Kick your Canada Day BBQ up a notch with this easy maple-sweetened recipe

Kick your Canada Day BBQ up a notch with this easy maple-sweetened recipe

July is the worst…said no Canadian ever. The first full month of summer kicks off with the Canada Day long weekend, and then jumps straight into National Grilling Month. Who knew patriotism could be so delicious?

Given the awesomeness of it all, plain-old burgers or hot dogs sound a little lacklustre. The same goes for drinking too much to actually taste anything! So keep it to a couple Canadian-brewed tallboys while you prepare and enjoy this easy maple-sweetened recipe from Don’t Change Much Champion Ned Bell, the Ocean Wise Executive Chef at the Vancouver Aquarium.

a group of Canadians enjoying a beautiful bbq

Maple-Glazed Shrimp With Coconut, Lime & Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grape-sized tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped (here’s how to chop like a champ)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely diced (ditto dicing)
  • 4 tbsp canola oil (olive oil works too)
  • 1 tbsp chilli paste (your favourite hot sauce works too)
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp

Step-by-step instructions

  • Step 1: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a cast-iron pan over medium BBQ heat, then sauté the garlic, shallots and ginger for 30 seconds. (A pot on the stove works well too.)
  • Step 2: Add the tomatoes, stir and sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Step 3: Add the apple juice, coconut milk, and maple syrup.
  • Step 4: Add the juice from both limes, then stir and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Step 5: In a large bowl, coat the defrosted jumbo shrimp with two tablespoons of cooking oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill those suckers over medium heat for six minutes, turning them halfway through, and put them in a large bowl.
  • Step 6: Stir in the chilli paste into the simmering pan or pot, and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.
  • Step 7: Pour the sauce over shrimp and stir so that all shrimp are coated.

Make it a meal — Serves two!

Turn this into a better-half-impressing lunch or dinner by serving the shrimp on top of some steamed rice and grilled vegetables. And let’s not forget the garnish: A few sprigs of cilantro. If you squint, those fresh-tasting leaves can look like they came from a miniature maple tree.

Now THAT’S how you kick a Canada Day BBQ — and if all goes well, some bedroom fun — up a notch!

What is the best BBQ recipe? Share your go-to grill moves with your buddies in the comments below…

Are you thinking about boosting your energy with tasty and satisfying recipes?

Download the free “7 EZ Power-Up Recipes” ebook.

Ah, cilantro, the smell of freshness. Spring is here!

Ah, cilantro, the smell of freshness. Spring is here!

Spring is the freshest season. Why do you think the soap is called Irish Spring and not Irish Winter? And it’s spring cleaning, not summer or fall cleaning, right?

If all this fresh talk has you craving a spring-inspired meal, a member of the Don’t Change Much team, Seshley Kumar, has a treat for you: Her secret recipe for Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette dressing. If you’re looking for easy recipe ideas, you’ve come to the right place!

Ah, the fresh taste of spring!

Pour Seshley’s easy-to-make topping on grilled chicken, fish and veggies — and of course on salads — and it turns the dishes into lip-smacking feasts. As Seshley says, “I love the combination of sweet, savory and tart all in a single bite, which in a nutshell is what you get from this dressing.”

The key ingredient, she adds, is cilantro. “It’s a potent yet very versatile herb, so I add cilantro to many different dishes.”

So tasty, so easy

This dressing is one of Seshley’s go-to kitchen moves when she wants something quick, easy and most importantly, tasty. “Chicken, fish or veggies are so easy to grill or bake in the oven, and salad kits are in every grocery store. But one of the best things about this dressing is that it is the easiest part!”

Just how easy is it? You take the ingredients…

  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

…you put them in a food processor, and turn the thing on until all the ingredients are blended together. That’s it! This recipe makes one cup of dressing, which can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you don’t have a food processor, it’s no biggie. Just make sure the cilantro is finely chopped, and put some elbow grease into your whisking.

Small investment, big rewards

Food processors are a big help in the kitchen, yet cost as little as $50 at any big-box kitchen or housewares store. Seshley, for her part, is a huge fan of her appliance. “Who loves their food processor? I do! When you’re feeling hangry — hungry and angry — what’s better than throwing in a few ingredients in a machine and letting it do the work?”

Sounds like a plan! Here are a couple more awesome recipes that will make your food-processor investment pay off:

Smashed Chickpea Pesto Sandwich

Chef Ned Bell’s Green Eggs and Salmon

Do you know any other tasty recipes that use cilantro? Or that make great use of a food processor? Share you kitchen wizardry in the comments below!

Are you thinking about boosting your energy with tasty and satisfying recipes?

Download the free “7 EZ Power-Up Recipes” ebook.

This recipe serves 80 — if you use the record-breaking carrot!

This recipe serves 80 — if you use the record-breaking carrot!

It may not be on every guy’s bucket list, but a trip to Britain’s National Giant Vegetables Championship may well be worth the price of admission.

In 2016, for instance, you could have checked out the longest carrot in recorded history. Believe it or not, the freakish vegetable was 624.5 centimetres from tip to tip. That’s 20 feet and 5.86 inches — longer than a pickup truck, and nearly three times as long as Shaquille O’Neal is tall!

Then there’s the world’s heaviest carrot, which was pulled from the ground in Minnesota a year later. How much did that sucker weigh? An astounding 10.17 kilograms, or 170 times as much as one average-sized carrot!

If all this talk of carrots is making you hungry, your appetite knows what’s good for you. Carrots are jammed with digestion-aiding fibre and healthy nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, and especially beta-carotene, which gives the veggie its orange colour. Your body converts this chemical into Vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy. Yes, it’s true: eating carrots really does aid eyesight. A 2014 study, meanwhile, found that eating more carrots produced “a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer,” which is the second-most-common form of cancer among men. No wonder Bugs Bunny AND the Energizer Bunny are still going strong!

Your appetite also knows what tastes good and is easy to prepare. Carrots are a snap to peel and don’t need to be washed afterwards. Served raw, they’re ideal for dipping, and are just as delicious when cooked and tender. What is a great carrot recipe? Check out this easy six-step gem:

Rosemary Glazed Carrots

This side-dish feeds two people, so double the ingredients if you want to feed four, or if you want some leftovers to enjoy with baked salmon or grilled lemon chicken the next day for lunch. If you were to use the world’s largest carrot, however, you could feed 80 people, give or take…

Ingredients:

  • Half a cup of chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 4 medium-sized carrots
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried (or fresh) rosemary
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Step 1: Combine the chicken stock and butter in a large non-stick pan over medium heat.  

Step 2: Cut the carrots into slices and put them in the pan.

Step 3: Cover the pan with a lid and leave it for about 7 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the lid and cook until no liquid remains, about 5 minutes.

Step 5: Add the honey and rosemary and cook until the carrots are coated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 6: Season with salt and pepper.

More ideas for cooking with carrots

Want more healthy and delicious recipes for cooking with carrots? Check out these beauties:

Do you have another carrot recipe up your sleeve? Share your good taste in the comments below!

Are you thinking about boosting your energy with tasty and satisfying recipes?

Download the free “7 EZ Power-Up Recipes” ebook.

Cook like a pro, eat like a linebacker!

Cook like a pro, eat like a linebacker!

A morning-show host, a Grey Cup champion, and a celebrity chef walk into a kitchen…

No, this isn’t a new twist on one of those “three guys walk into a bar” jokes. It actually happens in the video above when Breakfast Television Vancouver’s Riaz Meghji is joined by Ned Bell, the Ocean Wise executive chef at Vancouver Aquarium, and retired CFL linebacker Shea Emry. (Riaz’s two guests, by the way, are both Don’t Change Much Champions, which makes them especially awesome.)

The three guys are in the BT Kitchen to show viewers how quick and easy it is to turn young chickpeas — the green ones you’ll find frozen at the supermarket — tuna, avocado, lettuce and a few other straightforward ingredients into a delicious man-sized salad that’ll help you build linebacker-like strength and make you look like a celebrity chef to dinner guests. And that’s no joke!

Chickpeas, Ned explains, are “packed full of protein, fibre and other nutrients…There’s so much more to them than hummus. Add chickpeas to curries, to quinoa salads, to smoothies, even granola.”

Shea, meanwhile, happily helps himself to the fresh green ingredients in front of him. “I don’t want to bring any of the crap from the centre of the grocery store into my home, because then I just eat it,” he says. “When we just have vegetables and lean proteins and that kind of healthy stuff in the house, I can graze and not worry about eating unhealthy foods.”

Chickpea and avocado chicken salad ingredients

Green Chickpea, Avocado & Tuna Salad

Want to cook like Ned and build muscle like Shea by eating plenty of protein? This easy three-step recipe can help with both:

  1. In a blender, puree together:

    1 cup of thawed green chickpeas
    2 pitted and peeled avocados
    1 whole jalapeno pepper with seeds removed
    1 handful of fresh basil leaves and fresh chives
    1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    4 tablespoons of low fat yogurt
    1 tablespoon of honey
    1 teaspoon each of sea salt and cracked black pepper
    The juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime

  2. Arrange as many salad greens as you like on a plate.

    Drain a can of albacore tuna and spread the meat over the greens. Slice up another avocado and add it to the salad along with a few whole chickpeas.

  3. Scoop a couple tablespoons of the blender mixture onto the salad.

    Refrigerate any leftovers for another day. Then drizzle a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on top of everything with a squeeze of fresh lemon and dash of sea salt.

  4. Bonus Step

    Receive kudos from your dining companions for whipping up something so tasty and nutritious!

Shop like a pro, too!

Guys need to eat more plant-based food to stay healthy, Ned says. “It’s easy! Aim to have vegetables on half of your plate.” Shea couldn’t agree more: “I just love grilling crunchy broccoli, and roasting hearty root vegetables, and putting it all on top of my meals.”

Sound tasty? Check out this easy recipe for Grilled Broccoli.

What are healthy recipes all about? “Flavour!” Ned exclaims. The key, he continues, is to have these healthy ingredients on hand when you need them. Here are his go-top tips when it comes to grocery shopping:

Shop with purpose: Know what you’re cooking and what you need, and make a list so you can shop and cook with a plan.

Get to know your butcher, your fishermen, your baker: They can help with decisions about ingredients and suggest recipes you wouldn’t normally consider.

Mix it up: Mastering certain dishes will build your confidence in the kitchen, and that’s a good thing. But you should try new things too. Veer off your shopping list from time to time and pick up a new seasoning or spice, or an ethnic cuisine like couscous, that you’ve never prepared before. This will expand your horizons and ultimately help you cook like a boss!

More awesome healthy recipes from Chef Ned Bell

Like what you taste from Ned? There’s more where that came from! Check out more of his delicious, nutritious and easy-to-make Don’t Change Much recipes:

Are you thinking about boosting your energy with tasty and satisfying recipes?

Download the free “7 EZ Power-Up Recipes” ebook.

Make Like Super Mario with the Power of Mushrooms!

Make Like Super Mario with the Power of Mushrooms!

In the Super Mario series of video games, the mustachioed hero gets super powers every time he gobbles up a “Super Mushroom.” Now, you may not need to rescue princesses and throw fireballs on a regular basis, but gobbling up the mushrooms you buy at the supermarket can work wonders for your health.  

The tender little gems are full of vitamins that help make red blood cells, keep your nervous system healthy, and help your body use energy from food. Mushrooms are also an important source of minerals, which do everything from controlling blood pressure to strengthening your immune system.

Lose weight, stay healthy, save money

Mushrooms also contain lots of fibre. Research shows that fibre helps you maintain a healthy body weight by making meals more satisfying and, in turn, reducing portion sizes.

Smaller portions save you money, as does the meat-extending power of mushrooms. Simply replace half the meat in a meal with fresh mushrooms, and voila! You’ll get the same meaty taste while spending less on dishes like burgers, lasagna and tacos.

Is all this why the creators of Super Mario used mushrooms for power-ups? Maybe they just loved the delicious taste of this wonder food, which is the key ingredient in this easy-to-prepare and easy-to-follow recipe.

Balsamic Mushrooms with Herbs

This recipe feeds two people, so double the ingredients if you want to feed four, or if you want some leftovers to add to steamed rice or salad greens for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil or olive oil
  • 6 ounces of button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped herbs such as thyme, rosemary and parsley

STEP 1: Heat canola oil or olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

STEP 2: Wash and add mushrooms.

STEP 3: Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

STEP 4: Add butter and balsamic vinegar.

STEP 5: Drizzle with honey and sauté until a glaze forms, about 1 minute.

STEP 6: Remove the pan from the heat, season the mushrooms to taste with salt and pepper, and add chopped herbs.

More mushroom ideas

Want more healthy and delicious recipes for cooking with mushrooms? Check out these beauties:

Now, time to cook up some mushrooms, tell us about your favourite mushroom recipes in the comments below…and maybe launch a few fireballs while you’re at it!

Are you thinking about boosting your energy with tasty and satisfying recipes?

Download the free “7 EZ Power-Up Recipes” ebook.

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