Thursday, September 30, 2010

Indian-Spiced Roast Salmon

Go to Recipe!

Well continuing on with my "Magazine Meal Plan Week" and this choice was delish! I like fish and seafood, but I must admit that I have never been won over by Salmon. I have had it many ways and have given it many chances, but I continued to be "meh" about it. This dish was FAB and if I need a Salmon recipe, I will turn to this one for certain. It was easy, not a lot of ingredients involved and fast. All of those = perfect! I didn't have fresh ginger or garlic on hand, so I used the powder versions (GASP!) and it still turned out amazing. I'm sure it would be on a whole other level if I had of used the fresh variety. I served it with Basmati Rice and steamed Sugar Snap Peas which were both good accompaniments, but the flavours of this fish are very versatile so you could definitely mix it up.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Caesar Chicken Fingers with Carrot Fries and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Welcome to Day 3 of "Magazine Meal Plan Week" as well as my "What's Cooking Wednesday Meal" . Although this meal sounds WONDERFUL on paper and even looks delicious, in reality it was just decent. The "Fries" were not crispy at all - they were super wimpy, but they DID taste good and I LOVE that they are Carrots. The Chicken was good, but the breading fell off easily due to the Caesar Dressing underneath. The Dip was yummy and I think I'll use that recipe any time I need a good Honey Mustard Sauce. So overall not a huge failure, but also not a huge success.

Today I did a fun Autumn craft with my son. I got the idea from Sugar and Shimmer. This lady is truly a craft/baking whiz, you should check her out. And although the craft was a big trial for my patience, my 33 month old and I had fun and I think it turned out pretty cool and now it rests on my door.
Remember you can always follow me on Facebook, so stop by @ Meal Plan-it  and keep up to date!! :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Simple Tomato Sauce

Magazine Meal Plan Week day 2 - Oh man it is SO nice to have a meal without meat every once and a while (despite my husband's grumblings). This meal was Perfect from start to finish - easy to make, flavourful, full of veggies and... my son LOVED it!  I also like the little piece of useful information about tomato seeds. We had Garlic Toast on the side and that rounded it out perfectly. This is a meal you will see again for sure! (even though I am sure my husband will request a side of steak next time ;-))

Monday, September 27, 2010

Skillet Chicken with Herb Sauce and Polenta

And so begins my "Magazine Meal Plan Week". Tonight's dinner was tasty, but Tarragon is an acquired taste and it took me a few bites to really get into it. My son wanted nothing to do with it, but my husband really enjoyed it. I pounded the chicken so it would cook faster and I added a little flour to the sauce to thicken it. Overall it was good, but it's not a meal that tops my list of yummy chicken meals, so it may end up at the bottom of the pile again.

Meal Plan ~ Week 40 - 2010

For other great Meal Plans and Organization Advise, visit Organizing Junkie

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I have to admit that I have a bit of a sickness, when I read magazines, I can't help myself but rip the recipes out that I think sound yummy. I then proceed to stuff the sheets into a binder in no particular order and forget all about them for ages with the heap getting bigger by the month. Well, I decided to change that and I went through that nasty binder after years of ripping and stuffing and came out with the idea that this week will be known as the "Magazine Meal Plan Week". All the recipes are from magazine articles and I have not tried ANY of them before. I hope we all can enjoy them! If time permits you may even see some sweets and treats from the binder as well!

Monday ~ Skillet Chicken with Herb Sauce and Polenta~ Canadian Family - Winter 2010

Tuesday ~ Spaghetti Squash with Simple Tomato Sauce~ Todays Parent - June 2010

Thursday ~ Indian-Spiced Roast Salmon  served with Broccoli and Basmati Rice~ Todays Parent - March 2009

Friday ~  Italian Sausage and Poato Bake served with Tossed Salad~ Todays Parent - April 2010

Saturday ~ No-Cream Creamy Chickpea Soup served with Homemade Bread Sticks   Todays Parent - March 2009

Sunday ~  Maple Glazed Pork with Roasted Apples and Sweet Potato Mash~ Canadian Family - March 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vegetable Fish Chowder

I've never made any kind of Fish Chowder before due to the fact that I had a bad experience with Clam Chowder when I was a kid. When I was making this week's meal plan - I thought, "Why not?" so here it is and here we are and I was pleasantly surprised. It was very delicious and easy to whip up. It ended up a little thin, so more like a soup, but I think a little longer simmer time and maybe a touch more flour will take care of that. I whipped up a batch of "Bisquick" biscuits (with cheese of course) to soak up the excess liquid. A very comforting meal indeed! I think this may have opened the door for me to venture out to the realm of Clam Chowders one day!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

I love the idea of a meal that you can put in a pot and then just forget about until you are ready to eat! Slow Cookers are AMAZING lifesavers, but I have yet to find an unbelievably yummy recipe. They have all been forgettable. I find most slow cooker meals, the meat is either dried out, or mushy. I find that the "sauce" is usually pretty bland. This meal was the latter. The meat DID turn out moist and tender, but even though I added Worcestershire Sauce and Montreal Steak Spice, it was bland. IS there such a thing as a perfect slow cooker meal???

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Super Awesome Meal! All food groups represented! This meal has been in our meal plans for a few years now and we LOVE it. The sauce is perfect as are all the flavours of the veggies. My husband and I were talking tonight that it would probably be really good with a nice spicy sausage cut up in it instead of the chicken as well complimenting the subtly sweet sauce.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Operation Bring Back the Snack"

Like most Mom's I know I started out with great intentions and high expectations that all my darling Son's snacks would be healthy and homemade. Don't get me wrong, having the odd treat and goodie is what being kid is all about and I have no problem with occasional splurges, but with summertime parties, BBQ's, picnics, outings and the need for convenience it's hard to stay the course.

The other day I opened my pantry to get my son a snack and actually took stock of all the packaged snacks that were spilling out of my cupboards and internally gasped. Packages of cookies, granola bars, fruit twists, pretzels, snacking crackers, popcorn, cracker sticks, gummies, mini Oreos... oh the list could go on. I have completely given into the marketing of the "100 calorie" packs and their convenience and their single serving size that is so easy to throw into a backpack as you run out the door... EEKS!!

I am now a Mom on a Mission called "Operation Bring Back the Snack". I know I can't flip a switch and be back to my homemade ways, but I have come up with some ideas and I figure if I can get a 2 week plan into rotation it just might work... so long as I can get my message through to my "Fruit and Veggies are Yucky" almost 3 year old - I'll be golden.

This is where you come in... I need some ideas - throw them all at me! I would like creative, fun snacks. I have about 13 ideas myself, but have hit a wall. I need a few more and that's when the Menu Planning Magic will commence... I'll take creative lunch ideas too! 

Thanks for helping me in my quest and look for my Child's Daily Meal Plan coming soon!!

Turkey Potato Boats and Sweet Treats

 What a fun day! The Turkey Potato Boats were a big hit all around. I set out a project for Dad and Son to do while I cooked supper... They decorated the sails for our boats. 

As well as being fun, these boats were quite tasty. I did find that although they had a spicy flavour, they were kind of flat, so I did add a little Italian Spice to round it out as well as a small tin of Tomato Juice to add to the sauce. Over all they were fun in the beginning and delicious in the end and they will being sailing into this harbour again for sure! (Snappy looking boats, eh?)

...Now onto the sweet treats of the day - 2 to speak of! (I was busy!)

Oh so Yummy and fun. And they yield a HUGE batch! They would be good as a classroom snack due to ease and how many they make. I was going to freeze some, but between my husband sneaking them and me sending some to the Dayhome - we only have a couple left. My son absolutely LOVED them as well as the rest of the kiddies at the Dayhome! 

A fairly standard Banana Bread, but with a ribbon of Nutella criss-crossed throughout... so YUMMY!! A nice little treat for sure. My son helped me make it and was VERY proud of his "Banana Party Cake". I think you could add chopped pecans or walnuts for a nice crunch as well.

You will being seeing this every Wednesday as I will post my meals on "What's Cooking Wednesdays" @ The King's Court IV - Come check us out!
The King's Court IV Blog

Dirty Rice

I have always been curious about Dirty Rice, but it was something I always overlooked when I was searching for a recipe for a meal plan, until last Monday. I found this recipe and it sounded delicious (and it IS SUPER delicious). Funny story though, halfway through cooking this meal, I realized that the recipe was not complete. SO I had to make a meal that I had never made before somewhat on the fly - here are my changes...

~ I used a Red Bell Pepper, not Green
~ I added about 1 tsp of Cinnamon at the same time as the rest of the spices
~ No Annatto Powder (the grocer wasn't even sure what that was)
~ I added the Chicken Broth to the rice at the same time as the water
~ About 5 minutes before the Rice was cooked I added the Black Beans, Sausage, Pine nuts, and Tomatoes
~ I let it rest about 5 minutes before serving
~ I added some shredded Cheddar Cheese to the top (of course) and only squeezed on Lime    Juice before serving, not as it was cooking.

Now, I'm not to sure if this can be called "Authentic" Dirty Rice, but it was SO awesome that I would recommend this one pot meal to everyone - even my son loved it. And it made a HUGE pot full, so lots of leftovers to be frozen for another time!! :-)

Creamy Tuna Stovetop Rotini Casserole

This IS the best Tuna Casserole I have ever had ~ Sorry Mom! It is easy (not the easiest on the market) and it is fast (not the fastest on the market) and it is SO flavourful and delicious. (the flavour makes up for the lack of ease and speed) It is easy enough that my husband can make it though! Even my son gobbled it up, veggies and all! This meal has been around around family for years and I know it will be one to stick around for years to come.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meal Plan Week 39 - 2010

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Pretty standard week in our home except I will be going to an all day Scrapbook Crop on Friday and Saturday, which will give me a chance to flex my Slow Cooker.

Tuesday ~ Turkey Potato Boats
Wednesday ~ Dirty Rice

Sunday ~Vegetable Fish Chowder served with Biscuits

~ Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.     Jim Davis

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 38 In Review ~ The Good, The Bad and the Tasteless

The moment has arrived; Week 38 Review! It includes some culinary triumphs and some defeats... enjoy! Onto Week 39 Meal Plan!! 

Monday ~ Oriental Tuna Bites
 Turned out perfect. My son loves that he can dip the bites in copious amounts of plum sauce. This is a fast, easy recipe. I served a Knorr sides plus for him as the stir-fry tends to be a bit spicy (just the way we like it) 

Tuesday ~ Breakfast for Supper
I totally stretched myself with this one... I felt like a short order cook at Denny's and was very frazzled by the time the meal hit the table. We had pancakes (Coyote Flax Seed/Whole Wheat Pancake Mix) with mashed in bananas, bacon, hashbrowns and scrambled eggs with cheese. I would not even attempt this again for supper unless the bacon and pancakes were already prepared ahead of time and just needed to be reheated/toasted. Of course it was AWESOME with real Maple Syrup drizzled over it all and I must admit I had a beer with dinner which was a novel idea(beer with breakfast - can't say I've ever done THAT before!)

Wednesday ~ Corn Chowder with Potatoes and Bacon served with cheese biscuits
YUM! I made the biscuits from the recipe on the bisquick box and (of course) added some shredded cheese. They turned out perfect and where very quick to whip up. The chowder was amazing and so perfect for a dreary rainy day. I did find that there were too many scallions called for; the recipe says 20 (I only used 6 and it was still a tad much) It did have a nice spice and warmth to it even as it cooled down. My son hated it - way to spicy for him. My husband and I loved it. 

Thursday ~ Cajun Spiced Chicken served with Tzatziki Sauce and Lemony Baby Potatoes and Tossed Grape Tomatoes with Purple Onion and Feta.
UGH! Where to start? The Tzatziki was GROSS - the olive oil totally over powdered the sauce and just ransacked the whole meal. The Cajun Chicken wasn't very flavourful and didn't really crisp up like I thought it would. I knew that I had used a recipe from All Recipes for my Tzatziki before and it turned out great - THIS was NOT it. So I am now in need of a REAL Tzatziki Sauce recipe should you have one!

Friday ~ No cooking - Mom out!! 

Saturday ~ Chili served with Canadian Style Corn Fritters

Oh so delightful! Like most people I hold my Secret Chili Recipe near and dear, so sorry everyone, but "Mom's the Word" on my recipe!  The Corn Fritters were delicious and perfect for dipping into the Chili. They were like little corn pancakes in flavour and texture and that is exactly what my son calls them. There were lots left over so I froze them to be used for lunches.

Sunday ~ Chicken and Spinach Risotto Rice Pot 

A really good meal, but I found the Chicken to be flavourless, so if I make this again, I would omit the Chicken and serve the rice as a side dish.  And can you call it Risotto? It is made with Basmati Rice - I personally thought Risotto was made with Arborio, but I'm not a chef, so I would love to know!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

100 Days to Christmas!

I thought I'd share with you that September 16th marks exactly 100 days to Christmas! (Scary I know - I just started thinking about Halloween for goodness sakes!) 

Like most Moms, every year I vow to be prepared for this holiday WELL ahead of time and on the ball... not running like a mad woman 1 week before the big day, feeling like it just magically "popped up" out of nowhere and wondering how the heck it snuck up on me AGAIN! (like I do every year)
I think this day marks a good starting point to get the lists started.

Check out 100 days to christmas for inspiration to get this holiday season started off on the right foot!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meal Plan Week 38 - 2010 and Week 37 Review

For other great Meal Plans and Organization Advise, visit Organizing Junkie

So first week of the new "format" so here is the Menu that I will be working on this week followed by some notes from last week's meals. Because I started this format halfway through the week, there is only notes on the latter half of week 37.

I hope that my Menu's have given you some inspiration - and if not - feel free to pass on some ideas - I LOVE to experiment.  Happy cooking!

Meal Plan week 38

                    Cabbage and Carrot Stirfry with Lime and Cumin

Tuesday ~ Breakfast for Supper (Pancakes, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs and Hashbrowns)

Friday ~ Mom out - family gets choice from leftovers

Saturday ~  Chili served with Canadian Style Corn Fritters

Sunday ~ Cajun Spiced Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce Lemon Baby Potatoes and Tossed Salad

Week 37 "In Review" 

Thursday we had Spaghetti and Caesar salad - No recipe, I treated the family to homemade meatballs! mmm! The only note here on my sauce is I finely grate 1 carrot and 1/2 zucchini into the sauce as it simmers to ensure veggie intake for my son. It adds a sweetness to the sauce and helps to thicken it. Honestly I will be doing this long after I need to. 

Friday we ended up have Chicken Burgers, and Sweet Potato Fries - again no recipe, just out of the box.

Saturday we had Korean Pork with Asian Slaw - this meal has been a staple of our household for about a year now and this was actually my husband's request for the week. SO delicious!! 

Sunday we went to a friend's house for another Spaghetti Dinner, I could LIVE on this stuff! :-) 
I was in charge of bringing a dessert and opted for a traditional, seasonal Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce which was a huge hit - both batches were devoured! And to top it off my house was filled with the lovely aroma of apples and spices. This is now a new autumn classic in our home.  
“In the childhood memories of every good cook, there’s a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot, and a mom.” - Barbara Costikyan

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Planners and Self Promotion

I Heart Organizers and Calendars and really anything that just might make my life a touch easier, and that is when my new 2011 calendar came into my life... it is called the Mom's Home Plan-it Calendar it can hang on the wall or it also has a magnetic strip to hang on the fridge. Check out the full line here; Plan-it Calendars

I wrote to the company to see about shipping to Canada and although they don't ship internationally, they did direct me to who carries their calendars and planners and does ship to Canada.

I personally got mine through Avon (did I mention that I am an Avon Rep?? - let me know if you need one)

The SUPER cool thing about my new Plan-it calendar is that it starts August 2010 and goes all the way until December 2011 so I can start using it TODAY!! WOO HOO - See ya later - I'm off to populate my new calendar...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pork Chops with Fruit Relish Review

This was a wonderful autumn meal full of fruit, and spice. The pork chops turned out great (I had to cook a little longer than suggested) There was a little too much Thyme for my taste (which is saying a lot because I love Thyme!) I would scrap the Thyme in the Fruit Relish and just have it on the chops. The baked Sweet Potato with Cinnamon butter was AMAZING! Just bake it like a regular Potato (mine took an hour in the oven) and top with Butter and sprinkle with Cinnamon or Apple Pie Spice. So simple, yet SO GREAT!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seared Chicken with Pan Gravy

This was a super awesome meal! Mashed Potatoes and Gravy sure do say comfort food! The added Lemon Juice to the Pan Gravy added a nice tang that kept it nice and light. Pounding the Chicken Breasts made it so they cooked super fast. Instead of adding the broth and flour to the pan individually I whisked the two together in a glass prior to pouring into the pan to ensure there would be no lumps. I got this from the Weight Watchers 20 Minute Meals recipe book so if you serve with 1/2 Cup Mashed Potatoes and 3 Tablespoons of Gravy you are looking at a point value of 8 for the entire meal, take away the Mashed and it is only 6 points. I would highly recommend this recipe even if you aren't counting - it is SO flavourful!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quinoa Salad and Caramel Apple Bars

Well it's been a couple days because i haven't had to cook for a while. My MIL cooked Cabbage Rolls on Saturday and Turkey Dinner on Sunday, so we have been spoiled. Tonight it was back to it and Man alive did I pick a good one!! 

I saw this recipe and thought it looked interesting because it truly has everything in it and it turned out to be one of my new fave salads of ALL time. This Quinoa salad would be PERFECT for a pot luck or for any gathering or BBQ as you can make it up to 3 days in advance. The blend of sweet and savory is impeccable and it is so colourful and pretty to boot. PLEASE try this salad!!!

I also had a little bit of time to try a friend's recommendation of an easy Apple Bar: Easy Apple Caramel Bars They were a snap to make and turned out perfect. With a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream, they made a perfect light dessert. Thanks Caryn for the recipe, it was awesome. 

This time of year is SO great for baking and I must admit I just LOVE it and all the crispness in the air and wearing chunky sweaters while drinking hot apple cider and baking with aromatic spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and making ANYTHING out of a pumpkin. I love to experiment, so if you have a fave Autumn recipe, please send it my way and I'd love to try it!!

Meal Plan Week 37 - 2010

For other great Meal Plans and Organization Advise, visit Organizing Junkie
Well, it's the Monday of the Labour Day Long weekend and the weekend was so crazy that I am JUST getting to this now. So without further a do - here is what will be served in our house this week...enjoy.

Monday ~ Coconut Crusted Tilapia served with Quinoa Salad
                     Tilapia from the Seafood Section of our deli
                      Quinoa Salad Recipe

Tuesday ~ Seared Chicken with Pan Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Carrots
                      Seared Chicken with Pan Gravy Recipe

Wednesday ~ Pork Chops with Fruit Relish, Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter
                    Pork Chops with Fruit Relish Recipe

Thursday ~ Spaghetti with Meat Sauce served with Caesar Salad
                        (No recipe)

Friday ~ Korean Pork Tenderloin served with Asian Slaw
                   Korean Style Pork with Asian Slaw Recipe

Saturday ~ Summer Corn Chowder with Scallions, Bacon and Potatoes served with Biscuits
                       Corn Chowder with Bacon and Potatoes Recipe

Sunday ~ Family out - I have to come up with a dessert - stay tuned...

~ Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thai Style Pork

This was a good slow cooker meal, we all finished our plates, but we also drank 2 glasses of water each because I must say it is SALTY. The base of the sauce is Teriyaki Sauce, so that is probably why. Definitely DO NOT add any salt.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Southwestern Chicken Pizza Review

A wonderful change to the regular pizza. I found this recipe in a Weight Watchers 20 minute Cook Book - this pizza has a point value of 4 per slice (if you're counting) so add a side salad and you're looking at a whole meal for 4 points plus salad dressing! And it is SO delicious and flavourful. Tonight I made each of us our own personal sized pizza, so a few more points than suggested. My son had his own version (chicken, cheese, sour cream, and bbq sauce) :-/ 
You'll see this one return for sure if only for the cheese and fresh cilantro! mmmm momma likey!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Au Gratin Taco Bake

I LOVE Tex Mex! This meal, is easy and although it takes a long time to bake (65-75 minutes) putting it all together is easy. So as long as you can get to it early, this is a great meal. The flavours were simple and just right. I did add pepper, paprika, and garlic. (Staples in my meals) 
I recommend this meal for sure - maybe on a weekend? Toss a salad and mix up some maragaritas and this meal would become a crowd please. You whip it up early, throw it in the oven and enjoy your company and cocktails for at least an hour prior to dinner. Ole!


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