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Winner, winner, what’s for dinner?!

29 Feb

Tonight was one of those nights we had no clue what to make for dinner. We haven’t done a proper grocery shop in it feels like eons, so the pickin’s were pretty slim. Not a good time to try and figure out what to have at 5:30 in the evening! Spaghetti we had a couple nights ago… ditto KD Surprise. What else… well, we had tuna and lots of different pasta’s – Tuna Casserole, perhaps? I admit… I’m a “Tuna Helper” girl. Open the box, add the tuna and milk, and voila. But..we had none of that so I had to make it from scratch. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a “throw things together” kind of girl, so I called my sister-in-law to see what she does. Here’s her SUPER easy “recipe”. It feeds about 5-7 people, so I halved the recipe

Tara’s Tuna Casserole

  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom soup
  • Cooked pasta (I used macaroni, 3 uncooked cups, but remember I halved the recipe!)
  • Bread crumbs (I used about 1/3 cup)
  • Touch of milk (my addition)
  • Shredded cheese (my addition, I used pizza mozzarella)

Throw tuna, soup, pasta, bread crumbs and milk in pot and mix it up!

Transfer to casserole dish and top with the cheese. I used a 2.5qt dish.

No need to cover! Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes (enough to melt the cheese and turn the “peaks” brown)

It wasn’t bad! Definitely needed some colour, but if I had added anything like peas L wouldn’t have touched it with a 10-foot pole (he hates anything green in food and we have a hard enough time getting him to eat dinner!). Next time I might add a can of mushrooms, as well (I LOVE mushrooms!) and maybe a pinch or two of salt.

How about you? What’s your favourite “emergency dinner”? And don’t say takeout! LOL

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Pancake Tuesday

21 Feb

I know it’s almost over, but I had to share my pancake recipe in honour of Shrove Tuesday. Who doesn’t love a good pancake, right?!

Ingredients…this will yield approximately 10-12 pancakes using a 1/4 measuring cup or scoop. I normally double it and freeze the leftovers:

  • 1-1/3 cup flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cup milk ** see yummy substitution below**
  • 3 tbsp butter or oil (I generally use oil)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 

What you'll need

Mix everything together, but don’t mix too much!  Lumps are ok!

 I normally use a ¼ measuring cup to scoop out the batter. It makes a good size pancake and then they’re all the same basic size. Because the batter is so thick, when you pour it onto the griddle, it won’t spread very well. Just use your scoop to spread it out a bit to make it a little flatter. When you start seeing bubbles start to pop in the pancake, it’s time to flip!

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...

I made L’s pancakes a little fun for him tonight – I used a piping bag filled with batter and the tip cut off to spell out his name and create a car- and train-shaped pancakes! If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use Ziplocs or other type of sandwich bag!

Beep beep!

Choo choo!

Ours were plain, typical shaped pancakes, but oh-so-tasty!

They taste as good as they look!

 For us, the recipe as-is doesn’t make enough pancakes, so I normally double the recipe and freeze the leftovers. Here’s a tip: use your cooling racks for them! I used to just throw ‘em on a plate to cool off, but I always found that the bottom pancakes wound up soggy. That problem was solved with the cooling racks!

Love these racks!

Layer the pancakes between parchment or wax paper for easy separation and freeze them in freezer bags. To thaw, just throw ‘em in the toaster and enjoy their deliciousness without having to “slave away”! 

Ready for the freezer!

Now for the yummy substitution.. when I made these once I didn’t realize I didn’t have enough milk before it was too late. Everything was together and I only had ½ cup of milk! So I subbed the rest of the milk for ½ cup water and – ready for it? – ¼ cup Hazelnut coffee cream! MAN were they delicious! Unfortunately we haven’t been able to enjoy them that way in a while now as the oldest has a nut allergy and I don’t know if the contents of the cream contain actual hazelnut ingredients. I should email the company to find out!

Happy Pancake Tuesday!

Sweet ‘n Sour Meatballs and Crockpot Creamed Corn

19 Feb

Let me start off by saying, I’m not a cook. I bake. I like to cook, and can do a pretty good job following a recipe but I suck when it comes to just throwing things together. My husband, on the other hand, rocks at it so he usually does most of the cooking (phew!). Lately, tho, since going on mat leave I’ve been doing more cooking, mostly with recipes I find on Pinterest (damn that site is addicting!). 

However, there are a few dishes I “specialize” in, like the following: Sweet ‘n Sour Meatballs! This is actually a recipe I got from my sister, so I have no clue of the origin, but everyone I make it for LOVES it. I recently made it for my in-laws and my father-in-law loved it so much my mother-in-law got the recipe and made it again once they got home.  Let me tell you, it’s SUPER easy and with just 6 ingredients (that you probably already have on hand) it comes together pretty quickly! 

The meatballs are a nice pairing with a Crock Pot Creamed Corn recipe I copied from a Taste of Home magazine my mother-in-law subscribes to (GREAT mag,  btw!). I made it as part of our Christmas meal and it was a hit! All you need is frozen corn (recipe calls for 26oz, but I only had 1kg bag, so just used 3/4 of it), package of softened and cubed cream cheese, 1/4 butter (also softened and cubed), 1 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt.

The beauty of crockpot dishes is – for the most part – you just toss the stuff in, turn it on and wait!  So… do it!  Throw everything into the ‘pot, turn it on low and let it sit for 3 hours.

While that’s cooking, you can get the meatballs ready!  Ingredients list for this is 1lb of hamburger, crackers (I use saltine, but have also used breadcrumbs in a pinch) and 2 eggs, 1cup ketchup, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp mustard. Note: we had company for dinner when I made this, so I made a double-batch this round, hence the 4 eggs. This was the perfect amount for 6 adults!

In a large-ish bowl, throw together the hamburger, eggs and a couple of handfuls of crushed crackers.

 In a separate bowl, mix the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.

Add half the ketchup mixture to the hamburger and mix well.  You’ll probably want to add more crackers at this point – I usually eye-ball the amount of crackers I use. If I find it’s too wet I’ll add more crackers.  This time I went through about 1 package of saltines.

Form meatballs and place into muffin tin. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the hamburger and form into the balls, that way they’re all relatively the same size and cook evenly. Make yours as big or as small as you want, just adjust your cook time accordingly. Then take the remaining ketchup mixture and spoon over the meatballs. This gives it a yummy candied coating. Pop in the oven and bake at 350* for 45mins-1hr.

How’s the creamed corn comin? When I first made it the cream cheese was still in chunks after 3 hours – I was worried I screwed it up!  But once I stirred it everything melted together beautifully and looked delicious!!

Pull out the meatballs – OMG, so good!

Add some rice and you have one DEE-licuous meal!!  Oh, and um…pardon the horrible pictures.  I’m no food photographer 😉

If you try them, please let me know what you thought of them!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

Ahh…l’amour!  I’m a hit and a miss with the Valentine’s hoopla.  Our first Valentine’s my husband (then-boyfriend) and I spent together was at McDonald’s! One year I made heart-shaped conversation cupcakes…another year heart-shaped cake (man was that thing huge!).  This year? I’ve totally flaked when it comes to my husband (sorry, babe!).  However, I may have gone a little overboard when it comes to my oldest son (youngest one is too little to care!).  Here’s what he took to daycare for lunch today:

Cream cheese and strawberry jam sandwich:Image

Heart-shaped cheddar cheese:ImageApple rings with hearts cut out of the middle (resulting in heart-shaped apple chunks)Image

Check out the other side… I took the end pieces, cut the hearts out, flipped them and popped em back in:Image

And this is where I went from “crazy” to “insane” – I drew hearts on a few mini marshmallows with my food safe markers (LOVE those!!)Image

And to wash it all down with: strawberry milk!Image

How about you? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?  What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?