Tag Archives: weeknight dinner

Speedy Slow Cooked Lamb

Speedy Slow Cooked Lamb may sound contradictory but when you’ve forgotten to defrost your meat the night before, and 2pm rolls around, you no longer have 6-8 hours of slow cooking time.  Not to worry, you can still achieve tender, juicy lamb and have dinner ready by the time you come home.

Speedy Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder

Slow cooked lamb & root vegetable bowl

I’ve recently started to buy boneless lamb leg from Costco.  One $30 leg makes about 8 meals, a really good deal!  I split the leg in two and froze the other half for a later date.  The first time I made lamb in the slow cooker I had it on low for 3 hours and 1 hour on high and the leg came out a flavourful and juicy.  For the second half of the leg, I reversed the process and cooked the lamb for 4 hours on high and 1 hour on low and the result was very different.  The leg fell apart into tender strands and chunks, and my mouth watered as I pulled the meat apart.  I added different root vegetables each time, they give another layer of flavour and are nice and soft after being cooked in lamb juice.  Squash, potatoes, parsnips –  you can’t go wrong!  

Pulled lamb taco with peach salsa, guacamole and hot banana peppers & onions

Pulled lamb taco with peach salsa, guacamole and hot banana peppers & onions

The pulled lamb was so versatile!  We used the meat for tacos on Taco Tuesday and in a carb-free root vegetable bowl.  I plan to blend the remaining vegetables with my canned tomatoes and add the leftover meat to make a lamb ragu sauce – stay tuned for those photos!

Speedy Slow Cooked Lamb

Speedy Slow Cooked Lamb

Speedy Slow Cooked Lamb

51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Speedy Slow Cooked Lamb

Ingredients

  • Boneless leg of lamb (depending on the size of your slow cooker) approx 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, trimmed and peeled
  • zest from half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoon fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 pounds root vegetables scrubbed and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup low sodium beef broth
  • (I've used various combinations of sweet potato, yellow potato, parsnips and butternut squash)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat.
  2. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Using tongs, sear each side for 30 seconds. Remove lamb and place on plastic cutting board. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of red wine.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, mint and rosemary. Process and spread paste over lamb, making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  4. Place lamb in slow cooker along with sauce from the deglazed pan, root vegetables, beef broth and ½ cup of red wine.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours, then for 1 hour on low.
  6. Remove lamb from slow cooker and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Pull apart using a carving fork. Using a slotted spoon, remove root vegetables.
  7. Reserve juice for gravies or for cooking quinoa.
  8. Serve lamb alongside root vegetables or in a taco.
  9. Root vegetables can be blended into a tomato sauce for a lamb ragu.

Notes

I leave the skin on the root vegetables to add flavour to the lamb, with the exception of the butternut squash which has to be peeled.

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/10/31/speedy-slow-cooked-lamb/

Speedy Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder

Slow cooked lamb and root vegetable bowl

Cooking lamb in the slow cooker is a delicious meal to make on a winter’s eve.  There is nothing more comforting then walking in from the cold and being greeted by the smell of savory lamb, all ready to be served!

What is your favourite meal to make in a slow cooker? 

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

There are certain foods that I will always crave, and pasta with meat sauce is one of them, despite all the bad press they receive.  I love glutenous pasta drenched in a rich red meat sauce, and I stand by that statement loud and proud! Faced with a menu full of fancy dishes at an Italian restaurant, most of the time I’m just tempted to order good ol’ comforting spaghetti and meatballs.

However, despite my unapologetic love for carbs and meat, somewhere deep down I’m a responsible adult who does try to eat healthy (especially after a weekend filled with wine and cheese) and so I set out to make a healthier version of my beloved dish.

I’ve often used spaghetti squash as a substitute for noodles.  Hearty and easy to make, spaghetti squash is ultimately satisfying because you can pig out on a huge portion on very little calories.  For the meatballs, I gave up red meat for turkey and instead of egg and parmesan I used chia seeds and ground cashews as a binding agent.  Chia seeds and cashews have quickly become one of my favourite substitutes for eggs and cheese, they’re both great sources of protein and are packed full of nutrients.

Finally for the sauce, I wanted to balance out the heavy squash as well as add a touch of sweetness to compliment the turkey meatballs.  Combining strawberries and tomatoes made for a really lovely, light sauce and throwing in a handful of fresh basil really brought everything together.

I absolutely loved how this dish turned out, with hints of citrus and spice, this dish is full of bright summer flavours but also comforts the soul with the hearty vegetables of fall.  While nothing will ever take the place of meat and pasta in my heart, I will definitely be craving this healthy version for weeks to come!

Spaghetti Squash with Chia Turkey Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

51

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Spaghetti Squash with Chia Turkey Meatballs & Strawberry Basil Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved with seeds removed
  • extra virgin olive oil - for drizzling
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/3 cup finely ground cashews
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds - white or black
  • 1 finely minced shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • zest from one whole lemon
  • 2 tbsp parsely - finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 28oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and place face down on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until the outside of the squash is just soft enough to press.
  3. Whisk chia seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes, allowing the chia seeds to gel.
  4. In a large bowl, combine chia gel, ground turkey, oats, cashews, shallot, garlic, zest, parsely, cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined, then form approx 16 meatballs by rolling the mixture lightly in between your palms.
  5. Start the sauce. Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and garlic until soft then add tomatoes and strawberries, breaking up the large chunks with a wooden spoon.
  6. Cook for 3-5 minutes until tomato juices have been reduced by half.
  7. Add basil, honey and red pepper flakes. Cook about 5 minutes more until strawberries are soft.
  8. Pulse in a food processor or blender until mixture is a coarse puree, and pour back into pan.
  9. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, place meatballs in the pan carefully and using tongs, rotate them every few minutes until they are evenly browned on all sides, approx 10 minutes.
  11. Place skillet in the oven and finish cooking the meatballs for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove spaghetti squash from oven and using an oven mitt and a fork, carve out the squash and place on plate like "noodles". Top with four meatballs and a generous topping of sauce.

Notes

This recipe comes together quite quickly, so it's important to prep all the ingredients ahead of time.

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/07/18/spaghetti-squash-with-turkey-chia-meatballs-strawberry-basil-sauce/

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs and Strawberry Basil Sauce

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Chia Meatballs and Strawberry Basil Sauce

What’s your favourite way to use chia seeds?  Let me know!

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree & Roasted Potatoes

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes

This summer my boyfriend and I made the big decision to move in together. After fourteen years in my condo uptown, I gave up my childhood neighbourhood and moved into his condo in downtown Toronto. While there was a small part of me that felt a little sad and nostalgic, I was excited to start this new chapter of my life with him and leave the past behind. Not in a regretful way, but tucking all the good and bad memories away in my mind for future reminiscing. While I have always worked downtown, I quickly felt at home in my new neighbourhood. I walked to work for the first time in my career, biked everywhere, hung out in the local park, and explored all the cute, artisan shops. I was particularly excited to have an organic butcher close by, and on one sunny weekend afternoon my boyfriend and I went for a walk to pick up some fresh cuts of meat – much more fun than grocery shopping at the big chain store! We admired all the cured meats hanging in the back – many were tagged with the names of restaurants we knew. We had a nice chat with the butcher and eventually decided on some capicola pork chops – the cut is pretty much the same as a regular pork chop but is closer to the capicola and is supposed to have more flavour.

When we returned home, I decided to pair the pork chops with some creamer potatoes, which we have recently discovered and are completed addicted to! Easy to make, soft & creamy with salty, crispy skins these potatoes are an easy addition to dinner or for a breakfast hash. I had some homemade canned pumpkin and freshly picked McIntosh apples which inspired me to do a spin on the apple sauce side that is often served with pork chops. I seasoned the pork chops with sweet and floral spices to compliment the puree. Overall this comforting dish balances the sweet and the salty, uses local, seasonal ingredients and is perfect for a weeknight dinner in the fall.

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes

Total Time: 45 minutes

2

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 pork chops bone in
  • 1 yellow pepper, core removed
  • 2 Macintosh apples, peeled and cored
  • 6 x white and red creamer (mini) potatoes, cleaned and scrubbed
  • 4 x garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Alize liquour (fruit cognac)
  • tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a shallow pan, brine the chops in apple cider vinegar, Alize liquour, fennel, marjoram, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, insert garlic pieces into the fat.
  3. Slice the potatoes in half and sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and place on baking sheet, skin side up.
  4. Slice yellow pepper in half and rub in olive oil inside and out. Place skin side up on baking sheet. Wrap apples separately in aluminum foil.
  5. Turn over the pork chops in the brine.
  6. Place potatoes, yellow pepper and apples in the middle of rack of oven and bake for 20 minutes, tossing potatoes after 10 minutes. Place cast iron skillet in oven to heat up.
  7. Drain brine, drizzle pork chops with olive oil and sea salt.
  8. Remove cast iron skillet from oven and place over medium heat. Sear the pork chops for 3 minutes. Turn over and place in oven for 6-7 minutes. Remove and let chops sit on a plate tented with foil.
  9. Remove vegetables and apples from oven. Pierce apple with a fork and cook for another 5-10 minutes if apple is still firm.
  10. Peel skin off pepper and thinly slice. Mix with potatoes and season with fresh rosemary and a bit more salt and pepper to taste.
  11. In a medium mixing bowl, puree apples with a hand blender. Add pumpkin puree, honey, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
  12. Serve pork chops with potatoes and a scoop of the pumpkin apple puree.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2015/09/21/pork-chops-with-pumpkin-apple-puree-roasted-potatoes/

 

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes

Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes