How to Be a Sauce Boss

These awesome sauces can be served on pasta, rice, or even meat dishes or mashed potatoes… the possibilities are really exciting 😉

Butternut Squash Sauce with Sage

Butternut Squash Sauce.jpg

(Source: FoodNetwork)

This gorgeous golden sauce packs a powerful nutritional punch, with lots of vitamins! You can also try this recipe with pumpkin instead of butternut squash–either way, this is a fantastic and very inexpensive fall recipe to try this year.

Serves: ~6

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (we will explain how in this recipe!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: Cheese

Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 6 sage leaves, cut into thin strips

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Microwave
  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Blender

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare butternut squash: wash the outside of the squash. Cut off the top “stem”. Microwave on a microwave-safe dish for ~5 minutes, or until you can pierce easily with a fork. THE SQUASH WILL BE VERY HOT!! You can either wait for the squash to cool, or dunk it in a LARGE BOWL OF ICE WATER to help speed up the cooling. Then you can peel the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the insides, and cut the flesh into ~1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic.
  3. Add squash and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaf, nutmeg, sage, and chicken broth.
  5. Cover the pan and cook for 8 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  6. Puree the sauce with a blender until smooth.
  7. Serve over pasta of choice–pictured here is gnocchi!
  8. Add cheese of your choice.

Easy Marinara Sauce

Marinara.jpg

Marinara is a classic tomato-based sauce that you can make in huge batches and store in the fridge in jars or freeze in zippered freezer bags. Making your own can take some time, but it’s a great way to cut down on salt (also known as sodium) in your diet. You could also select “low sodium” or “no sodium added” varieties of pre-made sauce, but nothing really tastes quite as good as homemade! Adding lentils, canned beans, ground meat, or canned tuna can complete this meal with a great source of protein.

Serves: ~4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • Optional: 1/2 cup lentils or 1 can tuna
  • Pasta of your choice
  • Drizzle of oil of your choice to grease the pan

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, diced

Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Bowl
  • Refrigerator
  • Saucepan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes with their juice. Crush and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in seasoning and lentils/tuna (if desired), and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Healthy Spaghetti Sauce Boosts

If you do want to use pre-made tomato/pasta sauce, adding lentils will boost protein without much additional cost. Lentils provide more than just protein–they are also a source of iron, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium. As always, you can add as much of any veggies you would like: 1/2 a package of frozen spinach or 1 can of drained mushrooms would also be delicious in this sauce!

Serves: 3-4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 can/jar of regular pasta sauce
  • 1/2 can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp oil (canola or olive)

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced (OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 small onion, chopped

Seasoning

  • Optional: 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning (or oregano +/- basil +/- parsley)

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Grater (for the carrot)
  • Saucepan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, stirring, until sizzling.
  2. Add carrot (or other vegetables), lentils, and pasta sauce.
  3. Add the seasonings, if desired.
  4. Heat through until all ingredients are mixed and sauce is hot (bubbling slightly). Pour over prepared pasta and serve. Feel free to add some cheese!

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce.jpg

(Source: FoodNetwork)

This creamy, silky sauce is absolutely scrumptious over any pasta, and goes wonderfully with chicken. You can use any type of mushroom you like–button mushrooms are the least expensive, but feel free to use portobello, cremini, or any other type of mushroom. You can always mix and match! If you’re not a fan of leeks (or just don’t have any at home), you can use an onion instead.

If you want a super-fast version of this sauce (even though it won’t be the same), try using a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup with only ~1/4-1/2 a can of milk, and let it simmer over low heat to allow the sauce to thicken. Then you can serve over pasta or anything else of your choice.

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 sage leaves, chopped
  • 6oz mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 1/2 leek, roughly chopped

Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped leeks, garlic, and sage, and cook until leeks soften (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Pour in cream and heat slowly. DO NOT “scald” the cream–keep stirring until bubbles begin to form, then bring the heat down (or remove from the heat) and continue to stir as the sauce thickens.
  5. Serve with pasta of your choice.
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Boats of Oats, Oats, Oats…

Oats.jpg

Oats can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes. For sweet recipes, add a pinch of brown sugar and top with your favourite fruit (e.g. bananas, frozen blueberries). For a quick savoury dish, mix with spinach, butternut squash, corn, carrots, peas, etc.

There are different kinds of oats, too. These include: steel cut oats vs. rolled oats vs. quick/instant oats. These names refer to different cuts of the oatmeal, and each have different cooking times (read packages carefully!). Steel cut cook the slowest, and quick/instant oats cook the fastest. Adjust cooking time based on the oats used.

Savoury Oatmeal with Spinach

Serves: ~2

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1/4 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 cup tomato/marinara sauce
  • 1 cup water

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • Optional: 1/3 cup ground beef

Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Pot and pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil water and stir in oats. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. Optional: Brown (cook) beef in a separate pan (if using).
  3. Cook oats for about 5 minutes, then taste-test. They should be about halfway done (not fully tender and not fully thickened).
  4. Stir in spinach and continue to simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until spinach is thawed and oats are preferred chewiness.
  5. Stir in marinara, finished beef, salt, and pepper. Cook another 1-2 minutes to evenly heat.

Savoury Oatmeal with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese

Serves: ~1 (but you can always increase ingredients to make more!)

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2/3 cup water

Fresh/Frozen

  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2oz cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 fried egg (however you like it!)

Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Pot and pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer bacon to small bowl and set aside. (Tip: line the bowl with some paper towel to help absorb excess oil)
  4. Add onion to oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to turn brown (about 3 minutes).
  5. Stir in oats, water, salt, and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer until oats are tender (about 5 minutes).
  7. Turn off heat and stir in bacon and cheese.
  8. Transfer to a large bowl and top with a fried egg and more black pepper, if desired.

A Cornucopia of Corn Recipes!

Corn is easy to add to any recipe–throw it in a pot of chili, mix it with a bowl of soup, or sprinkle it on eggs for breakfast… whether it’s fresh, frozen, or canned, the possibilities are endless!!

Sauteed Corn and Tomatoes

Quick, simple and easy, this recipe can be used as a sauce or a side.

Serves: ~2

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw!)

Seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Pan or skillet

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium-low heat and sautee garlic for about 1 minute, or until softened.
  2. Add diced tomatoes (with the juices) to the pan, along with basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir to combine and bring heat up to medium.
  3. Allow skillet to simmer for about 1 minute, or until most of the juices have evaporated and the mixture has thickened.
  4. Add the frozen corn to the skillet and stir to combine. Heat thoroughly (about 3-5 minutes).

Black Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad

Salads are super easy to throw together and you can add more or less of each ingredient depending on what’s available (and what you like!). You can store this salad in the fridge for 4-5 days (will stay fresher if you store the salad and the dressing separately).

Serves: ~4-6

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1-2 cups canned corn (could substitute with fresh or frozen!)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Fresh/Frozen

  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • Optional: 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (lemon would work too!)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (can use more or less depending on how spicy you like your food)

Seasoning

  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook or rinse corn according to instructions.
  2. Combine corn, black beans, tomatoes, and avocado in a large bowl. (Feel free to add any other vegetables you may have lying around, like carrots, cucumber, peppers, celery, etc.)
  3. In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, lime juice, ground cumin, jalapeno, and salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables.
  4. Mix well and serve.

Corn and Cheddar Chowder

For a hot, satisfying dinner on a chilly day, whip up some of this quick chowder!

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can (12oz) corn, drained

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (if you don’t have this available, you could also use cheese slices or 1/2 cup of Cheeze Whiz)

Seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Large saucepan/pot

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan/pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, saute until they begin to soften. Add carrots and potatoes, and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add flour and stir well until mixed completely with the butter. Gradually add chicken/vegetable broth and milk.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  4. Turn down cooking temperature to low and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add corn, cheese, salt, and pepper, then continue stirring and cooking until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

Colourful Beet & White Bean Salad

Beet Bean Salad

This gorgeous salad might look too good to eat, but we assure you that it is FABULOUS to eat. You can serve on its own or on top of mixed greens (e.g. spinach, arugula, etc.).

Serves ~4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 (16oz) can of whole beets (or equivalent quantity of beets from a jar), well drained and each cut in half
  • 1 (15oz) can of white kidney beans (cannellini)

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled blue cheese, or other hard, pungent cheese
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (including walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.)

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Small bowl for dressing (tip: you could also use a small jar with a well-fitting lid, so you can shake your way to a perfect dressing!)
  • Medium bowl for salad

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare dressing: in small bowl (or jar), combine cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and sugar. Gradually add olive oil until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Prepare salad: in large bowl, combine beets and white kidney beans; toss with dressing.
  3. To serve: serve in bowl and top with crumbled cheese and nuts.

Beans, Beans, the Wonderful Fruit…

More delicious legume recipes to enjoy as soon as possible! 😉

Cheesy Macaroni, Tomatoes, and Beans

This dish takes a little more prep and cooking time than some of our other suggestions, but it’s well worth the wait! For a faster version, you can cover the casserole dish (with something microwave safe, NOT tin foil) and microwave on high for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves: ~6

INGREDIENTS

Non-Perishables

  • 1 cup macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 can kidney or Romano beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp canola oil

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water

Seasoning

  • Optional: 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 3 tsp chili powder (or to taste)

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Large (2L) casserole dish
  • Frying pan
  • Oven or microwave

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spray a large (about 2L) casserole dish with non-stick coating (or brush on some oil or margarine).
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes (or until soft). Transfer to the prepared casserole dish.
  4. Add beans, macaroni, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper to casserole dish. Stir well.
  5. Cover and bake in 350F oven for 45 minutes or until macaroni is tender. May need to add some water if the macaroni gets dry.

Tomato Bean Pasta Sauce

(Because seriously, you can never go wrong with pasta, right?) You can keep this in covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months (zipper-lock freezer bags work well).

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 can red kidney or Romano beans, mashed
  • 1 can (5.5oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (~500mL) vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp oil (canola or olive)

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 6 mushrooms, chopped

Seasonings

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Optional: 1 tsp each thyme, basil, oregano, OR 2 tsp Italian Seasoning

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Saucepan/pot

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a saucepan/pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms (optional), stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft.
  2. Optional: Stir in thyme, basil, oregano, (or Italian Seasoning) and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, beans, and stock until well-mixed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve immediately over pasta or rice.

White Kidney Bean and Tomato Casserole

A simple meal for two (or for one, with leftovers for lunch the next day!) that you can whip up in minutes! You can have it hot or cold, with a side of salad greens!

Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 tbsp oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, with seeds removed and coarsely chopped
  • Optional: 1 small green pepper, diced

Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp basil
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Saucepan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, tomato, and green pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in basil, oregano, kidney beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes or until heated through and flavours blend.
  4. Stir in parsley (optional).

Black [Bean] Magic!

Canned black beans are packed with fibre, so they can help you stay full and maintain a healthy bowel. They are also high in protein, making them a good meat substitute that can be used to make many delicious recipes!
Black Bean Brownies
Black Bean Brownies
Surprise! Black beans aren’t just for savoury dishes–they are often substituted for flour to make some healthy desserts! Try them in your next chocolate cake or in these mouthwatering brownies.
Serves: ~4
INGREDIENTS
– 1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
– 3 tbsp cocoa powder
– 1/2 cup quick oats
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips
COOKING TOOLS
– Oven
– Food processor or good blender, or a potato masher and lots of elbow grease 😉
– Greased 8×8 inch pan
DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in the food processor (or really good blender); blend until smooth.
3) Stir in chocolate chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 inch pan
4) Optional: Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top
5) Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into bars/squares.
Cuban Black Bean Soup
Black Bean Soup
Nothing satisfies quite like hot soup on a cold or drizzly day.
Serves: ~4
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables
– 3 (15oz) can black beans; 2 undrained, 1 drained and rinsed
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 can chicken broth (+1 can water)
– 1 can chili style stewed tomatoes, undrained
Fresh/Frozen
– 1 onion, diced
– 4 garlic cloves, minced (can substitute garlic powder or granulated garlic)
Seasoning
– 1 tsp ground cumin
– Salt and pepper to taste
COOKING TOOLS
– Medium-sized pot
– Wooden spoon
– Blender
DIRECTIONS
1) In a medium-sized pot, heat olive oil at medium heat.
2) Add onion, 1 can of the black beans, cumin, and minced garlic to pot. Cook until softened (4-5 minutes).
3) Place 2 cans of the undrained beans, tomatoes, and broth in the blender and blend until pureed (smooth).
4) Add puree to the pot and bring to a boil.
5) Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Black Bean, Corn, and Zucchini Quesadillas
Quesadillas
These quesadillas are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!
Serves: ~4
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables
– 1 tsp canola oil
– 1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh/Frozen
– 2 cups diced zucchini
– 1 (10oz) package frozen whole-kernel corn (can substitute canned whole-kernel corn)
– 4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
– 2 cups (8oz) shredded reduced-fat cheese of choice, divided between 4
Seasoning
– Optional: 1 cup salsa, divided between 4
– Optional: 1 cup guacamole, divided between 4
– Optional: 1 cup sour cream, divided between 4
COOKING TOOLS
– Pan or skillet (large, non-stick)
– Spatula
DIRECTIONS
1) Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
2) Add zucchini and corn; saute for 5 minutes (or until vegetables are tender).
3) Remove from heat and stir in beans.
4) Place whole-wheat tortilla onto pan, and layer vegetable mixture over half the tortilla. Layer approximately 2oz of cheese over vegetable mixture. Fold other half of tortilla to form a semi-circle.
5) Let heat for 1 minute (or until cheese is melted).
6) Repeat with 3 other tortillas.
7) Cut each half-circle into 3 pieces, then serve with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole
Spicy Mango Pizza with Black Beans and Zucchini
Mango Black Bean Pizza.jpg
Another quick and delicious weeknight dinner recipe!
Serves: ~2-4
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables
– 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
Fresh/Frozen
– 1 prepared pizza crust (or 10-inch flour tortilla)
– 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella or jalapeno cheese blend
– 1/2 cup sliced mango
– 1 green onion, sliced
Seasoning
– 3/4 cup medium or hot salsa
COOKING TOOLS
– Oven
– Large round baking pan
DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 350F (or as otherwise indicated on pizza crust package).
2) Place crust on baking sheet and spread salsa onto it, leaving a 2-inch border on all sides
3) Top with cheese, zucchini, mango, and beans.
4) Bake according to crust instructions (usually 12-15 minutes).
5) Top with green onions prior to serving.

Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a satisfying macaroni and cheese, and this doesn’t require a box of Kraft Dinner!
Serves: ~6
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables:
– 4 cups elbow macaroni pasta
– 4 tbsp Flour
– Optional: Crushed corn flakes
– Optional: Grated parmesan cheese topping
Fresh or frozen:
– 1 1/2 cups milk
– 1 1/2 cup grated cheese
– 4 tbsp butter or margarine
Seasonings:
– Pepper
– Garlic
– Optional: Italian seasoning
COOKING TOOLS
– Casserole dish/baking dish
– Large pot
DIRECTIONS
1) Boil the pasta until it is just tender (al dente). Drain well.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3) In the large pot over medium heat, melt some butter/margarine until completely liquid, then add an equal amount of flour (usually about 4 tbsp of each). Stir well with a fork or wooden spoon until smooth and lump-free. Continue to let the mixture heat for a minute to cook away the “raw” taste of the flour.
4) Add milk and seasonings, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
5) Add seasonings and half of the grated cheese.
6) Stir in the drained pasta.
7) Spoon all of the pasta into the casserole dish/baking dish.
8) Top with the other half of the grated cheese and grated parmesan and crushed cornflakes, if desired.
9) Bake for ~15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.
10) Let cool for ~5 minutes before serving.