Meal Planning and Shopping 101
Pre-Shop: Map it out!
- Decide how much you time you have for prep & cooking
- Calendar time for cooking
- Make a simple menu template and a grocery list
- Produce: Choose more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables; ready to eat options can save time (cherry tomatoes, whole fruit, baby carrots)
- Protein: Look for options that for your budget, diet preferences and are minimally processed. Hidden Gems: nutritious, economical foods like grains, low sodium canned goods, oats, and nuts can be found in the aisles.
- Be Savvy: Hit the sales, choose no name options, and know what’s in season! Try swapping a high cost vegetable for a lower cost or frozen one in main dishes.
At Home: Prep ASAP after you shop! Take 5, 15, or 45 minutes.
- 5 min: Wash produce before storing or portion some snacks
- 15 min: Prep produce, pre-cook rice/quinoa, hard boil eggs, prep hummus with veggie packs or yogurt parfaits.
- 45 min: Batch prepare or cook a meal (double the recipe and freeze 1/2 for later), make a grain or bean salad, homemade muffins or granola bars.
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp milk or cream of choice or water
- 1 cup leftover vegetables
- 1/2 cup grated or crumbled cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Leftover spaghetti
- If you have leftover meat, dice and add as well
- Mix egg with either water or liquid dairy of your choice in bowl, season with salt and pepper.
- Use non-stick or cast-iron fry pan to sauté diced potato first, when potatoes are soft remove from pan and reserve.
In same fry pan sauté onion / garlic / pepper until tender, now add spinach and basil and mix until slightly wilted, season with salt and pepper.
Now in a clean pan sauté left-over spaghetti, add to pan previously cooked potato/vegetable mix and add egg mixture and cheese.
Baked Mac & Cheese
Chef Daniel, REV
- 16 oz. Cooked Scoobi noodles or other tubular pasta
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 10 tbsp Salted butter
- 1/3 cup All-purpose flour
- 3 cups 2% Milk
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 4 cups Shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups Shredded Swiss cheese
- ½ cup Shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp Smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 4 tbsp fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350F. lightly grease a large baking dish.
- Cook the pasta one minute shy of al dente according to package instruction. Cool off and set aside.
- Drizzle pasta with the oil and stir to coat the pasta.
- Melt 6 tbsp butter in a deep saucepan.
- Whisk in flour over low heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute until nice and golden.
- Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until nice and smooth.
- Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another 2 cups of shredded cheese and continue whisking until smooth. Sauce should be nice and thick.
- Stir in cook pasta until combine until pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce.
- Pour half of the pasta into the baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese and remaining pasta.
- In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, parmesan, 4 tbsp of melted butter and paprika.
- Sprinkle Panko mix over top and baked until bubbly and golden brown.
Dietitian Tip Mac & Cheese: Mac & Cheese is the ultimate cozy comfort food! Boost fibre by using a wholegrain noodle or tossing in some broccoli. For extra protein, consider adding a can of tuna, chickpeas or leftover chicken.
Beef & Pasta Skillet
Chef Sean, The Market at CMH
- 1lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb button mushrooms, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 x 500g box pasta, cooked
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, for serving
- Cook beef, onion, mushrooms and garlic in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown. Drain of any excess grease, Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta.
- Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat and simmer 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add cooked pasta to mixture and combine well, remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan for serving.
Dietitian Tip: Toss in any extra veggies you have on hand with this dish to reduce food waste in your fridge and add some extra nutrients to your dinner!
Egg Roll in a Bowl
Chef Denise, Cash Operations
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 package coleslaw mix (454 g)
- ¼ cup shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Coconut Aminos)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha (or to taste)
- 4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Place a large wok or skillet on the stove over medium heat.
- Add oil. Add onions and sauté for about 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook for about one minute, stirring the whole time.
- Add the ground beef to the onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook beef until brown and no longer pink and juices run clear.
- Empty the bag of coleslaw mix and shredded carrots to the ground beef.
- Cook with the ground beef until the cabbage is wilted and carrots are softened.
- Pour in the soy sauce, vinegar, and sriracha. Stir.
- Garnish with chopped green onions, more sriracha, and sesame seeds. Serve hot!
Tips to Customize your Bowl:
- Protein: Swap Beef for Sausage, Ground Pork, turkey or chicken, or veggie ground round!
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce gives this recipe a lot of flavor. You can use tamari or coconut aminos, for a gluten-free alternative.
- Rice Vinegar: Often combined with soy sauce in Asian dishes, it is sweeter than most other vinegar. If you don’t have it, use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar as a substitute.
- Sriracha: Sriracha is a unique hot sauce often used in Asian dishes. If you don’t have it, you can use another type of chili garlic sauce or any type of hot sauce you like. Adjust the amount to your spice preference!
Dietitian Tip Eggroll in a bowl: This is a great winter recipe using low cost and accessible winter veggies like cabbage, carrots and onion! Save even more money by shredding your own veggies for this dish. You can also swap the ground meat for a vegetarian alternative like crumbled tofu, veggie ground, or beans.
Chef Mark, Catering
- 1 1/3 cup black lentils, dry
- 1/2 cup kidney beans, dry
- 1 1/4 cup (9 oz) tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Cherry tomato, cilantro and grated ginger (for garnish)
- Soak dry beans and lentils in cold water over night.
- Cook beans and lentils in ample water until tender at low heat. When Fully cooked drain the beans to the point they only have a little moisture left.
- Once lentils are cooked add the tomato, butter, ginger and garlic and continue to cook low and slow for 15-20 min.
- In a separate pan heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil and toast cumin seeds, then add the onion and chili powder. Simmer until cooked, and reserve. Add to main pot 3 minutes before serving.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with cherry tomato, cilantro, soft butter and fresh grated ginger.
Dietition Tip: Dal is a great way to pack in fibre and antioxidants on a cold winter day! You’ll get plant-based protein and fibre from the lentils and kidney beans. Tomatoes, ginger and cumin area great source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Fun Food Fact:
- Dals are thick purée-like stew or soup made from lentils – one of the most adaptable ingredients in any Indian kitchen! Dal is a very versatile dish that can be kept simple and basic or featured as an extravagant dish.
This particular recipe was adapted from: "From India" by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan.
Chef Rob, Catering
- 1 Large Naan
- 100ml BBQ Sauce
- 200g Mozzarella Cheese
- 100g Pulled Chicken
- 10-12 Pieces of Sliced Mushroom
- 1/8 of an Onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp Frozen Corn
- Preheat oven to 450 (Place a bake sheet in the oven in the middle when you turn it on)
- Place naan on parchment paper (if you have a piece) or a bake sheet upside down(so you can slide it onto the one heating in the oven)
- Spread BBQ sauce on naan. Leave a ½” gap from the edge for your crust
- Add half the mozzarella
- Add toppings
- Finish with remaining cheese
- Slide onto heated baking sheet in oven
- Cook for 12 minutes
- After 10 minutes in the oven turn the oven from ‘bake’ to ‘grill’ for remaining 2 minutes (add a minute at the end if you want a deeper bubbly cheese finish)
- Remove from oven to a cooling rack
- Slide onto a cutting board (or fold in half lengthwise) and cut into 6 pieces
Chef Kylie, V1
Master Overnight Oats Recipe
- 1/2 cup rolled oats or quick oats
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 8 tsp dried cranberries
- 8 tsp raisins
- 8 tsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp mixed berries
- Measure out all ingredients.
- Mix all ingredients and let sit covered in refrigerator overnight.
- Top oatmeal with desired toppings- fresh fruit, nut butter, flax seed, chia seed, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, dried fruit, nuts…
- Try different combinations to mimic some of your favourite flavours, here are some more ideas:
- Pumpkin Spice: Pureed pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, hemp, and pumpkin seeds
- Apple Pie: Diced apple, apple butter, vanilla yogurt, cinnamon, pecans, or ground flax
- Carrot Cake: Shredded carrots, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, walnuts
Overnight Oats: These overnight oats pack a serious nutritional punch with chia & pumpkin seeds, and cranberries. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, iron and magnesium which help support muscles and bones, chia adds an extra fiber boost, and the dried fruits are both a natural sweetener and a great source of the antioxidant vitamin C! Make these on Sunday night for an easy weekday breakfast or snack on the go.
Tallarin Saltado con Pollo
- 1 large potato, cut into fries
- Vegetable oil (as needed)
- 1 large chicken breast, sliced into strips (1/4" thick)
- 1 red onion, sliced into strips
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and sliced in strips
- 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fry potatoes in pan with a little vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl whisk together soy sauce, vinegar and cumin. Set aside.
- In a frying pan with vegetable oil on high heat, cook the chicken. Brown on one side, flip and cook for additional 2 minutes or until cooked.
- Stir in onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 1 minute longer.
- Stir in soy sauce mixture. Turn off heat and toss with french fries. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Swap chicken for any tender cut of meat you like! Beef also works well.
- You can swap potatoes for noodles or another starch if you prefer in this recipe.
- For a healthier option, try roasting potatoes in the oven, use a non-stick frying pan, and keep vegetable oil to 2-3 tsp total.