I am using this post as a way to keep track of the recipes that I’ve tried and my family actually enjoys. With eight children, that is no small feat! Please note that the recipes are approximates, I don’t really measure much except when I bake. And, once again, self disclosing, there are assorted children who will not eat certain meals. So, I let them opt for peanut butter and jelly. I know other families do this differently, I just do not have the energy to fight the battle over more than a single bite of everything. I have seen the tastebuds of my family mature as they get older, even with the boys who are particularly picky. So, we will see in about ten years if I have a family that will eat a wide variety of food.
Chicken Parmigiana ~
Chicken Enchiladas in Cheese Sauce ~
Mediterranean Chicken ~
Super Bowl Nachos ~
02/14/08 – Chicken Parmigiana – Tonight’s meal was another hit. I dirtied up a few too many pots and pans – but the extra cleaning involved was worth it. I used a pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes. I tossed them with a cup of flour in a plastic bag, poured them in hot oil and panned fried until they were crispy. In the mean time, I made a simple tomato sauce – large can of sauce with a can of stewed tomatoes and assorted seasonings including onions and garlic – just typical sauce. I prepared a half a package of angel hair pasta and got out some mozarella cheese and we were ready to assemble. Throw the pasta in the bottom of a 9X13 pan, top with tomato sauce, add chicken and then finish it off with a layer of cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. If you want to stretch the meal since chicken – well – really any kind of meat – can become expensive, you can cube the chicken up a bit smaller and cook more pasta and divide over two 9X13 inch pans. Still tastes great.
02/13/08 – Chicken Enchiladas – My most picky eater actually asks for this dish. I think it is the sour cream in the cheese sauce that makes it a hit for all eight kids – plus us grownups. Start with a pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts – you can either poach the chicken in water or fry in a pan, but let it cook and then shred the meat. Return to the pan and add a can of Rotele – yes – my favorite, name brand condiment and cook until the liquid has evaporated. In the meantime, add 1 1/2 cups of cheese – a blend of mozarella and cheddar is fine – or even just cheddar along with a few tablespoons of flour and 8 ounces of sour cream, slowly heat until the cheese has complete melted. Warm up a pile of torillas (my family prefers flour instead of corn) so they are soft and easy to roll up. Place a generous spoonful of chicken in the middle of the tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in a 9X13 inch pan that has been sprayed lightly with oil. I can squeeze about 16 tortillas in the pan. Then simply pour the cheese sauce over the tortillas and pop in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
01/28/08 – Mediterranean Chicken with risotto – In an attempt to lose weight this summer, I tried the Sonoma diet. Well, it was not an effective weight loss diet for me – mostly because the food was soooo good. But, I did learn how to put together some nice tastes and use my bucket loads of tomatoes. Now, in the winter tomatoes are pricey and generally flavorless, but I did happen upon an nicely priced container of grape tomatoes at Trader Joes – ok, another asides, they have some of the nicest speciality items and organic products at prices I can afford once in a while. I chopped up a whole chicken into pieces along with an onion and four cloves of garlic and half a container of the grape tomatoes, and tossed the whole mixture with 1/4 of a cup of olive oil, some sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a bit of fresh rosemary. After placing the chicken in a 9X13 pan, I took about 2 ounces of feta cheese and crumbled it over the chicken, threw it in a 400 degree oven and backed for about 45 minutes to one hour. The only thing I wished I could have added was about 1/4 of a cup of an olive tamponade that I found at our local Trader Joes. The price is better than buying a jar of kalamata olives and it is so much easier to use and keeps for a long time in the refrigerator. I had about 8 ounces of risotto left, so I cooked it according to the directions on the package with two chicken boullion cubes, some garlic powder (hey I ran out of time), Italian seasonings and a tablespoon of butter. It is only the second time I have prepared risotto and I found I had to constantly stir it to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
o1/27/08 – Superbowl Nachos – This meal was inspired by Rachel Ray – yes – the girls and I watch a lot of the cooking channel. Again, it was a Superbowl show. She had made a healthy chicken chili, but I opted for the handy ground beef. So, I fried up a pound of ground beef (ours if grass fed, very lean) with a half an onion and 2 small chorizo sausages removed from the casing. Once it was cooked, I added a package of taco mix and a can of Mild Rotel – not to get too off track, but this nifty little item has really jazzed up a number of my dishes including chili. I let that cook down, and then a put a thin layer of shredded cheese in the bottom of 9X13 pan. I threw the meat mixture on top of that and then added about 1/2 of an 8 ounce container of sour cream in dollops over the top of the meat. Semi-crushed corn chips were added as the next layer. Finally, another layer of shredded cheese was added to the top. I baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes – basically, until the cheese was a bit browned and melted. Everyone truly enjoyed this dish – it was such an easy way of making nachos and by putting the meat on the bottom, the chips stayed nice and crisp through the entire meal.
01/26/08 – Brats cooked in beer w/ grilled onions and green peppers – oh my gosh, we’ve had grilled brats before, but this was simply the best. I watched Paula Dean’s Superbowl program for the idea. I took a package of brats, simmered them gently in one can of beer. As they were simmering, I sliced up one large sweet onion and a large green pepper and cooked them on my large griddle w/ a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once they were softened, I threw them in with the brats and cooked down the whole mixture for about 15 minutes – the liquid had disappeared. Then, I took the entire pan and dropped it back on the griddle to crisp all of it up. I grilled the hotdog buns and threw it all together with a big bag of chips. Not an especially healthy dinner, but fun!