Thanksgiving 2021 is in the books and I sincerely hope that all of you were able gather with loved ones and feast on your favorite foods. As for me, I spent the day in my happy place, (aka. my new kitchen) surrounded by my family - doing what I love - cooking up delicious sustenance. What could be better than that? 🤣
Thanksgiving at my house is very traditional. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans. 🍗It's not that I haven't tried to mix up the menu from year to year. My family are true traditionalists when it comes to the Thanksgiving menu though. They actually staged an intervention after they caught wind of a rumor that I was going to serve sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes one year. 🥔 No joke - they even conferenced in my mom on the phone. 😅
One advantage of being the cook on Thanksgiving is all of the leftovers that go along with hosting. 😂 In my world - there's no such thing as too much leftover turkey. We had a small gathering at our house yesterday, but I still bought and cooked 2 turkeys. What can I say? I love turkey leftovers. Sandwiches, soups, casseroles and salads - I love them all.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy that delicious turkey after the holidays? These are mine.
Click on any of the pictures above for a link to the blog post with that recipe. I probably should mention that I use turkey and chicken interchangeably in my recipes. So if you're feeling brave, type the word chicken or turkey into the search bar for an overwhelming flood of recipes for your delicious leftover turkey. 😉
This year, I'm adding Sheet Pan Quesadillas with Spicy Ranch to my list of post Thanksgiving Day turkey leftover recipes. I don't know why I never thought of making these like this before but it's a genius way to serve quesadillas to a crowd without having to stand at the stove frying individual tortillas. Baking one giant quesadilla in the oven and then slicing it into individual portions for serving is cooking efficiency at it's finest.
Sheet Pan Quesadillas with Spicy Ranch
7 (8-10”) flour tortillas
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 cup colby jack cheese, grated
2 large avocados, thinly sliced
½ cup green onions, minced
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons lime juice
Slice quesadilla into squares.
Serve with ranch.
I have mixed emotions about this recipe. I'm happy that I found it and figured out how to make quesadillas for a crowd - all at one time. But, I'm also frustrated that it took me a full 50 years to discover it. 🙃
Last month, in a rare moment of bravery, I posed this question to my daughter: "What do you think I should make for dinner this weeK?" 😬 Anyone else fear this question as much as me? 😅 I've learned that while I value their input, I really need to prepare myself for the answers because I just never know what they're going to come up with. One year I told my daughter I would make her whatever her heart desired for her birthday dinner... she requested meatloaf. 😅😅 #meatloafischeaperthanlobster 🤷🏻♀️
Why do I put myself through this torture, you ask? Well, when I feel like I'm in a cooking rut - I find that it helps to ask for another opinion. 22 year olds look at meals through an entirely different lens than I do. Her fresh perspective is exactly what I needed to bring some new life to our meals.
In response to my request for dinner ideas - my meat loving daughter came up with two different gnocchi recipes. Baked Gnocchi with Sausage and Gnocchi with Broccoli. Full disclosure: I've never actually made gnocchi. With that being said - it really shouldn't have surprised me when my child informed me that she had never even tasted gnocchi. 🤦🏻♀️ I was disappointed in myself, both as a parent and as an Italian. 🤣
Even though I can't seem to convince her of this, it was never my intent for the girl who suggested the Baked Gnocchi recipe to make the recipe as well. 😬🤣 I'm not really sure how it happened but needless to say - she did a fantastic job. And I realize that it's long overdue but, now that it's been brought to may attention - I'm attempting to correct the injustice of depriving my family of gnocchi for so long. Davis family - meet baked gnocchi.
1 lb Italian sausage
2 - 1 lb packages gnocchi
8 oz ricotta
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
25.5 oz jar marinara sauce
8 oz mozzarella, grated
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
Check out out that super fancy, disposable, Styrofoam plate. #renovationlife 🤣
It's only been a few weeks since we started talking seriously about remodeling our kitchen and can I just say - my brain is already in decision overload. Turns out, the process of remodeling a kitchen forces one to reevaluate every single pot, pan, utensil and ingredient that occupies space in the room. I mean, do I really need to store enough Tupperware containers to pack a weeks worth of food for a small village?
When it comes to cabinet space - it's all about priorities, right? What are the most important things to keep in the kitchen and what can I live without? I don't think I can part with my 76 pastry tips but I can probably live without a back up kitchen aid mixer. 😬 So, like any good type A personality would do, I took inventory of every single item in my kitchen cabinets and then I took my mile long list and started to edit. The most important items got space in my new kitchen cabinet design while other things were eliminated from the room altogether. #solongnutribullet
I started to play around with new places for things in the kitchen as I thought through the plan for the new space and one of the first things to get re-homed, were the napkins. They weren't eradicated from the room, just moved from a drawer - to a cabinet. I should note that their new location is a mere 24 inches below their previous locale. I will admit that I was reveling in an organizational high over my newly emptied drawer for a full 2 hours - and then bottom fell out. To put it mildly - my family was "shook" over the loss of the "napkin drawer." 🤣 It's fair to say that the new napkin placement has been the cause of serious anxiety, stress and disagreement in our house.
I've got to say that the napkin debacle has me a little concerned about what kind of chaos a total kitchen remodel going to cause. 🤷🏻♀️ Even more of a concern for me though, is the thought of having my kitchen rendered usable for a significant period of time. Flexible isn't a word that I (or anyone in my family) would use to describe me. 😬😅 So, I decided in order to prove to myself that I can operate in a kitchen under construction, I would start to prepare as many meals as I could, out on the grill.
I would say that my plan is going well so far but I'm also trying to picture myself cooking in the sweltering temperatures and humidity in the middle of summer. 😧 Thank goodness we have great takeout food available in our little town. A few weeks ago, I adapted this recipe for Chicken Cutlets with Avocado Poblano Sauce to make it grill friendly. I think it worked out really great as a grilled chicken dish AND I can make this again - even without a fully functioning stove in my kitchen.
Chicken Cutlets with Avocado Poblano Sauce
3 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 chicken cutlets
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup water
Serve with remaining 1/2 avocado.
I'm enlisting all of your help now. Who's been through a kitchen remodel? What tips do you have for me? What worked? What didn't? Send me your pictures and your advice. I'd love to see it.
I got the best surprise in my mailbox this week - A box of beautiful Meyer lemons and satsuma oranges from the kids! The best part is - they picked them from the fruit trees in their own backyard! 🍋🍊#southgeorgialiving Freshly picked citrus in the middle of winter? - yes, please.
The moment that I opened the box and saw that delicious fruit, I instinctively went into menu planning mode. My brain automatically started generating ideas about what I would make with this precious gift. Pastas tossed in a buttery lemon sauce, fish cooked in a lemony wine sauce and of course breads and desserts bursting with bright lemon flavor. 🤩 So many lemon recipes - so little time.
One Pot Shrimp Piccata Pasta was the lucky recipe to be chosen as the first recipient of a South Georgia Meyer Lemon. The inspiration for this decadent dish came from America's Test Kitchen.
I love the idea of treating the pasta more like a risotto that absorbs the rich sauce that it cooks in. Cooking the entire dish using just one pot and having fewer dishes to wash is pretty appealing too. Who doesn't love fewer dishes?
One Pot Shrimp Piccata Pasta
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled (5 smashed, 1 minced)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups (12 ounces) orecchiette pasta
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Stir vigorously 1 minute. Serve with parmesan cheese.
I didn't specifically identify this recipe as dairy free but guess what dairy free friends? This recipe is perfect for you! Unlike most lemon sauces, this one has NO butter and only a sprinkling of parmesan over the top if you like. But trust me when I tell you that you will never miss the butter or the cheese in this super delicious shrimp and pasta dish.
Around here, summer is an all out sprint. In our house, there's nothing leisurely or remotely relaxing about summer. What can I say? It's so fleeting that I feel compelled to make the most out of every single moment. Fall is a time for rest and rejuvenation but right now, I'm trying to soak in all that this beautiful season has to offer. I'm running into August at full velocity --- and wearing myself out in the process. 😂
I thought that my summer pace would slow down when my kids got older and I didn't have to worry about keeping them occupied and stimulated while they were out of school for the summer. I planned all sorts of fun activities for the kids but I always seemed to tire myself out long before they ever showed any signs of fatigue. 😂 Even when they were responsible for occupying their own time - I always had to keep my eyes and ears open. 😳 (If you've got curious, inquisitive kids - you know what I mean.) 😂 Supervising kids isn't always a physical task but no parent would disagree that raising kids is the most mentally challenging job in the world.
Summer is also the time when I channel my inner Clark Griswold and plan epic road trips with my family. After all, summer wouldn't be complete without our annual 15 hour car ride to Ohio. 🚗 #forcedfamilybondingtime
We've actually spent a considerable part of our summer on the road and away from the house this summer. It's been a great way for me to soak up all that summer has to offer but it hasn't been a great way for me to maintain healthy eating habits. Why couldn't I just crave celery like I do twizzlers in the car? Now that we're back home for at least a few weeks, it's time for this family to get back on track with our healthy eating.
This Pasta Salad with Chicken is a perfect summer dish because I can make it in the morning and it's ready whenever I'm hungry. It's also a perfect meal to pack up and take to the beach or the park. It's not the normal mayonnaise based gloppy, supermarket pasta salad that you're used to. This is a fresh, healthy protein packed pasta salad that your whole family will love. Even my daughter, who is adamantly opposed to olives, gobbled up her entire bowl of pasta salad.
Pasta Salad with Chicken
3 boneless chicken breasts
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup pepperocini, chopped
6 ounces penne or fusilli
8 ounces green beans, cut into 2" lengths
2 cups baby spinach (optional)
Add spinach and season with salt and pepper. (I completely forgot to add the spinach.) 😬
The kids in my neighborhood went back to school last week but I'm in complete denial about the fact that we've reached the end of our summer. My youngest child has one more week at home before she moves back to her apartment at college so here's to making the most of the next 168 hours!!
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