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Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas

Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas

Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas

I can’t believe it’s July already!

The month of June went by in a flash for me. Between all the year end school events for my kids, a couple weekends away and having family come to visit, there hasn’t been a lot of down time. There also hasn’t been a lot of time to cook.

This past weekend I was in the Okanagan area of British Columbia playing in a slopitch tournament. The Okanagan is known for it’s high temperatures in summer, delicious wines from several surrounding wineries and beautiful, sandy beaches. I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the wineries, but I definitely experienced the heat while playing ball in 40 degree weather, after which, the beaches were completely necessary to cool down. Now that we’re back home, I’m looking forward to a few low key weeks before we’re off again.

Between the heat and lack of time, I’ve been sticking to lighter, easier meals at dinner time. I just don’t have the energy to cook and I don’t really feel like eating anything heavy. This recipe for Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas has become one of my favourite weeknight meals to make. It’s light, healthy and comes together in about 30 minutes. It’s also a perfect meatless option that’s entirely satisfying.

 

1 large zucchini

1/2 Cup crimini mushrooms

2 bell peppers

1 red onion

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp honey

2 tbsp fresh oregano ,chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 Cup goat cheese crumbles

1/2 Cup Havarti cheese, grated

4 flour tortillas

1 Cup cherry tomatoes, diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit

In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and onions and toss just to coat. Spread the vegetables evenly over a 9×13 baking dish and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.

Spread the roasted vegetable evenly over one half of the tortillas. Top with the goat cheese and Havarti. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the veggies and cheese and place on a preheated grill for 5 – 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy. Serve with fresh diced cherry tomatoes.

 

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Wine Poached Chicken

Wine Poached Chicken

Wine Poached Chicken

Please forgive me if I ramble a bit in this post. You see, the thing is, I’m heading to Vegas in a couple days and I’m feeling a little stressed about all the things that have to get done before I go, including packing for myself, nagging my husband to start packing his suitcase and packing for my two kids who are going to be staying with their grandparents. Woohoo! ย A ย lot of people would probably put their blog on the back burner for a few days, but I try to keep on a regular schedule with it and nothing bothers me more than having my schedule interrupted. My type A personality really shines through in moments like this ๐Ÿ˜‰ As for the recipe, it’s one I’ve had in my little pink book for quite a while. The only reason I haven’t posted it because I wasn’t entirely pleased with the picture, but the recipe itself is delicious. And it’s really a combination of two of my favourite flavours; wine and lemon. I’m not sure that wine would be considered a flavour in itself, but it does add a lot of flavour to whatever you’re cooking. I love to add it to just about any recipe I can. Aside from the flavour addition, it justifies opening a bottle of wine any night of the week. It’s a win-win, really. But enough with the wine, let’s get to the lemon. I love lemon and will squeeze lemon juice onto just about anything. In this dish, it is by far the stand out flavour. It’s infused into every bite of the chicken and it’s outstanding. With all this delicious wine and lemony goodness going on, it’s easy to forget that this recipe comes together in about 30 minutes and is actually pretty healthy. Because wine is good for you, right? I hope you enjoy this recipe and the bottle of wine you’ll need to open to make it ๐Ÿ˜‰

2 tbsp Avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

1 small red onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breast halves

salt and pepper to season

3/4 Cup dry white wine

1 ย lemon, juice only

1/4 Cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

1/4 Cup pine nuts, toasted

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 1 – 2 minutes until beginning to sweat. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes per side until nice and golden. Add the wine and lemon juice to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken in cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan. Set it aside and cover it with foil to keep warm. Increase the heat. Simmer the remaining sauce for a few minutes to reduce. Once the sauce has reduced, remove it from the heat and toss in the basil. Serve the sauce over the chicken and top it all off with a few pine nuts.

 

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich

Let me start by saying that this post is not about a humble chicken salad sandwich as much as it is about my love of food, ย and all things that have to do with food. A month or so ago I was given the opportunity to help my sister-in-law with her amazing new recipe book (Vegetarian Comfort Foods to be released August 2015). She had a photographer coming over to take images for her new book and needed a bit of help with the overwhelming task of preparing 70 dishes or so that were to be photographed. Of course, I jumped at the chance. What seemed a daunting task was my idea of heaven. Several hours of playing around in the kitchen with no interruptions from the wee ones? Yes, please. While preparing the dishes, I got to watch her talented photographer take beautiful images of the food we prepared. It has inspired me to work on my food photography skills a bit more and play around a bit with the backgrounds and details.

Then the other day the sun was shining in the window, highlighting the ย sandwich I had made myself for lunch. It looked so perfect, like it was waiting to have it’s picture taken. It’s something I probably wouldn’t have noticed before, but I find I’m noticing these little details more since the cookbook prep. Feeling a bit silly at first, I grabbed my camera and took a picture. I thought it turned out pretty well, given there was no staging, just a bit of sunlight.

Getting back to the recipe: ย I try to eat healthfully most of the time. It makes me feel good. With that being said, I’m just as likely to devour multiple helpings of home made mac n’ cheese as I am a plate of salad, if it suits my taste that day. What can I say, I like to cook, but I really like to eat. For me it’s about making those sometimes unhealthy foods I love, as healthy as possible, while still maintaining the delicious components that make those ย dishes what they are. My lunch today was a great example: I love a good chicken salad sandwich. It’s something I remember having often growing up. Unfortunately, they’re not usually overly healthy given the mayonnaise they’re often loaded with. Here is my healthy makeover for a chicken salad sandwich:

Chicken Salad Sandwich

1/2 avocado

1/3 C chicken, cooked and diced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

2 slices whole grain bread

alfalfa sprouts, lettuce or any other veggies you like

 

Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Set aside

Dice the avocado. Place it in a small bowl with the chicken, salt and pepper. Gently stir in 1/2 the vinegar mixture. Depending on your taste, you may need to add more of the vinegar mixture – I used about 3/4 of it.

Toast your bread, then spread with your chicken salad and top it off with your veggies of choice.

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