spring meal plan ~ week 10

looking for a last minute cinco de mayo recipe?? these are incredibly worthy: slow-cooked pork in a citrusy marinade, piled into warm corn tortillas and topped with all the fixin’s: avocado sauce (or guac), pico de gallo, easy pickled onions & a crumbling of queso fresco. thankfully it makes a lot cos i wanna eat these forever!


artichoke heart-stuffed shells with béchamel sauce
hello flavour! gotta admit, i have a hard time not eating all the filling before i get those shells stuffed. caramelised onions and artichokes, two kinds of cheese and not much else make up that filling. and then each shell is basically encased in a lemony béchamel sauce. so good!!

artichoke stuffed shells with bechamel

slow roasted salmon & potato salad with horseradish yogurt
there is so much flavour going on with this dish, it’s crazy! and yet it’s ready in under an hour, so… win win! the salmon gets seasoned with caraway seeds before it’s slow roasted and both the salmon & potato salad get sprinkled with fresh tarragon. i wasn’t sure those flavours were going to work but they do! spectacularly! the first time i made it, i couldn’t find fresh tarragon so had to settle for dried and it’s still good but not amazing, so do try to search it out. i actually started growing my own tarragon last summer cos it can be tricky to find.

salmon & potato salad with horseradish yogurt

sweet potato & black bean burgers
love these vegan burgers! esp when you can’t always count on the weather for bbq’ing, but still fancy a burger. i prefer to mix these up earlier in the day, or even the night before, and then shape them just before i’m ready to cook them. and the recipe makes 12 — sure you can scale down, but these are perfect for popping in the freezer and then grabbing for a last minute supper down the road, after a long day at the beach, for example (yes i’m ready for summer!!)

sweet potato black bean veggie burger

chicken gyro salad
speaking of which, how summery is this?? again, you can bbq the chicken (on your deck, sipping a summery cocktail perhaps?) or cook it in your oven should the weather choose yet again not to cooperate. yummy grilled marinated chicken gets served on top of a make-your-own salad, accompanied by grilled pitas and homemade tzatziki (seriously way better than any store-bought).

chicken gyro salad

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list


spring meal plan ~ week 9

barbecued pork tenderloin with ginger & soy sauce
this is one of those back pocket meals. i do like to marinate the pork overnight but if you’re short for time, 20 mins on the counter will do it too. and adding some roasted or grilled peppers & baby potatoes is never a bad idea!


cauliflower cake + marinated pepper salad
that sounds weird, right? “cauliflower cake”? not sure i would have ever made this cake if not for the online cookbook club i’m in; it was everyone’s favourite recipe when we did ottolenghi month. and justifiably so! it’s ridiculously tasty!! and hella impressive looking. there’s only one weird ingredient (nigella seeds? i found them at save-on) and it takes a lot of eggs (7!!) but the end result is amazing.


that said, it’s quite rich, so you need to pair it with a salad. this marinated bell pepper & pecorino salad is perfect! it does take a bit of time to prepare but it’s such a lovely salad, what a wonderful meal to eat out on the deck, on a sunny spring evening.

marinated pepper salad.jpg

fish parcels with cilantro, coconut & mint + cumin-roasted cauliflower
this whole meal is incredibly easy to make: toss the cauliflower florets in some oil & spices and roast it in the oven. while that’s going, whiz up the cilantro-coconut-mint chutney in the food processor or blender — and holy crapballs, that chutney is amazing!!! it is hard not to eat it by the spoonful — plop it on the fish, wrap it up in parchment and bake it in the oven! so good!

fish parcels + cumin roasted cauliflower.jpg

white pie
many years ago, on a family trip down to seattle, we stopped in at a pizza place called delancey, recently opened by a favourite food blogger of mine and her husband. i think we ordered four different pizzas (not piggy, they’re individual sized! granted half of us were children…) and our favourite was the white pie. it was all cheese but not even remotely heavy.

white pie

chicken tinga tacos
happy cinco de mayo, people! any excuse, amirite? these might be the easiest tacos in the world (or at least my recipe box). make a super simple chipotle-tomato sauce, shred some cooked chicken (using either a couple of poached chicken boobs or store bought rotisserie chicken), and combine! pile into corn tortillas with your fave toppings (uh, quac, pickled onions & cilantro, obvs) and devour!!

chicken tinga tacos

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

spring meal plan ~ week 8

salmon burgers with dill-tartar sauce
super tasty and super easy! chop up a shallot and some capers in the food processor, then add some cubed salmon and pulse a few times. form into patties. pan fry. done. top with a thick slice of tomato, some spinach and red onion and a nice dollop of the tartar sauce. perfect fish burger!


spinach-artichoke lasagne
this is my go-to lasagne. it whips up super quick (shout out to food processors!) and is a lot lighter than traditional meat-sauce lasagne. this one is loaded with whipped cottage cheese, fresh spinach and sautéed artichokes, plus a bright marinara sauce.


pad thai with chicken & shrimp
i’m fairly certain pad thai is the most popular dish in any thai restaurant. there are a million recipes (maybe exaggerating) but i’ve been making this one for years. you’re lookin’ at rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, carrots, bean sprouts, lettuce, cilantro, peanuts & lime. yum!


pulled pork sandwiches
every time i make this, as soon as the last sandwich is eaten (and it makes 12!), i wish i had a whole other batch to tuck into! so flavourful!! slow-cooked pulled pork, smothered in a sweet & tangy bbq sauce, with crunchy coleslaw and sliced pickles on a whole wheat bun. omg, i am not kidding!


spiced chickpea patties with coconut & curry leaf paste
upcoming dinner party perhaps? or maybe you’re looking for a weekend cooking project? this. is it. it comes from nopi, one of ottolenghi’s uk restaurants & cookbook of the same name. yes it takes a while to make; he suggests short-cuts, but i would encourage you to make it as is. truly outstanding flavours. the old guy and i just happen to have a reso at nopi in september (one night in london! woot woot!) and i’m very much looking forward to it! i wonder if this dish will still be on the menu??

chickpea patties with coconut curry leaf paste

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

spring meal plan ~ week 7

cilantro chutney chicken
this is some seriously tasty chicken & rice!! it comes from my favourite indian cookbook — made in india by meera sodha — and this was the most favourite recipe among the my online cookbook club. it’s a two-step recipe — first you make the chutney and then you make the curry — but it’s completely straightforward and absolutely delicious! i was concerned it would be too spicy for me (massive wimp here, hi!) but it was not; there was the perfect wave of heat — and of course, you could add more chilis if you wanted to.

cilantro chutney chicken

roasted sweet potato & pepita quesadillas
another recipe from my favourite almost-vegetarian restaurant in victoria, rebar modern food — if you’ve not been, next time you’re in victoria, definitely check them out! so many amazing dishes — their famous secret-recipe almond burgers, their wild rice salad, and their quesadillas, including this one, their most popular version: roasted sweet potato, toasted pumpkin seeds, monterey jack cheese and a quick and easy chipotle-agave sauce.

sweet potato & pepita quesadillas.jpg

shrimp rolls
these are so good, i thought i might have to eat two of them! plump, juicy shrimp smothered in a creamy horseradish-dill sauce and loaded into toasted buttery brioche buns — hello!! the shrimp filling would also make for a delicious salad on top some butter lettuce leaves, but i would never discourage you from eating them as a proper roll!

shrimp rolls

roasted cauliflower with tahini + spiced chickpeas and fresh vegetable salad
i do love my ottolenghi cookbooks but i have to say jerusalem is my fave (altho they’re all good, promise!) this meal is another example of why he, his cookbooks and his restaurants in london are all so popular — the flavours are phenomenal! i mean, roasted cauliflower is basically its own food group — i can eat that stuff all day! — but when you smother the roasted florets in a yummy tahini sauce?? hello!!

cauliflower w:tahininot surprisingly, it was easy to find a delicious salad to go with the cauliflower — just a few pages away. chopped tomato, cucumber, red pepper & crunchy radish tossed in a lemony vinaigrette and topped with a pile of fresh herbs and some warmed chickpeas. super refreshing! both these dishes could be part of a large mezze-style spread (along with falafel & hummus & basically every other recipe from this cookbook!) but the two together make for a delicious dinner.

spiced chickpea and fresh vegetable salad

grown up spaghettiOs
okay so, growing up, i never actually had spaghettiOs — are they even available in canada? — but i’ve had my fair share of chef boyardee, thank you very much. what a treat when my mum would buy this stuff at the grocery store; it didn’t happen very often but it happened enough for me to have a favourite (team mini ravioli here!!) anywayyyy, why should kids have all the fun? welcome to grown up spaghettiOs! tiny little o-shaped pasta with beef meatballs in a rich and slightly sweet tomato sauce. honestly, i could have eaten the entire pot myself! serves 6? yeah right… if you say so!


 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

spring meal plan ~ week 6

turkey & white bean burgers
is it burger season yet?? okay so maybe i’m not quiiiiiite ready to fire up the grill — bbq’ing and umbrellas don’t mix — but you don’t need to with these babies. nice lean turkey and creamy white cannellini beans make up the bulk of the burger patty, and along with some flecks of red pepper & chives, and they get cooked on your stove. yummo!

turkey & white bean burgers.jpg

salad with turmeric chickpea cakes
these chickpea cakes are similar to falafel except they have turmeric to replace the cumin and coriander. and these happen to be pan-fried rather than deep fried. they are delightful served on a nice green salad, with good dollops of garlicky avocado cream on top.


garlic basil snapper with tomato butter sauce
tomatoes and white beans are a winning combo. simmered together and you get the creamiest yummiest sauce — perfect for topping a, dare i say it, otherwise boring fish fillet. actually that’s not true; i love fish. if it’s fresh and you season it well (seriously, just some salt & pepper), baked or pan-fried fish is delish. but now add this buttery tomato and white bean sauce on top! hello!!

garlic basil fish with tomato butter sauce.jpg

togarashi chicken with sesame-cucumber relish + spicy green beans
number one, i looooove saying togarashi (ask my husband); and number two, chicken can start to get kinda boring after a while amirite and this dish is such a nice change of pace. it’s japanese chicken but without the teriyaki — not that i have anything against teriyaki! this is crazy straightforward and quick to make, and it’s sooo tasty!! the cucumber relish could be a stand alone dish, it’s so yummy! the beans are nice and spicy (and easy) too!

togarashi chicken

margherita pizza
okay so maybe *this* is my favourite pizza… it’s a classic! classic tomato sauce base (but with really good canned tomatoes), shards of fresh buffalo mozzarella and a scattering of torn fresh basil leaves. oh, and did i mention the crust? the best!

margherita pizza.jpg

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list

spring meal plan ~ week 5

easter dinner
i’m not sure easter dinner has the same type of excitement swirling around it that thanksgiving and christmas do — i mean c’mon: stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy — it’s hard to compete. i know a lot of people do a turkey for easter but my mum always did ham and guess what? so do i! i like my traditions, okay?? but i do tend to upgrade them if i can, so whereas my mum used to poke cloves in her ham and squeeze honey all over it before baking it in the oven (not even remotely complaining; my mum was a fantastic cook), i like to do a thyme-honey glazed ham. and rather than plain old baked sweet potatoes (okay sorry, those are boring), i make roasted balsamic sweet potatoes. i don’t actually recall the potatoes my mother used to make but maybe that’s because these gruyere potatoes au gratin are so good, all other scalloped potato recipes have vanished from my memory.

thyme-honey glazed hamIMG_7481IMG_7475

mini-matzo ball soup with horseradish
whether you observe passover or not, matzo ball soup is simply delightful. i personally love hijacking other culture’s food customs — good food for everyone, i say! — and this  soup (from the fantastic smitten kitchen everyday cookbook) is a winner. it’s nice and light while managing to be filling at the same time. you could certainly buy a good quality vegetable stock, but making it from scratch is pretty easy and it only simmers for about an hour. and those little matzo balls have a nice horseradish zing.

mini matzo ball soup

salmon & cod cakes with horseradish-cucumber sauce
another dish that is suitable for passover, but good anytime of year to be honest. salmon and any firm white fish, altho i like cod, mixed with a good amount of sautéed leek & carrot and some matzo meal to hold it all together. i often serve them on a bed of butter lettuce with a good dollop of the yummy horseradish-cuke sauce on top.

salmon & whitefish cakes

i cannot say enough about these vegetarian indian wraps — they are out in this world!! curried mashed potato, roasted cumin-spiced cauliflower & chickpeas, cilantro-mint chutney and easy pickled red onion. it sounds like a lot of work, but everything comes together surprisingly quickly. while the veg is roasting, you can boil the potatoes and make both the chutney and the pickled onions. omg i want to eat this every day!!


cheesy ham & potato soup
i’m not kidding, it is worth it to host your entire family for easter dinner, simply for this soup — just make sure they don’t eat all the ham. i suppose you could buy a chunk from the deli — in fact, why not?? then you could have this soup any. time. you. want. potatoes, cheese and ham — winning soup combo!! and super quick to make too. win win, win!

cheesy ham & potato soup

 click here for the recipes  // click here for the grocery list