Happy Thanksgiving

Is anyone else still reeling from Matt Lauer’s abrupt firing from The Today Show this morning? Anyone? I’ve been a faithful viewer for nearly two decades. I fear my mornings will never be quite the same. The allegations against Matt Lauer are really disappointing.

Hey, also, last week was Thanksgiving. Hope it was lovely for all of you out there.  My in-laws hosted my family, as they do every year, and it was wonderful to celebrate such a special day as one big family. We ate delicious food, played games, and went for a long walk through the woods.

 

The Menu


Sunday

Chicken and Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon (recipe from Food & Wine)

This recipe was such a happy surprise. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much and I was a little miffed at myself for adding it to our weekly meal plan. Oh, but it was so good. I ate the leftovers for lunch three days in a row with a large green salad and was so deliriously smitten. Not only is this recipe easy to throw together but the method for cooking the chicken in 1/4 inch water is genius. The chicken came out super tender and flavorful. Once cooked, the chicken gets chopped into bite sized pieces and tossed together in a bowl with fluffy rice, sweet golden raisins, herby green onions, a tart lemon dressing, and toasted pine nuts for one delicious combination of flavors.

Sides: Roasted Broccoli + Green Salad with Vinaigrette


Monday

Everyday Meatballs (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

I love these meatballs. They’re homey and simply flavored with garlic and parsley. There’s no searing involved so there’s little mess. These meatballs cook quickly and cheerfully in pot of simmering tomato sauce.

Sides: Sautéed kale with butter, salt and red wine vinegar + Green Salad with Vinaigrette + frozen green beans (for the little one)


Tuesday

Nordic Winter Vegetable Soup (recipe from Trina Hahnemann @ Food & Wine)

This is one hearty soup. Almost too hearty for me. The flavor profile was fine but I wanted a little more oomph from it. I think it lacked an acidic element. I’m glad I tried it but I probably won’t repeat it.

Sides: Sliced Table Rye Bread + Smoked Gouda Cheese


Wednesday

Christmas Shopping (the deals were great!) + Leftovers


Thursday

Pumpkin Scones (Recipe from Rachel-Snachel at Genious Kitchen)

I made pumpkin scones for breakfast Thanksgiving morning and they were a big hit. Not too pumpkin-y and just ever so sweetly spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Delicious indeed. Bear especially liked them…

The following recipes were my contribution to our Thanksgiving table. I love both of them and suggest you keep them in mind for next year.

3-Ingredient Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans (recipe from Anna Stockwell @ Epicurious)

Caramelized Onion Jam (recipe from Hugh Acheson @ Food & Wine)


Friday

Taco night. I always have to have a little spice the day after Thanksgiving. Our favorite taco seasoning blend is the Original Taco Seasoning from Penzeys.

Sides: Corn with Butter & Salt + Red Pepper Strips + Leftover salad from Thanksgiving


Saturday

Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower “Shawarma” (recipe from Alexandra Stafford @ Food 52)

The first repeat blog recipe. We had company for dinner and I wanted to make something that I knew everyone would like. This is always a hit! Be sure to warm your naan and to make extra yogurt sauce for dipping.

Sides: Roasted carrots + Green Salad with Vinaigrette + Ice Cream (dessert)


(Nov 12th, 2017 – Nov 18th, 2017)

Inching Back

I’m going to title this post “Inching Back,” because we’ve had some good meals this week (recipes to come next week). Also, it’s a Holiday weekend, which makes everyone happy. But! Enough about that for now. Tonight is Black Friday. Joel is out; Bear is in bed; I’ve got online shopping to do! Lets make this post quick.

The Menu


Sunday

We love this recipe for Quick Beef and Vegetable Soup. The original calls for potatoes, instead of zucchini, but I like my version better. Also, I’ve added lemon juice, because it really brightens up the flavor. I wouldn’t make this soup without it. Unfortunately, my jar of tomatoes had a crack so I had to leave them out. The soup is much prettier with tomatoes.

Quick Beef and Vegetable Soup – Adapted (recipe from Cook’s Country)

Ingredients

1 lb ground hamburger
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 – inch pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, sliced lengthwise and cut into half moons
6 oz green beans, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1 – inch lengths (frozen green beans also work great!)
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Instructions

  1. Add the first six ingredients to a large Dutch oven and cook over medium- high heat. Use a spoon to break up the hamburger and cook until the hamburger is cooked through.
  2. Add the chicken broth and the tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat until the soup is simmering, and cook covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and the green beans and cook, uncovered, until the soup starts to thicken and the vegetables are tender (about 10-12 minutes).
  4. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, and additional salt and pepper (if needed).

Best Cornbread Recipe (recipe from Cook’s Illustrated via Brown Eyed Baker)

Delicious cornbread every time!

Side: Green salad (not pictured)


Monday

Curried Chicken Drumsticks (recipe from Brad Leon @ Bon Appetit via Epicurious)

Delicious chicken. Wrong rice noodles. Buy the thinner rice noodles.

Sides: Sautéed Swiss Chard + Sliced Cucumbers


Tuesday

Cauliflower + Brown Rice Gratin (recipe from Sprouted Kitchen)

This recipe sounded lovely to me, and I usually have a lot of luck with recipes from this site, but it really lacked flavor. I would add additional salt and additional Italian seasoning.

Sides: Green Salad with my favorite Vinaigrette for Green Salad + Roasted Carrots


Wednesday

Ack! Horrible picture, but great (easy) recipe.

Broccoli Bolognese with Orecchiette (recipe from Adam Rapoport @ Bon Appetit)

Sides: Steamed Asparagus


Thursday

Mustard Roasted Salmon

Don’t waste your time. Yes, I overcooked the salmon, but there was no flavor.

Sides: Leftover Cauliflower + Brown Rice Gratin & Roasted Kabocha Squash

Roasted Kabocha Squash (recipe from In Sonnet’s Kitchen)

 


Friday

Out – Dinner at Zelo + Trevor Noah at the Orpheum


Saturday

Pizza party at my Sister-in-law’s house to celebrate my Mother-in-law’s birthday. It was so delicious.


(Nov 12th, 2017 – Nov 18th, 2017)

Cooking… Because I Have To

Cooking as of late has felt like an exhausting chore to me. I’m uninspired and I’m tired. We’ve been busy. So busy. Joel has had many evening commitments over the past few months and I’ve been pulling single parent duty more often than I’m used to. In truth, dinner is the most stressful time of the day. Food flies across the kitchen, I burn myself, and I battle to convince Bear to sit down at the dinner table without another tantrum. Plating food and snapping pictures certainly adds to the chaos. I look back at the pictures each week and think, ugh, that doesn’t even look appetizing! Sigh. Such is the ebb and flow of family life and the dinner hour.

The Menu


Sunday

Chef John’s Swedish Meatballs (recipe from Chef John @ allrecipes)

Quick and Easy Green Beans (recipe from Robin Bashinsky @ Cooking Light via MyRecipes)

We enjoyed this meal tremendously.


Monday

Chicken and Rice Casserole (recipe from Food Network Kitchen @ Food Network)

A family favorite. Be sure to follow the recipe exactly as it is written. Don’t get all cheeky and think you can sneak in extra chicken or broccoli. Dinner will not turn out well for you.

Side: Peas


Tuesday

Slow- Simmered Pinto Beans (recipe from Bon Appetempt)

A personal favorite. I love love love this recipe. I always add extra lime, and sometimes extra salt, to taste.  Serve the beans with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips

Side: Roasted delicata squash with salt and pepper


Wednesday

Potato Basil Frittata (recipe from Ina Garten @ Food Network)

The most delicious vegetarian frittata I’ve come across. Great for brunch or dinner.

Sides: Steamed cauliflower, toast with butter, and sliced red pepper


Thursday

Leftovers.


Friday

Baked Orange Chicken (recipe from Crème de La Crumb)

Cauliflower Fried Rice (recipe from Tiffani Thiessen @ Cooking Channel)

Alas, no picture of the chicken or the cauliflower. Stress was at an all time high. Both recipes were delicious, but I probably wouldn’t serve them together again. Too many competing flavors.

Easy Sugar Cookies (recipe from Stephanie @ allrecipes)

This recipe for sugar cookies was easy. Not a home run. I like the suggestion to add chocolate mint candies. Doesn’t that sound delicious?


Saturday

Pizza party with our niece & nephew + a totally awesome My Little Ponies movie from the 1980s.


(Nov 5th, 2017 – Nov 11th, 2017)

Halloween 2017

Halloween 2017 was a blast. We kicked off the festivities on Sunday with trick of treating on Grand Avenue with Bear’s cousins and grandparents. Later that evening, we carved a pumpkin. Coincidentally, it was the first pumpkin Joel and I have carved together and we’ve been an item since 2007. On Tuesday, we hosted a pizza party for the extended family and some friends before setting out to trick of treat. Bear dressed as her idol: Doc McStuffins. She was the cutest doctor I’ve ever seen.

The Menu


Sunday

Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower Shwarma (recipe from Alexandra Stafford via Food52)

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. Spiced chicken, soft naan, lemony yogurt sauce. I could eat this every week. I love the flavor profile and it comes together so easily. Be sure to make extra of the simple yogurt sauce for dipping.

Side: Braised green cabbage with butter, salt, and white-wine vinegar to taste


Monday

Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots (recipe from Bon Appetit Test Kitchen)

Spare yourself. This was not good. We took one for the team. Did you notice that nowhere in the recipe does it call for salt and pepper? Yeah, I didn’t either until it was too late.

Sides: Rice cooked in chicken stock + Roasted brussels sprouts


Tuesday

Halloween (Pizza Party!)

 


Wednesday

Cornbread Tamale Pie (recipe from The Joy of Cooking via Jennifer Steinhauer @ The New York Times)

Blek! What is this? Awful. Awful. Awful. I was initially drawn to this recipe because it included a recipe for the cornbread topping. So many other recipes online for tamale pie call for a boxed cornbread topping, and I was not about to buy that when I knew I could make my own. If, after this, you still feel inclined to make this recipe, double the cornbread. My cornbread covered half the pie.

Sides: Mixed lettuces with vinaigrette


Thursday

Leftovers. Sad tamale pie leftovers.


Friday

Crispy Skillet Turkey Burgers (Adapted) (recipe from Cook’s Country magazine (December/January 2017))

After three less than desirable meals (in a row!), I knew I needed to make an old stand by. Crispy turkey burgers! I don’t follow the actual cooking instructions, so I’ve included my own below. Also, we eat our sans the bun.

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup) – note: Cook’s Country calls for Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Salt &  1/2 teaspoon Pepper – note: Cook’s Country does not specify quantities
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Hamburger buns

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine turkey, panko, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and salt & pepper in a bowl and mix together with your hands.
  3. Form the turkey into four 3/4-inch-thick- patties.
  4. Heat oil in a large 10-in oven proof skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
  5. Add patties and cook two minutes per each side.
  6. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F.

I always forget how long I cook these in the oven, but I think it is generally around 8 – 10 minutes. Also, Dijon mustard is delicious on these patties.

Sides: Braised swiss chard with salt, butter, and red-wine vinegar  + roasted sweet potato cubes

Apple Pear Compote (recipe from Susan Herman Loomis)

I absolutely love Susan Herman Loomis. On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town is one of my all time favorite food memoirs. It’s delicious. Last year, on a trip up to Grand Marais, MN, I devoured In a French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France . One of the recipes included in the book is for an Apple Pear Compote. What struck me initially as most intriguing was the fact that this recipe does not call for added sugar. It calls for apples, pears, vanilla bean, and water. That’s it, and it’s absolutely scrumptious. I will never buy applesauce again. Scouts honor.

Note: The ingredient list for this recipe posted at the On Rue Tatin website only calls for 2 lbs apples and no pears. I think this is a typo. The recipe in the book calls for 4 lbs apples and 2 lbs pears. Also, I believe the recipe in the book asks you to split the vanilla bean, which I have always done. Finally, I rather like a chunky compote. I do not strain or puree mine.

 


Saturday

Chicken Quesadillas (recipe from Gourmet (August 2003) via Epicurious)

Ooh, these quesadillas were good. The garlic and the onion make all the difference. Instead of buying a rotisserie chicken, I poached chicken breasts using Sara Moulton’s method and shredded the meat. Also, when making quesadillas, I always find it necessary to weight down my quesadilla in the pan with an iron skillet on top of it.

Sides: Roasted Beets + Brussels Sprouts (recipe below)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey (recipe from Once Upon a Chef)

Not a great pairing with quesadillas but this was good.

 


(Oct 29th, 2017 – Nov 4th, 2017)

The First Snow

Last week marked the first official snow of the 2017-2018 winter season. We were pretty stoked around here. Our neighborhood looked like a winter wonderland. The neighbor kids were out every morning for three days straight sledding. Bear built her first snowman and delighted in catching snowflakes on her tongue. Joel worked on fixing up our mudroom with his dad. I brought out our winter outerwear from storage.

The Menu


Sunday

Ribollita (recipe from 101 CookBooks)

Sunday was an especially memorable day for me. With Joel out of town, Bear and I had been at my parent’s house since Friday evening. We woke up Sunday morning to my mom’s whole wheat pancakes and we spent a lazy morning around the house before packing up the car and saying goodbye. On our way home, we made an impromptu stop at Centennial Lakes in Edina to walk around and enjoy the beautiful autumnal weather. Candleberry on the Lakes was open at the pavilion so we meandered in to look at holiday décor. Bear wanted a Thanksgiving magnet with a turkey on it. For a $1.40, I couldn’t say no. After dropping off our purchases at the car, we swung in to Whole Foods to purchase a freshly baked round of sourdough bread to make ribollita for dinner. I’ve always loved Heidi Swanson’s recipe for ribollita. It’s not only chalk full of healthy elements (vegetables!, beans!, bread!), but it also tastes delicious. Fresh lemon zest makes every spoonful addicting. We ate ours with slices of smoked gouda cheese, but I also love to serve ribollita topped with a soft mountain of shredded parmesan cheese.

Side: Sliced smoked gouda cheese


Monday

Chicken in Milk (recipe from Jamie Oliver)

Ok, this is seriously my new favorite recipe for chicken. I bookmarked it years ago and finally had the chance to make it in my new 3 1/2 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven. This recipe is a wonder. It calls for cooking a whole chicken snugly in a pot of milk with 2 lemons, 10 cloves of garlic, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, and a handful of sage. Somehow all of the flavorings mingle together to produce a fall-off-the-bone tender chicken that is sweetly spiced and aromatic. It made for a very happy Monday evening in our house. After reading the reviews at Jamie Oliver’s site, as well as this review from The Kitchn, I made a few adjustments. In step 4, I returned the chicken to the pot breast side down. I cooked it for half the time with the cover on and then flipped the chicken, breast side up, and finished cooking it uncovered. I had hoped to serve the chicken with this recipe for mashed rutabagas but my rutabagas were bad (sad emoji).

Sides: Mixed frozen green beans & peas + toasted sourdough bread with butter + lettuce with vinaigrette


Tuesday

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Breadcrumb Topping (Recipe from Kay Chun @ Food & Wine)

This was great and quick to prepare. We ended up at my in-laws for dinner, so I doubled the recipe but only had 1/2 pound brussels sprouts. I threw in some kale to make up for the other half pound, but I think this would have been even better with all brussels sprouts.

Sides: Steamed asparagus

Cooks Illustrated Molasses Spice Cookies (recipe from With Two Spoons)

A few posts ago I mentioned that I’m not a baker. Also, I seize up when I think about dumping in more than a cup of sugar into a recipe. This recipe not only required me to bake, but it also required me to dump in more than a cup of sugar. Yikes! But, what kind of mother and wife would I be if I didn’t provide a few treats every now and then? While others may consider this a Christmas cookie, growing up, my mother always served glazed molasses spice cookies in the fall. Thus, this cookie falls squarely in the fall baking category for me.


Wednesday

Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

This recipe for farro is incredible. It is so flavorful with pickled red onion, sweet butternut squash, and salty pepitas. I served it with leftover Chicken in Milk, but this receipe is a meal in itself. Deb calls for 3 ounces ricotta salata or another salty cheese, but I urge you to try this with crumbled plain goat cheese. The goat cheese melts from the heat of the farro and settles in to pockets of salty creaminess amongst the sturdy farro and tender squash.

Sides: Leftover Chicken in Milk + steamed cauliflower

 


Thursday

Bouchons au Thon (recipe from Orangette)

Tuna. One of the prominent flavors of my young days. I’ve always loved tuna. Tuna on crackers, tuna sandwiches, tuna pasta, and TUNA MELTS. These Bouchons au Thon taste exactly like a tuna melt, minus the bread. This recipe is a keeper and particularly perfect for toddlers. We ate ours with butternut squash soup, because I had half of a butternut squash leftover from dinner the previous evening. I was short on time and tried this easy recipe from Whole Foods. It was ok, but not my favorite. I tend to prefer apple in my butternut squash soup.

Sides: Butternut squash soup + salad with vinaigrette


Friday

Burgers! We spent the day in the snow and we were starving by the time we fried up burgers on the stovetop and sat down to eat. I didn’t get a picture this time, but we make burgers on the regular so I will plan to post our favorite recipe at a later time.


Saturday

Steakhouse Steaks (recipe from Ina Garten @ Food Network)

I absolutely love the flavor of steaks coated in salt and pepper, seared on the stovetop, topped with a generous pat of butter, and finished in the oven. This is the only way I cook fillet mignon. To keep things simple, we ate ours with April Bloomfield’s delicious Yorkshire puddings. The Spotted Pig is one of our favorite restaurants in New York City and I’m always keen to try one of April’s recipes.

Yorkshire Pudding (recipe from April Bloomfield via Jeff Gordinier @ The New York Times)

Sides: Steamed broccoli

Joel and I ended Saturday on the couch eating molasses spice cookies and watching the last episode of season 7 Game of Thrones. Say is isn’t so I have to wait a whole year for season 8!


(Oct 22nd, 2017 – Oct 28th, 2017)