Hi Friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
My Thanksgiving was fairly low key, but that’s just the way I like it. I had plenty of home cooked food. Some time with family and friends. A cold, foggy walk on the beach. And a crackling fire to warm my toes. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
After the Holiday, I took a much needed break from the blogging world to recharge my batteries. The days leading up to Thanksgiving were filled (overfilled, actually) with work projects and Holiday preparations. And I had some turbulent emotional ongoings as well (i.e. boy trouble) that was causing me some serious anxiety and heartache. By the time Thanksgiving was here, I was exhausted in every way imaginable. I could feel my rope starting to unravel from both ends. To be blunt: I was a hot mess.
So I needed to stop and slow down for a few days. Which admittedly, is a very hard thing for me to do. But it’s something that I’m working on trying to be better at. As my acupuncturist says, “it’s good you’re doing this stuff now, so that by the time you’re 50 you’ll have it figured out”.
Which is now my new life goal: get my shit together by the time I’m 50. Good thing I’ve got plenty of time until then to work on things.
In the meantime, I’m back with some comfort food. I actually don’t consider myself usually very good at making comfort food. It’s not really my thing. I’m more of a smoothie bowl and salad type of gal. But I think I nailed it this time with this cozy pot of Gnocchi and Winter Vegetables with Sage Cream Sauce.
I absolutely adore gnocchi and I need to remember cook with it more (I constantly seem to be forgetting about entire food groups). Homemade gnocchi is great – like soft, carbohydrate pillows of deliciousness. But store-bought versions are pretty good these days, and that’s what I’ve used in this recipe. The gnocchi cooks up in just a few minutes, which is a lifesaver on busy weeknights when you need dinner ASAP before you start mindlessly inhaling a whole box of Cheez-It crackers (not that I’ve ever done that). And when combined with some hearty roasted vegetables, like mushrooms, butternut squash and brussels sprouts, you’ve got a satisfying meal that’s perfect for the coldest of nights. I finished off this pot by myself in just two sittings, but you can stretch it to feed four people if you serve it with a salad and some toasty bread. And some wine, obviously.
I’m sharing this recipe as part of our monthly 30 Minute Thursday series, where you can find other great recipes (links below!) that are perfect for fast weeknight dinners. Or for times when you’re just so damn hangry that you might demolish a whole box of Cheez-It crackers by yourself. Just saying.
Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup from Pumpkin ‘N Spice
Jamaican Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner from Sweet Peas & Saffron
Easy Falafel Soup with Tamari Croutons & Tahini from She Likes Food
Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with White Beans and Sausage from My Sequined Life
Creamy One Pot Turkey and Rice from Bake.Eat.Repeat.
Have we just decided as a society to completely skip over Thanksgiving this year? Because if that’s the case, then I seem to have missed the memo.
It’s only 3 days post-Halloween. So let’s all agree to back away from the red and green decorations for at least another 2 weeks. I thank you in advance for your cooperation on this issue.
Sorry. Stepping down off my soapbox now.
Baked risotto is all the rage around my house. Which isn’t really saying that much, because I live by myself. But have a little faith, and trust me when I tell you it’s truly a magical thing. Baked risotto turns out super rich and creamy. And it’s totally freeing because you don’t have to stand in front of the stove for 20 minutes stirring the heck out of it.
I have a fairly basic baked risotto recipe that I’ve been making for a couple of years now. And each season I like to change up the mix-ins to make a version that’s appropriate for the given time of year. Right now, I’m all about this Chestnut, Mushroom and Butternut Squash Baked Risotto. It’s a perfectly cozy one-pot dinner for a chilly Fall evening. And it also works well as a side dish for a small-ish Holiday gathering.
I’ve made butternut squash risotto in the past, where I cooked the butternut squash in with the risotto. It was good, but I missed having those deep, caramelized flavors on the squash that you can only get from a good sweat session in the oven. So this time, I roasted up the butternut squash and mushrooms separately (with a bunch of fresh herbs for extra deliciousness), then stirred them into the fully cooked risotto at the end. This method was definitely an improvement on my previous version.
In lieu of cooking and peeling the chestnuts myself, which takes a significant amount of time and patience, I used pre-cooked and shelled chestnuts for this recipe. You can find them in your grocery store in either jars, cans or sometimes in vacuum-sealed packages. Fresh chestnuts are starting to become available if you really want to go that route, but just be aware that preparing them yourself will increase the time required to make this recipe.
I’m sharing this Chestnut, Mushroom and Butternut Squash Baked Risotto recipe as part of our monthly 30 Minute Thursday series, in which me and some of my blogging friends share links to recipes that can all be made in 30 minutes or less (scroll down below to check them all out!). Although I must admit that this recipe took me about 35 minutes to make. I tried to streamline it as much as possible, but I couldn’t seem to shave off those last few minutes. Sorry about that. Don’t hate me. And hey, maybe you’ll be faster and more efficient in the kitchen than me!
Garlic Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms from Pumpkin ‘N Spice
Creamy Avocado Vegetable Burritos from Kristine’s Kitchen
Creamy White Bean Pasta with Sweet Potato & Kale from She Likes Food
30 Minute Chicken Noodle Soup from Bake.Eat.Repeat.
30 Minute Tuscan Chicken Skillet from Sweet Peas & Saffron
Maple Apple Pork Chops Skillet from Savory Nothings
Healthier Skillet Chicken Parmesan from The Recipe Rebel