If you don’t feel like cooking….

For the June/July issue of Ottawa Parenting Times, we decided to feature some salads (because who likes to cook and eat hot food in the summer?)  My crowning achievement this month was a “slaw” made with blueberries.  Even the Picky Eater loved it.  Find the recipes on the magazine’s website.

Ruby Slaw.jpg

As a side note, the pickled beets in that recipe lasted hardly any time at all.  They are good in everything: sandwiches, salads, eggs…

Gourmet Lunch for Supper – Two Masters at Work

Is warm chicken salad the most comforting food?  Look at this.

Chicken Salad MeltI am a chicken salad virtuoso, and I’m  here to tell you my secrets.  Take any chicken meat: breast, thigh, leftover rotisserie from the deli, and chop it up smaller than bite size.  Add your favorite mayo or salad dressing with a fairly mild flavor profile: ranch, Italian, French, Miracle Whip, balsamic vinaigrette…just enough to moisten the chicken and make it spread .  Finely chop something crunchy and something sweet and stir in.  Place cheese on two slices of good bread (or one for a delicious open-face), layer with chicken salad, and toast in oven until warm and melted.  Just look at this.

Chicken Salad Melt

Chicken breast, olive oil mayo, finely chopped celery, cranberries, and creamy havarti on mini foccacias, served with butternut squash soup.

Dive in to those delicious pixels.  Dinner is just a sandwich, you say?
Perhaps “just a sandwich” could be so much more… (and yet so easy!)

Dinner Doesn’t Have to be a Production – Chicken & Leek Couscous Edition

Dinner doesn’t have to be a production.  We cook almost every day, and rarely does it take longer than a half hour to get supper on the table.

Yesterday and the day before, we made excellent homemade pizza.  We used prepared pizza dough, but we sliced our toppings and grated our cheese, and dinner was on the table in 30 minutes.  Devoured by everyone, and much healthier than delivery.

Today I was meant to cook a pork roast, but changed my plan at the last minute.  Justin sometimes says my superpower is conjuring dinner from whatever is lying around.  Today is a good one.

I’d already planned to cook couscous with leeks.  If you’ve never had leeks before, you’re in for a treat.  Just peel off outer leaves, slice the lighter colored end in quarter-inch circles, and rinse the sand from the slices in a colander before using.  Couscous is my favorite grain.  It cooks so fast I call it inflatable.  When I decided to skip the roast, it occurred to me that if I just added some chicken thighs to the pot I could have dinner, so…

Chicken & Leek Couscous

The photographer wasn't home when this came out of the oven, so an iPhone photo will have to do.

The photographer wasn’t home when this came out of the oven, so an iPhone photo will have to do.

Use an oven-safe pot to make this a one-pot meal that’s so simple it might just become one of your go-tos.


6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 leeks, sliced and washed
1.5 cups dry couscous
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/8 tsp harissa, to taste
salt to taste
olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add couscous, leeks, and cranberries to oven-safe lidded pot or dutch oven. Pour chicken stock and apple cider vinegar over the couscous and allow it to soak.
Saute chicken in 1-2 tbsp olive oil, just to brown. Sprinkle harissa on chicken while cooking.
Using tongs, place chicken on top of other ingredients.
Place in oven, covered, for 18 minutes.

When your timer goes off, remove from oven. Move chicken to fluff couscous, taste for seasoning, and replace chicken on top for a prettier dish.

Mine went right into the fridge, since it’s a working evening for me.  Easy-peasy, and no doubt everyone will be pleased.  Another supper done.