By Kathryn S.
Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins
These delicious muffins are an easy treat to make for on-the go. They have no butter, so they are also super healthy. If you choose to use frozen berries, be warned that the muffins will turn a light lilac shade. Also, if you’re using frozen, I would add an extra half cup of blueberries to get more taste out of them.
Makes 2 dozen muffins
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup Poppy seeds
8 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with muffin liners.
In a medium/large bowl, whisk together the flour, 3/4 of a cup of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and cinnamon. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer or hand blender gently whisk together the milk, eggs, canola oil, vanilla, ricotta cheese and the juice and zest of a lemon in a large bowl.
Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix until incorporated, but try not to over mix.
Fold in the blueberries and poppy seeds.
Using an electric mixer or a hand blender, beat the cream cheese and the remaining cup of sugar together until creamy. Gently fold the cream cheese and sugar into the blueberry muffin batter.
Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way full with your muffin batter.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees, turning your muffin tin once halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffins should come out clean when done.
Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator
Pasta With Asparagus and Fresh Tomatoes
This dish is super easy and is perfect for those nights were you don’t have time to make an elaborate seven-course meal. It’s easily adjusted too, so if someone in your family doesn’t like asparagus or peas you can easily swap them out for your vegetable of choice.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
8 ounces of your favourite pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 cup peas
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer for about 3 minutes.
Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped basil.
Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto
This hearty dish isn’t actually real risotto because it uses barley instead of rice, but it takes almost identical to traditional mushroom-cheese rissotos. It’s surprisingly easy to prepare and is super delicious. It is definitely something you must try this spring.
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 3-4 hours
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 ounce of dried mushrooms (I used porcinis and morels)
1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved (or quartered if large)
1 1/2 cups barley
2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 Parmesan rind plus 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
2 large bay leaves
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup tightly packed parsley
1 garlic clove
Skin of a lemon
Bring 2 cups of the vegetable broth to a boil and soak the dried mushrooms in the hot broth for about 10 minutes. Drain the porcinis and reserve the soaking liquid. Grate the soaked mushrooms.
Combine the grated porcinis, creminis, farro, leek, Parmesan rind, bay leaves, nutmeg, a generous dash of salt, and a bit of black pepper in a slow cooker. Pour in the porcini soaking liquid, being sure to not pour in any of the grit that may have settled to the bottom.
Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours. You can check to see if it’s done if the barley is soft, but not mushy. If you are able to, add the rest of the vegetable stock while it is cooking, if not, add it when you add everything else.
Before serving, blend the parsley, garlic and lemon skin in a food processor and set aside.
When ready to serve, discard the Parmesan rind and bay leaves. Add the butter and grated Parmesan. Serve the mushrooms with the parsley mixture and additional Parmesan sprinkled on top.
Yummy Chicken Bake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Skinless chicken breasts chopped into 2 inch cubes
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 medium sized potatoes peeled and chopped into 2 inch cubes
Red and yellow peppers sliced into 1 inch pieces.
1 onion sliced
1/3 cup fresh basil
4 garlic cloves sliced thinly
1.5 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
5 large carrots, chopped into circles
Ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add chicken, potatoes, veggies (except asparagus), basil, garlic, chicken broth and olive oil to a large baking dish. Sprinkle with rosemary and pepper.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes.
For the last twenty minutes of baking, boil the asparagus.
Remove everything from the oven and stove and mix the asparagus in with your cooked vegetables and chicken.