Easy Break & Bake Chicken

Buying whole chicken is much more affordable, rather than boneless and skinless pieces. By cooking with the bones in, you get a much moister finished product and you can keep the bones to make delicious stock. By breaking the chicken down, also called butterflying or spatchcocking, it cooks more quickly and evenly.

Makes 2 meals for a family of 4

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped or pressed

2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped or cut

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

1 whole chicken, approx 1.8 kg (4 lbs)

Combine oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper in a small dish and set aside. Put a large cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 400F. Get a Ziploc freezer bag out and put the chicken on a cutting board breast side down. Take sharp kitchen shears or a sharp knife and cut along both sides of the back bone, which will allow you to open the chicken up into a butterfly. Remove the back bone and put it in your stock bag. Snip off any excess fat. Take the oil mixture and rub it all over the chicken on both sides and under the skin.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Beans & Rice

My daughter recently told me this was on her top 5 list of favourite meals. This is fantastic because beans and rice are so easy to make and one of the most affordable meals on our roster. This is a staple meal eaten in different variations around the world, but this version has more of a Mexican influence.

Serves 4

2 cups brown rice

4 cups cooked or canned beans (e.g. pinto, black, kidney)

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp soy sauce

Toppings: shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced avocado, chopped tomato, sliced bell pepper, minced jalapeno, hot sauce, grated or crumbled cheese, Greek yogurt, corn chips 

Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, drain the beans and heat a large skillet on medium low heat. Add oil then the garlic and cumin and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring continually until the garlic is just turning golden, not burning. Add the beans and stir while mashing with a wooden spoon or masher. Add water to prevent the beans from sticking and to help them reach a spoonable consistency (I like to keep some texture so I don’t fully mash all the beans, just enough to bind it all together and enough water so it’s not too thick). Add the soy sauce and adjust seasonings to taste. 

Serve a bowl of rice, topped with beans and let everyone add their own toppings. Corn chips are yummy alongside, as is a coleslaw!

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Whole Grain Banana Bread

When bananas get a little brown to eat out of the peel, simply pop them in the freezer to save for making banana bread (or smoothies!). You can freeze them in the peel or peeled in a freezer bag. By using whole grains, healthy fats and less sugar, banana bread is a treat you can feel good about eating regularly, for breakfast, snack or dessert. Consider doubling this recipe, but cook as two separate loaves. You can save one in the freezer or share it with a friend!

Yield: 1 loaf

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup maple syrup or brown sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 cup mashed ripe banana

¼ cup flaxseeds (whole or ground)

½ cup rolled oats

1 cup whole grain flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Whisk olive oil and syrup or sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and whisk well. Stir in the yogurt and mashed banana. In a blender, grind flaxseeds and oats into a flour. Add flour, soda, powder and salt and blend for a few seconds. Pour this mixture into the egg and banana bowl and stir until just combined. 

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan then bake for approximately 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan and cooling completely. Slice and serve or freeze whole.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Stuffed Mushrooms

Kids can cook! Engaging them in the kitchen, as early as possible, helps to set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating, by increasing their food literacy and confidence in cooking. Start by getting them to participate in the menu planning and grocery list so they have some choice over what they’re making. 

These stuffed mushrooms were completely Nora’s idea and she developed the recipe on the fly! They are savoury and delicious and add even more veggies to your plate.

Serves 4

12 large button mushrooms

½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp parsley, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ lemon, juiced

½ cup parmesan and/or cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a baking dish. Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms without breaking the caps then lay the caps upside down in the baking dish. Combine the nuts, feta, parsley, garlic and lemon in a mixing bowl then fill the caps. Top with the parmesan and/or cheddar. Bake for 20-30 minutes until mushrooms are tender and cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.

Recipe by Nora Crowley (age 11) and her mom, Nicole Fetterly RD

Stinging Nettle Soup

Stinging nettle is a plant that emerges in the spring throughout the forests of BC and has been used by our indigenous communities for centuries. The ‘sting’ comes from tiny needles on the plant that contain an acid that irritates our skin. Gardening gloves must be worn for harvesting but once nettles are cooked, the ‘sting’ goes away. For more information, check out http://mapping.uvic.ca/section/stinging-nettle

Always use caution when wild foraging for food and be sure you know what you’re looking for and how to harvest and prepare it safely.

Stinging nettle is often used to make tea but can also be used in most applications as a substitute for spinach.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

½ pound stinging nettles, washed (or substitute spinach)

1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 cups stock or water

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Heat a large pot on medium-low then add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and golden. Add nettles, potatoes, water, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly then blend until smooth and creamy, in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot. Add nutmeg and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired, and with bread and a spring salad.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Hug in a Mug

This ‘tea’ is made using all the whole spices in your cupboard and is such a fantastic way to finish a meal.

Serves 2-4

5 black peppercorns

3 allspice berries

1 tsp fennel seeds

½ tsp cardamom seeds

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

3 whole cloves

Chamomile flowers (or a chamomile tea bag)

Combine all in a French press or use an infuser and steep in boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain, pour and enjoy!

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Tofu Jerky

Jerky is a method of preserving a protein food, so it doesn’t need refrigeration, and has been used for centuries around the world with all types of meat. This tofu jerky uses plant-based protein and more modern-day appliances like the oven (or a dehydrator) as opposed to wind-drying or smoking, but still makes for something easy and delicious to pack for the trail.

Serves 3

1 package extra firm tofu

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp black pepper

½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Cut tofu into ¼ inch strips. Combine all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish then add tofu and cover evenly. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight. Drain marinade then place tofu in a food dehydrator or a low oven (150 F) until just slightly pliable, approximately 4-8 hours. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Vegetable Stock 101

Making your own stock adds so much richness and depth to a soup and is a great way to minimize waste and cook ‘nose-to-tail’ whether you eat animals or not. The key is to keep a container or bag in the freezer and add the parts of plants we normally compost like celery leaves and carrot ends. For those consuming animal proteins, buy whole chickens rather than pieces and save the bones after cooking, then reduce the amount of vegetables in the recipe below and add the bones with the water.

Once you’ve made the stock, fill it with your favourite soup ingredients, like fresh spring vegetables, cooked legumes and whole grains.

Makes about 2 Litres

1 Tbsp olive oil

4- 6 cups vegetable ends or peels from celery, carrot, leeks, scallions, garlic, fennel, chard, lettuce, potatoes, parsnips, green beans, squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and asparagus, corn cobs, winter squash, beet greens, and herbs like parsley and cilantro (*be mindful of onion skins and beet peels as they will colour the stock and cruciferous veg like cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and turnip that are too strong)

OR use 1 chopped onion and any of the above vegetables

12 cups water

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

Optional ingredients: using a reusable tea-style infuser, fill with spices like allspice, coriander seed, peppercorns and perhaps star anise if you’re going to make pho.

In a large pot, heat oil on medium low heat. Add vegetables and stir occasionally for 5-10 minutes until softening and golden. Add bones if using. Top with water, generously covering all of the vegetables (and bones). Add the bay leaves, salt and other spices. Turn up heat to bring to a boil then lower to simmer for at least an hour. Drain solids. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Shamrock Smoothie

Save the trip this year and make your own Shamrock Smoothie to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. All the gorgeous green colour comes from vegetables rather than artificial food colouring, which is not recommended to be consumed regularly. Instead get colour on your plate by eating a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables every day and every meal.

Serves 2

1 avocado

2 cups spinach or kale

1 cup cucumber

¼ cup fresh mint or parsley

2 tablespoons spirulina (optional)

1 pear or 1 cup mango (or other light-coloured fruit—berries are wonderful, but they turn it brown)

1.5 cups plain kefir or yogurt (or fortified soy beverage)

¼ cup hemp hearts

1 cup water or OJ (if just using water, one tablespoon of maple syrup is sometimes needed to taste)

1 cup ice 

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one day.

Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD

Lentil Dahl

Dahl is a staple dish in Indian cuisine and is eaten at most meals, providing a great source of protein, fibre, iron and of course fantastic flavour! It can be a meal unto itself served with brown rice (or whole grain chapati) and vegetables or can be added as an accompaniment to other proteins like grilled chicken with a curried yogurt marinade.

Yield: 4-6 servings

1 cup lentils or mung beans
4 cups water
2 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tomato, chopped (or 1 small can diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and add ginger and turmeric (this could also be done in a slow-cooker all day). Simmer with a lid slightly ajar for 1 hour or until lentils are soft and dal has reached desired consistency (some people like it soupier than others).  Add the salt.


Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD