Hello again Tasty Tuesday fans!
These weeks whip by faster in December, don't they?
If you are anything like me, you are up to your eye balls in ideas and things you want to do but you're also knee deep in things that just have to get done! Although there's no law that says we have to have the picture-perfect holiday season that not only looks beautiful but also feels beautiful and smells beautiful....we all try to create it. Or, maybe that's just me.....
As I was thinking about what recipes I would share this week, I realized that it's come to that point in the month that we are pressed for time! These last days leading up the Christmas can be stressful. The last thing you might want to hear about is some recipe that you have to add to your holiday plans. So, I figured that maybe you would appreciate some quickie dishes that I am using to get me through this frantic countdown to the big day. Here in Judiland, every weeknight and weekend beginning today is accounted for so actually putting dinner (or any meal!) on the table feels like an impossible fete. Thankfully, I'm all about taking on the impossible and depending on ready-made products when it comes to menu planning. My big thing is that anything that's ready-made has to be good enough for me to lie that I made it myself! It's just another crazy quirk of mine. One of my criteria in deciding on what to have on hand was that I didn't want it to be anything similar to what we might be eating over the holidays.
So, this past weekend--in between my regular Judi duties and decking the halls and keeping the mall in business, I set aside a bit of time to figure out a few easy, good, ready-made products to have on hand so that no one starves in Judiland.....
Having a glass of wine while figuring this out helps tremendously.
THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS
-Glass of wine
-Write down the following items to purchase
-Sip more wine
-Decide when you will shop for these things
-Sip more wine
-Pour more wine
-Drink up, you deserve it!
-After you have sobered up, go shopping for a few or all of these vital staples!
At TRADER JOE'S....
-Wine Country Chicken and Walnut Salad (great to have on hand for quick lunches)
-1 bag of Party-Size Meatballs and 1 jar of Basil Marinara--put both in the crockpot on low before you leave the house. Even if you aren't having a party! A quick note: Rachel Ray raved over these meatballs in her magazine this month. I could have told her they were rave-worthy....
-Frozen sweet potato gnocchi with sage and butter (buy 2 bags!!!). Quick, hearty and tastes so good!
-Frozen mac and cheese--this stuff is pretty darn good and great to have on hand for those times when you tell people to feed themselves!
-Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken....it's good on it's own or over rice or pasta but it's a house favorite over greens for a Chinese Chicken Salad
At WILLIAMS SONOMA.....
-Balsamic and Carmelized Onion Braising Sauce (this is stunning to throw over bone-in chicken breasts and into the crock pot....it's as simple as that). You can serve it with quick rice on the side....the sauce makes even the lowly Minute Rice taste like something super special
-Chunky Artichoke-Parmesean Spread...this stuff is the BOMB over cooked pasta or baked on flatbread. Add a little extra cheese to either and it takes it up another notch. It's also wonderful slathered on a cooked chicken breast! It's quick, it's delicious and it will win over your dining partners every time.
At any GROCERY STORE...
-2 lbs of thinly sliced roast beef and 1 lb of sliced provolone from deli, Italian-style buns from bakery, 1 jar of beef gravy, 1 bottle of Italian Dressing. Put beef, gravy and dressing in crockpot before you leave the house. Everyone on their own with Italian beef sandwiches.
-Rotisserie chicken, taco shells, grated sharp cheddar cheese and desired taco fixings. Everyone on their own chicken tacos!
What are your favorite stay-out-of-the-kitchen meals?
I bet you didn't see this coming....did you?
BONUS RECIPE (to put you back in the kitchen....so don't go too far!!):
So sorry blog friends but I just could NOT help myself. I tried to hold back but my conscious would not let me me. You need this recipe and you need it like now. So, I will apologize upfront for sharing a recipe that might interupt your perfectly planned holiday meals. But, honestly....and I say this with lots and lots of love and understanding....you need to make this recipe...even if you have to nix Aunt Dorothy's famous potato recipe, you must, must make this. Aunt Dorothy will understand once she put this wonderfulness to her lips. It's that menu item that will take you to mashed potato stardom and I am not kidding you. No, I am NOT kidding you. Seriously. What's not to love? There's potatoes. There's garlic. There's sour cream. There's GOAT CHEESE. Did someone say GOAT CHEESE? Oh, did I mention that it's easy and can be made the day before? What's not to love?
Now...here's a link to some good notes on this----in fact it was this particular post from 2 of my favorite foodie bloggers that encouraged me to try out this recipe a few weeks back---on a Sunday when I was serving my famous Sunday roast (essentially, it's a rump roast slow cooked all day with crushed Italian tomatoes, garlic, basil, onions, carrots and celery, a deep red wine like zinfandel) for just Carmen and I and our daughter and her beau---I needed something to serve along side it when I hit upon this tantalizing post...the rest is history. Yes, I took a risk serving it without taste testing it but I trusted these 2 foodie bloggers and I always trust the Barefoot Contessa....don't you? Then, the other day, in a fit of what am I going to make with my prime rib (or sirloin rib roast or something like that) on Christmas day, I was transported back to this fabulous recipe and I just knew I couldn't keep it a secret from you......
So, anyway, when you are out there shopping for those "easy" meals that I suggested above, be sure to pick up what you need to make these Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes! Seriously. Make them.