My Favorite Healthy Recipes: Mary from Toronto, Canada

My Favorite Healthy Recipes: Mary from Toronto, Canada

Ariel Knutson
Jul 20, 2017
(Image credit: Diana Yen)
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

Welcome to Kitchn's new series My Favorite Healthy Recipes, where we show you how real people around the country (and even world) eat "healthy," however they choose to define that for themselves. Maybe you'll even find a few recipes to add to your own meal plan.

Name: Mary Frances Ellison
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Age: 55
Occupation: Administration at the University of Toronto
Number of people in household: Four of us (two adults and two teenagers: son, age 19 and daughter, age 16)

What Does Healthy Mean to You?

I would say that the watchwords for our family are "real food," "home cooking," and "balance."

We take from various types of eating patterns (I hate the word "diet," having been "on a diet" for much of my early years). Some of the recipes that I use are vegetarian, vegan and Paleo. We're also trying to increase the number (and variety) of fruits and vegetables in our eating — one way is using the Nutribullet to make smoothies in the mornings.

But since I am trying to feed my family home-cooked meals almost every night and trying to teach my children how to cook for themselves (each of them is required to cook one family meal per week), most of the recipes I use are simple and straightforward. I am very pleased that my son's nickname (among his friends) is "MasterChef," as he is now cooking with them and is encouraging his friends to pool their money and cook together rather than go to restaurants that they can't afford!

I love to do one-pot meals, make sheet pan suppers, and use the slow cooker. My husband loves to go to the St. Lawrence Market every week and therefore our weekly meal plan incorporates lots of seasonal produce and farm-fresh meats.

What Are Your Favorite "Healthy" Recipes?

(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

1. Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Onions, and Watercress from Martha Stewart

This one was a big game-changer for me (I've written on Kitchn about it before) because the chicken is spatchcocked! Paul and the kids love it when I spatchcock a chicken for roasting (in fact, it's my go-to method for roast chicken these days). Somehow, it seems that the skin gets crispier (Ben and Julia's favorite part), and I usually do the chicken in the broiler pan with the rack suspended over sliced potatoes and onions. Just add a quick salad or a green vegetable and in about 35 to 45 minutes, dinner is ready.

I started doing this after I tried this recipe in Everyday Food magazine, and there's a five0minute video with Sarah Carey demonstrating it. It's the best!

(Image credit: Martha Stewart)

2. Roasted Pears and Dried Fruit from Martha Stewart

This one is a favorite dessert because it solves the problem that I have with pears: I love them, but they're always rock-hard for several days, perfectly ripe for a few hours, and then immediately overripe and mushy. With this recipe, they go from rock-hard to roasted perfection and they're delicious as dessert or on oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast the next day (it keeps well in the fridge, too).

(Image credit: Three Many Cooks)

3. Quick Roasted Fish and Vegetables from Three Many Cooks

This one was another game-changer for me. The first time you make it, you've got to read the blog and the recipe carefully — do not preheat the oven! It's a sheet pan supper that starts with a cold oven and then roasts on the bottom shelf; it's like broiling. only it's quick-roasting from the bottom. Dinner's on in about 15 minutes — it's a lifesaver!

(Image credit: Diana Yen)

4. Easy Slow Cooker Ratatouille from Kitchn

This easy vegan slow cooker recipe uses up summer produce, is loved by the whole family, and makes me feel very healthy for putting it in the rotation.

(Image credit: The Pioneer Woman)

5. Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread from The Pioneer Woman

As I'm trying to increase the number of vegetables we eat, I'm even finding ways to get 'em into breakfast and snacks. This spread does the trick!

Thanks so much for sharing your favorite healthy recipes, Mary! Want to share what healthy means to you? See how here.

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