Courses Archives: Main Dish

Dinner’s On!

For those of you new to the Atlanta area, the AJC newspaper used to run a cool feature each week called the “5:30 Challenge.” The gist of it was to create a meal with 5 ingredients or less and have it ready in 30 minutes. Talk about an awesome reference for working families! (Moment of silence for the demise of the newspaper…for those of us old enough to remember it). In 2009, I turned in a recipe that had been passed on to my family from a college roommate of my mother’s. And, I was in print!! (Yes, I have a clipping, for those of us old enough to remember those, too 🙂 )

This is a hot meal, but honestly is delicious any time of year. The ingredients can be purchased and can sit in the pantry, the fridge and on the counter for several weeks before creating – super bonus for those struggling to plan ahead for meals (aka: moi). And finally, it covers ALL the bases needed for a meal. Yep, one pot and done.  

Here are some tips:

  • Try different flavors of canned tomatoes – all are great.  If Mexican is not your family’s preference, get the Italian ones. Want it soupier? Add a 3rd can.  
  • I adore cooked cabbage, so I generally cook the entire head of cabbage (unless it is basketball sized).  
  • I do the chopping and mixing the night before, put it in the fridge and slapped it on the stove when it was time to cook. Wait to put the cabbage on top just before stove time.   
  • I have NOT put it in the Crockpot, yet…which might actually work. Maybe low for 5-6 hours? Let me know if you give it a try.  

Hope you enjoy this “famous” recipe!  

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My Kitchen BFF – the Crockpot

I love to eat. And I love to know what I am eating. But, with a job, a kiddo, a hubby and some vague semblance of a life, there is not much time for cooking during the week. Enter my kitchen BFF – the crockpot.  Mine is the bigger oval size one – because if I am cooking, I am all about the leftovers, too.  

If you are unsure about this tool, allow me to explain. A little bit of chopping, mixing or layering in the pot itself, the prep of the liquid ingredients in a separate container happens after dinner (and kids in bed, etc).  In the morning, the crock goes into the base, the liquids are added, seasonings as needed and lid applied. Turn that baby on and get on with your day. Upon returning to your humble abode, VIOLA!  A hot meal, or at least a significant portion of one. Talk about feeling like a winner at 5:32 PM or 6:17 PM or 8:03 PM or whenever dinner is served.   

So, here is a very simple recipe to get you started; the name is silly, but it’s a full meal that pleases most palates. Serve with green salad – or applesauce when there is no time for chopping.  

(If y’all like this one, there are many more I can share. Let me know and I will continue to post them. I am 20+ years of well-versed in crockpot language – but I would love to learn more, too!) 

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Super Easy Super Bowl Recipe

As far as the Super Bowl goes, you can fall in to one of two categories – “Football Fanatic” 0r “I’m just here for the food and halftime show.” I personally fall into the latter category, except that I do have an invested interest in the Falcons because you have to support your home team. That’s just good manners.  

If you are looking for a super easy, fail proof Super Bowl snack, I’ve got just the recipe for you! 

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Knock-Your-Socks-Off Whole Roasted Chicken

Chicken Prep 1

Yes, mamas… it’s that good — it sure as heck will knock your socks off. Whether you have two different pairs on or realize you’re wearing your husband’s, this crispy-skin chicken recipe is yummy and toddler approved. 

It is one of those easy meals that’s all prep and you can pop in the oven and forget about it! It also looks beautiful and would impress the socks off your friends too, if you served it while entertaining. It’s great for making ahead, which is why I usually prep during nap time. If you watch the sales, you can get a whole chicken really inexpensive. This one from Whole Foods was local organic and was less than $6 for the whole thing! 

I like to serve with Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice (this stuff is amazing — you place in the microwave and it’s done in 90 seconds!, but it would also be great with a salad.

(Current view of what my food prep usually looks like when baby doesn’t nap: dog cleaning up the Puff crumbs and baby scooting across the kitchen floor.)

Hollis

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Homemade Gnocchi with Blackberry Ricotta

If you have ever wanted to experiment with homemade pasta, gnocchi is a great place to start!

Gnocchi is a dumpling but technically falls into the pasta category too. It comes from the Italian word for “Knuckles,” or some say it translates to “Lumps” (should be Delicious Lumps, if you ask me!). It’s made from a mixture of flour and potatoes. It’s a fairly easy food to make, and while it’s not super time consuming, you’ll feel like you accomplished something major when you’re eating this delicious dish!

My whole family loves this, including the 4 and 2-year old picky eaters. The buttery, chewy gnocchi topped with blackberry ricotta has a nutty, fruity, sweet and salty bite that everyone loves. My husband is not a ricotta fan, but he loved when blackberry preserves were mixed in – it becomes a borderline dessert when something sweet is added! 

If you want to get even more exploratory, you can experiment with making your own ricotta. But for this recipe, I kept it simple and used store bought. Make a veggie along with this, and you’ve got yourself a nice weekend meal!

Gnocchi Finished

 


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