Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cashew Nut Chicken


Another week night, another quick dinner. I prepped my vegetables on Sunday and had leftover rice from yesterday. This made pulling a meal like this together pretty quick, otherwise I’d have been washing and chopping veggies for an hour. I love this recipe. I somehow found it in an old Best of Bridge cookbook a couple of years ago and have been making it regularly ever since.


Cashew Nut Chicken

Sauce:
½ cup Ketchup
4 tsps soya sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth

The Rest:
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 whole chicken breasts, cut into ¾”cubes, skinless
2 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped
2 Red Bell peppers, cut into 1″ triangles
2 carrots, sliced diagonally and thinly
2 cups snow peas
2/3 cups cashews

Directions
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.

In a bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar and salt.

Add chicken and toss.

Heat Wok or large frying pan to highest heat. Add oil. Add chicken, ginger, garlic and onion. Stir until chicken is opaque 1 minutes.

Add peppers and carrots. Stir 2 – 3 minutes.

Add peas and sauce. Cook until it comes to a boil.

Add cashews and serve immediately over rice.

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Maple soy marinated salmon with maple glazed carrots and rice


Not much to say about this one! Quick and easy dinner since G was home late and I had to get out the door to my volleyball game. I did cook up an extra large batch of rice to use for tomorrow night’s dinner. Last night’s carrots were used tonight instead of green beans.

Maple soy marinated salmon

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1-1.5 lbs salmon

In a small bowl mix the first 6 ingredients. Place salmon in shallow baking dish or in a large plastic baggy. Pour marinade over fish and marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes (Not longer. I recently found out that you aren’t supposed to marinate like meat and shouldn’t do it for over 30 minutes!)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place fish in shallow baking pan (I line mine with foil for easy clean up) brush some extra marinate on top and bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until fish is done and easily flaked with a fork.

 

Maple Glazed Carrots

1 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Steam carrots until just tender but still firm.

In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add carrots along with the cranberries. Cook, stirring often for 3 minutes or until carrots begin to brown. Stir in maple syrup, then ginger, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook until carrots are shiny and caramelized.

 

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Slow cooker Sirloin roast with balsamic onions


Tonight I used up the last bit of beef I had from the previous cow we bought and made a really tasty roast with balsamic onions. I had never tried the recipe before but was really glad I did. It turned out really well, although I did let the meat cook a little too long and it turned out a bit drier than I would have liked.  As a side, I roasted some asparagus, served it all over some leftover mashed potatoes and paired everything up with some warm buttery biscuits.

We’re really lucky to live so near a great fruit & veggie market nearby. There’s one up the street, a minute’s walk at most and it has the best produce and the cheapest imaginable prices. I don’t usually plan side veggies in my meal plan and often walk over after work to pick up what looks freshest or what seems to be the cheapest. Carrots were moved to the back burner tonight when I noticed that asparagus was a buck a bunch.  It was a bit woody but I for the price, even half stems of asparagus was worth it. I love the stuff and so do the two little ones. I just chopped off the tougher stems and put them aside for soup; for such a steal, I can’t really complain.

My biscuits were a bit of a disaster and were a giant globby mess while prepping them. I gave up trying and just poured the goopy dough into mounds on my baking sheet. I ended up with scone-like biscuits and despite their non-biscuit shape, they were quite tasty. How could they not be with 6 tablespoons of butter?!

Slow cooker Sirloin roast with balsamic onions

3-4 lbs boneless roast
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice (or any steak rub really)
1 tbsp olive oil
A few glugs of white wine
1/2 cup water
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Slice onions and place in Crockpot.

Season all sides of roast with steak spice. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat and sear each side of the roast until browned. I like to play the “How long can you leave the roast on one side without touching it to get the best sear? –game. I always lose.

Place browned meat over onions then deglaze the pan with the wine and water (if you’re like me, use more wine… less water. Mmmmm.) Pour the deglazing liquid in the Crockpot over the beef.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and tomato sauce. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours. Closer to 5 for a smaller roast. Mine was on the larger side and 7 hours was a bit too much.

 

Oven-roasted Asparagus

2 bunches of fresh asparagus, trimmed (about 2 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 F.

Break off the touch ends of the asparagus and trim if they’re really thick. Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 12-14 minutes until tender but crisp.  For additional yumminess, grate some fresh parmesan over the asparagus and pop in the oven for another 30 seconds or so!

 

And here’s the recipe I used for the biscuits: http://www.food.com/recipe/southern-buttermilk-biscuits-26110

 

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Bowtie Pasta with Ham and Broccoli


Bowtie Pasta with Ham and Broccoli (or how to feed 4 hungry adults, 4 hungry kids and still have leftovers!)
2 tsp olive oil
2 oz cooked ham (leftovers from Saturday night!) cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 1% milk
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
12 oz of bowtie pasta
1 large head broccoli cut into bite sized florets (broccoli still on sale this week, sorry kiddos)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Heat ham and cook until brown (approx 3 mins). Add garlic and cook, stirring often for a minute. Stir in flour and cook for another minute.

Stir in milk, season with salt and pepper and stir until mixture starts to thicken. Stir in cream cheese and cook until melted.

While making the sauce, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Add broccoli during the last 3 minutes. Drain, transfer pasta and broccoli back into pot. Add cream-cheese sauce, Parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

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Weekly Meal Plan (Week of Feb 26th)


Saturday night was exciting in our household this week.While G fell asleep putting the boys to bed,  I sat down with a nice (read: big)  glass of wine, my iPad, cookbooks and the weekly No Frills flyer. I proceeded to drink copious amounts of wine and figure out what to feed my wards this week.  And so, I came up with this:

Au menu cette semaine…

Bow tie pasta with ham and broccoli

Slow cooker roast beef with balsamic onions, maple glazed carrots and fresh biscuits

Cashew nut chicken served over basmati rice

Maple-soy marinated salmon, basmati rice & green beans

Chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker with grilled cheese & apple sandwiches

Roasted pepper & ham Quiche with garden salad

I don’t normally plan specific days for my meals and usually prepare whatever tickles my fancy either the night before or the morning of.  I find it much easier to actually stick to a loose plan than a rigid one. That way, if I’m really not in the mood for a particular meal or if that day’s events don’t go as planned, I’m not forced to prepare a specific meal.  I’ll try to share each recipe daily as I cook it. If you’re interested in a particular recipe before I actually post it, feel free to let me know and I’ll be more than happy to send it to you.

Sundays are normally my grocery shopping and meal prepping day. I try to get as much as I can ready for the week’s meals: washing & chopping veggies, cutting up and marinating (it is important to point out here that spellcheck tried to make me changing marinating to urinating…) meats before freezing, cooking a larger batch of  soup or pasta salad for lunches, etc. Today, I made chicken stock (chicken backs and legs were on sale!) for this week’s soup. I meant to roast my bell peppers for the quiche but forgot. I also tried a recipe a friend snapped up on Pinterest. Figuring they would be a hit with the boys, I attempted to make this recipe: Sweet and Salty Roasted Chickpeas. Even though they looked deliciously fabulous,

these poor chickpeas were not, as I’d anticipated, well received by the kids. If memory serves correctly, my youngest stood in the kitchen making spitting sounds. As I looked over at him, he may, or may not, have been vigorously wiping his tongue with his sleeve, a spoon and certainly not a tea towel…

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A feast fit for (little) kings


Today being Saturday, I had time for a more elaborate meal. I also had to make room in my freezer for a 1/4 beef (from a huge animal apparently) arriving tomorrow. My brother-in-law and I started going halves together last summer and started buying and splitting 1/2 of a grass-fed cow. The meat is SO much better, although the taste did take some getting used to. It’s also forced me to be a lot more creative while cooking since I’ll get cuts of beef I normally wouldn’t buy.  So, while shuffling through the chest freezer, I discovered an almost 7 lbs ham I bought a little while ago and decided that sucker needed to be cooked up!  I made a maple Dijon glaze for the ham and served it alongside some roasted broccoli and creamy garlic mashed potatoes with spinach.

The fam was pretty receptive to the meal. The ham was moist and tangy from the glaze, the broccoli crispy and tasty.. and the mashed potatoes? Fabulous…unless you ask G. I believe his exact words were “You know how much I love mashed potatoes?” “Yes,” I replied.  “Well, he paused, you may have just ruined them for me!”

Tough luck, sucker. I luuuuurved them.

Maple Dijon Glazed Ham

1 bone-in ham (approx 6-7 lbs)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard (I didn’t have any whole grain on hand and just used the smooth stuff)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Place ham in roasting pan and pour water into the bottom of the pan. Cover (with lid or aluminium foil) and bake for about 1h20-1h40 until heated through. Remove from the oven.

To make the glaze, put the rest of the ingredients in a small sauce pan over low to medium heat and heat until simmering. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Let it cook a minute until it thickens slightly and then pour or brush half over ham.  Return to oven to 10 minutes then baste ham with the rest of the glaze. Return to oven until the glaze is caramelised and bubbly. Remove from the oven and set aside. Tent with foil and allow to ham to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Perfection!!!


Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Spinach
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2-3 cups of baby spinach
3 tbsp butter
4 gloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup of milk ( I used 2% as that’s what I had on hand)
Pepper
Salt
One huge dollop of low-fat cream cheese ** I’ll admit, I really just eyeballed this whole recipe!

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Salt the water and boil until the potatoes are tender.

Drain potatoes and set aside. In the hot pot, melt the butter and add garlic. Cook garlic 1-2 minutes. Stir in cream then add the spinach. Throw in some cream cheese (as much as your little heart desires… Mine desired a lot!) and stir until melted. Return potatoes to pot, add salt and freshly cracked pepper

Mash until the potatoes have reached your favourite mashed potato consistency.

Roasted Broccoli
1 lb broccoli, cut into medium-sized florets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut broccoli into medium-sized florets, toss with olive oil, sesame oil and soy sauce. Lay out the broccoli in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in oven for about 12-15 minutes until veggies are slightly browned. Remove from oven and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

A feast for (little) kings!

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And so it begins…


Who am I kidding? I don’t can’t blog! If I could, I would be cool and witty, funny, and punchy with fancy pictures and clever posts. But I’m not and this blog… well, it won’t.

All I have are a whack load of meal plans and a bunch of fancy recipes many friends and family have repeatedly asked me to share. As I build this blog and it grows, it will, I hope, have a variety of tasty, easy to follow and easy to cook recipes. Recipes that make it into my family’s weekly rotation of meal plans.

I hope you enjoy them!

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