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

Follow Me on Pinterest

Advertisements

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

Follow Me on Pinterest

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 🙂

Follow Me on Pinterest

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

Follow Me on Pinterest

April 1 Reset

Hi Friends!  It’s been a while…my friend Courtney reminded me on Friday that I owe everyone a new post. So please forgive me, it’s been 2 weeks since my last food-fession. When we last spoke I was in the middle of the Wild Rose cleanse. Lets just say Epic Fail and move on. Life has been stressful the last month or so and when I stress, I eat. So we are looking at April 1st as a new day…no joke!

What else has been going on? I had a Tupperware party a few weeks ago and ended up receiving a ton of host credit, almost $600 to be exact.

Tupperware Heaven

Tupperware Heaven

So this weekend I’ve been organizing my kitchen with fridge containers, freezer containers, pantry containers, the list goes on and on. The yellow containers in the pic below are FridgeSmarts, they are supposed to increase the life of your produce by regulating the amount of CO2 and O2 that it is exposed to. From what I’ve heard, these containers are awesome so I will keep you posted. Tupperware makes me happy…and to top things off the Man bought me a label maker. Now that is love. If you are in need of some organization in the kitchen, let me know…I’m now an official Tupperware consultant and can hook you up.

The "After" Shot

The “After” Shot

March has also been party month…we had St.Paddy’s Day, a 1st birthday party for my cousin’s daughter, birthday dinner for one of my best girlfriends, a Rock of Ages surprise party for my BFF and a buy-out for a girlfriend from work. Needless to say, my liver needs a break.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Here’s this week’s menu…

Sunday – Easter Dinner with the Man’s family

Monday – Portobello Mushroom Spaghetti … I am going to try adding spinach for some extra greens

Tuesday – Baked Salmon w/Lemon & Dill (yes, again…it’s delish), Best Roasted Broccoli and Corn on the Cob

Wednesday – Cold Shrimp & Spinach Salad

Thursday – Healthy Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Sweet Potato Fries w/Chipotle Ranch Dressing & Salad

Wish me luck…hopefully life will settle down as we coast into spring and the food thing will become easier.

Happy Easter & have a great week!!

Follow Me on Pinterest