Thursday, August 8, 2013

Non-recipe cooking

In the fall and winter I love to use recipes to make soups or fancy meat and veggie dishes. But once temperatures warm up I do not like the thought of spending extra time in the kitchen. So this summer has been devoted mostly to non-recipes. There are a few recipes I have used that I will talk about in a minute. But here is a list of things we have eaten for dinner this summer that even the kids enjoy! Amazingness right! Also, I am not the best meal planner (sometimes I am good at this and other times I am now) so there are times that I have to round something up when it is 4 in the afternoon.
Also with being Lactose Free now that rules out a lot of casserole options for me so we eat more meats and vegetables now and no more chicken pot pies, enchiladas, Tater Tot casserole or anything of the sort. I think it is better and healthier this way actually.

French Bread Pizza...split the french bread loaf in half diagonally, smother both sides with marinara sauce (I personally like the small jars of "Pizza Sauce" by Prego), then mozzarella cheese, then whatever toppings you want..I personally like to use crumbled ground beef (although 1 lb. is definitely too much beef), though I did learn the hard way not to put cooked beef on top of the cheese because it will dry out in the oven, so I will put the beef on top of the sauce, and the cheese on top of the beef when doing this...Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, and it even makes great leftovers the next day for lunch. 

Grilled Teriyaki can make your own sauce of course but guess what? I just don't have it in me. So I love the Archer Farms grilling/basting sauce! They have so many flavors to choose from but we love the teriyaki flavor. I will slice up 3 chicken breasts diagonally and then into strips, place in a ziploc, and pour about half a bottle in, let it sit and marinade during church, then Cameron grills it up when get home. I like to serve this with white rice and broccoli. Yum. And the leftovers are great. But I think you could use any sauce...BBQ even, shred it up and serve it on buns?

Sloppy Joes...I actually make up 2 lbs of ground beef and mix in 2 cans of Manwich. It is the best sloppy joe sauce. How can you beat opening a can, seriously? I freeze half and we eat it later. My oldest actually loves these. He likes his melted with a slice of American cheese on top, and served on buns of course. 

Tomato Basil Pasta...Olive Garden used to have a "Sausage and Peppers Rustica" on their menu circa 2004, they took it off, but the servers have told me that I can ask for the same menu item by asking for Shrimp Carbonara and substituting sausage. Well I have somewhat replicated this menu item at home. Once again with the store-bought sauces.. I love Tomato Basil sauce! It is totally different from basic marinara sauce although it can be found in the same section. I like to brown up 1 lb of ground italian sausage and 1 lb of ground beef, and then about a jar and half of the sauce? I boil penne pasta and put the whole thing together. If I weren't so lazy I would probably grill up some mushrooms and peppers know. Not feeling anything extra. Also yummy served with parmesan. The kids don't like this so I actually give them Alfredo sauce on their pasta and we call it "white mac and cheese". 

Fish Sticks & Mac & Cheese & Veggies...I haven't bought fish sticks in years but a couple months ago Cameron was like, I miss the things you used to make when we were first married...OK honey! Whatever you say! Hahaha. Well for Elliot's birthday I decided we would have a "kids meal" and Owen was just thrilled, Elliot could have cared less but man oh man was Owen excited about this concept. So for Elliot's birthday dinner we had fish sticks, mac & cheese, applesauce, roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus. I will tell you in a minute about these roasted veggies. But I can't eat mac and cheese anymore and my husband could care less for it so it is only for the kids now (although I dearly, dearly miss my Kraft). I don't even make a box, I do the Easy Mac version in the microwave, again, laziness and easy way out-ness this summer. 

A recipe meal...Mini Italian Meatloaves by Rachael Ray. This would be one recipe that I keep on using! I always double it and freeze half the mixture and bake it up later. But man alive is it easy, and even the kids eat it!! I think if you google it you will find it! I use my ice cream scooper to scoop up the meat mixture, then I flatten each "ball" into kind of a hamburger patty except a little thicker, drizzle EVOO on top (if you are a Rachael Ray fan like I was back in the day when her show was *only* about cooking), and wow it is so good! I also use my kitchenaid with the "paddle" attachment to mix this up. 

Another recipe meal...Wow now you think I am cheating you here because I told you this was a non-recipe summer! It basically is except for this last one, and I used the recipe one time and I don't think I'll ever need it again it is so easy:

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes by Rachael Ray. I have really not had a mashed potatoes fix since finding out I was Lactose Intolerant. But I can tolerate yogurt. This recipe actually calls for 1/4 C of sour cream (no good for me) and I have heard you can substitute plain yogurt so I tried it and it worked! Yukon Gold Potatoes chopped up, boiled, drained, then the mashing ingredients are 2 TBSP of butter, 1/4 C of plain yogurt, and 2 cups of shredded cheddar! They are so good and I am so happy to know that I can use plain yogurt in my mashed potatoes. I have served this with the meatloaf, and those 2 together, talk about a party! 

Roasted Veggies & other veggies
We have been trying to eat more veggies lately, they are so good when you can figure out just how you like them cooked (for me that means Not Boiled). Roasted!! My favorite thing this summer has been roasted asparagus. I just bend it till it breaks on the bottom (you don't want to cook the stem), line them up on a pan and drizzle with EVOO and salt and pepper, cook at 425 for about 20 minutes, I like mine more on the burnt and crispy side. I honestly eat this about 3-4 times a week no joke. I make it with my bagel bites for lunch (now you are really learning about me) because they cook for the same amount of time at the same temperature. If I am making these up at dinner time I do it half a pan of asparagus and the other half of my pan is chopped up yukon gold potatoes. Those 2 together are so yummy. 
We also do roasted carrots, I just throw the baby carrots (smaller version if you can find them) straight on the pan from the bag, drizzle in olive oil, honey, sprinkle some brown sugar on top and a dash of's salty and sweet all in one. Seriously roasted veggies have been my favorite thing this summer. This is such a great side dish. And we of course love fresh corn on the cobb boiled. We also do baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes (the kids like the sweet potatoes mashed up with cinnamon and honey). 

Stauffers Italian Meat Sauce Lasagna
This is about a once a month thing and usually on a Sunday. I put my oven on delay bake, what a great invention! There is nothing like walking into your house after being at church for 3 hours and having your house smell like an italian restaurant with a hot lasagna ready to go! We love this with spinach salad with italian dressing (no ranch for us anymore!) and croutons. 

1 comment:

Mom said...

Yummy stuff. Hard to beat lasagna for dinner (and lunch). I love asparagus steamed with oil and garlic salt in foil cooked on the grill.