I definitely think it was more difficult for us to get in the holiday spirit this year. It's our third round of holidays away from family, in a foreign country, and with one/both of us working on Christmas. It's been 75 degrees out every day, which doesn't help when you're wanting to stuff your face with warm, gooey cookies and chase them with hot toddys. I think mostly we're just exhausted and ready to be at home with family for next year's holidays.
Work for both Travis and I has been extremely busy and we went a few weeks this fall doing the daily "high five," meaning either he got home at midnight as I was already asleep or I was going to work for a night shift as he was pulling into the driveway. There was one week we saw each other a total of about an hour. Not fun.
Throughout my time away from the blog, I did cook quite a bit. New recipes, holiday recipes, for just me as well as for 20+ people at our annual holiday gathering. I endlessly lament we invite so many people each year for our Christmas party, but I always, always, always end up having a wonderful time cooking for 2 or 3 days to get everything to the table at just the perfect time and doneness.
While it was an amazing time for food, friends and being in awe that my husband actually didn't need my input this year to get me the perfect Christmas gift (a Vitamix, babyyy!), the heavy and rich foods has started to take it's toll and I have been craving some more veggies lately. Enter this awesome little dish: Roasted cauliflower and brussels sprout pasta.
It's an amazing combination, so let's review, shall we?
Easy to make? CHECK. Try about 30 minutes total!
Flavorful and fiber filled veggies? (try saying that three times fast!) CHECK.
Light mozzarella sauce? CHECK.
(Any other 'Friends' fanatics getting this references? When Monica says, "Y'know for remembering to pack a thing. Yeah, you do a good thing, you get a check! ....My mom does it, I never realized it was weird!")
Anyway, it's delish and will make your tummy happy after all of the booze, sugar, processed meats and high fat dairy you've inhaled over the last month. Oh, don't worry, I'm not judging, I'm right there with ya!
Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels SproutsAdapted from Real Simple
1/2 pound short cut pasta, preferably whole wheat or with added fiber
1 smallish head cauliflower, cut into florets
8-10 ounces Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and quartered
1 medium onion (any color), cut into chunks
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste (start with about scant 1/2 teaspoon each, work up from there)
1/2 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Pinch garlic powder, if desired
Red pepper flakes
Heat oven to 450°. Line a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss the cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onion and thyme with the olive oil and turn out on to the foil lined pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 15-20 minutes, turning pans and stirring vegetables about halfway through.
While the vegetables roast, cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the vegetables, cheeses and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water. Toss well to combine. Taste and add a pinch of garlic powder if desired. Add more salt and sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste.
Serve immediately with a lean protein- leftover turkey, grilled chicken or baked fish are all delicious options.