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Recipes for classic burger, grilled flank steak, barbecue sandwich, Nanaimo bars

Ginger beef is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ HO

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Ginger beef is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ HO

Here are four iconic Canadian recipes that have been lightened and slimmed down by chef Corbin Tomaszeski — without sacrificing flavour.

Chef Corbin's Classic Canadian Burger

In Tomaszeski's take on an all-Canadian burger, he keeps the meat lean and adds fresh toppings. He substitutes a creamy black bean hummus for cheese and serves it on half of a whole-wheat bun. With all that flavour you won't miss the bacon, he says.

For the burger patties, he says breadcrumbs are unnecessary as "the beef itself will bind itself together."

Get the children involved in the preparation. "This is a good recipe for the kids because it gets them mixing with their hands. It's like mud pies but with food."


750 g (1 1/2 lb) extra-lean ground beef

1 small shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ml (1/2 tsp) chopped fresh thyme

2 ml (1/2 tsp) chopped fresh rosemary

50 ml (1/4 cup) Tangy Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 small wedges

6 slices beefsteak tomato

3 large whole-wheat kaiser rolls, sliced in half

Black Bean Hummus

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cumin

Pinch cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch sea salt

Patties: In a large bowl, mix beef, shallot, garlic, thyme, rosemary and barbecue sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into 6 patties. Heat grill. Place burgers directly on hot grill. Cook until desired doneness.

While burgers are grilling, prepare hummus. In a food processor, combine black beans, garlic, cilantro, cumin, pepper, lime and salt. Pulse lightly to incorporate and form a thick hummus.

Makes 6 servings (8 points per serving for those following Weight Watchers).


Chef Corbin's Ginger and 5-Spice Grilled Flank Steak With Stir-Fry

While many restaurants and chefs have claimed they invented Ginger Beef, it's most widely accepted that chef George Wong of the Silver Inn in Calgary developed it in the mid-1970s. It's been a favourite of Calgarians ever since.

The western Canadian version generally consists of deep-fried strips of beef coated in a dark sweet sauce that is reminiscent of other Asian sauces that are vinegar- and sugar-based, such as Japanese teriyaki. Tomaszeski's version uses fresh spices to create flavour and honey to add sweetness and banishes the deep frying in favour of marinating and grilling the beef and stir-frying colourful fresh veggies.

Steak Marinade

50 ml (1/4 cup) reduced-sodium soy sauce

37 ml (2 1/2 tbsp) grated ginger root

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ml (1/2 tsp) 5-spice powder

2 small bird's eye chilis, seeded and sliced thin

5 ml (1 tsp) honey

45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh orange juice

15 ml (1 tbsp) sesame oil


500 g (1 lb) whole flank steak

5 ml (1 tsp) canola oil

Snap Pea and Pepper Stir-Fry

15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

500 ml (2 cups) snap peas, cut in matchstick pieces

1 whole red pepper, cut in matchstick pieces

1 whole yellow or orange pepper, cut in matchstick pieces

50 ml (1/4 cup) green onions, cut in 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces

50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

With a small paring knife, lightly score flank steak on both sides. Place scored steak and marinade ingredients in a large sealable plastic bag and seal tightly. Gently turn bag to combine marinade ingredients and cover raw steak. Place in refrigerator and marinate for up to 4 hours.

Heat indoor or outdoor grill to high. Lightly oil clean grill surface with canola oil. Remove steak from marinade and place meat on grill. (Discard marinade.) Grill on each side for about 4 minutes. Rotate steak once at 90 degrees to ensure even grill marks. Let rest for at least 5 to 7 minutes before cutting.

Meanwhile, prepare stir-fry. Heat a large skillet or wok over high. Place canola oil and garlic in hot pan and cook for a few seconds. Add snap peas, peppers and green onions and toss gently. Continue to cook over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Remove stir-fry from heat.

With a sharp knife, cut steak into thin slices. To ensure tender slices, cut against grain. Serve beef with stir-fry.

Makes 6 servings (5 points per serving for those following Weight Watchers).


Chef Corbin's Pulled Barbecue Roasted Chicken Sandwich

Nothing is more delicious than slow-cooked, saucy pulled pork piled high on a soft bun. Tomaszeski lightens this traditional Albertan sandwich by substituting chicken for pork. By making a sauce from scratch, he doesn't stint on flavour.


1 whole fresh chicken (1.15 to 1.5 kg/2 1/2 to 3 lb)

3 large cloves garlic

5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh rosemary

5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh thyme

1/2 lemon

8 kaiser rolls, buns or mini whole-wheat slider buns, sliced in half

1/2 head iceberg lettuce

8 large slices beefsteak tomato

Tangy Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

Combine thyme, rosemary and garlic and rub under skin of chicken. Place chicken in a slow cooker and squeeze fresh lemon juice over top. Place squeezed lemon half in chicken cavity. Cover and cook on medium for about 6 hours or until cooked through. The internal temperature should read 77 C (170 F). Alternatively roast chicken in a 180 C (350 C) oven.

Remove chicken from slow cooker and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove skin from chicken and discard. Using a dinner fork, shred and remove all of the cooked meat from bones, pulling meat off in thin strands. Place shredded chicken in a large bowl.

Combine barbecue sauce with shredded chicken, stirring to ensure all meat is covered in sauce.

Lightly toast rolls and place a large piece of iceberg lettuce and a large tomato slice on one-half of each bun. Fill bun with chicken and top with remaining half of bun.

Makes 8 servings (7 points per serving for those following Weight Watchers).


Chef Corbin's Low-Fat Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars are known and loved for their combination of chocolate, coconut and cream. Tomaszeski's variation is packed with flavour without the fat.


375 ml (1 1/2 cups) flour

175 ml (3/4 cup) cocoa

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder

250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar

4 egg whites

300 ml (1 1/4 cups) unsweetened applesauce

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla

175 ml (3/4 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (250 g/8 oz) no-fat cream cheese

125 ml (1/2 cup) icing sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) coconut extract

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Line a 20-cm (8-inch) square springform pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking powder; sift until evenly combined. Add sugar.

In a larger bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy; stir in applesauce and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and coconut and stir until well combined.

Pour into baking pan and tap gently to remove air bubbles. Bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes clean. Let cool completely.

Frosting: In a bowl, combine cream cheese, icing sugar and coconut extract, stirring until smooth and creamy.

Remove cooled bars from pan. Spread frosting over top. Slice into 12 even slices and serve.

Makes 12 servings (5 points per serving for those following Weight Watchers).


Tangy Barbecue Sauce

"Make a big batch of it, put it in a resealable jar in your fridge and you'll have it for at least three weeks, ready to go," says Tomaszeski.

125 ml (1/2 cup) minced fresh onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

125 ml (1/2 cup) ketchup

125 ml (1/2 cup) prepared tomato sauce

125 ml (1/2 cup) brown sugar

30 ml (2 tbsp) molasses

50 ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar

1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) paprika

2 ml (1/2 tsp) chili powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) cracked black pepper

7 ml (1/2 tbsp) Tabasco sauce

125 ml (1/2 cup) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

In a small saucepan, combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and do not overheat or sauce may burn.

Source: Created by Chef Corbin Tomaszeski for Weight Watchers Canada.

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