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French Onion Burgers

Recipe: French Onion Burgers

Burgers are such an easy weeknight meal which is why they are a weekly staple on many people’s meal plans (or last minute meal decisions). But plain beef burgers can get a little boring. By adding just a few simple ingredients you can make French Onion Burgers…and take dinner up a few notches.

These are excessively simple to make but to make your dinner time even more stress free you can prep them in advance by throwing them together, shaping them and freezing them. Then you can come home after a long day and just throw them right on the grill…yes, from frozen. (You may already know I am a huge fan of Meal Prepping).

Pair them with some roasted broccoli and a salad (the quickest ones come from a bag of course:-) and you have an amazing dinner in under 20 minutes. And…you can essentially clean your kitchen while the meal cooks! It is so low maintenance.

When this recipe originated in my mind  (I thought “yum, wouldn’t sauteed onions in the burgers be delicious?”), I found out that several versions of it already existed. And the idea of using sauteed onions became less exciting because, in order to get them really sauteed, it would have taken a pretty long time.

The recipes I found on google contained Onion Soup Mix which contains unnecessary additives including MSG. I figured that dehydrated onions would do the trick as long as there was enough salt to bring in some of that salty goodness from the soup mix… it worked.

I am also a fan of fresh herbs whenever possible (because they are full of nutrients and also add so much flavour) so fresh parsley was a great addition.

If you are on a gluten free diet, you can purchase French’s Worcestershire Sauce (which is gluten free) and of course, use your favourite gluten free bbq sauce.

French Onion Burgers

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 fresh onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons bbq sauce (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Divide into 8 equal portions.
  3. Shape into burgers.
  4. Grill 7-8 minutes per side or freeze. Enjoy on a bed of lettuce, on their own or with your favourite toppings.

Serves 4-6

If you are meal prepping these French Onion Burgers, you can freeze them individually on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to a container once frozen. Then, just cook them from frozen for about 10 minutes per side (grill or pan) until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF.

For simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

Dairy free Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken (Dairy-free)

This dairy free Butter Chicken is just as good, if not better than any butter chicken recipe you may have tried. It is delicious.

I actually think that garam masala, which is a combination of spices, is the key to it’s depth of flavour.

And don’t worry if you are not a fan of coconut milk…you won’t taste it at all.

I originally came across the recipe from My Heart Beets.  She has lots of great recipes on her site. But I quickly realized that there were a few steps that you could cut out in order to make this recipe come together quickly and still result in tender chicken that is full of flavour and a creamy….creamy…sauce.

I like to pair it with Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower Rice or white rice. And feel free to throw in a few more veggies (if you do, let me know in the comments section what you added)

Dairy Free Butter Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts (boneless and skinless), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Tandoori spice mix
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-inch knob ginger, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped in large pieces
  • 1 jar organic tomato basil sauce
  • 1 can organic coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, garnish
  • 1 head cauliflower (optional for cauliflower rice)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli roasted, (optional, to serve with butter chicken)


  1. Place chicken in a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and Tandoori seasoning.
  2. Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked to 155ºF for breasts and 165ºF for thighs.
  3. Add oil to a pan on medium heat. Once it melts, add onions and cook until completely dark golden-brown but be careful not to burn them (this will take at least 15-20 minutes).
  4. Add ginger and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
  5. Add spices and let them bloom for a minute.
  6. Add green pepper and tomato sauce. Let everything simmer for 12-15 minutes.
  7. Add 1 can of coconut milk, mix well. Let it simmer for another few minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve over roasted broccoli or rice.

Serves 4-6

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

Pinwheel Meatloaf

Video: How to Make Pinwheel Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a super easy meal to prep and it leaves you with a filling supper that you can easily pair with a simple vegetable side dish like roasted broccoli or a salad. Pinwheel meatloaf is just as easy but it has one-up on regular meatloaf…

Have you ever made meatloaf and found that the cheese seeped out into the juices…so that when you cut it open there was no cheese to be found?

I know…heartbreaking, wasn’t it?

Well, this Pinwheel Meatloaf will keep the cheese right in the middle, where you want it…and it’s almost pretty too…as far as meatloaf goes!


Pinwheel Meatloaf from Kristin McCaig on Vimeo.

Pinwheel Meatloaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite meat seasoning
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup organic ketchup or bbq sauce
  • 4-6 slices of cooked bacon
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and cooked all of the chopped veggies until soft, about 7-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl add ground beef, eggs and seasoning.
  5. Combine using your hands.
  6. Spread and flatten ground beef on cookie sheet.
  7. Spread chopped onion, garlic, green pepper, zucchini, bacon and cheese.
  8. Fold meatloaf as you would a letter going into an envelope.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until thermometer reads 160ºF.
  10. In the last 10 minutes of cooking spread organic ketchup or bbq sauce over meatloaf and return to oven.

Serves 8

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

Burrito Bowls

Easy Burrito Bowls

You may have found that healthy eating and take-out do not exactly mesh. So when you find one you love, they become your go-to.

Burrito Bowls from Chipotle and Muccho Burrito have both been great options for my family. They are full of veggies and meat with healthy guacamole and I can choose to omit any ingredients that are not nutritious and just ask for more veggies.

But because I am also budget conscious, I can’t say that I love dropping more than forty dollars on burrito bowls for just one meal for four…even though they really are delicious.

So in honour of my hubby’s birthday this year, I decided to take a stab at making homemade burrito bowls. Chipotle, for the record, is his favourite take-out. It is the only thing I know for which he is willing to risk missing a train….

I marinaded the meat in a spice rub overnight (I used chicken and beef), sauteed some peppers and onions, made some pico and guacamole and served it all up with sour cream, salsa, cheese, white rice and black beans (if you are avoiding grains and legumes, you can easily leave out the rice and beans. It is an indulgence for me that I choose to include in my burrito bowls).

And the final review….he said the meal was better than pizza (which up until that night was his all-time favourite meal)! And for the record, he didn’t even have the rice and beans.

Easy Burrito Bowls

Time: 1 hour 45 minutes including marinating

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs or grilling steak
  • 2 tablespoons of fajita/taco seasoning or use this recipe:
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 peppers (a mix of red, yellow, green or orange), cut into strips
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • Pico (recipe below or store bought)
  • Guacamole (recipe below or store bought)

Serve with

  • sour cream, salsa, cheese
  • optional: black beans, white rice
  1. Mix the spices together and toss them on the meat along with about two tablespoons olive oil. Allow the meat to marinade for an hour or overnight.
  2. Grill the meat (or bake it) and once cooked, cut it up into small chunks.
  3. Cut up the peppers and onions.
  4. Sautee peppers and onions in a pan with some olive oil over medium heat until soft to your liking (some people like to leave them with a bit of a crunch).
  5. Make Pico & Guacamole (below).
  6. To serve: put each item in it’s own bowl (including the sour cream, salsa, cheese and black beans & rice if using) and create a buffet so people can load up their burrito bowl the way they like it!

Serves 4


Prep Time: 5 minutes

  • 2 avocados
  • Fresh squeezed juice from  1/2 of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon or more fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and scoop the insides into a bowl small.
  2. With the back of a fork, mash the avocado.
  3. Add tomato, onion, lime juice, cilantro and sea salt.
  4. Mix all ingredients well.


  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

Stuffed Peppers

When you are looking for a quick supper, one of the easiest things you can do is take a vegetable….and stuff it!

These stuffed peppers are made with cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice which makes them more nutrient dense (veggies vs rice…veggies win)!

Now, the cooking time on this recipe is not short but the prep work is pretty simple. So it is an excellent make-ahead meal. If you are meal prepping, you can just prepare the filling if you like. Then, on D-day (as in dinner day) you can put the stuffing into the peppers, make the sauce and bake them. Or you can make the whole recipe at once, bake it and then stick it in the freezer for when you are ready!

You can also double or triple this recipe. And if you have leftovers of the filling, I recommend adding it to a super yummy omelette!

The italian sausage totally takes these peppers to the next level.

Stuffed Peppers

For the sauce

  • 1 onion diced
  • olive oil
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (your favourite flavour like basil, bolognese or three cheese)
  • 1 cup broth, chicken or beef
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers

For the filling

  • 1 400g bag frozen cauliflower florets or 1 head fresh cauliflower
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound italian sausage, squeezed from casings
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 teapsoon salt
  • fresh pepper
  • 4 multi-color peppers cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF
  2. Add olive oil to a medium sized pan over medium low heat.
  3. Add onion and cook until the onion is soft, just a few minutes. Transfer half of the onion to a large bowl.
  4. Add the marinara, broth, vinegar and crushed red peppers to the pan. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Pour the sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  6. Combine all of the filling ingredients except the peppers and parmesan.
  7. Using your hands, fill each pepper with filling and place the peppers, pepper side down into the sauce in the baking dish.
  8. Once the peppers are all stuffed and in the dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese if using.
  9. Cover the baking dish with foil and cook for 40 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake until the cheese is browning on top and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF (just a few more minutes).

    Serves 4-6

    Thanks Chef John for creating an awesome recipe that inspired me to make just a few tweaks to make it just the way I want it.

    Want some easy meal prep ideas? Get my FREE “4 Easy Meal Prep Ideas” download that includes four of my favorite, super-easy recipes that you can prep in advance so that you have food ready when you need it! You can get that by clicking HERE.