February 22, 2013

Week 8–February Magazine Week

Printable Version of Meal Plan and Grocery List

I have a confession – I’m a bit of a magazine addict.  I subscribe to three – Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Today’s Parent and I flip through each of them quickly so that I can devour the food pages.  I always dog ear pages with recipes I want to try but then they get tossed in the magazine rack and I sometimes forget to go back to them.  So, I thought a monthly magazine week was in order!   So consider this your test kitchen!

Recipe Quick Links:
Salmon & Cauliflower Colcannon, Canadian Living
Sesame Beef Salad, Canadian Living
Maple Cider Chicken and Nutty Quinoa, Chatelaine
Healthier Refried Beans, Today’s Parent

Monday – We never did get to the egg salad this weekend so it got carried over to lunch on Monday.  I packed Wisecrackers (Costco) and veggies and ranch dip.  Not a bad little “munchy lunch”.  Supper was Salmon and Colcannon (Canadian Living).  Admittedly I had no idea what Colcannon was (fyi, it’s a traditional Irish dish made from potato and kale)  This meal was ok… I’d give it a 3/5 – I really liked how creamy the Colcannon was but I found the leeks were a bit overpowering.  This was my first time cooking with leeks so perhaps I didn’t cook them enough or used too much for the recipe.  I also used frozen kale since I couldn’t find fresh and I substituted trout for the salmon since it was cheaper.  Salmon, fresh kale and less leeks would likely have bumped this up to a 4/5.

Seared Salmon With Cauliflower Colcannon
Photo source:  http://www.canadianliving.com

Tuesday – I often use leftover salmon in salads for next day lunch and always enjoy it, so I made extra trout for a pasta salad.  I made a dressing using lemon juice, olive oil and grated parmesan.  Have to tell you…. not good.  The trout was really “fishy”.  I choked it down but Dave admitted he chucked it and went to the food court.  Like I said, I’ve done this kind of thing before, not really sure what made this one such a flop – either the trout or the dressing or both.  And supper was another flop… what a day!  We made Sesame Beef Salad from Canadian Living.  I’d only give this a 2/5 at best.  First, I much prefer a marinated and grilled steak over a pan-fried one (although I will say it was tender) -- I’d say save your beef for the BBQ and substitute tofu – cheaper too!  And the dressing for the noodles, while easy, was not as good as other sesame dressings I’ve tried.  I think cutting back on the rice vinegar would help.  Or just make my Pad Thai recipe from Week 1 instead!

Sesame Beef Salad
Photo Source:  http://www.canadianliving.com

Wednesday – Since the noodles were a flop Tuesday I didn’t have leftovers as planned.  Then I got pretty lazy on the couch and almost didn’t pack a lunch at all, but at the last minute I decided to make an easy Greek Couscous.  Couscous cooks up in 5 minutes so it’s a good no-fuss option when you’re feeling too tired to cook.  I added Kraft Greek dressing, cucumber, red pepper, green olives (I prefer them over black) and chickpeas.  Definitely an improvement over Tuesday’s lunch, was just missing a little feta which I was unfortunately out of.  Supper was Maple Cider Chicken with Nutty Quinoa.  This was good, I really enjoyed the chicken, very moist.  This meal is really filling but I did miss having a veggie.  I’d serve it next time with something like steamed brocolli.  Overall a 4/5.

Photo Source: http://www.chatelaine.com

Thursday – We had just enough chicken leftover to make one lunch which worked out perfectly because I was home with a sick Marin. So Dave took the chicken and I just had an English Muffin with peanut butter and apple slices.  Supper was a slow cooker refried beans recipe.  This wasn’t my first time making refried beans in the slow cooker and the only difference between this recipe and the one I normally make (this one from 100 Days of Real Food) is that you fry the onions first and you spice with cayenne instead of a jalapeno.  Both versions are very similar although I’d say this one had a little less kick.  Both versions I found dried out a bit so don’t be shy with the water and if they do happen to dry out just add a little water when you mash.  Either way this recipe is a winner and WAY better than canned – in fact not even comparable.  So even if you’re not a fan of canned refried beans I’d say give this a shot.  We typically have this meal with corn tortillas and the regular fixin’s but this time we did the nachos as suggested in the magazine.  Again, either way, you can’t go wrong.  Mexican is always a hit in this house so obviously a 5/5.  Yummy!

Photo Source:  http://www.todaysparent.com

Friday – I had the day off so I didn’t pack lunches.  Supper was leftovers.  Gotta love easy days!

While there were a few misses this week it’s always fun to try new recipes – never know when you’re going to find a gem!  It was also a super cheap week – I spend less than $120 in groceries and that included $20 in chicken for the freezer.

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