I ran a post a few weeks (months?) ago with some family friendly recipes. It went over well so here are a few more that I’ve been trying out lately. Oh, yes, and there was that baking post too for the hungry mama heart. The most trying part for me about new recipes is that one can easily spend loads of time in the kitchen and have nothing but a bunch of dirty dish towels and dishes to show for it. And probably the entire time was spent snacking on chocolate chips because you were so h-angry whilst cooking. I mean, I would never do that, but some of you might snake a handful or two out of the freezer.
We’ve been traveling, entertaining guests, helping friends move, gearing up for a big vendor show next weekend for my & my Whole Parenting Goods, and trying to relax. Focusing very strictly on relaxing. Relax, dammit. Instead, two nights in a row, SuperBoy has crept into our bedroom while we are downstairs, after he should have fallen asleep in his own bedroom, and tucked himself in our bed. Literally. Under the sheets & blanket, even with his little man doll Charlie Dixie in tow. It’s hysterical and hysteria-inducing. Go to sleep in your own bed, you tyrant!!! So AA carries his lifefilled sack of potatoes into his own bed and sneaks out of the room, hoping the wood floors don’t creak him away.
Back to food.
1) Easy Chicken Noodle Soup.
Everyone except AA: A++ The kids love it and eat it all the time. He’s so-so on it. I’m happy to have warm food. With chicken. And egg noodles.
Do exactly as I say and you will always have an easy and delicious meal for yourself or others in your life in need–like all those mamas & their babies you’re bringing meals to while you oo and aa over the new one.
Ingredients: 1 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped carrots, 7-8 cups of chicken broth or stock, 1 rotisserie chicken ripped up by your bare hands, 1 1/2 cup cooked egg noodles, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp oregano, salt & peppie to taste.
Large pot. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions & celery & carrots until tender (10 mins), pour in chicken broth. Add chicken that you’ve bought already cooked at the store & ripped up (keep that carcass for broth!), cooked egg noodles (which take about 3 mins in boiling water), seasoning. Like any soup, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. You know. Let it heat before you serve it. Goes great with a baguette. Now you know the meal I’ll bring you if you live near me and have a baby.
2) Sugar-free but Tasty Zucchini Bread.
Everyone: A++ yummmly.
My mom’s zucchini bread recipe is amazing but calls for TWO cups of sugar. Really? That totally offsets the value of 2 cups of shredded zucchini. It’s like a bad bate & switch.
Find what works for you between these three. Because this was a few weeks ago and I can’t remember what I did. Homemade apple sauce was definitely in there, and sugar wasn’t. There you go. Good luck.
3) Peach Cobbler, definitely NOT Sugar-free.
Adults in the house: A+ yum.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 3/4 + 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tpsn whole milk, 1/2 tsp almond extract, 2 tpsn cold unsalted butter, 2-5 small ripe peaches, pitted & thickly sliced.
Heat oven to 435. Stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt & 1 tsp sugar. In a different bowl, whisk the oil, milk & almond extract. Now gently mix these two together. This is your crust dough so don’t overwork it. Transfer it to your 11-inch tart pan and pat it out with your fingers and hands, all the way up the sides. It should be about 1/8 inch thick all around.
Now for the middle topping: mix 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 salt & the butter. Pinch the butter into the dry ingredients–it’s okay if it’s still pea-sized when you’re done. Lick your fingers. I mean, don’t.
Here comes the peach part. Starting on the outer rim, arrange the peaches in an overlapping concentric circle on top of the crust until you hit the middle. Fit them snugly. Then sprinkle butter & sugar mix. It will look like a lot–see above photo for the before-cooking shot. Bake for 35-45 mins or until shy thick bubbles envelope the fruit and the crust is brown but not burnt.
My dear friend Alice gave me this recipe. And WOWEE she said it was delish! She was right, of course.
4) Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Gratin.
Smitten Kitchen. These two words will change your life. And my photo of ours stinks. So go with her photography to inspire you.
The only thing I did differently was to add more butter to the chard stems while they were cooking away, and as I had no gruyere, I used a Vermont Cheddar (Cabot brand from Costco!) and it carried a nice crisp taste as well. And I probably didn’t have the requisite poundage of chard, but as I grabbed what we had from the garden, I figured, what the heck.
5) Steak & Veggies.
AA: A, though he is not a green veggie guy, he did eat them.
SuperBoy: B+, he loves the sweet potatoes & beans, but the regular taters and steak not so much. The caprese was good for the tomatoes & basil, but not the cheese.
SweetPea: A+. She’s our carnivore.
Me: A. I could have taken the steaks off sooner, but you know how it is.
The key to a good steak is to not overcook it. And not over marinate it. Or over flip it. A good steak should stand on her own two legs without too much seasoning. So go big or go home, as they say in some sport or another. When you’re grilling it, hovering like the helicopter mother that you are because who can trust your man to keep an eye on this any more than you can count on him to keep the children dry when there’s a hose around, you know it’s done when you push and it feels like the meaty part of your hand between the thumb and first finger. That’s what Anthony Bordain told my dad on cable TV (as in, my dad the passive recipient of cable in his bedroom). So go for it.
Steam the green beans. Not for too long. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over them. Then make those sweet potato fries at 400 degrees for like 35 minutes (a dash of paprika with your salt & peppie will do the trick). Roast your normal potatoes if you like, boiling them first and then broiling them to make them crispy the last 10 minutes of their life. Caprese salad don’t mind if you do–be generous with the heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella or you’ll be eating lots of basil hunks. Which the kids do all the time straight from the garden, but we’re adults. C’mon.
6) Breadcrumb Crusted Cod over Green Beans.
Adapted from a recipe book my BFF gave me, and although I’ve made it successfully before, this photo lies. The breadcrumbs didn’t turn out AT ALL and it was big flop. But here’s how it should have gone down:
Ingredients: big slap of cod fish, green beans, flour, egg, breadcrumbs, herbs from your garden (I used oregano & thyme because I’m swimming in thyme), parmesan cheese grated, heirloom tomato if you have it for color, and maybe a swig of fresh basil for sweetness.
Take your casserole dish and oil or butter it. Take your cod and dredge it through a bowl of a beaten egg, then a bowl of seasoned (salt & peppie, diced herbs) breadcrumbs. You’re making a crust here. Slap down your cod into the casserole. Then bake it for 30 mins or so, don’t over cook it just keep checking yes I know it’s fish but it’s not sushi so don’t eat it raw either, at 350 degrees. When it’s good and flakey, remove from oven and plate it with green beans that have been appropriately steamed. When in doubt, add cheese. And heirloom tomatoes.
You could certainly cook this in a cast iron skillet & oil olive for a few minutes on each side and then pop it into the oven for more like 10 mins to get a crisp crunchy outside. Nummy! That’s how I do chicken parm.
7) Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake.
AA loves cherries. Like loves them more than me. A+
SuperBoy & SweetPea: A+
Me: B. I like my sugar.
Smitten Kitchen. Again. Use those cherries and cornmeal. Skip the sugar and you’ve got a SuperBoy style dessert (because I’m a mean, mean mama). SuperBoy & SweetPea loved loved loved this, esp with that freshly whipped cream with a hint of real vanilla extract tipped in the mixing bowl.