Evening’s facilitators, Ashley & Brittany!

Hearty Italian Pasta & Bean Soup

(From The Supreme Bean, Foodland Ontario)


This recipe is great to prepare in large batches.  This soup freezes well and can be brought to work or school for a hearty mid-day meal.  To make preparations easier, cut up fresh vegetables when you bring them home from the market or your garden, and store them in freezer bags to throw into this soup when you need them!



2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 large cooking onion

1 stalk of celery, sliced thin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cups chicken stock

1 small carrot, sliced thin

*feel free to add vegetables that may be in your fridge or garden such as eggplant, mushrooms, leeks, etc.

1 can plum tomatoes

2 cups cooked white beans

*black, kidney, or mixed beans would work in this recipe as well

1 cup spinach, copped

1 small zucchini, chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

1 ½ cups uncooked pasta

*you can use any pasta sitting in your pantry, we suggest a short type such as fusili, rotini, macaroni, or shells

¼ grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until the onions are soft.  If adding any additional vegetables such as eggplant or mushrooms, do so now.
  3. Add the chicken stock, carrot, and tomatoes and simmer for 35 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, spinach, zucchini, basil, parsley, and oregano and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain pasta and add to soup.
  6. Season soup with salt and pepper.  Serve soup with a spoonful of parmesan cheese sprinkled over each bowl

Salmon Cakes – Serves 4-6

(Adapted from Melissa D’Arabian, FoodNetwork)


 These little cakes can be served hot and crispy for a delicious dinner, and are also great as leftovers for a light lunch with a fresh salad.  Even those you do not care for fish and seafood should try these out..they have been winners with the pickiest of eaters!


2 strips bacon, cooked crispy, bacon fat reserved in pan

¼ cup cooking onion, chopped

1 egg

¼ cup mayonnaise

*this is optional…if mixture is too dry add little bit at a time until the proper consistency; do not exceed ½ cup

2 tsbp Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon sugar

½ lemon, zested

1 (14 ounce can) or 2 (7 ounce cans) wild salmon, checked for large bones

                *can also use leftover salmon fillets that have been flaked with a fork – whatever you have on hand!

1 baked or boiled potato, cooled

¼ cup breadcrumbs

*may need more depending on the size of your salmon cakes and how much breading you like on each cake

2 tbsp grated parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup vegetable oil for frying cakes


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small sauté pan over low heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Cool the onions for a bit.
  3. Mix the bacon, onion, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl.
  4. Add the salmon and potato, mixing gently after each addition.
  5. Form the mixture into 12 small patties.
  6. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper, to taste.
  7. Coat the patties in the bread crumb topping.
  8. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, and cook the salmon cakes in batches until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil, as necessary.
  9. Add more oil, as necessary. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie – Serves 6-8

(Adapted from Kelsey Nixon, Cooking Channel TV)


This recipe was a huge hit in our Grow Cook Learn class.  Some lovely optional additions from the garden would be turnips, sweet potatoes, or white potatoes!  Tastes like home.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

*can use shredded roasted chicken or turkey from Christmas or Easter leftovers

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup all purpose flour

*you can use cream of broccoli, cream of mushroom, whatever is in your pantry; the taste may differ slightly

½ cup water

3 cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables – we used peas, carrots, onions, and celery

*you can use any frozen or chopped up fresh vegetables that you have from the garden, or in your fridge, such as peas, corn, carrots, onions, etc.

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon celery seed

2/3 cup milk

1 ¾ chicken stock TIP – the water that is drained off of the chicken and vegetable mixture in this recipe can act as the chicken broth – a low sodium version!   Just make sure you cook the vegetable and chicken mixture ahead of time!

2 prepared pie crusts

*if you do not have 2 pie crusts, or if you would like to cut back on the amount of crust, you can use one for the top only – as we did in our session

Optional: Melted butter or margarine for brushing pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  2.  In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Stir gently over medium heat.
  3. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  4.  In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent.
  5. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Cook for 3-4 minutes to prevent lumping when adding the liquids.
  6. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk to prevent lumps.  We recommend using a whisk for this step. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside. It is important to take your time with this step – it is totally worth it when you have a nice, smooth, rich final product!
  7. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust or in a greased casserole dish if not using bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 Blast From the Pasta – Serves 8

(From Crazy Plates, Looneyspoons Collection)


                A hearty one pot pasta casserole with Mexican flavours.  Freezes very well for easy leftovers!


1 ½ pounds ground beef (preferably extra lean)

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup chopped onion

*Can add any frozen or fresh chopped vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and zucchini but make sure to keep the amount at 1 cup for proper cooking

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can condensed cream of tomato soup

1 can condensed cream of celery soup

*Can use condensed cream of mushroom soup if that is what you have on hand

½ cup 1% milk

1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder– use less if cooking for children or those who prefer less spicy pasta

                *if you do not have chili powder on hand, add slightly more oregano and paprika, and add a drop of hot sauce/cayenne pepper  along with 2 tsp cumin.

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon chili pepper flakes (optional)

8 oz uncooked pasta

*you can use any type of pasta, but we recommend a short type such as rotini, fusilli or shells


  1. Spray a large, non-stick skillet or electric frying pan with a non-stick spray.
  2. Add beef and cook over medium-high heat until no loner pink. Break up and large pieces using a wooden spoon.
  3. Add green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
  4. Continue to cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in diced tomatoes and their liquid, tomato soup, and celery soup.
  6. Cook and stir until mixture is well blended, Add all remaining ingredients.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.