L2C Challenge – Jamie Oliver 7 Ways – BOOK REVIEW!

Jamie Oliver is such an entertaining chef to watch on television; somehow, he makes cooking look so simple and fun. When I purchased his latest cookbook, I hoped that it would provide the same energy and inspiration but, while it was great, I’m not sure I would keep watching if the “7 Ways” book was a television show…

In this book, the chapters are divided by commonly used ingredients (referred to as “hero ingredients”) – such as chicken breast, avocado, broccoli, salmon, etc. – and then each chapter provides 7 recipes using the “hero ingredient”; in other words, each chapter provides 7 ways of cooking with a specific ingredient.

The concept of the book is great; I didn’t have to filter through every page to find something I liked. Instead, if I knew we were having chicken for dinner, I just looked up the chapters that listed chicken. I think most people would enjoy this layout and I particularly appreciated that each recipe includes an image of every ingredient within that recipe (it helped to figure out what I was looking for when I went grocery shopping).

The flip side is that there are obviously popular ingredients that I don’t like – such as mushrooms and sweet potatoes. Since it is unlikely that someone would enjoy every single one of the 18 hero ingredients, there will probably be whole chapters within this book that won’t appeal to you.

Every recipe that I made from this book exceeded expectations in terms of simplicity, flavour and taste. Each week, I even received a thumbs up from both Paolo and Theo – my two toughest critics.

So why would I not watch “7 Ways” if it was a television series instead of a cookbook? Honestly, for me, the book lacked enticement. While the recipes ended up being delicious, I was never enthused about making them. When I was earmarking recipes for the previous two cookbooks in this challenge, I was getting hungry just looking through the books but I didn’t get hungry with Jamie’s 7 Ways. It felt practical but mundane. Does it meet its purpose? Yes – it provides easy and delicious recipes throughout. Would I reach for this cookbook again? Probably not – this one will likely be filed on the top (somewhat out of reach) shelf for me.

Next Month’s L2C Challenge Cookbook:

Something about the summer months has me craving fresh big salads more than any other time of year. So this month, I am going to try to step up my lettuce game by learning how to make some of Mandy’s amazing gourmet salads!

The Mandy’s cookbook is based on the actual “Mandy’s” salad bars that originated in my hometown of Montreal, Quebec. It was established by two sisters back in 2004 and has grown to over 8 stylish locations across Montreal and they now sell come very cute merchandise – including some colourful large bowls that I will be putting to good use next month!


L2C Challenge – Jamie Oliver 7 Ways – Crispy Salmon Tacos

This week – CRISPY SALMON TACOS (p. 96)

Since Jamie’s book is divided by ingredient, I thought it appropriate to venture out of the chicken chapter and try (for the very first time!) to make fish. I figured that anything in a tortilla with mangoes and avocados would be delicious; so, even if I screw up the fish, the other flavours could still make it taste great!

Ingredients –

  • Salmon fillets (skin on, scaled, pin-boned)
  • Tortillas
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Avocado
  • Scallions
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Limes

Difficulty level –

In true Jamie fashion, this recipe is very simple and something that even the most novice of cooks (like me!) can make. My only difficulty was removing the skin from the salmon – you have to cut it very thinly and I over cut in some sections.

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe –

Nothing! I am getting ssooo good at cooking! Or maybe it’s the fact that the instructions were straight forward. Either way, Google was not consulted in the making of this recipe.

Alterations to Recipe –

Jamie suggests toasting the tortillas directly over the flame of a gas range but, since we don’t have a gas range in our rental home, I just heated them in the microwave. They weren’t “toasty” but still worked well.


I made fish and it tasted GREAT! The combination of sweetness from the mango and the tangy taste of the cajun spice paired perfectly; plus, the texture from the avocado and the crispy salmon skin makes this a perfect dish that I would never have known or thought to make.

Definitely a “make again” dish.

L2C Challenge – Jamie Oliver 7 Ways – Crispy Golden Chicken

This week – CRISPY GOLDEN CHICKEN (p. 74)

So clearly, I have a type… it’s called chicken! I chose to play it safe this week and stayed in the poultry chapter. This one looked appetizing since it combines bacon, avocado and some hot sauce!

Ingredients –

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Bacon
  • Avocado
  • Plain yogurt
  • Lemon
  • Flour
  • Sourdough breadcrumbs
  • Hot sauce

Difficulty level –

This was another simple recipe but I still managed to make some mistakes… The instructions required the chicken to be flattened but my rolling pin is still packed away (home building life!), so I thought pressing really hard with the bottom of a pan would do the trick. It didn’t work and the chicken took a lot longer to cook (because it was so thick) – the exterior ended up being slightly more burnt than crisp but somehow it wasn’t dry!

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe –

  • Difference between regular and sourdough breadcrumbs? I couldn’t find a difference…

Alterations to Recipe –

I had regular breadcrumbs at home and just used those.

Verdict –

DELICIOUS! All of the ingredients used were regular staples in our home but I had never mixed them together before. Mixing the bacon crumbs and avocado paste gave it a fresh and creamy texture. The hot chill sauce was the perfect topping!

Would I make it again? Yes but only once I get my rolling pin back!

Even without the rolling pin, I’m pretty sure I nailed this one!

L2C Challenge – Jamie Oliver 7 Ways – My Kinda Butter Chicken

This week – MY KINDA BUTTER CHICKEN (p. 68)

I’ve been craving Indian food for a while and the thought of filling my home with the smell of fragrant spices was enough to persuade me to try this one!

Ingredients –

  • Skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • Mixed-color chilies
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Plain yogurt
  • Garlic
  • Garam masala
  • Ginger
  • Cashew butter

Difficulty level –

The recipe itself is not difficult. The instructions are straightforward and the ingredients are simple enough that they are easily accessible. The only “difficult” part is some of the expressions that Jamie uses in his instructions (I’m assuming it’s the British background) forced me to read, and re-read, the steps to try to decipher what he meant.

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe –

  • What is gnarly chicken?
    • I always thought of the word “gnarly” as being an adjective that means bad so I was a little confused when Jamie writes to “remove the gnarly chicken from the pan” but, according to Google, “gnarly” can also mean good And apparently it also refers to something that is knotted or twisted and since I had to score the chicken and turn it over a few times, maybe that’s what Jamie meant… I still don’t know.

Alterations to Recipe –

The recipe called for mixed-colour chilies and cherry tomatoes – I couldn’t find either so I just used green chilies and red cherry tomatoes.

Verdict –

I was surprised at how moist and tender the chicken was given how long I had it cooking in the pan – not burnt at all (despite appearances…). I followed the instructions perfectly so I am not sure why I didn’t have any excess sauce like in the cookbook image but the chicken still turned out delicious. Definitely not the typical “butter chicken” flavour I’ve come to expect and, unfortunately, no dipping sauce leftover for my naan bread. So while the chicken tasted great, this is likely one of those recipes that I will not be making again.

L2C Challenge – Skinnytaste One & Done – BOOK REVIEW!

The Skinnytaste series has been around for a long time and I have several friends who love them, so I figured I would give it a try. Obviously, I chose the one whose title promises “one & done” recipes!

The premise of this book is straightforward – every recipe is cooked in one pot. Following that concept, the book’s chapters are divided by different cooking tools – recipes cooked in a skillet, sheet pan, air fryer, slow cooker, etc.

As you may have noticed from my weekly posts, the ingredients in this book were easy to find and the steps were all simple. Even as a newbie in the kitchen, I barely had to look anything up on Google this entire month!!!

I still have a long list of other recipes that I would like to get to in this book. To be honest, some of the most appealing are in the “Air Fryer” chapter, which we don’t have. So I’m keeping a list and once we decide to invest in the air fryer (all of my mom friends say I really need one), I’ll be sure to make my way back to this section of the book. Amongst some of those mouth-watering recipes are:

  • Buffalo Drumsticks with Creamy Cabbage and Kale Slaw (p. 171)
  • Glazed Korean BBQ Chicken Wings (p. 179)
  • Nuggets Three Ways (p. 183)
  • Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls (p. 93)
  • Crispy Beach Fish Tacos (p. 197)

Geez… I had to stop writing out my list, there are so many more in this book that look delicious! And now that I’ve actually taken the time to type out some of the air fryer recipes, I’m thinking we’re going to need to get one sooner than later!!!

I highly recommend this book for its clean and simple ingredients and for its easy instructions. I will note, however, that the “one & done” concept is a tiny bit misleading. It is true that the recipes are cooked in one pot but, in many case, lots of dishes are used in the prep stage before the meal actually goes in the oven. So while I wasn’t scrubbing lots of pots and pans for one dinner, I was still doing a fair share of clean up (washing prep bowls, etc.) after each meal. But honestly, don’t let that be a deterrent – I didn’t have any more dishes than other recipes and the simplicity and flavour of this book are worth a try!

Next Month’s L2C Challenge Cookbook:

Next month’s cookbook came about from my days of watching the Food Network. I love when Jamie Oliver is on television showing us how effortlessly he makes all of his delicious dishes… Plus, his accent is nice to hear! And while I’ve been watching Mr. Oliver on tv for a while now, I’ve never owned or tried any of his cookbooks – so I figured now is as good of time as ever to try. Hence, Jamie Oliver’s 7 Ways will be next month’s cookbook!

L2C Challenge – Skinny Taste One & Done – Petite Meatloaf Dinner

This week – PETITE MEATLOAF DINNER (p. 97)

Meatloaf is one of my comfort foods! When I was pregnant with each of my boys, meatloaf was the first freezer meal I made in anticipation of the first few weeks home with baby. Gina Homolka’s petite meatloaf looked too good (and cute!) not to try. Plus, the fact that it is made with turkey is an added bonus to making this a healthier dish!

Ingredients –

  • Lean ground turkey
  • Quick-cooking oats
  • Egg
  • Onions
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Ketchup
  • Dried marjoram
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Difficulty level –

This week was another easy one. One thing I have noticed with the recipes I’ve made from this cookbook thus far is that they are all straightforward – this is another truly beginner dish.

Price –

If you don’t have any of the required ingredients, this dish will cost approximately $30-$40 (given the required sauces/spices). Since I had most, I paid under $10 for the marjoram and turkey.

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe –

Nothing! AGAIN!! This is very straightforward!!!

Alterations to Recipe –

The only alteration I made was to the carrots – the recipe called for heirloom carrots but I couldn’t find any at my grocery store so I just used regular carrots that I had on hand. They tasted great but I do think the heirloom carrots would provide a better crunch and will be sure to use those the next time around.

Verdict –

Like I’ve said before, I like when dinners are large enough that we have leftovers for lunch the next day. This recipe says it serves 4 and (for our family) it served 3. When I think of meatloaf, I think of making several pans which yield bigger sizes; so this sheet pan recipe was different in that manner.

This was my first time cooking turkey in a sheet pan. I was afraid that the meat would be dry but it wasn’t – the flavour was delicious and very moist. The final verdict is that this is definitely a make again dish (I’ll just have to double the recipe to make it fit our family needs)!

L2C Challenge – Skinny Taste One & Done – Roasted Sausage, Peppers, and Potatoes


We usually have a pack of sausages in our freezer for whenever we need to make a quick and simple meal. Grilled sausages with a side salad is a common dish in our house during BBQ season. I had never roasted them in the oven before and, to be honest, Paolo is the only one who uses the BBQ, so I thought this might be a good way for me to cook our “BBQ season staple” without actually using the BBQ!

Ingredients –

  • Bell peppers
  • Russet potatoes
  • Onion
  • Sausage links
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Difficulty level –

On a scale of 1 to 10, the difficulty level for this one is a ZERO! Aside from mixing the vegetables and seasoning in a bowl beforehand, the whole recipe is made in a sheet pan.

Price –

All of the ingredients for this recipe – except the fresh rosemary – are things we usually have on hand; so I didn’t have to get anything to make this week’s recipe. If these ingredients are not regulars in your home, then you’re probably looking at about $10-$15 to make this meal. At $3-$4 per serving, you can’t go wrong.

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe –

  • Difference between roasting and baking? I panicked for a moment when I realized my range didn’t have a “Roasting” button but, turns out, the difference between roasting and baking is just the temperature. (Phew, crisis averted!)
    • According to Google, anything 400oF and more is “roasting”, while baking is when the temperature is 375oF or less.
      • But then I wondered, if roasting is 400oF and more and baking is 375oF and less, then what do we call something that is cooking at 376oF to 399oF? [I haven’t found the answer; if you know, please enlighten me in the comments below!].

Alterations to Recipe –

This recipe uses basic ingredients and is literally a 2-step instruction process, so no alterations were needed.

Verdict –

I loved this recipe for many reasons. The first being, of course, that it was delicious. Theo is not usually a fan of potatoes (unless they’re fries) or onions but even he ate them! This is a great weeknight meal – you can even dice the vegetables ahead of time and then just spread on the baking sheet when it’s time to cook.

The only potential “negative” for this recipe is that it takes about 1 hour to roast. So this isn’t something I would make on evenings where we have activities but, if you’re home and have the time, you can prep the entire recipe in less than 5 minutes, put it in the oven and forget about it (except for 2-3 times where you’ll need to stir and add the sausages).

I’m definitely going to keep this one handy for those days where we need a hassle-free quick(ish) meal!

L2C Challenge – Skinny Taste One & Done – Open-Faced French Onion Burgers


With the beautiful weather this week, I figured what’s better than enjoying some freshly made burgers! My whole life, I have disliked onions; then, when I was pregnant with Luca, one of my biggest cravings was caramelized onions – go figure… Now, even after having Luca, I still love caramelized onions (although my dislike of raw onions remains)! So when I saw this recipe, which combines the fresh burgers and cooked onions, I knew it would be perfect to try!


  • Lean ground beef
  • Onions
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh parsley
  • Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • Ciabatta rolls
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Butter
  • Sherry Wine
  • Beef stock

Difficulty level –

There was nothing difficult about this recipe.

However, the instructions say to cover the onions for the first 5 minutes of cooking but I actually ended up burning my onions a bit by doing that, so I probably did something wrong there…

Aside from the onions mishap and needing some patience for the caramelization (it takes about 30 minutes), this is an easy one to make.


This recipe does require some ingredients that I don’t usually have on hand – such as the fresh herbs, cheeses and ground beef (we mainly use ground chicken) – so the whole dish came to about $25 for 4 servings.

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe

This is my second recipe from this book and, I will say, that the instructions are very straightforward and the ingredients are all common items that you’d find in any grocery store… So, once again, I didn’t have to use google this week!!!

Alterations to Recipe

We had Vermouth on hand, so we used that as substitute for the sherry wine.


This recipe was delicious but, to be honest, it wasn’t exceptional. It is just your average burger and onions.

If I want to make tzatziki again (like last week’s challenge) then I would definitely turn to this cookbook for the recipe. If I were to make burgers or caramelize onions, however, I likely wouldn’t be thinking of reaching for this specific recipe.

Don’t mind the happy face fries, this was Theo’s dish!

L2C Challenge – Skinny Taste One & Done – Weeknight Chicken Souvlaki


I chose the chicken souvlaki as the first recipe to make from this cookbook because it looked fresh and bright – perfect for the start of June – and who doesn’t like souvlaki?!?

Ingredients –

  • English cucumber
  • Chicken thighs
  • Onion
  • Pocketless pitas
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Lemon
  • Red onion
  • Greek yogurt
  • Garlic
  • Fresh chives
  • Fresh mint
  • Salt & Pepper
  • EVOO
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh oregano

Difficulty level –

This is an incredibly easy recipe to make. It’s also convenient because it can technically be made in stages – the chicken can be marinated overnight and the tzatziki can be made way in advance or can be stored in the fridge afterwards for different meals. So, if you’re willing to prep ahead of time, this is a recipe that can come together in just a few minutes.

Price –

This recipe uses pretty simple ingredients that we already had on hand. The only thing I had to purchase were the fresh herbs – which came out to about $8.

Things I Googled While Making this Recipe –

For the first time since starting this challenge, I didn’t have to use google!!! I’d like to think that it is because I’m finally getting good at this whole cooking thing but, realistically, it’s probably more a reflection of the simplicity of the ingredients and steps in this recipe.

Alterations to Recipe –

I didn’t make any changes this time around; although, in the future, I will definitely be doubling the recipe because it barely yielded enough to fill two pitas (yet it says it’s supposed to serve 4)…

Verdict –

This is a delicious recipe – very straightforward and can be quick to make if you marinate the chicken overnight and make the tzatziki ahead of time. We’ll definitely make this again, especially the tzatziki.

I was, however, disappointed at the amount of dishes I had to clean after making this recipe. I find the book title misleading because, although the chicken was technically cooked in “one skillet”, everything else was prepped in different bowls – so this is definitely not a “One & Done” recipe.

L2C Challenge – Half Baked Harvest Super Simple – BOOK REVIEW!

I had big expectations for this cookbook since I’d been following Tieghan’s recipes for a long time on Instagram. Tieghan’s first book, Half Baked Harvest, won her several awards back in 2016. Her Instagram page is mesmerizing – she posts beautiful photos of food with recipes linked to her blog and, everyday, she posts stories of a new recipe. It’s no wonder that she has almost 3 million followers; the only thing that is surprising is that she has accomplished so much and is so talented yet she is only 27 years old!

The Super Simple cookbook is laid out the way you would expect a restaurant menu to be. After going through the basics, the chapters are divided by meal courses – breakfast, appetizers, salad, pizza, meats, etc.

As I have noted in my weekly recipe reviews, Tieghan did not lie, her recipes were Super Simple! And that’s coming from someone who has limited cooking experience. Having said that, the recipes I’ve made were absolutely delicious that I think even the most experienced chef would enjoy this book and, of course, it goes without saying that this is a good “starter” book for anyone looking to find their way around the kitchen.

The four recipes I posted were not the only ones I tagged; in addition to those four, the following are on my to-make list!

  • Overnight Cinnamon Roll Bread (p.44)
  • Herb and Garlic Pull Apart Rolls (p. 57)
  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Seasoned Pretzels (p. 94)
  • Spinach and Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells (p. 121)
  • Lemon Butter Cod with Orzo and Asparagus (p. 243)

and the list goes on and on!

In case it is not clear by now, I LOVED this book and fully recommend it! The recipes I made were simple and delicious and I loved the fact that there was always plenty leftover for other meals.

Next Month’s L2C Challenge Cookbook:

I sort of feel bad for next month’s cooking challenge book since it has really big shoes to fill; however, I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised since next month’s book is none other than from one of the very popular Skinnytaste collection. I chose Skinnytaste One & Done in part because it claims that all of the recipes can be made in one pot from start to finish! Less dishes to wash at the end of a meal seems like a great reason to commit to a cookbook for a month!