Multi-Cultural Toronto!

CambodiaMy father came visiting from Cambodia over the holidays! Since we live so far apart, we tried to spend as much time together as possible. He stayed over at my sister’s and most of our gatherings were dinners. I told him about Gleeful Gourmets and he decided to cook me many of his favourite dishes. The Chinese traditional meal usually consists of white rice and paired with a few stir-fries and a soup.

After several traditional Chinese meals, I thought I would change it up a little, so I took him for a steak dinner at Pickle Barrel. Apparently he could eat the Chinese traditional meals over and over again. He told me that’s what he eats everyday in Cambodia. On the other hand, I don’t think I can stand eating the same type of meals for more than a week. This made me realize how multi-cultural Toronto really is. We’ve been spoiled with the greatest variety!

For this week, I’ve put together inspired versions of meals I’ve had over the holidays from my dad’s kitchen and different restaurants. I hope you and your family will enjoy them!

Here’s your Detailed Shopping List and meal plans! To access the recipes, please click on the pictures.

Beef Stir-Fry with Chinese Broccoli over Rice

Beef Stir-Fry with Chinese Broccoli over Rice_

Stuffed Cabbage

Cooked Stuffed CabbageStuffed Cabbage

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Cucumber Tomato Dill Salad

Stuffed chicken breast with tomato dill salad

Lemongrass Pork Chops

Lemongrass Porkchop_

Steak With Grilled Vegetables

Steak Over Grilled Vegetables

Welcome to 2013!

2013 EggsHappy New Year Everyone!

Welcome to 2013! We are finally settled into our new kitchen and whipping out new and exciting meal plans. Once again we are sorry about the temporary interruptions on the meal plans and we thank you for all your patience! We are sick and tired of eating out over the holidays, so we decided to kick-off the new year with much healthier meals.

Here’s the Detailed Shopping List and this is what we are having for the week. Please click on pictures to access recipes for the meal plans!

Creamy Potato Soup with Steak & Pear Salad

Creamy Potato Soup with Steak & Pear Salad

Lemon Chicken Breast with Grilled Zucchini and Tomato Salad

Lemon Chicken with grilled zuchinni tomato salad

Shrimp Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Shrimp Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Seared Pork Chop with Red Chard and Mashed Potatoes

Sear Porkchop with Red Chard_

Steamed Salmon with Tomato Cilantro Couscous

Steamed Salmon with Tomato Cilantro Couscous

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.

[gmc_recipe 3782]

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.

[gmc_recipe 3736]

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!

[gmc_recipe 3766]

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!

[gmc_recipe 3709]

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.

[gmc_recipe 3673]

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)

Homemade Wings for House Parties!

Throughout my university and early dating years, the holidays were dedicated for house parties with close friends!  We would take turns hosting parties where we sing karaoke, play board games, Mah Jong and video games until the wee hours.  Good old times! With this type of party, food usually was the least important.  Everyone just wants more time to play so we would just order in pizza and wings!

Most of us have kids now, so it is harder to have parties like this.  But it doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t have house parties any more.  We just have to modify the way we party.  Like we can start early and finish earlier and instead of ordering take-out, I would go with this healthier homemade baked chicken wings with a fresh salad.

If you are having a house party, give these wings a try.  You will never turn back to ordering take-out.  Especially when making these could be faster than waiting for take-out!

[gmc_recipe 3589]

Presenting Acorn Squash at a Cocktail Party!

When I have a large guest list, I would choose to host a cocktail party. It is understood that a full meal won’t be served, instead there will be a number of hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  The focus of this type of party is the company.  People usually mingle and catch up with others they haven’t seen for a while.

In terms of food, cocktail parties are all about presentation!  That’s why I highly recommend this roasted acorn squash with chicken and wild rice stuffing as one of your dishes.  Not only will the half acorn squash make the presentation interesting, the stuffing will wow everyone!

Cooking Notes:

  • To make this vegetarian, just omit the chicken.
  • To serve this as part of the buffet table at a cocktail party, get the biggest acorn squash you can find.

[gmc_recipe 3567]