Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicken and Leek Pie

Two blog posts in one day?!  This recipe was soooo delicious that I absolutely had to blog about it right away.  I was just going to comment on Jamie Oliver's website but then I started reading the 200+ comments.... In the future I will use the comments to verify how good an online recipe is.  I didn't need to add my "holy crap this was awesome", it was already well said. 

So here's the basic recipe.

And here's what I did differently.
I used 2 1/2 Chicken breasts, diced up and tossed in to cook with the leeks. 
I added Summer Savoury since it just screams comfort, roast poultry dinner to me
I halved the liquid (2 c) since I don't have a decent sieve to drain it with and didn't really want the extra work.
Right before I put the leek/chicken in the baking dish I added in 6 small grated carrots.  I used rainbow carrots.  The purple ones turned the mixed dark and the meat a bit pink which was just interesting really.
I just used the plain puffed pastry, leaving out the chestnuts and sage. 

No way will this serve 6.  It was so good I went back for a second half portion.  And I NEVER go back for seconds.  I might get 4 servings.  You have got to try this one.  Seriously.  It's unbelievable.  I'm not kidding.  Really. 

The Weeks Menu

One of the things about doing a "reset" menu is that it should get you back on track for healthy eating.  It seems I sort of petered out on week 2 but I didn't.  I've incorporated the ideas from the menu or 'reset' into my dailyliving .  Or you could say I'm back on track.... yup, that was the point of the whole thing.

Now this being said, yesterday I could not figure out what to have for dinner.  Luckily it was market day so I was hoping I would come across something to inspire me.  You wouldn't think I'd find much inspiration in the limited offering at the market in the dead of winter but yes indeed!  Not only was I inspired for last night's supper but I came up with a whole menu for the week as I wandered around the market.  I love it when a plan comes together.  

Here's my week.  I hope you find inspiration and healthy eating too.

Maple Sausages with Fingerling Potatoes, Swiss Chard and Golden Beets.
Chicken and Leek Pie with Rainbow Carrots
Souffle with Farm Fresh Free Range Eggs and a Large Garden Salad
Shepard's Pie with Ground Lamb and Pork and Potato and Butternut Squash Topping
Pad Thai with Shrimp and Tofu
French Onion Soup (from my freezer) with Garlic and Onion Bread Toasts and A Salad
Spaghetti Bolognese with Free Range, Grain Feed Ground Chicken.

For lunches I bought some fresh whole wheat pita bread.  I'll make some hummus for hummus, veg and feta pitas.  Plus I have some leftover Minestrone soup. 

Happy Eating!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter Minestrone and The Looneyspoons Collection (my new fav!!!)

I've got a pot of Minestrone on the stove.  It fits perfectly into the cancer fighting menu I was following as part of the "Detox/Reset" menu I was using to get back on track.  Beans, greens, veggies of colour and some whole grain pasta! Superbly balanced and super healthy.  Here's the recipe (it's under Day 4). I used Turnip instead of squash because I had a turnip that needed to be used.  The leftovers will be lunches over the weekend (and maybe into next week!).   Mmmm, soup is going to be awesome since it's cold, rainy and miserable here.  The idea of a "reset" has been great.  It's been great to refocus my eating habits just to be sure I'm getting a good balance and a pre-set menu made it so easy. 

Last week I got a late Christmas gift - The Looneyspoons Collection cookbook.  It's fantastic!  It includes updates on my favs from the Looneyspoons cookbook back when we thought low fat was the only way to go and disregarded good fats and carbs.  Plus it has the recipes the ladies had developed for Readers Digest.  There were some real gems in that mag.  The nutritional info is up to date and complete.  The book is well indexed which is a real treat, not just by recipes but the nutritional tips and info too.  If you have any bridal showers, baby showers, graduations or weddings coming up this year I highly recommend this as the perfect gift for everyone who should be cooking!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Detox/Reset Menu Week 2 - Day 2

One thing I'm noticing with this menu I'm following is that there are a lot of beans as well as whole grains.  I've always prided myself at how much fiber I get on a daily basis but this menu really had it covered!  One thing I've learned is that adding a tbsp of beans to a salad is an easy was to up the daily intake and that's a good thing.  I love it when I pick up a new and easy healthy habit!

Week 2 - Day 2

English Muffin with Natural Peanut Butter, Clementine, 1 cup Skim Milk

Leftover Turkey Rice Soup

Grilled Salmon, Braised Red and Green Cabbage, Polenta and Garden Salad
Braised Red and Green Cabbage
  • Slice up about 1- 1 1/2 cups of cabbage per person, both red and green
  • Heat 1 tsp per serving of butter and olive oil in a saucepan
  • Toss in a few fennel seeds and 1/4 tsp dried thyme per serving
  • Once the butter is melted add in some sliced red onion and saute until soft
  • Add in the cabbage and about 1/4 cup veggie or chicken broth per serving
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar per serving, turn heat up to medium high, leave lid off and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the cabbage is tender and sweet. About 10 minutes

  • Grill salmon on bbq or in grill pan on the stove (crispy skin is really tasty - give it a try!)
  • Follow the directions for the polenta
  • Mix a salad with romaine, tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, red onion, peppers, white kidney beans. Top with light balsamic vinaigrette.
Last night I had popcorn from my air popper (I love my air popper!) Tonight I'll probably have some edamame in the shell, microwaved for 3 minutes then tossed with a little salt. Tasty!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Detox/Reset Menu - Week 2

I didn't blog about my weekend because everyone needs a break.... And all I made was Turkey Soup which consisted of just about everything, carrots, onions, celery, can tomatoes, jasmine rice, chickpeas, a bit of leftover turkey, my homemade broth and a package of frozen chopped spinach. It's lunch for the rest of the week.  I put in some curry powder, a bit of Thai spice mix I had on hand and a couple of drops of coconut extract.  Nice taste.  Not really Indian or Thai but just enough to be different.

Okay, on to day.  I noticed the overall menu from last week had a lot of greens, whole grains and beans.  So I'm using some meals from the original menu and some of my own for this week.

Week 2-Day 1

Egg with Spinach and Provolone. Whole Wheat English Menu
  • Heat a non-stick pan over medium high. Break egg into pan, top with spinach and cheese. Sprinkle with Garlic powder and onion powder if you want.

Leftover Turkey Rice soup

Pork Sandwiches with Avocado Spread, Refried Bean topped with Cheddar and a Southwest Salad
  • Marinate pork sirloin or boneless chops in lime juice and apple cider vinegar for 6 - 8 hours.
  • Mash 1/2 an avocado with 2 tbsp salsa and a squeeze of lime juice. set aside
  • Heat a pan over medium high heat.  Cook the pork until no longer pink inside.  Shred with a fork.
  • Spread 1 tbsp of the avocado mixture on half of a whole grain flat bun.
  • Top with 3-4 ounces of the pork.
  • Heat the refried beans until warm. Top each serving with a tbsp of shredded cheddar
  • For the salad take 1 cup of romaine greens shredded and toss with 1 tbsp corn, diced cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, mushrooms, and roasted red pepper (or fresh). Top with 1 tbsp reduced fat/lite ranch dressing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Detox/Reset Menu Day 5

Tonight I'm heading out for dinner.  McKelvie's is an old Halifax Seafood institution.  I'm looking forward to getting my seafood feed on! Now, how to balance the rest of the day.... 

Day 5
English Muffin Bacon Sandwich and an Orange
On a toasted english muffin, layer one slice of bacon, a slice of your favorite cheese and some lettuce.

Tomato Soup with Salad and Breadsticks
Salad - Toss some greens with peppers, mushrooms, red onions, white kidney beans.  Drizzle with some light balsamic or Italian vinaigrette. 

Seafood ( or you're favorite meal out - we're not into denying ourselves here!)

Tomorrow I'm home all day, watching football and doing laundry.  I've got some turkey broth and turkey bits from yesterday's carcass boiling - I see a turkey curry soup coming tomorrow!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Detox/Reset Menu Day 4

We're waiting for snow around here.  It's been a pretty wimpy winter thus far and the dogs are keen for some snow.  Emily believes each snowflake as the potential to be a snowball and in her world all balls are a good thing.  I've discovered I have 4 Turkey carcasses in the freezer so I think a pot of turkey soup is in order.  I'm going to put the bones on to boil today but first let's talk about today's detox/reset menu.

Day 4
Cereal (I picked up a new bag of cereal yesterday at CostCo and was keen to try it out this morning - Wild Roots Triple Berry Morning Bliss - it was yummy!)

Curry Egg Salad Sandwich with an Orange
  • Mash hard boiled eggs with a little mayo and either some hummus or some mashed white beans.  Sprinkle in some curry powder, a little or a lot, depending on your taste.
  • Spread the egg mix on whole grain bread
  • Top with spinach and sliced tomatoes.

Steak Salad
  • Grill or pan sear lean steaks, no more than 4 ounces per person.
  • For the dressing mix 2 -3 diced green onions, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.  Set aside
  • Place 1 1/2 cup of torn romaine on each plate.
  • Top with 1/2 cup each tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and corn
  • Slice the steak and place on top.
  • Add 1/4 chopped avocado.
  • Drizzle 1 tbsp dressing over each plate.
  • Serve with a whole grain roll
1 container of fruit yogurt.
1 ounce pretzel sticks with herb garlic dip (mix 1tsp herb and garlic cream cheese with 1 tbsp light sour cream.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Detox/Reset Menu Day 3

I'm finding that the original menu from Self magazine has a lot of meals!  I've mentioned before that I eat a late breakfast and therefore I don't need a big lunch, just a snack will do.  So tonight I'm eating yesterdays lunch as my dinner.  I'm thinking I might be able to stretch this menu out to 2 weeks...

Day 3
Whole Grain Cereal with Skim Milk and a Banana

Slice of provolone cheese and a clementine

Warm Salmon Pasta Salad
  • Prepare whole wheat penne or rotini according to the package directions.  Save about 1 cup of the pasta water.  Drain, cool and set aside.
  • For one 213g can of salmon mix 6 tsp olive oi, 6 tsp lemon juice and 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Add the drained can of salmon with skin and bones removed
  • Mix in 1/2 cup white kidney beans.   
  • Toss in a few cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Toss the salmon mix with the warm pasta, add some of the pasta water if it's too thick for your liking
  • Serve the pasta mix on a bed of spinach.
  • Top with Parmesan if you like.

1 glass of red wine and 1 cup of edamame in the shell. 
  • Microwave the edamame 2-3 minutes on high or according to package instructions.  Toss with some course sea salt or kosher salt. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Detox/Reset Menu Day 2

Have you noticed how every daytime talk show is discussing healthy eating this week.  No wonder we're so depressed in January.  All that talk about what you should be eating and what you shouldn't be eating....blah, blah, blah.  But I must say yesterday's eating was quite enjoyable.  Last night's pizzas were a big hit. Pitas make great pizza shells.  Having a menu to follow to get back to healthy eating is definitely the way to go!

Welcome to Day 2

Broccoli Scrambled Eggs, 1 Slice of Whole Grain Toast and an Orange
  • For 1 serving, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a skillet until hot. 
  • Saute some chopped onions (I used green onions and red onions) until soft. 
  • Add in about 1/2 cup chopped broccoli and 1 tbsp water.  Steam then saute broccoli until tender.  I added a touch of Ms. Dash herb and garlic seasoning. 
  • Mix 2 eggs with 2 tsp water and 2 tbsp finely shredded Parmesan. 
  • Add eggs to broccoli mix and stir until set and scrambled.

Salmon Pasta Salad
  • Prepare whole wheat penne or rotini according to the package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.
  • For one 213g can of salmon mix 6 tsp olive oi, 6 tsp lemon juice and 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Add the drained can of salmon with skin and bones removed
  • Mix in 1/2 cup white kidney beans. I did this mix ahead of time and put it in the fridge.
  • When you're ready to serve heat up 2 ounces of the pasta until warm.
  • Toss in a few cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • You can heat up the salmon bean mix a bit if you like.  Toss in about 1/4 of the mix and add to the pasta.
  • Serve the pasta mix on a bed of spinach.
Serious yum! (geez I like white kidney beans!)

Chicken Tacos with Coleslaw
Chicken Tacos
  • Saute diced chicken breasts (one per serving) in a pan with a little bit of olive oil until cooked through
  • Add in 1 tsp of tomato paste and 1 tsp salsa per breast. Sprinkle in some chili powder, more if you like it spicy!  Saute for 2 minutes
  • Add in some green onion, cilantro or parsley and a good squeeze of lime juice. Turn off the heat and let sit while you get everything else together.
  • Set up 2 whole grain, preferably corn tortillas per plate.  Spread each tortilla with 1 -2 tbsp low fat refried beans.
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of chicken breast mixture on the each tortilla
  • Top with shredded romaine lettuce, 1 tbsp salsa and 2 tsp low fat sour cream.

  • You can buy the prepackaged coleslaw or you can shred some cabbage and carrots yourself. 
  • Mix with some plain yogurt, a bit of sour cream, a little horseradish, a dash of Dijon mustard, lime juice, chili powder and cider vinegar. 
  • Make ahead and let the coleslaw sit so the flavours can really come together.
Don't even get me started about all the talk on TV and in print about what exercises we should be doing, what workout routine is this and that... Oh lord, one step at a time, one step at a time... See you tomorrow!   

Monday, January 09, 2012

Time to Detox! Day 1

After an indulgent holiday season I feel compelled to set my body right.  October's Self magazine had a really nice 7 day Cancer fighting menu that sounded yummy and looked totally doable.  It's daily intake is between 1800 and 2000 calories which is a little higher than I want but I'll make some adjustments as I go along.  For the complete menu as Self published it check it out here .  I've decided it is just the right 7 day directive to set me back on track.  Welcome to day 1.

Blueberry, Banana, Orange Smoothie!
  • to make 4 + cups/4 servings toss 1 cup blueberries, 1 banana and 1 peeled orange in a blender, add 1/2 cup yogurt and about 1/2 - 1 cup milk, add a splash of vanilla and blend until smooth. Using the whole orange instead of just the juice gives you all the nutrition of the fruit, not just the empty sugary calories. 
Whole Wheat English Muffin and 1 tbsp Peanut Butter (all natural, no added sugar or salt- you really have to try this stuff, so much tastier than the processed stuff)

(this is a bit of a problem as my day starts late so I tend to miss lunch and just snack but this is also a good place to downsize the caloric daily intake of the original menu)
Tomato soup and Whole Wheat Roll (I'm skipping the bean salad since there are already beans in the dinner salad)

Spinach Pizza with Romaine Salad
  • You can use fresh or frozen spinach for this pizza.  Heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat and saute 1 clove of minced garlic.  Add the spinach and saute for 2 minutes or until wilted. Spread a whole wheat pita (I have Weight Watchers pitas) with tomato paste or tomato pesto, toast for 2 minutes.  Mix the spinach with a couple of tbsp of low fat cottage cheese.  Spread over the pizza.  Sprinkle with part skim mozzarella.  Top with thinly sliced red onion.  Broil for a couple of minutes until golden. 
  • Shred romaine lettuce, toss with beans (chickpeas or white kidney beans), cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, sliced red onion. Dress salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette (I have Paul Newman's light Balsamic) or a light Italian vinaigrette. 
Tonight is the BCS College Football Championship so I'll be having a beer, this menu is not about denial! and some popcorn.  I have an air popper and I love it but if you don't have an air popper I did hear someone say you can take 2 tbsp popcorn and put it in a paper lunch bag, fold the top and microwave for 2-3 minutes until the popping stops (also way cheaper than buying microwave packs!).  I've never tried this method so.... 


Monday, January 02, 2012

Newfie Slush

Anyone who has been to just about any house of a Newfoundlander over the holidays has been offered a glass of Slush.  It's a tradition!  Slush is a frozen low alcoholic drink made up of lots of fruit juices.  This year I made up 2 batches, one with alcohol and one without.  What I didn't realize was how comforting Slush is when you're feeling ill.  Soothing on the throat and stomach, thirst quenching for that nasty dehydration that comes from either pukin or a constant runny noise and breathing through your mouth... you get the idea. I'm putting on another batch of the non-alcoholic version tomorrow (you can always add a bit of booze when you make up a glass if you're feeling festive and not at death's door) to have on hand as we swing full on into cold season around here.

Newfie Slush
Makes 2 good size ice cream containers

  • 1 can frozen unsweetened orange juice
  • 1 can frozen unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 can frozen lemonade
  • 1 cup sugar ( you can add a little less if you don't like it too sweet)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pint or 375ml vodka (optional)
  • lemon lime pop, ginger ale or club soda to serve it with it

  1. Mix everything from orange juice to vodka together and pour into buckets
  2. Freeze 24 hours.  If you aren't using alcohol be sure to stir up the freezing mix with a large fork several times during the first 6 hours or so.  Otherwise you'll end up with one big slush ice cube. 
  3. Scoop out enough frozen slush to almost fill a glass.
  4. Top with pop or soda and mix.
  5. Enjoy!