Creamy Salmon Pasta with Lemon, Mushrooms and Peas

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The only thing that my husband, Sean, loves as much as his kids is fishing. The last time his dad was out visiting from Newfoundland, Sean took him fishing and they caught two 8 lb. salmon. They were beautiful, pink and just waiting to be dinner. The first one we cooked right away and ate until we were stuffed. The second we froze and saved for sharing with our family. Somehow there were leftovers, and since we had dinner plans all week, I threw the cooked salmon into the freezer to do something with later. There was no way I was wasting a single bit of that amazing Salmon.

Sean and fish

I haven’t been able to come up with anything brilliant to do with this salmon until one night when all I could think about was a delicious, creamy pasta. Thankfully I had everything on hand to make this amazing dish. It has a wonderful combination of fresh lemon with crisp peas, a creamy sauce and amazing salmon. Really, it turned out a hundred times better then I expected and I couldn’t wait to share it.

I’ve used a combination of cream cheese and milk to lower the overall fat since I’m also using butter and parmesan. If you aren’t lucky enough to have some salmon just lying around, this pasta would work with any seafood. I could see fresh shrimp, scallops or prawns on top or a fillet of your favourite fish.

This recipe will serve 4 people

Creamy Lemon, Pea and Mushroom Penne with Salmon

200 g Penne Pasta or about half a box

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil
½ diced onion
2 cups sliced cremini or button mushrooms
1 crushed clove garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 cup small frozen peas
1 tbsp cream cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup milk

Salt and pepper

To make this a quick meal I do any cutting, chopping, zesting and smooshing. Next, I get my water on the stove and then start the sauce. By the time the pasta is ready the sauce is too

Bring a pot salted water to a boil and add Penne, cook until al dente. Most packages give really accurate times.

Melt butter over medium heat and add oil. Sauté onions until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until they have reabsorbed any liquid the released. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest and parsley.

Add the frozen peasDSC_0859

Reduce the heat to low and melt in the cream cheese.Once the cheese has melted add the milk and parmesan. Continue to stir gently until the sauce comes together.
Season with salt and pepper.

Top with Salmon

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See, isn’t that the easiest and yummiest? I plan on making this pasta again and again and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. To see how this fits into my families weekly meal plan here’s the link to it, Meal Plan

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Family Meal Plan Week 4

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I’m so excited that I have to share my news. My husband, Sean, was able to find work locally! For those not from around Vancouver Island this is a big deal. There is a limited amount of good paying jobs here and having one person working in Alberta has become a reality for a lot of families out here. Since last August, we’ve been a part of this group and it was beyond hard to be apart and to be on my own with a newborn and a two year old. SO, I am ecstatic.

As well as being excited about him being around it also relates to meal planning. It means a shift back to the normal for us. He’ll be home every night and need lunches again. When I need work lunches, I schedule meals with leftovers every second night. This gives me enough lunches to get through the week without a leftover backlog in the fridge.

Other than this big shift the rest of my week is low key. I want to make this a fairly easy week, meal wise, because it will be an adjustment to be on my own all day again. I’ve picked easy, quick meals and am lucky that my parents are having us for dinner one night too.

Weekly meal plan

Monday Night

Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread Fortunately hubby’s work doesn’t start until the middle of the week so he has offered to make dinner. It’s his secret recipe so my contribution is cornbread muffins. I used Martha Stewart’s and they are delicious (massachusetts-corn-muffins). This will also be great as a lunch for him later in the week.

Tuesday Night

Chicken burritos – Shred half of a rotisserie chicken and in a sauce pan bring to boil 1/4 cup water, juice from half a lime, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 clove crushed garlic, splash of honey, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and toss half of the chicken in the sauce, with 1 tbsp chopped cilantro. Layer the chicken in a whole grain tortilla with grated cheese, diced bell pepper and any other veg you like. Roll up and lie side by side in a skillet. Place a heavy pan on top and grill both sides over med-low until the cheese is melty. Serve with salsa and guacomole

Wednesday Night

Creamy Lemon, Pea and Mushroome Penne with Salmon This pasta can be made in about 20 minutes and tastes like it could be in any fancy restaurant. I’m replacing the salmon with some prawns I have in the freezer that are crying out to meet this pasta. Serve with garlic bread a side salad and maybe a glass of your favourite white wine.

Thursday Night

Curried Chicken Salad Wraps and Veggies – Dice the remaining half of the rotisserie chicken and mix with about 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1 stalk diced celery, 1/2 a diced apple. Add 1 tbsp curry powder and salt to taste. Layer in a wrap with sliced red peppers and either salad greens or lettuce. Serve with fruit salad

Friday Night

Ham and Pineapple PizzaI grew up with Pizza night and still love it. It was take out when I was a kid, but with how quickly I can pull a pizza together, I don’t remember the last time I ordered delivery. Spread pizza sauce on whole wheat Naan. Top with deli ham, diced pineapple and mozzarella. Serve with a side salad or fresh veggies.

Saturday Night

Steak Dinner Hiding as a Salad I’m not someone who can sit and eat a steak dinner. It’s too much for me, but my hubby sure loves it. This salad keeps him happy and I think it’s delicious. It’s a great company salad too. In fact, this was the recipe that most people have asked for.

Sunday Night

Dinner at my parents. It’s always nice to get a break from cooking and my other mother (I hate the word step-mom) makes fabulous Sunday suppers that leave us ready to face the next week.

Enjoy your week and I’d love to hear about your meal planning tricks. If you’re new to meal planning I have a post on the basics on meal planning too.
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Steak Dinner Hiding as a Salad

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I’m not a steak dinner kind of gal. It’s too heavy and I spend the rest of the night feeling like I have lead weights attached to my butt. My hubby would eat it every night but the poor guy gets meat drunk and then he’s out for the night. So, a salad that has all the elements of an amazing steak dinner and that leaves you ready to still tackle your busy evening seems like a perfect compromise.

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The combination of fresh greens, sweet sautéed onions and savoury mushrooms, with creamy goat cheese, a little spice from pepperoncini peppers plus a great steak make this a meal to keep on speed dial (does that still exist?). Even my most carnivorous of friends have left the table feeling completely satisfied and enjoyed every bite.

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I plate this salad before serving. I can only imagine the wars that would break out at the table if people didn’t feel like they got their fair share of the caramelized onions. 

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I have probably been making this salad for 8 years and for the most part the elements remain the same. However, I have found different ways of playing with it that make it special every time. Here are a few ideas:

-grill campari or small tomatoes and place those on the plate
-replace the goat cheese with blue cheese
-pan fry the steak with butter and rosemary
-add bell peppers, cucumber or any other veggies you like

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I know that most vegetarians will never get far enough down the page to even read this but I think it’s still worth saying… I would eat this minus the steak. If you grilled a portabello instead of using button mushrooms this has some awesome veggie potential.

Update: I got a new camera since I first wrote this post so I have updated the photos. I also switched up the recipe a little to separate the onions and the mushrooms and added a recipe for the goat cheese dressing I made this last time

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This recipe is meant to serve 4

Onions 

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 thinly sliced onions
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
salt 

Mushrooms

1 Tbsp Butter
small splash olive oil
2 cups thinley sliced button or cremini mushrooms
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1 Tbsp of either chopped chives, thyme or a pinch of fresh rosemary
salt

In two seperate pans over medium heat add the butter and olive oil. For the onions begin sweating the onions until they become translucent, then splash on the balsamic and salt. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for as long as you have.

For the mushrooms add all the mushrooms to the pan and saute. Once the have softened a little add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until they have reabsorbed all the moisture in the pan. Add the fresh herbs and reduce to low.

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Steak Marinade

2 tbsp red wine
1 clove smooshed garlic
1 tsp Dijon
1 tbsp worchestire
pinch of rosemary

Combine all the ingredients in a shallow dish. Place the steak in dish and allow to rest flipping once so each side gets some love.

Salad

A generous handful of greens per person
1 pint cherry tomatoes
about 12 pepperoncini peppers thinly sliced

Layer the salad on individual plates, starting with the greens and then topping with the remaining ingredients

Cooking the Steak

I am not going to try to say I am the steak expert so I here are two great links for making an awesome steak: One for grilling and one for pan frying.

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Slice the steak against the grain in thinnish slices. Top your salads with the onions and mushrooms then fan the sliced steak over the top. I like to serve this salad with warmed foccacia and butter, because you need bread with everything (at least I do).

This last time I made the salad I had a lot less goat cheese then I realized. I improvised and made a herb goat cheese dressing and it was awesome. This is not an exact recipe but I wanted to share because it was so yummy!

Goat Cheese Dressing

1 Tbsp Mayo

3 Tbsp Plain yogurt
1/2 small tube of soft goat cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp(ish) of chopped fresh parsley, chives, oregano and basil (really whatever you have in your garden or on hand)

Mix it all together and season with a pinch of salt

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This dinner is a part of one of my weekly meal plans. If you’d like to see how I use this dinner in my meal plan here’s the link, Meal Plan

You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook where I post nightly meal inspirations and weekly meal plans

 

Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs with Tzatziki and Greekish Salad

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I love Mediterranean food. The combinations of herbs and spices create amazing aromas and flavours that make my mouth water. Over Christmas I experimented and made a Lebanese meal for my family which featured different types of kebabs. It was an all day process and not something I want to take on again for a long time. So, I worked out a quick kebab like meatball, which shares the same amazing flavours but can be a week night dinner.

From start to finish I can have this one done in about 30 minutes give or take. To get this on the table that quickly timing and multi-tasking are key. My strategy is that once the meatballs are browning I throw together the tzatziki so its deliciousness can mingle. When I have the meatballs in the oven I prep the salad and get the table set. Then it’s only a few minutes to pull the whole meal together and my family gets to enjoy a meal that looks like I put in a whole lot more effort.

Meatballs

1 package ground chicken
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 clove finely chopped garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp rosemary
1 tsp parsley
¼ tsp allspice
½ cup small cubes feta
1 egg
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp olive oil

MeatballsCombine all the ingredients except for the feta and olive oil in one bowl. Once all the ingredients are combined gently mix in the feta, trying not to break it up.

Form into small meatballs, about a tbsp size each, by rolling the mixture in your hand. I get about 20 meatballs.

Over medium heat warm the olive oil in an oven safe pan. Once the oil is heated, place the meatballs in the pan and cook about 5 minutes, turning once they are browned. Allow them to sear on the opposite side for about another 2 minutes then transfer into a 350F degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked and have reached an internal temperature of 165F.

Tzatziki

½ cup Greek or plain yogurt
½ cup grated english cucumber
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Squeeze out as much water as possible from the cucumber. I wrap mine in a thin tea towel and wring it until I can’t get any more water out. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy

Greekish Salad

1 large chopped tomato
1 chopped yellow or orange bell pepper
2 sliced small cucumbers or ¾ of an English cucumber
½ cup calamata olives
½ cup small cubed feta cheese
2 handfuls of salad greens
½ a sliced red onion (optional)

Dressing

2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch of oregano and basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Old baby food jars or other small jars are perfect for mixing dressings. Simply add all the ingredients to the jar and give it a shake.

Layer all the vegetables and top with the salad greens. Just before serving toss the salad with the dressing.

pita and chicken

I hope your family loves this Mediterranean inspired dinner as much as we do and I’d love to hear what you think. If you would like to see how this meal fits in to my families meal plan here’s the link, Weekly Meal Plan

Family Meal Plan Week 3

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Daddy and Maddie

It’s another quite week coming up for us. My husband has taken a leave until March so our lives are exceptionally peaceful right now. Although our savings are quickly dwindling, having him home for the last two months has been amazing. He had to leave for work in Alberta when our daughter was only 6 days old so I never felt like they had the same chance to bond he did with our son. But they’ve made up for lost time and now that little girl only has eyes for her daddy. I’m her meal ticket but once she’s done with me, right back to the love of her life.

Mostly we walk and explore around where we live. So my meal plans don’t have the normal chaotic, life stuff influencing them right now. However, because we are out so much I’ve had to make sure dinners can be made quickly. So, most dinners I post can get on the table from start to finish in under an hour. Many closer to 30 minutes.

Monday Night

Vegetarian Paninis – Sure, I’ll jump on the meatless Monday bandwagon. It’s been a plan to cut back on our meat intake anyway, so why not? Toss strips of zuchini, sliced mushrooms, sliced red onion and strips of red pepper in a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and roast for about 20 minutes at 400F. I use foccacia cut in four. Spread each side with a thin layer of mayo and lots of pesto, sprinkle on goat cheese or your favourite cheese and top with layers of the roasted veg. Cook in your sandwich press until crisp and brown and serve with tomato soup. If you don’t have a press, place your sangie in a skillet and squish it with a large heavy pot on top. It works just as well. I’ll post a recipe for an easy tomato soup as soon as I can.

Tuesday Night

BBQ Chicken Pizza – Easy, fast and delicious. My husband’s favourite pizza hands down! I’m shopping this day so using a rotisserie chicken will save me some time when I get home and I can use the rest for dinner on Thursday.

Wednesday Night

Breakfast Night – Banana Pancakes with walnuts. I use the basic pancake recipe from the Joy of Cooking and slice in one banana and stir in a handful of chopped walnuts. Top with plain or vanilla yogurt and a touch of maple syrup. Serve with breakfast sausages and some fruit salad. I keep mine basic with apples, pears, banana and orange. If you leave out the sausages you have another meatless meal:)

Thursday Night

Chicken Tortilla Bake – A creamy, cheesy, vegetable filled casserole that is where I’m using the rest of the rotisserie chicken. It’s one of my dad’s favourites and I can almost guarantee he’ll find a good reason to come for dinner if he knows I’m making it.

Friday Night

Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs, with Tzatziki and Greekish Salad – Ground turkey or chicken make these super flavourful meatballs leaner and delicious. Served with warmed pita this is my version of a Greek dinner in just over half an hour. I’ll be posting this recipe later this week.

Saturday Night

Home Made Burgers with Ceaser Salad – I like to use half and half beef and bison. It’s leaner and I find the bison has a lot more flavour. We like to top our burgers with sautéed onions, tomatoes, lettuce and my home made HP sauce. I’m addicted to the stuff and made the recipe from Canadian Crafter.

Sunday Night

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks with Coleslaw and Mashed Potato – Drumsticks are inexpensive and delicious. I place the chicken on a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan. Bake at 375F and baste with your favourite BBQ sauce every 10 minutes. They take about 30-45 minutes, but always go by temperature, chicken is cooked at 165F.

I hope you find this meal plan helps make your week a little easier. If you haven’t checked it out yet here are my meal planning basics. I’d also love to hear any feedback you have or any questions.

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Creamy Vegetable and Chicken Tortilla Lasagna

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I love the Joy of Cooking. In fact, I have actually read it from cover to cover and had it beside my bed until I was finished. Food geek you say? Why yes I am, completely and totally. I learned a lot from this book and use it all the time as a foundation for cooking. When I have a new idea I turn to this wonderful book and can often find a starting place, the waffles and pancakes I make weekly are Joy of Cooking recipes. But sometimes my holy book lets me down and when I had an idea for a chicken and tortilla casserole the one I found, the King Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe was not a recipe I would make. It has almost no vegetables, no spices or yummy seasoning and sounds like it would be cheesy, gloppy chicken. So, I set out to create my own healthier version.

Chicken Tortilla Bake

I like to think I do the book proud with my version and I had a friend test the recipe to make sure it was tasty. She loved that it came together quickly and that she could use a rotisserie chicken.

I’ve used lots of vegetables and cumin, chili powder, garlic and cilantro to add flavour and freshness to this casserole.

Chicken Tortilla Bake

1 tbsp. canola oil
1 diced onion
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 diced red pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup diced zucchini
2 cups cooked chicken

1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1.5 cups shredded cheese
½ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup cilantro
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Salt

About 7 Corn tortillas cut in half

Over medium heat sauté the onion in canola oil until they are translucent. Stir in garlic, spices and tomato. Cook for a few minutes until the tomato has softened and the mixture smells delicious. Add the red peppers corn, and zucchini, cook for a few more minutes, then stir in chicken. Remove from heat and set aside.

Casserole without cheeseIn a largish bowl whisk together the mushroom soup and yogurt. Mix in the remaining ingredients except for the tortillas and season to taste with the hot sauce and salt.

In a casserole dish place a single layer of corn tortillas then a layer of the sauce mixture. I find two and a half tortillas fit perfectly. Continue layering, alternating between corn tortillas and sauce, finish with sauce mixture and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350F

My girlfriend added a diced Jalapeño in while cooking the vegetables and I think that would add a wonderful flavour and heat if your family and friends approve. Here’s how this dinner fits into my families weekly meal plan, Weekly Meal Plan

20 Minute BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Since it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow I thought I would share a recipe especially for my husband. He’s never really liked pizza and it’s one of my favourites. I could get him to agree to ordering pizza if we ordered BBQ chicken, but I always found it bland or greasy tasting. So, here is my better then delivery version, that’s also cheaper, healthier and as fast as delivery. This has become not only his favourite but all of ours.

I’ve made this a quick dinner by using rotisserie, or left-over chicken, and whole wheat Naan. I like using the Naan over store bought pizza crusts because it seems easier to find in whole wheat, tastes better and I like the individual size. One day, I will figure out how to make a quick crust but until then, this is the best I’ve found.

bbq pizza helperI also love that my son can help with putting the pizzas together. I chop and prepare all of the ingredients and have them ready. Getting him involved in the dinner making process seems to have the added benefit that he’s willing to try almost anything I make and I get some real quality time with him.

This recipe makes 4-5 Naan size pizzas, or two medium sized pizzas

Preheat the oven to 400F

BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce
1/3 cup tomato sauce
Frank’s Red Hot sauce to taste

Mix thoroughly, adding a touch of salt if needed

Spread a layer of sauce on each crust

Pizza

1 cup cheddar cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup diced pineapple
1/2 of a red or orange yellow pepper sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions or diced red onions
1 cup chopped cooked chicken, about one chicken breast

Mix the two cheeses and spread half of the cheese in a thin layer on top of the sauce.

Spread the chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions and cilantro over the cheese and sauce. Top with the remaining cheese.

Place directly on oven rack and cook about 10 minutes, or when the cheese is melty and delicious

Here’s how BBQ chicken pizza fits into my weekly planning, Weekly Meal Plan

BBQ pizza finished

 

One of my best friends has a very talented photographer in her life and when she tried this recipe he was kind enough to share a photo of their finished pizzas. Here’s a link to his amazing photography, James Lissimore.

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Family Meal Plan Week 2

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I have my sister and her baby girl in town for a visit this week and we want to experiment with making some new baby foods. So I know I want at least two dinners that we can throw together in under 20 minutes. With my own new eater I’m finding evenings are getting a bit crazy. Dinner for me and hubby, a toddler portion and something for the tiny eater with a big appetite. I’m a firm believer in babies eating real food with flavour, so this of course means I create twice as much work for myself.

Other than that, our week is pretty quite and with my husband still home I have some time to make dinners we all enjoy

Monday Night

Vegetarian Chickpea Tacos – I’m doing my grocery shopping on a Monday this week. This is my families favourite vegetarian (vegan if you don’t top it with cheese) recipe and it comes together quickly so I’ll be able to whip it up when I get home. I served this to my vegetarian sister and brother in-law when they were up visiting me from Florida and it was absolutely devoured.

Tuesday Night

Breakfast for Dinner, Pumpkin Waffles with Chicken Sausage – A weekend experiment that translated into a fun, delicious dinner. I used the basic waffle recipe from the Joy of Cooking and added a 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger), about 1/2 tsp of each. The sausage came from our wonderful, local grocery, the 49th Parallel, that makes them fresh in store. Served with some fruit salad, my son and I declared it a solid hit!

Wednesday Night

Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetable Fries – With a colder forecast this week I thought this would be a nice late winter warmer. I love that my son’s ideas about what fries are includes carrots and parsnips along with potatoes. I’m also throwing in an extra chicken breast for use later in the week.

Thursday Night

Toasted Tuna and Cut Veggies – I’m giving myself a midweek easy. Whole grain bread and some cut veggies make this a healthy and 10 minute dinner.

Friday Night

Pesto and Chicken Quesadillas – Here’s where I’m using the leftover chicken. Using a whole grain tortilla, spread a layer of pesto. Top with diced chicken, diced bell peppers, diced tomato, some cilantro leaves and a layer of cheese. If your family likes a little spice a diced jalapeño adds that bit of heat. Cap it off with another tortilla and cook over medium until cheese is melty and the tortilla is a golden brown. Serve with some fresh guacamole and salsa.

Saturday Night

Hot dogs/Chili Dogs and Coleslaw – Yup, I eat hot dogs Who woulda thought, me being so mostly healthy and all. I buy the Maple Leaf Naturals. I never want to be that mom that cuts my kids off from everything because it’s not healthy, plus I really love chili dogs. So…I try to find the least processed, best option and have it occasionally. I also confess I use canned chili. I don’t like it enough to make it often and its hot dogs so it should take only a minute, right? The hot dogs are topped with a layer of chili and cheese and baked in the oven. My no fail coleslaw recipe is a grated carrot and 2 cups of shredded cabbage. For the dressing mix together about 2 spoons mayo, 1 spoon of vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and sugar. You’ll know by taste when you have the balance right.

Sunday Night

Pork Roast, Mashedo Potatoes, Chard and Pan-fried Apples – I’m pretty basic when it comes to seasoning my roasts and use salt and pepper with a little grainy mustard. I find most roasts take about 1-1.5 hours depending on their size, but always go by temperature. A pork roast is cooked when it reaches 170F. You can usually pull out a roast around 165F and cover with tin foil. It will sit and continue to cook while it rests, making sure the pork is up to temp but also moist and not over cooked. Potatoes are mashed with butter, milk and a grated clove of garlic. I love sautéed chard with a little butter and salt and pepper. Yogurt on top after its cooked adds a great tang. My Opa always served pork with apple sauce and I feel like it’s not a pork dinner without it. Because I love to play with my food my version is a little different. In a skillet sauté about a half a sliced onion over medium heat in 1 tbsp butter. Once the onions are translucent add thin slices of apple. I find a crunchy apple like granny smith works best. Season with salt and pepper, a sprinkle of allspice, nutmeg, ginger and a sprinkle of sugar. Add a 1/4 cup of chicken stock and simmer until apples are tender and cooked through.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, here’s my post on how I create our families meal plan. Enjoy your week and as always I love hearing how your family gets its weekly meals on the table and ways I can improve this blog.

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Vegetarian Chickpea Tacos

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One of my goals this year has been to eat less meat and since I’m the cook in the house, my husband’s right on board with me. I’ve used chickpeas for a healthy protein source and upped the veggie ante with a base of tomatoes, bell peppers and corn. This makes for a super flavourful, fresh tasting taco. The recipe has become a multi-purpose base for lots of dishes. I’ve made taco salads and quesadillas using these delicious chickpeas and I’m hoping you can find your own uses.

I love tacos for their versatility and all the yummy toppings and this recipe has become a favourite. It’s also easy and quick, my non-cooking husband made this for his sister. She was suitably impressed and so was I.

For those that like it a little more spicy I would add jalapeño. I’m cooking with a two-year old in mind and he’ll have more spice then I expect but I like to start mild and add heat with my toppings.

chickpea tacos

Chickpea tacos

1 diced onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 diced tomato
½ diced red pepper
¼ cup frozen corn
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
½ lime
1 large can chick peas
¼-1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
¼ cup cilantro
Hot sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat sauté the onion until soft. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder and lime. Once the onions and spices have had a few minutes together stir in tomatoes and red peppers, and corn, cooking for a few minutes. Rinse and drain the chick peas and stir into vegetable mixture. Start by adding ¼ cup of stock, allow to cook for about five minutes and then mash some of the chickpeas. I find at this point I often need to add more stock to keep the mixture from getting too dry.

Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in cilantro. We love cilantro so if it’s not your favourite feel free to cut back.

We like to top our tacos with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, salsa, hot sauce, plain greek yogurt and shredded cheese. For those with food sensitivities or allergies these tacos are vegan, dairy and gluten-free without the toppings we use.

Here’s how this recipe fits into my families dinners for this week, Weekly Meal Plan

Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetable Fries

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One of my favourite meals to make lately is a week night version of Sunday chicken dinner. Using bone in breasts gives you all the roasty goodness with less time and the roasted vegetables are a flavourful, healthy side. What mom doesn’t love to see her kid gobble down carrots, parsnips and potatoes, stating how yummy these ‘fries’ are? Both the fries and the chicken cook for the same time so while the chicken is browning I prepare the fries. It’s a quick prep dinner leaving lots of time to spend catching up with family about the day.

I made HP sauce earlier this year, from Canadian Crafter and with this chicken it was as close to the perfect dinner as I can get. If you ever have a plethora of plums I strongly recommend trying this out. If not, I suggest getting to know me really well and maybe I’ll send you a jar.

Roasted Chicken

4 bone on chicken breasts
about a tbsp of olive oil
2 chopped garlic cloves
a branch of rosemary

In an oven safe pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Generously salt and pepper the chicken and place skin side down in the pan. You want the chicken skin to get a gorgeous, crispy golden brown. I find this is about 5-7 minutes. If the chicken is sticking to the pan it’s telling you it’s not ready and to leave it alone for a few more minutes.

Chicken pre oven

Golden brown, crispy skin chicken, ready for the oven

Flip the chicken over so it’s skin side up and sprinkle the garlic over top. I placed a branch of rosemary on top of the chicken.This adds a hint of rosemary and makes your whole house smell amazing.

Place the chicken in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. The internal temperature needs to reach 165 F so cooking time depends on how large the breast is (there is no way for me to type that without giggling).

Let the chicken sit for at least 5 minutes after removing it from the oven. Resting the chicken after will make sure that the chicken maintains its juiciness. Cut into it too soon and all the wonderful juice will pour out leaving a dry chicken.

Root Vegetable Fries

3-4 potatoes
3-4 medium carrots
3-4 medium parsnips
about a tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper
seasonings of choice

I find the potatoes work best cut in half and then wedged into 3-4 pieces. Cut the carrots and parsnips into fries that are similar in size and thickness. You want them to all cook at the same rate so consistency in size will ensure a better finished fry. Toss all the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and seasoning. I’ve used paprika, chipotle, seasoning salt and lemon pepper. All were delicious.

Spread the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the same time as the chicken. In about 45 minutes you’ll enjoy a fabulous, delicious chicken dinner.

Scrumptious week night roasted chicken

Scrumptious week night roasted chicken

Here’s how this meal fits into my families weekly dinner plan, Weekly Meal Plan.