Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef

Taste: 5/5
Ease of Making: 5/5
Dishes: 5/5

The Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef recipe from Closet Cooking was one of the best meals we have made in some time. The balsamic flavours add a sweet and more unique taste to this dish that we both thought was pretty awesome. Perhaps it was the 35 minutes of running before dinner that contributed to my overwhelmingly positive review of this recipe, but I guess you’ll just have to try it out yourself to find out, right?!

Here are a couple photos:

We added a couple of potatoes to the recipe but otherwise stuck to it.

Nummies!

Smoked Sausage and Cheesy Rice

Taste: 4/5
Ease of Making: 5/5
Dishes: 4/5

Tonight’s Smoked Sausage and Cheesy Rice from Bake at Midnight was super easy peasy to make! If you need a quick dinner, this should be one that you consider. Purchasing pre-cooked sausage and pre-cut broccoli helped speed it up, but it’d be pretty easy to make even if you had to cook the sausage and/or chop the broccoli. Here are some photos from our dinner:

All heated up and ready to serve.

Plated deliciousness after only about 20 minutes of cooking.

 

Amazing Flour-Less Brownies

Taste: 5/5
Ease of Making: 5/5
Dishes: 4/5

So I went through a phase of making this recipe every couple of weeks a couple of years ago but then I guess I’d had enough. Well, after tasting it again today, I’m welcoming Amazing Flour-Less Brownies from Skinnytaste back into a regular rotation! This has half the calories of a Starbuck’s brownie and honestly tastes about 100 times better anyways. Here are a couple of photos:

We substituted mini chocolate chips for the regular-sized ones the recipe called for, but now it looks like it has 1000000 chocolate chips on it.

A close-up of the chocolate-y goodness!

 

 

Single-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts

Taste: 4/5
Ease of Making: 4/5
Dishes: 4/5

This recipe, Single-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts from Christine Byrne at Buzzfeed, was fantastic, but then again how can you go wrong when there are bacon and Brussels sprouts together?! We ended up using chicken drumsticks instead of thighs, as this is what we had on hand, and substituted the apple juice for water as I didn’t feel like keeping a can of apple juice in the fridge for weeks on end (we don’t really drink juice).

This recipe was really easy to put together and luckily for me, Lenny bought pre-chopped Brussel sprouts at the grocery store this week as they were on sale. 😀 I really dislike chopping things in general, although I like it a bit more now that we have ceramic knives — Side shout out to Justin & Kristin for that awesome Christmas gift! Here are some photos from our cooking adventure:

After the stove-top stage, ready for the oven. The recipe might seem like it’s calling for a lot of bacon, but it really isn’t by the time it cooks down.

Ready for serving.

We ate in the living room – it was a long day – but that meant that Sally put on her stealth-level begging skills to “earn” some apple and/or bacon slices…

“What? Who, me?”

Plated perfection.

Week Two Meal Plan

 

This week, our meal plan consists of meals inspired by:

Snack: Amazing Flour-Less Brownies from Skinnytaste

Sunday: Single-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts from Christine Byrne at Buzzfeed
Monday: Smoked Sausage and Cheesy Rice from Bake at Midnight
Tuesday: Halved recipe of Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef from Closet Cooking
Wednesday: Grilled cheese and Creamy Lentil Soup from Skinnytaste
Thursday: Dinner out
Friday: Side salad and Baked Stromboli from Moms Need to Know

Amazing Flour-Less Brownies from Skinnytaste

 

Single-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts from Christine Byrne at Buzzfeed

 

Smoked Sausage & Cheesy Rice | bakeatmidnite.com | #kielbasa #cheese #rice #recipe

Smoked Sausage and Cheesy Rice from Bake at Midnight

 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef

Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef from Closet Cooking

 

Creamy Lentil Soup from Skinnytaste

 

Ham and Salami Stromboli sq

Baked Stromboli from Moms Need to Know

Mr. Bowjangles

Taste: 4/5
Ease of Making: 3/5
Dishes: 3/5

This recipe is from a Looneyspoons cookbook that’s no longer available, however, would be worth looking for in a used bookstore (that’s where my copy is from!). It’s Canadian, quirky, and full of tasty recipes! Mr. Bowjangles can be found on pg. 125 of the cookbook. It is a soya sauce and mustard-based chicken, noodle, broccoli, and sun-dried tomato dish. We had to modify it a bit as we didn’t have any butterfly pasta and we also reduced the amount of broccoli as three cups for only four servings sounded like a lot. Here is a picture of the final product:

bowjangles

Mr. Bowjangles

 

5 Keys to Meal Planning

5 Keys to Meal Planning

In the last week, I’ve thought about some tips that I could share to those of you newer to meal planning, or those of you wishing to improve your skills. Here are my top five that will help you achieve success!

1. Look at your schedule

There’s no point in scheduling a meal that will take 45 minutes to cook on a night you will be exhausted and have to be in and out within 1 hour. Look at the week to come and decide which nights you need 15-20 minutes meals, which nights you’ll be meeting friends for drinks after work, which days you’ll be home all day and could make a recipe that takes longer, etc..

2. Make a comprehensive grocery list

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to plan a week’s worth of meals only to discover mid-week that you have no beef for your beef and broccoli dish. Right after I assign dinner meals for Sunday-Friday, I type out a grocery list, in order that I’d find the items going around the store, to ensure that I have everything for the week. I can’t promise you’ll remember to pick up everything at the grocery store, or that the grocery store will have everything you’re looking for, but having a comprehensive list will help stack the odds in your favour.

3. Plan for snacks

If you come home from work or school everyday with a grumble in your belly, you are much less likely to stick to any plan, let alone a meal plan. When thinking about what you’ll eat for the week, think of at least one “new” snack, whether it is something you’ll be baking and eating throughout the week or something that you haven’t had in a while. I have found in the last few months that baking something that will last at least 2-3 days, really helps me get my week off to a good start. My co-workers also agree (they get the extras!).

4. Talk to your family

My husband is pretty open to eating a wide variety of foods, but occasionally I forget that he doesn’t eat a lot of certain foods (hello memories of vegan chickpea blondies!). Touching base ahead of time about the portions of meals that the recipe calls for versus what you are actually intending on cooking also helps to share important information such as “we’re not making the 16 cups of chili that this recipe calls for, by the way” before one starts dumping six cans of beans into the pot.

5. Acknowledge that good enough is good enough

I love the phrase that “sometimes good enough is good enough.” It’s impossible to be perfect, even when it comes to adhering to the best-laid plans for your week. Accept that completing even 3/5 meals as planned some weeks is still a fantastic achievement.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken

Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken

Taste: 4/5
Ease of Making: 5/5
Dishes: 4/5

Tonight’s recipe was inspired by Carl’s Bad Cravings but due to the number of substitutions, both on purpose and by accident, I’m not sure we really made the actual recipe… It still turned out pretty well nevertheless and I might try to make it again sometime.

Here are some photos from our dinner:

mongolianchicken

Nummy num nums

Yay for the crock pot!

Served over delicious rice noodles. Don’t forget to rinse them once you’ve cooked them — this is an important step!

cutedog2

A dark photo of the food, but check out the cuteness in the background.

cutestdog

“Mom! Mom! It smells SO good, mom!

 

Beef and Bean Burritos

TPW_5101

Taste: 4/5
Ease of Making: 5/5
Dishes: 3/5

Tonight’s recipe was inspired by The Pioneer Woman. I ended up adding lettuce in the wrap and skipping the extra sauce and cheese on the top. We make soft tacos quasi-regularly, so this was a tasty similar meal that was just enough different to be a little bit more exciting! Here are some photos:

burrito

Would you like some meat with those beans and lettuce? 😉

burrito2

All tightly wrapped up.

burrito3

Bursting at the seams, and ready for eating!

Special props to Lenny for cooking this dinner so I could go out for run in -18C weather with my running buddy, Steph, before the dark. Props also to Steph for being such a champ and encourager on said run despite the miserable weather!

Breakfast Quiche

breakfast-quiche

Taste: 5/5
Ease of Making: 4/5
Dishes: 3/5

This recipe was taken from skinnykitchen.com. I often forget about making breakfast for dinner, but doing so is great because it allows for something varied to eat for breakfast for the next few days! Breakfasts also tend to be lower in calories and higher in protein.

Monday’s are often “Meatless Monday’s” in our house, and while this dish does have ham in it, we regularly make frittatas or quiches for dinner that we eat throughout the week; it’s an excellent way to use up odd quantities of left-over vegetables or cheeses!

If you’ve never seen it before, you can find ham steaks in the deli area (it was near the hot dogs in our store). It’s a cheaper and easier way to add the ham in this dish:

hamsteak

What a ham steak looks like. It was $2.99.

Here are a couple photos from this adventure:

quiche

The cheesey and delicious concoction right out of the oven.

platedquiche

All plated up and reading for delving into!

I also made decaf soy lattes to go with dinner but they were gobbled up so quickly that they made it into exactly zero photos… #coffeeaddicthousehold.

Anybody else have breakfast for dinner this week? I challenge you to make it at least once this week!