September is here – one of my favourite times of the year in the produce section! You get the best of both worlds: the peak of summer produce like tomatoes and peppers, but also new Ontario apples and squash hinting at the beginning of fall.
As excited as I am to start making apple crisp and roasted butternut squash, I always want to make sure I fully enjoy the last of summer’s produce first. Caprese salads, buttered corn on the cob, juicy peaches eaten over the kitchen sink, and this roasted red pepper and tomato soup. This soup is one I’ve been making every September for the past few years as a sort of last hurrah to summer. Served with a grilled cheese sandwich, it’s the perfect dinner for those chilly late summer evenings!
1.5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, no salt added
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ tsp salt, or more to taste
¼ cup 18% cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the red pepper, tomato, onion, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Remove from oven and let cool.
Once cool enough to touch, slip off the skins of the tomatoes, red pepper, and garlic. Add to a large, high speed blender along with the onion and broth. Blend until smooth.
Pour soup into a medium to large pot and add the rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5 minutes to let the flavour of the rosemary infuse into the soup.
Season with salt before dividing into bowls. Stir a tablespoon of cream into each bowl if desired.
Small batch stovetop baked beans that take just 10 minutes to make! High in fibre and protein, this is a healthy and easy dinner for two.
I’m starting to get that itch to buy a house. Figures I would want to buy a house now, when the housing market is absolutely redonkulous. Seriously, I was on a bike ride in my hometown Burlington (we want to move back there eventually), and an average-looking bungalow was going for a million dollars. A freaking million! We’re doomed.
Luckily we’re not planning on moving back to Burlington quite yet, so buying a house is on hold for now. But man, could we ever use the extra space. And by “we” I mostly mean “me”. My side of the closet? Stuffed full. My cookbook shelf? Overflowing. Our freezer? Jam packed.
So when I was craving baked beans last month (whoops, it’s taken me a while to get around to posting this), I didn’t want to make my standard recipe because the leftovers wouldn’t even fit in our freezer right now. But I also didn’t want to turn on the oven for 3 hours to just make a small batch. Enter my idea to make small batch stovetop baked beans that is the perfect size to serve just two people. And better yet, you can make it in just 10 minutes!
So until we get a house with room for a deep freezer (and a Wolf gas range, two ovens, and while we’re at it, a walk-in closet too), I’ll be enjoying these easy small batch stovetop baked beans without having to worry about storing leftovers.
My dad makes the most beautiful lasagna you’ll ever lay your eyes on. With layers of noodles, ground beef, homemade marinara, homemade bechamel, and cheese, it’s a sight to behold. It’s also usually a multi-day process to make. Maybe if I was newly retired like he is or a full time food blogger I’d make it myself, but as a working woman trying to stay active, have a social life, and somehow keep up with this blog, ain’t got no time for that.
Enter my easy peasy healthy vegetarian lasagna rolls that can be whipped up in under an hour! I skip the homemade bechamel in lieu of ricotta and cottage cheese. You could use entirely ricotta cheese, but I like swapping in some cottage cheese to beef up the protein in this meatless meal. I also use (gasp) jarred marinara sauce. I know I often advocate for cooking from scratch, but sometimes convenience trumps that. Look for a jarred sauce with no added sugar in the ingredients and as little sodium as possible. Under 5% DV for sodium per serving is the ideal, but the lowest I’ve been able to find is 7% DV in Mediterranean Gardens marinara sauce (not sponsored, I just like this brand!). Still not too shabby when them norm for pasta sauce is often double that!
The result is a fast dinner that’s as convenient as it is healthy. I’ve made this numerous times for John and recently for a class on family meals at work, where it got the thumbs up from parents and kids alike. Pair it with a side salad to make half your plate vegetables and enjoy its cheesy goodness!
These vegetarian lasagna rolls are a speedy alternative to lasagna for an easy and healthy dinner!
Author: Chelsea Allen
Yield: 4 servings
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
10 oz full fat ricotta cheese
6 oz cottage cheese (or more ricotta cheese)
2 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
6 oz frozen spinach, defrosted with excess water squeezed out
1 large egg
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
2 cups marinara sauce (I love Mediterranean Gardens marinara)
4 oz mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your lasagna noodles according to the package directions (note: you may need to cook them in two batches).
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, 2 oz mozzarella cheese, spinach, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Once your noodles are finished cooking, lay them out on a wire rack. Once cool enough to touch, divide the cheese mixture amongst the noodles, spreading it across their entire length.
Roll up the noodles and place in a baking dish (I used a 9x9 dish and managed to squeeze them all in) with ½ cup marinara sauce spread over the bottom. Spoon the other 1.5 cups marinara on top of the rolls then top with the shredded mozzarella.
Bake for 15-20 minutes and finish them off for 1-2 minutes under the broiler to brown the cheese (keep a close eye on them when broiling!).
What are your best tricks for making speedy weeknight dinners?
Welcome to Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen! I'm Chelsea, a Waterloo, Ontario area Registered Dietitian, cooking class instructor, and advocate for the enjoyment of food. This blog is a collection of my recipes, food adventures, and nutrition musings.