We recently signed up for truLOCAL deliveries [https://www.trulocal.ca/]. We have talked about finding local meat for a few months now, ideally we would like to purchase a 1/4-1/2 cow, fresh chicken, turkey, etc., and stock our freezer. In the meantime, we came across truLOCAL and decided to give it a try. TruLOCAL “connects you to high-end, locally-sourced meat products – delivered right to your doorstep.” You customize the meat selections in your box and choose the frequency of delivery. We received one box and are very happy with the product so far. Our second arrives in a few days!
In our first box we received lean ground turkey and decided to make turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash. I do not have a go-to meatball recipe, but came across Gordon Ramsay’s recipe [https://www.gordonramsay.com/gr/recipes/courgetti-spaghetti-and-turkey-meatballs/.] We did not include onions in the meatballs, substituted fresh tomatoes for canned, and used tomato paste instead of tomato purée. We also added one cup of diced bell peppers and 1/2 a jalapeño pepper to the sauce. The Gordon Ramsay ingredients and instructions with our modifications are below or you can use the link above for the original recipe.
FOR THE MEATBALLS
500g lean ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the turkey into a mixing bowl with the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined.
With wet hands, roll the mixture into 20 meatballs and put them on to a plate. Cover with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the meatballs are chilling, prepare the sauce (see below)
To cook the meatballs, place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of oil. Once hot, brown the meatballs in batches, turning frequently so they colour on all sides. Transfer to the pan with the tomato sauce to cook for a further 10 minutes until cooked through, turning from time to time. If the sauce becomes too thick, add 50–100ml of water.
FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE
Olive oil, for frying
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
800g chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup diced bell peppers
1 jalapeño pepper finely diced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 5–6 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Add prepared meatballs.
We paired this with spaghetti squash, an easy healthy alternative for pasta. To prepare, simply cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard, coat the inside with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place cut-side down on a pan covered with parchment, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes. The squash is done when the cut-side is browned and can be easily pierced. Use a fork to scrape out the squash.
This recipe was inspired by a jar of Mini Kitchen Madras Curry spice that I picked up at a holiday market in Edmonton. I decided to attempt a chicken curry and added some yams as well. It turned out really well and a friend asked for the recipe. I had not followed a recipe, but jotted down what I did for her. It is a simple recipe with few ingredients that we usually pair with cauliflower rice or farro.
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts cubed
2 cups of peeled and 1 inch cubed yam
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 inch piece of ginger minced or grated
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 tsp coconut oil
3 cups of diced tomatoes
1 can of lite coconut milk (I have also used half a can of coconut milk and half chicken broth)
1 cup of chicken broth
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 tsp mini kitchen madras curry spice
You can use any madras spice of your choosing or make your own (a quick google search resulted in a lot of options, a few untested options are below)
Cut chicken into cubes and cook in 1 tsp of coconut oil until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan.
Sauté onion for about 5 minutes in 1 tsp coconut oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chicken back into pan with spices, tomatoes, coconut milk, chicken broth, and yam. Bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer until yam is soft but not mushy.
Add chili pepper or jalapeño if you want extra spice. Use a cornstarch and water mixture if you need to thicken and add more broth or water if you need more liquid. Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, farro . . .
Stir fry is a quick, easy, and healthy dinner option. I usually make it on a whim because I have vegetables in the fridge that I want to use up or I see something inspiring at the grocery store. We like to spend Sunday afternoon in the kitchen prepping lunches and dinner for the week, but last weekend we got tied up, didn’t have time to prep, and had to hit up the grocery store on Monday with no dinner plan in place for the week. We didn’t have a ton of time and wanted something quick and easy. I came across baby bok choy and decided to make a chicken and vegetable stir fry with cauliflower rice. Stir fry is a great way to easily get a healthy serving of vegetables and, if you add chicken, some protein. I don’t add a lot of sauce so the end result is a delicious and filling combo of juicy chicken mixed with fresh vegetables!
1-2 heads of cauliflour
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp water
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable Stir fry:
4-5 carrots peeled and sliced
3 bell peppers sliced (yellow, red, orange, or green)
4 bunches of baby bok choy
5-7 oz bean sprouts
1 large head of broccoli florets
2 tbsp water
5 large cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped
1-inch piece of ginger finely chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
1 tbsp of Sriracha
2 tbsp water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Baked Chicken Breast:
5 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cut head(s) of cauliflower into chunks and either grate with a cheese grater or put in a food processor using the grater attachment
Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil (or olive oil) in a large sauté pan and add cauliflower, water, and salt and pepper
Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender
Cauliflower rice is a fantastic low calorie and low carb substitute for regular rice. I have also tried roasting it in the oven, but prefer the texture when cooked on the stove top as it is closer to regular rice.
Add olive oil, garlic, and ginger to a wok over low-medium heat and sauté for 5 minutes
Add carrots and water, cover and cook for another 5 minutes
Add broccoli, peppers, bok choy, bean sprouts, soy sauce, sriracha, and salt and pepper
Cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are tender but still have a bit of crunch
Baked Chicken Breast:
We baked a pan of chicken because we wanted to use some for lunches.
Prep tip, chop extra veggies as well for lunches!
Coat chicken with olive oil (we love our Misto Sprayer – http://www.misto.com/), salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 35 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also slice the chicken and add it directly to the stir fry. Cook the chicken first in a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Remove and follow the instructions above. Once the vegetables are almost done, add the chicken back into the wok.
This recipe made enough for 8 meals total, 4 each for Bradley and me.
In the fall and winter I love to make pots of stew, soups, and chili that we can stockpile in the freezer for easy meal options. Over the holidays we made a ham and used the leftover ham bone and meat to make a split pea and ham soup. I also recently made beef stew with yams instead of regular potatoes, a tasty and healthy substitute. This weekend we made Turkey Chili, see my recipe below. I tripled the recipe because we had four packs, 2.1 kilograms, of extra lean ground turkey. This was too much for my french oven so I had to split it into two pots. The result was dinner for the week and three large containers went into the freezer for later. We put on some tunes-today’s theme was classic rock-The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix, popped a bottle of Prosecco, and started chopping.
1 lb extra lean ground turkey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped carrot
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped
1-2 diced bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, or green)
1 jalapeño pepper chopped (optional)
1- 15oz can of kidney beans
1- 15oz can of black or pinto beans
28oz of diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
2-3 tbsp of chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups of water or chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven, add turkey and cook over medium heat until browned. Remove turkey from pot and add garlic, onions, carrots, and celery, sauté for ~5 minutes. Add bell peppers and jalapeño pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes. Return turkey to pot and add spices. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1 1/2 cups of water or stock (until meat, beans, and vegetables are just covered). Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
If Chili is too thick, add more water or stock as needed.
We like a bit of a kick to our chili so add a whole jalapeño, you can use more or less as desired.
I love my Le Creuset French Oven and use it all the time. They are pricey, but often go on sale and are stocked at places like HomeSense at a discounted price. Definitely worth the investment – https://www.lecreuset.ca/cookware/french-ovens/ There are also less expensive options out there.
When Bradley and I first starting chatting (I was living in NYC and he was in Edmonton) we bonded over fitness and food prep. These have continued to be a big part of our life now that we live together.
Food prep in NY was interesting. My kitchen was the size of my closet now and I had about a square foot of counter space. I would put a large cutting board on my coffee table in my living room, sit on the floor, and chop veggies while watching TV. Bradley’s sister and I were recently talking about blogging and she joked that instead of writing about cooking in a small NY apartment like Smitten Kitchen – https://smittenkitchen.com/ (one of my favorite food bloggers), I could write about cooking in my spacious suburban kitchen. All jokes aside, having space to cook has been an amazing luxury and I am excited to keep cooking with my handsome (sometimes obstinate) sous chef.
Each weekend we prep lunches and dinners for the following week. By the time we get home from work and the gym it is after 7:00pm and we are tired and hangry. Having meals prepped is a huge time saver and gives us something healthy and fulfilling to eat. When we are short on time on weekends, food prep consists of baking a pan of chicken breasts and roasting some vegetables, however, when we have more time we enjoy cooking together and trying new things. I have a tendency to use what we have available and just throw things into the pot without following a recipe or paying attention. This is part of the fun of cooking, but when something turns out really well I have no idea what I did. So, I am going to start jotting down what I do and will share some of our creations here. In addition to food prep, I hope to dig into my numerous and largely unused cookbooks and try some new recipes.