Vegetarian Enchiladas with Yogurt Sauce

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I have an amazing little son. He is so imaginative and energetic and he makes supper times exhausting. All that energy and the need to act on everything that pops into his mind, make for a small bouncing ball of hair that only picks at his supper and distracts everyone else.

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Imagine an exhausted mom,  home from a tiring day of work, who has thrown together supper. She sits down for what she imagines is going to be a peaceful family meal (she may be slightly delusional), only to have to respond rationally to…”but mom I just need to check the dogs leg/look at that sparkly thing/colour this dot/find my favourite car/run around the kitchen”.

We’ve tried putting him back in his chair and telling him to stay put but that’s about as successful as putting a cat into a dress and expecting it to sit for a tea party.

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So we went the other way and tried having him sit quietly and read books until the rest of us are finished. Also not successful. He can’t read yet so he comes over asking, “what does this letter tell mommy?” or sneaks behind his sister, peeking through her high chair completely ruining any chance she was going to eat too.

We finally talked to a child development social worker about it and her suggestion was to play a game at the table. I wasn’t super keen on the idea so it sat in the back of brain for the last few months. We have a no toys at the table rule and all I could imagine was food covered dice, (or worse) being tossed around the table and no one eating.

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Until today…. I was in Target and for some reason the thought of wrestling with this small wriggling beast one more night just seemed impossible. So we bought the game Mouse Trap and although I think it almost killed him we waited to set it up until supper.

And it worked…. He sat  at the table for the whole meal. He ate everything on his plate, even the mushrooms that he apparently hates. He drank his milk and we had a blast.

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His sister decided to make an enchilada milkshake but other than that it was quite possibly one of the most peaceful and fun suppers we have had in ages.

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Amazing how something that seems like it should be frowned on has made one of the most stressful parts of my day fun again:)

I guess it’s a great reminder that a little creativity and not always needing to be right can go a long way.

And now…. the enchiladas. These are so good and fairly easy that they can be made by a mom just getting home from work. The filling is super tasty and the sauce on top is creamy with a little tang that just seems to compliment the flavours perfectly.

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The recipe makes 10 enchiladas so I would suggest serving them with a salad, rice or even refried beans. My hubby seems to be able to eat half the dish himself.

Preheat the oven to 350

Enchilada Filling

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups finely sliced mushrooms
1/2 a diced onion (about 1 cup)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbsp cumin
2 diced green peppers (about 2 cups)
300 g of frozen spinach (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4-1/2 cup tomatillo salsa/green Mexican chili sauce (optional)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt

10 corn tortillas

In a large pan with the olive oil over medium heat saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cumin, cooking for about a minute and then add the mushroom, green peppers and spinach. Continue cooking about 5-10 minutes until all of the moisture in the mushrooms has been reabsorbed.

Stir in the salsa.  Some green salsas are really mild and others are super hot so use what works for your family. I find they add great flavour and a little heat but if it’s not something you keep in your fridge feel free to leave it out.

Melt in the cream cheese then remove from heat. Stir in the yogurt and the cilantro and season with salt. Once it has cooled slightly, place a few spoonfuls of the filling in a corn tortilla, roll and place in a large casserole dish seam side down.

I find corn tortillas break very easily so I recommend heating small batches in the microwave prior to trying to fill and roll them

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Yogurt Cheese Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup grated cheese (I use old cheddar)
1/2 cup plain yogurt

In a sauce pan melt the butter with the olive oil, over medium heat, and whisk in the flour. Heat the stock in the microwave about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour the stock into the butter/flour mixture. Continue mixing the sauce, reducing the heat to low. Allow the sauce to thicken until it can coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Once it is mixed in stir in the yogurt and pour the sauce over the rolled enchiladas.

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Bake the enchiladas for 30-45 minutes until the tops are browned and the sauce is bubbly

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I didn’t have corn tortillas the other night so I used whole wheat roti which are really similar to a small heavier flour tortilla. Because they didn’t need to be warmed first and are a little less finicky than the corn I was able to make this even quicker. Might be a great idea for beginner cooks or those even more pushed for time.

Let me know what you think, leave me a comment or even just say hi:)

I also have a Facebook page where I post nightly meal ideas and share more about how our family stumbles happily along.

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Leftovers for Lunch or Fill the Freezer

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Hubby and I have been together from almost 10 years and I know it makes me a massive dork but I keep falling more in love with him.

There was a time where my tough exterior, (I do have tattoos) and a need for protection, kept me from admitting how much he meant to me. And I’d be lying if I said it was that long ago. new baby day 016

The last remnants of the wall just crumbled down this year. I think the struggle of having him work in another province really put into perspective how much he actually did and want he meant to our lives. I realized I cared a lot less about how the towels were folded and a lot more about having someone to talk to.

I wrote a blog post acknowledging what a jerk I had really been. He’d jokingly asked for it in writing when I apologized to him and since I’m an overachiever he got a public declaration of my wrongness.

The funny thing is that I had struggled with the whole loving my hubby as much as I do thing. In some ways a deep part of me thought it’s a sign of weakness to admit I need him and that I truly love the guy.Licking

I reflect on this one a lot. What what was it that I saw as weak? Was it admitting that I need someone? or the fear that if I broke down all the walls around my heart then I left myself open to hurt? Maybe I thought he’d start using my weakness against me?

I think I was just straight up scared. It meant that I had to honestly accept him for everything he is and isn’t. What he would be and what I might have to let go of ever having. I have to be accepting of the life we have and I have to take the chance that I might get really hurt.

A million years ago my auntie told me that when I was able to open up completely and be vulnerable, holding nothing back, then I would really be in LOVE. I thought I had done that but I realized I hadn’t. I’d been holding on to past resentments and my own fears of rejection.

Letting go and opening up changed everything so when I say now that I love him, this is more than a love for cheese,this is the full force of my heart open to him. This is me wanting to be with him old and feeble, young and broke, tired and in a messy house.20131109-221243.jpg

And the best part is that when I opened my heart to him he did the same for me. Each day I see the trust and belief we have in each other grow. I wanted to share that joy and that feeling of knowing that I am loved because with it comes the strength I have to do what I do and I think he draws from it too. We revel in each others successes and I trust more than ever that if the world wants to give us lemons that we’ll make the best damn lemon tart with it EVER, (really did you expect anything but a food analogy??)

This last week I lent my support in a more tangible way. Hubby’s got a new gig working on a tugboat running around on log booms. Cold, wet and dangerous so of course he loves every minute of it.

I wanted to make sure he had filling, warm suppers that would make great lunches the next day. Gotta nurture my superhero hubby, (seriously you should see what these guys do!).

This is not my usual cooking style so I pulled from some fellow bloggers recipes, adapting them a little of course because I can’t help playing with my food. I think this week is a great one for this time of year and if you don’t have someone who needs hearty lunches it’s a week of meals that will give you a freezer full of leftovers to pull from as needed.

Sunday

Irish Beef Stew
I used this recipe as a starting place and tried to recreate the stew I’ve had at Sean’s aunts. I added crushed tomatoes, peas and used stewing beef. It was hearty and filling and I made a big enough pot that I had 6 portions to freeze for lunches

Monday

Chicken Tortilla Lasagna
This is one of the few times I use a pre-made canned soup. It makes for a quick prep and tastes delicious. Using rotisserie chicken speeds supper up even more

Chicken Tortilla Lasagna

Chicken Tortilla Lasagna

Tuesday

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
It was less challenging to make my own then I expected but my recipe needs another round of testing so I’ll share the one I used as a starting place for inspiration. Next time I want to add tortellini into the soup and I think that would make for a little more hubby friendly meal (by hubby friendly I mean really filling)

Grill Cheese and Tomato Soup

Grill Cheese and Tomato Soup

Wednesday

Perogy Bake
I was short on ideas this week and this made for a no thought supper. I placed a layer of  boiled perogies in a baking dish and topped with crumbled cooked bacon, fresh tomatoes, sautéed onions and sprinkled on some cheese. I baked this at 350 until the cheese was bubbly and served them with plain yogurt

Thursday

Tuna Casserole (aka Tuna Surprise)
I’ve made tuna casserole twice this year and that was 2x more than I had ever eaten it since I was 7. My dad made a terrifying version and I had been scarred, but I have moved on and find it’s a cheap and easy casserole that my children wolf down.

Tuna Surprise

Tuna Surprise

Friday

Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Cobbler
I used this recipe and it was great. I would cut back on the thyme as I found it a little overwhelming. I also added plain yogurt to the sauce and it seemed to cut back some of the richness.

Saturday

Baked Tortellini Casserole with Cheese and Veggies
Another easy supper inspired by something I saw on Pinterest that made for fabulous lunches. I used a cheese filled tortellini and prepared them to package instructions. Then added in a jar of my home-made marinara. I had sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini and added that in too. Then topped the whole thing with grated cheese and baked it for 30 minutes at 350. 

Baked Tortellini

Baked Tortellini

So there it is a sweet love story and a week of meals that will either feed a small army (or my husband) with delicious suppers and leftover lunches.

I have a Facebook page too. I post nightly meals, tips and tricks and just share a little more about how I keep my family fed with healthy and low-cost meals. So come check it out at www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

Roasted Broccoli and Chicken Alfredo

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I think that I have a relationship with chicken and broccoli casseroles that no one will ever fully understand. I love them and when I make them at home I expect hubby to declare it the best thing EVER. But he just shrugs and says “it’s okay”, terribly confused I wonder, “isn’t this the best chicken and broccolli casserole ever, haven’t I made this better than any other chicken and broccoli casserole on the planet”.

The truth is that even if I made the most divine version of this dish and perfected it completely it is still only a chicken and broccoli casserole and it’s star may just never burn as bright as say a steak.20131026-204500.jpg

My love of chicken and broccoli had humble beginnings as Chicken Divan, a combination of chicken thighs, broccoli and cream soups, plus some cheese and either noodles and rice. It was creamy and pretty tasty and I’m sure a saviour for a lot of moms. It is inexpensive and includes green vegetables in a way that most kids still ate them. My mom made it occasionally and we all loved it.

But I remember a fateful birthday where it took on a new meaning for me. My parents were struggling and still trying to make sure that everything was as normal as possible. My sister and I knew and in our awkward ways attempted to make things a little easier. Then came my birthday, in January of course when things were already at their tightest and my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner. I remember thinking of all the things I could ask for and knowing that they would make it happen but I just couldn’t do it. So I asked for humble chicken divan.20131026-204511.jpg

My mom just stared at me wondering and asked if I was sure, and I was. It had become my absolute favourite thing to eat in that moment and it was what I wanted.

And since then I have happily included it in my cooking repetoire, updating it occasionally and trying to bring new life to a dish that is so special to me. I’ve done a good job I think but I have to say this pasta may be a new pinnacle. From lowly roots I think I have created something really delicious and I will probably ask for it on my birthday.

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One of the things I always hated about broccoli in a casserole is how mushy it gets. My new version roasts the broccoli and by doing this the broccoli stays crisp and is super flavourful. Roasted food just tastes better.

In the recipe I’ve written it as cooked chicken for ease of preparation. For my dish I quickly broiled some chicken tenders but a rotisserie chicken or leftovers would make this a really easy meal. You could even replace the chicken with ham or leave the meat out entirely and increase the amount of broccoli for a really tasty vegetarian version.

Plus a home made Alfredo is just AMAZING. If you have never tried a real Alfredo prepare to be let down for ever more by the cream cheese or flour and milk versions. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch what I eat so I use the cream cheese trick to still have creamy pasta but nothing compares to the real thing.

A proper Alfredo sauce calls for a 1:1:1 ratio of 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), to 1 pint cream (2 cups), to 1 cup parmesan. I didn’t need this much so I went with a reduced version but now if you ever need an amazing Alfredo you know what to do.

And since this recipe goes all in with butter, whipping cream and parmesan cheese go with the good stuff. I buy a block of parmesan and grate my own and I think it’s well worth it. It’s not low fat or particularly healthy but really neither was the original so just go for a walk after you eat…

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Roasted Broccoli and Chicken Alfredo

2-3 heads of broccoli cut into florets (about 5-6 cups)
1-2 Tbsps olive oil 
Salt and Pepper
2 cups cooked chicken
1 500g package of penne
About a tsp of lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400F

Lay the broccoli on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 15-20 minutes looking for the tops to brown slightly

Once this is in the oven I would get the water ready for the pasta and cook it to package instructions for al dente

Alfredo sauce

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
2 cloves crushed garlic

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and allow to it to cook for about a minute taking care not to let it brown. Pour in the whipping cream and stir with a whisk. Once bubbles begin to form add the parmesan and continue regularly stirring. Allow the sauce to bubble but not boil reducing the heat to medium low if needed. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and is able to coat the back of your spoon.

Season with pepper. I personally find parmesan salty enough but season to your taste

Once the sauce is ready, the broccoli is out of the oven and the pasta is cooked its just a matter of combining all this goodness

Layer the pasta into a large serving dish. Top with the chicken and broccoli than pour over the Alfredo sauce. Toss together and finish with the lemon zest and a touch more parmesan

Serve immediately

I hope your family and friends enjoy this dish as much as I do. I may have a soft spot for the original casserole but I think everyone can share in my love of this one,

If you’d like to see how my family eats every night and join some of the conversations check out my Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

Weekly Meal Plan – Daddy’s away

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Having a husband that works away can be a real challenge at times and dinners are for sure a part of the struggle. Keeping the kids out from under my feet for longer then 15 minutes is unrealistic plus you never know when you’re going to get called away from supper just to have it all go up in smoke. Last week I did a little planning ahead and froze a few ingredients to use this week. If you want to see that post click HERE. Please keep in mind this meal plan is only feeding me and my son so the recipes included here may need to be adapted for your family

All in all I’ve kept it really simple without it being a menu only my two year old will like. You may notice I’m relying heavily on the tortilla, but nothing is better for making a quick meal. There was some interest in meals for the entire day so I’m including lunches this week too. Breakfasts are usually cereal or frozen waffles from the weekend, but I have some more creative options in the works and I’m looking forward to sharing them soon.

Monday

Lunch – Bagel sandwiches
Toasted whole grain bagels with a spread of cream cheese, mustard, deli ham and all the normal sandwich fixings. Especially pickles.

Dinner – Chicken Pesto Quesadillas
This uses chicken that I made last week and froze in portions. Spread one side of a whole grain tortilla with about a tbsp of pesto, layer with shredded chicken, slices of red pepper and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Top with a second tortilla. In a non stick pan over medium heat place the quesadilla and let it sit until golden brown, flip it over and brown the other side. Remove from heat and cut into wedges. One of these will feed both me and my son. Serve with guacamole, salsa and plain yogurt for dipping.

Tuesday

Lunch – Peanut butter and Jam Paninis
A peanut butter and jam sangie on whole grain bread that I toast in the sandwich press, served with slices of banana.

Dinner – Chicken Fingers and Veggie Fries
I’m using whole grain crusted chicken fingers and am serving them with the root veggie fries from this POST.

Wednesday

Lunch – BLT sandwiches
Bacon, lettuce and tomato on whole grain bread. I bought some cool veggie chips, Terra Chips, that I’m going to try with them.

Dinner – Spaghetti and Meatballs
I’ll be using the meatballs I made last week and a half home-made, half store bought sauce with whole grain pasta. I hate it when I don’t have the recipe ready before the meal plan but I’ll have it up right away!

Thursday

Lunch – Quesadilla
Same as the pesto quesadilla but I’ll leave out the pesto and serve with salsa.

Dinner – Fish Tacos
I’m using about 8 whole grain fish sticks. While cooking the fish sticks according to direction, prepare the following. Chop 1/2 cup of red cabbage and 1/4 cup cilantro. Mix together 2 tbsp mayo with 2 tbsp plain yogurt and the juice from half a lime, season with a bit of salt. Warm 4 flour tortillas. Layer in the fish, cilantro and cabbage and top with the lime yogurt sauce. I also like a little hot sauce on mine.

Friday

Lunch – Leftovers
Even though my dinners aren’t meant this week for leftovers there is always something in the fridge that needs to get eaten.

Dinner -Ham and Pineapple Pizza
I like to use whole wheat Naan for a crust. Spread a layer of sauce on the crusts then top with slices of deli ham, diced pineapple and a layer of mozza cheese. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes and serve. We might have carrot and celery sticks too. I use jarred spaghetti sauce for my pizza, I’ll be using some for the spaghetti and meatballs so it seems a great way to use the rest.

Saturday

Lunch – Ham Sandwiches and Cut Veggies

Dinner – Greek Wraps
I’m using my Greekish salad and Tzatziki, topping it with some shredded chicken and wrapping it in a warm tortilla. Healthy and really easy.

Sunday

Lunch – Picky Plates
This totally caters to my two year old but I love it too. I got the idea from a friend and basically just go through my fridge and cut up bits of everything: veggies, cheese, meats, pickles and serve with some crackers.

Dinner – Smokies and Coleslaw
I found some great looking preservative free, local smokies and I’m super excited to try them. The little just likes ketchup, mustard and maybe a little diced tomato on his but I love sauerkraut, diced onion, diced tomato and all the condiments. For the coleslaw, grate one carrot into a bowl, add about 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (sliced as fine as you can do it). In a small jar mix together 1 tbsp of mayo with 1 tsp vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and sugar. Mix the dressing with the slaw at least a few minutes before serving.

That’s my week for food. Hope this helps your family eat a little easier too. To see how I plan my meals click HERE. I’d love to hear how your family gets through the busy weeks, so please leave me a note.

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Weekly Meal Plan – Freezer Stocking and Hubby Faves

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Well our hopes of hubbers staying in the same province fell through. The job we were all excited about is no more and I have a week to get ready before he leaves us for 20 days. We’re disappointed but on the positive side, it gives me another meal plan to create. It’s a stretch but I’m trying to make a little lemon curd from the lemons the universe is pitching our way lately.

My plan is to get my freezer filled so that I can pull together a quick meal for me and the kids. Freezer meals are a little tricky, some things don’t freeze well and end up just gloppy messes when you reheat them. I’m hoping by freezing a few key ingredients instead I’ll be able to make quick and yummy meals. Funnily enough I don’t need a lot. A few frozen items will go a long way and I like to keep dinners pretty simple when hubbers isn’t around. I’ll be making some baby food too so that I can have a couple good purées for the littlest one in between other stuff. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll post about those.

Monday Night

WafflesWe eat a lot of waffles because they are so easy and versatile. I use whole wheat flour and cut up cooked sausage into the batter, then top them with fruit, yogurt and a touch of syrup. They are great for dinner and reheat awesome in the toaster. I’ll make a double batch and freeze half.

Tuesday Night

Roast ChickenI’ll make us a week night roast chicken dinner and cook up three more breasts for the freezer. These will be great for easy dinners and with it being just me and my 2 year old eating them, they go a long way.

Wednesday Night

Meatballs and spaghettiMeatballs freeze well but get a bit dry, so they need to be used in saucy dinners where they can absorb some yumminess. I’ll make a shwack of them and then I’ll have them to use for soups or spaghetti.

Thursday Night

Chickpea tacosHubby’s request. Not a freezer meal but since he’s going and will miss my scrumptious cooking how can I say no to the guy. A great vegetarian version of something that I think is a staple in a lot of homes.

Friday Night

BBQ Chicken PizzaAnother hubby request. It’s one of his favourites with spicy bbq sauce, pineapple, peppers and cilantro. I’ll use the chicken from the roast chicken dinner so we’ll have lots of time for a last family movie night.

Saturday Night

Romantic DateThis may not fit into your meal plan but maybe it should;) I’m hoping my parents will take the kids and we can enjoy a quiet evening together.

Beef Roast with mash, glazed carrots and asparagus A last treat for my honey before he goes. With just the kids we eat a lot lighter so this will be a special dinner for all of us. I like to rub my roasts with a combination of 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 clove smooshed garlic. Brown every sides of the roast in a dutch oven over medium heat and then move the roast to a 350F oven until a meat thermometer reads 145. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before cutting.

I cube my potatoes with the skin on and add to boiling salted water. Cook until tender when poked with a fork. Drain and add 1 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup milk and 1 clove of smooshed garlic, season with salt and pepper. You may need more milk if they aren’t coming out as creamy as you like.
Peel and roughly chop the carrots into equal sized rounds about thumb size. In a sauce pan over medium low heat melt 1 tbsp butter, add 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup chicken stock and 1/2 tsp ginger powder. Stir in the carrots and cook until fork tender. Season with salt and pepper.
I like a quick sauté on my asparagus with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

I hope this helps make your meal planning a little easier. If you have any questions I’d love to hear them. If you’d like more information on how I create our families meal plans here’s my guide, Meal Planning Basics

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Weekly Meal Plan – Meals that bring a little love to the table

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This last week has been dreary and rainy. We’ve been stuck inside for awhile and, I think, are all going a little squirrelly Add to that a non sleeping baby and I’m pulling every easy card I have for the next week. It’s going to be all about food that makes me feel good, wraps me in a warm blanket and tucks me in, plus that I can make with my eyes closed if I have to.

Isn’t it interesting that food can reflect and impact our emotions and feelings. Certain meals transport me back to childhood and hug me with the warmth of my own mom taking care of me. Others are nurturing to my spirit, either with warming flavours or with hearty ingredients. Both are what we need this week and I hope these meals can be there for you too when you need that little bit of extra food love in your life

 

Monday Night

Fried Egg SandwichesI could honestly eat fried egg sandwiches everyday and have sometimes. I like to use a lovely whole grain bread toasted with mayo, a perfectly fried egg, layers of tomato, avocado, lettuce and cheese. Doesn’t that sound like love between two pieces of bread? My mom is also a huge fan and has been known to serve them to company.

Tuesday Night

Chard, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Easy to make and delicious. I love the green flavour that chard has and I feel like I’m eating something that is both healthy and decadent at the same time.

Wednesday Night

Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs, tzatziki and Greekish SaladEasy fast and makes me think of family. Funny, we’re Dutch, Scottish and English but we seem to gravitate to Greek restaurants for family dinners. I can picture a blue and white checked table cloth and time with family as I think about making this dinner.

Thursday Night

Green Bean and Ham CasseroleFrom an old Cooking Light recipe that I’ve adapted. It reminds me of a chicken and broccoli casserole my mom made, (only because it’s a casserole, all similarities end there).

Friday Night

Italian Chicken Meatball and Pepper PizzaThis has become a staple and regular in my rotation lately. I’ve switched to making my own meatballs from ground chicken and it’s amazing. This dinner just makes me smile with its deliciousness. Definitely a spirit lifting dinner

Saturday Night

Going out nightWe haven’t been out for a single meal since I started this blog, which has been great for our budget and makes it so I don’t feel a bit bad about treating myself to an easy dinner elsewhere.

Sunday Night

CurryI’m going to experiment with a fish curry. I have a general idea in my head and if it works I’ll have the recipe up soon. Even thought experimenting sounds a little out of the comfort food, easy theme of the week, stretching my creative cooking muscles brings me joy and is almost meditative. If you are using this meal plan this week I’d suggest using the Indian spiced sloppy joes until I have it done:)

That’s what comfort food looks like for me. I’m sure your family and friends have their own dishes that bring a little love to the table and I’d love to hear what they are, so please share. If you are wondering how I do my meal plans here’s how: Meal Planning Basics

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

 

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.

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The plan with this blog is to introduce the world to mine and to share my way of feeding my family healthy, budget friendly, delicious meals. I’ll post my weekly meal plan with linked recipes as they’re written and include tips and tricks that I’ve learned.

My goal is to provide families with an alternative to pre-made packaged dinners. With a background in nutrition and years of making almost everything from scratch I can make almost anything better then the version that comes from a box. I know time is a commodity for everyone and my recipes and ideas will use short cuts that won’t dent the budget or take away from the nutritional values in the meals.

I hope to make feeding your family and friends easier so you can all spend time sitting and connecting with people around the table rather then worrying about what you are feeding your families and spending hours in the kitchen.