Curried Chicken and Apple Wraps

Curried Chicken WrapsWrap It Up

School started this week. Part of me is beyond relieved that we can get back to a normal rou­tine, and that the kids will now have their time occu­pied. The other part is trying to wrap my mind around the reality that I now have two middle school stu­dents. Whoa, when did that happen? Wasn’t it last year when one boy was crying at the door to kinder­garten because he didn’t want me to go? (By the way, that’s changed…I now have to drop them off a few blocks away, while wearing a wig so no one rec­og­nizes me, or them, or me with them.)

Another thing that’s changed? Lunch.

Appar­ently, the usual is no longer cool. Until now, lunch for my boys has always been turkey and mayo on wheat. That’s it. Every Day. All year. (Zzzzzzzzzz…Sorry, fell  asleep there for a minute.) How­ever, when I asked what they wanted for their first day, I got, this as my answer, “Turkey and mayo but only if you have avo­cado. If not , I’ll have Roast Beef with let­tuce and Havarti cheese” Umm…ok. Sure. I applaud their will­ing­ness to try some­thing new, espe­cially while chan­neling char­ac­ters from When Harry Met Sally. I have to say I was pleas­antly surprised.

Full Dis­clo­sure: I must give some credit to my nephew who spent quite a bit of time at our house over the summer. He has a more refined palate, and his influ­ence has prompted change. He prefers such bizarre things as sliced red onion on his sand­wiches. Rebel.

I know these changes are not ground-​​breaking con­cepts in terms of sand­wich sophistication—iit is a major step up though. This gives me hope that I can try more stuff like the recipe below which, funny thing, is some­thing I would prefer to make for my own lunch thus cut­ting down morning kitchen time.

They are growing up, which is both good and bad. Good because I can’t wait to see the adults they become, and bad because I miss the squishy, drooling kids that used to laugh when I blew on their tum­mies. Oh well. I still have The Rocket Dog…she still likes that…

Cur­ried Chicken and Apple Wraps
Adapted from the Giada De Lau­rentis and The Food Net­work
Makes 4 serv­ings Read more…

Streamlined Baked Manicotti

Baked ManicottiEasy Peasy Manicotti

The tem­per­a­tures as of late have had all of us feeling as if we are living on the face of the sun…and pasta is prob­ably the last thing you want for dinner. But I’m making this tonight for a couple of good reasons.

My mother made Man­i­cotti when I was young—it was super-​​tasty. We loved it. It was also a pain in the butt to pre­pare. You gotta boil the noodle tubes, keep them from sticking  together, make sure they don’t break, fill them care­fully with the cheese, set them in the dish…yada yada yada. When I saw this stream­lined recipe (while living the life of leisure up at Tahoe), I knew I had to give it a try. No-​​boil lasagna noo­dles turn this time-​​consuming task into some­thing that can be done mid-​​week for dinner. Crazy!

The other bonus, and the real reason I wanted to make this Man­i­cotti dish, is that it is easily freez­able. Make two batches, and freeze one for later. Per­fect! As our back-​​to-​​school days rapidly approach, and the schedule goes wonky, it is nice to know that I will have some­thing for dinner that has at least some redeeming nutri­tional value. (No. Cereal does not count.)

This recipe comes from a col­lec­tion that Cook’s Illus­trated put out for Fall called All-​​Time Best Make-​​Ahead Recipes. It’s on news­stands now, and I am plan­ning to try a number of pos­si­bil­i­ties, for stocking our freezer.

Stream­lined Baked Man­i­cotti
Adapted from Cooks Illus­trated All-​​Time Best Make-​​Ahead Recipes Read more…

Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale PieHere today…Gone Tamale (or to Tahoe)

It’s the second week in August, so you can find me parked in a beach chair reading my Kindle up at Tahoe. This is my post-​​baseball, pre-​​start of school week of relaxation…well sort of. It’s really semi-​​controlled chaos, but we have a good time!

Yes, just being at Tahoe makes life better. It’s hard not be relaxed while enjoying the views and the water. There is just one problem—we still have to feed people—11 of them plus two dogs.

Over the years my sister and I have pretty much gotten things down to a sci­ence, but there is always room for improve­ment. In recent years we have started using the crock pot, so dinner is ready when we get home from the day’s activ­i­ties. Of course, a well-​​timed cock­tail and some appe­tizers can buy time for the stuff that takes a little bit longer.

A few weeks ago I came across this Tamale Pie recipe, and knew I had to try it. The recipe was super-​​easy and tasty, and could be easily dou­bled (or tripled) for a large crowd. So this will be on our table this week. As a bonus, the left­overs (if there are any) make a great break­fast with scram­bled eggs.

Chicken Tamale Pie
Adapted from The Food Net­work 
Read more…

Easy Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream (No-​​Churn)

Vietnamese Coffee Ice CreamWhat’s the Buzz?

I have a love-​​hate rela­tion­ship with coffee: I love it, but it doesn’t love me. I have cut my coffee intake back to just one cup in the morning, but it’s a con­stant struggle. I love the flavor. I love the ritual of a steaming hot cup in the morning and in the afternoon—sometimes you just need that giant latte to get through. The struggle is real folks.

Iced Viet­namese coffee is a favorite guilty plea­sure that I don’t indulge in very often, but I love it. (It’s the con­densed milk that makes it good but not good for you.) I will have it occa­sion­ally when we have Viet­namese for lunch, because I just can’t resist. I’m wired when I get back to my desk, but boy am I pro­duc­tive. So when I saw this recipe I knew I just had to try it. (Espe­cially because my favorite ice cream is any­thing that starts with a coffee base. Shocking, ain’t it?)

I have one of those old-​​fashioned, crank ice cream makers—it’s one of my most favorit-​​est things. How­ever, I like the fact that I don’t need to use it to make this treat. I used the French Market coffee that we carry in the store. The chicory ads a little oomph to the coffee flavor! Feel free to sub­sti­tute your favorite espresso grounds too…

Easy Viet­namese Coffee Ice Cream (No-​​Churn)
A quick and easy, no-​​churn ice cream, inspired by Viet­namese Iced Coffee. It’s creamy, sweet and uses sweet­ened con­densed milk. Read more…