Veal Pot Roast with Root Vegetables (slow cooker) | Simple Bites #recipe #slowcooker #dinner #eatseasonal

Veal Pot Roast with Root Vegetables (slow cooker)

Mid-winter is my preferred season to haul out the slow cooker. The weather is frigid, requiring heartier dinner fare to make up for all the energy we spend trying to stay warm.

Yesterday’s Sunday dinner was a slow cooked veal roast, seasoned with orange zest and surrounded by an assortment of root vegetables. To say it ‘hit the spot’ after a mainly meatless week of meals would be an understatement.

It spurred us on to bundle up in toques and scarves and spend an afternoon ice skating. The city maintains a winding skating area along the river’s edge around this time of the year and it winds and bends with views of the snowy island directly opposite. It was the perfect opportunity to let go of the stress of the week and gather fortitude for another seven days. [Read more…]

Sunday Dinner: Tomato-Glazed Mini Meatloaves

TOMATO-GLAZED MINI MEATLOAVES ON simplebites.net

Before you scoff at the concept of individual meatloaves, consider the facts:

  • The cooking time is about forty minutes shorter than roasting a traditional loaf, making these an ideal main dish for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • Or a Sunday dinner, when you’re up to your ears doing life, but still want to sit down together, civilized-like, at least once on the weekend.
  • More surface area for the tennis ball-sized meatloaves means more delicious crust to enjoy and more room for the glaze to drip down and caramelize on the pan.
  • There’s also no awkward sawing of a loaf made from meat; the single serving meatloaves spoon up easily in tidy portions.

Sunday Dinner: mini tomato-glazed meatloaf

I served these Tomato-Glazed Mini Meatloaves yesterday for a very simple Sunday dinner, with a smattering of roasted mushrooms to accompany them. A humble baked potato made up our super simple side dish, and a bowl of Stir-fried Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Bacon & Parmesan rounded out the meal. There were no complaints. Did I mention there was Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake for dessert?

They would have also been brilliant with fluffy buttermilk mashed potatoes, or browned butter whipped sweet potatoes; I have a feeling we’re going to be trying out one of those combinations before too long.

[Read more…]

Three recipes for a simpler, smaller Easter dinner menu

A simple Easter dinner for 4 on simplebites.net

Buying potted yellow tulips, playing with bright flavors in the kitchen, and digging out my pair of summer Toms (even if only wearing them indoors) are a few of the motions I must go through during this time of the year to try and feign a feeling of spring.

It’s late March and the snowbanks on either side of our driveway tower over my head like steady ramparts, as if barring spring from ushering in wildflowers and fresh clover. It’s unfathomable to think that we will have a green Easter, although I can recall many an egg hunt in the past enjoyed in the grass, not to mention brunch on the patio. This year will be different and that’s okay.

Since we are barreling toward the Easter long weekend, it’s time to do a little menu planning. Mother Nature may not be on board, but perhaps that won’t matter, as we’ll be to busy tucking in to…this.

A simple Easter dinner for 4 on simplebites.net

I made this menu for a recent Sunday dinner (remember, I’m bringing back the tradition for our family) and while I was setting the table and whisking together the mustard vinaigrette, it struck me that the meal would make a lovely, small scale Easter dinner.

The whole meal came together in just under an hour and featured Sunday dinner classics: roast poultry, young potatoes and fresh asparagus. Each component was simply prepared, but packed a punch of flavor thanks to vibrant pairings with ingredients such as Meyer lemons, capers, mustard and blood oranges.

Perhaps you’ll only be joined by a friend or two for the holiday meal, or celebrating Easter with a few family members around the table. If you are, and don’t wish to spend half a day in the kitchen, then this menu for you. I would suggest beginning the celebration with a pretty plate of Guacamole Deviled Eggs, and finishing with these Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote.

If you’re not hosting on the upcoming holiday, bookmark this post for your next Sunday dinner. Better yet, forward it to your husband and drop a hint about Mother’s Day. Either way, be sure to enjoy these recipes this spring.

Hit the jump for three recipes for a simpler, smaller Easter dinner menu.

[Read more…]

Winter Salad Inspiration {recipe: Caesar Wedge Salad with Bacon}

Caesar Wedge Salad

Before kale was cool, before it was made into cheesy chips or added to smoothies, it grew in my mother’s garden when I was a child. This curly-leafed winter green lived under the snow all winter long, and aside from the alfalfa seeds we sprouted in a jar, was the only fresh salad we ate from November to April.

I was always the one booted out of doors with a bowl and a pair of scissors to retrieve the kale. Looking over our snow-covered garden, with its soft mounds scattered here and there, no one would ever guess that there was life underneath. I would kick away the snow with my boots and dig with my woolen mittens until the bright green stalks came into view.

My mother always had a jar of poppyseed vinaigrette prepped to dress our kale, and that combination remains a favorite of mine. It was our daily salad and much-needed vitamin C boost during the long Yukon winters.

After having the luxury of gorgeous Mexican produce at my fingertips for two weeks this past February, it was hard to get excited about the selection of salad greens upon my return home. Of course that was just wimpy of me, as I know winter salads can be vibrant and delicious – they just take a little more effort than their lazy summer counterparts.

So I challenged myself to create a salad a day. I stocked up on winter greens like endive, Napa cabbage and kale. I selected my favorite seasonal vegetables like beets, avocados and red onion. Winter citrus and a few nuts and seeds rounded out my ingredients of choice and suddenly, eating fresh in Canada’s coldest month was looking pretty good.

I posted a few salads on Instagram which made it easy for me to have a few to show you today and hopefully inspire you. Finally, I’m sharing a super easy salad I fixed for a recent Sunday dinner – the Caesar wedge.

[Read more…]

Bringing back Sunday dinner: a do-ahead menu (Chocolate Beet Molten Cakes)

Chocolate Beet Molten Cakes on simplebites.net

This week I’m continuing to make memories with my children and explore the local food culture in sunny Mexico, but I had to take a bit of time away to share about a recent Sunday dinner  we enjoyed with company before we left.

It wasn’t a fancy spread, but it was almost entirely prepared a day in advance, and came together in just a few minutes on Sunday at midday.

When I first wrote about bringing back Sunday dinner, many of you expressed concerns about timing and asked for tips on preparing a midday main meal on what is supposed to be a relaxing day. Others had sporting events or church on Sunday morning, but still wished to embrace the family tradition of Sunday dinner.

Today’s do-ahead menu is a prime example of how a little planning can go a long way.

[Read more…]