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Category Archives: Easy dinner

The best part about this time of year is the abundance of the fresh produce that is just begging me to EAT ALL THE VEGGIES. The BF is always bringing home tomatoes or corn or zucchini from the little roadside stands that pop up everywhere. Our little farmer’s market is full of good things, too. It’s like every day is Christmas!

Last week, The BF brought us some tomatoes that looked perfect for stuffing. I weighed a handful of options before I settled on a tuna salad filling, mostly because I had everything I needed and I didn’t want to go to the store.

These make a great summer dinner because you only have to turn the broiler on for about 5 minutes, so you don’t really have to heat up the kitchen. Serve them with a big green salad and some cottage cheese and you barely have to make an effort at all. I was lucky enough to have leftover cucumbers and onions and roasted eggplant from the night before. Hooray!

Tuna melt stuffed tomatoes

*This recipe makes 2 stuffed tomatoes with some tuna salad leftover*

2 medium tomatoes

2 envelopes tuna packed in water (single serving size)

Mayonnaise (you could use Miracle Whip if you prefer)

Sweet pickle relish

About 1/4 of a smallish onion, diced

2 hard boiled eggs**, roughly chopped

About a teaspoon of celery seed (or a rib of celery chopped)

Salt and pepper

About 3/4 to one cup shredded cheddar cheese

Start by slicing the tops of the tomatoes off. Scoop out the insides (I used an ice cream scoop) so you have a nice, hollow cavity. Set the tomatoes, cut side down, on a paper towel lined plate.

Stir tuna and mayo (start with a little mayo and add until you have the consistency you want). Mix in egg, onion, celery seed (or celery), and add relish and salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff tomatoes with the tuna salad. I like to broil them in a muffin tin because it keeps them from falling over, so place each tomato into a hole in the muffin tin, top with cheese, and broil on low until cheese is brown and bubbly.
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If you use cherry tomatoes, these make a nifty little appetizer for a cookout or summer party. Just be careful, because you may find that they disappear rather quickly.

ETA:
When you broil the tomatoes, the filling will NOT be heated through. If you prefer a hot filling (I’m not sure hot tuna salad would be super yummy but whatever floats your boat), you should bake the ‘maters.

** Ok, don’t bother with actually boiling the eggs. Seriously. Just put some cupcake liners in your muffin tin, put the eggs in there, and bake at 325° for 25 minutes. Once they come out of the oven, dunk them in ice water for ten minutes or so, then peel ’em. SO MUCH EASIER.

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After all of the cheese and heavy alfredo sauce in our French bread pizzas, I decided we should have something on the lighter side for dinner last night.

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I’m a huge fan of pasta…My favorite way to eat it is with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan.  The BF would likely be a bit confused if I put that in front of him, wondering why there was no meat. Happily, I think I found a way to keep it pretty simple and still satisfy the manly carnivore I live with.

Simple penne pasta

1/2 to 3/4 box penne pasta

Olive oil

About 1 tablespoon butter

1/2 medium red onion, roughly chopped

2-3 cloves garlic,  minced

1 container grape tomatoes

About 3/4 cup mushrooms (or more if you love mushrooms), roughly chopped

Leftover rotisserie chicken

3-4 largeish basil leaves

Freshly cracked black pepper

Salt

Parmesan cheese

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium.  Add butter, onions, and whole grape tomatoes. Sauté until tomatoes begin to burst open. Add mushrooms,  chicken, and garlic, then season with salt and pepper. Let everything cook while you boil the pasta according to package directions.

Drain pasta, then add it to the skillet along with the basil (I chose to chiffonade mine, but feel free to just rip it up). Give everything a stir and let it cook for another five minutes or so. Serve topped with cheese, salad and garlic bread on the side.

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Pretty quick, satisfying,  and it won’t leave you feeling like you swallowed a bowling ball. You could add any veggies you like, and if you don’t have rotisserie chicken just used baked chicken breast.

The boy cleaned his plate, and The BF ate two helpings. We have just enough leftover for O and I to have lunch today.

Too bad it’s only 10:30 am.


Yesterday was a rainy, cold, nasty day… The kind of day that just makes me feel like being lazy. I desperately needed to go to the store, though, and I had a lunch date with a good friend that I was really looking forward to.

I put on real pants and my favorite cozy sweater and headed to the new Japanese place to meet my friend and her darling girl. I got a Bento Box with soup, salad, a spring roll, 4 pieces of California roll, fried rice, and teriyaki scallops…Delicious!

After our lovely lunch, the boy and I headed to Wal-Mart for crochet thread and something for dinner. I wanted to make naan pizzas, but the bakery had no naan. I was really sad until a loaf of garlic and herb French bread caught my eye. Why not have French bread pizza instead?

I decided to do chicken alfredo pizzas, but you could use any sauce and topping combo under the sun.

Chicken alfredo French bread pizza

1 loaf French bread

The meat of 1 rotisserie chicken, pulled

Alfredo sauce (I used the jar but you could certainly make your own)

Fresh basil leaves

About 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced

Parmesan cheese

Italian blend shredded cheese

Banana pepper rings

Preheat your oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Slice bread in half lengthwise, then hollow it out to make room for the good stuff.

I mixed my alfredo sauce with Parmesan cheese, then spread it liberally over the bread halves. Lay out the basil leaves (as many as you like), then add onions and pulled rotisserie chicken. I added banana pepper rings to only my part of the pizza, because no one else understands that banana peppers belong on EVERYTHING.

Top with cheese, then pop into your oven for about 15 minutes, or until cheese melts. I turned the broiler on low when the timer went off so the cheese would get all brown and toasty. I think it took about 5 minutes, but just to be safe watch them like a hawk.

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That is the best photo I could manage, because I had two hungry guys trying to get to the food.

Ok, O was in his high chair banging on his tray, so it was really just one guy attempting to move me out of the way. Still, I didn’t have time to even attempt to make it look pretty. Sorry about that.

I served these with a simple side salad, and The BF had Doritos, too…Because he apparently thinks you have to have chips with pizza. Dude is weird sometimes.

They took all of 30 minutes to make and they were super tasty. The only way to be lazier would be to buy the frozen, pre-made French Bread pizzas…but where’s the fun in that?


I finally went to the grocery store yesterday, without a list because I like to live dangerously. I had a very vague idea of what I wanted to get,  but I thought it might be nice to just wander the aisles to see what called out to me.

I ended up with a pretty good haul for under a hundred dollars, even though I got home and realized I had forgotten eggs. Because, of course.

Forgotten eggs aside, it was nice to once again have a stocked pantry and a full refrigerator. 

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For dinner, I made an easy, one skillet smoked sausage and wild rice that was insanely good. Paired with 7-Up biscuits and some leftover roasted zucchini and cauliflower,  it was a really satisfying meal.

Smoked sausage and wild rice

1 package smoked sausage (I used turkey), cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 largeish mushrooms,  chopped

3/4 cup brown rice

1/4 cup wild rice

1 box (32 ounces) chicken stock

Chopped fresh parsley (about a handful)

Heat a very small amount of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium. When oil is hot, add sausage and let cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. Toss in onions, green pepper, and mushrooms, then give it a stir. Let everything cook until onions are slightly translucent.  Scoot everyone to the side, then add the rice in the empty spot. Let it toast for a bit, then stir everything together. Pour in about half of your chicken broth (make sure everything is covered) and bring to a simmer. Let that continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Make sure to check it occasionally and add broth if necessary.

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After 30 minutes, take a look at the liquid level. If there’s still quite a bit in there let it go a little bit longer. If most of the liquid has absorbed, reduce the heat to low and cover for about another 30 minutes or until the wild rice splits open and puffs up.

Toss in a handful of fresh chopped parsley right before serving. That stuff is magic, I tell ya.

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Some days, I feel like a contestant on Chopped. Yesterday was definitely one of those days… I stood there, staring into my pantry and fridge, wondering just what I was going to do with pork chops, half a dozen assorted condiments, a head of lettuce, and three zucchinis I forgot about.

I should have gone to the store, but it was snowy (yes, in March) and I didn’t feel like putting real pants on.

I found a packet of onion soup mix hiding in the back of my pantry, and I wondered if it would be good mixed into barbecue sauce.

I ended up mixing about 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce with a little ketchup, mustard, Country Bob’s, Worcestershire, molasses, brown sugar, and the packet of soup mix. Once combined, I swirled some water in the almost empty barbecue sauce bottle (to catch all of the sauce that wouldn’t come out) and poured that in, too. The sauce was actually really good. Go figure.

I preheated the oven to 350° and lightly oiled a cast iron skillet. After spreading a thin layer of sauce on the bottom, I lightly seasoned four chops with salt and pepper and arranged them in the skillet. Most of the sauce then got poured over the chops, and I set the remaining sauce in the fridge. Once the oven was ready, I covered the skillet tightly with foil and popped it into the oven for an hour.

When the timer went off, I bumped the oven up to 425° so I could roast some veggies.  I added the rest of the sauce to the chops, re – covered the skillet,  and moved it to the bottom rack to make room for my cookie sheet of zucchini. I let everything bake until The BF got home and declared that he was hungry. About 30 minutes or so?

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It turned out really well. The chops were really moist from baking in the sauce, and the onion soup mix added a really nice flavor to the barbecue. 

I’d like to think the ol’ stuff shirt judges on Chopped would send me to the dessert round after trying this. As for the lettuce… well, I didn’t have anything to go with it but it needed to be used. I washed it and ripped it up for salad.

So what if the “salad” was just lettuce with dressing on it?


Yep. That title is pretty lame.

BUT.

What I’m making for dinner tonight is not! It’s so easy that I feel weird calling it a recipe.

Maybe it’s just an Indiana thing, but I’ve been eating smoked sausage with potatoes and green beans since…Well, probably since I could eat solid food. My mom would make a big pot of it so we even had leftovers. Much like chili, this is even better the next day.

To make this cold weather comfort food, assemble the following:

1 package Smoked sausage

About 1/2 of a medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can of green beans, drained

4 or 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 32 ounce box chicken stock

Salt and pepper

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Heat a stock pot on medium. Cut the sausage into bite sized chunks and throw ’em in the pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring occasionally so nothing burns.

Add potatoes and green beans, then pour the chicken stock over everything. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and let simmer until potatoes are fork tender.

You could also dump everything into your crockpot and let it cook all day if you like.

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I usually serve this with cottage cheese and biscuits.  Tonight, I’m making 7-Up biscuits because my friend Carla says they’re the bees knees. I’m excited to try them!

What are you having for dinner?


Remember those awesome spicy meatballs I was talking about? Well I made way too much and had to freeze a bunch of the sauce and meatballs. I also had some sauce leftover from the pork cutlets parmesan

Baked spaghetti just seemed like the right thing to do. I even added a cream cheese layer as a last minute experiment and, wow! I couldn’t believe how good it was!

So, if you find yourself with an abundance of leftover spaghetti sauce try this tasty dish!

I used:

Leftover spaghetti, maybe 1/4 of a box

Leftover meat sauce, probably 3 cups or so

8 leftover meatballs (yes, I counted them)

1 8 oz package cream cheese, cut into cubes

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Basil

Oregano

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a casserole dish, then arrange spaghetti in a thin layer on the bottom. Top noodles with an even layer of cream cheese cubes, then sprinkle the mozzarella and parmesan on top. Add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Carefully spread meat sauce over the cheeses. Arrange meatballs on top, then cover with more parmesan and mozzarella if desired.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

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Ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

I may never make regular ol’ spaghetti again.



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