...*a glimse into the daily life of a chef*...

...this blog is a place for me to record and reflect the passion that i put into my everyday life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a busy Mom's guide to Dinner at 5***

-day two and going strong! its amazing what some time to myself ca lead me to do!

I typed all this to help a friend out that is having trouble getting dinner ready for her family, getting her house cleaned, getting ready for work and still finding time to play with her gorgeous daughters, but I realize that i am sure there are a TON of other people out there having the same issues, so here are some easy recipes that will help you out- they are customizable to what you like to eat and they are simple so you can get home cooked meals and not spare one second of time with your children!

Taco Pie

1# ground beef
1 can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1 small can tomato sauce or salsa of any kind
1 small yellow onion
1 can corn or 1/2 bag frozen
1 pkg. taco seasoning (i love the chi chi's brand, but whatever you like will be just fine *or my blend 1/2 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder*)
1 package corn tortillas
2 c. cheddar cheese (or your favorite melting cheese)

1. cook ground beef and onions until done then add corn, taco seasoning and tomatoes, mix well

2. in cake pan start with a small amount of sauce and meat on the bottom to keep from sticking, then layer tortilla, meat, cheese for 3 layers of tortilla and end with cheese.

At this point you can freeze it, double the recipe and make 2 if you want, or make more and give it to a friend, its a simple dish that bakes up in like 35 minutes and take just minutes to prepare top it with lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa you have a great well rounded meal, for added protein you could add black beans to the meat if you wanted, even use ground turkey for less fat.

(I like to use a pyrex baking dish because they generally have lids and can go from freezer to oven or you can use the aluminum pans, whatever works best for you, i guess that way no dishes, win win!)


Lasagna, Aly-Style

1 box no cook lasagna sheets
1# meat (you can use ground turkey, beef, or sausage of your liking, whatever works best for you)
1 onion
1 jar of pasta sauce, whatever you like (I like the brailla sauce with roast garlic, or go crazy and get a vodka sauce, that works too.)
2 c. mozzarella
1 c. Parmesan
1 12oz. pkg cream cheese or ricotta if you like
(the thing i love about lasagna is you can hide veggies in it and almost no one will care. You can use: shredded carrots, zucchini, mushrooms....whatever you like and want to put in there just cook it with the meat so it takes on some of its flavor)

then layer just the same way as above noodles, sauce, meat, cheese (i just dollop the cream cheese throughout just for added creamy-ness you can leave it out if you like) save the parmesan for the very top because it makes a great crust, then cover and freeze or back at 350 for 40-45 minutes until hot.

You could easily make this recipe 3X or 4X and freeze them for days when you just don't have an extra minute...we can't be super mom every day, but that doesn't mean you can't cook a hot meal if you just thinks ahead.

Quick and Easy, for days you have a few minutes to spare!


Baked Chicken & Potatoes

Enough chicken for your family, we are dark meat people but if you prefer breasts that works too, whatever you like. Season liberally with Salt and pepper, and any seasoning mix you like herbs and such there are tons of great poultry seasoning out there, just find one that sounds good!

1 lg. idaho potatoes
1 lg. sweet potato
1 onion
2 carrots

Cut them all into about 1" pieces just make sure they are all about the same size, then toss them in 3 tbsp oil and french onion seasoning packet (trader joes has one that isn't full of lots of crap!)

Put them in the bottom of a baking dish and then layer the chicken on top and 2 Tbsp butter cut into pieces.

Put in a 375 oven for 35 minutes or until chicken is done.

I love to serve this with a yogurt or sour cream dipping sauce that i load up with all the favorite fresh herbs...but honestly it tastes great on its own and it makes the house smell de-lish!


Fried Rice (We call if Spence Fried Rice because my husband makes it even better then me!)

Either cook some chicken ahead or use whatever you have from left overs beef, chicken, turkey...anything you like will work.

1 c. rice, cooked according to pkg. generally 1 rice to 2 water & salt

Get a large sautee pan hot, add 3 tbsp Oil
then add rice (it's best if you cook the rice and let it cool, but it will work hot too you just have to work faster!)
STIR frequently!
add 1/4 c. soy sauce or teryaki sauce I love Soy-Vay
2 eggs scarambled
1/2 c. peas
1/4 c. shredded carrots
and your meat of choice cut up
stir till everything is hot, then remove from heat!

WE like to then top if with, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, green onions & cashews....but use whatever you like. or nothing at all....it really easy and fast if you prepare ahead.

When you make dinner with about cooking extra to make into another meal, or cooking pieces a day in advance so you can spend less time cooking and more time with those BEAUTIFUL girls!

Ok one last recipe that i got from my mom:

Sadie Soup

1# ground beef
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1pkg. onion soup mix
1 lrg. can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 can of water after you dump the tomatoes
1 potato, chopped
2 tbsp sweet dried basil
salt & pepper
1/2 c. barley

you really can put this all but the barley in a crock pot and let it cook for hours just break up the meat and stir occasionally to make sure it is cooked through, add the barely 15 minutes before serving....

Enjoy, hope any of it helps.

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