Sweet Potato & Fennel Stuffed Shells

I’ve always been a fan of the Traveling Wilburys, as far back as I can remember, playing their record over and over again throughout my childhood. Recently, I’ve re-discovered the albums, and have been listening to them on a loop. For those of you who don’t know, the Wilburys are actually a supergroup (in which nobody is actually named Wilbury) consisting of Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Jeff Lynn. A supergroup is what occurs when multiple successful solo artists come together to form something that can only be described as super. 

These stuffed shells are the supergroup of the food world: a combination of already amazing foods that become exponentially more delicious when they’re put together.  Pasta. Sweet Potatoes. Fennel. Kale. Pesto. Mascarpone. (Writing this, I’m already wishing that I had made more.) I mean, just look at the photos. And then, when you find out that it’s spiced with an unusually delicious combination of cinnamon, sage, allspice and nutmeg, you’ll want to eat this all autumn long.
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Chocolate Granola (Vegan, Nut-Free & Gluten-Free)

Ah, mornings. While many of you may groan at the thought of getting out of a warm cozy bed, mornings are actually my most productive time of day. My predicament? Mornings are just not long enough! No matter how early I set that alarm, I can never seem to find enough time to do all of the things that I’d like to get done before heading off to work. While I have good, healthy intentions, my breakfast ritual often involves me standing over the kitchen sink, scoffing down handfuls of Mini Wheats & drinking almond milk out of the jug. That is, until recently.

My Pinterest addiction inspired me to create grab-and-go breakfasts, packed into mason jars, prepared the night before. These often involve yoghurt or a smoothie, and a little bit of homemade granola. If you haven’t made your own granola yet, this is definitely the recipe to try. Sweet cherries, a hint of chocolate, and a tart, tangy cherries, with a wonderful buckwheat crunch.

I am a big fan of honey in my granola, but if you’re looking for a vegan alternative, maple syrup or agave both work equally well.

Chocolate Cherry Granola
gluten free, vegan

2 cups rolled oats*
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup unsulphured unsweetened shredded coconut**
2 tbsp brown sugar
70g agave nectar OR maple syrup OR honey
70g coconut oil
1/2 cup dried cherries

Combine all dry ingredients except cherries. Melt coconut oil and syrup/honey together in a microwave-safe bowl. Toss with dry ingredients. Lay out on parchment sheet and bake at 300F for about 15 minutes. Mix, add cherries, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Enjoy!

*If you’re in the U.S., most commercial oats are naturally GF. In Canada however, if you are cooking for someone with celiac and you need to be certain, look for the GF certification. Bob’s Red Mill sells certified GF oats, usually found in the organic section of most grocery chains.

** I get mine from Bulk Barn – the size of the shreds work perfectly for this recipe!

Horray Halushki!

My comfort foods come in many shapes and sizes, but all share a common trait: they are all meals that I ate as a child. Peanut butter and cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, baked beans… generally some simple, cheap, good stuff. Also on my list are a few of my mother’s Slovak dishes, including her incredible pasta dumplings, which she calls “Halushki.” Interestingly, a Google search for Halushki (as well as one for Haluski) did not return any results resembling the dumplings that I’ve grown up with – generally I found photos of broad, flat egg noodles fried up with cabbage. I’m thinking that somewhere along the way, either the translation was mixed up between my mother and my grandmother, or my grandmother had been making spaetzle while calling it halushki. In any case, it’s always been halushki to me, and it’s the most delicious food that I have ever eaten. I decided that those cabbage people were onto something, so, while I normally eat these with scrambled eggs, I tried it with fried brussels sprouts and golden onions. It did not disappoint. Being of Eastern European descent, cabbage and onions rank high on my list of comfort foods, so combining them with the pasta was a definite win all around! 
This is a pretty simple recipe and, unlike other laborious pastas, it comes together in a matter of minutes. My mother has a special “halushki pot” that she uses to press the dumplings through, but a large-holed colander will do just fine. Don’t have that either? Dropping tiny spoonfuls into the water will do just fine. If you like these pasta dumplings, you should also check out my Sweet Potato Gnudi recipe here! 

Haluski with Brussels Sprouts and Onions
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
a couple of pinches of salt
2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
1 large red onion, diced
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
cracked black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, etc.)
method

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the middle. Add eggs and water. Stir to combine, bringing in flour from the sides. If the dough feels dry, add a little more water, a tbsp at a time.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using an oiled, large holed collander, press dough holes, letting it drop into water. Alternately, fill a pastry bag with the mixture and pipe out quarter-sized drops at a time, or, drop by small spoonfuls. Once your pasta is in the water, it will start to move around, stir gently a couple of times. Pasta is ready once it floats to the top – about 5 minutes. Drain, toss with a bit of oil, and set aside. 
Heat oil in a frying pan. Once it’s hot, return heat to medium and add onions, stirring. Allow them to brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage and stir. Add butter and halushki. Continue cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cracked black pepper and paprika. Enjoy!

Overnight Breakfast (vegan & gluten-free!)

This breakfast is everything that you’ve been wanting in a meal: easy to make, delicious, healthy, hearty, and convenient! Mason jars help create a no-spill, grab-and-go breakfast for those mornings where you just don’t have the time to cook, a.k.a. every morning. Mason-jar meals have been quite the trend on Pinterest lately, I figured it was time that I hop on the bandwagon. A girl’s gotta stay on fleek! (Never let me say that again.) Oh, P.S., it’s naturally vegan and gluten free.

What’s extra-awesome about this recipe is it allows you to change the ingredients based on the season. Summer? Strawberries and peaches! Autumn? Plums and pears! Winter? Dried fruits! Cinnamon is delicious with all of the above, so I highly recommend using it.

Mason Jar Breakfast
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 tbsp steel-cut oats
2 tbsp quinoa (or kaniwa)
2 tbsp buckwheat groats
1 tsp chia seeds
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
3/4 cup boiling water

1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chopped seasonal fruits or 2 tbsp dried fruits

Combine all dry ingredients in medium mason jar (if using dried fruits, add them now!) Pour boiling water over the top & stir lightly. (Do not shake, as the contents will stick to the sides!) Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes (until the jar comes to room temperature) then transfer to the fridge overnight. In the morning, add the milk and fresh fruits. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals if desired.

Stir, and serve!

Smoky Superfood Stuffed Portobello

Hello loyal readers,

Apologies for the hiatus, and a big thanks for understanding – it’s been a very busy summer over at Savoury Sweets! Weddings, events, and birthdays galore – as well as a wonderful two-week vacation to the (very underrated) west coast of Canada. I’ve finally managed to find a few minutes, so I’m here to continue sharing healthy, plant based recipes to bring some colour to your plate, and variety to your diet!

I’m going to start by sharing something that I’ve been dreaming about since I made it – a quinoa & veggie-stuffed portobello cap. (Side note – Portobello? Portabella? Portobella? However you spell it, it’s a giant, delicious mushroom.) I posted a photo on Facebook and immediately had multiple requests for the recipe – you ask, I deliver!

During my travels, I stumbled upon many secondhand bookshops, each one more adorable than the next. It was very hard not to take everything home with me. I did snag a wonderful book called Grain Power (Green & Hemming, 2013), which is what inspired this creation. Not only is this dish colourful, flavourful, and quite photogenic – but it’s also filling enough to be a standalone meal. Bonus – the whole thing comes together quickly, and the filling can be prepared in advance – so it’s great for a quick weeknight meal, or for a last-minute vegetarian or vegan dinner guest. Double bonus – it’s gluten-free, and can be vegan if you omit the cheese, or use vegan cheese!

Smoky Superfood Stuffed Portobellos

ingredients

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one fresh lime
  • 3 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled
  • smoked Tabasco (optional)

method

Remove stems from mushrooms, setting the caps aside. Chop mushroom stems.

Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed, and quinoa is fluffy. Set aside.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in large saucepan. On medium heat, cook onions, stirring intermittently, about 15 minutes, or until they start to brown. Add garlic and stir. Add peppers and mushroom stems and cook until soft, about 10 mins. Add spinach, continue cooking until wilted.

Add quinoa to saucepan and stir, combining everything. Drizzle with remaining oil, lime juice, tarragon, paprikas and turmeric. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop mixture into portobello caps and sprinkle with cheese, if using. BBQ, or place on a tray and low broil, until cheese is melted, about 4 to 6 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with smoked Tabasco, if desired.

Homemade Bread

Do you have 15 minutes, some dry active yeast, and a kitchen scale?

If so, you, my friend, can make bread – right this instant. 
No experience required. No fancy ingredients. This bread is easy-peasy – and absolutely delicious. 
The secret ingredient is beer – yes, the kind you drink. Any beer will do, but I like to experiment and change it up each time I make it. So far, my favourite breads have been made with white beers or wheat ales. I have yet to try with a stout – but please, let me know if you venture that way! Now, lets get on with it, and get baking!
Easy Vegan Beer Bread

ingredients
500g (approx 2 cups) all purpose flour
8 g (about 1tsp) salt
16g dry active yeast
4 tbsp warm water
2 tsp sugar
30 ml olive oil
371 ml (1 bottle) of your favourite beer
5 cloves of garlic, grated (optional)
3 scallions, chopped (optional)
method
Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in medium bowl. Stir with a fork until yeast is dissolved. Set aside 10 minutes until frothy. 
Stir oil and beer into yeast mixture. Add garlic and scallions if using.
Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly pour in the liquid ingredients. Using a spatula, or your hand, combine everything together until a sticky dough forms. Work the dough in the bowl until all of the flour is combined, and it comes together smoothly, about 2 minutes. 
Cover the bowl with aluminium foil, allow to rise for 1.5hrs.
Once the dough has risen, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with flour. Invert dough onto floured parchment and gather it into a round shape. (It will be gluey – very normal!)
Sprinkle the top with some more flour, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 425F. Make diagonal slits in the bread (as seen in the photo) JUST before putting it into the oven. 
Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing. 

Panettone French Toast

Sometimes, I procrastinate.

This recipe is something that I’ve wanted to make for years. YEARS. Why have I never done it? Procrastination, my friends. Well, that, and severe lack of Panettone. Now that I live in Little, Little Italy (Lasalle), there is an abundance of this fluffy Italian treat – at all times of year! So many varieties to choose from in fact, that I found it slightly overwhelming. Do I want currant Panettone? Chocolate Panettone? Coffee Panettone? Mixed Fruits? Original? Yellow? White? Which brand do I choose? (Italians and Panettone lovers, please weigh in on this – I still don’t know!)
Once my choice was made (chocolate-filled!), I decided to go ahead and let it sit on my counter for weeks. You see, I’m SO good at procrastinating, that I also procrastinate eating things. How does someone NOT consume an entire pannetone all by themselves? Self-control, people. Self. Control.  I knew that this particular panettone was destined for great things. This particular panettone was born to be transformed. This particular panettone would soon become a marvelously chocolatey, marvelously boozy breakfast miracle. Five months and mucho procrastination later, I share with you the one and only way that you’ll ever want to eat panettone again.
Panettone French Toast with Chocolate
an original recipe by allison sklar

Notes:  Leftover panettone freezes very well, and is easier to cut into cubes when frozen. Don’t use more than half of your panettone at a time, or you’ll end up with an overflowing pan, soggy toast, and unhappy tastebuds.

ingredients

1/2 packaged panettone, cut into cubes
1/4 cup chocolate chips

2 tbsp Nutella

2 tbsp milk


6 eggs

1/4 cup 15% cream
1/4 cup Bailey’s or chocolate liqueur 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brown sugar



method
Line a 9×13″ baking tray with parchment paper. Place cubes evenly into tray. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat milk and nutella for about 20 seconds, until soft. Whisk together and drizzle over toast.

Whisk together eggs,  cream, liqueur, vanilla and sugar until very frothy. Pour over panettone mixture.

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set and golden. 

Serve hot, sprinkled with icing sugar if desired.