Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Sunday {and a Womp-Womp Moment}

Oy vey, y'all.

Ya know, you're boppin' along, having a nice little Sunday baking seasonal bread and squeezing four day old babies, when - BAM - you do something completely wild and crazy, like... getting up from a chair {!}... and throw your back out like a middle-aged man. 

I've strained my lower back several times in the past... Two days flat on the floor of my post-college / pre-law school San Antonio apartment after lifting one too many Shiner Bock kegs and/or sides of smoked beef comes to mind immediately...

{Have we discussed my illustrious stint as a 1-2-punch server-o-sirloin, mixer-o-Mexican-martinis at Texas Land & Cattle Co?  TXLC!  Fancier than Bennigans, but only just-so.  Seriously y'all, I was kind of a big deal.  I won the Texas Size Me award for the most beer-on-tap upsales two months in a row... and I have the promotional Patron mini tequila prize set to prove it.  BE IMPRESSED.} 

BACK ON TRACK... So... lower back pain and I are acquainted, but I've never been in pain quite like this.  By Sunday evening, I couldn't move and resorted to gesturing wildly towards the remainder of my c-section pills.  I was very, very lucky to snag a chiropractic appointment with a mom's group friend's husband today and am feeling sliiiightly better after a date with the rolling table and adjustment chair... I'm hoping my doctor mandated massage on Wednesday will improve matters further.  If anything, having our insurance foot the bill for a glorified mini spa day will give me a mental boost! 

Aaaaaaaaand none of this has anything to do with last week's menu.  So.  Um.  WAAAAAAAAAAAH, SOB. 



Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin with Mustard & Bacon
courtesy of Closet Cooking
Baked Pecan Tilapia, Grilled Zucchini, & BRUSSELS AU GRATIN WITH BACON & MUSTARD SAUCE. #wfd #auditioningThanksgivingsides
I found this gem after falling down a proverbial rabbit hole of brussels au gratin.  I was attempting to hunt down Blackberry Farm's recipe after spotting it in Williams-Sonoma's Thanksgiving catalog.  No such luck {guess I'll just have to buy the cookbook!}, but now I have this cheesy, crispy, mustardy dish as a reward for my endeavors.  Seriously y'all, we were standing around after supper spooning this out of the pan.  It would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving Day meal... I am seriously considering adding it to my own, even though we are already heavy on the sides.  

Brown Butter Garden Veggie Orzo Bake
inspired by How Sweet It Is
This is one of those excellent customizeable, clean out yo' veggie drawer recipes.  My version went something like this...

- 2 cups dry orzo, prepared according to package directions
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced 
- 1.5 cups frozen corn
- 2 T. EVOO + additional for spritzing the casserole dish
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T. butter
- 2 cups mozzarella, shredded 
- 1 cup Parmesan, shredded 
- 3/4 cup whole wheat Panko 

Heat EVOO over Medium-High heat.  Add onion and garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 4 minutes.  Add zucchini and tomatoes, cooking until tomatoes begin to soften {but not liquify}, about 6 minutes.  Add frozen corn, cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes. 

While veggies cook, heat butter in a small saucepan over Medium heat.  Whisk butter until it is bubbly and begins to brown.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

In a large casserole dish spritzed with EVOO, combine veggies with orzo.  Drizzle with brown butter.  Stir in mozzarella.  Top the whole shebang with Panko and Parmesan.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, flipping the broiler on for the last 2 minutes if you like a crispy top. 

Tahini Roasted Chicken Breast with Asparagus
modified from Gourmet Today
Tahini Roasted Chicken & Asparagus #wfd
This was fine.  Definitely a good way to use up some tahini if you have excess after making hummus.  I made the sauce before I started roasted the chicken and asparagus and knew we weren't going to love it over the chicken, so I roasted the chicken in the sauce and topped it with a little Parmesan.  We weren't wowed but we also don't have any complaints. 

Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
Broccoli Pesto #wfd
Um. YES. YES, YES,  The ultimate cure for boring pasta recipes!  Use spinach pasta for a prettier overall dish. 

Chicken w/ Mustard Cream & Roasted Acorn Squash
Mustard Chicken and Roasted Acorn Squash #wfd
Acorn Squash and I are having A Moment.  I prepare it much like this... but sans maple syrup and with more brown sugar.  Paired with my Mustard Cream Chicken, it's the perfect Fall meal! 

I also made Daisy's Banana Bread {with dark chocolate chips!} for the parents of that newly minted human I mentioned in my Back Dramz Soliloquy, and let me tell y'all... SO GOOD.  I am equal parts Can't Wait to Make This Again and Jesus, Don't Let Me Make This Again 'Lest I Gain a Zillion Pounds about this bread.  


  1. Now I'm going to be baking banana bread today...the power of suggestion!

  2. I made smitten kitchen's pasta with broccoli pesto too. . .wasn't it just perfect? Obviously you have to love broccoli to be into it, and my two girls and I all love the stuff. My husband literally won't put a single bite of it in his mouth, so I made it a couple weeks ago when he was on a work trip. . .and then died of happiness because there was enough left over for 2 more dinners. Yum! Ooh and it reminds me of my new favorite Thanksgiving side that I'm sure you'd love too. . A broccoli gratin from fine cooking two years ago. You should check and see if their recipes are available online, because you would absolutely love that one. The only change I make is that I add a crunchy topping of crunched up saltines mixed with melted butter. To die for.

  3. This banana bread rocks! Thanks for sharing. :)


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