March Break Soars with Hearty Dinners

March Break is right around the corner, which means a full schedule of outdoor fun – skiing, skating, hockey, tobogganing – translating to roaring appetites come dinnertime. With that in mind, we’ve put together four easy-to-make dinners. All of these memorable meals can be made the day-of, or a day or two in advance and reheated – either way, dinner is ready in no time.

For busy families, slow-cookers work wonders – in the morning, prep the ingredients in about 20 minutes, place everything in the cooker and when you get home, a hearty and delicious dinner is ready to go. Slow-Cooker Beef Goulash and Slow-Cooker Vegetable Curry are just the ticket.

Who doesn’t love a stick-to-the-ribs stew, especially in wintertime? Chicken, Vegetable and Barley Stew is quick and features nutrient-dense pot barley.
Switch things up a bit with Mexican Pork, Squash and Chili Stew jazzed with minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Serve with crunchy tostadas and watch the smiles fly around your dinner table.

RECIPES:

Slow Cooker Beef Goulash
This is a super dish. There’s no need to cook noodles in another pot, just add them to the slow-cooker when you get home!
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Slow-Cooker Time: Low 4 to 6 hours or High 2 to 3 hours
Serves 6 to 8

1/4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lb (1 kg) Ontario Stewing Beef, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
2 Ontario Onions, chopped
2 pkgs (8 oz/227 g each) Ontario Button Mushrooms, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) paprika
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 can (156 mL/5.5 oz) tomato paste
4 cups (1 L) sodium-reduced beef broth
4 Ontario Carrots, cut into 1-inch
(2.5 cm) pieces
4 cups (1 L) extra-broad egg noodles
1/4 cup (50 mL) minced fresh Ontario Parsley

In heavy plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. In batches, add beef to bag and shake to coat. Discard any excess flour mixture. In large nonstick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook beef in batches, stirring, until evenly browned, about 5 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to slow-cooker.

Add remaining oil to skillet. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic and paprika; cook, stirring, until mushrooms are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and broth; bring to boil, stirring until smooth. Transfer to slow-cooker. Add carrots, stirring to coat.

Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, or until bubbling. Stir in egg noodles to cover with liquid. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on High or until noodles are tender. Stir in parsley.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry
Curry pastes vary in ‘heat’ and amount of salt; use your favourite. Pumpkin purée adds a creamy texture to this hearty vegetarian dish. Serve with naan or brown rice.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: High 3 to 4 hours or Low 6 to 8 hours
Serves 6 to 8

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (50 mL) each Ontario Liquid Honey and red curry paste
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
2 tsp (10 mL) minced fresh ginger root
2 Ontario Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups (1 L) peeled cubed Ontario Rutabaga
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
2 large Ontario Onions, chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
1 can (400 mL) lite coconut milk
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) pure pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
2 tbsp (25 mL) cornstarch
1/4 cup (50 mL) minced fresh Ontario Parsley
1 cup (250 mL) crumbled Ontario Feta Cheese

In small bowl, stir together garlic, honey, curry paste, lemon juice and ginger. Transfer half of the mixture to large bowl; add sweet potatoes and rutabaga, tossing to coat well.

In large Dutch oven or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add remaining honey mixture, onions, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 2 minutes. Add sweet potato and rutabaga mixture; cook until slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow-cooker.

Add coconut milk, pumpkin purée and 1/2 cup (125 mL) water to Dutch oven; bring to boil, whisking until smooth. Pour over vegetables in slow-cooker.

Stir, cover and cook on High for 3 to 4 hours, or until sweet potatoes are tender yet still retain their shape.

In small bowl, stir cornstarch with 2 tbsp (25 mL) cold water until smooth; stir into slow-cooker. Cover and cook on High for 10 to 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Stir in parsley. Sprinkle feta cheese on each serving.

Chicken, Vegetable and Barley Stew
Pot barley has been polished to remove its outer hull, but a large amount of the remaining grain is left intact, making it more nutrient dense than pearl barley.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 4 to 6

6 slices bacon, cut into slivers
6 boneless skinless Ontario Chicken Thighs (about 2 lb/1 kg), cut into
1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 large Ontario Leeks (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
2 Ontario Onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
2 each Ontario Carrots and Parsnips, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 cup (250 mL) pot barley
3 cups (750 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (75 mL) minced fresh Ontario Chives

In large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate, leaving fat in pot. Add chicken; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Add leeks, onions, garlic, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened about 3 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips and barley; cook until vegetables are golden brown and barley is coated in mixture, about 4 minutes.

Add broth and mustard, stirring to combine; bring to boil. Nestle chicken and bacon into mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Barley should still have a slightly crunchy centre. Stir in lemon juice and chives.

Mexican Pork, Squash and Chili Stew
Serve with crunchy tostados, either on the side as crackers or scoop stew on a tostado like a pizza. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: about 2-1/2 hours
Serves 4 to 6

2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
3 lb (1.5 kg) Ontario Pork Shoulder Roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm)
cubes
1/4 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
2 Ontario Onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) each ground cumin, chili powder
and dried oregano leaves
1 Ontario Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes (about 4 cups/1 L)
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chunky stewed tomatoes
2 cups (500 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
1/4 cup (50 mL) minced fresh Ontario Coriander
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lime juice

In large Dutch oven, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper; cook pork in batches, stirring, until dark brown, about 8 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Remove pork with slotted spoon, leaving fat in pan.
Add onions, garlic, chipotle pepper, cumin, chili powder and oregano to Dutch oven; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in squash to coat.

Add tomatoes and broth; bring to boil, stirring to remove any brown bits from bottom of pan. Return pork to Dutch oven. Reduce heat and simmer covered over low heat until pork and squash are very tender, about 2 hours. (Alternately place in a 325ºF/160ºC oven.) Stir in coriander and lime juice.

Tip: To make it easier to peel squash, pierce squash all over with a small sharp knife. Place on plate and microwave on High for 1 minute. Let cool slightly and peel. Cut in half to remove seeds with spoon.

 

src: FoodlandOntario

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