Masala Love & Happiness

Okay, I have just officially cleaned out the last remaining turkey leftovers - I know, it was time - and I'm ready to move on.  While I had previously mentioned my apathy towards Thanksgiving food, I will say that our bacon-wrapped turkey was very delicious (highly recommend this technique), and everything was extra-delicious as we were eating with people we love.  In that same spirit, I am trying to make a point of sitting down to eat a family dinner at least twice a week during the month of December.  Of course, when I look at our calendar and see how many different things are already filling up the month, I think I may have to add "family dinner" in there just to make sure it happens!

Tuesday, December 6th:
Chicken Tikka Masala (Chicken in an Indian curry sauce) & Basmati Rice
Naan (Indian flatbread)
Spinach Salad with Homemade Tamarind Dressing & Cripsy Pappadam
Vegetarian Option:  Paneer & Potato Tikka Masala
Kids Meal:  Plain Chicken & Roasted Potatoes ($6)
Dessert:  Red Velvet Cupcakes with DIY Cream Cheese Frosting ($6)
GYTTW:  Southwestern Shepherd's Pie ($22)

For many of us who grew up in the seventies eating the homemade version of Swanson's frozen dinners (meatloaf, peas and boiled carrots were a staple in our house), Chicken Tikka Masala was the gateway food to a love affair with Indian food.  It's mild, but so flavorful and interesting - it's one of those meals that I am pretty sure I could eat at least once a week for a year and never get sick of!  I have also been amazed at how much of it my family can put away in a very short time period - nothing is better than 15 minutes of blissful silence at the dinner table while everyone is happily munching away.

We're serving the Tikka Masala with traditional sides of aromatic Basmati rice and flatbread Naan (great for use as make-your-own pizza crusts, FYI), as well as a fresh and simple spinach salad with light and delicious Tamarind Dressing.

I'm pretty excited about the Red Velvet Cupcakes for dessert this week!  Bright red for they season, they are moist and sweet with a slight cocoa flavor, and your kids will have fun icing their own cupcakes.  I am already thinking of a few chores I'll be able to extract from my kids in exchange for this little treat!  (Some so-called experts may disapprove of bribery, but I say that if you are going to bribe your kids into doing things with dessert, you might as well make it something absolutely delicious!)

Our Southwestern Shepherd's Pie Get You Through the Week Meal this week is flat-out good family food.  I have never known a man or boy who didn't get excited about Shepherd's Pie - layered ground beef, veggies and mashed potatoes.  Of course, being that we greatly prefer Mexican food to English food (who doesn't?) we've taken the recipe in a new direction, replacing squishy peas with a Southwestern corn & black bean mixture.  We also top the whole thing with lots of cheese, just for good measure.  I really have a hard time thinking of a meal that the men-folk around here would rather have.

That's all we've got for you this week!  I hope your December is off to a peaceful beginning and that DOTP can help you see it through with less stress and more meaningful time with your family.

Don't forget to get your Elf orders in by the 10th!

See you on the porch with bells on!

Claire & Alex