Ricardo Cuisine Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

Claudia's Cookbook - Ricardo Cuisine Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce 13

I’ve made it my mission over the last few months to use my slow cooker more often. I haven’t been overly successful, but that hasn’t stopped my good intentions. With the autumn months upon us, and schedules becoming insanely busy with kids back to school, there is no better time to haul out the slow cooker. (more…)

Ukrainian Beef-Filled Pyrizhky

Claudia's Cookbook - Ukrainian Beef Filled Pyrizhky cover

I bought a Christmas CD yesterday. It was the first CD I’ve purchased in legit 3 years. Of course it is filled with Christmas tunes from one of my favourite guilty pleasure TV shows, Nashville. With only a few weeks left until the holidays, I figured I should get into the spirit. Also, the most recent Christmas CD I had was Justin Bieber’s, so it was definitely time for an update.  (more…)

Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Spicy Turkey Bolognese

Claudia's Cookbook - Zucchini Spaghetti with Spicy Turkey Bolognese cover

 I love comfort food. Especially around this time of year when the temperature is dipping and I’m in my comfy socks 24/7. Yeah, I paid $35 for a pair of socks. Don’t judge me, they are worth every penny! So much, I actually bought two pairs. But I digress…

My latest obsession (besides said socks) is trying to create delicious comfort dishes with a healthy spin. So, when Aloha approached me on partnering with them in their “Bringing a Dish to Pass” campaign, and to create a healthy version of a traditional dish, I couldn’t say no. Spaghetti Bolognese is something I enjoyed a lot while I was in Italy last month. It’s warm, rich and seriously comforting. But I don’t need to tell you this as I’m sure you’ve had the pleasure of having it in your lifetime. 

The key to turning healthy ingredients into delicious food is flavour. Using spices seriously ups any flavour profile, which makes you forget that you are actually eating something that is good for you. This can easily be said about this Zucchini Spaghetti with Spicy Turkey Bolognese dish. With such flavourful spices as oregano, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, you almost forget you’ve replaced your red meat sauce with protein-rich, lean turkey. The zucchini has such a mild flavour that you really can’t tell it’s, well, vegetable noodles instead of starchy pasta. Also, a little red wine has never hurt any dish. It’s full of antioxidants and great for your heart, so in moderation it’s totally healthy. Yes, I tell myself this every time the cork is released from the bottle. 

Again, I used my trusty spiralizer for this recipe. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend you get one. But while you are waiting for your order, you can always slice the zucchini very thin using a mandoline or a julienne tool

If you are looking for other great healthy recipes, please do visit ALOHA’s recipe site. So many guilt-free yummy dishes on there!  

Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles with Chorizo and Chickpeas

Claudia's Cookbook - Spicy Sweet Potato Noodles with Chorizo and Chickpeas cover

I am in love with my spiralizer. I took one look at it and I knew we would be soul mates. A couple months ago during my healthy eating quest, I came across Ali and her amazing blog, Inspiralized. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out her blog, I highly recommend you do. The focus of her blog is to create delicious healthy meals by using her spiralizer. After visiting her blog for the first time, I immediately went to Amazon and bought my very own spiralizer. And it’s worth every penny. And this is coming from a girl who isn’t really into vegetables! 

I’ve made quite a few of Ali’s recipes and they are all incredible. The meals are such a healthy game changer for me. I slightly adapted this recipe to include white sweet potatoes and chickpeas (Ali’s recipe calls for white beans). I used chickpeas because I didn’t have white beans in the house. I have since used white kidney beans in this recipe and it’s still super delicious as well. I also used an amazing red wine chorizo sausage from La Grotta, which is a local Mediterranean market here in Winnipeg. I cannot tell you how yummy this dish is. My husband has already requested that we have it again by week’s end! This definitely is a a nice healthier alternative to your traditional comfort food dishes. 


Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese with Cajun Chicken

Claudia's Cookbook - Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese with Cajun Chicken 15

Every time I hear the word “carbo load”, I always think of Michael Scott from The Office. You know, that time where he thought carbo loading meant that you eat a huge bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo immediately before running in the office 5K ‘Race for the Cure for Rabies. Yeah, things didn’t turn out so well for dear Michael. Made me laugh though. So much, I bought the run shirt!

I’m trying to find this balance between working out and eating healthy (yet not starve). It’s tough. When you increase your workouts, you also increase your appetite. With increased appetite, I also find I have increased cravings for all things delicious and terrible for me. Case in point, I decided to do a 2 hour workout this week, and the first thing I wanted to do after I completed it was sit down and have a beer. I’m quite the athlete. Don’t even get me started on my chocolate cravings after dinner. They are off the chart.

Pasta is one of those foods that tends to get a pretty bad rap. For the most part, it’s pretty terrible for you. That is unless you are a little creative and come up with healthy ingredient alternatives that are not only nutritious and full of protein and energy, but also taste great too. That is why I absolutely LOVE this recipe. The only thing terrible for you in it is the cheese – and even then you can use light cheese, or argue (like me most days) that it’s dairy, and dairy is a food group and if it’s a food group, I should eat it. The Greek yogurt is full of protein and creates a nice creamy texture. The key that I want to also mention is that you need to use 2% or full fat Greek Yogurt. I know, I know – fat free is healthier. Sure, maybe. But you still get all the protein with the full fat yogurt and a way better taste. Fat free Greek yogurt tastes very tangy and sour. The full fat version does not. Trust me on this. I also use a higher fibre macaroni (Catelli Smart Pasta) as well. It actually has all the same nutritional content as whole wheat pasta, but has a white pasta texture and taste. It’s pretty fantastic (and no, they are not paying me for this product placement shout-out – but I seriously think they should!)

To add a bit more protein, I threw in some flavorful Cajun Chicken. I find added protein is important for me on hockey game days. You even have some veggies (spinach) in this dish. This is truly an absolutely delicious and guilt-free Mac & Cheese recipe. You really cannot go wrong. Well, unless you are Michael Scott and eat this dish 10 minutes before running your first 5K.


Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli

Claudia's Cookbook - Slow Cooker Turkey Chilli 3 (1) copy I am in desperate need of some summer weather. We had the worst winter in over 100 years here in Winnipeg. I wish that was an exaggeration. It’s actual fact. Now that we finally have some above freezing temperatures, we have yet to be anywhere close to average for this time of year. The trees are still bare and gardens remain empty. We have seen more rain than sunshine in the last couple weeks and I am starting to think I should move to the West Coast and at least have the ocean if I have to put up with all this rain.

Because of the cooler weather, I am still in the comfort food zone. I am still trying to eat relatively healthy, which is proving to be challenging with the lack of spare time I seem to have between my ice hockey and ball hockey schedules. That is why I really love this recipe. It makes a ton of delicious, healthy chilli, and I can easily bring it to work for lunch or have it a few nights in a row as leftovers when I’m shuttling between work and hockey.

The flavours are very complex and rich. There is a hint of sweetness from the cinnamon and cocoa powder. It also has a bit of heat with the jalapeños and cayenne spice.  I love adding beer to my chilli recipes, but you don’t have to if you aren’t a fan of the flavour. I used a nice Pumpkin Ale in this recipe, but you can use any light or amber ale. To be honest, you can’t really taste it that much in this recipe since there are so many spices. However, feel free to substitute chicken or vegetable stock if you choose. Also, because you can do this recipe in a slow cooker, it’s insanely simple. If you don’t have 6 hours, you can easily make this on the stove in a large pot. You just need to brown the turkey with the onions and garlic, then simmer with the rest of the ingredients on medium low for about an hour. Super versatile and delicious.


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