September 18, 2012

Family Dinners as seen on CityLine Wednesday, September 19, 2012

If you have school kids, September means its back to reality, no more fly by the seat of your pants dinners for starters. These three dinner ideas are yummy, easy to prepare, kid friendly, and nutrient dense.


Marvelous Minestrone Kid Friendly


Dinner in a bowl, add a tossed green salad, and a glass of milk or soy beverage and you are good to go.

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, scrubbed well and chopped into chunks or smaller pieces according to your taste

One – 28 fl oz (796 mL) can diced tomatoes

One – 19 fl oz (540 mL) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained well

2 cups (500 mL) lower sodium vegetable stock

1 ½ (375 mL) cups water

4 cups (1 L) chopped kale or spinach, I used kale on the show

¼ cup (60 mL) whole wheat rotini

½ tsp (2 mL) red pepper flakes

¼ tsp (1 mL) fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh basil, chopped or torn

2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic, optional


  1. Mince garlic and set aside. this allows the antioxidants in the garlic to become more bio-available.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium heat; add the oil and the onion and sauté till almost cooked, approx. 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the carrots and the garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, chicken stock and the water.
  5. Bring to the boil. Add the kale, pasta, red pepper flakes and pepper. Bring back to the boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for cook for 6-8 minutes or until the pasta is el dente.
  6. Add the basil and balsamic if using, stir and serve. If desired sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Makes – 10 cups (2.5 L)

Serves – 6 – 1 ½ cups (375 mL) serving which contains: 210 Calories, 4 g Total fat, 0.5 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 490 mg Sodium, 33 g Carbs, 10 g Fiber, 10 g Protein


Beef Stew Kid Friendly


When my son was in high school and involved in hockey I would double the recipe and make it on Sunday for dinner and then save leftovers for dinner on Tuesday when there was hockey practice after-school, we’d get home around 6:00 pm, I’d microwave the stew, cook some frozen vegetables and dinner was ready in about 15 minutes.

2 lb (1 kg) lean stewing beef – I love supporting our Canadian beef industry and get a immune enhancing hit of zinc all at the same time from the beef

2 medium onions, diced

3 cups (750 mL) chopped carrots, approx 4-6 medium, you can add more if you want

2 cups (500 mL) 1×2-inch (2.5x5cm) cubed rutabaga

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme leaves

½ tsp (2 mL) freshly cracked pepper

½ tsp (2 mL) dried tarragon leaves

1 tsp (5 mL) dried savoury

¼ cup (60 mL) whole wheat flour

One – 10 fl oz. (284 mL) can lower sodium beef broth, undiluted

1 cup (250 mL) crushed canned tomatoes

1 cup (250 mL) red wine, Merlot or Burgundy

½ cup (125 ml) water

1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce

2 branches of rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. Place beef, onion, carrots, rutabaga and garlic in a large 14 cup (3.5 L) capacity Dutch oven.
  3. Sprinkle with thyme, pepper, tarragon, savoury, and flour. Toss to coat.
  4. Add the beef broth, crushed tomatoes, red wine and Worcestershire. Place rosemary branches on top.
  5. Cover and cook for 2 ½ – 3 hours. Remove from oven. Remove rosemary, stir and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Makes – 8 cups (2L)

Serves – 8 – 1 cup servings which contains: 280 Calories, 8 g Total Fat, 3 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 230 g Sodium, 19 g CHO, 4 g Fiber, 28 g Protein.



Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna   Kid Friendly



Recipe by: Linda Reasbeck PHEc from The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook – available at book stores across Canada. This is the new cookbook I edited plus contributed 5 recipe to for the Ontario Home Economist Association.

The cookbook launch is at the Cookbook Store  in Toronto on October 15. It starts at 6:30 pm and its open to the public. Come on down and pick up a copy and meet the professional home economists who contributed to the book, including me!


One- 19 fl oz (540 ml) can mixed beans, well rinsed and drained

2 2/3 cups (650 mL) pasta sauce, use one that comes in a glass jar for the best flavour

2/3 cup (160 ml) canned diced tomatoes

3/4 cup (185 ml) quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 tsp (10 ml) Italian seasoning

1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano leaves

8 uncooked lasagna noodles, preferably 100% whole grain

1 cup (250 g) sliced white or cremini mushrooms

2 cups (500 g) cooked chopped spinach leaves, well drained – see below

2 cups (500 g) fat free cottage cheese

2 cups (500 ml) shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Grease a 6 quart (3L) slow cooker with canola oil spray or oil.
  2. Combine the mixed beans, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, quinoa (yes, it’s uncooked!), Italian seasoning and oregano in a medium bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. Place one layer of noodles on the bottom of the slow cooker – break to fit. Yes, you read it correctly you don’t even need to cook them!
  4. Top with 1/2 of the bean/pasta sauce/quinoa mixture.
  5. Top with 1/2 of the mushrooms, 1/2 of the spinach and 1/2 of the cottage cheese.
  6. Repeat the layers: noodles, bean/pasta sauce/quinoa mixture, rest of the mushrooms, spinach and cottage cheese.
  7. Top with all of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cover and cook on low in the slow cooker for 5 hours. Let set for 5 minutes, scoop out servings.


Makes 10 servings

One serving = 1/10 of the lasagna which contains:  322 calories, 6 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 579 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre, 7 g sugar, 22 g protein. Excellent source of folate, vitamin D and iron.


Spinach: Professional home economist tip: For ease and convenience use 1- 300 g pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained





5 Comments on “Family Dinners as seen on CityLine Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chris Armstrong
September 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

Great recipes! My kids are long gone – but I”m a realtor with crazy hours, so these are fabulous dinners! Thank you!

September 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

I can’t wait to try the Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna. Yum!

Sally Hortop
September 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm


September 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Why does pasta sauce taste better in a glass jar??

September 22, 2012 at 10:50 am

I find that tomatoes taste more like tomatoes when they are in a glass jar or in a tetra pak carton.
Peace, love and fibre,


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