Tropical Depression

We have been trying to spend as many evenings outside as possible; floating, fishing, swimming and relaxing. Trying to take it all in before the tight school schedule forces us back indoors. When it’s January, and freezing cold, these are the summer moments I will miss the most.

Our fam of four will be hitting the road, for one last mini vacation, trying our hardest to squeeze as much out of this dwindling summer break as possible. Please send me your food pics, and feedback, as I won’t be doing any cooking after Tuesday!!

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 8/11

Sunday, August 11th – Naan Pizza Party – In the spirit of summer, I wanted to throw in a fun, grilled, family recipe. Naan on the grill is about as delicious as it gets. If you aren’t familiar, naan is a type of flatbread, similar to pita. It’s soft and very accepting of all things yummy.

What You Need:

  • Naan – one piece per person or if you are Patrick, at least two
  • Olive Oil
  • Toppings – get creative. Arugula, Prosciutto, Mozzarella Tomato & Balsamic. Avocado, BBQ Sauce, Red Onion and Rotisserie Chicken.

What You Do:

  • Pre-heat grill. Brush both sides of naan with olive oil. Grill bread for about two minutes a side. You can place something heavy on the bread for better grill marks.
  • Place the ingredients you need to be warmed/melted on the grilled bread and bake in a 400° oven for ten minutes. Remove and add additional toppings.

Monday, August 12th – Instant Pot Greek Chicken & Rice – Monday is my first, official, day back to work. I’ve been on a shortened schedule since June and come Monday, I will need to be in my office by 7:30. I’m not a happy camper. Thankful to have my instant pot to come home to so dinner will be a dream. Dump dinner, ready in 15. Thank you instant pot gods.

Tuesday, August 13th – Creamy Tomato Artichoke Chicken – No spice here, unless you want to add, so a great family friendly option. KID TIP – don’t add the artichokes if your kids are weary and, serve over egg noodles. Low Calorie Tip – use reduced fat coconut milk.

Wednesday, August 14th – Zucchini Taco Casserole – My kids don’t even notice the zucchini in this dish. A pretty simple, dump and bake recipe here y’all. Perfect for busy nights. You can absolutely prepare this ahead of time.

Thursday, August 15th – Unstuffed Pepper Skillet – I accidentally sent this recipe to Patrick, last week, to make instead of the meal plan hamburger/zucchini. Luckily, we had everything on hand. (This is why keeping your pantry stocked with staples is key!) I think he subbed brown rice for the cauli – regardless, it was scrumptious.

Friday, August 16th – Instant Pot Italian Beef – Just the picture of this Italian beef with the banana peppers on top had me drooling. I can’t wait to put this on yummy bread and devour. You will have plenty leftover for Saturday sammies!!

There you have it. Meal plan for the week. Head on over to your online shopping platform and get to ordering. Oh – I’ve had multiple requests for my grocery budget. I will work on this tomorrow. I do plan to make a big trip to Costco so I will share my haul from there as well. Seriously helps with keeping cost down.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Home Shop 101

Ordering groceries online is a relatively recent phenomenon for most but one that is catching like wild fire. Why? Because it is the single greatest time saver ever. EVER. I can not stress this enough. But why the hesitation from some? The most common response I get when talking to people who refuse to home shop, but should, is it’s too time consuming and complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. So to help all of you weary shoppers out, and give you seasoned ones some new ideas, I’ve taken the liberty of listing my top eight tips to simplifying your online grocery shopping experience. You will be a pro in NO time. And save money. And eat healthier. And just be an all around happier human.

  1. Find the service that works best for you – If you are a home shop newbie, you will need to research what home shop services are available in your area and Lord knows there are no shortage of options; Instacart, Amazon Fresh, Walmart, Harris Teeter, Peapod, Costco, Whole Foods, Google Express. The list goes on and on. Some deliver, some do not. Some have minimum order requirements for delivery, some do not. My suggestion is start with what you know. I order from the grocery store I shopped in prior to making the online switch – it’s where I feel most comfortable. Regardless, this first step is a must.
  2. Have your list ready – Dinner with the Duffys is kind of key to this step. If you follow along, you already know what you are cooking for the week. Go thru the daily recipes and make a list of the ingredients you need for the week. Or, have dwtd up on your screen and just toggle back and forth from your home shop screen to your dwtd screen. This is what I do. ( As soon as the new site launches, there will be a grocery list option – stay tuned.)
  3. Keep a running list of items you are out of – Currently, I have a piece of paper taped to the inside of my pantry door but eventually I will have a dry erase board or some kind of similar option. Maybe I’ll stick with the paper, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is you need to keep a list of every item you are running low on or out of. This will keep you from forgetting to order the staples you will most definitely need during the week. So no more 5:45 pm trips to the grocery store when all you want to do is head home and get in your pjs.
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute – Online g-shopping saves you bookoos of time but you have to plan ahead. Most online orders require you to choose a timeslot that is anywhere from two to four hours from the time your order is placed. Here is what I do – I shop on Sunday mornings. I get up, grab a cup of coffee and take my laptop outside. Twenty minutes later, I’m done.
  5. Be specific – Another concern I hear all the time is “what if I want overripe bananas or, my turkey cut a certain way?” Simon says – you ask for it!! There is a “notes” option by each item you place in your cart. Use it. If you want something specific, just make the request. That’s why the notes section is there!
  6. Use the tools – Most home shop options will save your most recent grocery order or even up to your last month of orders. Start there. Everyone has staples they need every week – milk, bread, kids snacks, fruit, coffee etc. All you have to do is click “add to cart” and voila, half of your list is checked off in seconds.
  7. Be flexible – This may sound odd but there will be times when the store is out of something you need. If you allow for substitutions, you can usually make out like a bandit. For example, if my store is out of the store brand dijon mustard I’ve requested, and I allow for substitutions, they will sub the better quality brand (like Grey Poupon) for the lower brand price. Happens all the time.
  8. Give it time – If you do the above and stick with it, I promise you will never regret making the online switch. If I can do it, anyone can do it!

Please do not hesitate to reach out and ask me questions – that’s what I’m here for, y’all. I so want you to succeed at home shop. It will change your life.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Trader Joe’s Haul

I’m certain I’m going to get some push back from this post but here goes nothing. Most nights my girl’s plates are full of meal plan food but some nights, they get whatever is in the freezer. Or, they get a combo of both. I’m not above throwing in some chicken fingers, fish sticks or corn dogs while prepping/cooking my healthy-ish dinner. I get they don’t always crave salmon – I’m not sure I actually crave it either. But I eat it because I no longer have a metabolism that burns 1000 calories while sitting. Plus, I kind of want to live beyond 45. The truth is I grew up an insanely picky eater and now I have one child who is a carbon copy of my younger self and the other will eat anything I place in front of her. My point – my kids eat kid food every now and again especially on nights when they have extracurriculars. And the weekends. And whenever I’m over all the things.

Below are my Trader Joe’s go-to’s for the kids and a few adult favorites too. I’ll do another haul on adult-y food ASAP – stay tuned.

  • Bambino Pizzas – 4 to a pack and the perfect size for young kids.
  • Silver Dollar Pancakes – Regan would eat the entire box in one sitting if I let her. Come to think of it, this has actually happened before.
  • Belgian Waffles – See above
  • Big Soft Pretzel – These are awesome as an after school snack. I throw them in while girls are doing homework and they keep them full until I can get dinner on the table.
  • Meatballs – I try to always have a package of these in my freezer. Great for kids but also for entertaining on the fly.
  • Chicken Tenders – I am a bit of a chicken tender connoisseur. These are delicious. And only require 15 minutes of cook time.
  • Turkey Corn Dogs – I buy them and they disappear. Kelly to chicken tenders = Patrick to corn dogs. Only 140 calories too.
  • Mandarin Orange Chicken – One child likes it with sauce, one without. Thankfully this yummy Trader Joes find can appease both. And their parents.
  • Cheese Sticks – Because what child doesn’t eat cheese sticks?
  • Frozen Chicken Wings – Snack or dinner option here. Always keep a bag in your freezer for last minute entertaining or when the neighborhood kids show up starving.
  • Fish Sticks – The best on the market. Yes, I’m for real.
  • Butternut Squash Zig-Zags – Even Regan will eat these with whatever sauce concoction I allow her to whip up.
  • Chunky Reduced Fat Guacamole – Ava and I are the only guac lovers in my house but we can plow thru this stuff in no time. It’s SO GOOD.
  • Bagged Arugula – Best for the price and stays fresh longer than other brands.
  • Burrata, Arugula, Prosciutto Pizza – Great for when people pop in unannounced or weekend lunch.
  • Pesto Genovese Chicken – The easiest week night low calorie dinner option. Pull it out, place in oven. Eat.
  • Jasmine Rice – I love the individual bags.
  • Green Goddess Dressing – Use it on salads, pour over pasta, bake on chicken. The possibilities are endless.
  • Green Dragon Sauce – Such an awesome hot sauce option.
  • Corn Chip Dippers – Holy mother of mercy these are addictive. We can’t keep them in the pantry.

Life Lately

Nat King Cole only had it partially correct when he sang about those “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” – the crazy part. There has been nothing lazy or hazy about our 2019 summer. I’m not complaining – the not having to do homework or get to bed at a certain time is fabulous. But, the quintessential “summer pic” of a mom, sipping on a cool glass of lemonade while watching her kids play in the pool, is just hilarious!! Patrick and I did get a little break last week. We dropped our two off at Camp St. Christopher and they had a blast. I can’t tell you what we did – I honestly can’t remember!!

Not sure about where you reside, but here in Charleston, it’s getting too hot to eat anything but cold soups and salads. There aren’t enough cold soups I enjoy so I’m opting for salad options this week. Don’t worry – they aren’t your typical boring lettuce and protein mixtures – healthy, flavorful and simple is where it’s at this week! Enjoy!

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 7/14

Sunday, July 14th – One Pot Summer Pasta: This recipe is adapted from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Everyday is Saturday, by Sarah Copeland. You have a ton of room to play with this recipe as you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. I used zucchini, tomatoes and kale but any combo will be divine. I know, I said all salads, but pasta and veggies is kind of salad-y, right?

Monday, July 15th – Summer Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes and Zucchini: Again with the pasta but this @Skinnytaste recipe is crazy low in calories and full of flavor. To make this a meal, instead of a side, I tossed in some sautéed shrimp but I think I will do grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken, the next time I make this one. ( Chicken Sausage would be great too!) I also added a half a cup of yellow and red chopped bell pepper for added crunch. Kid Tip – the beauty of this recipe is all the veggies are raw so you can add them in at any point. One of mine is a veggie eater, and the other a Chick-fil-a eater, so I pulled some plain pasta salad out for her, prior to adding the veggies.

Tuesday, July 16th – Spicy Tomato – Cucumber Salad: Spice + Salad = the perfect combo in my book. I love turning up the heat on lettuce. I added steak bites to my salad but any grilled protein will do. Kid Tip – Spice and kids don’t usually mix so I chopped extra cucumbers and tomatoes and served them plain, with a dippy sauce, and the steak bites!

Wednesday, July 17th – Chicken Zucchini Casserole – Have ten free minutes? You have the time to make this guy. I would let Regan make this recipe if I trusted she wouldn’t lick her fingers after touching the raw chicken. I suggest using chicken tenderloins, instead of breasts, or cube your chicken as the full breast takes too long to cook. If you opt to cube or use tenderloins, check this dish after 25 minutes. And play around with this one – I added tomatoes but artichokes would be awesome too.

Thursday, July 18th – Turkey Taco Bowls: This is a meal prep, lunch, recipe but it’s perfect for a family dinner. I served the adults over romaine lettuce – having a serious love affair with romaine lettuce these days – and put the taco meat in tortilla shells for the girls. I also used the pre-packaged taco seasoning instead of making my own because, well, it’s easier. If you use the pre-packaged stuff do not add water. The turkey will cook down and create enough liquid on it’s own!

Friday, July 19th – Hamburger Skillet with Thousand Island Dressing: I think I’ve shared some version of this recipe before but THIS @thymeandjoy guy is my favorite. The thousand island is on point. A few things – I subbed non-fat greek yogurt for the mayo, in the dressing, and I used soy sauce, not coconut aminos. KID TIP – serve the meat mixture on hamburger buns for a “sloppy joe.”

I hope you and your family have a wonderful week! Please tag and share your Dinner with the Duffy food pics on Instagram!

Cheers! XO ~ Kelly D.


LEAP

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I hate taking risks. I should be the poster child for playing it safe. Normally I avoid risk at all costs but recently it seems I’ve put myself at it’s epicenter. Maybe some would label that growth? I think I’m just so discombobulated with the kitchen renovation that I didn’t realize what was happening. So what did I do? Well, I signed on with a PR firm to commit to growing the Dinner with the Duffys brand. No big, you say? Not so. In taking this step, no LEAP, I’m opening myself up to failure. The fall on your face kind of failure. I don’t like to fail – probably why I don’t like taking risks. But here’s the thing – I really believe DwtD’s has a shot; a long shot, sure, but a shot. And I know I will regret it, for the rest of my life, if I don’t take this chance. Over the next few months, I will be plugging away creating varied meal plans, grocery lists, my own recipes and who knows what else – any and everything to make this dream a reality. It’s all very exciting and I hope you will continue to follow along and ride this rollercoaster with me. I would not be here without all of you and I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. P.S. – I meet my biological family in t-minus 24 hours. P.P.S – I’m freaking out.

Meal Plan for the Week of 6/16

Sunday, June 16th – Skinnytaste Chicken Parmesan Lasagna – I’m already drooling over this recipe that has very few calories but BIG time flavor. Perfect Sunday Supper option.

Monday, June 17th – Grilled Chicken Skewers – Dear God, please let my kitchen be finished by this day. At the very least, please let there be furniture in my living room. And no, a beach chair does not constitute furniture. On to the recipe – y’all know I hate a skewer- such a pain in the arse – BUT I’m giving this recipe a go because there’s a pretty awesome hack that may make it worth our while. You use peeled plum, CANNED, tomatoes. Just pick them out of the can and thread them onto the stick. Along with some chicken. And that’s pretty much it. Serve with rice, side salad – whatever gets you thru this Monday.

Tuesday, June 18th – Crockpot Chicken Tacos with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce – The sauce in this recipe is divine because of the vinegar. I love vinegar – just adds the perfect tang. Omit the jalapeno if your people aren’t spice people. Happy Taco Tuesday!!

Wednesday, June 19th – Flank Steak with Zhoug Sauce – So, you really don’t need to click out for this recipe but, the marinade is good so use it for that. Don’t feel like making homemade zhoug? Grab a bottle of the pre-made stuff from Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious – on all of the things. Might be too spicy for the kids but they can eat there’s without. Serve with some roasted veggies or, sautéed okra!

Thursday, June 20th – Creamy Coconut Lime Salmon – Lots of flavor and super easy, y’all. I will sub light coconut milk and serve over jasmine rice. I might also add in some sautéed peppers, and maybe, snap peas!

Friday, June 21st – Skinnytaste Inside Out Turkey Cheeseburgers with Cucumber, Tomato Salad – This screams summer to me. Can’t quite think of anything better. The fact that it’s low cal is bananas with a capital B. Just saying.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Sweet, Sweet Summer Time

It’s officially summer, y’all. Friday was the last day of school for Regs and Avs. Don’t you remember that freeing feeling you felt, as a kid, on the last day of school. The best. My brain is chock full of memories of ice cream trucks, flashlight tag, mid-week sleepovers and late night swimming. Sweet, sweet summer time. My how things change. These days just the word summer sends me down a rabbit hole of anxiety. Parents have to start making summer plans for their kids in January. JANUARY. Sitters book up in no time, as do camps. I never, in my wildest dreams, could have imagined the anxiety I would feel over trying to get my kids into camp. Finding a soulmate is less stressful. For the working parent you have no choice – you have to figure out what to do with your kids for twelve straight weeks. And the price tag that comes with those camps. Forget it. Not to mention the pressure to get them into the best camps, you know the ones where they build space ships and solve US – Chinese tensions. Bananas with a capital “B.” And the non-working parents don’t have it any easier. You all have to deal with entertaining your kiddos for twelve straight weeks! When I was a kid (I am officially old), my summers were spent sleeping in and running the streets until dark. I promise you my parents were not planning out my days. My point here – cut yourself some slack. Our kids will be OK if they wake up for the next seventy-five some odd days at nine AM, get their agua from the neighbors hot water hose and ride bikes all day instead of learning algebra. We all survived. They will too. #makesummertimesweetagain

Kitchen Update – We are moving right along. Two and a half weeks and lots of progress. Electrical is mostly done, walls are up and cabinets are in. Next week brings counters, floors and I pray to God, running water!

BEFORE
AFTER

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 6/1

Sunday, June 2nd – Hamburgers, Dogs and Israeli Couscous Orzo Pasta Salad – It’s not officially summer until you have a cookout so the Duffys will be a grilling come Sunday. This couscous & orzo salad is one of my summer staples. It’s served room temp, or cooled, which is necessary when it’s 185 degrees out. Hopefully the tides will cooperate and we can jump in the creek after dinner.

Monday, June 3rd – Baked Chicken Thighs with Asparagus – You all know I have a straight up obsession with @TheModernProper. Their recipes never disappoint. You can sub skinless thighs if you prefer but you may need to add a little more fat to the pan after cooking. I’m not an olive eater so I’ll just forget those guys.

Tuesday, June 4th – Skinnytaste Pork Chops with Dijon Herb Sauce – Pulling out a flashback fav for tonight. Make sure not to overcook these bad boys – 160 and they are good to go. I will serve with an arugula, lemon and parm salad to make it light and simple. Girls will probably get a canned green bean – more than one if I don’t eat them all. God I love a canned bean!!

Wednesday, June 5th – Sesame Garlic Ramen Noodles – I have a confession to make. I have never actually cooked ramen noodles. My neighbors eat them all of the time, and when they feed me, I love them. Just never really crossed my mind. That changes today. I will toss these with shrimp or chicken to add bulk!

Thursday, June 6th – Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce – There is a small chance I will have a working oven and running water by this time but just in case, I’m opting for a crocker. I will sub light coconut milk and use skinless thighs. Breasts are perfectly fine to sub!

Friday, June 7th – Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin – I think sheet pan Fridays should become a thing. I’ll work on that. In the meantime, this recipe had me at sheet pan and hoisin. I love hoisin. And it cooks with green beans and potatoes. Quickly put this one together, stick it in the oven and pour yourself a glass. You deserve it.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

XO ~ Kelly D.