|Sunday:||Whole Roasted Chicken, Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta and Asparagus Shiitake Sauté|
|Monday:||Brown Rice & Beans with Ginger Chile Salsa|
|Tuesday:||Leftovers: Lemony Chicken & Orzo Soup|
|Wednesday:||White Fish with leftover Parmesan Bread Pudding & Grilled Asparagus|
|Thursday:||Leftovers: Brown Rice & Beans with Ginger Chile|
|Friday:||Leftovers: Fish Tacos with Sauteed Brussel Sprouts|
Monday we'll get back to our more traditionally healthy routine with another new recipe from Bon Appétit that is a simple yet yummy sounding twist on beans and rice. We'll then turn our roast chicken from Sunday into a lemony orzo soup and finish off the week with some white fish served alongside leftover parmesan bread pudding and more of that delicious spring asparagus that we can't get enough of these days.
Happy Easter everyone...hope you have a wonderful, delicious day with family and friends.
Every good house party, particularly on New Year's Eve, has at least one specialty cocktail. On this special night, those cocktails should definitely include champagne so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite champagne cocktails to help you start 2013 off right. Most are very basic...but the basic yet delicious cocktail is the best friend of a party hostess!
|Tuesday:||Rose Bowl & Parade in Pasadena!|
|Wednesday:||Take-Out on Drive Home from Pasadena|
|Thursday:||Christian’s Posole Soup|
|Friday:||Breakfast for Dinner (DIY)|
|Saturday:||Leftovers: Christian’s Posole|
That also means that we won't be cooking our traditional New Year's dishes this year. I usually make Osso Bucco with Cheesy Polenta on New Year's Eve. Then on New Year's Day I always make something with Black-Eyed Peas in the southern tradition of starting the year off with good luck. One of our favorites is this side dish of Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Ginger. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a wonderful time looking back on 2012 and celebrating the start of a New Year with your loved ones.
Once we return from Pasadena we'll keep it simple as we get back into the swing of our normal routine with one of our old standby favorites...Christian's Posole soup. Another night of easy breakfast for dinner followed by Posole leftovers finishes off the first week of the new year.
Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve everyone!
It's a perfect Christmas morning breakfast...you can partially prepare it the day before and refrigerate it and then just do one last-minute step and pop it in the oven first thing while the coffee is brewing and everyone is gathering around the tree. Makes the house smell delicious! Traditional monkey bread doesn't have any orange zest or pecans so feel free to omit but I think these additions really make it special...
|Sunday:||Taco Night (DIY)|
|Monday:||Christmas Eve Fondue!|
|Tuesday:||Christmas Dinner at Top of the Mark|
|Friday:||Christmas with family in Sacramento|
So what are we eating this week? Well I find that this time of year starts to get a bit heavy with all of the classic, American holiday comfort food so we're breaking things up a bit by starting the week off with a Mexican taco night. Nice and easy but delicious. Then it's time to jump right into one of our favorite holiday traditions...Christmas Eve Fondue Dinner!
We do all three courses...cheese, meat/veggies in broth and chocolate. It's a nice, long, luxurious meal that is perfectly conducive to good conversation with good friends. This year we're having 3 friends who are also in town for the holidays over to join us...but even when it's just the two of us it makes for a very festive and romantic Christmas Eve.
Over the past three years, these cookies have come to mean Christmas to me. Their soft, cake-like texture. Their not-to-sweet chocolate depth. Their perfectly peppermint-y bite. Tastes like Christmas...so much so that I've already made three batches this year!
I first discovered this recipe a few years ago when researching new cookie recipes for my annual cookie party. I'm not typically a big peppermint fan but come Christmas time I all of a sudden can't get enough peppermint bark candy or peppermint stick ice cream. So I was looking for a way to incorporate this strange seasonal craving into my cookie party and stumbled upon this recipe on a blog called 101 Cookbooks.
Since this recipe makes quite a few cookies, feel free to also freeze half of the dough (or even double the recipe and freeze a full batch) so you have it on hand for when guests stop by unexpectedly during the holiday season. Once you have the dough all lined up on the cookie sheets ready to go in the oven, simply pop the cookie sheet in the freezer instead and once the cookie dough balls are fully frozen you can then put them all in a freezer storage bag. Pop right from the freezer to the oven when you're ready to make them...they might need an extra 1-2 minutes in the oven, but no need to thaw first. Will make your house smell divine while they're cooking, which is nice when guests are visiting as well!
The recipe below is almost identical to the 101 Cookbooks original that I first made years ago, but I've adapted it slightly over the years:
The Henricksen Holiday Cookie Party is a long-standing, fabulous tradition. Christian's mom has been hosting her own holiday cookie party since the mid-90s and I was introduced to it back in 2002 when I started dating Christian. I thought it was such a fun idea and Christian loves cookies so much that we decided to continue with the tradition for our own little family of friends. It's a fantastic way to gather friends together, sample a dazzling array of cookies and imbibe in festive drinks while listening to the Carpenters croon Christmas carols. Be forewarned though, it's a party that almost guarantees a sugar hangover!
So, what's on the menu? You'll be happy to see it's super easy and low key!
- Cookies of course...some of your own and a batch from every group of guests!
- A savory table with decadent cheese & charcuterie platters along with all of the requisite accompaniments such as nuts, olives, figs, etc...
- A crudité platter
- Homemade Gløgg (mulled wine)
- Warm spiked apple cider with homemade whipped cream
But first, let's talk about the cookies. This is a cookie pot luck, if you will. So I usually bake 3 cookies and guests are required to bring 1 dish of cookies of their own as well. It's fun because you often get a peek into their family traditions or discover a fabulous new cookie for your own repertoire. Since we've been doing this for so many years and have many repeat guests, our party tends to get a bit competitive...those who show up with store-bought cookies are ridiculed a bit :)
Next week I'll highlight the recipe for Cranberry Pepper Jelly that I make every year. It is fantastic on sandwiches, baked brie, with cream cheese and crackers, etc... So while most have already made their one turkey of the year there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the spicy-sweet deliciousness all year long.
So let's start the photo journey with that one...Cranberry Pepper Jelly. This is almost always the first thing I make, the weekend before Thanksgiving, since it has a 3-6 week shelf life in the refrigerator. I've honestly never liked anything other than canned cranberry sauce (I know, blasphemous!) until I discovered this recipe. Now I'm totally hooked on it's spicy-sweet combination and for the first time ever didn't even touch my canned cranberry sauce this year! homemade turkey stock as a base for my gravy. If you don't want to do this you can always use store-bought chicken or turkey stock, but I find that making your own makes a big difference in the gravy and it's honestly very easy. If you're like me, this also means you get a little extra Turkey meat for your leftover soup as well since I refuse to throw away all of the meat on the turkey wings after making the stock. Just pick it all off and freeze it until your ready to make your soup or other Thanksgiving leftovers.
A couple of days before Thanksgiving I start brining the turkey and prepping all of the veggies that will hold for a day or two.
I find that nothing makes for a juicy turkey like brining it for 2 days in advance...not frying it, not starting it cooking upside down, nothing. I also slather it in herb butter (both on top and under the skin), so that doesn't hurt! My favorite brine that I have found over the years is a beer brine...I use Newcastle which makes this turkey a bit of an expensive date, but trust me your guests will be singing your praises. And we all know that's hard praise to get with so many bad, dry turkey experiences from Thanksgivings past! Make sure the brine is completely covering your turkey...sometimes you have to get a bit crafty with pressure on the bag in certain spots to make this happen.
It's also important to have a great carver on hand day-of so that you can plate your turkey in a beautiful and appetizing way...my husband is a pro at this by now, so I'm lucky here as you can see below.