Chicken Marsala Meatballs

I made these meatballs a few months back and we LOVED them.  I brought in a batch to one of my coworkers and he has been begging for them ever since.   The poor man was scheduled for a minor outpatient procedure this week, on his jaw, so I took pity on him and made the meatballs so he would have something easy to eat, nutritious, and delicious.

I am super duper finicky about my ground meats, I either purchase it that day from the local butcher, who grinds it to order, or I grind it myself.  In this instance, I didn’t have time to go to the butcher, so I picked up boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the store and ground the meat myself.  I added the other ingredients (cheese, egg, panko bread crumbs, parsley) and formed the meatballs.  It is best to let them sit in the fridge for a few hours and get really really cold before you fry them.  They tend to keep their shape better when they are ice cold.   The sauce is very simple, mushrooms, onions, chicken stock….the recipe is from Giada and it is really easy to make.  I usually double the sauce and put the meatballs over pasta.

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To round out the meal, I also made a big batch of rice pudding, again something easy to eat for a man who had surgery on his mouth.  Bonus – my hubby was thrilled with both the meatballs AND the rice pudding!  All in a days work folks…

Pork Tenderloin

Is always a favorite at our house and I love making it for dinner.   I didn’t have to go into the office the day after Thanksgiving, thank goodness, but I did have quite a bit of work to do from home.  No worries, I would rather read reports at home at my dining room table than battle Black Friday traffic into Philly!

pork-and-potatoes

I roasted some potatoes in the oven along with the pork and steamed some frozen corn to go alongside.  The plate was a bit monochromatic, but it tasted delicious, and that, truly, is all that counts!  After reading the reports, I did do a little online shopping, but I stayed far, far, away from the stores.  I liked being at home, in my comfy clothes, sipping on a very large cup of tea.  I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

Beef….

Is what I did for Thanksgiving!  This year it was just the hubby and I for dinner.  Our niece has a big family Thanksgiving meal at her house on the Saturday after Turkey Day so I knew we would be having turkey.  It gave me a chance to change things up a bit.

t-day-menu

Between my work schedule and the husbands travel schedule, I haven’t been spending as much time in the kitchen as I like.  I find it very therapeutic, so I took the opportunity to spend the entire day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.   We started with bacon and homemade buttermilk waffles.

Because honestly, a day that starts with bacon is ALWAYS a good day in my book!  For lunch, I made a pot of pasta fagioli soup and paired it with a good old grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

soup-and-sammie

Late afternoon, I put out a plate of cheese and crostini, I found a really awesomely sharp cheddar and a creamy brie.  It was a perfect little bit to get us through the second football game of the day.

Finally, it was time for dinner.  Our first course was homemade pumpkin ravioli.  I made the filling in the morning and just before dinner, I made the dough.  I picked up a ravioli maker from Williams Sonoma and it made my life so much easier.  That and the pasta rolling attachment for my kitchen aid meant I went from a ball of dough to actual ravioli in under twenty minutes!

I made a very simple cream sauce, butter, cream and Parmesan cheese for the ravioli, they were amazing.  I can’t wait to make them again!

For dinner, we grilled beef tenderloin steaks and asparagus, and I made twice baked potatoes. I even made homemade bread using my sour dough starter, I am telling you, I was in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG, and I loved it!

It is always good to end the day on a sweet note, neither the hubby or I are big fans of pie, so I made a caramel apple cheesecake instead.  It was AWESOME!

 

It was a very relaxing, enjoyable day, which I think we both needed and for which I was truly grateful.

SNOW!

Sorry folks, the cold weather and snow is all my fault.   I took the hubby to church yesterday for a christening and BAM, three hours later, temperature plummet and snow falls from the sky, I guess you can officially say hell has frozen over!

Since the weather was down right frosty, I decided to make a batch of soup.  I have been craving a bowl of cream of whatever soup and I finally gave in today….Cream of Cauliflower to the rescue.

cream-of-cauliflower

Super duper simple.  I diced and sauteed three leeks in butter.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper before adding two heads of cauliflower and eight cups of broth.  I tossed in some fresh thyme and two bay leaves.  I brought it to a boil, turned it to a simmer and let it cook, covered for 30 minutes.  While the soup was cooking, I cut two other heads of cauliflower into small florets and steamed them.   After 30 minutes, I pureed the soup, added in the florets, two cups of shredded cheddar cheese, and two cups of heavy cream.  YUM!

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We had the soup for lunch along with sandwiches.  Not a bad way to spend a frigidly cold November day!

Beef Tenderloin

I picked up a very small beef tenderloin from the grocery store on my way home.  I have been craving beef and we needed a meal that didn’t make many leftovers since the hubby was not going to be home for a few days.

tenderloin

The hubby grilled the meat outside while I took care of boiling the potatoes and the vegetables.   It was a rather simple meal, and a bit boring looking on the plate, but it tasted SOOOOOO GOOD!  Nothing can soothe the soul quite as much a lovely, tender, juicy piece of beef.  Add it some mashed potatoes and all is right with the world.

Pork Tenderloin

The other white meat! Anyone else remember those idiotic commercials?

pork-and-potatoes

Anyway, I picked up a pork tenderloin and a bag of baby potatoes.   I roasted the pork and potatoes in the oven and made a batch of coleslaw.   Things are work have been hectic and I just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day.  It was nice to be able to make the coleslaw, put it in the fridge while the meat and potatoes cooked.  It gave me time to read three of the over 100 reports that I need to read, score, and rank as part of our program review process at work.  I got picked to be task force chair so in addition to reading, scoring, and ranking, I also need to keep my team on track, book rooms, order supplies, etc in addition to my day job.   This is going to be a very long winter, wish me luck!

Chicken and Barley Soup

Ever since the weather has turned colder, I have been craving soup.  I really wanted Chicken Noodle, but the hubby isn’t a fan.  I settled for Chicken with Mushrooms and Barley instead.

prep

I find it absolutely soothing to spend the day in the kitchen, chopping, prepping, and cooking.  It is my version of therapy!

I cleaned and diced carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms and parsley.  I diced two chicken breasts into bite size pieces.   Once all of the prep was done, I started on the soup.

First, I browned the chicken, in batches.  Once that was done, I removed the chicken from the pan and added the mushrooms.  I let them get nice and brown, then removed them, lowered the heat, and added the rest of the vegetables, along with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.  The veggies sweated for about ten minutes, I deglazed the pan with a bit of vermouth and white wine.   I added a cup of uncooked barley, the chicken and mushrooms along with  8 cups of chicken stock.  I turned it to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, and partially covered the pan.   It took about an hour for the veggies to be completely tender and the barley to be fully cooked.

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The hubby wanted a grilled cheese with his soup.  I toasted up two slices of rye bread for me and we were both very, very happy campers!  I am so grateful that the hubby is totally fine with soup for dinner.