Week of December 15, 2014

JW and I are going home for the holidays next week. I am really looking forward to all the good food I’ll be eating (my mom is hosting a World Tapas potluck, and of course we’ll be eating lots of turkey!). I’m likely to be having my share of not-so-good food as well… JW has been talking for weeks about Ashton’s Poutine — it’s been his tradition for years that the first thing he does upon arriving to Quebec City is get an Ashton poutine (literally, the. first. thing.). I guess I’ll be getting back to the gym in January!

I’m in that period where I’m trying to use up as much as possible of what’s in our fridge before we leave. I managed to track down a couple of recipes that should help me get through what’s left of my veggie basket etc.

Also, this is going to be my last post until we return on January 4th, so Happy Holidays!


Monday – Deconstructed stuffed cabbage

Photo cred: Skinny Taste
Photo cred: Skinny Taste

I have three heads of cabbage a I need to use ASAP — they keep showing up in my weekly baskets, and I never knew what to do with them until I found this recipe over at Skinny Taste. I’m excited about this one because I actually love stuffed cabbage rolls, but they’re so time-consuming to make that I seldom try. Can’t wait to see how this recipe turns out!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 heads green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat; add ground beef and cook until it’s browned and cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Remove ground beef and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1 tsp olive oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more. Then add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and ground beef. Add water to the pan. Simmer until it’s hot and slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. While it simmers, cut cabbage in half, cut out the core, and remove any wilted outer leaves; chop the cabbage coarsely into 1 inch pieces. Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven; add the cabbage and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
  4. When the meat and tomato sauce mixture has cooked and thickened a bit, stir in the 2 cups of cooked rice and gently combine.
  5. In the dish, layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, remaining cabbage, and remaining meat mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.
  6. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese (if using). Bake uncovered an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown. Serve hot.

Tuesday – Hmong chicken stir-fry

I kind of made up this recipe. It’s inspired by one I’ve made before, which I found over at Blue Kitchen, however I didn’t want to use beef so I integrated a few ideas from a similar chicken-based recipe over at Organic Valley.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped, loosely packed cilantro
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 medium cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsps fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Wash the chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil to medium hot. Add the garlic and chicken and stir-fry until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, oyster sauce and fish sauce and stir-fry for 2 or 3 more minutes, until the flavors are combined.
  3. Add cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes and green onions and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve hot over rice.

Wednesday – Vegetarian curry

Photo cred: Pinch of Yum

This, I love: a straightforward, no-fuss recipe for something tasty that I’m bound to love, using only 5 ingredients and can be prepared in 15 minutes. Thank you, Pinch of Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps red curry paste
  • 2 small heads broccoli (and/or other veggies of choice)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsps cold water

Instructions

  1. Saute broccoli (and onion/garlic if you wish) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
  2. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools. Enjoy hot over rice.

Thursday – Leftovers pizza

I have a frozen ball of dough in the fridge, so I am planning to throw together a pizza with any leftover cabbage, meat or cheese from Monday; chicken stir-fry from Tuesday; and broccoli from Wednesday. I think I also have some sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge I should use… This is going to be one weird pizza!

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza dough (bought or home-made)
  • Leftovers from the week

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Roll out pizza dough and brush with olive oil. Top with ingredients and bake for 15 minutes, or until toppings become golden.

Friday – Christmas dinner with colleagues

We have our last holiday get-together with people from work on Friday, so I won’t be cooking. I will, however, be bringing a box of cookies to the party — my last issue of Châtelaine had a series of fancy shortbread cookie recipes, and I must confess that I was so excited, and the recipes were so easy, that I made almost all of them. So now I have 20 dozen cookies (I’m not even exaggerating) that I need to give away — in the spirit of Christmas! 😉

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