Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

This past weekend we were finally treated to some warmer weather, and gosh was it ever overdue! We really need the sun to shine more often in order to be able to get our field work done.

On a lighter note, the sunshine also inspires us to cook up more summery meals. And this definitely fits the bill! Check out our recipe below for a homemade BBQ sauce that’s tangy and delicious, and features springtime rhubarb. It’s got some texture to it, and pairs wonderfully with chicken or pork. It’s not overly sweet, but does have some perfect sweetness thanks to the inclusion of brown sugar and our very own Strawberry BBQ Sauce!

Did you know that rhubarb is high in fibre, calcium, and vitamin C? Just 1 cup of diced rhubarb packs in 2.2g of fibre (8% of the recommended Daily Value, aka DV), 10% of the recommended daily intake for calicim, and 16% of the recommended vitamin C. It’s definitely an underrated springtime treat, for both its culinary and nutritional perks.

Give it a try today and let us know what you think!

Fave.jpg

Ingredients

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 onion, minced

1” piece of ginger, minced or grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup rhubarb, diced

½ cup water

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup Thames River Melons Strawberry BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 piece of minced onion to test the temperature. Once the onion starts to sizzle, you know it’s time to add the rest!

  2. Add the remaining onion and cook until softened, 3 – 5 minutes. Next, add the ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, until fragrant.

  3. Finally, add all remaining ingredients: rhubarb, water, brown sugar, strawberry bbq sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, paprika, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper.

  4. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until rhubarb starts to soften. As it does, mash together to create a more unified sauce.

  5. Continue to cook until most of the moisture has evaporated, and the mixture has thickened.

  6. Serve with the protein of your choice: we topped our chicken meatballs with it, but it would also be delicious on BBQ’d chicken legs, or on pork!

New+Fave.jpg

Recipe created & photographed by Alex Chesney, RD

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Today’s freezing temperatures and blustery wind have me craving more soup. Do you feel it too? This recipe is sure to warm you through and through thanks to the flavours of ginger and Thai curry paired with comforting butternut squash and coconut milk. As a bonus, you’ll get a generous dose of vitamins A and C thanks to the squash, and a hit of protein and iron offered up by the red lentils.

The iron found in plant-based proteins is called non-heme iron and is a bit harder for our bodies to absorb than heme iron (found in meat). However, pairing non-heme iron with Vitamin C increases absorption. See where I’m going? The Vitamin C from the squash will work in tandem with the iron in the lentils to fuel you more efficiently. Another bonus of red lentils are their quick-cooking nature and their tendency to start to disintegrate when cooked. This makes them essentially impossible to detect; a great way to power up the picky people in your lives!

Give it a try today and let me know what you think.

Thai Coconut Squash Soup.jpg

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

1 –2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (depending on your spice preference; I used 2!)

1 can coconut milk

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 carrot, diced

½ cup red lentils

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Place 1 piece of diced onion in the pot to test the temperature of the oil. Once the onion starts to sizzle, add the remaining onion.

  2. Sauté the onion for 1-2 minutes, until it begins to soften. Then, add the diced bell pepper and continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

  3. Once the vegetables have softened, and onion has started to become translucent, add the ginger powder, salt, pepper, and Thai curry paste. Mix to combine.

  4. Next, add the coconut milk. Stir to combine, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, gathering up all of those flavourful bits that may have started to stick!

  5. Add the vegetable broth, again stirring to combine.

  6. Finally, add the butternut squash, carrot, and red lentils. Stir to combine, then place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil.

  7. Once the pot reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

  8. At this point, the butternut squash should be soft, and the lentils should have started to disintegrate.

  9. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth and glossy.

  10. Top with your favourite roasted winter veggie and serve with a slice of whole wheat bread for a filling and nutritious meal. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

Leek and Potato Soup

The weather has been unpredictable lately — snowy and cold one day then slushy and warm the next. Regardless of the temperature, one thing has remained constant, and that’s my desire for soup. The winter months have always made me crave this warm and comforting meal, and that hasn’t changed this year! Their ease and versatility are also a great selling point. I de!ided to start off 2019 with a classic: leek and potato!

Both leeks and potatoes are crops that keep well long after harvest. The farm has settled into a quiet rhythm for these next few months, but we do still have a few veggies kicking around the barn. I rescued a bundle of leeks and a handful of potatoes to pair with leftover veggies from my fridge and then hit the kitchen!

When preparing the potatoes, I washed them thoroughly then removed any eyes and marks, otherwise leaving the skin intact. As with many fruits and vegetables, the skin houses the majority of the nutrients, particularly the fibre! When it comes to leeks, many consumers are not aware of their nutrition content. Are you? Just in case, I’ll fill you in! Leeks contain an incredibly high amount of Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps our bodies heal wounds, and maintain the health of blood vessels and bones. Because it’s fat-soluble, it’s best absorbed when paired with fat. In this recipe, both the butter and the milk/cream contribute fat. Pretty neat, hey?

Overall, this soup is flavourful, creamy, and satisfying. It makes the perfect lunch for a chilly weekend, or a quick and easy dinner for those busy weeknights. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Leek and Potato Soup.jpg

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 4 – 6 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cooking oil or butter

3 large leeks*, white parts sliced into coins

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 large carrot, diced (or 1 cup frozen diced carrots)

2 stalks celery, diced

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

4 medium potatoes, cubed

½ cup milk or cream

Directions

  1. Heat oil or butter in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add one small piece of leek and wait for it to start to sizzle.

  2. Once sizzling, add the rest of the sliced leeks. Cook for 3 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until leeks are softened.

  3. Add minced garlic and other diced vegetables. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, again stirring frequently.

  4. Next, add herbs and spices, mixing until all vegetables are evenly coated. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

  5. Add the vegetable stock and the potatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low (maintaining a gentle simmer) and cook for approximately 20 minutes.

  6. Once potatoes are softened, remove soup from heat. Blend the soup using an immersion blender or upright blender until a creamy consistency is achieved. Add the milk or cream and stir to combine.

*Be sure to wash the leeks very thoroughly, as although they are pre-washed before being sold, dirt has a way of working its way inside of this tasty veggie!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

Late Summer Chowder

Cooler weather is approaching, the official start of autumn is around the corner, and soup season has arrived! I’m looking forward to being able to comfortably use the stove and oven again and put them to work cooking up the tasty fall recipes I have in mind. To start us off we’ve got a hearty, delicious, and easy chowder. Flavour is built by cooking the vegetables in stages, and coating them with a lovely combination of spices. A low-sodium vegetable broth and just a dash of salt at the end will ensure a hearty-healthy final bowl, and all the wonderful vegetables featured make for a soup that is satisfying and filling. Take advantage of these still-in-season vegetables combined with comfortable cooking temperatures and try this recipe today. Let me know what you think!

Soup to Share.jpg

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small jalapeno, diced (more or less, depending on spice tolerance!)

2 bell peppers, diced

2 cobs sweetcorn, cooked & removed from the cob

1 zucchini, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed

1 teaspoon paprika, oregano, and parsley (each)

½ teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup milk

Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat until hot. A handy trick to test the readiness of the pan is to toss in a small piece of diced onion along with the oil. When it starts to sizzle you know you’ve reached the right temperature!

  2. Once hot, add all the onion to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent and softened.

  3. Add the garlic and peppers and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  4. Add the corn, zucchini, spices, and flour. Mix until vegetables are evenly coated with the spices & flour.

  5. Next, slowly add the vegetable broth, stirring constantly.

  6. Once all the broth has been mixed in, add the potatoes. Lower the heat slightly and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are softened.

  7. Add the milk and stir until hot.

  8. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  9. Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

 

Gussied Up Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a classic – it’s quick, easy, reliable, and delicious. Now, the standard grilled cheese consists of bread, butter, and cheese. But this is just the beginning! There are tons of possible variations, and today I’ve got one for you featuring one of our favourite summer berries. This grilled cheese still relies on the good ole bread and butter but adds a twist with its combination of balsamic blueberry compote and sharp, tangy goat’s cheese. Sweet and savoury have long been a popular combination, and this recipe proves it to be true once again.

This tasty sandwich is packed full of fiber, thanks to the whole wheat bread and blueberries. Blueberries are also a great source folate (which contributes to production of red blood cells, a healthy heart, and prevention of some birth defects) and potassium (important for our bone, kidney, nerve, and muscle health). Further, blueberries are rich in Vitamin C, which plays an important role in the absorption of plant sources of iron, and bone and muscle health. Additionally, Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants found in blueberries. Antioxidants have been linked to heart health and improved cognitive function as well as reduction in cancer and diabetes.

One last fun fact about blueberries – there’s no waste involved, and they are ultra-fast to prepare! Unlike strawberries which must be hulled, blueberries simply need a quick rinse before they’re good to go.

Overall, you really can’t go wrong with blueberries! And this recipe is a real show stopper. Impress your guests this weekend with our gussied up grilled cheese.

Blueberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese.jpg

*Serves 4

Balsamic Blueberry Compote Ingredients

2 cups blueberries, washed

½ cup water

2 teaspoons honey

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon ground dried rosemary

Sandwich Ingredients

8 slices bread of choice

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 log goat’s cheese

Directions

  1. To begin, make the blueberry balsamic compote. Combine the blueberries and water in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop over medium/low heat.

  2. Cook the berries with the lid off for approximately 20 minutes. Leaving the lid off while cooking allows for evaporation of some of the liquid, which helps the compote thicken. Halfway through cooking, stop to gently mash the berries. Don’t mash too much, as you want the berries to maintain some texture! ,

  3. While the compote is cooking, begin to prep the bread for assembling the sandwiches. Spread an even layer of butter on each slice of bread. Place 4 slices butter-side-down into a frying pan. Set the other 4 aside for later use.

  4. Next, spread ¼ of the goat’s cheese log onto each of the 4 slices of bread.

  5. Once the compote is thick and bubbly, add the honey, balsamic vinegar, and ground rosemary. Cook for a couple more minutes, and then remove from heat.

  6. Add 2 tablespoons of compote to each slice of bread in the frying pan. Spread the compote to the edges, then top the sandwich with a second slice of bread, butter side up.

  7. Cook the sandwiches over medium-low heat for approximately 7 minutes per side. The key to a perfectly golden & melty grilled cheese is low and slow. You have to be patient!

  8. Once the goat’s cheese has softened and melted into the blueberry compote and the bread is golden brown, remove the sandwiches from heat and slice in half. Serve alongside a side salad for a perfect summery lunch!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

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

 

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