Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmastime Craziness Dinners

It was the week before Christmas…and there are just not enough hours in the day!!

However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t found the time to make a few delicious dinners. Here’s a little recap of the week in food. 2 fairly quick and easy dinners and 1 longer.

Sometime last week we new we were going to have the pork chops we were letting thaw out, but didn’t know exactly how we were going to make them. I knew I had some red and green peppers so I wanted some sort of Italian dish.

Dinner #1: Cue Mario Batali and his Zingara!

I had never heard of it but it sounded easy and delicious!


My pork chops were on the thicker side than what the recipe called for but it was fine. They were seasoned and dredged in flour, then browned on both sides in a pan with some olive oil.

After taking them out, and deglazing with some white wine, the peppers and onions were added, as well as the rest of the ingredients (minus olives, didn't have any).


Then the pork chops were added backIMG_7446

This simmered for a few, then served over brown rice (easy Trader Joes microwavable pack of brown rice…those things are awesome!!), as well as some Brussels we roasted.

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That night I also figured out how to fix a cookie craving. I frequently want a HOT chocolate chip cookie and it never happens haha.

So I toasted up a Kashi Heart 2 Heart waffle, added a few choc. chips after, and dipped in Maple Syrup!


This TOTALLY satisfied that craving and then some with the syrup….I LOVE real maple syrup!

Dinner #2: Veggie Lasagna! (using the “wing-it” method :)

I have been wanting to make a pan of lasagna for a while and when I took off Tuesday from work to get some Christmas shopping done I knew that would be the day.

I roasted some zucchini, red peppers, and onion with some olive oil, S&P.

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Roasted at 400 for about 30min.

I made a quick sauce, somewhat based off this recipe which is an awesome fast sauce!

However I realized I had a can of crushed tomatoes with Basil. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing but I think the pre-basiled tomatoes made this ending up tasting more like a jarred sauce than homemade. Not bad by any means just not exactly what I was hoping for.

I also added some frozen spinach to get more veggies in there!


To the ricotta, I added a mix of sundried tomatoes and fresh basil chopped in the food processor.


Part-skim ricotta with tomato and basil mixture.


Layer it up! I had no rhyme or reason to this layering. I also used uncooked noodles…I like it better when they just absorb the liquid from the other ingredients and I knew there would be enough between the sauce and the veggies.

I added a little shredded mozzarella in the layering too.


Side salad of mixed greens, tomato, and mixed olives with a dressing of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.


Mmmm melty.

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The roasted vegetables really made this dish! It was really good and provided leftovers for lunches many days this week :) I was definitely missing the tomato-y garlicky sauce I wanted but oh well.

Dinner #3: Compliments of Trader Joes…


Brian bought this Mandarin Orange Chicken once and LOVED it. So we got it again and I decided to cook it up last night and since I was home first I wanted it all ready by the time he got home.

I also steamed some broccoli to add to the chicken…gotta add veggies!


And once again some TJ’s brown rice. Note: I like TJ’s brown rice that comes in the little bowl packs better than this one, but this worked.


I used the oven method instead of frying to keep it as healthy as I could.


Sauce packets…heated in the microwave and added at the end.


I added the sauce to the cooked chicken and steamed broccoli.


Served on brown rice! SO EASY and really flavorful! This is great when you have a Chinese Food craving but don't want all the greasy calories that come with it.


P.S. Still LOVING Body Combat and Body Pump!! My friend who I go with even said she’s noticed a little more tone in my arms….SCORE!!

Also made it to Hot Yoga last weekend…every time I go I wonder why I don’t go more often, I love it!! I really want to get there again before Christmas.

Fun Christmas Cocktail party tonight!! Picked up a fun dress at Forever 21 ;) Gotta love that place for awesome party dresses under $30!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! Last Minute shopping?? Anyone have good $20 Yankee Swap ideas??


  1. May I come to your next dinner party?? Looks fabulous!! :)

    Glad you're liking the hot yoga!

  2. Do you know what a zingara is in Italian???

    A GYPSY!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. just recently I've rediscovered the love of REAL maple syrup. Oh my god. How the heck did I ever convince myself that the sugar free crapola was "just as good". Not.even.close.

    Gorgeous meals, girl!

  4. love the quick fix for a party dress... aka forever 21 hehe

    Hope you have a fabulous time!!
    xo bec

  5. YUM! So delicious. Especially the lasagna! Glad you're enjoying pump and combat. Les Mills programs are truly the BEST fitness programs on the planet :) I taught Body Step and Pump this morning<3. Merry early Christmas. Have fun at the party. Post a pic of you in your dress!!

  6. I often use the wing it method :)

  7. everything look so delicious! would never know it was prepped in craziness :)

    let me knwo if you're interested in a cookie swap jan 10!

  8. Love your beautiful dinners! You are certainly getting busy in the kitchen lately. Just in time for the holidays!

    YESSS! for hot yoga. The best!

  9. oooh all those meals look great! I love brussel sprouts - so tasty!

  10. forever 21 is definitely a great go-to place for wear-once party outfits!