Tomato and Egg Barley Bowl

In case no one’s noticed yet, I love any meal that’s just everything thrown in a bowl. I never just eat dinner, I’m always eating dinner while sitting on a roommates bedroom floor, or doing homework or writing a blog post. So things in a bowl that can be eaten with just a fork are key. I also love barley. I find it’s a nice alternative to rice, quinoa, or pasta, and it’s really easy to cook. If there’s not enough water and the barley’s not cooked, add more and keep cooking. If there’s still water left in the pot and the barley’s done, just drain it and keep going. This bowl makes one big serving.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. Start by cooking the barley. Put the barley in a small sauce pan and cover with two inches of water. Cook on high until the water starts to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Barley is done when it’s still chewy but not hard, about 25-30 minutes.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and finely chop the green onion. Add to your serving bowl.
  3. Start poaching the eggs while the barley is still cooking. Add water and the vinegar to a medium sauce pan. Once the water is boiling, crack two eggs into it and cook for four or five minutes for a runny yolk.
  4. Meanwhile, the barley should be done. Drain if needed and add to serving bowl. Add parmesan, chili flakes, and olive oil.
  5. Top with eggs and serve!

Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies have no added sugar and no eggs in them. This is not for any big health benefit or anything, although less added sugar is always a good thing. It is because there were no eggs in the house, so I had to use bananas, and therefore didn’t need sugar. And cookies were required. Now that I’ve figure out roughly what my cookie batters look like when I make them with bananas, it’s getting really easy to just guestimate what I need and magically end up with cookies. The peanut butter ups the protein, and the oatmeal ups the fibre. They’re still treats, I wouldn’t binge eat the whole batch or anything (I would, I just mean it’s probably not the healthiest option), but these are a slightly healthier version for those who love their cookies. Also, the lack of eggs means the cookie dough is fair game!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the bananas and peanut butter together with a fork.
  3. Gradually add the oatmeal, flour, and baking soda and mix until you have a big sticky ball.
  4. Add the milk gradually to thin everything out until it looks like normal cookie dough. Add the vanilla.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Use a spoon to dollop the dough onto a non-stick baking sheet. You should be able to make 2 dozen cookies.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.

Rainbow Egg Bake

Just in time for the weekend, I have an easy breakfast or brunch dish! This egg bake takes a little bit of time to prep and bake so it’s not great for early mornings, but if you make it up one morning this weekend, you could have the leftovers for breakfast for the first couple days of next week. Baked egg dishes reheat surprisingly well. I’m a huge fan of eggs because they’re relatively cheap protein compared to meats. A large egg has about 75 calories calories, but also has 6g of protein. While you’re looking at 4.7g of fat, only 1.6g of that is saturated and none of it is trans fats so it’s a pretty good deal. I know a lot of people swear off eggs because of the cholesterol, but the cholesterol in your diet has such a low impact on your body’s cholesterol levels that it won’t be an issue if you’re eating a normal healthy diet. For those who are looking to add more iron to their diet (my constant challenge), each egg has 4% of your daily intake, and the spinach in this bake will add even more. The vitamin C from the red pepper will even help you absorb it. Enough nutrition talk. Let’s eat! This recipe makes 4 big servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium potato
  • 300g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 medium red pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt, pepper
  1. First off, preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Peel the potato. Grate it using a cheese grater. You want to use the biggest round holes you have.
  3. Put the grated potato into the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Spread them evenly and pat them down to make a crust.
  4. Place the casserole dish with just the potatoes in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. While the crust is baking, finely chop the green onion and red pepper, and make sure the spinach is completely thawed and you’ve drained out as much liquid as possible.
  6. Crack the 6 eggs into a medium mixing bowl and add the milk. Whisk this mixture like you would an omelette or scrambled eggs. Add the spinach, onion, and red pepper, and stir until everything is combined evenly.
  7. Once the potatoes are done baking, take the dish out of the oven and pour the egg mixture over top. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the eggs.
  8. Place the dish back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the middle of the bake isn’t runny when you cut into it.
  9. Cut it up and serve!

A Really Epic Tuna Melt

When I’m home for lunch in the middle of the day, I always want to make something warm and kind of special, especially during the winter. We all know I’m a huge fan of salads and sandwiches when I’m on campus or out all day, but this tuna melt is the perfect thing for days when you’re home between running errands and heading to an afternoon seminar. It’s so worth it. Also, canned tuna is relatively cheap when you can find it on sale so it’s perfect for a student grocery budget. Half of a  4 oz can only has about 60 calories, is low in fat, and has 14g of protein. Just make sure you buy the kind that’s packed in water, not oil. I make this in the toaster oven because that’s what we have in our kitchen and it doesn’t have to preheat, but it could also easily be made in the oven. This recipe makes one big, epic, awesome melt. You could share it, but you won’t want to.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat english muffin
  • 1 4oz can of tuna, packed in water
  • 1 finely chopped green onion
  • 2 tbsp minced dill pickles
  • 2 tbsp low fat mayo
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Split the english muffin in half and place on the tray for the toaster oven. I always cover the tray in tin foil first so it takes longer for the tray to get gross.
  2. In a bowl, combine the tuna, pickles, green onion, mayo, parsley, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Spoon the tuna salad on top of the english muffin halves evenly.
  4. Sprinkle a good layer of cheddar cheese on top of the tuna salad.
  5. Place in the toaster oven (bake setting, 400F), and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the english muffin is toasted.

Potluck Spinach Dip

The other weekend, I needed a dish for a potluck and I wanted something a little bit healthier, since I figured everyone else would bring either desserts, or mac and cheese. Also, I was having a wicked week-long spinach dip craving so that might have been a factor. This dip was lightened up by using low-fat cream cheese and fat free sour cream. I’m not a huge fan of mayo-based dips, so excluding mayo was an easy swap. The huge amount of spinach and red pepper bump up the veggie content while keeping calories relatively low, so nutritionally, this is an awesome swap for your normal, heavier, spinach dip. Serve this with pita chips, tortilla chips, with more veggies, or chunks of bread. As a variation, the spinach dip could also be made in an oven-proof dish and baked with shredded cheddar cheese on top, and then served warm.

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Ingredients:

  • One 16oz bag frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 cups (500mL) fat free sour cream
  • One 250g block low fat plain cream cheese, thawed
  1. Add the cream cheese and sour cream to a large bowl. Cream them together with a hand mixer or by hand (I was working in a kitchen without a hand mixer and this was a pain to do by hand).
  2. Make sure the spinach is completely thawed out and all the liquid is squished out. Add it to the mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Mince the garlic and stir into the spinach mixture.
  4. Finely chop the onions and red pepper and stir into the spinach mixture.
  5. Stir so that all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until time for service to let all flavours blend.

Purple and Green Roasted Veggies

Everyone who knows me knows that my favourite colour is without a doubt purple. As I’m sitting here, I’m typing at a purple laptop in a purple sweater. I’m pretty much Mabel Murple. Probably because of this, I think that eggplants are gorgeous and I’m always trying to figure out what an easy way to cook them is. The red onion keeps the purple theme going, while green pepper and zucchini round out the dish. This was a super easy dish to make after work one night. I had just a giant bowl of veggies for dinner, and then reheated the leftovers in a pan and served it over a piece of tilapia the next night. They would also be amazing reheated and then tossed with whole wheat pasta, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. I’m all for recipes that leave me with lots of leftovers to work with in different ways so I’m not eating the same thing for days on end! This recipe makes roughly six servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Wash all the veggies. Chop everything into large, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Put the veggies in a large bowl and toss them with the olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper until everything is coated.
  4. Spread the veggies evenly on a baking sheet.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.