#kitchentherapy for the holidays: SUPPER YUM

There’s one thing that will never be said about me when I’m gone:

“That girl never gave Brussels Sprouts a chance.”

Now, should you accept my invitation to find rest at CasaRock, I promise not to force you to eat anything you don’t like. But if you are unafraid of tiny cabbages, I will treat them with great love and allow them to wow you.

I do hope you come. I’d love to sit at the table with you and talk for hours. I’ve even decorated the patio for the season, and there’s a chair just for you. So, weather permitting, we’ll enjoy a meal outside and then retire up to the balcony for coffee, dessert, and good stories. They can be about anything in general and nothing in particular – I don’t mind at all. Or maybe they’ll be about the meal we just shared. That’s OK. I think you’ll like it.

Even if Brussels Sprouts aren’t involved at all.

I’ve cobbled together desserts and fetched breakfasts so far on this little #kitchentherapy journey. After today’s ode to mains and sides, there will be two more collections – some fun snacks, soups, and salads, and all the cranberry things that bring joy to the air and happiness to a plate. And then? Well, I’ll be stepping away from all things social for a bit so I can celebrate the season with people in real life. I do hope your visit is part of that celebration.

Your real life is welcome here.

Whosoever, come.

 

MAINS

Messy Amazing Mac & Cheese

mac-and-cheese

Ask my granddaughter, Tyler, what she wants to eat – any time of day – and the first choice will always be “Mac & Cheese” (though it currently sounds more like “macacheeze,” which makes me smile). This version is honestly the best I’ve ever tasted – ever. It shows up for family meals quite often – and would likely be on the table when you show up for dinner. It might be the main, or it might be a side. Mac & cheese makes its own choices – it’s that good.

 

Peasant Pasta

peasant-pasta

Before “macacheeze,” there was “paskeddy.” And this amazing sauce is worthy of whatever pasta it adorns. For littles, penne works wonders. For bigs, go ahead and grab some tagliatelle (or use this cool pasta pairing guide from the BBC). Oh by the way, fear not the tiny peas. They make the dish lovely. I promise.

 

Herbed Beef Tenderloin

herbed-beef

I’ll be honest – reading the post about this recipe made me a little bit teary. The beef tenderloin is lovely – but the reminder to do the right thing is a reminder to me again to reach out, make the call, write the letter, get in the car and drive…and be a friend.

 

Soda Pop Pork with Cranberry Ginger Glaze

soda-pop-pork

So, first there are cinnamon rolls made with 7-Up, and now there’s barbecue pork ribs made with Pepsi? You’d better believe it. And you’d better believe that they’re really tasty. If the weather is getting a little chilly for an outdoor barbecue, don’t worry. Put the brined ribs in a baking dish, slather them with the glaze and then tent with foil. Bake at 325 for about an hour (or until tender), then remove the foil and continue to bake until the glaze has caramelized. They’ll be fall-off-the-bone delicious, and your house will smell amazing.

 

Coffee-Crusted Pork Loin Chops

coffee-rubbed-pork-loin

I like to play with fire. Is this a bad thing? Candles burning in the house, something on the grill, veggies in the oven roasting – fire is good. And the coffee rub that is used on these chops is really good. It’s also great for steaks.

 

Lust-Worthy Chicken

lust-worthy-chicken

Remember when I said my cinnamon roll recipe was the most viewed post on my whole website? Yeah, this comes in second – always. I’m not sure if it’s because people really love chicken that much, or if the word “lust” brings ’em in. But this I do know – this is without a doubt my favorite chicken recipe. Ever. It’s so simple. And oh my.

 

Guinness Pie (Steak and Ale Pie) 

guiness-pie

Ireland made me fall in love with Guinness. And Guinness made me fall in love with this recipe. While the taste of Guinness in a glass isn’t my favorite, the taste of it in this pie is delightful. I think Jesus would like this steak and ale pie, because He loved a good meal and He would really like the Guinness family. From the book, In Search of God and Guinness, it is written: “Beer, well respected and rightly consumed, can be a gift of God. It is one of his mysteries, which it was his delight to conceal and the glory of kings to search out. And men enjoy it to mark their days and celebrate their moments and stand with their brothers in the face of what life brings.”

 

SIDES

Romanoff Potatoes

potatoes-romanoff

I’ve said often that, if I was given only two things on a deserted island to eat, I would be fine with peanut butter and potatoes. Peanut butter is – well, you know – all full of protein and fat and vitamins that will most certainly keep me hearty and healthy.  And I’ve yet to meet a potato I don’t like – including eating them raw (something my mom always let me do as a kid). These are rich and flavorful and worthy of a full table. I’ve got a couple of other potato “standards” at CasaRock – one is “cracked” potatoes (a super-easy dish) and the other is Nigella Lawson’s Creamy Potato Gratin, which is decadent and worth the mess.

 

Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs

mushrooms

Please don’t tell me you don’t like mushrooms. I know, I promised I wouldn’t make you eat anything you don’t like – but I do hope you give mushrooms a chance. These are truly lovely, and the dollop of sour cream whisks me away to Eastern Europe…

 

Roasted Veggies 

roasted-veggies

Where else are you going to get a roasting guide for all sorts of lovely veggies? And yes, that picture has Brussels Sprouts featured – because this blog post has FOUR recipes for them (or maybe it’s three, since one of the recipes is perhaps featured twice). Why did I wait until I was a grown-up to appreciate them?

 

Brussels Sprouts – Three Ways!

brussels-sprouts

There’s a really incredible, very expensive Asian farm to table restaurant in Austin that serves charred Brussels Sprouts in a sweet-tangy-hot sauce. And there’s CasaRock, that serves the SAME charred Brussels Sprouts in a sweet-tangy-hot sauce AND gives you the recipe – plus two more. xoxo

 

Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

avocado-cream

I don’t lie often to my husband. But when I made this, I may have not been totally honest with him about the ingredients. This avocado cream sauce is vegan and there’s no need to even cook it. It transforms pasta into yum just like *that* (I snapped my finger for impact, even if you couldn’t hear it). He said it was really good – even if there was a slight green tint, which set off some alarms that perhaps it was healthy. TIP: This sauce is also a GREAT dip.

 


I’ve shared recipes with you – now would you share some with me? There’s always time for a little #kitchentherapy at CasaRock.

 

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About Ronne Rock

Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems." 

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