Eat Seasonal: Zucchini Pizzette

Hello July!

After a scorching week, tomorrow promises to bring a break in our heat wave and I am finally thinking about baking again. The produce at the markets is so inspiring and each day I am coming home with something new to play with in the Simple Bites kitchen.

My own garden has surprised me this year, flourishing despite the lack of attention from me. The zucchini (or courgettes) are beautiful right now, with every plant producing 4-5 per week. I harvest them while they are small and add them to everything from Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti to my Harvest Tortilla Soup.

Since we’ve been rocking the summer of the spritz, I’ve also been incorporating my homegrown zucchini into little pre-dinner appetizers and they are too good not to share the recipe.

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Cheesy Leek and Lentil Rolled Omelet with Artichokes

Over the holidays I hosted brunch a few times here on the homestead and today’s recipe was a hit at every gathering.

Serving brunch is my favourite way to pack friends in around the table when it is bitterly cold outside. Danny brews countless pots of French press coffee and I set up a hot cocoa bar for the kids, complete with homemade marshmallows. Everyone is happier in the morning (meaning the younger crowd) and as most of our friends have small children, it makes sense to get together early and wrap up by nap time.

I always like to bake when I’m hosting brunch –  scones, spiced swirl buns, citrus madeleines – there are always tried and true baking recipes to rely on for these special occasions. However, when it comes to rounding out the menu, I always get stuck when it comes to eggs. I’ve never been a fan of strata, and frittata is something I make for dinner when I need to clean out the cheese drawer. So what to make when you want to serve eggs to a crowd and are looking for something a little more exciting than a scramble?

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Campfire One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese

We’ve been road tripping through the blistering hot Niagara region of Ontario for the past week, visiting friends, picking stone fruits and enjoying plenty of beach time.

This easy pasta has come in handy for a quick meal when we have returned to our Airbnb hungry after a day of exploring. In the past I’ve always relied on the one-pot dish for camping trips, but it is a good recipe to have in your back pocket for any time you need a fast – and comforting – meal.

Here I’ve included photos of the Dutch oven campfire macaroni & cheese, but you can also prepare it in a heavy bottomed pot in your own kitchen.

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Baked Brie and last-minute appetizer ideas

I had all but forgotten this last-minute baked brie appetizer from the Simple Bites archives, when my sister unearthed it for a recent party.

She presented the brie in all its glory, bubbling from the oven and topped with toasted walnuts, and I quickly remembered just how popular it was. Party guests swarmed the table and in a matter of minutes, half the round of brie and an entire baguette was gone.

I mean, warm cheese and crusty bread, does it get any better than that?

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Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (gluten-free)

A recent string of blustery, grey days abruptly ended our streak of glorious fall weather, and the pounding of the rain on the window panes sent me scuttling to the kitchen in search of warmth and comfort.

I found solace in a pan of marbled, maple-sweetened pumpkin cheesecake brownies, rich with both chopped chocolate and dark cocoa and lightly spiced with the beloved autumn flavour of my own ‘pumpkin spice’ blend.

If these brownies sound like an irresistible fall dessert, you are absolutely right. They are soft and dense, moist and rich – but what really makes them ideal is that they also contain a secret nutritious ingredient.

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