Cooking lately...

Since moving, I've taken advantage of our absurdly spacious kitchen (and two roommates who rarely cook!) to really go wild cooking. Dave will eat pretty much anything that's put in front of him (evidence below) and is generally highly complimentary - it's insanely gratifying.

- my mom's fabulous secret-recipe Chex Mix, which was a staple of all our childhood events and, this year, came out for both our Stanford tailgates and our Christmas party. The batches are enormous, and you can trash them up with whatever you like - I put chocolate-covered cashews in the holiday batch and it was a delight. 

- "Melt in Your Mouth" pumpkin cookies, half with this brown butter pumpkin spice frosting and half with this cinnamon cream cheese frosting - I've made these cookies every fall since Kaitlin and I first made them on a trip to Baltimore way the heck back in 2013...the recipe is incredibly easy and makes a huge batch. I made them this year for our "Worksgiving" potluck, and doubled the batch - thank God, because we went through ten dozen cookies at home and work in a matter of maybe a few days. 

- I've gotten super into marinating chicken breasts, as Safeway runs insane sales on their boneless skinless six-packs pretty much weekly. Two favorites: this rosemary balsamic marinated chicken and this honey lime cilantro chicken, which Dave grilled for me and we shredded up to use in tacos. SO GOOD and so easy! 

- Early in the fall, I woke up craving pancakes. We had a big thing of pancake mix taking up space in our pantry, so Laura, Dave and I made them (it was my first time ever actually making pancakes!). I trashed them up with bourbon butter maple syrup and they were awesome. Fast forward to last weekend, when I was (again) craving pancakes, but we were out of mix. I looked up a recipe from the internet, tried to make them, and oh my god they were SO TERRIBLE. For some reason the outsides burned before the insides even cooked, and they were near-raw in the middles. Dave, being a sweetheart and way too nice to me for his own good, still ate them and didn't make (too much) fun of me...his patience with my foibles is genuinely deeply appreciated. 

- October to me means all the pumpkin/squash/apple food possible, and I made this butternut squash mac and cheese with bacon, caramelized onions, and apples twice this fall. It is so decadent, but shockingly not that bad for you - the whole wheat pasta, coupled with replacing most of the cheese with butternut squash purée really cuts down on some of the calories. 

- This lemony thyme pasta salad was a staple at the cabin every summer, and I made it with grilled chicken sometime this fall - I kind of lost track of what month it was when our December still felt like September. It's light and tangy and fun and different - I love it. 

- Holiday baking! I went ham this year given we were having a huge Christmas party, I had a work potluck, and Dave wasn't going home/needed tradition brought around our neck of the woods, clearly. I did ginger snaps, peanut blossoms, white chocolate-dipped pretzels, and a TOTAL fail batch of Spritz cookies...for some reason, the cookies would just not detach from the press, and I got irrationally irritated about midway through and just threw the dough away. The ones I actually managed to make were super good, but I just think Spritzes are maybe not for me. 

- As I've mentioned a couple times here, we had a holiday party. It was awesome, and the best part, in my humble opinion, was the food. I wanted everything to be very easy to eat while socializing, so in addition to the usual suspects (cheese plate, charcuterie, chips and salsa, and of course the cookies!), I made these astoundingly good bourbon barbecue meatballs, along with super-easy but very fancy-looking cranberry brie bites and a Mexican spinach dip that was a huge hit (Dave, in particular, was a BIG fan...ooh, a tablecloth!). 

- To go with all the killer food at our party, I made a holiday sangria that I thought, based on the recipe, was going to be crazy-potent. So I labeled it accordingly, and everyone was very cautious - at first - as they drank it out of very festive glittery plastic champagne flutes (thanks, Target!) . Turns out the Kirkland sangria wine I bought was low-alcohol and nobody got drunk off the sangria at least not until I started just randomly adding brandy and entire bottles of red wine to it midway through the evening. I am nothing if not a hostess who is relentlessly focused on her guests having a VERY good time. 


On the books coming up soon in Lizzie's Kitchen: alllllllllll the eggs, chicken breasts, salads and healthy veggie side dishes imaginable, and none of the fun desserts, pastas, or cheesy melty delicious things I'm craving. Booooo January, you're the worst!