Date: May 1, 2013
Modifications: We only had one can of whole tomatoes by mistake, so I used half a can of crushed tomatoes in addition. I added frozen chopped spinach to the tomato/sausage mix. Didn’t have any basil.
Time to table: nearly an hour when all was said and done
Servings: 6 adults
Notes: I’m not sure why, but this took me a long time to make and was sort of annoying. No real reason other than my own ineptitude, like I accidentally put the tomatoes in before the noodles so it was hard to stir them in, then the tomatoes after I chopped them leaked all over the place. Stuff like that. I was skeptical that the noodles would cook, but yes, they did. I did like how adaptable this recipe was, you really could throw in any veggies you wanted, not use meat, whatever your preference. It’s far less fussy than normal lasagna as well and tastes just as good. A big hit with everyone.
We haven’t been posting as much lately because we’ve been using this blog for it’s intended purpose: going back and making our favorites again and again.
A few recent weekly meal plans:
White Bean Chicken Chili, Cassoulet from the freezer, Burrito Bowls, Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches
Mexican Stuffed Shells, Carrot and Broccoli Orzo, Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Crockpot Burrito Soup
Salmon Pesto Pasta, French Toast, Skillet Lasagna, Fajitas
Date: March 20th, 2013
Modifications: We don’t like mushrooms, so I omitted those. I added more carrots, and used frozen peas instead of snap peas. We bought chicken, but on that night I didn’t feel like going through that extra step of cooking it, so I just didn’t use it and we felt it was plenty filling. We didn’t have parmesan.
Time to table: About 30 minutes prep, 30 minutes baking time.
Servings: 6 adults
Notes: I saw this mentioned on a blog recently and figured we needed some new recipes to try so I gave it a shot. I did like it quite a bit, and I really don’t think it would need chicken at all. Annie ate this but only the requisite amount of bites so she could leave the table. Luke would not put a single bite in his mouth because he’s a lunatic sometimes. Ben says he liked this a lot more than he thought he would. I did find it a little weird to have basically a cheese sauce coating cheeses tortellini but I got over it. It was slightly rich but with all the vegetables in the dish, it worked well.
Date: March 18th, 2013
Modifications: I used a couple more carrots and celery stalks than it called for because we had extra. I also cooked the ground beef separately because I wanted to drain the fat.
Time to table: 50 minutes
Servings: Four adults, two toddlers, and two more lunches
Annie & Luke: Like
Notes: This was a great cold weather meal that we’ll have to add to our repertoire for next winter, and it’s also versatile. I think I would mix in some sausage next time too. With all the vegetables it ends up being decently healthy I think, too.
Date: December 27th, 2012
Recipe: Page 492-493 of “How to Cook Everything”. The steps below are a summary, this dish is hard to screw up, so don’t worry about being too exact.
- Soak the beans overnight the day before
- Place the soaked beans into a pot with water just barely covering the beans and bring to a boil
- Add the carrots, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to the boiling beans
- While the beans are cooking, slice up your meat to your desired size.
- Roast the meat in the oven at 450, shaking the pan occasionally to unstick the meat
- (At this point I added a couple tablespoons of corn starch to the beans, to thicken them up. Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water before adding it to the hot beans.)
- When the meat is done roasting, mix it in with the beans. Keep the fat if you like.
- Top the bean/meat mixture with a mixture of bread crumbs and parsley.
- Bake the entire pan for 15-20 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
- Eat it.
Here is the ingredient list in photo form:
Modifications: I tweaked the ingredients a bit for this:
- Only used 1 pound of beans
- Cut out the lamb entirely as there was already an abundance of meat
- I didn’t use any slab bacon as the butcher didn’t have any. I don’t think this was a big deal to be missing.
- I used a little vegetable stock in the beans, rather than just water.
- I added corn starch later on to thicken the beans.
Time to table: 2 hours
Servings: Four family sized dinners.
Notes: I was very happy with my first attempt at cassoulet, it’s a dish I’ve loved at restaurants (Meritage and Heartland) and I wanted to try to recreate it at home. The flavor turned out great and the consistency ended up right where I wanted it after adding the corn starch. Some thoughts on the process:
- Cut back on the meat. I didn’t add all of the cooked meat to the pot as it was SO meaty. Use a little less.
- Use pork shoulder, but slow cook it first and then cut it up. The pork was tough and fatty, slow cooking it first would make it WAY better.
- Similarly, cook the sausages as whole links and then cut them after cooking
- Experiment with different vegetables in the beans. Tomatoes, onion, and garlic are a good base, but you could add a variety of other vegetables after that, not just carrots.
We shared this with our neighbors for dinner tonight and still made two freezer bags for dinners in the future, so it makes quite a bit. I’m going to try this again, but it will likely be next winter before I get around to it
Date: December 16, 2012
Time to table: About an hour prep, 20 minutes baking time
Servings: At least 6 adult servings – it fills a 13×9 pan
Ben: Love (leftovers just “like”)
Erin: Love (and I loved the leftovers too)
Notes: This was a delicious mac and cheese – I can’t ever decide if I prefer stovetop or baked mac and cheese, so I’ll continue to try many versions to find out I do like when mac and cheese has SOME vegetables in it to make it seem slightly healthy, and squash is perfect because it basically blends right in with the flavor. This one did take quite a while, so it wouldn’t be a good weeknight meal unless prepped in advance.
Date: December 4th, 2012
Time to table: 30 minutes + 8 hours cook time
Servings: 2 dinners
Notes: I really didn’t like this meal, though apparently we’ve had it before. It was just too bland for me and theres is literally zero fat in the meal, which makes it feel a little empty. I will say that its incredibly healthy and Annie liked it this time around. We froze the leftovers for another dinner, maybe Erin can use it some night when I’m away
Date: October 22, 2012
Modifications: I halved the recipe to fit in an 8×8 pan, and then did bake it for a bit because I wanted to.
Time to table: 20 mins prep, 20 mins baking time
Servings: 6 adults (so the original recipe is HUGE)
Annie: Like (the noodles at least – she gagged on a bite of the plain spinach and artichokes after holding it in her mouth for a long time)
Notes: I am a big fan of spinach artichoke dip, so I knew I’d love this dish. It’s actually pretty easy so it made a good weeknight meal. I think I’d like the cream cheese in there but it might push it over the edge into the uncomfortably rich category that Pioneer Woman recipes sometimes are…
Date: October 16, 2012
Modifications: None, actually. Well, we forgot the cilantro I guess.
Time to table: 60 minutes
Servings: 9 good sized enchiladas
Notes: These were excellent! They didn’t have any sauce on the inside of the enchilada as we’re accustomed to but I put in plenty of cheese. Not having sauce inside saves time on assembling them as well. I loved using salsa verde as the sauce too, instead of red enchilada sauce. Definitely going to be making these again!
Date: October 10, 2012
Modifications: Did not add red pepper flakes. Just used one onion, didn’t measure out 3 cups. Probably didn’t have quite 2 cups of mozzarella since we had to borrow it from our neighbor’s but it was still plenty cheesy – I added more parmesan to compensate. I made the noodles separately since I knew we’d have leftovers and I wanted them to stay firm.
Time to table: About an hour in total, 30 minutes of simmer time.
Servings: 6 adult servings
Ben: Like (only at a “like” instead of love due to his hatred for chunks of tomatoes)
Annie: Like (mostly enjoyed the noodles)
Notes: When we first had Luke, our friend Maggie brought us this to enjoy and it was DELICIOUS. I asked her for the recipe and have been waiting for it to get cold so we could have it again! I was sad to not be able to find mafalda noodles, but the ones we had were fine. This is such a tasty soup, even better enjoyed with a take and bake baguette from New French Bakery, thanks to my father-in-law for showing us just how delicious those are – we now have a dozen in our freezer, cut in half and wrapped in foil ready to pop in the oven for a meal for us
With “cheesy yum” mixed in
My mom was over, and she is not a cilantro fan
Date: October 8, 2012
Modifications: Used regular milk, an egg (not egg substitute) and a can of regular (not creamed) corn. May have used slightly more than 8oz of corn muffin mix since I eyeballed it. Used chicken thighs instead of breasts. Used cheddar cheese. Forgot to add taco seasoning to the chicken. Did I even make this recipe?? Ha, I still think it was pretty similar at least!
Time to table: About an hour in total, would go faster if you had the chicken ready in advance. 20 minutes is to bake the corn mix.
Servings: Exactly served 4 adults and 1 toddler.
Notes: Probably due to my “modifications”, the corn crust was a little more done than she indicates in the original post, but I liked it that way.