Tag Archives: Vegetables

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

I am a French-Fry and potato girl. If you dare put a plate of fries down in-front of me, you better believe they will be gone. Instantly.  And don’t even ask CH about my “fries-sharing abilities”, they don’t exist.   But, every once in a while, I get into a conundrum and cannot decide between fries and onion rings.  Usually, fries win.  But when the question is asked at home now, onion rings stand a fighting-chance with this recipe.  I served this alongside a roast beef dinner last week (with broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes), and they were perfect.

Crispy, golden and healthy onion rings –  yes please.  The trick, which I have come across in many recipes (and featured in Cook’s Illustrated) is the use of potato chips.  Yes, you heard that right…potato chips (and anything with potato chips in the recipe is a winner for me, just so we are clear!).

They take a few minutes to assemble, but I enjoyed the process, and the result, is even better.

Ps – A recommendation – go visit PreventionRD‘s blog.  She features amazing recipes, with a focus on health.  One of my personal favorite blogs – so go show her some love.


*Note – I halved the original recipe and the sauce in the picture is simply a mix of ranch dressing and Frank’s hot sauce 🙂

Baked Onion Rings

Yield: 4 servings (about 12 rings each).
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes


  • 1 large onions
  • 2 cups (2 oz) kettle chips (I used Miss Vickies)
  • 1 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 6 TBSP (95 ml) of low-fat buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika


Preheat oven to 450 F.

Slice onions into 1/2-inch thick rings. Season the onion rings with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, pulse together the panko and chips and transfer to a shallow dish. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Place the flour in a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, whisk together the egg and buttermilk.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack with non-stick spray.

Dip each onion ring in flour, then the egg/buttermilk mixture, and lastly in the chips/panko to coat. Continue this process with each of the onion rings and place on the wire rack.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

Recipe Adapted Slightly From PreventionRD, who adapted from How Sweet It Is and Pink Parsley, as originally seen in Cook’s Illustrated



Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

You know one of those dishes you instantly fall in love with, and then make it over and over?  Ya well, this is one of them in our house.  This is one of CH’s hands-down favourites, and whenever I ask him what I should make for dinner, this is on the list.

I remember making it for the first time over a year ago, while we were still in London.  I didn’t tell CH about the “secret” ingredient, I just merely served-up this delicious, creamy, bright orange macaroni and cheese and left it at that.  CH devoured the dish, went in for seconds and that’s when I popped the question on him “umm, do you notice anything difference?” // “No, oh that’s interesting – are you sure?” // “GOTCHA – it has butternut squash in it”.   Wife 1, Husband 0.

In all seriousness, this dish is EVERYTHING a good macaroni and cheese should be, plus the added health benefit of having butternut squash puree, and reducing the amount of cheddar cheese – each serving only has about 325 calories.  I’ve made this dish for company many times, for my parents (and even my Dad liked it – which is a feat in and of itself) and I most recently made it for my girlfriend who is Vegan – and it turned out beautifully (or at least I think it did…)  For those who want to make it Vegan – I used Oh She Glow’s recipe, the recipe for our usual version is below.

As a total aside, and one last note, it re-heats beautifully for lunch.  So definitely make a large batch and enjoy the next day!  Also, head over to The Way the Cookie Crumbles or Branny Boils Over for the original recipe and some great tips!


Butternut Squash Macroni & Cheese

Yield: Serves 8
Prep/Cook Time:  About 1 hour and 20 minutes, including roasting the squash “my-way”.


  • 1 small-to-medium butternut squash
  • 12 ounces (1 box) dried elbow macaroni
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp powdered mustard
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups) + 3 TBSP shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry your butternut squash.  Place the butternut squash, in its whole-form, in the oven and roast for 45mins – 1hour, or until a butter knife inserted into the flesh meets no resistance. (You can also cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and lay the halves cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes).

Remove from oven, allow the squash to cool.  Cut in half, remove the seeds.

Scoop 2 cups of flesh from the squash and puree it with your hand-blender or food processor.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add about a tablespoon of salt and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until it’s al dente – you want it to still be firm. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the foaming subsides, add the flour and mustard. Whisk constantly for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the milk.

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of heavy cream.

At this point, add the grated cheeses, ½ teaspoon of salt, a dash of ground pepper, stirring until the cheese melts.

Next, add the pureed butternut squash to the saucepan and whisk until incorporate.  At this point, you can proceed without pureeing again, but I like a smooth as possible sauce, so I puree it one more time, in the pot, with my hand-blender.

Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and stir thoroughly.

*At this point, you can serve it immediately and it is delicious*  However…

I place my macaroni into a 9×12 baking dish, sprinkle the panko bread crumbs and additional 3 TBSP of cheddar cheese over top and put it under the broiler for 2 – 4 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.  This step adds a beautiful crunch texture to the dish, but again, it is completely option.


Recipe Slightly adapted From The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Branny Boils Over


Filed under Healthy, Italian, Mains, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

White Bean Chicken Soup

Was this the best soup I’ve ever had, no.  Was it the worst, no.  But, I will tell you what it was – perfect for a quick, cold evening, where all you wanted was a warm bowl of soup.  Fall (or what I used to call winter in Vancouver) has officially hit in Toronto and the temperatures seemed to have fallen quickly.  As I walked home from work tonight, I wished I had my scarf.  Luckily, one quick stop at the store, and I had what I needed for tonight’s dinner – and my recipe swap recipe.

Simple ingredients, simple steps and simple flavours.  That’s all that’s to this soup.  Feel free to play around with the ingredients too – I did.  I added an extra yellow pepper, some carrots, celery and even some Sriracha, to kick up the heat even more.  I also opted to do my own “taco” spice mix, and I added some thin noodles to make it more “soupy”.  We served this along with a fresh baguette and it was a perfect weeknight meal – thanks to the blog Seven Ate Nine!  BTW – I renamed it soup because I added more liquid than the original recipe called for, therefore making it more soupy – which we didn’t mind!


White Bean Chicken Soup

Yields:  4 Servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (any color!), diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 carton of chicken stock (783ml)
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 TBSP sriracha
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • fresh cilantro (about a handful), chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, for garnish


In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat for a minute or two.  Add the chicken to the pan and saute for 5 – 10 minutes, until no longer pink.

Add the onions, carrots, celery and peppers to the pan.  Continue to cook over medium heat for an additional 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Once the vegetables have softened, add the spices (basil, chili powder etc.) to the pan.  Stir to mix.   Then, add the kidney beans and chicken stock to the pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes.

Season with S&P, and serve!  Top with cilantro and yogurt, if so desired.


Recipe Adapted From Seven Ate Nine

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Filed under Healthy, Mains, Soups & Stews