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You’ve planned your meals and bought your ingredients. Now, it’s time to get cooking. Here are four tasty dishes to get you started. The one thing they all have in common? They’re versatile.

Recipes that provide the added bonus of leftovers can go a long way when you’re planning meals.

With most of these dishes, you can enjoy them as is and also use them in other meals. Plus, they’re all easy to make, nutritious, and offer a variety of flavours. Enjoy!


Roasted Asian Salmon

Get salmon on the table in a flash with this simple, flavour-packed recipe. This dish is also an easy way to enjoy salmon’s heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. As the leftovers are terrific cold the next day, double the recipe and serve it with an Asian dressing atop a bed of greens for dinner.

1 tbsp (15 mL) light mayonnaise

2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard

1 tbsp (15 mL) honey

1 tbsp (15 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce

4 salmon fillets, each 4-6 oz. (100-150 g)

1 tbsp (15 mL) sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat oven to 425°F (230°C).

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and mustard until well mixed. Add honey and soy sauce; mix well. Place salmon skin-side down in a large baking dish. Coat with mayonnaise mixture. Place in oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Sprinkle sesame seeds over salmon and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Nutritional breakdown per serving: 5 g carbohydrate, 28 g protein, 10 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g fibre, 275 mg sodium, 230 calories

© Rosie Schwartz

Mini Freezer Meatballs  

Not only are these meatballs a snap to make, they’re also versatile enough for all manner of soups and sauces. And leftover meatballs are good on their own, too. Simply heat them on the stovetop in a marinara sauce, or microwave them and enjoy with your dipping sauce of choice.

2 lb. (1 kg) lean ground beef

3 large eggs, beaten slightly

1 cup (250 mL) fresh whole-grain bread crumbs (about 4–5 slices of bread)

1 small onion, chopped

¼ cup (50 mL) ketchup

⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt (optional)

¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 500°F (200°C). Prepare a large shallow baking pan by spraying with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, ketchup, salt (if using), and pepper; shape into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls. Place meatballs in baking pan so they don't touch. If the pan is not large enough, cook them in 2 batches, wiping the pan clean in between batches.

Bake for 10 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the centre. Remove from pan and serve, or immediately cool in refrigerator and then freeze.

Makes 48 meatballs

Nutritional breakdown per meatball: 2 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 2 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, less than 1 g fibre, 50 mg sodium, 45 calories

© Rosie Schwartz

Curried Chicken, Peach & Pecan Salad

If you are roasting a chicken for dinner one night, why not roast two and have leftovers for this salad? Store and freeze leftovers in 3-cup (750-mL) packages. This recipe is from cookbook duo, Marjorie Hollands and Margaret Howard, who have produced a slew of cookbooks in co-operation with the Canadian Diabetes Association (now known as Diabetes Canada). This one is from Choice Menus (Collins).

3 cups (750 mL) cooked bite-size pieces of chicken

1 can (14 oz./398 mL) peach halves in juice, drained and cut into small pieces

½ cup (125 mL) sliced green onions

1 cup (250 mL) grated carrot

¾ cup (175 mL) Curried Dressing (see below)

¼ cup (50 mL) pecan halves, preferably toasted

In a large bowl, stir together chicken, peaches, green onions, and carrot until combined; toss lightly with Curried Dressing. Top with pecans. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings

Nutritional breakdown per serving: 12 g carbohydrate, 27 g protein, 8 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g fibre, 289 mg sodium, 227 calories

Curried Dressing

½ cup (125 mL) low-fat plain yogurt

¼ cup (50 mL) light mayonnaise

2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger root

2–3 tsp (10-15 mL) curry powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

Pinch each cayenne pepper and freshly ground pepper

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (dressing will keep for a couple of days).

Nutritional breakdown per 1-tbsp (15-mL) serving: 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g fibre, 99 mg sodium, 17 calories

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Here’s a great example of how you can use leftover cooked grains for another meal. Instead of cooking the amount of quinoa in this recipe, you can substitute 3 cups (750 mL) of leftover cooked quinoa. The recipe comes from the Diabetes Prevention & Management Cookbook by Johanna Burkhard and Barbara Allan, published in co-operation with the Canadian Diabetes Association (now known as Diabetes Canada).

1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed

2 cups (500 mL) water

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cumin

¼ tsp (1 mL) paprika

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 green onions, sliced

2 large tomatoes, diced

½ English cucumber, diced

½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice.

To the quinoa, add green onions, tomatoes, cucumber and parsley. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hurs.

Makes 6 servings

Nutritional breakdown per serving: 24 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 4 g fibre, 112 mg sodium, 166 calories


Did you know?

Diabetes Canada offers a range of healthy meal plans, including vegetarian, gluten-free, low-carb, cultural, and more, in our Nutrition & Fitness section where you’ll also find delicious recipes.

This adapted article originally appeared in Diabetes Dialogue.

Author: Rosie Schwartz, RD, FDC

Category Tags: Healthy Living;

Region: National

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