Prepare for a Great Canadian WinterAfter twenty-two years, Canada’s Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, are in the playoffs. Though our hearts are filled with joy, it doesn’t change the fact that the cold weather is coming (though I believe in wishful thinking and always hope for a milder winter). Regardless, it’s time for some cozy cuisine for cuddling up in front of the TV (to watch the Jays play, of course). Here are a few easy recipes to warm you up this winter. 



My birthday is coming and ideally, I’d like to shed a few pounds or just miraculously transform into Gisele Bundchen. (Ah, there I go again with the wishful thinking.) But the cold makes me gravitate to comfort foods like creamy soups, poutine, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. So I’ve made this wholesome vegetable soup to help me think I’m eating indulgently while sneakily cutting down on the calories. What I love about this recipe is that it’s filled with lots of vegetables. I threw in quinoa instead of sweet potato because that’s what I had in my house. It also adds some texture and protein. Plus, it makes it more filling. I try to prepare extra so I can freeze the leftovers, just to avoid having to cook on those desperate days. 

Vegetable Soup


  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of Kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed (optional, black beans)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes(no salt added), *this is an optional ingredient
  • 4 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional, for serving (1/2 teaspoon per serving)


Add all ingredients, except spinach and olive oil, to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or until the vegetables are tender. Add spinach, stir and continue cooking just until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

5 Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup RecipeLet’s look at a creamier, more decadent option like broccoli and cheese. Yes, please. But this recipe has a great trick: it substitutes heavy cream for evaporated milk. Boom. This will help avoid your points system going off the charts. Don’t you love those sneaky tips so you don’t feel guilty over gluttony? If you have any, please share in the comments below. I would love to hear them.


  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (**see note below**)
  • plus a few generous pinches of salt and black pepper
  • (optional: a few generous pinches of Italian seasoning or Cajun seasoning)


Stir together stock, diced onion and broccoli in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Stir in the evaporated milk and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until the mixture returns to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted.

Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm.

I love ramen. It was a trend among my high-school friends to get kimchi noodles and then fill the bowl with hot water. Did you do this? We had the best lunch! I still crave it once in a while and find myself in the aisles of T&T tempted to get it, but then I flip to the ingredients label and see 3,000 mg of sodium. I drop it and run. This is why I have to share this low-calorie and-sodium recipe. I can’t wait to make this because it’s uses simple ingredients and the preparation time is pretty quick. (Tip: I usually buy the No Salt Added Chicken Broth from Campbell’s, which tastes great despite the lower sodium content.)  Just remember not to over cook the noodles; I’ve done it too many times. Get a timer since it is so easy to get side tracked.


  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more, to taste
  • 3 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives


  • Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisk in chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce and 3 cups water.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in Yaki-Soba until loosened and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in spinach, carrot and chives until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Hasselback Potatoes with Parmesan and Roasted GarlicPotatoes 

Potatoes are so delicious that I can’t resist them. They can complement most entrées, especially meat or poultry. Since you mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, let’s try something new: Hasselback potatoes with Parmesan and roasted garlic. Just saying that out loud sounds both dangerous and amazing. Since I have no portion control, I’ll probably consume more of these than I’ll want to admit. No judgment, right?


  • olive oil
  • 6 to 7 large red potatoes
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. Brush bottom and sides of a cast iron skillet with olive oil.
  2. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice potatoes crosswise into desired thickness. Arrange potato slices vertically and loosely in prepared dish or skillet.
  3. Sprinkle garlic and Italian seasoning on top of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot potatoes with butter. Cover skillet with foil and bake in a 375 F oven for about 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Remove foil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp.

Sweet Potatoes 

Most people love tater tots, sometimes to excess. But here’s a simple recipe to make sweet potato tots. Say what? And they’re gluten free. This recipe also calls for parmesan, so you can tell what I like on my potatoes. And you probably know that I’d be guilty for possibly eating the entire batch. I can assure that it’ll be highly addictive.


  • 3 cups sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup grated raw parmesan cheese, plus more for rolling tots in
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Peel and quarter sweet potatoes
  • Steam them until just starting to get tender, but not cooked through
  • In a food processor , pulse sweet potato until small crumbles form
  • In a bowl combine sweet potatoes and cheese, mash together with your hands until well combined
  • Form into balls and roll in parmesan until lightly coated
  • Place onto cookie sheet and bake at 425* for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to cook evenly on all sides
  • These freeze very well, but freeze after rolling into balls — do not bake first


Maple Glazed Chicken RecipeChicken is the protein most people prepare at home. Well, it is for me. I have a bunch of it frozen for those times I don’t feel like grocery shopping. I love this recipe because it adds an autumn/winter note by including maple and apples. Sounds better than pumpkin spice chicken, non? With a touch of sage, you know this recipe will be bursting with flavor. Enjoy this Maple Glazed Chicken from the Food Network.


2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 apples (1 red, 1 green), cored and cut into wedges
8 medium shallots, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup fresh sage, torn
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar



Pat the chicken dry and season all over with salt. Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken skin-side down and cook, undisturbed, until the skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Turn the chicken and add the apples, shallots and sage to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook until the chicken is browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and continue to cook the apples and shallots, stirring, until golden, about 2 more minutes.


Sundried Tomato, Spinach, and Cheese StuffingIf you aren’t into the sweet flavor for chicken, let me offer you another suggestion that is jam packed with deliciousness. This recipe comes from Yammie’s Noshery and it’s called Sundried Tomato, Spinach, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken. Kapow! I eat chicken pretty much everyday and it’s nice to change up the routine with ingredients that are simple yet have so much pizzazz. This recipe will make sure you get in your protein.


  • Two large chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (salt and pepper and olive oil would also work fine)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese




  • Marinade the chicken breasts in the dressing for a few hours (I actually skipped this step. I just dumped some on right before I cooked them because I was doing it last minute).
  • With a large sharp knife, carefully cut the chicken breasts like hot dog buns. Don’t cut all the way through.
  • Open the chicken breasts up where you cut them and layer on the remaining ingredients. It’s okay if you can’t fit all of it in, you can just leave some out. Just squish in as much as you can. Stick a couple of toothpicks in near the opening to keep it all together.
  • Heat up a pan (I used a cast iron skillet) and sear the meat on both sides. You can lower the heat and continue cooking the meat on the stove until it’s done or, if you’re using a cast iron skillet, you can put the pan in the oven at about 375ºF. You could also just completely cook it in the oven on a baking sheet if you don’t feel like searing it. Just make sure you cook it until the center reaches 165ºF on a thermometer.


I’m not a fan of meatloaf, maybe because the term just sounds funny. I’ll eat it if someone makes it, but I’m not keen on making it myself. But if you’re talking about meatballs, I’m ready for a home run! This recipe uses a slow cooker and it’s pretty spectacular. 

Grilled steak ratatouille & saffron riceI’m inclined to share this recipe because of my Persian heritage. Grilled steak ratatouille & saffron rice from Jamie Oliver. Why? My mom would make the best Persian rice with saffron. Not many Persian moms do that; they might add a little on the top for decoration but this recipe is all in with this spice. My suggestion is to use basmati rice. Back to the meat, who wouldn’t want to make a grilled steak ratatouille, non?  


  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 2 mixed-colour peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 heaped teaspoon harissa
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 700 g passata
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ bunch fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt


Halve the courgette lengthways, slice the aubergine 1cm thick and place both on the griddle pan, turning when charred • Put 1 mug of rice, 2 mugs of boiling water, the saffron, lemon half and a pinch of salt into the small pan, cover and cook until fluffy, stirring occasionally • Tear the seeds and stalks out of the peppers, then roughly chop with the peeled red onion and put into the casserole pan with the harissa, anchovies and 1 teaspoon of their oil • Squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and stir regularly

Remove the charred courgette and aubergine from the griddle pan, leaving it on the heat, and roughly chop them on a board • Add them to the casserole pan along with the passata and vinegar, and boil with the lid on • Rub the steaks with salt, the paprika and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and place on the hot griddle pan, turning every minute until cooked to your liking.


Hopefully, everyone in the dinner table can eat pork, if not, then this is a useless recipe. That’s cool. But for those who love pork, this recipe will go home for the win.

Drum roll please: Bacon Wrapped Brown Sugar Pork Loin from Food52. Now, let that title sit with you. It’s essentially pork wrapped around with more pork. That is also douched in maple syrup glaze. WOW. As you can tell, I like a little sugar in my savoury meals.


  • 3pounds bone-in pork loin roast
  • 5-6pieces of bacon
  • 1/2teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4teaspoon hot Spanish paprika
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2teaspoon cinnamon


  1. So let’s line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place your big hunk of pork on that sucker. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In a small bowl, make your spice rub. Combine the salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder.
  3. And give that pork a good rub down.
  4. Then we’ll wrap the whole thing in some bacon. P.S. – the technical term for wrapping something in fat (in this case, bacon) is “barding.”
  5. Place the roast in the oven and roast for about 50-60 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan under medium heat, combine the ingredients for the glaze – the brown sugar, flour, cider vinegar, and mustard powder.
  7. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
  8. Drizzle glaze over top of pork roast and continue to roast for about 25-35 minutes longer, or until internal temperature has reached 160F.

    Stay warm this winter. And cozy up with some of your favorite meals.

T-Fal 30cm Ceramic Control Frying Pan
T-Fal Ceramic Frying Pan
Crock-Pot 6.6 Litres Slow Cooker  
Crock Pot Slow Cooker
Zwilling J.A. Henckels TWIN Pure Black Soup Ladle 

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Soup Ladle

Leila Pejman

By Leila Pejman, Home and Lifestyle

Leila Pejman is a producer and storyteller whose work encompasses content creation, media, social media, and communications, topped off with a passion for emerging technologies. On the domestic side, she’s on a mission to create the best quinoa muffin recipe.  

Leila Pejman
Leila Pejman is a producer and storyteller whose work encompasses content creation, media, social media, and communications, topped off with a passion for emerging technologies. On the domestic side, she's on a mission to create the best quinoa muffin recipe.