Slow cooker cider ham | Simple Bites #recipe

Slow Cooker Cider Ham {giveaway}

After a busy few weeks of traveling, I’ve been getting reacquainted with my kitchen, inviting Clara to wrap on her apron and join me at the counter.

Our Montreal winter has been bitterly cold and the snow keeps piling up higher and higher around the house. I’m sure many of you on the East Coast can relate. There’s never been a better time to delve into comfort food, so we’ve been simmering pots of chili, baking bread and roasting vegetables by the tray-full.

This cider ham was the first dinner I pulled together for my family this week. It’s from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars and, incidentally, this is the very first recipe I’m sharing on the blog from the cookbook. It’s one of my favourites, and simple enough to put together while jet-lagged, tired, and suffering from a head cold. Be sure to click through for the recipe, plus a giveaway for a KitchenAid 6-quart slow cooker.

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Beef Stroganoff with Roasted Mushrooms & Meyer Lemons | Simple Bites #dinner

Sunday Dinner: Beef Stroganoff with Roasted Mushrooms & Meyer Lemons

I think my Monday may have gotten the upper hand, had it not been for my Sunday dinner leftovers.

Soft egg noodles, bits of buttery beef in gravy, roasted mushrooms and slivers of Meyer lemon to cut the richness. I ate them from a bowl with a kid’s fork, standing in my kitchen looking out at the bare trees brushing a blue sky. It was a moment of quiet; a reset in a day that was rowdy, hectic and loud.

The beef stroganoff had graced our table for Sunday dinner, our main meal of the day, and everyone had murmured their approval between bites. Fortunately, I had the big camera handy before we ate, and through its lens, this dish is now conveyed to you. I think you’re going to like it.

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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


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.

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Three recipes for a simpler, smaller Easter dinner menu

A simple Easter dinner for 4 on

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

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.

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