Small Get-Together? Roasting is the way to go!

When I have a small get-together of 6-8 people, I usually like to do a roast.  The prep work is very minimal.  After I prep it, which takes no time at all, I just pop the roast into the oven and the aroma will fill the room as I set the table and do the decorations to get ready for the party.

I’ve chosen this beef roast because all sides are incorporated into the roast.  The tender roasted red potatoes and the sweet carrots with fresh spinach go perfectly with the beef.   The combination of thyme, rosemary and bacon topper is just incredible! The other great thing about a roast is that everyone can choose how well done they want their meat to be.  The outer edge pieces are usually well done, while the centre is medium rare.  I am sure once you serve this, you will leave your guests hungry for more!

[gmc_recipe 3548]

Diverse Guest List? Cover Asia with Coconut Ginger Chicken!


When I am hosting a party, food selection is one of the biggest challenges, especially when I have a really diverse guest list.  My mother for one only likes Eastern food and the younger generation usually prefers Western.  As a good host, I always want to make sure that all my guests feel comfortable by finding at least some familiarity in one of the dishes, yet I want to be able to enjoy the party myself without slaving in the kitchen.  So I need to come up with a plan.  The most worrisome cuisine is the Eastern as most of the dishes were quite labour intensive.  That’s why I’ve chosen this Coconut Ginger Chicken because it covers most of Asia and it can be done in a slow cooker.  It can also be paired with any baguette, naan, pita or rice.

Cooking Notes:

  • To use the slow cooker, after you sear the chicken transfer them to the slow cooker and add everything else.  Set it for 3-4 hours on low and 2-3 hours on high.

[gmc_recipe 3523]

Lucky Salad for Pot Luck

When I had a pot luck party to attend I always ended up bringing a salad of some sort.  Apparently I was the only one who cared for salads.  Everyone else preferred meats, pasta and snacks.  If I wasn’t going to bring a salad, there wouldn’t be any.  I loved salads; I felt that a meal wouldn’t be complete without some sort of vegetables or salads.  The great news was that I never had to fight anyone for bringing a salad.  However, it was always a challenge for me because I wanted my salad to be liked and eaten by everyone.  So I  was always on the search for new salad ideas.

When I found this asparagus tomato orzo salad, I thought it was perfect because of the colourful red tomatoes and green asparagus just in time for Christmas!  It is really easy to make and you can make them in advance and chill it!  It will go with pretty much any meat dish!  Instead of bringing frozen pizza or boxed chicken wings, why not bring this lucky salad to your next pot luck?!  I guarantee you that it will get the attention.

[gmc_recipe 3497]

Shopping List 12/03/12 – 12/07/12

This Week is the first week of December which means the holidays are near. I know everyone will have lots of dinner parties to attend and host. To help you out, this month you will find lots of ideas for entertaining guests within your meal plans. All you have to do is to increase the portions when you cook them. I will also be including a bonus hors d’oeuvres recipe here and there with the holiday themes. Keep an eye out for them and let the countdown begin!

Here’s the meal plan for this week:

Steak with Asparagus & tomatoes Orzo Salad
Coconut Ginger Chicken with Naan
Beef Roast
Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
Baked Asian Wings with Edamame 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.
Orzo
White rice
Wild rice mix
Chinese 5-Spice
Ground Tumeric
Rosemary
Ground Cumin
Ground Coriander
Thyme
Olive oil
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Vegetable oil
Sesame oil
Canola oil
Red wine vinegar
Hoisin sauce
Soy sauce
Honey
Cornstarch
Coconut milk (10oz)
Brown sugar
Salt & Pepper
Butter

Produce

1 bunch Asparagus
2 medium Acorn squash
1 Celery
1 Red pepper
3 cups Baby spinach
1 lb Baby carrots
1/2 lb Small red potatoes
1 Red onion
2 Small Onions
3 Inches of Ginger
1 Lemon
10 Cloves of Garlic
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon Cilantro

Dried Fruit

1/4 Cup Dried cranberries

Frozen Foods

1 Cup Frozen vegetables (of your choice)
1 Cup Edamame (shells removed)

International & Ethnic

4 Naan (ready to bake)

Jams & Preserves

1/4 cup Blackberry jam (or other berry jam)
15 oz Butter beans (or your family favorite)
1 can Baby corn cobs

Juices

3 tablespoons Orange juice

Meat & Poultry

4 Slices Bacon
2 to 3 lbs Beef Chuck Roast
4 x 6-8oz Steak
2 lbs Chicken thighs
2 1/2 lbs Chicken Wings (tips removed, drumettes and flats separated)
1 lb Skinless and boneless chicken breasts

Nuts

1/2 Cup of Pecans

Finger Foods For Touchy Twos

When I found out that my nephew Kyle was coming for a sleepover on Friday, I thought what better time to make chicken fingers and yam fries than this.  When I put this meal together, I wanted the kids to be able to eat with their hands because this meal was all about touch and texture. The chicken fingers were soft and tender while the fries were crunchy and sweet. They absolutely loved it!


Cooking Notes:

  • To cut down time, prepare salad in advance and chill it.
  • You can also pre cut the yams and chicken.

[gmc_recipe 3342]

What’s That Smell?

When it comes to fish, everyone usually thinks it is either smelly, tasteless or boring. I thought we could use this opportunity to make a fish dish that will taste good not just to the adults, but kids too. Therefore this meal is all about the sense of smell! The butter keeps the salmon moist while the herbs give it flavour.

I wasn’t sure if Glee was going to eat it, so I made the wild rice with her favourite sugar snap peas for the sides. When the fish came out of the oven, she smelled it and she was willing to giving it a try and she loved it!

Cooking Notes:

  • You can use any herbs you want as long as the butter base stays the same. It will taste just as good.

[gmc_recipe 3289]

Fun is What I am Feeling!

Glee is picking up everything we do now. She once saw Huan twirling his spaghetti with a fork before eating it; from then on, she always tries to twirl anything spaghetti like. So I took this opportunity to give her her own plate of spaghetti for twirling. Boy! Was she ever happy?!


I focused on fun for this meal. We sat at the dinner table twirling spaghetti together. She would start saying, “twirl, twirl, twirl!” as she was twirling. Once she had it on her fork, she would say “I did it!” and we all cheered for her. Then we would say, “yum….yum, yum, yum!” and she would repeat and start eating the spaghetti. She was so happy and absolutely adorable!

Cooking Notes:

  • This meal is extra easy to prepare because you already have your Meat Sauce done from the lasagna meal.
  • If you want it to be healthier, you can replace the spaghetti with whole wheat spaghetti.

[gmc_recipe 3383]

Take A Bite!

This meal is focused on tastes and textures. While the juicy pork tenderloin gives it a salty taste, the apple toppings balanced it with a sweet and sour taste. I even added the corn to the mashed potatoes to give it texture and that extra little surprise element when Glee takes a bite. I know Glee loves corn, so that also gives reassurance that it will be a successful meal for the family.

Cooking Notes:

  • When I serve the apple toppings on Glee’s plate, I took the time to pick out only apples for her. The tarragon and shallots might be too strong for her, so I just left it for the adults. She ended up eating the apples anyway.

[gmc_recipe 3316]

I Can Sing A Rainbow

One of Glee’s favourite songs is:

I Can Sing A Rainbow
Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow too.

Listen with your eyes,
Listen with your eyes,
and sing everything you see,
Now you can sing a rainbow,
sing a rainbow,
sing along with me.

The focus of this meal was colours. The main course of lasagna carried out the bold red which caught Glee’s attention. I paired it with the Greek Salad to incorporate the rest of the rainbow colours. The results were just amazing; not only Glee got to review her colours, but loved eating the meal too. She was super happy to have her auntie Gwei Mui as company and it was great that the adults enjoyed the meal too!

Cooking Notes:

  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of ingredients in this recipe. They are not hard to prepare or super special in any way. You may notice that there are 10 servings for the meat sauce, because the meat sauce is also used for the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce later in the week.
  • You can prepare the meat sauce in advance and freeze them in individual portions and they are good for several weeks.
  • You can use the slow cooker for the simmering process. Just set it on low for 4-6 hours.
  • Salad can also be prepared the night before to chill until ready to be eaten.

[gmc_recipe 3100]

Shopping List: 11/26/12-12/01/12



We took Glee to a Kids Museum in Florida for her 2nd birthday this September. They had a ton of themes and one of the themes was the farmer’s market. They learn to pick all the fruits and vegetables from the farm, sort them and transport them to the supermarket. Of course in the supermarket, they got little toddler size shopping carts and aisles of groceries. It was really an amazing experience for Glee as she went grocery shopping by herself. So this week we have decided to do a Kids themed week. All the meals are gear towards toddlers and their curiosity from sight, smell, taste, touch and feel. Check out our meal plans for the week:

Meaty Lasagna
Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Mashed Potatoes
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Butter Herb Salmon
Chicken Fingers with Yam Fries and Edamame Salad

Below is the detailed shopping list. Have fun shopping and we hope you and your family will enjoy the meals as much as our family did.

Check your pantry

Here’s a list of things you might already have in your pantry. Please double check so you can avoid stopping at the grocery more than once.

Wild rice mix
12 sheets Lasagna noodles
Spaghetti
Chicken broth
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
Olive oil
Canola oil
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Sesame oil
Rice wine vinegar
Sherry vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Honey
All-purpose flour
Cornstarch
Dried basil
Dried oregano
Fennel seeds
Italian seasoning
Paprika
Bay leaves
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Sugar
Salt & Pepper
Tomato paste (total: 12 ounces)
Tomato sauce (total: 13 ounces)
Crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
Black olives
Grain mustard
Butter
Eggs
Dijon mustard

Produce

English cucumber
Sugar snap peas (8oz)
1 Green pepper
2 Red pepper
1 Large Zucchini
1 Carrot
1 pint Cherry tomatoes
2 Tomatoes
1 large Yam
4 Russet potatoes
1 Granny Smith apple
1 Orange
1 Lemon
1 large Onion
2 Red onions
1 Shallot
1 Inch of Ginger
8 Cloves of Garlic
1 Bunch of Parsley
1 Bunch of Cilantro
1 Bunch of Tarragon
1 Bunch of Dill

Bread & Bakery

8 Slices Garlic bread (ready to bake)
Pamasan based bread crumbs

Cheese

3/4 lb Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 1/2 cup Feta cheese (coarsely crumbled)

Frozen Foods

1 cup Frozen corn
2 cups Edamame (shells removed)

Meat & Poultry

1 lb Ground beef
1 lb Italian sausages (mild)
4 6-8oz Pork tenderloin
2 lb Boneless & skinless chicken breasts

Seafood

4 6-8oz Salmon steaks