Meal Plan 07/18/2016 - 07/22/2016

This week is going to be a bit crazy because Shawn has baseball every night except Monday and Grady's birthday party is Saturday morning so I've got big plans for cupcakes and loot bags and whatnot. Simplicity is the name of the game this week is what I'm saying.

Monday: chicken breast stuffed with bacon and goat cheese served with sweet potato / carrot mash and green salad.

Tuesday: I'm making double everything on Monday so there will be no cooking on Tuesday.

Wednesday: we're having friends over so I'm going to do a beef taco bar and some sort of dessert with peaches.

Thursday: oven-roasted chicken shawarma with garlic sauce. I can't get enough of this dish. I won't be shamed for this.

Friday: leftovers / snacky dinner.

What's on your meal plan this week? Do you have a killer peach recipe I should try?

Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Sauce

My meal plan went out the window when this oven-roasted chicken shawarma recipe was posted in a food ideas group I'm part of on Facebook. I have no regrets.

I tweaked the recipe very slightly. I only had smoked paprika instead of regular paprika so I used it and cut the quantity down to one teaspoon. I doubled the onions. I cooked it in the oven for 45 minutes to get everything nicely browned and skipped the optional stovetop step (which definitely would have taken the chicken texture to the next level, I just didn't want to dirty another pan). Pro tip: line your baking sheet with tin foil. It's a messy dish.

I didn't feel like cooking a starch, and Shawn has gone low-carb again, so I served it with a bunch of veg. I mixed together a very simple salad of grape tomatoes, cucumber, feta, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. I rounded it out with sliced avocado, olives (for me, Shawn is anti-olive), and an aggressively garlicky sauce. I used greek yogurt so the sauce ended up more dip-like than I wanted but it tasted so good I couldn't complain.

Garlic Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
uice of 1/2 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in the fridge. I made mine when I put the chicken in the marinade so the flavours had a few hours to really meld.

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How to Make Simple Roast Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

If there's one thing I learned while living in England, it's that Sundays are for roast dinners. Roast chicken is a meal that intimidated me (it felt so grown up!) but once I mastered it, it quickly became a staple in our home. So crank your oven, crack open a bottle of wine (wine is a necessary part of Sunday roast preparation so don't skip it. Look, I don't make the rules, I just follow them,) and get ready to fill your kitchen with feel-good-food smells.

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and sliced into eighths
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 apple, roughly chopped
1 lemon, washed and cut into sixths (leave the skin on! You're going to get lots of beautiful lemony flavour from the skin)
olive oil
salt and pepper
small bunch fresh rosemary (or thyme or other herb of your choice), finely chopped
1 (2 - 2.5kg) roasting chicken
4 - 6 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled

Directions

Preheat oven to 425F.

Mix onion, carrots, squash, apple, and lemon in large roasting pan. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add rosemary (or your favourite fresh herb), salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Give your chicken a quick rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Place on top of veg in roasting pan. Rub 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into skin. Place garlic in chicken cavity. Season chicken liberally, inside cavity and out, with salt and pepper.

Roast in preheated oven for 90 minutes, until juices run clear and meat thermometer registers 170F. Baste chicken periodically with cooking juices (I usually do it at 45, 60, and 75 minutes). I also give the veg a bit of a stir whenever I baste the chicken to make sure they're not sticking to the bottom and getting too golden. (Hi, I am my parents. I refuse to call things burnt. Things are just varying stages of golden.)

Remove roasting pan from oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove lemons, carve chicken, and serve with roasted veg. In a perfect world, I'd pair this with steamed broccoli or salad to add a green component but real talk: sometimes green things do not find their way to our plates.

Simple Roast Chicken and Veg

Chicken Coconut Milk Soup

This soup manages to be rich and satisfying without being too heavy. It's full of feel-good comfort and vitamins, and is the perfect soup to deliver to anyone feeling a bit under the weather.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 carrots, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 cup frozen corn
2 - 400mL cans coconut milk
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (approximately 3 cups)*

Optional Toppings: fresh cilantro, green onions, lime wedges

Directions

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 - 7 minutes.

Add garlic, ginger, and curry paste. Cook for another minute or two until fragrant. Add corn, coconut milk, and broth. Cook over high heat until carrots are fork-tender. Add chicken and continue to cook for 2 - 3 minutes until chicken is warmed.

Serve with toppings of choice.

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* I make a big batch of shredded chicken using my slow cooker. Put skinless, boneless chicken breast in slow cooker. Cover with broth or water. Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove from liquid and shred using two forks. I don't season my chicken at all so I'm not limited in how I use it. For example, this week I did 7 chicken breasts and I used 3 in this soup, 1 on a pizza with bacon and barbecue sauce, 1 in a salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and 2 for tacos. If you add the spice and seasoning to your individual dishes, instead of at the slow cooker step, you have much more flexibility in how you use your chicken and you've started multiple meals with one cooking session. Hashtag: lazy cooking for the win.