Comfort food for somber days: Red Lentil Lasagna

Canadians from coast to coast are mourning the loss of half a junior hockey team and their crew after a tragic accident last Friday in rural Saskatchewan.

Geographically, we’re the second largest country in the world but when in crisis, we’re a small, tight-knit community.  Yes, we’re around some 35 million people, yet I can imagine that the majority of us are keenly feeling this loss. I know I am. As a mother to hockey-loving boys, as a sister to a big brother, as a wife…I just can’t stop thinking about it and the tears keep coming.

I lost two friends when I was in my twenties – one to cancer and one in a freak car accident. That pain of loss is impossible to put into words, but I have experienced it. Twice.

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One-Pan Roast Sausages with Winter Vegetables

Hearty winter vegetables aren’t nearly as appealing as their lush summer counterparts, yet during these cold winter months, we have no choice but to embrace them day in and day out.

Fortunately, roasting brings out the best of winter vegetables, especially if they’ve been sitting in the crisper drawer for a while. I’ve always got a container of roasted vegetables in my refrigerator – onions, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and so on – and I add them to everything from breakfast burritos to grain salads.

Today’s recipe is a simple one; a basic one-pan supper of sausages paired with an assortment of winter vegetables, roasted up together and finished off with a squeeze of (also roasted) lemon. It’s fast, it’s easy to clean up, and you probably have all of the ingredients already.

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January Carb-Lover’s Pasta Round-Up

We’ve been immersing ourselves in winter sports ever since we started our vacation in British Columbia and boy, do you work up an appetite while exercising out in the crisp winter air.

Downhill skiing on the incomparable Hudson Bay Mountain, cross-country skiing at the scenic BV Nordic Centre, ice skating on Lake Kathlyn and snowshoeing up around Crater Lake – if there is a snowy adventure to be had, we’re game.

A decent chunk of the remainder of our time has been cooking for the incredible appetites of the six rosy-cheeked cousins (my kids plus my brother’s). A humungous bowl of pasta always does the trick for dinner, and the little customers love it too.

Inspired by the mountain of spaghetti and meatballs I prepared for dinner tonight, I’ve decided to share a round-up of pasta recipes from the Simple Bites archives. Whether you’re looking for a simple weeknight dinner or you need to carb load after a day on the slopes, there’s a recipe here to inspire you in the kitchen.

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From sides to stews: a sweet potato recipe round-up

Sweet potatoes are front and centre in the Simple Bites winter kitchen, but not just as a side dish.

In addition to the recipes included in today’s round-up, I find ways to incorporate them into all sorts of meals from breakfast to dinner. I try to roast off a few spuds here and there when I have the oven on for holiday baking projects, then stash them in the fridge for convenience.

In the past I’ve smashed the roasted sweet potatoes and stirred them into a fragrant brown rice pudding. I’ve scooped a few spoonfuls into my smoothies, and together with almond milk, dates, cinnamon and ice, it makes for one delicious shake. I’ve puréed them and added them to chia pudding and even my morning muesli. Once sweet potatoes have been roasted and puréed, you can use them like pumpkin in a wide variety of cooking and baking.

Today’s recipes stay on the savoury side of things. From a delicate buttermilk biscuit to a wintery vegan stew, there’s a sweet potato recipe here for everyone.

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Campfire One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese

We’ve been road tripping through the blistering hot Niagara region of Ontario for the past week, visiting friends, picking stone fruits and enjoying plenty of beach time.

This easy pasta has come in handy for a quick meal when we have returned to our Airbnb hungry after a day of exploring. In the past I’ve always relied on the one-pot dish for camping trips, but it is a good recipe to have in your back pocket for any time you need a fast – and comforting – meal.

Here I’ve included photos of the Dutch oven campfire macaroni & cheese, but you can also prepare it in a heavy bottomed pot in your own kitchen.

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