Category Archives: Salads and Main Courses

Baked Pasta with Feta and Oven Roasted Tomatoes!

So this recipe saved me last year when I made the decision to simplify week-day meals. Hey, no more Tuesday night paella with sangria! I had heard that it came from Tik Tok but truthfully I just googled it after hearing about it and found a good version of it right here. This is now a staple for weekends and weekdays it’s THAT yummy.

Check out the original on

Here goes:


2 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes

1 shallot, quartered (I actually never used this)

3 cloves garlic, smashed 

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 (8-oz.) block feta

3 sprigs fresh thyme 

10 oz. pasta

Zest of 1 lemon (optional but I used it and it’s fabulous)

Fresh basil, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large ovenproof skillet or medium baking dish, combine tomatoes, shallot, garlic, and all but 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and red pepper flakes and toss to combine. 
  2. Place feta into center of tomato mixture and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Scatter thyme sprigs over tomatoes. Bake for 40 minutes, OR until tomatoes are bursting and feta is golden on top. (NOTES – check how it’s doing at the 30 minute mark as it can be quite done by then)
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining.
  4. To skillet with tomatoes and feta, add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, and lemon zest (if using) and stir until combined. Garnish with basil. 

Serve it up and enjoy!


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Shrimp Cakes with Dill Remoulade & Fennel Slaw

My brother brought this recipe to my attention when he was planning his wife’s birthday meal. It turned out to be a huge success so I thought I would also give it a try. He got this recipe in the LCBO magazine where you can find many great recipes. I made a rookie mistake when I made these and made them too big so they literally were shrimp CAKES. While delicious it was pretty rich! What I like the most about these shrimp cakes is that it really is mostly roughly cut pieces of shrimp held very delicately together with egg and breadcrumbs! Hope you enjoy these as much as we did.

½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise (reduced fat is fine)
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) thinly sliced green onion
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped dill
2 tsp (10 mL) capers, rinsed, chopped
1½ tsp (7 mL) Dijon mustard
1½ tsp (7 mL) grainy mustard
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh lemon juice
½ tsp (2 mL) hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

½ fennel bulb, trimmed
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 lb (500 g) shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 green onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp (2 mL) smoked paprika
6 tbsp (90 mL) panko bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
⅓ cup (80 mL) cornmeal
¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil, divided
Dill leaves to garnish

1 For the dill remoulade, combine mayonnaise, garlic, green onion, dill, capers, mustards, lemon juice and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Season with salt, if necessary, and pepper. (Remoulade will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 5 days.)

2 For the fennel slaw, cut fennel in half lengthwise through core. Slice thinly crosswise on a mandolin, discarding cores. Add olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours. Drain before using.

3 For the shrimp cakes, rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towel. Using a sharp knife, chop into pieces between ¼ and ½ inch (0.5 to 1 cm). Place in a mixing bowl with egg, onion, smoked paprika and panko. Season with salt, if necessary (most frozen shrimp are salty), and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

4 Place cornmeal on a plate. Form heaping 2-tbsp (30-mL-plus) portions of shrimp mixture into 2½-inch-diameter (6-cm) patties. Coat patties in cornmeal.

5 Working in 2 batches, heat half of vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Pan-fry half of shrimp cakes until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel. Repeat for remaining shrimp cakes.

6 Arrange shrimp cakes on a serving platter. Top each with a dollop of remoulade and some drained fennel slaw. Garnish with dill leaves.

Makes 12 cakes

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Glory Bowl

Last summer we visited our friends in Calgary and they made a version of the Glory Bowl for dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add different proteins and veggies as you see fit. The sauce is so darn good that you could put it on a turd (as my lovely mother used to say) and it would taste good.

I often add feta, avocado and green onions. When I had it last summer my friend served it with fish. Either way it’s a great base for a yummy, easy meal.

This recipe comes from the Whitewater Cookbook which you can find here.


The Bowl

8 cups cooked brown rice – I made enough for the two of us and measure a cup per person.

2 cups beets, grated

2 cups carrots, grated

2 cups almonds, toasted

2 cups spinach leaves

2 cups tofu, cubed – I add tempeh cooked in a little oil and cubed.

Glory Bowl Dressing

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes*

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil – I just used 1/3 and it was fantastic

2 tbsp tahini paste – I used 1/3 of a cup. I have also used peanut butter.

Prepare your favorite brown rice and set aside.

Saute tofu cubes in a skillet.

Combine nutritional yeast flakes, water, tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, tahini and crushed garlic in blender to prepare the dressing.

Add oil in a steady stream. You will have leftover dressing to use again.

Assemble the bowls by placing cooked brown rice into 8 bowls, top with beets, carrots, spinach leaves, almonds and sauteed tofu cubes.

Drizzle bowls with dressing.

*Nutritional yeast flakes can be found at the Kootenay Co-op, or most natural food stores.

So good on any kind of salad greens, spinach, rice, or grains.

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Big Italian Salad


Big Fat SaladThis is another fabulous Dave find which comes from the folks over at Once Upon a Time Chef. We ended up using assorted organic greens instead of the iceberg lettuce but either works well. The most important thing about this salad is the dressing which is amazing. It’s delicious, fresh, light, flavourful  and super easy to make. We used feta cheese instead of ricotta and although we didn’t add sliced boiled eggs or anchovies you easily could and you would have a nice, big, fat dinner salad. So thanks to Once Upon a Time Chef for sharing this recipe because it has quickly become our summer favourite. Ingredients

For the Dressing

1 cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about one small bunch)

10 big leaves fresh basil

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, peeled

¼ cup red wine vinegar, good quality such as Pompeian Gourmet

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality such as Lucini or Colavita

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ teaspoons honey For the Salad

1 large (or 2 small) head(s) romaine lettuce, washed, patted dry and cut into large, bite-size pieces

1 large red bell pepper,

chopped 1 cup chopped hothouse cucumbers

1 large carrot, peeled into ribbons

Handful grape tomatoes, halved or whole Handful pitted olives Ricotta Salata* (or Feta for a Greek twist), crumbled to taste


1. Make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor and blitz to blend.

2. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Right before serving, add about half of the dressing and toss well. Add more dressing little by little as necessary; be sure to dress greens very generously, otherwise salad will be bland. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reserve leftover dressing for another use. *Ricotta salata is an Italian sheep’s milk cheese that has a salty, slightly tangy flavor, almost like a dry Italian feta. It is not the same as the wet ricotta in the tub. You can find it at Whole Foods, gourmet grocers or specialty cheese shops. 

PS The beautiful photo comes from this great food blog.

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Vegetarian Baked Pasta with Gorgonzola, Mozzarella and Portobello Mushrooms

This has been hands down the best thing I’ve tasted all year. I came home from skating the other night to Dave cooking and baking this  fabulous meal. He’s experimented since with cheddar instead of mozza, the idea being that you actually can’t go wrong with this recipe if you’re a cheese lover. I’ll also add that I’ve never known what to do with portobello mushrooms. They’re just so BIG. But they give the tomato sauce a really nice texture and taste. He got this from his daily recipe alert on all


photo taken from all site

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces gorgonzola (which we didn’t do – it was more like 6 ounces


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Pour a glass of ice water over the pasta to stop the cooking, but do not rinse thoroughly.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 9 x 13 glass pan with olive oil. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Add mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes then add basil, oregano and garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add sauce to mushroom mixture and stir.
  3. To assemble, pour enough sauce in the bottom of the pan to cover. Combine the remaining sauce and the pasta. Place one-third of sauced noodles on top of sauce in pan. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella and one-half of the gorgonzola. Repeat for a second layer. Put the final third of the noodles in the pan and top with the final 2 cups of mozzarella.
  4. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until cheese is browned. Serve.

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Enchiladas (Chicken or Otherwise) Gluten-Free

I’m on a Mexican culinary tear lately what with the Tortilla Soup and now this. But the truth is that Tortilla soup is a great thing to eat on a week night. Just with you and your sweetie or your family. But if you’re having people over for dinner you have to come up with something more than soup. This is where the Enchilada comes in. They’re easy, fabulous and filling and they might leave the impression that you’ve been slaving away in your kitchen all day when you haven’t.

So here goes:
Recipe for 4
2 large Free Range chicken breasts
1 cup prepared salsa (I use President’s Choice black bean and corn)
1/2 cup sour cream (I use goat yogurt for myself due to sensitive stomach)
A big pile of shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (Let’s say a cup and 1/2)
1 cup chopped up tomatoes
4 tortillas (I use Food For Life Rice Tortillas)

Slice chicken into small bite size pieces and cook until done over medium heat using olive oil. Salt to taste.
Mix salsa and sour cream together. Now assemble! Place tortillas on a baking sheet, Make sure to spray the baking sheet with Pam. Down the centre of each tortilla place salsa/sour cream mix, now put chicken pieces down the centre followed by tomatoes and grated cheese. Fold each side of the tortilla over the top so ingredients are nicely tucked in. Drizzle more sauce and cheese over top. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

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Tortilla Soup (My Way) Which Means Not Authentic in Any Way – Just Damn Delicious

I’ve had the recent good fortune of discovering Tortilla Soup. My first encounter with it was quite improbably here at Earls which is a mid-range trendy local chain. We did a “chef’s” table with some friends and this was the introductory course. My second and subsequent encounters with Tortilla Soup all happened in northern California where virtually every restaurant serves it. So I feel I can say with some low level authority that every Tortilla Soup I had the pleasure of tasting was very different.

My own version is completely different then the ones I had and I must say it was the best that I’ve tasted. Not very humble but the truth:) One thing I can say for those of us with particular diets – you can definitely adjust this recipe at will. For example, vegetarians can just leave out the chicken and for you lactose intolerant folks – just skip the cheese – for those of us who can eat dairy but only goat just use goat cheddar/feta.

And so without further ado – Tortilla Soup (My Way)

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed and finely chopped. (I actually used peppers I had from an El Paso jar of pickled chilis – I used about 4 and it was fantastic.
You can use 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock but I used a good heaping teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon (Vegetarion) -as an aside – this bouillon is amazing.
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes undrained
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (optional)
1/2 cup of fabulous white wine (or more if you like)
2 tbs of tomato paste to thicken

Garnish with
1 ripe avocado sliced
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mild cheddar)
A handful of crushed tortilla chips per serving
Chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a large pan and add garlic and onions, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the broth (or water and bouillon), tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add wine and simmer for a few minutes. Then add tomato paste to thicken. If you are doing the chicken version add shredded chicken now and cook until heated its heated through.

To serve ladle in soup. Peel avocado and slice into 1 inch slices and garnish side of bowl. Crush tortilla chips (I used Que Pasa black corn) over top of soup, then add grated cheddar over top. (I used goat yogurt for my own). Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges and a glass of Sterling Pinot Gris.

Enjoy! This is my new fave! Sorry no pictures. I’m the worst photographer but next time I make it I’ll add it.


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Nicoise Salad (my way)

I’ve been doing all I can to drag myself away from my all new favourite salad obsession,  the Kale, Chickpea, Marinated Artichoke Hearts with Feta Salad so this was a bit of a leap for me. But I was encouraged by my sister-in-law’s pronouncements of its greatness and I do trust her taste buds so  I decided to make this my way – which is to say with anchovies and without tuna.

And wow, what a good decision that was. So long Kale!  I’ve definitely made this before but it’s almost in the same category as cheese fondue and has been relegated to the category of ‘recipe of the past’. Not anymore. I loved this! This isn’t a recipe per se as much as an exhortation to prepare a Nicoise salad for a nice summer evening meal.

This is what I did:

  • Organicy- lettuce – you know the kind that isn’t iceburg or romaine – artfully display on an individual plate
  • sliced sweet baby tomatoes
  • grilled salmon or tuna ( I prefer salmon)
  • cooked baby new potatoes
  • anchovies
  • boiled eggs
  • a handful of steamed (grilled) asparagus
  • a handful of steamed green beans
  • a handful of Nicoise olives
  • thinly sliced Spanish onion
  • vinaigrette (I used garlic, dijon, olive oil, honey, fresh lemon and salt and pepper.)

I made this for two people. It was super easy and very tasty. Thanks to the French for this awesome salad.


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Kale Salad with Chick Peas, Feta, Artichoke Hearts & Tomatoes From Shiny Tomato

I got this recipe from my friend Bonnie over at Shiny Tomato and it was fantastic. I love kale but I usually cook it and have never considered using it as a salad. Well, surprise surprise, this sturdy green veg stands up to the artichokes, feta and other goodies in this salad. The only change I made was to add avocado and a little sliced red onion.

Here are the ingredients:

Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Artichokes
1 bunch of kale, torn into bite size pieces
Marinated artichokes, chopped roughly
1 cup of rinsed canned chickpeas
Chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix and serve. Yum.

For other great recipes visit Shiny Tomato.


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Garlic Roasted Tomatoes with Quinoa Pasta – Arugula Salad and a Glass of Zinfatuation

The longer I live the simpler my dinners are becoming. Unfortunately for me, I’m enough of a food snob that almost everything I eat has to be fresh and this recipe meets both requirements. Thanks to my sister I’ve also discovered a great new pasta – quinoa pasta. It’s expensive but it definitely gives Tinkyada rice noodles a good run for its money. So this is what I do.

I heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slice  8 campari tomatoes in half. Drizzle with olive oil, place a thin slice of fresh garlic on each piece, salt and pepper to taste and then roast for 45 minutes.  Boil the pasta and rinse. Serve pasta with fresh roasted tomatoes, add grated parmesan or asiago and enjoy. Serve with salad. I actually made an arugula salad with fresh avocado, and goat cheese.  Serve with a nice glass of Zinfatuation and you’re done. It’s so good and so easy!

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