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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

I made this recipe for the first time during a recent Mom’s/Ladies Wine Evening at my place.  Our wine theme for this event was California and so I went with a healthy, bite sized salad.  I’ve been to California many times and it is many things to me (special memories) so I also decided to make some Pico De Gallo & Guacamole to represent all the incredible Mexican food I’ve tasted in Southern California. 

The ladies loved this Lentil Salad and so I’m sharing the recipe.

Note I served this salad in shot glasses. Quite often I serve mini salad or pureed soups in shot glasses when having people over for dinner.  It’s simple and it’s Fun.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Feta & Lentil Salad

1/4 cup slivered, toasted almonds
1 cup dried green lentils
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (or more) fresh oregano, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste (1/4 tsp each)
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Toast your almonds in a pan over medium heat watching and stirring often until they start to brown. Set aside to cool.

Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add whole garlic cloves and lentils.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Remove garlic cloves and continue to allow lentils to drain in colander.

Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add lentils, feta, cucumber, onion, parsley and tomatoes stirring to combine.  When ready to serve sprinkle with toasted almonds.

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This is one of those recipes I’ve gone past several times…always drawn to the quantity of fresh herbs used.  Rummaging through my fridge recently I discovered I had all the herbs required to make that “Thai Chicken” recipe.  Fortunately I also had some green curry paste and was inspired to add some more flavour to the dish.

Happy to report this recipe got 4 thumbs up…the family loved it.  The kidlets did not complain about the herbs at all even commenting on how much they enjoyed it.  Fresh Tasting & Flavourful.

For this recipe I pulled out of the freezer both bone-in chicken thighs and boneless chicken breasts as they needed to be used up.  I threw them all into the marinade noting the different cooking times for the chicken.  Each morsel tasted equally divine.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame

Thai Inspired Chicken

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp green curry paste
1/4 cup oil (canola or olive)
splash of your favourite hot pepper sauce
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR bone in, skin on chicken thighs

Combine all ingredients except chicken in ziplock bag. Squishy it to mix flavours. If you find it a little on the dry side add some more oil. Add chicken, squeezing to ensure marinade permeates chicken.

Let stand 30 minutes at room temp or longer in fridge to develop flavours. Remove chicken from marinade and discard.

For boneless chicken breasts grill over medium heat approx 12-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

For bone-in chicken thighs grill over medium low heat for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

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One of my girlfriend’s came to visit me last weekend.  She lives in Northern BC and we’ve been friends for over 25 years.

I asked her what she wanted for supper on her first night here and to make a long story short we ended up having grilled steak.  No shortage of steak lovers in this family.  I grew up having steak occasionally, although it would always be the same cut of steak with the same BBQ sauce cooked the same way. I swear this is part of the reason I scream for flavour and diversity in my cooking.

Chimichurri sauce originates from Argentina & South America. It is a lovely & tasty accompaniment to any grilled meat. We’ve enjoyed this recipe before and so it was time to enjoy it again.

We grilled some asparagus & mushrooms as a side.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 lbs steak (whatever you enjoy, striploin, sirloin, filet, etc.)
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a plastic ziplock back and squishy to ensure steak is covered. Let marinate on counter for 30 minutes or longer in the fridge.

Remove steak from bag and grill over medium heat to preferred doneness. Serve with Chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
2 tbsp fresh oregano
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

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So impressed was I that hubby really enjoyed this salad. So much so he took it for lunch today.  Now if only I could get the kidlets to enjoy quinoa since it is a complete protein and good for you.   Here’s hoping one day!

This is a quick-lunch, side dish or even meal for one. Add some roasted/grilled chicken  if you wish or it as is. Yum.

Quinoa, Cucumber & Mint Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cucumber, quartered and sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Add water, quinoa and salt to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce, cover and simmer until water has been absorbed and quinoa tender (about 12-15 minutes). Scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a cup, or small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour it on quinoa and add cucumber, green onions, parsley & mint.  Mix well.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Pairs nicely with grilled meat.

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I’ve tried many different versions of chicken fajita’s and always found the flavours are rather bland.  This recipe had the flavours blending nicely and everyone loving this dish.  In fact my dd asked for it for lunch the next day at school (now that is unusual).

Fajita’s for our family are a quick & easy supper on an activity night.  These are truly yummy.

Chicken Fajitas

4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
oil (canola or olive oil)
1/2 cup spanish onion, sliced
1 cup pepper (red, green, orange, yellow), sliced
whole wheat flour tortillas 

Fixins
shredded lettuce
diced tomato
salsa
guacamole
sour cream
hot peppers (banana or jalapeno)
shredded cheese
I also used pico de gallo & chopped cilantro

In a ziplock bag combine chili powder, oregano, salt, cumin, garlic, lime juice and a little oil.  Seal bag and smoosh to combine flavours. Add your chicken and smoosh a little more.  Refrigerate for a minimum 15 minutes or longer if you have time.

Put your onions and peppers in a bowl.  Pour on a little oil and season with salt, pepper and a little cumin.

Take chicken out of marinade and drain.  Put on greased BBQ and grill approximately 6-7  minutes per side on med-high until cooked through and juices run clear.  Remove from heat and let rest under cover.

Meanwhile on a pre heated BBQ grill topper or stove top grill pan add some oil and your onion/pepper mix.  Give it a little more s&p and saute for about 4-5 minutes or under veggies tender crisp. Set aside in a bowl.

Get all your fixin’s ready, heat up your flour tortillas (10 seconds in microwave), slice your chicken, grab some peppers/onions and you are ready to assemble your chicken fajita.

My family loves them!

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With activities taking up several evenings during the week I am always on the look out for a quick, affordable and nutritious meal.  Pork Chops can be fried, grilled or broiled quickly and a lean protein our family enjoys.

Adapted from Atco Blue Flame

Maple Soy Pork Chops

2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oil
1-2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
3 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 boneless pork chops

Add all ingredients except pork chops into a ziplock style bag. Mush it up to combine. Add your pork chops, seal bag and squishy bag to ensure chops are coated evenly.

Marinate for a minimum 30 minutes. Longer is better.

Remove pork chops from bag and grill over low heat on BBQ until done, about 30 minutes for thicker chops.

In the photo I paired my pork chop with balsamic & basil grilled veggies. Will post that recipe soon.

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Third times a charm?  Good thing I’ve had 5 workouts in 4 days to make myself feel better about these pizza experiments.  This will be the last pizza submission for this week as I am getting pizza’d out.  However having said that I have at least 4 more ideas spinning through my head for pizzas based on leftovers.

Leftover taco meat can be used many ways.  On a pizza for a quick lunch or supper is a quick meal for a busy family.  I love hot peppers and used pickled jalapeno’s in this recipe.  I also used regular peppers (orange, yellow & green) both sliced and diced. 

Options are endless.  What I enjoy on a taco or taco salad is what I put on this pizza.  I did not use exact quantities below as some people may prefer more of a topping, others less.  You decide.

 

Taco & Pepper Pita Pizza


1/4-1/2 cup taco meat
1/4 cup peppers (cut into rings, or diced)
1-2 tbsp salsa (or taco sauce)
1 tbsp pickled jalapeno peppers (or banana peppers)
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/2-1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or monterey jack
1/2 cup sliced lettuce (romaine)

Spread salsa on your pita with a spoon, knife or pastry brush.

Next layer on your peppers, tomatoes and taco meat. Finally spread your cheese all over.  I admittedly added a light dusting of shredded parmesan on top.

Broil in oven for about 2-3 minutes or until cheese melted and bubbling. I bake mine on a pizza stone but a cookie sheet or pizza pan works just as well.

Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes before slicing. I sprinkled fresh lettuce on top.  Outstanding.

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