Relax, Just Enjoy Each Other and let the Holiday Season Begin.

What my House looks like! Titled: When Elves vomit (ok Vomit isn’t a great word for a food blog, but really…look at that mess!  But we are having fun!Photo 6It is easy to become frantic at the holidays.  I know I go crazy trying to organize everything, keep the house clean, and have food on hand for the unexpected holiday guest. Then I have to stop myself and remember it is all about the people.  Relax, Just enjoy each other.  Stop in the madness and let the holiday season begin. While you’re at it take some advice from Robert Frost:

A Time to Talk: taken from Bartleby.com

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan (or pick some meals from here)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy

The Meals:

Bacon, Pineapple & Spinach Pizza

Photo 2(1)

Time: 30 -45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: We had birthday number three this week and the request was simply “As long as it has lots of bacon and cheese…”.  So, my husband and I bounced around some ideas, I asked for help from friends and FoodieChats, via twitter, and received some great ideas.  There is one foodiechat recommendation that my husband is begging for me to make, so expect to see Poblano stuffed peppers with cheese and wrapped in bacon from @jeffriessunni at some point.  He is so excited.

I said, offhandedly, what about bacon pizza with something like pineapple and didn’t think about it again until my husband calls me from work and says “oh, I told him you were going to make pizza with bacon and pineapple and he thought it was awesome”. Ok, uhhh well. I didn’t actually know what I was going to do, but the results were great and the birthday boy was happy.

Pizza crust (I used pre-made crust from my grocery in the deli section)

Alfredo sauce

Mozzarella and Gouda cheeses

bacon, cooked and crumbled

caramelized onions (if you caramelize the onions on this day it will bump you time up to allow for good caramelization of the onions)

spinach (fresh or frozen)

pineapple bits

I made three pizzas, you will adjust the amounts based on what looks good and works for your table.  I find it is easier to just put things on the pizza until it looks right and I rarely measure.  Top your crust with a few spoonfuls of Alfredo sauce; just enough to cover, not make it saucy.  Then layer the rest of the pizza with chopped caramelized onions, crumble the bacon and cover pizza, add fresh or frozen spinach on top-amounts to taste, then add bits of pineapple across the spinach.  Top with a blend of mozzarella and Gouda and bake per the instructions of your crust.  Approximately 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tip: Many grocery stores sell the dough they use to make in-house pizzas and it is a quick, but tasty option.

Grape Leaf Wrapped Salmon : Green Valley Grill, Greensboro NC
fish gvg

Fish, quick

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple to moderate

Review:  First I’d like to say that the Green Valley Grill is one of my favorite restaurants.  It has wonderful food and you feel like you have escaped just for a while.  If you are ever in Greensboro, go!

I made this without the grape leaves this time, which does take away a bit from the dish, but still yummy.  It is easy and quick, but elegant.  I served it with creamy polenta and steamed green beans.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Corn Hashbeans and corn

Vegetarian, quick, Healthy

Time: 35 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: There are a few meals I pull out when I want something quick and tasty and know everyone will like it and this is one of them.  It is hearty and healthy!  This week I was out of black beans, but didn’t know it until I started cooking-someone didn’t follow her grocery list, so I used pinto beans instead and served it with rice.  It was still tasty, but if you have it, I recommend using the black beans.

Just for Fun: Grapefruit BruleePhoto 5

This time of year it is especially fun to play with your food!  If I could recommend a useful, but totally fun kitchen tool it would be a torch! And yes, I was tempted to say “Mwahh haa haa”.  A torch can be used for so many things, like browning the top of a casserole, or crystalizing sugar on a brulee, or flambes!  It is just a great tool.  This week we used our torch to brulee the sugar on top of grapefruit.  So yummy!

I know I only put three meals out for review this week, but this week we were invited to holiday gatherings at other peoples homes where we enjoyed great food and great company.  It is what it is all about: Relax, just enjoy each other and let the the holiday season begin!

Feel free to suggest a recipe you would like to see reviewed.  Just use the contact me above and send me the link and I will see what I can do.

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.

Pasta, Leftover Turkey Potpie & Pork Loin Double Duty

pasta cameraThanksgiving week was a crazy week!  A wonderful week, but crazy just the same.  We had so much fun celebrating birthdays and Thanksgiving, seeing friends and family and decking the halls! So this past week we decided to keep it simple.  Brought out the crockpot, did 30 minute meals and even used paper plates one night. But, we still enjoyed each other and that is the point.

Just because dinner is simple doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice freshness or taste.  Don’t grab a mix or pre-packaged dinner;  Fresh, real meals are within reach. Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan (or pick some meals from here)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy

The Meals:

Pasta buffetpasta bar


Time: 30 minutes, allow extra time if you heat each person’s individually

Ease: Simple

Review:  Sometimes simple can be pretty fun, even fancy!  We like to make pasta and cook squash, zucchini, peppers and onions, sausage (try different types) and mushrooms individually and then place each in their own bowl – buffet style.  Then have a dish of alfredo sauce and one of marinara sauce and you are set.  You have two choices at this point 1. have everything warm and ready to serve at the same time or 2. let people choose the items they would like and have one pan for red sauce and one for white ready on the stove or grill, then toss in their ingredients and heat together each plate separately.   Similar to what you see served at a catered meal.  It is fun and takes very little time.  So the next time you have that last minute dinner party just throw together this simple buffet, add in a salad and sit down and enjoy your guests.

Leftover Turkey Potpie:  The Pioneer Woman  Chef:  Ree Drummandbaking potpie

Photo 14Time: 1 hour

Ease: Simple to moderate (depends on whether you use a store bought crust or make it yourself)

Review:  Wow, The Pioneer Woman is awesome!  My husband liked this so much he said we should do it every year.  This recipe was easy to follow and simple to make (and yes I used a store bought, roll out crust.  But  hey,  she said she wouldn’t judge).  Our turkey this year had sweet Italian sausage under the skin and this was a nice added flavor to our potpie.

Apricot Chiptle-Glazed Pork Tenderloin:  PBS Food  Chef: Jenna Weber
Photo 22Photo 21

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This dish could not have been any more simple: make the glaze, brush it on, and broil.  Voila!  Do not be afraid of the broiler, I know I have been in the past.  This recipe worked exactly like it said it would.  Just don’t put the meat too close, I used the second groove in my oven and it came out perfectly.

Tip:  Often pork loins come with 2 pieces.  Depending on the size of your group, try cooking one and saving the other one for the next night’s dish: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

Simple Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos Justatatste.com  Chef: Kelly SenyeiPhoto 28

Time: 6-8 hours in the slow cooker and 15 minutes when you get home.

Ease: Simple

Review: My family loves tacos, tacos of any kind and this taco did not disappoint.  It was juicy and full of flavor and was ready within minutes of walking in the door.  Can’t beat that!

Tip:  I used a pork loin because I had one left from the day before.

Hotdogs, I know-but I love them so.

P1080965Ok, I know hotdogs are not exactly fresh or wholesome, but I love them.  I mean I really love them, especially with slaw. You know coleslaw-white, mayo based coleslaw.  I even like hotdogs from convenience stores. I like them broiled, grilled, boiled, and on the rotator at the store.  They are quick and yummy and I won’t judge you for them if you don’t judge me.

I hope you enjoy this week’s meals.  Remember that you can have meals in minutes without sacrificing freshness, wholesomeness and taste. OK-minus hotdog night, but come on…It’s a hotdog, everybody loves a good hotdog from time to time.

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.