Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mama's Meatballs and Subs

Meatball subs are a BIG treat at our house. I only make meatballs a few times a year but when I do I always make extras to freeze for subs later.
If you’ve been following this blog at all then you know by now that I often make things that seem hard but really only take a few minutes. My goal is to feed a family of five fast, easy, healthy, and yummy meals. That being said I freeze a lot of things for later use. It’s amazing how many different meals you can make from the original one.

We annually host our extended family for Christmas Eve dinner. The meal is one that I treasure and look forward to all year. The cooking and preparation for the meal takes several days, so if I can save some for later meals I do. I come from an Italian American family so we have a LARGE pasta meal for Christmas Eve. One of the entrees is of course meatballs. I made about 6 pounds of meatballs this past Christmas. I saved approximately 30 of those meatballs for subs.

Meatball Recipe:
1 lb Ground beef
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper
Mix all ingredients and form into small bite size balls.
Place them in a large pan and broil until they are cooked through but not WELL-DONE. For sub making, I steal some at this point to freeze.
Add them to sauce and simmer all day.

Sub Recipe:
Frozen Meatballs
Frozen Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Bakery Fresh Rolls
Make sure you use fresh baked rolls. They make all the difference.
Cut the rolls lengthwise
Add thawed meatballs. I cut them in half so they don’t fall out when you take a bite.
Spread thawed tomato sauce onto the meatballs.
Top with loads of mozzarella cheese.
Broil until well toasted and cheese is melted.
These are so easy and yummy! My six-year-old even loves to take them to school the next day for lunch. What a great feeling when your son says “MOM CAN I HAVE THIS IN MY LUNCH BOX?”. I think he also likes it because the kids always ask if he got them from Subway and he likes to say “NO, my mom made it.”
These would be a nice treat for Super Bowl Sunday too!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mama I hurt!

In honor of our Sweet 4-year-old that had surgery today...

Orange Jell-O!
With one recovering from surgery and one with a stomach virus Jell-O seems to be on our menu for a few days.

We love you baby!
Feel better soon!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Easy as Pie Pizza

Whenever I cook things like tomato sauce, chili, or things that simmer a few hours, I make enough to freeze and use for another time/another meal. Pizza is one of those meals. The kids love to be involved in the making of pizza. It’s an easy way to spend quality time as a family. The kids think of it as a game or art experience and we as parents revel in knowing that we are investing in their future love of cooking.

Pizza Recipe:
Frozen Chili
Mozzarella cheese
Pizza crust

Thaw frozen chili spread onto pizza crust and top with cheese.
Bake until your crust is done and cheese melted.
Easy and fun!

Pizza crust Recipe:
Pizza crust is fun an easy to make but if you are in a hurry then pre-made crust works well too. I use pre-made often. It freezes well and thaws fast.

Here is a recipe adapted from Fleischmann’s.
I used my Kitchen Aide to make the dough and I only let the dough rise once.

2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 envelope FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast* 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup very warm water (120o to 130oF) 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil Cornmeal
Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.
Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.
Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s).
Sprinkle with cornmeal.
Shape dough into smooth ball.
Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s).
Let the dough rise for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your preference for a thin, more dense crust or a thicker crust.
Bake the crust in a preheated 400oF oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and add desired toppings
Return pizza to oven to finish baking for another 10 to 20 minutes, or until done.
Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eggplant Marinara

This recipe is so simple, fast and easy. It will rival any 30 minute meal, meal in box or heat and serve meals.
The thing that makes this recipe a winner is the use of fresh healthy ingredients.
This is one of my GO TO meals on those days when the kids are crying, screaming and fighting. When I need something fast and easy. This will have them with food on their forks in less than 30 minutes.

1 med-large eggplant diced (skin on)
1 Onion
3 cloves of Garlic
Canned tomatoes
Canned Stewed tomatoes
Small can of sliced mushrooms
Fresh Oregano
Salt and Pepper

Bring salted water to boil for your noodles. I like to use small size pasta so the kids can get it on their forks and in their mouth with minimal mess and frustration. Something even a sassy 2-year-old can eat easily.

Dice the eggplant, onion and garlic
In a Large skillet, sauté olive oil, onion, garlic, mushrooms and eggplant.
Add canned tomatoes and all spices.
Let simmer until the pasta is finished cooking.
Sprinkle a little fresh Parmesan cheese on each serving.
Serve along side salad and yummy fresh bakery bread.
Now enjoy your glass of wine and the quiet that comes over your house.

Comments and suggestions always welcome and appreciated.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Thai Noodles

What do Thai noodles and pork have in common?
Duck sauce? No!
No Duck sauce at our house.
Ever since getting a BIG bug in my Chinese food I’m not a fan of ANY Oriental food. Yes, Uncle Chen’s in Euless, TX serves up bugs with their meals, but that’s a story for another time.
So what do they have in common? How about basil, parsley, garlic and cheese?

Pork Tenderloin Recipe
1 Pork Tenderloin halved
4or 5 cloves of minced Garlic
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Kosher salt and Pepper

Chop all the herbs and mix together. Add, salt, pepper and garlic to a small bowl then stir to combine.
Lay a few pieces of string on top of a large sheet of foil. Now, lay the pork on top of the strings and foil.
Spread the herb mix out across the Tenderloin.

Add mozzarella cheese, shred or block will work.
Tie all the strings tight to make a good closure of the meat.
Wrap the foil up around it. Take care to make sure all the seams are on top.

Place the pork in you pre-heated 350°F oven directly on the oven rack.
Bake 1-1 1/2 hrs depending on the size of your tenderloin.
Let rest a few mins. Then cut and serve.

Thai Noodles with Veggies Recipe
1lb. Thai Noodles
3 or 4 cloves of minced Garlic
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Red Bell Pepper seeded and diced
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Brussels sprouts

Pour olive oil into a small saucepan, then add all of your ingredients and sauté for the length of time that it takes your salted water to boil and the noodles to cook.

Drain your al dente noodles and top with your veggie mix.
Add a sprinkle of fresh grated Parm. cheese and serve along side your tenderloin.

Disclaimer! My husband and six-year-old son do not like Brussels sprouts. When mixed with garlic, cheese and Edamame they are happy to choke down 3 or 4 sprouts.
Comments and suggestions always welcome and appreciated.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chili Pot-Pie

Looking for something fun to feed the family on Super BOWL Sunday?

Try these! They are a winner with my team. Everyone has their own bowl and that makes the men of my house feel very special. OK, the girls like it too.
I love them because they are so easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.

Start with individual bowls (oven safe) one for each person at your table.
Fill the bowls with your favorite chili recipe.

This is what I used to make mine.
Ground Turkey
Sweet Sausage
Canned Tomatoes
Canned Paste
Kidney Beans
Black Beans
Chili Powder
Smoked Paprika
Dash of Chipotle Tabasco
Garlic and Onion
Salt and Pepper
Then we went for a jog/bike ride while the chili was cooking.

Layer green onion on top of the chili.

Spread Cheese on top of the chili. I used a cheddar/jack blend.
Grease the outer rim of each bowl and place a piece of pie crust or Puff Pastry dough over the bowl and seal. I used ready-made pie crust.
Seal by pressing the crust against the greasy rim of the bowl.
Bake at 375°F until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle some extra cheese and sour cream on top.
Allow to cool a few minutes then let the team dive in!

We also had this quick and easy dessert in honor of Inauguration day

It's just a sheet of Puff Pastry dough.
Whipped Cream and frozen fruit.
Sprinkled with ice sugar.
Comments and questions always welcome and needed for growth.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Twice Baked Squash Potatoes

Welcome to my FIRST POST!

It's been a long time in my head and I'm hopeful that it will translate well to this blog. My blog dream is that you as a reader will see that even with a busy home that you can still find time to cook delicious meals. I dream that you see my passion for sharing my kitchen with family and friends. I hope you feel as if you are on a stool in my kitchen, although you will have to share it with a kid or two.
Please bear with me as I learn and grow through this blog. I'll work on my photos too!

Without further ado.......


I had a Butternut squash and a family that was a bit tired of eating roasted squash. SO...I came up with this.
1 squash
5 potatoes
Touch of butter
A bit of Cream Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper

I baked the squash and potatoes at 400 until tender. After they were cool to the touch, I pealed the skin from the squash and scooped the contents out of the potatoes. Mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl and mashed. With everything well blended and mashed I filled the potato boats.
Baked covered at 350 along side some chicken. When the chicken was finished I removed the foil(and chicken) and baked at 400 until they were nice and golden brown.
My kids and husband loved them. I'm not sure the kids ever figured out that there was squash hidden in the dinner

Questions and Comments always welcome and needed!