Asparagus Spring Salad

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When I decided that I was finally going to start a cooking blog ( late bloomer) I swore I was never going to start a post with shopping at a farmers market and being inspired by local ingredients. Let me be clear, I love inspiring fresh ingredients and I totally support local but there are 50 000 other blog posts that start exactly that way. Continue Reading »

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Weekly Meal Plan – Feeling Springy

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I love Spring on the Island. People believe it rains here all the time but really it is a gorgeous time of year. I start itching to get outside and suddenly have more than enough energy for everything. Especially projects, I started some seedlings with the little guy for our mini garden and I’m working on my herb planters for the front deck. The next projects are our community garden plot that we are trying out this year and repainting an old picnic table in the backyard. Now I just need the rain to clear a little more (okay it does rain here a fair amount) so that we can tackle it all.

My other favourite thing is the growing anticipation I feel for all the lovely produce I know is soon to come. I get just giddy thinking about all the yumminess that we are going to enjoy. I think it’s my most inspired time of the year for new recipes and ideas so I’m sure I will have tonnes to share.

Hubby is away three weeks this time so I’m still going with the extra easy theme for meals. I also decided to switch things up this week. Since I started this blog I shared the menu I was planning on making for the week. Mostly this worked but if I had new recipes I was tweaking it made it hard to get them up in time so I was often having to add extra meals and in short was creating more work for myself. This week I am going to share last weeks meal plan. This way I have all the recipes done and ready and I can include what we had for breakfast and lunches as well. I think overall this will work out a lot better.

Monday

Breakfast – Cheerios with sliced bananas

Lunch – Cream cheese and jam hearts w/ cut veggies
I was being cute and used a cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of bread and then spread a layer of creamcheese on each side with a dab of jam in the middle

Dinner – Pesto veggie quesadillas
On a whole grain tortilla spread about a tbsp of your favourite pesto. Add diced tomato, slices of bell peppers, mushrooms, artichokes and whatever veg your family likes. Top with a layer of cheese and a second tortilla. Cook in a large pan over medium low until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melty gooey. I served these with plain yogurt and salsa for dipping

Tuesday

Breakfast – Waffles
When my hubbers is in town I make a massive batch and then freeze what we don’t eat. They turn out perfect in the toaster and I know exactly what’s in them. For this batch I had diced up cooked sausage thrown it into the batter. It made them a perfect breakfast and tasted delicious!

Lunch -Picky plates
Basically this is a plate of whatever’s in the fridge in little bits. I used: crackers, slices of cheese, some sliced deli meat, cut apple, pickles, red pepper and cucumber. My son loves getting a little of everything

Thanksgiving Grill Cheese

Thanksgiving Grill Cheese

Dinner – A grill cheese version of Thanksgiving
I made grill cheese with sliced deli turkey and a spread of cranberry sauce with white cheddar. They were awesome. On the side I had roasted carrot, potato and sweet potato fries, so it was like a thanksgiving dinner minus the 10 million hours of work.

Wednesday

Breakfast – Eggy Bagels
I found these little whole wheat bagels at Superstore and used them for a cute little breakfast sandwich. I cut the bagels in half and placed a slice of cheese on the bottom half. Then the bagels were toasted in the oven getting the cheese melted. I made scrambled eggs and then layered the eggs on top of the cheese with a slice of tomato.

Lunch – Tuna sandwiches with strawberries

Dinner – BLT salad with pesto chicken
I used chicken tenders and rubbed a few tbsps of pesto on them then quickly cooked them on the bbq. While they were cooking I crisped up some sliced bacon, diced a tomato and opened up my salad greens. It made a great yummy salad that took 15 minutes and was devoured by my bacoholic son.

Thursday

Breakfast – Waffles again

Lunch – Ham sandwiches and cut veggies

Dinner – Chicken tacos
My wonderful other mother had us for dinner and she even made the tortillas. I plan on learning this skill as they are a zillion times better then any I buy. The tacos were filled with cooked chicken, diced tomato, grated cheese, lettuce and a little hot sauce for the older folk

Friday

Breakfast – Breakfast burritos
Scramble a few egg then in warmed tortillas (unfortunately not home made) layer the eggs with grated cheese, lettuce and tomato. A great breakfast to take on the go too.

Lunch – Mini bagel sandwiches with sliced apples

Dinner – Pork cutlets with garlicky lemon past and steamed broccoli
The pork recipe will be up in a few hours. I used a spaghetti noodle cooked al dente (still has a bit of bone, my hubby would say). Once drained I added a tbsp of butter, 1 clove finely diced garlic, 1 tbsp lemon zest and 3 tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream. This was a huge hit with the littles

Saturday

Breakfast – Cheerios with sliced banana

Lunch – Leftovers

Bhan mi burger

Bhan mi burger

Dinner – Banh Mi inspired burgers with salad
A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich loaded with flavour. I took inspiration from this and made a pork burger that is unique and inexpensive

Sunday – Bagels with cream cheese and fruit slices

Lunch – Tuna sandwiches

Dinner – I had a memorial to attend an hour away so unfortunately dinner was on the road but Daniel had a lovely stir fry at Oma and Opas:)

So that’s what we ate last week. Easy healthy meals that I was able to get to the table despite the two kids running/crawling around being crazy. A feat I am pretty proud of. Hope these ideas make your week a little easier and I’d love to hear about how you feed your crew. I also share some of these meals that aren’t quite a recipe on my Facebook page My Weekly Dish. You can “like’ me to get recipes, posts and quick meal ideas

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Weekly Meal Plan – Spring Showers and a Full Freezer

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Well my hubbers is off to work again and I’m feeling like his time home was a bit of a write off. We had such great plans of picnics and fish and chips and pretty much none of it happened. We all managed to get sick and between naps there was no time to head out. It did however give me some great time to write a few new recipes. A couple are ready to share so will show up over the next few weeks and the rest require more tweaks before going public.

This week I need to do some serious freezer clearing. I was a little shocked by how much has accumulated in there. Normally with meal planning very little is left in my fridge or freezer by the end of the week but I think with my trying to write some new recipes I got a small backlog. Plus, I can’t throw anything away so I end up with the most random things in there. Fortunately/unfortunately the weather is very spring like and rainy here so I’m thinking it will be a perfect week to clear out the freezer with some hearty meals. This will also save me a few bucks for some cute spring dresses for when it does get sunny.

Monday

Lunch – Crackers, cheese and cut veggies with dip

Dinner – Chicken Soup
In my freezer I discovered chicken bones and veggie scraps I was obviously intending for a soup that hasn’t happened yet. I’ll start the stock early in the afternoon by roasting the bones and veg in the oven until golden brown and then moving it all to a pot of water to simmer on the stove. I know I have some veggies that will be happy to join the pot and I’m sure there is some chicken hiding somewhere too.

Tuesday

Lunch – Peanut butter, jam and banana wraps with apple slices
A tortilla spread with a smear of peanut butter and jam then rolled around a banana. I may even add some cheerios or granola in for some texture.

Dinner – Pierogies, sausages and sauerkraut
I love sauteed onions and plain yogurt on the side.

Wednesday

Lunch – Ham and tomato grill cheese with veggies and dip

Dinner – Fish tacos
I have some multi-grain Tilapia fish sticks that work great. They’re huge pieces so 4 is good for me and the kids. I serve the fish in tortillas with shredded cabbage, cilantro, diced tomatoes and a lime sauce. The sauce is really easy: 1 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp plain yogurt, half a lime and a little salt.

Thursday

Lunch – bagels and cream cheese with apples slices and peanut butter

Dinner – Vegan satay pizza
A friend is bringing me this over to try and I’m really excited. It sounds like an amazing pizza with cilantro, peanut sauce and yummy veggies. I may steal the recipe if I fall in love.

Friday

Lunch – Tuna sandwiches

Dinner – Chili mac with cornbread crust
I need to use up some frozen chili and cornbread muffins. I’m going make a basic mac and cheese, mix in the chili and then top with the crumbled muffins. I think it should be pretty nummy.

Saturday

Lunch – Egg salad on buns with carrot sticks

Dinner – Meatball subs with Caesar salad
I made these a few weeks ago and they were delicious. I’m using meatballs and sauce from my spaghetti recipe that I froze last time I made it. Cut the top off a sub bun (old school Subway style) and place a row of meatballs in. Cover with sauce and grated cheese. Place in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes, remove and top with their lids.

Sunday

Lunch – Waffles and fruit salad
I love brunch so I’ll give the kids some fruit to tie them over and then make waffles, sausages and fruit salad

Dinner – Veggie Taco Salad
I’m hoping for a little sun at the end of the week and with some heavier meals throughout the week this will be a great ending

Hope this makes your life a little easier, at least the food part. I’d love to hear about how your family plans their meals.

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Weekly Meal Plan – Hubby’s home

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I made it through my first two weeks alone with the kids in months and successfully I think. We all are completely intact and I managed to get meals on the table every day. Personally, this last one was a huge win and a whoot, whoot to my successful meal plans.

This week I have my husband home. When he works away we try to cram as much in as possible so we are eating out a few times. Partially for convenience and partially because for me eating is part of the adventure. The rest of the week we’re at home spending as much time together as possible. I’ve picked meals that are easy so I’m not spending too much time in kitchen and a few family favourites too.

Monday

Lunch – Coombs market
My favourite market up-island. We’re planning a hike up that direction so lunch and a little shopping sounds perfect. My son also loves it because they have goats that live up on the roof and what almost three year old wouldn’t think that was awesome.

Dinner – Gnocchi, turkey sausage and peppers
Gnocchi are delicious little potato pastas. They cook like a regular pasta and then I sauté them with the sausage and peppers. I found a sundried tomato and basil sausage that I think will work perfect for this.

Tuesday

Lunch – Bagel sandwiches

Dinner – Pulled chicken sandwiches with coleslaw
Use left over or rotisserie chicken and coat with your favourite bbq sauce in a saucepan over med-low heat, (I have an amazing bbq sauce recipe I’ll share over the summer!). Make a quick coleslaw with shredded cabbage, grated carrot and a dressing of roughly 2 spoons mayo, 1 spoon vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar and salt. Place the bbq’d chicken on a bun top with coleslaw and voilà, pulled chicken sandwiches.

Wednesday

Lunch – Picnic for Newcastle Island
I’m making veggie wraps with hummus, fruit salad and will have some snacks of chips, trail mix and juice.

Dinner – Trollers Fish and Chips
Working in Alberta doesn’t give hubbers much chance to eat yummy fish so since we’re going to be in Nanaimo it only makes sense to stop at Troller’s after our busy day exploring.

Thursday

Lunch – Pita and tzatziki with Greek salad

Dinner – Spaghetti and Meatballs
I’m not sure why but all my son wants to eat with daddy home is spaghetti and meatballs, or sketti and meatballs. I Can’t even maybe say no to this.

Friday

Lunch – Chicken quesadillas
I’ll use the last of the rotisserie chicken I bought, pesto, diced tomatoes and cheddar

Dinner – Pepperoni, mushroom and green pepper pizza

Saturday

Lunch – Ham sandwiches

Dinner – Creamy chicken and vegetable tortilla casserole
I’m having my parents over for dinner and with a salad this is a great family meal

Sunday

Brunch – I’m making waffles, fruit salad and bacon

Dinner – Chicken and Root Vegetable Fries
I want to get a little more chicken for when my hubby is gone so this will be a great last dinner before he heads back to Alberta.

Walking in My Grocery Shoes

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I think there is no better way to understand someone then to walk a kilometre (I’m Canadian) in their shoes, so I’m going to share my grocery shopping routine.

Over the years my hubby and I have had our financial ups and downs. Being a student and typical life stuff have made us look at how we spend our money and I’ve been able to develop a grocery routine that works no matter how much income we have. An ability to stick to our budget and prepare for the worst has helped us ride out the more difficult times. Generally my monthly budget is $650.00 for a family of four and that includes toiletries and household supplies.  At this point in my life I have decided to make a few choices around food that raised my budget a bit. If you are on a more restrictive income or if your priorities are different then mine you can cut some of the costs for sure.

Once a month I stop at a local grocery store, Country Grocer in South Nanaimo, one of the few places I can find local meat at a price I can afford. Local purchasing is something that has become a priority for me but does increase my food costs.  Being the saavy, thrifty lady that I am I go through their meat department and buy everything I can that’s marked down. Most goes immediately into the deep freeze and it saves me between 30-50%. Sometimes this means that I get a random assortment of meats, I got a lot of ground bison one week, but I can work around this and just incorporate it into my meal plan.

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My sweet little helper

I shop weekly at Superstore for all of my pantry items, there is no where I’ve found with better prices regularly. They have a great selection of healthy options and insanely cute kids clothes (so super helpful for the budget). I also keep close watch on the shelves for items that I regularly use that are on sale. This week they had my favourite tomatillo salsa on sale. It’s something we go through consistently so I grabbed two even though I had one at home. I do the same when there’s a bargain deal on toilet paper, toothpaste or really anything. Now, I’m not one of those wackadoos with a bomb shelter filled with enough canned goods to last me a year, or a plague of locusts. My kitchen is tiny and I don’t even have a pantry so I only get what fits, but this has saved our ass a few times. These last few months are a great example. I’ve been on maternity leave and my hubby was taking time to be at home with us, so we were on a really tight budget. Not having to buy toiletries and having food to pull from meant we could ride out this tight time a little easier.

Produce is also a place where I have made a few personal choices. Where ever possible I try to buy local and at the very least Canadian. At the right time of the year this is easy and actually inexpensive. Off season this becomes a bit harder and I need to shift my menu or spend a little more. My favourite spot for buying produce is Russell Farms Market. It’s a lot of their own or local produce and their prices are great. Farm stands or farmers markets are a fabulous option for local, reasonably priced produce. This does add an extra stop on my grocery date but it’s become a fun stop where we often get ice cream and check out the nursery. If this extra stop doesn’t work, Superstore has a decent selection of produce that is reasonably priced.

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My other grocery pal

I also have a Costco membership and make a trip every few months for baby wipes, and a few items that I get a good deal on there.

It’s taken a bit of trial and error to find out what works for my family. We all go shopping together when my hubby’s in town and make it a fun family day. When he’s out of town I make a date with a friend and we use our shopping as a chance to hang out. Farmers markets can also be a weekend family adventure and a chance to check out local food culture.

Our budget has also stayed pretty constant. I don’t like going much below the budget we’ve set because of some of the food choices I’ve made for our family. This has meant I cut back in other areas instead. However, I get that a lot of people live on a lot less and if I used more generic or less organic/natural products my budget could almost be 100-200 dollars less a month.

I’d love to hear what your grocery routines are and if you’re interested in how I meal plan click HERE.

Baked Scotch Eggs with Chicken Sausage

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This was an experiment based on the fact I did nothing Eastery food wise but knew that lots of people would have left over boiled eggs. I have never tried a scotch egg but have been fascinated (really??) by them for way too long and finally decided to try my hand at making them. Typically they are made with pork sausage and deep fried. Since I like to eat lighter fare but love the idea I thought chicken sausage would work perfectly.

They were super yummy and my son loved them. I see them being a great brunch item or as part of a lunch. I’ve seen scotch eggs on menus as part of a ploughman’s lunch, which are generally meats, cheeses, pickles, bread and a bit of salad. I think lunch guests would be  impressed with a spread like that and honestly they aren’t much work.

Ploughman's lunch

Ploughman’s lunch

Scotch Eggs

7 Free Range Eggs
1 package (400g) of ground chicken thighs or ground turkey
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground sage
pinch nutmeg
pinch marjoram
pinch thyme
or 3/4 tsp poultry seasoning to replace sage to thyme
1 tbsp brown butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp paprika

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Scotch Egg Loveliness

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a large saucepan cover six of the eggs with about an inch of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for six minutes and then place the eggs into cold water.
In a mixing bowl combine the ground chicken with 1 tsp salt, and the spices. In a small sauce pan over medium low heat melt the butter and allow it to become brown without it burning. Add the browned butter and mix in to the ground chicken mixture.
In a shallow bowl combine the panko, paprika and 1 tsp of salt. Prepare a breading station with three bowls. The first has your sausage mixture, second the last egg beaten, and the third is the panko mixture. Also have a sheet pan ready for your finished eggs. I lined mine with parchment paper but they aren’t messy.
Remove all the shells from the eggs and one at a time cover in a thin layer of the sausage. Place it next in the egg bath and roll it around. Then move the eggy egg to the panko and roll the egg around gently to form a crust. Place on the baking sheet and move on to the next egg.
Once all your eggs are ready place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes making sure the sausage is thoroughly cooked.

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Delicious

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

A Taste of Newfoundland

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My sister in law came into town this week and when I looked at our dinner plan, it was fried egg sandwiches. Not exactly a dinner I want to serve to out of town family. Since hubbers is feeling homesick and the theme for the week is comfort food, I decided to try my hand at making a traditional Newfoundland Jiggs Dinner. This is a Sunday supper/special occasion kind of meal with Irish roots. The meal consists of a roast chicken/turkey or beef roast, mashed potatoes, salt beef , an assortment of vegetables that are boiled in the water the salt beef is cooked in, dressing or stuffing as I call it, peas pudding (it’s like a really thick pea soup) and gravy. It’s accompanied with mustard pickles, pickled beets and sometimes cranberry sauce. Some regions of Newfoundland have their own unique variations but this is a pretty typical Jiggs dinner where hubby is from.

This is not a meal I have any experience in making and I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. Unfortunately, cooking is not my SIL’s (sister in laws) favourite so we had to make a few calls back East and check out a blog, A Cook’s Life, to get it all figured out. I wasn’t able to replicate my mother in laws dressing but other than that I personally think I did a lovely job. I was even happier that my hubby and his sister liked it.

There isn’t a lot of prep to this dinner but at the end there is a huge hurry of activity to bring it all together. I would suggest either having a partner to help you pull it together or have a tight plan to get it on the table before it gets cold.

This meal will serve 4-6

Salt Beef and Vegetables

3-4 pieces navel salt beef
1/2 a large turnip
1/2 a green cabbage
4-6 carrots, peeled
1 cup yellow split peas

Normally you would need to soak the salt beef in water overnight, changing the water at least once. Since I got a late start my father in law suggested that I boil the beef and then change the water and let it soak. I have always found salt beef too salty (funny that, it starts with 226% of your recommended daily sodium intake) so I boiled it twice and then soaked it hoping to reduce the salt more.

After again changing the water I put the water to boil with the beef about 2.5 hours before supper time. Place the split peas in a peas pudding bag, if you don’t have one it can also be tied up in a tea towel or cheese cloth, (My husband told me his cousin has used a sock). Don’t tie the bag so tight that the peas are packed tight against each other. I made this mistake and the pudding wasn’t able to cook.

Cut the vegetables into large chunks. I cut the turnip in three, the cabbage in three and the carrots in half. About 30 minutes before dinner I added the cabbage and turnip and about 15 minutes before I added the carrots. The cabbage and carrots are served as is, the peas pudding is mashed with a bit of butter and turnips are also mashed with butter and pepper to taste, no salt:)

Roast Chicken and Dressing

Since it was just the four of us I decided to do a small chicken, that was too small to stuff. I rubbed olive oil on the skin and generously seasoned it with salt and pepper. It then went into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. I used my meat thermometer to make sure the chicken reached 165.

Like I said this wasn’t my MIL’s dressing but more similar to what I grew up eating. If you have Newfoundlander’s coming to dinner you may want to check with them for their recipe.

1/2 stale loaf of French bread
1 finely diced onion
1 finely chopped stalk of celery
1 tsp Savoury
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup melted butter
salt and pepper
hot water

Buzz the bread in a food processor until it is broken down but not crumbs. Add the onion, celery, seasoning and melted butter. It should be moist and clump together without being wet. If it doesn’t stick together use the hot water to moisten the bread mixture until it does stay together. Since I wasn’t able to stuff the chicken I then put the whole mixture into a baking dish, covered it with tin foil and placed it in the oven and the same time as the chicken.

Gravy

Drippings from the roast
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup liquid from salt beef
up to a tbsp of flour
pepper to taste

In a sauté pan combine the drippings with the stock and salt beef liquid. In a small cup mix 1 tsp of flour with a bit of the liquid to create a lose slurry. Over medium heat bring the liquid to a simmer and stir in the slurry. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to simmer. Stir regularly with a whisk to prevent lumps. The gravy should begin to thicken, if it is not thickening or not thickening enough make another slurry with an additional tsp and repeat until the consistency is gravy like. Season with pepper and serve immediately.

I used a big platter to serve everything family style. I like the way it looked and then all the different parts kept each other warm as it was getting to the table. One day I’ll get around to buying a gravy boat too and I won’t have to use my measuring cups.

My husband comes from a place that has such a strong cultural identity and more than anything this meal shows how a dinner can bring a person home or to a place that feels like it. I don’t love every part of this dinner but I will make it happily for my family and friends to share that feeling with them and to make sure that my children feel that same connection to the place their dad is from.

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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