App, App, Baby

My high school friends and I have our first supper club this Saturday. There are finally enough of us, back in Charleston, to organize such a fun event.  My insanely talented photographer friend, @KristenLequire, is hosting our first gathering so I only need to bring an app.  No big deal, right?  Not true.  The struggle to come up with an app that travels well, eats well and tastes good is real.  I find the “what app should I bring” question is the most common I’m asked by followers.  So, this week I’m giving you a list of my favorites, by category, and a few tips to boot.

Cold Appetizers ~ By far the easiest appetizer option.  Want to make it and forget about it?  These apps are for you.  Most cold apps can sit at room temperature, for around two hours, including apps made with meat, dairy or eggs.  After that, you may want to put them back in the fridge for a bit unless you are OK with being sick the next day.  My favorites:

Goat Cheese, Basil Dip with Honey; Avocado Yogurt Dip w/ Veggies; Neiman Marcus Dip; The BEST Black Bean Hummus; Herbed Goat Cheese; Big T’s Crab Dip; Spicy Tuna Poke and Avocado Cups; Caesar Salad Cups; Boiled Old Bay Shrimp; Antipasto Salad Kabobs; Ceviche;

Hot Appetizers – These can be tricky if you are taking your app on the road. Make sure, when bringing a hot app, it will still be tasty at room temp – some wilt or get straight up nasty after they cool down. Opt for an appetizer that can live in a crockpot or place your app on a warming tray. I really need to convince the peeps @yeti to create some cookware!! Hot apps are perfect if you are hosting – you can pull them out of the oven just as your guests arrive. Below are my favs (P.S. – I have a slight obsession with wonton wrappers. They used to frighten me but no more. Super easy to work with and have made apps a game changer in my world. Use them)

Hot Ham Sammies; Crab Rangoon Dip; Cheesy Sausage Dip; Hot Corn Dip Wonton Cups; Spinach, Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip; Baked Brie; Crack Dip; Gruyere, Bacon & Caramelized Onion Dip; The BEST Hot Artichoke Dip; DwtD Buffalo Chicken Taco Cups (Recipe Below):

For 12 Cups:

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/3 cup ( up to ½ cup depending on how buffalo-y you like your chicken) Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • Wonton Wrappers – 24
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400. Melt cream cheese, butter and hot sauce together on low heat, stirring frequently until fully incorporated.  Fold in picked rotisserie chicken, salt, pepper and paprika to the melted mixture.  Set aside. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.  Place one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup.  Place about one tablespoon of the buffalo chicken mixture into each cup.  Top with 2 tsp of shredded cheese.  Place a second wonton wrapper on top of the cheese then add the remaining chicken mixture and cheese across all the muffin cups. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until wonton edges are browned and cheese is melted. Top each cup with a dollop of sour cream, tomatoes and green onions – or whatever your heart desires!! Serve immediately.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 5/12

Sunday, May 12th – Happy Mother’s Day. I’m not even going to pretend I’m cooking today. No Mom should. Go out. Order pizza. Have your partner cook for you. Relax and enjoy.

Monday, May 13th – Greek Burger Salad – I’m only linking out the tzatziki because I plan to use a @bubbaburger and since the instructions are on the box, I’m pretty sure you can manage. I’m going to chop my burger, add some veggies and top with this delicious tzatziki. Don’t worry about squeezing the cucumber – it’s not a big deal.

Tuesday, May 14th – Everything Bagel Chicken with Asparagus – I apologize but you will need @TraderJoes Everything Bagel spice for this recipe. You won’t regret it as it’s the most amazing spice, ever. Amazon also sells! I went to put on a pair of shorts Friday night that were HUGE last summer only to find they had shrunk. I swear clothing shrinks if it’s sits for too long. That’s a thing, right? I’ll just eat super healthy in case I’m wrong. This recipe will help!!

Wednesday, May 15th – BBQ Pork Tenderloin in the Crocker – By this point in time my kitchen should be pretty packed up. Hopefully I was smart enough to put a few items towards the front of the chaos for accessibility. My crocker should be one of those items as I will be using the bejesus out of it for the next few weeks. I’ll nuke some green beans and call it a day. Oh wait, will I have a microwave? Hmmmmmmm

Ava’s written message on our kitchen wall. Not sure what is above said message?? I really think it’s a dragon, y’all!!

Thursday, May 16th – One Pan Baked Smothered Chicken – Just chopping and mixing here peeps. Family favorite in my house. Well, Regs doesn’t vote unless it’s grilled cheese, chicken fingers, steak or dessert. 3 out of 4 ain’t so bad. Serve with brown rice, salad – whatever you have on hand.

Friday, May 17th – Salmon and Summer Veggies – Well, I’m pretty sure my kitchen will be dust at this point so I’m hoping my neighbors were for real when they told me I could use their kitchens. Mandy, if you are reading this, I’m coming over. Hopefully I can put these easy packets together in my living room and then bake them at the Reids. Light, summery dish, perfect for a Friday in May!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends! Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram – @dinnerwiththeduffys!! Kitchen updates coming soon.

XO ~ Kelly D.


Worth the Wait??

Well, I fell down on the job.  SO sorry folks.  I was hoping I’d have the “I was too busy packing to work” excuse but that’s not entirely accurate seeing as I only packed for about an hour.  It took an hour to pack up our china and glassware.  How does one accumulate so much glassware?  None of it matches and I honestly can’t remember purchasing like 80% of what we have.  So odd.  We left around ten cups in the cabinet, to just survive over the next few weeks, and you would have thought we had left one for all four of us to fight over.  The girls were freaking out.  I can’t wait until we pack up the plates.  Meanwhile, the thought of not having to wash plates, cups and utensils, for the next four weeks, has me kind of giddy. I feel like I’m hitting the jack pot.  People can’t believe we are choosing to stay in our house, during the work, and I’m over here like, “are you kidding?” You want me to leave just about the time my responsibilities will go from 100 to 10? You crazy.  No vacuuming, mopping, dusting, 409-ing, windexing, pledging, or cleaning after cooking?  I mean, it might as well be vacation.  So I have to live in a dust infested house with no sink or stove for a few weeks. Meh, just minor inconveniences compared to being a cleaning lady, short order cook, dry cleaner and uber driver. Dropping two of the four ain’t so bad.  I’ll be armed with my arsenal of Costco paper products, a toaster oven and a grill.  My meal plan may be a bit odd from the 19th to the first of June but I will get creative.  I mean, I’ll have oodles of time, right? This entire post is going to come back to bite me in the arse, isn’t it?  IS IT? I can hear you laughing…..

Photo Cred ~ @Simply Recipes

Meal Plan For The Week of 5/6

Monday, May 6th – Shrimp, Arugula White Bean Salad – On top of all of the packing, swim team practice starts for my girls today. For those who don’t know, summer swim team controls your life for about two months. It’s every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Healthy, delicious and quick will be my strict moto for the next 8 weeks. This one is perfect.

Tuesday, May 7th – Steak and Asparagus Quinoa – Straight forward. Easy. Filling. Go.

Wednesday, May 8th – Weight Watchers Goulash – One of my favorites. Family friendly and low cal – takes no time to throw together.

Thursday, May 9th – Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus – I am always shocked at how flavorful, yet simple, this recipe is. It is one of my favorite chicken and veg dishes, hands down.

Friday, May 10th – Skinnytaste Tuna Noodle Casserole – All of the Friday night, family feels, in this one. Not only low calorie, but it cost about $10 to make. My kind of recipe.

No Sunday meal plan as it’s Monday so I’ve already missed that boat. Plus, our Sunday night meal was Sonic. I needed the grease if you catch my drift. Too much fun, the night before, at Cinco de Derby!! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram ~ @Dinnerwiththeduffys

Happy, Healthy Eating Y’all.

XO ~ Kelly D.


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.


One Fine Day….

Well, I thought we had turned a corner last week but no such luck. Regan came down with the flu on Tuesday – she literally came down with the flu. Fainted in school and all. She’s fine, thank goodness, but my plan to get back on track has been pushed to God knows when. Taking care of children is exhausting but taking care of sick children is a whole different ball game. I’ve learned, this week, that I am not a natural caregiver. #OVERIT. I think I’ve cooked twice this week – twice. Exercise – two and a half times. I started yesterday, got distracted, and totally forgot to go back to my video. I’m so ready to get back into our routine. I need the structure. I really need the structure. If you follow along you know aside from the flu infestation at 111 Duffy Lane, I had other big life happenings this week. Huge happenings, actually. After what I thought was a shut adoption book, I made contact with BOTH biological parents. In the same week. To say I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster is a bit of an understatement. This is how it all went down………
My search angel ( now more like a family member), Daniel, messaged me last Tuesday saying he had located my biological father. I was beyond shocked. I did a little digging and turned up nothing. There was one individual on Facebook who seemed like she could be related to bio dad so I bit the bullet and private messaged her. A day went by and nothing. But, then on Thursday I had an email from one bio dad. Y’all he had no clue about my existence. It was crazy, but long story short, he is very kind and excited to learn more about me and my family.  After connecting with him, I felt like I had to exhaust all of my options and decided to call my biological mother.  Well, that’s not entirely true. I asked my best friend, who had done a little PI work on her own and found out where bio mom worked, to call her. I know, we are crazy – it’s why we are friends.  So, my friend called her.  At work.  And tried her hardest not to give away every detail as to why she was calling, but in the end, she was forced to reveal the real reason she had picked up the phone.  And guess what, the biological mom had never received any of my communication attempts. She had no idea I was trying to connect with her.  Quick lesson here folks – never assume anything.  I was truly functioning, and making decisions, under the idea that she had received and made a choice not to connect. I was wrong.  Life is so surprising.  You just never know what tomorrow will bring.  Two weeks ago I had no medical information, no family history, nada.  Today, I know medical history, the missing pieces of my adoption story and have multiple blood relatives that I never knew existed.  But here is the important part, especially for my fellow adoptees – it doesn’t change anything.  I am still Kelly Regan Duffy, the daughter of Patty and Steve.  The wife of Patrick and the mom of Regan and Ava.  I’m still only 5’1. I still love to cook, eat, drink and be merry. I’m still a very Irish Catholic Charlestonian. I still have the most incredible family and friends in the entire universe.  I’m still the luckiest girl in the world. Now I just have more people to share it all with. And that is truly the lens thru which I see all of this.  Will I get to meet this lovely family with whom I share DNA? I don’t know.  It’s still really early and there are many moving parts. But I think I would like that very much. We shall see.  One day….

Meal Plan for the week of 2/24

Photo Cred ~ Ashley Bakery

Sunday, Feb. 24th – “Fat Sunday” Celebration! We are doing a neighborhood “Fat Sunday” celebration this weekend so I will not be cooking dinner. Instead, I called my favorite, Ashley Bakery, and ordered a King Cake.  I’m hoping the rest of my neighbors are making something really delicious because they are on tap to feed the Duffy’s dinner.  I warned them but they may, or may not, have taken me seriously. So, we may just be eating cake.  IF I was cooking, I would definitely be making my favorite Slow Cooker Jambalaya. ( Make sure to test rice before you turn off crocker – it may need more time!)

Monday, Feb. 25th – Spicy Zucchini Cauliflower Rice – Not exactly family friendly but I have GOT to get my bum back in gear.  I am going on the assumption that everyone in my house will be healthy come Monday so I will be back to my routine, ready to cook, eat healthy and TAM! (Tracy Anderson, y’all. My exercise of choice) Don’t forget to purchase the frozen cauli rice! Oh, and I WILL add chicken, chicken sausage or flank steak to this recipe to beef it up. Pun intended.

Tuesday, Feb. 26th – Lemon Thyme Grilled Salmon – Again, purchase frozen cauli rice here. Will save you some much time and effort. Once you have microwaved your rice, add some fresh lemon juice and thyme to give it some additional flavor. Just a straight forward, healthy dish here, y’all. Oh, with avocado – if you want. I always want.

Wednesday, Feb. 27th – Teriyaki Chicken Bake – Super family friendly to make up for the spicy Monday meal. Feel free to sub out veggies and use what you have on hand – peppers, asparagus. Get crazy!

Thursday, Feb. 28th – Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa – Pretty straight forward blackened chicken recipe but the cilantro lime “crema” takes it to a whole new level! You can sub cauli rice for the quinoa or just serve with a veg or side salad.

Friday, MARCH 1st – Spicy Thai Chicken and Quinoa – Sorry for the quinoa overload this week. Just happened that way. It’s March y’all. MARCH. I’m so excited because we get to kick winter to the curb and bring on the spring. I hate the winter. Plus, spring in Charleston is just so good. Flavorful dish here people. Again, sorry for the spice. You can back down on the chili sauce if you need to.

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends! Remember to follow along on Instagram – dinnerwiththeduffys!!!

XO – Kelly D.


No Regrets


Hey y’all.  I want to take a quick second to thank all of you for your heartfelt messages, emails and comments.  They mean so much to me.  I am overwhelmed by the number of adoptees who, because of my post, are reaching out to Search Angels.  I hope you find as much success, and comfort, as I have.  So, where did I leave off?  Oh yes. Last week, Daniel had begun unraveling my genealogy in hopes of finding my biological mother.  Well, are you ready?  He found her.  Truth be told, Daniel was pretty sure he had found her ten hours after he started my search.  TEN HOURS.  I mean, it’s unreal.  Answers to questions I had been mulling over for thirty seven years came to him in ten hours.  It’s still hard to believe.  Here are the specifics. Last week I received a text message from Daniel stating he was pretty sure he had found my biological mother but needed to do a little more research.  Thirty minutes later, he texted he was sure.  I was without words, and for those who know me, I am never without words.  My first question was, “Does she seem normal?” Daniel ( God love him, he already needs to pray for patience after dealing with me for ten hours) responded that she was alive and all signs pointed to stable. To tell you the truth, I was unbelievably calm.  I think it was just so surreal that I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the whole thing.  Daniel asked if he could call me the following evening, so, for the next 20 hours, I was in a holding pattern.  I started to get extremely nervous about an hour before Daniel was set to call me.  Thank God my neighbors are my friends and allowed me to babble for 45 minutes straight.  I was about to receive information that would change my life, good or bad, forever.  My phone rang, and Daniel asked if I was ready.  First, he emailed me a copy of my grandfather’s obituary. Next, a picture of my biological mother’s engagement announcement.  When I opened the second email, I could not believe my eyes.  I felt as though I was looking at a picture of myself, minus the 80’s hair.  Words do not exist to describe such a moment. When you have spent your entire life wondering where your nose, eyes, chin, mouth – every single feature – comes from, and then, in one second, all of your questions are answered.  It’s earth-shattering.   From there, Daniel sent me my entire maternal family tree, dating back to 1742. He built my entire maternal family tree.  This stranger spent days searching for my relatives, just to give me something.  He has no idea what he has done, not just for me, but for my children and their children and their children’s children. There is so much more that transpired, but I know what you are waiting for.  Did I reach out and connect with her?  Well, yes and no.  I tried but no response thus far.  Everyone keeps telling me all of the rational things – she may not have received my messages or she may no longer have that address or she needs more time.  All of these are plausible and could certainly be true.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say some part of me believed as soon as I hit “send,” my phone would start ringing, and she would be on the other end of the line.  But, it didn’t, and that’s OK.  Just like with any other let down in life, I have to find the good in the situation.  And you know what, I don’t have to look far.  I am so blessed by all that Daniel has uncovered. I have names, pictures and stories.  Pieces of information I never thought I would have. But most importantly, I was given the opportunity to thank her.  To let her know she can be at peace knowing she made the right decision all of those years ago. So no, I don’t have any regrets about hitting “send” back in October.  It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but worth every single moment.  Adoption is the most incredible gift a human can give, in my humble opinion.  It is not something that happened to me, but something that happened for me.  I am the luckiest woman in the entire world, and I am more empowered than ever to try and not waste a single second of this unbelievable life an unbelievably strong woman gifted to me thirty seven years ago.  If anything changes, I will certainly let y’all know. Now, to the yummy stuff!

Meal Plan for the Week of 1/27/19

Photo Cred ~ Blue Apron

Sunday, January 27th – Spiced Shrimp and Pearl Cousous – I adore pearl couscous. It’s one of my favorite foods. Not quite sure why, but I just really love it. I will not have verjus rouge but no doubt will have some kind of red wine on hand to sub instead!!!

Monday, January 28th – Sriracha Tuna Salad Wrap – If I survive this week I will be pleasantly surprised. The girls have a performance this evening so I will have zero minutes to cook. My plan is to throw this super easy tuna salad recipe together Sunday so all I have to do is throw it in a wrap, or on top of lettuce, when we get home. Feel free to double if more than two are eating:

1 can of tuna, 2 tablespoons greek yogurt or mayo, 1 tsp of soy, 2 tsp sriracha (or more depending on your heat meter). Mix it all together and that’s all she wrote. I will top mine with avocado because everything is better with avo.

Tuesday, January 29th – Lemon & Dill Baked Cod – I have a HUGE work event on Saturday so I need really easy recipes. This one is just that and obviously healthy to boot. Feel free to sub any white, flaky, fish!

Wednesday, January 30th – One Pan Sausage, Potato & Asparagus Bake – Super straight forward, family friendly option y’all. You can use green beans if you don’t like asparagus – honestly, you can do you in this dish. I love the idea of sausage, potatoes and asparagus so I’ll keep mine as is.

Thursday, January 31st – Roast Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans – This is a spice rubbed tenderloin, which can be hit or miss, but I really enjoy the flavors in this one. Even better that you don’t have to marinate the thing. I always forget to marinate.

Friday, February 1st – Super Easy Stir-Fry – I will sub chicken for the turkey breast peeps. I have my Costco chicken in my freezer so no sense buying something I don’t need. Love a good stir-fry!! Is it seriously February?

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D.


Hello Newbies!

It’s Thursday, y’all. One more day.  One. I believe I can make it but I’m not 100% certain. I’m exhausted. I must have some kind of deficiency because I sleep for eight + hours a night.  Eight.  Some nights more.  It is not rare for me to be in bed by 8:45 and asleep by 9 but when my alarm goes off, 8.5 hours later, I can barely get out of bed.  Well, Sunday – Friday that is.  Come Saturday morning my lids pop open like champagne corks and then my eyes start darting around like laser beams.  And then my brain takes off:

“Laundry? Activities today? Groceries? I’m hungry. What should I eat? Have the girls eaten? Coffee. Dog needs to go out.  What should I cook for dinner? Exercise? Is it cold? Sunny? Do I have food for lunch? What day is it?”

Its bananas.  I try my hardest to shut it down but it’s no use.  If only my brain would function this way during the week. Can you imagine what I would accomplish? Eyelids open, brain moving at the speed of sound, jumping out of bed to do all of the things and crushing it. But alas, not my life. Not sure when my brain got the signals mixed up but if one of you has a solution, hit me up.  The funny thing is, my husband doesn’t seem to share my week/weekend sleep issues.  Don’t get me wrong, he struggles to get out of bed, during the week, just as much as I do but come the weekend his brain doesn’t switch from comatose to firecracker.  Nope.  He just sleeps, and sleeps and sleeps. At 11 AM last weekend I was literally vacuuming in the same room he was sleeping in and he never woke up.  Didn’t even roll over.  I had to put my hand on his chest to see if he was breathing.  He was.  No words.  If one of my girls sneezes, in the middle of the night, I sit straight up as if a UFO has just crash landed into my living room. Patrick, out like a light. Mars and Venus I tell ya.  And it’s not just the sleep thing.  Have you ever noticed how your husband/significant other, if he/she is a sports fan, can recall the first and last name of every single player that has ever played the sport going back to the inception of said sport? My husband knows the full name, height, weight, eye color and hobbies of every single person who has ever played Clemson football.  Ever.  He can sit there and rattle off useless information for hours on end.  BUT, when I ask him to grab milk and bread from the grocery store he tells me he needs to make a list?  What is that? Sports information goes into his brain, gets processed and filed neatly away.  Things to be done as told from his wife don’t make it down the ear canal. Sigh.  It’s a good thing he’s cute.

I’d like to say a quick “welcome” to all the new DwtD followers. There are so many of you since the 1st of the year. Thank you for following along. I have made a few adjustments, to the site, that I hope will help everyone. The weekly meal plan will be posted, same as always, under “blog” but I’ve organized past recipes by main ingredient. I hope this will make it easier to go back and find one of your favorites. It’s not perfect, or pretty, and I hope to add pics and make it even more flawless at some point. When Dinner with the Duffys really takes off, and I’m solely focused on this endeavor, I will create a much prettier site but until then, I think this will suffice.  Keep sharing and our dreams will come true y’all!! P.S – To those of you are new, go back and read my first post. So much of my meal planning success has to do with Harris Teeter Home Shop.

Meal Plan for the Week of 1/13/19

Sunday, January 13th – Baked Chicken Quesadillas – You all know I have a love affair with @themodernproper so it’s no surprise I use their recipes whenever I can. This is the perfect cheat Sunday meal because it’s really adaptable and super easy to whip together. I plan on being super lazy this Sunday so this dish will fit right in. Plus, Ava LOVES guac, as do I, so any excuse to make the fresh stuff is good with me. Love this Guacamole recipe.

Monday, January 14th Cauliflower Rice Chicken Biryani – Apologies if you are screaming “enough with the cauli rice already” but I’m kind of addicted at the moment. I have been noticing more of a cauli taste recently but I keep eating it. The key is to make sure you really incorporate the flavors, of whatever you are cooking, into the “rice.” If you are way over it, just sub your fav. It’s been a while since I’ve made an Indian dish so I’m craving the flavors!!

Tuesday, January 15thBaked Beef and Cheese Manicotti (Cannelloni) – OK, this will be an experience for all of us. Super easy ingredient list here and it’s pasta for under 450 calories a serving. But, we are going to have to pipe the ricotta into the shells. We can do this and it will not take long. After we’ve completed this task we can all switch out our middle names out to “Martha.”

Wednesday – January 16th – Turkey Burgers with a simple Arugula Salad – I’m going back to basics. Frozen basics that is. I have gotten away from my “easy peasy hump days” so I’m bringing them back . I use Bubba Burger frozen turkey burgers and they are perfect. Incorporating a “down day” makes the week that much easier to survive.

Thursday, January 17th Italian Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms – I love all the things this dish is made of. Tomatoes, chicken and wine. It doesn’t get any better. Oh wait, it does because it’s only 218 calories a serving. Silly me. You can serve this over cauli rice, orzo…whatever floats your boat!

Friday, January 18th – Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup This may not be everyone’s fav – no hurt feelings if you bypass this guy. I on the other hand get giddy about tomato soup – especially when you serve it with orzo. Low calorie & comforting seems like the perfect combo for a chilly Friday night in!

There you have it. Meal plan for the week of 1/13. Bananas how time flies. PLEASE follow my crazy on Instagram – @dinnerwiththeduffys – for pics and more tips as I cook along with you!

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 bomb.com) 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.


BE PREPARED!

Photo Cred ~ Physical Kitchness

For those of you who follow along on Instagram, you know I’m really trying to watch what I’m putting into my mouth for the next two weeks.  I have seriously overindulged and my body has started to revolt.  The other night I thought I was having chest pains but turns out it was only indigestion. Holy moly indigestion is painful – like ranks up there with childbirth. My husband was worried and that’s saying a lot. A horn could start growing, out of the top of my head, and he would calmly tell me everything’s alright.  SO this past Sunday I decided to make some changes.  As you know,  I am pretty good when it comes to dinner and I’m really good, if not better, for breakfast and lunch. Well, minus my cup of coffee.  I prefer cream and sugar – like too much cream and sugar – but coffee by itself is just nasty, y’all.  What gets me is the weekly vino and overindulging on the weekends.  I have to pat myself on the back because it’s Thursday and not a drop of wine has entered my body! Go ahead, be impressed. I certainly am.  But, tomorrow is Friday and there is no way I’m not partaking in the weekend spirits. My hope is my choice to slow down Monday – Thursday will help me to be more mindful of my weekend choices. Oh, and the decision to go back to a “cheat day” and not a “cheat 72 hours.” 72 hours of eating what I crave will wreck havoc on anyone – I’m a serious junk food lover at heart . Let me also say there is absolutely NO WAY this plan will have any chance of surviving from December 20th to Jan. 2nd and that’s OK. Christmas is a time for indulging and I will happily indulge. I will continue to try and exercise daily but be realistic about that expectation. Plus, the requisite “New Year’s Diet” is right around the corner so load up while you can!!! Just don’t leave home without the Tums in tow!!! 

Tip of the Week: Be prepared!!  During the Holidays, family and friends will most definitely be stopping by so you should always be prepared to entertain.  This doesn’t have to be difficult.  Just keep a few of the below on hand and you will never be caught off guard!! 

Photo Cred ~ Big T Coastal Provisions
  • Big T Crab Dip – this dip is dynamite.  We are super picky about crab dip, living on the coast, and this dip does not disappoint.  Try the jalapeno version too – perfect kick!
  • Scalloped Crackers – The perfect assortment of crackers. 
  • An Assortment of Cheese – Trader Joe’s has the most delicious cheese on the planet and their prices are unbeatable.  You can’t go wrong with any of them, but these are some of my favs – Cranberry Chevre Goat Cheese, St. Illtyd Cheddar with Garlic White Wine & Parsley, Unexpected Cheddar, a Manchego, a Blue and a Gruyere.
  • Charcuterie – Whatever you like is fine.  I happen to like 
    capocollo, prosciutto and salami. You can find these at your local Harris Teeter or, Trader Joes
  • Nuts, Pretzels, etc. – In my family, we go for cashews and peanut butter filled pretzels but any will do. If you are feeling spunky, grab wasabi peas or Marcona almonds (SO GOOD).
  • Sweets – Always a good idea to have something sweet. I LOVE the candied walnuts and peppermint pretzels from Trader Joes. 
  • Pimento Cheese – Or a hummus. Here in the south, pimento cheese is king! I LOVE My Three Sons spicy white cheddar!!
  • Alcohol – Dear Lord, please do not forget to stock your bar at Christmas time.  White & Red wine, Prosecco, Vodka and a Whiskey should do. Plus soda, tonic, cranberry and beer.

Let’s get to what will surely be the last full week of cooking for a while! Meal Plan for the week of 12/16!

Sunday, December 16th – Tomato Basil Bisque with Italian Meatballs – Sunday supper recipes make me happy and this one does not disappoint.  You can sub frozen meatballs but since it’s Sunday, I’ll be putting my kids to work making them.  I rarely look forward to Sundays but thoughts of eating this dish have me excited!!

Monday, December 17th – Thai Basil Ground Beef Bowl – We can do this people.  Last week before Christmas.  This recipe is loaded with flavor but really, very easy to make.  I will skip the cauliflower rice and sub basmati or quinoa.  

Tuesday, December 18th – One Sheet Pan Herb Crusted Salmon – This is a one pan dish of all of my favorite things – tomatoes, balsamic, green beans….delicious. Don’t feel like you have to purchase parsley, thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary – a mix of a few will do.  

Wednesday, December 19th – One Pot 30 Minute Zoodles and Meatballs  – I thought about just putting down “lean cuisine of your choice” for this day but decided against it when I stumbled across this beauty.  Store bought sauce, check.  Store bought  (frozen) meatballs, check.  You can even purchase spiralized zucchini.  Hands on prep time for this dish is five minutes.  FIVE!!!

Thursday, December 20th – Mustardy Quinoa with Sausage, Potato and Tarragon – Wait, don’t scroll by this one. I get that “mustardy quinoa” doesn’t make you want to drool BUT, I promise, it’s delicious. The mix of flavors in this dish are to die for.  You won’t be disappointed!!

Friday, December 21st – Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa – People, the Duffy fam is officially off for the next 13 days! I’m so excited I could burst. This recipe isn’t difficult but has a few more steps than most of the recipes I share. BUT, it’s Friday and you might have a little more time.  If not, make this tomorrow!! 

That’s all she wrote.  Happy, Healthy Eating Friends!

XO ~ Kelly D. 


You Want What??

How many of you are done with your Xmas shopping?  Not me – no where close. Most years I’m pretty good about making a list, with everyone I need to buy for, and then inserting the purchased item next to the name. This way I have a chance at gifting the correct gift. I can’t keep it all straight without a list. Don’t tell my husband but I think I’m over spending!!!! I’m blaming someone other than myself. Not to mention, this year my kids have asked for some random things and it’s throwing me for a loop.  For some odd reason the only Christmas magazine that made it into my mailbox was the Hammacher Schlemmer magazine. Now, nothing against this magazine as it has many, many “unexpected” items to choose from but none that I have ever heard of.  The Bunyanesque Backpack for example.  I was sure Regs had misspelled this item so you can imagine my confusion.  And then I finally located this interesting backpack and can’t imagine why one would need such a thing, especially Regan? What in God’s name do you put in there? 

Photo Cred ~ Hammacher Schlemmer

What else did she put down? A “speaking Zoltan” toy, a marshmallow blaster and a $145 “Mickey through the Years” rotating watch.  We need a Target magazine in our house stat. Then the other child wants every tacky piece of clothing that exists on the market.  Short with sequins – she wants it.  Any shirt with “You Got This Girl” – she wants it. And then of course make-up, a phone, fuzzy boots, and an Ipad.  She is nine.  So basically, neither of my girls are getting anything they have written to Santa for.  I feel for both of them but there is no way my nine year old is wearing make-up and you couldn’t pay me to purchase that gold body bag pictured above. What are they getting you ask?  Well, below are my suggested, appropriate and usable, items to gift a nine to ten year old girl or boy:

  • Amazon Fire 10 – Kids Edition – I’m big on Amazon products.  First of all, if this breaks it’s not the end of the world as it didn’t cost $800 – I got my two bundled for under $300!!  Second, it comes pre-loaded with an endless array of APPROPRIATE books, magazines, games, TV shows and movies.  Win win as I don’t need them asking me to purchase an app or game every two minutes.
  • New boots – not Uggs but Fuggs (Fake Uggs). Until they stop growing I can’t quite bring myself to purchase shoes that cost over $50.
  • Droid Inventor Kit from @littlebits – I stumbled upon this site this year and I’m in love.  Regan is really into coding and building robots so this is perfect.  And they have a ton for all age groups.
  • Slippers – my girls love slippers and Target has the cutest Cat & Jack options online.  I even went as far as to purchase Av’s the gold sparkly ones. Between the slippers and the glitter fire case, I hope her tween needs are satiated. 
  • Legos – they don’t always ask for Legos but as soon as they receive they spend hours putting them together. We purchased the Harry Potter set which should be really cool – and require hours of their focus!!!
  • Floor Chair – This could fall into the “unexpected” category but Ava put this in all caps on her list. I could view this as a warning sign she’s watching too much TV but I’m going to pretend like I didn’t type that and move on….
  • Fitbit – I struggled with this purchase as I don’t really think it’s necessary and Ava didn’t ask for it.  She asked for a telephone watch but the reviews are awful and my current cell phone carrier doesn’t support any of the kids versions. So I’m kind of just hoping this will fly. 
  • Stocking Stuffers – socks, underwear, toothbrush, deodorant, a book…..things they need anyway. 

That about does it! Hopefully by the time 12/25 rolls around R & A will have forgotten they asked Santa for the most random gifts of 2018!!

Tip of the Week – To say “thank  you.” It’s hard to believe but this month will mark four months since I started down this blogging path.  I had no clue what I was doing and quite honestly, still don’t really know what I am doing. I hope my weekly visit to your inbox has encouraged you to meal plan, and home shop, so you have more time to cook, eat and enjoy your “you” time for whatever purpose that may be.  There is still much to be done.  Over the next four months I hope to find time to organize the linked recipes, so you can search by food type, and not have to scroll down past all of my yackity yacking.  I also hope to start sharing some of my own recipes – just need to figure out how to squeeze three more hours into a day. And who knows what else lies ahead.  What started as three followers on Instagram has grown to close to 2000 and I am beyond thankful to all of you.  You have allowed me to fulfill a passion I didn’t realize I was so in need of filling.  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! 

Ravioli with Tomatoes & Asparagus Sunday, December 9th – For those of  you who are new to DwtD, Sundays are my cheat days – hence the pasta and cheese.  If your kids won’t eat the veggies, pull theirs out before mixing. Perfect Sunday supper meal!! 

Classic Tacos – Monday, December 10th – Today is Ava’s birthday!!! My baby is 9.  Bananas.  Avs is my foodie child.  She will try anything I put in front of her and prefers salads to French fries. She LOVES tacos so tonight, it’s “Taco Tuesday”….except it’s Monday.  When we do tacos in the Duffy dome, we go classic taco style all the way – hard shells only.  Since I’m trying to be calorie conscience I will make my tacos more of a salad and crunch up some of the hard shell.  You can also sub ground turkey for beef, add a can of black beans, use greek yogurt in place of sour cream and half the cheese!!

Filipino Adobo Chicken – Tuesday, December 11th – I’m stoked to make this dish.  I love drumsticks and my kids do too. Oh, and I LOVE apple cider vinegar. I will serve this with basmati rice!!!

Roasted Herbed Beef Tips – Wednesday, December 12th – This recipe calls for sirloin which is super inexpensive.  I like my beef rare – like rare rare – almost still mooing rare, so I will pull my tips out well before the 30 minute instruction.  Thinking I will check at 10 minutes.  Serve this with a side salad. 

Easy Shredded Harissa Chicken – Thursday, December 13th – Yum, Yum, Yummy Yum.  I’m throwing all kinds of flavors at you this week!!! You can cook this in the crocker or the instant pot.  I will serve with basmati rice and cucumbers! You can purchase tzatziki if you aren’t in the mood to make your own!!

Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries – Friday, December 14th – I think I’ve shared this one with you before? Maybe?  I could go back and check but I really want to incorporate this into my meal plan this week. Tonight the kids have a choral performance and a drama performance so zero time. I will cook the chicken on Thursday so it’s ready to go when we finally get home!

I’ve gone on too long this week – apologies!! Happy, healthy eating friends!! 

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.