Keeping Up with the Christmas Joneses

Photo Cred ~ @SkinnyTaste

Well, it’s official y’all. The Holidays are upon us. I seriously love the Christmas Season; Christmas cards, wrapping presents, Christmas music on the radio, decorating the house, decorating the tree, taking kids to see all the lights, parades, being off of work for an extended period of time – I love it all. Unfortunately, you have to be Wonder Woman in order to do it all.   Just for giggles I researched “Christmas To-Do List” and was FLOORED with all of the results Google came up with. Honestly, I thought one might pop up but oh, no. There were SO many and the number of things you needed “to-do” went on forever. At first I got all panicky, reading all of the things, but then I quickly reminded myself I didn’t actually need to complete any of them. For example, item #3 – Purchase Plane Tickets. For a second I convinced myself I needed to do this – wth? My family lives ten minutes away. And it gets better. #15 – Have all your Christmas cards labeled and ready to send by Dec. 2. NOPE. # 21 – Make a homemade gift. DEFINITELY NOPE. # 5021 – Go to a local Christmas Festival. Maybe. Chances go up if they serve food and wine. My point here is to simply say the expectations surrounding the holidays are just bananas. And you know what? Up until three years ago, I was that insane person trying to complete all the wacky Christmas “to-do’s” on that wacky “to-do” list. For whatever reason I made myself believe Christmas would not be complete or “merry” if I didn’t bake homemade cookies with my children, take them to see The Nutcracker, do the gingerbread house, send out the most perfect photo of our “perfect” family by the 1st of Dec., have all the gifts ordered, wrapped and under the tree by the 5th and on and on and on. The worst part was I did this to myself. My kids and hubs weren’t asking to do all of these things. Nope, this was all on me. I was trying to keep up with the Christmas Joneses and I was losing my mind because of it. But then something awful happened and my world flipped upside down and I no longer had the time to try to be the Pinterest version of Mrs. Claus. And you know what? I like this me SO much better. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t state that I still struggle to say “no thank you” to invites and quiet the “guilty mom” chorus in my head. I’m a work in progress. But, I absolutely know I’m a much better wife, mother and friend because I was forced to let go of the things that just don’t matter. And Christmas is merrier in my house because the only people I’m trying to impress are the people that live there. So friends, don’t get offended when our four Duffy faces don’t show up on a Christmas card, in your mailbox, this Christmas. I’m not sending one this year – it didn’t make MY “to-do” list!!!

Tip of the Week:  I know I said I’m not sending X-Mas cards but please, don’t stop sending them to me!! In years past, I struggled with what to do with all of the cute cards as you hate to just throw them away.  And putting them in a pile on your kitchen counter is no good either.  Then I found this easy idea on Pinterest that took me all of five minutes to engineer.  Cut as many pieces of ribbon as you have kitchen cabinets, long enough to run the length of the door. Open the cabinet, slap some tape at the top and some tape at the bottom – scotch tape will do!When cards come in just clothespin those babies to the ribbon.  See my empty ribbons above. By the end of Dec. they will be full of all the faces I love. Such a fun way to display the cards, keep the clutter off your counter and add a simple decoration to your kitchen. Make sure to save the ribbon – I’m going on four years with the same pieces!!

There you have it peeps.  My thoughts for the week of 12/2!!! Now, let’s talk food!!

Meal Plan for the Week of 12/2

  • Sunday December 2nd – Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole: I’m excited about this dish peeps.  I have like ten cans of tuna in my cabinet, taking up way too much space.  Simple to throw together and super family friendly.  Should have leftovers unless you are married to my husband who eats eighteen servings and never gains a pound – what is up with that? 
  • Monday December 3rd – Walk Away Chickpea Tomato and Spinach Curry :  Yes, this is a vegan recipe but it will not leave you hangry – it’s super filling.  If you can’t get behind a chickpea, just sub chicken.  I will use olive oil, not coconut, and lite coconut milk.  
  • Tuesday December 4th – One Skillet Chicken with Bacon & Green Beans – Y’all know I love any excuse to use my Costco green beans and this one is well worth it.  Healthy, Delicious & Quick all in one pan.  If you are out of GB’s just sub peppers, asparagus – whatever you have in your veggie bin! Super adaptable.
  • Wednesday, December 5th – Pollo in Potacchio (Italian Braised Chicken with Tomatoes for those of us who don’t speak Italian) – Yum Yum Yum.  I love love love this dish.  I want to eat this curled up under a cozy blanket, sitting by the fire. The reality is I will be standing in my kitchen, eating this out of the pot. To each her own.
  • Thursday, December 6th – Sheet Pan Lemon Herb Tuna Steaks & Potatoes – Another sheet pan wonder, folks.  Nothing tricky here – just good old fashioned flavor. I will throw in some asparagus to add some color!! Basically you just toss this in the oven and walk away – pretty hands off! 
  • Friday, December 7th – Spicy Turkey and Zucchini Burgers – Get excited people.  It’s Friday. And burgers are on the menu. I love this turkey burger recipe – super moist and full of spice. This is not your normal boring turkey burger. Make the sour cream “sauce” – too good not to. I plan to  serve this with a side salad unless my kids talk me into French fries!!!

And that was all she wrote. I hope everyone has a fabulous first week of December.  Cheers to food, family & 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. 

Let’s Talk Turkey!

OK people, we are thirteen days away from the most fabulous food day of the year ~ Thanksgiving! I LOVE gobble day almost as much as I love my birthday. My husband is most certainly rolling his eyes – my birthday celebration would last an entire month if it were up to me and all of five minutes if it were up to him.  This year is oh so exciting as I get to host this fabulous holiday.  Some of you may cringe at the idea of hosting but for me it means I get to stay in my house, all day, with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on, apron clad and barefoot in my kitchen. Not trying to throw it back to the 50’s y’all, but I just really love to wear an apron, be barefoot in my kitchen and watch a parade!! Just me?  When I think of how this day will unfold ( which I do more often than I care to admit)  I picture me, calmly cooking in the kitchen, sipping a glass of perfectly chilled chardonnay, turkey roasting in the oven and my kids, happily setting my gorgeous kitchen table.


Photo Cred ~ joyful healthy eats

This is hilarious, right,  as there will be nothing calm, or perfect, about this day!  I will be a nervous ninny and everyone in my house will pay for my nerves. There will be attempts to help ease my anxiety but none will be 100% successful.  I will make so many lists; recipe idea lists, drink lists, ingredient lists, table lists, seating lists and day of lists. Problem is I never really cross anything off of said lists, so I end up making new ones, and then I inevitably forget something and find myself at Target or the grocery store like fifteen times during that one week.  But guess what? Not this year.  For some crazy reason this is the first year it dawned on me I could create a “turkey day ingredient list”, on Harris Teeter home shop, to begin slowly adding items I will need on the 22nd. Our friends at the Teet are so damn clever. Why is this such a big deal? Well, raise your hand if you have NEVER had to go back to the store after getting home and unpacking eighteen grocery bags because you forgot something?  I see no hands. Plus, no need to walk up and down the aisles with a giant g-list that’s trailing behind you like you sprouted a dinosaur tail. On November 20th I will pull up to my favorite James Island HT and load all those beautiful, brown paper bags into the back of my caravan. Tell me that doesn’t make you happy??!!! Since I have already started working on my “turkey day recipe list” I figured I would share. Not bragging – I have chosen to begin my turkey planning over cleaning my house, helping my child with her social studies project and switching out the girls summer/winter closets – they can totally still wear shorts!  #Priorities. So how about this week I give you multiple tried and true turkey recipes and next, my favorite side dishes?  Sound like a plan? Good – grab a pen and paper and label this list “Turkey & Tips”…

Turkey & Tips: At my house we have fried turkeys and we have roasted turkeys and I love them both ways.  BUT, I prefer an oven roasted bird because it’s just prettier, y’all.  I order my turkey from Whole Foods, every year, and they have never let me down.  The process is super simple – go online, choose your size and select your pick-up day.  If you are brining  your bird, make sure you pick it up at least 2 days before. AND make sure if you purchase a frozen bird you give yourself DAYS to thaw that sucker. There’s a Duffy rumor floating around that my sis-in-law learned this the hard way!!!  OK, on to my favorite turkey recipes:

  1. Slow Roasted Turkey – I love slow roasted birds as they require very minimal hands on time.  You need to make sure you have your bird, thawed, two days before t-day as you will start seasoning it 48 hours prior to baking. This method calls for you to cook the bird on high for 45 minutes and then all but turn off the oven and cook while you sleep! No lie.
  2. Classic Roasted Turkey – Doesn’t get any more Martha Stewart-ish than this.  You need your bird thawed 24 hours prior to baking for this fabulous favorite!
  3. Cheesecloth Roasted Turkey – This was our recipe of choice last year and it did not disappoint.  Probably one of the juiciest birds I have ever eaten.  You will have to put in a little extra time/work with this one but it is totally worth it in the end! We dry brined our bird last year – dry brine recipe below.
  4. Dry Brine Recipe – So much easier than a wet brine! Plus, the salt pulls all of the moisture out of the skin so it gets nice and golden brown without robbing the meat of flavor/moisture.  I will absolutely be dry brining my bird this year!!
  5. Breast Side Down Turkey – This is kind of a genius idea right here people.  We all know the breast meat dries out the fastest but cooking it upside down allows all the juices from the cooking bird to drip down to the breast meat making it super moist and flavorful!
  6. Non-Brined Turkey – I have to say, this one looks pretty darn good.  It incorporates the cheesecloth method but skips the brining, so all of your work is day of.  Just make sure your turkey is thawed!!!

Thanksgiving Wisdom – There are so many turkey day tips out there and quite honestly, some are BANANAS and will cause you more anxiety.  For me, there are two simple thoughts I can share:

  • Anything you can do ahead of time, do.  Set the table, wash the linens, dice the veggies, make the bread (I’ll share the best drop biscuit recipe next week), pie filling, gravy, and all the casserole dishes you can make & refrigerate prior to baking. Don’t go crazy, but if you have the time, and space, do what you can as this will seriously cut down on your day of cook time. Plus, it will free up your kitchen cook space. I struggle with space as we only have one oven.  Which leads me to my next tip….
  • Create a recipe game plan.  Have each recipe on a sheet of paper with what temp it needs to cook at and for how long.  This will allow you to see what dishes you need to prep first, what dishes can cook in the oven together and honestly, if you have the space/time to actually make and serve all of your dishes – I have to borrow my neighbors ovens to get all of our sides ready around the same time.  To this point, make sure you include recipes you can cook on the stove, in a crockpot or dishes that can be served cold.  Oh, and write down what time you start cooking each dish and when it should be ready.  There is NO WAY you will be able to keep track of all those times in your brain.

Okie Dokie, now on to what you should eat THIS week!!!

Meal Plan for the week of November 11th!

Sunday, November 11th – Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Kale – Can you even? How good does this sound?  And you don’t even know it has cream in it!! Surprise – it has cream.  Everything is better with cream.  Plus, anyone eating this recipe will believe you slaved in the kitchen all day when in reality, it should take you all of 15 minutes to pull together.

Monday, November 12th – The BEST Tuscan Garlic Chicken – The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are SO long.  I’m kind of OK with that as I will start losing my shizzizzle once Dec. 1 rolls around but on the other, a drawn out week is the worst. Thankfully you’ve got this yummy recipe to help make your Monday super simple.  Really filling and low calorie.  Serve with a side salad if you are watching carbs!!

Tuesday, November 13th – Smoky Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salad – I know, this screams summer  but honestly, you can purchase these delicious ingredients all year long so why not?  My husband hates two foods and two foods only – avocado and water chestnuts – so I get the avocado all to myself! This recipe calls for you to grill your salmon which is fabulous but if you don’t want to mess with the grill, just bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes. When it’s flaky, it’s done!

Wednesday, November 14th – Chicken Shawarma Sheet Pan – I have a love affair with The Modern Proper.  Their recipes are bananas good and insanely quick to whip together.  This recipe calls for two things you may or may not be familiar with – peppadew peppers and tahini.  Peppadew peppers are a pickled sweet red cherry pepper and can be found in the “pickled” section of your g-store. There really isn’t a substitute so if you can’t find, don’t worry about it.  Tahini looks like peanut butter and can be found in the ethnic section of almost all grocery stores – you shouldn’t have an issue locating!!

Thursday, November 15th – Sesame Garlic Beef Short Ribs – Instant Pot or Crock Pot here peeps.  This week is amazing, right? Not much to say about this insane recipe other than its super simple! Oh, it calls for coconut aminos which is paleo code for soy sauce.  I have a major work event, on this day, so I’m banking on my husband pulling this together so I can chow down once I’m home!

Friday, November 16th – Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili – Our weather people are calling for cold in Charleston next week, which means it will be hot as hell, but I’m going with it.  I know I’ve given you multiple chicken and slow cooker options but they are all too good not to share!! Plus, chicken is cheaper and it’s always so nice to come home to a crockpot dish on a Friday. You may even have leftovers for Saturday lunch!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.  Please do me a favor and follow along on Pinterest ~ Dinner with the Duffys!!

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!!!





Candy Steal of Shame

peanut 1Do y’all remember the McDonald’s character, Hamburglar, from the mid 80’s? He was the guy who would “stop at nothing to steal and hoard his favorite McDonald’s products all for himself“? Well friends, that will be me come Halloween night only my name will be Sweetstealer – I will stop at nothing to steal and hoard all of my favorite candy….from my children!!! Every single Trick-or-Treat Eve, I make a promise to my girls that I WILL NOT steal their candy. I really do go into this pact with good intentions, but then they walk into the house with their pumpkin bags filled to the brim.  And y’all, treat bags are no longer filled to the brim with Lemon Heads, Circus Peanuts and Boston Baked Beans  Oh no.  Now people give out Toblerone bars, full size Snickers and Butterfingers. WTH? When I was a kid, my parents would not have touched my jack o’ lantern with a ten foot pole but now, who can resist all the deliciousness? I mean, can you resist a Toblerone bar? ( For those that don’t know, they now come in white chocolate. Just sayin) If you can, I need your guidance, and resistance techniques, so email me directly!  Does anyone else do this or am I all alone on the candy steal of shame? Bloody hell.  It’s probably just me.  I have an idea though, on how to fix this large scale issue (surely it’s not just me). Can we all agree to stop spending $500 a family on Halloween candy.  Can we go back to the ginormous $10 bags that will feed 500 kids?  I mean, it’s ridiculous, right?  When did Halloween go gourmet? I need to take out a loan to buy Halloween candy. And please do not get me started on the houses that give away decorated treat bags full of multiple, full sized, candy bars all glued together to form a pumpkin or vampire or whatever the hell it’s supposed to be.  Pinterest pinning people – you are killing me. You are Martha Stewart fabulous but you are killing me. I can barely get to Harris Teeter in time to purchase the last bag of whatever candy has been ostracized to the deep, deep corner of the candy shelf.   All of us would be much happier ( maybe not the kids) if we could just agree, here and now,  to go back to giving out Lemon Heads, Circus Peanuts and Boston Baked Beans.  Y’all, I just spit out my water.  What is in a circus peanut?  I am cracking up.  OK so maybe not circus peanuts but you get my point. Let’s just take it down a notch so I have a fighting chance to honor my commitment to my children and not gain five pounds in one week? Totally doable, right?  And the kids will eat anything they think is bad for them so they won’t even notice. Are you with me?????? Circus peanuts…..that’s funny.

Tip of the Week Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – READ IT.  This book is so good on so many levels.  At brunch on Sunday, I was trying to remember the title of this book to tell my friends to read it. Y’all, I can’t remember titles of books to save my life.  I am not good with small details – although I guess some would consider the title of a book a big detail – whatever, I’m not good with remembering details.  Any who, I’m trying to recall this title and then my friend starts talking about this book she just finished, for her book club, and she says the title is Where the Crawdads Sing – I about fell out of the booth flapping my arms, so excited.  Y’all – this book.  It’s a murder mystery, but that’s just the side story.  Something about this book just settles in your soul. I want to read it again and I just finished it two nights ago.  I love a good book and I think everyone needs something to help them escape this fast paced life we are all driving these days. This book will slow things down and ground you in a way no other book I’ve read has. So go rent it or buy it or stream it or whatever you need to do.  Just read it!!

Happy, Healthy Eating Friends.

Meal Plan for the week of Halloween ~ 10/28

XO ~ Kelly


Photo Cred ~ Roland Bello

Sunday 10/28 – Classic Coq au Vin – Y’all, coq au vin is one of my all time favorite comfort meals. It’s right up there with lasagna.  I remember the first time I had this dish.  We were on vacation with my fabulous foodie neighbors, Billy & Mandy, in NC.  One of their friends is a chef and he invited us to his house to eat Coq au vin.  The chicken people – the chicken just fell off the bone. I so badly wanted to lick my fingers but somehow I controlled myself.  What I’ve shared here is a “streamlined” version of coq au vin – just less time and effort but still delicious.  You can serve this over rice or mashed potatoes.  I always opt for a mashed potato and I just happen to have the BEST CROCKPOT mashed potato recipe. I found this last year and it’s a Thanksgiving keeper – would be great for this Sunday meal too! Grab your people and plop at the table for this one!!!

Monday 10/29 – Dijon Basil Chicken Salad – I feel like we need a low key cooking week this week.  Or at least, I do.  This chicken salad doesn’t get any easier as you use a rotisserie chicken.  A couple of things – 1. It’s so much better to “pick your chicken” hot (no other way to say this people) – don’t put the chicken into the fridge and then pick it after it’s cold.  SO much more tedious. Pick your chick on Sunday when it’s warm, place into a container, and then it’s ready to roll come Monday.  2. I will not use 1/4 cup of mayo – instead, I will do two tablespoons of greek yogurt to two tablespoons of light mayo.  You can go all greek or all mayo – up to you.  I will live in the middle.  Hubs will put this on sour dough but I’ll toss over lettuce.  You can wrap it too.

Tuesday 10/30 – Quinoa & Shrimp Paella – One of my favs here y’all.  I really love paella but it’s made with rice and not always as healthy.  This is a trimmed down version but still bursting with flavor.  My favorite part is not having to cook the quinoa separately – it cooks within the dish – so one pan here people. I love a one pan weeknight meal.  If you don’t want to spend a fortune on saffron, just sub turmeric but use sparingly – too much will overwhelm the other flavors.

Wednesday 10/31 – Stuffed Pepper Soup (Stovetop or Instant Pot) – Happy Halloween Y’all!! I’m sure most of you are rolling your eyes that I’m even posting a recipe for today, but you have to eat something, right?  Plus, it doesn’t get dark until what, 7:00, so you will have time to cook this easy to toss together soup.  I always have family popping in and out on Halloween so it’s nice to have something bubbly and warm on the stove, just in case they are hungry.  Super quick and filling, this dish is a no brainer!

Thursday 11/1 – Oven Baked Margherita Chicken – How is it November?  I swear it was August like two weeks ago.  I need to start prepping for Turkey Day – ugh.  Well, this here is a no stress, easy peasy, recipe that will fill you up and leave you light and happy.  I have been missing my frozen, Costco, green beans so I’ll dip back into those babies and sauté them up quick and easy!

Friday 11/2 – Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup –  I will be so relieved when we get to Friday of this week.  Work will have been bananas ( two events ), plus Halloween.  I know this makes two crock pot meals this week, but the thought of not having to actually cook on Friday makes me giddy.  Black bean soup has never been one of favorites – until I made THIS black bean soup.  It’s hearty and oh, so creamy.  My husband loves this dish but he totally turned his nose up at the idea of it the first time I made it – until he tried it.  All your peeps will love this one!

I am so incredibly appreciative for all the Instagram love, y’all.  Please keep posting, tagging and sharing.  Your support and feedback means the world!!!


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!!!