summer meal plan ~ week 3

cowgirl salad with apple-miso vinaigrette
i used to order this salad — their house salad — every single time i ate at browns. it was just too good to pass up — look at all the yumminess going on in here: grilled chicken breast, plump edamame, roasted corn, juicy tomatoes, sweet dates, crunchy pecans and tangy feta! and the dressing! yum! so of course you can imagine my delight to find this recipe in an online magazine. hello and yes please!

cowgirl salad
salmon with roasted red pepper & hazelnut salsa + red quinoa & arugula salad
i figure by now you know i love ottolenghi. i own all but one of his cookbooks and, as soon as it’s out (in four months!!), will be purchasing his latest! these recipes come from two of his cookbooks and are incredibly straightforward to make. as a bonus, the ingredients from both dishes require a similar amount of cooling/chilling time so making them together works out perfectly. the salmon is super simple, just seasoned with a bit of salt & pepper and then roasted in the oven. but it’s the salsa that is to die for! i could eat it by itself!! the salad is equally amazing; the slightly pickled shallots with a touch of sumac are crazy yummy! this meal is fancy enough for company but totally doable for a weeknight too.

salmon with red pepper salsa & quinoa salad
carrot, daikon & rice noodle salad with miso dressing
hi! it’s me again with the noodles! i can’t stop! rice noodles are my absolute fave, especially when paired with asian flavours — like these ones. edamame, crispy carrot and daikon matchsticks — we’re all familiar with carrots roses, but you know when you order sashimi and it comes with a pile of shredded white stuff as garnish? that’s daikon! and then of course the miso dressing — it’s even got minced pickled ginger in it. super fresh salad — perfect for summer.

carrot daikon & rice noodle salad
turkish kofta platter
hello tasty!!! tiny little lamb meatballs with toasted pine nuts and mint served on a bed of luscious cannellini bean puree, which is kinda like hummus but a bit milder and tangy-er thanks to the addition of greek yogurt. this whole platter is beyond delicious; it was hard not to polish off the entire platter between the two of us!

kofta platter
grape, avocado & arugula salad
i love summertime meals. i mean, i love each season of eating but there is something about grilling your food on the bbq — a piece of chicken, or a nice steak, maybe some peppers &/or baby potatoes, and then sitting down outside to eat it with family & friends. super simple, super tasty. and then of course all the salads to go with. this is eeeeeasily my favourite side salad — so incredibly full of flavour, goes with everything and is dead easy to make too.

grape avocado & arugula salad (with steak)

click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

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summer meal plan ~ week 2

chicken souvlaki & greek salad
did you know that authentic greek salad dressing is literally just olive oil?? i was shocked when i found out (altho it certainly explained why mine never tasted quite right). just extra virgin olive oil and some salt & pepper — that’s it! no vinegar, no sugar, no nuthin! ditto for the souvlaki — no overnight marination here; just lightly seasoned meat (i use chicken here but this works with pork, steak, lamb & prawns, too) that gets thrown on the grill (skewered or not!) and then heavily daubed with a garlic-lemon sauce. perfection!

chicken souvlaki & greek salad

cold vietnamese noodle salad with warm lemongrass shrimp
if you can’t already tell, i loooooove noodles. i could eat them every day, esp in the summertime (you will see many more noodle recipes in the upcoming weeks and months, i promise!) this dish is absolutely one of my favourites tho — so much flavour & texture! fresh lettuce, fragrant herbs, crispy bean sprouts, cold rice noodles, warm shrimp with garlic and lemongrass, crunchy peanuts, sweet & spicy dressing — it’s got it all.

vietnamese noodle salad with lemongrass shrimp

penne rosa
here’s a super quick and easy weeknight meal: whole wheat penne pasta with juicy chunks of chicken (or shrimp! or neither!) in a creamy rosé sauce made with fresh tomatoes and fresh spinach. and obviously piles of grated parmesan on top!

penne rosa

bombay wraps
indian wraps might be my new favourite thing! these ones are loaded with a spicy indian hummus and an insanely flavourful roasted tomato chutney, plus a ton of fresh veg — all rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla. the raita-style cucumber salad is equally delicious!

bombay wraps & raita salad.jpg

hamburgers/sliders with caramelised onions & special sauce + homemade french fries
what better meal for father’s day than juicy hamburgers (or sliders, if you fancy) plus all the fixins? and what better accompaniment to burgers than homemade french fries, amirite?? these ones are absurdly easy to make, impossible to mess up, and the absolute star of your meal! you will want to make them again and again and i apologise for that because they are of course deep fried but they are just too easy and too delicious!

sliders & fries.jpg

click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

 

summer meal plan ~ week 1

asian grilled chicken & noodle salad
i think i could live on noodles alone, especially in the summer. cold slurpable noodles! these ones come with some insanely tasty grilled chicken too. and some crunchy fresh veg and a zippy asian dressing! win win win!

IMG_7553

roasted carrots with farro, chickpeas & herbed tahini sauce
we are not vegetarians, but man oh man… sometimes i think i could be! this dish is a prime example. kate, of my favourite vegetarian food blog, cookie + kate, also has a cookbook and this is but one of many amazing recipes. a delightful mixture of chewy, nutty farro and chickpeas in a light lemony vinaigrette, topped with cumin roasted carrots and drizzled with the yummiest tahini sauce. so good! i couldn’t find any rainbow carrots at the market but how gorgeous would they be in this dish?

roasted carrots with farro, chickpeas & herbed tahini sauce.jpg

prawns with garlic & mustard seeds
i’m also loving meera sodha’s first cookbook made in india. so many amazing recipes! this is another one. it’s insanely quick to make for starters. no sauce, almost zero chopping (not kidding, there is one small chili pepper, that’s it) and cos it’s shrimp, it’s cooked in like 5 mins. serve over basmati rice.

shimp with garlic & mustard seed

falafel & hummus + chopped salad
so, here in north america, hummus is a dip — for pita bread mostly, but veggies if you’re being all healthy. so it can be pretty hard to wrap your head around hummus as a main component of your meal. except do! cos it’s soooo good!!! this is ottolenghi hummus, people!! the best!! esp when topped with proper falafel! i am normally averse to deep frying but not in this case. i mean i already love falafel but these falafel are amazing!! and together with the hummus?? gah! it doesn’t get much better than that. especially when you’ve got a refreshing salad on the side. actually, how good would all three of these be piled into some soft pita bread???

falafel, hummus & chopped salad

spaghetti with spicy sausage & fennel sauce
pretty sure this is my new go-to spaghetti recipe! it’s not traditional (ie not ragu or bolognese) but holy crap is it ever yummy!! the bulk of the sauce is minced fennel bulb (my new fave root veg!) & onion slow-simmered with a small can of whole tomatoes. and then of course little chunks of hot italian sausage. super simple but super delicious!

spaghetti with spicy sausage & fennel sauce.jpg

click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

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spring meal plan ~ week 13

larb
this is seriously one of my absolutely favourite meals. i know i say that a lot but not only is this fantastically easy to make, it’s insanely delicious and guess what? pretty darn good for you too! win win win! ground chicken, a tiny chili pepper, a bunch of herbs, some minced shallot, yes the gross smelling fish sauce — but it is so key here, you must use it — and lettuce. hello!! yes please!!

larb

falafel salad
the first time i had falafel was at a greek restaurant and i instantly fell in love. flash forward twenty or so years when the old guy and i are in greece and we couldn’t find a falafel to save our lives! whether they’re greek or not, i still love them. this salad features  super easy baked falafel along with chopped veg & greens and a lovely tahini sauce drizzle.

falafal salad

seared halibut with coriander & carrots
this recipe may seem a little fussy at first, but it truly is worth it. fish can get a bit boring and this dish is anything but: whole fennel & coriander get toasted and ground, then rubbed onto the halibut before it gets seared in a hot pan. served alongside sautéed carrots & shallots with a toasted mustard seed & ginger yogurt sauce. definitely special enough for company; but absolutely doable on a weeknight, too. 

halibut with coriander & carrots

spicy szechuan noodle salad
all the noodles! all the time!! this is what summer is all about, amirite?? honestly, this is literally all i want to eat right now. cool slurpable noodles with the exact appropriate amount of veg, in a rather spicy (altho i can handle it!) dressing. yummmm!

szechuan noodle salad

greek-style meatballs
i love meatballs. i think cos my mom was team meat sauce rather that team meatball. such a deprived childhood, i know. anyway… now, whenever i see them on a menu, i always want to order them. ditto on pinterest — yup, pinned! these greek ones are definitely one of my faves. three easy components to this meal: 5 min couscous, 3 min yogurt sauce, and meatballs — okay they take longer than 5 mins but come on, they’re meatballs!

greek meatballs

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

spring meal plan ~ week 12

lamb skewers with arugula & lemon vinaigrette + white bean salad with mint & red onion
this is one of my husband’s favourite meals! i make it every spring and it’s a delight! full disclosure: i’m not really a fan of lamb — i typically find it too rich — but this dish is definitely the exception. it’s fresh and even light-tasting. and the bean salad is so tasty, i often make it on its own to have on hand for lunches.

lamb skewers & white bean salad

roasted sweet potato, quinoa & spinach salad
this is the salad i crave when i’ve been eating like crap and need to reset — a detox salad, if you will. not only is it delicious but you feel super healthy eating it. it does not hurt that it is loaded with roasted sweet potatoes.

ella

salmon & cucumber with miso dressing
oh my word, i literally want to eat this all day, every day, for the rest of my life! salmon, cucumber, pickled ginger, miso, scallions… so much yumm!!! you can skip the rice and serve this as a light lunch or as a fancy appy, too. so versatile!

salmon & cucumber with miso dressing

spaghetti pomodoro
the old guy and i spent a week in california last month and i was more than pleasantly surprised to discover that we were staying maybe a 10 min walk from the uber-hip venice restaurant gjelina. while our server was a tad on the pretentious side (who greets tables with a too-cool-for-school “what’s up?”), one of the dishes we ordered was the crispy spring onion with buttermilk dressing and za’atar and it was out of this world!! i’ve had the gjelina cookbook for a few years now and while i’ve not cooked many things out of it, it’s beautiful and inspiring and i certainly want to use it more. this spaghetti is super simple and fresh tasting, using very few, but quality, ingredients, ie good tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and pasta.

spaghetti pomodoro

indonesian grilled chicken with mango-peanut salsa
crikey, this chicken is tasty!! and it comes together pretty quickly too. rather than marinate it over night, you just make an easy homemade spice paste, coat the chicken well and then barbecue it! and the spicy-sweet salsa is ridiculously tasty too! mango, red pepper, scallions, jalapeño & peanuts! yummmmm!!

indonesian chicken with mango-peanut salsa

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

spring meal plan ~ week 11

happy mother’s day! hoping you get spoiled tomorrow and have all your meals made for you! funny how monday comes so quick afterward amirite?

shrimp & avocado salad with miso dressing
this is a fantastic recipe from a fantastic food blog — pinch of yum! i’m totes in summer mode these days. the sun is (mostly) shining, meaning we do get the occasional day (week) of rain — but right now, it’s gorgeous outside! this is the perfect meal to throw together and eat outside on the deck! yummy juicy spicy shrimps, with fresh cucumber, creamy avocado and some nice greens. but wait! there’s also the yummiest miso dressing that goes over the whole thing! so good!

shrimp & avocado salad with miso dressing

the vegiterranean
if you live in vancouver, perhaps you’re familiar with the comfort food restaurant burgoo — they make the best soup & sammie combos. their vegetarian-mediterranean sandwich (see the word play there? so clever, burgoo!) is hands down my fave: fresh tomato, cucumber and greens, on top of roasted sweet peppers & artichokes and crumbled feta, on the biggest dollop of hummus ever!

vegiterranean

spicy beef with peanuts and chiles + cold sesame noodles + sweet & spicy slaw
i know it doesn’t look like much but this is one of my favourite dinners — to eat, for sure, but it’s super quick and easy to make, too! this is literally the only time i don’t recommend overnight marinating the flank steak — it’s cos it gets sliced super thin, tossed with some soy sauce and fish sauce (don’t hate!) and then stir-fried with minced peanuts, shallots and chili pepper. the flavours are phenomenal and the easy noodles and even easier slaw balance everything out. i need to make this more often!

spicy beef, peanut noodles & asian slaw

moroccan carrot & wild rice salad
so much flavour going on in this one too! the spicy roasted carrots are the star, but the toasted pistachios, chewy golden raisins, tangy goat cheese and zingy lemony vinaigrette complement each other perfectly. i absolutely love this salad!

carrots

indian-spiced chicken wraps with curry yogurt
these are super easy to make, thanks to store-bought curry paste. the chicken is meant to be marinated but shout out to people who always forget and end up doing it the morning of, or even better, only an hour before dinner! have no fear, an hour is enough for these wraps. indian roti wraps spread with a mixture of plain greek yogurt and the aforementioned curry paste, topped with sliced cucumber, onion, cilantro & mint and the grilled (or broiled) marinated chicken. roll it up and devour!

indian spice chicken wraps

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list