week 24

FRIDAY spinach & artichoke lasagne
SATURDAY warm lentils with fennel & halloumi
SUNDAY dine out vancouver
MONDAY vietnamese shrimp & sweet potato curry
TUESDAY 22-min pad thai
WEDNESDAY ricotta stuffed shells with roasted tomato sauce
THURSDAY short ribs and cauliflower puree

so we got back from gorgeous sunny and hot mexico verrrry late last thursday night and i basically came down with a bad sinus cold upon landing. i assumed it was my weird allergies kicking in cos i couldn’t stop sneezing, but no. full on head cold. that lasted about 5 days.

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suffice it to say, i was not in the mood to cook.  luckily there were some leftovers in the fridge… i’d made a big pan of spinach & artichoke lasagne (my absolute fave lasagne these days) for my daughter’s lovely boyfriend who agreed to housesit while we were gone, and there was tons left. well i’d made a pan of cottage pie too and he polished that off but didn’t get very far with the lasagne. maybe making enough food to feed 12 people is too much for one boy to eat over the course of a week. anyway, i’ve gushed about this lasagne before — it’s super easy to make, chock a block with spinach and the freshest tasting marinara sauce!

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on saturday, we took part in a progressive dinner with a handful of houses on our block and our contribution was a soup or salad to serve 12 people.  we went the salad route and served warm lentils with fennel & halloumi, which is one of my very favourite vegetarian dishes. i could eat this all day. i switched things up a bit and swapped out the roasted sweet potatoes for roasted carrots, only because i thought the carrots would be less filling, and look a bit fancier. and we served it room temperature, altho i actually think cold would have been the way to go. i’m telling you, this progressive dinner is faaaaancy! the calibre of dishes is top shelf! this was the third time we’ve gotten together as a group and every time, i’m blown away, not only by the food itself but the presentation too! a wee bit intimidating too cos everyone can seriously cook! excuse the garbage photo above; we were house #4 which means i’d already consumed three different cocktails by this point so yeah.

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and then of course my head cold came back with a vengeance preventing us from honouring our last dine out reservation; the family ordered in sushi and i got like 6 orders of miso soup. i didn’t have the energy to make another batch of my turkey meatball and orzo soup, plus i really do think that miso has some serious healing properties. all i consumed for like 2 days was miso, orange juice and herbal tea. but that gets boring quickly so it was time for a new recipe: 22-minute pad thai.  i love pad thai. well i love noodles so it makes sense that pad thai would be a fave. i’ve been making a particular recipe for years but i thought i’d try one that has tamarind in it this time. both the husband and son liked it but i did not. it wasn’t bad or anything, just not as good as the one i usually make; i think i like a sweeter version. even the leftovers were no big deal. moving on…

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another new recipe: ricotta stuffed shells with roasted tomato sauce. holy crap, that sauce is amazeballs!!!! so simple: you literally chop half an onion, bang it on a baking sheet with three cups of grape tomatoes, drizzle some olive oil on top and roast at a decent heat for about half an hour. whizz that up in your food processor with some basil and i’m telling you, you have a most delicious tomato sauce! you could use this on any pasta, or even dollop it on a nice steak — ooof! anyway, the stuffed shells themselves were also tasty; i think they are more of a side dish type thing… maybe alongside some chicken parmesan? alone they weren’t the most amazing thing but i’d for sure bring a pan to a potluck! they would definitely get demolished!

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last but not least this week was yet another new dish i’ve been wanting to cook for ages: braised short ribs, or more specifically: roasted short ribs with cauliflower and celery. i’ve never cooked short ribs before, altho if i spy them on a menu, i pretty much always order them. here is what i learned after cooking and eating this meal: i do not like cauliflower puree.  as much i looooove roasted cauliflower, the steamed and pureed version is not my friend. number two, buy your short ribs from a butcher. or at least from a shop where you can actually see how much fat is on the ribs, so from an actual meat counter, rather than those packages from the meat section where they hide goods with a giant label. number three, as someone who does not identify as a celery-lover, the celery salad was a delightful — maybe even a revelation! i will perhaps attempt this recipe again, albeit with celeriac in lieu of cauliflower.

the shrimp and sweet potato curry, a big time family fave here in this house, got bumped in favour of ordering out but i’m sure i’ll be making it sooner than later.

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