If you are starting to panic because Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is closing in and you don't have a dinner plan yet, fear not - I have you covered! I have a round-up of all of my holiday recipes, from protein to sides to dessert, and even breakfast! So please enjoy and Happy Holidays!
You know, I tried to be good and blog about Thanksgiving stuff before the holiday so that it might actually be useful to somebody. I even made a few dishes in advance, but I didn't post about them in time. Oh well! Prepare for a lot of Thanksgiving type posts!
Anyway, we don't have any family where we live so we normally travel for Thanksgiving. But this year we decided to switch it up and travel for Christmas, so we were on our own for Turkey Day. We had originally planned to stay at the Inn at Little Washington (!!!), but Jasper got sick and we had to cancel. So then I had to figure out what to make at the last minute for 2 people - initiate panic mode. But I got my menu together on Monday, went to the grocery store on Tuesday (which was surprisingly not that crazy), and prepped on Wednesday.
I tried to cut it down to just the basics - turkey (breast only), stuffing (half recipe), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce (bought), and rolls (bought). It was still way too much food for 2 people so there are lots of leftover sandwiches in my future.
First up, the star - turkey. There was no way I was going to roast a whole turkey for 2 people, so I bought a whole breast on the bone. I definitely could have gone with a half breast, but now we have lots of sandwich meat! And guys, I don't want to brag or anything, but I am SO GOOD at turkey. Brined, air dried, stuffed with sage butter, rubbed with avocado oil, and started at a high temp - this baby was PERFECT. It was juicy and tender with crispy skin and super crazy flavorful. Love it. It's also really easy to carve - you just cut along the breast bone until the meat is released, then turn it on its side and slice.
I have been really busy and traveling a lot lately, I haven't really been cooking much. When I do, it is usually a quick throw together of some type of pasta, vegetable, and protein. This particular version consisted of tri-color cheese tortellini, heirloom tomato, yellow zucchini, spinach, turkey meatballs, goat cheese, and fresh herbs.
While the water for the pasta was boiling, I sliced the zucchini and chopped the tomato and an onion. I sauteed the onion and zucchini in some goat butter, then added the spinach and let it wilt. I added the cooked tortellini on top with a little pit of pasta water (which helped with the wilting), then threw in the fresh tomatoes and took it off the heat.
Lastly I added some frozen turkey meatballs that I had heated in the microwave (I know, I know - I was in a hurry okay?), some crumbled goat cheese, and some fresh basil and parsley. This was super easy and came together in less than 30 minutes. Plus there was enough other stuff going on to distract my husband from the vegetables - score!
Here's a quick little semi-homemade cold weather meal, perfect for weeknights. I took some store-bought fresh spinach fettuccine and thick sliced roasted turkey from the deli counter, and tossed them with a homemade pumpkin goat cheese alfredo. It's interesting enough to not be boring, but it's easy enough to not cause a headache.
The homemade part is the decadent sauce, which involves butter, garlic, cream, pumpkin, goat cheese, sage, and pumpkin pie spice. I wanted to do something a little different, which is why I went with turkey, but chicken would work just as well. And I like how the spinach pasta brought a little color to the table.
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Alfredo
adapted from Closet Kitchen
8 oz pasta of choice (I used fresh spinach fettuccine from the refrigerated section), cooked
8 oz cooked turkey or chicken, diced or shredded
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp sage, sliced thinly (or dried)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan, sage, and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
Add in the poultry and allow to warm through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with pasta and serve immediately.
You guys. This is my FAVORITE movie. Ever. Seriously. And it is the January pick for Food 'N Flix! I am so excited that I can't even... wait... wait a second... how is this a foodie movie? I mean they do eat food in it, but... whatever, I don't even care. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal thrown together for one day of detention - it's The Breakfast Club!
Mad props to Eliot's Eats for choosing this movie, but what a tough one to get a recipe inspiration from! In the end, I decided to make what I would want for lunch if I was stuck in detention. I mean, sushi would be great (looking at you, Molly Ringwald), but I can't make that at home yet. So instead I present to you the best sandwich in the world! To me, at least. Turkey, bacon, avocado, and a fried egg on toasted whole wheat bread slathered with roasted garlic aioli. Everything I want and nothing I don't, this is sandwich perfection. I'm calling it The Breakfast Club Sandwich because it has breakfast food like bacon and egg, and is kind of like a club sandwich. It's so clever, I'm dying.
I don't have a recipe for you (cuz it's a sandwich), but I want you to bust out your copy of The Breakfast Club and tell me what your detention meal would be. A classic pb&j, perhaps? Or something more exotic like cereal and pixie sticks with mayo?
Well, Folks - it's been a great year! I look forward to keep sharing delicious and (sometimes) healthy recipes with you in the years to come. Until then - here are my most pinned recipes of 2013!
#1 - This healthy version of Shepard's Pie with Sweet Potato and Turkey. I find this funny because the photos from this post are so bad!
#2 - Homemade Meat Ravioli - yum!
#3 - Homemade Spinach Ravioli. The raviolis are popular!
We alternate our Thanksgivings each year between our families in Texas and Oregon. This year was an Oregon year! (Read here for our last visit.) My in-laws live in beautiful Bend, OR - which is such a nice town. Check out the gorgeous mountain view from our hotel room! We stay at the Oxford hotel when we visit, and I definitely recommend it.
We had quite the spread, as usual. We were so excited to see each other that we spent all of Wednesday talking and didn't get any prep work done! So we didn't end up eating Thanksgiving dinner until actual dinner time, which was fine by us!
Here's Mom carving up that beautiful turkey! They made sure to get one that was humanely raised.
I'd like to give a special shout-out to this gorgeous salad made by my Chef sister-in-law. It was in keeping with her gluten- and dairy-free lifestyle and it was AWESOME. It had two kinds of raw kale (massaged to remove bitterness), roasted beets, fennel, toasted walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. I need to get the recipe from her for the yummy cashew dressing.
What was your favorite dish this year? Leave a link or recipe in the comments!
Okay - it is really hard to get an attractive picture of a shepherd's pie. The blogger I got this recipe from did cute little individual dishes and I thought "Ain't nobody got time for that!" and just did one big casserole. But after posting a very unattractive photo on facebook (that sparked a crazy battle between two friends, no joke) I know why she did it that way!
Photography aside, this dish is great. Lean but satisfying ground turkey mixed with a ton of veggies make a hearty filling.
Topped with delicious super-food sweet potatoes, this version of shepherd's pie is super healthy and super delicious.
Baking it in individual dishes is definitely cuter and neater, but if you don't care whether the topping gets mixed into the filling on the plate - you can totally do one big dish.
Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can't still make burgers. And they don't have to be the standard plain burgers, either. Here are two recipes that put a bit of a twist on the classic burger.
First up - a Middle Eastern inspired spiced lamb burger with a creamy yogurt sauce.
To make the patties, combine bread crumbs, lamb, turkey, onion, an egg, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. Use a grill pan, griddle, or electric grill to cook the burgers.
Make a sauce with yogurt, scallions, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, sugar, and pepper.
Place the burgers inside pitas and stuff with fresh tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.
For a Southwestern twist, we have Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayonnaise.
To form the burgers, simply combine ground turkey, jarred salsa verde, breadcrumbs, and an egg. Combine avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic to make a sauce. Cook the burgers on a griddle (turkey falls apart too much to grill) and top with Pepperjack cheese and the sauce. If they are in season - green tomatoes are also an excellent topper.
Ah, summer - hot weather, cool drinks, fresh produce, grilling. For me, summer is mostly about air conditioning and trying not to get sunburned; but there are times when I get excited about it - beach trips, BBQ's, long days. On one of these bouts of enthusiasm I decided that I wanted legit summer food, so here it is.