08 February 2020

Weekend Cooking: Simple Dishes for Winter Evenings

Let me just say that 2020 isn't starting quite the way I had been planning. Yet despite the sadness of my mother's death, there were also moments of incredible generosity from friends and family . . . often in the form of meals. We ate like royalty the week after my mother died: Lebanese food, deli, Italian, pizza, Mexican and more. We were also blessed with delicious cookies, cakes, and chocolates.

As much as I was incredibly moved by people's kindness, I was happy to spend this past week at home. We ate fairly simple foods and mostly vegetarian. Our bodies and our souls welcomed salads and fruits and quiet moments to regroup and get used to the new reality.

Here's what I cooked this past week:

All the dishes were easy to make and just what we were craving.

Over the last five weeks, I didn't spend any time reading blogs, and I deleted most of my non-essential email. I did, however, take time to read some of the food-related newsletters I subscribe to. Here are five recipes I pinned to my cooking Pinterest board.
  • Recipe for Gnocci with Spinach and Chicken Sausage from Taste of HomeWe love beans, and I usually make some kind of bean or legume dish every single week. Although my go-to is chili-spiced beans and rice, I'm always looking for fresh ideas. This Spanish Beans with Tomatoes dish from the Veggie Desserts blog looks very comforting. Note that this dish is vegan and gluten free.
  • I absolutely love chili verde, which is bean-free and usually made with pork. This Chicken Chili Verde from one of my favorite online food sites, What's Gaby Cooking, looks so good and warming--and easy to make too. Perfect for a deary February evening.
  • Mr. BFR grew up in the Philadelphia area, where there's a large Italian community. I credit his hometown for giving him his love for all things pasta. I found this Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken Sausage on the Taste of Home website. One of the commenters subbed kale for the spinach, and I might do that too. I'm sure any kind of sausage (even a vegetarian version) would work well with this recipe.
  • You already know that I love Eating Well magazine, so it's no surprise that at least one of their recipes would show up on my list. Their Caribbean Bowls feature pork, Jamaican jerk seasoning, citrus, and black beans. I think I'm going to have to put this on my dinner plan next week.
  • Finally, I found another bean dish to try; this one from the New York Times. Creamy Braised White Beans look like the ultimate comfort food. All I'll have to do is bake a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the sauce, and we'll have a simple, satisfying vegetarian dinner. One of the reviewers noted that the recipe was success with almond milk instead of cow's milk, so it'd be good for vegans too.
I'm looking forward to finally being able to read all your Weekend Cooking posts. I owe a huge thank you to everyone for your patience and your very kind words during this difficult time. Friends (and family) can get you through everything. Thank you, again.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.


gluten Free A_Z Blog 2/8/20, 6:41 AM  

Please accept my condolences for the death of your dear mother. You are fortunate to have had so many family and friends and food to help comfort you during this difficult time.

GypsyPlate 2/8/20, 7:17 AM  

My condolences, Beth. I am glad you had a strong support system around you. Thanks for being here, we are all thing of you.

Tina 2/8/20, 7:44 AM  

Glad to see you back, you’d been in my mind and it’s great to hear family and friends provided you with sustenance.

You certainly gave me some great ideas for my upcoming meal plans. The chicken chili Verde is calling me! Also, like Mr. BFR, growing up south of Philly gave me a love of all pasta dishes. Planning a lasagna tonight. It’s cold and we need comfort food.

rhapsodyinbooks 2/8/20, 8:17 AM  

Those recipes you made this week sound great. I am esp. interested in the sweet potato curry although Jim hates curry so I would have to eat it all myself (no prob!)

jama 2/8/20, 8:19 AM  

So sorry to hear about your mother. Glad you had friends and family and good food to provide much appreciated comfort.

Kay 2/8/20, 8:35 AM  

I'm so sorry about your mother. It's a hard thing to lose your Mom. I am glad though that people were attentive and helpful and I'm also glad that you're back home now and settling in to some rest and simpler fare. Take care and we'll always be around to read whatever you feel like sharing.

bermudaonion 2/8/20, 8:36 AM  

I'm sure you are craving comfort foods right now. I'm so sorry for your loss and your new reality. I'm sending hugs your way.

Claudia 2/8/20, 9:42 AM  

Sad news Beth, but good to see you're getting back to your cooking and blogging. That Chili Verde is calling me too.

Jackie McGuinness 2/8/20, 10:05 AM  

I'm glad that you have taken some time for yourself.
We've had a lot of fruits and vegetables thisweek.

Deb in Hawaii 2/8/20, 10:39 AM  

Some incredible dishes you have shared. It's good to be supported and nurtured by friends and family but I know the quiet relief of spending quiet time regrouping after such a loss too. My thoughts are with you.

Cecelia 2/8/20, 12:52 PM  

My condolences for your loss. I'm so glad your support system has flooded you with food!

That gnocchi with sausage recipe looks delicious -- might have to try a spin on that myself! Perfect wintertime comfort food.

Vicki 2/8/20, 2:24 PM  

I'm so very sorry to hear about your mother! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 2/8/20, 6:01 PM  

So sorry for the loss of your mother, words rarely express the feelings offered, but please know I know of the personal work of a loss such as yours. Food is a comfort at a time like that, very glad you were surrounded by so many caring friends and family.

Nan 2/9/20, 1:51 PM  

I am so very sorry.

Abigail Pearson 2/9/20, 2:27 PM  

So very sorry for your loss.

Ilse Berg (SnowshineCottage.com) 2/9/20, 4:03 PM  

I'm very sorry for your loss.

That apple walnut rice salad sounded so good that I decided to make it for my weekly lunch exchange with a friend. One Sunday, she brings me two lunches for workdays; the next week, I do the same for her. I added finely chopped raw broccoli and am looking forward to a delicious lunch tomorrow!

Elisabeth 2/9/20, 4:26 PM  

So sorry to hear about your mom. Sending you a hug.

Iliana 2/9/20, 5:52 PM  

Oh Beth, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mom. Wishing you comfort during this very difficult time.

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