• Food, Glorious Food

    Last time I posted a week’s worth of easy, family-friendly recipes, the post was so popular you’d have thought I had pictures of a shirtless Brad Pitt on here.

    So again, I have several meals that we would eat in the course of a week. The idea is to use Sunday afternoon to plan out what you’re going to eat each night, and make one big shopping run that day. If you’re really on the ball, you can make Sunday and Monday’s meal on Sunday, or do some prep work for other meals, and you’ll really feel good about yourself if you’re an anal-retentive gourmet like me.

    (Full disclosure: I generally do have to run back to the store for more milk and fruit in the middle of the week, but at least I’m not killing myself thinking up something to feed everyone.)

    I have four new recipes this week, or you can look at the recipes from last time and see if anything looks good.

    1. Oven Fried Catfish

    I haven’t posted any seafood recipes yet, and we eat a lot of seafood. My guys love this, and it’s simple to make, although you should take off your jewelry before you dip the fish so your rings don’t get gooey. If your children are weird about fish (one of mine was for a while) you can call this “chicken that swims.”

    1 cup buttermilk
    4 (6-ounce) catfish fillets (I use 5)
    2 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I use Zatarain’s, found in the spice section)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed (Cuisinart)
    Vegetable cooking spray

    Place buttermilk in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag;
    add catfish, turning to coat. Seal and chill 20
    minutes, turning once.

    catfish fillets from buttermilk, discarding buttermilk. Sprinkle
    catfish fillets evenly with 2 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
    and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (I sprinkle mine much more liberally with salt and Creole seasoning because we like spicy!)

    Place 3 cups crushed cornflakes in a shallow dish. Dredge catfish fillets in cornflakes, pressing cornflakes gently onto each fillet. Place fillets on a rack coated with cooking spray in a roasting pan.

    Bake catfish fillets at 425° for 30 to 35 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

    No kidding, it tastes like chicken! Serve with a salad or some broccoli sauteed with garlic and potatoes au gratin out of a box. Score!!

    2.Chicken Fricassee with Orzo

    Everyone loves this. The dish might even be healthy if you stick to the amounts listed because I think I got this from Cooking Light years ago. Of course, the sauce is better if you add a touch more cream and melt a little butter in it before serving, and don’t skimp on the salt and pepper! I always forget the parsley and no one has died yet. (If you like to brine your meat before cooking, this is a great recipe to do it with.)

    (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves

    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine
    3/4 cup chopped green onions
    1/2 cup diced carrot
    1/2 cup diced ham
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1/2 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
    1/3 cup whipping cream
    3 cups hot cooked orzo (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice-shaped pasta)
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

    Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

    Add onions, carrot, ham, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in broth and wine, scraping to loosen browned bits. Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Add whipping cream; cook, uncovered, over medium heat 8 minutes. Spoon 3/4 cup orzo onto each of 4 plates. Top each with 1 chicken breast half, 1/3 cup sauce, and 1 tablespoon parsley.

    (I generally cut the breasts into strips on the diagonal before setting them on the orzo, and 3 big breasts will usually feed our famished family of five.)

    3. Fettuccine With Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Bacon

    I haven’t worked on this recipe project long, but I’ve discovered that our family eats the equivalent of a whole pig approximately every two weeks. I looked into buying a couple of hogs as a cost-saving measure, but all I found on eBay were a bunch of Harleys. Too bad, because with milk at over $4 a gallon and the grass in our yard sadly unmown, a dairy cow and some pigs would be nice additions to Bingo 3 (thriving, surprisingly), Texas Ranger (still won’t perch on Drew’s shoulder while he reads Harry Potter) and Elvis (still From Hell).


    Here piggy! Nice yard for YOU!


    I’m Texas Ranger. Don’t screw with me.


    I am evil spawn of Satan, in disconcertingly precious furry package.

    The fettucini recipe will be yet another setback for kosher readers, unless turkey bacon is acceptable. This would also be good with prosciutto or pancetta instead of the bacon, not as a kosher alternative, but as good eating.

    Actually, this recipe proves the point that you can mix bacon and pasta with just about anything and call it dinner. This dish is nothing more than Bowties with Peas and Prosciutto in a tuxedo.

    1 bottle roasted red peppers, drained (located by the olives)
    2 slices of bacon, chopped (kidding! we use 5)
    1 sliced onion
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    8 oz of cooked fettucini
    2 T grated Paremesan
    salt & pepper

    Cut the peppers into strips. Cook the bacon in a big skillet until crisp. (Okay– I do drain all but a little of the grease here– I have limits). Add onion and garlic and saute a minute. Add peppers, peas and broth and simmer a minute. Stir in pasta, cheese, salt and pepper. I add a little bit more of everything and use almost 16 oz of pasta for our family. You’re gonna want more Parmesan!

    4. Jack-O’-Lantern Pie

    I am not proud of this recipe
    at ALL from a culinary standpoint. But when it’s October, the Voice of Reason and I haul out this
    little gem to prove we aren’t complete grinches. I cook it solely for the boys to make up for the fact that I didn’t sit on the floor and play Candyland with them nearly enough when they were small. This isn’t the type of dish you make to impress your husband; this is something you make to cure mommy-guilt. When dinner’s over, you eat the leftover Chicken Fricassee from yesterday for your dinner.

    I included all the decorating instructions about the egg whites and sticking the cheese in the eye holes and so forth, but unless your kids are really charged up about helping you, the pie crust is going to be orange-ish anyway, so I forget the part about the egg, and I just throw the cheese on top of the meat before I put the top crust on.

    1 pound ground beef

    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, pressed
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I use tons more)
    1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I take this to mean French’s)
    3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided (Any ole cheese will do)
    2 tablespoons water
    1 large egg
    Red and yellow liquid food coloring

    Cook first 5 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in ketchup and Worcestershire sauce; cool.

    Unfold 1 piecrust, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spread mustard evenly over crust. (Leave a 2 inch border) Stir together meat mixture and 2 cups cheese; spoon onto center of crust, leaving a 2-inch border.

    Unfold remaining piecrust, and cut out a jack-o’-lantern face, reserving pastry cutouts to use as a stem. Place crust over meat mixture; crimp edges of crust, and fold under. Place stem on top of jack-o’-lantern face.

    Whisk together 2 tablespoons water, egg, and 1 drop each of red and yellow food coloring; brush over crust if you have time for this step.

    Bake at 425° for 20 minutes; remove from oven, and serve, (OR and brush again with egg mixture. Fill eyes, nose, and mouth with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown.)


    Jack O’ Lantern Pie ready to bake


    Jack O’ Lantern Pie developed blemishes while in oven.

    And for dessert? Cheesecake!

    brad-pitt-interview-magazine-14resize brad

    I’m posting this as part of Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer. Go check out the other great tips there!

    Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Stinkers