Autumn is upon us in full swing and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but for now I thought I'd share some of our favorite meals and snacks that have sustained and kept our home humming along these past several months.
I have many recipes and Menu plans located at Sweetness in the Kitchen, but I wanted to share here on the main blog as it is the true hub of our Sweetness. Please click around over there if you feel like it, we've enjoyed all of those goodies, many times.
Here are some favorites that we are enjoying right now and what has kept me sane and able to manage on busy activity days as well as not having to think through the It's 4 O'Clock, Do You Know Where Your Dinner Is?? dilemma.
Favorite Weeknight Meals ~
Meatballs and pasta (Marcella Hazan's Italian Cooking)
For the Meatballs:
a slice of good-quality white bread, crusts removed
1 pound ground beef, preferably chuck
1 tbsp onion chopped very fine
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp freshly grated parmigianno-reggiano cheese
Whole nutmeg, about 1/8 tsp grated
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1-28 oz. can stewed or crushed tomatoes
Directions: Heat the milk in a small saucepan until just before scalding, add the bread and let it soak up all the milk. Mash it up and then put all the ingredients in a bowl and gently mix it together wtih your hands. But don’t mix it up too much or the meatballs will be tough. Marcella says “Gently knead the mixture with your hands without squeezing it”. Roll them into about 1 1/2 inch balls. Meanwhile heat a large skillet with about 1/4 inch of olive oil reachng up the sides. Roll the meatballs in dry breadcrumbs and fry them in the heated olive oil until nicely browned. Drain them on paper towels and pour off all but about one tablespoon of the oil. Degalzed the pan with the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Now add all of the meatballs back into the simmering tomato sauce, turning to coat and continue to simmer them together with a lid on for about 30 minutes. Serve with grated parmesean over your favorite pasta or they are even delicious alone with good hunk of crusty bread!
Lettuce Wraps (Ellie Krueger, Food Network) Note :: I leave off the chilli-garlic sauce and serve with red chilli pepper flakes at the table for those who like it spicy :) I have made this dish repeatedly with either ground beef or ground turkey and it is gobbled up every time, no pun intended ;-)
Chicken Piccata or Parmesean Chicken (Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cookbooks) Note :: I usually always serve either of these with a simple green or arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil with parmesean shaved on top :)
Greek Salad (with or without grilled chicken or salami added)
1 head romaine lettuce chopped
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
1 sliced red or green bell pepper
1 english cucumber halved and sliced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
sliced red onion (optional)
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/4 cup pepperocini thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil - whisk all until emulsified, dress and toss just before serving!
Shanti Chicken and Couscous (Suzanne Somers' Get Skinny on Fabulous Food) (Yeah, I know, just email me for the recipe, it'll be worth it ;-)
Marinated Flank Steak (with brown rice, couscous, jasmine rice or orzo)
Two Marinades to try: #1 - Freshly squeezed lemon juice (about two lemons) chopped garlic (about two cloves) salt and pepper (directly on the meat, both sides). Marinate about 30 minutes and then grill to medium or medium rare. Serve with lemony couscous. #2 - Asian style: 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 c olive oil, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic chopped, salt and pepper directly on the steak. Marinate overnight or about two hours ahead of cooking. We like to grill this one too and serve with your favorite rice and steamed edamame beans on the side :)
Make-Your-Own Pizza's Kids usually like cheese and pepperoni or canadian bacon, Violet likes roasted red peppers and olives with a little cheese, and for my dh and I "Pissaladiere" the BEST pizza dough recipe and I make mine in the bread machine, so easy!! (Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten)
Crock BBQ Beef Sandwiches (Saving Dinner) Note: This is a pretty standard Crock pot roast or beef brisket style recipe, add whatever spices/seasonings you prefer, but the best part is serving them with french rolls or hoagies smothered in your favorite BBQ sauce!
Favorite Weekend Staples ~
Blender Pancakes (scroll down past the yummy looking whole wheat dough recipe that looks like something I need to try ;-) Note: These are by far the BEST pancakes ever!! It's perfect if you happen to have a Bosch Mixer/Blender combo as you need the high speed grind (like for grinding grains) on the blender function. (I have the old model pre-2008 and it's still awesome).
Poached Eggs, Bacon and Toast (lovingly known as the "3 things") and best eaten all mixed together :)
Baguette Sandwiches Simply created to taste with ham and cheese or loaded with salami, pepperocinis, arugula, provolone, balsamic and olive oil, heaven :)
Weekend Dinner ~
Crouton Lemon Roasted Chicken (Barefoot in Paris, Ina Garten) Note :: You will thank me for this one, trust me, it's amazing!!!
Ina's Company Pot Roast (Back to Basics, Barefoot Style by Ina Garten)
Favorite Sides ~
Roasted Vegetables including - carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, parsnips, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, red or yukon gold potatoes, acorn squash, red onions. Any combination of these or as a separate item are delicious tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper just before roasting. I usually toss the butternut squash in melted butter and brown sugar.
Favorite Homemade Breads ~
Five Minute Artisan Bread Note :: It really works and it really IS amazing bread, even if you like your bread machine bread everyday, this is worth the five minutes for "bakery" or truly artisan style loaves. You must befriend your oven and a steam pan on the broiler rack!! Bon Chance :)
Naan (The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger) Note :: dough made in bread machine, then shaped and baked in the oven)
Maple Oatmeal Bread (bread machine) (Also from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, this is my all-time favorite bread machine cookbook)
Sticky Buns Note :: using Kimberlee's Cheat Sheet Buttery Rolls recipe, these are perfect every time
For the Sticky part: combine about 1/4 stick butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons corn syrup in a sauce pan to melt and combine. Add about 1/2 cup chopped pecans and heat through. Pour this mixture into the bottom of a bundt pan or 13 x 9 inch rectangular pan and bake off the buns in this yummy sauce for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. YUMMO!!
I hope you'll let me know if you are hankering to try some of these recipes or if you have some of your favorites to share, I'd love something new to add to the queue!! Many blessings and have a great rest of week before Thanksgiving!! I am so thankful for YOU :)