Sheet Pan Dinners

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Quick dinners are key now that summer is over and we’re returning to the back-to-school and work routine. Sheet pan meals are a simple way to create a balanced dinner and the best part is the minimal clean up. Vary up the protein, veggies and spices to put a new spin on it each week! If not including starchy veggies like potatoes or squash, consider serving with a whole grain like quinoa or a crusty baguette.

Serves 4

Olive oil
Protein choices—1 lb fish/boneless chicken/tempeh, cut into 4 even pieces OR 200 g halloumi cheese, cut into 4 slices OR 3 cups canned chickpeas
Vegetable choices—aim for 6 cups of a selection of sliced onion/cabbage/fennel, quartered mushrooms, pieces of kale, thinly sliced & peeled winter squash, grape tomatoes, peeled & quartered beets, baby carrots, halved nugget potatoes, strips of sweet potato
Herbs & spices—whole cloves of garlic, sprigs of rosemary or sage, za’atar, ground cumin, smoked paprika—the possibilities are endless!

Simply oil a large sheet pan and preheat oven to 350F. Lay out your protein so it is evenly spaced. Place veggies all around the protein. Drizzle everything with more olive oil, then top with your choice of herbs and spices and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of protein, flipping once halfway through. Always check to be sure higher risk proteins like chicken and fish have reached a safe internal temperature of 74C.

Last of Summer Tomato Flatbread

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Consider this for your first-day-of-school dinner to celebrate the stressful transition with comforting food while enjoying the end of summer bounty of fresh tomatoes. Look for an assortment of fresh, local and possibly heirloom tomatoes of all colours, shapes and sizes. Serve with a side salad.

Serves 4

4 whole grain flatbreads

Olive oil or pesto sauce

4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

1 lb fresh, local tomatoes, sliced thickly and seeds removed

½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Using either your barbecue on indirect heat or a 350F oven, grill one side of the flatbread for 2 minutes. Flip over and brush the grilled side with olive oil or pesto sauce then layer slices of cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill flatbreads, toppings side up, for another 2-4 minutes until cheese is melting. Remove from heat and top with fresh tomatoes and basil and another drizzle of olive oil or sprinkle of salt and pepper as desired.

Better Burgers!

Eating beef burgers on white buns slathered in condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup should be reserved for the occasional summer treat. A better burger can be eaten much more frequently! Swap the refined buns for whole grain and try healthier condiments like avocado, sauerkraut or a simple slaw. Opt for portobello steaks, fish or seafood, ground turkey or homemade veggie patties (although the newer store-bought veggie patties are better for the environment than beef, they aren’t necessarily that much better for your health). If you do choose beef or another red meat, substitute chopped mushrooms, lentils, oats or bulgur for approximately 1/3 of the ground meat to boost health, not to mention lower cost!

Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ lb (225 g) mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 lb (454 g) ground turkey

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

1 tsp soy sauce

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

4 whole grain buns

1 avocado

Dijon mustard

Sliced tomato and lettuce for topping

In a skillet over medium-low heat, add olive oil then mushrooms in an even layer. Do not stir them. Allow to lightly brown and release their juices then add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a mixing bowl with turkey, salt, pepper, soy sauce, parsley and egg. Combine well then form into 4 patties. Refrigerate until ready to barbecue.

Prepare buns with toppings or lay on a platter for everyone to assemble as they wish. Heat grill to medium-high, clean and lightly oil the grill. Cook patties for approximately 4 minutes per ½ inch thickness, flipping them only once to prevent moisture loss. Ensure an internal temperature of 71C (160F). Serve immediately with a side salad or grilled veggies.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Summer Pasta

What better way to celebrate fresh local tomatoes and basil than piling them onto pasta? Using the hot summer sun to gently warm the tomatoes, herbs and oil is such a fun thing for children to participate in! Just be sure to only leave it for an hour, keep it covered from critters and don’t make substitutions of higher-risk ingredients like mayonnaise or protein foods.

Serves 4

1 lb fresh local tomatoes, chopped roughly (look for heirloom or colours other than red)

1 bunch basil, torn into pieces

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 lb pasta (consider trying a higher-fibre pasta made from whole grains)

1.5 cups bocconcini or fresh mozzarella 

Place tomatoes, basil, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss gently. Cover and place in a sunny location for one hour only. Prepare pasta according to package directions and drain well. Add to tomato mixture along with the cheese and toss well, adding a little drizzle more oil or a sprinkle more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with a side salad and be sure to eat it outside!

Salmon Patties

Canned salmon (ideally with the bones) should be a staple in everyone’s pantry. The affordable, high-quality protein and essential omega 3 fatty acids make it an incredible food to consume a few times per week, especially to support positive mental health. And the bones provide a rich source of calcium. These patties are great with a side salad or zucchini noodles and a garlic yogurt sauce for dipping.

Serves 2

1 can wild salmon (preferably with bones)

1 egg, beaten

½ small onion (or 2 green onions), diced

1 stalk celery, diced

2 tsp mustard

½ cup panko or other bread crumbs, quinoa flakes or rolled oats

2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a bowl and stir well to combine. Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat then add oil. Scoop ½ cup of mixture and using hands form into a patty. Place in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Repeat with remaining salmon mixture. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Campfire Pizza

A hot meal around the campfire is such a treat after a day enjoying the outdoors, but it doesn’t have to be all about hotdogs. Get an assembly line going at the picnic table and these delicious, hearty and healthy pizzas can come together so quickly and it’s a great way to engage kids in the (camp) kitchen!

Serves 4

6-8 large wholegrain pitas

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup of your favourite tomato sauce and/or pesto

8 cups pizza veggies (e.g. sliced mushrooms, peppers, spinach, onion)

4 cups pizza cheese (e.g. mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, goat cheese)

6-8 sheets aluminum foil

Lay out the sheets of aluminum foil. Using a brush or clean fingers, cover both sides of the pita with olive oil then place on a sheet of foil. Top with 2 tablespoons of sauce, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle half of the pita with your favourite veggies and top with cheese. Fold the other half over so all the filling is inside and wrap tightly in the foil. Cook over coals on the fire (or in a skillet on the stove) for approximately 15 minutes until the pita is crisped and the cheese is melted. 

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Miso Tahini Sauce

Rather than top salad or dip veggies in ranch dressing which provides few healthy nutrients, use salad dressing and dips as a way to make your meal healthier. Fermented miso paste is a great thing to keep in the fridge to add flavour (umami) to sauces, dressings and marinades, not to mention making miso soup! Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is rich in healthy fats, calcium, potassium and fibre. Just a tablespoon of each of these pastes adds an extra 6 grams of protein to your meal. 

 

Serves 4

¼ cup miso paste

¼ cup tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Boiled warm water to thin

 

Combine equal parts miso and tahini pastes then add lemon juice and garlic. Thin with boiled, warm water to a drizzling consistency.

Drizzle on a buddha bowl, salad or use as a veggie dip or a salmon marinade.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Thai Salad

The flavours of this dressing are fantastic and make any veggies, protein and noodles or rice a sensation! It’s so good, consider making a double-batch for another salad next week or use half the dressing as a marinade for baked or grilled tofu, shrimp or chicken and roasted veggies like peppers and eggplant. 

Dressing
Yield: 3/4 cup

3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sambal oelek or hot sauce
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced/pressed
1 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Can be refrigerated for 1-2 weeks. Serve over rice or soba noodles and lots of veggies with a sprinkling of peanuts.

Salad

Serves 4

4 cups noodles (e.g. soba, rice) or brown rice, cooked per packaged directions
4 cups greens (e.g. bok choy, spinach, kale)
4 cups other raw veggies (e.g. tomatoes, scallions, carrot, bell peppers, cucumber)
2 cups cooked veggies (e.g. roasted eggplant, peppers, broccoli), marinated in dressing if desired
2 cups protein (e.g. baked or grilled tofu, chicken, shrimp, shelled edamame), marinated if desired
½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Layer the salad ingredients in or on each person’s bowl or plate and top with more dressing and chopped peanuts for garnish.

Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup

This chilled soup is a creamy and refreshing addition to a warm weather meal and a fun format for eating veggies. Top with grilled shrimp to make it the centerpiece and serve with corn chips for some crunch.

Serves 4

2 avocados, pitted & peeled 

1 large cucumber, peeled & seeded if not an English cucumber 

2 lemons or limes, zested & juiced 

1/2 bunch cilantro or mint, stemmed & chopped 

1-2 jalapenos, seeded & stemmed (optional)

1 cup cold water 

1/2 cup plain yogurt 

1.5 tsp salt 

1/4 tsp ground black pepper 

Cut one avocado and ½ of the cucumber into a small dice. Set aside. Place all remaining ingredients in blender and puree until very smooth. Transfer to serving bowl or pitcher then mix in the diced avocado and cucumber. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes until chilled. Serve cold, as an appetizer or side dish, or top with grilled shrimp for a main meal.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD