Monday, January 31, 2011

Jan 27-30 A Japanese end to month 1 of the challenge

Jan 27   Miso Salmon with Cucumber-Daikon Relish
Jan 28   Sushi Pizza with Salmon and Shoyu Ramen
Jan 29   Date night and a late dinner at Relish
Jan 30   Bergundy Beef stew from Supperworks

This week Little Shack starts snowboard lessons on Fridays and he has to take a lunch. I promised that I would make sushi for him so that usually means we eat some sort of fish on Thursday so I can have leftover cooked fish for sushi lunch on Friday. I don't like the idea of sending my kid with raw fish in his lunch box and it's not like it's a chore that we have to eat fish the day before.

He really loves salmon and I always make it exactly the same so I thought something with miso would be a nice change. He didn't love the miso marinade so I will have to try something else the next time but Shack and I really enjoyed it. Instead of cutting the recipe in half, I did the whole thing and used the leftover salmon for Little Shack's sushi rolls for lunch and sushi pizza for supper.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eating On a Film Set: Spicy Tuna Salad

Over the last week or so I've mentioned how crazy work has been and how difficult dinners are, even without the added challenge of not repeating any recipes.  I thought I'd take the opportunity with my first Sunday post to share a recipe from the best Craft Service guy in town, Des.

First off, what is Craft Service?  For those of you who have never been on a film or commercial set, it's basically the people that keep us fed and watered during our long working hours.  They generally have a truck that's equipped with a kitchen where they make us breakfast and snacks throughout the day.  Lunch is catered by a separate company and if we work long enough to warrant dinner (or second meal as it's known), that is usually ordered in.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

Day 22 - Chicken Tikka Masala

Well since Tuesday there hasn't been much cooking going on in our house.  I've just been dead tired when I get home and on top of that neither of us has been hungry by the time we get home.  Luckily shooting wraps up on Sunday for this short job.  Thought I have to say I'm a bit petrified about what I'll do when the next job comes around, in terms of cooking and this blog.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup (with Quinoa)

We'd been eating leftover chicken in various forms for what felt like days on end so I was happy to try a recipe from my new cookbook Quinoa 365 that boasted that its Broccoli Cheese Soup would become our "newest family favourite." And it really delivered. I haven't had a soup this good in a long time. Full of flavour and packed with superfood-goodness, even though none of us could even taste the quinoa once it had been pureed. Instead it just thickened the soup without the need for flour or any other thickener (besides maybe the cream).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jan 24- 26 And Some Tasty Thai Flavours

Jan 24   Wing Night With The Bonds!
Jan 26   stir fried thai red rice

I am doing really well using up leftovers and turning them into new meals and that means a lot less waste and that makes me very happy. I made chicken barley stew on Monday (to eat Tuesday) using the leftover chicken and roast carrots from our Sunday night dinner and it was really delicious. This might sound crazy but that is not something I would have bothered with before. I would have most likely thrown those ingredients out after a few days of lingering in the fridge.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Morrocan Meatballs & putting Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals to the test

Day 16 - Moroccan Mini-Meatballs
This week has totally been a wash.  Working 12-14 hours days where each day starts and ends a little later than the one before make dinners not happen so much.  Luckily Day 1 of this down and dirty shoot started at 6:30am which meant a respectable 7:30pm wrap, plenty of time to throw together a quick dinner.  In the spirit of the challenge, I really wanted to try a brand new-to-me recipe and in thinking of something quick and easy to throw together decided to head on over to Rachel Ray's site and see what 30 Minute Meals she had to offer.  While I've made a few of Rachel's recipes before I've never timed myself or strictly needed to be done in 30 minutes.  On Saturday I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was eat dinner, much less cook it but knowing I'd need something to post today I knew I had to.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken and Rice with Leeks and Dried Cranberries

Like Carole, I've been trying to find creative ways to use up leftovers without repeating (or, sorry, reeating) a meal. Q arrived back from Whistler on Sunday and we had a great meal of Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Yukon-Gold Gruyere Galette and salad, leaving us with extra chicken to start the week. So on Monday I made up a big batch of brown rice and just before dinnertime rolled around, lightly sauteed some leeks and broccoli florets, and then added the rice and chicken. Threw on some dried cranberries for extra chewiness and some toasted almonds for crunch.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan 20 to 23rd and Carole Is Inspired by Carrots

Jan 20  Stracciatella with meatballs and cheese tortellini
Jan 21  pasta with leftover chicken from the chicken saltimbocca, zucchini, eggplant and sage
Jan 22 dinner at a friend's house 
Jan 23 roast chicken thighs with coloured carrots, thai red rice

This past week was very, very cold and Little Shack was under the weather again and so I didn't have much time or opportunity for extensive food shopping. Because of this,  it was very much about using up what was already in the fridge. I did go to Supperworks on Wednesday, but I try not to resort to using their stuff when I really could whip up something with what I have on hand. Remember, one of my goals with this project is also less food waste and there will be plenty of panicky moments where my Supperworks stash will save the day. Luckily, I do have a decent little store a block away that sells all of the basics, decent quality produce and good bread so even when I can't make it to a big grocery store, I can always whip up something tasty.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Relish

Yes, Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Relish sounds like a perfect summer meal. And yes, I do live in downtown Toronto in the midst of a snowy frigid January... So yes, I also admit that I'm not exactly buying food locally for this particular dish, but I'll cut myself some slack since that wasn't the challenge that the three of us signed up for. When I was checking out the Cooking Light website earlier this week, this recipe just looked so bright and summery and tantalizing that I knew we'd have to eat it sometime very soon in an attempt to feel like everything doesn't have to be traditional comfort foods in the depths of winter.

So today, as I looked out my kitchen window and saw snow-covered squirrels jumping on white branches, my white deck surrounded by white chairs, alongside my white barbecue, it was a little piece of tropical paradise to see the lush yellowy orange of the mango and the vibrant green of the sweet kiwis on my cutting board. Simple pleasures on such a bleak day. I just wish I could have stepped out (without my winter boots and coat) and thrown the salmon on the BBQ instead of grilling it inside. Can't have everything.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mac & Cheese with Broccoli & Shallots to combat a dinner meltdown!

Day 15 Mac & Cheese

Crazy work hours are in full swing.  This morning I am writing this in the confines of my boss' cozy trailer while it's -9C outside.   It's the first day back on set.  I had a minor meltdown yesterday as I still didn't have anything to post for today.  Wednesday night was a calzone that I didn't photograph and Thursday was pizza at the office.  I sent out a panicked tweet looking for quick and easy recipes.  While I got some good suggestions, the twitterverse didn't know what I had in my fridge which didn't work out so well, since I wasn't able to stop at the store.  In talking to the Boy we decided on Mac & Cheese, a completely easy go-to for us and one I was hoping not to use so soon in the challenge.  Lucky for us my mac & cheese is completely different every time since it entirely depends on what we have in the house.   But since it is so easy for me. I made a rule that I can only make it every other month at the most and I have to change more than just one cheese to make it different. Hopefully I can stick to my own rule on this one!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Beef and Veggie Stirfry

A big part of me was worried that this week might turn out to be a culinary copout because Q is away in Whistler on business and when it's just me and the kids, all of our food expectations plummet really quickly. Nobody here complains (in fact, they're thrilled) if we resort to basic nursery food... grilled cheese, eggs on toast, baked beans, etc.... But inevitably the veggie quotient also takes a nosedive so I decided that a mid-week vegfest was in order, in the form of a delicious clean-out-the crisper-drawer stirfry.

Mushrooms, green and red peppers, and broccoli were all at-the-ready so what's easier than throwing them all into a wok a bit of protein to boot. Since I desperately needed to get some iron into this old body because I've been feeling lightheaded whenever I go upside-down in yoga, it had to be a beef stirfry for mom and hopefully the troops would understand. They did.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan 17 to Jan 19 with the Shacks

This was a much better start to the week after my not a lot of cooking going on weekend. On Monday, I took the leftover moroccan quinoa salad to a friend who just had a baby and that evening, I used up the rest of the grilled, marinated veggies in a quick pasta. Nothing embarrassing there.

On Tuesday, I made panini type sandwiches with the leftover tri tip from  Sunday and although I didn't eat one (I am not a huge sandwich person and I ate my beef/rice noodle pho for lunch and wasn't up to continue the beef and starch fest), the sandwich was a huge hit with the men folk.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Slow Cooker Spicy Apricot Chicken for Day 12

Well work is in full swing and I'm back to 12 hours days, which makes dinner so hard to pull off on a regular basis.  The weekend was a bit of a wash as we ate out on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday we did date night and had a tasty dinner at Queen Margherita Pizza, the best pizza in this part of town by far, and Sunday we went to the bar to watch my poor Patriots get outcoached and outplayed by the Jets.  It was not a happy night for me, but luckily I got to stuff my face with some Rickard's White and yummy nachos.  Nachos make everything better in my book.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First-ever Homemade Chili for me

Yes, it's sad but true... I've never actually made chili until now. Guess that's because it isn't my personal favourite but since I know my kids love it, I decided to give it a homemade try. After researching online, I found a recipe with four easy steps (since I was making it at 9:00 on a Sunday morning and simple seemed better since who really wants to be cooking chili at breakfast time anyway). Couldn't get much simpler than brown the meat and onions, throw in the other ingredients, simmer and stir every 15 minutes for 2.5 hours. Busy day ahead so good to know it was waiting for us at dinnertime. The result wasn't too spicy nor too hot and we were all pretty happy with it, although I'm looking forward to trying different recipes and finding something even better in the coming months.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jan 16 - A Brighter Day

Today I do my penance. Because this is my turn to take Sunday, it meant that I would have to post 2 days in a row and my recipe for yesterday was not very inspired. I promised myself that after yesterday and my measly Desperation Spicy Asian Slaw I would make it up to everyone, including myself, and make something really new and really time consuming. After much poking about, I found this stunning photo on tastespotting and followed the link to find the recipe for this Moroccan Quinoa Salad at Green Kitchen Stories. Of course, if I had chosen to just go to the grocery store and purchase marinated eggplant, peppers and maybe artichokes, this would have turned into something you could whip together pretty quickly on a busy weeknight. Instead, I am home all day on a lazy Sunday and still feel like I have to make up for yesterday so it was either kneel in the corner on a raw rice OR do all the veggies myself.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jan 14 and 15 - A whole lot of eating but not a whole lot cooking going on

Little Shack and His Delicious Ryan Beverage

Jan 14 Cauliflower Soup with Pecorino Romano and Truffle Oil
Jan 15 Spicy Desperation Asian Slaw and Tom Yum Soup

  I made the most amazing soup on Thursday and we ate that Friday for dinner with some fresh pumpernickel again. I was planning to make a big salad with some beautiful yellow beets that I had roasted but we ended up going to to meet my sister and her husband for a bite, so I skipped them. Instead we ended up downtown at the Marche on Yonge St, back after a six year absence. It's not always easy to find a spot where everyone can find something that they will want to eat and we thought this would be pretty agreeable to everyone. Brother in law had a burger and said he enjoyed it, my sister had a veggie red curry and seemed to enjoy that too. Phew.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Easy Chicken Stew

Easy Chicken Stew from Day 6

So here I am on Day 9, going back to work was a bit of a test, especially right at the beginning when I had been off work for a few months.  I dealt with that on the first day back by making some chicken in my slow cooker.  The result was a tasty pulled chicken that I was able to use in two easy meals, that I have to admit I'm a bit bummed that I won't be able to make again for a whole year!

In going back to work and making dinner every night I forgot how late that has us eating, so quick and easy meal utilizing leftovers will likely be a huge part of our weeknight meals for the next few weeks.  I don't generally get home much before 8pm and start dinner immediately, so if a meal takes more than 30 minutes it's a bit of a loser.  That will be my challenge moving forward keeping it quick and easy, planning ahead and utilizing the slow cooker for meals that are ready when we get home.  I don't generally have a problem getting dinner on the table when I'm working, but the big challenge of that now is not repeating meals because I definitely have a few go to meals when we're both working, things that reheat well, can be made in advance and can be kept warm easily if we are getting in at different times.   To add to this challenge, as if it weren't enough on it's own, I am going to try not to eat leftovers exactly as they were originally served.  First off because the boy doesn't love leftovers and I like the added of challenge of try to reinvent them, something my father is so good at and I think I can do pretty well too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sounds so posh... but it's so not!

Saumon aux Lentilles…. Or fish ‘n’ beans by another name… (okay, technically lentils are a pulse but to my family they look and taste like beans). Translation: Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter. Whatever you wanna call it, this is one delicious meal. Easy enough for everyday family eatin' but delicious enough to serve when the boss comes over. I'm self-employed so I'm the boss though I guess we could invite Q's boss for dins... but it'll have to be 365 days from now. Sigh.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jan 10 to Jan 13 - Breakfast For Dinner!

It was Monday morning and the start of a brand new week and I was only ten days into our new challenge and guess what? 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jen's Day 1: Cassoulet

Day 4 - Goat Cheese & Veggie Pizza

Well here we go!  I'm on day 6 of 365.  I started the challenge on Friday Jan 7, mainly because the boy and I were in Boston with my family for the first week of the new year. When we are with my parents they do most of the cooking and it just didn't seem fair to start the challenge when I wasn't doing any cooking.

As you've read a bit about Carole & Dianne, you know how the challenge came about.  When Carole first told me about what Dianne was doing I thought "What a great idea!" and something I'd love to try doing.  The boy and I do get in a food rut occasionally, but I more loved the idea because I knew it would force me to look harder for recipe inspiration, get me to utilize my growing cookbook collection and force me to plan out our weekly meals a little bit better.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First "official" day!

This first day seems both exciting and kinda "Groundhog Day"at the same time for me--exciting because it's my first blog and GD because the first day of this 365-day journey actually started last August when I announced to my family that we'd be breaking out of our routine and not repeating a recipe for the coming year. Quite honestly, although I enjoyed poring over cookbooks and browsing websites/blogs and getting excited about all the possibilities, I invariably fell back on "old faithfuls" when dinnertime actually rolled around. I figured I needed to set an ambitious goal to motivate me to make some major changes. That decision was the easy part.

The harder part came to breaking the (good) news to my family. My eldest son (Corbin, age 16), asked if I could start in January instead since he'd be heading off to university in August and would only have to tolerate eight months of this nonsense. My middle (Austin, age 13), embraced it with "Yum! When do we start?" and the youngest (Maddie, age 9) asked sadly whether this meant she couldn't have macaroni-and-cheese for a year. The answer? Yes, but all different varieties! In fact, we have since discovered a better mac-cheese recipe (Mark Bittman's version with mascarpone... everything tastes better with mascarpone) than our existing fave at that time so Maddie is somewhat less traumatized and a little more open to change. My husband Quentin was onside, with the proviso that we'd have pasta before any of his triathlon events (he's training for an Ironman so nutrition means a lot to him).

Monday, January 10, 2011

10 Days Down, Only 355 Days To Go!

People think that just because you are a good cook that you can't get in a rut. It doesn't matter if your fallback meals are meatloaf and mac and cheese or roast peking duck and fois gras poutine, if you find yourself making the same set of dishes, the same way all the time, you are in a rut.
I am sure that somewhere, right now, Susar Lee's kids are whining "not sea urchin with kombu foam AGAAAAIN dad!"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Welcome to our adventure!

With a new blog it seemed appropriate to take a minute to tell you, our readers, what we're all about.  And since there are three of writing and sharing our stories, we wanted to share a little bit about us.

I thought I'd think ahead and answer some questions I'm assuming you already have now that you've happened upon our little blog.

What does "no reEATS" mean?

The truth is, it means something a bit different to each of us ladies.  But in it's most simplest terms, it means not repeating any recipe for dinner for 365 days.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We are so glad to have you check out our little project.  Check back soon for introductions from each lady and a new recipe every day!

Happy New Year!
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