Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Mustard BBQ Sauce

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It’s unseasonably warm here so I thought it was the perfect time to share an easy dinner that requires almost no cooking and tastes like BBQ mastery, at least in my humble opinion. I’ve made a quick mustard based BBQ sauce that comes together in 15 minutes and makes anything taste good. Combined it with rotisserie chicken and topped with it all with a Cilantro and Lime Coleslaw, making sandwich heaven.

The sauce is inspired by traditional Carolina pulled pork. I am in awe of their devotion to tasty meat and the amazing sauces that flow out of that area. I will probably never own a smoker, become a pit boss or devote my life to the BBQ cause but I do want to create my own little version. I’m sure they would roll their hickory smoked eyes at me for my short cuts and use of chicken, but this is a damn tasty sandwich that is maybe a little on the healthier side.

I made this while my mom was visiting, she enjoyed every bite and we were divvying up the last delicious mouthfuls. There is a  bit of a zing to the sauce so for my son I combined his chicken with a tomato based sauce. He of course ate the mustard sauce proving my extra steps completely unnecessary.

I’ve listed both  the recipe for the sauce and the coleslaw in this post because they do go so well together but they would be equally delicious on their own. The slaw is tasty, light and makes a great side and the BBQ sauce could make my shoes edible.

I have made a recent change to the BBQ sauce recipe. I found that without cooking the onions first the sauce needed more time. Since I want this to be quick I’ve added the step of cooking the onions making the sauce yummier faster.

BBQ chicken Sandwich

Mustard BBQ Sauce

1Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup mustard
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 cloves finely diced garlic
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp soya sauce
salt to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat cook the onions until they have softened and start to become translucent. Add the garlic briefly cooking then combine in all the ingredients. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste. The flavours develop more with cooking so if there is time, let it hang out for as long as possible

Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

2 large carrots peeled and grated
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 an avocado
1 tbsp mayo
juice from a small lime
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste

Combine the carrots, cabbage and cilantro in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl mash the avocado getting it as smooth as possible then mix in the remaining ingredients. Toss the dressing and cabbage mixture. Coleslaw to me seems to taste better once it has had a few minutes to mingle with the dressing so I suggest tossing the salad at least 5 minutes before using.

If avocados are unavailable increase the mayo to 3 tbsp and keep the rest of the recipe the same

For the sandwiches combine 4 cups of hand pulled chicken with the sauce. I used leftover chicken from roasted chicken I made. For a quick dinner a rotisserie chicken would work perfectly here. Pile the saucy chicken on your favourite type of bun and top with the coleslaw. Enjoy!!

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Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad

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Taco salads are great for so many reasons. They’re easy to make, taste fresh and delicious and feel satisfying. I usually always make mine with chicken but in my goal to reduce our meat intake at home I thought I would try to make a vegetarian version. One of my biggest pet peeves about vegetarian cooking is when a recipe just takes out the meat and calls it a day. I feel like I can tell that something is missing so I wanted a salad that can stand on its own and that you wouldn’t even consider adding chicken to. I think I nailed it and I hope it’s a hit at your home too.

The dressing has a tonne of flavour and would be a great vinaigrette for any salad. There’s lots of fresh vegetables  and  enough protein that you feel completely satisfied. Minus the cabbage and salad greens and this would even be a great salsa. Even though my son can handle a bit of spice I added the jalapeño after removing a portion for him. He loved it and finished his plate.

Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Agave or honey
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 clove  finely chopped garlic
salt to taste

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and thoroughly whisk together.

Salad
1 540ml can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup cooked corn
1 cup diced tomato
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1/2 a finely diced jalapeno

I used frozen corn cooked in the microwave for 3 minutes and then drained. 
Add all of the ingredients to the bowl with the vinaigrette and allow it to all mingle and fall in love. I let mine sit about 15 minutes before serving. 

Black Bean Taco Salad

Black Bean Taco Salad

You can stop here and this is a great vegan salad that stands completely on its own. For our dinner we layered the bean salad on organic salad greens, topped with tortilla chips and a sprinkle of grated cheese. It was awesome, delicious and so easy to make. I will definitely make this a part of our regular meal plan.

Vegetarian black bean taco salad

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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Green Bean and Ham Casserole

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A good casserole is something everyone needs to have in their cooking arsenal. It can be an easy meal for a big crowd, a meal for a family that can’t think about cooking or a week night dinner that can be used for lunches. I’ve loaded it with green beans and used yogurt in the sauce so it’s healthier then many casseroles while still being rich and creamy.

Finished casserole in dish

I made this recipe for the first time years ago. It was for a close friend who had a new baby and one of my gifts to them was dinners that they could just heat and serve. If I remember right, her and her husband finished it off immediately and were both super happy not to have to think about cooking. I still make this regularly, sometimes reducing the recipe so we aren’t up to our armpits in casserole.

1 450g box of farfalle pasta

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup softened cream cheese
1 cup milk
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove crushed garlic
1.5 cup grated extra old cheddar cheese
3 cups sliced green beans (I used frozen, fresh works too)
2 cups cubed ham
pepper to taste

Cook the pasta al dente (still a little bone to it) and set aside. Whisk together the first six ingredients. Mix in the cheese and then combine with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together well and pour into a large casserole dish. Top with bread crumb mix and bake in a 350F oven for 1 hour.

Panko topping

1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.

Casserole with Dinosaur

I hope you find lots of use for this casserole and your friends and families enjoy it as much as mine have.

If you want to see how this dinner fits into my weekly meal plan check out my post, Weekly Meal Plan – Meals That Bring a Little Love to the Table

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

Bacon, Chard and Tomato Pasta

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My favourite meal, hands down, is pasta. I would probably eat it almost every night if I could come up with enough ideas. Fortunately/Unfortunately hubster wasn’t raised eating the stuff and will tolerate it only if it’s bloody good. So, since this is a pasta I make on a regular basis I can promise it is bloody good. To me it satisfies all the requirements: creamy, flavourful, has vegetables and of course bacon, which makes everything wonderful. This is also a great pasta to add to. It can completely stand alone and would also be delicious topped with seafood or a grilled chicken breast.Sneaky fingers in Pasta

I like to think it’s healthy, at least mostly. I used Barilla whole grain pasta for the first time and it was surprisingly good. There is lots of fresh chard and tomatoes and only a little bit of bacon per serving. Initially I used whipping cream for the sauce and it tasted fantastic but I can get the same results by using whole milk and cream cheese and reduce the overall calories and fat of the dish without taking away any flavour. I also never have whipping cream on hand and since I don’t like buying things I won’t use, the cream cheese and milk are more practical. It’s definitely not something you should eat every night but I don’t feel a bit guilty eating a huge plate.

I find this a great one when I have tomatoes that are starting to go a little squishy.

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Update

I made this the other day but didn’t even have cream cheese on hand so I came up with a third version. Version one was the fattening reduced whipping cream version that I cannot eat unless I am committed to an hour run, but if you are wanting to try that one just omit any thickeners, cream cheese or milk and use one cup of whipping cream that you allow to cook down and thicken on its own. It will be delicious! Version three uses flour to thicken the sauce. Same recipe just without the cream cheese.

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I thought I’d share both and then if you’re like me and forget something at the grocery store or just decide you want to do the same thing a different way, you now have two options, well three if you aren’t afraid of a little whip cream 😉

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Version 1 (Cream cheese)

1 Tbsp Olive oil
6 slices bacon
1 cup diced onions, about 1 onion
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
2 cups diced tomatoes (2-3 medium sized tomatoes)
4 cups roughly chopped chard (1 bunch)
1 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 box Barilla (about 200g) whole grain spaghetti or your favourite pasta
Prepare the  following the instructions on the box

Slice the slices of bacon into 1/4 inch bits and cook over medium heat  until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat sweat the onions. Once they have become translucent add the garlic and cook about one minute. Stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking until they are soft. Add the chard and cook until it has wilted down.

Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the milk. Melt in the cream cheese than add the parmesan. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce down until it can coat the back of a spoon. Combine with the pasta, top with the crispy bacon and serve immediately. 

Garnish with additional parmesan at the table

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Version 2 (flour and milk)

Same ingredients but you will need an additional Tablespoon of butter or olive oil and 2 Tablespoons of flour

Follow the same instructions until it’s time to add the milk,

Stir in 1 Tbsp of butter or olive oil. 

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and stir until it is completely mixed in.

Warm the 1 cup of the milk about 1 minute in the microwave and slowly add in, stirring regularly. The sauce will begin to thicken as it cooks

Add the parmesan cheese and serve once the sauce has thickened enough to coat a spoon.

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So now you have two ways of using chard and tomatoes in a yummy pasta that kids and parents will all enjoy.

I hope this becomes a favourite at your table too and I would love to hear what you thought.

If you would like more meal inspiration come check out my Facebook page. I post nightly meals and ideas for feeding your family and friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Meal Plan – 30 minute weeknight meals

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Life has returned to as normal as it gets around here. The hubster is back to work and the kids and I are settling into our own little groove.

It’s been a month since I started this blog and I’m moving into the fifth week of meal plans. So far it’s been a great experience. It’s re inspired me to cook and try new things, and it’s been an interesting process to try to bring my thoughts into a coherent focus to share with everyone. I’ve made a few updates to posts over the last month to reflect some of this refocusing and I hope what I’ve shared so far has been helpful in feeding your friends and families in way you can feel good about.

So…here’s this week’s plan. No plans for the evenings but with the way timing is working out I have only about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. This week’s plan is all quick, healthy and yummy dinners for 30 minutes or less, except for Sundays.

Weekly Meal Plan

Monday Night

Vegetarian breakfast burritosNo recipe required, just scrambled eggs with bell peppers, mushrooms and green onions, served in warm tortillas and topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, avocado and salsa. Served with sliced apples

Tuesday Night

Indian Spiced Sloppy Joes We eat a lot of chicken so I’m going to use extra lean ground beef in replace of the ground chicken. It works just as well in the recipe and it gives us a little chicken break

Wednesday Night

Chicken Tikka Masala PastaI made my Roast Chicken earlier in the day while the kids napped if you are shorter on time a rotisserie chicken could work just as well. This is an Indian inspired pasta that has all the yummy flavours of Tikka Masala in 25 minutes.

Thursday Night

Chicken Caesar wraps In a large bowl toss together: chopped romaine lettuce, 2 diced tomatoes, diced red pepper, green onion and your favourite Caesar dressing. Place in wraps, with sliced chicken layered on top. Serve with oven fries. Cut a baking potato into wedges and lightly coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in a 375 oven for about 25 minutes.

Friday Night

Bacon, Leek and a fried egg pizzaI made this the other day for photos and to get the recipe down and it was probably one of the best things I have eaten in a long time. The creamy leeks and the egg add a rich, luxuriousness to this dinner.

Saturday Night

Leftover NightI know I need to clean out the fridge so we’ll use what’s there and make a feast of it. I’ll probably make a salad too.

Sunday Dinner

Creamy vegetable, chicken and tortilla casseroleThis is a favourite of my dad’s so I’ll make him happy with this yummy casserole. It’s easy to put together and can use precooked chicken for a busy Sunday. I’ll serve this with a green salad and a lime dressing. In a small container with a lid combine the juice of half a lime, 2 tbsps olive oil, 1 tsp honey, a smooshed clove of garlic and salt to taste. Shake it up and dress your salad.

One more week of meals with six under 30 minutes. If you would like to create your own meal plan or are looking for more information check out my meal planning guide.

Breakfast Pizza

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Two awesome things happened today. This pizza and a marathon call with one of my besties while making it.

As I get older it amazes me how quickly weeks turn into months and I realize I haven’t talked to someone for way too long. So it worked out perfect. This was a new recipe I wanted to experiment with and she had time to talk. I love catching up and no amount of Facebook, texting or smiley faces will ever replace that time. Maybe all that love translated into my dinner because this one sure felt inspired.

I’m not exaggerating at all, this really was the best pizza ever and is up there as one of the top things I have ever made. The leeks got creamy and had that delicious light green, oniony flavour, bacon of course is bacon and always awesome and the egg added a creaminess that completed the pizza perfectly.

I’m so excited to share this recipe that I haven’t tested it as much as normal, so if you notice anything that doesn’t work perfectly please let me know and I’ll make some updates to the recipe.

Update – As I said, I was really excited to share this so I hadn’t tested it as much as I normally would. I made this again recently and have a few changes I think improved the recipe. Changes are crossed marked:)

Leek, Bacon and Egg Pizza

5 whole wheat Naan
6-8 slices of bacon cubed
1 tbsp butter
small splash of olive oil
3 cups of leeks thinly sliced (the whitish part not the really green part)
1 thinly sliced shallot
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/4 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 cup grated extra old white cheddar
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce if you like a little kick.

Preheat the oven to 400F 425F

Rinse the sliced leeks to remove any dirt hiding in them. Over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Once the two are friendly add the leeks, garlic and shallots and allow them to cook down, about 5 minutes. After the leeks have softened add the chicken stock and continue to cook until most of the liquid has cooked off, about another 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and melt in the cream cheese and season with salt and pepper

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan and let sit on a paper towel to remove excess grease.

Spread the leak mixture over the Naan and sprinkle on the bacon and cheese. Place in the oven for 6-8 minutes (so 7). Increase the oven temp to 450 and remove the pizza. Crack on egg in the centre of each pizza and return to the oven. Make sure your oven light is on and watch for the egg to be cooked. You want the white completely cooked but the yolk still runny. Mine took 5 minutes at that temperature and then 2 minutes under the broiler. 

Timing this meal for 30 minutes to the table:

  1. Preheat oven
  2. Slice the leeks
  3. Start the bacon
  4. Prepare leek mixture
  5. Grate your cheese
  6. Ready the Naan and have your ingredients handy
  7. Make your pizzas

If you’re wondering why this is for five Naan….It’s because that’s the size of the package at Superstore and it works perfect for us. One for my son, two for hubster and one and a bit for me:)

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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

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