My last post to this blog was November 22nd and then month of December flew by. I spent early December being a nanny to my granddaughter while my daughter navigated her return to the work force. It was delightful to spend one on one time with her.
During this time, meal preparation had to be done beforehand or ingredients had to be on hand to prepare a nutritious, healthy meal and prepared in under an hour. This became a challenge, so I relied on recipes that I have made [and posted] in the past and occasionally was able to find a new one that worked out. I found a stuffed pepper recipe by Lidia Bastianich. Lidia’s recipe called for ground pork, however, I used ground beef. The dish was very flavorful worked out well as a do ahead meal.
A former client of mine, Dolores, had a craving for struffoli (Italian honey balls) for Christmas. Dolores is a delightful, spry late 80ish woman and I wanted to surprise her with this holiday favorite. I made the recipe twice, once for Dolores and once for my daughter. Both of them were thrilled to receive this holiday treat.
Although I didn’t have to work Christmas Eve, I had a few gifts to wrap, hors d’oeuvres to make and supper. My son requested apple cheddar canapés that came from the September 1988 issue of Gourmet magazine. I made these with a small wheel of Grafton Village 2 year aged cheddar Vermont Raw Milk cheese. This cheese was so creamy when I made mac n’cheese and was delicious when paired with Granny Smith apples in this recipe. The photo above was taken post-Christmas and, therefore, I didn't bother to cut circles of rye bread for my husband and I.
For Christmas Eve dinner, my husband and I wanted something super easy, Dickie Dee Italian style hot dogs. So what is an Italian style hot dog? Fried peppers, onions, potatoes and hot dog on half of an Italian pizza bread. Don’t knock it until you try it! We haven’t had these in ages, so the splurge on fried food was delicious. I didn’t try to find pizza bread that the hot dogs are served on, so I used sperlonga bread from Whole Foods. For the potatoes I used russets that I peeled, par boiled and chilled before frying. This trick I learned in Gourmet Magazine. This method helps the potato hold their shape and brown up better when they’re fried.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.