December Top 5

 

  1. Hope you all had happy holidays! Sometimes the holidays leave me more tired than when I started (but happy) so this new years weekend is my catch up rest weekend before starting the new year. No late night parties (low of 4 degrees here anyway for NYE) but PJs and a fireplace.
  2. My mom and I made homemade ravioli for Christmas dinner this year, and it actually worked!
  3. And made so much more. This time of year always re-invigorates my love for cooking.
  4. Well the month of December got away from me with blogging as it tends to do. My resolutions for 2019 are: to find an instagram aesthetic, go out and experience more of Denver, and cook and blog MORE.
  5. My 2018 resolution was to take better care of my skin. Many ultra trips later, I think I am successful if my adult hormonal acne would learn to check itself a bit more.

November Top 5

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  1. Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I cooked N and I a full meal  and had significantly fewer mishaps than last year. So that is a success.
  2. So we had lots and lots of leftovers. So a truly successful holiday.
  3. We also did the Turkey Trot in Denver before our big meal. Perfect weather for a turkey hat to keep me warm.
  4. 95% of my holiday shopping is done. So now I can just enjoy the holiday season.
  5. In non-holiday related news, in the middle watching Real Housewives reruns (mostly New Jersey), I finally watched Brooklyn 99 and love it. Binged all the seasons pretty quickly and now need a new show to binge

Thanksgiving Quesadillas

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Still have leftovers taking up precious space in your fridge? I know my fridge is bursting to the seams since we made a full Thanksgiving dinner for just two of us. So lots of leftovers, and some complaints from the peanut gallery that they need something other than Thanksgiving food.

Enter quesadillas. Now, I am a #1 fan of the Thanksgiving sandwich, and you definitely need to make sure to eat one to several of those in the days after Thanksgiving. But this quesadilla is a nice way to mix up the traditional Thanksgiving flavors to make it feel like you are eating something different. You can also mix and match what you want to put inside the quesadillas for any picky eaters complaining about the leftovers…

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THANKSGIVING QUESADILLAS

INGREDIENTS

Leftover turkey (dark meat reigns supreme here)
Cranberry sauce*
Pepper jack cheese, shredded
Chopped onion
Salsa*
Gravy
Tortillas
Butter

DIRECTIONS

Place desired amounts of turkey, cranberry sauce, pepper jack cheese, onion, and salsa on on tortilla. Season with salt and pepper (especially the turkey).

Heat pan to medium heat. Melt butter and rotate pan to coat. Place tortilla with filling down and top with another tortilla on top. Press down. Cook until golden brown, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Slice quesadilla and top with gravy and additional salsa.

*Use the well gelled sections/whole cranberries from your cranberry sauce. If you use cranberry sauce that is too runny, your tortillas can get soggy. Same for salsa, chunkier salsa works better in this.

Shake and Bake Chicken Nuggets

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What do you do when you are carving McDonald’s chicken nuggets but are trying to eat healthy? Apparently, get some shake and bake?!

I’ve never used Shake and Bake– my only experience comes from watching Charlie’s Angels, so I was skeptical at first, but this chicken nuggets tasted like a chicken nuggets! They may not be the “chicken” from McDonalds but it tastes pretty good and is healthier.

Quincy definitely approved.

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Get the recipe here!

Lobster Mac and Cheese for Two

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Or fully known as: Lobster Mac and Cheese for Two People who Actually want a good portion size and not the skimpy “for two” portion sizes that are out there.

I have made a lot of mac and cheese, since it is a general crowd pleaser in this household, but this batch was perhaps one of my best yet. The cheese mixture is melty and gooey, and the panko breadcrumbs add a lovely crunch to the top. And lobster…that ain’t bad at all.

This is rich an decadent and easy to make for a nice romantic dinner on a certain holiday that is upcoming.

LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE
From Cinnamon Freud

INGREDIENTS

4-5 lobster tails
Butter
1/2 cup macaroni noodles
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cup milk
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 ounces emmental or gruyere cheesed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

Preheat broiler.

Remove lobster meat from tails. Sautee with a little butter until lobster is cooked and tender. Set aside. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions.

In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, until boiling. Slowly whisk in milk. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in pasta and lobster. Pour into 9 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle panko on top. Broil until golden brown and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.

January Top 5

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  1. Back on the interview trail again for my fellowship next year. Traveling can be great and awful at the same time.
  2. I survived the icepocalypse of 2017 here in STL. The midwest is pushing me to want to move further south with each ice storm….
  3. Celebrated N’s birthday. His last 20’s birthday, so already thinking of something fun we can do next year.
  4. I am feeling a little more into Valentine’s Day this year than other pears. I have requested a bunch of silly chick flicks from the library and have some v-day sprinkles ready for baked goods.
  5. I found the best new PJs are Target, and I cannot ever convince myself to change out of them on the weekends.

December Top 5

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  1. December and the holiday season is my favorite time of year. It makes even simple thinks- like dare I say going to work with decorations- a little more fun. Can’t wait for it to come around again next year
  2. Holidays are synonymous with good cooking. Loved making cookies, casseroles, and lots of decadent food this past month.
  3. Also got to visit my family for the holidays. Although it was short, it was worth it!
  4. My resolution last year was to create a memory jar. Looking forward to going through all the memories tomorrow for the New Year!
  5. So this is my first winter season outside of Texas. Real winter weather is no joke (and sometimes no fun), but I am surviving (after an 8 hour drive home that should have taken one hour earlier this month #serenitynow)

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

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Let me preface this whole post by saying I don’t think I have ever had the green bean casserole with the canned green beans and cream of mushroom soup. I have definitely had those french fried onions (#latenightsnacking).

I’ve made homemade green casserole before on the blog, but I was never completely satisfied by it. One of the hardest things when first cooking what how to get sauces to thicken with a roux. I swear that I would follow recipe directly exactly but it would never thicken up as promised (I am looking at you chicken pot pie recipes…).

BUT I was determined. And I wanted to make a casserole completely from scratch to see if I could get those french fried onions to be even better than than those boxed ones.

And finally I feel like I was able to master a homemade version of cream of mushroom! Forgive the darker photo from a winter evening and make this homemade this holiday season!

HOMEMADE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated & Pioneer Woman

For the Casserole:
1 lb green beans, trimmed and chopped
1 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup half and half

For the onions:
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
Oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Cover sliced onions with buttermilk and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat large pan and add green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Add water until beans are just covered and cook for 4-5 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain green beans and cool with cold water (or do water bath if you aren’t feeling as lazy as I was when cooking).

Heat large pan and add butter and mushrooms. Season with salta and pepper and cook until mushrooms have released water, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in chicken stock and half and half. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer while stirring. Simmer until thicken for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer into 8×8 casserole dish (or 9×9 if you want a smaller filling to fried onion ratio.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil to 375°F.

In large dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Working in batches, drain onions and dip into flour mixture, coating to cover. Fry in oil for 1-3 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain and salt when hot out of the oil. Repeat with remaining batches.

Sprinkle onions on top of casserole. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and onions are golden brown.