle hunger inToronto one serving of pasta at a time. Continue reading

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Fiesta Fit Soup


Fiesta Fit Soup Photo

By Liz Pearson

Fiesta Fit Soup

This delicious soup is a one-pot meal containing ingredients that are linked to reducing belly fat, including whole grains, fibre, healthy fats, peppers and flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables. What’s more, it’s easy to make, taking only 25 minutes from stove-top to table. Continue reading

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Belly Fat, Not Scale is Best Measure of Health


This New Year, resolve to get the skinny on five fat-burning foods,

 including whole grains, soluble fibres and plant compounds

 

Toronto, Ontario – January 3, 2013 – When resolving to lose weight this year, don’t rely on the scale. Measuring belly fat, rather than weight, is often a better indicator of a healthy body.

So says leading Canadian dietitian Liz Pearson, emphasizing that excess abdominal fat significantly increases the risk of health problems – such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cancer – as well as death. It may also speed up the aging process and the onset of dementia. Continue reading

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Whole Wheat Bows with Strawberries, Balsamic and Mint


Bows, Strawberries and Mint Recipe

This gorgeous and unique pasta salad recipe is packed with nutritional superfoods, including 100 percent whole wheat pasta, berries, spinach, and almonds. It tastes as wonderful as it looks and your body will thank you for eating it!

Preparation Time: 8 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8

Ingredients

1 box (300 g) whole wheat bows, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® brand

1/3 cup (75 mL) balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey

2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 tsp (4 mL) each salt and pepper

1/4 cup (50 ml) canola oil

6 cups (1.5 L) lightly packed baby spinach leaves

3 cups (750 mL) halved or quartered strawberries

1/3 cup (75 mL) thinly sliced red onion

1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed, torn fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup (50 mL) toasted sliced almonds

Instructions

1. Prepare the bows according to package directions; drain well.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar with the honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.

3. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until well combined.

4. Toss the bows with the spinach, strawberries, red onion and dressing until well coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

5. Stir in the mint and scatter the goat cheese and almonds over the salad just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per Serving ( about 1 1/2 cups/375 mL ): 286 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 315 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrates, 6 g fibre, 9 g protein. Excellent source of folate and vitamin C. Good source of iron.

Tips:

Serve this sensational side dish with grilled fish or chicken.
Omit the goat cheese if preferred.
Substitute toasted pine nuts for the sliced almonds.

For more information and creative recipe ideas, visit http://www.wholegrainpasta.ca .

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Spaghetti with Fresh Mango Salsa & Grilled Shrimp


Spaghetti with Grilled Shrimp and Mango Salsa – Photo Courtesy of Gail Bergman PR

Spaghetti with grilled shrimp, mango salsa

Infused with Latin American flavours, this summery, fresh pasta toss is a delightful option to serve your family and friends. This recipe is also packed with healthy antioxidant and nutrient-rich ingredients such as mango and red pepper.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

1 box (375 g) Whole grain spaghetti, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest®

1/4 cup (50 mL) lime juice

3 tbsp (45 mL) canola oil

2 tsp (10 mL) each finely grated lime zest and honey

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb (500 g) peeled, uncooked large shrimp (21/30 count)

2 very ripe mangos, peeled, chopped and divided

2 red peppers, chopped

3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped red onion

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper

1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Instructions

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Whisk the lime juice with the oil, lime zest, honey, and garlic. Toss the shrimp with 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the dressing. Let stand for 10 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto 6 large, soaked, wooden skewers.

2. Meanwhile, place the remaining dressing mixture and one mango in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the remaining mango, red pepper, onion, jalapeno, salt, and pepper; pulse until coarsely chopped.

3. Prepare the spaghetti according to package directions; drain well. Meanwhile, grill the shrimp skewers for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until shrimp are pink all over. Toss the hot spaghetti with the mango salsa mixture and coriander. Garnish each portion with a shrimp skewer.

Tips:

Removing the seeds takes much of the heat out of the jalapenos. Adjust the amount of jalapeno added to your family’s preference.
Replace the shrimp with grilled skewers of boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Per Serving (about 2 cups/500 mL pasta with shrimp skewer): 401 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 147 mg cholesterol, 369 mg sodium, 57 g carbohydrates, 6 g fibre, 24 g protein. Excellent source of thiamin, folate and vitamin C. Good source of vitamin A, niacin, magnesium, iron and zinc.

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Healthy Choice Recipes from Liz Pearson


Liz Pearson - February 1, 2010

RECIPES

Rotini with Artichoke Hearts & Dried Cranberries

This recipe is super quick and easy – you can make it all in the time it takes to cook the pasta. It’s also loaded with incredible nutrition. Did you know that artichokes have been found to contain more antioxidants than any other vegetable, while berries, including dried cranberries, are antioxidant superstars in the fruit world? As for spinach, Cornell University put it at the top of the list as the vegetable we should eat more often. Replacing meat with meatless alternatives, like pine nuts, is definitely a healthy move for our hearts. And last, but certainly not least, this recipe is simply delicious – great for any day of the week, and sure to be a hit the next time you have company over too.

1 box (375 g) whole grain rotini, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Whole Wheat Rotini

3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

¼ cup (60 mL) pine nuts

1 can (170 mL/6 oz fl) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2/3 cup (227g/160 mL) dried cranberries

1 bag (227g/8 oz) baby spinach

½ tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, diced onion, and pine nuts and sauté for about three to five minutes or until the onion is cooked.
3. Add the chopped artichoke hearts, dried cranberries, spinach, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Sauté for another two to three minutes or until the spinach just starts to wilt.
4. Add the garlic and sauté the entire mixture for about one more minute.
5. When the pasta is ready, drain and toss with the skillet ingredients.
6. Serve sprinkled with freshly grated, Parmesan cheese. Garnish with slices of fresh lemon.

Makes 6 servings (each serving is about 1 3/4 cups)

Nutritional Analysis (per serving):

418 calories

12 grams fat

2 grams saturated fat

0 grams trans fat

65 grams carbohydrate

11 grams fibre

13 grams sugars

258 milligrams sodium

14 grams protein

Spaghetti with Apricots, Slivered Almonds & Cottage Cheese

Apricots, almonds and fresh mint are an amazing combination in your mouth and they go so well with whole grain pasta. The deep orange colour of apricots tells you they’re loaded with good nutrition, including plenty of beta-carotene. Almonds are the most nutrient-dense nut and are especially high in Vitamin E and magnesium – two disease-fighting nutrients most people don’t get enough of. Red peppers add great colour to this dish and contain more vitamin C than most other foods. Whole wheat pasta has the goodness of whole grains and is a superstar when it comes to fibre. Bottom line: great taste and great nutrition make this one great dish that you don’t want to miss!

1 box (375 g) whole grain spaghetti, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Whole Wheat Spaghetti

3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large red pepper, diced

2/3 cup (160 mL or 100g) slivered almonds

1 can (398 mL/14 oz fl) apricot halves in light syrup, diced (drain syrup but put aside 3 tbsp/45 mL to add back)

1 cup (250 mL or 40 g) fresh mint leaves, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 ½ cups (375 mL) 1% cottage cheese

½ tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, diced onion, diced red pepper and slivered almonds and sauté for about five minutes or until the onion and red peppers are tender.
3. Add the apricot halves, three tablespoons apricot syrup, chopped mint, red pepper flakes and salt and cook for another three to five minutes or until the apricots are heated through.
4. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, for one more minute.
5. Add the cottage cheese, mix well and heat just until the entire dish is hot.
6. Drain the pasta when ready and mix well with the skillet ingredients. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Serves 6 (about 2 cups)

Nutritional Analysis (per serving):

453 calories

14 grams fat

2 grams saturated fat

0 grams trans fat

63 grams carbohydrate

9 grams fibre

14 grams sugars

320 milligrams sodium

19 grams protein

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