To stay on track with my previous post about Christmas breakfast and dessert, I figured I might as well hurry up and post about the dinner as well. That way Christmas is over and we can move onto New Year’s Eve’s amazing meal and then get generally caught up on other recipes! How exciting is that?!?! We kept things pretty simple this year by doing a basic chicken roast, some green beans and mashed potatoes, and soda bread. While there were many other tempting recipes out there to try, when you’re only serving four people, it makes it easy to eliminate ideas and stick to some basics. After waiting in line for 40 minutes to buy our chicken at Fresh Market two days before Christmas, I’d say it was worthwhile because this very basic recipe turned out pretty well! My Uncle Jim even dubbed the recipe “Christmas Chicken” which is what it shall be known as from this point onward.

Christmas is always such a busy time of year and involves all kinds of cooking and baking! Sometimes I am thankful that my family doesn’t have any traditions that we feel the need to stick to, because it helps us limit and control the amounts of food/baked goods we make (or so we think). Therefore, it allows some flexibility to make and try new Christmas recipes, which is exactly what Will and I did this year. We had my mother and her brother, Jim, down to our place for the day and served them a big breakfast, dinner and dessert. In this post, I’ll share the breakfast and dessert recipes and in a later post, I’ll share the dinner menu, so that way you are not flooded with five recipes in one sitting!

Yes, you read that title correctly. Maple. Bacon. Buttermilk. Doughnuts. All homemade, all amazing. Inspired by Duck Donuts, which just arrived here in Williamsburg, the maple bacon doughnut was born unto our kitchen this past weekend. While our glaze was not nearly as perfect as theirs, the beautifully baked doughnut and the salty bacon ultimately created the correct combination of tasty and delicious. This was our first foray into full-size doughnut making and I have to say, we’re pretty excited about it. While we were on our honeymoon in Vermont, we got the opportunity to swing by King Arthur Flour and do some serious oggling of pre-made mixes. After much debating, we decided the one mix we would get would be a doughnut mix, to try out in our new doughnut pans that we received as a wedding gift. I figured it would be the “safest” way to attempt our first couple batches of doughnuts. We picked a basic buttermilk mix because a) it sounded wonderful and b) it would most likely be compatible with any toppings/glazes we would want on our doughnuts. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long (ummm 5 days?) after we got home before our curiosity overcame us and we had to make doughnuts.

We are back and we are married!! We had a magical wedding day followed immediately by an beautiful adventuremoon to Vermont. In the coming weeks, I will share some memories of both the wedding and honeymoon, particularly because the honeymoon was such a *foodie* experience! But for now, it’s time to get back in the swing of things and get CWW back up to speed with the first recipe of the new year!

I don’t cook often. This is a fact. I especially don’t randomly accept the opportunity to cook. But while Will was in finals, he asked me to step in with the cooking a bit. One of the nights, there was no real plan of what to make. My main ingredient would be chicken that Will had thawed with no recipe in mind. But that was all that was planned! So I pulled out the new America’s Test Kitchen Quick Cookbook that my mom’s friend Judy gave us and flipped through it for inspiration, making sure to hang out near the “chicken” and “quick” sections. While I think their definition of “quick” is coined loosely, the recipe I decided to make turned out really well. I selected the skillet chicken with orzo recipe because we had these three main ingredients on hand: chicken, spinach and orzo. While we sadly didn’t have the feta it called for, reading the ingredients list made me feel confident that I could make this meal and that it would turn out alright. Well if nothing else, I’ve learned that toasting orzo is awesome and that yes, I am completely capable of cooking a recipe all on my own without any supervision from Will! And it can turn out surprisingly well, considering my intermediate level cooking abilities (at best). This didn’t involve much cutting/slicing of ingredients, which is why I think it was successful! And I’m happy to report it tastes really flavorful, even without feta. Bon apetit!

Happy New Year from the Cooking With Willis team! We know it’s been an inconsistent last couple of months and we would like to announce we are going on hiatus until mid-January, due to our upcoming wedding and honeymoon! We’ve got a large backlog of recipes, so get ready for us to bring in 2014 with a bang! As always, thanks for reading and supporting the blog. You are sincerely appreciated and CWW really had a great year in 2013. Here’s to an even better 2014 for this little blog!

Previews of recipes to come:
Wiener Schnitzel and Spaetzle (New Years Eve dinner)
Butterscotch Brownies
Christmas Chicken
Caramel Surprise Snickerdoodles
Homemade Basil Gnocchi

….and the list goes on and on!

Happy cooking! And we’ll be a little busy getting married on the day of CWW’s 2-year blogiversary, so celebrate by cooking without us!

Megan & Will