winter meal plan ~ week 2

holy cow, last week was freeeeezing cold! sure, vancouver is gorgeous when the sun is shining but yowza!! i need some serious layers to stay warm! and maybe some warm-you-up-from-the-inside foods….

curried lentil & sweet potato bowl
i love composed bowls! the recipes are usually long and they seem like a fair amount of work, but the individual components cook at the same time, and then it’s just a matter of putting it all together. and when you do, it’s like a flavour explosion! coconut curried lentils, roasted sweet potatoes, curried brown rice, lightly dressed kale and shredded red cabbage, and a lovely cilantro chutney. this is a bowl i’d be very excited to get in a restaurant.

curried lentils & sweet potato bowl

chicken mole tacos
doesn’t matter which day you have tacos, any day can be taco tuesday, amirite?? these ones are particularly delicious and they come together super quickly. make the mole sauce (yes, there’s chocolate in there — just enough to not be weird), simmer the chicken in it, shred the chicken, make yo’ taco! we like ’em with avocado cream and pickled red onions. yummo!

chicken mole tacos

sautéed halibut with arugula, roasted beets & horseradish creme fraiche
fancy, right? there’s a teeny bit of prep work (season the fish, roast the beets) but holy cow, the end result is fantastic! halibut is gorgeous anyway — my fave fish — but when paired with the beets and the horseradish creme fraiche? deeeelicious!

halibut & beets with horseradish cream

latkes with smoked salmon
every year i made latkes in the week or two before christmas. i’m not sure they’re supposed to be a main dish — they often accompany roast beef, or are part of a larger small plates menu — but we love them on their own. a little bit of smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream and you are set. a green side salad is never a bad idea either.

latkes

deep dish pizza
alllll the nicknames… chicago-style pizza, chi-town ‘za, windy city ‘za…. i love ’em all. and i LOVE this pizza. thick rich tomato sauce, chunks of italian sausage, gooey mozzarella, and the defining crispy crust of a chicago style pizza. it does take about 4 hours from start to finish, so a perfect afternoon or weekend project.

deep dish pizza

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winter meal plan ~ week 1

i know it’s not officially winter but it kind of is, right? we bought snow tires, the christmas lights are up, i’m certainly playing christmas music! it’s winter!! and so, continuing with the comfort foods theme from fall….

5 spice salmon & green beans
first up this week is a dead easy one-pan asian salmon dish. mix together the 4-ingredient sauce and let the salmon marinate for 15 minutes. toss the beans with some sesame oil, then bang everything on a baking sheet and broil for about 6 minutes. boom! done!

salmon

ultimate winter bliss bowls with falafel
yowza, this is tasty! are you getting sick of roasted cauliflower? because i am absolutely not! i could eat this stuff all day. i realised one night that i would be just as happy munching on a bowl of roasted cauli as i would a bowl of popcorn — actually i think i’d prefer the cauli. this bowl has got all the goods: roasted cauli, roasted carrots, easy baked falafel, shredded cabbage, fresh spinach, a delightful tahini dressing and chopped pistachios, which may seem odd at first but are perfect on this.

winter bliss bowls

roasted harissa chicken with leeks, potatoes, arugula & garlicky yogurt
another one-pan wonder: boneless, skinless chicken thighs (marinated the morning of in harissa paste & cumin), yukon gold nugget potatoes & leeks get roasted in the oven, then served on a bed of arugula and dolloped with a garlicky yogurt sauce. crazy good!

harissa chicken

whitewater veggie burgers
this is a dang tasty veggie burger, people! so much yumminess going on here: black beans, grated carrot, toasted almonds, toasted sunflower seeds, soy sauce — just to name a few of the ingredients. it’s a long list but nothing you probably don’t already have in your cupboard. completely vegetarian and could probably be vegan if you know how to make a flax “egg” — can also easily be made gluten free. bonus: it makes 12 burgers so you can freeze a bunch for another time.

whitewater veggie burgers

steak with mixed peppercorns & pomegranate glaze
this is a dish suitable for company but also easy enough for a weeknight dinner. win win (win)! the steak cooks in minutes, then make the balsamic-pomegranate pan sauce while it rests. i like to serve crushed nugget potatoes on the side — boil some baby yukon gold potatoes till tender, transfer to buttered baking dish, lightly crush to break the skins, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with flakey salt and some freshly ground pepper and bang them in the oven to finish.

steak with pomegranate reduction.jpg

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fall meal plan ~ week 13

we’re still all down with the comfort foods, right? with the buckets and buckets of rain these days, i say bring it!

thai yellow curry with chicken & potatoes
feel like a giant baller cos you made the yellow curry paste from scratch!! (then hope that no one finds out how dang easy it was to make so you don’t lose your baller status.) i’m not kidding; it’s dead easy and makes your kitchen smell amazing!! once the paste is made, the rest of the dish comes together also super easy. this is a winner, folks.

thai yellow curry

roasted cauliflower, freekeh & garlicky tahini sauce
i’m no vegetarian but man alive, if this is what all veggie food tasted like, i could be! it was the roasted cauliflower that initially caught my eye (huge addict over here) but the freekeh intrigued me. it gets cooked like rice into a pilaf with toasted almonds. then topped with the roasted cauli plus red onion, feta cheese and tahini sauce — sold!!

cauliflower & freekeh

garlic shrimp & white beans + no knead bread
this may sound weird but i enjoy making this dish almost as much as eating it. there’s a nice process to it (but not even remotely a long one) wherein you cook everything in stages on the stove till it’s all thick and the flavour is concentrated, then you add the shrimp and broil in the oven. a little drizzle drizzle of good extra virgin olive and you are good to go. and pleeeeease make the bread to go with — it is perfect for dunking but also very good with just butter. which may be how we polished it off.

shrimp & beans

quinoa & wild rice salad
ode to rebar modern food in victoria: my take on a favourite and no longer on the menu dish. lots going on here — quinoa and wild rice obviously, but also fresh spinach, red pepper, black beans, dried apricots, avocado and a tasty lime-cilantro vinaigrette. proper hearty salad.

quinoa & wild rice salad

flank steak with salsa verde
another super simple meal that takes very little time to make. marinate the steak the night before and you’ve done half the work! and then the zippy green salsa comes together in minutes in the food processor. all i do is roast a bunch of veg in the oven and boom — dinner’s on the table!

steak

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fall meal plan ~ week 12

bit of fangirl action last week in that one of my favourite food bloggers came to vancouver to sign copies of her latest cookbook (<– get it, so good!!) yes, deb perelman of smitten kitchen fame was in town, so i dragged my daughter with me to meet her & get my copy signed. i would have loved it if she’d given a little talk about the book, but the venue was just too small to accommodate all her adoring fans. it is a rare a week that goes by without a smitten meal in this here house; this week is no exception.

coconut curried lentils
i’m on a massive curried lentils kick these days and — make no mistake! —  it will continue as long as this dark & dreary weather continues! plus: lentils + coconut milk + curry spices = deliciousness. this one is no exception. (also, black rice = mysterious!)

coconut curried lentils

poached cod with potatoes & leeks
holy crap-balls, this is eeeeeasily my favourite fish dish (and i already looove fish). it’s all about the poaching, friends. the poaching liquid — in this case, milk — acts as a conduit to infuse all this extra deliciousness into the cod while it’s cooking. genius recipe!

poached cod

cauliflower & cumin fritters + sweet potato wedges + cucumber & poppyseed salad
going full ottolenghi on you here, people! and why not? it’s the opposite of complicated — the fritters take very little time and are completely straightforward. make them, plus the cucumber salad, whilst sweet potatoes roast away in the oven. easy peasy and insanely delicious!

cauli fritters, sweet potatoes, cucumber salad.jpg

roasted spatchcocked chicken & root vegetables
we’re really more of a boneless, skinless chicken family but deep down, i have this insatiable need to roast whole birds and feed them to my people. my compromise: spatchcocking! and then i just cut the meat from the bones before serving. ta da! it’s dead easy and i feel a bit like a pioneer, not gonna lie. also root vegetables are the bees knees, amirite? to quote my mother: “i can eat this stuff like candy!”

roasted spatchcocked chicken

baked ziti
another smitten winner! she posted this recipe just over two years ago but i only very recently discovered it. and is my family ever the happier for it. pasta, italian sausage, tomato sauce & cheese. boom! what else do you need? (probably a salad)

baked ziti

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🦃 wondering where the turkey is??? click here, and happy american thanksgiving!!

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fall meal plan ~ week 11

is there actually something in the works to keep daylight savings going all year round? like next spring, can we move our clocks an hour forward and then just leave them there forever?!?! can i sign a petition?? getting an extra hour of sleep on one night of the year is hardly enough of a trade off for losing the daylight so soon. it’s dark here by like 4.30! suffice it to say, we’re eating early these days — but at least we’re eating well!

red curry lentils
oh man, i love this meal after a cold day. super simple super tasty super comfort food! lentils, red curry paste, tomato sauce, a bunch of yummy indian spices and a splash of coconut milk. warms you right up!

red curry lentils.jpg

ginger & cilantro tuna cakes with thai style dipping sauce
ahi tuna is always a treat but my word, this takes it up a notch! mini tuna cakes made with fresh chilis, ginger & cilantro served with nước chấm dipping sauce (which also doubles as an easy dressing for cold rice noodles)

ahi tuna cakes.jpg

mejadra + yogurt with cucumber
how can something as simple as beans and rice be so flipping delicious?? perhaps all the yummy toasted spices…? yeah, my money is on all those crispy fried onions.

mejadra.jpg

zucchini-stuffed shells
i used to love it when my mum made “zucchini boats” when i was a kid; ironically, i hated zucchini. true story: i just assumed she removed the flesh from a bunch of halved zucchinis (as in: chucked it in the garbage!), and then filled them all up with a tomatoey meat sauce, sprinkled them with cheese and baked them in the oven. i used to eat the filling and give my mum the “boats” — how i was supposed to know i was eating actual chopped up zucchini??? suffice it to say, i don’t bother with the boats anymore; i just stuff the filling into pasta shells (and yes there’s actual zucchini in there!)

zucchini shells.jpg

chicken lady chicken with roasted root vegetables
if you spatchcock (i.e. butterfly) and marinate a whole chicken on saturday morning, you can have yourselves a proper sunday night roast (or you can cheat like i did and use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs!) whichever way you go, you will end up with the best tasting marinated chicken ever! and defs serve with roasted root veg which is hands down absolutely the best way to cook veggies, full stop!

chicken lady chicken.jpg

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fall meal plan ~ week 10

five meals that are super delicious and perfect for this miserable weather. cold, i don’t mind, but constant rain?? no thanks!! you know what makes it all bearable?? sweet potatoes! you heard me. (don’t worry, there’s more than just roasted sweet potatoes on the menu this week.)

pesto chicken sweet potato pizza
sounds healthy i know but dang, this is one tasty pizza! the secret is the sweet potato crust (woot woot gluten free!) — i top it with pesto sauce, chicken, red onion and mozza but you can put anything you’d like on there. lindsay from pinch of yum suggests bbq sauce!

sweet potato pizza

big vegan bowl
i love this salad… there’s a lot going on here — quinoa, shredded carrots & red cabbage, roasted sweet potato, avocado slices, all on a bed of hearty kale no less, and tossed in a lemon-tahini dressing — but none of it is difficult! and if you don’t wanna make your own hummus, just pick up a tub from the store!

big vegan bowl.jpg

vietnamese shrimp & sweet potato curry
a friend of mine gave me this recipe when she got back from vietnam, featuring shrimp and — ding ding ding — sweet potato! don’t let the steps involved deter you — this is one of the best curries i’ve tried, let alone made myself. the flavours are out of this world!

shrimp yam curry

spaghetti cacio e pepe
spaghetti with cheese and pepper? well, hello! deceptively simple (5 ingredients total: spaghetti, romano cheese, pepper, olive oil & butter) yet absurdly delicious! and it’s on the table in literally no time at all. healthy people would make a salad to serve with. what?

cacio e pepe

beef & bean chili
total comfort in a bowl here. i’ve done a combo of red kidney and black beans but you can do all kidney if you prefer. in fact the entire recipe is pretty flexible; want more heat? add another jalapeño! gotta top with grated cheese and sour cream tho (actually we were out so we dolloped some plain greek yogurt on top).

beef and bean chili

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