Early Summer Risotto with New Garden Vegetable & Herbs : Simple Bites #recipe

Early Summer Risotto with New Garden Vegetables

I can’t quite remember when risotto went from being a favourite menu item when dining out to a weeknight staple around our table; a go-to comfort food that changed with the produce brought by each new season.

It may have been when my Italian culinary school chef tutored my class on the art of the risotto, instructing us never to rush the dish or the rice would guess our haste and become gummy rather than creamy. Perhaps I became less intimidated to cook the classic dish after testing it out frequently on Danny when we were newlyweds.

At any rate, I eventually discovered that the cheesy rice dish was an indispensable vehicle for getting my children to eat vegetables. Ever since, I’ve seldom been without the basic ingredients for risotto: chicken or vegetable stock in the freezer, butter and Parmesan cheese in the fridge, rice and onions in the pantry.

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The secret is in...the sauce on the side | Simple Bites

The secret is in the sauce…on the side (3 recipes)

We’re a family that dines together for seven dinners a week. This time around the table is important to us and is a crucial step in our journey to build a healthy family food culture.

But? This commitment to the family dinner has its rocky moments. On a nightly basis we’re dealing with spilled milk, tossed food, stormy attitudes and questionable manners. Oh, how our children’s manners are a work in progress (look for a post soon on how we’re working to improve them).

Some nights it would be a whole lot easier to serve up sandwiches on paper plates and then sit down to a hot! spicy! delicious! meal ourselves after we have tucked the munchkins into bed (and on the rare occasion, this is what happens), but we’re committed to that dinner hour.

Today I’m sharing one tip that has brought peace to the table – at least as far as the food is concerned; attitudes and pesky squabbles still need an intervention! This tip has helped to keep everyone happy with their food, especially Danny and I, who love full flavour dishes and are crazy about sauces.

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Roasted Asparagus with Buttery Lemon Breadcrumbs

Our traditional Easter dinner is looking a little different this year.

My beloved first born’s birthday happens to fall on Easter Sunday, so we’re shifting things around to make space for both special occasions. My sister-in-law is hosting a multi-family dinner on the Saturday night of the holiday weekend, and I’m taking on Easter brunch the next day, reserving dinner later that night for Ben’s birthday celebration.

Seeing as he’s in charge of the menu that evening, I imagine we’ll be dining on pulled pork, poutine, and donuts for dessert, a decidedly un-Easter meal if there ever was one. In an effort to make up for it, I’m planning a buffet of seasonal spring foods for the brunch earlier in the day.

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Feeding Teenage Boys: An Update (Recipe: Quick Mushroom Ragu)

My approach to feeding my family has completely shifted focus over the last year as my boys have grown from tweens into young teenagers.

Their lives have changed along with their growing bodies, forcing a natural shift in our family’s approach to meals and food. A few years ago, I was petty confident I knew how to deal with ravenous appetites and the multiple meals my tweens required each day, and while I did well in that season of parenting, nothing prepared me for the days of packing school lunches for a 175-lb. child.

Please don’t be confused; my children are big and healthy, and the ample weight is evenly matched by the height, as my 13-year-old currently stands tall at a striking 6’1”. He’s the tallest person in our house right now; heck, he’s taller than anyone in our entire extended family, and his appetite just might be bigger than his body.

I’ve replaced traditional lunchboxes with food storage containers, and despite my best efforts to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, there are many, many days when I’m ill prepared for what the kids need to eat, especially when they show up at home with three to five friends, all of whom are equally as hungry as my own kids.

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Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Vegetables and Coconut Rice: Faking Fresh

Three o’clock. As the small clock hands approach the quarter-hour mark, small feet and fingers make their way to the front door. It will open with a chorus of voices as my kids fall inside, all limbs and weighed down with multiple bags (three each: lunchbox, backpack, snow gear bag).

As they tumble in, I’ll direct them to their coat hooks, request that the snowy shoes be stored, and have them meet me in the kitchen with their lunchboxes to clear them out and get a snack started. Then the dinner duties begin.

Outside, the weather continues to remind us that winter is not yet over. These last few weeks are holding strong to frozen temperatures and snow-covered earth. The farmers’ market opening is still months away, and my pantry storage of root vegetables and winter squash from fall is nearly gone.

I dream of asparagus and spring strawberries to come. I plan my garden on scraps of paper while staring at seed catalogs with photos of juicy, plump tomatoes. I water my sad-looking herb garden that rests in the window and wonder how it will ever make it to the warmer weather.
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