This recipe is a blend of two instant pot mac & cheese recipes: one from Dad Cooks Dinner and one from this cookbook. It is a popular supper paired with steamed broccoli. Leftovers are also very popular in the next day’s lunch.
454g (1 lb) macaroni
1/2 T yellow mustard
1/2 T spicy, seedy mustard
1/2 T kosher salt
several dashes hot sauce
4 c water
500g cauliflower (frozen works really well)
50 mL skim milk powder + 200mL water, mixed together
~150g grated cheese (cheddar, gruyère, parmesan are great together for this)
~75g whole wheat breadcrumbs
chopped parsley and/or thyme
Combine all macaroni ingredients in Instant Pot with cauliflower on top. Cook at high pressure 4 minutes, natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
Mix in prepared milk (milk powder + water) and cheese.
Pour into prepared, lightly greased pan. Top with breadcrumbs and herbs.
Put in to bake at 350F while the rest of the meal finishes.
About 5-10 minutes before you want to serve it, if the top isn’t already brown, broil lightly for a couple of minutes to brown the top.
Let sit a few minutes to firm up before cutting and serving.
Makes 8 servings. (Although the 16-year-old eats 2 servings at a time, so perhaps this is actually 6-7 servings?)
Last time I made this, I used 86g cheddar, 52g gruyère and 12g parmesan. Divided into 8, each serving had: 331 calories, 44.9 g CHO, 3.1 g fibre, 14.3 g protein, 9 g fat. Even though the count isn’t that high, this meal does best for me with a protein & fat bolus.
I have tried freezing and baking this, and was not pleased with the results. It was ok, but it took a really long time and the texture was off.
We also tried this with whole wheat mac & cheese, and it just wasn’t as good. We eat whole wheat pasta routinely, but for this recipe, we use regular pasta. I could probably figure this out by playing with timing but I just don’t care enough. Pasta hits about the same whether it’s whole wheat or regular so, for the occasional times we make this, it doesn’t feel worth the effort to further healthify it.
If you don’t have an instant pot, you could probably just make this on the stovetop. I’m sure you could use an old school pressure cooker, too. (Side note: I spent a winter in my early twenties working as cook and first mate on a charter sailboat in the Bahamas, where I learned to appreciate and respect a pressure cooker. There’s nothing like the risk of blowing a hole through the side of the boat to focus your attention on the cooker pressurizing on the gimballed stove. I did not make mac & cheese, but I sure figured out thirty-seven different ways to cook and serve crawfish.)
This was a huge hit with the whole family, including the youngest, who eats greens (along with pretty much anything else he is served) but does not love them the way the rest of us do. This recipe was especially useful when the garden was overflowing with red chard one year. It is an adaptation of Lemony Lentil & Chard Soup by Eating Well, which was good as written, but we wanted a bit more flavour and to make use of the chard stems.
2 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
chopped stems from Swiss chard (red chard is especially pretty)
6-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1/2-1 t Aleppo pepper (if you don’t have or can’t find it, I’d try 1/2 t chili flakes)
1/2 t sumac (if you don’t have or can’t find it, I’d leave it out and consider adding extra lemon juice at the end)
8 c vegetable or chicken stock
1 c red lentils, rinsed and picked over
zest from 1 lemon
1.5 t kosher salt
1/2 c lemon juice (~2 large, 3 medium, or 4 small lemons)
chard leaves, chopped into bite-sized pieces
extra Aleppo pepper for serving
salt & pepper
Sauté group 1 for 8-12 minutes.
Add group 2, sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add group 3, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are cooked, about 20 minutes.
Stir in group 4 and cook until leaves are tender.
Sprinkle group 5 over and serve.
~15 cups, or about 7.5 servings
Each 2-cup serving has 141 calories, 20.5g CHO, 4.4g fibre, 7.5g protein, 3.6g fat.
This meal is probably the best one we have that rates equally high on kids’ appreciation (5 out of 5 across the board) and on health benefits. I used to make fish in packets by thawing the fish first but finally worked out how to do this whole meal directly from frozen fish by using frozen edamame. It’s much easier this way.
1 frozen filet of mild fish (we most often use tilapia) per person
100 g frozen shelled edamame per person
salt & pepper
olive oil (optional)
1 lemon, halved and sliced (maybe 2 if you have 6 or more people to feed)
1 tomato, halved and sliced (maybe 2 if you have 6 or more people to feed)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
some herbs (we like any mix of tarragon, thyme, chives, and rosemary)
Lay out 1 piece of aluminum foil per person; put a square of parchment on each. Put one fish filet on each.
Spoon frozen edamame around each filet. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, if using.
Put slices of lemon, tomato and garlic on fish, along with herbs.
Bring together edges of aluminum foil along the length of the fish; fold or roll, crimping edges so it’s sealed. Then roll or fold up ends. You want everything inside to steam, so fold it to prevent steam or liquid from escaping.
Place fish packets on a baking sheet to make it easier to get the whole meal in and out of the oven.
Bake at 425F until fish flakes easily with a fork and edamame are cooked. For us, this typically takes 45 minutes for frozen tilapia filets that are each 100-125g. We test for doneness by opening up a middle packet slightly (watch out so you don’t get burned by steam) and pressing the fish with a fork.
Serve with a grain if you like grains. We usually cook some brown rice and spoon it directly into opened packets so it gets coated in the lemony, tomatoey, garlicky, herby liquid.
However many servings of fish you choose to make.
Last time I made this, each serving used 113g tilapia and had: 243 calories, 9.2 g CHO, 5 g fibre, 34.1 g protein, 8.9 g fat. I wrote a detailed description of how I bolus for that meal here.
You can pre-prep the packages and put them in to cook directly out of the freezer.
This is one of our favourite ways to get the recommended weekly serving of oily fish. It a very flexible recipe that can be adapted according to your tastes or what you have on hand. This recipe was adapted from Easy Tuna Cakes at Eating Well.
1 c cooked white beans (canned is fine)
3-4 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 t spicy, seedy mustard (Dijon is fine, or use any mustard you have)
zest of 1 lemon
some fresh or dried herbs (chives are my family’s favourite, but we’ve made this with basil, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, dill, etc.)
2 cans of fish, broken into bite-sized pieces if very large (sardines, mackerel, tuna all work well; we usually use sardines because they have the most omega-3 for the least cost and environmental impact)
1/4-1/2 c whole wheat breadcrumbs (cornmeal works fine if you don’t have breadcrumbs handy and want a bit of breadiness)
some minced or grated onion, any kind (optional)
about 30-50g grated cheese (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
1 t honey
1 t spicy, seedy mustard (Dijon is fine, or use any mustard you have)
1-2 T olive oil (we like our dressing less oily, so we are aiming for a bit less than the lemon juice)
salt and pepper
minced herbs from the same herbs you used in the cakes (optional)
1 T olive oil
toasted whole wheat English muffins
some sturdy salad greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
Mash beans a little with a fork or potato masher (fun for kids to do), then mix all ingredients together.
Put ingredients in a jar with a secure lid, shake well. (This is a great job for a kid who wants to help and is old enough not to drop the jar on the floor.)
Scoop out about 1/4 c of batter for each fish cake (we use a large cookie scoop for this and all other fritters.)
Place scoopfuls in a lightly-oiled skillet (or several) over medium heat. It takes several if you want to cook them all at once, but if you’re happy to cook in batches, you only need one. We usually get 13-16 cakes.
Press down lightly to flatten.
Flip when lightly browned on bottom and cook on the other side.
Serve fish cakes on greens, spoon some dressing over.
My kids like to assemble this into a fish burger on an English muffin with the tomato slices.
~13-16 fish cakes, which is usually enough for 4-5 people
Made with 3 eggs, 50g cheese and a red onion last time, this recipe made 16 cakes, with each one having 76 calories, 5.7 g CHO, 1.5 g fibre, 5.2 g protein, 3.6 g fat. The dressing used 2 T olive oil and made 8 T total, with each T having 35 calories, 1.6 g CHO, 0 g fibre, 0 g protein, 3.4 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices, including how much of each ingredient you actually put in.
Fish cakes can be stored in fridge or frozen after cooking and reheated. Dressing keeps well and can also be used as a honey mustard salad dressing.
To have 1 cup of beans handy, we cook a large batch and freeze them in 1-cup quantities, then take them out of the freezer to thaw a night or two beforehand.
One of the easiest, most delicious ways to cook fish. We typically have this at least a couple of times a month. Our approach to this classic drew from Fish Amandine from Eating Well and Filet de passion amandine (recipe in French) at a local site.
1 filet of mild fish per person, thawed if frozen
a small amount of egg white (just enough to dip fish in before breading them)
~1/4 c breading substance (whole wheat bread crumbs, cornmeal, flour, whatever you have)
some dry spices & herbs for flavour (1/2 t dry mustard, 1-2 t total dried herbs like oregano, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder … whatever you like and have on hand)
salt & pepper
~10g sliced almonds per person
~10g grated parmesan per person
~5g melted butter per person (just melt a small amount to drizzle over at the end)
Combine breading substance, spices & herbs
Put egg white on one plate and breading on another. Dip both sides of each fish filet in egg white, then breading.
Put filets in/on a pan that has been lightly oiled or lined with parchment. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake at 450F for about 10-15 minutes until fish is nearly done. Remove fish briefly from oven, sprinkle with parmesan, drizzle with melted butter, return to oven for about 5 minutes, until done. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
However many servings of fish you choose to make.
Last time I made this, I made 3 servings in total, using 339g tilapia, 10g butter, 17g parmesan, 24g almonds, and 30g whole wheat bread crumbs. Each serving had: 248 calories, 8.9 g CHO, 1.6 g fibre, 26.8 g protein, 12.3 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in.
Fish cooking time is really dependent on the type of fish, size of filet, and your oven. I usually start to check the fish at 8-10 minutes. If filets are differently-sized, put the biggest ones on the outside of the pan.
You can also start with the parmesan and butter on the fish from the beginning, it will toast the parmesan more intensely.
For any recipe calling for cooked beans, you can use canned beans, or you can cook them from dried.
I cook dried beans in an instant pot. I typically cook them in large batches in advance of two or three meals that use a given bean.
I pour in an amount of dried beans (usually about an inch or 2.5 cm worth on the bottom of the pot), add a generous handful of salt and any other seasonings I feel like (e.g., for black beans, I often add cumin; for white beans, I often toss in a sprig of rosemary because I am drowning in rosemary from my garden last year) then I add water to cover by at least 2 inches or 5 cm.
I set the instant pot to cook at pressure for a short period of time and then let the pressure release naturally for a longer time. The usual times I use are:
black beans: 5 minutes at high pressure, 27 minutes natural release
white beans: 5 minutes at high pressure, 25 minutes natural release
chickpeas: 20 minutes at high pressure, 30 minutes natural release
Once the natural release is done, I quick release any remaining pressure, rinse the cooked beans, and store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. If they are a bit harder than I’d like, I add them to soup/stew recipes earlier to let them soften more in the cooking process.
There are many other ways to cook beans from dried and lots of people have opinions about how to do it best. If you don’t like or cannot use my method, I recommend seeking other instructions online, or using canned beans.
This is an adaptation of a recipe in Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Among other changes, the original has no cauliflower, uses chickpeas instead of black beans, uses less peanut butter, and has a different order of cooking. We tried the original first, and it was good, too, but my family prefers this adaptation.
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 onions (red if you have them, any kind is fine)
4-6 cloves garlic
1-2 T chili powder
1/2 t cayenne
2 large (798mL) cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
3 sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow if you can get them)
2 medium to large sweet potatoes (~500g)
about half a large head of cauliflower (~500g)
salt & pepper
about 225g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, peanuts only, no sugar or salt)
about 1.5-2L broth or stock (vegetable or chicken)
Have chili powder and cayenne ready to go in with garlic (bowl/group B)
Dice peppers, sweet & jalapeño (bowl/group C)
Scrub or peel sweet potatoes (peel if you just can’t get them clean, but the peel is good so leave it on if it’s ok)
Chop sweet potatoes into cubes (bowl/group C)
Chop or tear cauliflower into small bites (bowl/group C)
Open cans of tomatoes (bowl/group C)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add bowl/group A (onion) and a pinch of salt.
Sauté until onion is translucent.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add bowl/group B (garlic, spices) and a pinch of salt, stir for a minute or so.
Pour in a bit of the liquid from a can of tomatoes and scrape up any browned bits.
Add the rest of bowl/group C (tomatoes with their juices, peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato), a pinch of salt, and several grinds of pepper.
Increase heat to medium-high.
While the pot is starting to heat up, mix peanut butter with about a cup of broth/stock. (You can do this by whisking them together in a bowl or a tall liquid measure, or shaking them in a jar. I recommend the jar method, especially if you are using chunky peanut butter.)
Add the rest of the broth/stock to the pot and bring it to a boil. (This will be faster if you cover the pot.)
Once the pot has come to a boil, reduce heat to low.
Add peanut butter-broth mixture to the pot.
Simmer for about 15 minutes, until sweet potato and cauliflower are tender.
Add black beans and greens to the pot.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.
When greens are wilted and everything is heated through, serve with chopped herbs (cilantro or parsley) and roasted peanuts.
~30 cups, or 15 servings
Made with 6 c beans and 2L broth/stock, this usually works out to about 30 cups total stew, with a 2-cup serving having 260 calories, 35g CHO, 10g fibre, 12.5g protein, 9g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in.
This freezes reasonably well, though the peppers’ texture will change a little. Unfrozen, leftovers keep well in the fridge for at least 4-5 days. Leftovers get eaten quickly here as it’s a family favourite.
You can serve this over rice if you like rice. My kids love it this way. I’ve also mixed cooked quinoa (1 cup dry) right in, and that was great.
This is one of our family’s absolute favourites. When we have lots of leftovers on offer for hot lunches, this is often the dish that gets eaten first. I prefer it vegetarian; the rest of the family prefers it with a little leftover sausage to really bring out its close-to-cassoulet flavour. This is an adaptation of Bean & Barley Soup from Eating Well.
1 T olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
a head of garlic, minced
4-8 stalks celery, chopped
2 t fennel seed (or substitute a bulb or two of fennel for some of the celery)
3-4 medium carrots, chopped (optional)
a pinch of salt
6 c cooked white beans (canned is fine, you will need 3 standard 15-oz cans)
2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
~8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth
1.5 c barley
a pinch of salt
lots of greens; e.g., 500g frozen kale or 300g fresh baby spinach
a big handful of fresh basil (frozen fresh basil works beautifully)
cooked sausage, bacon, ham, etc. (optional)
a pinch of salt
grated parmesan (optional)
freshly ground pepper
Sauté group 1 in olive oil for 6-8 minutes in a large soup pot.
Mash 1 cup of the beans, then add group 2 to the pot. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer until barley is tender, about 15-25 minutes depending on type of barley and how aggressively the pot is simmering.
Stir in group 3 and cook a few minutes until greens are cooked through and still bright green (about 3 minutes for frozen kale, more like 1 minute for fresh baby spinach.)
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with grated parmesan, if desired, and pepper.
Makes about 30 1-cup scoops, or about 15 servings.
Made with carrots included, 2L broth/stock, and no optional sausage last time, this worked out to about 30 cups total stew, with a 2-cup serving having 226 calories, 48.2 g CHO, 12.5 g fibre, 11.8 g protein, 2 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in.
This freezes very well. Leftovers also keep well in the fridge for at least 4-5 days.
This is a huge favourite in our family. It requires pre-cooked or canned beans and a bit of chopping, but is otherwise extremely easy to make. This is an adaptation of Easy Vegetarian Chili from Eating Well.
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 onions, chopped
2-3 sweet peppers, chopped
4-10 cloves garlic, minced
4-8 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 c chili powder
2 T ground cumin
some ground coriander (you can get away with a small amount if ground fresh, use 1-2 t if you bought it ground)
about 4 t total of a mix of dried oregano, parsley, and basil (depending on taste and availability)
several generous sprinkles chipotle powder (if chipotle powder is not available, use 1/4 to 1/2 t cayenne) (optional but recommended)
kernels from 3 cobs corn, cooked (optional but recommended)
2 large (798 mL or 28 oz) cans diced tomatoes in their juice
about 8 c leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Sauté starting vegetables 6-8 minutes.
Add spices, sauté for another 30 seconds or so.
Add beans, corn, tomatoes.
Reduce heat to low, simmer until heated (5-10 minutes) and then as long as you want (another hour or two). Longer simmering helps the flavours meld but is not strictly necessary.
Add greens and let them wilt.
Season again with salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with grated cheddar cheese if you like cheese.
~24 cups, which makes 24 small servings or 10-12 large servings
Last time I made this, I used 3 L of beans (a mix of black and white), the total recipe made 23 cups, and a 1-cup serving had: 163 calories, 30 g CHO, 9 g fibre, 9 g protein, 1 g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of how much of each ingredient you actually put in. (Also note that my husband believes that servings of this should be 2-3 cups, not 1 cup. He is a big, big fan.)
This freezes well. The peppers’ texture will change a little, but it doesn’t seem to matter in chili. Unfrozen, leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days.
This is what my family calls these biscuits, which made their way to our table as I riffed off of different biscuit versions and combined flavours to ultimately arrive at something deliciously similar to our favourite pizza (l’Alsacienne) from Boîte à pain. Apologies to the people of Alsace for liberties taken.
1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 t salt
1 t dried dill (or 1 T fresh dill, minced)
1 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
about 2-3 T minced or grated white onion (you can substitute a few chopped scallions, leeks, or other allium here, but white onion has the best flavour of all we’ve tried)
50g cold butter (unsalted is best, but you can use salted and just dial back the salt)
about 100-150g total grated cheese (I recommend a mix of sharp cheddar, gruyère, and a bit of parmesan)
about 350-400g plain greek yogurt (about 1.5 c)
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Fold in onion (and fresh dill, if using.)
Cut in butter.
Mix in grated cheese, then yogurt until just combined. If too dry, add a bit more yogurt.
Use a spoon or cookie scoop and (clean) hands to form rough biscuits.
Bake on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet at 450F for about 9-10 minutes until lightly browned on top. Serve hot.
~16-21 fist-sized biscuits
Made with 150g cheese and 375g yogurt, this usually works out to about 17 biscuits, with each one having 120 calories, 11g CHO, 1.6g fibre, 6.4g protein, 5.8g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of cheese and how much of each ingredient you actually put in.
These can be frozen, unbaked, and then baked from frozen. Add a few minutes to the baking time.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe in a book by Mark Bittman (I believe it was How To Cook Everything; pretty sure this is the same recipe) with inspiration from a cheese bun recipe by Smitten Kitchen (“Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns” in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) and good experiences with the Alsacienne pizza from Boîte à pain.