Tag Archives: easy

Pantry Raid: Mediterranean Stew

After a rough day, I was craving something warm and comforting tonight, but my fridge was looking a little bare. With the ingredients I had on hand, I came up with this deliciously flavourful Mediterranean stew. No word of a lie, this is probably my favourite recipe that I’ve ever created. I’ve been meaning to come up with a recipe for my carb-free friends Lori and Cathy for a while, so ladies, this ones for you! Sorry the photo is such crap, I was in a hurry to eat my delicious stew!

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 canned artichoke hearts (drained and quartered)
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 can (540mL) President’s Choice Blue Menu Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste

If your chicken isn’t cooked yet, go ahead and start with that. Season them with a little salt and pepper. They’ll be ready by the time you need to add them to the stew.

In a medium sized pot, heat your olive oil on high heat. Finely chop your shallots, and add them, your garlic, and your cherry tomatoes to the hot oil. Reducing the heat only slightly, toss in your herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until your tomatoes are seared and beginning to deflate.

If you are persnickety, now would be a good time to remove the skins from your tomatoes. I just left mine in there.

Add your olives and artichokes into the pot, along with your canned soup. Use whatever brand you like, as long as it is good quality, and not creamy. Look for something that contains little other than roasted veggies.

Cut up your chicken into bite sized pieces and throw it into the mix. Add your grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and let the stew simmer over medium heat until it thickens up a bit and the flavours develop (at least 15 minutes).

For a quick meal, serve this alongside a slice of crusty bread, or over a bowl of noodles. It will make enough for 2 large servings plain, or 4 over pasta. It is so delicious that I may have to shop for these ingredients intentionally from now on.

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Filed under relatively healthy, savory, super simple

Simple Savoury Tarts

Having spent the last couple of months cooking obsessively with cream cheese for Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia casting competition, I was definitely ready for a little break when I created this recipe. These tarts are actually the first item that I have made with a cheese other than Philly since learning that I was chosen as a side dish finalist. I feel like a bit of a traitor saying this, but it was a nice change of pace. (Not to worry Kraft, I have plenty more cream cheese recipes up my sleeve for the future.)

These tarts are incredibly easy to make, and can be customized to suit any season. The combination of tangy goat’s cheese and buttery puff pastry makes the perfect platform for almost any ingredients. They are light, but satisfying, and make a lovely simple supper when paired with a bowl of soup or  salad. This recipe serves 4. You’ll need:

  • 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed
  • 140 g goat’s cheese ( I used President’s Choice Blue Menu)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 8 spears grilled asparagus
  • 4 slices smoked salmon
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Preheat your oven according to the directions on your pastry. Then, combine your goat’s cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper and chives in a food processor, and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have access to a food processor, you can cream them together by hand, or with a hand mixer.

Unroll your pastry onto a clean surface, and score it into four equal squares. Spread 1/4 of your goat’s cheese mixture evenly over each square of pastry. Divide your toppings among each serving, cutting them down to fit the size of your pastry. I used prosciutto and asparagus on two of my tarts, and smoked salmon and red pepper on the other two. You can mix and match, or use any toppings you like. Avoid anything that is too moist, because the excess water will make your tart soggy.

Gently transfer your tarts to a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Add another dash of salt and pepper at this point if you wish.  Create a lip around each tart by folding up roughly 1 cm of dough around the edges (don’t worry about keeping things tidy). Pinch the corners together to seal your rim, and bake your tarts according to the directions on your pastry package.

When your tarts are ready, the edges should be golden brown. You can serve them immediately, or let them cool and serve them at room temperature. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, shrink these down and make appetizer sized tarts!

I have definitely had summer on the brain recently, and can’t wait to make these for a meal out on the patio when the warm weather that has been teasing us finally decides to stick around. Give them a try any day of the week, and fear not: they won’t derail your bikini diet.

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Filed under savory, super simple

Bejewelled Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are so easy, even my dog could make them. And she’s not the smartest dog in the park.  The bright fruit gummies make them look impressive, so your friends will think that you are a kitchen genius, even if you can barely scramble an egg. With only a few simple ingredients, they will become a go-to on your list of bake sale worthy recipes. One batch yields about 36 small squares with spare edges for tasting. You’ll need:

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 500 g (2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package vanilla pudding mix (low cal is okay)
  • 1 cup chopped swedish berries (you can also use jujubes, or small baking gums to save yourself the chopping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray it with non-stick spray. Mix together your melted butter and crumbs, and press the mixture evenly over the bottom of your pan.

Bake for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your recipe. In a medium bowl, mix together your cream cheese, condensed milk, egg and pudding mix on high until well blended. Remove your crust from the oven, and cover it evenly with half of your cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with half of your gummies, and cover those with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Spread the remaining gummies evenly over the top of your squares and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and let cool. To cut your squares, lift them out of the pan with the foil. Peel the foil away from the edges and slice lengthways, then crossways. Avoid cutting through too many gummies, because they can be tough to divide.

Refrigerate your squares in an airtight container, and serve them chilled. Your recipients are in for a sweet surprise when they bite into a square and find a chewy candy jewel!

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Filed under squares, super simple