Saturday, October 30, 2010


Friday, October 15, 2010

I realize I am a bit late posting the menu for this week, since it's already Friday.

I also completely skipped over last weekend it.  

It was Thanksgiving and I am sure most of you were having turkey dinner anyway.

So for this week,  I went for groceries on Tuesday and spent $128 at Farm Boy and another $58 at Sobeys.

I guess I didn't do too badly considering it's already Friday and I am in the process of making all my meals for the weekend.

I will have to make one trip this weekend to pick up more fruit and maybe some eggs, and then I think we will be good until payday!

Okay so here is the menu for this week and I will post photos and recipes in a bit

Week 2 Menu


Beef Enchiladas served with Spanish rice


Grilled chicken with tomato and basil penne


Leftovers with a big salad!


Homemade pizza (we always have pizza and a movie on Friday)  

I am in the kitchen all day today preparing our weekend meals which consist of:


Bacon wrapped meatloaf and mashed potatoes


Beef  (already cooking in the crock pot, with a splash of red wine), served with Yorkshires, and mashed turnip and potatoes...mixed together to trick my picky eater!

I am also making Butternut squash ravioli from scratch today (using wonton wrappers).

Its a first for me, so I will be sure to let you know how they turn out.

This will be a time consuming project and just might freeze the ravioli until we need them.

Yes, that's what I will do, because I think, even for us, we will have plenty to eat to get us through the weekend.

Butternut Squash ravioli can be on the menu for Mondays dinner!!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday I had run out of steam.  I needed a quick dinner with absolutely no prep work.

So, out came the crock pot.

Yes, the good old fashioned crock pot.

In went the pork loin and half a bottle of BBQ sauce.

BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.  

Dinner done!!

No photos for this one.

As for dessert,  I figured I should do something!

I had a fresh pineapple that was begging to be eaten.

So, I chopped it up into spears.

Rolled it in brown sugar

Then introduced it to my panini grill.

Drizzle with homemade chocolate sauce.


Chocolate Sauce

1/4 cup of whipping cream (heated in the microwave, don't overheat)  
A handful of chocolate chips
Stir until melted


Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday

This is when things started to go a little sideways.

That's okay though,  I lived to tell!

Instead of Spaghetti, I decided to make cannelloni.

A little more work, but it was fun to make.

Messy, but fun.

So I had oven ready cannelloni shells in my cupboard that had been saved for a rainy day.  Oven ready means you don't have to boil the pasta first.  You can fill the cannelloni and place in your baking dish and bake.  They soften and cook in the oven.    They also sell lasagna sheets like this too.  Fabulous!!!

Okay so here are the steps

The Sauce

I made a meat sauce from scratch, but please feel free to use your favourite jar of sauce.

I am all about keeping things simple.

Saute onion, and brown some ground beef in a pan.

Add a can of diced tomatoes,  and a can of tomato sauce and let simmer and reduce until the sauce has thickened.  

By reducing, I mean, that you are allowing the liquid to evaporate.  What you end up with is a thicker, richer sauce.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and perhaps italian spices (oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, garlic powder).

If you are using a jar of sauce, you probably don't need to add anything further for taste.  It will already be seasoned.

Place a ladle full of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.

A nice saucey bed for your cannelloni.

The Filling

Place one container of Ricotta cheese in a bowl

Add one egg

A handful of Romano cheese

A handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

A handful of chopped, fresh herbs (I used Italian flat leaf parsley and basil)

A tip for the Basil:

Pull off the leaves and lay all the leaves on top of one another.  Roll into a cigar and then starting at one end, chop the basil.  Making lots of little strands of basil.  This is called a chiffonade.

Mix the filling and get ready to get messy!

For filling the cannelloni.  I took a ziploc bag and snipped one of the corners.  Fill the ziploc with the cheesy, herby filling and then squeeze the mixture into the cannelloni shells.

It does get a little messy but lots of fun!

Place the filled shells in your prepared baking dish and cover with remaining sauce.

Top with parmesan cheese, cover with foil and bake according to the directions on the cannelloni box.

375 degrees for 40 minutes covered.

10 minutes more uncovered to get the cheese all nice and toasty!

Very kid friendly!!!

So Tuesday, as promised,  I made roast chicken thighs and served it with artisan lettuces and grilled mushrooms.

I cheated a little with this one, because I had this chicken in my freezer, so it wasn't part of my shopping list for last week.

I drizzled the chicken thighs with olive oil and lots of salt for tasty, crispy skin, and placed them in a roasting pan.

I set the timer to roast the chicken for 40 minutes at 425 degrees


I almost set fire to my kitchen.

Yes, keeping it real here folks, I almost had a fire.

After all, I am all about sharing, the good, the bad and the ugly of everyday life!

The grease from the chicken was splashing all over inside my oven and I already had something burning on the bottom of the oven from pizza last week (I think), apparently.

Anyway, lets just say this was almost smoked chicken.

I got it out just in time, after about 20 minutes and finished it off on my handy grill.

I removed the chicken after about 7-10 minutes or so,  and grilled the mushrooms in the remaining chicken juices.

For the bed of artisan lettuces.

I found them originally at Costco, but lately at Sobey's.

They are sold in a plastic container and there are 4 little heads of lettuce inside.

Each one different.

One purple, one curly, one crunchy, and one soft.  

Wish I could tell you the names of each lettuce.   Next time I promise.

Wash and chop, and lay on a plate as a tasty colourful little bed for your mushrooms and chicken.

Drizzle with your favourite dressing.

I used Fig Balsamic dressing by Kraft.

Kid approved, they loved it!

I don't know about you, but sometimes my weekly plan takes a nose dive when real life decides to interrupt.  

Last week was one of those weeks.

I did manage to feed my family by sticking to the menu, somewhat.

The good news is, I didn't go back to the grocery store all week, so I made do with what I had and perhaps saved a little money in the long run.

So here is:

Monday's Whole-y Mackerel (sorry, I couldn't resist)
My baby boy and pure fascination!

Mackeral meets grill.

Oh, a little side note here.  I had a blonde moment last week.

I thought I was being clever by cashing in some rewards points from my credit card.

Could have bought a Tiffany bracelet, silver ear rings, a nice watch.

I chose a grill.

A panini grill by Breville.

I have always wanted one, because I love hot, toasty sandwiches.

I felt pretty pleased with myself.

Until it arrived

I started taking it out of the box and realized I had one already.

What was I thinking?

I have a good old faithful George Foreman grill!

So, I frantically searched to see if you can return items bought with rewards points.

It doesn't seem like you can.

So now I have two grills.  Both have their pros and cons.

The cons about panini grill is it's harder to clean.

The grills on the George can be  removed and can go in the dishwasher.

The panini grill relies on elbow grease.

Oh and it takes a lot longer to warm up than George.

The pros of the panini grill are the larger cooking surface,  and you can alter the height of the lid so you don't squash your food flat.

So, I think I will be selling George and keeping my panini grill.

Okay, back to the mackerel

So, as mentioned last week, there are no recipes for this week.  I just had fun!

The mackerel was whole, and so I cleaned it up and made a marinade of olive oil, juice of one lemon, thyme, salt and pepper.   Rub the marinade all over the fish and inside the cavity.

I let the mackerel sit and get happy in the marinade for about an hour.

Make sure to make slits in the skin of the fish on both sides to allow for moisture to escape.   This also prevents the skin from shrinking shriveling in the heat.

Place the mackerel on your grill and cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Do not over cook.

There is nothing worse than over cooked fish of any kind.

I served the mackerel with jasmine rice and roasted asparagus.

For the asparagus, I drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it in the oven at 425 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

Don't over cook the asparagus.

No one wants dull, wilted asparagus.

It should still have a bit of a bite to it, and the salt will help keep the nice bright green colour!

Here's the finished product.

Oh, and by the way, my kids loved it!  

My youngest is a tad on the picky side and he loved it.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu - Week 1

As promised, here is the menu for Week 1.

It may not end up being as simple as I thought last week.  Today I went to Sobey's and for the first time I found fresh whole Mackerel.

So, I had no choice but to buy it.  It cost $5 for 2 fish.  They are small, and you may need one per adult.

I realize Mackerel is not a staple in most of our kitchens, and I may never cook it again, but I have to try it once!

So, it's going on the grill tonight, along with some olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh thyme.

So my trip to Sobey's cost $84.

It included the fish for tonight, and a pork loin roast for Thursday night, and a couple of lunch items.

Anyway, here's the menu for this week.


Grilled Mackerel, rice, asparagus


Roast chicken, artisan lettuce salad


Spaghetti Bolognese with The Bread


Pork Loin Roast,  potatoes, carrots


Homemade pizza  (dough made in bread maker)

No cookbooks for any of the above (except The Bread, it's from The Pioneer Woman).

Oh for dessert,  I did make a batch of mini Orange muffins with a brown sugar orange glaze that are truly wonderful.

The Pioneer Woman again!  Do you get the feeling I love her???

I will post photos and the recipe for them later because they would be perfect for Christmas and can be the first of my 12, Christmas Cookie/Cake/Cupcake Countdown recipes.

I am in the process of freezing a batch and will let you know how they turn out before I recommend them.

Wish me luck with the Mackerel!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So, it occurred the other day, a few weeks back I had mentioned I was having an Indian feast.

A plateful of mouthwatering goodness.

Selfish me, I didn't even share with you.  No photos, no recipes, no nothing.

So here it is folks.  Because, believe me, it's worth sharing.

When you've got a craving for something a little exotic and luxurious, this won't disappoint.

Trust me!

Here is the photo and you can decide for yourself.

Believe me it tastes as good as it looks!

So get the beer chillin, the spices spicing....and get in your kitchen, because here it comes!

Oh, by the way....get in the kitchen the day before,  because the chicken needs to get happy in the lime juice and spice mixture overnight.

Butter Chicken

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 whole lime, juiced
1 whole onion, diced
1/4 cups butter
1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
1 bunch of chopped cilantro

Combine the first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.

Saute the onions in the butter until soft.

Add marinated chicken and cook for 10 minutes

Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes

Add whipping cream.

Add cilantro

It's heaven on a plate!

This is another fantastic recipe by The Pioneer Woman.  What would I do without her?

Next up,

Turmeric Potatoes

2 lbs of new potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch or thinner
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp salt (I don't use that much, half it,  and add more to taste at the end)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 water
5 oz baby spinach (I love spinach, but don't always have it on hand, so I have always cooked this without the spinach)

Heat oil and saute onions until golden brown.  Add turmeric, salt and cayenne, stir well and cook for 1 minute.

Add potatoes and water and bring to a boil.

Gently stir.

Reduce heat to low and cover and cook until potatoes are cooked.

If the potatoes are sticking, add 1/4 cup more water.

If you are using spinach, add and stir for 1 minute, before turning off the heat.

Serve from the frying pan.

I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks,  Vij's Indian Cuisine.  

For any of you Vancourites, or anyone visiting Vancouver, you HAVE to,  TRY to,  go to Vij's restaurant located at 1480 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver.

I say try, because it is always busy.

There is always a line up.   A sign that it really is the best food in town!

Well worth the wait, I tell you, well worth it!!!

The wonderful Vikram Vij, owner and chef, will be there to greet you.   Treating everyone like royality.

For those of us that don't live anywhere near, there's the cookbook!

A great cookbook!

It's easy to follow and the results are tasty!

From the same book,

Cucumber Raita

2 cups plain yogurt, stirred
1 medium cucumber, grated
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup milk (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Thin the mixture with milk if you prefer

Serve with warm, toasty Naan bread.

If you are looking to pair your dinner with a great beer, try an India pale ale, a pilsner or a Scottish ale.


Friday, October 1, 2010

12 Weeks til Christmas

Can you believe it?

12 Weeks until Christmas.

That can't be right.

What's really wrong here, is that I am already thinking Christmas, when we haven't even had Halloween yet.

Oh well, that's just me!  There's no hope.  Believe me, people have tried....I am a lost cause.

I just can't help myself,  I feel Christmassy.

That said,  we've got a lot of baking and crafting to do in 12 short weeks.

I will help you stock your freezer, and show you how to make your own Christmas cards.

I will also be following Ali Edwards, my favorite crafter!

Check her out at,  you will see why I love her so.  She will soon become your favorite too.

Each year she does her December Daily album.

I did my first one last year and can't wait to get started again this year.

The album captures all the craziness memories, the month of December brings.  

Lots of fun stuff to do, so we had better get busy.

I will be doing one recipe full of sweet, buttery goodness, each week to get you all ready for when the big guy comes to town.
One of my favorite TV shows these days is Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag.

The idea behind the show is they review a certain cookbook, make several recipes out of the cookbook and then try to impress a chef with what they have cooked.  They rate the cookbook, based on how easy the recipes were to follow and taste.  Then they give their opinions on whether it's worth buying or not.

I love this show!

So I have decided to do something similar myself.

Since I am trying to feed 2 growing hockey players, one foodie, and one professional horseback rider.

We need lots of food, but it's costing a fortune.

Most of you know, I love food, I love talking about food, I love shopping for food.  I love preparing food!


I am going to try to do things on the cheap and see how I make out.

This may even mean I resort to coupons (eek!).  Or even, searching through flyers (double eek) !

I will provide you with the menu for the week, where the recipes came from, how much they cost, oh and whether or not you should spend your hard earned cash making it yourself or just get take-out!

This little project will start Monday.

Until then, spend all the money you want, eat whatever you want and enjoy your weekend!

Oh, and by the way, we have six hockey practices/games, plus one tournament in the next 7 days, so this week it's going to be all about quick and easy, make ahead food.

Sorry boys, no Roast Beef and Yorkshires this week!