Adventures in the Kitchen and Recipes on Inside Guelph

Happy New Year and I hope your 2015 is filled with fun, love and adventure! Have you made a vow to yourself to try and eat healthy or perhaps omit certain things from your diet? Maybe you just want to try and eat regularly or eat at home more often? Whatever you decided, I hope it includes colourful and tasty food with a little bit of adventure. Yes some adventure in the kitchen can be a good thing and it varies for everyone.
Some people will consider an adventure simply stepping into the kitchen to start and cook while others might have to create a meal with insects or unusual ingredients to make their adventure sing. I think wherever you lie, hopefully somewhere in the middle for most, that cooking and strengthening these life skills for yourself and those around you will be a big enough adventure for you. 
Knowing how to cook will help you reach your goals of eating healthier, eating more regularly or spending more time with family. It really can encompass so many things. That’s why it truly is a life skill. So if you are able to take a cooking class or watch a cooking video online and learn some techniques that will help you get into the kitchen more often then give it a try. Along the way you not only will learn some cooking basics but I guarantee that some adventure will be lurking behind every cut, stir and whisk! 
I hope to see you out at the grocery store, in a cooking class or via email asking questions and finding out more about what lies ahead with food and cooking. Don’t forget to share your adventures with me and others to inspire the love of food and cooking in everyone!

Skillet Sweet Potato and Onion Edamame Salad

This versatile salad can be enjoyed hot, warm or cold the next day. With lots of colour and a simple cooking method, this may appear often this month to brighten up the cold days and nights. Look for shelled edamame in the freezer section of grocery stores usually in the organic section. Made in one skillet, this will make clean up a breeze.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 cups (2 L) or 6 servings.

1 cup (250 mL) sodium reduced vegetable broth
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 lb/ 750 g total)
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups (500 mL) shelled frozen edamame
1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lime rind
1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice

In a large deep nonstick skillet bring broth to a simmer; add sweet potatoes and onion. Cover and steam for about 12 minutes or until tender but firm. Uncover and drizzle with oil and increase heat to medium high.

Add jalapeno, garlic and 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the cilantro and stir to combine; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in edamame, corn and red pepper; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 8 minutes or until edamame is hot, tender but firm when tested. Remove from heat and stir in lime rind and juice. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro before serving.

Tip: Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Add some leftover cooked chicken, turkey or hard boiled eggs for a protein kick.

Chunky Mushroom Minestrone

This is a spin on an Italian favourite soup, with chunks of a variety of vegetables including mushrooms, this spiced up minestrone is hearty and healthy. A perfect meal in a bowl to enjoy some some crusty bread on a cold night. If there are any leftovers be sure to pack them up for lunch the next day.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 9 cups (2.25 L) or 6 to 8 servings

1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 pkg (8 oz/227 g) mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano leaves
1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes 
4 cups (1 L) lightly packed shredded kale 
3 cups (750 mL) sodium reduced vegetable broth 
2 cups (500 mL) water
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, basil and hot pepper flakes for about 10 minutes or until very soft and starting to colour.

Stir in kale and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Add broth, water, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Tip: Can be made up to 3 days ahead or frozen for up to 3 weeks.


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