Meal plan Sept 24 to 30, 2011

Crock pot Black bean soup

Steak and salad

Chicken fajitas, BBQ extra chicken

Ginger salmon patties (from here)

Lentils with spinach and tomatoes over rice pasta (see recipe below)

Breakfast quinoa ( see this post)

Lentils with spinach and tomatoes over rice pasta

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can lentils
1 cup chicken broth or beef broth? I might add cooked ground beef to this as well.
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp ketchup, or tomato paste?
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
300g pkg frozen spinach
450g box of rice pasta
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

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Meal plan August 22 – 26, 2011

Busy times ahead! Didn’t make a couple of the things I was going to make last week, so I’ll try again this week. Will also try some new recipes from a new gluten free website I’m checking out: 



-Mexican Baked Penne
-Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (from here)
-Chicken fajitas
-Taco Soup with Chicken
-Creamy sauced Pasta with artichokes and Bacon (from here)

Mexican baked penne
1lb lean ground beef
3 cups salsa
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
3 cups uncooked penne pasta (I used brown rice penne, gluten free)
3 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13 in baking dish.
In a skillet, cook beef until no longer pink.
Ad the salsa, beans, and corn kernels. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes to blend flavours. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cook penne in large pot of water. Drain well and return to pot. Add the beef mixture and stir well. Spoon half the mixture into the baking pan into an even layer, then sprinkle with half the cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbling and heated through.
Makes 8 servings

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the topping:
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
A dash of nutmeg
A drizzle of fruity olive oil, to taste
Plain hemp milk (or moo cow milk, if you like), as needed

For the filling:
1.5 pounds ground Black Angus beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 small to medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into pieces
1 cup artichoke hearts, cut up
1 14-oz can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons raw organic agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley or cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Place the sweet potatoes in a pot of fresh salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until under fork tender and mashable.

Saute the ground Angus beef in a large hot skillet till lightly browned; pour off the fat; return the skillet to the stove. Add in the onions and garlic; stir and cook for five minutes or until the onions are soft.

Add in the zucchini; stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the artichokes and tomatoes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, agave, dried herbs and cinnamon. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced a bit. Remove from heat.

Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and mash them lightly. Season with sea salt, ground pepper and nutmeg. Drizzle with a little fruity olive oil. Add a couple of tablespoons of hemp milk and stir until smooth and fluffy.

Layer the beef and veggie mixture in a casserole or baking dish (or four individual gratin dishes, like I did).

Top with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until bubbling and hot- about 25 minutes.

Serves 4
Read more:

A creamy sauced Pasta with Artichokes and Bacon
For the pasta- to serve four:

1 package of your favorite brown rice pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 artichoke hearts
8 strips bacon- cooked ahead of time, chopped
4 scallions, sliced

Put on a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until it is al dente.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add in the garlic and artichoke hearts and cook lightly until slightly golden. Add in the bacon pieces and scallions; stir; heat through; keep warm.

Drain the pasta and spoon into warm bowls. Top with the artichoke mixture and sauce- recipe follows.

For the Creamy Sweet Potato Sauce you’ll need:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cooked sweet potato puree
2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain hemp milk (or rice milk- but it’s thinner, less creamy)
4 rounded tablespoons good tasting nutritional yeast – I use KAL brand
1 rounded tablespoon of sesame tahini – may omit if allergic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more, to taste
A good dash or two of Simply Organic Garlic Powder , to taste
A good dash or two of Simply Organic Minced Onion , to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon gluten-free Dijon or honey mustard, or to taste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lemon juice- to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika (for orange) or turmeric (for yellow) color- may omit
1/4 cup white wine, to taste (Frey Organic is vegan/egg-free)

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat, and stir in the sweet potato (I like to use a whisk to do this). Slowly add in the hemp milk, whisking to blend the sweet potato and hemp milk.

Add the nutritional yeast, sesame tahini, sea salt, garlic and onion powder, mustard, vinegar/lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika/turmeric, wine; whisk to blend.

Continue heating and stirring the sauce over gentle heat for about five to ten minutes. Taste test. Does it need a hint more salt? Wine?

Stir and gently heat through until the sauce has thickened and reduced a bit to your liking.

Remove from heat and use on pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables or casserole fillings.

Makes about three cups sauce.

Read more:

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meal plan Aug 13 – 18, 2011

Trying a couple of new recipes this week – some for the slowcooker. I found a fabulous handwritten and colourful online cookbook and get this – it includes online maps! Just click on an area of the world you’d like to try a recipe from. So this week we’re trying Moroccan. Here’s the interesting cookbook link:

Saturday Ethiopian chicken stew

Sunday Roasted Moroccan Orange chicken

Monday – Tuna quinoa salad

Tuesday – Slow cooker Tortilla soup

Wednesday Mexican penne

Thursday – out for dinner or leftovers!

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Meal plan Aug 6 – 12, 2011

Back to meal planning. Need to find a few new easy recipes because I’m starting to get bored. We have a shiny new BBQ so perhaps I need to do some vegetable grilling and find some new marinades. Suggestions anyone?

  • Ginger salmon patties from here
  • Grilled lemon-oregano chicken drumsticks, from here
  • Mexican penne from this post
  • Grilled fajita chicken
  • Chili see this post
  • Egg omelettes

Will also make some breakfast quinoa this week, and some buckwheat pancakes!

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Meal plan June 24 – 30, 2011

Last week’s salmon was yummy – definitely one to repeat! Here’s this week’s meal plan.

mexican baked penne

mexican baked penne

Friday – Mexican baked penne (see recipe below)
Saturday – Chicken with capers and dill (see recipe below)
Sunday – steak
Monday – West african stew with quinoa (see this post)
Tuesday – Cumin and lime chicken
Wednesday – lentils with spinach and tomatoes over penne
Thursday – eggs

Mexican baked penne

1lb lean ground beef
3 cups salsa
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
3 cups uncooked penne pasta (I used brown rice penne, gluten free)
3 cups shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13 in backing dish.
In a skillet, cook beef until no longer pink.
Ad the salsa, beans, and corn kernels. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes to blend flavours. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cook penne in large pot of water. Drain well and return to pot. Add the beef mixture and stir well. Spoon half the mixture into the baking pan into an even layer, then sprinkle with half the cheese. Top with remaining pasta mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbling and heated through.
Makes 8 servings.

Chicken with lemon, dill and capers

2 tsp butter
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp capers
finely grated peel of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1/4 tsp dried dillweed

Melt butter in frying pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Finely chop capers. Once chicken has browned, add capers, peel and broth to pan. Cover and cook over medium low heat, turning halfway through, until chicken is cooked (10 to 12 minutes). Remove chicken to platter. Stir dill into pan juices. Thicken sauce if needed by increasing heat, stirring often. Pour over chicken and serve with rice and asparagus or green beans.

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Meal plan – June 17 to 23, 2011

black bean soup

Image by niznoz via Flickr

Sorry that I have’t posted plans for the past couple of weeks. Too busy I guess, but we still ate! Actually tried a couple of new recipes last week from epicurious. One was this steak with tomato and cilantro sauce – not bad! Here’s the plan for this week.

Friday – Chicken And Broccoli Alfredo (from epicurious) – I added basil!
Saturday – out for dinner
Sunday – out for dinner
Monday – Mexican Black Bean Soup
Tuesday – Bombay BBQ chicken with Indian rice
Wednesday – West African Stew (see this post)
Thursday – Salmon and ginger fish cakes with sweet potato fries (see this recipe)

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Meal plan May 20 to May 26, 2010

Cooking Lab: Western - Beef Curry over Pilaf Rice

Trying a couple new recipes this week.

Friday – Chicken Fajitas with guacamole and salsa
Saturday – Slow Cooker Beef Curry (see recipe below)
Sunday – leftovers (Lady’s night out for me!)
Monday –  Out visiting a friend. Moroccan Stew prep for later in the week.
Tuesday – Salmon with sesame peppercorn crust (from epicurious)
Wednesday – Moroccan Stew (from epicurious)
Thursday – burgers

Coconut Beef Curry 

Recipe reprinted from Canada’s Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Donna-Marie Pye. Publisher Robert Rose Inc.

1 tbsp canola oil 15 mL
2 lb stewing beef, cut into 1/4 inch (3 mm) strips 1 kg
2 onions, sliced 2
2 cloves garlic, minced 2
2 tbsp paprika 25 mL
2 tbsp ground cumin 25 mL
1 tsp cinnamon 5 mL
2 tsp red curry paste or 1 tbsp (15 mL) curry powder 10 mL
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped 4
1 lb peeled baby carrots 500 g
2 tbsp tomato paste 25 ml
1 – 14 oz can coconut milk 1 – 398 mL
1/2 cup water 125 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
chopped fresh cilantro

I’m going to add dried kaffir lime leaves and dried lemon grass as well.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add beef strips and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per batch or until browned on all sides. Add onions, garlic, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and curry paste (or curry powder). Saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant. With a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to slow cooker. Add potatoes and carrots. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, cocnut milk, water and salt; mix well. Add to slow cooker; stir to combine with meat and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours, until vegetables are tender and stew is bubbling. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

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Meal plan May 13 – 19, 2011

fettuccine alfredo

Trying a new recipe for pasta Alfredo – hope it’s good!

Friday – Broccoli and Chicken alfredo (from epicurious)
Saturday – West African Vegetable Stew
Sunday – Spaghetti and meat sauce
Monday – Steak and veggies
Tuesday – Chili
Wednesday – Chicken drumsticks and salad
Thursday – Eggs

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Meal plan April 30 to May 6, 2011

Pesto being processed.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s May already? Time is flying.

Saturday – African stew
Sunday – Shepherd’s Pie (see recipe below) with salad
Monday – Steak and green beans
Tuesday – fish (sole?) with Coriander Pesto (see recipe below) and broccoli
Wednesday -BBQ Bombay chicken with curried apple rice (see recipes below)
Thursday -eggs
Friday – leftover spaghetti and meat sauce

Shepherd’s Pie


• 1 Tspn sea salt
• 8 medium potatoes

• 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
• 1/4 cup butter or Trans fat free margarine
• 1 (10 ounce) can cream style corn
• 2 cups frozen peas

• 2 cups finely chopped carrots
• 1 large onion finely chopped
• 1/2 cup of milk or milk alternative such as soy milk or rice milk
• pinch of freshly ground black pepper


Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Drain the excess liquid. Place the browned beef into a 3 L or 4 quart baking dish to form bottom layer of pie. Add cream style corn and then the peas and carrots. Peel, boil, drain and mash potatoes while still warm. Add milk, butter, onion, salt and pepper. Beat until potatoes are light and fluffy. Turn into baking dish to form top layer. Bake in oven at 180º C (350 ºF) until potatoes are slightly browned (30 to 40 minutes). Serves 4 – 6. Note: For a slightly different flavour, add savory to the ground beef while it is cooking.

Coriander Pesto


• 2 cups chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
• 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 3 scallions, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
• 1 Tspn ground cumin
• 2 or 3 canned jalapenos, depending on desired heat
• 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
• 2 Tbspns water
• 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 Tbspns extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and white pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Add olive oil a little at a time at the end. You want the pesto to be blended yet not smooth. It is best with a little texture. Serve at room temperature. Do not heat it. Serve over salmon or your favourite fish. Serve tossed with some basmati rice.

Bombay BBQed chicken

Preparation time 5 minutes
Barbecuing Time 12 minutes
Cooking time N/A
Makes 4 servings

2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) curry powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
1/4 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Grease grill and preheat barbecue to medium. In a small bowl, stir oil with curry and garlic powders, ginger, salt and pepper. Using a brush or your fingers, spread spice mixture on both sides of chicken. Barbecue chicken with lid down until chicken feels springy when pressed, from 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve with rice and raita.

Curried Apples and Rice


• 1/2 cup water
• 2 apples (Lobo or McIntosh), peeled, cored, and chopped
• ¾ cup raisins or chopped fresh plums
• 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 3 cups cooked brown rice (cooked in 3/4 cup apple juice and 1 3/4 cups water with 2 teaspoons of curry powder if desired)
• 2 medium onions, finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a small pot, boil the ½ cup of water. Remove from heat and add raisins. Soak the raisins for about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, and set aside. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion, curry powder, sea salt and pepper. Sautee until onion is translucent. Add the apples and stir well. Continue to sauté about five minutes. Stir in the rice. Heat through, add the raisins and toss. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Meal plan April 22 to April 29, 2011

Quinua (Quinoa) plants near Cachora, Apurímac,...

Image via Wikipedia

The meal plan this week contains a Quinoa breakfast recipe – an attempt to fill up the always hungry guy in the family! Can’t say it worked (he’s still hungry) but it was yummy and healthy. Very interesting – you can cook the quinoa in CHAI TEA instead of plain water! Neat idea. Here’s a picture of what quinoa looks like – pretty! Wish I could grow some in my garden.

Friday – Breakfast Quinoa (see recipe below), Chicken Masala (recipe below) for dinner
Saturday – Chili in the oven (see this post)
Sunday – brunch with family (bake some Orange scones – see recipe below), steak and veggies for dinner
Monday – Egg popovers for lunch, Rice spaghetti and meat sauce for diner
Tuesday – salmon
Wednesday – chicken tacos
Thursday – Eggs
Friday – West African stew (see this post)

Breakfast quinoa with tea
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups of brewed hot ginger tea (Chai also adds some nice spice)
1/4 cup of walnuts
1/8 cup of raisins
1/8 cup chopped dried apple (I used fresh apples)
pinch of cinnamon
honey to taste (I added a wee bit of brown sugar to my bowl)
4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
I also added 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut to each serving, and a wee
bit of brown sugar instead of honey.

In a saucepan, put quinoa, tea, walnuts, raisins and apple. Cover and cook
according to package directions, typically 12-15 minutes over low heat. At the end, all of the tea should be absorbed into the quinoa.

Remove from stove and serve in 4 bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with a pinch
of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and let each person sweeten to their personal taste.

Chicken Masala

2 TBSP oil
2 onions chopped
4 cloves garlic diced
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp curry
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes with juice (tomatoes are in season right now so use fresh if you can!)
1 cup plain yogurt* or goat’s milk yogurt
2 lbs diced chicken breasts
1 13 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Saute onions in oil until soft and yellow over low heat (about 20 min.) Add spices and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Cool to lukewarm. Puree all with tomatoes and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until partially cooked, about 2 minutes or if cooking chicken, cook through. Stir in coconut milk, cilantro, green onions, lemon juice, and prepared masala (add chick peas if using here). Simmer until shrimp are opaque in center, about 3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Serve over brown rice.

Orange Scones
• 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt (or sea salt)
• 4 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 to ½ cup plain low fat yogurt
• 2 tbsp grated orange zest

Pre-heat the oven to 425 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, work in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Mix in the eggs one at a time and then the yogurt and orange zest. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Roll out the dough until it is ¾ inch thick. Cut out the scones using a three-inch round cookie cutter. Place the scones on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until lightly golden and crusty (about 15 to 18 minutes). Remove the scones from the oven and allow them to cool. You can prepare these 1 to 2 days in advance. Keep them wrapped in plastic wrap or sealed freezer bags in the refrigerator. Makes 8 to 10 scones. These can be warmed up in the oven the day of the brunch.

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