winter meal plan ~ week 6

okaaayyyy! and we’re back into the swing of things! it was slow going there for a bit but here we are. diving straight back in with all the comfort foods: chowder, chili, pasta, cottage pie and then one lone fresh veggie salad.

salmon & dill chowder
yes i am aware this is not the most appealing looking soup. i over blended it with my immersion blender cos i was too lazy to get out my normal blender. luckily it is delicious so we all got past the look of it pretty quick. properly blended, it’s a nice thick chowder with chunks of white potatoes and pink salmon and flecks of green from the fresh dill. it’s also meant to have bacon on top but i forgot to thaw my bacon.

salmon chowder

black bean chili
now this one is basically fool-proof! and flexible as well. i do 2 cans of black beans and 1 can of kidney but you can do all 3 black bean as per the original recipe. i added 1 jalapeño but you can add as many as you like (i’m not super into spicy, much to my family’s chagrin). i’m guessing you could totes do this in an instant pot too — i just got one for christmas but it’s taking me a while to get the hang of it so i haven’t made this chili in it yet.

chili

spaghetti trasteverini
i love this dish. i’m not a huuuuuge fan of pasta… sure i like my lasagne and that famously simple & delicious tomato, onion & butter sauce from last week saves my ass on the reg, but other than that, i rarely fancy pasta. this is an exception. not the normal ingredients you’d expect in a pasta sauce (chicken & black beans??) but it is delicious! and it’s easy!!! bonus points!

trast

rainbow salad bowls with curried hummus & peanut sauce
the original recipe has this salad wrapped up in collard greens. i’ve got nothing against collard greens — i’ve enjoyed them in a smoothie a few times — but they’re not always easy to find, or very nice looking if you do find them. plus wrapping can be tricky and bowls are easy. so i swapped out the collards for some mixed lettuces and called it a salad! i wasn’t sure how the curried hummus would go with the peanut sauce but i was happily surprised! everything goes with peanut sauce, amirite?? (the curried hummus also makes a great dip — i took the leftovers to bookclub with some veggie sticks)

rainbow salad bowl

cottage pie
i have been making this for years — it is a big family favourite. traditional ground beef, peas and carrots in gravy but topped with sliced potato instead of mashed, so one less step. if you’ve got leftover mash, go for it, but this way is honestly delish!

cottage pie

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winter meal plan ~ week 5

happy new year everyone! i hope you had a lovely christmas holiday, filled with much turkey (or tofurkey if you’re veggie) and mashed potatoes and gravy. and hopefully you had, or were at least sent home with, some leftovers to tide you over for a while. i am proper lazy the week after christmas! — no cooking (and apparently no blogging 😳 heh heh) from boxing day to new year’s eve! therefore, i always stuff and roast an extra boneless turkey breast on the 25th, just to ensure we’ll have enough leftovers (turkey sammies for dayyyyys!!) and let’s be honest, even as we head into the new year, it still takes me a while to get back into the cooking swing of things… i prefer to start slow and easy, with a lot of lighter meals…

sweet potato & quinoa miso bowls
i love this meal. i always feel like a superstar when i make this! quinoa! shredded carrot! roasted sweet potatoes! edamame! alfalfa sprouts even! holla!! so much healthy! and lest you think it tastes healthy, i.e. like cardboard, fear not! that miso-orange vinaigrette is the bomb dot com.

miso

egg & salmon donburi
this is a nice light supper. perfect after all the mashed potatoes, yams & stuffing we’ve filled our faces with. a bit of steamed rice, a nice pile of fluffy soft-scrambled eggs and some poached salmon, flavoured with a sprinkling of soy sauce and some nice creamy avocado. uh yummm!

egg & salmon donburi.jpg

pasta with marcella hazan’s tomato, butter & onion sauce
i’m actually not sure it gets any easier than this: 1 big can of whole tomatoes (please use san marzanos — they’re pretty easy to find these days and it makes all the difference in the world), 1 onion cut in half and a hunk of butter, all slow simmered for 45 mins. it sounds too simple but honestly, i think that’s what makes it sooooo good.

IMG_5854

chicken lo mein
all the noodles, all the time! this is the recipe that clued me in to the difference between chow mein and lo mein (psst: crispy noodles vs soft noodles — who knew??) personally, i’m fans of both. this recipe is super flexible; you can use whatever veg you’ve got in your fridge. it calls for thinly sliced chicken, but you can do shrimp (or maybe use up leftover turkey meat haha) or go completely veg. did i mention flexible?

15 min lo mein.jpg

tourtière
this is a traditional french-canadian christmas/new year’s dish that i like to make every year. you can make your own pastry or buy a double crust from the shops; if you do the latter, this pie comes together super quickly. a quick sauté of beef & pork and some traditional tourtière spices and you’re done. in case you’re wondering…. no, it’s not even remotely light, but a little goes a long way — pair it with a salad one night and freeze the rest for later.

tortiere.jpg

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**hey, i got an instant pot for christmas…. does anyone else have one? what are your favourite recipes? let me know!

winter meal plan ~ week 3

christmas is only a week away! gahh!! how did we get here so quickly?? i’m not even remotely ready — altho i say that every year. luckily we’ve got some easy meals on the menu this week…. plenty of time to get my shopping done!

shrimp & grits
grits have never sounded all that appealing to me. probably cos they’re called grits! but it’s basically the same thing as polenta — and therefore delicious! (if you’ve not had polenta before, this comparison is likely not helpful to you. you will have to trust me.) creamy and cheesy and yummy! while the grits are cooking, sauté up some shrimps in a creamy tomato sauce. this was surprisingly quick and easy, and a new favourite!

shrimp & grits.jpg

one pot farro with tomatoes
hello, quick and easy supper! you literally dump all your ingredients (tomatoes, onions, garlic, farro) in a big pot, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, stir stir, done. if you’re unfamiliar with farro, as i was, it’s one of those ancient grains that has become popular/trendy to eat again. it’s derived from wheat (so, not gluten free) but waaaayyyy less processed, i.e. a good carb. it often replaces rice but in this case, it’s standing in for traditional pasta. it’s creamy like risotto, flavoured with tomatoes and basil and parmesan, and full out comfort in a bowl.

one-pot farro with tomatoes.jpg

turkey meatball soup with orzo
i make this soup whenever someone starts to feel a cold coming on. scratchy throat, sniffles — yup, it’s time to make soup! if i’m smart (esp for when i’m the one feeling sick), i’ve already got some meatballs in the freezer that i can just defrost and pop into the broth. there is a ton of garlic in the meatballs to ward off any germs, but it’s not super garlicky, i swear! it’s tasty and it works.

turkey meatball soup.jpg

cauliflower & freekeh with pomegranate, tahini & pinenuts
holy wow, this is a flavour sensation! i was blown away by how delicious this was! i mean, c’mon, there’s roasted cauliflower plus tahini in there so it’s kind of a given i’m gonna like it but this was next level! the spiced oil and the pomegranate? yeah i could eat this all day. the freekeh (another trendy ancient grain) gives it a bit of bulk, but if you left it out, this dish would make a lovely addition to a middle eastern mezze platter.

roasted cauliflower with pomegranate & pinenuts.jpg

spinach & sausage stuffed manicotti
this is a tried and true recipe that i’ve been making for years. it’s pretty easy to make… italian sausage, ricotta & mozzarella cheeses, spinach, herbs & spices, all stuffed into manicotti shells and baked in a tomato sauce… and yes, impressive enough for company. serve with a massive caesar salad and some garlic bread — boom! everyone’s happy.

manicotti

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winter meal plan ~ week 2

holy cow, last week was freeeeezing cold! sure, vancouver is gorgeous when the sun is shining but yowza!! i need some serious layers to stay warm! and maybe some warm-you-up-from-the-inside foods….

curried lentil & sweet potato bowl
i love composed bowls! the recipes are usually long and they seem like a fair amount of work, but the individual components cook at the same time, and then it’s just a matter of putting it all together. and when you do, it’s like a flavour explosion! coconut curried lentils, roasted sweet potatoes, curried brown rice, lightly dressed kale and shredded red cabbage, and a lovely cilantro chutney. this is a bowl i’d be very excited to get in a restaurant.

curried lentils & sweet potato bowl

chicken mole tacos
doesn’t matter which day you have tacos, any day can be taco tuesday, amirite?? these ones are particularly delicious and they come together super quickly. make the mole sauce (yes, there’s chocolate in there — just enough to not be weird), simmer the chicken in it, shred the chicken, make yo’ taco! we like ’em with avocado cream and pickled red onions. yummo!

chicken mole tacos

sautéed halibut with arugula, roasted beets & horseradish creme fraiche
fancy, right? there’s a teeny bit of prep work (season the fish, roast the beets) but holy cow, the end result is fantastic! halibut is gorgeous anyway — my fave fish — but when paired with the beets and the horseradish creme fraiche? deeeelicious!

halibut & beets with horseradish cream

latkes with smoked salmon
every year i made latkes in the week or two before christmas. i’m not sure they’re supposed to be a main dish — they often accompany roast beef, or are part of a larger small plates menu — but we love them on their own. a little bit of smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream and you are set. a green side salad is never a bad idea either.

latkes

deep dish pizza
alllll the nicknames… chicago-style pizza, chi-town ‘za, windy city ‘za…. i love ’em all. and i LOVE this pizza. thick rich tomato sauce, chunks of italian sausage, gooey mozzarella, and the defining crispy crust of a chicago style pizza. it does take about 4 hours from start to finish, so a perfect afternoon or weekend project.

deep dish pizza

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winter meal plan ~ week 1

i know it’s not officially winter but it kind of is, right? we bought snow tires, the christmas lights are up, i’m certainly playing christmas music! it’s winter!! and so, continuing with the comfort foods theme from fall….

5 spice salmon & green beans
first up this week is a dead easy one-pan asian salmon dish. mix together the 4-ingredient sauce and let the salmon marinate for 15 minutes. toss the beans with some sesame oil, then bang everything on a baking sheet and broil for about 6 minutes. boom! done!

salmon

ultimate winter bliss bowls with falafel
yowza, this is tasty! are you getting sick of roasted cauliflower? because i am absolutely not! i could eat this stuff all day. i realised one night that i would be just as happy munching on a bowl of roasted cauli as i would a bowl of popcorn — actually i think i’d prefer the cauli. this bowl has got all the goods: roasted cauli, roasted carrots, easy baked falafel, shredded cabbage, fresh spinach, a delightful tahini dressing and chopped pistachios, which may seem odd at first but are perfect on this.

winter bliss bowls

roasted harissa chicken with leeks, potatoes, arugula & garlicky yogurt
another one-pan wonder: boneless, skinless chicken thighs (marinated the morning of in harissa paste & cumin), yukon gold nugget potatoes & leeks get roasted in the oven, then served on a bed of arugula and dolloped with a garlicky yogurt sauce. crazy good!

harissa chicken

whitewater veggie burgers
this is a dang tasty veggie burger, people! so much yumminess going on here: black beans, grated carrot, toasted almonds, toasted sunflower seeds, soy sauce — just to name a few of the ingredients. it’s a long list but nothing you probably don’t already have in your cupboard. completely vegetarian and could probably be vegan if you know how to make a flax “egg” — can also easily be made gluten free. bonus: it makes 12 burgers so you can freeze a bunch for another time.

whitewater veggie burgers

steak with mixed peppercorns & pomegranate glaze
this is a dish suitable for company but also easy enough for a weeknight dinner. win win (win)! the steak cooks in minutes, then make the balsamic-pomegranate pan sauce while it rests. i like to serve crushed nugget potatoes on the side — boil some baby yukon gold potatoes till tender, transfer to buttered baking dish, lightly crush to break the skins, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with flakey salt and some freshly ground pepper and bang them in the oven to finish.

steak with pomegranate reduction.jpg

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fall meal plan ~ week 13

we’re still all down with the comfort foods, right? with the buckets and buckets of rain these days, i say bring it!

thai yellow curry with chicken & potatoes
feel like a giant baller cos you made the yellow curry paste from scratch!! (then hope that no one finds out how dang easy it was to make so you don’t lose your baller status.) i’m not kidding; it’s dead easy and makes your kitchen smell amazing!! once the paste is made, the rest of the dish comes together also super easy. this is a winner, folks.

thai yellow curry

roasted cauliflower, freekeh & garlicky tahini sauce
i’m no vegetarian but man alive, if this is what all veggie food tasted like, i could be! it was the roasted cauliflower that initially caught my eye (huge addict over here) but the freekeh intrigued me. it gets cooked like rice into a pilaf with toasted almonds. then topped with the roasted cauli plus red onion, feta cheese and tahini sauce — sold!!

cauliflower & freekeh

garlic shrimp & white beans + no knead bread
this may sound weird but i enjoy making this dish almost as much as eating it. there’s a nice process to it (but not even remotely a long one) wherein you cook everything in stages on the stove till it’s all thick and the flavour is concentrated, then you add the shrimp and broil in the oven. a little drizzle drizzle of good extra virgin olive and you are good to go. and pleeeeease make the bread to go with — it is perfect for dunking but also very good with just butter. which may be how we polished it off.

shrimp & beans

quinoa & wild rice salad
ode to rebar modern food in victoria: my take on a favourite and no longer on the menu dish. lots going on here — quinoa and wild rice obviously, but also fresh spinach, red pepper, black beans, dried apricots, avocado and a tasty lime-cilantro vinaigrette. proper hearty salad.

quinoa & wild rice salad

flank steak with salsa verde
another super simple meal that takes very little time to make. marinate the steak the night before and you’ve done half the work! and then the zippy green salsa comes together in minutes in the food processor. all i do is roast a bunch of veg in the oven and boom — dinner’s on the table!

steak

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