Monthly Archives: May 2012

paprika steak skewers

Finally a night off from dance rehearsals. Tomorrow’s the big premiere!  Followed by another show night and then I leave for NYC for work! Actually, I’m leaving a couple of days early as birthday gift to myself. I cannot wait! It will certainly be weird to be travelling all by myself but I have a feeling it’s going to be exquisite!I just need to research  restaurants to eat at on Sunday and Monday nights and I’m all set! Any suggestions?

In the meantime, we had a belated birthday dinner tonight as we were way too busy to do anything last night. My mom flew into town this afternoon and we had a fabulous meal of paprika steak brochettes with veggies and rice! We paired it with a lovely Pinot Grigio and some chocolate mousse cake for dessert.

Paprika Steak Skewers

12oz bottom round steak (I used sirloin steak)
2 tsp of paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
handful of fresh parsley
1 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
Cut up bell peppers
Cut up mushrooms
Wooden skewers

Cut steak into approximately 1″ cubes.

Mix paprika, juice of 1 lemon, handful of finely chopped parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Add beef cubes and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in fridge for about an hour.

Skewer the steak cubes with bell peppers and mushrooms. (Don’t forget to soak the skewers in cold water for about 30 minutes!)

Grill skewers a few minutes per side until meat reaches desired doneness.



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slow cooker chicken taco soup

In an attempt to get an actual meal into the fam when I knew we wouldn’t be home until after 7:30pm, I threw this meal into the slow cooker this morning. The boys usually love this recipe, but I think that by the time we got home, they were both too tired to even bother with eating. I don’t blame them. Thankfully, the recipe freezes really well which means we’ll have another dinner and a few lunches out of the recipe. The lovely thing about this recipe is that it requires very little prep work; you can just throw everything into the slow cooker right from frozen. I love most crock pot recipes… but I love no fuss ones even better!

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

1 onion, chopped
1.5 cups kidney beans (if you refer to earlier posts of mine, you can see that I make my beans in the slow cooker and freeze them in 1.5 cup increments)
1.5 cups black beans
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1  can or bottle beer or 12oz chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
tortilla chips (optional)
Green onions, chopped (optional)

Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir. Place chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered. Set slow cooker on low heat, cover, and cook for 6-8 hours.

About 30 minutes-1h before serving, add frozen corn and chopped pepper.

Remove chicken breasts and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Shred chicken. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours (This step is optional. I have shredded and served immediately!)

Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, green onions and tortilla chips, if wanted!


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grilled marinated flank steak

My world is all sorts of crazy right now. I cannot fathom how families with kids in multiple organized sports/music/whatever survive.  This week is the week leading up to my eldest’s dance recitals and we have rehearsals almost every night, and I just can’t figure out how to get everything done! Nevermind that my house is  a pig sty and the cleaner’s coming tomorrow… Am I the only one who cleans for my cleaning lady??  Let’s not forget that my mom is flying in on Thursday and I also have this unhealthy obsession with ensuring the house is spotless and appears unlived in for my mom’s arrival. (Don’t ask me why. I know she knows I have two young kids!) It’s funny how we obsess over the weirdest stuff, eh?

Anyhow, I haven’t been doing much cooking but we did have a lovely bbq’ed meal on Saturday night. I figured we’d celebrate our successful yard sale with some marinated flank steak on the grill. I have I’ve posted my beer and spice marinated flank steak recipe before but this particular marinate beats it, hands down. I love the asian flavours of this dish; the saltiness of the soy and the sweetness of the honey really compliment each other. Once grilled and the honey chars a little on the barbecue just make it perfect!

Marinated Flank Steak

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce or 1/4 cup teriyaki marinade
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
1 lb flank steak

Combine all the marinade ingredients in large ziplock bag. Add the steak and seal the bag. Refrigerate at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours).

Grill the steak for 12 to 14 minutes or to desired doneness or about 6 or so minutes per side over high heat.

You can also serve the marinade as a sauce. Just bring it to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

I paired this with my favourite oven roasted potatoes and plain ol’ steam broccoli with butter and fresh lemon juice.

I also enjoyed this with one of my favourite beers from back home, la Blanche de Chambly. Probably not the best pairing for this white lager, but after an awesome day in the sun, it was just calling my name from the fridge!


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mexican potato casserole

I’ve been MIA and I apologize! After the long weekend (and lots of eating out, and bbq’ing!) and a crazy week at work, I’ve been a less than stellar example of meal planning. I do have a few recipes to share over the next few days that I haven’t had a chance to post. I hope this will appease my crazed fans! (haha. I wish!) Be watching for them.

I discovered the following recipe last year on this great little blog called Mennonite Girls Can Cook. I had originally thought that potatoes with mexican flavours would be an odd combination but it really is delicious! Gluten-free and kid (but not messy eater…) friendly.

Mexican Potato Casserole

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed but with peel still on.
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning (Packaged or make your own with this recipe that has considerably less sodium)
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn
1 cup salsa
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (any tex-mex blend or cheddar will do)

Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in greased casserole dish.

Melt butter, add olive oil and stir in taco seasoning. Pour over the potatoes and stir to coat well.

Bake the potatoes, uncovered, at 425F for 40 minutes.

Stir the potatoes and bake 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven.

While the potatoes cook, brown and crumble beef; add onion and cook until soft. Drain excess fat.

Stir in salsa, black beans, corn and chopped peppers. Simmer for another 5 or so minutes.

Pour the meat mixture over the potatoes, top with cheese and bake, uncovered, for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with sour cream, green onions or chives and even guacamole if you have any on hand!

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apple spinach chicken nuggets

I love this recipe. It’s a fun food, filled with lots of healthy ingredients. The best part is I get to tell the kids we’re having chicken nuggets for dinner and they get excited about it… Unless you’re my 2-year old. Then you just stare, disappointed, at the plate and say: “That not chicken nuggets. Where my French fry?”… Oops.

I served these with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and oven roasted broccoli.

Apple Spinach Chicken Nuggets

1 lbs extra lean ground chicken
1 1/4 cups onion, minced
1 cup apple, minced (or grated)
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary
2 cups frozen spinach
1.5 cups panko crumbs (regular bread crumbs work just fine!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Combine the chicken, onion, apple, spices, spinach and 3/4 to 1 cup of the breadcrumbs. (I ran the onions, apples and spices through the food processor to achieve a smoother texture but a fine dice or shredding would work fine) Shape the mixture into small nugget sized patties.

Pour the remaining bread crumbs into a shallow dish and press each patty into them to coat.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until the nuggets are cooked through. You can tell they’re cooked once they’re firm to the touch.

This recipe makes quite a few nuggets. They freeze exceptionally well.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 head garlic
1/2 tsp (2 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup warm milk
3-4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

Trim off top of garlic to expose cloves. Place on small square of foil and drizzle with oil; seal package. Roast in 375°F oven or toaster oven until tender about 45 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter potatoes. In large pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes; drain and return to pot.

Squeeze roasted garlic over potatoes. Add milk, butter salt and pepper; mash until smooth.

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asparagus carbonara with strawberry almond salad

I love asparagus. I love it even more when it’s on sale up the street for $2.00 a bunch.  Bacon was also on sale. I also had  too many eggs after I made a trip to Costco (I say that a lot.) Throws those all together which a bunch of parmesan cheese and you have a fast, easy and deelish meal.

Asparagus Carbonara
1 lb asparagus
500 g spaghetti noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
6 slices of bacon, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup pasta water
Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Wash and prepare asparagus spears. Break off the woody bits and chop into 1 inch pieces. Steam or boil for approximately 4-5 minutes until tender. (I used a shortcut here and steamed them over my pasta water!) Set aside.

Cook spaghetti until al dente (as per directions.) Drain.

While noodles are cooking, heat oil and cook bacon until crisp. Add asparagus and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Whisk together eggs, cheese and 1/4 cup of water. Stir in pasta water gradually to temper the eggs.

Add pasta to pan with asparagus and bacon. Add egg mixture\ next and stir quickly to coat all the noodles. If you want the dish saucier, add a little more pasta water.

Add freshly ground pepper to taste and serve.

Strawberry Almond Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing
1 head of romaine lettuce (or spinach would be great, too!)
Sliced strawberries
Toasted Almonds
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 small yellow onion, grated
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Place lettuce, strawberries and almonds in a large salad bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over salad. Serve and enjoy!


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slow cooker beer braised roast

Not a lot of time to cook today and not much time to post, but here was tonight’s meal. It didn’t photograph too well but it tasted delicious!

Slow Cooker Beer Braised Roast

3 lb. blade roast (or any roast, really!)
Vegetable or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp butter
3 to 4 medium onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
1 cup beef broth
1.5 cup beer
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. corn starch
1.5 tbsp. water

Season beef with salt and pepper then brown in 2 tbsp olive oil. Place in slow cooker. Add butter to skillet, add onions and saute until caramelized. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add beef broth and deglaze pan. Then add brown sugar, mustard and vinegar. Stir to dissolve. Pour everything over the roast. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Remove the beef to a serving platter, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add to the juices in the slow cooker (I forgot this step. Do not forget this step or all you have is a tasty, but soupy gravy!)

I served the whole thing over a potato/carrot and turnip mash.

Told you it wasn’t pretty… but trust me. It’s a tasty, no fuss dinner!

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