Under the Weather Soup with Crispy Kale

Under the Weather Soup with Crispy Kale – Candy Coated Culinista

I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a cold (knock on wood) and even now this hasn’t turned into a full blown cold yet and I’m thankful for that. I should have known my tonsillitis last week was perhaps a warning sign of things to come. So feeling a touch under the weather with a sore throat and slight cough, I had already picked up some soup essentials being preemptive. Now to make a new soup to help me feel better fast and nip whatever this in the bud.

Yield/Serving: 3-4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: approx. 2 hours
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and halved
• 1 large carrot, peeled
• Extra virgin olive oil
• 900 ml vegetable stock
• 1 cup water
• Salt to taste, if desired
• Black pepper to taste, if desired
• a knob of ginger, if desired
• a little turmeric, if desired
• 3 leaves of kale
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Prepare squash, sweet potato and carrot and place in a roasting pan.
3. Cover in extra virgin olive oil and roast for one hour and forty minutes, turning vegetable over halfway through.
4. Once vegetables are done let cool for 30 minutes.
5. Peel away the squash skin and add to a Dutch oven along with the sweet potatoes chopped.
6. Chop carrots and add one cup of water to a blender along with the carrots and blend.
7. Then add to the Dutch oven along with the vegetable stock and let simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and continue to simmer.
9. In a small frying pan, fry kale with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and once crispy drain on a paper towel.
10. Laddle soup into a bowl and top with crispy kale and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is really a bare bones recipe for me. I honestly didn’t even add salt or pepper as I wasn’t feeling it and I wanted to keep this soup pure. You can also add ginger and turmeric if you want also. I saved that for my tea on the side personally. I even managed to not add onions and garlic as that might have muddied up the beautiful colour of the soup; which was sweet and simple. Blending the carrots prior to adding them to the Dutch oven really helped with the consistency of the soup and I’m very happy I did. This really took no effort which is perfect when your down for the count. Nap while the veggies roast and maybe 10 minutes on your feet actually tending to the soup. Perfect.


S is for … Soba Noodle Salad

S is for … Soba Noodle Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Buckwheat noodles I wonder how these taste? This cold Soba noodle salad is a vegans or vegetarian heaven; but for me I was looking for the protein.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 7 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy


• 2 bundles of soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
• Half a small red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 medium carrots, shredded
• ½ English cucumber, julienned
• Handful of spinach
• 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
• 1 tbsp honey
• 3 tbsp anchovy or fish sauce
• 1 sprig green onion, chopped
• Handful of peanuts, chopped

1. Using a medium saucepan bring water to a boil and widely spread one bunch of soba noodles in water.
2. Cook in the boiling water for seven minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile prepare the red onion, carrots, English cucumber and spinach and set aside in a bowl.
4. In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together.
5. Once the soba noodles are cooked, drain and rinse in cold water three times and plate.
6. Place the vegetables on top and then drizzle with dressing.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
My first thoughts were, this is so tasty but near the end I was thinking, this is in need of some protein like chicken. The flavours were there, but for a meat lover like me I still wanted some protein.

Gluten-Free Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

You have guests coming over the weekend and you want to make something warm and comforting; but keeping yourself on a budget try this heart-warming soup.

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 45 min. to 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• ½ lbs, ground beef
• ½ lbs, ground pork
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp fried basil
• ½ tsp red chilli flakes
• 12 oz can of Crushed tomatoes
• 900 ml or vegetable broth
• 2 sprigs of basil leaves, chiffonade
• Handful of Italian parsley, torn
• 8 – 10 gluten-free lasagna noodles, broken
• ½ a link if pepperoni, sliced
• 1 cup fresh spinach
• 1 cup baby kale
• Mozzarella shredded, optional
• Parmesan cheese, optional
• Basil, to garnish

1. Using a medium sized Dutch oven pour olive oil into pot and allow to heat up over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden.
3. Place ground beef and pork in and cook until brown adding in sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, red chilli flakes.
4. Pour in the crushed tomatoes followed by the vegetable broth and bring to a boil and then reducing to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add in the pepperoni slices and lasagna noodles and let the mixture simmer for 25 minutes until cooked.
6. Add spinach and baby kale in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
7. Serve garnished with fresh basil and shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

• Use canned whole tomatoes and blend quickly in a food processor if you are unable to find crushed tomatoes.
• When reheating add more vegetable broth.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I never thought of making a lasagna soup but I was craving lasagna and didn’t want to do all that work and well we are in the midst of an extreme cold weather warning. So this really hit the spot and everything came together very easily. My taste testers enjoyed and even left with some soup for home. This was surprisingly flavourful and such a great treat on a cold day. I actually made three recipes at once with the same ingredients more or less. I made my Italian Meatballs (a request for me to make), my skillet chicken pepperoni pizza and then the soup. I managed to make 3 recipes for under thirty-five dollars and had about thirteen servings; which was amazing. This was my first bigger meal prep as I don’t really like doing mass meals for the week and I had meals to carry me though some lunches and dinners; which freed up time for me to do things I enjoy like ice skating at night.

Christmas Dinner- Salad: Spinach & Bacon Salad

Christmas Dinner: Spinach & Bacon Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

A simple salad course to keep the Christmas dinner festivities running smoothly.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

• 6 thick cut slices of bacon
• Olive oil
• 2 heaping tablespoons pine nuts
• 12 x ½ ” thick slices of French baguette
• 6 medium pickled onions, and 2 tbsp liquor from the jar
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• Quality extra virgin olive oil
• 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
• 1 handful of seasonal salad leaves

1. Slice bacon into lardons and put into a large frying pan over medium-high heat and fry.
2. Add pine nuts for a minute and scoop out with a slotted spoon leaving the bacon fat behind.
3. Toast the bread in the bacon fat until golden on both sides.
4. Finely slice pickled onions.
5. Using a large bowl mix the pickled onion liquor with the Dijon mustard, ¼ cup olive oil and a pinch of black pepper.
6. Wash and dry the spinach and add to bowl.
7. Add bacon, pine nuts and pickled onions and then toss.
8. Place the croutons (sliced baguette) in and serve.

• Add crumbled blue cheese or feta or matchstick apples or pears would work well.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Such a tasty simple salad and with preparing a full Christmas dinner this salad packs a punch without that much effort.

Christmas Dinner: Pea Soup

Pea Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

This Christmas I want to make a complete and composed dinner from beginning to end and who better than to use Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook. I am practicing these recipes early so Christmas dinner has no hiccups and I am always one to eat Christmas dinner any time of the year; to a few of my friends chagrin. They just don’t understand Christmas in July of Turkey in late spring. I have been adverse to pea soup for as long as I can remember and the only reason was the colour of the soup. I don’t mind peas in any other fashion, so what is my problem right?

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook


• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
• 1 leek, rough chopped
• 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
• Olive oil
• 6 cups of frozen peas
• 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 6 sprigs of fresh mint
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Plain yoghurt or crème fraiche, optional
• 6 slices of whole-grain bread with seeds
• 5 ½ oz leftover cooked ham
• 1 crunchy eating apple
• 1 ¾ oz Stilton cheese
• ¾ oz mature Cheddar cheese
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using a Dutch oven add in the garlic, onions and leek and celery over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until softened; but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
3. Add in the frozen peas and stock and let boil.
4. Add on a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
1. Lay bread in a large baking sheet and shred ham, apple and crumble chees atop of the bread.
2. Finely grate cheddar cheese over top and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and honey.
3. Cook for 10 minutes and then place in soup bowls.
6. Pick out the mint leave and using the immersion blender; blend until smooth.
7. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, add a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraiche, and serve.

• Make ahead and reheat when needed and you can also gather the toast topping and have ready to go.
• Top with pomegranates, crumbled bacon if your not making the toast depending on your guest.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Now that I enjoy a daily green smoothie I have no quams about the colour of this soup and I’m very happy I finally decided to try it. The pea soup was so flavourful and my only issue was getting the soup to be silky smooth. Other that that I’m sold. I would suggest using vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken and serve the toast, yoghurt or cream fraiche on the side so those vegetarians and vegans can partake.

Creamy Blue Cheesey Potatoes with Chives & Haricots Warm Salad

Creamy Blue Cheesey Potatoes with Chives & Haricots warm salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Nothing beats a warm salad and this recipe will not disappoint and if your reading this hating Blue Cheese I urge you to give this a try.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 pound baby yellow skinned potatoes, halved & boiled
• 1 pound green haricots, ends trimmed
• Blue cheese, small wedge crumbled
• Chives, finely chopped
• Thyme, 6 sprigs

1. In a large pot over high heat salted boil potatoes until tender; then drain and set aside.
2. Prepare haricots and steam until just cooked.
3. Place haricots in an ice bath to shock them and stop the cooking process.
4. Drain haricots and add to a platter along with the potatoes and crumble blue cheese over top.
5. Sprinkle chives and thyme and serve.

• If you must, you can swap out to another crumbly cheese if desired.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a beautiful way to enjoy some in season haricots. I remember a time I hated blue cheese and just like olives, anchovies and sushi I became a fan once I became an adult and my palette matured. The salty creaminess with that slight medicinal taste makes the perfect coating for the vegetables. One can’t eat loads of blue cheese in one sitting; but this recipe gives the perfect balance that I craved again the next day. I wish I had made more.

Turkey Stock

Turkey Stock – Candy Coated Culinista

Another great make ahead Thanksgiving or Christmas recipe that can be used in stuffing, gravy and day after soup.

Yield/Serving: 1 litre
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 4 hours, plus
Difficulty level is: Easy, time consuming

Slightly altered from No Crumb Left

• 6-8 turkey pieces; combo of wings and drumsticks
• 10 cups of water
• 1 large onion. Sliced into rings
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 celery sticks, chopped
• Fresh parsley, handful
• Fresh chives, handful
• Fresh thyme, handful

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place turkey pieces into a roasting pan and bake for 60 minutes. (Just ensure all sides of the turkey are a golden brown)
3. Check every 30 minutes and flip.
4. Meanwhile using a large stock pot add ten cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
5. Once turkey is done, tear apart the wings and place all the turkey pieces along with the vegetable into the stock pot.
6. Scrape the brown bits from the roasting pan with a wooden spoon and add to the stock pot. (If it hasn’t all deglazed; just turn on the burner and add some water and let boil and scrap the turkey pieces off)
7. Gently simmer over low heat for 4 hours. The stock will reduce down.
8. Let cool and pour into jars and chill.

• Use the leftover turkey for whatever you like. I saved the drum sticks for dinner as they remained whole and the turkey wings were put in a quick turkey soup with the rest of the veg.
• You can also freeze this stock.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Not going to lie here this is a lot of work for stock; but then there are no preservatives, sodium or salt and chemicals. So start this in the morning and go about your day in the house and let this reduce while you’re doing chores and other baking. There is no salt in this recipe so it won’t be as flavourful as you expect; but it’s best to salt whatever dish you put this into after the fact.

Mango Salad

Mango Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Mango salad has always been a favourite of mine since I first tasted it many years back being surrounded by so many Filipino co-workers. Back then I thought mango salad was only a Filipino thing; but since I have learned it is also a Thai dish and this is the probably the only way you can get me to have chilies in anything I consume.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2 mangoes, sliced into match sticks can be green or a little more ripe, your preference
• ¼ red bell pepper, sliced
• ¼ green bell pepper, sliced
• 1/2 medium red onion. Sliced
• Cilantro, handful
• 3 leaves of romaine or a leafy lettuce, chopped
• 1 green onion, chopped
• Freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 lime
• Sweet Thai chili sauce, to taste

1. Prep all the vegetable & fruit and place into a large bowl.
2. Squeeze in lime juice and add sweet chili Thai sauce and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Sweet, spicy and full of mangoes; I mean how can you go wrong. Whether you prefer the mango more green or a little more ripe it’s just a great salad with a slight kick.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Meal – Candy Coated Culinista

Cinco de Mayo is a day to commemorate the Mexican Army’s unexpected victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The victory for the Mexican’s was short lived; but for this day they could celebrate a victory and they did. This is celebrated mainly in the U.S. & Mexico; but other countries around the world like to partake in this day like Canada, the Caribbean and even other countries further away from Mexico. To celebrate this day in history I ventured into something Mexican.

Yield/Serving: 4 tacos, serves 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr.
Difficulty level is: Easy, time-consuming

• 12 shrimp
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp red pepper flakes
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp onion powder
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 ripe but firm avocados
• 1 egg
• Splash of coconut milk
• ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• 3 tbsp canola oil
• 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
• ¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
• Handful of spinach
• 6 grape tomatoes, slices lengthwise
• ¼ red bell pepper, diced
• ¼ green bell pepper, diced
• 1 green onion, chopped
• Small piece on red onion, diced
• Small handful of cilantro, rough chop
• Corn kernels from one ear of corn
• 4 corn tortillas
Avocado Cilantro Coconut Sauce
• Generous handful of cilantro, stems and all
• ½ of an avocado
• 1 generous table spoon of coconut milk, the solid portion not the watery part
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Few drops of fresh lime juice
• Extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp or more
Mango Bean Salad
• 1 large mango, peeled and diced
• 1 dill cucumber, sliced
• ½ red bell pepper, chopped
• ½ green bell pepper, chopped
• 1/8 red onion, thinly sliced
• Handful cilantro, chopped
• ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 cloves garlic
• Corn kernels fresh from ear of corn
• ½ freshly squeezed lime juice
• Kosher salt, to taste
• 1 tbsp agave nectar
• Splash of apple cider vinegar
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
• ½ of a cantaloupe, peeled and chopped
• Tiny piece of ginger, finely chopped
• 1 lime, freshly squeezed
• 6 cubes of ice
• Cilantro, for garnish

1. Using a medium sized frying pan over medium heat add olive oil and season shrimp with spices add garlic and cook.
2. Let drain on a paper towel and set aside.
1. Using a medium sized frying pan over medium heat add canola oil.
2. Peel two avocados and sliced into pieces. Set one half of an avocado and put into the food processor for the avocado cilantro coconut sauce.
3. Wisk egg and milk in a small bowl.
4. In a plate mixed together panko crumbs and spices.
5. Dip avocado into egg wash and then coat with breadcrumbs.
6. Fry until each side is a golden brown.
1. Using a small saucepan, slice corn kernels off and boil until cooked. Then set aside ¼ of the kernels for the tacos and the remainder for the mango bean salad.
1. Prepare all the topping and place in a plate and set aside.
Avocado Cilantro Coconut Sauce
1. Blend all the ingredients together adding extra virgin olive oil little by little until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
2. Set aside.
Mango Bean Salad
1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and add agave nectar and apple cider vinegar and stir until well combined.
2. Set aside and let marry.
Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
1. Place cantaloupe, ginger, lime juice and ice cubes into a blender and blend.
2. Strain off some of the pulp if desired and garnish with cilantro.
1. Add toppings onto corn tortillas and place avocado on two tacos and shrimp on the other two tacos.
2. Drizzle with the avocado cilantro coconut sauce.
3. Serve

• Add a splash of tequila if your feeling festive to the aqua fresca to make it a more adult beverage.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This recipe was beyond flavourful and I was super excited to make this from the moment I started and I kept building layers to this as I kept cooking. This took longer than I expected; but there are many different components going into the dish and it makes this a lovely complete meal from beginning to end. The creaminess and crunch of the avocado taco made me not miss the protein. Once again I found another dish where I can up my vegetarian recipes to two or three times a week and not miss the meat. The shrimp taco is a great option for those who still want seafood/meat, as the shrimp was packed with flavour and colour. With the addition of the avocado cilantro coconut sauce it once again added another layer of complexity and it was the usual American salsa. I must say that corn tortillas are the way to go, I highly recommend them to the whole wheat, ancient grain or regular floured tortillas I have tried. They are so much more authentic and if you can find them please give them a try. The bean salad was chocked full of all those Mexican ingredients with the vinegar and agave nectar dressing to add a little sweet and tart aspect. Washing this all down was a mild fruity beverage which didn’t overpower the meal, it was just a lovely compliment. Any vegetarian or pescatarian would be total chuffed to see this for dinner and they were. This is already being requested and I’ll gladly make it again soon and hopefully streamline this recipe down to a hour beginning to end as I like quick weeknight meals.

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad

M is for … Melon Cucumber Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 4 tbsp lemon juice
• 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp agave nectar
• 1/4 tsp sea salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 1 small honeydew melon, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
• 1 golden kiwi, halved and sliced
• ½ English cucumber, cut into chunks
• 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
• 1/3 cup black olives, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp finely chopped dill
• ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper until emulsified.
2. In a large bowl add honey dew, golden kiwi, English cucumber, red onion, black olives and dill.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad and mix.
4. Finally top with crumbled feta cheese and give one last quick mix and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of my most creative salads to date. The combination of fruits and vegetables and it being both salty and sweet was very delicious. I would make this for a dinner party in a heartbeat.

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