WHAT WE’RE EATING: FOUR EASY FAMILY DINNERS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

This week it’s a mix of recipes from a pasta sauce simmered in the slow cooker to a quickly assembled Asian-salad to an even quicker shrimp, garlic and smoked paprika combo. The name of the game for most of these is getting dinner on the table quickly with strong flavours my kids love. The salmon is the only dish this week that requires more than 10 minutes at the stove, the rest can either be made ahead or made quickly…happy eating.

Monday – Tagliatelle Bolognese 

This is one of my favourite pieces of food writing, a beautiful essay on the search for the perfect recipe for a classic Bolognese ragu. What’s the secret, is it beef, is it pork, is it both or is it Love? Go read it, I’ll wait. Seriously – go.

After re-reading it on the weekend, I was inspired to try to make a really good ragu for dinner on Monday night. I started it on Sunday, let it chill in the fridge overnight, and tucked it into the slow cooker before heading to work this morning. Dinner tonight will simply be a matter of boiling a pot of salted water, cooking some tagliatelle and tossing some mixed greens in olive oil and balsamic.

For the record, my ragu was finely diced onion, carrots and celery sautéed in olive oil. 100 grams of pancetta, 300 grams of ground beef, ½ cup of white wine and a tin of whole Italian tomatoes….(and love).

Tuesday – Bang Bang Salad (poached chicken salad with bok choy and cucumber) 

Getting greens into my son is never easy. In a very strange twist, he’s decided he really likes Bok Choy. And what do we have to thank for this turn of events? The game Plants vs. Zombies, which features on his favourite characters “Bonk Choy.” I’m not going to question this, I’m just going to do my best to take full advantage while I can.

This salad uses thinly sliced bok choy leaves as its base. It’s topped off with some shredded poached chicken (which pescatarian Kid1 won’t complain too much about), cucumbers and a wonderful vinaigrette made with maple syrup, soy and peanut butter (or wow butter), which are all kid-favourites at our house. Poaching the chicken Monday night means this salad can be assembled in about 5 minutes, leaving me time to have a glass of Cava with my wife while we talk about our day…

Wednesday – Crispy Salmon with Mustardy Lentils 

I have a bit of a mustard issue. We usually have four or five different types in the fridge. Last time we were in Paris, I took (dragged?) my wife to the Maille store and bought a pint of fresh mustard on draught to bring home. One of us was very excited by this.

I also love to cook with mustard and it gives a nice lift to the lentils in this recipe. If you want to make this a very quick supper, buy jarred, pre-cooked lentils and skip the browning of the shallots. If you have an extra 25 minutes, you can prep the lentils and shallots from scratch.

Thursday – Spanish style shrimp

This Thursday night is a mess with kids’ activities and late night work. This is one of the simplest, easiest and best recipes I’ve come across and it’s going to get us all well fed in record time.

Be sure to watch the video as the text of the recipe doesn’t list the full ingredients (it strangely omits the cherry tomatoes).  Garlic, shrimp, tomatoes and smoked paprika in sautéed in good olive oil. Simple yet tasty.

Friday – Pizza night

Each week we make an all cheese pizza, which we call the “jerk” pizza in homage to poor Kevin in the original home alone movie. This week, I think I’m going to make a pizza with pesto, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil—might call this one the “Uncle Frank.”

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Michael Forbes

About

Michael, a communications professional by day, is a father of two, an avid (but bad) hockey player, and an amateur cook. He finds it incredibly challenging to write about himself in the third person.


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