MND – Last Dinner of 2013

January 16, 2014


Since we last spoke I have both committed and uncommitted Christmas in my apartment, been to Barcelona, thrown a New Year’s Eve Party, and reluctantly returned to work. 

In early December I bedecked every surface in the apartment with seasonal greenery, festooned mantels with garlands, set out the Glam Rock Reindeer, and carefully surrounded the holy family with a host of Provencal characters gossiping, and flirting, and being very serious about their trades.


Then, because I lived in France at an impressionable age, and because January 5th is a useful deadline for undecorating the house*, I spent the frozen weekend after New Year’s sweeping dried greenery off of mantels, stabbing myself with petrified holly, and shattering pine needles from the desiccated tree all across the living room floor as I took it out to the curb.

This ended up being the last Dinner of 2013.  We were going to have a final Dinner of the year on December 17th before I departed for somewhat warmer, and definitely more exotic, to meet my parents for Christmas (see next post for more details on that excursion).  However, we were stymied by a snow storm that fortunately it did not prevent my flight from leaving on time the next day, but did keep everyone firmly ensconced in their own homes that night.  Conveniently that dinner was a test recipe for America’s Test Kitchen that involved making a meal in advance, freezing it, and then baking it from frozen.  So, that meal is taking up space in my freezer at the moment, and will be deployed for Dinner on January 21st.

* French superstition/tradition holds that it is bad luck to have your Christmas decorations up after Epiphany.

Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins
Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples
Honey Cider Braised Pearl Onions
Green Beans

Pumpkin Meatloaf Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)
When I make this for my roommate & I, I make half the recipe and we each eat 2 muffins and then there are leftovers – because this was Dinner I doubled the recipe and made 24 muffins in the expectation that there would be some leftover.  Then half of Dinner cancelled on me for one (good) reason or another, and I had a ridiculous number left over.  


1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced of minced garlic
8 oz mushrooms, chopped finely
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
(or honestly, just 2 tsp of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, minced)
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg white
1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup cranberry sauce*

Preheat your oven to 400.  Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

Saute the onion in a little olive oil until softened.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove to a large bowl to cool.  Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until they release their liquid and start to brown.  Add the fresh herbs and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add to the bowl with the onions and allow to cool slightly.  Season mixture to taste with salt & pepper.

In a small bowl whisk the egg white.

To the mushroom onion mixture add the ground turkey, the pumpkin puree, the beaten egg white, the oats and the Worcestershire sauce.  Combine thoroughly (I find my hands are the best tool for this) and then divide evenly between the muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and spoon a generous tablespoon of cranberry sauce over the top of each muffin.  Return the pan to the oven and continue to bake for 15 minutes.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes before unmolding the muffins from the tins.

* If I have time, or I have some leftover, I like to use this cranberry sauce (https://mondaynightdinner.com/2010/01/14/wnd-obscure-realities/), but it’s also good with marmalade.  You want something that’s a little bitter/sour, and you definitely want a chunky jam – I’ve also had success with apricot jam that’s cut with a little lemon juice.

Sage Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Recipe previously given:  Committing Christmas + the addition of some peeled & chopped apples


Honey-Cider Braised Pearl Onions
(serves 4 – multiply as needed)

1 lb pearl onions
2 tsp butter
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup apple cider
2 Tbsp chicken stock
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp honey
Fresh thyme, chopped

Peel/Trim your onions – or take the easy road and use frozen pearl onions, if you use frozen pearl onions don’t defrost them.

Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold the onions in a single layer.  Add the onions and saute over a medium heat until they start to brown.  Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer over a low heat until the onions are tender (about 10-15 minutes).  Uncover, and simmer until the liquid forms a thick glaze.  Adjust seasoning to taste.




  1. Ooh, can’t wait to do the braised pearl onions, as soon as I have time to peel and ready a pound of them! Oh for frozen pearl onions.

    • Nothing on earth would persuade me to make pearl onion anything if I had to peel them myself. I take my hat off to your fortitude.

Leave a Reply to MrsB Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: