Grilled Ginger Sesame Chicken

While planning this weeks meal plan I wanted a new idea for chicken. I could have swore my cousin Foo had one on her blog. Instead I found one on her Pintrest board called Grilled Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad. I really only liked the chicken recipe. So I took it and made it with some rice.

I wasn't able to find all the ingredients at our no frills type grocery store. I'm going have to plan ever further ahead to try new recipes so I have the chance to go to a store with a wider selection.

The items with strike through I didn't have or didn't use.

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup scallions, minced

I put it in a ziplock bag with 5 breasts in the fridge for a couple hours.  When on the grill it turned out like this:

My wife liked it and so did my toddler (though it was heavily dipped in BBQ sauce).  I'm certainly going to make this again. Next time I will get the sesame oil or use sesame seeds, score the breasts before putting them in the bag, and of course let it marinade for longer (like overnight).


Last Weeks Meal Plan (Apr 29 to May 3)

Yes, you are reading right. This was last weeks meal plan. I'm feeling lazy and taking a week off meal planning. But this way I can tell you (mostly) how last week went.

Since last week my wife was on the late shift our family wasn't walking through the door until 6 pm. So it was a slow cooker week.

Monday - Lasagna
This is a staple on the late shift. Lasagna is one of my all time favourite meals and translates fairly well to the slow cooker. I finally got ricotta cheese to go in and made the cheese mixture the way it's supposed to be made. To be honest it wasn't very good. Some foods should NEVER be used in a slow cooker recipe. Softer cheeses like ricotta should never be in a slow cooker.

My final tip for this recipe is to make sure you leave sauce on the top layer and NOT cheese. It will burn around the edges.

Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe was a total miss. I let the chicken cook in the mixture instead of cooking it beforehand like I normally. I think I'll do it again in the future. But the cream of chicken soup went weird. And no crust made this dish a flop. I need to look for a new one or make a real pot pie ahead of time and just heat it up.

Wednesday - Whirly Twirly Pizza
We wound up switching nights along the way and had this on Tuesday because my wife had a staff meeting. So my daughter and I went straight home. But being home by myself I wanted something super easy I can heat up while my daughter is in the other room.

Big time kudos to my cousin Foo for brining this recipe to my attention. I love it and (once I figured out how to cook it properly) so does my wife & daughter. I'd like to get better at making the dough thinner before rolling up the log. It always seems so thick once its cooked.

The only issue I have with this recipe is that my usual grocery store (Food Basics) doesn't carry the raw pizza dough in a bag so I need to make a special trip to No Frills one day during the week.

Thursday - Shepherds Pie II
We didn't make this one and I'm not sure why.

Friday - Herb Orzo & Sausage Sautée w Roasted Red Peppers
We didn't make this one because we went to Swiss Chalet for dinner instead. I plan to make it Tuesday this week instead.


Meal Plan - April 22-26

My cousin started blogging about food a while back. So far I've found it an awesome source of new recipes to try and motivation to do meal planning.

Here is this week:

Monday - Chicken Vermicelli Stir Fry
I just boiled the pasta and chicken the night before. Then the night of some frozen veggies in a wok with water and a lid. After a while I threw in the chicken, pasta, and stir fry sauce. It came out pretty good and I have left over pasta & chicken for the weekend.

Tuesday - Taco Salad
We love this and so does my daughter! We just take all the fixings for tacos (shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, crumbled whole wheat corn chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, and found beef with taco seasoning), put it in a bowl, mix it up, and serve it. Not nearly as messy as real tacos but just as filling.

Wednesday - English Muffin Pizzas
I'm going to be away so this will be an easy dinner to prepare. I think they are planning on doing chopped kolbasa & pineapple.

Thursday - Leftover Pasta
I made a LOT of pasta the other week. So we put it in the freezer for nights like this when we need something quick because I'll still be away.

Friday - Pork Chops
Not sure what yet. Prolly a mushroom soup & rice bake since I'll not have much time to prep the night before.


Skillet Lasagna

Lately I've been trying new recipes in an effort to expand my repertoire as a cook as well as to find healthier options for my family to eat.

With our toddler in daycare and my wife's shift changing week to week we normally have a limited amount of time to eat dinner by the time we get home. So most of my recipes have been for slow cookers.

But this week she was on the early shift so I was able to try some recipes that take slightly longer to make. We had tacos that I'm thinking I'll try as a taco salad instead (since they fall apart in UR hands anyways).

Last night I wound up trying the recipe for Skillet Lasagna that my cousin had posted a month or so ago. For the first time in I don't know how long I actually followed the recipe without changing or substituting ingredients (aside from adding some spices for flavour).

It turned out NOTHING like the picture I saw. I think I was supposed to leave the lid off while it simmered because it wound up being VERY watery. After leaving it in the skillet during dinner and dishes afterward the noodles absorbed most of the juices and was much better.

Perhaps next time I'll try this on the weekend and/or with the lid off. We like our pasta. So I refuse to give up on a different method of cooking one of my all time favourite meals.


Twirly Whirly Pizza

So I tried this recipe posted by my cousin on her blog (http://foolovesfood.blogspot.ca/2012/12/whirly-twirly-pizza.html). It didn't turn out exactly as planned. But I did like the overall idea of it. It just needs some tweaking.

First off, I used regular flour for the counter instead of cornmeal. But I liked the tip of using olive oil on my fingers to keep the dough from sticking. So I put it on the knife when when I cut the log and it worked out pretty good. I also used regular pasta sauce instead of "pizza sauce".

For ingredients, I used finely chopped bell peppers and shredded sandwich ham. When I put the logs sections in the dish I covered them with the chunks of ingredients that fell out when I rolled the log. Then I put extra sauce and cheese on top.

I put it in the oven and after cleaning up for a few minutes I put on the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer went off I just turned off the oven and let it sit there for about 10 minutes while got ready for dinner.

The bummer part is it didn't cook all the way through. :( it's probably because I cooked it in a corningware casserole dish instead of a glass one. It only cooked around the edges. Which thankfully wound up being enough for each of us to have a full serving. So while we ate I put it back in the oven at 350 for another 20 minutes.

I like the way it fills the dish I used. So next time I'm going to skip topping it with more sauce and cheese (it wound up being too cheesy). I'll add some baby spinach (or some other green). I'll prolly drop the temp to 350-375 and doubling the time to 40 minutes. Because what came out the oven the second time was really good.


Grilled Not-So-Cajun Ranch Pasta

So my cousin Foo has her own blog where she posts about meal plans, various recipes, and how they turned out. This past week she posted a meal plan that included a recipe for Chicken Cajun Ranch Pasta.  I liked the sound of it and have been looking for some new chicken recipes to use on a regular basis.

As usual I changed things to fit what I had on hand and prefer.  The words struck out are what I didn't use and the words in bold are the additions or changes.

Chicken Marinade
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp white sugar, or to taste

3 Skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup of hickory barbecue sauce

The recipe also asked you to pound the chicken ahead of time.  But my daughter was sleeping so just pressed them out with a rolling pin.  Then I put it in a Tupperware container and put it in the fridge overnight.

Pasta & Sauce
2 cups of orzo pasta
2 1/2 cups Homo Milk (3.25%)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp Cajun Seasoning
1/4 cup butter
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (not a huge fan of parm)

2 cubes of frozen chopped spinach
1 tsp of Sriacha Sauce

While my daughter was sleeping I cooked the chicken in a George Foreman grill cuz it's freaking freezing outside (-20 C with the windchill) and I liked the charred effect I saw that you can really get in a pan.  Then I put them in Tupperware in the fridge until later.

I cooked the orzo until it was nice & fat.  I strained it put it back in the pot and added the sauce.  It was still REALLY soupy.  So I put it on medium-low and stirred while I chopped and mixed in the chicken into small bite-sized portions (my daughter is only 19 months).  Then I put turned off the burner, put on the lid, and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it had thickened.

Overall I liked the recipe and I'm going to add it to my go to list.  Though I think it will have to wait until the summer when I can do it on the barbecue (using a tiny little George Foreman was not fun).  It also takes some prep work.  So I'll have to plan ahead to put in rotation.  So it'll prolly be for Saturdays.

Here is what I'll do different next time:
I'll knock out the salt & ground pepper and use just Cajun seasoning and Sriacha sauce instead.
For the marinade I'm going to try brown sugar instead of white.
Switch out the Parmesan cheese for mozzarella or ricotta cheese.


Pork Roast

So the past little while I've been laxidasical with my meal planning. Now that I have a handful of recipes under my belt for slow & regular cooking I've been slacking off and just rotating them out. Tomorrow is that story again. We had a busy weekend without a chance to do groceries.

Thankfully I plan ahead for this. Whenever I see a Marc Angelo pork roast on sale I buy it and throw it in the freezer. So today I pulled it out to defrost at noon and we stopped by Sobeys on the way home so I could grab some potatoes.

5 medium new potatoes
2 large carrots
3 cups of waters
1 package of Beef Bouillon

Chopped potatoes & carrots about the size & thickness of my thumb. Placed the roast on top. Mixed water & bouillon and poured over the veggies.

I set the slow cooker on low for 5 hours.