Sunday, 28 April 2013

Meal Plan April 29 - May 3

Meatless Monday - Spicy Thai Noodles that I have made in the past

Tuesday - Crockpot Greek Chicken Pitas

Wednesday - Cajun Chicken Pasta **my friend made this for me last weekend and I went back 2 more times for helpings...SOOOOO good and it was also a Weight Watchers' recipe**

Thursday - nothing as I am on the road with my boy

Friday - I think we may have leftovers this night or wing it with something simple

El Diablo Chicken

El Diablo Chicken

So, I had this dish when I went to go see my baby brother out West before I went back to work from Maternity Leave. We went to Jasper to ski for a few days and we went to a fantastic restaurant called Dave's Evil Grill. All the dishes had clever evil names and this dish was a specialty from the chef. I knew I had to try this!

I cannot even describe how my taste buds sung while it shoveled this food into my mouth. And for those who have seen me eat, know that I literally shoveled this into my mouth and I barely came up to breathe. I have been craving it ever since and I was SO happy to find the recipe.

Did it turn out exactly as I remembered it? No. Was it still good? Yes.

I think I need to make it a few times to perfect it. The recipe was not clear on how long to simmer the sauce and I think I let it reduce too much. I also added too much corn and black beans, so next time I will adjust. Also, the chicken breasts that I used were HUGE and I think they would have been better in a smaller proportion.

This is what mine looked like made by a chef....

And this is what mine looked like....

I don't think they used corn in the original recipe and I did not have homemade tortilla chips, so I used store bought ones. Plus, I didn't have as much sauce. I will do better next time.

Here is the recipe:

4 to 5 large boneless, skinless chicken breast filets (about 1 to 1 ½ pounds) **Don't use HUGE chicken breasts like me**
Marinade ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon good quality chili powder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice of one large lime
Combine marinade ingredients and add chicken breasts. Stir to coat and let stand, refrigerated, for at least 3 hours. **We did this the night before, so it marinated for 12 hours**
The Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ of a large yellow onion, diced
Two vine-ripened tomatoes, diced or 1 (15 ounce) can of diced drained tomatoes
½ to 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (adjust for heat)
2 cups gluten-free chicken broth **I used my favourite epicure chicken broth**
¼ to ½ cup heavy cream **I used 1/2 cup**
½ cup corn kernels, thawed, if frozen **I probably used 3/4 cup and I shouldn't have**
½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained **I didn't read this and I used the whole can and I shouldn't have**
1 ½ cups cooked Jasmine rice
1 to 2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced
2 scallions, top third removed, coarsely chopped
To make the sauce:  
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Sauté the onion and tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. 
Add chipotle powder and sauté briefly. 
Add the chicken broth and simmer until reduced by half.  
While the mixture is simmering, preheat a grill to medium high and grill the chicken on both sides until centers are no longer pink.  Remove from heat.  Let cool slightly and slice each filet diagonally to yield 5 to 6 slices per filet.  
Add the cream to the reduced chicken broth mixture and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Fold in corn and black beans.
Divide rice and spoon a portion of the tomato mixture over the rice.  Fan out chicken slices over the top and garnish with avocado slices and a sprinkle of chopped scallion.  

Asian Peanut Butter Pork Crockpot

Asian Peanut Butter Pork Crockpot

I tend to search for recipes that I know will be quick to make when I get home from work so I can spend time with my kids. It kills me that I don't get to sit down and play with my daughter after not seeing her all day and rush right into making supper. This was the first night that I got to come home and play with her for an hour because the pork was already done and I had bought a ready made salad!

I have not used my crockpot in quite some time and I am not sure why. I have been pinning some recipes for my crockpot on pinterest, but I guess I have not had much inspiration from them.....until this recipe. I am SO glad that I made it because it was very tasty. If you love Asian peanut butter sauces, then this is the recipe for you.

I cooked it in low for 8 hours and turned into pulled pork, so I was glad that I chose to eat a salad as a side dish to balance the textures. I needed some crunch with this pork! I also got some crunch from the crushed peanuts that I crumbled on top, which made this dish go from good, to great. 


1.5-2lbs pork tenderloin
1 onion, sliced in rings
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts 
1 lime, cut in wedges 

**I recommend a salad as a side and use Asian Sesame dressing because it complements the pork nicely**


1. Use a 4-6 quart crockpot

2. Put onion slices into the bottom of your crockpot. Put the pork on top.

3. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, and peanut butter. No need to stir--the peanut butter needs to melt before you can do so. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-6. 

4. The pork will be more tender the longer you cook it. 1 hour before serving, flip the meat over in the crockpot to allow the other side to soak up the peanut buttery goodness. 

5. Garnish with chopped peanuts, and serve with lime wedges. The lime juice mixed with the peanut butter is delicious.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Meal Plan April 22 - 26

Meatless Monday - Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Balsamic Basil Mayo

Wednesday - El Diablo Chicken ....Seriously, 3rd time of trying to make this recipe is the charm? 

Thursday - Homemade Turkey Soup from the freezer and rolls

Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Enough chocolate chip cookies I have ever made.

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
1 egg 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.

3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.

4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)

5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.  Try not to eat them all.

Asian Chicken Kebabs

I made Asian Chicken Kebabs instead of steak this week because I never got around to making it earlier this month on my meal plan. I really wanted to try it and I am glad that I did.

I LOVE this marinade. It was tasty and spicy and I will be making this again.


- The original recipe called to marinade the veggies as well, but I only marinated the chicken. 
- The original recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts, but I only made 2 chickens and it fed 3 people with left overs. 
- The original recipe said to heat up the marinade, but we didn't heat it up and it turned out wonderful.

Asian Chicken Kebabs

YIELD: 4 servings



1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
3 slices fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, crushed


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces


1. In a container big enough to contain your chicken, combine the soy sauce, oil, honey, Sriracha, ginger root, and garlic. Add cubed chicken to the marinade, cover and put in fridge. I let it marinate all night.
2. Thread the chicken, green bell pepper, onion, and red bell pepper pieces onto skewers alternately. 
3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill Asian Chicken Kebabs until chicken is just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 9-12 minutes.

Friday, 19 April 2013


Do you ever have leftover meat that you don't want to reheat because it will dry up all the yummy juices and taste like cardboard?

Well, then I have a recipe for you!


Quesidilias are a family favourite in our house. For the cook of the house and the eaters of the house. It is quick and easy to make and even more important, it is oh so yummy. I often make it when I buy a roast chicken and I need to use the leftover pieces of meat that need to be cleaned off the bone. I clean that chicken of all that yummy dark meat that we are too lazy to get when we first eat the chicken. You can substitute the chicken for leftover pork or steak and any other kind of protein leftovers that you need to use up. I am not a fan of reheating steak or pork the next day, so I usually cut it up thinly and throw it in a Quesidilia!


Left over meat cut up into small chunks
Tortillas, I use whole grain
Salsa, I use medium or hot spice
Sour cream, I use light
Garlic, 2-3 cloves
Peppers, diced
Onion, diced
Bacon, 4-5 slices
Green onion, chopped
Cheese, I like to use jalapeño Monterey Jack cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Spices, I use epicures fajita seasoning, but you could use Homemade taco seasoning or Homemade fajita seasoning recipe
Spinach, I added this last time because I had some leftover that needed to be used up


1. I do all my food prep. Cut the meat into small chunks and then dice the peppers and onions. I don't measure because it all depends on how many people I am feeding. I adjust as needed. Chop some green onion and grate lots of cheese (enough to thinly layer the bottom and top of each tortilla to help make the rest of the food stick when the cheese melts).

2. Once the bacon is cooked, I break it up into small pieces and set aside. I drain some, but not all of the fat, and then start to sauté garlic (30 sec) and then the peppers and onions in the bacon scrapings and fat. If you want it to be spicy, I would add some red pepper flakes or chili peppers here. Add oil if you don't want to use the bacon fat....but seriously, you suck if you don't ;) Sauté the veggies for 3-4 minutes.

3. Then add the chicken and bacon into the same pan. Add the spices of your choice to everything in the pan. I don't measure, I shake some on, stir, then shake some more. Taste and add more if needed. Add the spinach and green onion. Cook until the spinach wilts, then take off of the heat, but keep in the pan so you can keep it warm and more importantly, not dirty any more dishes.

4. In a large frying pan, start to heat up 2 tbsp of oil on medium to high heat. Pace tortilla in the pan, and then quickly add a thin layer of cheese. Scoop the toppings on top the cheese and make sure it's evenly spread around and then add another layer of cheese on top of that. Place a 2nd tortilla on top and press down with a spatula. Adjust heat if needed. We want the tortilla to be crispy and brown, but not cook it too much before the cheese melts. Depending on heat, cook for 6-8 minutes. I quickly peak under the tortilla to see if it is browned enough to my liking. I like it to be crispy.

5. Now the tricky part is coming....flipping the Quesidilia without all of the innards coming out. I tilt the pan to the side and use a large spatula and quickly flip it. I have done this so much, that stuff rarely comes out, but it took me awhile to get the hang of it. If anything comes out, then try to quickly stuff it back in with your spatula. If it is cooked long enough, the cheese can melt and help keep things inside as well. Cook on this side for the same amount of time or less.

6. Slide it out of the pan onto a plate and then use a pizza cutter to cut it into slices. Serve with a side of salsa and sour cream!

** I use the large tortillas so I can have leftovers the next day, because I can't usually eat a whole one **

*** I have also used this recipe for nachos instead of putting it into a Quesidilia. I would skip the spinach though ***

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Meal plan April 15 - 19

Meatless Monday - Pumpkin pancakes since I didn't get to make these last week

Tuesday - homemade meat pie from the freezer

Wednesday - steak on the BBQ, roasted sweet potatoes and a veggie (not sure what yet)

Thursday - nothing, as I'm on the road with my little man for piano and karate

Friday - going to plan on making the El Diablo Chicken

I made my own version of quesidilia tonight for supper and I will be blogging about it this week.

Side dishes

So, I stuck to 3 of my 5 recipes in last weeks meal plan. I didn't get to make the pancakes or the El Diablo Chicken, but I will be definitely getting to the chicken this week.

I can't share the homemade hamburger recipe with you because it is my man's recipe and it is in his head and he does it different each time. I can share that he makes it out of half hamburger and half hot Italian sausage (and a bunch of other yummy ingredients). Growing up, I never liked homemade hamburgers because my father, who is an excellent cook and is now the main cook at their house, loved to make the burgers out of hamburg and onions and he loved to make them thick. He would also cook the hell out them so that they were thick and dry. Then my man came into my life and he made hamburgers that I crave.

Since I can't share that recipe, this blog post will be about 2 side dishes that I made recently.

A side dish that I will share is the Parmesan Spinach Orzo. This recipe was okay. My son loved it. I prefer my Herb and Chesse Orzo recipe instead. If I was to do the Parm orzo again, I would add more garlic and some parsley. Other then that, it was an easy and quick side dish to make and I do LOVE spinach. I don't have a picture because I made it before karate and I was in a rush.

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo

1 cup whole wheat orzo
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced **next time I would use 3**
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. flour
1 cup milk **I used homogonized because that was all that I had**
2/3 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish


1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute or until onions are translucent. Add flour to form a roux and cook for an additional minute.
3. Add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps from the roux. When lumps are worked out, add the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
4. Add chopped spinach to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Remove sauce from heat.
5. Stir parmesan cheese into sauce. When cheese has melted, add cooked orzo to sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Last weekend we had supper at my in laws and I made Asparagus Gratin. It was pretty good! Everyone seemed to like it. 
Next time I would either add more asparagus or I would use less cheese sauce. I also put the baking dish too close to the broiler element and the cheese got a little too crispy. Oh, and I would add some bacon....mmmmm....bacon....

2 pounds thin asparagus **not sure how much I had, so I may not have had enough**
3 cups water
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour 
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Line broiler safe baking dish with paper towels or a lint free kitchen cloth. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and set both stalks and ends aside.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus ends and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook covered, for 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove asparagus ends and discard. Add asparagus stalks to skillet, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender,2-4 minutes. Transfer asparagus to paper/cloth-lined baking dish. Pour asparagus water into liquid measuring cup. If liquid does not read 1-cup mark, add water until it does.
  3. Melt butter in now empty skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in reserved asparagus water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in ½ cup Parmesan and Monterey jack until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand for 5 minuets.
  4. Remove paper towels from baking dish. Drizzle sauce over center of asparagus and top with remaining Parmesan. Broil until cheese is golden and asparagus is tender, 4-8 minutes. Serve.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Meal plan for April 8 - 12

Meatless Monday - I didn't cook tonight, so my man made us some macaroni with veggies and tomatoes and then baked it in the oven with cheese. I was so happy that he stuck with Meatless Monday!

Tuesday - Caesar salad and homemade hamburgers. We made these awhile ago and froze them.

Wednesday - roast chicken (store bought to save time) and Parmesan Spinach Orzo

Thursday - Pumpkin pancakes

Friday - El Diablo Chicken I had this dish when I went to Dave's Evil Grill in Jasper in February. It was one of the best dishes of food I have ever had and I have been craving it ever since. I searched and searched for this recipe and I finally found a knock-off. I am scared that I will be badly disappointed, but I have to give it a try.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Italian Drunken Noodles

Italian Drunken Noodles

This recipe is another keeper! I loved this dish and it was a huge hit with my son who LOVES sausage. This recipe is very easy to make, especially if you do the prep the night before. The only thing I added was spinach at the end, which I am glad I did. I love spinach.

As a side note, I made the  lentils and brown rice last night and it was so so...I used the wrong kind of lentils and rice, so I will be attempting it again and when I do, I will post the recipe then. The marinade for the pork chops was DELICIOUS though.

Now, back the Italian Drunken Noodles....

One of my favorite dishes is a Thai Drunken Noodle at a Thai restaurant in our city. It will always hold a special place in my heart because I was eating it when I went into labor for my daughter. I ate mine, half of my man's. My dessert and most of his dessert....then I went to the hospital shortly after.

So, when I saw another bloggers spin on the Drunken Noodle, I had to try it. So, here it is.

Olive oil
4 spicy Italian sausage links, casings removed **I used 3 and it was SPICY, use mild if you would like less spice**
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
½ cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
8 ounces Pappardelle noodles, uncooked **I used whole wheat fettuccine and it was great**
- Place a large, heavy-bottom pan or braising pot over medium-high heat; add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and once the oil is hot, crumble the spicy Italian sausage into the pan in small chunks, allowing it to brown in the oil for a few moments on each side; once the crumbled sausage is browned, remove it from the pan/pot with a slotted spoon and place into a small bowl to hold for a moment.
- Add the sliced onion into the pan with the sausage drippings, and allow it to caramelize and become golden for roughly 5 minutes or so, stirring to keep it from burning (add a touch more olive oil, if necessary); once the onion starts to become golden, add the salt, Italian seasoning and cracked black pepper, and stir to combine.
- Add in the sliced bell peppers, and allow those to saute with the onion for about 2 minutes until slightly tender and golden. I start boiling the water for the noodles at this point.
- Add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the white wine and allow it to reduce for a few moments, until almost completely reduced. 
- Add in the diced tomatoes with their juice, and return the browned spicy Italian sausage back into the pan, and gently fold the mixture to combine; allow it to gently simmer for about 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors, then turn the heat off.
- Add the noodles, basil and parsley. To finish the sauce, drizzle in about 2-3 good tablespoons of the olive oil to create a silky, rich flavor, and add the spinach if you want to at this point.
-I didn't do this, but to garnish, you can sprinkle some more basil; you can even top with shaved Parmesan, if desired, and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Meal plan for April 2 - 5

Tuesday - Brown Rice and Lentils (1st time eating lentils!) with Pork Chops with this marinade (click)

Thursday - We are eating on the road from piano to karate

Friday - Asian Chicken Kebabs and rice