Thursday, December 28, 2023

It Won't Be Long Til Happiness Steps Up to Greet Me

Leftover Casserole
A leftover turkey casserole layering stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, shredded turkey and cheese.  This was incredibly satisfying and after cooling a bit, settled and cut into nice slices that could be served with extra gravy, like an after Christmas, Thanksgiving Lasagna, if you will.  This was an excellent way to use much of the leftover stuffing, something I always have too much of.  It would be good to add a bag of frozen vegetables to one of the layers, like peas, corn or spinach.  It's super filling so one slice is enough but it was also great for lunch box meals and I was able to freeze portions for a rainy day. 

Rains have replaced snow storms this year and the water was the highest I've seen when I checked the area behind work, even flooded a bit in Red Hook.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Happiness and Cheer

If there is anything better than a special holiday dinner it's the plate you wish you would have eaten the day before if you hadn't been so over it by the time it was all ready.  And better than that, Holiday leftover snacks heated up and presented on a platter with the Yule log burnin' on repeat!  


Sunday, December 24, 2023

Oh That We Could Always See

Christmas Eve Dinner
Crock pot mashed potatoes, Giblet Gravy, Herb Roasted Turkey, Citrus Cranberry relish, Sausage Cornbread dressing, Green Bean Casserole, Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprout with walnuts and garlic
Traditional Green Bean Bake
Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Ye Ole Herb Buttered Roasted Turkey
morning prep of stuffing with mushrooms and herbs
Snacks of Pesto Shrimp Toasties - Delightful!
Too tired to settle on a recipe, I invented these quick and super easy bites.  Simply cut a baguette into coins, spread on a baking sheet, brush with pesto, add a bit of Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese, 1-2 uncooked shrimp on each simply seasoned with salt and red pepper flakes.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and finish with drops of fresh pesto and squeeze of lemon. These are highly
 addictive.  It's okay to use prepared pesto to save time like I did. 

Jalapeno Chorizo bites and fresh hot sauce
I make these for most holidays because in my opinion that cheap little pepper becomes infused with high-end taste when roasted.  Split in half, (par boil for just a minute to soften) drain and dry.  Brush the insides of the peppers with olive oil, lightly salt and pepper beforehand.  Then add a mixture of shredded cheese of choice (mixing two is better), tiny diced chorizo, minced garlic and onion, salt and pepper.  Into a 350 degree oven until soft and bubbly.  Double down tip:  To fancy these up, you could drizzle on crema and top with sprinkles of Cotija cheese and cilantro. Serve lime wedges on the side for squeezing.  Leave the tail on for picking up like a spoon.  
When motivated by special food, it's surprising how resourceful and energetic one can be. 
Pecan Pie with freshly Whipped Cream

Saturday, December 23, 2023

It'll Be Just Like Starting Over

Pecan Pie!
After being robbed of my Thanksgiving day feast, I decided to have it on Christmas.  The night before I prepped some of the side dishes including baking this pie and cornbread.
Buttery Skillet Cornbread for the stuffing
Bloody Mary's for P - P also started celebrations early by enjoying beers and a Bloody Mary 
Morning Avocado toast with poached eggs - a sunny way to start the day!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Ooh Baby Just You Shut Your Mouth

Cabbage Stir Fry with Farro
Bastardizing Asian techniques by stir frying Spicy Italian sausage, red apple slices, garlic, onion and cabbage on a fairly high heat.  When cabbage is able to get a little brown, it becomes a whole different Sally.  It becomes sexy, like meat.  Soy sauce, Chili oil, and Sesame oil bring this together.  The apple brings the right amount of sweet to cut through all the savory.
The chewy farro is great to mix with each bite.  Fresh green onion would have been good for presentation and to add a fresh element.
This is also one of those great lunch box meals the next day for work.  

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Locked in My Mind They'll Always Be

Confetti Chili
I know I'm not the first clown to put corn in their chili but I am planting my flag in this dish to claim my invention of the term Confetti Chili as it is filled with chopped red, yellow and green bell peppers, along with yellow corn, cilantro, tomatoes and two kinds of beans (pinto and black).  This makes for a colorful healthier soup.  Texture is important and I've come to realize I love giant bites of a variety of them in my mouth at the same time.  

Another signature dish - poached egg over cheese slice of pizza.  

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hoodoo Voodoo, Chooka Chooky Choo Choo

Sister's lake view in Colorado
Stewie Chicken Vegetable Soup

Since I grew up understanding that soups were more medicinal than say, just regular dinner, I've always known they could have special healing powers with the right mix of concoctions. Menudo for example, being the ultimate cure for hangovers and lethargy.  For winter blahs and general body blues, this broth from the vegetables or the chicken is rich in vitamins and nutrients and is the perfect base.  I'm not a fan of removing all the fat.  Your gut tells you when you need a power boost of those fortifiers. Sometimes a single serving of steamed broccoli simply won't do.  You need a multitude of veg working together, along with some heat and acidity, fat and hot liquid. Mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions, cabbage, potatoes, sweet peppers and peas went into this chooky brew.  Salt, pepper, oregano and a splash of vinegar is all that is needed. 
The broth was first made with the seared chicken, onion, heads of garlic, carrot tops, bay leaves, pepper corns and cilantro stems and simmered until the meat is able to be easily taken off the bone, then strained.
Chicken legs would not be my first choice but that's what I had to work with and I worked it and it worked because in this case, it was used mainly for it's bones to infuse the broth.  The vegetables were the main active ingredient to this medicine show.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

I Laughed at All of Your Jokes

The man made dinner.  Once in a great while, the other live human in the house will cook and when he does it's a grand treat.  It's unclear if the effort it takes to get him to do it is worth it but I'm not a good burger maker and that's something he does very well.  
My sister's and I joke about how we were the last of the generation of women that held jobs but also cook, clean and keep a house pretty much solely, outside of small tasks performed by the partner such as taking out garbage and changing light bulbs.  In turn, we were blessed with the last of the husbands that take it all for granted and somehow believe that they deserve it. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

I Forgot to Be Your Lover

Keep that fire burnin' girl!
Zuppa Toscana Lightened
Original Olive Garden copycat recipe
This soup is perfect for a cold day because it gives all the feels.  Soft potatoes in rich chicken-y broth, sweet Italian sausage, tons of garlic, carrots, kale or spinach.  To lighten it up slightly,  I left out the bacon but used bacon fat to saute the vegetables. I also omitted the cup of heavy cream and opted for a lighter broth.  You can thicken up the soup by smashing the potatoes with your wooden spoon against the side of the pot.  No flavor is lost.  This soup is delicious!

The spinach is thrown in at the end just to wilt, but of course if using kale, put it in sooner.
During the winter we can forget to take care of our bodies.  We power through the holidays and all that comes with that.  Then we come back to ourselves, bloated, low energy and tired.  We have to keep finding ways to keep our spirits uplifted while remembering, our bodies are our dear companions and must be treated as a temple and wise sage. Most times they know best what is needed, even if we have other plans.  Lightening our meals definitely helps that cause.