Spring Recap

Hello Internet Friends,

Obviously I dropped the ball the last few months.  Like dropped it a long way down.  It’s been a busy spring so I have been trying to do some major big batch cooking…sometimes just for myself, and sometimes for a mommy friend of mine that has no time to prep and cook on the weekends. I actually love it. If I could somehow turn food prep & shopping into a home business, I would totally quit my job and do it.  Maybe when I win the Lotto Max…

Food Prep Saves Lives

Food Prep Saves Lives

There are a few winner recipes that I have come across that I’ve been making in large batches to have on hand for quick weekday meals …

Turkey, Zucchini & Quinoa Meatballs – these are delicious!  I have made these twice now and they are a freezer staple.  My friend Jo also tested them on her 1 yr & 5 year olds and they were a hit.  We eat ’em in lettuce wraps with marinara & mozzarella, but you could have it on spaghetti squash or pasta instead.  Obviously you could omit the cheese, but why would you do that? I mean, Really.

Make These Now!

Make These Now!

Spinach & Feta Burgers – I actually turned these into meatballs but they were delicious just the same.  Roasted garlic and feta…need I say more?  Make these too.

Who Doesn't Love a Turkey Meatball?

Who Doesn’t Love A Turkey Meatball?

Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burgers – I have talked about these before.  Just make them.

Chipotle Delicious Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers

Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups – I don’t have a picture, but these are super customizable and can be tossed in the microwave for a quick lunch (served w/salad or veggies & greek yogurt ranch) or a snack.  Besides the ham/zucchini/cheese in the Pinterest link, which were delish by the way, we have also done spinach/mushroom/feta and ham/broccoli/cheddar and they were delicious too.  Still on the idea list to try are chicken/black beans/salsa, sun dried tomato/artichoke/mozza, pepperoni pizza…Really, the options are endless.  If you don’t want mini (or don’t have a mini muffin tin) there are instructions on making full sized muffins in the comments on the link.

Here are some other delicious recipes that we’ve tried over the last few months…

Crockpot Chicken Chili Tostada Stacks – Holy F.  This is possibly the best thing I’ve tried on Pinterest so far.  Make this immediately.  Spicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, cheesy…and any other word-“y” descriptor you can come up with.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but this was f-ing amazing.

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but this was f-ing amazing.

Chili – I don’t follow a recipe…just brown some meat and throw it in the slow cooker. Add some veggies and spices, throw in some beans and tomatoes…slowcook for about 6 hours.  Dinner.  Done.

Spicy Delicious Chili

Spicy Delicious Chili

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Pesto Shrimp & Grilled Vegetable Salad – I was always scared to make pesto, but this is a new go-to for me.  Basil is cheap in the summer (or you could pick up a fresh plant for under $10), and a huge batch of the pesto in the freezer comes in handy for quick easy meals.  Toss with chicken & pasta, shrimp & spaghetti squash or this easy salad.  On prep day, toss shrimp & pesto in a ziploc, throw your favourite summer veggies (peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion etc.) in a second bag with some oil and spices and you are good to go.  You can also serve with some quinoa & pesto vinaigrette (pesto + lemon juice + oil) for extra bulk & protein. There are lots of ways to cook this…bbq, grill pan, a cast iron pan…or the most amazing purchase ever?  A cast iron grill pan!  I bought one last year for camping but started using it in the oven over the winter.  It is awesome for getting that smoky grilled flavour that you’re craving when it’s December and grilling season is still 4-6 months away.  Boom.

Pesto Shrimp & Grilled Vegetable Salad

Pesto Shrimp & Grilled Vegetable Salad

Black Bean & Bison Burgers – these are from my fantastic kickboxing instructor & friend, Rebecca.  She has designed an awesome clean eating program & wrote a beautiful cookbook, called Nourish.  You can check out a few of her featured recipes over here.  Trust me, just buy the book.  It’s all real, easy to prepare and (most importantly) delicious food. PS – these were also done on the cast iron grill pan. Buy one. You won’t regret it.

Lean & Mean Black Bean & Bison Burgers

Lean & Mean Black Bean & Bison Burger

So far we have not had many fails.  Only a couple that I can think of actually…

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – My friend Steph at work sent me this recipe and looooves it.  For me?  It was a total Fail.  I think this would be better with roasted garlic…a possible 2nd attempt could be in the future, but I obviously did something wrong because it just tasted like raw garlic and ended up in the trash.

Broccoli & Kale Soup from Nourish – this one should have been delicious, but we omitted the green onion (because not everyone likes onion for some reason) and it was seriously lacking in flavour.  It looked cool tho…

Green Soup!

Green Soup!

I’m sure there’s lots of other things that we have tried, but I figured a big photo dump was due.  I will be back with some monthly food planning tips shortly.

Cheers,
Red

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Fab February Finds

Two posts in one day…I better be careful or you might get used to this 🙂

We have both been travelling a lot with work over the last couple of weeks, so haven’t been eating too many at home meals.  But we had a few big hits that I had to share…

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa – all I can say about this one is YUM, YUM, YUM.  The squash added sweetness, thickness and texture, the chicken was extremely tender, and the quinoa was the perfect touch.  I sent leftovers home with a friend and she was also a SUPER fan of this one.  I firmly recommend you make this tonight!

Squash Prepped & Ready to Go

Squash Prepped & Ready to Go

The last couple of times that I have used butternut squash, I bought the prepped squash from Costco but have found that it has a weird texture and taste.  This time, I bought a whole squash and prepped it myself…now, I realize that this may seem intimidating, but I managed to get er done in about 10 minutes, and with all 10 fingers in tact.  Victory!  And a welcome change from my typical style haha.  The verdict?  Prepped squash = $5.50, whole squash = $3.50 and 10 minutes of your time…your choice.

Vegetable Steamer - A Great Investment

Vegetable Steamer – A Great Investment

**Side Note – this thing is AMAZING for making hard boiled eggs…perfect every time!!

Poaching the Chicken

Poaching the Chicken

Have I Mentioned That I Love This Soup?

Have I Mentioned That I Love This Soup?

Ta-Da!!  The Finished Product

Ta-Da!! The Finished Product

Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers – these were another HUGE hit in our house.  A little bit of spice (I only used 1 chipotle pepper, but will bump it up to 2 the next time), and all kinds of nice.  I saved a few of the beans and added them whole (rather than mashing them all) for a bit of texture.  Next time I will probably add some shredded zucchini and/or carrots to bump up the veggie factor and add some moisture, but they were REALLY good.

Deeelicious!

Deeelicious!

The recipe made 6 good sized burgers (about 1/2 cup each), so this is another keeper recipe for quick, freezer friendly meals that make Monday nights just a little less hectic.  We didn’t make the greek yogurt, mustard & honey sauce…but served them with greek yogurt ranch (plain yogurt + ranch dressing powder), sliced avocado and easy peasy kale chips.

Dinner is Served

Dinner is Served

But with success comes failure…it does in my kitchen anyway.  I attempted to make these Sweet Potato Crisps to accompany a mushroom & zucchini frittata and fried deer sausage.  Thinking that I could save some time, I used my food processor to shred the potatoes…well, this was definitely not one of my top 10 best ideas.  The shred was too thick, so the potatoes didn’t cook and we ended up with raw potato mounds.  I think a finer shred, either with a microplane or the other processor shredding plate, would have resulted in crispier, cooked potatoes.

Sweet Potato Fail

Sweet Potato Fail

What’s on the menu this week you ask?

Sunday – Grilled Lemon Chicken and Roasted Carrot & Beet Salad w/Feta

Monday – Greek Salad w/Quinoa & Marinated Chick Peas … I am kind of winging this one, but am using Greek Pasta Salad and Cucumber & Tomato Salad w/Marinated Garbanzo Beans as inspiration

Tuesday – Grilled Shrimp with Salad

Wednesday – Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers 

Thursday – Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Wraps

What are you guys eating this week?  Anything worth sharing?  I would love to see some pictures!  As usual, I will try to post some reviews next weekend…or in a few weeks, whenever…

Chow for Now,

Red

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January Recap

Hi Friends!

Sorry for the lack of posting, lots has been going over the last few weeks.  I thought I would throw out a quick January Recap on a few meals we had last month, some keepers and some not so much.

Vietnamese Style Lettuce Cups – these were a big hit!  Salty, sweet, crunch from the veggies, and it’s all wrapped up in a crisp butter lettuce leaf.  Lettuce wraps are awesome because you can fill them with so many things…taco meat, tuna salad, quinoa & beans…or in this case, yummy Asian flavoured ground pork.  The sauce recipe makes a LOT, so you could easily half it and have enough for leftovers.  Definitely a keeper.

Prepped & Ready to Go

Prepped & Ready to Go

Ta-Da!!  Delicious Set Up

Ta-Da!! Delicious Set Up

Cauliflower Steaks with Spinach Gratin – holy F, this was a top ten Meatless Monday meal for sure!  I have seen cauliflower steaks on Pinterest before but wasn’t 100% sold.  These sold me.  The roasted cauliflower has great texture and a bit of sweetness, the creamy and salty spinach cheese sauce was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.  Make this NOW.

Cauliflower "Steaks"

Roasted Cauliflower “Steaks”

Cheese & Spinach.  Yum.  That is All.

Cheese + Spinach = YUM

SO Good!!

SO Good!!

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs – these were an awesome find.  They have great flavour, the zucchini adds moisture and the recipe makes a ton, so I was able to freeze them and had 2 quick and easy weekday meals before going to get my ass kicked by the trainer.

Easy, Delicious Meatballs

Easy, Delicious Meatballs

Thai Red Curry Butternut Squash Soup – unfortunately this came with mixed reviews.  The first attempt was so f-ing spicy that we couldn’t eat it and the second time, I burnt the squash so it had a really bitter taste.  But I encourage you to try it, because the flavour profile really should work!  Coconut milk, red curry paste, sweet squash…it should have worked!

Thai Red Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Red Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Korean Flank Steak – the marinade in this recipe was pretty good, but I have decided that I don’t like working with flank steak, so I probably won’t make it again.  I just find that the steak is really touchy when it comes to cooking it perfectly, and when it’s overcooked it’s really not good.  But the marinade itself was yum and if you like flank steak, this one is worth a try!

Roasted Tomato and Zucchini Frittata – I freaking love frittatas…can’t say enough good things about them.  Quick, easy, and a great way to cram a ton of vegetables into one meal along with the protein filled goodness of the incredible, edible egg.

Frittata!

I Heart Frittata!

Shrimp and Broccoli – another keeper!  Throw the ingredients on a cookie sheet and roast, how hard could that be?  Throw in a bowl with some soy sauce and rice or quinoa and you’ve got dinner.  Done.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal – if you are a regular reader, or follow me on Pinterest, you will know that this has become a weekly regular in our house.  Tastes like candy but is full of real, good for you ingredients, and it is super easy to throw together and bake on Sunday.  This feeds us for the entire week, 9-10 servings in total, and I just throw it in the microwave and eat with a splash of cream.  Make this NOW!!

Baked Breakfast Awesomeness

Baked Breakfast Awesomeness

I encourage you to try some of these and let me know what you think.  I’ll be back with a few February finds (say that quickly 10 times) that I am sure you will love.

Chow for Now,

Red

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Holding Steady…

Hey Friends,

We are in week 3 of January, kick off month to a healthier me.  That’s the plan anyway.  So far I have hired a personal trainer and joined a kickboxing class, which is like SO fun.  I’ve never really punched anything and it is such good therapy!  And a kick ass workout.  And the whole diet thing?  I would give myself a 7/10.  Sometimes, when the sun is shining in January and you’ve just endured a month of freezing cold and snow…you just gotta have a cheeseburger and a beer.  Am I right?

Here’s a recap of last week’s menu…

Monday – Bison MeatloafGrilled Zucchini with Lemon Salt and Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

Tuesday – Red Thai Curry Butternut Squash

Wednesday – Korean Flank SteakSpicy Sichuan Style Green Beans and Veggie Load Fried Quinoa

Thursday – Turkey & Zucchini Meatballs

And here’s how it actually went down…

Monday I had a 24 hour flu.  Like kick your ass, keep you in the bathroom all night kinda flu.  Good times.  But I did manage to get my ass off the couch in the afternoon and make Red Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup.

Mmm Soup

Mmm Soup

Topped of with a dollop of greek yogurt, fresh parsley and pumpkin seeds, it was pretty good.  I had already roasted the squash on Sunday afternoon so it was a super easy meal for a Monday.

Sunday Prep for Easy Weekday Meals

Sunday Prep for Easy Weekday Meals

It had a bit of an odd flavour, but I’m not sure if it’s because I used frozen onions (I chop a whole bunch and then freeze them in individual portions for easy use) or it if was because I may have burnt the squash a little bit.  So it wasn’t a 100% success, but it was pretty good.  The soup had an especially silky and delicious texture thanks to this bad boy…

Best. Blender. Ever.

Best. Blender. Ever.

Behold, the Blendtec.  A friend of mine bought me this for my 30th birthday.  I won’t lie, secretly at first I was like “A blender? Weird.”  But I did not understand the awesomeness that was the Blendtec.  Check out this Will It Blend? video to see what I mean.  No BD, that’s just an iPad being pulverized into powder.  This thing makes amazingly smooth smoothies, milkshakes, soups and veggie juices.  To be honest, I like my juicer better for making juices, but it works.  The Blendtec easily blends from totally frozen and has all kinds of pre-programmed items like the aforementioned soups and smoothies, as well as milkshakes, sauces, nut butters etc.  It’s a huge hit and I love you JC for buying it for me.  (PS – I am not being paid to sing Blendtec’s praises.  It’s just awesome and I like to share info on what I’m using in my kitchen.)

Anyway, back to the food…

Tuesday I made the Korean Flank Steak with steamed basmati rice and green beans.  The sauce was delicious but I’m finding that I don’t like working with flank steak.  I find it really hard to cook, because it’s either totally rare in the middle or overcooked and like leather when you try to eat it.  Frustrating.  So I have one piece left (I buy one at Costco and cut it in half) and then I’m not sure that I will use it again.

Wednesday the man had the same flu that I had on Monday, so I was cooking for one.  I pan fried salmon with some lemon and steak spice and made a quick spinach salad.  Read: salad = lettuce.  This time I even got fancy and added roasted pumpkin seeds.  It’s not much, but it’s an easy serving of vegetables.  I also whipped some greek yogurt with sriracha to make a spicy dip for the salmon.

Salmon & Spinach "Salad"

Salmon & Spinach “Salad”

Thursday we had Turkey & Zucchini Meatballs served over roasted spaghetti squash tossed with parmesan and S&P.  I made these meatballs a few weeks ago and had them in the freezer ready to go.  Defrost, reheat…wallah!  Dinner made easy.  They were delish.  I cooked the squash whole for the first time and found that the middle was harder to scoop out than when you cut it in half before you cook it.  On the plus side, it was definitely much easier to cut in half after it was cooked!  Safety first.  Not like cutting myself is an unlikely scenario, right?

Balls. Turkey balls.

Balls. Turkey balls.

So, this week is another busy week.  It’s actually been a busy first few weeks of 2014.  But it’s a good busy and it’s kind of fun. Anyone else feeling like that?  I kick box during my lunch break on Mondays and Fridays, see my new trainer Tuesday and Thursday nights and play soccer on Wednesdays.  Phew!  So we are trying to keep things healthy, quick and easy. (That’s what she said.)  Sunday I prepped bags of veggies and dip and made hard boiled eggs in my food steamer (awesome method, by the way) for easy lunch items.  I also cut up and marinated pork for dinner on Tuesday.

Last night was taco night.  But bison tacos, in lettuce wraps.

Bison Taco Lettuce Wraps

Bison Taco Lettuce Wraps

And tonight was buffalo chicken wraps and kale chips.  I had a bit of cheddar, greek yogurt ranch (I stir up a bit of the ranch dip powder with non-fat plain greek yogurt), spinach, and avocado.  I know the wrap looks huge, but I actually ripped off most of the excess once the photo was done.

Buffalo Chicken Wrap & Kale Chips

Buffalo Chicken Wrap & Kale Chips

I’ve been breaking up and cleaning the kale on Sunday and storing it in a ziploc with a papertowel.  As long as I make sure to spin it really dry, it seems to keep better and makes it super easy to throw a hand full into a smoothie or salad,  or roast up a quick tray of kale chips.

*My kale chip recipe isn’t really a recipe.  I just mist them lightly with oil, toss with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes at 300 degrees.  Flip and roast another 5-10 minutes and enjoy!  Watch them the last few minutes, they burn easily and are kinda bitter if you do.  You can customize these in so many ways…parmesan cheese, sriracha, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder…whatever you have, whatever you feel like.  They are SO good, and perfect guilt free snacking.

The lineup for the rest of the week is…

Tuesday – Hoisin Pork with Rice Noodles – this was my original pinspiration.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this yet, but I have pork tenderloin cut up and marinating in stir fry sauce and hoisin so we’ll make something work.

Wednesday – Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

Thursday – Cauliflower Steaks with Spinach Gratin

What is everyone else eating?  Are you sticking to those New Years revolutions?  I’d love to hear what your resolution was and how you stay motivated.

Chow for Now,

Red

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Try Again…

Forgive me, again.  I know it’s been a looong time since my last post.  It seems like this has become a common theme, saying I will do better and then apologizing for not doing it.  I feel like I have been doing that a lot lately…eating better, working out more etc. but for one reason or another, it just doesn’t happen.  I turned 30 a month ago and had all these goals, it’s just been hard to feel motivated.  But I can dwell on it, or I can do better…so I’m going to, again, say I will do better and try harder.

Phew…enough with the emotional diarrhea Red, we’re here for the food.  Sorry, sorry…you’re right.  The FOOD.  My last post was like two and a half months ago (oops!)  so I have a couple updates for y’all.  One – my first fill-the-freezer cooking weekend. Two – safety in the kitchen.  So, lets start shall we?

1.  My Fill-The-Freezer Cooking Weekend

I have seen maaany pins for freezer meals but have never been that excited about it.  To me, the notion of freezer meals reminds me of all those nasty, bland, and totally unhealthy microwave dinners that you find at the grocery store. What I learned is that freezer meals can be delicious and as healthy as you want them to be.  The extra kick in the pants that I needed to get on this freezer meal bandwagon was that one of my very best friends was going in for surgery, leaving her husband and two very sweet kids to fend for themselves. Unacceptable. So I picked 5 meals out of my Pinterest arsenal and started planning.  I would make the full recipe for each dish and just split into two containers, one for her and one for me.  All in all, including grocery shopping, it took me 2 full days…9am to 11pm on day 1 and 830am to 4pm on day 2.  But it was actually SO fun…if I could do this for a career and actually pay bills, I totally would.  My friend has a lady that comes in to her house and cooks her Paleo meals…for like $250 bucks plus groceries.  I could do that.  Any takers??

Anyway, here are the meals I picked.  The pizza pops were kind of a spur of the moment decision when I was at the store and realized that there’s a fab italian market by my grocery store and they make fresh pizza dough.

  1. Cheesy Enchilada Casserole  *made with ground turkey instead of beef
  2. Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese
  3. Sloppy Joe Mix
  4. Sausage, White Bean & Kale Soup  *I have a few pins for this soup, so I kind of took them as inspiration and winged it
  5. Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
  6. Pizza Pops  *this one was also used more as inspiration
The Haul

The Haul

Soup Ingredients Ready to Go

Soup Ingredients Ready to Go

IMG_0741

Sloppy Joe Mix Prepped & Ready

IMG_0743

Sausage for Soup (Left) & Ground Beef for Sloppy Joes (Right)

IMG_0744

Sloppy Joes – Done!

IMG_0747

Roasted Sweet Potatoes for Mac & Cheese

IMG_0095

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese – Done!

Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole - Done!

Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole – Done!

As you can see, the Progress pictures quickly became the Done! pictures.  Day 2 I only took one picture, the Ta Da picture.   Whoops.  But I can’t do everything.  Shop, prep, cook, DO NOT BURN ANYTHING.  My focus was on the food, not so much on the photo ops.  Next time maybe I will hire a photographer to document the weekend.

I make it sound like I was on my own, but I DID have a couple of friends that helped along the way…

Tupperware Smooth Chopper:  This model has actually been discontinued and replaced with the Tupperware Power Chef System, which is basically the same thing except you get a funnel.  This thing chops and whips all with the pull of a cord.  Magic.

IMG_0752

Tupperware Power Chef

Tin Foil Pans:  Now, these don’t seem like a big helper but when a husband is left on his own to take care of a 5 year old and an 8 month old, dishes are not an option.  Read: Disposable = Awesome.

IMG_0753

Tin Foil Pans

Label Maker:  Oh label maker, how I love thee.  OCD much?  Yes.

IMG_0755

Label Maker

Aaaaaand, Drumroll Please!!  The finished product(s).  2 days of hard work, but it was really fun and I know that she really appreciated it.  And I appreciated it too.  It was SO nice to come home and have meals ready to go.  I will definitely do it again, so stay tuned for more freezer filler posts.  We are actually planning a potential girls weekend in January to cook, cook cook.

IMG_0756

Ta Da!! I forgot the soup in the photo, so sue me.

As a bonus, she got a pan of Baked Oatmeal too…because it is freaking easy, and freaking delicious (and I had extra).  Seriously, try this recipe. It’s like the easiest thing to customize…Don’t have blueberries? use raspberries!  Don’t want to add sugar, sub in apple sauce.  Can’t do dairy? Use almond milk, rice milk…whatever gets you going.  Throw it together, bake it for a half hour.  Breakfast all week?  Done.  Heat it up in the microwave with a splash of cream, milk, yogurt, ice cream and chocolate sauce…whatever!  Do it!

I know what you are thinking…how were the dishes?  Some were a success and some were a fail.  But that’s okay, because unless you try it you will never know, right?  I have at least one cooking fail per week.  Just yesterday I had to throw out an entire pot of red curry butternut squash soup because it was SO freaking spicy that I could not eat it.  Like, Could.Not.Eat.It.  But I will totally make the recipe again, with half the red curry paste, because I think it would have been awesome had it not burnt the tastebuds off my tongue.  Lesson learned.  The only real fail was the Sausage, White Bean & Kale soup…and I 100% blame the fail on me, not the recipes.  I have a few sausage & kale soup recipes pinned, so I kind of winged it based on the general idea of each recipe.  Brown the sausage, add the beans and broth, add the kale at the end.  Seems easy enough, no?  I am no expert, I am 100% just guessing, but I think the fail was because I used pork sausage instead of turkey sausage…the soup had a really strange after taste and I wonder if it was because I didn’t skim off enough of the pork fat (??)  But then there are LOTS of other soup recipes that call for pork sausage, so I really don’t know.  Whatever, live and learn.  The Chicken & Rice casserole had really great flavour, but next time I would add more liquid and I think I may have overcooked the rice because it was kind of mushy after it was reheated.  But would I try it again?  Yes.  The Sloppy Joe mix was pretty good, but extremely sweet.  Next time I will use half the sugar and probably add some hot sauce and/or chill powder.

The Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese and Pizza Pops were our faves.  The enchilada casserole was really filling and could easily be made vegetarian by taking out the meat and adding more beans, mushrooms, etc. to bulk it up.  The mac & cheese was awesome.  Obviously.  How can you NOT like mac & cheese?  And you totally can’t taste the sweet potato so it’s fab for picky kids.  And pizza pops?  Who remembers eating those as a hungry teenager?  These were similar…but with real dough, real sauce, real toppings and real cheese.  Not that weird cubed mozza that was in pizza pops and never seemed to melt properly.

Phew…I think that’s enough for one day.  Update #2 – Safety in the Kitchen will be posted soon, I promise!  But for now, my hands are tired!  And I bet you are sick of reading.  So go forth, enjoy the rest of your week…and if you are in Southern Alberta, stay warm!!

Chow for Now,

Red

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A Busy 2 Weeks

Hi friends, my apologies for neglecting the page last week, I have been kicking ass in Calgary Corporate Challenge for the last 14 days. For those of you not in the city, CCC is like the Olympics for corporate Calgary. There’s about 40 activities that you can participate in, from soccer to basketball to cribbage to putt putt. Me? We did ultimate frisbee and soccer, and we medalled in slo-pitch and horseshoes (holla!). So ya, I have had Subway for dinner like 4 times in the last 2 weeks…but that’s healthy-ish, right?

When not doing the 6″ turkey on brown, we did manage to have a couple of delicious meals. As you may have read here this is what was planned for the Sept 9-15th:

Sunday: Minestrone Soup
Monday: Beef & Broccoli with Vegetable Fried Rice
Tuesday: Parchment Baked Salmon w/ Lemon & Herb Butter and Grilled Vegetable Salad
Wednesday: Leftover Minestrone Soup
Thursday: Parmesan Baked Chicken w/ Spicy Roasted Golden Beets and Rosemary Potato Wedges

The Minestrone was just a bowl of happiness. Have I mentioned that I LOVE soup? It was hearty, full of tons of vegetables and beans and it made about 4 cups of leftovers for my freezer.  Plus vegetable soup is the easiest way possible to clean out your Fridge(smarts).

Prepped & Ready

Prepped & Ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Rachael Ray tip known to man? Use a garbage bowl. Put a big bowl out when you are prepping to throw all your scraps in. One trip to the garbage or compost? Yes please.

Garbage Bowl, do this.

Garbage Bowl, do this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here was the finished product.   Yum is right.

Yum.

Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beef and Broccoli was a million times better than anything I could have gotten at our local Chinese take-out.  I ended up having to double the marinade because I had a ton of steak and added sriracha for some extra spiceliciousness (it’s a word).  We also threw in carrots and mushrooms to help stretch the recipe for leftovers.  Like I said, it was delicious.  The thinly sliced steak was really tender and the sauce was salty and spicy and just, yum.

Beef-a-licious

Beef-a-licious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The baked salmon got swapped out for these Grilled Salmon & Lemon Kabobs, which were fab. I figured that if I was using the grill pan already, we might as well grill the salmon too (less dirty dishes, obv). The kabobs turned out pretty good.  We had a few sticking issues but the lemon really made the salmon taste bright and fresh, and the recipe was quick and easy. The Grilled Vegetable Salad was amazing, again. We made this while we were camping on Labor Day wknd and it was a huge hit. I used whatever roasted garlic type salad dressing I had in the fridge, and we used goat cheese this time because that was what I had in the fridge. Use what you have people!!

So good

So good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t make it to the chicken, I had bootcamp.  But was the extra prep-time on Sunday worth it?  Absolutely.  While I was cutting up veggies for the soup, I also cleaned and prepped the veg for the beef & broccoli and the grilled salad.  I sliced and marinated the steak in my Season-Serve(r) and pulled out the salmon so that it was good and defrosted by Tuesday.  The baked oatmeal was a huge hit and was easy to heat up and devour with a splash of cream at work.  A couple hours of time spent Sunday getting organized really made the week go easier.  Who wants to spend hours making dinner every night after being at work all day?  Certainly not me.

So what’s for dinner this week?  I’m not really sure to be totally honest.  I made up baggies of raw veggies and ranch dip, boiled some eggs and mixed some salmon salad for lunch.  I also made smoothies for breakfast tomorrow, but besides that I haven’t really worked out a meal plan for this week.  I’m tired.  I have no excuses.  I even had canned mushroom soup for dinner because I just don’t have the energy to be kitchen-fabulous tonight.  Plus the Emmys are on.  But I know that I have lettuce, spaghetti squash, beets, kale and a yellow pepper to be used up.  So we’ll see what happens.  You know you’ll get the scoop next week!

Hope everyone has a fabulous and delicious week.  What’s on the menu at your house?  Any ideas for my “need to be used up” veggies?

Chow for Now,

Red

PS – I have to apologize for the ghetto-ness of the blog so far.  I haven’t had the time to figure out how to use a fancy camera, so iPhone pics are about as good as it gets these days.  I’ve also been struggling with the spacing & images, but I told you this was a work in progress.  I am definitely learning as I go, so thanks for your patience 🙂

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Lets Start Again, Shall We?

Well, to say that I have neglected my blog duties this summer is an understatement.  With 3 slo-pitch teams and a handful of camping trips, vacations and ball tournaments, meal planning and blogging has definitely taken a backseat.  Like, the way back seat.

But now it’s September…back to life, back to reality.  There’s something about the week after Labor Day that always feels like a reset, like the time to switch gears and get back to eating better, working out more, etc.  I’ve set myself some small goals and I’m hoping that by sharing them with the inter-web, they’ll have more weight:

  1. Shop and meal plan for 2 weeks at a time
  2. Prep as much as I can for each week’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners on Sunday
  3. Keep a food journal and move everyday
  4. Eat breakfast everyday
  5. Don’t throw out produce or leftovers

Sounds easy enough right?  We shall see.  I’ve been super inspired by my friend Josie’s weight loss journey and am going to make a conscious effort to stick to my own.  I can’t promise that you will get weekly posts, but I am going to try really hard.

So, in the spirit of the September reset, I did a Costco and Co-op run and spent about $250 on meat and produce.  Now, I realize that that is a lot of money, but the meat should easily last us 3 months and with my Tupperware FridgeSmarts, the produce will last a good two weeks.  Did I mention that I have a minor Tupperware addiction?  So, what did I get for $250?  Lots.

  • Chicken breasts
  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken Italian sausages
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Frozen salmon
  • Frozen Haddock
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Golden Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

And after 6 hours of washing, cutting, packing and cooking, here’s my haul:

Organized Chaos

Organized Chaos

How Do You Like My Meat?

How Do You Like My Meat?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Nice right? There is definitely something to be said about 6 hours of prep work to make my life easier through the week.  I also have veggies prepped for Monday and Tuesday’s dinners.  I made baked oatmeal for breakfast and for lunches, I cut up and bagged veggies, made dip (add ranch dressing powder to plain Greek yogurt), boiled eggs and packed up leftover Minestrone soup.  With lots of items packed and ready, I just have to grab and go in the morning.

Banana and Berry Baked Oatmeal

Banana and Berry Baked Oatmeal

Veggies for Beef & Broccoli

Veggies for Beef & Broccoli


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Okay, enough talking…let’s get down to the food story.  Here are this week’s meals, follow me on Pinterest for lots (and lots) of recipe inspiration.

I love soup…it’s such an easy meal in a bowl and always makes lots, so it also serves as lunch for a few days and I can freeze half the batch for another week.  I also had flank steak and salmon in the freezer that needed to be used up and I like the roasted chicken and vegetables recipe because it’s easy to throw it all in one dish and bake.

I will be back next Sunday with an update on how the week’s menu turned out and what’s on the agenda for next week.

Chow For Now,

Red

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