Let’s kick off this Monday on a great note. The sun is shining (jk, there’s a Nor’Easter on the east coast and it’s dreary AF), the birds are chirping (in my house, the dogs are barking, the toddler is screeching happily–close enough), and it’s a good day to be alive (this, I can’t counter with sarcasm).
Do you know what I’m going to do for you? I’m going to break the rules. I’m going to go against the unspoken/unwritten secret code of blogging and GIVE YOU A RECIPE WITHOUT A SUPER LONG BACKSTORY.
What’s for Dinner Tonight
Yep, I’m going to give you the recipe, right up front. No scrolling through the 11 paragraphs explaining how I got this recipe from my Great-Grandmother Mary, who brought it straight from Ireland (I do have a GG Mary, and she was from Ireland, but this recipe isn’t from her. You get the point). You’re probably thinking, this bitch is lying. She’s explaining way more than she let on that she would. Is she going to just post the damn recipe? Or is she going to blather on about how she’s not going to give a bunch of pre-text before the recipe?
Thanks for hanging in with me there. Here it goes:
Italian WonderPot Recipe
- 1/2 tbsp dried basil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
- 8 oz spinach, frozen
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 12 oz fettuccine (you can totally substitute for whole wheat fettuccine)
- Black pepper (season to taste)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Shredded parmesan for topping (if desired)
- Add 4 cups of vegetable broth to a large pot. Break fettuccine in half and add it to the pot with the canned tomatoes (undrained), olive oil, frozen spinach, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and some black pepper to taste (I do 2-3 shaky-shakes).
- Submerge the ingredients under the liquid and place lid on top of the pot. Turn heat to high, and bring the pot to a full boil. Then remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium.
- Continue to boil over medium heat without a lid for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir every few minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Sprinkle with shaved parmesan before serving, if desired.
Voila! Your first no fluff/extra long intro copy when OMG YOU JUST WANT THE RECIPE, JANICE recipe.
Productivity between Thanksgiving and Christmas
Let’s be real (and come on, have you caught on, yet? I’m always real), my productivity for anything that’s NOT related to Christmas goes WAY down after Turkey Day.
Am I motivated to wrap Christmas presents while listening to Christmas music and drinking a Christmas Margarita? (Oh yes, it’s a thing). OH, YOU BET I AM. Am I down for baking ALL the Christmas cookies? Yep. I’ll even bake the ones I can’t eat! (per food allergies, a lot of them. Per WW, all of them). Has my Christmas tree been up since election day? You’re damn right it has. But if it’s not related to the ho-ho-holidays (like say, work, checking my kids Canvas accounts 6 times a day to make sure they’re actually doing their school assignments, etc.) I don’t want to do it. Period.
Because, let me let you in on a little secret:
I’m actually a Christmas elf.
I love, love, LOVE Christmas. I’m that annoying neighbor who has her Christmas lights up from early November through March, not due to laziness, but simply because the lights bring me joy (and higher electric bills). Sorry, Todd next door. We’re spreading joy through St. Paddy’s Day up in here.
Now Let’s Talk Christmas Cookies
For the next several paragraphs, we’re going to pretend like I’m not on Weight Watchers. We’re going to pretend I’m a normal, carbohydrate ingesting, sugar loving citizen. Let’s talk about Christmas baking staples in the Mitchell house:
- Christmas Tree Spritz Cookies: I’ve been making these cookies for 3 decades (no exaggeration). My mom had a cookie press growing up, and it wasn’t truly the Christmas season until we made a double batch of these bad boys. I picked up a cookie press of my own a few years ago, and now I’m carrying on the tradition with my own kids.
- Peanut Butter Blossoms: These have been a favorite in my family for decades. They’re a timeless classic, not just for the holidays.
- Raspberry Almond Shortbreads: These airy, delicious bites of fruitiness bring me joy all year round, but are a particular favorite in our family/friends holiday cookie exchange. They’re fairly light and not too difficult to make, although the dough can be a bit finicky/crumbly if you refrigerate it for too long.
- Good ‘ol Chocolate Chip Cookies (with a twist!): These chocolate chip cookies topped with a pinch of sea salt are to die for. They’re the perfect combination of sweet and salty (my mouth is watering just thinking about them).
- The BEST Chocolate Covered Pretzels: I just started making these babies last year, and oh my, they do not disappoint. You can use any type of pretzels you want, but my go-to is Snyder’s mini pretzels (you can get the huge 40oz tub at Wegmans, Giant, or on Amazon). There are 2 secrets I have for making the perfect chocolate covered pretzels not mentioned in the Pinterest link above:
- 1. The chocolate is the secret ingredient: Mercken’s Chocolate Melting Wafers. You can buy these at specialty candy stores, but I buy mine on Amazon (you can get it for under $10 a pound). I made 3 tubs of Snyder’s pretzels as teacher and family/neighbor gifts last year, using a whopping 5lbs of chocolate. Worth. Every. Mouth-watering. Penny! And DO go for the white chocolate as well as the milk and dark. You really can’t go wrong with Merckens.
- 2. Do the dippin’ with your fingers!: Don’t be afraid to get messy while making these blissful, chocolatey delights. Instead of using a fork light a lot of chocolate covered recipes tell you to do, just use your fingers. Place the wet pretzels on wax paper, and then gently dab melted chocolate over the places your fingers left imprints. Then sprinkle to your heart’s desire, and I leave mine to sit out on the counter for 15-20 minutes and they dry just fine that way without refrigerating.
If there is a strong desire to see how me and my faithful sidekick (Sophia) mass produce these, leave me a comment below and I will post a how-to video!
That’s all for now, folks. Stay safe, stay dry, and keep your freaking masks on, please.