Weekly Menu 10/29–11/2

OMG!  Did I really just type 11/2?!  Is it November already?!  I can’t believe it!  I hope everyone is getting ready for Halloween.  Unfortunately for you all who read this, I am not one of those super creative moms who has a Halloween theme to every meal this week.  Sorry!  But what I do have is super easy meals so that we can all prepare our little ghosts and goblins for trick or treating.  Happy Halloween!  And welcome November!

Monday – Turkey Tacos

Tuesday – Teriyaki Tuna with Asian Vegetables (Kikkoman is the best Teriyaki marinade)

Wednesday – Happy Halloween!  It’s pizza night!

Thursday – Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes and peas (Stuff the inside of the bird with halved lemons and rosemary sprigs.   Coat the outside with unsalted butter and salt.  Cook for 45 min. to an hour at 425 degrees.)

Friday – Out to dinner!  I’m taking a night off!

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Mantle-y Challenged

OK, so being in a rented home, my hands are somewhat tied.  I can’t hang too many pictures, paint, or unpack too much stuff.  And what I can do, I seem to have a mental block.  Or a mantle block for that matter.  One of the very easy things I can decorate is the fireplace mantle.  But I’m having trouble.  It looked like this:

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But then I purchased some beautiful mercury glass pumpkins from Pottery Barn and a mercury glass pheasant from a local shop called The Brass Exchange. (I love you, Brass Exchange!)  Now it looks like this:

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Still boring!!  I want it to look like this:

Fall Mantel with Pumpkins

(courtesy of BHG)

or this:

(Courtesy of A Soft Place To Land)

So I’ve rustled up some leaves and a couple more pine cones.  This is what I have now:

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Much more festive!

Weekly Menu 10/22-26

Monday – Spaghetti and Meatballs

Tuesday – Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

Wednesday – Chicken Salad and Greens

Thursday – Steak Sandwiches with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Friday – Turkey Chili

Headed to the Carolina mountains this weekend.  Can’t wait to take in the views and have some fun!

A Taste of Italy

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a class at Johnson and Wales University.  I have taken several classes there in the past, but I was really excited about this one.  This one was titled “A Taste of Italy”.  Seeing as I love Italian food, I couldn’t wait!  Class started at 9 am and lasted until around 1 pm.  The best part is, you get to eat everything the class creates!  We made wonderful things like Polenta E Salsiccia (Creamy Polenta with Sausage) and Involtini Alla Arogosta (Veal Roulades with Eggplant Lobster and Crimini Mushrooms).  They were both so delicious, and I’m not one for veal. 

We learned how to make pasta (easier than I thought) and how to prepare squid (never doing that again).  But my very favorite recipe was/is Olive Fritte Gorgonzola (Fried Olives Stuffed with Pancetta and Blue Cheese).  I can’t wait to make these as an appetizer for the next party I attend.  Because you all know I won’t be throwing a bash in the rental house!

Olive Fritte Gorgonzola

8 strips pork bacon

1 oz. pancetta, diced

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 oz. Gorgonzola cheese (I’d use more)

1 pinch ground nutmeg

48 Giant Manzanilla olives, pitted and pimentos removed

2 cups flour

2 cups fine breadcrumbs

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

salt and pepper

2 quarts vegetable oil

 

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.  Cook the bacon and pancetta in it until slightly crisp.  Add wine and let simmer until dry.  Let cool.  Place meat in a food processor.  Blend until slightly smooth.  Add cheese and nutmeg.  Blend until incorporated.  Put mixture into pastry bag and cut off tip (small hole!).  Pipe the meat and cheese mixture into the olives.  Place on a tray and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes (or more) prepare the breading station.  Put flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Put eggs and milk in another shallow dish and beat lightly.  Place breadcrumbs in a third dish.  Dredge each olive in first the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs and place on a cooling rack.

In a heavy, large saucepan, heat the oil to 350 degrees.  Working in batches, deep fry the olives until golden (3-7 minutes).  Place on a cooling rack.  Serve after they are cool enough to touch.  Yummy!!!

Now the key is to make sure they freeze.  If they are not frozen before you fry the bacon and cheese mixture will overheat and melt out of the olives.  Then you’re just left with fried olives.  And where is the WOW in that?!

Weekly Menu 10/8-12

This week is Italian inspired!  I had the pleasure of taking a class at Johnson and Wales University over the weekend and many of the recipes I used are from the class.  I will tell you more about that in another post and share my favorite recipe!  But for now, here is the week.

 

Monday – Pistachio crusted flounder with butternut squash risotto

Tuesday – Mozzarella and Portobello stuffed chicken with fall brussel sprouts

Wednesday – Italian sausage polenta

Thursday – Mushroom agnolotti in sage butter sauce

Friday – Brick oven pizza

Home, Sweet, Temporary Home

Well, my friends, it is time to explain why I’ve been MIA for so long.  We sold our house!  In 9 days!  I couldn’t believe it myself.  And the buyers wanted us out in 30 days.  Amazing!  It was a whirlwind, but thanks to my fabulous neighbor who happens to be an expert packer, we were able to do it.  The down side was that we couldn’t work out the house we wanted to buy, soooo we are renting.  It is only temporary and we are in the most fantastic neighborhood.  We rented a very cute house located behind a very upscale shopping center in town.  Everything is within walking distance which is wonderful and dangerous all at the same time.  It is almost heaven to me to be able to walk to Williams-Sonoma anytime I want, or to get a Starbucks when I need a little caffeine kick, or a great fashion boutique for some retail therapy.  My kids love being close to a candy shop and their favorite pizza place.  I’m going to have to be careful not to spoil them!

But here’s the trouble with renting….. it’s not yours.  My interior decorator heart is yearning to fix this place up!  Right now I have painters here who have matched the paint color of the house and are giving it a bit of a refresher.  It needed it.  The walls were worn and scuffed and it was just downright depressing.  I’ll post some photos once they are done.  At least the house was painted a color I liked and that matched my furnishings.  We won’t be hanging too many pictures or cooking gourmet meals at this house.  There are plenty of places to eat that we can walk to.  Fabulous!!!  And the garage is packed full of our stuff, but it isn’t forever.  It’s pretty close quarters with the things we have put in the house.  But a house is only a home when your family is there.  We will have a good time here, even if it is just temporary.

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                           (As you can see, we’ve decorated a bit for Halloween)

Weekly Menu 10/1 – 5

Wow!  I can’t believe is October already!  I have been absent from blogging for so long that I feel like I am starting over.  I’ll catch you up in another post, but for now here is the weekly menu.

Monday – Butternut Squash Soup with Gruyere Cheesy Toast

Tuesday – Beer Can Chicken with grilled veggies

Wednesday – Pasta All’Amatriana

Thursday – Lazy Perogi  (tastes like a cabbage perogi without all the dough rolling and shaping!)

Friday – Chicken and Honey Sandwiches