Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Christmas, Classic, Comfort Food, Cooking for one, Cooking for Two, Dinner, Family Friendly, Healthy, Holiday, Homemade, Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Pantry Staples, Potatoes, Quick cooking, Turkey, Veggies, Winter

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

Merry Christmas readers!

I don’t know about you but I’m pooped!  Every year I tell myself that I’m going to simplify the holidays but then somehow one party turns into three, the number of presents to wrap keeps growing, I’ll bake just one more batch of cookies, the holidays in non-profit world keep getting busier (not that I’m complaining about all the people we’re helping!), traveling gets more hectic.  And then all of a sudden it’s over and I realize I didn’t stop and remember the reason I feel compelled to do all that to start with.

I’m challenging myself over the next couple days before Christmas to slow down, enjoy time with family, remember to take a little “me” time and don’t forget to breathe.  One way I’ll do that is to relax and enjoy some of the little traditions we do this week.

One of my absolute favorite things to do during the holidays is curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa (and homemade marshmallows), a fuzzy blanket, and my husband and watch classic Christmas movies and cartoons.  Each time I settle down to watch Charlie Brown, White Christmas or Claymation Christmas I feel a calm settle on me.  I get super sappy and nostalgic when I watch those things.  I remember the childlike wonder and amazement of the Christmas season and at least for a few minutes all is right in the world.

My very favorite Christmas cartoon is How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Not only do I love everything Dr. Seuss, I love the reminder that Christmas isn’t about things and being busy, it’s about the quality time we spend with family and friends celebrating the season.

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Let’s all take our queue from Mr. Grinch and Whoville and remember…

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.


Hash is a great way to use up leftover meat and veggies that are hanging in the fridge around the holidays.  I love to make hash and every time I do I can’t help but think of the Grinch slinking through Cindy Lou’s house stealing everything including the Who hash!

This hash combines sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and homemade turkey chorizo for a filling breakfast fit for a Christmas morning full of opening presents!!

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 Then he slunk to the ice box. He took the Whos’ feast, he took the Who pudding, he took the roast beast. He cleaned out that ice box as quick as a flash. Why, the Grinch even took their last can of Who hash.

Image result for how the grinch stole christmas who hash

The Grinch’s Who Hash

Olive oil
Garlic
1 cup red onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
2 cups sweet potato, pre-cooked (this is a great way to use leftover roasted potatoes)
2 cups brussel sprouts, sliced thin
Homemade chorizo (recipe below)
Fried eggs
To finish: salsa, cilantro, cotija cheese (all optional)

Turkey Chorizo
1 lb. ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Splash of apple cider vinegar

To make chorizo: Mix all spices and apple cider vinegar together to make a paste.  Mix it with the turkey until thoroughly combined.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add a big glug of olive oil and let heat. Add chorizo and cook 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pan.

Heat a little more olive oil in the hot pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add onion, bell pepper and poblanos and cook until slightly charred around the edges. Add sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts and cook another 5 minutes or so until all the veggies are cooked through and a little crispy around the edges. Add the chorizo back to the pan and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: top the hash with two eggs any way you like them. I prefer over easy with all their yolky goodness. Top with a little of your favorite salsa, cilantro and a sprinkling of cotija cheese. Yum!

Source: Ruth’s Table

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch / You’re the king of sinful sots / Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots / Mr. Gri-inch! / You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

I bet if the Grinch started his day with this hash he wouldn’t have been so Grinchy!  🙂

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Posted in Asian flare, Comfort Food, Cooking for one, Date Night, One Pot Meals, Quick cooking, Restuarant Knock-off, Vegetarian

Date Night In

I miss my hubby.  He’s been gone for a week and a half and will be gone for another week.  I won’t lie, that sucks.  😦  We get into a routine with him being gone every weekend but these long stretches can be difficult.  Thankfully he doesn’t have to do them very often.

This is why I live for date nights.  I mean really live for them.  After almost 10 years of marriage to a travelling husband date nights are a pretty big deal!  When my husband is actually home on the weekends or random nights during the week we like to get spiffy and hit the town.  There are lots of new restaurants around that are getting rave reviews (which I’m sure we’ll check out at some point) but we tend to hit up our old favorites because our date nights are few and far between!

One of our go-to places is Suzy Wong’s House of Yum.  If you are in the Nashville area and want a cool place to grab Asian fusion before going to get cocktails (which is what we ALWAYS do on date night) this is the place!

So what do we do during those really looooong stretches of time with no weekends off and very little free time?  We have date nights at home!  I will say I am quite proud of this knock off version of my favorite dish from Suzy’s.  I first time we ever went there our waiter suggested it to me.  I was skeptical at first but now it’s all I ever get.  Lesson: listen to your server.  They know best!

Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Chili Fried Rice

Serves 2

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • Garlic
  • 3 cups cooked, cold white rice
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame, shelled and thawed
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut (sweet or unsweet, your preference)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Spoonful sambal olek (however much you like)
  • 2 eggs
  • Thin sliced scallions for garnish

In a small mixing bowl, mix together soy sauce, brown sugar and sambal olek, set aside.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir fry onions and garlic for about 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly.  Add rice and stir fry 2-3 minutes or until the rice starts to get crispy.  Add tomatoes and coconut, stir.  Add soy sauce mixture and stir fry another 2-3 minutes.  Portion into 2 serving dishes.

Heat a little more oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat (I usually just use the pan I fried the rice in, remove it from the stove for a minute to cool it off).  Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until over easy.  You want the yolk to still be runny.  Place one egg on top of each bowl of rice.

Garnish with sliced scallions and enjoy!

Posted in Apple, Autumn, Comfort Food, Cooking for one, Fall, Pumpkin, Shrimp

Adventures in Gourds Part #1 – Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn’t keep her,
 Put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her, very well.

What?!  This is one of the many nursery rhymes that sort of disturbs me…I’m sure there’s some deep philosophical meaning but I just don’t get it…

Anyway…

I. Love. Pumpkin. ♥  I’m sure you’re all expecting me to break out pumpkin cheesecake (I do make a fantastic one!) or a pumpkin roll or bread or some sweet treat when you hear me say pumpkin.  Well, this time you would be wrong!  Why do we put pumpkin in a box?  Do you think this gourd longs to become a pumpkin pie?  I would say the answer is definitely no.  Not when there are so many delicious things it can become!  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a big piece of pumpkin pie with a tower of whipped cream but the possibilities are really endless.

I encourage you again to step out of your comfort zone.  Try something new: new flavors, new techniques, whatever, just try it.

I’m making it my mission over the next few weeks to expand the horizons of Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater.  I wonder what he would think of my first creation…Pumpkin Risotto with Blackened Shrimp and Apple Ginger Tarragon Salsa.  Eat that Peter!

Pumpkin Risotto with Blacked Shrimp and Apple Ginger Tarragon Salsa

Risotto (serves 2 with leftovers for risotto cakes, recipe follows, or 4 large portions):

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large finely chopped shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling, I’ve made that mistake before!)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook 1 minute or until tender, stirring constantly. Add garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until rice is slightly toasted.  Add wine; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly or until liquid has evaporated. Stir in 1 cup broth mixture; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 33 minutes total).  I always taste along the way to check the rice.  Stir in pumpkin during with the last of the stock. Stir in cheese and remaining ingredients.

Shrimp (serves 2, can be doubled):

  • 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • Blackening seasoning (I made my own with cumin, chipotle powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper)
  • Olive oil

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Coat shrimp with blackening seasoning.  Add shrimp to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes (depending on the size of your shrimp it could be a little longer) or until translucent.

Apple Ginger Tarragon Salsa (serves 2, can be doubled):

  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon, minced
  • Ginger, grated (amount depends on how much you like ginger)
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and serve on top of shrimp and risotto.

Don’t be afraid of the flavor combination or the thought of standing over the pan stirring for half an hour.  It’s worth it, trust me.

Doesn’t that look delicious?!  I bet if Peter’s wife had this recipe he wouldn’t have put her in the pumpkin shell.  Just sayin’…

Bonus recipe time!  Sorry there is no picture…they were so good I scarfed them down before I even thought about it!

Pumpkin Risotto Cakes

  • Leftover pumpkin risotto, chilled
  • Olive oil
  • Leftover shrimp & apple salsa OR mixed greens tossed with olive oil & lemon

Divide risotto into equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes. Carefully turn patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and patties.

Garnish with leftover shrimp & apple salsa or top with a mixed green salad for a light lunch/dinner.

Posted in Comfort Food, Cooking for one, Date Night, Pasta, Quick cooking, Shrimp, Spinach

Dinner For One

Dinner for one is a common theme in my home.  I can say that’s probably the most challenging aspect of a life with a travelling husband.

There are some perks to him being gone though.  I can watch as many girlie movies on Netflix as I want.  It makes pedicures with my best friend easier to schedule.  I can sprawl out in the middle of the bed without repercussions.  See?  It’s not so bad.  And then there’s the anticipation of him coming home.  It’s great to catch up on each other’s weeks and make special date night plans.  I think we appreciate each other much more when we only have a few days together each week.  It makes those petty arguments few and far between.  We have time to miss each other.  It certainly keeps the spark alive after almost 9 years!

Back to the challenge: what’s for dinner when I’m flying solo?  I could swing through any number of drive thrus on my way home from work but I would just feel gross and guilty after that and have to put in some extra miles at the gym.  I could make a big pot or casserole of something and eat it for three meals a day for a week but why torture myself?!  Then there’s the old standbys: scrambled eggs and toast or a bowl of cereal.  Yeah that’s boring but it will suffice in a pinch.  But why do I have to sacrifice my foodie cravings just because I’m cooking for one?  I don’t and I try really hard not to.

Over the years I’ve become a master at creating one serving pasta dishes.  You pretty much can’t go wrong with a big bowl of pasta, a salad, and some crusty bread for a solo meal. The great thing is, if it’s good enough, I can easily double the recipe and share it with my hubby when he gets home.  If it fails horribly, he never has to know!

Here is my latest creation.  I don’t do a lot of measuring when I cook for one.  Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to your taste.  Tonight it’s all about YOU!

Lemony Shrimp Florentine Linguine with Roasted Garlic

For roasted garlic:

  • 1 head garlic, peeled, cloves separated
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place garlic cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil.  Coat with olive oil, S&P.  Wrap foil around to make a package.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until fragrant.  Remove from oven and let cool.

For pasta:

  • 10 shrimp, peeled & deveined, tails removed
  • 3-4 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Handful chopped frozen loose leaf spinach, thawed
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • Splash of white wine, whatever you have on hand (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • Splash of cream to finish
  • Small handful parmesan cheese
  • Linguine, cooked according to package directions

In a medium non-stick skillet, heat olive oil.  Add shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes or until translucent.  Remove from pan.  Deglaze with wine and add garlic cloves and mash.  Add the lemon juice and cream and reduce to a simmer.  Add the shrimp back in along with the spinach.  Cook for about 2 minutes more or until shrimp are cooked through.  Finish with parmesan cheese.  Toss in the pasta and serve.

How easy was that?!  I like to cook but I’m all about quick and easy when I’m on my own.  It makes for fewer dishes to wash too!  Oh and don’t feel guilty about finishing off that bottle of wine either.  There’s no one home to catch you!  😉