Free Meal Plan: 5 Make Ahead Meals

I’m away at a conference for most of this week – Monday I’ll be at home, but Tuesday-Friday the boys will have to fend for themselves. Not to generalize, but I know in this case it means KD, pizza and eggs on toast, so I’ve chosen some meals that can be prepared ahead of time and either frozen or refrigerated, then assembled at the last minute. Fortunately summer means not a lot of heavy meals – no big roasts or stews or long cooking times. I think they’ll survive.

Read moreFree Meal Plan: 5 Make Ahead Meals

Free Meal Plan: Open Faced Bacon & Egg Salad Sandwiches

Summer is (almost) here! We’re getting close to the summer solstice, which means long sunny evenings, and a struggle to get kids to bed when it doesn’t seem like bedtime. It also means plenty of opportunity to dine al fresco, in the back yard, and be silly as we wind up the school year and summer vacation is in sight. I still enjoy spending time in the sunny kitchen, so this week I’ll be using some of the first greens of the season.

Read moreFree Meal Plan: Open Faced Bacon & Egg Salad Sandwiches

Beef Recipes: Grilled Asian Steak with Sweet Ginger Slaw

It’s been so nice outside – I look for any opportunity to fire up the barbecue and eat on the grass. This simple marinated steak is one of our summer favourites – and delicious thinly sliced and eaten over sweet, gingery slaw. Pick up a bag of pre made coleslaw to streamline things. Happy weekend!

Read moreBeef Recipes: Grilled Asian Steak with Sweet Ginger Slaw

Free Meal Plan: 5 Meals from the Garden

Things are starting to grow! Fields of asparagus outside the city are ready for harvest, and spinach is popping up all on its own in the raised beds in our back yard. I’m diving right in, starting to use ingredients as they become available – at their brand-new, green and growing peak.

Read moreFree Meal Plan: 5 Meals from the Garden

Open Faced Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwich

In summertime, there’s nothing like a real egg salad sandwich. I like making them for a meal we’ll be paying attention to, like dinner – it’s not ideal to tote along for a picnic on a hot day, anyway. This version is chunky and rustic, and the addition of crispy bacon makes it a play on the classic bacon and egg combo. On hearty bread, this open-faced sandwich is a knife and forker!

Read moreOpen Faced Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwich

Free Meal Plan: 5 Easy To-Go Meals

Everyone is getting run down, catching spring colds, tired of school and ready for summer holidays. This week is going to be simple, comforting, low-stress and easy to eat – nothing complex if at all possible. I’m hoping for some happy, relaxed mealtimes with minimal prep that will rejuvenate tired kids (and parents!) so that we can focus on resting and reconnecting, taking dinner to soccer or eating at the park. Nothing some bare feet in the grass won’t cure.

MONDAY

free meal plan quinoa salad apples walnutsLight, fluffy quinoa is easy to digest, and quinoa salads are always a hit at our house – since there isn’t much in season yet, apples are still a standby in our fruit bowl, and go perfectly with crunchy walnuts and aged cheddar. For a more substantial meal, serve with simply roasted chicken or salmon, or top with a poached egg.

Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Aged Cheddar

Photo credit: Jan of Family Bites

TUESDAY

free meal plan quick calzones recipeAimee of Simple Bites has a great round-up of ten minutes meals – I know they will come in handy this week. These calzones are brilliant – cheese, sauce and other pizza fixins stuffed into pitas and quickly broiled. Add a bagged salad and dinner’s done, and perfect when you need to take it to go.

Quick Calzones

Photo credit: Aimee of Simple Bites

WEDNESDAY

There’s no better salve for a stressful day than dinner in the park, barefoot in the grass. My glut of mason jars in the basement will be put to good use with these layered chunky chicken salads – perfect for transporting, and for eating. Environmentally-friendly, too!

Ranch Chicken Salad in a Jar

Photo credit: Shaina of Food for my Family

THURSDAY

free meal plan Beef Fajitas Mango SalsaBeef fajitas are quick to put together, and everyone will be happy to assemble their own. Drippy things like fajitas are perfect for eating in the back yard – in flip-flops.

Beef Fajitas with Mango Salsa

Photo credit: Lori of Recipe Girl

FRIDAY

free meal plan Chipotle Pulled Pork bbqEasy Chipotle Pulled Pork for a Backyard Barbecue

When the apple tree begins to blossom, I want to invite people over for dinner in the back yard. A big batch of pulled pork is perfect for feeding a crowd – get everyone to bring a side or salad and everyone will be able to enjoy an interesting meal, with friends, for minimal effort.

Read moreFree Meal Plan: 5 Easy To-Go Meals

5 Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas

I’ve had negligent Mom guilt this week – working and traveling too much – and so I’m trying to focus more attention on my 6 year old. That includes dinnertime, so I’ve come up with some recipes that I know will make him happy – pasta and burgers and French toast on a stick. Because sometimes it has to be all about him… and satisfying my inner 6 year old at the same time.

MONDAY

free meal plan french toast kebabs recipejpgHow brilliant are these? French toast, bacon and fruit threaded onto bamboo skewers to eat with your fingers. So fun! Beats pancakes for dinner any day of the week.

French Toast Kebabs

Photo credit: Jan of Family Bites

TUESDAY

free meal plan pasta shaved brussels sprouts recipeNoodles and bacon are always a hit around here – finely shaved Brussels sprouts make a delicious addition, and a great way to get your veggies in. It can always be omitted for the Brussels sprout Intolerant.

Pasta with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Photo credit: Gwendolyn of Patent and the Pantry

WEDNESDAY

free meal plan Buffalo chicken burgers recipeThis calls for a spice rub and Schultz’s Gourmet hot sauce, which may be hard to find in Canada, but I find any barbecue rub a suitable replacement, and Franks Red Hot is perfect for buffalo sauce! Dial it down a bit for more sensitive palates.

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Photo credit: Jaime of Sophistimom

THURSDAY

free meal plan salmon croquettes recipeThe boys love salmon, and little cakes – these crispy patties are made with canned salmon, and Indian spices, which can be left out for those with more sensitive palates. For the grown-ups, they’re great served atop a salad or bed of fresh spinach.

Salmon Croquettes

Photo credit: Megan for Simple Bites

FRIDAY

free meal plan one pot mac cheese recipeRather than order pizza, a big batch of creamy mac & cheese is simple to stir together, and satisfies everyone’s need for cheesy comfort food. A big bagged salad is all we need to make it a meal. (And maybe a pint of good ice cream and a few spoons!) To ramp things up, try stirring a torn handful of spinach into the finished pasta, or a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or sprinkle the top with a few crumbled slices of cooked bacon. Cubed leftover ham and frozen peas make it more substantial.

One Pot Mac and Cheese

Read more5 Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas

Pork Recipe: Chipotle Pulled Pork for a Backyard Barbecue

When the apple tree begins to blossom, I want to invite people over for dinner in the back yard. A big batch of pulled pork is perfect for feeding a crowd – get everyone to bring a side or salad and everyone will be able to enjoy an interesting meal, with friends, for minimal effort.

Read morePork Recipe: Chipotle Pulled Pork for a Backyard Barbecue

Free Meal Plan: 5 Travel Inspired Ethnic Dishes

I have the travel itch. When spring shows up, everything thaws and blooms and the days get longer, I want to stay outside – and hop on a plane, train or automobile, if at all possible. The travel bug translates well to the kitchen, fortunately – if I can’t make it to Asia or Greece myself, I can always use my imagination. Right? I’ll go for a walk and visit some interesting ethnic groceries – much cheaper than a plane ticket.

MONDAY

free meal plan Pimped-out ramen recipeA bowl of ramen is a good thing – it’s quick, convenient, cheap – and a great use of leftovers. This version is vegan, but you can easily add leftover roast chicken or pork, or a hard-boiled or poached egg. Best of all, everyone can dress up their own with any ingredients they like.

Pimped-out Ramen Noodles

Photo credit: Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen

TUESDAY

free meal plan Pork banh mi recipeThese Vietnamese pork meatball sandwiches are a favourite at our house – what makes them (beyond the fish sauce in the meatballs – and I have some from last week’s pad Thai!) is the grated carrot, quickly marinated in rice vinegar and sugar. A few strips of cucumber and sprigs of cilantro, and dinner’s ready.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi (Vietnamese Subs)

Photo credit: Gwendolyn of Patent and the Pantry

WEDNESDAY

free meal plan roasted shrimp Thai succotash recipe jpgSuccotash sounds far fancier than it actually is – as Jaime describes it: You just start with the corn, and then throw in anything that sounds good. Kids tend to love corn, and the roasted shrimp on top are fun to peel and eat with your fingers.

Roasted Shrimp on Thai Succotash

Photo credit: Jaime of Sophistimom

THURSDAY

free meal plan beef souvlaki recipeSimply marinated chunks of beef threaded onto bamboo skewers cook quickly on the barbecue – serve with rice and a salad or wrap them in dolled-up pitas and slather with tzatziki. Perfect for welcoming summer.

Beef Souvlaki with Pita and Tzatziki

Photo credit: Aimee of Simple Bites

FRIDAY

free meal plan roast chicken garlic lemon herb recipeParis is on my must-visit list – as much for the food as anything else. And what’s more French than a simply roasted chicken? Stuffed with a handful of the fresh herbs that are already starting to grow, a wedge of lemon and halved head of garlic, it couldn’t be easier on a Friday night.

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Read moreFree Meal Plan: 5 Travel Inspired Ethnic Dishes