Dinner, the New-Fashioned Way

New York City is filled with amazing restaurants.  French, Indian, Italian, Greek, sushi, steakhouses, vegan, vegetarian, pizza, diners, mac and cheese (yes, there are mac and cheese restaurants!) - whatever you're the mood for, you'll find it.

That said, since both Scott and I travel so much, on nights that we are at home, I really prefer to head into our tiny Manhattan kitchen and make our own dinner.  I love to cook, and Scott washes the dishes, so we're a pretty good team.  Don't get me wrong - I'm always up for a date night to a new or favorite restaurant - but for your average weeknight evening, I really prefer to DIY dinner.

With a hectic travel schedule, and tons of office work when at home, I don't always have a lot of time to plan meals, grocery shop, and prepare lots of ingredients.  I had looked into several of the popular meal kit delivery services to use from time to time, but "subscriptions" that require you to commit to a certain number of meals each week just don't cut it for people who have weird schedules like ours.

So, I was excited when Tyson Tastemakers contacted me about partnering with them to do several TV segments about their meal kits that just launched in grocery stores in Texas.  I immediately shopped for a few on Amazon, where you can buy them if they are not yet in stores in your area. 

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What I love is that everything is already portioned, prepped, and ready to go.  The veggies are sliced and diced, the meat is perfectly marinated, and your side dishes are included, so all you have to do is take a quick look at the recipe card, follow the very simple instructions, and congratulate yourself for making a fancy meal with little time or effort.  The ones I have made so far go from fridge to table in half an hour or so, including this Citrus Rum Glazed Chicken (which includes an amazing side of cilantro lime rice!), the Tuscan-Style Pork Loin with Pork Belly Pasta, and the Smoky Carne Asada Street Tacos.  They are rolling out new seasonal meal kits as well, so you'll never get bored with the selection.

As far as portions go, one kit is perfect for dinner for Scott and me, with a few bits of leftovers depending on the meal, so you will not go hungry.  Since the whole process only uses one or two pans, there are fewer dishes for Scott to wash, but he hasn't complained yet.

Bon appetit!  If you try them, please let me know what you think!

On-the-Air: Dallas

For almost 10 years, I did one or two segments each month on "Good Morning Texas."

It had been awhile since I appeared on the show, and I was so excited to return last week!  It was to great to see friends who still work on the show, and to see another friend who started co-hosting the show last year.

With co-host Jane McGarry on "Good Morning Texas."

With co-host Jane McGarry on "Good Morning Texas."

The shows broadcasts from WFAA's Victory Park studio, which is adjacent to the American Airlines Center.  For those familiar with my long-term relationship with American Airlines (six million miles...and counting!), it seems appropriate to have my segment up on the big screen out on the plaza.

It was also great to see my friend Alanna Sarabia, who has been a co-host of the show since last year.  We knew each other when she co-hosted a show I do in San Antonio.  Indeed, TV is a very small world!

When (Jury) Duty Calls

New York City is a pretty good place when it comes to jury duty.  You are notified a couple of months out that your number is up, and that you can expect a summons to arrive.  Once received, if you cannot make your assigned date, you simply call and use an automated system to designate a replacement date.  Easy peasy.

I did just that the two previous times I was called.  This time, however, my summons actually fell on Monday of the only week between now and September that I am not already scheduled to travel for work.  

So, I did a little happy dance, packed my oversized tote with my newspapers, iPhone, iPad, charger, and bottled water, and got ready to fulfill my responsibility as a citizen of the greatest city in the world.  And, as New Yorkers will tell you, do a little celebrity spotting, because nobody but nobody is excused from reporting.  The jury rooms downtown on Centre Street are known for hosting famous - and infamous - folks who are appearing to do their civic duty.

Full disclosure: I am one of those people who likes jury duty, so this is not a post about trying to avoid it.

(Cue "Law & Order" theme music here).

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A bit of background.  Since moving to New York 20 years ago, I have been called twice. The first time, I was picked for a civil case, a trial that lasted a week.  We reached a verdict on Friday night, and I was back in the work saddle in Monday morning.

The second time, I learned something very important when it comes to jury service.  If you have served on a jury that reached a verdict, your odds of ending up on future juries increases dramatically.  In this instance, when I was in voir dire for a criminal case, the first thing they asked potential jurors was whether they had served previously, and if so, did they reach a verdict.  Everyone who could answer those two questions in the affirmative were seated for that jury.  Every. Single. One.  Including yours truly.  Because hey, trials are time consuming and expensive, and judges and attorneys like people who can deliberate and reach decisions.

So yesterday, when I was immediately called into voir dire along with 84 other Manhattanites, I was ready to spend the week in Criminal Court.  (In Manhattan, you are only required to be available to serve for five days, since judges recognize that many people cannot serve for longer trials).

However, far from being one of the "minor" cases I served on previously, this was a murder trial in a very heavily-publicized case, and expected to last three to four weeks.  Since I am already scheduled to travel each of the next six weeks - not to mention the fact I remember some facts about this case - the judge dismissed me, and sent me back to the jury pool for other cases.

By 3:30 p.m., the clerk announced they did not need the rest of still sitting in the jury room, handed us our proofs of service, and sent us on our way for the next six years. 

Have you ever served on a jury?  If so, how was the experience?

Save Big on a Char-Broil Grill

Ah, summer grilling!  It's all about relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends, and savoring a good steak or burger.  I'm heading to Arkansas next weekend to visit my dad, and he knows that whenever I come in, dinner will be cooked on the grill.

That's why I'm so excited to partner with Char-Broil on grilling segments this summer.  If you're in the market for a new grill, the new Signature Series 3 Burner Gas Grill I showed on CBS Nashville is so versatile, it is ideal for those with a lot of grilling experience, or those who want to cook like a pro the first time out.

Even better, from now through June 10, you can get 20 percent off this grill exclusively at Char-Broil's website - you even get free shipping!  Just enter the code "CBSUMMER17" at checkout to get your savings. 

Happy shopping - and happy grilling!

With "Talk of the Town" host Meryll Rose at WTVF-TV.

With "Talk of the Town" host Meryll Rose at WTVF-TV.

What are you cooking this weekend?

Father's Day Gift Guide

I don't know about your father, but my dad likes gifts that are practical.  (Of course, like most dads, he'll tell you not to give him a gift, but that usually doesn't stop me).

So, I am excited to partner with several companies this year to share fun and practical gift ideas on my Father's Day TV segments!

On Mother's Day, we take moms and grandmas out to brunch or lunch.  But on Father's Day, the tables are turned, with grilling tools and equipment ranking among the most popular gifts.  Instead of taking Dad out to lunch, we send him outside to cook for us!  If you do that, why not give him the new Char-Broil Signature Gas Grill?  Whether he is experienced on the grill, or wants to cook like a pro on his first time out, this grill makes it easy, so he can relax and spend time with the family while cooking.  The adjustable cooking zones let you prepare different things at the same time - perfect for families where everyone likes something different - ensuring that everything gets cooked to juicy perfection. 

Photo courtesy of Char-Broil.

Photo courtesy of Char-Broil.

Dad needs something to cook on that grill, like this Father's Day T-Bone Gift Package from Omaha Steaks.  It includes a 30-oz. T-bone steak (large enough to share!), eight ground beef sliders, Omaha Steaks' Signature Seasoning, four gourmet franks, potatoes au gratin, and a creamy New York-style cheesecake.  Order by June 13 to use ground shipping.  For last-minute gifts (or just dinner tonight!), check to see if they have a store nearby.

Photo courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

Photo courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

For something special to drink, you can customize a free wine label for a bottle of Josh Cellars wine that includes his name, a special message, and photo.  Buy the wine locally, and go to their web site to create your label.  Be sure to opt in to have your label displayed on the Josh Cellars billboard in Times Square, and they will email you a photo of your billboard when it runs!  I already did one for Scott; this is what you will see.  And - the label and billboard are totally free, as long as you order your label by June 8 (otherwise, you'll have to pay for expedited delivery to get it before Father's Day).  How cool is that?

Speaking of personalized gifts, this elegant personalized tan leather toiletry bag from Personalization Mall is a stylish and practical way to help him stay organized when on the go.  Make sure you order by June 12 to do standard delivery.

Photo courtesy of Personalization Mall.

Photo courtesy of Personalization Mall.

Finally, gifts don't get much more practical than this Gillette Fusion Razor.  It uses Gillette's advanced 5-blade technology for a close, comfortable shave without irritation (I can recommend this because Scott uses it, and loves it!).  This budget-friendly gift also reflects Gillette's lower pricing they announced earlier this year.  And since you can pick it up on a trip to Walmart, it's an ideal solution for a last-minute gift.

Photo courtesy of Walmart.

Photo courtesy of Walmart.

So - how are you celebrating your dad this Father's Day?