Week 3 – Smart approaches to comfort food
The theme for this week is Smart approaches to comfort food. Healthy eating habits need to be sustainable. So I have developed smart ways that you can still enjoy all of your favourite comfort foods while being aware of your nutritional health.
|Omega 6 (g)
|Omega 3 (g)
|Dietary Fiber (g)
|Dietary Lows (anything less than 50% of DIV)
||Vitamin D 2.51 µg
||Vitamin D 2.29 µg,
||Vitamin D 2.19 µg
||Vitamin D 2.19 µg,Riboflavin 0.55mg, niacin 6.31 mg, vitamin B12 0.78 µg, folate 158.03 µg, Vitamin A (RAE) 270. 96 µg, A (IU) 835.47 IU, Vitamin E 2.25 mg, potassium 1621 mg
- I started taking a vitamin D supplement because a dietary contribution of vitamin D is clearly difficult to obtain. That is why the only supplement that the Canadian Food Guide recommends taking is vitamin D.
- Eek! Can you tell that on day 4 I put my meal plan into my diet analysis program afterwards instead of before! Clearly you can see from my dietary lows the dangers of being unorganized. If I had put my meal in the day before I would have made some adjustments to increase and improve these dietary lows. Recommended amounts: Vitamin D 15 µg, riboflavin 1.1 mg, niacin 14 mg, vitamin B12 2.4 µg, folate 400 µg, vitamin A RAE 700 µg, vitamin A IU 2333 IU, vitamin E 2.25 mg, potassium 1621 mg.
*Note – There are a few items that are assumed you still have from making in bulk the week before, Quinoa bites Day 2 and Coconut greek yogurt fruit popsicles Day 1. If you do not have any left over please include the ingredients in your grocery list. They were not accounted for.
Breakfast – Day 1
- 1/3 Black beans
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp salsa
- 1/4 cheddar cheese
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 tortilla
- 1/2 mango
- Mix together the eggs and black beans. Pour into skillet and cook on low-medium heat.
- Meanwhile, layer avocado and cheddar cheese on tortilla. Top with eggs and beans and finish with salsa.
- Serve with mango.
Snack 1 – Day 1
Coconut greek yogurt fruit popsicles
*Note – these were prepared the week earlier
- 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/3 cup mixed berries
- Mix together yogurt and milk in a bowl. Fold in berries and divide among 4 moulds. (If you do not have popsicle moulds you can use paper cups or the large ice cube trays).
- Place in freezer overnight. They will be ready to enjoy the next day.
Lunch – Day 1
Lentil and chickpea salad
Original recipe: http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2014/9/15/lentil-chickpea-salad-with-roasted-garlic-dressing.html
*Note – You can make this the night before if you need to take it to work. For my husband I put the warm mixture in a larger container and put the feta, spinach and dressing each in separate containers. At work you can just add the feta, spinach and dressing to the larger container combine and enjoy.
- 1/2 tbsp Roasted garlic
- 1/4 cup lentils
- 1/4 cup cooked chick peas
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
- 1 tbsp sundried tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Shallots
- 25 g feta
- 1/2 cup spinach
- In a frying pan warm roasted garlic, lentils, chick peas and artichoke hearts. Place in a bowl after heated through.
- In a small bowl combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano and parsley.
- Add sundried tomatoes, shallots, feta and spinach to the warm mixture. Top with dressing toss together and serve.
Snack 2 – Day 1
2 squares dark chocolate
Dinner – Day 1
Roast dinner with cauliflower mashed potatoes and roasted green beans
Roast and gravy
This technique for cooking a roast I learned from my very talented sister-in-law, who grew up on a cattle farm. I never use to cook roast because the process intimidated me. After learning this technique I will never cook a roast another way again! Super easy!
- Tin foil
- 1 roast (I usually go with some sort of a sirloin cut)
- 1 tbsp of sunflower or canola oil
- 1 tsp seasoning (I use epicure 3 onion)
- 1 package gravy mix (I usually go with clubhouse brown gravy mix)
- 1 cup beef broth
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Pull off a large piece of tinfoil, big enough to cover the roast. Place the shiny side of the tinfoil up.
- Brush roast with oil. Sprinkle with seasoning and wrap up the roast. You want to wrap it up in a way that you avoid having the juices flow out. Place roast in a casserole dish.
- Put roast in oven and allow to cook for 6-8 hours.
- After roast has cooked for 6-8 hours, transfer the roast into a sauce pan, cut into the bottom of the tinfoil and drain drippings into the sauce pan. Place roast on a cutting board and remove from tinfoil. Cover with tinfoil and allow to sit while you prepare the gravy.
- Add the gravy mix packet to the drippings and stir. Watch to see how thick the gravy is and add beef broth accordingly. You may not need the full cup of beef broth. Just add a little bit at a time until the gravy gets to the thickness that you like.
Cauliflower mashed potatoes
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Clean and prepare the cauliflower. In a large stock pot add 1 inch of water as well as the whole head of cauliflower. Cover and bring to a boil, medium-high heat. Steam cauliflower until you can pierce it easily with a fork.
- Once cauliflower is steamed remove from the pot and break it apart.
- The key to making really good cauliflower mashed potatoes is to make sure you get rid of as much water as possible. Before I put them in the food processor I press them in my sifter to try and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Place cauliflower in food processor or mash with a potato masher.
- Once cauliflower is a mash potato consistency add yogurt, cheddar cheese, parmesan and green onion. Mix together.
- Pour into a casserole dish and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
Roasted green beans
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp seasoning (again I used an epicure seasoning, if you don’t have access to epicure I would recommend any of the Mrs. Dash seasoning blends. They are salt and msg free)
- 1 bag fresh green beans
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Clean and prepare the green beans.
- Combine oil, water and seasoning. Pour over green beans and mix.
- Place in oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until they are nicely browned and you can pierce them with a fork. Beans will still be a bit al dente.
85 g Roast
1/4 cup gravy
1 cup Cauliflower mashed potatoes
1 cup Roasted green beans
Breakfast – Day 2
Strawberry pancakes with greek yogurt topping
Recipe inspired by: https://dashingdish.com/recipe/strawberry-protein-pancake-roll-ups-w-yogurt-filling
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups oats (I think you could even get away with 1 1/2 cups of oats)
- 2 full eggs
- 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup strawberries
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
2 tsp strawberry jam
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1 tsp strawberry jam
- In a blender combine together all the pancake ingredients honey, milk, oats, eggs, yogurt, and strawberries.
- In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the topping strawberries, yogurt and jam.
- Ladle about a 1/2 cup of the mixture onto a greased frying pan (use spray oil). Watch the edges of the pancakes to turn brown and then flip.
- Top with yogurt mixture and serve.
Note: These were really tasty, but very dense and very filling. I actually didn’t even finish my serving. So far, out of the three pancake recipes that I have tried, the banana and egg pancakes are my favourite.
Snack 1 – Day 2
These were made in a large batch and frozen the week before.
Original Recipe http://iowagirleats.com/2012/02/16/mini-ham-cheese-quinoa-cups/
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup zucchini, shredded
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup diced ham
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 2 green onions, sliced
- (I still had leftover pomegranate salsa so I threw the rest of that in as well, it was approximately 2 tbsp)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Spray a mini muffin time with non-stick spray.
- Fill each cup flat to the top.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool in tray for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
- I place 4 in the fridge for my week 2 meal plan and then froze the rest in sandwich bags; placing 4 bites in each bag for future snacks.
2 quinoa bites
Lunch – Day 2
Roast beef wrap
- 1 tortilla
- 50 g roast beef (using leftovers from the night before)
- 25 g cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 tbsp mayo
- Spread mayonnaise and mustard on tortilla. Layer on cheddar cheese, spinach, tomatoes and roast beef. Sprinkle with pepper,
- Roll up the wrap and enjoy.
Dinner – Day 2
Spicy turkey Chili
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 thinly sliced poblano pepper (or jalapeño depending how spicy you prefer)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup chilli powder
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (or your favourite hot sauce)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can white beans, drained
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- In a large dutch oven heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and poblano and reduce to medium heat. Cook until onions are tender.
- Add ground turkey and cook until all pink is gone. Stir in chilli powered and Worcestershire sauce.
- Stir in tomatoes, broth, brown sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, and salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer. Stir often until chilli thickens (about 45 minutes).
- After 45 minutes add beans. At this point I also added an additional cup of chicken stock and mixed in 2 tbsp of cornstarch. Cook until heated through (15 minutes).
- For the last 15 minutes cook the chilli uncovered.
- Garnish and serve. (Garnish options include: tortilla chips, chilli, plain greek yogurt, Mexican cheese, and cilantro).
1-1/2 cups chilli
1 slice of whole grain toast
1 tsp of margarine (I will address the use of butter verses margarine in one of my future blogs and explain why I have chosen to go with margarine)
1 tbsp of sour cream (I wanted to use plain greek yogurt but ran out)
1 1/2 tsp cheddar cheese
Breakfast – Day 3
This was a good one, probably one of my favourites!
Goat cheese and avocado on toast
- 1 egg
- 1 slice of whole grain bread
- 1 tsp of butter/margarine
- 20 g of soft goat cheese
- 1/2 avocado (mashed)
- 1/4 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- Toast slice of bread while at the same time spray a frying pan with a quick spritz of oil and cook one egg.
- Spread butter/margarine on toast, followed by goat cheese, and avocado. Top with cooked egg and drizzle sriracha over top. (I am not a huge spicy food person but I do love sriracha sauce!)
- Serve with fruit and enjoy.
Snack 1 – Day 3
Coconut water smoothie
1/3 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1/4 cup frozen spinach
1/3 cup frozen mango
1/3 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup coconut water
Combine all ingredients into blender and mix until smooth. Pour into glass and enjoy.
Lunch – Day 3
Leftover spicy turkey chilli
1 – 1/2 cups chilli
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp cheddar cheese
Dinner – Day 3
Turkey stuffing burgers with sweet potato fries and spinach salad
This is my mom’s delicious recipe! I consider her an absolute genius for thinking to use stuffing as a binder in turkey burgers instead of just plain old bread crumbs!
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 1 box turkey stove top stuffing
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- Whole grain buns
- 1/4 cup Spinach
- 1 tsp Mayo
- 1 tbsp Canned cranberries
- Prepare the stove top according to the directions on the box.
- Allow the stove top to cool and then mix together egg, ground turkey, parsley and half of the stove top mixture. (you can use the remaining stove top as a topping if you wish, but I didn’t have any room in my caloric intake).
- Form turkey mixture into burgers. You can cook them on the bbq or in a skillet on the stove top right away, but it does help to let the sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes so they can set better.
- Before cooking the burgers begin work on the yam fries; see below.
- Cook burgers on square skillet or BBQ or frying pan on medium heat. The trick to meat: ONLY FLIP ONCE!!! Cook for about 5-7 minutes per side. Cut into the middle to make sure it is fully cooked, clear juices, no pink.
- Prepare your bun with mayo, cranberries, spinach and top with burger.
- 1 large yam or two medium
- 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp seasoning (I just used an epicure rosemary garlic spice)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- I like to peel my sweet potatoes. Peel and cut potatoes into wedges.
- Mix canola oil, water, and seasoning in a small bowl. Pour over fries and mix together.
- Place in oven and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes
Spinach salad & Balsamic dressing
- 4 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup sugar peas, chopped
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup feta
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- Combine spinach, pomegranate seeds, sugar peas, sunflower seeds and feta.
- In a small bowl combine sunflower oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Pour over salad and toss.
Confession time: I ran out of time so I just used a tbsp of already prepared salad dressing! Still same amount of calories.
*Note – Breakfast for Day 4 needs to be prepare the night before! And dinner for day 4 is a slow cooker meal. If you are running out the door in the morning and won’t be around all day, you may want to have it in the fridge prepared the night before to you can throw your insert in your slow cooker start it and run.
Note – Dinner is a slow cooker dinner so you will need to prepare this earlier in the day.
Breakfast – Day 4
Banana Cocoa Overnight oats
I am always rushing out the door on thursday mornings so I try to plan something that I can grab and eat quickly. I love overnight oats! They are extremely nutrient dense and more importantly delicious! The fun part of overnight oats is that the number of flavour options is endless! This week I went with banana Cocoa http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/222 they were super filling, so I actually only ate half, and then finished the other half for a snack later in the day. I also made some for my husband to take with him to work; I got rave reviews.
- 1/4 cup steel cut oats
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp dried chia seeds
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup diced banana
- In a container add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, cocoa powder, and honey. Mix thoroughly.
- Add banana to the mixture and fold in.
- Seal the container and refrigerate overnight.
Lunch – Day 4
Soup and grilled cheese
My favourite soup right now is Amy’s organic lentil. I don’t buy it because it’s “organic” and that is the thing to do these days, I simply buy it because it is delicious and I love lentils! Currently at Costco you can buy a pack of 8 cans, which includes 4 lentil and 4 lentil vegetable. Otherwise it can be fairly expensive so you will have to watch for sales, or you are independently wealthy and don’t care. You can find this soup in the whole foods section at Superstore and the organic/gluten free section at Save-on-foods.
- 1 cup Amys lentil soup
- 2 slices whole grain bread
- 1 tbsp butter/margarine divided
- 20 g cheddar cheese
- Warm soup in a sauce pan over medium heat.
- Spread 1/4 of a tbsp of butter/margarine over the front and back of each slice of bread. Place cheese on bread, cover with the other slice of bread and place in a medium-low frying pan. (I know it probably seems ridiculous that I am providing instructions for grilled cheese but you never know. I feel like I am just perfecting the art of grilled cheese making).
- Toast each side until golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Dinner – Day 4
Pulled pork fajitas with southwestern black bean salad
Pulled pork fajitas
- Pork roast (I usually just buy whatever cut is available, I think this meal I used a shoulder butt cut)
- 1 cup water
- Cajun seasoning (or just some pepper)
- 1-2 Whole grain tortilla shell per person
- 2 bell peppers
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 can refried beans
- sour cream
- cheddar cheese
- Place pork roast in slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Add 1 cup of water and season.
- About a half hour before the roast has finished cooking remove from the slow cooker and discard any of the fat. After the fat is removed pull the pork apart with two forks. This can be done either on a cutting board or inside your slow cooker (I love my slow cooker so much and I want to preserve its life as long as possible, so I avoid scratching the surface of my insert with forks.)
- Did I mention I love love love my slow cooker!!! If you are in the market for a new one I highly recommend the 6-Quart Cook Central multi cooker from Cuisinart http://www.cuisinart.ca/cuisinart_product.php?item_id=435&product_id=470&cat_id=23 If a recipe requires you to brown and cook meat before slow cooking you can do that directly in this multi-cooker! Also the insert is nonstick aluminum; very durable. My last insert was the classic ceramic and unfortunately it cracked right down the centre. Even though the insert is dishwasher safe I still hand wash mine. I cannot say a negative thing about this beautifully designed kitchen gadget!
- After pork has been pulled add the onion and peppers for the last half hour of cook time so they can soften up. (you still want them to have a bit of a crunch so keep an eye on them that they don’t over cook).
- To assemble fajita spread warm tortilla with refried beans (they alway look so disgusting but man are they ever delicious), then layer with bell peppers and onions, pork and desired toppings.
Southwestern black bean salad
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cooked corn (roast in oven with tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt until slightly browned)
- 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 shallots finely chopped
- 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp poblano pepper (jalapeno also an option depending how spicy you like it)
- 1-2 limes, juiced
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1/4 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 medium avocado, diced
- In a bowl combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, scallion, poblano, cilantro, salt and pepper.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice and stir in olive oil.
- Marinade in the fridge while preparing the rest of dinner, approximately 30 minutes (but I have dug in earlier and it was fine).
- Add avocado just before serving (I didn’t not add avocado, I usually do not because we always have leftovers and the salad gets better as it sits. I don’t want the avocado to go brown for leftovers).
- 1 tortilla
- 55 g pulled pork
- 1/4 cup bell pepper
- 2 tbsp white onion
- 1/4 cup refried beans
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tbsp salsa
- 1 cup southwestern black bean salad
Snack – Day 4
I was having a lovely group of ladies over to my house in the evening and I wanted to serve some snacks. I made these as a treat! They were delicious and I will definitely make them again. These brownies are high in antioxidants and fibre. However, they are also very high in sugar! But hey this week is all about smart approaches to comfort food, so this seems like a fitting finish to the end of this week’s theme. If you are going to have a treat be smart by adding other delicious nutrient dense foods such as cacao nibs and pomegranate seeds. Cacao nibs are high in antioxidants and crazy high in fibre. Pomegranate seeds are one of the highest yielding antioxidant fruits and they have many heart health benefits.
Pomegranate brownies with cacao nibs and sea salt
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (I used normal sugar)
- 3/4 cup cacao powder (I used cocoa powder, found some of these ingredients were difficult to find just at the local grocery store)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup gluten-free or AP flour
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs
- 2 tbsp chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a larger bowl combine coconut oil, sugar, cacao powder and salt. Then mix in vanilla and eggs. Add flour and combine until smooth.
- I found at this point in the recipe something must have gone terribly wrong! My batter was thicker than cement! I couldn’t even pour it into the dish. I had to use my hands and press it in. I did some research and supposably that is totally fine. The thicker the batter the more fudgy the brownies turn out, which they did. The original instructions throw you off because they say to whisk the flour in. There is no whisking at all!!! I recommend getting your strongest wooded spoon and skipping your arm workout for the day. Mixing this batter will be the equivalent!
- Press batter into the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with the cacao nibs, pomegranate seeds, and chocolate chips.
- Bake for about 40 minutes. They are done when the edges are formed and you can insert a toothpick and it comes out only slightly wet.
- You can sprinkle the top of the brownies at this point with some more sea salt.
- I didn’t end up doing that because honestly I forgot, but it was for the best because I think it would have made them way too salty.
- Brownies need to cool completely before being cut.