Vinegar Slaw and Tuna Salad Sandwiches

The past two weeks have flown by and at the same time seemed endless. My husband’s been traveling, work has been insane, the kids forgot how to relax with the warmer weather and we’re planning a move. My energy levels haven’t been this low since the kids went through their newborn months. All this time I was riddled with guilt that I wasn’t keeping up my blog. Hopefully I haven’t completely alienated you.

Slaw

I’ve had this post on my mind almost the entire time I’ve been missing. The cravings started with a visit to Sassy Earl Grey and the hunt for her post on homemade pita bread.

Unfortunately my battle with yeast recipes continues (I’ll share my disastrous Mother’s Day Breakfast Bun recipe with you another time…you know, for your amusement!) so I haven’t tried to make my own pita bread yet. But I will! It might take me a few tries before they actually turn out edible but I’ll do it!

With everything that’s been going on lately, I’d been in the mood for a sandwich. Nothing fancy or complicated. Something I could throw together and to be honest something comforting. I’ve always been obsessed with sandwiches. I was never happier than when I opened my lunch bag to find my mother had packed a sandwich for lunch. Especially a tuna sandwich. To this day, I swear, no one makes a tuna sandwich like my mom) Now you’re probably thinking, “Who cares? It’s just a sandwich.” But to me, it feels like home.

Tuna Sandwich

Vinegar and Oil Coleslaw
Adapted from Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1 sack, 16 ounces, shredded cabbage mix for slaw salads
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and pepper

Directions
Mix vinegar and sugar. Add oil. Add cabbage to dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss with fingers to combine. Adjust seasoning. Let stand 20 minutes. Re-toss and serve.

Tuna

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of olive oil-packed tuna
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • 4 green onions sliced, whites and light green parts only
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Boston Lettuce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pita Bread (or your favourite bun!)

Directions
Combine tuna, cucumber, green onion, mayonnaise in a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile half the mixture into each sandwich with a few leaves of Boston lettuce.

I don’t know why, but the last time we had this I added a few Ms. Vicky’s Salt and Vinegar chips and some of the coleslaw into my sandwich. The added crunch was great!

Bite

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

There’s something about the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. I just can’t resist it. I love the way the skin gets all golden and crispy. I place my chicken on a raised roasting rack above a bed of potatoes and carrots. As the chicken roasts they get basted with all the goodness from above until they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside.Roasted Chicken

My husband is so careful. He always chooses the breast meat and peels the skin of his piece. Fine by me, since I’m more that happy to eat the thigh, leg and the golden skin he doesn’t want. Mind you, these days my boys have figured out how great chicken legs are so I haven’t had them in a while, but it’s worth the sacrifice.

Now if only I could get them to eat the roasted vegetables…

Note: When I purchase a smaller chicken, I quarter the lemon to get it to fit inside the cavity. Also, in the original recipe, she indicates 1-1/2 hours cooking time but I’ve always had to leave mine in about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Oven temperatures vary a little, so make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the chicken.

Rosted Chicken and Vegetables
Adapted from Ina Garten – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Beer bottle or Chicken Stock, for basting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions and carrots in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Once the chicken has been in the oven about 30 minutes, baste the chicken and vegetables with a bit of beer (or chicken stock). Move the vegetables around a little, just to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Repeat this process every 20-30 minutes. Once your chicken reaches the desired golden colour tent with foil and continue roasting until cooked through.

Roast the chicken for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Halibut – Braised with Carrots, Onions and Celery

Fish night, one of the most dreaded nights of the week in my house. Well, okay, lets say of the month. Fish is a hard sell over here.

Halibut

The salmon I make is too fishy, the cod is fishy and too dry, and the trout is “okay”. Sigh. The word everyone wants to hear after a long day of work, picking up the kids and sweating over the stove while trying to stop my two boys from ripping the house to shreds. Or even better, “It’s good I guess, but I wouldn’t make it again.”

But there’s hope. I found an easy to prepare recipe that my family finally loves. If you have finicky fish people in your family, hopefully you’ll have as much luck with this recipe as I did.

Just as a note, I sometimes reduce the amount of fish to 4 fillets as 6 is too much for us. Both my husband and I have a strict “no microwaving fish” policy where we work. Leftovers would sometimes end up going to waste, so I started to make a smaller portion to begin with.

Halibut – Braised with Carrots, Onions and Celery
Adapted from Robin Miller, Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, cut in to wedges

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season halibut with salt and pepper. Add halibut to hot pan and cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove halibut from pan and set aside. Be careful flipping over and removing the halibut as it’s very tender and flakes easily.

To the same pan, add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Add a bit more olive oil if necessary. Sauté 3 minutes, until soft. Return halibut to pan and add wine. Simmer 1 minute. Add bay leaves and broth and simmer 10 minutes, until fish is fork tender. Remove from heat.

I like to serve the halibut on a bed of rice with some of the broth ladled over top. Serve with a wedge of lemon, the juice brightens up the halibut nicely.

Blade Roast with Brussel Sprouts

If I’ve learned one thing from my parents, it’s that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. This is my favourite “someone’s coming to dinner, what the hell do I make?” recipe.

Blade Roast 1

Both my kids and husband love this, which is always a plus. It also freezes well. I portion the leftovers into 1 cup freezer bags and pull them out when I’m in a rush.

My favourite ways to re-use the leftovers is in quesadillas, lettuce wraps or in a soft roll with mozzarella melted on top.

Blade Roast

  • 1 Blade Roast
  • 3 Yellow Onions cut into wedges, leave a bit of the stem intact
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Knorr Bovril beef stock concentrate
  • 1 Beer (I’ve used Coors Light, Corona and Molson and they all work great)
  • Reduced Salt Chicken Stock as required
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Seasoning blend (see details below) to taste

The trick to a perfectly seasoned roast really isn’t complicated. 24 hours before, I season the meat all over with a dry seasoning mix of rosemary, garlic, bay leaf, sage, oregano, parsley, marjoram, basil, and salt. You can probably find a pre-blended mix at the grocery store. Rub the roast with 1 tablespoon olive oil, seal the meat in a Tupperware and set it in the fridge to marinate over night.

Preheat the oven to 425°

Take your meat out of the fridge a half an hour before you’re ready to cook. You want to take the chill off before you get it on the stove. While you’re waiting, prepare the vegetables. Add the remaining olive oil to a dutch oven on medium-high heat and sear the meat all around. Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.

Throw the vegetables in and sauté them for a few minutes, picking up all the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pot. Throw in 1/2 cup of the beer and pick up the rest. Push the vegetables to the side and place the roast back in the pot. Pour the rest of the beer in the pot. It should come about 2/3 of the way up. Let it come upto a boil and stir in the Bovril. Cover the roast and place it in the oven.

Once the roast is in the oven, it takes minimal effort to get a spectacular dinner on the table. Check the roast after 30-45 minutes and baste using the broth inside the pot. Make sure that the meat it always 2/3 covered with liquid. Add chicken stock as required. Cover the pot and drop the temperature of the oven to 375°. Check the roast and baste every 15-20 minutes for 3 hours.

Take the roast out of the oven and uncover. Remove the carrots and onions and place them in a dish to the side. Let the meat rest about 20 minutes before shredding and coating it with the broth.

Okay, I’m warning you, this sounds boring. When someone suggested I make brussel sprouts in the microwave I cringed. I don’t mind re-heating, Brussel Sproutsdefrosting or melting in the microwave but the idea of cooking in there made me hesitant. To be fair though, this is steaming, but they’re delicious like this and it’s one less pot to clean.

Brussel Sprouts

  • 1 pack Brussel Sprouts trimmed and cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the brussel sprouts in a microwave safe dish. Break up the butter over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap leaving a corner open for venting. Steam for 8 minutes on high. You might need a minute less depending on the size of the brussel sprouts package. Careful when you remove the plastic wrap as it will be very hot and some steam will still be trapped inside. The dish will be hot.

Serve with rice and enjoy.