Sunday, April 12, 2015

Delicious Dinners

Our friends have been so generous with meals.  We have been gifted with more than 21 weekdays of dinners!!  That's more than four weeks that we don't have to worry about shopping and cooking, which take so much energy.  It's so very kind of my friends--friends from old and new church, the neighborhood, Girl Scouts, and my old playgroup; knowing they're thinking of and helping us means so much.

And the food has been pretty good!  Sure, it's a lot of pasta, but we really like pasta and it's easy because it reheats well and can last for a couple of days.  I've taken batches of baked spaghetti or ziti to dozens of people myself (for the last 8 or 9 years, beginning when all my friends started having second children!)  And they're bringing dinner in disposable or non-returnable dishes which makes it so easy (otherwise, I'll inadvertently never return the right casserole dish.)  It's funny how many vegetables we're NOT getting.  A bag salad once or so, and a few roasted vegetables, but otherwise, we get a lot more bread and dessert.  I usually take a bag salad (plus bread and dessert, sometimes a bag of oranges or clementines), unless I make the pasta with the broccoli in it, but I'm starting to rethink that--I'm not sure people really eat bag salad.  I wonder what else I could take?  My roasted vegetables (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, butternut squash, or brussel sprouts) just don't travel or reheat well.  Hmmm, will give it some thought.  

So a HUGE thank you to all of my local cooking friends, especially Miss B who organized the meals through the meal-sharing website our group always uses.  

For my own meal sharing tips and recipes, see here


I'll add meals as they come.  This week:  meatloaf, French lentil stew, a TBD slow cooker meal, and a lemon chicken bow tie pasta dish.

Miss BA's Turkey Meatballs
It’s my chicken meatball recipe & I think I put one piece of pork sausage in yours, (took it out of the casein).
It differs every time, but here is the basic recipe.

1 lb of chicken
½ cup of parmesan cheese
½ cup of bread crumbs
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. grape seed oil (or olive  oil)
2 tsp. oregano (I usually use Emeril’s Italian  dry mix)
1 egg

And a trick my father in-law taught me to keep the meatballs round, roll them lightly in flour before putting them in the hot oil.

Miss LS's Turkey and Fixin's
"As to the gravy, I use lots of herbs on the turkey itself, so the drippings make amazing gravy. Sometimes I use apple or lemon in the cavity, but I used celery this time. Also sage, rosemary, and paprika on the turkey skin. I can take no credit for the stuffing--it's the only one we could find without chicken stock, organic, too. The veggies were cooked together with butter and basil paste from the produce section. It comes in a tube and is expensive when not on sale, but a great time saver and the kids love it, so we stock up at sale time. The trick to them is all in the size of the cut on each one. Squash has to be pretty large to avoid the mush. We like them close to raw, so I tend to err on that side. I'm sure you'll be cooking again soon!"

Miss JD's Lasagna
 "For the sauce I just roast tomatoes, garlic, onion, with some seasonings...salt, pepper, basil, oregano,  for about 45 min at 375...then I just mash all together with a potato masher...I like it chunky but you can certainly puree if you like it creamier.  
The lasagna is just ricotta and mozzarella and I added spinach ....I always wing making lasagna...never comes out the same.  Sorry I don't have a "real" recipe."

Miss RZ's Butternut Squash Soup
coming soon

Miss PD's Ricotta Dumplings

Miss LL's Quinoa Stuffed Peppers 
In Freezer Bag:
3 large carrots, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tbsp Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil
1 ½ tbsp Wildtree Cajun Seasoning Blend
1 tbs Wildtree Garlic Galore
1 package fresh spinach (or frozen), 10 oz
2 cans black beans, 15 oz, drained and rinsed
¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz, drained
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cups water

At cooking time:
4 large (or 6 small) bell peppers, any color, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag, “smush” to allow seasonings to distribute.  Place bag in freezer.
To prepare: Thaw in fridge.  Pour bag contents in large skillet, cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 – 25 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Preheat oven to 350. Stir in 1 cup cheese, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Fill each pepper with quinoa mixture, and place in a baking dish with ¼ cup water in the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, sprinkle each pepper with remaining cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes. 

Miss R's Meatloaf
She uses the pre-made meatloaf from the Big Y butchers!!!  And bakes it with sweet barbecue sauce.  Yum!

Miss Jen's Turkey Meatball Orzo Soup
  • ground turkey
  • egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) orzo
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 4 cups loosely-packed spinach
  • salt and black pepper

Combine ground turkey and egg.  Make into little meatballs by hand.
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add meatballs, chicken stock, orzo (pasta), thyme, oregano, rosemary and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm.
adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Miss LC's Creamy Lemon Chicken Bow Tie Pasta
  • 12 oz dried pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into small strips (uncooked or precooked)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried Basil
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or if you use bottled lemon juice, use whatever is equivalent to 1 lemon.  I originally recommended 1/2 cup, but different lemon juices may be more concentrated...)
  • 1 cup of half n half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus a bit more to top the dish after cooking
  • Salt and pepper
  • additional adobo and sazon, for flavor
  • 1 cup of reserved pasta cooking liquid
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch (if needed)
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water.  When draining the pasta, reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking liquid.  Keep pasta warm. (To keep the pasta from sticking together after cooking, you can mix in about 1 tsp of olive oil.)
  2. While the pasta is cooking, season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium high and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, chicken, garlic to a saute pan with. Cook until chicken is golden and completely cooked. (If using precooked chicken, saute the garlic about 3 minutes before adding the chicken, then cook a minute or to longer until the chicken is thoroughly coated and hot.)
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and cream to the chicken mixture.  Cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened.  If you want a little more cream sauce, add the rest of the reserved pasta cooking liquid.  (If you want your cream sauce thicker, add a tsp of corn starch to 2 tablespoons of water and mix into the sauce.  Continue cooking until desired thickness is achieved.)
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and turn heat off.  Mix everything together until pasta is thoroughly coated.  Top with dried basil, cracked fresh pepper and additional Parmesan cheese.
Serve and Enjoy!

Miss KMc's Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
I'm so glad they liked it! It is a huge hit in my house too
Ingredients: a lb of chicken,3/4 lb of pasta, 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 tbsp of butter, garlic to taste (I don't use too much as my kids will get suspicious if they smell it), 1 chicken bouillon cube, chopped onions (again I only use a little- not even a quarter of onion),1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, scallions and 2 bunches of broccoli crowns.
Heat the oil and butter with the garlic. Add the cut up chicken and cook on medium until browned.
Remove the chicken but leave the oil.
Add the onion and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
Add the crumbled up bouillon cube and water.
Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Stir in the cream, milk, finely chopped scallions and Parmesan. Simmer until heated through and thickened then add the chicken back to the sauce.
Cook the pasta- I add the broccoli in the last 5 minutes. Then drain and mix all together!

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