I'm one of those people who waits until after Thanksgiving to switch to Christmas mode, since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. However, as of today, we are in the Christmas state of mind. We put up and decorated our tree today, our Elf on the Shelf arrives tomorrow morning, and the boys are busy coming up with a variety of random things for their Christmas lists (right now, Andrew's list consists of a snow globe, a magic wand that does real magic, and a hamster. Good luck, Santa!). Someone posted on Facebook last night that there are only three weekends left until Christmas, which gave me heart palpitations. I feel like that's very not much time at all to squeeze in all of the my favorite Christmastime activities, but I'm sure we'll manage.
The recap this month is a bit light, since I found myself turning to really simple dinners (spaghetti, pancakes, sausage and potato hash, and yes, frozen pizza) quite a bit. My-kids-are-guaranteed-to-eat-it sorts of dinners. And frankly, those are some of my favorites too.
These shredded pork po' boys are one of my absolute favorite sandwiches. The pork is so flavorful and succulent, and the sauce is so creamy and spicy. Those two elements come together to make one messy, delicious sandwich. I can't wait to show you what I did with the pork leftovers this time around.
Every year, the facility where Will has preschool and Andrew has before- and after-kindergarten enrichment hosts a Thanksgiving feast for all of the kids 3 and up. This was Will's first year participating, and since I had to supply something for two kids' classes, I wanted to make the same thing for both boys to take. I immediately thought of these pumpkin cinnamon chip drop cookies, since the recipe makes a ton of cookies. I used white chocolate chips instead of cinnamon chips, since I can only find cinnamon chips at one store around here (ridiculously...) and I didn't want to make a special trip. They were good with the white chocolate chips, but a bit too sweet for my tastes. I definitely prefer them with the cinnamon chips.
My family can't get enough of this chicken parmesan pasta and honestly, I really can't either. I love that this tastes exactly like chicken parm, but takes a fraction of the time to prepare. This is always a favorite in our house.
Speaking of favorites, it had been way too long since I'd made one of my childhood favorites: my mom's shredded chicken sandwiches. In fact, it had been so long since I'd made them, that I don't think either of the boys had ever tried them. We at these sandwiches two nights in a row (at their request!) because they loved them so much. These sandwiches are comfort food at its finest, plain and simple.
I turned this classic fried rice into a meal by upping the amount of eggs and adding about half a pound of chicken that I chopped, sauteed, and let finish cooking in soy sauce and honey. What I love the most about this recipe is that it uses up odds and ends I always have lying around: a little bit of rice, a couple of eggs, a handful of peas, a carrot, etc.
I don't host Thanksgiving, so it's always a very relaxing holiday for me. Now that I think about it, that may partly be why it's my favorite holiday! I always make a couple of contributions to the meal, and they really never change: Mom's sweet potato casserole and the ever-popular broccoli salad. I think the sweet potato casserole just gets better and better every year, and I know you've heard me rave enough about the broccoli salad. I added honey-roasted almonds and dried cranberries to it this time to make it a little bit more festive (I just bought one of those salad packets in the produce section), and those were both delicious additions.