It’s Peanut Butter-Jelly Granola Bar Time!

Peanut butter is a convenient (and very kid-friendly) way of adding some nutrition to your daily diet! Eaten in moderation (read: small amounts at a time), it is a good source of healthy fats, protein, fibre, and vitamins–all of which help boost your energy and immune system. Opt for low-sugar and lower-fat peanut butters when you can!

PBJ Bars.jpg

(Source: Leanne Brown’s “Good and Cheap” Cookbook)

These bars are great for a quick but nutritious on-the-go breakfast or snack, and better for you than store-bought granola bars!

Makes ~12 bars

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 3 cups oats (or 2 cups of oats with 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Fresh/Frozen

  • Butter or vegetable oil

Seasonings/Add-ins

  • 1/2 cup jelly/jam of your choice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, dried fruit, honey

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Baking pan
  • Large bowl
  • Small pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Use butter or oil to grease the baking pan.
  3. Pour oats into a large bowl.
  4. Add peanut butter and half of the jelly, hot water, and salt into a small pan. Stir over low heat until smooth.
  5. Mix the peanut butter and jelly mixture into the oats until the oats are evenly coated.
  6. Pour mixture into the oiled pan and press into an even layer.
  7. Spread remaining jelly on top.
  8. Put the baking pan into the oven and bake for 25 minutes (or until toasty brown around the edges).
  9. Leave the bars in the pan until cooled completely (approximately 1 hour). Slice into separate bars.

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.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Banana and oatmeal are a match made in heaven. Enjoy these yummy muffins for breakfast or as a snack–kids love them, and they’ll love helping out in the kitchen, too!

Makes ~12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 1/2 cups white or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • Cooking spray or oil to grease the muffin pan

Fresh/Frozen

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup milk (any milk of your choice–soy, almond, rice, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Optional: 1/2 cup grated carrots or zucchini
  • Optional: 1 cup blueberries or walnuts

Seasoning

  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • 12-cup muffin pan
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Oven

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas very well, then stir in applesauce, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. At this point, you can fold in the optional ingredients (berries, nuts, carrots, zucchini).
  5. Pour batter evenly into 12 muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each muffin comes out clean.

(Recipe from: http://re-play.com/blogs/show-tell/18901567-sugar-free-banana-oatmeal-muffins-kids-will-love)

Oatmeal Pancakes

Want a more interesting breakfast than just plain old oatmeal? Try these pancake recipes!

Plain Oatmeal Pancakes

These pancakes are delicious and high in fibre!

Serves: ~2

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1/2 cup quick oats

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk (could be any variety–soy, almond, rice…)
  • Butter, margarine, or oil to grease frying pan

Seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Large bowl
  • Frying pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and use a spoon to mix thoroughly. Let sit 1-2 minutes.
  2. Heat frying pan over medium heat, with a small amount of oil or butter on the bottom.
  3. Spoon batter into frying pan, making 2-4 evenly sized pancakes.
  4. Cook on each side until lightly brown.

Oatmeal Cottage Cheese Pancakes

You can top these pancakes with anything you like–maple or table syrup, fruit (e.g. bananas, fresh or frozen berries), jam…

Serves: ~2

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1/2 cup (40g) quick oats
  • Oil or cooking spray for frying pan

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 4 egg whites

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp vanilla

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Blender
  • Skillet or frying pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Spray skillet with cooking spray or grease with oil.
  3. Spoon small, even spoonfuls of batter onto pan, careful to leave lots of space between them.
  4. Cook on each side until lightly brown.

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.

Lentil Soup

Lentils are high in protein and fibre and low in fat. They are also a great source of iron and other vitamins as well!

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 tbsp oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Seasoning

  • Optional: thyme (dried or fresh)
  • Optional: 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Medium pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Optional: Blender

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrots, and minced garlic. Cook until softened (about 4-5 minutes).
  3. Add lentils, stock, herbs (thyme, bay leaves) to pot.
  4. Bring to a boil and turn the heat to low to simmer.
  5. Simmer for 25-30 minutes (until lentils are softened).
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Blend in small batches, if desired.

Fruit Crumble

Fruit Crumble.jpg

If you’ve got a bunch of regular soda crackers on the verge of going stale, why not make this healthy, tasty dessert? (Here we suggest using cranberries in sauce, but you could use a (348mL) can of drained fruit cocktail, or 3 small apples, diced with skins on.)

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 (796mL) can pears, drained and chopped into pieces (NOTE: reserve 1/3 cup of the syrup!)
  • 1 (348mL) can cranberries in sauce

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 sleeve soda crackers
  • 1/2 cup melted margarine or butter, OR 1/2 cup cooking oil

Seasoning

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon (OR 1 tsp cinnamon sugar)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Oven
  • 8×8 inch baking dish/pan (or ~9-inch diameter round baking pan)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 370F.
  2. Prepare crumble: crunch soda crackers into a mixing bowl. Do not make fine crumbs, but leave small chunks. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter/margarine/oil and stir well (should look like moist coarse sand).
  3. In an 8×8-inch baking pan (or ~9-inch diameter round baking pan), combine pears and cranberries. Add 1 tbsp sugar and 1/3 cup pear syrup. Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes in oven, or until juices bubble up and crust is golden brown.