Monday, December 11, 2006

Recipes for Getting Through the Holiday Stress

This is a crazy time of year - well, I'm sure I really don't have to tell you that! At work, there are projects to be completed before the end of the year (or, even better, before you take off on vacation); there's all the gifts to buy, regardless of your faith, because if not you, then someone else you care about is celebrating. And if you're like me, you hate crowds, line-ups at the cash, crazy parking lot behavior - I'm not usually a grumpy person, but....PLEASE!!!.

It's also the time of year with tons of entertaining - parties out, parties at home...your place, their's a never ending time of fun. There are the formal dinners, last minute drop in visits, house guests for the holidays, pot lucks at someone else's home. That's a lot of food prep!

So now that I have you all really stressed out about the next couple of weeks...let me share a very easy comfort food dinner to throw together to calm you down.

But first l have to backtrack a little...To celebrate completing Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories, Recipes To Warm the Heart, my honey saw my wish list of cookbooks (more about that later this week) and bought me the latest Barefoot Contessa book - Barefoot Contessa at Home. I really can relate to Ina Garten and her style of cooking and entertaining. In a nutshell, don't stress yourself, prepare simple food that can be prepared beforehand and enjoy the party yourself!

Whenever I get a new cookbook or food magazine, I love to go through it quickly the first time and (I know I shouldn't, but...) I dog ear recipes that really appeal to me. And I started to do that..Summer Borscht, Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup...but then I noticed that I was actually turning down more pages than I was leaving pristine! Many of the recipes are very similar to my own but with a marvelous twist, like Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower (I now make cauliflower often since potatoes are only a once in a while treat on the South Beach Diet). Check back for the recipe, I'm making it tonight.

So, back to the meal at hand...I happened to have some lovely looking broccoli rabe in the fridge and Ina's recipe with sautéed garlic really caught my eye. Broccoli rabe is Italian in origin and a bitter version of our broccoli...and I must admit, not always a hit here, but the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes added even more punch to the dish and we gobbled it up. I served it with an unbelievably simple meat loaf that was tangy and a perfect balance to the bitter broccoli rabe. This is as easy a meal to prepare as you will ever find. Five minutes to get the meatloaf ready for the oven and 45 minutes to bake while you're doing whatever else you have to do and 15 minutes or so for the broccoli start to finish. You could add mashed potatoes, turnips or the Barefoot Contessa's Mustard Roasted Potatoes, but we're trying to leave the carbs out of the mix for now - just a little South Beach, Phase One regroup.

If you need some comfort after a hard day at the mall or the office or if you're having house guests, this is a perfect easy dinner that makes everyone feel right at home.

So take a deep breath and enjoy the holidays!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am dying to try broccoli rabe, but I have never seen it here! Not fair.