Posts tagged dinner
Posts tagged dinner
Weekend brunch: quinoa-crusted asparagus, pesto and goat cheese quiche
As I’ve mentioned before, I follow many food blogs and I’m always looking for new recipes to try on all of these blogs. I often come across interesting and unique recipes on the Closet Cooking blog, which is where I found the recipe for this quiche (click on the photo to link to the original recipe).
I really liked the idea of a quinoa crust to make a healthier version of a quiche; it turned out to be delicious, and incredibly easy to do. I only made one modification to the original recipe (which was to delete the addition of artichoke) and I loved this! It was so delicious! I think it would be a great dish to serve for brunch, or, in my case, to bring for my work lunches!
Dinner at Sandals Emerald Bay’s La Parisienne
While honeymooning at Sandals Emerald Bay, the husband and I enjoyed the copious and wonderful food the resort had to offer. We were sure to dine at Sandals Emerald Bay’s two official a la carte restaurants, La Parisienne and Il Cielo.
Our dinner at La Parisienne was one of our favourites. Although the restaurant is not oceanfront (it is at the front of the Sandals property that faces inland) the ambiance was wonderfully romantic and opulent with the over the top velvet sofas and plush seating.
There were so many choices on the menu - it was difficult to decide what to order! For my appetizer, I chose the bacon-wrapped scallop on a rosemary potato cake with truffle oil and citrus glaze. It was beautifully plated and delicious; the scallop was tender and not chewy, and the potato cake was brimming with rosemary flavour.
I was making it a point to eat as much lobster as I could manage while on honeymoon, so, for my main dish, I chose the langouste thermidor, which is lobster flambeed in Cognac with Dijon mustard, fresh cream, shallots and bell peppers, and served with fennel and saffron rice. Wow! The lobster and the sauce in which it was bathing was deliciously rich and creamy. I ended up putting much of my rice in the lobster dish to soak up all the rich goodness! The husband ordered the Chateaubriand, which was a dry aged, whole roasted filet mignon with bernaise sauce, which was served with asparagus and roasted potatoes. He was very impressed with the steak - it was tender, and the sauce complimented it very well.
Our desserts were also impressive; we asked our server for her recommendation and we were not disappointed. I had the apple tart tatin, and the husband had the tart duo, which was a lemon tart as well as a fruit tart.
We were completely stuffed, but it was one of the most memorable dinners of our trip!
A submission from my sister of a meal she made this past weekend: chicken and red and green peppers with coconut milk and khaldin (an Indian curry sauce) served alongside coconut curry rice with raisins and zucchini. Looked delicious, sis!
Weeknight dinner: pork tenderloin cordon bleu and homemade stove top mac and cheese with broccoli
Please excuse my photo: it doesn’t make the pork look particularly appetizing, but I assure you, it was delicious! I came across this recipe on the Serious Eats website and thought it would be fun to try. I liked the idea of stuffing a pork tenderloin to add flavour and texture.
This pork tenderloin recipe (see here) is a bit of work. But the ingredients are fairly simple and were all things that I had on hand. Both the husband and I really liked the results. The results of my first attempt at this recipe were a bit of a mess: like usual, I was rushing when preparing the pork so I accidentally skipped a step and had to go back to fix it. Alas, the flavour was delicious and I would definitely make this again!
The mac and cheese is a whole other story. I had been planning to make this for months, but had just not had the time to do so. The recipe comes from Chef Michael Smith’s cookbook Fast Flavours, which I adore. He is really passionate about avoiding prepackaged foods, like macaroni and cheese, especially when it comes to feeding it to your kids, which is why he created this recipe, which I have included at the bottom of this post. It was incredible: cheesy, creamy, and so much flavour.
Stove top mac and cheese with broccoli
Adapted slightly from Fast Flavours
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1 can of fat free evaporated milk
- 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used sriracha)
- 1 lb (450 g) aged Cheddar, shredded (I used Armstrong Old Cheddar, and we only used just under 400 g)
- 1 lb (450 g) elbow macaroni (I used small shells)
- 2 bunches of broccoli, cut into small florets
- Turn on your pot with your salted water for the pasta.
- Begin making the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then whisk in flour, which will make a thick-ish paste. Add both the regular milk and the evaporated milk, and whisk the mixture until it is fully heated and thickened slightly. Whisk in the mustard, paprika, salt, and hot sauce. Sprinkle in the cheese and don’t stop whisking until it is smooth. Remove from heat (or keep on very low and continue to stir occasionally).
- Cook the pasta for 7 minutes, then add in the broccoli for the last three minutes of cooking (this is a quick and easy way to cook the broccoli). Drain and pour into the cheese sauce. Stir well, and serve!
This made a HUGE amount. We ate it for three nights in a row! Store leftovers in a container in the fridge, and reheat gently in the microwave using a lower heat setting. It reheats very well.
Dinner at The Burbs Pub
I always thought the name of this restaurant was a little bit cheeky, which I am sure it was meant to be. Truthfully, it put me off a little bit, which is why it took us so long to give it a try.
The term “the burbs” has a bit of a negative connotation to me. I mean, I live in the suburbs, and I love it. I just don’t like the connotation of the word, as it negatively describes where I live and where I love living.
All this to say, when I finally figured out that the restaurant was owned by the same people who own La Cucina, a lovely little restaurant just down the road from the Burbs Pub, I changed my mind. We have enjoyed many a delicious meal at La Cucina, so I knew I had to give this place a chance.
We decided to go for dinner (we were toying with the idea of breakfast at first) as the husband loves a club sandwich and loves trying them wherever he can. The restaurant wasn’t busy when we arrived around 6 p.m. or so on a Saturday night. A few tables were occupied with couples and families.
After perusing the menu for a bit, I was impressed to note that a lot of what they serve is made in-house, which was true for both the pulled pork sandwich that I ordered and the turkey from the husband’s club sandwich. The pulled pork was crazy delicious - super sweet (just the way I like it), tender, juicy - everything you could want in a fantastic pulled pork. The side garden salad left a bit to be desired, but both the lettuce and the vegetables were fresh and crisp. I also really liked the coleslaw - it had great flavour. The husband was impressed with his club and the french fries; they didn’t jump to the top of his all-time favourite list or anything, but they didn’t disappoint.
We would definitely return to this little pub. The food, service and atmosphere were all great!
Chicken fiesta soup redux
I’ve made this soup before (see here); it is part of my regular dinner rotation, something that I make quite often. It is a true quick weeknight dinner if you do your proper prep ahead of time, usually the night before. Cook the chicken, chop the vegetables, etc.
I recently decided to change up the recipe a little bit by swapping out some of the chicken broth for red wine, adding a few teaspoons of blended chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (for a big smoky, spicy kick), adding chopped steamed green beans, and adding a heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika. Wow! I really liked the addition of the red wine; it really changed the flavour in a good way. You can see the colour of the soup is quite different than in my previous post, I think it is due to how much red wine I added! The chipotle peppers really kicked up the heat as well, which was a nice change.
Fresh pasta from Parma Ravioli
We hadn’t made pasta for dinner in a long time, so when we decided to add it to our weekly menu rotation, I thought, why not make it a little bit special? So on my lunch hour, I walked up to Parma Ravioli, a food shop for all things Italian.
They have a huge selection of fresh, in-house made pasta for sale, including stuffed pastas like ravioli and tortellini, as well as spaghetti and linguine to name a few. They also sell freshly made sauces, breads and rolls, soups, desserts and so much more.
I had planned to make a spaghetti sauce using ground beef and Farm Boy passata (tomato sauce), so I opted for the roasted red pepper linguine. The linguine wasn’t too thick, and had a beautiful rusty orange colour to it.
I forgot to take a photo of our dinner that night (we were so hungry!) but I can tell you that the pasta cooked up beautifully! I can’t wait to try more of their fresh pastas - next on the list is definitely a tortellini or ravioli of some sort!
Lemon chickpea quinoa burgers
When I saw the recipe for these burgers in Sobey’s Inspired magazine, I thought, what the heck? Why not give them a try? But since there was no way that the husband would be eating these, I grilled them along side a couple of rib eye steaks that we were having for dinner. I thought they might be better utilized in my weekday lunches as a source of protein for a salad, or in a wrap.
Since I didn’t get the chance to dress these burgers up like they’re supposed to be, I decided to take a photo of the page of the magazine to show you what they should look like!
Click on my photo above to link to the recipe. I made two small changes to the recipe: I used fresh cilantro instead of parsley, and curry powder instead of coriander. But I did everything else as stated. I tried a few small bites of one of the burgers as it came off the bbq, and it was tasty! I think they would make a delicious vegetarian alternative for a summer bbq.
Happy hour at Spin Kitchen
After having such a lovely dining experience at Spin for my birthday dinner this past January, I decided to kick back one day after work and try their happy hour fare.
Spin offers a limited happy hour menu that they call the 5 @ 5 (5 bar eats, 5 beer, 5 cocktails, 5 wines for $5 at 5 p.m.). I haven’t had a fruity martini in forever so I was immediately drawn to the mangotini (their name, not mine), and I was not disappointed! Made with vodka, mango puree and fresh squeezed lime juice, this was one satisfying drink.
I couldn’t miss out on trying some cheap eats either, so I ordered the beef short ribs, which was two huge chunks of beef smothered in a red wine sauce and served with a single onion ring for garnish. This item usually goes for $12 on the regular menu, so it is a steal of a deal! It was incredibly tender and delicious; my tongue was tingling from all the savoury flavours.
I will definitely return to Spin for their happy hour, but the key is to order wisely: comparing the items on the happy hour menu with their prices on the non-happy hour menu helps for making smart decisions!
Leftover Love - weeknight beef tacos
Using our leftover slow cooked beef, the husband and I whipped up some delicious beef soft tacos. We didn’t change the original seasoning on the beef; instead, we sliced and stir fried some red bell pepper and onion and added some taco seasoning to give the veggies some flavour. We piled all of that on taco shells from Lone Star (the husband loves their taco shells) with our favourite toppings to make an almost instant weeknight dinner!
Weeknight dinner: slow cooker beef
A combination of factors contributed to this dish: for one, the slow cooker had been collecting dust in the cupboard for much too long, and beef was on sale!
I had also been craving a pot roast kind of flavour, so I decided to cook the beef in the slow cooker using this recipe I found on the Zesty Cook blog (click on my photo to link directly to the recipe). I only made two small changes to the original recipe: I added one medium sized chopped onion, and I used all red wine and no chicken/beef stock.
I paired the slow cooked beef with steamed baby red potatoes and frozen green beans; we used the gravy (which you can whip up easily from the slow cooker drippings - there are directions in the recipe) to pour over the potatoes instead of butter and sour cream. We both loved it: the beef was incredibly tender and so flavourful. We also had fun with the leftovers…stay tuned!
Dinner at Grounded Kitchen and Coffee House
I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying lunch at Grounded, but had not yet been there for dinner until one recent evening.
I met a friend for dinner and, as luck (and Mother Nature) would have it, the patio was open and we could dine al fresco! The dinner menu at Grounded is not huge but there is lots from which to choose. I settled on the soft tacos, which were under the small plates section of the menu. The tacos come with your choice of shrimp, pulled pork or vegetarian, and are served with mango chutney, house made chipotle bbq sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. I chose the shrimp, and they were good! Maybe not quite bursting with the exact kind of zingy flavour that I had hoped for, but everything was fresh and well put together, and the shrimp were nicely cooked.
Would I return? Absolutely. There are many other menu items that I would like to try!
Weeknight dinner: chicken schnitzel on a bun
Growing up, one of my Mom’s staple quick dinners was pork or chicken schnitzel from a favourite local butcher. It came pre-cooked, and it was incredibly fresh and delicious. I loved to eat my schnitzel on a fresh, soft roll, slathered in French’s yellow mustard.
The husband and I have made schnitzel on a bun one of our own quick weeknight dinners. Our favourite local grocery store, Farm Boy, sells fresh chicken schnitzel that is ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice. We serve ours on top of fresh toasted buns, and I’ve graduated from a little mustard to lettuce and tomato for my toppings. We made a batch of his (russet potatoes) and hers (sweet potato) baked oven fries to accompany our sandwiches.
The dinners that my Mom came up with so long ago were so simple at the time, but it is funny and heartwarming that it is those memories that are what fuel my own sense of creation when it comes to making dinner as an adult.
Lunch at Bistro Fifty Four
While taking a little bit of time off for the period pre- and post-wedding, the husband and I had a little bit of extra time to dine at a restaurant we had been wanting to try.
We first experienced Bistro Fifty Four at the Kanata Food and Wine Show in November 2012.(see here), and enjoyed the beef bourguignon that we tasted.
The restaurant is actually a part of a golf course, which I did not realize. It was quiet in the restaurant the day we dined (the golf course was not yet open) except for a few other patrons who were mostly retirees, likely due to the fact that it was a week day lunch, and there aren’t any office buildings or businesses nearby.
We were promptly greeted, seated and served, and the food came out pretty quickly too. I ordered the monte cristo sandwich and got the soup of the day, a chipotle roasted corn chowder, as my side. Both were delicious - the sandwich was so moist and fresh, and the soup had a great kick of spice but with lots of good roasted flavour. Both of our dishes were served with a pickle and their in-house made coleslaw, which was very different and tasty as it was made with balsamic vinegar, which gave it a wonderful caramel-type colour.
The husband went for his usual, a club sandwich, but for his side, he upgraded to poutine. But this wasn’t just any ordinary poutine - he got what the menu described as “Newfie poutine,” which was your basic poutine topped with stuffing! As a self-dubbed club sandwich connosseur, he liked both the sandwich and his side very much!
We would definitely return to Bistro Fifty Four; the food and service were great, and we’d like to try more of the menu.
Slow cooker chicken cacciatore, round 2
The husband and I have decided that we really like the way that boneless, skinless chicken breasts come out when cooked in the slow cooker. The meat is incredibly tender and juicy, and just falling apart with deliciousness.
I have made a chicken cacciatore in the slow cooker once before (see here; it turned out alright). We declared there was a bit too much liquid in that recipe, but the flavour was good. So when a friend at work mentioned making slow cooker chicken cacciatore successfully, I asked her to pass along the recipe, which is from the Kraft Canada website (click on my photo to link to the recipe).
Right away, I was actually a little bit nervous that there would not be enough liquid, as all that is called for is 1/4 cup of chicken broth (and two cans of tomato paste if you consider that to be a liquid). I chose to use 1/4 cup of merlot instead of the broth, and away I went. Well, it turned out deliciously! Indeed there was plenty of liquid, but not too much when it was all said and done. We served our cacciatore over Wildroots Pearl Harvest Couscous (see here), which turned out great, but I think you could pair it with any starch of your choosing, or a veggie (like spinach!), or serve it all on its own.
I’d definitely make this again, and I wouldn’t hesitate to play around with the herbs and other things used to flavour the dish.