week 15

FRIDAY: herbed pork tenderloin + roasted peppers
SATURDAY: steak + grape, avocado & arugula salad
SUNDAY: butter chicken + chana masala
MONDAY: lo mein
TUESDAY: halibut with sweet potato fries
WEDNESDAY: cottage pie
THURSDAY: turkey meatball orzo soup

two more “test” meals this week and then we’re done! i cannot wait! that said, i’ve learned a lot about how i/we eat and regardless of any food sensitivities i may have, i’ll be thinking about meal planning differently from now on. i realised we don’t really eat that many veg with our meals, even our meatless meals; i tend to rely on lentils and chickpeas as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes to either round things out or fully replace meat.

the first meal this week is no exception. a family friend gave me this yummy (and easy!) pork tenderloin recipe and i’ve made it a bunch of times. but i typically serve it with either a potato salad or sweet potato fries plus a green salad. always potatoes. tonight i roasted some red and orange peppers as well as boiled green beans and didn’t miss the potato at all! now i don’t yet know if potatoes are what cause my stomach problems, but we could probably stand to cut down on consuming so many of them anyway.

herbed pork tenderloin

600 – 750g pork tenderloin (i used two small, thin ones)
¼ cup grainy mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried), chopped or crushed
½ tsp freshly ground pepper

trim any fat from your tenderloin(s) and place them on a baking tray.

mix remaining ingredients together and rub over pork, covering all sides. bake in a 375 F oven for 30-35 min (mine were perfectly cooked after 25 minutes). alternately, you can barbecue for 15- 20 minutes.

let rest for about 5 minutes to distribute the juices and then slice in 1 cm thick slices and serve.

last one! (and i cheated!) we cooked a steak, which totally fits within the rules, but i served gimme some oven‘s amazing grape, avocado & arugula salad to go with. not supposed to have grapes, cos fruit, right? but i figured it was the last meal of the two week run so whatevs.  also it’s my very favourite side salad, so much so i could happily eat it as a main dish salad. grapes, avocado, feta cheese, toasted pecans, thinly sliced red onion and arugula with a zippy balsamic vinaigrette. i actually did change the dressing; i took out the honey so needed to switch the balsamic vinegar for a less tart one and went with rice vinegar. mistake!! it was a noticeable change and i wish i hadn’t!!

on sunday, we celebrated the first dinner of advent. this is a tradition my mother started when my sister and i were little and we started sharing the duties with our mum when we became adults. for the past few years, mum’s dementia has prevented her from doing any cooking so i’ve taken over with my sister contributing one or two of the meals, and now this year my my daughter making one. it’s nice.

anyway, the first advent meal, for as long as i’ve been doing it, starts with onion bhajias and then butter chicken with chana masala and (new this year) palak paneer for the main. i do up a big pot of basmati rice and we pick up a couple orders of naan from our local indian restaurant to go with. and then we finish the night with vij’s rice pudding, which is the best rice pudding i’ve ever had and every year i say i should make this more often but never do.

butter chicken

⅔ cup butter (or ½ cup of ghee or clarified butter)
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp ginger root, freshly grated
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp indian chili powder, or to taste
1 Tbsp fenugreek leaves
2 cups whipping cream
10 oz. tomato paste (two small cans)
2 lb. chicken thighs

clarify the butter by melting and then pouring off the clear liquid into a large pot; discard the solids. you should have approx ½ cup clarified butter.

add spices and cook for a few minutes; add whipping cream and tomato paste. simmer until paste is dissolved.

turn your broiler on.

remove any visible fat from the chicken thighs and then cut each one into bit sized pieces. toss with a few spoonfuls of sauce until all the chicken is coated.

line a baking pan with parchment, or use broiling pan, and evenly distribute chicken pieces. broil chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through and slightly dark on top. remove from oven and add to sauce in pot, along with any juices. continue simmering until ready to serve.

lo mein.JPG
okay so i’ve been looking for the perfect chow mein recipe for ages! i’ve made a few different ones over the years but they’re never as amazing as i am hoping. and then pinch of yum’s lo mein started popping up again on pinterest and i had no clue what lo mein was altho it looked an awful lot like chow mein and then i googled it and they’re basically the same thing except chow mein = crispy noodles, and lo mein = soft noodles! whaaat?? mind blown! who knew? not me. as a big fan of pinch of yum, obvs had to make these. i did not however have the recommended soy sauces in my arsenal, and was not about to purchase two more bottles, so stuck with what i had. it was okay. not amazing, just okay. i loved how many veg were in there and how quick and easy it was to make (altho longer than 15 minutes cos all that chopping), but the sauce wasn’t what i was hoping. the leftovers next day however? just like takeaway! so good. so i think i’ll just adjust the amounts of dark and light soy sauce next time, and then maybe buy her recommended brands when mine run out.

now this is a quick and easy meal! halibut with sweet potato fries and lime. this is my very favourite way of serving (and eating!) halibut cos it’s so simple and showcases how delicious halibut is. cut up a bunch of sweet potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil and salt & pepper; bake them on a cookie sheet till just cooked thru but not mushy, then either get another cookie sheet, or move some of the yam fries over to make room for the halibut. brush with a bit more olive oil, season with a bit more salt & pepper, and then back in the oven for another 8 or so minutes, depending on thickness. when the fish flakes easily it’s ready, plus the sweet potatoes will have slightly caramelised edges. yum! squeeze lime juice over everything and sprinkle a bunch of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley overtop. seriously, one of our favourite meals.

the cottage pie and turkey soup got bumped in favour of leftovers. the soup may make an appearance before new year cos it’s perfect for fighting off a cold or flu, but fingers crossed we won’t need it!


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