Flying Solo

As I was driving to work this AM it dawned on me my husband is getting ready to head out of town for a few days. I immediately panicked at the idea of being a single mom for 72 hours until the lightbulb went off – three days of 100% control! Yes, my name is Kelly Duffy and I am a control freak – about some things. I have a hard time relinquishing responsibilities because when it’s all said and done, I just flat out believe I do all the household/kid chore stuff better (I gotta be honest, y’all). Does that mean I want to and enjoy doing all the things? No way Jose. But in order for everything to function properly, I believe it’s important I step up to the plate.  Now, before I get nasty responses ( most likely from the hubs) let me say this – my husband is a wonderful and very hands on parent/partner. He makes the kids breakfasts and lunches, takes the kids to school, helps with pick-ups and a number of other chores when he can. If there is a crisis or patience is required, I tag out and he tags in. I am very lucky to have such an involved guy at my side and I will miss him while he is gone. But y’all, he is slower than a damn turtle. In every way. What is up with that? My girlfriends say the exact same thing about their husbands. Do they do this on purpose so we just end up doing all the work ourselves? I don’t want to give them too much credit, but I seriously think there is some conspiracy at play here. For example, when I’m flying solo, I can get myself ready for work, lunches for all three of us packed, breakfast on the table, hair done, dog walked & fed and everyone in the car in the same amount of time it takes for him to pack the lunches and brush his teeth. I mean, it truly boggles my mind. Do women just continuously function on fast forward while men are running on super slow-mo? And do we need to slow it down a bit every now and then to see what would happen? I think I already know the answer to this question but it might serve me well not to type in my thoughts. Apologies if I’ve missed the mark and offended the fabulous males in our lives but it really is one of those “Men Are From Mars” type phenomenons. Love mine to death, and don’t know what I would do without him, but MOTHER of MERCY.

***Update – I must add that while my husband was driving away, for all of 3 days, my girls were bawling their eyes out like they were never going to see him again. And then my oldest pleaded with me to make her a promise – “Mommy, will you pinky promise me that while Daddy is gone you won’t yell as loud and for as long as you usually do when you are alone and really, really, really stressed?” – Insert foot into mouth now.

Tip of the Week: Meal planning is not just for families – everyone benefits from taking the time to plan out what you will be putting into your body at meal time. I often hear people say it’s silly to “cook for one” but I strongly disagree. (For what it’s worth, I also strongly disagree with my Mother when she tells me it’s not healthy to have a glass(es) of wine by yourself!)  You may not need to cook a different recipe each night, but you should still stick to a weekly meal plan. My whole blog is more than just a way to

Sammie

Photo Cred @ Lillie Eats and Tells

help you free up time – it’s about taking back your health. Making good food choices is not always easy. If you are anything like me, you have to give yourself no other option but to cook what is in your refrigerator so what’s in there needs to be well thought out and easily utilized. We all need to be excited about what we are cooking and eating. The recipes I’m sharing on this blog will help you to do just that. Healthy, delicious and quick! Now that is a promise I will make – I’m undecided on the promise to my daughter. Give me another 12 hours.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.  XO ~ Kelly D.

Meal Plan for the week of 9/30

Sunday Sandwich Night – The Duffys are eating sammies this Sunday.  I foresee a busy Sunday in my future so we are going to keep it simple but interesting.  I am debating between the Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan and the Roasted Tomato Basil sandwiches so we may just do both.  Most of the ingredients are in my fridge anyway. Both of these look mouth watering good.  My girls will probably request a grilled cheese and that is A OK with me.  I might even open a bag of frozen French fries and call it a day.  Cheat meal on steroids this Sunday y’all!

Buffalo Quinoa Chicken Salad – I have a really good friend who loves buffalo hot sauce. She puts it on everything! The truth is it’s super flavorful and really low in fat, so it’s a great condiment. You are probably starting to sense a pattern here – crazy easy & quick recipes on Mondays. I can’t handle complicated on a Monday so this recipe fits the bill! Buy a rotisserie chicken and the only thing left to do is chop a few ingredients – no cooking required. If your kiddos don’t like spice you could serve theirs without the adult stuff – sauce, red onion and blue cheese.

Southwestern Turkey Rice Casserole – I love a casserole. I love anything that comes out of the oven warm and in one dish. Nothing extraordinary here but a good filling and appealing family dish! For you “taco Tuesday” people, do this instead – same flavors with half the fat!

Mediterranean Sheet Pan Baked Shrimp & Veggies – Y’all know there is such a thing as a Mediterranean diet, right? I could survive on such a diet. I love Mediterranean flavors. This is a really delicious dish that allows you to adjust based on your families likes/dislikes. You could easily sub chicken for shrimp and change out the veggies. The constant needs to be the sauce. Don’t freak when you see “sumac” spice – I don’t own sumac. Sub lemon juice for sumac and you will be fine – about a tablespoon.

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin – Another family friendly, versatile recipe here folks. Plus it’s cooked in a crockpot so that makes it even more amazing. If you have space in your fridge, or an outside fridge, throw the ingredients together in the actual crockpot POT the night before. Then wake up, put the pot into the crock, set it and forget it. Serve this any way you want – tacos, bread or rice if you are cool with carbs. I will reach into my handy dandy bag oh Costco frozen beans and sauté them into deliciousness.

One Pot Healthy Cajun Chicken with Orzo – I’m doing the carb thing this Friday people. I adore orzo – it’s my favorite pasta. I think I’ve already told y’all that but I really do adore orzo. The hubs will be back on Friday so this will be simmering on the stove for him when he walks into the door. IF he’s read my blog, he may be really hangry (I love the word hangry) – thinking this will help. We are still in the 90’s in Charleston but I’ll just pretend it’s cool enough to eat a hot soup – a girl can dream.

A HUGE thanks to all who have sent me recipes to post on the blog. I promise I will share them with everyone soon!! They all look scrumptious. If you make one of my suggested dishes, please tag me on Insta!! #dinnerwiththeduffys. Love seeing your pics.


Hate to Love Fall, Y’all!

Its fall, y’all! Well, not officially until Sunday but close enough. Living in Charleston we get ONE day of fall. It’s a holiday like Thanksgiving or Presidents Day; not a season. One random day in November we all wake up and yell “Happy Fall,” and then the next day we are back to our actual season, which we refer to as the “second summer.” We go from hot as hell to just plain hot. And it lasts – some Christmas mornings we wake up to 80 degree temps. Don’t get me wrong, I love the warm weather but an actual fall would be nice to experience every now and again. And don’t we warm weathered friends deserve a winter, spring, summer and FALL? Ugh,  I feel totally let down by this pumpkin scented season. I repeatedly make the mistake of switching out my closet in October. All it takes is one non 80 degree day and I’m reaching for my leggings, long sleeves and vest only to open the front door and all but faint. Hello humidity – you still here?? And don’t get me started on Halloween. Why are all the costumes made to withstand bloody blizzards? Every year my kids gravitate to the furriest head to toe costume they can find (last year my youngest wanted to be a polar bear), and then one trick-or-treat in, they are begging to change. From here on out my girls get two costume choices: hula girl or Flinstone character. The lack of cooler air totally affects my meal planning too. I’m so ready to pull out the crockpot and cook my favorite soups and stews, but it’s just not happening until those nighttime temps dip into the 60’s. I just can’t. So for those of you following along all snug in your Patagonia’s, sitting at your kitchen table, watching leaves fall, I apologize as you may be disappointed with this week’s recipes; You are ready for a warm,  comforting tortilla soup, while those of us in Charleston are still eating gazpacho.

Side Note – One of my best friends lives out in California and sent me the below text message. I had to share – cracks me up because it’s SO true:
“This grocery pick up thing is such a game changer! We are spending like a third of what we used to on groceries! I mean what the (expletive) was I buying at the grocery store before??!!”
See – I told you it would rock your world!!
Happy, Healthy Eating Friends – SUPER excited about this week’s choices!!
XO ~ Kelly

Rustic Chicken with Garlic Gravy – No, this isn’t low calorie.  Remember, our Sundays are family days and calories don’t count on family days.  This is a dish you dream about.  It’s the kind of meal that makes you want to crawl in bed, after licking the plate, and sleep for twelve hours good. The perfect Sunday dish.  I will most definitely be adding to the calorie count by serving these with mashed potatoes.  If I could choose one food to zap the calories out of and still hold it’s flavor it would be a potato.  God I love a potato.  Do what the recipe recommends and buy the pre-peeled garlic for this one – no one has time to peel 20 cloves of garlic.

Quick and Easy Clean Eating Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet -Feta, tomatoes and shrimp. What more do you want in a dish?  Oh, I forgot. It also requires you to open a bottle of white wine – you are welcome.  It will take you longer to open the can of tomatoes than it will to actually cook this dish.  Perfect for a Monday night.

One Pan Cod with Chorizo and Chickpeas  – This is one of my husbands favorites. Lots of flavor going on in this recipe.  It cooks on a sheet pan so clean-up is a breeze.  You can absolutely sub a different white fish here if cod isn’t available or if another variety of white fish is on sale. Tip – don’t feel like you need to “pulse” the garlic and chorizo together – I just chop it. Pulling out the food processor is an unnecessary step.

Crock Pot Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes – I know, I said I wasn’t going to pull out the crockpot until temps dipped into the 60’s but I thought I’d throw our lucky neighbors to the north a bone.  Y’all this one is melt in your mouth scrumptious.  I do use thighs, but if you are thigh averse, just sub in chicken breasts.  And don’t balk at this one if you aren’t an artichoke fan – they add an incredible tanginess to this dish and cook down enough to take on a different texture you might just find you actually enjoy! You can serve this over anything and it will be delicious.

Shawarma – Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt Sauce – This recipe does require you to marinate the chicken prior to cooking,  but do not fret – you can make the marinade the night before while your chicken of choice cooks in the crockpot.  Whip this up Wednesday and let the chicken marinate for 24 hours.  Go ahead and make the yogurt sauce too so all you will need to do come Thursday is grill the chicken.  I will add red onion and cucumbers and serve over brown rice or couscous.

Chipotle Chicken Wraps with Cilantro Lime Sauce – Sorry, but you will need your blender or food processor here, and time to marinate the chicken. But remember,  all you had to do last night was grill chicken so you should have time to make the marinade for this dish on Thursday. See, there is a method to my madness.   It will be worth it – this cilantro lime sauce is so damn good.  You can make extra and simply pour it over a protein on Saturday for lunch or dinner.  Now, y’all know how I feel about lettuce wraps – kudos to those of you who have mastered eating food out of a leaf, but I will just top my leaves with the chipotle chicken and additional toppings – much easier with the same result if you ask me.  Regardless of the technique, these are yum!!

There you go – meals for the week of 9/23. Keep posting comments and pictures on Instagram and make sure to tag me @dinnerwiththeduffys.  I LOVE hearing from everyone!!!

 

 


Go With The Flo

The Duffy fam is evacuating y’all. As I write this we are crossing the GA state line, heading to Jacksonville, trying to get out of Flo’s projected path. She has given me some serious anxiety this week people. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night to check the Euro model – at 2AM – to compare it to the latest GFS. Five days ago I had never heard of the GFS or the Euro model. If I get tired of blogging about meals I believe I could make a very successful shift to blogging about tracking hurricanes. Our last minute trip out of town affected my meal plan for this week, BUT I was able to throw the chicken breasts and fish in the freezer, so both will be waiting on me when I return – I think. One can hope. But seriously, this is why home shop and meal planning are so brilliant. I’m going to be over 200 miles away from home but can shop for my groceries from my hotel room and schedule the pick-up for when we are heading back to CHS. We will literally swing into the Teeter, load up the loot and head home. Fridge will be stocked with breakfast, lunch, dinner and kids stuff so I can get to the unpacking – and de-hurricaning. ( I know that’s not a word but roll with me here people – I’m in a car with two children under 9, my not so excited to be evacuating husband and our large golden retriever.)

Quick Tip of the Week – GO WITH THE FLO! (Pun intended) Life throws curveballs. You can’t plan for everything. Sometimes you just have to eat the food, drink the wine and spend the dough. I feel like I need to throw in an AMEN here!! Can I get an AMEN??!! We had no intention of taking a late summer vacation, but here we are. What can you do? Relax, pray that Flo gets the you know what out of dodge and enjoy being in a beautiful place with my fabulous family. Prayers to all on the east coast, especially our beloved Charleston.

Million Dollar Zucchini Skillet – IF we make it back to Charleston by Sunday this dish is what’s for dinner. It does require a little extra effort as you gotta pull out the food processor, but it will save you time in the end. I never mind pulling out the processor – just washing all the parts. Anyway, this recipe is LOADED with veggies, sausage and cheese – perfect for what I hope will be our first home cooked meal post Flo!

Garlic Sriracha Chicken Thighs and BrusselsI love spicy and sweet marinades and this one is SO easy – you only have to marinate the chicken for 15 minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to marinate in advance so this recipe is definitely my friend. You can marinate as long as you want but the fact that you do not have to is a nice perk. Why are so many people against chicken thighs? I LOVE chicken thighs – so juicy. If you are anti-thigh go ahead and sub for breasts if you must! Brussels – I mean, I like them but prefer them covered in a sauce which kind of defeats the point I suppose, but that’s just the way it is. Balsamic makes another appearance this week – surprise, surprise. If you aren’t in the mood for sprouts, grab a handful of Costco green beans from your freezer!

Skinny Tuna Cakes with Arugula – I’m a newbie when it comes to canned tuna but I’m already a big fan. Tuna is SO inexpensive, healthy and incredibly versatile. These cakes look crazy tasty and easy. You can make the chipotle sauce or not – I will place these beauties, with sauce, over arugula. Throw in couscous, quinoa or brown rice if you need more on your plate. If you want the salad on it’s own, sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Voila, dinner!

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken – For those who have been asking for a crockpot recipe, here you go. I’ve had a difficult time committing to the crockpot as it’s still 100 degrees outside, and I equate crockpot with cold BUT, I’ll make an exception this week. Nothing complicated about this recipe but lots of really great side/serving tips and ideas. I will place my chicken over lettuce with some additional salsa verde, but the hubs and kids will use tortillas!

Lemon Garlic Chicken Zoodles – OK so before you get upset with me for putting a recipe on here that requires you to “zoodle” let me say a few things: 1) I purchased a spiralizer from Amazon for $13 and it 100% does the trick. You do not need to spend a lot of money on this product. Here is a good one from Amazon. 2) The secret to zoodles – you HAVE TO SQUEEZE OUT ALL THE LIQUID…spiral them and then squeeze the whole lot of them between paper towels to get as much liquid out as you can. Otherwise they will not cook correctly. 3) You can buy spiralized zucchini noodles in your local grocery store – easy peasy. 4) Zoodles are an awesome sub for pasta…no, I’m not saying they taste like pasta ( I get annoyed when people say a vegetable tastes just like a carb – no bloody way), but it’s a hearty option if you are looking to stay low carb! So try them – you might find that the extra $13 and 3 minutes of time are totally worth it!

Weight Watchers Goulash – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. Super family friendly, fast and scrumptious all for 224 calories per serving. The only change – I do not add the corn. I can’t quite get behind corn in a tomato sauce. I know that’s what makes this “southwestern,” but it’s not necessary in my opinion. Add it if you want to – just a suggestion. Super filling too. My husband usually requires five servings at every meal and he is full after two servings of goulash!

There you have it friends – meals for the week of 9/16 – I think that’s right. I’m all out of whack.

Happy Healthy Eating Y’all!

XO ~ Kelly


Sunday Staples

I can almost remember a time in my life when Sundays were fun days.  When you actually had two full days in a weekend.  When brunch was something you did with friends at an actual restaurant.  Now brunch is the meal I feed my children when I forget to feed them breakfast but it’s too early to feed them lunch.  It’s funny because it’s true.

Since going back to work full-time, our Sundays are full on prep days so I can survive the work week.  We do try to get to church in the AM, but from there on out I’m ordering groceries, cleaning, doing laundry and cooking.  And honestly, that’s OK.  Do I still complain – ABSOLUTELY – but I recognize in order to be a half decent Mom and have time for myself,  Sunday Prep-Days are a must. If I don’t do anything on Sundays we end up filling lunch boxes with cheerios and cheese and my girls have to pull dirty school uniforms out of their laundry baskets – yes it’s gross but don’t worry, we draw the line at socks and underwear. You have to do what works for you, but I promise, if you have your grocery shopping, meal prep and laundry done by the start of each new week, you will have more time to do the things you 100% need to do for YOU and you absolutely MUST take care of YOU!!! And this goes for everyone, not just Moms. Sacrificing some of your time on Sundays will set you up for success!!

Tip of the Week – STAPLES!! No, not the gun kind but the items in your pantry kind.  I have them – lots of them.  You need them if you want to save time, eat cleaner and save money.  Start adding them to your pantry slowly and keep them stocked. Here’s what you need: Chicken broth/stock, quinoa, brown rice, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, honey, baking powder, baking soda, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, vinegars (white, red wine and balsamic), canned diced tomatoes, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, basil, chili powder, salt & pepper, curry powder and red pepper flakes.  I swear most healthy recipes call for at least three of these ingredients.  You are more likely to stick with your meal plan if you have everything you need in your kitchen.  So see which of these items is on sale at your g-store this week and grab a few!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!! Let’s do this!!!

Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole – This is my go-to Sunday casserole.  It’s really simple and really filling and helps ease my Sunday blues.  I use a rotisserie chicken in place of chicken breasts because it saves so much time, and personally, I think tastes better. Great casserole to make ahead and freeze, and a good one to make and take for friends & fam.

Turkey Burgers & Okra – No, this isn’t a gourmet turkey burger recipe.  I am talking straight from the freezer section Bubba turkey burgers, and there is nothing wrong with that.  I cook them in the pan and my kids and hubs will eat with a bun. I’ll eat with lettuce, tomato and whatever else I want to pile on top.  Now, I know okra gets a bad rap but I LOVE it.  I buy frozen, store brand, CUT okra and sauté it over medium heat with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, onion and I use garlic powder in place of garlic.  It’s delicious y’all.  You can add red pepper flakes to spice it up too.  This is a no fuss recipe perfect for nights when you have more on your plate than usual, i.e., soccer practice.

One Pan Halibut with Veggies – My husband went offshore fishing over the weekend so we have tons of fresh fish in our freezer.  I have no clue if he caught halibut, but I’m sure there is some kind of white fish I can sub in place of the halibut – just looks super easy and light.  And it incorporates some of my favorites – a sheet pan, green  beans (Costco) and cherry tomatoes ( I buy cherub tomatoes – they are so sweet – daughter eats them like candy!)

Chopped Wedge Salad – I love blue cheese. ( Are you picking up on my cheese obsession?) And I love easy salads but have learned from searching for low calorie recipes that salads don’t always = healthy.  Wedge salads are usually pretty high in fat.  Plus, I’m always turned off by the huge iceburg that appears on my plate when I order a wedge.  This version is low calorie and you can use whatever lettuce you have on hand.  I will throw in some chicken breasts and call it a day! Make the dressing and bake the bacon ( I prefer to bake my bacon – less mess and time) on Sunday.

Moroccan Chicken – Lots of veggies and flavor in this filling, low calorie dish. It does require a little chopping BUT, it’s worth it.  Pour over couscous, brown rice or quinoa – whatever you have in your pantry.  Those spices you stocked up on will come in handy with this recipe.  You can meal prep by chopping your veggies on Sunday. Just place in Ziploc bags so all you have to do is brown the chicken and dump in everything else.

Sante Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers – Stuffed peppers are such a good family meal option. If your kids are like mine they will empty out the “stuffing” and push the pepper off of their plate like it’s diseased.  Usually this type of recipe is time consuming and high in fat but this one is neither.  Super easy to throw together and 160 calories for half of a pepper – that’s insane!! It’s Friday so uncork your favorite wine and turn your Pandora station to Hipster Cocktail Party Radio – the best channel for drinking and cooking ~ thank my neighbor, Jen,  for the Pandora tip!!!!

I hope y’all have a fabulous week. SHARE SHARE SHARE and tag us in your food pics!!!!! I post nightly updates of each of these recipes on Instagram ~  @Dinner with the Duffys

XO ~ Kelly