A Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

A bowl of butternut squash soup
This butternut squash soup is delicious, easy to make and incredibly healthy.

I love soups.  They can be made ahead, doubled and frozen.  They work well for lunches and dinners and can be paired with a variety of breads and salads to fill out a meal.  More than that, soups are pure comfort food and incredibly good for you!  This recipe is simple to make and it remains one of my kids’ favourites.

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is packed with vegetables and full of flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • rosemary or thyme (1 tsp dried or a couple sprigs of fresh, stems removed)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (for vegetarian option)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cut squash in half, remove seeds, place on baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary or thyme and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool, then peel and chop.
  3. Add a little olive oil to a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, add onion, carrot and celery, cook for 5-10 minutes over medium-low heat.
  4. Add diced butternut squash and stock, bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a blender and puree.  Blend in Greek yogurt for a little tang and creaminess if you wish.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

This recipe can easily be made vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free.  For vegetarian and vegan options use vegetable stock.  For vegan and dairy-free options omit the yogurt.

 

Spinach, Tomato and Feta Frittata

Lizzie Homemaker Spinach Tomato Feta Breakfast Frittata
I often make this frittata on the weekend. It’s so healthy and easy to put together.

This is my go-to frittata.  It’s easy, packed with healthy veg and protein, and I love that I can clean up my prep mess and set the table in the time in takes for the frittata to bake.

Spinach, Tomato and Feta Frittata

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This frittata can also be enjoyed as a light lunch or dinner when paired with a salad.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsps of olive oil or a generous spoonful of garlic confit
  • 142g/5oz baby spinach (or go spinach heavy like I usually do and use 312g/11oz)
  • a handful of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil or dill and/or a couple sliced green onions
  • 1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed
  • 8 eggs, whisked
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat olive oil or garlic confit over medium heat in cast iron or non-stick pan.
  3. Add handfuls of spinach and toss as it wilts.  Continue adding and tossing spinach until the entire package has been added.
  4. Add herbs and/or green onions and toss.
  5. Pour eggs over spinach then top with the tomatoes, feta, fresh cracked pepper and chili flakes (if using), making sure to distribute evenly.
  6. Transfer frittata to oven and bake for 20 minutes.

 

To release the frittata run a spatula or knife around the edge of the pan.  You can cut it into wedges in the pan and serve it family style (with one less dish to clean).  Or transfer the frittata to a plate or cutting board and cut it into wedges for a nicer presentation.

I love eating this frittata with chipotle hot sauce or a hot pepper relish.

Chia Pudding

Lizzie Homemaker healthy breakfast chia pudding with cherry chia jam
Chia pudding topped with cherry chia jam, buckwheat groats, cacao nibs and coconut flakes.

Chia pudding has to be the easiest make-ahead breakfast and it’s incredibly versatile.

It’s also very healthy as chia seeds pack a big punch.  These little gems are full of essential fatty-acids, fibre, omegas, anti-oxidants, protein, and vitamins and minerals which support good heart, brain and bone health.  They also stabilize blood sugar and fight belly fat and inflammation.  It’s no wonder this superfood is becoming so popular.

If you find it hard to manage breakfast before work, chia pudding is a great option to have ready to simply grab and go.  My husband often rushes off to work in the morning and loves to bring this to eat at his desk.

At home I take the time to turn my chia pudding into a pretty breakfast bowl with an assortment of fresh fruits or chia jam and sprinklings.  It’s a lovely way to start my day.

The most basic version is simply 1 cup of milk to 1/4 cup chia seeds.  For vegan options you can use nut milks such as almond or cashew, or soy milk if you wish to go nut-free.

Give the mixture a stir after 15 minutes or so, otherwise the chia can clump together which yields an undesirable texture.

Chia Pudding

  • Servings: 1 - 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and can be made advance and eaten over a couple of days.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of your choice milk (almond, cashew, soy and cow’s milk all work well)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

optional:

  • 1-2 tbsp of sweetener such as maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • toppings of your choice such as chia jam, fresh fruit, dried fruit, granola, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes

Directions

  1. Whisk together your choice of milk with vanilla and chia seeds.
  2. Allow to stand for 15 minutes then whisk again.
  3. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight while the chia seeds plump up.
  4. Add sweetener, if desired, and any toppings of your choice.

 

The pudding can end up a little too thick or thin if you don’t measure correctly.  To correct this simply add a little more milk to thin it out or a scant amount of chia seeds to thicken.

Cherry Chia Jam

Cherry Chia Jam
This cherry chia jam recipe is healthy and delicious. It contains no added sweetener of any kind so feel free to eat it by the spoonful.

This cherry chia jam was a huge hit with the littles.  They ate the entire jar so next time I will definitely have to make a double batch.

Chia jam is so easy to make and it’s incredibly healthy.  I make some every week with whatever fruit happens to be in season.  And when nothing local is in season I often use frozen fruit instead.  Dark cherry is my absolute favourite in the winter.  It’s perfect with warm oatmeal on a cold winter’s day.

Cherry Chia Jam

This fresh jam can be put together in less than 10 minutes. Then you simply pop it in the fridge and wait for it to thicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • squeeze of lemon

Directions

  1. Add cherries and 1 tbsp of water to a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until the fruit starts to break down.
  2. Remove from heat and mash.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon and chia seeds.
  4. Refrigerate for several hours while the chia seeds plump up and thicken the jam.

This recipe can easily be doubled. Store in fridge for 4 or 5 days or freeze. Canning is not recommended.

Garlic Confit

lizzie homemaker garlic confit baked in the oven
Garlic confit is an indispensable condiment in our kitchen.  The secret to making it is low and slow.

Garlic confit is incredibly easy to make and it’s a staple that we always have in our fridge.  Compared to raw garlic it is rich, sweet and creamy.  It’s great in marinades, mashed potatoes, sauces, soups and stews.  I love using it as a base when I cook up greens.  You can even spread it on bread.  The garlic infused oil is perfect for roasting vegetables, in dressings and dips and adding to tossed pasta.  Really, it can be drizzled on anything you fancy.  It is so versatile.

There are two ways to make it – on the stovetop or in the oven.

Garlic Confit

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 heads of garlic, peeled (you can easily double or triple the recipe – use as much as you want)
  • enough olive oil to completely cover the garlic

Directions

STOVETOP METHOD

Place peeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan, completely cover with olive oil, and slowly poach at a very low temperature for about 45 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.

OVEN METHOD

Preheat oven to 275F.  Place peeled garlic cloves in an oven proof dish, completely cover with olive oil, and bake for about an hour and a half until golden brown.  Allow to cool and refrigerate immediately.

The garlic confit can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks.  The cloves should be completely covered with the oil.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

lizzie homemaker chocolate chip granola bars
These chocolate chip granola bars are easily one of my family’s all-time favourite recipes.

When I started making these chocolate chip granola bars in the fall they quickly became a family favourite that was put into heavy rotation.  I whip up a batch every week.  They are easy to make, tasty, and infinitely cheaper and healthier than store bought.  They are nut-free and sesame-free, making them safe to bring to school and community spaces with allergy-friendly food policies.  They also keep well.  I pop them into the daughter’s lunch box, and pack them for snacks at the park and for after-school activities throughout the week. My husband also takes them to work to munch on when that afternoon slump hits.  The ingredients are all from the pantry.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24 bars
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

DRY

  • 4 cups large rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs (optional)
  •  generous pinch of salt

WET

  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or another neutral flavoured oil)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2.  In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3.  In a medium bowl or large measuring cup combine wet ingredients.
  4. Drizzle wet ingredients over dry ingredients and THROUGHLY combine.
  5. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and PRESS DOWN FIRMLY to shape it into a rectangle (about 11×12 inches). If you don’t press it together well and it’s loose then you’ll end up with granola instead of granola bars.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden.
  7. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then cut into bars (thirds lengthwise, then eight across).

 

These granola bars can be stored in a container for a couple weeks (if they last that long).

Vegetable Marrow Fritters

lizzie homemaker vegetable marrow fritters
These vegetable marrow fritters make a great lunch but we usually enjoy them as a vegetable side dish for dinner. Either way they satisfy.

I recently discovered vegetable marrow.  It’s very similar to zucchini but it’s a little less watery which makes it great for things like fritters so you don’t have to take the extra step of salting and draining the vegetable to get out the extra moisture.  I am always short of time so I appreciate anything that cuts steps and makes my life a little easier.

Vegetable Marrow Fritters

Pair these fritters with a green salad for a lovely light dinner.

Ingredients

  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 large leek, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup feta cheese, diced
  • 4 medium or 5 small vegetable marrow, grated (about 4 cups)

Directions

  1. Drizzle olive oil in frying pan and cook leeks over moderate heat for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl whisk eggs and milk then add to flour mixture and combine.
  4. Add leeks, feta and vegetable marrow to flour and egg mixture and combine.
  5. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Adding heaping 1/4 cups of fritter mixture to pan and flatten.  Fry for 5-7 minutes flipping halfway through.
  6. Serve with dipping sauce (see recipe below), sour cream or applesauce.

 

Fritters can be kept warm in oven.  You can substitute veggie marrow with zucchini but you should salt it, let it sit, then drain off the excess water.

Yogurt and Dill Dipping Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Directions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and serve alongside fritters.

 

Vegan Collard Greens

healthy vegan collard greens
Lizzie Homemaker’s healthier take on collards keeps the classic smokey flavour intact.

We love collard greens.  We adore them.  We can’t get enough of them.  BUT we’re trying to eat healthier and we also have friends and family that are vegan.  I switched up my traditional collards recipe with pleasing results.  The key was keeping that lovely smokey flavour in the recipe that a ham hock or bacon can provide.  Adding a little liquid hickory smoke did the trick.

Vegan Collard Greens

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp liquid hickory smoke
  • pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, remove coarse stems and slice

Directions

  1. Add oil to a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot.  Add onions and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until browned and softened.
  2. Add vinegar, stock, sugar, liquid smoke, and chili flakes (if using), bring to a simmer.
  3. Add collard greens, tossing until wilted (I use tongs to toss)
  4.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

If you have never bought liquid smoke – it’s near the barbecue sauces at the grocery store.  Be warned if you start experimenting with it – a little goes a long way.

Shrimp and Soba Noodle Soup

I love soup.  It is probably the ultimate comfort food.  And often when I am sick or fatigued it is exactly what I want to eat.  On those days I also don’t want to put much effort into cooking.

For this soup you simply toss aromatics into a pot of broth, simmer, cook the add-ins in the broth, garnish, and dig in.

easy faux pho soup by lizziehomemaker asian inspired soba noodles shrimp
This soup is pure comfort food and requires little effort.

Shrimp and Soba Noodle Soup

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the broth base

  • 2 quarts (8 cups) stock (vegetable, fish, or chicken)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced or finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or finely diced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (optional)

Add-ins

  • 160 grams soba noodles (2/3 of a pack)
  • 16 raw shrimp, peeled, tail-on
  • 1/2 cup peas (frozen work fine here)
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach

Garnish

  • green onion
  • fresh chives
  • sesame oil
  • black pepper
  • chili peppers (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients for the broth base to a stock pot, bring to a boil, then lower heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes or so.  The longer you simmer, the stronger the flavour.
  2. Add soba noodles and bring back to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp and peas, simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add baby spinach, cook until wilted and noodles and shrimp are cooked through, approx a minute more.
  5. Add garnishes.

This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock, omitting the oyster sauce, and omitting the shrimp or replacing it with tofu.

Pear Chia Jam

Lizzie Homemaker breakfast of overnight chia oats topped with a homemade pear chia jam blackberries dried blueberries Newfound Pure wild blueberry powder hemp hearts cacao nibs bee pollen
Overnight chia oats with a hodgepodge of delicious toppings: pear chia jam, blackberries, dried blueberries, wild blueberry powder, hemp hearts, cacao nibs, and bee pollen.

I make a batch of fresh chia jam every week with seasonal fruit. It’s great for topping oatmeal, pancakes, or toast. This week I was able to get my hands on some lovely local pears.  Chia jams are insanely easy to make and so healthy.  Give it a try.

Lizzie Homemaker child fresh local Ontario pears fruit
Local Ontario pears in November! We had to scoop them up when we saw them.

Easy Pear Chia Jam

This fresh jam can be put together in less than 10 minutes. Then you simply pop it in the fridge and wait for it to thicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped pears (peeled, if you prefer a smoother texture)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Directions

Cook pears over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the fruit breaks down, mash, then add chia seeds, vanilla, and maple syrup (if using).  Refrigerate for several hours while the chia seeds plump up and thicken the jam.

This recipe can easily be doubled.  Store in fridge for 4 or 5 days or freeze.  Canning is not recommended.