Archives for category: lunch and dinner

squash pastaThis dish is rich in beta carotene, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. I made it with buttercup squash, but it would work well with any dense winter squash.


2 cups cubed buttercup squash (kabocha or butternut works as well)

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

1/4 cup half and half (optional)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 tsp ground cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

4 servings of cooked whole grain pasta (8 cups cooked)


Place the cubed squash in a saucepan over medium heat and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the squash is tender.  Drain the water and mash the squash.  Over low heat, add butter or olive oil to the mashed squash and stir. Whisk in the cream, parmesan, cinnamon and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the sauce to your cooked pasta and stir to coat. Serve as a main course with a side of salad or greens, or as a side dish.

Nutrition (per serving or 1/4 recipe of sauce plus 2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta):

  • Calories: 450
  • Carbs: 83 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Fibre: 9.2 g

roasted salmon with asparagusThis recipe is nutritious, easy and delicious–and it is ready is less than half an hour. Serve with a side of mashed sweet potatoes, whole grain bread or cooked grains for a complete meal.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp grated lemon rind

2 tbsp minced red onion

1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp drained capers

1 tsp fresh thyme

3/4 lb fresh salmon (enough for 2 servings)

1 lb asparagus (or one bunch), trimmed

1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Whisk the first six ingredients together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn to coat. Place the salmon atop the asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the salmon is just opaque in the centre, about 15-20 minutes. Cut the salmon into two pieces and top with sauce to serve.

Nutrition (per serving):

A note about farmed salmon nutrition: If you eat salmon for the omega-3’s, then be careful of buying farmed salmon. Because of their diet, wild salmon is high in omega-3 fats. If you choose to buy farmed salmon, try to find out what the salmon are fed. Often farmed salmon are fed corn and soy (which is cheap, but low in omega-3) and the salmon meat is therefore low in omega-3. However, some farms feed their fish fish meal and fish oil such as this farm:, which results in a salmon that is high in omega-3.

  • Calories: 378
  • Carbs: 10 g
  • Protein: 39 g
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Fibre: 5 g

Vitamin A (12% DV), B1 (57% DV) B2 (72% DV), B3 (98% DV), B6 (123% DV), B12 (225% DV), Folate (41% DV), Iron (44% DV), Magnesium (20% DV), Phosphorus (65% DV), Potassium (28% DV), Zinc (15 % DV)

DV= Recommended Daily Value

Photo credit:

A spice rub is an excellent alternative to sauce, which can add unnecessary calories to your meal. This Cajun mix is a favourite in my household:


2 tsp salt (decrease or omit if you are watching your sodium intake)

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme


Mix all ingredients together. Rub a desired amount of the spice mix on meat, fish, poultry or tofu before you barbeque, fry or bake it. Store the extra spice mix in an airtight container.

These vegetarian burger patties are low in fat, high in fibre, gluten-free, soy-free and vegan-friendly (unless of course you add cheese). The quinoa can be substituted with cooked millet or barley. 


1-15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed (about 2 cups)

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled (from 2/3 cups dry—click here for cooking instructions)

1/2 cup  chopped onion

3/4 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)

1 tbsp arrowroot powder (optional, but it helps to bind the burgers)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro (or whatever you have on hand)

Olive or vegetable oil for frying

Optional: 1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat’s cheese


Mash half of the black beans then stir together all of the ingredients, except the oil, in a large bowl. Form into burger-sized patties. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties in batches, 3-4 minutes on each side. Eat as a burger with a whole wheat bun and your favourite toppings, or as patties with a side of salad. Makes about 10 burgers. Tip: to increase the firmness of the burgers, refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking. 

Nutrition (per one patty, without cheese):

  • Calories: 126
  • Carbs: 20 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Fat: 2.7 g
  • Fibre: 5.3 g

This recipe was adapted from (a website with plenty of delicious-looking recipes). For this recipe, you can use almost any type of fish but I chose salmon because it is rich in omega-3’s and vitamin D. For a complete meal, serve the curry with rice or quinoa and a side of vegetables.


1 lb boneless, skinless salmon

2 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 onion, grated

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tsp garam masala

1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup water

salt and pepper to taste


Rinse the salmon and pat dry, then cut into bite-sized cubes. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and reduce the heat to medium-low. Saute about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.Add the tomato and saute for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garam masala and chili powder and cook another 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the coconut milk and water. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the fish and cook another 4-5 minutes (until the fish is cooked through). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Nutrition (per 1/4 of the recipe):

  • Calories: 295
  • Carbs: 5.6 g
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Fibre: 0.9 g
  • Vitamin A: 64 mcg (7% DV)
  • Vitamin D: 494 IU (82 % DV)
  • Iron: 2.7 mg (20% DV)
  • Potassium: 733 mg (21% DV)
  • Phosphorus: 350 mg (50% DV)
  • Magnesium: 57 mg (18% DV)
  • B-vitamins: Thiamin (8%), Riboflavin (10%), Folate (4%), Niacin (67%), B6 (54%), B12 (196%)

DV=Recommended daily value

This is another of my mom’s recipes. Serve these quesadillas with fresh salsa and guacamole for a simple, yet delicious lunch or dinner. The vitamin C in the fresh lime juice in the salsa and guacamole helps your body to absorb the iron in the beans. 


16 small (6″) corn tortillas

1 19 oz can (or 2 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 red onion, diced

2 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/4 tsp each: chili powder, cumin, black pepper

8 sundried tomato halves

1/4 cup soft, unripened goat’s cheese


Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the bell pepper and cook another minute or so. Add the black beans and spices and cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, transfer the bean mixture to a separate dish and set aside.

Spread 1 tbsp of goat’s cheese evenly over 2 tortillas. Slice one sundried tomato half (or more if you desire) and place on one of the tortillas. Top with 1/4 cup of the bean mixture and the other tortilla (cheese side down). Press together gently to form one quesadilla.

Cook the quesadilla in a frying pan (a new one, or clean the first one) for about 2 minutes on each side over medium-high heat until slightly toasted. Cut into quarters and serve warm. Repeat with the remaining 7 quesadillas.

Nutrition (per 1 quesadilla):

  • Calories: 235
  • Carbs: 39 g
  • Protein: 7.1 g
  • Fat: 5.3 g
  • Fibre: 5.9 g

This recipe is very easy to make and is a healthier alternative to take-out pizza. (A 6″ personal pizza from a chain pizza restaurant contains about 680 calories, 29 g of fat, and 4 g of fibre). Top this pizza with whatever vegetables you like, and for a vegetarian version, simply omit the salami. 


4 whole wheat pitas (6″)

1/3 cup tomato sauce

50 g sliced salami

1/4 diced red onion

1/3 cup sliced bell bepper

1/3 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped zucchini

1/3 cup black pitted olives

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1/2 avocado, sliced

Fresh ground pepper


Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the 4 pitas. Top with salami, vegetables (except avocado) and feta cheese. Bake at 400F (200C) for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Top with sliced avocado and fresh ground pepper. Makes 4 mini pizzas.

Nutrition (per 1 pizza):

  • Calories: 327
  • Carbs: 42 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Fibre: 8 g
  • Iron: 3 g (21% DV)
  • Zinc: 2.2 g (14% DV)

These tacos can be made with almost any type of fish. I have tried them with salmon, cod, halibut, prawns, and this time with snapper. They were all delicious. 


1 lb fish (such as snapper, boneless and skinless)

1  tsp oil

12 small (6″) corn tortillas

2 cups shredded cabbage

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1 mango, peeled and diced

1 bell pepper (any colour)

1 avocado, peeled and diced

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

juice of one lime

salt and black pepper to taste


Mix the diced tomato, bell pepper, mango, avocado and cilantro in a bowl. Toss with the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Makes about 3 cups of salsa.

Heat the  oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the fish on each side about 3 minutes (depending on the thickness). The fish will flake easily with a fork when cooked. Transfer the fish to a separate dish and season with salt and pepper.

Place one tortilla on the heated skillet for about 20 seconds, flip and heat for 20 more seconds. Place the tortilla on a plate and top with one portion of fish, some chopped cabbage, and three tablespoons of salsa. Serve immediately. Repeat and enjoy! Makes 12 tacos.

Nutrition (per 3 tacos):

  • Calories: 410
  • Carbs: 49 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Fibre: 5 g
  • Vitamin C: 38 mg (50 % DV)
  • Zinc: 0.7 mg (5 % DV)
  • Iron: 0.6 mg (4% DV)

DV= recommended daily value

Pronounced NOH-kee or NYOH-kee, this simple Italian dish generally sells for about $13+ dollars per plate in an Italian restaurant. However, it is surprisingly easy to prepare at home and costs very little. Be prepared to impress.

Dough Ingredients:

1 ¾ lb potatoes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

2 eggs


Sauce Ingredients:

1 tbsp  butter or olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 italian sausages, sliced

1 yellow pepper, julienned

3 large mushrooms, sliced

1-28 oz can diced tomatoes

fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Grated parmesan cheese


Wash and peel the potatoes (I used new potatoes, so I didn’t bother peeling them). Boil until cooked and then mash. Transfer to a bowl containing the flour. Add the two eggs and season with a good pinch of salt. Knead in the bowl and then on a board, adding additional flour as needed, until you have obtained a soft, elastic dough. Form the dough into long rolls, which you will then cut into segments about ¾ inch long. Press against a grater or the back of a fork to form the characteristic gnocchi shape. Spread out so they do not stick to one another.

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook about two minutes. Add the sausage and sautee until browned. Add the yellow pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thick.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the gnocchi in plenty of salted, boiling water. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon as soon as they are ready (they will float to the top-about 2 minutes) and transfer to individual dishes. Cover each portion with sauce. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Nutrition (1/6 of the recipe, made with enriched flour):

  • Calories: 388
  • Carbs: 55 g
  • Protein: 14.5 g
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Fibre: 4.5 g
  • Iron:  3.8 mg (27% DV)
  • Zinc: 1.5 mg (18% DV)
  • Folate: 88 mcg (22% DV)
DV= Daily Value
  • For a vegetarian version, simply omit the sausage. The gnocchi can be made without egg as well.
  • The cooked gnocchi can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge (up to a few days) or the freezer (a few months) for later use. Simply toss with a bit of oil before storing so they don’t stick together. Thaw then sauté to reheat.

This recipe (created by my mom) is a great way to use leftover quinoa. It is simple to make and tastes delicious. Canned salmon is great source of omega-3, vitamin D, and calcium (if the bones are left in). For a vegetarian version, the salmon can be replaced with 1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils and 1/4 cup of feta cheese.


2 cups cooked quinoa

1 can (200g) salmon, drained

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, cilantro, dill etc.)

1 tsp dried onion, or 1/4 cup chopped fresh green onion

1 tbsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp canola oil for frying


For instruction on cooking quinoa, see my quinoa spotlight (2/3 cup dry quinoa makes 2 cups cooked). Mix all ingredients except oil in a mixing bowl. Form the quinoa mixture into 8 palm-sized patties. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Place 4 of the patties in the pan and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Add the remaining oil and cook the last 4 patties. Serves 4.


Per serving (2 patties):

  • Calories: 260
  • Carbs: 16.5 g
  • Protein: 21.7 g
  • Fat: 11.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 124 mg
  • Fibre: 2.3 g
  • Calcium: 210 mg (21% DV)
  • Iron: 2.7 mg (15% DV)
  • Vitamin D: 568 IU (95% DV)