Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tacos on Tuesday

Does that title sound like a Magic Tree House book to anyone else?  That series is very popular at our house, and I think I'm starting to borrow the titling strategy.

This One Pot Taco Pasta is simple and flavorful without being heavy.  Once you've got everything started and combined, you can walk away for a few minutes to work on the rest of dinner, check in on the latest book order, or hear what happened in gym class.  Still, it all comes together in less than 30 minutes.

This would be an easy last minute recipe.  Most of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand and at the ready.  Plus, it make a lot, we'll be eating leftovers for a while!

We Turn to Comfort Food

Suddenly we've had a taste of fall.  Today was cool, drizzly, and drab--the perfect kind of day for a crockpot comfort dish.

These Smothered Pork Chops were super easy to throw together at the beginning of the day.  I swirled the sauce ingredients together, and then tossed the frozen pork chops on top (I just sprinkled the garlic powder on the meat in the crock).  After cooking all day, they were as tender as can be.  I did follow the instructions for thickening the gravy, and it was delicious over both the meat and mashed potatoes.  If you have a low tolerance for salt, I'd suggest low sodium versions of the sauce ingredients.  We enjoyed it as is.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Bird Dog

This was a new one for me.  A native central Illinoisan, I have never heard of a Bird Dog before.  But, it seems to be a southern fav, and who am I to question?  Besides, it sounded like an easy meal to throw together at the end of a long week.

So, it was good.  Not remarkable, but pretty good.  I used Kirkland bacon crumbles, Tyson Southern Style chicken tenders, sharp cheddar, and Kraft honey mustard.  Since it's just a way of rearranging common items, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I wasn't wowed.  Still, it's a fun dish for simple nights when I need to throw something together quick.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mini Me(at)

I love a recipe that turns out to be not only tasting but enlightening.  These BBQ Meat Loaf Minis were a great simple meal, and now I'm contemplating all the different meatloaf recipes I can make in the mini format so that I can use those recipes on teaching days.

This meat mixture is super easy to throw together because it relies heavily on the seasoning and bread crumbs from the stuffing mix.  It's a great time saver.  In fact, I mixed up the recipe and put it into the muffin pan (covered) the day ahead of time, so that all I had to do after work was pull the pan out of the fridge and pop it in the oven.

The barbecue flavor in these is very subtle.  Just enough to let you now it's not plain 'ole meatloaf.  If you are a big barbecue fan, you'll probably want to make sure you enjoy some extra sauce on the side.

Now to scout my meatloaf recipe for the next mini-me candidates...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pizza Swirls

Friday nights are great pizza nights.  Something about kicking back for the weekend calls for comfort food and something fun.

These Pizza Swirl Buns are a great pizza-like dish without being straight up pizza.  And with this much butter and garlic, how could they not be good?  They are, in fact, delicious, buttery, and almost decadent.  If the pizza topping layers were more intense they would be over the top.

We really enjoyed them at our table, even my little who usually doesn't go for pepperoni.  I will say though, make sure you've got your leftovers wrapped really well or everything in the fridge starts to smell like garlic.  Ask me how I know...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

It Will Be Our Little Secret

I love cheese.  Cheese is a good thing.  I'm  no cheese snob, either.  Any Swiss, Jack, or Cheddar will do.  I do start to get a little reluctant when it comes to processed cheeses.  When there are so many good cheeses out there, why eat something that's been messed with?

What I do know, however, is that real cheese sometimes does funny things when it melts.  It's not the smoothest, and texture is mighty important to our enjoyment of food.  Which is why, I decided to let my normal cheese standards slide for these Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes.

Everyone at the table was glad I did, even if I did choose the 2% Velveeta variety.  We all really enjoyed the flavor (with just a sprinkle of pickle and some onions tossed in when I cooked the ground beef).  And, since it was an especially busy night, I decided to just brown the ground beef early in the afternoon, and then throw everything into a crockpot to melt the cheese and keep it warm until dinner time.  It worked perfectly and I don't think it affected the taste one little bit.  

This would be a great recipe for potlucks, get togethers, and wherever else you would make regular sloppy joes.  The cheesy goodness kicks it up a notch or two without being terribly exotic, just extra tasty.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to It

I was talking today with a colleague who just returned from a year plus sabbatical.  He was saying how difficult it has been for him to get back in the swing of things now that classes are back in session.  For me, it's been a process of settling in and waiting for the waves to settle, and we're almost there.

Back to our schedule is mildly comforting to me, and I was able to even slide right into my short dinner prep schedule with this easy and quick Garlicky Baked Shrimp.  Although there are a few separate steps, and ultimately more dirty dishes as a result, it's still super simple.  This is not for those feint of heart when it comes to garlic.  I used three instead of four cloves and there was still plenty of garlic flavor to go around.

I plan to keep this recipe around for a great lighter meal that throws together in a snap.