Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

This week isn’t a normal week – I’m off from work, we’re having family and friends over on New Year’s Eve and Jim is a birthday boy – but I still have to plan our menus. But that’s never a burden – planning menus is one of my favorite hobbies, although my ideas are always more grand than reality allows.

Before I get to menus, I have to tell you about the Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Crispy Kale from the How Sweet It Is blog that I made last night. Serious swoon. I added turkey kielbasa to the recipe and used Parmesan instead of Romano cheese because that’s what I had in the frig. Wowsa was it good. The dish had the creamy satisfying feeling of an Alfredo sauce but nowhere near the heaviness because in this recipe the “cream” was puréed sweet potato and 2% milk thickened up by a shallot- and garlic-enhanced light roux. I meant to add just a little bit of heat – maybe smoked paprika – but I forgot so I’ll do that next time. Next time can’t come soon enough!

Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Sausage and Crispy Kale | Grabbing the Gusto

Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Sausage and Crispy Kale | Grabbing the Gusto

I have a few miscellaneous items on my menu this week:

I bought four Meyer lemons so, on Tuesday night, I’m making Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach and Hazelnuts from The Kitchn. Normally, I don’t make pasta twice in one week but it’s the holidays so I’m reveling in pasta.

The New Year’s Eve menu is still a work in progress, but I know I want a crockpot full of Italian meatballs (recipe still being refined) in marinara sauce, plus some rolls and cheese on the side to make little subs. Everyone could use a big salad this time of the year so we’ll make that too. Plus I have a hankering to make pimento cheese and a roll-up with salami, pepperoncini, some kind of cheese and cream cheese.

Jim has requested corned beef and cabbage for his birthday. That’s usually one of his kitchen creations so this will be my first ever attempt. I’m guessing I can’t go wrong with Ree Drummond’s (aka The Pioneer Woman) recipe. I’ll make horseradish sauce and Cheesy Broccoli Potato Mash on the side.

And for the leftovers I anticipate, I’m going to try my hand at baking Marble Rye Bread. I’ve already ordered rye flour online because our local markets don’t sell it so it’s going to happen. I better pick up some sauerkraut and Swiss cheese too so I can make homemade Reuben sandwiches – my favorite sandwich, oh happy day!

What’s on your menu this week? Please, I’d love to hear.

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