Not sure what to cook? Same recipes and ingredients on repeat? Healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Time to start something new!!
When trying new recipes don’t overwhelm yourself. A new one once every 1 to 2 weeks works for some, others more often. Both ways lead you to expanding the variety of new foods you eat over time and also incorporate ingredients you love in different ways, more often.
When planning your week, choose ingredients and recipes that overlap. Right now my favourites are spinach and baby kale. I like to see how many times and ways I can incorporate them during the week. You could do this easily with another ingredient - grain (barley), vegetable (cauliflower), legume (chickpea) or sauce (pesto). Using this strategy gets you more familiar with ingredients and it’s versatility; also helps to cut down on food waste.
Choosing a healthy cooking method or piece of kitchen equipment, another approach for choosing recipes. Take that instant pot out of it’s box, dust off the crockpot or even turn on the oven. My favourite tool right now, my large non-stick plug in frying pan (uses little oil, keeps a consistent temperature, EASY to clean).
Now let’s get going and choose some new recipes. Here are 5 of my favourite recipes for inspiration:
2 Servings, Preheat oven to 450F
Pat 250 g of chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast dry with paper towels, then cut in half (butterfly).
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Combine 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning (see next next recipe), 3 tbsp flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder in medium bowl.
Add chicken, toss to coat until little seasoning remains. Add 1 tbsp oil and toss to coat.
Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the middle of oven, until cooked through and golden, 18 to 20 min
Yield 3/4 cup
The perfect seasoning blend is full of zesty, spicy, savoury flavours that are sure to kick any dish up a delicious notch. (Note: tbsp = tablespoon)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until evenly combined. Can be sealed in a container for up to 1 year.
Other ways to use Cajun Seasoning:
Also pairs well with fish, shellfish, pork, steak and tofu. Especially good on roasted veggies and on baked/ roasted potatoes. Can stir into hummus or spice up your guacamole. Sprinkle onto homemade pita chips or flatbread.
Hot Garlic Shrimp / Prawn Salad
2 - 3 Servings, Preheat oven to 450F
Roast potatoes - Cut 2 cups of small white potatoes into ½ inch slices. Toss with 1 tbsp oil. Place on a baking sheet and season with pepper. Roast in the middle of the oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 min.
Cook shrimp - In a large non-stick pan add 1 tbsp oil, ½ cup of chopped red onions. Cook until golden brown, 4 to 6 min. Add ½ to 1 cup cherry tomatoes,
1 ½ cups or 250 g shrimp / prawns and 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes soften and shrimp just turns pink, 4 to 5 min. Season with pepper. Set aside.
Assemble salad - Transfer potatoes to a large bowl with 2 tablespoons pesto sauce. Add 6 large handfuls of arugula and gently toss together. Divide salad between 2 to 3 plates and top with shrimp and veggies.
Baked Cod with Cherry Tomatoes
4 Servings, Preheat oven to 400F
1 tablespoon olive oil (drizzle a little more on top of fish)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 lb cod fillets (1 inch thick)
salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
1 lemon – zest (set aside) and cut into slices
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
Pour the oil in a 9 x13 inch or large baking dish along with the garlic. Add the tomatoes and lemon slices and toss. Put ingredients to one side of dish.
Pat the fish dry and place in the baking dish, and using tongs, turn to coat each side of the fish with oil. Spread out the tomato garlic mixture and nestle in the fish. Tomatoes on the sides, lemons underneath. Season all with a little salt, pepper and chili flakes.
Bake for 10 minutes. Give the pan a good shake, to move the tomatoes a bit. Sprinkle with lemon zest. Bake 5 to 8 more minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking. When done, add the torn basil leaves, tossing them with the warm tomatoes, so the basil wilts slightly.
Stir-Fried Tofu with Vegetables
½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
orange zest from 1 orange
3 tbsp orange juice (or juice of 1 orange)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ tsp pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp grapeseed oil or avocado oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
3 green onions
½ tsp chili paste (optional)
1 tbsp black bean sauce
1 onion, cut in 8 pieces
1 to 2 stalks celery, sliced
¼ lb mushrooms, sliced in half
1 red bell pepper, ¼” strips
¼ lb snow peas, ends trimmed
1 package (350 g) of extra firm tofu, cut in ½” cubes
Combine all ingredients for sauce. Set aside. Heat oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet until hot. Add garlic, ginger, green onion, chili paste and black bean sauce. Stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add onion, celery, mushrooms, bell pepper, toss lightly for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add snow peas to stir fry, cook for 1 minute. Add sauce and stir constantly for about 1 minute or until thick. Pat tofu dry, add to vegetables. Toss gently, cook for a few minutes to heat and coat with sauce.
Salmon with Couscous Crust and Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 servings, Preheat oven to 425F
½ cup whole wheat couscous AND ½ cup boiling water
½ tsp low sodium chicken or vegetable bouillon powder
1 tsp ground cumin AND ½ tsp salt
½ cup flour AND 1 egg, beaten
400 to 600 g of salmon fillets, 1 inch thick, skin on
1 tbsp olive oil
1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, torn into pieces
2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or other favourite vinegar)
2 tbsp lemon juice AND 1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup low sodium tomato juice (or drained from canned tomatoes or tomato paste mixed with water)
2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, shredded AND salt to taste
Couscous: Place couscous in a shallow baking dish or pot with a lid. Combine boiling water with bouillon powder, cumin and salt. Pour over couscous. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.Fish: Place flour in a shallow dish. Place beaten egg in a second dish. Pat fish dry. Dip fish into flour and shake off excess. Dip into egg and allow excess to drip off. Pat couscous onto the skinless side of the fish. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Vinaigrette: Combine in a bowl vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and pepper. Whisk in the tomato juice and oil. Stir in the tomatoes, basil and salt. Cooking fish: Place on a foiled lined cookie sheet or broiling pan and bake skin side down for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through. You can test for doneness by inserting a fork or knife in the salmon and twisting it a bit; the fish should flake easily. Don’t over cook!
Assembly: Mix salad with half the vinaigrette. Remove the skin from the fish. Cut fish into bite size pieces and place on salad greens. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over fish. Garnish with basil (optional).