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What worked. What didn’t.

April 9, 2010
Here is last week’s meal plan and I have to share with you what worked and didn’t work this week.

Monday – Kevin made crepes. It worked. Breakfast slash dessert for dinner always works in my books, especially when I’m not the one cooking!

Tuesday – Black bean pasta. It did not work. I was surprised because I generally love all the ingredients it called for: spinach, black beans, tomatoes, pasta. I thought that the diced tomatoes made the pasta really acidic, and kind of ruined the meal. And this is coming from a tomato lover! I have heard you can add a pinch of sugar to reduce the acidity, but I’m not sure. The portobello mushrooms however, were actually delish, and I couldn’t believe how well they held up. They are strong little buggers! And they definitely worked as a “substitute” for meat – we hardly noticed that this was a fully vegetarian meal. Kevin loved loved loved the mushrooms but that was about it. I liked the black beans and the spinach. Kevin then proceeded to tell me he likes white pasta better than whole wheat pasta. TOO BAD so sad for that because I am definitely not going back to white pasta any time ever in my life.

Wednesday: Tacos. Tacos never fail. No complaints here or from the peanut gallery.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Apricots and Couscous – YES! Worked and was amazing! It is flavored with cinnamon and has a touch of sweetness from dried apriocots. And was SO easy! Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of this and I really should have. I got my hair done last night and got home at 7:30 pm. By this time, I thought Kevin was going to chew my head off because he was so hungry and slightly irritated (I told him I would be home by 6:30 woops), so I was on a mission to get dinner on the table pronto. I too, was starving. It was also my first time making couscous, and it was a huge hit all around. Also, believe it or not, it was my first time cooking with chicken thighs. I have always been scared of meat with bones, and I don’t generally like anything but white meat. BUT, when our friends were here, they made us an amazing meal, and she bought too many chicken thighs, so they were in my freezer waiting to be made. I even had to REMOVE THE FREAKING SKIN and it was so nasty. I used latex gloves which made it better, but I felt like I was skinning a person or something. GROSS. But worth it!!!

Anyway, I will share this recipe at the end of this blog. It was the perfect meal for a yucky yucky wintery blistery evening (oh the Prairies!). I thought my car (my rental car, but that is a different story) was going to blow off the highway, and it was snowing and raining and disgusting.

But – my hair looks amazing. I am so in love with the work of my hair dresser. Yay for you Courtney! And I found her on my first try too – that never happens.

For tonight, I actually don’t have a plan for dinner. I do plan on making something quick and easy because we have friends coming over. Our friends are incredibly talented – they own and run a photography company called “Just Married Photography” and they were recently named top 25 wedding photographers in Canada. They are hard to get together with because they are often in Mexico or the States or Africa for pete’s sakes, as people book them from all over the world. Very cool. Not only are they amazing photographers, they are extremely generous, kind and interesting people, so we have loved getting to know them over this past year.

Now for that recipe. It is from my Taste of Home, Healthy Cooking magazine, that I absolutely pour over, rip out and mark up every 2 months that I receive it. Make it tonight!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew:

6 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup chopped dried apricots
Hot cooked couscous

1. Place the chicken, onion and carrots in a 3 or 4 qt slow cooker coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the apple juice, garlic, salt, cinnamon and pepper; pour over vegetables.

2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender.

3. Remove chicken from slow cooker; shred meat with two forks. Skim fat from cooking juices; stir in apricots. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker; heat through. Serve with hot couscous.

Yields about 4 servings.

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