Weekly Menu: November 27 – December 3, 2011
Sunday: Use leftover crudite  to make DIY Asian Noodle soup
Monday: White Bean & Kale Soup
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken with Thanksgiving Spicy Cranberry Sauce, Rice & Seasonal Veggie (DIY)
Wednesday: Leftovers: Chicken
Thursday: Leftovers: Soup
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Orange Fennel Steamed Salmon with Roasted Winter Veggies
Feeling a little guilty after my indulgent Thanksgiving weekend in Palm Springs (we had 12 desserts for 14 people!)...so we're going to try our best to get our appetites back to normal this week and make homemade healthy meals.  The soup and Salmon dishes are two of our favorite healthy meals in the winter, while the chicken dish is inspired by the crazy delicious leftover Cranberry-Red Pepper Jelly we made for Thanksgiving.  If you had as much good eating as I did over the past few days, good luck in your own efforts to get back on track, it's always hard this time of year but sticking to a simple & healthy dinner meal plan sure is helpful!  
Weekly Menu: November 20-26, 2011
Sunday: Veggie Pasta (DIY)
Monday: Huevos Rancheros (DIY)
Tuesday: Leftovers: Pasta
Wednesday: Pizza Welcome Party in Palm Springs!
Thursday: THANKSGIVING!
Friday: Leftovers: Turkey Day Fixin's
Saturday: Eat Out in Palm Springs and/or Backyard BBQ
The countdown is on...only 4 days until Thanksgiving!  So that means this is an easy DIY-focused cooking week except for the big day.  I'd rather spend my time throughout the week prepping and doing some early cooking for Turkey day than making elaborate meals for dinner, so that's what we'll do.  We're heading to Palm Springs with 11 of our good friends for the holiday and it's going to be delicious & indulgent in your typical SavoryGirl style (menu, prep schedule & shopping list linked above!).  Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a fabulous, delicious, fun and safe holiday weekend.  Mangia, Mangia!  
A SavoryGirl Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving.  One of my favorite holidays...the arrival of my Thanksgiving Bon Appétit every year is practically a Henricksen holiday in it's own right.  One of the reasons I love it is because we have a 5 year tradition of renting a house with friends in fun places like Paso Robles and Palm Springs.  This year we're headed back to Palm Springs for a 2nd year with a crew of 13.  It's the first year we have to rent two houses and we have a record high of 5 people flying in from the East Coast...so it's going to be a fun long weekend full of good friends, fun in the sun and great food.

I have to admit though, I also love Thanksgiving because I truly enjoy the challenge of planning out the meal and strategizing for how to bring it all to life in a way where I can still relax and enjoy the day with friends by the pool.  The fact that I have to cart half of my kitchen and brining turkey to our destination certainly makes for an added challenge, but that just makes a successful meal all that more satisfying!

My menu for this year with links to recipes is below.  I've also provided my "week-of" schedule since that's the secret to my success.  Lots of cooking and prepping the week leading up to Thanksgiving so the day of it's mostly just cooking and assembling.  The day of, hour-by-hour schedule is also included since timing is everything on Turkey Day!   Wish me luck as I scale up to cook my largest Thanksgiving yet...and of course if you have tips and tricks of your own I would love to hear them...
SavoryGirl’s Famous Sweet Potatoes

I've been making these sweet potatoes for as long as I've been making Thanksgiving dinner and they've been requested by my repeat guests every year since.  To be honest, I did not grow up eating sweet potatoes with marshmallows in them....always kind of thought it was gross.  But the hubby requested it the first Thanksgiving we were together so I went and found this recipe that has the added twist of coconut.  So now even I can't imagine Thanksgiving without them.
Weekly Menu: November 13-19, 2011
Sunday: Ordered Pizza to celebrate Christian’s triathlon!
Monday: Lemon, Shrimp & Arugula Pasta (DIY from stuff we have on hand)
Tuesday: Healthy take-out from the grocery store
Wednesday: Heirloom Squash Farrotto
Thursday: Meet friends out for dinner
Friday: Leftovers: Farrotto
Saturday: Eat Out for a friend's birthday
SavoryGirl confessional here.  We don't always manage to stick to our menus as planned and this last week was one where we kind of failed miserably.  We only managed to make one dish off the menu (the curry which was easy and delish!) simply because it was a super busy weekend with Christian's triathlon (he did fantastic by the way!) and we didn't actually make it to the grocery store until Tuesday.

So, I thought I'd share what we actually ended up eating last week as this week's menu. The only difference is that I substituted in the new recipe we're adding to last week's menu to take the place of the curry for you to try out...the Heirloom Squash Farroto.   For the DIY pasta we honestly just scourged our cupboards and fridge to come up with that dish and it turned out really well!

I know this week's menu isn't super helpful since there's a lot of eating out, but take it as an excuse to get creative on your own...and of course share any success you have!  
Eating Our Way Through Chicago

While I know I already shared my foodie itinerary for Chicago, I thought now that we are back from our trip I'd let you know what we thought and if everything on our original itinerary lived up to the hype.  So first things first....WE LOVED CHICAGO!  As a reminder, I hadn't been there since I was a child and Christian had never been.  So it was pretty new for both of us...and to be honest we were expecting to like it, but not much more.  But after a day in Chicago I was talking about wanting to move there, and I love living in San Francisco and left Massachusetts because I hated the winters...but Chicago is that cool.  I honestly felt like the greatness of the city would outweigh any awfulness of the winters that I had heard about...but Christian disputed and insisted he wouldn't move to Chicago with me so I had to let it go.  But really, such a clean and vibrant city with amazing architecture and waterways.  If you haven't been, go.  Preferably in the late spring or early fall from what I hear.

So, our foodie itinerary.  How did we fare?  Very well if you ask me.  While we may not have made every destination on our itinerary, we made it to the important ones and let me just say, we ate extremely well while in Chicago!
Weekly Menu: November 6-12, 2011
Sunday: Potato & Portobello Mushroom Casserole
Monday: Baked Flounder with Tomatoes & Basil
Tuesday: Leftovers: Fish
Wednesday: Leftovers: Casserole
Thursday: Pork Phanang Curry
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Curry
I'm pretty excited about this Sunday's recipe...it's a Hubert Keller recipe and I still have such fond memories from our time eating at his restaurant, Fleur de Lys, for our 5 year anniversary.  He's also technically a neighbor of ours here in the Marina, so we have a bit of a soft spot for him and his recipes.    The fish dish is a new one, but sounds simple, healthy and tasty to start the week off right.  The Phanang Curry is a recipe from our cooking class in Thailand...it's been a while since we've made one of those dishes so we're pretty excited to bring back some flavors from that fabulous vacation.  Have a good week!