It’s getting dark and chilly outside when I leave the office now.  That translates into two things: 1. I need to be on the look out for bear, deer, raccoons and other wild animals crossing North Jersey’s roadways in search of food and shelter, and 2. I NEED something warm and hearty for dinner when I return home to restore my sanity.  From now until April I have a difficult time running out once I get home.  I like to hunker down by the fire and “toast my buns.”  Any errands must be done on the route home and car pooling to and from the kids activities is my saving grace (who are we kidding, carpooling is ALWAYS my saving grace but it’s stock increases in value in the colder months).

So let’s talk turkey, figuratively, not literally…not yet anyway.

Monday

Pasta-Primavera-Cover

It’s pasta night and I want to try a new dish packed with veggies. My daughter and husband have taken a liking to cauliflower lately so when I saw this pasta primavera recipe from Don’t Waste the Crumbs on Pinterest, I thought it should be on the list -cauliflower sauce and hidden veggies a mom’s dream dish!  This is also a good Monday dish because you can prep the sauce and the veggies the night before when there is still a little extra time in the day.

Tuesday

Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Enchilada-Soup-8

Did y’all see the Huffington Post article I shared earlier in the week?  This Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup from Gimmie Some Oven was one of the featured crockpot recipes and it just called out to me.  Deliciousness in a bowl with chips!  Yes please!

Wednesday

Our dear friends Ken and Trina sent us a few jars of habenaro pepper jelly from their kitchen in the Carolinas.  Last year’s batch inspired my husband to try his hand at some of his own that was mighty delicious, but Ken and Trina’s has been perfected.  Unfortunately, one of the jars arrived broken, but I still have two to savor.  I love to grill up some chicken seasoned with a simple mix of salt, pepper and garlic powder and then baste them with some habenaro jelly for the last few minutes on each side.

Thursday

Plainchickenporktenderloin

I am a sucker for a good roasted tenderloin.  I reserve beef for special occasions, but pork is a staple in our house.  This Roast Pork Tenderloin from Plain Chicken is simple and delicious.  Their site seems to be misbehaving at the moment, so you can link over to the recipe from my Pinterest “cooking” board if you have some difficulties.
Friday

Grilled cheese is a cooler weather staple for me.  While often a lunch time favorite, it can certainly provide a substantial dinner offering when paired with a little protein and soup or salad.  Best part, it’s quick and easy for my Friday night dine and dash crew!

Over the summer I had the pure joy of eating at the Black Sheep Grilled Cheese Shop in the Anneheim Packing House out in California.  Have you been?  This is a must for foodies while vacationing in Disneyland.  A must I say!  It’s like a food court on steroids.  I had this amazing grilled cheese sandwich made of Manchego cheese, Spanish ham and quince paste.  I recently came across a small jar of quince jam in the pantry and I was transported back to sunny Southern California in an instant.  I haven’t been able to get that sandwich out of my mind since Saturday, so off to the Market Basket I go for Manchego cheese and a loaf of sour dough, the backbone of my Black Sheep inspired grilled cheese.  I’m not really sure what “Spanish ham” is but since I believe it’s a cured ham, I’m going to call on my Italian roots and go for some prochuitto de Parma, which is readily available in my area.

I’ll slice the sour dough butter one side and spread some quince jam on the other.  Place 1/2 of the bread slices butter side down on a griddle pan over medium heat.  Layer on the cheese and prochiutto and top each sandwich with another slice of bread – butter side up.  I like to get my grilled cheese golden brown, flip and then repeat on the other side.  If the cheese isn’t perfectly melted lower the heat and let them slowly melt to perfection!