Category Archives: quick meals

What to do with leftover Ahi Tuna? Make a great salad!

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I was very lucky last summer to win a gift card to our local fish monger, Gimli Fish Market. I’d actually never shopped there before, but for a special pre-holiday meal with friends last month, I took the fish-lady’s recommendation to try cooking Ahi Tuna at home.

This is what a 1kg of tuna looks like - those plates are 8.5 inches wide. That's a lotta YUM!

This is what a 1kg of tuna looks like – those plates are 8.5 inches wide. That’s a lotta YUM!

I’m so glad I listened to both the expert fish-lady, and to one of my fellow food bloggers, Rheanne Marcoux of Sucre & Farine to try Food & Wine Magazine’s Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steak recipe. It was delicious and super simple. Prep time and cook time together were less than 10 minutes.

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak (on the right) served with Mayo

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak (on the right) served with Mayo

The recipe was super easy, and though Ahi tuna steaks in Winnipeg are not cheap, I was able to master a favourite fish at home and impress my guests. Now I can now cross that to-do off my bucket list and try some other types of fish at home in 2013.

The two huge Ahi tuna steaks were much more food than the 4 of us could eat for dinner. Thankfully, my dear husband liked the fish, which had the same consistency as his favourite, Prime Rib roast. I was very worried that he wouldn’t like the rare sear on the fish as he’s not a fan of sashimi like I am. The next day for lunch we decided to make a gourmet salad using the leftovers and this is what I came up with.

My DIY dinner salad platter for two.

My DIY dinner salad platter for two.

This was my riff on Salad Nicoise with homemade feta, parboiled baby potatoes, quick-steamed green beans, avocado, grape tomatoes, fresh mint, sliced shallots and of course… the leftover tuna. I drizzled it with my favourite Kraft Calorie-Wise Balsamic dressing for a quick finish, and boy was it delicious!

All dressed up and ready to eat!

All dressed up and ready to eat!

Whenever you have some great leftover protein in your fridge (chicken, steak, pork, fish) and a hodgepodge of vegetables, I do recommend giving this easy meal idea a try.

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Do you ever cook fresh Tuna?
Please share your favourite recipe in the Comments section.

Easy Beef Tacos

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One of the meals that we look forward to on a regular basis are Tacos. Here’s how I easily make them up for just the two of us as an easy weekend lunch. If you make this for dinner, this style of ‘burrito taco’ also makes a great carry-forward for tomorrow’s lunch if you don’t add any fresh vegetables. This whole meal usually takes less than 15 minutes to make.

These tacos are quick to eat and not as messy as usual due to a couple simple tricks

These tacos are quick to make, and not as messy as usual due to a couple simple tricks

Easy Beef Tacos
(makes 10 tacos)

1lb Lean Ground Beef

Taco Seasoning

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

Taco Sauce

Guacamole

Soft Taco Shells

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1. Brown ground beef until almost cooked. Add taco seasoning to meat but do not add any additional water. Stir until meat is fully cooked. Drain in colander.
I like to use my potato masher to break the meat up.

The better you drain the meat, the less drippy mess your taco will make down your favourite shirt!

2. Lay soft taco shells side-by-side on your cookie sheet.

3. Grate cheese over taco shells. Place the cookie sheet into a pre-heated oven (350*F) for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and shells are softened.
Watch your oven closely so that you do not burn your taco shells.

4. Cut off the corner of your taco sauce and guacamole, and drizzle the sauces up the centre of each taco shell.

5. Add the cooked, seasoned beef to the top of each taco. Grate a bit more cheese over top the meat, and allow it time to melt.

6. You could then top with sliced iceberg lettuce and diced fresh tomatoes, but we rarely have those on-hand in the Winter.

I usually smear re-fried beans on the bottom of each taco shell before adding the first layer of cheese and baking… but I forgot to defrost the 1/2 can in time for making these.

You can double or triple the meat and freeze in ready-to-go packages for next time if you want to speed this process up.

How do you like your tacos?
What is your go-to topping for your favourite tacos?

Creamy Flank Steak Stoup: When Supper Transforms and Becomes Lunch

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One of my newly found, favourite recipes from last summer was Miles Thatcher’s Guinness & Honey Marinated Hanger Steak (I use flank steak) from the June 2012 issue of Flavours Magazine. I’ve made this recipe about 4 or 5 times since discovering it’s yumminess, and usually one flank steak is way more than enough for the two of us. And a great accompaniment to this recipe are my Spicy Marinated Mushrooms.

Guinness Beer

BUT… neither my husband nor I are big fans of Guinness‘ darkness… Nothing against the brand, but I just don’t drink beer. Initially I was leery of trying this recipe because I was worried that the strong taste of this Stout would be pronounced in the final result. But it’s not, this is an incredible BBQ recipe that you will want to add to your repertoire – forever.

Here’s a great tip… when I want to make this flank steak, I try not to waste the leftover 3/4’s of the can of beer… so I actually make a quadruple batch of the marinade, and freeze the extra three portions for later use.

So when you make this flank steak recipe, and if you have leftovers that you don’t want to use for sandwiches, fajitas, steak & eggs breakfasts or… whatever, please consider giving my soup a try for lunch the next day.

Just a lil' something I threw together

Just a lil’ something I threw together that was a big hit

Originally, I wasn’t going to blog about this soup because I’ve been including a lot of soup recipes lately. Plus, I’ve been making these soups up off the top of my head. It’s been very cold here in Winnipeg this past week, so soup has, of course, been top of mind.

After grocery shopping and picking up some fresh mushrooms and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup to have for an easy (i.e. discrete and not blogged about) lunch I found myself inspired to try yet another LunchFor1 soup recipe.

I had also picked up a couple Tetra Paks of Beef Broth because my freezer’s stash of broth was getting low, and it’s always a good idea to have some broth either in the cupboard, in the fridge, or in the freezer at all times for quick soups, sauces and stews.

So it was with these ingredients on hand that inspiration struck! Plus I had to do something with the leftover flank steak… and thankfully it all worked out – and we loved it!

Creamy Flank Steak Stoup

(Stoup is a word I first heard used by Rachael Ray, it’s Stew+Soup)

Leftover BBQ Flank Steak, diced

1L Campbell’s Beef Broth

1 Ready to Serve Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

20 Baby Carrots, chopped

3 Celery Stalks, chopped

3 cloves Fresh Garlic

1/4 Onion, diced

1/4 cup Pot Barley

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 tablespoon Canola Oil

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1. Heat oil in large pot.

2. Add vegetables, and saute for 5 minutes.

3. Add diced beef and beef broth, and bring your soup to a boil.

4. Add uncooked barley to the pot, and turn down your stove to Medium-High. Cook for 30 minutes.

5. Stir in cream of mushroom soup just prior to serving, and warm the soup through for 5 minutes. NOTE: Overcooking this step may cause your soup to “break” or separated, so be careful.

6. This recipe made 4 hearty servings, with a side dish. Try my Chevre Grilled Cheese Sandwich or my Feta Dip and crackers as an accompaniment – those posts will follow later this week.

Soul warming, hearty goodness made quick and easy for a yummy supper or lunch.

Soul warming, hearty goodness made quick and easy for a yummy supper or lunch.

What recipe do YOU make for supper one night, and then turn around the next day and create an amazing lunch from?
I’d love to hear about it in the Comments section below.

Perogies – Ukrainian Cure for the Common Cold

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Today, my husband, Jeff is home sick again – so it’s LunchFor2! When lunch rolled around, he again requested a bowl of soup… URGH! I thought that I’d whip out a little of my Russian magic, and try a “perogie-cure” on him. Hopefully this will do the trick to get him back to work tomorrow!

Using ready-made perogies allows you to create a quick lunch in about 10 minutes

Using ready-made perogies allows you to create a quick lunch in about 10 minutes

There’s nothing really special about heating up pre-made perogies. Ann’s Perogey Palace here in Winnipeg are one of our favourite brands. And our preferred flavour is Potato and Cheddar Cheese. It’s a bonus that I can easily pick these up fresh at my local, independent grocery store.

Check back tomorrow to find out if my Ukrainian cure for the common cold worked!

Check back tomorrow to find out if my Ukrainian cure worked!

As you can see, buying a dozen perogies can get pricey at $7 each. However after attempting to make perogies from scratch last year… I know first-hand that the trick is to get the dough just right. And I am SOOOO not a great dough-maker. It’s one of my Bucket List items to perfect in the kitchen!

To make my version of super easy perogies, place your 2 dozen perogies in a large pot of boiling, salted water, and cook them until they float.

While simultaneously using a small fry-pan to cook 3/4 of an Onion (diced) in 2 tablespoons of Canola Oil for about 5 – 8 minutes, or until translucent.

I then threw in 3 – 4 tablespoons of Butter in the fry pan to melt with my the onions.

For a quicker finish to lunch, I added a small handful (1/3 cup) of good-quality Bacon Bits (Costco’s Kirkland brand are my favourite) to the fry pan and tossed that around for a minute.

Strain the perogies out of the pot into a casserole dish. Again I love my Coring Ware dish with lid as it allows me to quickly put my leftovers away in the fridge.

Top the perogies with your onion/bacon/butter mixture, and serve with a dollop of Sour Cream, and some fresh-ground pepper.

You can almost taste the goodness if you get really close to the screen.

You can almost taste the goodness if you get really close to the screen.

Not the healthiest lunch… but definitely a great comfort food on a super cold day (-32*C with the wind chill here) when someone in your household is sick.

PS – There seem to be many different spellings for the word perogy/perogie… these are mine, and Ann uses Perogey. This food by any other name… still tastes just as great! 😉

Everyone has a favourite perogy, and way to prepare it – What’s Yours?
Please feel free to share it in the Comments section below.

Hubby’s Home Sick Today Soup

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So my dear husband, who never ever calls in sick… is home sick today with a bad head cold. Our pups, who wanted to be featured today are so accommodating and work great as “nurses”! We just have to call “nap time” and they are right there to cuddle.

Jeff in bed with his Dog Nurses - Toby & Mitzie

Jeff in bed with his Dog Nurses – Toby & Mitzie

I was feeling bad for my hubby last night when he went to bed at 830pm, so I prepped some homemade soup and tucked it away – just in case.

My interpretation of Italian Wedding Soup

My interpretation of Italian Wedding Soup

1/2 Spicy Italian Sausage, raw

12 Baby Carrots, chopped

1 Celery Stalk, chopped

3 cups Broth (any kind)

2 tablespoons Pasta Stars

1 tablespoon Minced Onion, dried

3 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Lime Juice

1 teaspoon Veggie Spice Blend

Salt & Pepper to taste

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1. Bring the broth to a boil.

2. Add vegetables, and cook for 5-10 minutes.

3. Remove the sausage’s casing and pinch off 1/2 inch ‘meatballs’, adding them to the boiling broth as you go. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Aim for a very small, bite-size meatball

Aim for a very small, bite-size meatball as it will cook better and faster for you

4. Add pasta stars and cook another 5-10 minutes. Squeeze in some lime juice at the end to finish.
NOTE: This time I didn’t cook them separately, and the stars got very large and plump overnight. Thankfully, I didn’t lose too much broth liquid.

5. Cool to room temperature, and place in fridge overnight to amaze someone the next day with a quick to reheat lunch.

6. Serve with a great slice of artisan bread. This one I slathered with my tummy-tempting, homemade chevre cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.

Italian Wedding Soup with Flax Artisan Bread spread with Sun-dried Tomato Chevre Cheese

Italian Wedding Soup with Flax Artisan Bread spread with Sun-dried Tomato Chevre Cheese

And for dessert… Deb’s Whipped Shortbread cookies. I had one, and Mr. Sicko had THREE! But more about all our cookie options following yesterday’s Cookie Monster Christmas Cookie Exchange on another LunchFor1 Post.

Our #1 favourite Christmas Cookie - Whipped Shortbread

Our #1 favourite Christmas Cookie – Whipped Shortbread

Jeff was VERY patient in waiting for me to photograph his LunchFor1 today! Thanks honey – feel better soon.

What do you like to eat when you’re feeling under the weather?
Please feel free to share your ideal comfort food in the Comments section.

Simple Soup for One

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I arrived home famished after volunteering at Koats for Kids Winnipeg this morning.

Faux Minestrone-a Simple Soup for 1

Having no plan for lunch (ergo nothing to blog about) I saw that I had some stock defrosted in the fridge from supper last night. And after grabbing a few veggies from the crisper, I was able to quickly whip up this very delicious “Minestrone” soup on the fly.

Simple Soup for One Ingredients

Whatever you have on hand is fine

Whatever you have on hand is fine

2-3 cups Broth
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Celery stalk, chopped

1/8 Onion, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tsp. Lemon zest

1 tbsp. Sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp. Dill, dried

2 tbsp. Pasta, cooked

1 tsp. Salt

Tiny Pasta Stars are a quick and easy addition to any soup

Tiny Pasta Stars are a quick and easy addition to any soup

TIP: When I buy a grocery store rotisserie chicken for our Chicken Taco night, I use all the meat I want from the bird, and then put the bones in a small pot of boiling water with 1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper and dried parsley. I boil it for about an hour while my husband and I eat dinner. And once it’s cooled, I put it in a storage container, and freeze it for days like today. No more buying expensive, sodium-heavy, pre-made chicken stock!

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1. I boiled the broth in one pot, and cooked the pasta in another. Once the pasta was done, I ran it under cold water and kept it in my strainer. I find that adding grains or pasta to soups makes them thicken up very quickly from the starch content.

You do not need a lot of broth, about 2 cups is good.

2. Add whatever vegetables you’ve got in the fridge to the broth, and pick one or two “wow” ingredients like lemon zest or sun-dried tomatoes. Whatever you have on hand is fine – black beans, peppers, potatoes, etc., even quinoa or rice in place of the pasta.

3. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies reach your preferred tenderness. And voila! You have an easy homemade soup for one. Or up-size this idea to feed a crowd at any time of the day.

4. Serve in a pretty bowl to warm your day! And feel good about this healthy, low-calorie, but filling lunch choice.

A spoonful of goodness!

A spoonful of goodness!

What is your favourite soup?

Please let me know in the comments section below what your “wow” ingredients were when you tried this recipe.

Quick Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes

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Thank you Johnsonville for bringing out loose-form Italian Sausage meat! I don’t know about you… but I always detested having to take the sausage meat out of the casings. Here’s a quickie 5-minute meal, and my quickly written blog post.

5-Minute Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes with Feta and Dill Pickles

5-Minute Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes with Feta Cheese and Dill Pickles on the side

I had defrosted this spicy sausage meat last night, and used about half of it on our homemade pizza. It added just the right zing!

However, I was left with about half a package to cook up today along with some thinly sliced onions. Now… what to make for lunch?

I was inspired to create a twist on one of my favourite, childhood  lunches – Sloppy Joes. Typically, I use ground beef and Heinz’s Chili Sauce to make mine on toasted buns. But today… I tried something different.

In a nutshell, here’s what I did…
1. Place meat in fry pan, and use your potato masher to break it up.

2. Add the sliced onions, and fry together with a squeeze of Sriracha and Worcestershire Sauce.

3. Slather Toasted Garlic and Horseradish Dip on the buns.

A new find while traveling last summer from Robert Rothschild Farm.

A new find while traveling last summer from Robert Rothschild Farm.

4. Top the buns with the cooked meat and onion mixture, and feta (mine was homemade – salty-goodness).

5. Serve with a side of dill pickles. I like to crinkle-cut mine!

Best thing I ever bought at Ikea - a veggie crinkle cutter.

Best thing I ever bought at Ikea – a veggie crinkle cutter.

Hope you love it as much as I do!

How do you make your Sloppy Joes?
Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Learn how to make your own cheese from scratch,
check out my instructor’s easy-to-follow RECIPES.