Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pantry Dinner

I'm sure many of you think, "What can I make for dinner without having to head to the store?"

Well, here you have a favorite in my home. Danny grew up on it and the girls really love it too! It's super easy and fast.

So check to see if you have these on hand: hot dogs, mashed potatoes (or the fake stuff), cheese, ketchup. Serve with some fruit cocktail or canned veggies and you're good!

We call this the Stuffed Hot Dog. Cut your hot dogs length-wise and unfold to make them lie flat. Prepare your mashed potatoes and put them on top of the hot dogs. Sprinkle some cheese on top and put them in the oven for 20-30-minutes, or however long it takes to get the kids to clean their room, or have the hot togs heated through. I like to use a cookie sheet with foil on it, makes clean up sooo much easier. When they are done drizzle on ketchup if you like, maybe even mustard!

If anyone tries this then post me a comment and tell me how your family liked it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Ode to Crockpots.

Oh my hand-me-down crockpot, how I love thee
From April's home you came to me

For years you've warmed my food
For friends, neighbors, and my growing brood

Meals are so easy when we work as one
And in the end there is only a single dish to be done

We've seen days of potatoes, beans, pasta, and fruit
The time spent preparing seems so minute

Gathering ingredients I have on hand
You make a meal that is never ever bland

All This week you've been by my friend
Warming my soups and stews till the end

So thank you dear friend, for feeding the ones I hold dear
I'll see you next week for lasagna, it's different, have no fear!

Hope you enjoyed that little ode. I think I have used my crockpot 4 time this past week. Sometimes I try stuff without a recipe. This one is very similar to a friend's, Harlan, from back in Boston, I just didn't have all the ingredients, so here is what I did:

Veggie Chili/Soup

1 large can tomoatoes cut up
1 can black beans
1 green bell pepper, cut up in bite size pieces
1 cup mushrooms
1/4 onion, or more if you like it lots!
1 cup water
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed

Throw it all in the crockpot and let cook on low for 5-6 hours or until hot. Near the end of the cooking add 1 tsp oregeno, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp curry, 1/2 allspice, and whatever other spices or flavors suite you. The original recipe you can also toss in some couscous to thicken it up, and peanuts tossed in first with some oil to soften them. I LOVE the crunch and nutty flavor in it. This would be great with some cornbread, yum. Or rolls or biscuits.

Just a tip: You can throw pretty much anything into a crockpot that you'd normally put into the oven, or on the stovetop. Just always make sure that there is enough liquid so that it doesn't burn. Have fun!