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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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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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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Chicken Breast Stuffed with Black Kale and Feta

I went grocery shopping today and stumbled upon a new and exciting find: black kale. Kale is one of my absolute favourite greens, so I couldn’t believe my discovery! I also couldn’t believe I’d never seen any other variety of kale before… Needless to say, I snatched a bunch up and headed home, my head full of possibilities.

The black kale is more of a deep purple colour, and — as I soon discovered — turns a very dark purply green after it has been cooked. In terms of flavour, it is a bit earthier and sharper than green varieties of kale, but you can still definitely recognize the distinct, bitter fresh flavour that is characteristic of kale.

After carefully considering my options, I combined chopped kale, fresh goat feta, and sundried tomato pesto and stuffed a huge chicken breast full of the mixture before popping it into the oven. I could hardly wait the 45 minutes it took to bake the chicken, I was so excited, but it was well worth the wait!

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Quinoa with Smoked Salmon, Vegetables, and Sundried Tomato Pesto

Some of my favourite culinary adventures have come from throwing everything I have in my fridge into one dish and seeing what happens.

This is how this recipe came into the world! I had smoked salmon (left over from a very British Columbian care package, courtesy of my mom), roasted asparagus, a leek, walnuts (left over from this pesto recipe), some sundried tomato pesto, and fresh parmesan. What could be better than tossing all of that in some freshly cooked quinoa?

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Fresh Walnut Pesto

I try to keep pesto in my fridge at all times. There is nothing like a spoonful of oily, creamy basil goodness to spice up any dish — from pasta to salad dressings to eggs to soups and broths, I use it a lot. And, while some store-bought brands are pretty good, nothing quite beats the taste of your own fresh pesto.

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Pasta meals are a great way to hit every food group while keeping your meal simple and quick. This particular dish combines whole wheat pasta with chicken, spinach, tomato sauce, and cheese, and is hearty and filling. A hint of basil pesto adds extra dimension and flavour to the sauce.

I put the water on to boil and start cooking the chicken at the same time. By the time the pasta is cooking, the chicken is in the sauce and everything is ready all at once. The whole enterprise takes 20 minutes from beginning to end!

Hot, hearty, and healthy.

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Turkey and Wild Rice Soup with Basil Pesto

I love leftover soup. You know what I mean — when you make a meal and then re-purpose the leftovers into a new, totally delicious dish?

In this particular case, I had a massive frozen turkey breast that I didn’t get to make for Thanksgiving this year… So, one Sunday afternoon, I roasted it to perfection on a bed of carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes, enjoyed a week’s worth of meals, and then used the extra turkey to make soup!

… it was a really large turkey breast.

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