Chocolate Avocado Mousse

This dessert is rich, satisfying and celebratory but yet light and airy after a big holiday meal. Avocado replaces (some of the) whipped cream providing much healthier fat and even a serving of veggies for dessert! It can also be made up to a day ahead to give you time to focus on cooking your main meal.

Serves 4

½ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate

4 ripe avocados

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

Fresh fruit, like raspberries, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream if desired for garnish.

Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or use a small bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water). Heat gently, stirring frequently until melted and smooth then set aside.

In a food processor, place the pitted and peeled avocados, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla, salt and the melted chocolate. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Divide into 4 glasses or small bowls and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with fruit and whipped cream if desired.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

A Twist on Traditional Turkey Dinner

Without the ability to gather ten or more people around the table, holiday dinners will look a little different this year. Take the opportunity to try some new things—they might stick around as new traditions. Turkey ‘with all the fixings’ can be a healthy dinner, with a few tweaks to classic recipes, and still maintain all the flavour and festiveness you love. And the best part is feeling good for a splurge on dessert!

Serves 4

Turkey breast (2-4 lbs, the higher amount being if it’s bone-in)

1 cup unsweetened apple cider

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 onion, chopped

2 sprigs rosemary

2 leaves sage

1 Tbsp flour

1 loaf whole grain bread (the more stale the better—you could even use all your bread ends from the freezer), cut into 1 inch cubes and dried in a low oven for 30 minutes

1 tsp each dried thyme, sage, parsley

Optional additions: 1 beaten egg, 1 apple, cored & diced; ½ cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts; ½ cup water chestnuts

2 L chicken stock

1 lb russet potatoes

1 lb sweet potatoes (the orange ones!)

1 bulb garlic

Salt and pepper

1-2 lbs of your favourites (e.g. green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, rutabaga, fennel)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place turkey breast in a roasting pan and coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery (all chopped) and rosemary and sage around the turkey breast. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. At the same time, wrap the bulb of garlic in aluminum foil and bake in oven for 40 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, heat the apple cider in a small pot on the stove. Simmer for 15 minutes or until it is reduced by half. Whisk in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Use this to baste the turkey regularly after the initial 30 minutes. Continue cooking the turkey for 30-60 minutes, longer depending on the size and if it’s on the bone. Verify it’s done by a thermometer reading of 74C internal temperature.

To make the stuffing, grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the bread and remaining chopped onion, carrot and celery. Add the dried thyme, sage and parsley as well as 1 cup of stock and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add optional ingredients if using (a beaten egg gives a more creamy texture) and a small amount more stock if it seems dry and not holding together. Mix well then spread in the baking dish. Cover with foil then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Prepare both types of potatoes by peeling and chopping them. Place in a large pot filled with water then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add 1 tsp salt and cook until tender. Drain water. Return to very low heat and add 1 cup of stock and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Remove roasted garlic from oven, discard foil and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peel. Mash until very smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables by chopping and spreading on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the types of veggies, until tender.

Finally, when the turkey is done, place it on a cutting board and tent it with foil to rest for 10 minutes while making the gravy. Remove the vegetables and herbs and heat the roasting pan on the stovetop on medium low heat. When the oil in the pan starts to bubble lightly, sprinkle in the flour and stir well, smoothing out any lumps. After 1 or 2 minutes, add up to 2 cups of stock gradually, stirring continually. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper then transfer into a gravy boat. Slice the turkey and serve all immediately. Happy Holidays!

Serve with this tangy No Sugar Cranberry Sauce if desired for a gorgeous pop of colour on the plate!

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

 

 

Salmon Chowder

SOBO restaurant in Tofino is on my top 5 list of favourite restaurants and we’ve eaten many a meal there, gracefully welcomed despite camping attire and a gaggle of children. As much as I always want to try something new, I also have to have a bowl Chef Lisa’s chowder—the best I’ve ever eaten. I was sold on her cookbook as soon as I saw the recipe included and it is true to its origin. Although I love making it her way, it is a little rich for regularity and for my kids’ tastes. This is my homage in a version you could eat once a week and make a little faster. The smoked salmon really adds wonderful flavour but it’s delicious even without it.

Serves 6-8 (So you get lunch leftovers!)

3 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

2 large onions, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 lbs potatoes, chopped

1.5 litres stock or water

2 bay leaves

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp basil

2 tsp thyme

200 g smoked salmon (optional)

2 cups whole milk

1 lb boneless wild salmon

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1-3 tsp salt, less if stock and/or smoked salmon used

1/2 bunch dill, chopped

In a large pot, heat 3 Tbsp oil on medium low, then add onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring regularly, for 10 to 15 minutes until softened. Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté another 3 minutes, stirring continually. Add potatoes, stock, bay leaves and oregano. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Add the smoked salmon, if using, and the milk and hold at a low heat. Meanwhile heat a large, preferably cast-iron skillet on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil then the salmon, skin side down. Season the salmon lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until the flesh lifts easily off the skin. Cut gently into bite-sized pieces then add to the soup. Heat gently another 10 minutes, being careful not to bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning then serve garnished with heaps of fresh dill and hot sauce if desired. Consider whole grain cornbread and a side salad to accompany the soup.

 

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

No Sugar Squash Apple Muffins

These moist muffins are packed with fibre from whole grains, squash, apples and pecans. Although they don’t have any refined sugar, they do have a few tablespoons of molasses which provides some sweetness as well as minerals like calcium and iron. This is a great recipe to double so you can freeze some for easy breakfasts or packed lunches.

Makes 1 dozen

2 eggs

¼ cup plain yogurt

½ cup olive or avocado oil

3 Tbsp blackstrap molasses

¾ c cooked/pureed or canned squash (e.g. butternut, pumpkin)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whole grain flour

1 cup rolled oats

¼ tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 apple, diced or grated

½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a muffin tin by greasing or lining. In a large bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, oil, molasses, squash and vanilla. Mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, oats, soda, powder and spices and mix well. Stir this gently into the liquid mixture, being cautious not to over-mix. Fold in the apples and pecans. Spread evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes then remove from tin and cool a little longer.

 

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Vegan Halloween Meringues

These little ghosts are adorable and they’re so simple to make, using an ingredient that you might normally pour down the sink! Aquafaba is the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas and if you whip it for awhile, it acts just like egg whites and becomes stiff, white and glossy. This can be used to make vegan mayonnaise too.

Serves 4

½ cup aquafaba (from unsalted canned chickpeas)

¼ tsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup fine white sugar

1 ounce dark chocolate

Put the aquafaba and vinegar in a large bowl and whisk for 8-10 minutes until it has doubled in size and holds a peak. This is best done with a stand mixer or an electric hand-held mixer. Add the sugar gradually, continuing to whisk until the mixture is glossy and stiff.

Preheat the oven to 210F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the meringue mixture in a piping bag with a large tip and pipe three circles, a larger bottom one (approx. 2 inch diameter) then a smaller on top of that and then an even smaller one, leaving with a pointy ‘head’. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Bake for 2 hours and then turn the oven off and leave them to dry another hour until they are firm and set. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or very slowly in the microwave, being careful not to burn it. Using a piping bag with a small tip or a toothpick, add chocolate eyes and a round mouth. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container.

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Duck Ragu

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Although not as commonly eaten as chicken here in North America, duck is a very healthy protein to choose. Although the skin is known to be very fatty, overall duck has a better fat profile than many other animal foods, with high levels of unsaturated fats, including omega 6. Removing the skin before eating is a great way to keep your overall fat intake, especially saturated fat, within recommended limits. This recipe is incredibly delicious and can be made well in advance to simmer slowly on the stove top on an autumn afternoon.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 duck legs and 2 duck breasts, washed and dried

1 tsp salt

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

1 can (796 mL) tomatoes

½ cup red wine

1 can (125 mL) tomato paste

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a roasting pan lightly with olive oil then place duck parts skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then flip once and continue roasting approximately 10 more minutes until an internal temperature of 74C is reached. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium low. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, approximately 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and rosemary and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red wine and tomato paste.

Once the duck is cool enough to handle, remove the skin (this can be chopped finely and mixed in with cat or dog food in small amounts as a special treat) and bones. The fat in the pan can also be saved to cook potatoes in, just keep it refrigerated. Shred the meat then add to the ragu. Simmer on low for one to four hours then serve over noodles with a side of green beans or salad.

Squash & Bean Fritters

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

Nothing says fall like squash and pumpkin! These hearty vegetables are packed with fibre and complex carbohydrates to give you lasting energy, not to mention vitamin A, calcium and other key nutrients. They grow abundantly in BC and are so versatile in soups, stews, curries, baking, smoothies, risotto and of course, fritters, which could be eaten for any meal of the day. Roast halved, seeded squash in its skin for simplicity then scoop out the flesh, or in a pinch, use canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling which has lots of added sugar). You can also save the seeds to roast—just rinse off the stringy bits, lay them in an even layer on a baking sheet until dry then drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and roast at 325F for 10-15 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally.

Serves 4

1 medium-sized squash (e.g. acorn, butternut, sugar pumpkin) or 2 cans (398 mL) canned pumpkin

1 tsp olive oil

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) white beans, drained and rinsed

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup chickpea, ground oat or whole wheat flour

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp chili powder

2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Set seeds aside for roasting if desired. Place squash halves skin side down on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance (keep cooked squash in the fridge).

Meanwhile, place beans in bowl and mash, then add lemon juice, flour, salt and spices. Scoop the squash out of the skin and add to the bowl, mashing it up. Stir it all together to combine well.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Scoop approximately 1.5 tablespoons of squash mixture into the pan and flatten slightly into a fritter. Repeat forming another 9 small fritters. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan to a paper-towel lined plate and keep warm in the oven.

Add remaining 1 Tbsp of oil to pan and cook remaining 10 fritters. Serve warm with a yogurt dipping sauce if desired or if eating for breakfast, a light drizzle of maple syrup.

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.

Oatmeal Everything Cookies

By Nicole Fetterly, RD

These cookies can be a great addition to a balanced lunch or even eaten as a quick breakfast, as they are packed with fibre and protein. Get the kids involved in making a big batch for the freezer before school starts and save on the cost and packaging of all the processed snacks and bars.

Makes a lot!

2 cups sugar (or substitute half honey or maple syrup)

½ cup blackstrap molasses

1 cup butter

½ cup nut or seed butter (check on allergen restrictions in your child’s classroom)

½ cup plain yogurt

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

5 cups oats

2 cups whole grain flour

¾ cup white flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups nuts or seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts)

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375F. Cream together the sugar, molasses, butter and nut butter in a large bowl or an electric mixer. Add the yogurt, egg and vanilla and mix well. Add the oats, flours, baking soda and salt and stir until just combined. Add the nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Take a large spoonful (an ice cream scoop works well) and form into a ball then flatten into a patty. These cookies do not spread much so try to get them flat without breaking them apart. Bake on ungreased baking sheets for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.