Seared Duck Breasts with a Cumberland Pan Sauce

Duck with Cumberland Sauce

I’ve thought a lot about what I would like my last meal to be.  I’m 99% sure that it would be a bowl of noodles topped with my mom’s spaghetti sauce and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.   It’s simple food, but every bite is rich in memories and with a belly full of it, I’m pretty sure I could die happy.  But for all my certainty, I have a little nagging voice that says, “what about duck?”

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Pecans 2-Ways: Candied and Spiced

Last week, I was trying to get back into my blue jeans and this week, my calendar tells me that Christmas is only two weeks away.   December is not off to a very productive start.

PecansIf, like me, your to-do list is long and time is short, let me offer a little inspiration for a thoughtful and delicious gift that can be crossed off your list in no time flat.

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Vegetable Sushi

Vegetable Sushi

It’s several days post-Thanksgiving and my jeans, like a sausage casing around my lower body, are a depressing reminder that I might have over-indulged.  This time of year is tough;  a huge feast kicks off a marathon holiday season that tempts with cheese platters, boozy eggnog, and cookies.  Come January 1st, I’ll be dragging a larger version of myself across the finish line with a hefty, but hopefully lucrative, meal featuring collard greens and black-eyed peas.   Then I’ll hit the treadmill.

In an effort to tip the scales back in my favor, I’m trying to fill my fridge with some lighter items this December.  This vegetable sushi is a good start.  Fresh, simple, and easily prepared ahead it’s a filling, but not slowing, meal that is good for lunch or dinner.   It also makes a fine appetizer for a holiday party if you’d like to offer an alternative to crab cakes or brie en croute.

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On TV: 3 Easy Sides for Thanksgiving

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Judging by the lines at the grocery store, the furrowed foreheads of shoppers clutching lengthy lists, and the questions about making things ahead of time, serving sizes and the like, Thanksgiving is almost here.

If this comes as a surprise to you, don’t panic.  Whether you need inspiration for your own table or need to bring a dish to another, you’ll find what you need in my segment on “3 Easy Sides for Thanksgiving” on the Charlotte Today show this morning.   For your convenience, recipes are below.  For tips and tricks, check out the segment.

Travel safe! Eat well!  And enjoy your Thanksgiving.
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The 2014 Minced Recipe Guide for the Holidays

Last year, I compiled a list of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving in a post and shared them with my FOOD LOVE email subscribers and readers of Minced.  It was one of my most popular posts to date and with Thanksgiving exactly one week away I thought an updated list might be appreciated by all.

In addition to Thanksgiving recipes, I’ve expanded my recipe list to encompass the entire holiday season.  You’ll find favorites like apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust and easy dinner ideas for when company is in town.  I even include my family’s favorite Christmas sugar cookie recipe!

While I hope this list inspires you to get in the kitchen, don’t forget that this time of year is not so much about the spread on your table, but the people gathered around it.  Happy cooking!

For more holiday inspiration, follow me on Pinterest and check out my boards on tabletops, Thanksgiving, and all things holiday.

The 2014 Minced Recipe Guide to the Holidays
Here’s a list of some of my favorite recipes from my food blog, Minced, that I think would make a mouth-watering addition to your table this holiday season.  Those with an asterisk (*) can be made in advance and frozen.

Pickled Shrimp








Blue Cheese Gougeres*
Byssara: Dried Fava Bean Puree
Gruyere and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Caramelized Onion Dip
Pickled Shrimp
Ricotta Herb Dip
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Country Ham and Honey Mustard

French Soup (aka Mashed Potato Soup)
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup
Moroccan Harira
Potato and Leek Soup
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

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Corn and Cranberry Muffins

Corn & Cranberry Muffins

In what is clearly evidence of a strong tendency to eat with my eyes, I have a weakness for fresh cranberries. I never have a plan when I impulsively add them to my cart, but their vibrant ruby hues and glistening skin make them hard to resist.

Fresh Cranberries 2

Once home, my superficial love affair begins to get a little rocky.  Yes, they are beautiful, but their sharp tartness and bracingly bitter bite make them high-maintenance in the kitchen.  Over the years, cranberries in my cart have meant cranberry orange bread, cranberry chutney, and pork chops with a cranberry-orange pan sauce on my table.  Last year, I toasted my purchase with cranberry margaritas.

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Turkey Meatloaf for Now and Later

Turkey Meatloaf for Two

In the spring, when our hands and lives were full with caring for a new baby, my mother came to visit for a couple of days.  She was a huge help in so many ways. She helped me tackle some tasks that I just couldn’t find the time to do and also spent one whole day filling our freezer with meals.

She made her famous spaghetti sauce, what seemed like gallons of Country Captain Chicken, and several meatloaves, perfectly portioned for 2 people.  When she left, we had close to twenty meals in our freezer that could easily become dinner when the day hadn’t gone as planned or we simply needed a break from that daily task.  It was a gift that offered both nourishment and time and I was more than a little sad when we baked off the last meal, a lone meatloaf, early this fall.

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