Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

We already know that I love to fancy up my grilled cheese. It’s just so much more delicious to add a few complimentary flavours to an already-amazing combo — bread + cheese = heaven!

But what happens when you combine fresh mozzarella, spinach, avocados, and sundried tomato pesto? It’s a happy tastebud explosion!

I’ve realized recently that I like using olive oil when I’m grilling my sandwiches. The oil is healthier than butter or margarine, it’s vegan, and it gives the bread a pleasant crunch without making the sandwich overly greasy. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Crunchy, cheesy, veggie-packed sandwich!

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Summer Rotini Salad

Pasta salad is a summer classic. It’s refreshing, filling, and can be healthy as long as you choose the right dressing.

One of my favourite things about making pasta salad is that you can usually enjoy it warm as well as cold. In this salad, all of the vegetables are raw, which means that when you combine them with the freshly cooked pasta, they stay juicy and cold. This creates a nice contrast of textures and temperatures if you’re digging in right away, but this salad is equally tasty once the pasta has cooled completely.

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Grilled Hummus Sandwich

I have been getting into grilled sandwiches a lot lately. Think gourmet grilled cheese, but not necessarily with cheese, and filled with lots of veggies and other delicious things. The possibilities when you’re making sandwiches are pretty much endless, but it’s easy to fall into old routines and get bored quickly, which is why I think grilling your sandwiches adds a new and exciting dimension to the whole process!

This particular grilled creation is packed with healthy spinach, avocado, and homemade hummus, with a touch of sundried tomato pesto for extra flavour. I try to stick to whole grain breads as much as I can, to ensure I’m getting healthy fibre and keeping my refined flour intake low. Plus, the texture of grainy bread goes so nicely with the smooth avocado and hummus.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute a different type of bean dip (white bean dip is an awesome sandwich filling!) and totally different veggies, depending on what’s in your fridge and what suits your fancy at the moment. It’s an awesome vegan/vegetarian lunch option for any time of year.

I would love to throw a lunch or dinner party someday with a huge array of breads and fillings, where everyone could build their own sandwich and then have it grilled. Don’t you think that would be fun?!

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Green Giant Pasta

When I’m in a hurry to get something nutritious and filling in my stomach after a long day, I often turn to pasta dishes. I tend to load up my bowl of noodles with whatever “extras” I have in my fridge, and most of the time, that includes lots of vegetables! In fact, I try to keep my pasta-to-veggies ratio at about 1:1, so that I’m filling up on vitamin and mineral-rich foods and keeping my carb intake reasonable.

This pasta dish combines fresh asparagus and frozen green peas with loads of fresh basil pesto — it is bursting with flavour and nutrients, and takes a jiffy to prepare! With so much green goodness in my bowl, I couldn’t help but name it accordingly.

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Kale and Red Pepper Frittata

I just had to Google “frittata” to figure out how to spell it… awkward.

Moving right along.

If you read my blog often, you know how much I love quiche. Well, the way I see things, the frittata is quiche’s cousin: it’s got all the yummy eggy goodness of quiche, but without the crust. Sometimes, I feel like quiche but I want to forego the crust, so I make a frittata (read: I don’t have a crust in my freezer and am too lazy to go buy one).

In all seriousness, frittatas are a wonderful lighter alternative to quiche, with all of its flavour but less fat. Frittatas are simple to make and easily customizable, so you can try many versions before tiring of the dish. Plus, it seems really fancy, so you can serve this up at a brunch and wow your guests without slaving in the kitchen for hours. Bonus!

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Asparagus and Onion Quiche with Parmesan

I have a love-love relationship with quiche. It is such a delicious savoury dish, and because you can vary the filling, it never gets old for me! I tend to have a pie shell in my freezer at the ready, so that whenever my quiche mood strikes, I can satisfy it immediately. I love that the preparation time for quiche is relatively low, but the recipe can last a few days if you’re feeding one or two people. It’s easy to pack for lunch, and it’s a good way to get your protein in at any time of day because it’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner-friendly!

This quiche is a bit pared down compared to my usual veggie-loaded quiches (for my other quiche recipe, click here!). In fact, as my sister and I where preparing this quiche yesterday afternoon, we joked about how using fewer ingredients makes a quiche seem fancier… whereas lots of ingredients make a quiche feel more homey and hearty.

So this is our take on snooty high-class quiche. The parmesan layer gets golden brown and crunchy, and the sweetness of the onions complements the fresh asparagus perfectly. I promise you, it is very, very good!

The quiche, fresh out of the oven!

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Foodie Friend Friday #5: Brandon’s Green Tea Extravaganza

This is the fifth and final installment of my March experiment, Foodie Friend Friday, and I can tell you that we are going out with a bang! If you would like to see what my other friends have been cooking this March, check out the following recipes:

This week, I am featuring my friend Brandon’s cuisine. Brandon is one of the best friends I’ve made during my undergraduate degree. We met three years ago, when we both got hired as orientation coordinators for our university’s orientation week, and we’ve been friends ever since!

One of the defining aspects of our friendship is our deep and undying love for good food. Before Brandon selfishly abandoned me to move back to Toronto, we would get together, cook something delicious (like this yummy chicken), and watch mildly offensive television together. When we weren’t busy being weirdos at home, we would go out to restaurants where we would both get carried away with our meals and rant and rave about them like two food-crazed loonies. Essentially, we were made for one another.

All this is to say that Brandon was a natural choice for me to ask to write up a tasty recipe for my blog. But of course, in true Brandon fashion, I opened my inbox today to not one, but three recipes from the guy. Brandon is not the type to do something halfway, and clearly this was no exception. The great news is that he has put together an amazing themed feast that is sure to wow the lucky people you make this for!

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Oven Baked Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a quintessentially French comfort food: roasted veggies and tomato sauce come together in this zesty, comforting dish. Somehow, the French can even make comfort food sophisticated, don’t you think?!

I have loved ratatouille for as long as I can remember. The soft vegetables have loads of flavour and the tomato sauce that brings them all together is sweet and tangy. Ratatouille can be prepared on the stove top or in the oven, but I find the latter method gives the vegetables  a nicer texture and richer flavour.

I dare you to look at this and not want to gobble it all up!

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