What’s for dinner? Bacon Avocado Pasta

So, I’m still feeling like crap 😪

This head cold sucks and it’s tiring me out. Not that I’m not already bagged from the kids keeping me busy.

I needed to make a “Mom, I’m starving!”, “I have zero energy!”, yummy and super quick dinner, so that could make a hot cup of tea and put my feet up. Plus we had to run out the door to our daughter’s Sparks meeting after dinner. I didn’t want yo be late…again.

Here’s what I made:

Bacon Avocado Pasta
Courtesy of Damn Delicious


12 ounces fusili pasta
4 slices bacon, diced
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, onion and basil. Stir in Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve hot or cold, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.

Bacon Avocado Pasta

I think I’d cut back on the onions next time. The kids aren’t fans and it leads to Dragon Breath. A definite no-no when you have to talk closely to people after dinner.

What’s for dinner? Pizza made from the heart!

It’s the end of the week…

I thought I’d make it easy for myself by having pizza for dinner. We had a bunch of produce in the fridge that I wanted to use up before it turned ugly.

Note to self: When making pizza from scratch, remember to…

*Prepare dough and fixin’s during afternoon nap and before school pick up.*

‘Cause when Mommy’s hands are occupied kneading dough for eight minutes, this is again one of those opportune times for the kiddos to get at each other.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, I lovingly made heart shaped pizzas.
Here’s the recipe:

Heart-shaped pizza

Pizza Dough
Courtesy of Canadian Living


3 cups (750 mL) all purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) quick-rising instant dry yeast
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) warm (120 F/50 C) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
*add 1tbsp of Italian seasoning if you’d like


In bowl, combine 2-3/4 cups (675 mL) of the flour, yeast, salt and seasonings, if using. With wooden spoon, gradually stir in water and oil until ragged dough forms, using hands if necessary.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding up to 1/4 cup (50 mL) more flour, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, if necessary.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

(Make-ahead: Refrigerate unrisen dough and let rise for 24 hours. Or freeze in plastic bag for up to 1 month; let thaw and rise in refrigerator overnight.)

Once risen, turn out onto lightly greased pizza sheet and press out into a 14″ round.
* I tore the dough in half so the kiddos could top their own pizzas and formed them into heart shapes in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Top the pizzas with desired toppings of your choice, such as pizza sauce, meats, olives, peppers, spinach, basil, Boursin cheese, mushrooms, pineapple, etc., then smother in shredded cheese.


Pizza toppings

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

I made two batches of the dough so that the kids had their own pizzas and Mommy and Daddy had one to share. Best of all, there were leftovers for lunch the next day! 😄

What’s for dinner? Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake.

Whenever I asked our kids what we should have for dinner, 8 out if 10 times, the ask for noodles.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy noodles or pasta too, but I like variety and that’s a lot of carbs to eat every night.

But, I suppose we’d had a big enough space between “pasta dinners”, that I was OK having it last night.

Here’s what we had:

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake
Courtesy of Lovely Little Kitchen


4 cups rotini pasta (measure uncooked)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2% milk)
1 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Chicken Base (I used a packet of OXO 25% less salt chicken bouillon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (add up to 1 teaspoon more if you want the mustard flavor stronger)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worchestershire
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cooked cubed chicken (I poached 2 chicken breasts and chopped into bite-sized pieces)
3/4 cup cooked cubed ham (I only had deli ham, so I chopped several slices into bite-sized pieces)
4-5 slice swiss cheese (I shredded my Swiss cheese from a black and sprinkled it all over)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (Or add your own herbs to regular ones. I used seasoned Panko bread crumbs)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 1 1/2 quart baking dish by spraying with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Boil water for pasta in a large pot, and cook pasta according to directions. While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, you can start on the sauce.

In a medium pan, melt butter over medium high heat.
Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes. The flour will be bubbly.
Gradually whisk in the milk, and whisk frequently until it comes to a gentle boil.
Whisk in chicken base, dijon mustard, Worchestershire, and salt.
Whisk for a few more minutes until the sauce starts to thicken slightly.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and return to the pan. Stir in the sauce, chicken, and ham and mix to combine.

Pour half of the pasta mixture into your prepared baking dish. Place slices of swiss cheese evenly over the pasta. Pour the rest of the past over the cheese and spread evenly.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top will be golden brown and the edges bubbly.
Allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake

I added some steamed spinach and cucumber slices seasoned with dill and a but of salt and pepper on the side. Another dish to be added to my Weeknight Dinners repertoire, as everyone gobbled this bad boy up!

What’s for dinner? Slow Cooker Hawaiian Ribs.

I’ve been crushing on my slow cooker again lately.

I love being able to get something off my mind, like dinner, first thing in the morning.

Chuck a bunch of ingredients in the slow cooker, fire it up and not have to think about it again until dinner time.

I find, in the late afternoon, after collecting our daughter from school and getting back home, this is the prime time for our kids to NOT get along!

Here I am trying to prep the ingredients and actually do the cooking, when these two maniacs start throwing stuff, hitting each other, whine, cry and just act like twits.

Thank you slow cooker for being my best friend!

Here’s what was on the menu last night:


Slow Cooker Hawaiian Ribs
Courtesy of Chef-In-Training


2 lbs. boneless beef short ribs (I used bone-in)
⅓ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1½ Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. pineapple juice
3½ tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. Chinese 5 Spice powder


Spray slow cooker with cooking spray or insert a slow cooker liner.
Evenly distribute rib meat inside slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, pineapple juice, minced garlic and Chinese 5 Spice powder and stir until evenly combined. Dump over rib meat.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.


Brown Coconut Rice with Cilantro
Courtesy of skinnytaste.com


1 cup uncooked brown rice (brown jasmine, basmati or short grain works well)
1 cup lite coconut milk (Thai Kitchen)
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
2 tbsp sweetened grated coconut
3 tbsp cilantro


In a medium sized heavy pot, add coconut milk, rice, water, ginger, garlic, salt and coconut; bring to a bowl over medium heat.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all liquid evaporates, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork; toss with cilantro.

Hawaiian Ribs & Coconut Brown Rice

I steamed up some broccoli to serve along side. The whole family enjoyed this meal too!

Slow cooker baking…say what!?

Yesterday I got my regular email blast from Chatelaine magazine.

Included in the content, was a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Loaf…

made in the slow cooker!

I didn’t know that this was possible!

So after cleaning up after dinner, I decided to try out the recipe.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon-Raisin Bread
Courtesy of Chatelaine Magazine


1/2 8-g pkg quick-rise instant yeast, about 1 1/4 tsp
1 tbsp granulated sugar or honey
1 1/2 cups warm milk, about 110F
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg


STIR yeast with 1 tbsp sugar and warm milk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Set aside until slightly frothy, about 10 min. Combine flour with salt in a medium bowl. Soak raisins in hot tap water in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 min, then drain well. Stir remaining 1/3 cup sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

STIR yeast mixture with paddle attachment at low speed for 1 min. Gradually add flour mixture while stirring, until combined, about 2 min. Replace paddle with a dough hook. Add raisins and butter and knead on medium-low for 1 min. Increase speed to medium and knead 4 more min. (Stand mixer may move around the counter.) Remove hook. Dust dough with a little more flour and roll into a 9 x 12-in. rectangle. Beat egg and brush over surface of rectangle. Generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up rectangle into a log, starting from a short edge. Place log, seam-side down, in a greased 4 1/2 x 8 1/2-in. metal loaf pan.

SCRUNCH 3 2-in. sheets of foil into balls. Place them in slow cooker insert, then set loaf pan on top and close cooker. Cook on high for 3 1/4 hours.

PREHEAT broiler. Remove pan from slow cooker insert. Broil in centre of oven until dark golden, 3 to 4 min.*
*I recommend checking every couple of minutes as I set my timer for 4 mins, and it started to burn. 😞

Transfer to a rack to cool. Slice and serve with butter.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread


I served it with breakfast with a smear of peanut butter and everyone LOVED it!

What’s for dinner? Weekly Dinner Plan Feb 9-13

I’ve started pre-planning Dinner for my family.

What's for dinner?

This is making my days so much more lovlier lovleyer easier.

I sit down on the weekend, usually after the kids go to bed or after breakfast when they’re playing with their crap toys and I peruse Pinterest or Google for kid-friendly, healthy, quick dinner recipes to serve during the upcoming week. Then I put together my shopping list and drag the hubby (wallet) with me and the kids to the grocery store.

Definitely his highlight of the day (note the sarcasm). I tell him that if he comes, he is allowed to crash on the couch and grab a few winks while the Little Dude naps.Funny how boys need extra sleep to be functional and us girls just keep going like the energizer bunny.

My plan for the week :

Pork Carnitas
(Hubby was in charge as he needed to use up some shredded leftover pork that was in the freezer). I still had to assemble them with all the nummy nummy toppings.

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Skillet

Hawaiian Ribs

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole


I’ll share the recipes with you and let you know what the judges thought of them.

What’s for dinner? Chicken and pasta.

Today we had a fantastic day!

Minnekhada Lake

The sun was shining-ish and it was quite warm. Nothing like the rest of Canada 😜

Hubby thought it would be a nice idea to take the kids out for a walk and enjoy the weather and nature. We ended up hiking a round one of our regional parks and popped into the lodge that we were married at.

Minnekhada Lodge

It was such a fantastic day, I couldn’t have asked for a better one!

We built up a huge appetite and of course, no one helped make suggestions for what we should have for dinner. I poked around in the fridge and cupboards to see what we had, then paid a visit to Pinterest and I came up with this:


Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spinach
Courtesy of Home Cooking Memories

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional – adjust to your preference)
16 oz frozen chopped spinach (defrosted, drained, and squeezed to remove excess water)*
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce**
⅓ cup chicken broth
2½ lbs lean ground turkey***
¾ cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs

*I only had fresh spinach, so I steamed it and chopped it up.
**Hubby used up the Worcestershire in the Caesars that we enjoyed immensely the other day, so I used Maggi (a seasoning used for soups, kinda like soy sauce).
***I had ground chicken in the freezer, so this was the meat of choice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. I actually line my baking sheet with foil and then spray with cooking spray.
In a frying pan on medium heat, heat olive oil until hot. Then add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onion is tender (about 5-6 minutes total time).
Add spinach to pan and combine with onion mixture. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth and mix well to combine. Cook until most of the liquid has cooked out (evaporated). I don’t have much liquid in my pan after I combine all these, but it will depend on how well you drained your spinach. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, and egg. Add cooled onion/spinach mixture to the meat. I do all of this step with my hands, but you can use a spoon if you prefer.
5. With your hands, create meatballs that are about 1 – 1½ inches in diameter and place them on the baking sheet. Leave a little bit of space between each meatball. When you are done shaping your meatballs, you will probably have about 40-42 meatballs from this recipe. Don’t need that many? Freeze them after baking or cut this recipe in half (but I say freeze them and then you’ve done the work only once and have a future meal).
Bake until your meatballs are cooked through with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F – which was about 20 minutes for my oven. Remove from oven and serve as desired.


Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms
Courtesy of Nigella Lawson on Food Network

8 ounces/4 cups finely sliced chestnut/ cremini mushrooms
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Maldon/kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Small clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 sprigs fresh thyme stripped to give 1 teaspoon leaves*
1 pound linguine**
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves chopped, to give 1/2 cup
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

*I used 1tsp of dried thyme
**I used spaghetti

Slice the mushrooms finely, and put them into a large bowl with the oil, salt, minced garlic, lemon juice and zest, and gorgeously scented thyme leaves.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and drain loosely retaining some water. Quickly put the pasta into the bowl with the mushroom mixture.

Toss everything together well, and then add the parsley, cheese and pepper before tossing again. Eat with joy in your heart.

*I prefer to cook the mushroom mixture, so I heated a wok and stir fried until the mushrooms were soft. Then tossed with the pasta and added the chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.


I peeled and chopped up some cucumber, seasoned it with salt and pepper and a generous amount of dried dill (you can use fresh as well) and mixed with a dollop of olive oil mayo.

Serve it all up and the whole clan ate every last bite!

Chicken and pasta

Where do you find inspiration for your meal ideas?