Introducing Gleeful Market!

Market

At Gleeful Gourmets my goal is to make dinner as easy as possible and I know that no matter how much planning and preparation go into your meals, you can always use an extra hand in the kitchen.  That’s why Gleeful Market is created!  I will be putting together different rubs and marinates for all sorts of meats in the short future as well as other products that relate to our site, cooking, and personalizing your kitchen. New products will be added as we see fit!

To start the market off, I am excited to introduce our dessert expert, Elisa Heath!  She is a perfectionist who is not willing to comprise on flavours.  She bakes with passion and dedication so that every dessert coming out from her oven is pure perfection!  No matter occasions you are celebrating, you can always find the perfect dessert at Gleeful Gourmets. Check out our Christmas cupcake designs, just in time for the holidays get-togethers!

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Season’s Greeting!

Christmas GG

I would like to wish all our faithful Gleeful Gourmet members and readers a very happy holiday season! May this season bring you much joy and happiness!

Since the official launch in October, Gleeful Gourmets’ user base has grown by leaps and bounds and I am very excited to see our daily page visits record exceed 2,500 views! It’s wonderful to know that everyone finds the mealplans helpful! Thank you for supporting me and making my idea a reality! Gleeful Gourmets wouldn’t exist without all of you!

As our user base grows, so has our own little family. We’ve recently moved into a new home with a larger kitchen which makes testing recipes and hosting future get-togethers a lot easier. However it is currently being renovated which means I am out of a kitchen. The new kitchen won’t be done until late December so during this transition period, there will be no new weekly meal plans for the next two weeks. During this period, you can still access the past meal plans and shopping lists.  Your membership will be extended for an additional FREE MONTH for all the inconvenience this may have caused you! Once again I apologize and I look forward to the new kitchen and resume cooking together soon!

Meanwhile, I will continue to share cooking, shopping and kitchen tips as well as party food ideas via Gleeful Gourmets’ Pinterest and Facebook pages. If you haven’t already followed or liked our pages, now is a great time to start to get even more cooking ideas to try with your family and friends! Just in time for the holiday season!

I look forward to resuming our meal plans in the new year and I hope you are as excited as we are to trying new foods, eating healthy, and spending more quality time with your family… all without the 5pm dinnertime rush!

Finger Licking Good!

I love this rib recipe because Glee and Huan love ribs and I can easily prepare these in advance. You can pre-bake the ribs and prepare the sauce and just refrigerate them.  When it comes time to eat just toss the ribs in the sauce and broil them for 5-8 minutes.  I paired these ribs with the cranberry apple quinoa salad because the tartness of the apples balanced off the sweet honey garlic.  Making this meal finger licking good!

Cooking Notes:

  • These ribs can also be served as part of an hors d’oeuvre at a cocktail party as it is individually cut.

Honey Garlic Ribs with Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party
Region Canadian
Adapted From Just A Taste & Veggie Belly

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2lb Ribs (Membrane removed and cut into individual ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger (grated)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 3/4 cups Honey
  • 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Salad

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple (diced)
  • 1/2 Golden Gala apple (diced)
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Dried cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon Basil leaves (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Directions

Step 1
Place the quinoa and water in a medium skillet and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked. Remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature.
Step 2
While Quinoa is cooking. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Step 3
Remove membrane from back and cut them into individual ribs. Rinse ribs and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Position on baking racks in a single layer ensuring that ribs aren't touching.
Step 4
Bake, rotating pan half-way through, until fully cooked, 30-35 minutes. Remove ribs from oven and transfer to a large bowl.
Step 5
While ribs are being baked. Prepare the fruits and vegetables for the salad. Combine the fruits in a bowl and refrigerate till you are ready to serve the salad.
Step 6
Whisk together lemon juice, zest, EVOO, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Step 7
Add half the dressing to the quinoa and mix gently. Set aside.
Step 8
Meanwhile prepare the rib sauce. Add the sesame oil and olive oil to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until golden brown.Add honey and hoisin sauce, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Step 9
Remove ribs from oven and add to sauce pan to toss and coat them. Lay them individually onto the baking sheet and put it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.
Step 10
Meanwhile, chop and add the basil to the dressing. Toss the quinoa, fruits and cucumbers together.
Step 11
To serve, divide the salad evenly onto the plate and serve it with the ribs.

Element of Surprise!

I love phyllo pastries. The flakiness and buttery taste is just so heavenly!  The only thing is that it is mostly done in desserts.  Once I saw this recipe, I had to give it a try!  Again, this looks a lot more work than it really is.  The mashed potatoes and cucumber salsa could be done in advance and stored in the fridge up to 48 hours.

This dinner is great for a formal party or a date night.  Not only does it look great, the taste of freshness from the salsa and the texture from the wrap just go so well with fish making this meal a memorable one.  When you bring out the meal, the element of surprise will be a great conversation starter.

Phyllo-Wrapped Cod with Cucumber Salsa and Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Fish
Dietary Diabetic
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish, Starter
Misc Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Formal Party, Valentines day
Region Canadian
Adapted From AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 4 6-8oz Cod fillets (or any white fish fillets)
  • 8 sheets Phyllo pastry
  • 4 Russet potatoes (peeled and chopped in chunks)
  • 1 cup Frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Salsa

  • 1 Medium English cucumber (seeded, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 Medium Tomato (seeded and chopped)
  • 1/2 Small Red onion (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh cilantro (minced)
  • 1 clove Garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lime juice
  • 1 pinch Ground cumin

Directions

Step 1
Start boiling a pot of water. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks.
Step 2
Add potatoes to a pot with hot water. Add the bay leaf and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer and allow to cook until very tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Step 3
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt 4 tbsp of butter.
Step 4
Lightly butter 1 sheet of phyllo dough. Lay another sheet directly on top of the first sheet, and lightly butter it. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of phyllo. Cut sheets in half.
Step 5
Season fillets with salt and pepper. Place a fillet near the bottom edge of one of the halved sheets of phyllo. Sprinkle with dill. Fold in the sides of the phyllo, then roll the fillet. Place on a baking sheet, and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with remaining fillet.
Step 6
Bake in a preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Step 7
Meanwhile prepare the salsa. In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley and cilantro. In another bowl, combine the Greek Yogurt, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat.
Step 8
Drain the potatoes, discard bay leaf, add corn and butter and start mashing.
Step 9
To serve, scoop the mashed potatoes onto a plate, place phyllo fish and top it with the cucumber salsa. Enjoy!

Goulash to the Rescue

On top of the move, my baby was sick so I had to take time off from the move and work to take care of her since she had to stay home. It was really hard having to care of a sick baby.  I just know that Glee was uncomfortable but I had no idea what was really bothering her.  She barely ate anything which made me worried sick.  I’ve tried making her favourite foods, but nothing seemed to make her want to eat until this Goulash.  Luckily I made a big pot so we would reheat it whenever she was hungry. It was really easy to make, so if you have a really busy week ahead of you, make this because the leftovers tasted just as good!

American Goulash

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Birthday Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region American
Adapted From Gonna Want Seconds

Ingredients

  • 1lb Ground beef
  • 1 cup Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 Large Onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 can Tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1 can Diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 3 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Basil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Directions

Step 1
Heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium pot. Add garlic and onion. Cook until onions are translucent. About 2 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until the meat is cooked through. Another 5 minutes.
Step 2
Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, oregano, basil, bay leaves, 3 cups of water and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
Step 3
Stir in the pasta and reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves.

Can Kale be eaten raw?

This meal was actually put together with all the leftover ingredients from other meals.  I got the macaroni for American Goulash and bought kale for the soup.  The bag of macaroni was so big and so was the kale bunch.  I knew the macaroni could be stored but I really didn’t want the kale to go to waste, so I searched around and found this kale salad.  I decided to give it a try.  It was so good that I will definitely make it again.

You can actually make this salad in advance especially if you don’t have baby kale.  The dressing will marinate the kale a little making it less raw tasting by bringing out the sweetness of the kale.  You can also season the chicken in advance and precook the macaroni to ensure a fast dinner!

Chicken over Creamy Macaroni & Cranberry Kale Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Diabetic
Meal type Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Christmas, Formal Party, Thanksgiving
Region Canadian
Adapted From Kitchen Confidante & Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 4 6oz Boneless & skinless chicken breasts
  • 11oz Elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup Chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Tarragon (chopped )
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Salad

  • 4oz Fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 cup Baby Kale
  • 1 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1 cup Pine nuts
  • 1/2 Small Red onion (thinly sliced)

Directions

Step 1
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Be sure to season on both sides. Set aside.
Step 2
In a small sauce pan, place fresh cranberries, 1/3 cup of water and sugar over medium heat. Let it come to a boil and once the first cranberry pops, simmer for about 5 minutes until all the cranberries pop open. Place in a blender and puree till smooth. Add the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend. Add the olive oil and blend again.
Step 3
Trim kale by removing stems/stalks and tearing the leaves into bite sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with dried cranberries, pine nuts, red onion and just enough dressing to lightly coat the kale. Reserve remaining dressing until ready to serve. Cover and refrigerate the salad until ready to eat.
Step 4
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate; keep warm.
Step 5
Pour broth into hot skillet cook and stir until broth is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Whisk in cream, mustard, and tarragon. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Step 6
Remove from heat and stir in cooked macaroni.
Step 7
To serve, divide the pasta evenly on each plate and top with chicken and a side of the kale salad. Drizzle additional dressing if desired.

Holiday Samosas

This week, we are moving the last bit from our condo to the new house. Things are all over the place, so I usually like to do all the prep work as much as I can when I get a chance to be in the kitchen.  With this meal, it might look like a lot of work, but it was a lot easier than it looks.  I made the filling and chopped the vegetables for the soup in advance.  I placed them in the refrigerator and when it was time to eat, I just preheated the oven and started wrapping the samosas.  By the time I was done, the oven was ready for me to pop them in.  While I was waiting, I just cooked the soup.  Dinner was ready in 20 minutes.

Cooking Notes:

  • These samosas are also great as finger foods for any holiday get together.
  • You can make them even smaller if you cut the phyllo into thinner strips.
  • When you prepare the kale, save the baby leaves for the salad in the next meal.

Samosas with Kale Soup

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish, Soup, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region Canadian
Adapted From For the Love of Cooking

Ingredients

Samosa

  • 6 sheets Phyllo pastry (thawed and cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 Small Onion (diced)
  • 2 stalks Celery (diced)
  • 1/2 Red pepper (diced)
  • 1/4 cup Dried cranberries (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Pecans (toasted and finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Butter (melted)
  • 8-10 tablespoons Sour cream

Soup

  • 2 cups Kale (chopped)
  • 1 Medium Zucchini (chopped)
  • 3 Carrots (chopped)
  • 2 stalks Celery (chopped)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Small Onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon Basil
  • 1 can Diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 1 can Kidney beans (15 oz)
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock (or chicken stock)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Directions

Step 1
Prepare all the vegetables. We will start with the soup as it needs time to simmer.
Step 2
In a stock pot, heat up the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic once it’s warm and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, basil, diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir the soup, mixing everything together, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Simmer on medium low heat for 30-40 minutes (depending on how soft you like your veggies).
Step 3
Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan heat up a splash of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper and celery, cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add ground beef, thyme, salt and pepper, cook until brown. About 5 minutes.
Step 4
Remove from the heat and stir in pecans and cranberries.
Step 5
Preheat the oven to 450°F and melt the butter.
Step 6
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the 6 sheets of phyllo in half. Brush the sheet with melted butter and fold it in half lengthwise. Add 2 Spoonfuls of filling onto the sheet and start folding diagonally to make a triangle. Continue to fold until the sheet is wrapped up. Brush the triangle with butter and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat and make the rest of the samosas.
Step 7
Bake the samosa for 7-10 minutes or until the pastries start to brown.
Step 8
Meanwhile, Add the kale, zucchini, and beans to the soup. Taste and re season if needed. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Step 9
To serve, ladle the soup into the cup and serve the samosas with a side of sour cream. Enjoy!

Shopping List 12/10/12 – 12/14/12

As we get closer and closer to the holidays, everybody is busy shopping for gifts for their loved ones. Dinner is the last thing you want to cook. This week, I am making meals with options to prepare in advance and less ingredients. This way you can do the prep work at your convenience and when you come back from a long day of work and shopping, you can have your dinner ready in no time.

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Samosas with Kale Soup
Chicken over Creamy Macaroni & Cranberry Kale Salad
Phyllo-Wrapped Cod with Cucumber Salsa and Mashed Potatoes
American Goulash
Honey Garlic Ribs with Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad

Check your pantry

The following items should already be in your pantry. However, just double check to avoid a second trip to the grocery store.
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Sesame oil
Red wine vinegar
Hoisin sauce
Soy Sauce
Bay Leaves
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
Ground cumin
Sugar
Salt & pepper
Honey
Canned Tomato Sauce
2 Canned Diced Tomatoes
Kidney beans
Chicken broth
6 Cups of Vegetable Stock
Dijon mustard
Butter

Produce

1 Large bunch of Kale
2 English cucumbers
Celery
1 Medium Zucchini
1 Red pepper
3 Carrots
1 Medium Tomato
1 Granny Smith apple
1 Royal Gala apple
4 Russet potatoes
3 Onions
4 oz of Fresh cranberries
1 Small Red onion
2 Lemons
1 Lime
2 Inches of Ginger
11 Cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Fresh Tarragon
1 tbsp Fresh cilantro
2 tbsp of Fresh parsley
1 tbsp Fresh dill
2 tbsp Basil leaves

Dairy

1/4 Cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 Cup of Heavy cream
Sour cream

Dried Fruit

1 1/2 Cups of Dried cranberries

Frozen Foods

1 Cup of Frozen corn
14 Sheets of Phyllo pastry

Meat & Poultry

4 x 6oz Boneless & skinless chicken breasts
2 1/2 lb Baby back ribs
2 lbs of Lean ground beef

Nuts

1/2 Cup of Pecans
1 Cup of Pine nuts

Pasta & Noodles

4 Cups of Elbow macaroni
1 cup Quinoa

Seafood

4 x 6-8oz Cod fillets (or any white fish fillets)

MOMpreneur Award of Excellence – 2013

mompreneur-awardGleeful Gourmets is a proud nominee of the “MOMpreneur Award of Excellence 2013!” The Top 10 Finalists depend upon your votes! Please take a few minutes to vote for Gleeful Gourmets by clicking the banner and click VOTE NOW! You can vote once a day until January 31. Thank you for your support!

Mom in the kitchen

What inspired you to become a mompreneur?

After a 5 year corporate assignment in Asia got cut short, I came back to Canada with a new phase of my life. My family now included a baby girl, Glee. It was really difficult to focus on job hunting while caring for Glee. It was quite a transition and I became lost. I could return to the financial industry, however thinking back, I remembered how demanding it could be. I used to do 60-80 hours per week as a sales manager and my evenings and weekends were reserved for meetings. Even if I could get my foot back in the door, I wasn’t sure if that same lifestyle would allow me to see Glee very much. I refused to choose between career and family. That’s when I had to take my life into my own hands. I wanted flexibility to spend time with my family, excitement to keep me going each day, and diversity to continually challenge my creative side. So I followed my heart and started Gleeflgourmets.com. The concept is to help busy families with their daily dinner planning. I do their meal plans so they will never have to ask the question, “What’s for dinner?” ever again!

We are different

How is Gleeful Gourmets Different?

Food blogs and recipe sites have exploded since the internet age. There are millions of recipes available at your finger tips. The advantage of recipe sites is that you can search for anything and everything. The only thing is that you have to know what you are looking for to fully take advantage of the search; even then there are too many of the same recipes that you have to sort through. Food blogs on the other hand feature special recipes and it comes with a story which makes them attractive. Most people think it is a weekend thing where they can try the new special recipes. Others who want to use it as a daily dinner source find that most blogs are not frequently updated. Also sometimes the recipes are really complicated, and more often than not the food looks better than it tastes. That’s why Gleeful Gourmets is a little different. We will bring you the best of both worlds with 5 featured meal plans each week that are designed to taste great and easy to make for your family!

Tall Tree

My Biggest Challenge As A MOMpreneur:

The biggest challenge of being a mompreneur is handling every aspect of the business by myself. When things are not going well or as planned, I start doubting the business idea and my own abilities. I feel very lonely and start to think that maybe getting a traditional job is a better idea.

To get out of that negative mode, the trick is to focus on the positives about the business such as my best sales month, highest hit on the site, the positive feedback and comments. I need to dig deep and remind myself as to why I started this business in the first place; to have my freedom and the flexibility to have more time with my loved ones.

I would also call the people who cared and believed in me. Their words of encouragement were like magic because it gave me strength to face the challenges and helped me see the problems a lot smaller. So thank you friends and family for your on-going support! Words cannot express how grateful I am to have you all in my life! Thank you for giving me the motivation to carry on though those tough days! Love always!

Kari

What Will The Prize Allow My Business To Do?

Meet my editor, Kari Snorek!

Not only is she my editor, she’s one of my greatest friends. Currently she’s been working every week on short deadlines to do all of the editing on GG!

As gleefulgourmets.com is a new concept, it is under marketed. We believe that once this concept is seen and understood by the busy moms and dads, they will appreciate how much time and headaches this will save them. Having said that because they are busy, the marketing has to be very specific so that it will catch their attention. I am confident that the prizes will allow Gleeful Gourmets to properly market ourselves to the right target market.

Hoping that with the right marketing, GG can be come more profitable so Kari can get paid!