Weeknight Cookbook Dishes

I love cookbooks. Browsing cookbooks on a Sunday and placing sticky notes on my favourite recipes is a feeling of pure happiness. I received some new ones for Christmas and I thought it was time to test out some recipes.

When we grocery shop, we organize our list first by writing down all the ingredients we need for various recipes. Then, we construct a second list and organize it by food groups (i.e. veggies, protein, dairy, nuts, spices etc). It's an easy way to establish a budget and cut your trip to the grocery store in half by avoiding running back and fourth. 

Here are the meals that we made during the work week. Keep in mind, we have never made any of these before so make sure to read my notes on things to tweak and what the overall verdict was.

Monday

Cookbook: The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson. (A lovely gift from my dear friend Lou).

Meal: Lentil and Butternut Lettuce Cups with Curried Crispy Carrots.

Lentil and Butternut Lettuce Cups Ingredients: 

  • Finely chopped butternut squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can of cooked lentils
  • 2 heads of butter lettuce leaves
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place cubed butternut squash on a baking pan & parchment paper with coconut oil and salt and pepper at 350 degrees
  2. Saute onions with coconut oil, salt and pepper until tender. (About 8 mins on medium heat).
  3. Mix lentils in onion mixture. 
  4. Add butternut squash in pan.
  5. Sautee until nice and tender.
  6. Spoon mixture into butter lettuce leaves.

Curried Crispy Carrots Ingredients:

  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

Directions:

  1. Using a peeler, make ribbons with carrots
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine carrots strips with olive oil, curry powder and salt
  3. Bake on an oiled sheet for 30 mins at 325 until edges are crispy

*VERDICT: Simple and healthy recipes that make it quick to construct. We added balsamic vinegar to the butternut squash mixture to add a bit of pizzazz. The carrots we're DELISH and a new favourite. 

Tuesday

Cookbook: Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo (a recommendation from Jojo S.) 

Meal: Lemon Rosemary Broiled Salmon with Brussels Sprouts with Fennel

Lemon Rosemary Salmon Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 lb wild salmon (either whole and de-skinned or in portions)
  • 1 lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt with a handful of fresh rosemary

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to a low broil setting
  2. Spread coconut oil on bottom of dish  
  3. Place the salmon in dish and sprinkle rosemary salt
  4. Top with lemon
  5. Broil for about 10-12 mins until salmon is cooked to your preference 

Brussels Sprouts with Fennel Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup of fennel, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fennel fronds (the tops that look like dill)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Slice the brussels sprouts into half pieces, removing the ends and outermost leaves
  3. Place the brussels sprouts and sliced fennel onto a large baking dish and top with fennel fronds
  4. Toss with coconut oil, sea salt and black pepper
  5. Roast for 20 minutes 

*VERDICT: A healthy dinner that didn't take long at all to make. I thought the salmon was a little flat so I added some orange on top when I was cooking it. I enjoyed the brussels sprouts but I prefer my brussels sprouts that I make with balsamic, pancetta and parmesan.  

Wednesday 

Cookbook: Better Homes and Gardens, New Cookbook  (a vintage gift from a sweet colleague)

Meal: Slow Cooker Swiss Steak 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds beef round steak, 1 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped green pepper 
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Literally just transport all ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours. 

*VERDICT:  This made Wednesday night a lot easier for us since I have my sommelier course that night. I would serve this with quinoa or couscous next time. 

Thursday

Cookbook: The 4-Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss

Meal: Rock 'N' Eel

Ingredients:  

  • 1 medium sized broccoli, including the stem
  • 1 small package of Japanese unagi (broiled eel)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Dash of lime juice
  • A splash of tamari
  • A splash of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds 

Directions: 

  1. Trim away any unwanted pieces of the broccoli 
  2. Coarse the broccoli in a food processor until it resembles a rice texture 
  3. Rinse the eel and remove the sweet barbecue sauce 
  4. Pat dry the eel and place on aluminum sheet, skin side down
  5. Preheat broiler on highest temperature 
  6. Put eel under the broiler for approx. 10 mins or until browned
  7. Cut avocado into chunks and place in mixing bowl with lime juice
  8. Heat a pan with cooking oil and place chopped broccoli on it, cooking it even until lightly browned 
  9. To serve, place cooked broccoli on place, top with eel, avocado, sesame oil and sesame seeds 

*VERDICT: OKAY friends. Before you start cringing at the thought of eating eel, this meal was amazing. Cam was hesitant all week but once he tried it, he even went back for seconds. This paleo meal was full of flavour and not icky at all. P.s. we found the eel at TnT supermarket (located on Cherry St.) 

Friday

Cookbook: Toronto Cooks by Various Chefs (Christmas present from Tom & Jojo) 

Meal: Khao San Road's Bangkok-Style Pad Thai 

Ingredients: 

For pad thai sauce:

  • 1 1/3 cups coconut sugar
  • 1 cup tamarind juice
  • 1/2 plus 1 tbsp fish sauc

For pad thai:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil, dividend
  • 2 tbsp silvered pressed tofu
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp (we used fresh shrimp instead)
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 2 tbsp chopped picked radish (we just soaked fresh radishes in vinegar 2 hrs before)
  • 1/4 cup pad thai sauce
  • 5 oz dried rice noodles (soaked in water and drained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 2 tbsp crushed roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)
  • Lime wedges to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine sugar, tamarind juice and fish sauce. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. In a wok over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil. Add tofu and fry until lightly browned. Set aside in a plate. 
  3. Add shrimp and fry in wok until crispy. Transfer to a plate. Heat remaining oil in work over medium heat. Add shallot and fry until fragant. Add fried tofu, fried shrimp, and pickled radish and cook for a few minutes. Add Pad Thai sauce, noodles, and water, stirring until noodles are well coated in sauce. 
  4. Make room in the middle of the wok for the egg. Crack egg into the work, scramble with a spatula, and spread into a thin layer.
  5. When egg is set, stir to combine the remaining ingredients. 
  6. Add bean sprouts and chives and mix well. 
  7. To serve, sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, peanuts and lime wedges. 

*VERDICT:  A big fan of thai, I knew making this on Friday would be a yummy way to end the work week. I must say, this meal was really good and now I want to go to Khao San Road to do a little taste test.