Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Meatless meals can be so darn good! Spinach and Feta Shakshuka is a quick and easy vegetarian meal that has a crazy amount of nutrition packed into it. Eggs on their own are very nutritious, add in spinach, leeks and legumes and you’ve got a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, K and D, not to mention loads of protein and fibre. This lovely dish packs a lot of flavour too, plus it’s prime for serving for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The preparation of ingredients for Spinach and Feta Shakshuka.
Spinach and Feta Shakshuka in a shallow braiser ready to cook the eggs.

There are plenty of green shakshuka variations out there, but I love the classic feta and dill combination of this one. It’s bursting with fresh flavours of dill and lemon, and the spinach is a great pairing with the eggs. I’ve opted to use cannellini beans, however, other legumes such as chickpeas would be great as well. I find the beans round out the dish and make it rustic and very satisfying. I also suggest serving this dish with crusty, toasted bread. You’ll need it to dunk into the perfectly soft eggs and scoop up the saucy greens. Enjoy!

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.
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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, well cleaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 7 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans, see note
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 each lemon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 each green onions

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the leeks and green onions. Heat oil in a large shallow skillet or braiser. Add leeks and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in broth, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer for 4-5 until leels are tender and most of the broth has cooked out.
  • Add spinach and toss gently with leeks until wilted. Stir in beans, dill and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Make 6 large indentations and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle evenly with feta cheese. Cover and cook on medium heat until egg whites are just set and the centers still jiggle, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with sliced green onions and the remaining tbsp of fresh dill. Serve with toasted bread.

Notes

-I used cannellini beans for this recipe and enjoyed them in the dish.   Chickpeas would be another great choice.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Not all chocolate chip cookies are created equal! For years, I’ve been making a recipe that I thought was the bomb, but as it turns out, there was a better cookie yet to be made. These Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies have taken the lead in my kitchen and have become my new favourite chocolate chip cookie. But let me be clear, my personal favourite remains my Coconut Oatmeal Cookies I’d make them ALL the time, but there’s another person in the home that deserves their favourite too. So for him (AKA husband), I make chocolate chip cookies. He’s my little cookie monster and these fantastic cookies get a double thumbs up from him too.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies rolled dough on a parchment lined baking tray.
A parchment lined baking tray filled with flattened cookie dough balls in making Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

These Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies rank number one with me for several reasons. First is the slightly crisp golden edges of the cookie. They’re great to nibble away at and exactly what you’d expect in a perfect cookie. The second is the slightly chewy center with melty chocolate when eaten while just a little warm. The third is the oatmeal, there’s just enough to call them an oatmeal cookie but the cookie doesn’t seem laden with it. It’s just the perfect balance of oats to give a little texture and chew. Fourth is the taste, there’s a little more salt and vanilla in the recipe than most call for and that really makes this cookie delicious.

Baked Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies on a parchment lined baking tray.

You’ll find the cookie dough easy enough to make and it’s made using melted butter which lends towards a chewier cookie. The dough is also nicely “scoopable” straight out of the bowl with no chilling required. Although, I have scooped and baked these cookies from a chilled state as well and found little difference in the end product. I do prefer to flatten the cookies before baking because it produces a uniform cookie that’s not too puffy in the center. Happy baking, you’ll love these cookies!

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups large flake oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange oven rack to the middle position. Line baking trays with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Beat together both sugars and melted butter until light and creamy. Add whole eggs one at a time, and then the egg yolk, incorporating after each addition. Scrape bowl and mix in vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture all at once and mix until incorporated. Add oatmeal and mix to combine. Scrap bowl and stir in chocolate chips.
  • Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, scoop the batter onto prepared trays spacing evenly at least 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a cup.
  • Bake one tray at a time for 10-11 minutes (do not overbake). Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before moving to a cooling rack.
  • Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

Notes

-recipe makes approximately 48 3" cookies.
-dough can be chilled for up to 3 days and scooped as is, but will be more difficult to scoop in a chilled state. I prefer scooping room-temperature dough.
-dough can be frozen and sealed in an airtight bag or container for up to a month. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator and scoop from a chilled or room temperature state.

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Wor Wonton Soup

Wor Wonton Soup

Wor Wonton Soup

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Wor Wonton Soup served in a shallow black bowl on a bamboo mat with a broken fortune cookie in the background.

You’ll want to skip the takeout when you can make flavour-packed Wor Wonton Soup at home. It’s incredibly easy and quick once all the components are ready. I prefer to make homemade wontons and pork for this recipe because both are just so much better than store-bought in my opinion. I’ve included links for both, so I encourage you to be adventurous and try both. For this soup, I’ve chosen to use broccoli and carrots for my vegetables, however, feel free to sub in baby bok choy, water chestnuts, snow peas or baby corn to suit your liking.

Prepped pork wontons, pork char sui, shrimp and vegetables ready for Wor Wonton Soup.

The biggest trick to Wor Wonton Soup is the timing. I’ve dabbled with several different timing arrangements and found that the vegetables will cook in the same time it takes the wontons to cook. Therefore, adding them to the simmering broth at the same time is essential. Overcooking either is undesirable, to say the least. The same can be said for the shrimp and pork too. The shrimp will cook in no more than 2 minutes and the pork only needs to be warmed as it’s already cooked. So be sure to stick around the pot, the whole process takes only 4-5 minutes, so it’s not the time to do even the quickest of choirs.

Wor Wonton Soup served in a shallow black bowl on a bamboo mat with a broken fortune cookie in the background.

I’ve included links for the Pork Char Siu and Pork Wontons. The extra pork can be tightly wrapped in a sealable bag and frozen for up to two months. The wontons can also be frozen in a single layer and then placed in a sealable container for up to a month. Extra wontons are easily cooked in a little broth, deep-fried or pan-fried. Trust me, they will not go to waste!! This is a wonderful soup that eats like a meal and it’s easier than you might think. Enjoy!

Pork Char Siu

Crispy Wontons

Wor Wonton Soup served in a shallow black bowl on a bamboo mat with a broken fortune cookie in the background.
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Wor Wonton Soup

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2-2 cups large bite-size broccoli pieces
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 16 each pork wontons see note
  • 12 large shrimp, deveined and tail removed
  • 6 ounces Chinese BBQ pork (Pork Char Siu), thinly sliced see note
  • 2 tbsp green onion, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • as needed sesame oil

Instructions

  • In a large pot heat broth and soy sauce to a gentle simmer. Add broccoli, carrots and pork wontons and maintain a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes until wontons are cooked and vegetables are just tender. Add shrimp and sliced pork when about 2 minutes of cooking time remains.
  • Divide soup into shallow bowls and garnish with green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Notes

-The prep time noted does not include the time to make the wontons or pork char siu if making either from scratch.
-You can use store-bought wontons and pork char siu, however homemade is so much better and I've included a link to both in the post above.

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Pink Whitney Slush

Pink Whitney Slush

Pink Whitney Slush

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Pink Whitney slush served in a martini glass on a silver tray garnished with lime wedges and fresh mint leaves.

Isn’t it hard to believe that a good chunk of May has already come and gone? We’ve had an early spring and it’s time to plant flower pots and sip cool drinks on the deck with the scent of freshly mowed grass in the air. Today I’m excited to share the icy cold Pink Whitney Slush. A wonderful combination of pink lemonade, Pink Whitney vodka and a good measure of fresh grapefruit and lime juice for just the right amount of pucker. It’s a lovely drink that can be made in advance and is perfect for occasions such as bridal showers, Mother’s Day, or family reunions.

Ingredients for Pink Whitney Slush on a sliver tray garnished with fresh mint leaves.

Sadly, the Covid 19 virus still plagues my area, and no guests are permitted into the home at this time and only 5 people are allowed outdoors while maintaining the required 6 feet spacing. These public health measures are not exactly great for entertaining, so for the foreseeable future, the only Pink Whitney slurping will be from my husband and me. While this adult slush is perfect for entertaining and enjoying with friends, I’ll just have to be content with sipping it with the company of sunshine and solitude right now.

Pink Whitney Slush will last for at least a month in the freezer, so there’s no reason not to have a batch made and ready. I know I’ll be making another batch and planning for backyard days filled with the company of others. Until then, I hope everyone is staying safe and well in these crazy Covid days.

Pink Whitney slush served in a martini glass on a silver tray garnished with lime wedges and fresh mint leaves.
Pink Whitney slush served in a martini glass on a silver tray garnished with fresh mint leaves.

Pink Whitney slush served in a martini glass on a silver tray garnished with fresh mint leaves.
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Pink Whitney Slush

Prep Time 15 minutes
Freezing time 1 day
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups Pink Whitney vodka
  • 1 295ml frozen pink lemonade
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained about 2
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice about 1

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a sealable plastic or glass container. Whisk well to combine.
  • Place in freezer for at least 24hours, stirring once or twice.
  • Scoop into martini glasses and garnish with fresh mint if desired. Serve immediately.

Notes

-Slush will last in a sealable container for at least a month.

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Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

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The Keto diet continues to be very popular and I was asked by a friend to whip up a few Keto treats. Although I am familiar with the diet, having done it with my husband about a year and a half ago, we did not eat any sweets. Not only were we not hungry, my husband (who has the sweet tooth) didn’t seem to miss sugar. We were all about the savoury side of the Keto diet, eating meat, avocado, eggs and cheese mostly. So I jumped in with both feet to experiment and learn the world of Keto baking. My Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites are delicious proof that perseverance pays off. They’re rich, chocolatey, not too sweet and the perfect size to treat yourself while staying within the parameters of the Keto Diet.

Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites being prepared in a mini muffin tin on a blue background.

Baking sweets for Keto was new to me as I’d never baked with artificial sweeteners. I started by baking a batch of cookies, and they were dry, bland and had an odd texture. I then moved on to make mini cheesecakes with greater success. Probably the biggest part of why cheesecake is a great Keto treat option is because the texture is as it should be, smooth and creamy.  With other baked items such as cookies, cupcakes and brownies the texture is not necessarily bad, but just a little different than what you would expect. Next came the cupcakes. I experimented with chocolate, chocolate chip and coconut cupcakes. I found a blend of almond flour and coconut flour work well, along with the addition of Xanthan gum which helps give structure to risen products when there is no gluten to fulfill that job.

I quickly learned that artificial sweeteners are not created equal!! If you’re just starting out using sweeteners in baked products, I highly recommend doing some research first. I started by using Splenda because I just happen to have a big bag of it. But several recipes later I learn that Splenda contains dextrose and maltodextrin, both of which are sugars and starches. So while the items made with Splenda were still considered low carb, they were not Keto-friendly.  Because Splenda was a bust, I moved on to using a monk fruit /Erythritol granulated blend, powdered Erythritol and a brown sugar Erythritol. The products worked well, tasted good and are suitable for the Keto diet. The problem with Erythritol is it has the tendency to crystallize when cooled. I found this out the hard way after chilling a batch of chocolate cupcakes. The frosting which was made with powdered Erythritol was smooth and creamy when I piped it but when I tasted a chilled chocolate cupcake from the fridge, the frosting had a gritty feel. Again, with some prior research, I would have known this could happen. I was rather disappointed but left the cupcake to sit a room temperature and tasted it again. Although the icing was not as smooth as when first made and piped, the grittiness was almost non-existent and the cupcake was good to eat. So it is important to bring items to room temperature before eating if you’re using a Erythritol sweetener that is prone to crystallizing.

Baked Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites displayed on a wooden board with fresh raspberries on a blue background.

I think the biggest issue I have with artificial sweeteners and no added sugar chocolate is the availability and cost. Not all sweetener varieties are available for purchase in my area. I have to travel almost an hour to find some varieties at a health food store or Costco, otherwise, I have to order online. The cost seems to vary but even the best priced Erythritol blend at Costco works out to about $2.25CND per cup of sweetener. The other sweeteners I purchased which included powdered and brown sugar were more expensive yet. No added sugar chocolate is also very expensive and not a convenient item to shop for.

There are many different sweeteners to choose from, each with pros and cons. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read and learn about the varieties. Some can be a 1:1 substitution, some have a cooling sensation and some are better for baking than others. Here’s a good article from The Spruce Eats to help get you started. Happy Keto baking!!

Per one Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bite:

Calories: 85

Fat: 8 grams

Net carbs: 2 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Baked Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites displayed on a wooden board with fresh raspberries and almonds on a blue background.

Baked Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites displayed on a wooden board with fresh raspberries and almonds on a blue background.
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Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 20 mini bites

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 4 tsp granulated sweetener I used monk fruit/Erythritol blend
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp espresso powder optional
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Cheesecake

  • 8 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sweetener I used monk fruit/Erythritol blend
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp espresso powder optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 ounces no added sugar semi-sweet or milk chocolate I used Lily's milk chocolate bar
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp no added sugar seedless raspberry jam see note

Instructions

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 300°F and line 20 mini muffin cups with mini liners.
  • Add all the dry crust ingredients to a medium bowl and mix until there are no lumps. Add melted butter and mix until combined.
  • Scoop approximately 1 tsp of crust mixture into each mini muffin liner and press down evenly with your fingers.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, remove and allow to cool slightly while proceeding.

Cheesecake

  • Beat cream cheese until smooth using an electric mixer. Add egg and beat until combined. Add sweetener, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder and salt. Beat until combined and smooth.
  • Finely chop the chocolate and melt in the microwave using 30-second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Add to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Using a 1 1/2 tbsp cookie scoop, scoop mixture generously into prepared cheesecake bases. Smooth out each using a spoon that is moistened with water. They will appear quite full.
  • Warm the raspberry jam slightly in the microwave and drizzle evenly over the cheesecake. Using a toothpick swirl the jam two or three turns.
  • Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes at 300°F. The centers should be slightly soft but not sloppy. Remove and allow to cool before removing from the mini muffin tin.

Notes

-I did not use liners for the pictures, however, they were a challenge to remove, so liners are recommended.
-If you can not find seedless no added sugar jam, warm jam and press through a mesh strainer.
-I used a disposable piping bag with no tip (just cut a very small hole) to drizzle the jam. 
-Alternatively, you can drizzle the jam over the baked cheesecake base prior to adding the cheesecake filling, eliminating the need to swirl it.  I've done it both ways and while the jam on the base is easier, they have a nicer appearance with the swirl on the top.
-The cheesecake bites can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3-4 days or several weeks in the freezer.  It is recommend to allow cheesecakes to come to room temperature before eating.

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I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com