Week of September 29, 2014

This weekend my brother- and sister-in-law were visiting from Quebec City. It was so nice to see them, we went to Toronto Island (it was my first time!) and the weather was fantastic. However, I didn’t have much time for meal planning, so I just rifled through some old recipes I’ve saved over the years. I don’t remember where they all come from, but I will give credit where I can!

Monday – Baked mustard salmon

I had this recipe at a dinner party a few years ago and I was very impressed, especially when I found out how straightforward it was to make. The hostess listed off the ingredients right there at the table, and it was so simple that I made it from memory the following week. I’ve turned back to it many times since then, especially when I’m pressed for time or inspiration. Thanks, Liz!

4 salmon fillets
4 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1.  Make three or four 2-inch-long, 1/4-inch-deep, evenly-spaced slits along the top of each salmon fillet.
2. In a shallow dish, whisk together mustard, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Add salmon to the bowl, and turn to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes. Reserve the marinade.
3. Preheat oven to 450° F. Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Place salmon in the dish and pour the remaining marinade over the salmon. Roast 10-15 minutes, until fish is fork-tender.

Tuesday – Beef stew

A simple, heartwarming soup for autumn.

1 pound cubed beef stew meat
3 tbsps all-purpose flour
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 cups water
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
3 carrots, quartered
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup corn

1. Coat beef in flour and then, in a medium pot, brown beef on all sides in olive oil.
2. Add salt, pepper, water, onion, paprika, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. When water boils, reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
3. Add carrots and potatoes and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
4. Remove bay leave and meat from stew.
5. In a small separate bowl, add 1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch to a bit of cold water and mix until dissolved into a thick white liquid. Slowly pour this mixture into the stew while stirring, in order to thicken the stew. Let simmer for a few minutes.
6. Once thickened, return meat and add corn to stew. Heat through and serve.

Wednesday – Chicken fajitas

Photo cred: All Recipes

The recipe below is pretty much taken verbatim from All Recipes. It’s incredibly tasty, and reheats really well for lunch the next day.

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced

1. In a medium bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Place chicken in sauce, and turn once to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for several hours.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken strips to the pan, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper, and saute another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with lemon juice.
3. Serve with warm tortillas and toppings.

Thursday – Vegan potato curry

Photo cred: All Recipes

I have yet to actually make this recipe, but I saved it awhile back and I intend to try it this week. I found it over at All Recipes.

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps ground cumin
1 1/2 tsps cayenne pepper
4 tsps curry pow der
4 tsps garam masala
1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
2 tsps salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can peas, drained
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

1. Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low , cover, and simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two.
2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder, garam masala, ginger,
and salt; cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, peas, and potatoes. Pour in the coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes before serving over rice.

Friday – Ratatouille

Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen

This is the only recipe this week I didn’t already have saved. I found it browsing through some of Deb’s old recipes over at Smitten Kitchen.

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree
2 tbsps olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
3. Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
4. Cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick. Arrange the slices concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
5. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish. Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
6. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
7. Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.

Week of September 22, 2014

Last night JW and I went to see Nick Offerman headlining at JFL42. I was so excited and had been looking forward to the show for weeks, but I had perhaps set my hopes a little too high because unfortunately I was let down. The show wasn’t so much funny as it was a discussion about Dan Winters, canoeing in nature, Gordon Lightfood and Nick’s undying love for his wife. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but definitely something a little funnier. I guess I will have to stick to Parks and Rec!

This week’s menu includes two vegetarian meals and is otherwise a little chicken-heavy — chicken is on special this week at my grocery store. You may want to substitute in a fish dinner instead.

Monday – Triple-mustard-crusted chicken and hobo corn

Photo cred: Foodpeoplewant.com

Monday’s dinner is from my Poulet cookbook. Tasty and simple, this recipe is perfect to start the week without any fuss or hassle.


One whole chicken
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp dry mustard
2 tbsp mustard seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Hobo corn
4-6 ears fresh corn, husk and silk removed
2-3 tsp butter at room temperature
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Heat peanut oil in a Dutch oven and brown on the sides and bottom. Transfer to a plate, pour off any excess fat and wipe away any burned bits in the pan.
2. Add the stock, Dijon, and dry mustard to the pan over medium heat. Return the chicken to the pan, breast-side up. Sprinkle the mustard seeds on top.
3. Put the chicken in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
4. While the chicken is cooking make the corn: Rub each ear with butter, sprinkle with salt and a lot of black pepper. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Wrap each ear tightly in aluminum foil and put in the oven or on the BBQ. Cook about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the chicken and corn from the oven. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving.

Tuesday – Potato -leek soup

I love potato-leek soup, especially in autumn. Normally, this soup is quite calorie-heavy, but I was excited to find this recipe over at Skinnytaste that substitutes the cream for milk.

1 bunch leeks (about 4) dark green stems removed
1/2 large white onion, chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup 2% milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash leeks very carefully to remove all grit. I usually cut them horizontally and separate the rings to make sure no dirt remains. Coarsely chop them when washed.
2. In a medium soup pot, melt butter and add flour on low flame. Using a wooden spoon,mix well. This will thicken your soup and give it a wonderful flavor.
3. Add chicken stock, leeks, onion, potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth adding the milk and adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Wednesday – Butternut squash dal

Photo cred: Canadian Living

I haven’t had Indian food in a while! I’m going to give this vegetarian recipe a try with the butternut squash in my basket this week.

1 cup dried red lentils
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp butter
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced gingerroot or 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground ginger
2 tbsp Indian yellow curry paste or powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash, about 1 lb/500 g
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Garam masala

1. Place lentils in a fine sieve and pick through to remove any stones or grit. Rinse well and drain; stir into broth and set aside.
2. In a large, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; saute onion for 3 min or until starting to soften. Add garlic, ginger, curry paste (to taste), salt and pepper; saute for 2 min or until softened. Add lentils in broth, squash and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
3. Cover, leaving lid ajar, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 min or until squash and lentils are soft and tender. Remove from heat and mash lightly with a potato masher. Sprinkle with cilantro and garam masala. Serve with papadum, basmati rice, or naan.

Thursday – Sticky lemon chicken

Photo cred: Blue Kitchen

I found this recipe several years ago over at Blue Kitchen, and just like Ricardo’s grilled lemon olive chicken recipe, it’s one I regularly turn to. I think lemon is one of my favorite flavors on chicken, and the honey in this recipe makes each bite finger-licking good!

8 to 10 pieces of chicken [4 drumsticks and thighs or a whole chicken cut up]
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar [or red wine vinegar]
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, thickly sliced [into 6 or so slices]

1. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of thyme. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Add oil and brown chicken until golden on both sides [in batches, if necessary], about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and reduce heat to medium.
2. Sauté garlic until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add sherry vinegar and cook down until reduced by half. Add soy sauce, honey, remaining thyme, water and lemon juice to pan and stir to combine. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat with sauce. Add lemon slices. Cook until sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 10 to 12 minutes, turning chicken frequently to coat with sauce. Chicken should be done by that time; pierce a thick piece with a knife point to see that juices run clear.
3. Transfer chicken to serving platter or divide among 4 plates. Drizzle sauce over chicken and use lemon slices as garnish. Serve with couscous.

Friday – Apricot-glazed pork tenderloin

Photo cred: Louise Thomas

This pork tenderloin is one of my mother’s recipes that she has previously shared on her blog, which is full of super tasty, super healthy recipes and exercises to keep fit. I will serve it with a massaged kale salad I found over at Flowtoxcleanse.


Pork tenderloin
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4-cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/4-cup finely chopped dried prunes

Creamy massaged avocado kale salad
1 small bunch of kale
1 large avocado
1 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium bell pepper

1. Pat dry 2 pork tenderloins and brush with some of the above mixture.  Reserve the remainder and add 1/2 cup water to it.  Put aside.
2. Heat oil in a fry pan and brown the tenderloins on all sides. Add the remaining sauce to the skillet with the pork, and add dried apricots and prunes.
3. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork.
4. While the pork is cooking, make the salad: Remove kale leaves from stems. Wash and dry thoroughly. Chop kale up and place into a large bowl. Juice 1/2 a lemon and use a little drizzle of olive oil and some salt to the kale then massage it into the leaves until they get soft.
5. Place the ripe avocado, apple cider vinegar, juice of the other lemon half, olive oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and mash & blend until creamy. Massage it into the leaves until fully covered. Chop up some bell peppers and add to the salad. Set aside until the pork is ready.
6. Remove the cover from the simmering pork, raise heat slightly and cook until pan juices reduce slightly.  Thinly slice pork; top with fruit mixture.

Week of September 15, 2014

First week of teaching: Done! Thursday was my first class, and I’m happy about how it went. There were a few hitches at first – I couldn’t figure out how to get the projector working, and the class before me ran late by a few minutes so we got a late start as well – but ultimately it went very well. Most of the students (there are 18 enrolled) look interested and enthusiastic, which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s going to be a great semester! 🙂

On to cooking! When I found out what would be in my veggie basket this week, my first thought was, Huh. Cabbage, carrots, garlic, onion, lettuce, mini peppers, radishes and spinach. How uninspiring. But then I got to looking through my favorite blogs and cookbooks, and of course I quickly came across several classic autumn dishes that incorporate most of this produce. Plus, the weather is going to be chilly this week and I think I will very much look forward to coming home to some hot cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers.

Monday – Cabbage rolls

Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen

The original recipe is called “Alex’s mom’s stuffed cabbage” – anything that is anyone’s mother’s recipe must be worth trying. I’ve only simplified it a little, mostly to exclude ingredients I won’t have on hand this week.

1 head cabbage
1 pound ground beef
1 small to medium onion, chopped small
2 tbsps olive oil
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 to 2 tbsps tomato paste
3 to 4 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce, tomato juice or V8

1. Cut the core out of the cabbage but leave it whole. Place it, with the empty core area facing up, in a large bowl. Boil a small pot of water and pour the water over the cabbage and let it sit for ten minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onions until they are soft, add the carrot and celery and saute them until they are also soft. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Mix in the meat, rice and tomato paste and season again with salt and pepper.
3. Drain the head of cabbage. Pull off large leaves, cut out the large vein — if the leaf is very large, you can make two rolls from each, if it is smaller, you can cut the vein out partially and pull the sides to overlap before you roll it into one roll. Pat the leaves dry with towels. Roll about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in each leaf (depending on the size of your leaf) and arrange in a large, wide pot. Pour in enough juice or sauce to cover the rolls. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, letting them simmer covered on the stove on low for about 45 minutes. Serve immediately. If sauce has thinned a bit, you can heat up any additional sauce you didn’t use and pour it over as you serve the rolls.

Tuesday – Teany’s top secret chili

Photo cred: Cozy Kitchen

A friend of mine served me this vegetarian meal a few years ago, and I begged her for the recipe. I figured she wouldn’t give it to me, since she did say it was a “top secret chili” – but it turns out it’s available in Moby’s Teany cookbook (yes, Moby the recording artist. Weird, right?). Anyway, it’s really tasty. The two magic ingredients are the cocoa powder and the coffee – don’t skip them! My slightly adapted version makes a lot, and freezes really well.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup chopped garlic
8 oz. seitan, tempeh or tofu (or ground chicken or turkey if you don’t mind meat)
3/4 cup red peppers, chopped
3/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp crushed red chili peppers
1 tbsp chili powder
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/2 shot espresso or 1/4 cup strong coffee
4 cup crushed tomatoes w/ liquid
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2 cup kidney beans
2 cup white beans
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup carrots, cut into very small cubes
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
2. Add the tofu (or whatever you’re using) and saute for 2 minutes, then add the red and green peppers. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add cumin, crushed red chili peppers, chili powder, cocoa powder, and espresso or coffee. Allow the spices to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, and then add the crushed tomatoes and cashews.
3. Once the mix is simmering, add the kidney beans, white beans, corn, salt, and pepper. Let the chili simmer on med-low heat until some of the liquid has evaporated and the chili is nice and thick (about an hour).

Wednesday – Stuffed peppers

Photo cred: wherefloursbloom.com

I’m excited to try this recipe. It’s slightly modified from an online Croatian cookbook I bought after my recent trip to Croatia. The recipes are so authentic, the English is barely decipherable (a lot of the recipes call for things like red vine, grained pepper, pig trotters) and many of them are to be cooked in a “camping pot” or “coal oven” (which of course I wish I had). I might have to settle for a regular pot and a regular oven.

8-12 small bell peppers
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground meat (mix of lamb and pork if possible – although ground beef is on special at my grocery store this week so I may use that)
1/2 cup rice
2  1/2 cups canned tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
parsley & basil to taste
Olive oil

1. Rinse and deseed peppers. Set aside.
2. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and cook onions until they are translucent. Mix in meat, rice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir until the meat is browned and the rice is well-coated.
3. Fill peppers with meat &  rice mixture. Place peppers back into stockpot, and pour tomato sauce over the peppers to as to cover them. Season with salt  and basil. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

Thursday – Chicken parmesan

Photo cred: www.momontimeout.com
Photo cred: www.momontimeout.com

I found this super easy, comfort-food recipe years ago, I can’t quite remember where but I think it was at Allrecipes.com. It’s still a favorite, especially as the weather gets cooler. I’ve modified it slightly to include the spinach from my basket.

2 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1 inch thick
2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for shallow frying
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 bunch fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan, grated

1. Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and gently cook for 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
2. Empty the can of chopped tomatoes into the pan and the oregano. Season and stir. Cook over a low/medium heat for 20-25 minutes until sauce is thick.
3. Meanwhile, coat the pieces of chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Next dip into the egg, and then finally dip into the breadcrumbs, ensuring the chicken is evenly covered.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a frying pan. Fry the chicken on both sides until golden.
6. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and pour over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the grated cheeses and place in the middle of the oven. Bake until the cheeses have melted and the chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 mins.
7. Serve with mixed salad leaves, tossed in a little vinaigrette.

Friday – Mussels in white wine

Photo cred: vessysday.com

As you may have noticed, I typically like to make something a bit more special on Fridays. Like the Shrimp risotto from a couple of weeks ago, this recipe is relatively time-consuming, but so delicious and fun to prepare with a cooking partner while sipping a nice glass of wine.

3 pounds cultivated mussels
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tbsps minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 tsp good saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine
2 tsps kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Clean and de-beard the mussels, discarding any whose shells aren’t tightly shut.
2. In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of dry white wine.

Week of September 8, 2014

It’s starting to feel like autumn in Toronto. This is the first year that I’m not starting anything school-related, and it’s weird. I was actually a little jealous of my friend Jeff, whose classes began last week. I loved September’s back-to-school vibe – leafing through crisp blank notebooks, breaking in new school shoes, wondering who all your new teachers will be… *sigh* Nostalgia! I guess I will get a little taste of it all, though, since I start teaching this week. Looking forward to it!

Monday – Grilled lemon garlic broccoli and sardines

This is a super simple, super tasty recipe for a late summer BBQ. The sardines aren’t even a recipe – just rinse & descale a few sardines (fresh or thawed from frozen), season with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and slap on the grill. Cook until the skin is crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side. I personally like this natural way of preparing sardines, as their taste is bold enough that I don’t think they need much seasoning aside from perhaps a squeeze of lemon upon serving.

Several seasoned broccoli spears on a grill

The broccoli recipe came in my veggie basket one day a few weeks ago, but I’m pretty sure it’s originally from Allrecipes.com. It was so intriguing I had to try it, I freaked out about how tasty it was. I could have (and almost did) eat the entire head of broccoli to myself. I’ve only slightly modified the original.

1 head broccoli, separated into florets
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp lemon juice
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl or Ziplock bag, mix together all ingredients.
2. Heat BBQ and grill florets until they are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork. Can also be done in the oven (at 400 degrees for about 15 mins).

Tuesday – Whole chicken with new potato salad

Photo cred: All recipes

I was visiting my mom last week and she made me a sandwich with incredible chicken leftovers. She shared the recipe for the spice rub, which she found on Allrecipes; I’ve slighly adapted the original. Save the carcass to make chicken stock.

2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 onion, quartered
1 whole chicken

1. In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (120 degrees C).
3. Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 1.5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Photo cred: Chinese Grandma

As a side dish for the chicken, prepare a new potato and asparagus salad with lemon-dijon dressing, courtesy of Chinese Grandma.

1 1/2 tbsps dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed well
1/4 cup finely chopped chives

1. Put a large pot of water on high heat to boil.
2. Cut asparagus spears into bite-sized (about 2-inch) slices. If stalks are thick, it’s nice to cut on the diagonal.
3. Cut potatoes into half if small or quarters if medium.
4. Add enough salt to the pot of water so that you can taste it. Add asparagus and simmer until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl.
5. Return water to a boil, add potatoes and simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Test often for doneness when the time gets close: a fork should pierce the potato easily without breaking the potato.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic clove, salt and pepper. Drizzle in oil while whisking constantly and then season with cayenne to taste.
7. Drain potatoes well and add to bowl with asparagus.
8. Remove garlic clove from dressing and discard. Add dressing and chives to bowl and toss to combine. Taste and add salt, pepper or cayenne to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday – Roasted corn tabouli with shredded chicken

Photo cred: White on rice couple

If you have any leftover chicken from yesterday, shred it up and stir it into this tasty roasted corn salad I found in my Bountiful cookbook. I replaced some of the ingredients in the original recipe.

1 cup uncooked barley
3 medium ears corn, husks and kernels removed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven 450°F (230°C).
  2. In a saucepan, combine the barley with 2 cups water. Bring the water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Cover, and allow to sit for 20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a bowl, combine the corn kernels with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss to coat. Arrange the kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the barley, corn kernels, parsley, and mint. In small bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, salt, cayenne, and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the lemon juice mixture into the corn mixture and chill for 15 minutes before serving with shredded chicken mixed in.

Thursday – Spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs

This is a recipe is from  It’s All Good. It’s a little time-consuming, but to free yourself up you can throw everything into the slow-cooker if you have one.


Tomato Sauce Recipe

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 large fresh basil leaves
2 28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
Coarse Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan on low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure garlic does not burn. Add 2 of the basil leaves and stir for 1 minute. Add in both cans of tomatoes with their juices and remaining basil leaves. Turn to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow sauce to simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon.


1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup arugula, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
8 fresh sage leaves
8 fresh basil leaves
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsps olive oil

1. In a food processor, pulse onion, arugula, parsley, garlic, sage, basil, thyme and rosemary until finely chopped. In a bowl, combine onion-herb mixture with turkey, salt and pepper; mix with hands.
2. Roll turkey mixture into about 12-16 golf ball-sized meatballs. In a large pot over low heat, warm tomato sauce. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook meatballs in skillet in batches, stirring, until browned, 10 minutes.
3. Transfer meatballs to simmering sauce (recipe below); partially cover pot. Cook meatballs, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Serve over roasted spaghetti squash (slice squash in half, brush with a little olive oil and roast, sliced side up, in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes and then scrape out flesh).

Friday – Cuban-inspired fish fillets and tomatoes

Photo cred: Blue Kitchen

A yummy fall recipe I just discovered at Blue Kitchen.

2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium-large onion, sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
4 to 5 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup capers, drained but not rinsed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 six-ounce fishcod fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 tbsps butter
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, divided

1. Heat oil in a large lidded skillet over medium flame. Sauté onions until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
2. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Stir in cumin, mixing thoroughly. Add tomatoes to the pan and cook until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Add wine, bay leaf, capers and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.
4. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper and arrange on top of tomato mixture in pan. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of the fillets. Fish will flake easily with a fork when it is done. Gently transfer fish to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
5. Increase the heat to medium high and stir in butter in slices. Cook for 2 or so minutes to slightly reduce the sauce—it will still be soupy. Remove from heat and stir in half of the cilantro. Divide the tomato mixture among four shallow bowls, reserving just a bit of the buttery sauce (pasta bowls are great for this dish). Sprinkle the remaining cilantro over the tomatoes and place a fish fillet in each bowl. Spoon the remaining buttery sauce over the fillets and serve.