Sensational fall flavours

Pressed for time and need new simple, tasty and nutritious recipes?
Leslie Foster offers up some fresh, delicious snack and meal ideas your family will love

Strawberry Mango Salsa

Pack a delicious, nutritious punch with this Mexican-inspired lunch. You may even get picky eaters to like avocado when mixed with sweet treats like vitamin C-rich strawberries and mango. This recipe is versatile. Change the ingredients to suit your child’s taste.

*Makes 2 servings

• ¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped red onion (or chives if onions are too strong)
• 1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped strawberries
• 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
• A pinch of sea salt
• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of finely chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)

1. Gently mix onion or chives, mango, strawberries, and cilantro or parsley. For more savoury salsa, substitute one of the fruits with tomato. You can also experiment with adding finely diced sweet peppers or coarsely mashed avocado.
2. Season with lime and salt.
3. If your child likes things a little spicier, add finely diced jalapeno. Remove the seeds if you don’t want too much heat.
4. Serve with toasted pita chips or tortilla chips.
Note: This one won’t keep! Keep the unused portion tightly sealed in the refrigerator and consume within 24 hours.

Yummus (a.k.a. Hummus)

Salsa a little too spicy for your brood? Try hummus. It is a great source of protein, folate, vitamin B6, and iron.

*Makes 1 ½ cups (375 ml)

• 1 425 g (15 oz.) can of chickpeas or ½ cup (125 ml) dry chickpeas cooked
• 1 small garlic clove
• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
• Sea salt to taste
• Hot sauce or cayenne for heat (optional)
• Extra virgin olive oil for serving (optional)

1. Cook chickpeas according to the instructions on the package or open and rinse canned chickpeas. Use dry chickpeas if you have time. They taste better!
2. If you have time, remove skins from chickpeas. This will give you extra-smooth hummus.
3. With your food processor running, add your garlic to mince (or mince with a garlic press before adding to the processor.
4. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and hot sauce or cayenne if using. Add water to reach the desired consistency. Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl occasionally.
5. Transfer to serving container and drizzle with olive oil.
6. Serve with toasted pita chips or raw veggie sticks.
Note: This will keep for up to one week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Add water or olive oil if the hummus becomes too thick.

One Pot Pasta-licious

Back-to-school can be a really busy time for moms and dads. Here’s a recipe you (and your kids) will love, and it’s faster than takeout.
*4 generous servings (30 minutes to prepare from start to table and only one pot to wash)

• One 450 g box of bowtie pasta (or pasta of your choosing)
• 1 398 ml can of organic tomato sauce
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of dried basil
• 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of dried oregano
• 1/8 teaspoon dried red chili peppers (more if you like it spicy)
• ½ cup (125 ml) of fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Add-ins: Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, chopped zucchini, green beans, chicken, etc.
• Cream (optional)

1. Place all ingredients in a large pot and stir to evenly mix.
2. Add just enough water to barely cover pasta.
3. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.
4. Cooking time will vary depending on pasta. Bowtie pasta takes about 20 minutes. Minimize the number of times you open the lid. Most of the water should have be absorbed when done. Don’t overcook — no one likes mushy pasta!
5. Before serving, you can add a bit of cream to desired consistency.
6. Serve topped with fresh Parmesan.
Note: Makes excellent leftovers for the kids’ lunch (if you’re willing to share).