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A Back to School Goal: Exciting Family Dinners

EAT, family meals By August 21, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

exciting family dinner plansSummer is so great.  Salad from the garden.  Beach dinners prepackaged at the grocery store.  The 2 for 1 Tuesday Whole Foods pizza deal.  Thankfully there are berries in the garden because I’ve been pretty lax on feeding my family interesting, well-balanced dinners.  A goal I always implement for September is to get life back on track after a summer of fun.  This year at the top of my list for back to school is exciting family dinners.

I wouldn’t say that I’m in a meal rut – I love to cook and develop recipes and experiment.  I’ve just been (gasp) lazy this summer.  Lazy and tired.  So the thought of a meal plan that forces me to experiment is quite exciting.  The plan should eliminate stress, save money at the store and get the kids excited for what is to come.  Mexican has always been a favourite of the family – making our own tacos to assert our personalities and experimenting with spices, meats and fresh ingredients to excite the tastebuds.  (Food fights optional).

weekly meal plan

So when I created this plan, I’ve slotted in two Mexican-inspired nights.  As an ambassador I’ll be developing recipes using Old El Paso dinner kits.  I promise to be creative and share our new recipes on UrbanMommies and Pinterest. In the meantime head over to the Old El Paso Facebook page and see how they’re experimenting. Happy eating amigos!

What recipes would you like to see in each of our nightly categories?

Disclosure – I am participating in the Old El Paso Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills, and received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.


Mexi Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

EAT, family meals By December 6, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

When the Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook arrived at the UrbanMommies offices we got very excited!  It is often difficult to find great recipes for vegetarians.  This Mexican inspired meatless Shepherd’s Pie is packed with healthy ingredients and huge flavour.

recipe developed by Amy Snider-Whitson, PHEc

2lb (1kg) sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and pierced all over with a fork
1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, no salt added, well rinsed and drained
1 cup (250 mL) cooked quinoa made with water (see pages 5–6)
1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn, no need to thaw
1 cup (250 mL) mild or medium salsa, deli-style
1/4 cup (60 mL) light sour cream
1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp (1mL) freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1/4 cup (60 mL) thinly sliced green onion or chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the sweet potatoes for 60 minutes, or until tender. Alternatively, microwave at high for 8 to 12 minutes. Cool until easy to handle.

Lightly grease an 8­cup (2 L) baking dish with canola oil or line with wet parchment paper (see page 10). Set aside.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the black beans, cooked quinoa, corn and salsa until well combined. Remove from heat.

Pour into the prepared pan. If you used a microwave to cook the sweet potatoes, at this point preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Meanwhile, cut the cooled sweet potatoes in half and scrape out the flesh. Discard the skins. Mash the sweet potato well with the sour cream. Stir in the cilantro. Season with pepper if desired.

For a rustic look (as in the photo), spoon the sweet potato mixture over the quinoa mixture in heaping teaspoonfuls. (If you like more conformity, spoon on and spread out.)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Sprinkle top of the casserole with green onion or cilantro (if using) to garnish.

Makes 6 cups (1.5L) • One serving = 1 1/2cups(375mL)

Nutrition per serving (1 1/2 cups/375 mL)

413 calories, 2 mg cholesterol, 13 g fibre, 1 g saturated fat, 75 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 6 g total fat, 544 mg sodium, 24 g sugars

Excellent source of vitamins A and C


Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Uncategorized By September 1, 2006 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Fall SoupWith the weather cooling and everyone gearing up for the winter, we thought it was appropriate to share one of our favourite tummy warming dishess: Roasted Red Pepper Soup. A big warm bowl with a chunk of fresh bread is the perfect chilly evening meal.

  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 Stalk of celery
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp chervil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 ½ cups chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream

Easy September recipe for new momsSauté the onion in butter for 5 mins, covered.  Add celery; sauté 5 minutes more.  Add peppers, sauté 5 to 6 minutes, and then add spices.  Turn heat to low, sprinkle evenly with flour; mix well.

Add chicken stock, bring back to boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes with lid partially covering pot.  Puree with either a hand mixer or food processor.  Add salt & pepper to taste, and whisk in cream. Voila!