Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An Opry Christmas

The Opryland Hotel is one of the more impressive landmarks in Nashville.  At Christmastime, it becomes even more amazing with the addition of thousands of lights and decorations. 

giant tree

When I first learned of my Grandparents and Mom's visit, I immediately looked up when the Christmas displays would open at the hotel as I knew they would all love it.  Luckily, they were set to arrive on opening weekend.  We decided to also add a trip to the Grand Ole Opry to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes.  While my Grandparents had seen the show years ago, it was a first for the rest of us.  We all absolutely loved the show.  I am adding it to my Christmas must-do list for all future holiday seasons. 

outside the Opry
ready for the show
After the show, we walked around the gorgeous hotel and left feeling ready for Christmas. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Texas Thanksgiving

Mike and I spent Thanksgiving weekend with our Houston family.  We kicked off our Thanksgiving morning with my first ever Turkey Dash.  Lauren ran the kids 1 miler and wore herself running a speedy 9 minute mile.  She was the cutest thing ever sprinting across the finish line.  I see a future in racing for her ;).  Mike and I ran the 10K and it was the perfect way to kick off a day of eating.

The girls manned the kitchen for the majority of the day and had a lot of fun cooking together.  The boys were in charge of frying the turkey.  Everything came together perfectly and tasted delicious. 

Mil and I were up early (or does 3am still qualify as late night?) for some black Friday shopping.  We hit up tons of stores and found lots of good deals. 

Texas weather was hot and sunny so we enjoyed lots of time outside- swimming and playing with the kids and goldendoodle Daisy.  We captured lots of cute pictures of the day...

It was the perfect holiday weekend! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lobster Mac

Every Friday I come up with a weekly menu and grocery list so that we have a plan for the week and can avoid multiple trips to the store.  When I asked M for any meal requests, he suggested a lobster mac and cheese.  I dug around for some recipes before deciding to just tweak a regular mac and cheese by adding some onions, garlic, and, of course, lobster.   The result was pretty fabulous.

2T butter
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1.5 cup half and half
0.5 cup milk
salt and pepper
4 cups shredded cheese
10 oz pasta
lobster (~16 oz- see below)

Prep meal by cooking pasta and lobster.  We planned to purchase lobster tails at Publix but quickly realized it would have been $25+ and weren't thrilled about spending that much just to put it into a pasta dish.  Instead, we purchased a frozen pack of pre-cooked lobster (8 oz for $8.99).   The meat was great but we agreed we could easily have added another package for a more lobster-filled pasta. Cook the pasta for only 8-10 minutes as it will continue to cook in the oven. 

Shred the mixture of cheese to total about 4 cups.  We grated 8 oz of sharp cheddar, 3 oz of white cheddar and 2 oz of gruyere.  The gruyere was pretty stinky but added a good bite without being overpowering. 

The first step was to saute the shallot and garlic. 

Melt 2T butter in skillet over med-low heat.  Add shallot and cook 4-5 minutes until slightly tender.  Add in garlic and continue to cook while stirring for a few more minutes. 

Add 2T flour, salt and pepper and whisk continuously until smooth and bubbly. 

Pour in milk and cream, bring heat to medium-high and whisk continuously until boiling.  Continue stirring while boiling for 1 minute before removing from heat. 

In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, milk mixture, shredded cheese, and lobster. 

Stir to combine and pour into baking dish.  Top with a fine layer of panko and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

This is definitely not a light, everyday meal but paired with some fresh greens (and a hard run earlier in the day) it was a fun weekend treat.