Weekly Menu: January 20-26, 2013
Sunday: Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs & Broccoli Rabe Provolone Grinders for the Pats Game!
Monday: Halibut on Mashed Fava Beans with Mint and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Tuesday: Leftovers: Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs & Broccoli Rabe Grinders
Wednesday:   Curried Red Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew
Thursday: Leftovers: Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew
Friday: Breakfast for Dinner 
Saturday: Eat Out
Pats game, baby! Sunday's a big day with our boys in the AFC Championship so we're having some of our fellow Massholes over (yes I consider that a term of endearment!) to root them on. We'll be having my now famous Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs that I originally saw way back when on a Martha Stewart show...who knew Martha knows football party food! In addition to these spicy, yummy little meatballs we'll also be making Broccoli Rabe Provolone Grinders...that's right people, grinders. Not hoagies, not subs...grinders. That's the way we roll in Massachusetts. Of course we'll have other snacks as well but those are our main dishes along with good 'ole Sam Adams beer. Go Pats!!

The rest of the week we'll get back in our healthy groove with a new fish recipe...Halibut on Mashed Fava Beans with Mint and a  Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach Salad. Then on Wednesday we'll make one of our old winter standbys, Curried Red Lentil & Swiss Chard Stew. We'll finish off the week with an easy breakfast for dinner as we head into our weekend.

Most importantly...Go Pats!!!!!!!!
Weekly Menu: January 6-12, 2013
Sunday: Chicken & Chickpea Stew
Monday: Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce, Grits and Roasted Rapini
Tuesday: Leftovers: Chickpea Stew     
Wednesday:    Lentil Country Supper
Thursday: Leftovers: Frozen 5-Bean Soup
Friday: Leftovers: Lentil Country Supper
Saturday: Eat Out
Chickpeas, Lentils and Beans, oh my! The new year has officially arrived and that means it's time to shed all of those bad eating habits picked up over the holiday season. I don't know about you but I fell off the healthy eating train pretty hard this year so getting back in the swing of things has felt a bit more challenging than usual. So what's my strategy? Dig back into my own favorite healthy recipes from the past for a surefire reminder of how good healthy food can taste! Who needs all of that cheese and salt and sugar to enjoy what they're eating and feel satisfied? Not me! Okay, okay...I'm not fully convinced yet either, but I'm confident that this week's menu will help me get there.

First up, Chicken & Chickpea Stew. This is a super easy, soul satisfying dish that we just loved when we first made it last year. Rustic and healthy...perfect. Our fish entree on Monday is a new recipe....and yes there is a butter sauce which I know technically isn't the healthiest way to serve fish. Baby steps, right? We'll serve it with our favorite veggie dish - roasted rapini and tomatoes.

Weekly Menu: December 30, 2012 – January 5, 2013
Sunday: In Pasadena
Monday: In Pasadena
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
New Year's is always a bit of a last minute plan for us....and this year it turned out a million times better than we ever expected. A couple of extra tickets to the Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade just came our way! Going to the Rose Bowl has been on Christian's bucket list before the idea of bucket lists was even popular. And the Tournament of Roses parade is my absolute favorite parade all year long so we are both super excited to take an impromptu end of year road trip down to Pasadena and start the year off right!

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!
Weekly Menu: December 23-29, 2012
Sunday: Taco Night (DIY)
Monday: Christmas Eve Fondue!
Tuesday: Christmas Dinner at Top of the Mark
Wednesday: Leftovers: Tacos
Thursday: Tortellini Soup
Friday: Christmas with family in Sacramento
Saturday: In Sacramento
The holidays are here, the holidays are here! I absolutely love this time of year...so festive and fun, especially since we don't do any traveling and just stay local. San Francisco pretty much empties out during the holidays so it always feels like we have our super festive city all to ourselves! All the time of work doesn't hurt either.

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.
Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

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:

Weekly Menu: December 16-22, 2012
Sunday: Pumpkin Agnolotti
Monday: Leftovers: Chili from the Freezer with cornbread
Tuesday: Leftovers: Pumpkin Agnolotti
Wednesday: Citrus Tofu with Onions & Peppers with Brown Rice
Thursday: Christian's Youth Justice Institute Holiday Party
Friday: Suz's Hopalong Holiday Party!
Saturday: Leftovers: Citrus Tofu with Flour Tortillas & Black Beans
This is a bit of a busy week for us with Christian just returning back from L.A. and both of our non-profits having holiday parties, so there's not a whole lot of cooking going on. The meals that we are cooking, however, are brand new recipes. The first is Pumpkin Agnolotti...sounds fancy, but since it uses canned pumpkin and wonton wrappers it actually looks pretty darn easy.

The second new recipe we're trying out is Citrus Tofu with Onions & Peppers. Trying to keep it healthy when we're not indulging at all of these holiday parties!  We'll turn the leftovers from this into burritos and serve alongside black beans to mix things up a bit later in the week. The rest of our week is filled with leftovers and holiday parties for Christian's work and for the non-profit where I am a board member. Should be a fun, busy week...hope yours is too!  
Weekly Menu: December 9-15, 2012
Sunday: Homemade Turkey & Rice Soup (DIY)
Monday: Buffalo Turkey Meatballs, Buttered Noodles & Roasted Broccoli Rabe for the Pat’s Game!
Tuesday: Leftovers: Turkey Rice Soup
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
Thursday: Easy Breakfast for Dinner...Christian out of town
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Work Christmas Party!
The day after our cookie party usually means we're a bit rough around the edges. That means that Sunday is the perfect day to finally get that Thanksgiving carcass and leftover meat out of my freezer and simmer a homemade stock all day to make some soul satisfying soup. I don't have a recipe for you on this one...just winging it based on the leftovers and veggies I have in the house.

Monday night the Patriots are playing the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football...so we're having some friends over to watch the game. I'll make our favorite football food...these meatballs are amazingly reminiscent of buffalo wings but with a lot less guilt. I even use 2% fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make the blue cheese dressing. To make it feel like more of a meal than an appetizer I'll make some buttered Parmesan noodles and roasted broccoli rabe to serve alongside the meatballs.  Go Pats!

Christian is heading out of town on Wednesday until Saturday so the rest of the week will be easy, breezy leftovers and other simple dinner solutions.  Saturday I'll pick Christian up from the airport and we'll whisk up to Santa Rosa for my boss' Holiday Party...gotta love this time of year!
SavoryGirl’s New Go-To Chili Recipe

Just in time for the end of National Chili Week (who knew?!) I stumbled upon my new go-to chili recipe! What makes it worthy of becoming my "go-to"? Well, for one, Christian loves it...and he has always disliked my or anyone else's chili. But beyond that, it is super flavorful and very easy. I can't take credit though, it's not a SavoryGirl original...in fact it's an Emeril Lagasse original. That Emeril knows his way around a good chili bowl!

So the original recipe for Emerils' 5-Bean Chili can be found here, but I made a few tweaks to both ingredients and process that I included below and would recommend you make as well. Particularly if you like thicker chili as we do since Emeril's original recipe makes a thinner soup-like chili. While this is a very easy dish to make, it isn't quick so make sure to start this chili with that in mind...you need to soak the beans for about an hour first and then let it all cook in the slow-cooker for 8-10 hours if you use my approach.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Mixed Mushroom Casserole

I couldn't find this recipe from my favorite slow cooker cookbook anywhere on the Internet, and while I usually just find one that's similar enough to share I didn't want to risk it with this one.  I've had too many bad casseroles in my life (sorry Mom, but you have to admit they were always bland, sticky, mushy, high calorie/fat messes!), but the reason I wanted to try this one is because of the relatively unique mix of ingredients and seasonings that made me confident it would be delicious and healthy. Adapted from the cookbook "Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever"   Serves 6-8
Chicken & Biscuit Pot Pie

This is a new, somewhat healthier spin on a classic comfort food that we just made for the first time this week, and it is delicious! It's from one of my favorite cookbooks, Almost Meatless: Recipes that are Better for your Health & the Planet, which is focused on finding ways to have a lower-meat diet.  So while there's certainly chicken in this it's not as much as you would find in your traditional Chicken Pot Pie.  And instead of using a super buttery crust there's a whole wheat biscuit topping that is just fabulous...especially with the scallions mixed in. This dish is almost a hybrid between chicken pot pie and chicken and dumplings, and for a potato-hater like Christian the swap of potatoes for parsnips is perfect.  Classic comfort with a bit less guilt...just how I like it!

The recipe below makes enough for 6-8 servings...I tend to cook it right in the dutch oven that the stew is made in for easier clean-up, but if you were having a dinner party or wanted to portion the meal out for the week the single serving approach is nice as well.  The only changes I make to the recipe is to increase the quantity of vegetables a bit (although a lot of parsnips will make it kind of sweet, which means you'll need more salt to counteract) and ensure that the texture of the sauce is about right before adding the biscuit topping.  Typically this means sprinkling a few extra handfuls of flour into the sauce and letting it thicken and then adding the biscuit topping.  Mushrooms might be a nice addition as well. So no major changes, just a few tweaks.