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…

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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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two vegetarian meals in a row? well now! this is actually one of my top two absolute favourite vegetarian meals. i literally can’t get enough of it. roasted cauliflower, freekeh and garlicky tahini sauce. the flavours in this are unbelievable! and get this: i forgot to sprinkle with crumbled feta on top and it was still amazing! freekeh might be my new favourite grain. truth be told, this is the only freekeh recipe that i’ve made cos i’m afraid any others out there will pale in comparison. the only change i made to this recipe was i swapped out the raisins and topped it with pickled onions.

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my mum always made salmon chowder for our family in the week or so after christmas and now i can’t help but do the same. and like my mum, i only make it once a year so we very much look forward to it. unlike my mum, i used fresh salmon whereas she went the canned salmon route. it’s such a warm and comforting soup too. salmon and dill chowder from the gourmet today cookbook. just onions, celery, potatoes, chicken stock, a bit of milk, salmon & dill. all cooked in bacon grease with the bacon bits lumped on top. i also made another loaf of that amazing no knead bread by jim lahey — it is so easy and soooo good!! perfect for dunking in this soup!

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my husband has been requesting i make chili for years now but i wasn’t all that fond of the recipe i had on hand so needed to do some looking. i found two recipes that looked good to me: a vegetarian bean chili, and this beef & bean chili. we both leaned toward the latter, altho i am keen to try the all bean one another time. i actually screwed up a bit when making this; it calls for 2⅓ lbs of ground beef but for whatever reason i only bought a pound and a half. not sure what was going on in my head. that said, there was more than enough meat. the recipe is super simple and straightforward so i had my doubts as to just how tasty it would be, but it did not disappoint. it wasn’t super spicy but i don’t like things super spicy anyway. it was thick and chunky and warmed you right up, which is perfect for these freezing temperatures of late. the only change i’ll make next time is to keep the beef to a pound and a half but maybe add a can’s worth of black beans or pinto beans along with the kidney beans.

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so i’ve finally joined the sheet pan suppers club. i made smitten’s chicken tikka last month and loved it so much that i went on the hunt for more. found one for roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt on the new york times cooking page. not only are these meals incredibly easy to put together and require very little clean-up, but they are sooo tasty!! chicken thighs and yukon gold potatoes tossed with cumin and harissa and roasted in the oven. add a bunch of thinly sliced leeks that have been tossed in grated lemon rind and olive oil and keep roasting. once it’s out of the oven, toss a bunch of arugula on top of each plate along with a big dollop of garlic yogurt and you are beyond good to go. we’re not massive bone-in chicken fans but i just don’t know if boneless/skinless would turn out as juicy. maybe i’ll try it one day…

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my lovely husband came down with a bad cold this week and i had to bump the shrimp and grits in favour of my version of chicken noodle soup. i wasn’t able to find any grits in the stores anyway, so it was an easy decision. lucky for me, last time i made my turkey meatball and orzo soup, i made a double batch of meatballs and froze half. all i had to do this time around was defrost those guys, bake them in the oven, cook the orzo for 5 min and simmer everything in about a litre and a half of chicken broth. was a good reminder to me to always have a pound of ground turkey and a couple cartons of chicken stock on hand should one of us come down with something again.

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the last dinner of the week is an old favourite that i ended up making a little healthier: crispy orange beef. i didn’t plan to, but i was late starting dinner and wanted to speed things up so skipped the steak drying part, and then realised no, i didn’t really want to dredge that steak in all that cornstarch and then deep fry it all, so i just sautéed it in substantially way less oil, added some cornstarch to the sauce and it was very enjoyable. no it wasn’t like the chinese takeaway it usually tastes like, but it was still very good and probably the way i’ll make it from now on. i also halved the grated orange rind as i wanted more of an orange ginger beef flavour and it was perfect!

that’s it for this week!

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