week 18

FRIDAY: out for dinner
SATURDAY: red thai curry with fish
SUNDAY: spinach & sausage stuffed manicotti
MONDAY: tourtière
TUESDAY: leftovers
WEDNESDAY: sheet pan chicken tikka
THURSDAY: taco party!

as we get closer to christmas, obviously i’m not in the mood to make elaborate dinners. quick and easy; and hey if we can get two meals out of it, even better!

first up is a new one… i’m always looking for different ways to cook and serve fish and i think this one will be a keeper: weeknight red curry from bon appetit. i’ve been subscribed to that magazine for years and have found loads of recipes that became family faves. this is a pretty simple curry altho it did take about an hour to prepare. i went with cod plus carrots and cauliflower. as is, it was okay; it just needs a splash of fish sauce to really elevate the other flavours in the sauce: coconut, lime, curry paste. it was also delicious the next day.

sunday was 4th advent and as is our family’s tradition, i made an italian meal featuring spinach and sausage stuffed manicotti, as well as how sweet eats’ kale caesar salad and garlic bread to go with (full disclosure: my daughter made the garlic bread). the manicotti is actually quite simple and is a great make-ahead dish that can be popped in the oven when guests arrive and leave you free to gorge on the charcuterie board that you’ve put out for everyone. i have switched to using fresh spinach rather than those frozen boxes of spinach; i just cook down about 12 oz of fresh, with a clove or two of garlic, and add that to the mix. i also used those glen muir fire roasted crushed tomatoes in the sauce this year, but must admit no one noticed a difference; i usually just use a 28-oz can of diced tomatoes in lieu of the called for stewed tomatoes cos ew. that caesar salad is our go to now. i looooove kale salad and this one is a winner!

i always make a tourtière in the week before christmas… i’m not sure if this is the best or even an authentic recipe but i found it in my mum’s recipe box years ago and have been making it ever since. what i do know is that ever since i started using smitten kitchen’s all butter, really flaky pie dough, it’s taken it up a notch!


¾ lb minced pork
¾ lb minced beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp ground sage
¼ tsp ground cloves
¾ cup water
¾ cup bread crumbs
pastry for 2-crust pie

make the pie dough, omitting the salt cos this here is a savoury pie. when the pastry has been chillin in the fridge for an hour or so, start on the filling.

mix first 9 ingredients (everything but the bread crumbs and pastry) together in a medium saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring until the meat loses its pinkness – do not brown. simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

add the breadcrumbs and mix well. chill before filling pie shell.

bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes.

i’m a big fan of smitten kitchen and i knew as soon as i saw her post for sheet pan chicken tikka that i’ve have to make it right away! aaaand it only took me nine months to do it. i love the idea of roasting the marinated chicken and veg all at the same time so very high expectations for this one. well this recipe did not disappoint — even though i am not a big fan of it, i used the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, as called for, from a local farm here (boy does locally farmed chicken make an enormous difference in taste!) and while we did peel the skin off to eat, it was amazing! the marinate definitely goes through so you’re not tossing away the flavour with the gross skin as is usually the case. and those weird sinewy bits around the bone were not an issue for me at all (can you tell i was a picky kid?) oof, and those roast potatoes and cauli? delish. so loved this and look forward to making it again.

we decided to have some friends over for a christmas dinner party this year. after toying with a few menus, i settled on a taco party theme cos who doesn’t like tacos? we started with whole foods’ pineapple salsa, queso fundido from the burgoo cookbook and martha’s tequila grilled shrimp. the fundido did not turn out at all. more like beer soup. must be a misprint in the cookbook; i’ll be curious to order it at the restaurant next time i’m there. the shrimp were just okay. i mean they’re shrimp, right? but the marinade wasn’t as flavourful as i thought it would be; shoulda read the reviews. that pineapple salsa was amazing tho! so refreshing! exactly what i was hoping for. will defs make that again.
and then for the tacos, i made three different fillings: chorizo tacos, a half recipe of chicken mole tacos (both new recipes for me and winners!) and our fav vegetarian filling, cookie and kate’s arugula and black bean tacos. made a bunch of condiments to go with: avocado cream, pickled onions, roasted corn, and pico de gallo; plus had a big bowl of crumbled queso fresco alongside, altho next time i’ll stick with feta cheese (more flavour, and cheaper). and lastly, we finished up the meal with those delicious tacofino diablo cookies. my lovely fella kept everyone well hydrated with his signature margaritas of course. a grand evening and perhaps a new tradition… fyi: i took zero photos; that one above is from the summer.

and that’s it!  all i have to do is cook christmas dinner and then it’s leftovers till new year! merry christmas!!


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