How To: Quickie Meal – Chicken Meatball Banh Mi Bowls

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We already have a delicious banh mi recipe on the blog.

It’s of the more traditional sandwich variety, but untraditional in that it features tofu instead of meat. If you haven’t made it, you should. This version sticks to the meat, but instead requires a fork for eating rather than your hands. You all know I have a thing for food in bowls.

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img_0943You may look at the recipe and think it has quite a few components – meatballs, quinoa, pickled veg, and a sauce that has me licking my lips just thinking about it. But the reason this meal can still be a weeknight dinner saviour is that many, if not all the components can be made a day or two ahead of time. And even if you have a spur of the moment banh mi craving, it still comes together lickity split – a 35 minute meal for sure.

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One of the best parts about these bowls is if you have some toddlers or babies in your household with discerning palates, they can be deconstructed to fit everyones needs. My husband and I ate them as is, my 3 year old had the meatballs pre-saucing, quinoa, and only the pickled carrots, and my 7 month old ditched the fork and used her hands to shovel some smashed meatball pieces into her mouth.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Dara

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Chicken Meatball Banh Mi Bowls

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
From magazine Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 Pound dark meat ground chicken
  • 1/2 Tbsp chicken broth powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 lime (juiced)

Bowls

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup carrots (shaved into ribbons (use a vegetable peeler))
  • 1 cup radishes (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 3/4 cups beef stock
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chile paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
  • 1 cup quinoa

Note

The meatballs, quinoa, and pickled vegetable mixture can all be made a day ahead of time. You can use turkey or beef in place of the chicken in the meatballs. Brown rice or barley would make a good substitution for the quinoa.

Directions

Meatballs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together and form into small balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until cooked through.
Bowls
3. Place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to low. Simmer for about 12 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Set aside.
4. In another saucepan, bring vinegar, water, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and add carrots and radishes and stir to coat. Let the vegetables sit in the liquid for 20 minutes. Drain and add cilantro and mix to combine. Set aside.
5. In a large skillet over medium heat combine stock, soy sauce, chile paste, and peanut butter. Add meatballs and toss to coat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until heated through. Remove meatballs and continue to cook sauce uncovered for another 2-3 minutes, until thickened.
6. Divide quinoa evenly among four bowls. Top each bowl with 3-4 meatballs, the pickled vegetable mixture, and additional sauce. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and dig in!

How To: Quickie Meal – Spice Roasted Chickpea and Sweet Potato Bowls with Tahini Sauce

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I feel like I deserve a medal.

Not for my epic gymnastics floor routine or super fast back stroke (Olympics on the brain much?), but for braving this heat and turning on the oven to roast these vegetables. All in the name of the blog. #dedicated. 

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Can we just talk bout this heat for one minute – the other day I was out for lunch on a patio and I was actually dripping in sweat just sitting there. It was kind of gross but the food was so good it made it worth it. See? Sometimes you just have to sweat it out in the love of food, and these bowls are just another example of that sacrifice.

These are my favourite kind of meals – roasting up a whole bunch of vegetables, picking a protein, adding a delicious sauce, and calling it dinner. Here I’ve used broccoli, red pepper, and kale as the veg du jour, but cauliflower, eggplant, or zucchini would also be delicious.

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If you haven’t had roasted kale before, well then you also need to sweat it out and roast some up this instance. And definitely try our kale chips while you are at it. Sweet potatoes add the carb factor, but you could also serve these bowls over a bed of quinoa or millet (you all must have some leftover form our last post ;)).

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The crispy chickpeas add the crunch factor which all good bowls need. And don’t get my started on tahini sauce – I think if I could I would bath in this stuff it’s that good.

It may be so hot that I am literally drenched in sweat the second I step out the door, but these bowls of goodness are totally worth sweating buckets.

Dara

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Spiced Roasted Chickpea and Sweet Potato Bowls

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 large broccoli (cut into florets)
  • 1 red pepper (cut into strips)
  • 2 Large handfuls kale (chopped)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (drained, rinsed, and dried)
  • 1/4 Tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander
  • 1/4 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2-4 Tbsp water
  • salt (to taste)

Note

You could easily sub other veggies for the ones I've used here - red onions, cauliflower, green beans or asparagus would all work great. If you are making the sauce ahead of time, you may need to add a little more water as it tends to thicken up with time. I like this dish warm or at room temperature.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Toss the sweet potatoes, broccoli, and red pepper with 1.5 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and spread the sweet potatoes on one, and the broccoli and red pepper on the other sheet.
3. Toss the chickpeas with the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, coriander, and salt and place on the baking sheet with the broccoli and red pepper.
4. Bake both sheets in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Remove the broccoli pan and place kale on top and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the kale begins to wilt and brown.
5. Remove both sheet pans from the oven and divide vegetables and chickpeas evenly among four bowls. Drizzle with as mush sauce as desired and dig in!
6. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, adding as much water as necessary to make a pourable sauce. I needed about 3 tbsp.

 

How To: Quickie Meal – Lime and Curry Marinated Tofu Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Red Peppers, and Corn

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I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up that old block of tofu.

We’ve roasted it, we’ve served it cold, we’ve even turned it into a delicious burger. Can you believe we have yet to stir fry it?! I know, crazy town!

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I think stir-frying has to be the most common method of cooking up some extra firm tofu. And it’s something we do fairly regularly in my household. And once I realized I have yet to share this method with you, I braved the hundred degree heat wave, broke out my wok, and cranked up my stove to cook up this lime and curry flavoured dish.

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I love this dish because it isn’t your usual Asian flavoured stir fry – it has flavours of both Mexico and India and I love it wrapped up in a soft tortilla with a scoop of salsa and guac, served over a bed of quinoa or rice, or just eaten as is.

So blast your AC and get stir-fryin’!

Dara

Curry and Lime Marinated Tofu Stir Fry with Corn, Mushrooms, and Red Peppers

Serves 3
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 2 Tsp olive oil
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 4 Tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1 inch piece of ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 1 block of tofu (cut in cubes)
  • 8oz cremini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 1 bunch of green onions (chopped)
  • 1 small can of corn (drained and rinsed)
  • 2-4 Tbsp cilantro (chopped)

Note

This stir fry is great on it's own or served with rice or quinoa. I also like to serve it topped with some guacamole, salsa, and some tortilla chips for scooping.

Directions

1. Combine olive oil, lime juice, curry powder, soy sauce, and ginger in a large bowl. Add tofu and let marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Heat a non stick wok or large skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to brown and release some liquid. Add garlic and green onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add corn and red peppers and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the red pepper softens.
3. Add tofu with all the marinade and cook until the liquid evaporates and the tofu begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

 

How To: Quickie Meal – Tortellini Salad with Mushrooms, Arugula, and Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

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One of my husband’s favourite foods is cheese tortellini. Second probably to the one and only KD, as I may have mentioned once or twice.

I on the other hand, could take or leave tortellini. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta just as much as the next person. But I usually find the store bought tortellini devoid of much cheese and very unsatisfying. In this salad however, lets just say it has made me a tortellini convert.

This cold salad is an update on your usual creamy pasta salads found at your summer bbqs. Savoury roasted mushrooms and crunchy arugula combine with a generous amount of parmesan cheese and a delicious tangy vinaigrette. And served cold, it is perfect for this crazy summer heat!

Tortellini lovers everywhere rejoice – this one’s for you!

Dara

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Tortellini Salad with Mushrooms, Arugula, and Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Website Adapted from The Vintage Mixer

Ingredients

  • 350 Grams cheese tortellini
  • 16oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 5oz arugula
  • 1/3-1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Note

This salad stands great on it's own as a vegetarian main and is also a delicious side for bbq chicken or fish. You can substitute any other tortellini you like - pesto or spinach filled would be fantastic. This pasta salad holds up well and is still tasty the next day.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and fresh thyme and place evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes until tender and set aside.
2. Cook tortellini according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl with mushrooms, arugula, and parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add dressing and toss again to evenly coat.
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3. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.

 

How To: Quickie Meal – Pasta with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes and Broccoli Rabe

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When it comes to taking care of household chores we all have our roles.

I take care of the cooking, he takes care of the garbage, we both share day to day clean up and laundry duties. I think we have a pretty good groove going. And sometimes, we both step out of our chore box to help each other out, which is always a nice and welcome surprise.

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Normally when I’m planning on going out for dinner, my husband and daughter dine on leftovers or a frozen pizza always kept on hand in case of a dinner emergency. Well, this past week when I was venturing out for a girls night out, I whipped up this super easy and super delicious pasta, surprising my hubby with a restaurant-worthy meal. #wifepoints

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Even if you don’t normally take on the “cook” role, this pasta is so easy you may choose the cook rather than clean up duties tonight. With just a few simple ingredients – olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt, the pasta is so flavourful. If you normally fear broccoli rabe for it’s usual bitterness, the boiling of this grown up version of broccoli takes away the sharp bitter flavour.

And this one big bowl of pasta is also a one pot meal. So you could score double points by taking on the cooking and clean up duty. But probably better to keep this a secret – no one wants to pick up extra household chores!

Dara
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Pasta with garlic, red pepper flakes, and broccoli rabe

Serves 4
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Website Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound whole wheat short pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (ends removed and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • parmesan cheese (grated)

Note

Use any short pasta you have on hand - penne, rigatoni, fusilli, even macaroni would work.  I used half a box each of penne and macaroni because that's what I had. You can adjust the red pepper flakes depending on your spice level preference.

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package direction. 5 minutes before it's finished, add the broccoli rabe. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and place in a large serving bowl.
2. In the same pot, add oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Heat over medium heat until fragrant and the garlic is starting to brown.
3. Pour over pasta and broccoli rabe mixture and toss to coat. Add as much parmesan as you'd like and toss again. Serve with additional parmesan on the side.