Friday, January 21, 2011

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Meghan DiCocco

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Megan DiCocco
Meghan looking absolutely stunning in her awesome new kitchen

I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason.  God has His plans for me, and I don't also know what those plans are until much later in the game.  Back in 2006 we were looking to buy our first home.  After months and months of house hunting, right when we were just about ready to throw in the towel for a while, Scott stumbled upon this sweet little home that had just gone up on the market.  It was in one of the cities we were looking in, had a huge backyard and even a creek that our son (who I was pregnant with at the time) could stomp around in, like most little boys love to do.  The only downfall was that it was on a busy street.  I was really hoping to find a home in a place where I could feel that sense of community.  I dreamt of a place where we would know our neighbors, where there would be other young children for ours to grow up with and build lasting friendships with.  I know how uncommon it is to get to know neighbors when you live on a busy street.  But there was a sidewalk so I was hopeful that I might pass some neighbors on the street while on a walk.

Well we ended up buying the house.  And not only did we meet wonderful neighbors- we are surrounded by them.  And they all have children the exact same age!  I feel so very, very blessed to have each of these wonderful women as friends.  We make sure to get together at least once a month, alternating houses for playdates with our children.  We are watching each of them grow before our eyes and are even welcoming new "members" into our little club with the babies that are being born.  It is so hard to make new girlfriends once you are an adult, and here God planted me right smack-dab in the middle of four amazing ones!

Meghan is one of my lovely neighbors and friends.  She lives behind my house, kitty-corner to our backyard.  She has two fantastic little boys, Jack and Enzo that are just a delight to be around.  True proof of how wonderful Meghan and her husband Jack are as parents.  My son Jackson absolutely adores these boys.  They are so good at playing "Bad Guys", and to Jackson that is a big deal.  Meghan has this calming quality to her that I just love.  I can be completely frazzled and just minutes with her I feel more at ease and peaceful.  To me that is a big deal.  So for today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends I am happy to introduce you to one of my beautiful friends and neighbors Meghan DiCocco.

What is your favorite thing to cook?
Turkey in my roaster and Garlic Lime Chicken

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
I am an impatient person.  I shy away from recipes that take too long to prepare. I like meals that I can prepare in 30 minutes or less.

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
I enjoy the calamari and mussles from D’Agnese. I like the shrimp fajita from Cozumel and we like pizza from Rosa’s Pizza. For date nights, we like Pickle Bills in Mentor and Beau’s Grille in Fairlawn. I would like to try Lola and Dante.

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist? Enya

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth? Beef Tenderloin, Twice Baked Potatoes, bacon wrapped brussel sprouts and Key Lime Pie

What are you currently reading? Just finished three books: The Help, Nurture Shock and Labyrinth.

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget? My Pampered Chef Garlic Press

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Crispy Crunchy Chicken

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
The Metroparks, the variety of cultural institituions, the theater and our proximity to so many other fun places to visit.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Chicken Divan. I have cooked it once. It was not as good as my Mom’s

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Gladiator, Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,

What was your happiest moment in life?
Tie for my wedding and the births of my boys

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Marcs, Giant Eagle, S and K Produce and Fresh

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
I love making and eating Guacamole

Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
My wonderful husband and beautiful boys, and earning my Certified Financial Planner designation

Meghan and her husband Jack

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I would like to visit the West Side Market. Additionally, I would like to get more familiar with my spices and use a broader range of them.  After 5 months of kitchen renovation, I am finally able to cook in my home so I am excited to just start using my new stove and range.

One word that best describes you is: Adventurous. 
I like trying new things, visiting new places and taking up new hobbies
Meghan and her eldest son Jack at Sesame Street Place

Here is my recipe for Crispy Crunchy Chicken:
It is from Take Five For Every Occasion: A five Ingredient Cookbook by Debbye Dabbs

½ c mayonnaise
3 tablespoons mustard
½ c (1 stick) butter, melted
8 boneless chicken breasts
8 ounces herb-seasoned stuffing mix, crushed (or just use Italian bread

Mix the mayonnaise, mustard and butter in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken into the mixture. Roll the chicken in the stuffing mix. Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish. Stir the remaining stuffing mix into the remaining butter mixture and then spoon over the chicken. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer or until the chicken is cooked through.

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