Mandatory Appraisals?

This was a busy week, y’all. I know, every week is a busy week but this one was particularly busy for me. It was supposed to be a short week, as my office was closed on Monday, but Regs had a field trip so instead of sleeping in until 8, I was walking the streets of downtown Charleston with twenty-five 4th graders. Am I coming across as bitter? Apologies. Truth is it was a fantastic field trip and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my oldest but a “me” day would have been equally as nice. Probably a wee bit better if I’m being honest. Any who, field trip on Monday, two work events and our appraisal this week sent me into a tizzy. Really, it was the appraisal. I’ve had my entire family on clean lockdown for a week or so. I know appraisals have nothing to do with how clean ones house is but I wasn’t taking any chances. I realized I went way overboard when Regan and Ava purposefully woke at 5:15, the morning of the appraisal, to do last minute cleaning. I kid you not. I felt awful until I saw they had cleaned off their dressers, which I’ve been asking them to do for years. Ava asked if this “appraiser dude” was going to search her drawers and if she needed to clean those out too? I’m kind of wishing I had said yes. Maybe I’m really onto something here. I mean, even Patrick bought in. He planted plants, put out pine straw, had the house power washed AND cleaned his bed side table area which always looks like an explosion of shoes and I’m not quite sure what else. I even ventured into the playroom to clean well enough to dust. DUST. Not sure that room has been dusted….ever. Hopefully the cleaning worked and this dream kitchen of mine can become a reality in the next eight to twelve weeks. In the meantime, I’m starting to think bi-annual appraisals aren’t a bad idea. I could get used to checking off some of my honey-do’s…..

Photo Cred ~ EatWell101

Meal Plan For The Week of 4/7

Sunday, April 7th – Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas – My best friends little girl is being baptized this morning so we are heading to brunch with them and then to dinner to celebrate my cousins 37th bday. My point – no cooking for Kelly today. BUT, if I was, I would be making these quesadillas. Not exactly “cheaty” but they take a little longer to prep so it’s a perfect Sunday meal. This is one of my very favorite recipes because it’s extremely unassuming but overwhelmingly delicious!

Monday, April 8th – Cajun Baked Salmon – I have been craving salmon ever since I snuck a piece of my neighbor, Randy’s, perfectly cooked dinner the other night. He has yet to send me his recipe but this Cajun spiced option looks pretty yummy! We will serve ours with quinoa or whatever else I have in the house.

Tuesday, April 9th – Chicken Casserole with Pickled Chili, Mozzarella and Pepper Jack – Stay with me. This is the dish pictured above. Don’t freak because of the pickled chili piece. You use banana peppers, not spicy peppers. You can certainly sub for spicy peppers but the bananas offer the perfect tang! I’ll serve over cauli rice.

Wednesday, April 10th – One Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies – This is a good re-set meal for mid week. Crazy easy and healthy. If you find you need more bulk, add some potatoes. You can’t mess this one up.

Thursday, April 11th – Kale Caesar Salad – Don’t get angry. I promise this is delicious. And so much healthier than your typical caesar because the dressing isn’t mayo based – but still crazy yummy. I’ll add chicken to ours and loose the croutons!!

Friday, April 12th – Sirloin Skillet with Vegetables – Just meat and veggies, y’all. This site gives a great explanation on how to “shave” your sirloin but it requires extra steps. I’m just slicing and cooking.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!!

XO ~ Kelly D.

Lifestyle vs Diethood

Happy New Year, Y’all! I can’t believe the holidays are officially behind us. Lord it goes by fast. This year was especially daunting for my family of four. We had something every single night. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. I’m exhausted. It was fun, no doubt, but I’m ready to trade in the social for some peace and quiet at home. My apologies for not meal planning over the past week and a half but really, what’s the point? I can’t tell you the last time I cooked a meal. I’ve made many an appetizer ( my chicken Caesar salad cups are the and plenty of side dishes but when it comes to an actual meal I’m 0 for who knows how many. And that’s A OK – it was fun while it lasted. But y’all, I’m ready for a change. Bring on the meal planning/sharing. It’s time. I know many of you have already started a New Years cleanse, no carb, no dairy, no meat, no food diet and I feel you. Lord knows “my back is aching, my belts too tight and my hips are shaking from left to right” but you won’t find me cutting out anything except alcohol during the dreaded “J” month. I’ve done that before and it never pans out. What does seem to be more sustainable, from my experience, is a calorie awareness and portion control plan. I love food – ALL food – but I’ve learned to eat smarter so I can indulge in all the deliciousness. Being calorie conscientious has made keeping my weight in check that much easier and it’s something I can do forever. I choose a lifestyle over a diet every single time. It’s the whole idea behind Dinner with the Duffys. Cook delicious, yet healthy, family friendly food for a healthier, happier you. Now, I will confess I have not been so great about my portions lately. It’s amazing how quickly the calories can add up, even when you are eating something super healthy. So be aware. I use the My Fitness Pal app ( FREE) and will stick to a certain caloric intake daily in order to get back on track. This effort, in conjunction with exercise, will make a HUGE difference. Exercise…..the dreaded word. I hesitate to bring up exercise as it seems like everyone on the planet has an opinion on what we should be doing. I board the “to each his own” train but I do strongly encourage everyone of you to MOVE daily. I don’t care if you run, walk, bike or hike – just MOVE. Me, I am a Tracy Anderson for lifer – TAM is my JAM – but you do you. Last PSA for the week – if you are a female pick up those weights. Strength Training is something women absolutely need to be doing weekly. Why? A number of reasons but here are the top three:

  1. Preserves Muscle Mass – Muscle mass diminishes with age. If you don’t strength train then the loss of muscle mass gets replaced with fat. Yep, fat. Listening now??
  2. Osteoporosis – Adding weight training (just light weights) can slow bone deterioration and actually help strengthen your bones. Stronger bones = delayed or NO osteoporosis.
  3. Controls Weight – Yep, picking up as little as three pounds helps burn more calories. So grab light hand weights before you walk around your hood. Or, do like my gal pal and strap those ankle weights on to run your errands!

Because of the holidays, I’m all out of whack when it comes to my meal plan. This is what I’m thinking. I will share three recipes for this week and then on Saturday/Sunday I will send out a full meal plan for next week. Not sure I can go out ten days. Maybe by then I will have a New Year’s Resolution. So many to choose from……

Wednesday, January 2nd – Weeknight Healthy Turkey Bolognese – This is kind of like my Sunday y’all. I start back work tomorrow so I need to treat tonight’s dinner like Sunday Supper. I’m a little depressed if I’m being honest. I will be OK once I get thru tomorrow but I’m definitely doom and gloom today. Nothing a good Bolognese won’t fix!!

Thursday, January 3rd Sweet Paprika Chicken and Cauli Bowl – I know, I totally made fun of the cauliflower rice substitute but once I found it in the freezer section, pre-shredded, I became a fan. It’s pretty tasty and so easy to prepare. Definitely buy it frozen. Try it!!

Friday, January 4th – Mediterranean White Chicken Enchiladas – A healthy enchilada dish under 400 calories a serving? Yes please. I will so need this dish come Friday. Everything about this dish screams comfort. I can’t wait.

Short week, I know. I promise to get you a full meal plan for next week before Monday! Oh, and I will share my Caesar app cups too. We can do this people. Just a few more days until the weekend. Let’s rock it!

XO ~ Kelly D.

Gobble Wobble Recovery

Holy Mother of God.  Y’all, I have been in a food coma since Thursday.  I actually ate more on Friday than I did on Thursday and became ill.  I think I consumed an entire five pound bag of potatoes by my lonesome.  But it was so good and SO worth it.  My apologies I never got around to sharing creative ideas on what to do with all of the leftovers but I was too full and too tired to make it to the computer.  And, since I’m two days behind in getting out my weekly meal plan I’m going to cut this blog super short so you can get to your home shop shopping.  OH – one more thing before I go. I’m partnering up with some amazing females this week on Instagram for an unbelievable giveaway.  I think the value is over $400.  Just follow me on Insta, by tomorrow,  for all of the deets – DinnerwiththeDuffys!! 

Photo Cred ~ Foodie Crush
  • Sunday – Lemon Chicken Stew –  I had a recent request for my favorite chicken soup recipe and I didn’t have to think twice to come up with this goodie.  Now, I’m sure you are thinking, “it’s just chicken soup so I’ll pass on this one” but don’t you dare.  This is the most satisfying chicken soup you will ever eat. The tarragon, lemon and leeks are a triple threat in this one. Perfect for a Sunday. 
  • Monday – Shrimp, Arugula, White Bean Salad –  I need the biggest metabolism reset button of my life this week and this little salad is gonna kick it off right.  Nothing complicated or fancy here but really good flavor, low cal and easy peasy. 
  • Tuesday – Slow Cooker (Instant Pot) Paleo Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili – This recipe right here is genius. There are literally two steps – dump and turn on. And, wait for it……you top this chili with goat cheese!!!!! WHAT WHAT??!!!
  • Wednesday – Balsamic Chickpea, Avocado, Feta Salad – I told y’all I was going light this week. I wasn’t kidding when I said I ate myself sick.  But, I will add chicken to this one as my husband doesn’t count a chickpea as a protein – more like a garnish.  Super quick hump day dish.
  • Thursday – Grilled Zucchini & Sausage Kabobs – You know how I feel about kabobs (such a waste of time) so I will just stir-fry the sausage and veggies.  PDiddy will eat his over rice but I’m going lean this week so no whites.
  • Friday – Steak and Asparagus Quinoa Bowl – Last day in November peeps.  How is this possible? Our Elf on the Shelf, Carter, arrives tonight so I need a quick, easy Friday dish as all of my energy will be sucked up trying to remember to do something with him. Feel free to start taking bets on what time I will sit straight up in the bed, panicked, because I forgot to move him. 

There you have it friends.  My shortest blog post ever!!! Enjoy!!

XO ~ Kelly D. 

All About the Sides

Y’all, I know most of the Thanksgiving discussion revolves around the bird but let’s be real – we all know the most delicious part of t-day is the sides.  I could skip the turkey, make a meal out of the sides and be one happy human.  My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the deliciousness.  Last week I supplied you with multiple turkey roasting recipes so this week I’m gonna share my fav T-day sides.  You ready?  Oh, make sure to read down to this weeks meal plan. I know it’s a funky week but we still have to eat!!

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – So here’s the thing. I know I’m from the south and I’m supposed to prefer rice and gravy to potatoes but y’all, I just don’t.  How can one prefer the seed of a grass species to a starchy crop? (Thank you Wikipedia for making my case) BUT – there’s always a but – cooking mashed potatoes for t-day is a pain in the arse.  I know there are a gazillion mashed “p” recipes that tell you it’s OK to make this dish ahead of time but they are wrong – mashed potatoes don’t sit well and they damn sure don’t reheat well.  Is it impossible, no.  Of course not. But mp’s (can we do this for short) are so much better straight out of the pot – or, in this case, the crockpot!! I found this beauty last year and y’all, it made my turkey day.  I think I talked about this recipe for weeks after whatever Thursday t-day fell on.  My husband can vouch for me.  Just make sure you take into account these mp’s need 3 – 4 hours to cook.  Best part – they won’t take up oven/stove space!  You can push these bad boys into the corner of your kitchen and forget about them.  My kind of dish!!

Paula Deen’s Squash Casserole – I gotta be honest (I looove being honest), a few years ago I would have quickly passed by this cheesy wonder.  If I happened to be getting low on plate real estate, this would have been the dish I walked right on by.  But, no more.  I love this squash casserole.  I mean, let’s be real – this is less a squash dish and more a cheese and ritz cracker dish but damn it’s yummy.  I know there are plenty of other squash recipes out there, that are more veg than cheese, but I prefer this one. Plus, anything Paula D. puts her name on is good enough for me!!

Photo Cred~ Averie Cooks

Stuffing – Gracious there is so much talk about stuffing vs dressing and sausage vs traditional.  Makes my head spin. The truth is this – I could honestly eat Stovetop stuffing and be a happy camper.  I think we are all trying to re-create our childhood version of this dish which for most of us WAS Stovetop.  Am I wrong? What I do know is I love any version of stuffing/dressing and usually alternate between the two recipes below.  One is traditional and one calls for sausage.  You pick – both are delicious! ( Or just grab a box of Stovetop!!)  Simple is Best Dressing  or Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Balsamic Roasted Carrots – You all know I have a love affair with balsamic vinegar.  I’m convinced it has magical properties.  In my humble opinion, roasting carrots is the only way to go as the process releases the sweetness of this veg.  Cook these beauts as soon as your turkey comes out of the oven.  The bird will need to rest so you should have time to pop these in and then serve immediately. 

Creamy Baked Corn – If you’ve been following along since my first post back in August then this one should look familiar.  I think I shared it as a Labor Day side.  My sister-in-law is from Pennsylvania and they take their corn very seriously. Who knew? She makes a killer corn cass but uses corn from her hometown, that I can’t find it in CHS, so I found this amazing recipe instead. And it is legit – a real crowd pleaser.  It’s perfectly creamy and light all at the same time.  And it travels really well too. 

Green Beans with Bacon – Nothing against the traditional Campbells green bean casserole but I kind of like my green beans simple.  And guess what you can use in this dish, y’all??? Costco frozen green beans.  That’s right!!!!! I mean, how fabulous is that?  Sometimes simple really is best!!! 

Patti Labelles Macaroni and Cheese – Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without macaroni and cheese and this is the most southern mac n’ cheese on the market.  Doesn’t get much better than this, y’all!!

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad – I’m certain some of you are rolling your eyeballs at me for putting a salad on the menu but get over it.  This is a gorgeous, easy dish that will impress your guests.  Everything about this salad screams fall.  Plus, you can make it ahead of time and it doesn’t need to cook in the oven!!!! 

Drop Biscuits – So, my go to drop biscuit recipe is in my favorite cookbook (I will be giving one away via Instagram in the next week ,along with other goodies, so make sure to follow me ASAP) and not available online.  BUT, I found a similar, super easy, drop biscuit recipe you will love! This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and everything she does is fabulous!! You can freeze these ahead of time and pop them into the oven right before you sit down to dig in!!

Photo Cred ~ Ashley Bakery

Pumpkin Pecan Torte – No, I don’t bake this.  I call Ashley Bakery. There are just some things you really should leave to the professionals.  Not sure if they ship but if you live in and around the Charleston area, I’d suggest ordering this decadent dessert ASAP. 

There you have it.  My Turkey Day side favorites.  I know I’ve left off a number of yummy staples but these are my tried and true t-day go-to’s….  And one last piece of advice – relax.  Thanksgiving is solely about being with friends and family.  If the food stinks, that’s OK.  Just drink wine, eat cake and laugh with the ones you love.  Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

Quick Meal Plan for the week of 11/19

Sunday –  Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast – Does it get anymore Sunday Supper than a roast?  I think not.  This will kick your turkey week off right, y’all.  The perfect comfort, family, meal.  You may even have leftovers so you can skip cooking on Monday!!! 

Monday – Shrimp, Bell Pepper and Onion Skillet – I know it’s the week of T-Day but you have to eat, right?  This will take you ten minutes.  Eat light early in the week so you can chow down starting Thursday. 

Tuesday – Grilled Salmon Greek Salad  – I meant it when I said “eat light”.  Feel free to sub chicken here or whatever protein you have lying around.  Super easy to whip together. 

Wednesday – Order Take-Out.  No one should be cooking dinner the night before Thanksgiving.  Better yet, go out to eat so you don’t mess up your kitchen. 

Friday – You should have tons of leftovers to work with tonight. Check back mid week as I will do a special post on what to do with all that food!!!

Happy Gobble Week!

XO ~ Kelly D.

Walking, Talking Hot Mess

It’s Friday and I’m just sitting down to write this post, so apologies. This week. Y’all, this week has been the week from hell. Two work events, Halloween and then my childhood best friend’s mother died suddenly. I’m DONE – emotionally, physically and mentally, DONE.  Not sure two days off is going to  heal what I’ve got going on but it’s a start.  My house is an absolute mess, full of candy wrappers and dirty clothes, but I’m just going to ignore all of that and relax this weekend.  It will be there, waiting for me, when I finally get around to it.  And let’s be honest – my house is rarely clean.  I  would choose cooking over cleaning any day of the week.  It’s funny, since starting the DwtD blog, people are  always asking if I truly cook every single night.



Yes, I always answer, but also make sure these peeps don’t walk away thinking that I have my you know what together because that’s just hilarious. I don’t know anyone who does it all, and I know a lot of people.  I’m 100% OK admitting that on most days there is toothpaste all over the bathroom counter, dirty dishes are in the sink, wet towels in my bathtub (yes, in), piles of clothes on the floor, beds unmade and occasionally clothes are pulled back out of the dirty hamper to put on –  but only certain items – we do draw the line at undergarments.  (Note to self – remind my children where we draw the line) In a nutshell, I’m a walking, talking hot mess. But you know what, that’s alright.  I’m a full-time working mom of two and it just is what it is.  One day I will have time, or a cleaning service,  but until then I’m going to continue putting the things I enjoy first. To hell with the house. Let’s eat!!!

Tip of the Week: I got nothing.  Well, a quick something.  I’m working on categorizing my recipes so you can sift thru them a bit easier.  Stay tuned. I got nothing else.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.

Sunday, November 4th – Balsamic Mushroom Pearl Couscous – Y’all I LOVE pearl couscous.  No doubt it’s right up there with mashed potatoes.  And you KNOW what a balsamic nut I am.  PLUS this has goat cheese.  Do I need to say anymore?  I’m going to add chicken to mine – just a breast or two to make it a little heartier.  Not excited for Sunday but this will help ease the blues!

Monday, November 5th – Casablanca Chicken – This is a yummy, low fat & all-in-one chicken dish with incredible Mediterranean flavors.   I need a re-set button after Halloween and this will help.  Honestly, I am going to try and keep it lean and clean up until Turkey day – who’s with me? Back to the recipe. As y’all know by now I’m not all paleo, no carb or no sugar – I’m just low calorie. This recipe calls for things like “ghee” and cauliflower rice.  Do what you do but I will be subbing olive oil for ghee and brown rice for cauli.

Tuesday, November 6th – Cilantro Pork Pot – Instant pot recipe right here BUT there are also crock pot instructions.  I do not own an instant pot but after just reading this thing would only cook for 8 – 10 minutes in an instant pot, I may have to go out and purchase one.  EIGHT minutes.  Impressive.  I will serve this over lettuce.  Purchase tomatillo salsa instead of regular salsa if you can find it – changes the flavors just a smidge but in an oh so good way.

Wednesday, November 7th – Skirt Steak Salad – I love red meat.  When I was a kid I was super picky – like maybe ate four foods – but one of my favorites was really rare steak.  Odd, I know. This recipe does call for baby potatoes so if you are a no carb eater, just leave them out.  I’m of the mind that a few baby potatoes aren’t going to tip the scale but again, to each his own. Miso dressing is insane in this.  Don’t skip that step!

Thursday, November 8th – Spicy Basil Chicken – No, probably not kid friendly but sometimes I’d rather eat what I want to eat and cook my little people something they want to eat.  I get if you aren’t down with that so this one may not work for all.  It definitely works for me. In my house thai = heaven!!!

Friday, November 9th – Instant Pot/Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers – I feel like I’ve shared this with y’all before but maybe it was a stovetop? All chicken and peppers dishes are pretty equal but I like being able to throw this into a crock pot (or instant pot if I get on Amazon tonight).  It’s Friday so I will inevitably end up having street drinks (literally drinks in the street) with my neighbors and before you know it, two hours will have passed and then it’s 8 o’clock – too late to cook.  Crock pot to the rescue.

Have a great one, y’all. I’m starting my Thanksgiving “list” so next week we can chat all things turkey. Can’t wait.  I love a list!!!





Sous What???!!!

20181013_185509.jpgI promise I will get to my sous vide review but first I have to ask a very serious question. Who has not seen “A Star is Born”and what in God’s name are you waiting for? I saw it this past weekend, with three of my girlfriends, and I can not stop thinking, well singing, about it. I purchased the soundtrack as soon as I left the movie. My daughters are super annoyed because now instead of driving around listening to TSwift it’s all “maybe it’s time to let the old ways die” ( I think those are the right words, but I’m guessing). Can you sense the eye rolls I’m getting? Whatever, it’s worth the whining to listen to B Cooper and Lady G belting those beautiful ballads. So yes, go see it, but I also bring this up to chat about girlfriends. Going out with my gals this past weekend was good for my soul, y’all. I enjoyed every single second of my time with them; eating (had the best panzanella, burrata & bean salad from Crust) drinking and laughing. Why don’t I do this more often? Time and time again I find myself saying no to girlfriend outings because I’m too tired or it’s too hard to find a babysitter or whatever other excuse I come up with. But NO MORE. I learned this past weekend that time spent with girlfriends is the equivalent to a months worth of therapy. ( Apologies to the hubs who is an actual psychologist but it’s true!!) It’s like hitting a reset button. And not to brag or anything but y’all, I have the best, best friends. I have my childhood friends who are my family. They are “Aunts” to my children and have been with me thru every success and failure in my life. I will never have to worry about losing them; if I haven’t peeved them off by now, they aren’t going anywhere! These eight woman are my sisters and I love them beyond words.  And then I have my post kid friends who are one of the greatest surprises and joys of my life. They are the people who keep me sane every single day. I never thought I would find best friends after the age of 30, but man was I wrong. My point to all of the above is to raise awareness on the importance of having female friends. We need these chosen people, in our lives, as they make us better wives, mothers, and all around people. They ground us when we need grounding, cry with us when we need to cry and laugh with us when we so badly need to laugh. To quote Jerry Maguire, female friends are our “Ambassadors of Quan” y’all. So stop reading this post , for just a sec, call your friends and set a date to go see ” A Star is Born” – you will thank me later! P.S. – Bradley Cooper is SO DAMN HOT!! OK, on to the sous vide….

Tip of the Week20181016_175947.jpg My quick sous vide review. OK so I had no idea what a sous vide was, prior to last week, so just in case you do not either, here is a very basic explanation! A sous vide is a gadget you clamp onto a stockpot full of water, OFF of the stove.  You set the temperature, and timer, on the sous vide and it brings the pot of water to that specific temp and stays there.  You then place your food into a Ziploc bag and drop it into the pot of water.  The water “bath” cooks your food evenly and to the perfect temperature.  The SV (sous vide for short as y’all know I love an abbreviation) will not allow you to overcook your food.  It’s pretty genius.  Let’s say you are having a dinner party and serving filet mignon.  Place each steak into a Ziploc with a clove of smashed garlic, little olive oil and some fresh herbs.  Drop those bad boys into the water for 45 minutes and go take a shower. Right before it’s time to eat, sear each steak, on medium/high heat, for about 20 seconds a side and your steaks are perfectly cooked and ready to roll.  Now, is the SV something you are going to use everyday? Probably not. And will it save you oodles of time?  Probably not.  Think of it like a crock pot – less hands on cook time but more actual cook time. Does that make sense?  Should you buy one?  Maybe.  If you can find one for $25 bucks it’s totally worth it.  There are much fancier ones – Joule, Anova, Sansaire – with wifi, but in my humble opinion, not necessary. I’m sure the features are great, but if you are only using this thing once a week, a simple one will do.  Bottom line – a sous vide will turn any mediocre cook into an award winning chef but it won’t save you loads of time.

What What.  Food for the week of 10/21. How is it almost November????

XO ~ Kelly D.

Sunday – Slow Cooker Jambalaya  – One of my Boones Farm friends ( of the original eight) has been begging me to put this recipe on the blog.  I make this a lot during football season as it’s super easy, delicious and serves a crowd.  Since it’s FINALLY dipping into the 70’s here, I feel like now would be a good time to pull this recipe out of my bag o’ tricks. I must REALLY love y’all because this is one I don’t like to share!!!!

Monday – Chile-Lime Fish Taco Bowls This yummy fish recipe does require some prep time. I will make my marinade on Sunday and then plop the fish into said marinade when I get home from work on Monday. No worries if you don’t have hours to marinate the fish – anytime will do. Actually, less time is  better.  The acidity in the marinade will start to cook the fish, if left in too long,  which can give the fish a funny texture.

Tuesday – Mini Meatloaf – I’ll be honest – I’m not a HUGE meatloaf fan and I hate mixing meat with my hands.  It’s always so cold and gooey.  But, this is really easy recipe to whip together and it’s family and waist line friendly.  You can also double the recipe and freeze these in pairs for later.  Great for weeknights.

Wednesday – Pasta with Butternut Sauce, Spicy Sausage and Spinach  – Another fun Kelly fact – squash is so, so on my list of healthy foods but in this recipe it takes on the flavors of the sausage and sage.  Honestly, the squash is the “cream” in this recipe, if that makes sense.  The instructions call for you to dice, boil and blend the squash but here are two shortcuts – 1) buy pre-cut squash or 2) use frozen squash puree.  I will add a little cinnamon here too!! Sometimes low cal dishes don’t have enough flavor but instead of “hating” on them, play around with spices.  You will be amazed at how much a tiny bit of cinnamon takes this from good to great!

Thursday – Grilled Bourbon Chicken – I am always searching for flavor filled, yet simple, chicken recipes.  This is definitely a winner, winner chicken dinner.  Love the flavors in this super easy week night dish.  I’ll serve along side some brown rice!

Friday – Super Lean Turkey Sloppy Joe’s Sloppy Joe’s and meatloaf. What am I doing to you people this week? I must be in a reminiscing phase!! Adult spin on a childhood fav right here.  A little spice and a little tang kick this up a notch.  Perfect for a cool Friday indoors!

Birthday Bike

Life has been bananas these past two weeks, y’all. I survived one of my busiest work weeks of the year – hallelujah – the hubs has been away at a conference, soccer practice, cotillion and we had a tropical storm. There were other things but I honestly cannot remember what they were. I have struggled about what to write this week because my brain is totally mush. No creative sparks flying. Nada. Zilch. So………..oh, we bought a bike for my oldest this week! Her birthday is at the end of October and she’s turning 10. She’ll be two hands old. I can’t believe it. It truly makes my heart ache. My Dad and I picked out her first “big girl” bike FOUR years ago. We went to Mike’s Bikes, on James Island, and bought her what, at the time, looked like the biggest bike on the planet. And now y’all, that bike comes up to her knees. It happens so fast. I didn’t expect the emotions to start flying over her turning 10 but they are. I can’t keep it together. And I am really NOT that mushy of a person. Regan brought home a paper she had to write in school yesterday. The assignment was to pick your favorite body part and use that part to describe yourself. She picked her feet. At first glance, I started cracking up. Who picks feet? But as I read it aloud I burst into tears. Big huge crocodile tears. This line – “My feet, I love my feet. They let me fit inside my mom’s shoes. That makes me feel happy. They also help me to run in the wind as fast as I dream.” OH MY GOD. Even now, tears. Who is this creative, strong, kind and beautiful young lady? And what happened to my baby? When did she become an actual person? She’s growing up, y’all, and there is nothing I can do about it. Right now she adores me (except when Patrick goes out of town and I yell) and wants to be with me. But for how much longer? I know the next ten years will be fabulous as we watch her become the person she is meant to be, but I will always mourn the first ten years when we had her all to ourselves. Again, tears. I need to wrap this up as I’m a puddle so I’ll end by wishing the person who made me a Mom the happiest tenth birthday in the world. She makes me so proud every single day. I love you Reggie.
Tip of the Week – For so long I struggled with what to eat in the mornings. I wish I could say I get up every AM and toss spinach, kale, strawberries, flax, nut butter, protein powder and whatever else is all the rage into my fancy smoothie machine but that’s just hilarious. I have about five minutes to make my lunch and something for bfast before I’m running out the door. Thankfully, I discovered Premier Protein shakes a few years back and I LOVE them. I have a shake around 9 and then I’m good to go until 12. They are really low in sugar, and calories, but satisfying at the same time. Get them at Costco – so much cheaper than at the grocery store. I buy two boxes when I go. The chocolate and caramel flavors are my favs. Oh and put them in the fridge – much better cold!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO – Kelly D.

Meal Plan for the week of 10/14
Sunday – Mrs. Hamby’s Spaghetti – We are heading to my Aunt’s on Sunday to celebrate my Uncle’s bday. She is making spaghetti – the perfect Sunday supper meal. Spaghetti is a big deal in my family. Some of us like thin noodles, some thick. Some of us like meatballs, others just meat sauce. Since this is my blog I’m going to give you my favorite spaghetti recipe – Mrs. Hamby’s All Day Spaghetti. It’s the Secret ingredient – cinnamon. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!!!! A good salad, some garlic bread and you are ready to go to town. Note – I wasn’t able to locate Mrs. Hambys recipe online so I found one that is pretty much identical!!! I’ll upload hers to Pinterest ASAP!!
Monday – Burrito Zoodles : Super easy zoodle recipe here. Honestly, you could go without the zoodles if you didn’t feel like zoodling. Just eat over lettuce or, in a tortilla if you aren’t carb concerned. I will probably use ground turkey instead of ground beef, just to lighten it up a bit more.
Tuesday – One Pan Parmesan Tuscan Chicken – This looks GOOOOOD y’all. I love a creamy dish. Makes you believe you are eating something naughty when in actuality, it’s only 304 calories a serving. Now, I don’t usually have unsweetened almond milk in my fridge. A quick Teeter search found a carton for about $3 – not too pricey. I think I will serve this one over quinoa, which ups the calories, but not by much. And honestly, you don’t need a huge helping of whatever starch you are serving this with – start small – you may surprise yourself!
Wednesday – Spicy Paleo Tuna Salad – I need an easy recipe on Wednesdays to make it thru the week. This tuna salad is almost too easy. I am not a huge kale fan so I will toss my tuna with a mixed lettuce. I don’t hate kale but it always reminds me of eating at Shoney’s when I was a kid. Do y’all remember Shoney’s? They always put a huge piece of kale on your plate and it always looked plastic. Just me? Oh well….
Thursday – Turkey Pumpkin White Bean Chili – It’s been rumored that we will be in the 70’s here in Charleston, by the end of next week, but I’m taking it for true. Don’t turn your nose up at the pumpkin. This recipe is not sweet at all. The pumpkin just adds a creaminess you will LOVE. And it’s a crockpot, or instant pot, recipe so sit back, relax and let the pot do all the work. P.S. – I need to purchase an instant pot..
Friday – Sous Vide Salmon Teriyaki – OK so my neighbor has a sous vide. Have y’all ever heard of such a thing? She raves about this cooking tool. The other day she was in Wal-Mart and three sous vides were on the clearance rack, so she scooped them all up and then sat back and watched the neighbors fight over who got one. I came in last – I was in a meeting while she was texting everyone. BUT, another neighbor felt bad for me so she offered to share her sous vide. So now I am the joint owner of a $25 sous vide – well, not really. I keep forgetting to pay my neighbor!! Sorry Jen. The whole premise is this tool cooks your food at the perfect temperature so you never over cook your dish. If you don’t own a sous vide, just marinate and bake in the oven . I will serve this with asparagus and call it a day!!

Keep posting and following me on Instagram @dinnerwiththeduffys!! I love your comments and pics!!!

Say It Ain’t So!!

First, thank you for all of the love from last week’s post. I received the funniest comments from so many of you! I’m still cracking up. Now, onto this week. On Sunday as I was sitting down to Harris Teeter Home Shop, I opened my freezer to take inventory of what I already had on hand and found it completely empty. Well, not completely – it’s still full of a number of unidentifiable objects. I’d like to think it’s all food but I can’t say for sure. Am I on my own here, or do some of you have similar freezer situations? Don’t tell me if I’m on my own. Any who, I found an empty freezer so off to Costco I went. And what did I find as I rounded the initial Costco corner? CHRISTMAS. The whole season, right there, taking up half of the bloody store. Trees, wreaths, ornaments, candy canes, inflatables and more. Y’all, I got so mad.

christmas at costco

Well, first I panicked. I seriously believe I experienced my first panic attack in Costco this past Sunday. Someone actually ran into the back of me with their cart as I was stalled in the middle of the aisle, mouth agape, just staring up at all the twinkling lights. My mind immediately went to Christmas lists. I started doing a mental rundown of who I need to buy for this year. HOW CRAZY IS THIS??? My husband’s birthday is this coming Sunday, and I haven’t even begun to think about what I will buy him. But seeing all of that red and green sent me down the crazy Christmas rabbit hole. It has to stop. Y’all, I won’t survive. I get that Christmas is the most wonderful season, and I totally agree, but Halloween and Thanksgiving are pretty fabulous too. And more importantly, they allow us to keep our heads in the clouds, for two glorious months, so we don’t have to think about all that we have to do before Dec. 24th! We need the orange and brown holidays to stay sane people!! So, right here and now, I commit to all of you that I will not purchase a single Christmas gift until after I digest all of my turkey and stuffing. I’m going to force myself to ignore all of the sparkly red & green and focus on the neutrals for as long as possible. You should join me – I may even take it a step further and boycott Christmas cards…..stay tuned!!
Tip of the Week: Get the My Fitness Pal app on your phone. It’s a free calorie counter app, and I love it. I am really bad at “guessing” how many calories are in a serving size, so for many years I was eating healthy but still not losing weight. I couldn’t figure it out until I uploaded this guy onto my phone and started plugging in what I was eating. I was shocked. The great thing about My Fitness Pal is most of the recipes I share on the blog are pre-loaded, so all you have to do is enter in your serving size. This helps me to see where I am, calorically, at the end of the day so I know how many glasses of wine, or pieces of my kids Halloween candy, I can have/steal and still make my daily goal. It takes some getting used to – stopping to enter in everything you are putting into your pie hole takes time – but you will get used to it, and it will definitely help you stay on track. My PSA for the week.

Note – A number of you have asked how to find my weekly meal plan once you land on the blog. So, I’m going to place the day of the week in front of the recipe to help clear up any confusion. Hope it helps.
Sunday 10/7 Weekend Braised Beef Ragu with Pappardelle – Today is the hubs bday so I will not be cooking him dinner. I will force him to eat out of the house which is no easy task. BUT, if I was cooking dinner this dish would be it. And, if he sees this blog prior to Sunday, I may be eating my words. Slow cooker is an option here people – perfect for a Sunday supper!
Monday 10/8 – Skinnytaste Pepper Steak – This is one of those child hood meals we were all served because it’s tasty, inexpensive and super easy to throw together. The only difference is this one is low calorie! I will serve with brown rice and call it a day. Short and sweet.
Tuesday 10/9 – Green Curry Salmon – Get excited about this one y’all. SO good and healthy. Packed with flavor. You may have to purchase a few more items than usual for this recipe, but I promise it will be worth it. You don’t need to buy the “red boat” brand fish sauce – any will do. Harris Teeter brand is just fine. This calls for cauliflower rice, but I just can’t bring myself to make cauliflower rice. Some things just shouldn’t be messed with, and rice is kind of one of those for me. I’ll happily grab my bag of basmati to sub.
Wednesday 10/10 – 15 minute Mediterranean Chickpea Stew – I used to think chickpeas would not satisfy my appetite, but I was 100% incorrect. These little boogers are totally filling. Nigella seeds are one of the ingredients – I have to be honest, I had to google nigella seeds, and when I entered “nigella” into my Harris Teeter search box it got angry. I have never heard of such a seed, so I would imagine you can just go without or sub cumin seeds if you have them. I googled that, so it’s for true!!
Thursday 10/11 – Old Bay Shrimp and Sausage Sheet Pan – I’m amazed I have not thought of this before. I LOVE frogmore stew but it’s kind of a pain to cook on a weeknight. Plus, you feel like you should cook enough for 25 people as it’s one of those dishes you serve to a crowd. BUT, not this one. Instead of potatoes and corn you have asparagus and shallots – genius. The Modern Proper does call for you to make a lemon aioli, which I’m certain is delicious, but I will bypass and just eat as is. Too much time and too many calories.
Friday 10/12 – Mediterranean Style Zucchini Casserole – Apologies for all of the Med dishes, but the flavors are on point. Easy, warm dish for a perfect Friday night in. Casserole bakes for 40 minutes, so you have plenty of time to unwind and relax after a long week while the oven does the hard part. Plus you should have leftovers (unless you are feeding my husband) for Saturday lunch. 2 for 1 – I like it like that!!

There you have it.  Meals for the week of 10/7! Healthy, Easy and Delicious!!

Tag and follow along on Instagram – I love seeing your fabulous food pics!!

XO ~ Kelly

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


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!!!