Lentil & Veggie Stew April 17, 2012

It may be spring and the birds might be chirping, but I still love a hot bowl of comfort food for dinner.  Now that time is of the essence more than ever (hello raving toddler), I have to make something that is quick and delish, and who’s fooling who, I loveeeeeee a stew!!!  I have made variations of this recipe, both in my Le Crueset Dutch Oven and in my slow cooker.  Both are totally yummy.

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh vegetables cut in bit-sized pieces (I used parsnips, mushrooms, carrots and zucchini)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can cooked lentils (you can use freshly cooked – about 1 1/2 cups with cooking liquid)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin or squash (canned or cooked – all water pressed out)
  • salt & black pepper to taste


  1. Cook onion in a large, Dutch oven until browned, then add garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.
  2. Add veggies, broth and spices and cook until vegetables are soft and it begins to boil.
  3. Add quinoa and cook on medium heat until tender (approx. 15 min), then add pumpkin and salt/pepper to taste and cook for 5 more min (adding a little water if too thick).
  4. Serve hot, with shredded cheddar and/or some large crusty bread with butter!


– to use the slow cooker, but all ingredients into cooker and place on low for 6 hours.

– this freezes pretty well too.


Crunchy Corn Soup October 15, 2009

Summer may be over (or what was a bad substitute for summer as it was here) but that doesn’t mean that we have to say ‘see ya next year’ to lovely corn.  Corn is such a fall vegetable for me, more so than summer.  I do love driving back from up north in August and picking up a dozen fresh corn from a local farmer for next to nothing … but all the fall dishes with corn are where it’s at for me in the end.  Soups, breads, warm sauces … now you’re talking!  Give this super easy soup a try this fall – you will love the simplicity and savoriness of this velvety liquid gold.

Happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving!



1 small-medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound frozen corn (try not to use canned)
3 cups vegetable broth (or a wee bit more as required), heated
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper
2 TBSP corn flour or corn starch (give or take)
1/2 TBSP nutritional yeast (you can skip this if you don’t have any on hand)
2 corn tortillas
salt, chili powder, and ground pepper to taste

1) On medium heat (using a heavy saucepan), sauté onion until lightly browned, then add minced garlic and cook for another minute (don’t burn the garlic!).

2) Place sauted onions and garlic into a blender along with frozen corn, 2 cups only of vegetable broth (make sure it’s heated already), cumin, chipotle, corn flour, and yeast, and blend until very smooth.

3) Pour all blender contents back into saucepan, add remaining 1 cup of broth, and simmer on very low until soup is thick and bubbly (approx 10-15 min), stirring continuously to prevent any burning.
4) While the soup is simmering, preheat oven to 400F, and cut corn tortillas in half and then each half into strips (about 1/2-inch wide each).

5) Place strips onto a non-stick cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and chili powder, then bake until crunchy and a light brown colour (approx 5-10 min, as ovens may vary), ensuring to stir or flip at least once to prevent burning or sticking.

6) Ladle soup into bowls, then divide tortilla chips equally among the bowls, and enjoy!!!  You can also garnish with herbs (chives, parsley, etc) or cheese or sour cream or even a few corn kernels.


Moroccan Tomato Soup February 19, 2009

I fould this tasty soup at a local soup kitchen a few years back, and fell head over heels in love.  I am a peanut butter junkie, and couldn’t believe my taste-buds that I could make a soup that had PB in it and tasted so amazingly decadent.  Trust me, this is your sure-fire way of instant happiness!  Guaranteed!  Easy, cheap and velvety smooth, this insanely delishious soup will warm your soul and keep your wallet and tummy very very happy.

2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 head garlic, diced
4 cups veggie stock
1 can tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/2 – 1 cup all natural peanut butter
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp or 1 tbsp Hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tbsp White Vinegar
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

1) In a large sauce pan, heat oil and fry onion and garlic until golden brown.

2) Add veggie stock, canned tomatoes (including all the liquid) and tomato paste, bring to a boil and then reduce heat (simmering for about 10 minutes).

3) Puree mixture with hand blender, continue to simmer on LOW, and season soup with vinegar, sugar, cumin , cayenne pepper and pepper sauce.

4) Adjust salt and pepper to taste, stir in peanut butter and let soup simmer on LOW heat for an additional 15-20 minutes.

5) Serve and enjoy!

Notes – you can add chick peas and/or quino/rice, etc … to make it even heartier if you like.  soup1


HARVEST STEW October 2, 2008

It’s fall and like an old-school pilgrim, the squash bounty is a plenty. This hearty stew contains the ingredients typical of Native American cooking, and I’d like to add my own personal reverie here too. I can’t get enough of the look, taste and ease of fall time squash. I’ve tried them all, and haven’t found one I didn’t like. My own favourites aside, you can swap any orange coloured squash here.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 med red bell pepper, diced
4 cups ORANGE squash (pumpkin, butternut, buttercup, etc.)
3 cups fresh or canned corn kernels
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
16-ounce can red OR black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or dried if need be)
Hot cooked brown rice

1) Cut squash in half, brush with oil, and bake at 375 for about 30 min until 1/2 cooked (lay cut side down).

2) Once cooled, peel and dice squash into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.

3) Heat the oil in large pot, add onion and sauté over med heat until translucent, then add red bell pepper and continue to sauté until onion is golden.

4) Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT last three, bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.

5) Season to taste with salt, then stir in the cilantro.

Serve at once in shallow bowls over hot cooked brown rice (or quinoa or any other hearty grain you prefer).


Out-of-Africa Stew September 23, 2008

Ah fall. Not only do we get to enjoy all the sights of this great time of year, but it’s also an amazing time for the foodies of the world. This tasty and perfect fall stew is modeled on traditional North African style stews – a perfect solution for any damp or chilly day.  This aromatic veggie main course can be served on it’s own or over brown rice.  Curl up and enjoy.


3/4 cup dried chickpeas (or 1 can of ready to eat)
2 1/2 pounds kabocha squash (see note below) or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large carrots or zucchini, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
5 cups vegetable broth or your favourite stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp saffron, shredded
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


1) Soak dried chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches, overnight (skip step if using canned).

2) Combine pre-soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots OR zucchini, quinoa, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a large pot (or slow cooker if you prefer).

3) Cook covered on low until chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down (anywhere from 1-2 hours). IF using canned chickpeas, only cook for about 30-40 minutes.

4) Once cooked, stir in lime juice, and serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

Kabocha is a hard, and knobbly-looking skinned squash that is shaped like a squatty pumpkin.  It has a dull coloured deep green skin with green and white colored stripes, with an intense yellow-orange color on the inside.  It is very similar to butternut squash but without the characteristic cup on the blossom end.


Heavenly Hashbrowns January 24, 2008

Filed under: Starters & Sides — s mcdowall @ 12:51 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As I find myself in the midst of the winter blahs, I am obsessed with all things comfort foody. These little goodies are deliciously satisfying, and quite quick. They are great for any time of day really, whether it be as a nice Sunday brunch, a mid-week side dish, or even just a snack. Pairs really well with plain yogurt or sour cream on the side (think latkes).


4 medium potatoes, peeled and grated (leaves skins on)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add ins: (toss in any combo to taste or whatever you find in your cupboards or fridge)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1-2 tsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated zucchini
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne

1) Grate potatoes in medium grater.
2) In microwave safe bowl, heat potatoes (zucchini too, if you include it) on medium/high for 6-8 minutes, or until potatoes are HALF cooked.
3) Place potatoes and margarine/butter in a hot pan, and cook at medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are FULLY cooked, stirring often (add ins can be thrown in halfway through).
4) Serve hot (with any sauce you’d like).

Note – these freeze fairly well, and keep refrigerated for about 3-4 days.


Yummy Yammy “Fries” January 18, 2008

Yes these “fries” are baked and not actually deep fried, but they are so tasty that you really won’t miss all the grease and fat that we all love from time to time. This is a quick and very easy recipe, with all the healthy goodness of sweet potatoes kicked in! Yeehaaaaaaaaw!
2 large unpeeled sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray (or a little extra olive oil – I prefer this instead)

1) Clean potatoes, and cut into “French-fry” strips (about 1cm think each)
2) Combine oil, cumin, coriander, and pepper in a large mixing bowl, add potatoes and toss well to coat each fry.
3) Arrange fries on a single layer on a baking sheet coated with vegetable cooking spray/olive oil.
4) Bake at 425F for about 12-15 minutes.
5) Turn over potatoes, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until browned (you can also just put under the broiler for 10-15 instead of baking, watching carefully so they do not get burned).

Goes really well with a spiced mayonnaise or even a mild mustard (for dipping)! These make a great appetizer to – just put into extra small ‘take-out’ containers and serve to your guests before the main.