Anyone Hungry?

Ideas, suggestions and thoughts on my favorite topic.

Zucchini Casserole August 27, 2010

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Family,Life,Side Dishes,The Herald Columns,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 10:12 pm

Cooking has always been something that I enjoyed.  Even when I lived alone, I cooked full meals on a regular basis.  By the time I finished eating a 9×13 dish of food meant for a whole family, I didn’t want to eat that food again for about 6 months.  It was worth it to me, however to do that rather than make frozen meals for one all of the time.

When I married Ross, cooking became even more fun.  We cooked together, we ate together and we used up the leftovers together.  Everything about it was easier and much more fun.

Now that Madden is eating “real people food”, cooking is taking on a whole new meaning in our home.  Growing up, meal time was a very special time in our house.  Dinner was the one time of day – guaranteed – that we would all sit down together.  No television, no distractions, just the four of us sitting down and talking.  I loved that and always promised myself that I would carry on that tradition.  Recently, we’ve been able to get that tradition started, and it warms my heart right along with my belly.  We are able to cook meals that we are all able to eat, and we can sit down and eat it all together.  We enjoy our food and we enjoy each other.  It is fun to sit there in a moment and realize that you are living one of your lifelong dreams.  It may be a simple dream, but it brings a smile to my face, night after night.

Zucchini casserole has long been a favorite of mine.  A few years ago I introduced Ross and he loved it as well.  With zucchini being one of Madden’s favorite veggies and with the soft, creamy consistency of this casserole, it is sure to now please our whole family. 

Who knew that a few veggies and a can of soup would help my dreams come true.

Zucchini Casserole

1/2 c margarine

1 c seasoned bread crumbs

4 c chunked zucchini

2 carrots, diced (I have also used a huge handful of matchsticks because it was easier)

1/2 c sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup (use cream of celery/mushroom to make it vegetarian)

1/4 c milk

1/2 onion, chopped 

Melt margarine and stir bread crumbs into margarine, set aside.  Boil zucchini chunks for 5 minutes, drain.  Stir in carrots, onion, sour cream, chicken soup, and milk.  Mix well, then add 1/2 of the breadcrumb mixture.  Mix well.  Pour into greased 8×8 pan or a round baking pan and top with remaining breadcrumb mixture. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

If desired, mix in/top with parmesan or shredded cheddar cheese.

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Spoiled Rotten November 10, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,Side Dishes,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 2:56 am

Yup, that is what I have been lately.  Ross is the best ever and has not only been planning meals, but grocery shopping for them and cooking them as well… and even doing the dishes!  I wonder how long I can make this last after  the baby is born?

This past weekend, Ross made a super delicious home cooked, comfort food meal.  He made homemade mac and cheese and oven fried chicken.  They were both so very delicious.  The baked chicken had a delicious flavor and was so juicy and tender.  The baked mac and cheese was awesome – we have almost cleaned off the 9×13 dish of it that was made only 2 nights ago!  Ross said that after reading the reviews he doubled the amount of evaporated milk (adding 1 cup total) and added an extra egg as well.  It was perfect.  I loved it and can’t wait to make it again.  It is different than my Mom’s mac and cheese – just different enough that it is worth keeping both recipes in our repetoire!

Tonight, Ross made Curried Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole.  We both really, really loved it.  The mixture of the curry, tomatoes, raisins and cinnamon sound so random, but taste so well together.  Ross used chicken thighs instead of breasts and it was so delicious – and according to him, fairly easy to prepare.  I can’t wait to make this one again very soon. 

It’s been forever since I posted last, and with a baby joining our family on Wednesday at the latest, it will probably be awhile again.  These were all just too good not to share!

 

Ham and Asparagus Strata August 26, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,Websites — lindsayrose @ 2:59 am

Once again, it’s been awhile!

My sister had a baby shower for me this past weekend and there was a bunch of leftovers, including some leftover ham.  I decided at the last minute today to search for a recipe that I could make to use up the ham.  I went to the Campbell’s website, a place I rarely go, but I thought I’d give it a try.  I found this recipe for Ham and Asparagus Strata and I really loved it. 

Here’s the basic idea:

Chop up ham, add to a casserole dish with 4 cups of dry stuffing, 2 cups of Swiss cheese and about 3/4 lb of asparagus, cooked.  In a separate bowl, whisk together 5 eggs, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a can of cream of asparagus or cream of mushroom soup, and 2 cups of milk.  Mix it all together and pour it over the ham and stuffing mixture.  Bake (recipe says 45 min but mine was in for over an hour before the eggs seemed cooked through).

 

This was really easy and really tasty.  I love the combination of ham, Swiss, asparagus and mustard.  The stuffing and soup/egg mixture was an added treat.  A great way to use up leftover ham!

As a side note, while looking for recipes, I went to the Kraft website, another place I don’t visit often.  I love it because you can put in a few ingredients that you are craving and it will spit out recipes that contain those.  Brilliant idea!  I’m making 2 recipes this week from that site so I will be sure to share those as well!

 

Mom’s Mac and Cheese July 9, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,The Herald Columns,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 1:32 pm

This one was in the Herald yesterday, but with a mistake by me.  It’s 16 oz of cheese, not 8.  Sorry!

It’s no secret that food is one of my favorite things in life.  When I plan my meals, I have to make sure it is going to be something really tasty.  One of the biggest disappointments to me is eating a meal that just isn’t that good.  It feels like such a waste to me, a missed opportunity for something I love. 

The thing is, for me it isn’t just about the taste.  Sure, I want it to taste good – but it also has to feel good.  I’m a texture person.  It took me well into my teenage years to be able to stomach peas – not because of how they taste, but how they felt in my mouth.  The pop of the outside followed by the mush on the inside was just more than I could handle.  I’m not sure what made me finally get over it, but I’m fine with peas now. 

Often times when planning meals, I plan more around the texture I am craving than the taste of the food.  One of my favorite textures is smooth and creamy.  Whether it is a dessert made of cool whip and pudding or a pasta dish with a rich creamy sauce, these foods are just as satisfying to the soul as they are to the palate. 

Like most children, mac and cheese was one of my favorites growing up, and it still is.  The good ol’ box will work in a pinch, but Mom’s homemade mac and cheese is better than anything else.  My favorite part has always been the fresh sliced tomatoes layered on top with the crunchy breadcrumb mixture finishing it off.  A bite of warm, creamy pasta with the slight tang of tomato and just a tiny crunch is the perfect texture recipe for me.  And just to top it off, it tastes incredible as well.  This is one that you just can’t go wrong with.

Mom’s Mac and Cheese

1 box macaroni (elbows or shells are best), cooked al dente or a tiny bit less

1 tomato, sliced

16 ounce box Velveeta, chopped

¼ stick butter

¼ cup flour

2 to 2 ½ cups milk

1 tablespoon minced onion

Parsley to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup breadcrumbs

¼ cup parmesan cheese

 

Over low heat, melt butter.  Whisk flour into it, and then add milk slowly.  Before boiling, add cheese, bring to a slow boil.  Add minced onion, salt, pepper and parsley.  Stir in macaroni.  Place in a 13×9 inch baking dish.  Top with parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and sliced tomatoes.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.

 

French Onion Tomato Soup July 6, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,Side Dishes,Soups — lindsayrose @ 4:03 am

We just finished the bulk of our kitchen floors!  It was a project that took the entire long weekend, but is well worth it.  We love them!  Now we just have to re-build the energy to do the living room and hallway.  Then we’ll really  be done!

 

I needed to make a dinner that would be quick and easy since I knew we’d be finishing in the evening.  The stove has been in the hallway all weekend, so we haven’t had a real home cooked meal in days.  By the time we’d get the stove back in the kitchen, there wouldn’t be time for a big meal.  We decided grilled cheese and tomato soup would be quick and easy, as well as tasty.

 

Well, since I haven’t cooked in a few days, I was kind of in withdrawal.  I hopped on allrecipes.com to see if I could find a recipe for a homemade tomato soup that was still quick and easy… and tasty.   I found this one and I am so glad I did.  It was delicious!  The base is tomato juice, but the beef bouillon gives it a hint of a French onion-y flavor, along of course with all of the onions.  A touch of brown sugar adds the perfect sweetness, and the dash of red wine that I added brought a nice flavor.  Broiled with a piece of toasted French bread and some melted mozzarella and provolone, this was the perfect side dish for our grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/French-Onion-Tomato-Soup/Detail.aspx?prop31=1

 

Swiss Steak – or so it’s called July 3, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Crock Pot,Entrees — lindsayrose @ 5:26 pm

This tasted nothing like Swiss Steak to me.  It was delicious – but not Swiss Steak.  But, that’s what they call it in the cookbook, so who am I to change it?  This recipe is from the cookbook Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.  I don’t really get the title, because I like my mother’s slow cooker recipes, but this has good ones, too! 

The Dr. told me at my last appointment that I need to eat more red meat.  I don’t hate red meat, but I usually make mostly chicken, turkey and pork – and maybe only 1 red meat meal per week.  The past week or so I’ve been trying to eat a lot more.  I found this recipe, and it was also very convenient to have a slow cooker recipe.  Ross is putting new floors in the kitchen this weekend and that limits me to what I can get to.  Having this cook all day and not needing to be in his way in the evening worked out well!

Here’s the recipe.  The chili sauce is what intrigued me – it added a great flavor, with just a hint of sweetness.  We’ll definitely have this again!

Swiss Steak

One 3 pound top round steak, 1 inch thick, edges trimmed, cut into 4 to 5 inch pieces, and blotted dry (OK, that is too much work.  I just got a huge roast and cooked it that way – whole).

1 clove garlic, pressed

2-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, to your taste

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2-4 tablespoons light olive oil

1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped carrots (I just used about 3 large carrots, peeled them and cut them into chunks)

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (again, about 2 stalks just cut into some smaller chunks)

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 cup prepared chili sauce

1 cup vegetable broth ( I used chicken because that is what I had)

Rub each piece of meat with the garlic and Worcestershire.  In a zippered-top plastic bag or bowl, combine the flour, thyme, paprika, salt and black pepper.  Toss the meat in the mixture until evenly coated.  With a mallet, pound into both sides of the steak as much of the seasoned flour as the steak will hold (Since I used the whole roast, I coated it with the flour mixture and skipped this part).

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until very hot.  Add half the meat and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes (or just brown whole roast for a few minutes on each side).  Transfer to the slow cooker.  Repeat with the remaining meat, adding oil as needed.  Add the onion to the skillet and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to the cooker.  Toss the carrots adn celery together in a small bowl adn add them to the slow cooker along with the mushrooms, chili sauce, and broth, making sure the meat is nestled into the sauce mixture.  Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender enough to cut with a fork, 9-10 hours.

At the end of cooking, taste for salt and pepper.  Serve hot with the pan juices.

 

Pork Chops and Polenta June 24, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,Side Dishes — lindsayrose @ 3:06 am

We tried a new pork chop recipe tonight which ended up being pretty good.  We also had polenta for the first time, which we both loved!

The pork chops were pretty simple – brown them for a few minutes on each side and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, squirt some lemon juice on top, and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Mix together a small can of tomato sauce and about a tablespoon of dijon mustard and pour over the top of the chops.  Add about 1/4 cup water to the bottom of the baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes.  They weren’t the best things in the whole world, but they were good and I would make them again.  They were quick and easy to prepare, that is for sure.  Here’s the link to the recipe.  I didn’t do exactly everything it said, but it was close…  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Pork-Chops-II/Detail.aspx?prop31=5

 

We bought polenta on a whim at the grocery store awhile back, but I haven’t made it yet.  I decided to try it tonight.  It was simple to make – I just followed the directions on the back of the bag.  It was very tasty with the sauce from the pork chops over it. 

We had this along with some fresh broccoli that I baked with a little garlic and  a little lemon.