Well, the holidays are over and we have all somehow survived despite several bouts of vomiting, some slight fevers, general ickiness and freezing cold weather. So cold, we couldn’t have left the house even if we had been healthy enough to do so. If I went into more detail it would sound awful but it really was mostly pleasant with moments of insanity, stir-craziness and breakdowns. Oh, and our heater broke at one point. If not for my husband, I don’t know if I would have made it. Thanks love!
When everything around you is going crazy it is nice to have a few staples to fall back on. I have to tell you- I made so many of my blog recipes over the last two weeks. It made me happy to realize I’m not just asking you guys to try these things. We really eat them. A lot. And, they are really good. Some things I tweaked a little more (because that almost always happens) but others are fine just the way they are.
I made most of Christmas dinner for my immediate family on Christmas Day. One thing I made was Ina’s Basil Green Goddess Dressing. There is so much flavor in that dressing you really want it to be the star. I served it simply by pouring it over little wedges of bibb lettuce then sprinkled on some tomatoes. I made the dressing, cleaned the lettuce and cut into wedges a day early so it didn’t add any stress or last minute prep on the actual day. Especially since I had my mom plate it for me. I also made roasted asparagus as one of the Christmas dinner sides. Easy, delicious, healthy and takes about 5-10 in the oven tops. Throw them in the oven while you are getting all the rest of the food on the table and the timing works out perfectly.
There is so much “heavy” food consumed over the holidays that I made Italian Tuna Pasta for dinner one night when I felt like we needed a lighter, healthier meal. It is still comforting and filling but tastes so fresh with all those delicious herbs. I ran out of gemelli pasta so I just used fusilli that I had in the pantry. It was delicious and I think might actually “grab” more of the tuna. I might convert full time. I might not. Good to know I have options though.
On New Year’s Eve we went to a friends house for dinner while all the kids stayed at our house with the sitter. I made Creamy Italian Pasta for the kids’ dinner. I made the simplest version by just adding already chopped pancetta, mushrooms and peas. I made it early and left it in the pot, in the fridge, for the sitter to heat back up on the stove when they were ready for dinner. Easy Peasy.
To our friends house I brought Au Gratin Potatoes, Steak and Sticky Toffee Pudding. They provided so many delicious appetizers we didn’t even need dinner. They also made the best crab legs I have ever had in my life. Good thing my dad doesn’t have a computer or he would be so offended. We made a bag of caesar salad that no one ate because… why would you when there is crab! I mean, look at that plate. It is perfection.
I learned that potatoes for the Au Gratin are the perfect thickness when I use my box grater, better than on the mandoline, steak is still delicious even though my husband obviously flipped it more than once (hence those perfect grill marks) and Toffee Sauce combines better when you melt the butter and brown sugar together first then add the cream. It’s also awesome with a big splash of bourbon at the end. And, make the cake in advance then broil with the sauce right before you serve.
After a week of illness and freezing cold weather I couldn’t wait to lay around our germ-free home on New Year’s Day with a big pot of soup on the stove. I made Loaded Potato Soup and it was perfect for a lazy day. I did increase the amount of chicken stock and reduce the amount of cheese. I really liked it that way.
We also made Naan Pizzas for dinner that night. E made a traditional red sauce, bacon and mozzarella cheese. A made a more unique fig jam and mozzarella pizza. Both were delicious (and I added bacon to a little part of A’s pizza- fantastic).
I hope you all had a great winter break that was a little less eventful than ours.
To everyone in the winter bomb cyclone nor’easter, please stay safe. We have been very cold here but it is nothing compared to what you are dealing with! Hoping you will have a warm(er) day soon, looks like Monday might reach the 30’s. Break out the spring wardrobe.
Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy 2018!