A Little Apres-Theatre Meal


We were uncommonly social this week between Todd’s company Christmas dinner, TOSAC’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, the 1940s Radio Play version, and a birthday lunch for a friend. A very busy week.


That means, of course, that our menu was a little scrambled, just like the eggs after the play.

I knew from previous experience that trying to squeeze in dinner before the show could screw up in several ways, but Thomasville doesn’t generally have anything but drive-throughs open when the play ends, so something quick to prepare afterwards is key. Breakfast for dinner is always nice and simple, and these Creamy Eggs Florentine really hit the spot.

There’s not really a recipe, just a general procedure:

Whisk together 6 eggs, a generous splash of milk, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and smoked paprika (all to taste) and pour into a hot pan and cook without stirring until the eggs are nearly set. Add in a heaping handful of baby spinach that’s been torn or chopped and a couple ounces of cream cheese that’s been cut or pinched into cubes. Stir until cheese starts to melt and spinach starts to melt.

With a couple pieces of buttered toast and some sliced sausage it was a very tasty, very filling, and very fast supper.

What did the rest of our week look like?


Monday was a batch of Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew served over rice. Now, I’d made this before, and I recall enjoying it. But Monday evening I was just so blah and uninterested I only picked at mine. Fortunately, I found my appetite for the leftovers, but I think it needs less tomato and more something else, should I make this again.


Tuesday’s plans went to hell after a last-minute meeting ran late and I didn’t get home until an hour later than usual, just before Todd, and by the time we’d compared notes from our respective days it ended up being a Jimmy John’s night. So Wednesday night I made what I’d been planning to for the previous night, roasted Brats and Vegetables (from Grab a Plate).

Friday was the play and the aforementioned breakfast for dinner, and on Saturday was the birthday lunch at Coosh’s. That night for supper we just set out meats and cheeses to graze upon–it’s the second weekend we’ve done that and it’s rather convenient not having to worry about stopping whatever project we we’re in the midst of to make dinner. Grazing for the win, am I right?


Sunday I made a favorite stand-by recipe: Chicken and Dumplings. Normally this would have been a perfect meal for a winter weekend, but we had an unseasonably warm and muggy weekend, so this was a bit overkill. Tasty overkill, but not exactly in line with the weather.

And that’s another week done in the kitchen. Todd’s on deck for this week leading up to Christmas and I have no idea what we’re doing for the holiday. My family is out of town and we’re taking a very low-key approach this year since we’re both more or less exhausted by life in general at the moment. Anyone else skipping the holiday hustle and bustle this year?

The Most Amazing Fajitas This Side of a Tex-Mex Restaurant



And they were so simple it’s scandalous: peel some shrimp, slice some peppers and onions, toss everything with oil and spices, then roast for 20 minutes. It really was just that simple.

The Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas that we enjoyed Thursday night came courtesy of Melissa from No. 2 Pencil and I’m sure could be adapted to any number of variations. I have a feeling we’ll be making it again, too, because it was just that good. On the side was a bowl of Rice and Gandulas (leftovers from Thanksgiving), guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, plus the flour tortillas. I decided to try out one of my more recent iHerb purchases: the Sunfood Superfoods Raw Vegan Coconut Wraps (affiliate link). I have to say, I was just as surprised by the wraps as I was by the fajitas!

If you’re not a fan of coconut flavored items I wouldn’t suggest them, but if that doesn’t bother you then I would definitely urge you to give them a try. They are thin but very flexible–no cracking the way a lot of wheat-free wraps do–and they become even more pliable when combined with something warm or moist but they also retain their resiliency. The closest I could come to comparing them to another food is nori, but instead of tasting like the sea, it tastes like the beach.

What did the rest of the week look like?


I’d planned something slightly more interesting than leftovers for Monday night but leftovers is what we ended up eating. The Monday after Thanksgiving is the night of the Christmas parade here in Thomsville and we walked down to watch it with Duncan. With the exception of a pocket of kids getting a little wild and blocking the sidewalk, waiting for the parade to start, Duncan did extremely well. His favorite entry was definitely the soccer players–I think he wanted to chase the balls.


Tuesday night was a twist on the classic Steak and Eggs breakfast, but with Smoked Pork Chops from Bradley’s in place of the more traditional beef steaks. These suckers were thick–about an inch, each–and the smoking made them more akin to ham steaks than pork chops. Nevertheless, they were delicious, and went very well with sunny side up eggs. While I’d planned a slightly different side dish to begin with, I ended up making some red potato chips. I don’t normally fry things but I’d had the fryer set up from Thanksgiving (to fry the onion slices for the green bean casserole–yes, I make my own) and the oil was still very fresh. I think a higher oil temperature would have been advised, however, as the chips promptly wilted once out of the fat.


One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the gumbo we make a few days later. This time it was almost a week, but Wednesday night was a good night for gumbo as it was rainy and muggy.


After the fajitas on Thursday night, Friday saw us sitting down to another bowl of soup, this time New England Clam Chowder (recipe from Wine and Glue). I appreciated Lisa’s nod to frugality by using stock instead of so much clam juice and really did not notice a change in the flavor of the dish.

I had one open night on the menu, this week, and it turned out to be Saturday. We met up with friends in Tallahassee for lunch (at an Indian place downtown, so good!) and then, since we were both in town during the day with noting else pressing, we made good on something we’d been noodling over for a while and went and got a Costco membership. Of course we walked around the store and picked up a few odds and ends, along with some meats and cheeses to make a grazing supper.


We finished out the week with homemade burgers and fries. Bacon cheeseburgers, to be exact, and I learned my lesson about the fryer, heating the oil to around 400 degrees before dropping in the potato wedges. Much better result!

That’s another week in the kitchen down for the count! Hope your week is just as tasty.

Impromptu Panzanella and Other Stories


Now that we’ve caught up on the past menus, we can continue on they way we were. Last week was a comfort food sort of week: temperatures continue to drop and the schedule is starting to get heavy with holiday obligations on the horizon. Let’s tuck in to some tasty fuel, shall we?


We unintentionally played along with Meatless Monday (is that still a thing?) by starting with a Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai–I just thought it looked tasty! It was, even though I left off the peanuts and subbed the remaining spinach spaghetti for the more traditional rice noodles (more veggies!). The crunch of the carrots next to the softer chew of the noodles and zoodles was a nice addition to the dish and the sauce was pretty spot-on for Pad Thai. If I were to do it again I’d probably double it to have enough for leftovers, there was the barest of 3rd servings there, but probably only due to my noodle substitution stretching it out farther.


On Tuesday I made another batch of Cabbage Roll Soup and Beer Bread. I always forget how good this soup really is! Seriously, give it a try. I would normally make this in the Crock Pot but I really didn’t feel like fooling with it the night before or the morning of, so made it on the stove. It took about an hour but that was perfect as that’s how long the beer bread took to bake.

About the bread. I was, of course, making mine gluten free and used gf Bisquick. It required more liquid than the linked recipe called for (not surprising for converted items) but it occurred to me (after about 45 minutes) that, instead of adding more beer, it might have been a good idea to take a page from experience and add a couple of beaten eggs to the dough to give the whole thing a bit more stability. Like you do if you follow the GF Bisquick biscuit directions.

I’ll try that in the future, but it turned out okay enough without it. The bread was difficult to slice (the sugar makes for a nice, chewy crust) so we just tore hunks off the loaf. It was a little dense, but not unpleasantly so. And beer bread is a familiar taste/smell from my childhood–the only time Momma would buy beer is to make beer bread.


On Wednesday night my plan was to give into a fried shrimp craving with corn on the cobb and a salad. The only hitch was, the salad greens I’d bought went over a little sooner than expected, and I was leafy vegetable-less. But I’d already shaved a couple of carrots and halved a pint of cherry tomatoes–what to do?!

I’d picked up some Pretzel rolls on Sunday at Target (never go shopping hungry or PMSing, right?) so I decided to make a bread salad. I cubed up on roll, make an oil and vinegar dressing with lots of herbs, and tossed it all together. Todd thought I was making something up when I explained the bread salad concept, but it’s actually a real thing and goes by the name panzanella. He called it crouton salad, and I can’t exactly disagree. But it was good, so that’s all that matters.


Mmmm, Thursday. Who didn’t grow up eating Salisbury steak a few dozen times? This staple of frozen food sections and tv dinners is still damned tasty and the Salisbury Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes were definite nostalgia-fodder. Served with green beans, all it really needed was a little cube of molten apple “crisp” to complete the sensory memory. Except that the sauce, in this recipe, calls for adding a bit of barbecue sauce and I found that it overpowered the rest of the flavors. So if I were to make this again, I’d probably just skip that ingredient.

On Friday we drove down to Tallahassee for dinner out and then went and browsed the bookstore before heading home. It was a proper date night with an unexpected twist that I hope I can share more about soon.


On Saturday we attended the annual fete at Bradley’s Country Store, with Duncan in tow. It was his biggest crowd to date and while I think he might have been a little overwhelmed at all the people and all the other dogs, he did very well and sat pretty (most of the time) for adults and kids to pet him. That night I made Mongolian Chicken with rice and stir-fry vegetables for supper. This was another instance of being too lazy to set up the slow cooker (I really don’t know what my issue is with it, lately) but, once again, it was no problem to pop the chicken into the oven with the sauce and let it cook while the rice did. Sure, it would have been slightly easier to shred if I’d done the low and slow method, but really it wasn’t an issue.


We finished the week with Chicken Fried Steak Bites with Country Gravy and baked sweet potatoes. There really isn’t a lot to say about this meal–it was good, of course (hard to argue with breaded and fried cube steak, right?). It goes together pretty quickly and is super satisfying on a cold night.

Of course, it’s Thanksgiving week, now, and I hope you have your turkey all set to defrost. For anyone needing basic brining instructions, head over to our classic Todd’s Turkey post and check out our method. Hope you have a good one!

Month of Menus, Part 4


At last we come to the end of our menu catch-up sessions, to the week that encompassed both Halloween and our 3rd wedding anniversary.

Between Duncan’s protectiveness vibe and general work exhaustion (one of these days I’ll have to get into that), not only did we skip hosting our annual Halloween party, we didn’t even get around to putting up any decorations. Sad state of affairs when we don’t even have the energy to decorate for our favorite holiday!


We couldn’t let the day go completely unmarked, however, so for supper that night I made our fall-favorite Pumpkin Sloppy Joes and served it with a simple salad. After supper we turned on the porch light and I sat out there with the candy while Todd tried to keep Duncan occupied and distracted from any little ones walking up our sidewalk. It mostly worked, but due to the Monday holiday and our late start (and I’m sure the lack of decorations hurt us, too), we hardly had any trick-or-treaters and have had to work through the enormous vat of candy on our own.

Aw. Shucks.


On Tuesday I made a recipe I’d pinned a while back, but since I wasn’t together enough to set up the slow cooker, I simply scaled back the liquid called for in the recipe and made the Sweet Chili Chicken in the oven. It took about as long as the brown rice to do its thing in the rice cooker, and this way there was no chance of the chicken getting mealy, the way it can sometimes do over a full-day’s crock. This was a simple enough recipe and I could see making up a large batch one weekend and dividing it up for later use.

Wednesday was our anniversary and while I’d considered staying in and cooking, I decided to save us both the trouble and we went to one of the local Mexican restaurants here in Thomasville (that I still need to write-up!) and had one of the most amazing margaritas of my life. Seriously. The food was good, too, and I took not a single picture of my Shrimp Veracruz or Todd’s Chimichanga. I also did not take pictures of the cupcakes I picked up from Smallcakes. Bad blogger, indeed.

Thursday I’d planned to cook, but the day ended so weirdly at work that I opted for a leftover night. I may or may not have had a leftover cupcake for supper, followed by Halloween candy. I think I also made myself a sandwich at some point. It is what it is…


Friday night I got back into the kitchen and attempted a pork chop version of a pork loin recipe, but without following the actual recipe (marinating and such). Yeah, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been if I’d remembered to marinate the chops the night before. I didn’t quite care, though, as I could have just as happily eaten the roasted potatoes and nothing else and been fine. Still, I left the Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin recipe on my To Be Tried board because I think it has potential.


On Saturday I took a break from my frantic last-minute knitting frenzy to make a recipe I spotted on a Facebook video but which hails from Food Network. The Sausage Gravy Breakfast Lasagna gave me the opportunity to try out the Tinkyada lasagna noodles (they worked perfectly, btw) and fill our usual breakfast-for-dinner slot. Which the lasagna was tasty enough, I think the sausage gravy part of the recipe could have stood just as well on its own without the rest of the ingredients. I suppose you could add biscuits. If you really needed to.


To round out the week I made Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese and it was phenomenal! First, the tip to roast the squash in slices to avoid the squash steaming and becoming mushy was spot-on! (Though I’d probably still microwave the whole squash for a few minutes to make it easier to slice–that part’s a bit of a beast to do completely raw.) Second, anything with bacon and goat cheese will make me happy. I actually had the thought that so many cream cheese-containing recipes that are big on Pinterest could be elevated by swapping the cream cheese for goat cheese. In fact, the only complaint about this dish is that even with a larger than average spaghetti squash it barely made three portions. So, you know, double the squash if you’re wanting sufficient leftovers to share.

On that tasty note, we’re all caught up. I really do hope this glimpse of our supper plans over the last month encourage you to try something new or maybe revisit an old favorite sometime soon.

And, hey, if you have a cupcake for dinner one night? No judgement here!

A Month of Menus, Part 3


So, moving right along, we’re up to mid-month October, starting with the 17th.


We started with a simple oven meal of Sesame Salmon with green beans–the beans were roasted on the same sheet pan so they got the benefit of the sesame and soy dressing on the fish. Waste not, want not, right? A pot of rice in the rice cooker was all that was needed to round out the plate.


Remember my “we need more sandwich nights” thought from the previous menu? Here we go. Grilled cheese is a staple in our home but tonight’s version was an Italian grilled cheese, featuring both Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and tomato sauce inside. So gooey, so good. Instead of the usual soup accompaniment, I opted for a Caesar salad with homemade dressing.

We had a leftovers night interlude towards the beginning of the week. It happens. Work or life interferes, you know the drill.


But when I did get back into the kitchen, it was to make these Sweet Potato Corn Cakes with Garlic Dipping Sauce These will definitely be made again. The corn nibblets on the outside edges get a little chewy from the frying, but I think they could be baked or griddled with no problem, instead. To go with them I went simple with some seasoned chicken thighs that baked in the oven while I tended to the more involved cakes.

Friday we met up with some friends at the Greek Food Festival for gyros, spanikopita, and way too much baklava (if there can be such a thing).


I generally ask Todd, before I make up the next menu, if there’s anything he’s been craving or would like for the following week. Very seldom does he actually take me up on a request, but this week he requested wings and I was happy to oblige. I baked a family pack of chicken wings drizzled in olive oil and dusted with salt and pepper and then tossed them into a sauce made of Parmesan cheese, garlic olive oil, and butter. So much better than most of the wing places we’ve tried. To go along with it I tossed a bag of rosemary fries onto a second baking sheet and they cooked at the same time.


Finally, the week finished out with a simple pasta dish: gluten free penne with sausage, peppers, and creamy (from coconut milk) tomato sauce.

And that’s another week of menu-spiration. Hope it sparks something tasty from your own kitchen sometime soon!