creamy chicken stew with bacon

ah, leftovers. i am going to skip right past thanksgiving, since i've never cooked a thanksgiving dinner and don't plan to anytime in the near future, and head straight to leftovers. i made this soup a couple weeks ago with chicken, but there's no reason not to sub it out for turkey. looking for other uses for leftover turkey? check out a few of my favs after the break.


poached pear & brie salad

while nothing has been able to knock my fall apple chicken salad with maple mustard vinaigrette out of the top spot as my absolute favorite salad, this one isn't far behind. sweet poached pears, brie, and candied walnuts are a delicious combination - try topping sliced baguette with them and toasting, just enough to melt the cheese. with so much flavor, a basic balsamic vinaigrette tops this salad off perfectly. don't let the time throw you off - you can poach the pears a day or two before and keep them in the refrigerator. assembling the salad itself takes all of 10 minutes.


chicken with mustard sauce

it seems like this time of year, everyone everywhere is eating heavy, holiday food. i like flipping through magazines of this year's must have pies to go with the perfect way to make turkey just as much as the next guy, but those recipes don't help at all when it's 6:00 on a monday and i have exactly 30 minutes before a toddler hunger meltdown starts. this chicken is perfect for those nights. virtually no prep, a tiny bit of babysitting to make the sauce, and thirty minutes later you've elevated boring chicken breasts enough to satisfy mom, dad, and toddler and been able to whip up a couple sides at the same time. sick of chicken? i bet this would be great with pork chops.


chocolate peanut butter sandwich cookies

if you've been a long time reader or know my husband jason, you know two things: he doesn't particularly care for sweets, especially cake, and for the rare times he chooses something sweet, it almost always involves chocolate and peanut butter. so in 2011 we celebrated his birthday with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and in 2012 it was black bottom peanut butter pie. this year, these sandwich cookies were on the menu.


leek and mushroom frittata

i love love love frittatas. they're easy to make, you can use whatever combination of meat, cheese, and vegetables that you like, there are always leftovers that reheat beautifully, and they can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. this version uses two of my favorites - sauteed leeks and mushrooms - paired with fontina cheese. if you absolutely have to have meat, top the frittata with chopped crispy bacon before it goes into the oven. the salty bacon goes great with the creamy vegetables and cheese.


cacio e pepe with lemon

here's the thing: you can't have it all. all those women out there, working full time, raising kids, keeping a marriage afloat, cooking a real dinner for their family every night, finding time for hobbies and themselves, their plan will sooner or later crack. the problem is that as life goes on, we add more and more responsibilities all wedged into the same amount of time and with the same amount of effort and attention span we've always had. so what happens? something gives. in the last year, i've spent more time and focus on health and wellness, spending nights and weekends working out instead of blogging or keeping in touch with far away friends. i spend my evenings playing with my son, so time dedicated to dinner becomes shorter and shorter. not because i no longer enjoy cooking - follow me on pinterest and you'll see my kitchen is still a flurry of activity - but because i would rather spend my time building towers and crashing them with my son than stuffing ravioli. so now, more than ever, i am on the lookout for meals that start to finish are done in less than thirty minutes - bonus if they're toddler friendly. this pasta fits the bill perfectly. although the original recipe calls for a meyer lemon - rightfully so, since they are deliciously sweet and tart - a regular old lemon will do. toss in some cooked peas, like my favorite alfredo, to round this out as a meal.


secret recipe club: enfrijoladas

since i've gone sweet for the last three secret recipe club picks in a row (see cherry sorbet, bacon topped maple french toast cupcakes, and chocolate snack cake), i decided this month was time for something savory. and not just any savory, but my favorite kind: mexican. i spied these enfrijoladas on edesia's notebook, and while they aren't very photogenic, how can homemade refried beans, tortillas, and melty cheese not be a good combination?! they are delicious and toddler approved! thanks lesa, for teaching me how easy it is to make refried beans at home.

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