Quinoa is a superfood that is so high in protein and nutrients, it’s a  wonderful addition to any pantry!  Here are a few tips on how to cook perfect quinoa every time.


1. Rinse, Rinse, Rinse!  

Quinoa has a bitter coating that always needs to be rinsed away prior to cooking, so decide how much you’d like to make according to package directions and then measure it out into a medium-sized bowl.  Pour enough cold water over the quinoa to cover it by a few inches, then get a fork or a whisk and stir it vigorously for a few minutes.  Drain it by either pouring into a fine mesh sieve or by covering with a pot lid and straining carefully.  Repeat this process once or twice more, drain very well and then proceed to step #2.

2. Time for a Toast, then Cool it!

Toast well-drained Quinoa in a large, dry frying pan over medium-low heat (do this in a few batches if you can, to avoid over-crowding the pan).  Toast, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown slightly and develops a mildly nutty aroma (it will pop a bit during this process; just a heads up!).  Transfer toasted quinoa to a baking sheet, spread out to cool, then proceed using your favourite recipe or the package directions... BUT, be sure to cook with salt added to the water with a bit of butter/olive oil if you can OR a bouillon cube adds wonderful flavour as well!


***PSSST!  ...Now that you’ve got the ‘recipe for success’, so to speak, here’s what to do with all that wonderful quinoa you’ve just made!

~use in place of rice as a side dish or in any of your favourite recipes 

~add cooked, cooled quinoa to salads; it’s amazing topped with vinaigrette and is wonderful with tuna, veggies, shredded cheese/nuts for a main course salad

~add cooked quinoa to soups for a protein boost!  Tomato, minestrone, vegetable and beef barley with quinoa are fabulous!

Look no further than your own fridge and pantry for ways to liven up a simple can of tomato soup!  There are hundreds of mouthwatering creations waiting to be made, and, with this handy list of ideas and add-ins, you’ll never have to have it the same way twice! 


Salsa, hot sauce, cheese whiz, sriracha, sour cream, cream cheese, grated cheddar, parmesan, guacamole, chilli powder, strips of processed cheese, enchilada/taco sauce, canned chilli... 


Cubes of buttered toast, crushed tortilla/potato chips (great use for bottom-of-the-bag crumbles!), leftover cooked ground beef or pork (or a leftover cooked, crumbled burger), cooked & crumbled bacon, diced or shredded cooked chicken or sliced deli chicken, chopped green onions, leftover chopped veggies, canned beans, leftover rice, prepared macaroni and cheese (SO good!), crumbled hard-boiled egg, fresh chopped basil, diced avocado... You get the idea!  The possibilities are endless.


Here are a few more inspiring ideas!

Prepare tomato soup according to package directions and then add the following:~

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup: 

Cooked & crumbled ground beef, cooked and crumbled bacon, a diced slice of processed cheddar cheese, cubes of buttered toast AND try garnishing with a dab of mustard and relish if you dare!  

Fiesta Chicken Taco Soup:

Diced/shredded cooked chicken, shredded cheddar, crushed Doritos/tortilla chips, spoonful of salsa, dash hot sauce, sprinkle chilli powder and diced avocado and sour cream to garnish.  

It doesn’t have to just be a salad, though it IS a great one:  crunchy, mild and delicious!  Coleslaw shreds are a great time-saver in the kitchen and can add great personality and nutrition to your meal.  Here are a few ways to dress it up, disguise it, and transform it into something new and exciting!

Coleslaw 4 ways:

1.  You can’t go wrong with a TRADITIONAL CREAMY COLESLAW!  If you have a bottle of coleslaw dressing in your fridge- great!  If not,  here’s a simple and delicious version made with ingredients that you probably have on hand in your pantry:  In a large bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup mayo, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 - 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar, 1/2 tsp mustard, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Add 1 package of coleslaw shreds and mix well.  Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 mins before serving.  Hint # 1... It’s even better the next day!  Hint # 2... Try using leftover coleslaw as a topping on burgers or pulled pork sandwiches!

2.  If you’re looking for an amazingly mild and sweeter version of traditional creamy coleslaw, try making APPLESLAW!  Follow above recipe, but add 1 large apple, any type, grated, sliced, julienned, or chopped.  This version is a real winner with kids and also makes a great topping for a burger or in a grilled cheese!


3.  A Coleslaw with Vinaigrette is a lovely and tangy switch from the usual creamy-style!  You can make your own by whisking  1 Tbsp vinegar (any type), 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil, 1 tsp water,  1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp sugar, a few pinches of garlic powder and a pinch or two of any of your favourite fresh or dried herbs, if desired.  Add 1 bagcoleslaw mix and toss, let  rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Hint # 1... As the slaw sits it will release a lot of juices so if it seems a bit dry initially, just wait it out!  After awhile, if it’s still a bit dry for your tastes, you can definitely add more oil and vinegar if you like.  Hint # 2... Instead of making a vinaigrette, mix 1 bag of coleslaw shreds with about 1/3 cup of ANY BOTTLED DRESSING IN YOUR FRIDGE OR PANTRY!  Seriously!  Caesar coleslaw, thousand island coleslaw, Greek feta and oregano coleslaw... they’re all incredible!


4.  For something a little special and really delicious, try this ASIAN SLAW.  In a large bowl, whisk together 3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar/white wine vinegar), 1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 6 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, and 1/4 tsp each, salt and pepper.  Combine with 1 bag coleslaw mix and let sit at least 30 mins in the fridge.  Hint... This is a great accompaniment for grilled meats and is fabulous topped with a drizzle of sriracha and chopped peanuts!

Or, for a one-pan meal, try...

Sausage, Cabbage and Rice Skillet


~1 bag coleslaw shreds

~2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil

~3/4 lb smoked (fully cooked) sausages, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds - about 3 sausages

~1 small onion, sliced

~1 clove garlic, minced

~1 bouillon cube (any flavour) dissolved into 1 - 1/2 cups water

~1/4 tsp pepper

~1 can of diced tomatoes in juices (15 oz)

~1 cup rice


  1. Heat oil in large skillet (that has a lid) on medium-high heat.  Add the sausage slices and cook for a few minutes on each side, until lightly browned, then set aside.
  2. Add the cabbage, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until the onion begins to soften and brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add bouillon liquid, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the canned tomatoes in their juices, and the rice, combining well. Bring to a boil, stir again, then cover and simmer on low heat for about 15  minutes (5 minutes if using instant rice)/until rice is cooked, adding a touch more water if necessary.  Stir in the reserved sausage slices, mixing well, then re-cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, until most of the remaining liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Serve warm.  AMAZING with hot sauce!

Serves 1Ramen Noodle


Thai egg and vegetable style

1 packet any flavour ramen noodle soup mix 

1/4 cup canned mushroom pieces, drained OR 1-2 fresh mushrooms, cleaned well and sliced thinly OR 1/4 cup frozen mushrooms

1/4 cup canned sliced carrots, drained OR 1/2 fresh carrot, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds OR 1/4 cup other favourite canned veggies, drained

1/4 cup fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)

1/2 tsp each, soy sauce, peanut butter and hot sauce

1 egg, lightly beaten

Creamy egg & cheese style

1 packet any flavour ramen noodle soup mix

2 slices process cheddar cheese (seriously!)

1 egg, lightly beaten



Thai egg and vegetable style

~Measure water required for package directions into small saucepan and heat to boiling

~Add flavour packet, soy sauce, peanut butter and hot sauce and mix until fully combined.

~Add drained canned/ sliced, fresh veggies.  Return to boil and add noodles

~Return to boil and then gently pour in beaten egg in a long swirly ribbon

~Remove pot from heat, cover and let sit 3 minutes before serving

Creamy egg & cheese style

~Measure water required for package directions into small saucepan and heat to boiling

~Add flavour packet and noodles

~Return to boil and then gently pour in beaten egg in a long swirly ribbon

~Remove pot from heat, cover and let sit 3 minutes 

Ham and Corn ChowderServes 4 to 6


3 base options here depending on what’s hanging out in your pantry!


2 cans condensed cream of chicken/cream of potato/cheddar cheese soup OR...

1 cube chicken or vegetable boullion OR...

2 cups prepared chicken stock (from a can or tetra)

2 Tbs butter/margarine

1 large potato, peeled and chopped roughly

1 small onion, peeled and chopped roughly (optional)

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

1 -2 cans flakes of ham (diced deli ham/flakes of turkey/chicken are fine, too), drained

1-2 cans creamed corn 

1 cup milk

Salt, pepper and shredded cheese to taste (optional)


~If using onions and garlic, sweat in butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until soft but not browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Add chopped potato 

~If not using onions and garlic, begin here (if using, continue here from above):  In saucepan, over medium low heat, combine base ingredient chosen (PLUS 2 CUPS water if using condensed soup or boullion cube.  If using prepared stock that does not require added water, do not add extra water) 

~Add milk & creamed corn and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching on bottom of pot.  Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 mins.  Now, roughly mash with a potato masher.  If texture of soup is too thick for your personal taste, at this point you can check for flavour and add a bit more stock/water/milk

~Add flakes of ham at the end of cooking (to avoid breaking it up too much while mashing), bring back to simmer and check for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if needed, and when serving, top with some shredded cheese/chopped green onions, etc. if desired