Sunday, April 8, 2018

FATTOUSH SALAD




Pesach is over, the pitas are coming! :) In case you don't live in Canada, you probably missed the snowy days we've been experiencing this spring this far in my hometown of Montreal. Luckily, that won't stop me from making fresh, zesty and SUPER CRUNCHY salads in my cozy kitchen, starting with this Fattoush Salad. Fattoush Salad is a Middle Eastern salad recipe that is very delicious combining fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, aromatic herbs and toasted pita. You can make this salad for dinner, lunch or even for brunch, it's great for a potluck or dinner party as well. 

FATTOUSH SALAD 
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Prep time 10 min. | Total time: 20 min.  | Serves 2 |  Dairy
Weight Watchers Friendly: 7 points

INGREDIENTS

Two 8-inch thin pita
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons za’atar or sumac
2 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, chopped
3 kirby cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into half-moons
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS 

1.  Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lay the pitas on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, about 12 minutes.

2. Take out from the oven and let cool fully, and break into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, and stir to coat.


3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, yogurt, sumac (or za’atar), lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
4.  In a large bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Fold in the toasted pita pieces. Drizzle the dressing over the top and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITH BASIC BOLOGNESE SAUCE


Make a noodle dish minus the wheat and gluten by swapping your traditional pasta with zucchini noodles. You can top these noodles with marinara sauce or a basic bolognese sauce. This is a GO-TO EASY Passover Chol Ha'Moed dinner the whole family can enjoy.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES WITH BASIC BOLOGNESE SAUCE 
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Prep time 10 min. | Total time: 30 min.  | Serves 6-8 | Passover Friendly
Weight Watchers Friendly: 8 points

INGREDIENTS/ INSTRUCTIONS

For the Sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground veal or ground beef
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves

Fresh basil or flat leaf parsley, chopped as garnish

For the Pasta
6 medium zucchini, spiralized
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cloves of garlic, minced

Prep Tool
Spiral Slicer 



1.  Spiralize your zucchini and set aside on paper towels so that any excess water is soaked up. Feel free to sprinkle with a little salt.


2. Drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté onion, celery and garlic until fragrant, about 5 minutes. 

3. Add ground beef (or veal) and cook until brown.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

4.  For the zoodles, drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté garlic until aromatic. Add zucchini noodles and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until tender.

5.  Top zucchini noodles with the bolognese sauce, serve right away and voilà a hearty weeknight dish for Passover and all year long!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MACAROONS


I have news to share this Passover eve.... I'm turning the big 40 this summer and I am so beyond excited! For starters, I do not look 40... and secondly,  I certainly do not feel 40. I am not sure why millennials think 40 is old... because in many ways I feel like I am starting a new chapter at this moment in time. ;) The one thing I have noticed though,  is a slowdown in my metabolism, and with the winter months behind us, I decided to join Weight Watchers and check out what their new Freestyle program is all about.

On one hand I always loved amazing food, on the other hand, I always felt like I needed to stay away from amazing food - especially baked goods. Who else relates with me? What I really like about this program is the inspirational women I meet, and the delicious healthy foods I am indulging in! Adopting this eating program for the coming months, I have decided to apply Weight Watchers points on all of my recent recipes. More so, I am developing delicious, yet health conscious baked goodies.   So this passover, I came up with Banana Chocolate Chip Macaroons with no added sugar or fats. These make about 8 servings and are 3 points for 2.


BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MACAROONS 
with No Added Sugar and Oil
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Prep time 5 min. | Total time: 20 min.  | Makes 16 | Passover Friendly
Weight Watchers Friendly: 3 Points for 2

INGREDIENTS/ INSTRUCTIONS
3 oz of coconut flakes
1/3 cup of bitter
sweet chocolate chips

1 ripe banana   
1 tbsp of honey
1 egg
pinch of salt

PREP TOOLS
Parchment paper 
Cookie Sheet



1.  In Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside.

2.   In a bowl, mash the banana, then combine the coconut flakes, honey, egg and pinch of salt. Once well combined, toss in the chocolate chips.

3.  Make little balls of he mixture with a spoon. You should have enough for 16 balls.

4.  Bake in the over for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

5.  Voila! You have a nice treat with no added sugar or butter!








Monday, March 26, 2018

MATZAH CHICKEN FAJITAS







This Passover, I am making Matzvah Chicken Fajitas! I love this recipe because its filling, clean and so easy to make when you are tired of being in the kitchen... oh,  and your kids will love it!


MATZAH CHICKEN FAJITAS
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Prep time 5 min. | Total time: 20 min.  | Serves 4-6 | Passover Friendly
Weight Watchers Friendly: 5 Points

INGREDIENTS/ INSTRUCTIONS
3 chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup of water
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves
1 lime, juiced
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 chili pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
matzah 
Flat-leaf parsley to garnish




1.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Sliver onions, chili pepper and red peppers - set aside.


2.   In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice of 1/2 lime, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, sliced chili pepper, cumin, salt and ground pepper. Cut chicken into strips and toss with the spice mixture.

3.  Preheat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the chicken and cook until just cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan.

4.  In the same pan, add the onions and cook 2 minutes. Add in all of the sliced peppers and cook an additional 2 minutes or just until hot. Add chicken back to the pan and stir to combine.

5.  Squeeze additional lime on top, serve over matzah and garnish with parsley. 





ONE-POT CHICKEN + ASPARAGUS




Short on time this Passover? Go the one-pot recipe route with this chicken thigh and asparagus recipe. 


One-Pot Chicken Thighs and Asparagus
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Prep time 5 min. | Total time: 25 min.  | Serves 6-8 | Passover Friendly
Weight Watchers Friendly: 5 Points


INGREDIENTS/ INSTRUCTIONS
6-8 boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • fresh parsley or herbs of choice
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of water




1.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan/skillet over medium-high heat, place olive oil, garlic, spices and herbs and until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2.  Reduce heat to medium, add chicken to pan, and cook for 5-7 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes. (Chicken should be nearly, but not completely cooked through by this point)

3.  Scoot the chicken over the sides and add remaining add 2 tbsp of water and asparagus. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, rotating throughout, for 4-6 minutes until tender and chicken is completely cooked through.

4.  Serve immediately garnished with freshly cracked black pepper and fresh herbs if desired.




SWEET POTATO NOODLE SALAD





This sweet potato salad is perfect and filling for a Passover weeknight dinner. Best served  as a side-dish with chicken or fish. The piralizer machine is go-to Passover kitchen tool to own. To create long noodles, I passed my potatoes through the spiralizer, it's fantastic!


SWEET POTATO NOODLE SALAD
with lime, honey and Micro-Greens

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Prep time 10 min | Total time: 20 minutes  | Serves 6-8 | Passover Friendly


INGREDIENTS/ INSTRUCTIONS

  • sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup micro-greens or arugula
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup greens - spinach, fresh
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, fresh
  • 1 individual chipotle peppers
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1 tbsp  honey
  • 1 generous pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1 tsp olive oil for dressing
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (add a bit of water as needed to avoid burning)



1.  Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potato noodles and toss for a minute or two until softened. 

2.  Toss the noodles, cilantro, micro greens and pepitas together. Save a little of each ingredient for topping the salad if you want it to be extra pretty. 

3.   Pulse the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking.

4.   Toss with the salad ingredients and you’re good to go!

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS: 5 POINT




Friday, February 16, 2018

HAMENTASCHEN ICEBOX CAKE



Short on time? Leave the Hamentaschen making for the kids with these less traditional fun, frozen and festive Purim Hamentaschen cookies. This icebox cake or frozen version of the Hamentaschen is a fabulous treat to indulge in this Purim  holiday.

You can make variations of this cake by filling the centre with canned cherries or fresh strawberries and topping the cake with white chocolate, chopped walnuts, candied nuts or pistachios.

Dont forget to take a picture and share it by tagging me on Instagram @leslierperez.

HAMENTASCHEN ICEBOX CAKE with Nutella 

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Prep Time: 20 minute |  Freeze Time: 2 hours minimum Dairy or Pareve Makes 12-14 


INGREDIENTS

 INSTRUCTIONS

3/4 of Nutella

1/3 cup of cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup of sugar

3 tbsp of butter or margarine

1 egg

250 g of cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese

9  graham crackers

1/2 cup of marshmallows

Sprinkles of choice to garnish

Tools: cling wrap and
baking sheet





1.
 
 In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add in the egg.  Once blended well, add in the cream cheese and vanilla extract.

2. In a separate small bowl mix 1/2 of your Nutella with 1/4 cup of the Nutella thoroughly until nice and creamy (it should not be too liquid.)

3.
 
 On a baking sheet, lay the cling wrap over a baking sheet over the edge so that it holds sturdy. Place your graham crackers in 3 rows and 3 columns very tightly beside one another.  (Put aside the remaining cream and Nutella)

4.  With a spatula, gently spread the mixture over each cracker, throughout the entire surface as evenly as possible. Place as a row of one or 2 marshmallows along the centre of the centre row of crackers. Drizzle the Nutella mixture over the marshmallows. 

5.  Use the cling wrap to help bring up the two side rows of the crackers so that it forms a triangle wedge. Press down gently to compress the structure. Secure the cling wrap and freeze for at least 2 to 3 hours.

6.  In a small bowl, gradually add the cream in the Nutella, you want the mixture to be creamy enough to slightly drizzle. Remove the icebox cake from the freezer. Gently remove the cling wrap and drizzle the chocolate on top. 

7.  Sprinkle sprinkles on top and place it back into the freezer until you are ready to cut each slice and serve.