Menu 29 – What to Take a Friend Post Surgery

“I asked ‘Can I bring dinner?’ and within 30 seconds got a “YES” reply.”

This was the text my sister relayed to me when a friend of hers came home from surgery. So my sister hopped to and got right into planning her menu.

My sister is a really good friend. She’s full on in the “it takes a village” camp when it comes to child-rearing and being part of her community. Her first thought is “How can I help?” When I had my first child, she came up and stayed with me (non-maternal me) for a week and helped out. She was a god-send. She didn’t ask, she just unloaded the dishwasher, took out the trash, folded laundry. She held the baby – through all the crying. She is THAT friend. You want her in your ‘hood.

And you want her to cook for you when you come home from surgery and would kill for a home-cooked meal but can’t get it done yourself.

Don’t tell me when you look at this that it’s too much work. YOUR FRIEND JUST HAD SURGERY! And my sister – mother of two rambunctious boys; pregnant lady with an incoming girl; and a NICU nurse who works nights – managed to make all of this in about half a day for her friend (to rave reviews). So there. Stop complaining and be a good friend. On to the menu…

Menu 29 - 2 11 2016

 

This is unapologetic comfort food. The ranch dressing doubles as crudité dip. Be sure to include paper plates and disposable flatware. Yeah yeah I get the environment issues but your friend just went under the knife – they don’t need to do any dishes.

DISCLAIMER: Reconsider menu if your friend has gastro issues. I don’t know what to do in that case. Maybe broth and a movie.

BONUS! You could also tuck in a bouquet of flowers or you can print this menu in black and white and let your friend have some Zen coloring time! DOWNLOAD here…Menu 29 – 2 11 2016 BW

Tips and Notes

The Pork Roast. Take in one piece to maintain juices. http://chefmommy-brandao.blogspot.com/2012/03/pork-tenderloin-with-pan-sauce.html

Hash Browns – so bad and so good.  http://www.thechildatheartblog.com/cheesy-hash-brown-casserole/

Your own Ranch Dressing Mix. http://happymoneysaver.com/diy-copycat-homemade-hidden-valley-ranch-mix/

Guilty pleasure – Stouffer’s Escalloped Apples.  Try this homemade version…http://my-extraordinary-life.blogspot.com/2010/02/escalloped-apples.html

Please, you don’t need a recipe for a Big Green Salad.

Dessert! Or Breakfast! Pound cake…http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/05/lemon-blueberry-pound-cake/

Menu 20 – Eat WELL

So Thanksgiving happened and you ate ALL the pie. Not a crumb left in sight. There were also midnight drumsticks dipped in gravy and fried stuffing patties topped with cranberry sauce (creative, yes?). You drank nothing that wasn’t caffeinated or alcoholic. Elastic waistbands were required.

Friends, the holidays are long. Let’s maintain a little self-control and not totally crap the Healthy Bed (Crass. Don’t care). I overindulged last year and my memory of that Christmas is more about feeling huge than enjoying myself. You may not need rules. I do. Here are mine.

  1. Alternate all alcoholic beverages with water. Lots of water all day.
  2. Start the day with a protein and vegetable breakfast.
  3. Snack on whatever you want as long as you eat something healthy beforehand. Want a cookie? Great. Have a few slices of raw chopped peppers first.
  4. No food magazines after 9PM. This is a year round rule – late night perusing makes me hungry. Big holiday meals and leftovers don’t need any help from cravings I can avoid by say, reading a book instead of looking at food on Pinterest.
  5. Move around. Keep up your exercise routine.

The theme => No deprivation. All excess in moderation.

Set yourself up right with a meal that isn’t 6,000 calories. A few days of virtue is a healthy way to appreciate the cookies, the butter, the creamed spinach…remember, it’s barely even December and the parties are just starting. Try this delicious and easy fish dish. Over spinach and a little rice, you will be satisfied. There should be dessert. I listed broiled grapefruit (which sounds really fun) but this would also be a great time to have banana ice cream – link below – which is delicious and best eaten the day you make it.

Let’s treat this holiday season like the marathon it should be.

Menu 20 - 12 4 2015

Tips and Links

Thank you, Ellie Krieger: Thai Style Fish in Coconut Curry Broth

Try Broiled Grapefruit OR Banana Ice Cream!

Menu 19 – Turkey Curry Extravaganza!

Once upon a time you spent hours and hours preparing a meal. You planned ahead and finished on time. The turkey was moist, your house smelled divine.

And then you couldn’t stand another second of that sage/celery smell, yet your refrigerator was still “brimming with goodness.” What to do? In my world, the day after Thanksgiving is Curry Day. Go to a different country, change up the flavor profile, and minimize your time in the kitchen. Turkey Curry with all the toppings #FTW!

This curry recipe doesn’t even pretend to be authentic, but it is tasty. Think of this as a method, or 9 steps to goodness.

  1. Prepare rice, white or brown, your choice.
  2. While the rice cooks, heat up a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan.
  3. Dice an onion and gently sauté it in the oil for about 5 minutes. Mince 2 garlic cloves and a tablespoon of ginger. Add your garlic, ginger and 2 – 3 teaspoons of curry powder to the pan and sauté that for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add about a cup of your leftover gravy. Pull out that extra box of chicken stock you bought and add a cup until it’s as thick or not as you want it. Add leftover turkey that you’ve pulled apart into bite size pieces. On medium heat, let this simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Have someone else prepare curry toppings – sliced bananas, raisins, chutney, peanuts, coconut, mango, apples
  6. Tell the kids to set the table
  7. Have your uncle pour some good craft beer for the adults
  8. Taste your curry and see if you want to add more curry powder, salt or pepper. Enjoy!
  9. To plate, rice/curry/toppings of your choice and BOOM!  Dinner my friends, is served.

 

Menu 19 - 11 24 2015

Tips and Notes

I will admit, this recipe is a bit loosey goosey (technical term), but at some point there are things you make off the top of your head. If you want a more structured approach, try this one: http://www.onceuponachef.com/2012/02/chicken-curry.html just modify the turkey part since you’re using leftovers and not starting with raw.

Menu 18 – Dinner for TWO before the holiday craziness begins

Before the family arrives…before the eggnog hangover…before your house is covered in turkey and tinsel, might I suggest reconnecting with your spouse over a nice dinner for two. It’s the only responsible thing to do. You owe it to yourself as a couple. After all, you might be in the same space through the holidays but face it, you’ll hardly talk other than the occasional “Please cut Uncle Joe off and take his keys.”

But the holiday list is long and daunting (and yet “Quiet Dinner for Two” never seems to make the list). So to make this happen, you’ve got to keep it simple. Simple, but delicious. We start with oysters. A pain in the ass for ten (all that shucking); a treat for just two. Then a really tasty cod dish which marries so well with chorizo. It’s hearty over beans, and in advance of 5,000 calorie a day eating, a relatively virtuous treat. To end, let’s head to Italy and enjoy a quick and delicious dessert….espresso over ice cream. It’s so good and so easy, and let’s face it, you need all the caffeine you can get. Pick a night between now and just after Thanksgiving. You and your partner deserve it.

Menu 18 - 11 19 2015

 

Tips and Notes

Awesome Easy Cod Recipe

Eyeopener Dessert

Menu 1 – Farmer’s Market Celebration Dinner

It’s pretty easy to find reasons to celebrate, so make something up if you want to. At the farmer’s market, grab a pork blade roast, fresh zucchini, cucumbers, arugula and a few fingerlings and you can’t go wrong. The blade roast is pretty awesome – fast cooking. Be sure to score the meat for cracklings using the hot water trick (Google it). For the cake, I was inspired by this http://www.thekitchn.com/a-winter-glam-cocktail-party-gatherings-from-the-kitchn-198388. It’s just so good.

Menu 1 - 7 23 2015