Lunch

Recipe: Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Soup season has arrived and I’m here for all of the delicious bowls of heart warming meals. Every time I hear someone say Broccoli I think of Dana Carvey’s SNL Choppin' Broccoli song. If you haven’t heard it or have no idea what I’m talking about Google it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

So, naturally I was singing it while making this Cheese and Broccoli Soup! Hey Dana, can you add Soup to the song? It could go something like this “she’s Choppin' Broccoli - AND MAKING SOUP”

Well I’m sure that won’t happen but I can tell you this did happen. Probably one of the creamiest Cheese and Broccoli Soups I’ve ever made and I’m sharing it with you today. Enjoy my friends!

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A rich yellow soup with shredded cheddar cheese as a garnish on a white plate with a silver spoon laying beside the plate over a white and tan linen place mat.

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A rich yellow soup with shredded cheddar cheese as a garnish on a white plate with a silver spoon laying beside the plate over a white and tan linen place mat.

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
AUTHOR: Mary Mammoliti / Kitchen Confession

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (regular half-and-half may be substituted; whole milk or 2% milk will work but soup won’t be as creamy)
3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces + 1 cups stems
2 large carrots, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper, optional
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls

NOTE: Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well. ⁣

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

  2. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set the pan aside.

  3. In a large stock pot over medium heat add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and whisk continuously for 3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. This is your roux.

  4. Slowly whisk the vegetable stock into the roux (flour mixture), add the cream to your pot and whisk to combine.

  5. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened. TIP: Whisk intermittently to keep a creamy constancy.

  6. While the mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots and add the to the soup at the end of your simmering time of 15 minutes and add the onion and garlic you previously set aside to the pot.

  7. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard powder, and cayenne and stir to combine, and continue to simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally to avoid burning the soup.

  8. While your soup simmers, grate the cheese and add most of the cheese at the very end of your cooking time, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir the cheese into the soup until melted and incorporated.

  9. Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and enjoy.

    NOTE: Soup will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days.

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Recipe: 2 Pasta Salads You Should Make Now

It’s scorching hot in Toronto and I’m not complaining BUT the thought of spending time in front of a hot stove is making me sweat. SOOOOO, bring on the cool, bright, pasta salad! I’ve got 2 recipes for ya. Can’t decide which one to make? Try both, and leave them in the refrigerator for the week. Going to a summer potluck? Bring the Greek Pasta Salad with feta and fresh tomatoes or an Asian inspired bow tie pasta salad may be your dish of choice.

 

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Greek Pasta Salad

This recipe makes a huge batch of Greek Pasta Salad. Share this recipe with friends and bring it to your next potluck This would be great for a potluck.  I usually half the recipe when I make it. We ate this for several days with lunch and dinner. This will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. The simple mediterranean flavours of the dressing with the creaminess of the crumbled feta and fresh cherry tomatoes is exactly what is missing on your dinner table! Have is as a side or enjoy it as the main dish. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: -
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 10 - 12
Author: Mary Mammoliti / Kitchen Confession

INGREDIENTS

1 (16-oz) box penne pasta
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp greek seasoning
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, cut into halves
1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.

  2. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mayonnaise and greek seasoning in a large bowl. Add cooked pasta, tomatoes, feta cheese and basil. Toss to coat.

  3. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Asian Pasta Salad

This simple and light pasta salad has quickly found it's place on my summer salad list. This dish will quickly become a family favourite, and a great one to share at any potluck. It can be served as a side dish or eat on it’s own as a light lunch. This Asian Pasta Salad is completely addictive and the sesame-soy dressing will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: -
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8
Author: Mary Mammoliti / Kitchen Confession

INGREDIENTS

SESAME-SOY DRESSING:

1/4 cup grape seed oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce, or tamari sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

PASTA SALAD:

12 ounces bow tie pasta (about 4 cups)
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1 cup shredded carrot
3/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds or peanuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix together dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl with tight fitting lid. Shake well and set aside.

  2. Boil bow tie pasta for 10 minutes or about one minute shy of the package directions. Pour cooked pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down the pasta. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

  3. Mix in remaining salad ingredients. Give dressing a good shake and pour over the salad. Mix well.

RECIPE NOTES
If you'd like to get some of the prep out of the way you can boil the pasta the day before. Rinse it well with cold water, drain it, and then toss it with a teaspoon or two of grape seed oil to prevent it from sticking. Transfer the cooked pasta storage container, cover and refrigerate overnight. Assemble the salad no more than an hour or two before serving for the best result and reserve nuts to add just before serving.

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Recipe: Kung Pao Chickpeas and Quinoa Lunch Bowl

Recipe: Kung Pao Chickpeas and Quinoa Lunch Bowl

I love a good fridge clean out. It always produces some of my favourite meals. Opening the refrigerator door, scanning shelves and drawers for ingredients that will make up your meal.

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Recipe: Quick and Easy Mini Chickpea Patties and Tahini Sauce

Recipe: Quick and Easy Mini Chickpea Patties and Tahini Sauce

Happy Monday! Today was a whirl wind of a day. I've done so much but yet I feel like I haven't accomplished anything. With zero time to cook a full meal this is when my pre-made frozen meals come in handy.

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Recipe: Meal Prep - Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch Bowl

Recipe: Meal Prep - Rotisserie Chicken Salad Lunch Bowl

We’re all guilty of saying “I’m so busy” at least once a day. Has this become the new normal?  Have these three words become the scapegoat of 2017?

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Recipe: One Pan Cajun Chicken And Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: One Pan Cajun Chicken And Sweet Potatoes

Get ready to enjoy this quick and easy Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potato dinner. A complete meal made in one pan and ready in 40 minutes. Not a carnivore? Fish not your thing? Go ahead and sprinkle some of this seasoning on a fresh Portobello mushroom and grill. 

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Rant: New Sandwich Shop on St Clair Avenue West

Rant: New Sandwich Shop on St Clair Avenue West

An Instagram is where I first discovered Lox + Schmear. Only 2 months old and it's quickly becoming a neighbourhood favourite.

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Recipe: Sautéed Asparagus and Peas

Recipe: Sautéed Asparagus and Peas

Music continues to surround my kitchen as Neneh Cherry fades Rihanna "werks" her way into the room with "PEAS" Don't Stop The Music. I belt out lyrics that only I understand and continue to prepare what I've decided will be a Sautéed Asparagus and Peas side dish. 

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Recipe: Spinach Basil Pesto Chicken Burgers

Sunday's Meal Prep was today's lunch. While cooking this meal I learned a very important lesson.

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Recipe: Pear Argula Salad

Pear Arugula Salad

Yield: 2 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 1 large bosc pear, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 shredded parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts  

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

1. Salad - Add arugula, pear, toasted pine nuts, shaved parmigiano reggiano; set aside.

2. Vinaigrette - In a small glass mason jar or any container with a lid, add olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Put the lid on and shake vigorously until combined. Drizzle over salad, toss to combine, and serve immediately.

 

 

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Recipe: Lentils & Quinoa

Have you ever flung open the pantry doors, scanned the shelves of canned goods, dried pasta and beans, only to realize you have no idea what to make for lunch? Am I alone here?

You keep scanning looking for some foodspiration, while saying to yourself "what do I want......hmmm, what's quick and easy to make?" Then BAM! A bag of Quinoa starring me right in the face and just off to the right was a bag of dried green lentils. Voilà! Lunch is served.

Start here.....

Add the lentils to a pot. Pour enough water so they are well covered and bring to a boil. Reduce heat cover with a lid and allow them to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add The olive oil and chopped onions to a pan and sauté until the onions are slightly brown. Push them to one side of the pan, add the remaining olive oil, pour the quinoa into the pan stirring occasionally until they turn slightly darker in colour and begin to pop. Combine the sautéed onion and quinoa together remove from heat and set aside.

Drain the lentils and add them back to the pot. Pour the quinoa mixture into the pot, 1 2/3 cups water (400 ml), and vegetable cube. Bring to a boil reduce heat cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Enjoy as a meal or it makes a great side dish.

Lentils and Quinoa

Serves 2

Ingredients
1 cup dried green lentils
2 teaspoon olive oil (or coconut oil), divided
1 large onion, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 vegetable stock cube OR 1 tablespoon bouillon
1 2/3 cups water (400 ml)

Directions
1. Add the lentils to a pot. Pour enough water so they are well covered and bring to a boil. Reduce heat cover with a lid and allow them to simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Add The olive oil and chopped onions to a pan and sauté until the onions are slightly brown. Push them to one side of the pan, add the remaining olive oil, pour the quinoa into the pan stirring occasionally until they turn slightly darker in colour and begin to pop. Combine the sautéed onion and quinoa together remove from heat and set aside.
3. Drain the lentils and add them back to the pot. Pour the quinoa mixture into the pot, 1 2/3 cups water (400 ml), and vegetable cube. Bring to a boil reduce heat cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Enjoy as a meal or it makes a great side dish.

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Recipe: Chicken Avocado Wrap

Easter weekend’s got you like “ugh, can’t eat another bite”….over indulged a bit too much on chocolate? It’s okay, bring this for lunch tomorrow. You’ll thank me later 😊👍

Chicken Avocado Wraps

Ready in: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded cooked rotisserie chicken or pre cooked chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 1 ½ avocados, hollowed and cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped and divided
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 12-15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 4 whole grain wraps
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Place 1 ounce of Gruyere cheese onto each whole grain wrap.
  • In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt garlic and salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine avocado, tomatoes, lemon juice, and half of the Parsley. Set aside. In a skillet, brown the cooked chicken with the olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle with the remaining half of the parsley.
  • Remove from heat and add ¼ of the chicken to each pita.
  • Top the chicken with a drizzle of the yogurt mixture followed by a large spoonful of the avocado mixture. 
  • Wrap, roll and serve.
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Recipe: Crunchy Mac & Cheese

Crunchy Crust Mac and Cheese, yes please! I chose to use rotini in place of macaroni simply because the cheesy sauce wraps around each rotini and the spiral hangs onto it.This dish is also delicious as leftovers. Pack it for lunch 😊

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 box (375g) whole grain Rotini
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup shredded, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 10-inch x 10-inch baking dish with grape seed oil or any high heat oil spray.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the rotini according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside. Combine the bread crumbs and 2 teaspoons oil in a small bowl. Stir with a fork to evenly coat the crumbs with oil.
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of oil to a large saucepan. Set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, paprika, salt and pepper until smooth. Add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking, for about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese until it melts. Stir in the rotini. Pour into the baking dish. Top evenly with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
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Recipe: Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

It’s Monday! ….. wait, is the ! too much? Well, I’m excited because I’ve got the perfect no fuss, ready in 30 minute meal “DECONSTRUCTED CABBAGE ROLLS” AAAAAND you’ll have plenty for lunch the next day!! So this recipe makes it a !!! type of day …. Right? 😊👍

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ - 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (I use home made tomato sauce, you can use a low sodium, no sugar added brand)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • In a large pan, brown ground beef. Add onion and continue cooking until translucent. Drain extra fat in the pan. Return ground beef to the pan, add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add olive oil, cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper to the meat mixture and stir to combine.
  • Cover and simmer about 20 - 30 minutes until the cabbage is soft.
  • Serve and enjoy!
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