Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chicken Fajita

I still had those taco shells in the fridge so decided to use more up.  Fern doesn't like too much red meat so I bought chicken breasts and mushrooms and planned to use peppers from the garden.  This was really simple, I cut the breasts into strips and fried them to half done then took them from the pan.  Next I gave the sliced mushrooms some sear then I put the sliced peppers into the pan and added the meat back on top. To that I added a tablespoon of taco seasoning, a dusting of flour and a splash of beef stock.  Shortly before plating I added fresh chives. 

I bought refried beans and after considering the ingredients and price etc. Old El Paso refried beans are worth the price if you don't have time to make your own. I reheated them and garnished with some grated extra old cheddar.

I filled a warmed taco shell with chicken mixture, grated cheddar and rolled it up. I had guacamole in the fridge so I put a dollop on the plate and laid the fajita on it.  I topped it with sour cream and a bit of tomato cucumber salad.


1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Whisk this up, add sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and toss.

A really nice meal, last time this summer I think. Fern wants this kind of thing on really hot days.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Strip Loin Steak

Fern was out for dinner so I had to cook just for myself. Baked potato done in the microwave. Green peppers from the garden and fresh mushrooms sliced. I fried the mushrooms then added the peppers with 1-2 tablespoons beef stock and cooked off the liquid. Sour cream and chives on the potato.  The steak was seasoned with salt and black pepper then brushed with oil and cooked on the BBQ over high heat for 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides. That was it. I think the plating looks pretty good too. All around, a great meal in under twenty minutes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beef Tacos

Fern suggested tacos so of course I immediately jumped on that bandwagon. I bought spinach soft tacos, guacamole and extra lean ground beef, the rest came from the garden. I browned the ground beef with plenty of taco seasoning and salt.  Then I dusted flour over top and cooked it in a minute. I added a splash of beef stock to moisten the meat and put meat on a taco.  On the meat I put grated extra old cheddar and rolled up the taco. I plated it with sour cream on top, guacamole on that and a bit more cheddar on top.  Beside the taco was more guacamole and beans!

Refried Beans

1/2 can pinto beans
lime juice (lemon would have been better)
chopped parsley (cilantro would be better)
beef stock
(chilli powder would have helped too)

Mash the reheated beans with a wooden spoon, stir it all up into a mash and plop it on the plate. 


1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
chopped parsley

Slice cucumber, half cherry tomatoes and chop a celery stick into small pieces. Toss in the vinaigrette. I served the salad on chiffonade iceberg lettuce which Fern suggested I either include in the salad or leave it off the plate.

Fern said at least twice while eating that it was really good and he typically doesn't like this kind of meal. I inhaled mine. Next time I'll buy refried beans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicken Breast with Peppers

This meal had one goal, use peppers. To that end I bought breasts from Mitchell's and seasoned them with salt and poultry seasoning then dusted them with flour. Then I brushed them with oil and put them in the oven at 400ºF for 20 minutes (they're small). They didn't brown nearly as well as on the BBQ. 

Rice was just basmati rice cooked with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.

Dice an onion and sweat it. Add diced peppers and cook till softened. I sprinkled a little flour over top and added a dash of beef stock.  That cooked down quickly and I served it up on my rice with a little soy sauce. Fern had his rice plain. It didn't look as good as it tasted. Next time I'll use the BBQ for the chicken. Plating is still suburban but at least everything goes together well.


Pork Souvlaki from Mitchell's is really good. I can't tell yet what's in it, but they do all the work, so I'm happy to let them keep their secret. All I had to do was brush oil on the meat and BBQ it on high for 10-15 minutes, rotating so it cooks evenly. The rice was simply half beef stock instead of water with a little salt, cooked in the microwave using the moisture sensor. Just push Rice button, it's like magic.

Faux Greek Salad

tomatoes, seeded cucumber and onion diced and sliced
chunk of feta cheese broken on top

2 tsp olive/canola oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

I didn't add black olives, can't remember why. Simple as it was it was good and satisfying. Fern liked the rice, as a change. I think he'd tire of it quickly if I served it all the time. The souvlaki is just yummy, but I didn't season it so can't claim credit. The salad was great. Fresh from the garden tomatoes and cucumbers have so much flavour, how could I miss!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Breaded Pork Cutlet

I had pork cutlets in mind when I went to the store. If there was a pack small enough, I'd buy some. Save On Foods makes a really great tasting breaded pork but they package it up to feed a large family. All their meat is like that, packaged for economy for large families of at least 5 people. The average family is only 3 or 4 people so why target only huge families, I just don't know. If I ask them to break up a package for me, they'll reprice the smaller package so it costs more than buying the larger package. Yes, they actually did that once and then couldn't understand why I wouldn't buy the package I asked for. The original pack had 7 breasts in it for $11. I asked them to give me a pack with two breasts in it. They did and it was priced at $12.65. That got me buying meat from Safeway, Mitchell's and the butcher instead. 

Mashed potatoes and broccoli steamed and finished in olive oil with some salt. The salad is fresh tomatoes and fresh cucumber all from the garden. I did add a few black olives for flavour, I would have put feta cheese in too if I'd had some. I tossed the salad in a:


2 tsp olive/canola oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground garlic or fresh 

Whisk and toss the salad in it. I didn't put any condiment with the pork and neither of us missed it. The flavour was great and they weren't too dry.

It probably tasted really, really terrific but because dinner is like that every day, it's not remarkable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Prawns and Pasta with Romaine, Kale and Tomato Salad

We haven't had prawns and pasta for a while so I suggested it along with a romaine and kale salad. Fern liked the idea so that was it. I put 6 prawns each in cold water to thaw. I had a box of tomato sauce so I only needed to go next door and pilfer some basil. They have lots, they don't mind.

I diced a slice of onion finely and sweated it to golden then added the prawns. I got colour on both sides of the prawns but didn't cook them through. I removed them from the pan. I added tomato sauce to the pan along with a little cayenne. I chopped two tablespoons of basil and added that to the tomato sauce along with salt and pepper. I continued to cook down the sauce while I worked on the salad.

I had romaine torn up for the Caesar salad the other day so I only fleshed it out with chopped kale. I gathered some fresh cherry and plum tomatoes and cut them in half for the salad.


1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
dried basil

Whisk, pour over salad and toss. 

Cook the pasta as desired, strain and add to the sauce. Add the prawns and heat through. Plate and garnish with grated parmesan.

I never seem to get tired of this meal, I guess it's because the salad is always different. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pork Souvlaki

It feels like I'm cheating when I buy marinated meat but Mitchell's does such a good job I just can't convince myself I can do better. I'm not sure what they put in their marinade but the pork is delicious. Now that I think about it we tried their chicken breasts and we loved them as well. I've tried other mass produced skewers which were more expensive and they didn't hold a candle to Mitchell's. To cook them I just brush the BBQ grill with oil and put the skewers over medium meat for 15 minutes. I rotated them every few minutes so they cooked evenly on all sides.

The basmati rice is cooked with olive oil, salt and a few drops of lemon juice. The broccoli was steamed and finished in olive oil and salt.

My plating is a relic of my attempts to remove the meat from the skewer without flinging it all over the counter and floor. I use a carving fork to push the first one off then two or three at a time after that.  If they are stuck, push just one piece of meat so you don't fling it across the room when it lets go. I guess I just pushed the meat aside and loaded the broccoli onto the plate. It's all so good it doesn't stay on the plate long enough to matter anyway.

Turkey Basil Burgers

Beef burgers have been supplanted by ground turkey. It's more expensive than ground beef but not so much it's out of reach. This time I bought a pack of breast and a pack of dark ground meat. I chopped up fresh basil and seasoned the meat with salt, paprika and a little ground garlic. The patties hold together well in a pan, I wouldn't try to cook them on the BBQ in case they fell apart. 

Potato Salad

4 medium potatoes
1 stick celery
1 slice red onion

I put too much mayo on the potatoes and overwhelmed the salad. I like mayo so it wasn't too bad but Fern really didn't like it.

Tomato Cucumber Salad

6 cherry tomatoes
3 inches English cucumber
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp olive/canola oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Whisk dressing, pour over salad and toss. I put romaine lettuce on the burger and the usual condiments. It was a good fresh meal. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Shanghai Noodle Chicken

Fern had lots of peppers ready so I went to the store with the meal mostly planned. I spotted the noodles by chance but quickly decided they'd be perfect. I've never tried them before but Fern likes pasta so they should satisfy. I got some boneless skinless chicken breasts, a few mushrooms and headed home. 

I diced up a green bell pepper and two poblamos all from the garden. I diced up the chicken breasts, seasoned them a bit and coated them in flour. Sliced up some mushrooms, a stick of celery and a carrot. I put olive and canola oil in my frying pan and added a bit of sesame oil.  First I browned the chicken, then sweated the carrot and celery followed by the mushrooms. Next the peppers went in, a tablespoon oyster sauce and soy sauce. I tossed it all to evenly coat everything then ran the noodles under hot water for a few seconds before adding them to the pan. When the noodles were heated through I plated and served.

The noodles were really good, they didn't taste like pasta. Everything else was wonderful. It's hard to miss with fresh from the garden. Shanghai or Udon noodles are good, fast and easy to prepare, I'll use them again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sole, Potatoes Au Gratin and Kale, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Sole is the kind of fish you can have when you don't feel like fish. Here all I did was salt one side, coat with flour and fry in hot oil. When I put the fish in the pan I sprinkled shaved almonds on top. Then turned them over to brown the nuts.

Potatoes were sliced thin then layered in a 9x9 pan. I only did 3 medium potatoes, 1 in a layer, a 1/2 tsp flour sprinkled over with a pinch of salt. A little grated cheddar, salt and another layer of potato. A little more flour, more cheese and the rest of the potato. More grated cheese on top then nearly cover with milk. Jostle the potato so they are all covered in milk and put in the oven at 375-400ºF for an hour. I turned the heat down to 350 for the last half hour.

The salad was kale finely chopped, red and yellow tomatoes from the garden and cucumber from the garden. The cuke had gotten huge so I took the seeds out and used only the flesh. The dressing was 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp canola oil, 2 tsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp salt, plenty of black pepper, whisk, pour over salad and toss.

The fish was great. The potatoes were really good, and I loved the salad. I always thought kale was bitter but found it isn't so I bought some and started using is. Fern says he doesn't like lime or lemon juice in salad dressings. He's a bit stodgy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Onion Chicken Breast

It's the hottest day of the year! I don't want to spend too much time near any heat source.  Fern did up the potatoes with salt, olive oil, chives and rosemary in foil then put them on the rack in the BBQ. The boneless skinless chicken I salted then coated in:

2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp flour
1 tsp poultry seasoning

Brush the coated chicken with olive oil and put it on the BBQ grill off the heat.  It will brown nicely in 25-30 minutes at 400-500º. The corn I steamed in  the kitchen where I didn't need to be. 

The onion powder caramelizes on the meat imparting a wonderful flavour. The poultry seasoning gives a hint of holidays and happy times. I managed to take the potatoes off when they were perfect. Still firm but cooked through. The corn was served with plenty of butter and salt. Even Eliot, our older dog, had some corn. He apes us and eats the corn right off the cob. I'll take of photo next time, it's hilarious.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rib Steak

In a rare mood Fern suggested steaks for dinner. I jumped in the truck and screamed off before he could change his mind! Someone gave us a zucchini from their garden so I diced that up along with a carrot, stick of celery and an onion.  I fried the vegetables to get golden brown zucchini and finished them with a dash of soy sauce. I plated the steak on top.  The potato I did in the microwave and put in the BBQ wrapped in foil with butter to finish.  The steak was done on the BBQ in my usual 2x2x2x2 minutes over high heat to get crossed grill marks and perfect medium rare.

I practically inhaled it.

Breaded Pork Cutlet

We still like these store breaded cutlets from Save On. I can't tell what they put on them, but it's good! Mashed potatoes are pretty ordinary but the peas. Usually my peas are frozen but this time I bought peas in the pod, podded them all and steamed them for dinner. Fresh peas are a lot of work but well worth it. They had so much flavour the frozen peas have lost. You just can't tell how much freezing is robbing the food of flavour until you have the same thing fresh. The difference is undeniable.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1-2 tsp rice vinegar

Whisk and pour over iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Toss, serve and enjoy. Fern's home made apple sauce on the pork.

A really good, simple meal.

Prawns and Pasta with Asparagus Salad

Not as much time in the kitchen in summer. I bought Mezzetta Tomato Basil sauce because it's good right out of the jar. I peeled the prawns and removed the tails.  Then I cooked them on both sides but not through the middle. Remove prawns from pan and add the sauce. It needs to boil down a bit so heat it up get it reducing. Once the pasta is ready and the sauce thickened add the prawns to the pasta and toss. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Plate and garnish with fresh grated parmesan.

I had asparagus in the fridge and needed to use it.  When I bought it a lady told me she blanches asparagus and uses it in salads. What a good idea! So I blanched the asparagus and made it into a Greek inspired salad.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1-2 tsp lemon juice

blanched asparagus
slice red onion diced
tomatoes diced
black olives
feta cheese

The prawns and pasta we've had lots before, it's good but not remarkable.  The salad was new. It was delicious! Almost as good as having asparagus hot and smothered in Hollandaise! I'll definitely be making this salad again.