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5 Recipes from Janet and Greta Podleski

As Mary mentioned in her interview with author and TV personality Greta Podleski, we've posted five recipes from the cookbook she co-wrote with her sister Janet called The Looneyspoons Collection.

GRAINola Bars
Chewy homemade granola bars with oats, flax, pumpkin, cranberries, nuts and mini chocolate chips

2½ cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup chopped raw almonds, pecans or pistachios
½ cup chopped dried cranberries
½ cup mini chocolate chips
⅓ cup whole wheat flour (see tip)
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup liquid honey
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper overhang on two opposite sides (so you can use it as a sling to pick up the granola bars after baking).

Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, honey, butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are coated with pumpkin mixture. Make sure there aren't any dry oats in the bottom of the bowl! Stir, stir, stir!

Pour the wet granola mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the edges. Using your hand, press down firmly on the granola so that it's tightly packed in the pan.

Bake on middle oven rack for about 25 minutes, until top turns a light golden brown and feels dry to touch. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Lift cooled slab of granola from pan by holding on to parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the granola into 16 bars, about 1½ x 4 inches each. (Tip: Press down with the knife to cut the bars and avoid a sawing motion.) Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Makes 16 granola bars

Per bar: 214 calories, 9.7 g total fat (5 g saturated fat), 4 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 3.4 g fibre, 9 mg cholesterol, 83 mg sodium

Honey, I Shrunk My Thighs!
Marinated, grilled honey-garlic chicken thighs

12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 3 lbs/1.4 kg)
½ cup liquid honey
¼ cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated gingerroot
½ tsp each ground curry and ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Arrange chicken thighs in a shallow glass dish. Whisk together all remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over chicken. Turn pieces to coat both sides with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat grill to medium setting. Remove chicken from marinade and place on a grill rack that has been lightly brushed with oil. Grill chicken for about 10 minutes per side. Be careful not to burn them. (You can brush the chicken with extra marinade as long as you boil the marinade first to kill any bacteria.) Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 294 calories, 7.4 g total fat (1.9 g saturated fat), 34 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g fibre, 151 mg cholesterol, 445 mg sodium

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
These mouthwatering turkey burgers get their Mediterranean flair from the addition of feta cheese, sundried tomato pesto and spinach.

2/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1-1/2 lbs (680 g) lean ground turkey
½ cup finely chopped COOKED spinach (see tip)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste (optional)

Process the oats in the bowl of a food processor or blender until they're the consistency of bread crumbs (but not powdery). In a large bowl, combine oats with ground turkey and all remaining ingredients. Mix gently using your hands. Form mixture into 5 large patties or 6 regular-sized patties. Cover and refrigerate while you preheat the grill to medium-high setting.

Brush grill rack lightly with oil. Grill burgers for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the centre. Serve on multigrain buns or with grilled Portobello "buns" (pictured; eat with knife and fork!) to keep them gluten free. These burgers taste great topped with tzatziki, hummus, sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, sprouts or even zesty tomato sauce.

Makes 5 large burgers or 6 regular-sized burgers

Per burger (based on 6 burgers): 227 calories, 11 g total fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 26 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 1.9 g fibre, 129 mg cholesterol, 272 mg sodium

Cooking Tip: If using frozen spinach, thaw it and drain it very well before chopping and adding to the recipe. To make Portobello "buns," simply brush large Portobello mushroom caps with olive oil on both sides and grill alongside burgers. Variation: Use basil pesto instead of sundried tomato pesto and use minced roasted red bell peppers instead of spinach.

Moroccan and Rollin' Quinoa Salad
Colorful quinoa salad with chickpeas, veggies, lemon and mint

1 cup uncooked quinoa (see tip)
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup dried currants
1 tsp medium curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp honey (or sugar)
½ tsp salt
1 cup no-salt-added canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup each finely chopped red bell pepper, grated carrots (packed) and peeled, diced English cucumber
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine quinoa, broth, currants, curry, cumin, coriander, honey and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all liquid. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and leave uncovered to cool completely.

When quinoa is cool, transfer to large mixing bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour or two before serving. Tastes even better the next day!

Recipe Tip: To save time, look for quinoa that says "pre-washed" or "pre-rinsed" on the package. Quinoa must be rinsed before using to remove the bitter outer coating. If you buy quinoa that isn't pre-rinsed, put it in a mesh strainer or sieve and run cold water over it for about 30 seconds.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving (about 1 cup): 231 calories, 7.4 g total fat (0.7 g saturated fat), 6 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 5.4 g fibre, 0 mg cholesterol, 256 mg sodium

Corn, Black Bean and Mango Fandango
Colourful corn and black bean salad with mango and avocado

This fresh-tasting, high-fiber salad will make your taste-buds dance with joy!

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) whole-kernel corn, drained
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅛ tsp each ground cumin and chili powder (see tip)
1 cup diced avocado (see tip)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Serve immediately or chill before serving. (We prefer this salad at room temperature.) As with most dishes containing avocado, this dish tastes best when eaten the day it's made.

Recipe Tip: For added "kick," try chipotle chili powder--it's sold beside the regular chili powder in the spice aisle. Avocado turns brown quickly, so peel, slice and add it to the salad just before serving.

Makes 4 meal-sized servings

Per serving: 236 calories, 10 g total fat (1.4 g saturated fat), 7 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 10.4 g fibre, 0 mg cholesterol, 385 mg sodium