Shannon O'Donnell: Rainy Day Cafe

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Rainy Day Cafe with Shannon O'Donnell

Just a little note to say that 'The Rainy Day Cafe' blog is on a bit of a hiatus right now...since my little girl turned one and became a VERY busy and VERY mobile little toddler, cooking fancy meals has gone by the wayside in our household.  Add in a five and a seven year old little boy and all of their sports, schooling, and activities, and I'm lucky to get chicken nuggets on the table at night.  By eight.  So...I hope to get back to my love of cooking again soon, but for the moment, I have to give it a rest.

Thanks!

Shan

I've had this recipe that I'd torn from a magazine sitting in my 'must try' pile for quite some time, and I finally got around to giving it a whirl this week.  It is a decidedly 'autumn appropriate' meal, so I wanted to make it before fall got away from me.  It definitely did not disappoint!  The pumpkin grits were so easy, and the cinnamon chicken was a wonderful combo of sweet and savory.  Less than 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish, it made for a wonderful November comfort meal, even on a busy weeknight.

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This is a scrumptious version of 'french toast'...cream cheese is baked right in to make it extra sinful, and like a bread pudding, you can make it the night before...just pop it in the oven the next morning, and breakfast is served!

 

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This was the second 'tester' recipe in a row that turned out much better than I expected...I've had a stash of 'must-try-this-sometime' recipes cut out from magazines, and I ripped this savory autumn tart one out of a recent copy of Country Living Magazine.  I added some fresh thyme, but other than that:  simple, elegant perfection!  And so easy, too.

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Once in awhile I make a dish that really WOWS me...one that exceeds my expectations and turns out to be so much tastier than I imagined.  THIS was that dish for me this month.  It is absolutely fantastic.  Flavorful and fairly easy, it makes a beautiful presentation and would be perfect for company.  I tore it out of the Williams Sonoma catalog many years ago...I'm so glad that I hung on to it and finally gave it a spin!

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Ahh, fall.  My favorite season for so many reasons, with delicious autumn recipes being one of them!  Here is my own recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto.  The touch of cayenne cuts through the sweetness of the ginger and cinnamon.  This is wonderful with just a green salad and some crusty buttered bread.  So cook up a batch and savor the taste of autumn in every bite!

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If you like bagels with cream cheese and lox, you'll love this pasta dish.  It's delicious and easy, and you'll probably want to double it to have enough for leftovers!

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This delicious, rich recipe was yanked out of an old WS catalog.  Granted, a box of semi-instant gratin potatos are much easier to throw together than this (and while not exactly chic, the yummy box kind SO reminds me of Mom's dinners during the 80s!), but these *are* actually worth all of the time and trouble.  I think they might be even better if you added in crumbled bacon...what isn't?

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I was a very picky eater growing up...for some reason I wouldn't even drink milk at other kid's houses.  But when I met my best friend Roz in my teens, that all changed.  Roz's family is from Iran, and I fell head over heels in love with Persian food.  My absolute favorite dish is Lubia Polow (a saffron spiked rice dish with ground beef and green beans), but this one hits the spot, too.  You really need a rice cooker to make it authentically Persian, especially if you want to create the scrumptious tadeegh (crusty fried rice) at the bottom of the pan.

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I was one of Rachael Ray's biggest fans when she first hit the broadcast cooking scene:  her fresh and kicky spirit matched the colorful, quick and healthy dishes she seemed to turn out with little effort but loads of personality!  This was one of the first recipes I tried from her ever-expanding collection, and it's still my 'go-to' version for delicious ahi at home.  Her on-air presentation taught me how to cook it correctly (fast and hot!) so that it will be rare on the inside but seared brown and crisp on the outside.  This recipe looks long and complicated, but it's so fast and easy...perfect for a busy weeknight.  As she would say:  DELISH!

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My cooking (and blogging!) has gone by the wayside with three kids home for the summer...it was a very busy couple of months around our house!  Now that the kids are back in school, it's time to get back to business in the kitchen.  But...now it's too hot to cook!  With summer suddenly making a sizzling comeback this September, who wants to slave over a hot stove right now?

Many were worried that the cool summer we DID have going would result in buckets of green tomatoes, but the mid-September heat has allowed for them to ripen beautifully.  And this recipe is so fast and simple, you won't be in the hot kitchen preparing it long.  I add a bit of fresh lemon juice (that's the 'twist') to really bring out the flavors.
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Shannon O'Donnell: Rainy Day Cafe

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About Shannon

Shannon

When she's not forecasting, Shannon O'Donnell enjoys putting together tasty, season-appropriate meals and goodies for her friends and family.

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