Happy Holidays to all of you! Christmas isn’t so far behind us that I can’t share a little Christmas Eve family tradition with ya, right?

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Christmas Eve is a big deal in our house. I mean, a BIG deal. Christmas who? (But really)

We base our food spread off the Polish tradition of Wigilia. Seven dishes are served (we show our creative counting side here 😉 ) and a pescatarian theme. No beef, chicken, pork, you catch my drift.

This year’s menu may have been one of the BEST yet. Here’s what we had!

– Mom’s homemade crab cakes
– Pierogi with green onion butter
– Mushrooms sautéed in white wine
– Shrimp cocktail
– Fresh greens w/ avocado, red onion, & mint
– Appetizer spread above (see, creative counting!)

But the recipe that stands closest to my heart and the one I can’t recall a Christmas Eve without is this one. And one I want to share today with you!

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Sauerkraut and Noodles

– 1/2 package small noodles (macaroni, mini shells, etc)
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 can sauerkraut
– 3 tbslp butter
– salt & pepper

1. Boil noodles until done. Drain.

2. Sauté onion in 1 tbslp butter for 5 minutes. Add sauerkraut and season with salt and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes.

3. Stir noodles and rest of butter into the sauerkraut pot. Add additional butter as necessary.

These noodles are best when they have some time to sit on a warm stove once combined for just a bit. Make them ahead if time and you won’t even have to think twice about them!

They’re also a perfect main dish meal if you top with some kielbasa, chicken sausage, or something similar.

Happy holidays from our fam to yours, however you may be spending it 🙂

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Venison. Deer. Bambi. Whatever you choose to call it. It sure does make a pretty delicious winter weather chili. That I know…

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And if venison isn’t your thing, then ground beef or just some extra black beans I’m sure would work just perfectly too!

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I’ll just continue on this route though, especially considering how cute the source of this venison is 😉 (the hunter, not the deer y’all) …

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Serves 4-6

– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 green pepper, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 14.5 oz can petit diced tomatoes
– 2 cups beef broth (or any)
– 1 cup red wine
– 2 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped
– 1 tablespoon chili powder
– 1 tablespoon cumin
– 1.25 lbs ground venison
– 15 oz. can black beans
– 2 zucchini, chopped
– 2 cups frozen corn
– 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (omit if using beef)

Sauté onion and green pepper in 1 tablespoon olive oil for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic at the end.

Add tomatoes, broth, wine, spices, salt, pepper, and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Now add venison, breaking up in the liquid and stirring. Cook for 30 minutes, covered.

Lil Chef Trick: adding the meat to the liquid this way versus sautéing with the onion and peppers allows it to soak in all that brothy flavor while it cooks. Totally changed the way I did chili once I realized this!

Add beans, zucchini, and corn and cook another 30 minutes and you’re done 🙂

Serve with cornbread, sour cream, cilantro and hot sauce! And perhaps a handsome hunter to help you make sure there isn’t too many leftovers 😉

Well. Now’s as good a time as any, right?

I’ve missed the kitchen. I’ve missed the cooking. I’ve missed the sharing.

Sure I haven’t eaten everyyyyyy meal out since the last time we spoke, however I’d say perhaps a bit more than I would like to admit 😉

And with life very busy these days, the easy go-to’s were all that seemed to happen otherwise!

But with colder weather just around the corner and a creative side resparked, I decided there has to be a happy middle ground here 🙂

So. Recipe-a-week. That’s where we’re at. Fits oh-so-perfectly with my recent Sunday cooking extravaganzas in prep for those fast-paced work weeks. I’m sure you can relate.

And after a week of indulgent Thanksgiving fare this one will get things back on track, with lots of veggies, healthy protein and of course, delicious and family-approved flavor 🙂

Serve plain, with bread for dipping, over rice, or just a shake of hot sauce if you so desire!

Coconut Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew

Serves 4-6

Coconut lentil & sweet potato stew

– half an onion
– 4 large carrots
– 4 stalks celery
– 2 cloves garlic
– 32 oz. container chicken broth
– 2 cups dry lentils
– 14 oz. can lite coconut milk
– 3 cups cubed sweet potatoes (I used frozen)
– 2 cups water
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– salt & pepper

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Chop onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté in a medium sized pot with 1 tablespoon olive for a few minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic (chopped) and season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Cook another minute, stirring until you smell garlic, then pour in broth and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook 10 minutes.

Wash and drain lentils and add to pot. Turn down to simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Add coconut milk and sweet potatoes, extra water (if necessary), and reseason if needed (taste it). Cook, covered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Serve plain or with whatever carby delight you might like, enjoy!