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Ringing in 2014 in the Deep Freeze: What to Eat

2 Jan

The high in Ottawa, Canada today was – 24C with a wind chill factor that made it feel like – 34C. We were actually colder than Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, but not colder than other parts of our incredible country. This is Day 3 of a 5-day stretch of extremely cold weather.

"Baby, it's cold outside."

“Baby, it’s cold outside.”

For those who measure temperature on the Farenheit scale that is – 11F, windchill of – 29F. The health department issued warnings that exposed skin can freeze in 10 minutes.

Wise humans (and one canine I know), stayed indoors with only the briefest sorties for essential business. Hot chocolate and good novels were our activities of choice. Uber-Canuks suited up in layers or pulled on their bison mitts and Balaklava and went out-of-doors. Some skaters even braved the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Experiencing the lung-rattling cold has helped me to understand how the Inuit in the Arctic region of Canada can eat such fatty foods as seal. I am absolutely craving high-fat meals . . . particularly beef and cheese. A number of people I know prepared macaroni & cheese today.

To help you cope with winter’s blistering cold, I hope to post a few hearty dishes I made in December. Meals with beef and starches and meal-worthy soups.

Beef & Mushroom Pie

Beef & Mushroom Pie

Tonight I cooked the first meal for myself in over ten days. I have feasted at family holiday tables, consumed copious left-overs, eaten a catered gourmet dinner for New Year’s Eve and been a guest at friends’ tables. Here are the recipes I plan to make for the coming week:

Tomato and Seafood Penne (Canadian Living, Dec. 2013, pg 174)

Hearty Meatball and Fennel Soup (CL, Nov. 2013, pg 146)

Hearty Meatball and Fennel Soup

Hearty Meatball and Fennel Soup

The Ultimate Lasagna (Canadian Living, September 2013, pg. 135)

. . . and if I tire of the “care packages” of Christmas baking lurking in my freezer, I may decide to make Rustic Apple Cake (CL, Sept 13, pg 187).


Finally! Some Summer Meal Planning: Starting August 17th

18 Aug

I don’t know about you, but I am far more likely to eat out in the summer months. A patio beacons, a picnic seems right, friends come to town.

The week returning from the cottage is always depressing. For so many reasons. But after a determined effort to purge the fridge, scrub it clean, sourcing bins to keep it organized, a trip to the market and re-stocking some basic groceries I have moved forward to plan menus. Regular life returns.

Pollo al Mattone: aka Chicken under Bricks

Here’s what’s on my fridge-mounted meal planner for the coming days:

1.     Pollo al Mattone {Chicken under a Brick} – this recipe comes from Canadian Living’s “Let’s Barbecue” [Summer 2004]. It was served with skewered new potatoes, steamed fresh green beans and boiled corn on the cob. I’ll precede the post of the recipe with a lesson on how to “spatchcock” a whole chicken.

How to 'Spatchcock' a whole chicken

How to ‘Spatchcock’ a whole chicken

2.     Chili Espresso Strip Loin Steaks from Chatelaine Magazine’s September 2013 issue (page 80). I’m going to try making my first Green Goddess Salad and dressing with these steaks. Rounding out the meal are Grilled Balsamic Cafe mushrooms and some raw market carrots.

3.     Chilaquiles (tchee/lah/KEE/lehs) from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures (page 163) is billed as a Mexican-like lasagna dish. In researching the proper pronunciation of the word, I have discovered this recipe bears little resemblance to the authentic Mexican breakfast/brunch dish. The QVP recipe still sounds delicious and will help me use up a can of kidney beans opened in error. It layers strips of corn tortillas, with tomatoes, chilies, beans and Monterey Jack cheese and is then baked in the oven.

4.     The cover recipe of Chatelaine Magazine’s September 2013 issue is just too glorious-looking not to try. Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes (page 79) will help me use up the last of my 2012 batch of pesto before I haul home fresh basil bunches from the market to make enough pesto to see me through another year. A pint of multicoloured cherry tomatoes will add to the eye-appeal of this meal.

Strawberry Fudge Sundaes

Strawberry Fudge Sundaes

On the sweet side I don’t have my baking mojo back just yet. But Strawberry Fudge Sundaes pulled together from local berries, some store-bought waffle bowls, fudge sauce and premium vanilla ice cream hit the spot last night. Proving that Savvy Singles need not make everything from scratch to put a fine meal on their tables.


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