Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meal Plan for Jan. 24-30th

Here's this week's meal plan if you're following along. Monday's dinner idea comes right from the Pioneer Woman's site. I LOVE her Marlboro Man sandwich.

Monday - "Marlboro Man" Sandwich
Tuesday - Pork Tenderloin & Rice
Wednesday - Spicy Baked Mexican Lasagna (recipe post coming this afternoon)
Thursday - Salmon Cakes
Friday - Mediterranean Risotto
Saturday - Chicken Quesadillas
Sunday - Stacked Meatloaf

Amanda's Chunky Chicken Quesadilla

I lurvvvvvvvvve Mexican food. The spiciness, the smokiness, the flavour explosion! I could eat refried beans and enchiladas every day. I guess technically it's tex-Mex, but whatever you want to call it it's freakin' delish!

A lot of people have a dish that they judge restaurants by. My husband's is chicken wings. If a restaurant can rock the chicken wings they have his repeat business and he'll try out the rest of the menu. But if their wings leave a bad taste in his mouth, we never go back. My dish is the quesadilla. If it's too greasy, too bland, not enough veggies, or I'm paying an extra $4 for 3 tiny pieces of chicken I'm not a happy chica.

I've taken all the best elements of all the best quesadillas I've ever had and combined them into one totally delicious tex-mex meal. Make this on a couple of 6" flour tortillas for a quick, light lunch, or on 12" flour tortillas for dinner with a side of Mexican rice or a salad.

Start by roasting some red, green and yellow peppers, and some onions in a bit of olive oil and chopping up some cooked chicken.

On top of a flour tortilla (this one is a 6") put a slice of jalapeno havarti or pepper jack cheese and top with a generous amount of the veggies and chicken

top the chicken and veggie mixture with shredded marble cheddar

top with another flour tortilla. Drizzle a wee bit of olive oil on top and sprinkle on a dash of seasoned salt and cajun seasoning. Bake at 350˚F for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.


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Amanda's Chunky Chicken Quesadilla
serves 4

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2 green pepper, cut into strips
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
1/2 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, cut into strips
8 6" flour tortillas
4 slices (1-2oz) jalapeno havarti or pepper jack cheese
2 c marble cheddar, shredded
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp cajun seasoning


1. Slice peppers and onions and toss with a bit of olive oil and roast in a 450˚F oven for 15 minutes.
2. Slice a chicken breast and set aside.
3. Lay the flour tortillas on a cookie sheet and top with a slice of jalapeno havarti or pepper jack cheese and a generous amount of the veggies and chicken.
4. Top with shredded cheddar and another flour tortilla.
5. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt and cajun seasoning.
6. Bake at 350˚F for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
7. Serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meal Plan for Jan 17-23

Back into meal plan posting finally! Hope you enjoy!

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Monday ~ crockpot pulled pork & coleslaw
Tuesday ~ chicken à la king
Wednesday ~ baked gnocchi (breakfast - apple pie pancakes)
Thursday ~ steaks & cheesy bacon scalloped potatoes
Friday ~ mild curry chicken pizza on nann
Saturday ~ fish & chips (breakfast - hashbrown quiche)
Sunday ~ ham & hashbrown bake


Pub Style Beer Battered Fish & Chips

My husband's second favourite meal, after a huge juicy steak, is fish and chips. Shortly after we met I made this homemade version for him and I'm pretty sure that's why he proposed.

My grandma never bought frozen fish sticks or frozen french fries. She was a "from scratch" kind of lady. I inherited her love of making food the old-fashioned way, so when my family wants "fish sticks" this is what they get (no complaints so far!).

Don't be scared to attempt this recipe, it's not that complicated and as long as you're not making it 3 times a week it's a nice treat.

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Pub Style Beer Battered Fish & Chips
serves 4

Beer Batter
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 beer, any kind, you won't need it all, just enough to get a pancake batter-like consistency

2 lbs. Haddock Fillets (or 4 of generous size)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour

6-8 med. potatoes, peeled and cut into fries, I use Russett for fries with a fluffy inside


1. Preheat deep fryer to fish setting temperature, or if using a pot, to 320˚F
2. Blanch fries in hot oil for 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. While the fries are blanching, mix the first 5 ingredients together to incorporate.
4. Add beer a little at a time until a pancake batter-like consistency is reached. Drink rest of beer.
5. Pat fish dry with a paper towel and dredge in the 1/4 c. flour making sure it's well coated. Shake off excess flour.
6. Dredge the floured fish in the beer batter coating well.
7. Add the coated fish to the hot oil 1 at a time slowly lowering them in. Depending on the size of your deep fryer or pot and of your fillets, only cook 2-3 pieces of fish at a time so that they don't stick together.
8. Fry for approximately 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Line a cookie sheet with paper towel and place a cookie rack over top.
10. Remove fillets from hot oil and place on cookie rack to drain excess oil. They will stay piping hot for quite a while, do not put in hot oven or cover as the coating will get soggy.
11. when all fillets are cooked turn temperature of deep fryer up to french fry setting, or 375˚F.
12. Return french fries to hot oil and cook until golden brown.
13. Remove from oil and put on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
14. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over fish and serve with tartar sauce.

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Tip - Out of tartar sauce? You can make some quickly with 1/2 c. mayo, 2 tbsp relish, 1 tsp lemon juice and a dash of paprika!


Friday, January 14, 2011

"Soup-er" Easy Chicken à La King

Some nights I like to get all retro, thrown on my bell bottoms and fringe jacket* and make a retro dinner that reminds me of my youth. One of my faves: Chicken à la King. The name alone conjures up images of tupperware parties in my head!

This super simple recipe came from my mom. Anytime we had a roast chicken (always on a Sunday), on the following Tuesday we'd have this made with the leftovers. If I have leftover chicken I use it, if not, I grab a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. They're the same price as buying an uncooked chicken without all the hassle! Just rip it up, and if you have too much make some chicken salad sandwiches for lunch, it's the meal that just keeps on giving!

My mom always served Chicken à la King two ways: over white rice (more retro deliciousness, who needs whole grain?) and over puff pastry cups (mmmm Pepperidge Farm!), both ways are totally yummy.

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"Soup-er" Easy Chicken à La King

serves 4

2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 small can of peas and carrots (or 1 c. frozen)
1 can of milk (use empty soup can and fill with milk)
salt & pepper to taste


1. Add all ingredients to a pot.
2. Simmer over med-low heat until hot and bubbly.
3. Serve over cooked rice, or puff pastry.

How easy was that!?

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* Okay, I don't have a fringe jacket, but if I did I could totally rock it!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crockpot Pulled Pork

Crockpots (or slow cookers if you will) are the greatest invention for busy families and over-worked moms. You can throw a bunch of ingredients in it before you rush out the door in the morning, and when you come home 8 hours later dinner is ready and waiting for you (with minimal dishes to do, bonus!).

Even as a stay-at-home mom I appreciate the slow cooker cause every day around here isn't all sunshine and lollipops. Some days having dinner cook itself without me needing to be standing at the stove is a Godsend.

This is a popular recipe around these parts, hubs likes anything on a bun and the kids will eat anything that has barbeque sauce on it. Now, if you're feeling all energetic (more power to ya, I'm tired) you can make your own barbeque sauce and use that, but I find the jarred stuff just as good as any home made sauce I've had.

Try this recipe mid week and you'll be kissing your crockpot when you get home. (but don't really cause it's hot!)

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Crockpot Pulled Pork

1 pork picnic shoulder (around 2kg or 5lbs) untrimmed (do NOT remove the fat cap)
2-3 tbsp Amanda's No-So-Secret Dry rub *recipe below*
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 c of your favourite barbeque sauce (I use a 1/2 cup Bull's Eye Hickory and a 1/2 cup of Diana's Chicken and Rib)

Amanda's No-So-Secret Dry Rub (great on chicken, pork, steaks and burgers!)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp smoked chipotle powder
2 tbsp seasoned salt
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tbsp ground ginger

1. Rub the pork shoulder with 2-3 tbsp (or enough to fully cover the shoulder) of the dry rub and allow to "marinate" over night wrapped up in the fridge.
2. Slice the onion (can be done the night before to save time in the morning) and spread out rings over the bottom of your slow cooker.
3. Place the pork shoulder on top of the onions and pour barbeque sauce over the meat.
4. Cover and set your slower cooker to low and allow to cook for at least 8 hours.
5. When the meat is fork tender (it falls apart when you stick a fork in it) remove the shoulder from the crockpot and place on a cutting board. Remove the fat cap, any string and other large pieces of fat and discard.
6. Using 2 forks pull the meat apart into stringy sections and return to the crockpot.
7. Lightly butter rolls and grill or toast until light brown.
8. Top buns with pulled pork, cooked onions and a bit of additional barbeque sauce and serve!

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Cinnamon Buns (Clone of a Cinnabon)

Well it just figures my first post of 2011 would be something like a Cinnamon Bun, especially since my New Year's Resolution was to lose my baby weight! But look at that thing, who could resist it? Cinnamon Buns are one of the only "dessert" type food (aka anything sweet) that my hubs will eat, so I like to indulge him now and then.

I never attempted to make Cinnamon Buns before hubs got me a bread maker for my birthday, not that I thought I couldn't do it, I'm just lazy that way (I've got 3 kids eh!). With a bread maker this recipe is crazy-easy. It does all the kneading and rising and all I have to do is watch!

I found this recipe on and it claims to be a clone of the Cinnabon Chain Cinnamon Buns, and it totally is. I made a couple of modifications to make it easier and I found the original cream cheese frosting way too cream cheesy tasting. What I got is AH-MAZE-ING.

On a Sunday morning there's nothing better than a warm from the oven Cinnamon Bun to go with my skinny latte (I'm watching my weight yo), but this recipe is so easy you could have them any day of the week!

I made big ones for me and hubs and little ones for the kids
picture taken with my iPhone, excuse the quality!

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Cinnamon Buns (Clone of a Cinnabon)
adapted from

1 cup warm milk (110˚F/45˚C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 c margarine, melted
4 1/2 c bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 c white sugar
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Cinnamon Spread
1 c brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c butter, softened

1/2 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

2. After the dough has doubled in size (when the cycle is done) turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

3. In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until combined.

4. Roll dough into a 16" x 21" rectangle. Spread dough with the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture leaving a 1" strip along the edge furthest from you bare.

5. Roll up the dough and cut into 12 rolls.

6. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

7. Preheat your oven to 400˚F (200˚C).

8. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

9. While rolls are baking, beat together the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

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