week 23

FRIDAY date night!
SATURDAY baked bucatini and meatballs new + tuscan kale salad
SUNDAY 5 spice salmon & green beans
MONDAY date night!
TUESDAY moroccan chickpea bowls new
WEDNESDAY crockpot chicken gnocchi soup new
THURSDAY leaving for mexico for 8 days! woot woot!

whaaat? two date nights in the same week we leave for mexico? that was the plan anyway. i’m not sure if this goes on elsewhere, it must i’m sure, but the restaurants in vancouver come up with special fixed price menus every year at the end of january, when i guess business is a bit slower, to get people into their less busy restaurants.  some of the nicer places come up with amazing menus so we’re taking advantage! our mexico trip falls smack dab in the middle of dine out so we needed to cram a couple in before we left! unfortunately, the husband got sick on like weds or thurs so we had to give our first reso to our daughter and her fella. so i just bumped up the bucatini.

actually i made baked spaghetti and meatballs, cos i have not had any luck finding bucatini around these parts. not sure it would make a difference altho bucatini is fun. i am going to say that this recipe was no big whoop. i have for certain had better meatballs and you know what? i missed the linked marinara recipe when i printed it out and instead of using jarred, used the one from kate’s spinach and artichoke lasagne which is easily my fave lasagne right now but i’m thinking that sauce was too mild for this dish. i just found it very meh. that said, the kid really liked it. would i do it again? probs not. there was however loads so we had enough for dinner saturday night too. luckily i bought enough kale for two nights’ worth of delicious tuscan kale salad.  i can’t ever find pecorino, so use romano instead and it’s delightful.
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week 22

FRIDAY crispy quinoa cakes
SATURDAY roasted cauli with freekeh and tahini sauce
SUNDAY salmon chowder
MONDAY chili new
TUESDAY roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt new
WEDNESDAY shrimp & grits new turkey meatball soup
THURSDAY crispy orange beef

i’m trying out three new meals this week which is always exciting. or i’d planned to anyway…

my friday night dinner plans were thwarted this week. i’d planned on making one of my fave vegetarian meals, crispy quinoa cakes with roasted pepper sauce, but when my husband and son realised i had book club that night, they deserted me! i was going to scrap the whole thing when i realised i could just make each cake bite-sized and bring them to bookclub as an appy! these things are loaded with goodness and deliciousness: not just quinoa but grated sweet potato, feta cheese, curry powder, cilantro, sun-dried tomato, fresh spinach, the list goes on (no seriously, there’s more). it does take a bit of effort which is why i always make a double batch. as good as these babies are tho — that sauce!!! holy crap, it’s literally a jar of drained roasted red peppers, combined with some toasted almonds, a splash of red wine vinegar and a clove of garlic, then pureed in your blender till smooth. my vitamix turns it into cream. my word!!
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week 21

FRIDAY garlic shrimp & white beans
SATURDAY fresh pasta with marcela hazan’s tomato sauce
SUNDAY cottage pie
MONDAY enlightened miso power bowls
TUESDAY poached cod with potatoes and leeks
WEDNESDAY thin crust pizza
THURSDAY chicken korma

now that the christmas season is well and truly over, i’m excited to start cooking healthier meals again. let’s have all the comfort foods all the time! vancouver has had an uncharacteristicly massive dump of snow this winter and it is soooo cold outside! cue the warm, comforting, fill-your-belly-with-goodness foods.

first up is a meal i’ve made twice before: garlic shrimp and white beans from bon appetit, and both times the leftovers next day have been better than the initial meal. don’t get me wrong: it is very tasty, but those flavours need to meld more; next time i will start cooking it an hour or two earlier in the day and let those lovely beans soak up all that yummy garlicky flavour. how good will that sauce be for dunking in your homemade bread?? i found the original new york times article featuring jim lahey’s 18 hour no knead bread and it truly is amazing. dead easy and delicious. this will get made again very soon, mark my words!
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7 weeks of meal plans for jan & feb

i’m going to follow my usual format of two vegetarian/vegan/meatless meals each week but i’m going to dial down the fish to just once a week (shellfish doesn’t count) because i’d like my son to eat with us more and i’ve bombarded him with fish in this last year or two and he is so insanely off fish now. he’s not thrilled with the number of veg dishes either but too bad. plus he often ends up liking them if he gives them a chance. and i’m adding pasta once a week, or will try to anyway. i don’t typically cook pasta that often but 1) i got a pasta maker from my lovely children at christmas and cannot wait to put it to use! and 2) the other two people that live here love pasta-based meals. and then of course, we’ll have date night once a week! that’s a given!

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week 20 – happy new year!

FRIDAY: cocktail party
SATURDAY: fondue!
SUNDAY: beef tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce
MONDAY: enlightened miso power bowl
TUESDAY: salmon chowder
WEDNESDAY: garlic shrimp & canellini beans
THURSDAY: cheat beef dip

happy new year! 2016 wasn’t a bad year for me personally although i know it was challenging for many people. let’s hope 2017 is a good one for everyone.

as we’ve done for the past few years, we had a lovely swiss cheese fondue on new year’s eve. neither my husband nor i are wine fans and seeing as every cheese fondue we’d ever tried contains white wine, it has never been very appealing to us; that said, it always looks like so much fun and makes me feel like i’m missing out! look at everyone, gathered around, dunking bread into cheese! luckily this recipe (and i’m sure there are plenty of others) does not contain any white wine — yay!!  it calls for a pound of potatoes but for the amount of fondue this recipe makes, i did a pound and a half of baby potatoes, plus a few carrots, some cauliflower, an apple, a pear, and some baguette!  the only changes i made were to decrease the cream cheese by half and double the gruyere (i used emmental as that’s what i had on hand) and i used whole milk in place of the whipping cream. that said, it could have been thicker so maybe next time i’ll stick with the cream.
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