About a week ago I posted some easy dinner recipes and I think I was helpful. Did anyone make any of the things I proposed? Did you change them up a bit to suit your preferences? I talked to some friends about what I was going to make for dinner during the week that just passed and they asked me to post them again online and so here they are.
I make a killer home made chicken noodle soup – it’s almost entirely vegetable, save for the chicken. If you’re a vegan I suspect you could use tofu as a replacement for the chicken. It’s hearty, it’s a beautiful looking soup and it’s very healthy. Best part: with the help of a blender, the kids have NO clue it’s loaded with nutrients we all need.
Don’t Tell Mikey Chicken Noodle Soup
1 14 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock (however you get there is up to you; I use “better than broth” as a starter)
1 medium onion, cut large slices so the kids can fish them out (and you can too, you’ll see why later)
3 stalks celery, chopped large
1 cup of carrots, chopped
1 large sweet potato, cleaned, NOT skinned and chopped into 1″ medallions
1 average size green squash, cleaned, NOT skinned: then grated
1 average size yellow squash, cleaned, NOT skinned: then grated
4 chicken breasts sliced thinly into strips
1/4 tsp nutmeg
noodles of your choosing: egg, rice, wide, bowtie pasta… whatevs.
Leaving the skins on all your veggies as I’ve noted also keeps the nutrients in them.
Put everything BUT the noodles together in a large pot and let it all get to know each other for about an hour on medium. The point is that you want to let the celery get soft and the onion cook through and the potatoes get soft because… you’re going to fish out all the large vegetables (or as much as you prefer, you might wanna leave some for aesthetics) and put them in the blender with about a cup of the broth. Add the nutmeg.
That’s correct: you’re going to frappé the veggies in a blender and then pour them all back into the pot. This way, you, your children and whomever else is lucky enough eat your soup won’t know they’ve consumed all that yummy goodness unless they wanna know. Bring to a boil and about 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add your noodles — OR — you can cook the noodles separately and ladle them into each bowl and then pour the soup on top of them – your choice. Sometimes pasta will starchify (made up word) the soup and make it goopy if the water temperature isn’t right.
To completely counteract the health benefits of the soup, my children insist on pillsbury crescent rolls to accompany the meal. I “sometimes” forget and we end up having whole wheat bread alongside. The point is they want to dip. I get that.
You can do all this in a crock pot – but the boiling part with the pasta is where you’d want to cook the pasta in a separate pot.
Classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The point of including this recipe is that for me anyway, I often forget that the most classic and simple dinner is forgotten because of stress and panic.
We had this the other night (we actually had my utter favorite grilled sammie which is Grilled Ham and Swiss on Rye – with a pickle spear) and the kids were all “Mom You’re The Best This Is My Favorite Night Ever!” yummy tummy about it. You can dress this dinner up with a nice bisque and garnish with a swirl of sour cream and a spray of parsley, but my team doesn’t care if the food is pretty yet.
Whole wheat artisan bread (if you can, otherwise just get a nice whole wheat bread)
Cheese (of your choosing – if you like a nice smokey cheese, GOuda for it)
Tomato soup (you can make this yourself or grab a can and whip it up in no time)
We use real butter and a cast iron pan to grill the sammies. You can use a panini pan, a regular pan, it doesn’t matter… the point is that you smile when you make this because it brings you back to the last time you had a really yummy soul-foody dinner.
Eat. Indulge. Get a cloth napkin, set the table and serve with your favorite beverage. Mine is 2/3 water and 1/3 cranberry juice w/ a lime wedge.
Alshee Pancakes – 21st Century (aka lazy) Style
These pancakes are so protein heavy we often have them for dinner. They have a distinctly eggy flavor, so if you don’t like that, this one isn’t for you. The kids can’t get enough of them. Today we had them for brunch with turkey bacon (serve what you like alongside yours) and I had mine with pumpkin butter. We use true maple syrup because I hate the other stuff. They were heavenly. And they should be because Alshee died in 1990. Alshee was my great aunt. She was the bomb; she would drink a glass of beer on Saturday after mowing her lawn well into her 70s. Her summer house in Canada was kitty-cornered to ours until it was set on fire (arson) by some local teens looking for a place to party. Every summer Saturday we would waddle over to Alshee’s kitchen where she was waiting to make us breakfast. She never married. She was amazing. You can give thanks to Alshee when you eat these. She will smile on you for it. If you suddenly smell rose water and baby powder, she’s lurking to make sure you’re doing it right.
Get a large bowl or — a large (8 cup) measuring cup with a spout.
1 cup milk
1.5 cup of Krusteaz or Bisquik — or if you make your own pancake mix, just use 1.5 cups to the above ingredients. Sometimes I replace a .5 cup of the mix with whole wheat flour for fiber.
Using an egg beater (we have a hand one because I hate plugging in and it reminds me of Alshee when she used a hand egg beater too) mix all the ingredients until slightly frothy. You will have little pockets / spheres of dry mix and that’s OK, it all works out. Trust me.
This mixture will be soupy and sort of a soft yellow in color due to the egg yolks. That’s what gives the pancakes their crepe-like awesomeness.
Set your oven on warm or 200˚ – put a nice earthenware plate in it waiting for the pancakes.
The griddle must be hotter than you think it should be. If you use a plug-in griddle, set it on 375˚ and thinly coat it with butter by rubbing a pat of it with a folded paper towel onto the griddle (Alshee used bacon grease – she never messed around). When the butter begins to smoke, pour your batter — slowly, it’s soupy! — onto the griddle. Watch the griddle! In less than 40 seconds you’ll be flipping the cakes.
When the pancakes bubble and then begin to pop, flip ’em. Put them on the plate in the oven, start your next rounds.
All of this batter will make about 35-40 4″ pancakes. They will go fast and they’re thin – they’re nothing like your standard IHOP deathcakes.
Serve with whatever you like. LL Bean makes a wonderful blueberry syrup; so does Trader Joe’s. Leftovers (horrors!) can be refrigerated for about two days. They heat up in the microwave nicely.
Telling you about this recipe reminds me of the Jim Gaffigan bit on (pan)cakes:
The point to all of this is to remind ourselves to slow down a spell and to have communion with each other at the table. Talk about the day, keep it light and easy, especially for the chef.
So, let me know if you have questions. I love all these foods and we eat them around here pretty regularly. I appreciate you following my blog and putting up with me and my randomness. I give these recipes so you will eat and come back.
Don’t worry — I won’t serve you this: