Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll-Ups

This recipe combines some of my all-time favourite winter foods - lasagna and squash! I don't know about you, but warm, comforting, and filling dishes are a must to get me through windy, snowy days like this one. Pairing butternut squash with whole wheat lasagna noodles makes for a meal that's high in fibre and will keep you feeling full. The squash also boasts a hefty serving of Vitamin A, which helps keep our eyes, skin, and immune system healthy. 

Ingredients:
2 cups butternut squash, cooked & mashed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups plain, low-sodium tomato sauce
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, if you like some heat!)
6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles, cooked
¼ cup walnuts
1 small log reduced-fat goat cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare 2 9x13 pans – 1 for the squash, and 1 for the completed lasagna. The pan for the lasagna needs to be sprayed with cooking spray, while the pan for the squash does not.
  3. In the meantime, prep the squash for cooking. To bake, slice squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place halves skin-side down in a 9x13 baking and add a ½ inch of water around them. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until flesh is soft and easy to scoop. 
  4. While squash is baking, cook the lasagna noodles. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and place noodles on a cookie sheet lined with a dish towel to cool. Set aside.
  5. Gather 2 cups of cooked squash, and add brown sugar and butter. Mash together and set aside. 
  6. Mix the herbs & spices into the tomato sauce. Set aside.
  7. Once the above ingredients are prepped, you can begin to assemble the lasagna. 
  8. Start by spreading approximately 2 tablespoons of goat cheese on each lasagna noodle. 
  9. Next, layer on a few tablespoons of mashed squash. 
  10. Once the cheese & squash are on each of the noodles, begin to firmly roll them up. Place the rolls seam-side down in the greased baking pan, ensuring they are grouped together (they will not take up the whole pan – that’s okay!)
  11. Carefully pour the prepared tomato sauce over the lasagna rolls, ensuring there is no exposed noodle.
  12. Top each roll with a dollop of goat cheese, and then sprinkle the walnuts all over the top.
  13. Bake the lasagna rolls for 25-30 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and goat cheese is melted and browned. 

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Sweet Potato (Squash) Soup

Sweet Potato (Squash) Soup
*Makes 4-6 Servings

This soup features a few of the many fall veggies we have on the farm – delicata squash (aka sweet potato squash), sweet potato, and onion. Both of the squash are small and easy to peel & chop. These powerhouse ingredients are chock full of not only delicious flavour, but also vitamins A and C! Blending the soup + adding some coconut milk provides an amazingly creamy texture and the cinnamon and nutmeg add some wintertime depth to the overall flavour. 

Ingredients:
2 delicata squash (aka sweet potato squash), peeled and cubed
2 large sweet potato, peeled and cube
1 onion, diced
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:
Place vegetable broth in a medium-sized pot and add the diced onion and peeled and cubed squash and sweet potato over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until squash and sweet potato are tender. Blend soup mixture using an immersion blender or a blender. If using a blender, allow soup to cool and then transfer in small batches. Once soup is blended, mix in coconut milk and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

Zucchini Lasagna

This neat take on lasagna features zucchini slices instead of pasta noodles. It’s super simple, and super delicious. Zucchini provides lots of fiber, plus vitamins A & C!

*Makes one 9x9 pan of lasagna

Ingredients:
2 large green zucchini, sliced in half and then thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)*
½ lb lean ground turkey, cooked
1 cup cheese (mixture of cheddar and mozzarella), grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Once the zucchini is sliced, it should be briefly pan-fried or grilled to let out some of the moisture. Zucchini has a very high water content, so if it is placed directly into the lasagna, you’ll end up with a watery final product. Fry or grill the lasagna for approximately 2 minutes per side, and then set aside.
  3. Next, thoroughly brown the ground turkey. Divide cooked meat into 2 sections and then set this aside too.
  4. Once the zucchini & turkey have been prepped, it’s time to assemble the lasagna! Making any kind of lasagna is all about the layers. Start off this version by coating the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish with ½ cup tomato sauce. This will prevent sticking. Next, layer slices of zucchini until the bottom of the pan is covered.
  5. On top of the zucchini spread ½ cup of sauce, then sprinkle ¼ cup cheese and half of the ground turkey.
  6. Place another layer of zucchini, sauce, cheese, and meat, then top with one final layer of zucchini. On top of the final zucchini layer, spread the remaining 1 cup of sauce, then sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and browning on top, and sauce is bubbling.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then dig in and enjoy!

* I used a homemade tomato sauce & added my own herbs and spices, which gave me control over the salt content, but if store-bought is your choice, try to choose one that says low/no added sodium. Unfortunately, tomato sauce is often crazy high in salt!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

What's up with Watermelon?

Happy National Watermelon Day! Watermelon is definitely a summertime favourite around here - keep reading to find out why!

  • It's packed full of water, keeping you hydrated & refreshed
  • A great source of Vitamin A (helps our eyes & skin stay healthy)
  • A great source of Vitamin C (helps our bones, teeth, & skin grow/repair)
  • One of the best sources of Lycopene, a pigment that doubles as a powerful antioxidant (may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease & certain cancers)


Overall, watermelon is oh-so-delicious & full of nutrition. Enjoy some today!

Alex Chesney, RD

Oven-Baked Onion Rings

Onion rings make the perfect addition to a summertime burger & beer on the patio, especially on a long weekend! Although the deep-fried version is super delicious, its high fat content makes it something to be enjoyed just once in a while. Fortunately, I created this tasty oven-baked version that is virtually fat-free, while still giving you that crunch & taste you may be craving. Try them at home today!

*Makes approximately 18 onion rings

Ingredients:
1 fresh sweet onion
¼ cup flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 F.

To prepare the onion, remove the greens and the root. Place the onion on its side, and then carefully slice into ¼ inch slices. Separate the slices into individual rings and set aside.

Set up an onion ring prep assembly-line using 3 bowls. Work from left to right: in the first bowl, place the flour, in the second, whisk together the eggs & milk, and in the third, mix together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt.

Begin to assemble the onion rings. One at a time, dip the onion rings into the flour and coat evenly. Next, drop the onion slices into the egg mixture and again, coat evenly. Finally, place the onion rings in the panko mixture and coat evenly once again. Repeat this process for each individual onion ring.

Place coated onion rings on the baking sheet. Once all onion rings are prepped, place in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The coating on the onion rings should be nicely browned. Remove from oven and enjoy!

*Tip: The panko mixture can get quite gummed up from the egg & milk mixture. To ensure the final stage of coating is successful, it helps to only put a little panko at a time into the third bowl, and refresh every 3 rings or so.

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Mixed Berry Muffins

These muffins are hearty, filling, and delicious! Chock full of fiber from the whole wheat flour, oats, and berries + a boost of protein from the hemp hearts & chia means they'll make the perfect addition to a breakfast-on-the-go or as an afternoon pick-me-up snack. Try topping with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and pair with a glass of milk. Enjoy!
*Makes 12 muffins

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup oats
1/8 cup hemp hearts
1/8 cup chia seeds
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Add-ins:
1 cup mixed berries (I used raspberries & blueberries)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin tin, or fill with muffin liners. Set aside until batter is prepared.

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together all dry ingredients. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Slowly stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Do not overmix or muffins will be tough and chewy! Finally, gently fold in berries.

Using a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop (my favourite tool to ensure evenly sized muffins!) drop muffin batter into muffin tins.

Bake in pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes. To check doneness, insert a toothpick. If it comes out clean, your muffins are ready to be removed from the oven.

Let cool, and then dig in!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Chia Seed Pudding + Blueberries

It's blueberry season! I have been adding blueberries to just about everything these days, because they are not only super delicious but also packed with nutrition! Blueberries are an excellent source of fibre and of Vitamins A & C - which are important micronutrients and antioxidants! They make the perfect mix-in for this creamy chia seed pudding.

Chia seeds are these nifty little guys that form a pudding-like texture when soaked in liquids. The end result is kind of like tapioca pudding, but with packed with fibre, healthy omega-3 fats, and minerals like iron & calcium. Here I chose a mixture of 1% milk and coconut milk, which allows gives the pudding some incredible creaminess without being too laden with fat.

This recipe can be enjoyed as an afternoon snack or as a tasty dessert! Try it out today & let me know what you think.


*Makes 4 servings

3 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup 1% milk
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse gently until mixed well. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour. Transfer to mason jars, top each serving with ¼ cup of berries, and enjoy! For an even prettier presentation, try layering - a few spoonfuls of pudding, a sprinkle of blueberries, and repeat!

Recipe developed by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Freshened-up Potato Salad

Potato salad is a staple during the summer months, but has a reputation for being loaded with mayo. I was determined to come up with a fresh, lighter version that still maintained the delicious flavour and creaminess we all love. Check out my take on this classic, using lots of herbs, Greek yogurt, and some extra veggies. It will be the star of the show at your next barbecue!

Ingredients: 
1 quart red potatoes (1.5lbs), washed well, cut into equal bite-sized pieces (If potatoes are mixed sizes, cut larger, leave smaller ones whole)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder

Dressing Ingredients:
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp mayonnaise
Herbs: basil, oregano, onion flakes, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper – a pinch of each
1 tsp honey Dijon mustard
¾ cup other veggies (ie. red pepper, carrots, celery) – leave them raw to give the salad some crunch & texture

Directions:
Add potatoes to a medium sized pot and cover with water. Season the water with ½ tsp salt (potatoes will absorb more flavour while cooking vs. after!) Bring the water to a boil and cook potatoes for 8-10 minutes, until you can easily poke with a fork. Drain the potatoes then spread out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with vinegar and spices (basil, oregano, paprika, garlic powder) and allow the potatoes to cool completely.


To make the dressing, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayo, mustard and spices.


Once the potatoes are cool, gently toss with the other veggies and add the dressing. Mix gently to coat evenly. At this point, the salad can be served, or refrigerated overnight. Allowing it to sit will help the flavour profiles develop more fully.

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Zucchini Blossoms How-To

Zucchini blossoms are a fun treat in season now! They're one of those things that look incredibly impressive once prepared, but are actually really easy - a great way to impress guests! Check out these preparation tips that will help ensure your dinner party is a hit. My go-to cooking method is pan-frying, as it's a nice balance between baking & deep-frying. It gives them a deliciously crisp coating, but allows you to limit the amount of oil used.

Stuff them: 

  • Use a soft cheese (ricotta & goat’s cheese are the most popular) mixed with herbs of your choice (ex. garlic, basil) 
  • Gently wipe flowers with a wet paper towel
  • Remove stamen from the center of the blossom, using scissors
  • Mix cheese, herbs & any other desired fillings 
  • Use a piping bag to squeeze the cheese mixture into the blossoms (if you don’t have a piping bag, simply use a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off)
  • Twist the tops of the blossoms shut as tightly as possible

Cooking the blossoms, stuffed or un-stuffed:

  • Batter & deep fry the blossoms; use a batter of sparkling water or beer, flour & egg
  • Pan fry the blossoms with olive oil & garlic
  • Drizzle olive oil on the blossoms & bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet
  • Add to pasta, on top of pizza or eat them raw in a salad

Recipe tips & tricks from Alex Chesney, RD

 

Strawberry Season is Here!

This time of year, when strawberries are still so new & exciting, my favourite way to enjoy them is simply sliced up as a snack. And what a delicious & nutritious snack they are! Packed full of fiber, potassium, and lots of Vitamin C, strawberries are incredibly tasty & super good for you. 

Come pick some up from the farm, pick-your-own-patch, Innerkip Farm Market, or your local farmers' market today! 

Alex Chesney, RD

Freezing Rhubarb

Rhubarb is such a classic taste of spring, and we're always a little sad when the season starts to wind down. But it doesn't have to be goodbye until next year! Try freezing some to enjoy all winter long with these easy steps: 

1. Trim off leaves (they are actually poisonous!) and about an inch from the bottom of the stalk.
2. Wash and dry thoroughly and chop into chunks about an inch thick.
3. Transfer chunks of rhubarb into a freezer-friendly zipper storage bag and place in the freezer.

There you have it! Easy as 1-2-3 :)
 Freezing fresh produce when it's at peak season is a great way to ensure your winter diet stays full of variety & health.

We also freeze some here on-farm so feel free to drop by any time!

Alex Chesney, RD

 

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Asparagus, Pepper, and Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

I created this recipe last week when it was feeling more like summertime.. Thankfully, it can be served warm & enjoyed on a blustery day like today, too! It's packed full of veggies, has great flavour thanks to all of the herbs in the oil & vinegar dressing, and is low in added salt & fats. Enjoy!

*Makes 4-6 servings

Salad Ingredients:
2 cups pasta, dry
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
1 pepper in colour of choice, cut into 1” wedges
1 tbsp oil
Pepper to taste
¼ cup sliced sundried tomatoes
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dehydrated onions
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:
Begin by roasting the vegetables. Preheat oven to 400°F. Next, place asparagus and pepper chunks in a baking dish, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, until veggies are beginning to soften but still firm. 


Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain in a colander and set aside in a large bowl. Don't rinse the pasta, as this decreases its ability to soak up the dressing! Next, prepare the dressing by vigorously whisking together the oil, vinegar, and mayonnaise (which acts as an emulsifier). Once mixed well, add the spices and whisk again. 


Once the vegetables have roasted, remove from oven. Cut asparagus stalks into bite sized chunks and add them, along with the roasted pepper chunks, to the cooked pasta. Also add the feta and sundried tomatoes. Drizzle the dressing over the pasta salad and toss together. Serve warm or chill in fridge overnight and serve the next day.

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

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What's So Great About Asparagus?

We all love asparagus for its delicious taste, but what else has it got going for it? Turns out, quite a lot! 

Like all veggies, asparagus is a great source of fiber, which is found primarily in the skin on its stalks, so try to avoid peeling it! On top of that, asparagus packs in lots of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, folate, and potassium. 

Enjoy some asparagus tonight, and try steaming, grilling, or roasting (as opposed to boiling) to maintain the best possible nutritional and culinary integrity.

Let me know if you have any questions!
Alex Chesney, RD

Rhubarb & Yogurt Parfait

Here's a quick & easy, plus healthy & delicious treat that can be enjoyed as an on-the-go breakfast, or as a light dessert! Rhubarb & oats provide filling fiber, and Greek yogurt gives a boost of protein. Prepare ahead of time for easy enjoyment. Here's the recipe: 

*Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
6 cups rhubarb, chopped
6 tbsp honey
¼ cup water
3 cups Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups large flake oats

Preparation:
Place chopped rhubarb, 3 tbsp of the honey, and water in a medium stock pot over low heat. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is completely softened. 

Meanwhile, whisk together Greek yogurt, 3 tbsp of honey, and vanilla extract. 

Once rhubarb is cooked, begin to layer your parfaits into 4 mason jars. Start with 1/2 cup yogurt mixture, then layer on 1/2 cup rhubarb, then repeat once for each jar (total of 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup rhubarb per jar). Top each parfait with 1/2 cup oatmeal.
Store in fridge until ready to enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

Asparagus & Green Garlic Flatbread

This flatbread recipe may look a bit lengthy, but it's oh-so-easy & delicious. If you're running short on time, feel free to use a store bought dough. The toppings are really flexible as well! Try swapping out the veggies for whatever you have on hand, or add some leftover roasted chicken or even a sunny-side-up egg for a boost of protein.

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
2 tbsp oil (canola, olive, or something similar)

Toppings:
½ lb asparagus
3 stalks green garlic
2 tbsp oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup softened goat cheese
Parmesan cheese to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional, if you want some heat!)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly stir in milk and oil until a soft dough is formed. Once mixed, knead dough together approximately 10 times. Shape dough into a ball and let rest while toppings are prepped.
  • Wash and trim the asparagus. Next, wash and trim green garlic (remove long green leaves and roots), then slice the remaining white portion of the garlic in half, lengthwise. Place prepped asparagus and green garlic in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour oil over the vegetables and rub until completely covered. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and, if desired, the red pepper flakes.
  • Next, flatten the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Stretch dough into desired shape (round, rectangular, abstract – it’s up to you!), about ¼ inch thick. Poke holes in the dough.
  • Place both the prepped vegetables and the dough into the oven. This will allow the veggies to gently roast, and the dough to pre-bake a little before adding the toppings.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the veggies and the dough from the oven. 
  • Carefully spread the goat cheese evenly across the dough using a spoon or rubber spatula. Arrange the roasted veggies on top of the goat cheese and finish by sprinkling with parmesan cheese.
  • Return the flatbread to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, until the parmesan cheese is melted.
  • Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and slice for serving. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD