Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Short Week Plan (December 10-14)

We are heading out of town on Thursday night for the weekend.  My in-laws will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this Christmas and we are having a surprise party for them on Friday night.  I am thinking a ham and a hot dip will be my contribution to the party?

Monday:  Taco salad (didn't get to it last night)
Tuesday:  Continental pork chops, rice and spinach salad
Wednesday:  Creamy sausage pasta bake and cesar salad
Thursday:  Leftover pasta before we hit the road

A couple of quickies for you:

Continental Pork: 
  • Mix 1 can of cranberry sauce, 1 envelope of onion soup mix and 1/3 c. french dressing.
  • Pour over pork chops, tenderloin or loin OR chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.
  • Serve with rice or mashed potatoes, because the sauce is practically drinkable.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing:
  • Mix olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, cider vinegar, garlic and s&p.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heyhey, goodlookin', whatcha got cookin'? (Dec. 3-7)

My cousins own a farm and we inherited a large box of ground beef over the weekend.  It doesn't get much more local and free-range then a cow I petted out in the pasture this summer!  Between our new-found ground beef stash and my husbands yield from hunting, we have a VERY full freezer!  If you see an unusual amount of ground meat based meals on the agenda for the next six months, you know why!

It's funny, I was talking to a co-worker about our meat "situation" and she was kind of grossed out.  "Really, deer meet?  And a cow that you have met?  It's really creepy."  Ummm... no.  Given all of the media in Canada these days about meat safety and the (lack of) processes at some of the countries largest meat plants, I am so happy and relieved to have a freezer of local, free-range, grain fed, organic meat.  I know exactly where it came from, what it ate and where it was butchered.  People need to get connected with their food!  Where do they they think that ground from Costco came from!?

I digress... without further ado, here is the plan for this week!

  • Homemade pizza, topped with pesto tomato sauce, shrimp, red onion, feta, mushrooms and spinach
  • Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, veggies soup
  • Chicken legs, potatoes, spinach salad
  • Taco salads, with the aforementioned ground

Sunday, November 25, 2012

LePlan (November 25-30)

I have an extremely busy week at work coming up.  I tried to keep the menu simple, but healthy.  And easy, so the husband can make himself useful too!

Sunday:  Quinoa and ground venison stuffed peppers and salad
Monday:  Chili
Tuesday:  Mediterranean pasta casserole (from the freezer), green beans and roasted chicken thighs
Wednesday:  Leftovers
Thursday:  Venison, sweet potatoes and green beans
Friday:  Homemade pizza

This morning, I had the most delicious and filling brunch (500 calories and 22 grams of protein!)

English muffin with a fried egg, pesto, feta, red onion and red pepper
Banana with peanut butter and a yogurt

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Best Tuna Salad Ever

Generally, I am a tuna salad purist.  Tuna, mayo, chopped celery and onion.  I saw this recipe on pinterest and was intrigued.  I needed a quick and easy meal for tonight, so I gave it a go.

O. M. Gee.

I don't think I will ever make boring old tuna salad again.  I added a few extra ingredients, but overall, I followed the spirit of the recipe.


2 cans of tuna, packed in water
2tbsp light mayo
1/4 c. pesto
Sundried tomatoes, chopped
Red pepper, chopped
Green onion, chopped
Zerto 4 cheese blend
Salt & Pepper


If you are making this as a sandwich or as filling for a lettuce wrap, just mix it all up and filled your vessel :)

I made this as a melt, so I left out the cheese and used it to top my open faced sandwich instead.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Whatcha got cookin'? (November 12-16)

I got the huge bag of broccoli from Costco.  You know what that means... broccoli for all!  Wooohooo!

Here's the plan, the order is up for grabs depending on what time I get out of work.

Roasted sole with greek pasta
Pulled pork tossed in sweet chili relish, rice and roasted broccoli
Roasted chicken legs, baked potatoes and broccoli
Homemade pizza
Beef and broccoli stir-fry

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Good Wife

My husband had a hard day.  Cracked pepper triscuits are his very favorite, so I dressed them up as a surprise for him. 

Apparently, I am a good wife :)

The line-up:
  • Goat cheese and sweet chili relish
  • Marble cheese and pastrami
  • Feta, sundried tomato and green onion
  • Marble and salsa
An appetizer buffet would of course not be complete without drinks... Leffe for the husband and a vodka water with a squeeze of lime for me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back on Track Menu (Nov. 5-9)

Last week, we booked a trip to Mexico for the March break to celebrate one of my best friend's weddings.  I am a bridesmaid, so not only do I have bikini motivation, but bridesmaids dress motivation too!  It is likely indicative of my screwed up weight loss mentality, but having a trip planned always gives me a kick in the pants where the scale is concerned.

With that said, I have been back to healthy eating and meal planning for a few weeks now.  I have mastered the week, now I just need to make some inroads on the weekend and fitness fronts.

The plan for this week:

Monday:  Baked potato topped with taco seasoned venison, salsa and shredded cheese and a side salad
Tuesday:  Sausage penne bake and Cesar salad
Wednesday:  Veggie omelette's with roasted potatoes
Thursday:  Homemade pizza and Cesar salad
Friday:  Steak, twice baked potato, green veg

Loaded Baked Potato and Salad (a delicious mess!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Planification (Oct. 8-12)

I am back on the cooking horse after the great immersion blender accident of 2012.  My finger is on the mend, however I don't think the nail is long for this world :(  And, I'm not sure that my husband will ever let me live this one down!

The plan for this week:

Monday:  Venison, sweet potatoes, peas
Tuesday:  Rigatoni casserole and salad
Wednesday:  Pork chops with mango chutney, rice and peas
Thursday:  Chicken ranch salad
Friday:  Pizza and salad

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Beware the Stick Blender {especially while it's operating!}

If there are are typos in this post, I apologize, but one handed typing is hard!!!

I had a run-in with the blade on the stick blender tonight.... while it was operating.  It didn't end well for my fingernail.  At all.  An ER visit ensued.  I can't think about it, much less write about in any detail without getting slightly light-headed.

I will never look at squash the same again.

Cooking can be dangerous!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Plan (October 1-5)

Monday:  English muffin pizzas and salad [yes, we are 7 :)]
Tuesday:  Fish tacos
Wednesday:  Buffalo chicken wraps/salad
Thursday:  Venison, sweet potatoes, veg
Friday:  Rehearsal party for my cousins wedding!!!

My husband worked this weekend, so he has a few weekdays "off" this week (although, he will likely work, just from home) so I am hoping he can execute a few of these meals.

My cousin, who is also a close friend, is getting married on Saturday and it is Thanksgiving on Sunday, so we are in for a busy, busy weekend.  I am hoping to stay on track diet-wise all week, since I know the weekend is likely to be a write off.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

SarahSmiles and Cooks {and crafts?}

In addition to cooking, I enjoy crafting.  Sewing is probably my preferred activity, but I dabble in other things as well, like photography, scrapbooking and random pinterest stuff.

I wanted to post this one for feedback, because I can't decide how I feel about it.  I really like the way the turned out, I just don't want to the recipients to feel like they are getting more junk, ya know?

When we go to weddings, we give the standard card of cash.  I thought this might be a nice token to along with the cash.  Inspired by pinterest, I just used wordart in Word for this quick project.  I tried to stick with their wedding colors and/or colors I know will "go" in their houses.

What do you think?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Maple Gravy Pork Chops

We have been buying a HUGE loin at Costco about once a month, which keeps us in pork for at least a meal a week.  As awesome as pulled pork is, I have been trying to cut some into chops and broaden our horizons a bit.

This was my inspiration:  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/vermont_maple_syrup_pork_chops/

My chops were fairly thin, so I just did a stove-top method, but I am sure the oven-method for a thicker chop would be fab as well.  I doubled the sauce, because I had a haunch it would be delish and I would want some for our rice side dish.  I WAS RIGHT.  It was a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and a lot amazing.

  • 4-6 pork chops
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl  (maple syrup to s&p).
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven.  Sear the pork chops on each side.  Set aside.
  3. Saute the onion in the skillet until browned and translucent.
  4. Add the sauce and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the pork chops back in to the pan.  If they are thick and your pan is oven proof, stick it in a 350 F pre-heated oven and bake for 20 mins.  If they are thinner, just keep the chops cooking in the bubbling sauce for about 10-15 mins on the stove top.
  6. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes, so you have something to dump the yummy extra sauce on :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Le Menu (September 23-28)

Last week the husband and I ended up on a random road trip to upstate New York, basically to run an errand.  It was a fun drive, but mucho McDonalds was consumed.

This week, it's back to meal planning and healthy eating!

Monday:  Venison chops, broccoli, mashed potatoes
Tuesday:  Grilled pork chops, sweet potatoes, spinach salad
Wednesday:  Chicken parm and ceasar salad
Thursday:  Homemade pizza and ceasar salad
Friday:  Grilled sandwiches

My goal is to post the chicken parm and pizza recipes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's cooking? (September 10-15)

I have been an absolutely lazy failure when it comes to meal planning over the summer.  My husband worked odd hours and our house was 900 degrees.  I just had no motivation to do much beyond grill a piece of meat or grab a chicken from the grocery store.

Even though I am no longer in school, working for a school or have children in school, September still makes me want to start fresh.  My budget and waistline are crying out for a plan and a routine, so here we go again!

Monday:       Sweet barbacoa venison in the slow cooker (skinnytaste.com style) made into taco salad
Tuesday:       BBQ pork chops marinated in jerk sauce and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes
Wednesday:  Beef and broccoli stir-fry
Thursday:     Roasted red pepper and spinach pasta bake and a little Cesar salad
Friday:          Sole fillets, broccoli and rice with mango chutney

Why so much broccoli you ask?  Obviously we got a giant sack at Costco and I am doing my darndest darnedest (really spellcheck?  Does that e belong?) to use it up!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to Cooking (August 13-17)

It has been awhile!  The summer has been so hectic and hot.  I have been flying by the seat of my pants meal wise, doing lots of salad and grilled meat.  Really nothing exciting enough to post about.

Our waistlines are getting angry though, so I am back to planning and cooking.

Monday:  Crispy chicken ceasar salad
Tuesday:  Chinese take-out (Dad's birthday!)
Wednesday:    Shrimp and broccoli stir-fry
Thursday:  Cranberry pork, brown rice, broccoli
Friday:  Venison chops, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I did it!

This post is completely unrelated to cooking, however I am so proud of myself and my girls, that I had to post about it!  I did the swim leg of a sprint triathlon!  I was incredibly nervous.  While I was quite confident I could finished the swim, the start cased me great anxiety.

Things not to do the night before you do a mass beach start for open water swimming:  Start watching youtube videos of triathlon starts.  Aiiieeee.

I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard, because it was.  The first 200m or so was a serious battle.  For about 2s I tried to be polite and keep my elbows and feet to myself, but realized that it was definitely a kick-or-be-kicked situation.

Case in point (Sarah, circled in white):

750m in around 14:00 minutes, 34/111 out of the water!  Not to shabby for my first group open water swim.

My girlfriends did the bike and run legs and were fantastic as well!  We are totally making this an annual event.

In all their glory, 750m's of swimming, 20km's of biking and 5km's of running later, I give you, Notorious T.R.I.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Whatcha got cookin'? (June 25-29)

Our church anniversary party is this weekend, so we are really busy this week!  I planned a menu that is easy and uses up some pantry and freezer items.

Monday:  Poached eggs over sauteed onion, mushrooms and asparagus on toast
Tuesday:  Pulled pork salad
Wednesday:  Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup from the freezer
Thursday:  Tilapia and veggies (roasted or stir-fried)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grilled Potatoes

Yes, potatoes grilled right on the BBQ grate.  I am going to make a bold statement here and say that this might be my new favorite way to eat potatoes.  So simple, but so, so delicious!  The potatoes are crispy on the outside, but light and flaky in the center.

I grilled chicken thighs with the potatoes, and the cook time was about the same.  Convenient and virtually no clean-up!  My kind of meal!

Serves:  4

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Wash the potatoes.  Slice them length wise, so you get the longest and widest potato slice possible (with the most surface area.)
  2. If you have time, soak the potatoes in cold water for an hour or two.
  3. Drain the potatoes and pat dry.  Toss the potatoes in olive oil.
  4. Heat the grill.  Place the potato slices directly on the grill.  Cook for about 16 minutes total, flipping every 4 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Meal Plan (June 17th-21st)

Sunday:  Kirkland margarita pizza (with extra veggies) and salad
Monday:  BBQ chicken thighs, roasted potatoes and salad
Tuesday:  Some kind of shrimp and rigatoni pasta, similar to last week and salad
Wednesday:  Cheeseburgers and salad
Thursday:  Venison steaks, mashed potatoes, veg

We have a lot of greens to use up, so it is a salad kind of week!

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Milk, eggs, raw milk extra old white cheddar, homemade whole wheat bread
Boston lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, apples, herbs, radish, potatoes, 1/2 a gigantic cucumber

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rigatoni Rosa with Shrimp

As promised, here is a post about this Penna Rosa with Shrimp recipe.

This pasta was creamy, with a nice flavour.  In the future, I would definitely add fat-free greek yogurt to dishes, in lieu of heavy cream.  The shrimp was a great addition of protein, without adding a lot of calories.  As usual, I didn't follow the recipe to the letter, so I will share my rendition.

Serves:  4  (BIG servings!)

Nutritional Information:  466 calories, 6.5g fat, 3g fiber, 34g protein

  • 300g of penne or rigatoni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 pkg of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, julienned
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 oz of shrimp (about 48 medium shrimp)
  • 4 c. spinach
  • 3/4 c. crushed tomatoes (or marinara sauce if you don't want to season)
  • 1/3 c. fat-free Greek yogurt (I like Liberté Plain Greek Yogurt 0%)
  • 1 tbsp Litehouse freeze-dried Italian Herb Blend
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Cook the pasta to slightly al dente.  Drain and set aside.  As the pasta is cooking, prep the veggies and shrimp.
  2. Heat the olive oil on medium in a very large skillet or wok.  Cook the garlic and onion until they are soft.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms, red pepper and tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the mushrooms release their liquids.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook for around 2 minutes, until the shrimp are pink.
  5. Remove the skillet from the burner.  Spread the spinach over the top and place the lid on the skillet.  Let it sit for around 2 minutes to wilt the spinach.
  6. While the spinach is wilting, mix up the tomato sauce, Greek yogurt and Italian seasoning.
  7. Return the skillet to low heat.  Toss in the pasta and let it cook for a few moments, allowing it to release some of the sugars.  Add the sauce and mix it in.  Let the pasta cook up the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pasta is tender.
  8. Served topped with the parm cheese.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's cooking? (June 9-14)

Saturday:  Chicken and shrimp fajitas
Sunday:  BBQ at the parents
Monday:  Penne Rosa with Shrimp, salad
Tuesday:  Chicken chili
Wednesday:  Meatloaf muffins, mashed potatoes, veggies
Thursday:  Burgers and spinach strawberry salad

I am really excited about the Penne Rosa with Shrimp and I will definitely be posting about it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Roasted Sole and Penne tossed with Roasted Vegetables and Goat Cheese

This was a super easy supper, it came together in less then 30 minutes.  The directions sound a bit complicated, because there is a lot going on at the same time, but it just assures that everything is ready at the same time.  My photo of this dish is hideous, but it actually presents really nicely in person.  You could serve the pasta with chicken or shrimp, but the sole was definitely a nice change!

Serves:  4
Source:  A SarahSmiles original!

  • Sole fillets (8 small or 4 large)
  • Lemon juice
  • 9 oz (250 g) penne
  • 1 +1 tbsps Kirkland Rustic Tuscan Seasoning (or similar seasoning blend)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 c. green beans, cut into thirds
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 c. grated parm
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Minced chives for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spray.
  2. Slice the veggies and toss them in the EVOO and 1 tbsp of Tuscan seasoning.  Spread the veggies out on one of the baking sheets and put in the oven.  Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the water on to boil and add the penne to cook once the water is boiling.
  4. While the veggies start roasting, place the sole on the other baking sheet and sprinkle with Tuscan seasoning and lemon juice.
  5. When the 10 minute timer goes for the veggies, turn them and return them to the oven with the sole.  Roast both for 10 more minutes. 
  6. When the penne and veggies are ready, toss them with the goat cheese, grated parm, red pepper flakes and pepper.
  7. Serve and garnish with minced chives.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hey, hey, good lookin': Whatcha got cookin'? (June 2-7)

Saturday:  Pasta salad and man pleasing chicken thighs
Sunday:  My birthday dinner!  Ribs, hot potato salad, broccoli salad, carrots, icecream cake
Monday:  Rotisserie chicken and quinoa tabouli salad (Costco-style!)
Tuesday:  Baked tilapia and roasted green beans
Wednesday:  Blueberry glazed pork loin and roasted veggies
Thursday:  Leftover pork and salad

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grilled Brie and Prosciutto Sandwich with Blueberry Lime Salsa

I had some leftovers from an appetizer platter I made the other night and used the odds and ends to make this decadent sandwich.  The Wild Blueberry Lime Salsa is jarred locally at Granite Town Farms.  It is to die for with baked brie, on baguette slices with goat cheese or as a chicken or fish topping.

Sandwich:  Baguette (remove the soft bready guts to save calories), brie, prosciutto, wild blueberry lime salsa, arugula and red onion.

This is also my change to make a plug for my Cuisinart Griddler.  I received it as a gift and it has changed our lives.  I hate kitchen gadgets that have only one use, so I was skeptical about a panini press.  BUT, the Griddler is so much more!  The plates are grill on one side and flat on the other and you can use the Griddler as a press or lay it out flat as a griddle.  Sandwiches, meat, eggs, bacon, pancakes... the uses are endless.  The best part, you can even purchase waffle plates!

What's for dinner? (May 26-May 31)

Saturday:  BBQ hotdogs and salad
Sunday:  Parents
Monday:  Pulled pork salad (sandwich for DH)
Tuesday:  Grilled sandwich and fiddlehead soup
Wednesday:  Chicken and bok choy stir-fry
Thursday:  Slow-cooked venison roast, potatoes, veggies

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Milk, bread, eggs, raw milk cheese

Arugula, frozen strawberries, fiddleheads, rhubarb, broccoli sprouts, dry white beans, herb plant

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Curry Lamb Burger with Roasted Red Pepper Pecan Spread

During BBQ season, I am always looking for new ideas to try on the grill.  These burgers are simply amazing.  And, with the right toppings feel very gourmet and indulgent.  The roasted red pepper pecan spread is KEY.  I followed the recipe in the link below, but cut it in half.  The leftovers are fab on breakfast sandwiches or just regular ole sandwiches.

One little tip is to make the burgers the night before and to chill them in the fridge before BBQing.  They tend to be a bit on the crumbly side and they firm up a bit in the fridge.

Makes:  5 x 5oz burgers
Burger Ingredients:
  • 1lb lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 c. baby bella (or regular) mushrooms, minced
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 c. panko (or bread crumbs)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Salt & Pepper
Burger Instructions
  1. In a skillet with a little EVOO, saute the onion and mushrooms until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms have released their liquid.
  2. Mix all the burger ingredients up in a bowl.  WITH YOUR HANDS.
  3. Form into patties.  Mine were 5 oz.  And because I am anal, I used my food scale to ensure equality.
  4. Grill.
Burger Toppings:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sweet Dijon Chicken Thighs

I am trying to keep up with my promise to start cooking the things I am Pinning on my Pinterest recipes board.  I have had this recipe on my "to-do" list for a while now and just picked up a big pack of thighs at Costco.   If you are eating these bad boys with either rice or potatoes, the sauce makes a great "gravy".  I can see why the original recipe author called this dish "Man Pleasing Chicken", my husband loved them too!!  I served them with roasted carrots and garlic and herb mashed potatoes.

  • Chicken thighs (I used 6, you might need a little more sauce for 8, especially if you like your meat saucey like I do!)
  • 1/2 c. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • salt & pepper
  1. Mix up the sauce ingredients (mustard to salt & peppers).
  2. Spread the thighs out in a baking dish and cover with the sauce.  Marrinate over night or for the day, if possible, but they are OK cooked right away too!
  3. Heat the oven to 450 F.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, basting twice during cooking time, until thighs are cooked through.

What's for dinner? (May 21-25)

Monday:  Sweet dijon chicken thighs, wild rice, carrots, cucumber slices
Tuesday:   Sundried tomato sole in a bag, sweet potato, fiddleheads
Wednesday:  Lamb burgers, salad
Thursday:  Grilled sandwiches, salad
Friday:  Out

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Milk, herbed raw-milk gouda, eggs, bread

Arugula, fiddleheads, potatoes, frozen blueberries (2), basil plant, sprouted bean mix, garlic

Friday, May 18, 2012

Who still eats english muffin pizzas?


English muffin, homemade pizza sauce, diced ham, caramelized onion, red pepper and mushrooms, topped with onion and garlic raw-milk Gouda.  Side:  fresh spinach and radish greens with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.


Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

We had frozen strawberries and rhubarb stalks in our kitchen basket this week.  I saw a great recipe on Skinny Taste for strawberry rhubarb compote and I decided it would be a great way to use of the rhubarb.  It was realllllly easy and now I can't wait to make compote out of other fruits.

  • 1lb of strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 large rhubarb stalks
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I used raw)
  • 1 tbsp water
  1. Chop the strawberries and rhubarb.
  2. Combine everything in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn it down to low-med and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. With a stick-blender, purée the contents of the pot for a bit.  I didn't blend mine perfectly smooth, I just broke it down a little.
  4. Serve with yogurt or over frozen yogurt, either hot or cold.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Random Meal Plan (May 12-17)

This week is random.  We were out and about for most of the weekend and I didn't get a chance to do much grocery shopping.  This is the plan as it stands today.

Saturday:  Dinner at parents, contribution = coleslaw
Sunday:  Church potluck, contribution = pasta salad
Monday:  Husband's birthday!**
Tuesday:  Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and soup
Wednesday:  Burgers and salad
Thursday:  Something with steak, either sandwiches or stir-fry?  (I have radish greens to cook up...?)

**For his birthday, my husband has requested an buffet of his favorite appetizers.  The plan is pastry wrapped cocktail sausages, a small wheel of baked brie with cranberry jelly and baguette, scallops and a little plate of nachos.  Yes please!

The best part about this week is that our kitchen basket had GREENS in it!! Woohooo!!  I love spring!

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Staples:  Bread, milk, eggs, cheese
Veggies:  Spinach, radish and greens, rhubarb, potatoes, fiddleheads, cabbage, pea shoot greens
Extra:  Salmon

Salmon and Stir-Fry

Our kitchen basket included fiddleheads this week.  What are fiddleheads you might ask?  A delicious fern that you can only get in very particular environments at a certain time of the year (when the spring water is receding!)

You can learn more here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddlehead_fern

I thought I would get creative and try them in a stir-fry, instead of the usual steamed-with-butter.  I steamed the carrots and fiddleheads for 10 minutes.  Then I stir-fried them with onion, red pepper, mushrooms, a little soy sauce and sweet chili.

The salmon was marinated and baked in a soy-maple glaze.

Soy-Maple Glaze:
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • green onion for garnish
This was definitely a nice spin on a traditional meal.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BBQ Chicken Salad (in a mixing bowl)

Do you eat your salad in a mixing bowl?  In case you haven't noticed from previous posts, I am a volume eater.  I like to cram all of my food full of veggies so that I can eat the largest quantity possible.

This is recipe is definitely a keeper.  My husband loved it too and this says a lot, as he was formerly part of the "you don't make friends with salad" camp.

P.S.  I seriously need to STOP taking photos with my broken phone!
Makes:  4 large bowls of salad

  • 2 heads/stalks of romain lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, sliced
  • 2 c. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 3 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 4 oz lite havarti (or jack), shredded
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, chopped (or cook and shred your own breasts)
  • 1/2 c. BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
  • 4-8 tbps of ranch (depends how ranchy you like it)
  • Optional:  tortilla chips, crushed
  1. Chop, slice and shred all of the veggies and cheese.  Divide into four bowls.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet.  Toss chicken, BBQ sauce and Frank's in the pan until heated through.
  3. Top salad with the chicken and ranch dressing.  Tortilla chips add a bit of crunch too, if you can spare the calories.
  4. Mix it alllllll up and NOMNONNOM

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cheap and Easy Eatin' (May 7-11)

We were traveling for the end of last week and all weekend.  I had been trying to clean out the fridge before we left, so we came home to very empty cupboards!  This week is busy and having had lots of "fun" on vacation, I was looking to plan a menu that was both easy and cheap.

Monday:  Rotisserie chicken thighs and Costco quinoa salad
Tuesday:  BBQ chicken salad (using the rotisserie chicken breasts)
Wednesday:  Spaghetti and caesar salad
Thursday:  Steak and salad
Friday:  Either out or omelettes or something silly like english muffin pizzas

This is Monday's supper.  We are huge Costco lovers and this quinoa tabbouleh salad is a particular favorite.  I wanted to stretch the salad a bit and added a can of 6 variety beans, a chopped red pepper and some mushrooms.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Homemade Pizza

Last night, I busted out the good old KitchenAid and endeavoured homemade pizza crust.  This is normally my husbands domain, but I thought I would give it a try.

I used the recipe from the KitchenAid mixer recipe book.  Although anything involving yeast scares me, this was actually super easy and turned out really well.  I only took a "before" baking photo, but I can assure you it was all cheesy and bubbly and amazing after baking.

Instead of typing out the whole recipe and instructions, I thought I would just post the link and then tell you how I modified it and what I used for toppings.


  • I used an equal mix of white and whole wheat flour.
  • I baked it on the pizza stone.  I heated the stone up, spread cornmeal all over the stone and then spread the dough on the stone.
  • I baked just the crust on the stone for 7-10 minutes, then added the toppings and baked for an additional 10 minutes.

I was going for sort of a tuscany vibe, but whilst still cleaning out the fridge a bit in the process.
  • Homemade pizza sauce
    • 1 tiny can of tomato paste
    • 1 medium can of tomato sauce
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • Costco Tuscan Seasoning
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Red pepper, sliced
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Pastrami, diced
  • Tomato slices
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh mozza, sliced
  • Fresh parm

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What's cookin'?! (April 28-May 1)

I am heading out of town early Wednesday morning, so this is a rather abbreviated meal plan.

Saturday:  baked brie, steak, hot potato salad, salad and cupcakes, OH MY
Sunday:  Homemade pizza with fresh mozza, basil, pastrami, red pepper and red onion
Monday:  Honey garlic sausage and salad
Tuesday:  Pasta bake

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Milk, bread, eggs, sun dried tomato and basil raw-milk Gouda

Frozen raspberries, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, pea shoots, sprouted beans, apples and a cilantro plant

Saturday Night Steaks

It doesn't get much better then this:

Wolf Blass cab sauv for me and Miller Chill for the husband
Baked brie topped with this super fantastic amazing and local Wild Blueberry Lime Salsa
Steak, hot potato salad and green salad

Why would we ever bother with restaurants?!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Skinny Taste: Slow Cooked Sweet Barbacoa Pork

Run, don't walk, to Skinny Taste and try this recipe out.

I never make recipes exactly as they are written, but in this case I did.  It was the right decision.

Slow Cooker Sweet Barbacoa Pork

Last night, I had it in a tortilla with shredded lettuce, red onion, red pepper, cilantro, salsa and sour cream.  Today for lunch, I am having it over salad.  I am soooo excited for lunch.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuscan Breakfast Skillet

We make variations of this breakfast skillet almost every weekend.  I usually roast fresh potatoes (or use leftovers from the night before), but frozen hashbrowns would work too.  I use whatever vegetables and meat we have on hand.  You can give it a mexican, tuscan or canadian feel, depending on the vegetable and meat combination.  Bacon, prosciutto, back bacon or pastrami... the meat options are endless!

The recipe is a bit time consuming for a weekday breakfast, but it can be prepared the night before and reheated.  It definitely makes for a great brunch, fresh!!

  • 2 potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 eggs (and a little milk)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lbs mushrooms, halved
  • 3 slices of pastrami
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Kirkland tuscan seasoning
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used a combo of gouda and cheddar)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Chop potatoes and toss them in EVOO and tuscan seasoning.  Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time.
  2. Get a large bowl out, and as you complete the next few steps, just add keep adding the various components.
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, soften the pepper, onion and mushroom in a skillet.  Add the garlic near the end.
  4. Sear the pastrami and chop it up.
  5. Scramble the eggs in the same skillet.
  6. At this point, the potatoes should be done roasting.  Add them to the bowl and combine with the veggies, meat, eggs and half of the cheese.
  7. Spray a shallow casserole dish and fill with the contents of the bowl.  Top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes, until the casserole is heated through and the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve and enjoy!  I top with ketchup, but the husband adds hot sauce.

What's cookin'? (April 21-26)

Saturday:  BBQ steak, roasted green beans, salad
Sunday:  Baked beans, hotdogs
Monday:  Cabbage roll casserole
Tuesday:  Pork carnitas
Wednesday:  BBQ honey garlic sausages, salad
Thursday:  Soup and grilled sandwiches

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Milk, eggs, whole wheat bread, raw-milk edame

Broccoli sprouts, sprouted beans, mushrooms, potatoes, frozen blueberries, cabbage, basil plant

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

BBQ Steak Sandwich

We had some random pieces of steak left from the farm beef my cousin and her husband gave us and I wasn't sure what to do with it. The husband asked for steak sandwiches, which made for a perfect weeknight dinner!

Spinach salad = spinach, shallot, strawberries, mushrooms, feta, poppy seed dressing

Green beans = Tossed in EVOO and tuscan seasoning, roasted

Steak sandwich = steak, red pepper, mushroom, onion tossed in BBQ sauce, on a bun, topped with cajun gouda

Monday, April 16, 2012

Whatcha got cookin'? (April 13-19)

Friday: Honey soy glazed pork, wild rice, roasted red pepper, mushroom and onion
Saturday: Honey soy glazed salmon, wild rice, roasted green beans, red pepper and mushrooms
Sunday: Boar sausage on a bun topped with caramelized onion and mushroom, spinach salad (spinach, red onion, mushroom, strawberries and feta)
Monday: Steak sandwiches and salad
Tuesday: Sweet potato carrot soup, grilled pastrami sandwiches
Wednesday: Pulled pork, coleslaw
Thursday: Omelette's and toast

I am kind of writing this post mid-stream, but that's OK because it means I get to post some photos too!
The honey soy glaze recipe I tried out was really good and I had enough to use it again on Saturday for the salmon. It is a really versatile sauce that would go well on almost any meat. And, I used the leftover salmon for a brunch omelette on Sunday morning!

Honey-Soy Glaze

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 2 tbsp Asian sesame salad dressing

  • 1 tbsp fresh crushed garlic

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • S&P

I doubled this badboy, because I did the pork in the crock-pot, then used the remained for the salmon.

Real Food Connections Kitchen Basket

Milk, eggs, bread, raw-milk Cajun Gouda
Broccoli sprouts, sprouted beans, mushrooms, onions, shallots, cabbage, granola, frozen strawberries, apples

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

I love shepherd's pie! I didn't really grow up eating it, but my husband did, so I set out to find a good recipe when we started dating. I try to avoid cream-of-whatever soups, but it really does make the recipe. If you make this up and bake it all at once, it is a bit time consuming. I prefer to make it the night before and just bake it when I get home. This makes a great post-baby delivery or potluck contribution.

Adding a good quantity of onion and mushroom to the meat layer really adds some bulk to the meat layer, without adding calories. You don't even really taste the mushrooms. Finely chopped, they blend in texture wise and take on the flavour of the meat.


Meat layer:

  • 1lb of ground meat (I used lamb this time and it was AMAZING! But beef or turkey would do)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic

  • 1lb of mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 can of low-fat cream of mushroom soup

  • 1/3 c. ketchup (I used the Heinz spicey for a little extra kick!)

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • s&p

Veg Layer:

  • I used fresh carrots (steamed) and canned peas, but you can use what ever fresh or frozen veg mix you like

Potato Layer:

  • Potatoes

  • Milk

  • Butter (or low fat sour cream or greek yogurt)

  • s&p

  • Low fat shredded cheddar

  • Paprika


  1. Spray a large, deep rectangular baking dish. Preheat over at 350 F.

  2. Put potatoes on to boil while you do step 3.

  3. In a skillet, soften the chopped onion and mushrooms. Add ground meat and brown. Once the meat is cooked, stir in the remaining ingredients for the meat layer. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pan.

  4. Layer mixed vegetables.

  5. By now, the potatoes are done cooking. Mash them and add whatever ingredients you add to your very best mashed pots. I like to add a little bit of extra liquid, so the baking doesn't dry them out. Spread the potatoes over the veg mixture.

  6. Top with a little grated cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

  7. Bake at 350 F for 30 mins. Let is sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. I can never wait that long, so it just ends up looking a mess on my plate!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mango-Mustard Glazed Tilapia

Photo from Kraft.com

When I got home last night, I decided it would be a good idea to make not only the tilapia on the menu, but supper for tonight, at the same time. This resulted in a ravenous Sarah when dinner was served, who totally forgot to take a photo. My fish looked pretty much the same as the kraft version, maybe just a little saucy-er (I love sauce!) I served it over wild rice with a side of roasted broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onion.

The best part about it was that it was QUICK and so, so easy.


  • 5 Tilapia fillets

  • 1/4 c. mango chutney

  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard (Gray Poupon or other spicey mustard)

  • s&p


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. If you roasting veggies, they take about 20-25 minutes. The fish will only take 12. So, put the veggies in as soon as the oven is heated.

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it.

  3. Mix the mango chutney and mustard.

  4. Place the tilapia on the baking sheet and smear a spoonful of the mustard-chutney on the tilapia.

  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with a little green onion or cilantro and serve!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Bare-Cupboards Menu Planning Challenge

We just got home for a 4-day weekend visiting family and the cupboards (along with our pocket books) are fairly bare. I decided to challenge myself to avoid groceries until Thursday, when we get our kitchen box and I can make a better plan.

So, here is the mini-meal plan for the week!

Tuesday: Mustard-mango glazed tilapia, wild rice, roasted broccoli
Wednesday: Shepherd's pie, made with locally raised grass-fed organic ground lamb
Thursday: Honey-soy glazed pork tenderloin, wild rice and a veggie of some kind

The tilapia and the pork are new recipes. Look out for a post if they are as good as the sound!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Heeey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'?

I am often asked what a week of healthy eating looks like in our house, so I thought I would start posting our weekly meal plan, along with a list of the contents of our Kitchen Box from Real Food Connections.


Sunday: Brown sugar and balsamic pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes and broccoli
Monday: Grilled BBQ Chicken Salad Sandwich, tomato vegetable soup
Tuesday: Chicken quesadillas, roasted broccoli
Wednesday: Curried lamb burgers topped with goat cheese, red pepper, red onion and buckwheat shoots and raosted broccoli
Thuesday: Leftovers

And then we are off visiting family for Easter!

Can you tell we got a giant bag of broccoli at Costco this week?!

Real Food Connections Kitchen Box

Whole wheat bread, eggs, milk, raw milk dill and havarti
Potatoes prepped for roasting (washed cut, tossed in sunflower oil and herbs)
Buckwheat shoots, mushrooms, sprouted beans, onions, garlic, fresh italian herb mix

Grillled BBQ Chicken Salad Sandwich

I have messed around with this photo (taken cellphone style) for the last 20 minutes and I can't get it to post properly, so here it is, in all its' sideways glory. The sandwich was to ooeygooey delicious not to photograph!

The Cuisinart Griddler has changed our lives. We have a new weekly tradition of having soup and a grilled sandwich once a week, because the Griddler rocks so hard. My husband loves soup and sandwich night more than anything and I have made it my personal vendetta to never serve the same combo.

I bought a rotisserie chicken from Costco on the weekend for quesadillas and the sandwiches, so this was seriously EASY. The bread comes in our kitchen box from Real Food Connections and it is The. Best. I usually try to incorporate other things from the kitchen box into both the soup and sammy. This week, the peashoot greens were especially good on the sandwich!

Makes: 4 sandwiches or wraps.


  • 1/2 a rotisserie chicken, chopped

  • 3 stalks of celery, minced

  • 1 red pepper, minced

  • 1/2 small red onion, minced

  • 1/4 c. light or fat free mayo

  • 1/4 c. BBQ sauce

  • S&P

  • 4 slices of cheddar

  • Bread or wraps

  • Shredded lettuce (I used pea shoots from our kitchen box!)


  1. Chop chicken and mince veggies. Combine with BBQ sauce, mayo and s&p.

  2. Divide chicken into 4 and put on a sandwich or wrap with a slice of cheddar.

  3. Grill sandwich or wrap until the outside is crispy and the cheese is melty.

  4. Remove from grill and add greens. I had slimy wilted greens, so I add them after cooking.

  5. Enjoy :)

*I was going to post the recipe for the soup, but I didn't measure a single thing when I made it! Ooops.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with a Balsamic Brown Sugar Glaze

I have a tonne of recipes posted to my Pinterest boards. I think around 100 between the "Recipes" and "Food Porn" additions. I have vowed to start cooking at least of these recipes a week. Otherwise, I fear pinterest will turn into a "stuff I like but am too lazy to ever do" compilation.

It's Sunday, so thought I would make something a bit special. But, it turns out this is easy enough for a week night! I served it with roasted potatoes and broccoli. The glaze was
yummy on both.

Inspired by: www.candcmarriagefactory.com/2011/01/brown-sugar-and-balsamic-glazed-pork.html


  • Pork tenderloin
  • Prosciutto (around 6 slices)
  • Rub: salt, pepper, sage, garlic
  • Water


  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch


  1. Rub the tenderloin with the, you guessed it, RUB.
  2. Wrap in prosciutto. The prosciutto is optional and was something I added from the original recipe, but totally worth it!
  3. Put a little water in the crockpot and cook the tenderloin on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. About an hour before the tenderloin is done, make the glaze. Mix up the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
  5. Glaze the tenderloin a few times through the last hour of cooking.
  6. Slice the tenderloin and drizzle with remaining glaze. (Save a little for your sides, it is delish!!)

Sundried Tomato Tilapia in a Bag

Photo (and inspiration) from redlobster.com
  • 4 large or 8 small Tilapia filets
  • 8 c. spinach
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • S&P
  • 4 tbsp italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 c. sundried tomatoes
  • 8 pieces of parchment paper


  1. Spray 4 pieces of parchment paper. Layer 2 c. spinach, 1/4 of the onion and 1/4 of the red pepper on each piece of paper. Place tilapia on top and season with s&p and 1 tbsp italian dressing. Top with sundried tomato.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of each piece of tilapia and seal the packet.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 F for 15-20 mins.


I don't know how many times I can say that recipes are amazing, but I guess I wouldn't post them if they sucked, would I? This was fast, delicious and fresh. I served it with a side of wild rice and some broccoli, but there are enough vegetables included for a serving. I think you could make it on the grill too. This will be a regular in the rotation!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sweet Potato, Kale and Black Bean Enchiladas


  • 1 large or 2 smaller sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 8 c. Kale, removed from stalks and chopped (this seems like a lot, but it really shrinks!)

  • 1 tbsp of fresh garlic (or 1 tsp of garlic powder)

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • 1-1.5 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicey)

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 can of enchilada sauce (with mexican or international food at grocery store)

  • Shredded cheddar cheese

  • green onion for garnish

  • Tortillas (5-8, depending on how much filling you use)


  1. Cook and mash sweet potatoes.

  2. In a skillet, soften the onion.

  3. Add black beans and seasoning, stirring to coat. Heat black beans through.

  4. Add kale about two cups at a time and fold it in. It will wilt as you do this.

  5. Spray a pan. Pour a little enchilada sauce into the bottom and swirl it around until the bottom is coated.

  6. Put a little bit of shredded cheddar and a scoop of filling in a tortilla, fold it up and place in the pan.

  7. When the tortillas are all rolled up an in the pan, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle with more cheese and the green onion.

  8. Bake for 25 mins at 350 covered in foil. Remove foil and bake for 5-10 more minutes.

  9. Serve garnished with sour cream, salsa and/or guac.


My husband was skeptical of these, but OH WOW. They are seriously delicious. They feel sinful, but with low carb wraps, they are really quite healthy and diet friendly. My parents are pretty meat-and-potatoes type folks and even they really enjoyed them.

Serve with a side salad or some spanish rice for a complete meal.