Supper Studio's Meal Plan for a Week
Chicken Stir Fry. Photo by Rachel Joyce Photography.

Chicken Stir Fry. Photo by Rachel Joyce Photography.

So many people struggle with meal planning! All for different reasons, but one of the major ones for me is that I run out of ideas! I am not someone who has their five staple meals and rotates through them. Most of the time I start suppertime with, “This is an experiment… I hope you like it!”. My poor family has just learned to accept this about me! In this post, we are going to share a meal plan that will get you through an entire week, including a PRINTABLE meal plan, recipes and grocery list. We went with themes like “Meatless Monday” and “Taco Tuesday” because it’s fun to stick with clichés. We’ve made it so that most of the prep can be done on the Sunday if that’s what works for your family. And obviously you can substitute any meal of the week for a fresh or frozen Supper Studio meal! ;)

These meals are all taken from different sources, and we will link to those websites as well, but here’s an overview of the meal plan for this week. The meals are made with healthy, wholesome ingredients, and quick and easy to put together.

 

Saturday is fridge. FRIDGE?! What the heck is fridge? If you know us, you’ve probably heard the term “fridge” thrown around a lot. For example, “We’re having fridge tonight,” or “Fridge nights are the best!”. It is a noun that basically means anything that’s left in the fridge and that needs to be eaten. You can mix and match, pick and choose, and take what you want, but by the end of the meal - the contents of the fridge leftovers must be eaten. The best way to do this is to set it up buffet-style right beside the microwave, and have everyone choose what they think looks delicious.

So here are all the links to make this week an absolute breeze:

This meal plan is made into a printable that looks like the picture above, so that you can put it on your fridge or cookbook holder. This is where you will have the ability to write down what you actually need from the grocery store after you’ve gone through the grocery list. The grocery list is super comprehensive, and you may not need any new spices or pantry items, so be sure to take the list to your kitchen and check off the items you have before you run to the store! And finally, we have written out all the recipes, with links to the original recipes, in a PDF that is awesome if you want to file these winners away for another week down the road.

IF you are able, and have time to do the shopping AND a little bit of prep on Sunday, follow the instructions on this printable.

LINKS: Meal Plan Printable, Grocery List, Recipes, Meal Prep

We hope you absolutely LOVE this meal plan and that it helps to inspire you in the kitchen a little bit this week.

xo,

Lori and Leah



Lori Nikkel
Gimme ALL the Mexican...

Refried beans are my love language. I don’t know when in my life I started loving them the way that I do, but I have an unhealthy weakness for refried beans. Almost 20 years ago I spent some time in South America, namely Guatemala, and lived with a host family in a little town called Antigua, for the purpose of learning Spanish. (Turned out my “mom” wanted to learn English too, so we mostly ended up speaking English!) Every single meal was served with refried beans and a crema that I have never been able to find in Canada. Every. Single. Meal. I think I felt indifferent to them at that time. I didn’t love them, but I certainly didn’t hate them. I did find it strange that the same pot of beans sat on the counter for more than a week unrefrigerated (next to the raw chicken hanging from the window sill for more than what AHS would deem appropriate…) but my personality allows me to accept things without putting too much thought into the consequences. And that’s the way they do things there.

Fast forward til now, and I have taken countless trips to Mexico, visited different cities, and gone to Authentic Mexican restaurants all over North America. Because I know I can’t get them right from scratch at home, and canned refried beans are a little unappetizing, I order refried beans with my food every opportunity I get. And I have tried to make them! I don’t know if I’m not patient enough for them, but I just can’t.

Well guys! Thanks to my beautiful sister and her knowledge of the Instant Pot, here is the easiest way to make the BEST refried beans from scratch. I’m not even attempting to use descriptive words to entice you. You gotta just make ‘em. BUT - I am not stopping there! In an attempt to make the the longest blog post known to man, I will also give you our favourite Mexican rice recipe (with pictures obviously) and THEN a quick little write up on making Chicken Burritos that are freezer friendly. Lori and I preach how amazing freezer meals are so try it for yourself! Make these, freeze them, and now you’ve got yourself a filling, easy supper that’s ready when you are. Best part? You can do each step in the instant pot! Okay, without further ado…

IMG_1929.jpg

Instant Pot Refried Beans

1 lb dry pinto beans

2 cups water

2 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 onion, large dice

1 jalapeno, seeds removed

Put all ingredients in instant pot, and set on high pressure for 35 minutes. Natural release and let cool for 15 minutes in pot. Dump into a blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency. Dare you not to stick your finger in for a taste!

IMG_1911.jpg

You can stop there and just eat your beans with tortilla chips OR you can carry on and put together some FABULOUS chicken burritos for now or for the freezer. After washing your instant pot insert, we are on to the next step: Mexican Spicy Rice. You can certainly make this as mild or as spicy as you want by adjusting the spices. But here’s what we do:

Mexican Rice

1 cup brown rice

1.5 cups water

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp garlic powder

1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

Place spices and water in instant pot with water. Rinse rice and mix in with spices. Set IP on high pressure for 20 minutes. QR and voila!!

IMG_1938.jpg

And finally, the last thing you need for your burritos: chicken. You can use leftover chicken from supper last night, a deli chicken, OR you can put fresh or frozen chicken in your instant pot. Here’s how:

Place 1 cup of water in bottom of Instant Pot. Add trivet and place chicken breasts in a single layer. season with taco seasoning or your own blend of spices. Close lid and seal. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes and let pressure natural release for 12-15 minutes. Remove with tongs and shred. TIP: If you’ve never shred chicken with your stand up mixer, you’ve got to try! I find that it works the best when your chicken is hot. Using the regular paddle from your mixer (the one you use for cookies) mix your hot chicken on the slowest setting. It shreds like a dream! Or you could spend half hour shredding it with two forks - up to you.

IMG_1934.jpg

Assemble your burritos! Place about 2 tbsp of rice, 2 tbsp of refried beans, and 3 tbsp shredded chicken on each tortilla. Add some shredded cheese if you like. You can get creative here if that’s who you are! Change up the cheese, try white rice, use black beans instead of (or in addition to) the refried, get crazy and add salsa! (Salsa will freeze well here, just not fresh tomatoes). Pull in each end of the burrito and roll up into a burrito. This recipe made my family 18 burritos which I froze for another day - probably one full of hours at the hockey rink!

IMG_1942.jpg

This is where you decide if your family wants to eat them now, or save them for later. I, personally, like to wrap mine in foil so that you can take out just a couple at a time. If you put them loose in a freezer bag or pan, they may freeze together and make life a little difficult.

To cook from thawed: bake at 350 for 15 minutes. To cook from frozen: bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes.

These can also be reheated in the microwave (please unwrap first! and wrap in a paper towel) or put in the frying pan (also unwrapped).

If you’ve read this far, you’re obviously committed, so here’s a simple printable of all the recipes .

I do hope that you give this a shot! And then give us some feedback! You’re not going to be disappointed. If you need help with your instant pot, send us a message on any social media platform or by emailing us at hello@ supperstudio.ca

Lori Nikkel
The Ultimate Gingersnap

We are lucky enough to have a mom that really enjoyed cooking and baking when we were kids. We see her well-used, grease stained cookbooks that are falling apart and taped back together, and we covet them. All of us sisters secretly hope that she leaves us her collection when she leaves this earth. I know, morbid, but true. Her Pilsbury cookbook is among these. Discoloured and dirty, and full of some of our favourite recipes.

IMG_1902.JPG

One of these recipes is for Gingersnaps. These cookies ALWAYS turn out wonderfully, so we feel like it’s only fair to share this recipe for those of you who haven’t already discovered it. And with the weather being so cold my days are filled with a TON of procrastibaking. It’s a thing. Google it. After you’ve tried these, flip over to the Peanut Blossoms on page 37 and make those. (Just kidding, I don’t actually know the page number because my mom hasn’t given me the cookbook yet).

IMG_1899 (1).jpg

Gingersnaps

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp ginger

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar (to coat cookies)

Instructions:

  1. In large bowl, sift flour and spices together. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and mix in. Add dry ingredients and stir. Chill dough for half hour.

  3. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Roll each ball into small bowl of 1/2 cup sugar and place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

  4. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

  5. Cool on a rack for 2 minutes before removing.

  6. Eat 14 cookies without any guilt.

Lori Nikkel
Why we do what we do...

Through the ups and downs that life sometimes throws at you, the people in your life want to help. A lot of times that help comes in the form of food. 

Lori and I have often been on the receiving end of these gifts of food. They arrived during the obvious happy events of life - marriages and births, but also during the not-so-happy events - long term NICU stays, death of a spouse, cancer diagnoses, single parenthood, mental health disorders. These are a few of the situations that have allowed us to see the value in receiving meals and that gave our families one less thing to worry about when there's already a million worries that seem more important.

Our circumstances in life are some of the reasons why we wanted to open a business that offers the service we do. Lori and I are not alone in what we've experienced. We know that so many people have to go through crazy and traumatic situations in their own lives. Our people (friends, family, & perfect strangers alike) came together every time to lend a hand where they could. We were so blessed to be surrounded by our people. 

We are hopeful that our meals can help families who have enough on their plates. If there is a family that you know of that could use a little boost, give them the gift of food. You may not know how much it helps! Support your people, love your people, stand by your people all the way. They need you, even if they don't always tell you they do. 

If you're wanting to start a meal train and don't know where to start, let us help! If you want to pop by and be able to give a meal anonymously to someone who could use it, we'd be happy to deliver! If you've got a different idea, just send a message letting us know how we can help! 

xo,

Leah & Lori

bake-baked-basil-236798.jpg
Lori Nikkel
Turmeric, Cardamom, and Lemon Crepes

I LOVE crepes! Who doesn't, really? I typically go for the nutella crepes myself, but you can basically do anything with a crepe. Sweet - with chocolate, yogurt, fruit, syrup, sprinkles, ice cream... or savoury - fried eggs and mushrooms, cheese, peppers and spinach... the possibilities are endless!

I woke up this morning with a twinge of panic, as I hadn't anything in the fridge that would be suitable for my 9 year old's lunch. And, truth be told, I'm out of ideas and inspiration for school lunches. It's nearly June and I want to be done with that. But I digress. So there I was in the kitchen, with some baking supplies, a spice cupboard, and 20 minutes to get my kid out the door.

Side note: I've been hearing a lot about turmeric in the last little while, and how good it is for you! If you haven't used this spice before, it is a bright orange spice that brightens up any dish, and is a major ingredient in curry. It is said to have a lot of benefits, including helping with inflammation. We use it in some of our meals at Supper Studio, but I thought I'd try something different with it this morning!

IMG_9100.jpg

YOU GUYS. You need to try this! If you can get past the idea of eating a crepe that is orange in colour, you will not regret this. I used white flour, because that's all I had, but whole wheat, or even buckwheat flour would be amazing, fresh eggs, turmeric, cardamom, a bit of ginger, lemon zest, and milk. Whisked it up so that no lumps remained, and voila! It took me less than 20 minutes to have three crepes rolled up, covered in strawberries and yogurt, and maple syrup drizzed on top, packed up and in a lunch kit. And the best part? When he got home, he said (and I quote), "Mom, those crepes were to die for!". TO DIE FOR! Ah, there's nothing better than a compliment about a school lunch from your child. Especially at the end of the school year! 

Turmeric, Cardamom, and Lemon Crepes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg (or chia seed egg)
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • zest of one lemon
  • pinch of salt

Combine the egg and milk and mix until frothy. In separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until there are no more lumps.

Heat a frying pan and add 1 tsp of coconut oil. When the pan is hot, spoon in your batter and move the pan around to get a nice thin layer. Flip the crepe when it starts to bubble and cook for another minute until other side is cooked. 

Repeat with the rest of the batter. Makes about 6 large crepes. Fill or top with desired toppings and enjoy!

IMG_9102.jpg
Lori Nikkel
The Gift of Time.
IMG_8972.JPG

With Mother's Day around the corner, I find myself wondering what the most popular gifts are for the mom in our lives. I know our pre-school and elementary school kids often bring home cute crafts that a really ambitious teacher has dreamed up. Flowers and chocolates are a common gift. Dads often think that a super last minute run to the grocery store for flowers and a card is the ticket. Sometimes, if we organize a babysitter and make plans, our husbands will generously come along. amiright? I sound a little cynical, after all, I will acknowledge that sometimes our families do get it right... but rarely. 

What do we as moms really want...? There are some really amazing moms that all they really want is a beautiful day spent with their beautiful children doing all the things while laughing, playing and getting along. You are a better mom than me for wanting this. For me,  I know I'd love some time all to myself - I want to be called by my real first name - not "mom", I want to wear clean clothes without something sticky smeared on the legs or yogurt on the shoulder. It'd be pretty cool to drink a coffee while it's still hot or better yet, a full meal, still hot and not shared. 

I spend most of my days planning playdates and activities, phoning to organize said dates and activities, refereeing fights between kids, entertaining (which often includes dance-offs and singing competitions), doing laundry, folding laundry, planning meals, making meals, grocery shopping for those meals... it's the mental load of a mother (or parent). And that's not even going to work at a full-time job. So for a mom to ask for a break is completely okay!

So give the mom in your life the gift of time! Give her a little tiny break from the regular hum-drum of life! I have often said that Supper Studio meals give the gift of time. It frees up the hour every night that meal prep takes. The is a small plug for Supper Studio, but it truly does give a little breather at the end of the day when it's needed the most.  Give her the gift of an extra hour of sleep. Give her the gift of a clean kitchen after dinner is eaten. Give her the gift of an empty laundry basket! Give her the gift of clean sheets on the bed. Give her the gift of the toys put away. Give her the gift of a glass (bottle) of wine and a bath - with no little fingers creeping under the door. Give her that little bit of extra time that she can take in and fully appreciate the people around her. It truly is the little things! 

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and moms-to-be! Let's make sure to celebrate all the amazing, hard-working moms in our lives!

IMG_8973.JPG

Photo credit for beautiful cover photo/thumbnail: Rachel Joyce Photography, Calgary, AB

 

Lori Nikkel
The Dilemma of Leftovers

Leftovers are often a little daunting to deal with. The thought of warming something up that was cooked yesterday and now looks a little unappealing is not exciting. I usually end up pawning them off on my school-aged son for lunches, or making sure my husband knows that he only has one option (leftovers) for supper.

Something that is always a hit with our two families is making some version of PIZZA with the leftovers. Let the creative juices flow, give the pizza a catchy name, and I feel like it's a win for everyone. Here are some ideas to get you started.

IMG_8864.JPG

As a "crust", there are many options. Naan bread, tortillas (corn or flour), buns, bread. The sky's the limit really.

Next you need a sauce. The obvious choice is pizza sauce, but you can use plain tomato sauce with some Italian spices, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, pesto, hummus, heck, even refried beans taste amazing!

Use any leftover protein you have to layer on next (chicken, steak, deli meat, taco meat, bacon, beans, etc), and cover with veggies. Fresh veggies work well, but you could also use cooked leftovers - cubed sweet potato, squash.  I have been known to pile on leftover spinach salad here - goat cheese and all!

Basically all that's left is cheese! Cheddar, marble, gouda, feta, goat cheese - it's all acceptable. (maybe not at the same time!). 

From here just pop it in the oven on low broil for 6-8 minutes until edges are brown and the cheese has melted. You can eat it with your hands or with a fork! Give it a shot and let us know if this was a hit with your family too!

IMG_8863.JPG

I know this probably isn't going to solve all of the leftover problems in your house, but I wanted to give you an idea of what often happens in our houses. This might not be the meal that you choose to serve to the in-laws (or maybe it is... ) but it keeps some of those leftovers out of the compost!

Lori Nikkel
The Wish of a Lifetime

As some of you may know, Lori’s family was recently blessed with a Make-a-Wish Trip. Lori (and her Husband Ed’s) middle daughter, Cailyn, was diagnosed with ALL - Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - when she was 7. This is a little bit about how special their Make-a-Wish trip was and how awesome the organization is from Lori’s perspective. 

Beautiful Cailyn and Lori, waiting for a diagnosis in August 2016.

Beautiful Cailyn and Lori, waiting for a diagnosis in August 2016.

From our very first meeting with Vickie and Alyssa from Make-a-Wish Southern Alberta we felt the excitement. They were so excited and wanting to help with anything to give our family a little something to look forward to.

Throughout Cailyn's treatment, while at home and in hospital, we watched the Food Network and any cooking show that we could find. My kids fell in love with Gordon Ramsay. They've memorized every show, every contestant, every challenge. When Vicki asked Cailyn, “What's the thing that you would want to do more than anything?”,  Cailyn said, “Make Beef Wellington with Gordon Ramsay.”  My oldest daughter Ariana, Cailyn, and our youngest, Grayson, came up with this wish together. I thought it sounded absolutely crazy and there's no way that they could make that happen. 

Turns out, Make-a-Wish can literally make your dreams come true!

We put the wish on hold for almost two years while we dealt with a different diagnosis and treatment for our oldest daughter, Ariana. Vickie waited patiently until we were ready to pack up and go. Then, with less than a weeks notice, we were on a plane  to LA.  All the details were taken care of. It’s shocking how much time, energy, money and effort goes into one wish for one little person; how many people were in the background, that I will never get to meet, that were personally invested in Cailyn and our family.

 

And then Cailyn’s dream came true! We found ourselves on the set of MasterChef!  Not only did we meet the one and only Gordon Ramsay, we had the privilege of meeting the dozens of people that work in the wings to make such a huge production run smoothly. It’s amazing to see first-hand something that you are so familiar with on TV and how it compares in real life. 

*Sidenote* - I have MAJOR  pantry envy. Seriously. Forget watching filming and meeting all the cool people. I NEED that pantry. There’s actually three pantries and three kitchens and soooo many chefs. Food heaven. But I digress.

And then…. The Beef Wellington. Standing in the MasterChef kitchen receiving instruction from Gordon Ramsay. They were soaking in the moment. Watching them listen intently and follow instructions. He called them by their names, nicknames even. So caring and familiar, hugging and kissing them. He gave them so much care and attention. The person that they admire so much and was so much a part of our time at home. He made her laugh and gave my kids something to do together while Cailyn was in treatment. It was surreal for all of us to now experience him in real life too. 

Beef Wellington made by Chef Cailyn with assistance from Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Beef Wellington made by Chef Cailyn with assistance from Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Unfortunately, we are unable to post pictures of the Chef here. So as much as I want to post every picture I have of the wonderful person he is, we don't have permission. But take my word for it, he is AWESOME. (and when we do get permission, I will probably blow up your Instagram newsfeed...)

Thank you for all of it Make-a-Wish Southern Alberta. Thank you. You've made my little girl so happy, and we were given the opportunity to celebrate Cailyn's health at the end of it all. 

20180326_135056.jpg
Lori Nikkel
WELCOME TO THE DISH!

Welcome to The Dish - a place where we will be sharing delicious food ideas, seasonal inspiration for your kitchen, news and updates about Supper Studio & personal happenings.

It has been a whirlwind of excitement since opening in August 2017! We (sisters and owners -Lori & Leah) have embraced the ups and downs of owning this wonderful business, and we absolutely relish in the fact that we are able to make busy lives a little less busy. Our customers are moms and dads with kids in activities, brand new parents who are feeling exhausted but still hungry, bachelors who want to eat real food that isn’t difficult to prepare, retired couples and singles who find it hard to cook for one or two, those who have had the unfortunate experience of a sick loved one and even those who have had to live through the tragedy of losing one they love. When times get tough (whatever tough looks like) – keeping a belly full of nourishing food can go a long way.

Something we have found both heartwarming and satisfying, is that more and more of our customers are gifting meals to friends and family – we LOVE that we get to play a part in helping out.

Our hope is that this blog will inspire you in the kitchen, help you through a bad day, or make you giggle at some of the silly things we do to each other (because sisters can be really silly)! Maybe you’ll get a small glimpse inside our crazy lives too!

So, make sure to follow us on social media as that’s where all the good stuff happens, and sign up for the newsletter because we want to keep you informed about all the assembly dates, workshops, classes and other news happening at the Studio.

As always, we appreciate all of your feedback!

xo,

Lori and Leah
 

Lori Nikkel