week 39

FRIDAY hamburger sliders + homemade french fries
SATURDAY date night!
SUNDAY dinner out (bring: salad)
MONDAY avocado pasta with garlic shrimp
TUESDAY palak paneer
WEDNESDAY bbq’d pork tenderloin with ginger & soy sauce
THURSDAY grilled thai chicken with herb-lemongrass crust

somebody celebrated a birthday last week….

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yes the old guy turned 44 last friday and requested hamburger sliders “with all the fixins.” i’m pretty sure he was still remembering that amazing bacon & sweet onion jam i made to go with the pork sliders for derby day, and fair enough: that stuff was indeed delicious! these mini-burgers consisted of organic grass fed lean ground beef, to which i added some garlic and salt & pepper, maybe a splash of worcestershire sauce cos i’m crazy like that. and then we topped with the aforementioned bacon-onion jam, plus sliced cheddar, tomato slices, and, at my daughter’s urging, iceberg lettuce that i shredded and tossed with some not-so-secret sauce. holy wow, next level!

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but my word — those french fries! i have never made french fries and to be honest, i’d never planned to. i don’t need to add deep fried foods to my repertoire. it’s just a bad idea. but then smitten posted this recipe and what was i supposed to do??? they were so insanely easy and the opposite of messy, and you don’t have to watch over them like a hawk. nothing caught on fire and they were the best fries we’ve ever had.

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my sister has us all over for taco night on sunday to say bon voyage to my daughter and her fella who are going to be galavanting all over europe for the next few weeks. she was making a full spread as per usual, but asked me to bring a salad to go with. who eats salad with tacos?? but then i remembered this recipe from smitten kitchen (surprise!) for chile-lime melon salad. i will admit, i was not sure about this one after i tried it. it’s a bit weird. chile powder, lime juice, melon? plus mexican cheese, cilantro and pumpkin seeds?? what?? i like all those things, but my first taste (and second even) was weird. deb recommends eating it right away so it doesn’t get all liquidy and slimy but mine sat for at least 2 hours in the fridge (a bit of liquid but not slimy) and i think that was what did it for me; the flavours all melded and i dare say it was quite addictive! super refreshing and i anticipate it will make at least one more appearance this summer.

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this is one i make a fair amount. it’s not the most attractive of meals and certainly doesn’t photograph well but it sure is tasty. i was convinced that it wasn’t nearly as good as our local indian restaurant’s version but after sampling some cold leftovers, i’m not so sure now, cos it was dang tasty! i think i was just initially eating it when it was too hot. hello, impatient! plus i’m convinced restaurants add extra sugar and fat to up the flavour which is cheating. anyway, palak paneer, or saag paneer, as i believe this is called too, is basically indian cottage cheese (the paneer) in a spinach sauce (the palak/saag). simple yet delicious. and this is coming from a girl that detests even wilted spinach! the key is chopping, or better, puréeing it once it’s cooked; then you don’t get those gross clumps. obvs there are loads of spices in it too. she calls for something called hing which i do not have but perhaps one day will find and add to my spice collection. it’s def not a deal breaker for this dish.

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so seemingly overnight it turned into summer. super hot temps and gorgeous sunshine. yes! finally! of course that means barbecue weather! this is an insanely easy recipe for asian marinated pork, from the cookbook “the art of living” by ruth reisman. it says you can marinate for as little as ten minutes on the counter but i like big flavour so start the night before. pro-tip (not that i’ve ever been this clever): make twice as much and bang the second one in the freezer for another night! because we were grilling, we popped some peppers and baby potatoes on at the same time. easy peasy.

barbecued pork tenderloin with ginger and soy sauce

makes 4 servings.

¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp liquid honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1.5 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed

in small bowl, combine soy sauce, sherry, oil, ginger, honey and garlic; stir to mix well.

pour marinade into large plastic bag and add pork tenderloin; seal bag. let marinate for 10 minutes (or overnight).

remove tenderloin from bag; reserved marinade. place tenderloin greased barbecue grill over medium-high heat. close lid and cook for 15-20 mins or until cooked, turning once. (alternately, you can do this in the oven. pre-heat oven to 375℉, and then bake on rimmed baking sheet; cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked, turning halfway through.)

meanwhile, pour reserved marinade into small sauce pan and bring to boil, stirring continuously. simmer until tenderloin is cooked.

remove tenderloin from grill and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. pour sauce on top or serve on the side.

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fully taking advantage of this outdoor bbq & dining weather, our last meal of the week was one i’ve not made in aaaaages and i’ve no idea why! it’s sooooo good!! grilled thai chicken with herb-lemongrass crust. it’s not like marinades intimidate me, hello?! i did a boneheaded thing tho, and scaled the recipe in half cos it’s supposed to serve 12 people and i guess i was thinking there would only be three of us max. should’ve made the entire thing and froze a bunch. duh! next time! i ended up using boneless skinless chicken legs which were weird to trim (wth? i’ve never seen these in the store before but they were out of b/s breasts so there you go) but cooked up beautifully. in fact i’ll likely make this with b/s thighs from now on. one thing: i had to omit the basil because the bunch i bought earlier in the week literally shrivelled up and died the day after i brought it home. i do not think it made a big difference in taste. but what’s the deal with fresh basil anyway? you’re not supposed to store it in the fridge but on the counter doesn’t seem to work either. very frustrating. hey, see that rice in the top corner there? also yum! coconut thai rice. mmm it does go well with the chicken.

not sure what happened to the avocado pasta with shrimps… must’ve had too many leftovers in tha fridge!

week 38

FRIDAY sheet pan chicken tikka
SATURDAY kale salad bowl with tahini
SUNDAY mother’s day
MONDAY steak & onion sandwich
TUESDAY black bean chili
WEDNESDAY chicken & bean enchiladas
THURSDAY coconut shrimp noodle bowls

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this sheet pan chicken tikka is seriously one of my favourite meals. i was supposed to make this last week, but we had so much leftover pizza, it didn’t make sense to cook again. smitten kitchen is one of my favourite food bloggers/recipe creators so i had such high expectations the first time i made this — and i was not disappointed!! and the same can be said for this time around. first: it’s dead easy to make (sheet pan dinners ftw!); and second: unbelievably tasty! i used boneless skinless chicken thighs this time and we liked it much better that way. i just roasted the veg for about 20 or so mins and then added the chicken to the pan and continued roasting for another 20 or so more mins till the juices ran clear. also, i meant to double the spices (cos deb said she spices it appropriately for her little people but by all means go to town and double up) and i totally forgot but it was still deliciouuuuuus!!!

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okay so this is another one of my husband’s most requested meals: the kale salad bowl with tahini. there is a lot going on here: kale (duh), roasted sweet potato, chickpeas, quinoa, feta, two different sauces/dressings. it does take a bit of time to make but it is quite tasty. i say only quite tasty because i’ve made it so often that i’m a wee bit sick of it. he still loves it tho. to death. the only change i make it to decrease the tahini sauce by half.

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i’ve been on the lookout for the perfect steak sandwich recipe for aaaaaages. i used to always order them in restaurants too but the restaurants that serve them tend to serve greasy pub-style food (north american not uk — uk pub food, at least in my limited experience, is amazing!) and they were always so oily but then we stopped going to those kinds of restaurants. in my google searching one day, i happened upon a recipe for next level steak & onion sandwiches by none other than jamie oliver, whose personality can be rather grating but love of food is obviously apparent. i very much respect his passion to bring healthier food not only to uk schools but households everywhere. anyway, yay — a steak sarnie! finally! first time i made it, i followed the recipe as is and was sorely disappointed — the steak itself was tough and flavourless! but that’s what you get for using flank steak. flank steak needs to be marinated overnight, people! then it’s delicious! but you can’t just season it with s&p, cook it and eat, no way. it’s like leather. so now i get top sirloin steak which does the trick. but to be honest here, it’s the onions that steal the show tho — holy crap, they are tasty!! i am still on the lookout for the perfect bread to serve this in; this time i used a ciabatta loaf which is what it called for but jeepers, it was so crusty, it tore up the roof of my mouth! on a side note, someone from jamie’s food tube team regrammed my post on instagram and got me a bunch more followers so that was exciting!

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hoo boy. i could seriously not shut up about how good this vegetarian black bean chili was. we even had it for dinner the next day and again, “omg, i can’t believe how much i love this!” part of it is because it’s so easy to make, but it truly is delicious. also it’s totally customisable — i added a jalapeño alongside the red peppers, plus i swapped out a can’s worth of black beans for kidney beans, for no reason really other than why not? last time i made it was with all black beans and it was equally delicious. (you could probably even add meat if chili without meat is just not chili to you.) this time i added some frozen corn to the mix too; it made it look tex-mexy altho i suppose chili is tex-mex anyway, right? and again, i served with smitten’s corn bread muffins, which kills me to say i don’t like, but that’s all me; the old guy loves them. i really wish i could get into corn bread but it’s just a flavour combo/concept my palette does not understand.

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last meal this week was another really easy one — it’s like i’ve been on cooking vacay for most of this week! coconut shrimp noodle bowls. i actually forgot how quick and easy this one was, as it’s been a while since i made it. again, used to be on heavy rotation and then i got sick of it. you literally sear a pound of shrimp, remove said shrimp from pan, add remaining ingredients (coconut milk, chicken stock, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, hot sauce, scallions, cilantro, chopped yellow pepper, and your rice noodles) and bring to boil.  simmer 5 mins and your dinner is done! squeeze some lime on top, add the shrimps back in, sprinkle some more cilantro on top and voila!

skipped the chicken enchies this week cos of the aforementioned chili leftovers — did i mention how much i really liked the chili?

week 37

FRIDAY tacos!
SATURDAY date night
SUNDAY pork tenderloin sliders
MONDAY big vegan bowl
TUESDAY miso salmon
WEDNESDAY pizza!
THURSDAY sheet pan chicken tikka

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i’ve been wanting to have a cinco de mayo party for years! so many great dishes to choose from. i decided to make tacos and i settled on two kinds: chicken mole tacos and shrimp tacos. i swapped out the chocolate chips for unsweetened cocoa as one of our guests is going sugar-free this month (in addition to being celiac!) which i think might be more authentic anyway. i served these in corn tortillas with pickled onions, crumbled feta (couldn’t find any queso) and cilantro leaves. the shrimp tacos i make all the time actually cos they’re so easy! i add a mashed avocado to the sauce, cutting back a bit of the yogurt. and i add about four to six cloves of garlic to the shrimp while sautéing. also served in corn tortillas. ended up having so many leftovers, we did date night in on saturday.

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i’ve kind of wanted to have a kentucky derby party too, even tho vancouver is not exactly kentucky, but who doesn’t want a meal that’s bookended by mint juleps and chocolate bourbon pecan pie?? anyway, i was a day late and it was just the two of us for dinner. that didn’t stop me from making these amazing pork tenderloin sliders with the even more amazing condiments that went with them (clockwise from bottom left): italian-style salsa verde, blackberry honey mustard, and bacon & sweet onion jam.

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oh. my. word. cannot get over how tasty they were — individually and all together on the one slider. the onion jam alone…. we’ve actually got enough of all three leftover that the old guy wants me to roast another tenderloin so we can do it all over again. i wish a bakeware company would make a quarter pie dish. i would really like a piece of that pie. just one.

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yeah i always get super cranky making this big vegan bowl. even tho i know the best meal-sized salads are all about the individual components and take time to prep, i tend to start this at the last minute when my kitchen is dirty and the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and there’s crap everywhere.  and i basically always wonder out loud, why do i bother making this? and then i start eating and i get it. i suppose i complicate things more by using dried beans instead of canned and rather than buy hummus from the shop, i figure if i’m soaking beans for the salad, i may as well do some extras and just make the hummus myself! it does make for a delicious salad tho. a couple things: i only make up half the amount of quinoa called for. one cup of uncooked quinoa yields three plus cups cooked; this recipe yields two big servings. more like two gargantuan servings! i also do up only half the dressing. i toss both the quinoa and the kale with most of the dressing (separately mind you) and drizzle the rest on the bowls. with all those changes, there were still leftovers the next day; enough for the old guy’s lunch.

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tuesday got away from me a bit so luckily i had an easy meal on the docket. i’d planned to grab some fresh salmon from the store as we didn’t make it to the farmers market at the weekend but i ran out of time and had to make due with the crappy pre-portioned frozen salmon i had in the freezer. luckily the marinade for the miso salmon is super flavourful. the only change i make is to omit the optional sake; i add a bit more mirin and a splash of sherry. slather it on the salmon, let it sit for at least ten minutes, during which time you can start the wasabi mashed potatoes. the yield on this recipe is way off; it calls for twelve potatoes to serve six people.  that’s a high potato to person ratio! i scaled it down to three potatoes but find it serves four people very nicely. i also skip the garlic roasting process — the flavour doesn’t really come thru and it takes forever — in favour of dumping about 4 cloves of garlic in with the potatoes to boil. strain and mash everything together. oh and i use wasabi paste cos that’s what i have. yummo!

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made pizza like a boss on wednesday night. as much as i love homemade pizza, esp with this amazing no-knead pizza dough recipe, pizza night used to be a nightmare in this house! i’d inevitably end up shouting and swearing and, while the pizza was still delicious, it was often a mess too. i’ve finally gotten into the swing of things tho. the last two times i’ve made pizza, i did it all by myself (big girl pants) with no swearing! okay there was a little bit of swearing last night cos one of the pizzas stuck to my pizza peel as i was gently nudging it into the 500 oven! my a-ha moment came when i discovered flour is not my enemy. so now i go to town when flouring my board, flouring the dough when it rests, flouring the counter when i’m shaping it into individual pies.

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i made six pizzas: three 4 cheese pizzas with arugula on top and three tuscan pizzas. i used to do six different pizzas but that’s just plain crazy (see swearing above); two varieties is enough. both pizzas were introduced to me by my lovely daughter — the first coming from a recipe she found online, the second she created after having something similar in a restaurant. it’s basically pizza with a pesto base, topped with fior di latte, italian sausage, halved cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves, and then once it’s baked and out of the oven, a little drizzle of balsamic reduction. yum!

rather bummed i didn’t get to make [read: eat] the sheet pan chicken tikka — i was looking forward to it all week! but dork that i am, i again neglected to notice the highlighted (by me) instructions telling me to marinate the chicken in the morning. arg! yay for leftover pizza. i will get my chicken tikka however….

8 weeks of meal planning — may & june

time for another round of meal plans. the weather is warming up, we’re eating outside on the deck more and more… hello summer!  i’m looking forward to more bbq’d meals and main dish salads. i’ve obviously been missing a lot of my favourite warmer weather meals cos there’s not a new recipe in the bunch! *gasp*

also, i’ve recently joined the food52 cookbook club on facebook and while everyone’s cooking their way thru “small victories” by julia turshen in may and anything ottolenghi in june, i’ve only just now got my hands on april’s choice — “simple” by diana henry — and oh my word, so much of it looks amazing. so the weekly plans below may get some serious tweaking as the weeks go on. in the meantime…

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FRIDAY tacos!
SATURDAY date night
SUNDAY pork tenderloin sliders
MONDAY big vegan bowl
TUESDAY miso salmon
WEDNESDAY pizza!
THURSDAY sheet pan chicken tikka

FRIDAY chili garlic bbq salmon + coconut rice
SATURDAY kale salad bowl with tahini
SUNDAY mother’s day
MONDAY steak & onion sandwich
TUESDAY black bean chili
WEDNESDAY chicken & bean enchiladas
THURSDAY coconut shrimp noodle bowls

FRIDAY hamburger sliders
SATURDAY garlic shrimp pasta with avocado sauce
SUNDAY dinner out
MONDAY bbq’d pork tenderloin with ginger & soy sauce
TUESDAY palak paneer + chana salad
WEDNESDAY grilled thai chicken with herb-lemongrass crust
THURSDAY halibut & sweet potato fries

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY 5-spice glazed salmon with sesame green beans
SUNDAY moroccan spiced chickpea glow bowl
MONDAY shrimp rolls
TUESDAY sweet potato & black bean veggie burgers
WEDNESDAY spicy beef with peanuts & chilies + sesame noodles + sweet & spicy asian slaw
THURSDAY japanese-style grilled teriyaki chicken bowl

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY grilled bratwurst subs with tomato jam & sauerkraut
SUNDAY enlightened miso power bowls
MONDAY pad thai with chicken & shrimp
TUESDAY arugula & black bean tacos with pickled onions & feta
WEDNESDAY poached cod with potatoes & leeks
THURSDAY grilled chicken with curried quinoa, spinach & mango

FRIDAY date night
SATURDAY ahi poke bowls
SUNDAY larb
MONDAY shrimp spring roll bowls with sweet garlic lime sauce
TUESDAY chicken shawarma
WEDNESDAY grilled flank steak with cucumber-yogurt sauce
THURSDAY baked falafel salad

FRIDAY cowgirl salad
SATURDAY panzanella with marinated chickpeas & chimichurri
SUNDAY father’s day
MONDAY lamb burgers with mini-feta pesto
TUESDAY cod sandwiches with wasabi & ginger
WEDNESDAY enchiladas verdes
THURSDAY warm lentils with fennel & halloumi

FRIDAY shredded chicken & noodle salad
SATURDAY date night
SUNDAY steak + arugula, dried cherry & wild rice salad
MONDAY spinach artichoke lasagne
TUESDAY lemongrass chicken wraps
WEDNESDAY grilled fish tacos
THURSDAY best marinated lentils

week 36

FRIDAY date night!
SATURDAY asian grilled chicken & noodle salad
SUNDAY rebar almond burgers
MONDAY seared halibut & gazpacho salsa with tomato vinaigrette
TUESDAY arugula salad with turmeric chickpea cakes
WEDNESDAY tuscan pizza & white pizza with lemony greens
THURSDAY greek-style meatballs

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this one got bumped from last week but i was really fancying it so did some meal plan juggling to fit it in this week. the sunshine has been teasing us a bit; while it’s shining i want to eat all the summertime food and this is a prime example: asian grilled chicken & noodle salad, from a very old edition of canadian living magazine. it does require some marination so don’t be like me and glance at the recipe at 4pm the day you originally planned to make it. cue sushi takeaway and new plans for a delicious sunday lunch. fyi this is supposed to be served in lettuce cups and hey i like wraps as much as the next lady but this one is just too messy. dressing running all the way down to my elbows. not nice. so i tear that lettuce up and make it a salad. topped with rice noodles, shredded carrot and julienned radish, grilled chicken and a yummy altho gross sounding lime & fish sauce dressing.

asian grilled chicken & noodle salad

marinade
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp minced hot green chili pepper (approx ½ a serrano pepper)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, butterflied

salad
4 oz wide rice noodles
⅔ cup shredded carrots
⅓ cup thinly sliced radishes
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
12 large bibb lettuce leaves, torn into bite sized pieces

sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp water
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp minced hot green chili pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

put chicken in large ziplock bag; combine first 5 ingredients and add to bag, turning to coat. refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

in small jar with tight-fitting lid, combine all sauce ingredients and shake well.

meanwhile, in pot of boiling salted water, cook rice noodles for about 3 minutes or until tender. drain in colander; rinse with cold water and set aside, tossing to separate occasionally. toss noodles with approx ⅓ of the sauce.

toss lettuce with another ⅓ of the sauce; toss together carrots, radishes, onions and cilantro.

transfer chicken to greased grill over med-high heat; close lid and cook, turning once, for about 5-6 minutes or until juices run clear with chicken is pierced. let stand for 5 minutes; cut into finger-sized pieces.

divide dressed lettuce among 4 plates or wide bowls. top each with noodles and carrot mixture. arrange chicken slices on top and drizzle with remaining sauce.

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if you have been to rebar modern food in victoria, you will hopefully have experienced the deliciousness that is their almond burger. when we first went, several years ago, we ate there two days in a row — dinner then lunch — and the old guy ordered it both times! i took notes, trying to figure out what was in it, and when i got home, i scoured the internet looking for the recipe, figuring everything is online so it’s gotta be here somewhere. it is not. yes i’ve got their cookbook and it’s not there either. a closely guarded secret? but then a genius lady named dawn from here in vancouver took the time to recreate this burger, and made it gluten-, dairy- and egg-free to boot! i will admit, it is a fair amount of work but it makes such a large batch (i got nine but they’re massive so i’m guessing i could get up to a dozen next time), and the patties freeze beautifully. i’ve still got two left in the freezer…

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trying out this recipe for the first time and it did not disappoint. seared halibut with gazpacho salsa & tomato vinaigrette from the smitten kitchen cookbook, and also found online here, altho uncredited which is not cool. the plating makes it look fancy but it’s dead simple to make. literally the most labour-intensive part was peeling the tomatoes for the vinaigrette. i may roast the halibut next time rather than frying it just cos i overcooked it which drives me nuts. baked fish flakes easier than seared. would have been perfect except for that.

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i kinda messed this one up. turmeric chickpea cakes with garlicky avocado cream. i learned last time i made them that you only need half the amount of sauce so i went about halving all the sauce ingredients and yet somehow it ended up salty as all get out. and as much as i like arugula, i did not love it as the base of this salad; would defs go for  mixed baby greens next time round. the chickpea cakes themselves are rather tasty tho, and this dish makes for an easy supper or fancy-ish lunch.

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this recipe for greek meatballs appeared in my inbox eons ago as part of my e-subscription to cuisine at home. the old guy and i loved it so i made it a lot even tho neither kid was a huge fan (she doesn’t like tomatoes; he doesn’t like couscous) but then eventually i kinda stopped making it (did i give in? or, did my recipe repertoire expand??) there are a few components to this but they’re all simple: lemony couscous base, mediterranean-spiced meatballs simmered in spicy tomato sauce (i omit the olives cos we don’t like ’em), and a feta-yogurt sauce to drizzle on top. garnish with chopped cuke. yum.

didn’t get a chance to make pizza this week but i’ll try to squeeze in it next.

week 35

FRIDAY date night!
SATURDAY bangkok coconut curry noodle bowls
SUNDAY cheesy ham and potato soup
MONDAY lamb skewers + white bean salad with mint & red onion
TUESDAY pastitsio
WEDNESDAY salmon burgers with dill-tartar sauce
THURSDAY asian grilled chicken salad

love that we’re really ~finally~ getting into spring! it drives my son bonkers that i choose to cook seasonally (who wants roast beef in the middle of july?? he does apparently) but twice a year i find myself getting suuuuper excited about all the meals i plan to cook in the upcoming months. some big time faves made it into this week’s meal plan.

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first up: bangkok coconut curry noodle bowls from pinch of yum. love love love this. full disclosure: i messed up this time around; i accidentally doubled the noodles (totes not lying) so added the optional veg stock which i thought might dilute the flavour but it absolutely did not. as i normally do, i swapped out a couple of her suggested veg for things i like better i.e. broccoli slaw for broccoli and blanched edamame for asparagus, and i defs used a full onion. you can pretty much put in whatever veg you fancy. you can’t call it vegetarian or vegan tho cos there is a bit of fish sauce in there.

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this is a new recipe.  i had a bunch of ham to use up from last week’s easter dinner and found this cheesy ham and potato soup online. wow, what a pleasant surprise! so delish! and eeeeeeasy!! i will definitely make this every year. i topped the bowls with chives instead of scallions but only because i fancied chopping some from my herb garden.

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one of my husband’s favourite meals is “steak salad” — he requests it whenever i ask for menu suggestions. it used to take me a while to figure out what he meant but now i know right away he means lamb skewers with arugula and lemon vinaigrette. i am not a massive lamb fan but this is a delight. totally marks the start of spring for me. altho i’ll typically make it again at the end of summer as we transition into cooler weather meals. the lamb pairs exceedingly well with this white bean salad with mint & red onion. i always use cannellini beans but this time thought i’d mix things up and use navy beans; the taste is not the same, so i’ll go back to using cannellini.

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the old guy and i celebrated our 20th anniversary in greece coming up on three summers ago and it was on the island of santorini that i discovered pastitsio. why isn’t this more popular in north america? or is it? i can really only speak for vancouver; i’ve never seen it on a menu before. it’s a three layer casserole: pasta on the bottom, meat sauce in the middle and béchamel on top.  yummo altho, i must admit, the one piece i had in greece was just okay (a bit dry tbh); i knew i could find a better recipe online. and i think i did! fyi: ‘macaroni for pastitsio’ is just bucatini. mind blown when i figured that out. i actually used ziti in the above shot which was probs a bit too wide. and of course, this dish goes perfectly with a traditional greek salad.

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last meal of the week: salmon burgers with dill tartar-sauce. another fave, and will probably get made a few times over the summer. super tasty and super easy! chop up a shallot and some capers in the food processor, then add some cubed salmon and pulse a few times. form into patties. pan fry. done. i swap out about half the mayo for greek yogurt in the tartar sauce and hoo boy is it tasty! i didn’t have any relish so just diced a dill pickle.

didn’t get to the asian grilled chicken salad cos we ate pastitsio two days in a row but next week i promise!

week 34 – easter

FRIDAY fresh pasta with marcella hazan’s tomato sauce with onion & butter
SATURDAY date night!
SUNDAY thyme-honey glazed ham, gruyère-crisped potatoes au gratin + roasted balsamic sweet potatoes
MONDAY leftovers
TUESDAY peanut-sesame slaw with soba noodles
WEDNESDAY pulled pork sammies
THURSDAY spicy beer braised lime chicken enchiladas

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unfortunately did not have time to make fresh pasta on friday, altho it would have made such a difference! that said, marcella hazel’s tomato sauce with onion and butter is sooooo good, that we didn’t even notice. yes of course we noticed but the sauce is still ridiculously delicious. i’ve only made it a million times before with dried pasta, back when i didn’t own a pasta roller/cutter.

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happy belated easter! this is a meal i really really want to love but i just don’t, and basically it all comes down to the ham. i am 99.9% sure i’m buying the wrong kind of ham. i used to get those small fully-cooked half hams, brush this insanely tasty glaze all over it and bang it in the oven, and sure it was good, but it was easily the worst part of easter dinner. (i’m all about the sides, baby!)

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this year i decided to get one that looked like real meat. no bone or anything but maybe with a bit of fat for juiciness? and it was substantially bigger too. but was it better? no. that fat may have indeed made it juicier but there was also big streaks of gooey fat throughout and no thanks. suffice it to say, we consumed all the gruyère crisped potatoes au gratin as well as the roasted balsamic sweet potatoes but there’s still a huge chunk of ham in the fridge. [foreshadowing: cheesy ham & potato soup next week!]

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this salad is easily in my top ten meals. i make this peanut-sesame slaw with soba noodles all the time, which probably equates to once every two months, which for me really is a lot. super simple: shredded red cabbage, brussels sprouts and carrots, combined with sliced scallions, udon noodles and the most delicious peanut butter dressing. i could drink this stuff. top with chopped peanuts and cilantro. great leftovers too.

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i was sorta hoping the pulled pork sammies would last for two meals but alas, they did not. we scarfed them down for dinner, and then my daughter and i were lucky enough to scored one each for lunch next day. i sort of envision bottomless pulled pork every time i make this but it has yet to happen. the recipe was cobbled together from a few sources; i was inspired by the pioneer woman’s shredded pork altho she uses dr pepper instead of  rootbeer and what is that all about? and then because i can’t stand that fake smokey taste (looking at you, bacon with liquid smoke) i went looking for a sauce that was both sweet and sour. the only change to made to this vinegar and honey sauce is to swap out the balsamic for an equal mix of apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. i’ve tried a few different buns for this but keep coming back to plain ol’ whole wheat hamburger buns. pile the meat in, pour the sauce on, top with some thinly sliced dill pickle and a scoop of jamie oliver’s coleslaw and you are good to go! i made a half batch of the slaw and it was plenty. i always use red cabbage but you do you.

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the last meal this week is one my daughter made for us a few years ago and we really liked it so i thought i’d give it a go. spicy beer braised chicken enchiladas. here’s the thing: i can’t stand beer. when my daughter made these i swear i couldn’t detect the beer; but when i made it? oh yes. maybe it cos it uses almost two bottles, one for the sauce and one for the chicken filling. i’ll say this: both my hubs and son very much enjoyed dinner. i am almost positive everyone else would too. i’m just a picky pants i guess.