Tag Archives: recipe

classic

 

This past weekend, Curt and I abandoned the children and drove to Chicago for the first time in 8 years.  We stayed at a “nice” hotel… three out of 5 stars. I was nervous. The reviews weren’t so hot.  Turns out, three stars in Chicago is nicer than where we stayed for our honeymoon… so we were JUST FINE.  We walked approximately 4,177 miles.  We ate out for every meal.  We went to the planetarium. We went to Navy pier.  We left Navy Pier after about 45 seconds and headed to Rush Street for dinner.  We went to a midnight movie. We went to a midnight movie after buying tickets and then taking a nap at the hotel, BUT WE WENT TO A MIDNIGHT MOVIE. [Skyfall? 007, anyone?  That movie is incredible.  Javier Bardem… Lawd.  That man has some wicked in him.]  I sat in a bar waiting for a table and yelling for my school to beat Alabama… and they did.  THEY DID. We ate outside on the street patio and pretended we were young and free… and we were.   We sat in the park.  I ordered Coke with my breakfast- because I could.  I bought a shirt. Curt bought a grown-up jacket.  We held hands.  We ran into people we knew on the street and chatted like we were locals.  We passed people we knew (TWICE!) on the highway and texted them like it happens all the time.  It was an amazing weekend.

Somewhere in all that, Curt asked why we never have tuna casserole at home.  After I finished choking on randomess I said, “Well, I don’t know. I guess… I don’t know. We ate it every Friday growing up. I’m sure I can make that happen.”

And so I did.

Now, this is not my mother’s tuna casserole.  There is no cream of mushroom soup (since I married a man who falls on the floor and plays dead when he sees or smells a mushroom and I HAVE ENOUGH OF THAT DRAMA IN MY LIFE) and it’s quite a bit less-soupy? I dunno how to explain it.  It’s got tuna and noodles, though, so it’s tuna casserole.

The boy declared it to be in his Top 10 of my Awesome Dinner Achievements.  I’m still not quite sure how I feel about that, but I thought I’d pass along the recipe anyway.

TUNA CASSEROLE

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • half of a green pepper, diced small
  • half of an onion, diced small
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced (wait for it) small
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 12 ounces tuna
  • buttered croutons for the top

Alright, Friends. Add or take away whatever you don’t like… maybe you need peas but no onions.  Maybe you need some garlic?  That’s just fine. I’ll never know.  The trick to this whole deal was the ROUX.  Watch me be fancy here: a roux is simply equal parts fat to flour and it makes a base for a sauce.  There are 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour (which is not equal, I know) but we use half of that butter to saute the veggies in at the very beginning.

SO. Saute your veggies in all 4 tablespoons of butter. Once everything is tender and there’s still a bit of butter in the pan, sprinkle the flour and salt on top. Doing this BEFORE adding the milk will coat everything nicely without making the sauce lumpy. Once your flour is mixed in there well enough, pour in your milk and let that simmer for just a bit until it thickens… the sauce will be barely boiling.  Now you can add your cheese in and heat until melted. Now mix in your tuna.

All that’s left to do is pour this over about 8 ounces of cooked and drained pasta, top with bread crumbs or crushed croutons, and then bake for about 40 minutes at 350°. BLAMO.  A new family classic is born. Couldn’t be easier.

What was on your family’s regular menu rotation as a kid?

 

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She does not feel pretty.

You know Rylie Girl is not feeling well when her socks are on sideways and she doesn’t even care.  I considered taking into the ER for that reason alone.  For the 2nd time in 2 months, she has the super-bug that’s going around.  Poor thing.  She spent the first 5 years of her life sickness-free but is paying for it on the flip side.

What do you remember about being sick as a kid?  I remember that Mom would always french braid my hair out of the way.  I remember having the yellow bowl on the coffee table for, well… you know.  It also meant I got to move to the living room couch with the big blue blanket and my pillow.  I would watch The Price is Right and drink pools of ginger ale.

 What about you?

It’s hard to navigate a sick kiddo when you still have a hands-on infant and a tornado of a 2 year-old in the house.  Here’s a crock pot recipe I made last week that I’ll be making again this week.  It was a huge success and I need the brain-free time!

Crock Pot Angel Chicken

[source here]

  • 6 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dried Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 (10 ½ ounce) can Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup
  • ½ cup white wine (may substitute water or broth)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese with chives and onions
  • angel hair pasta or rice (cook according to box directions)

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken in crock pot.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan.
  3. Stir in Italian salad dressing mix, can of soup, cream cheese & wine(or water or broth). Pour over chicken.
  4. Cook on low in the crock pot for 4-5 hours.
  5. Pour over cooked angel hair pasta or other noodles or rice.

 

I used garlic cream cheese and served it all over rice.  I am guessing you could halve the butter and still have fabulous results.  Gus Man ate his weight in the rice and sauce with Rylie coming in only slightly behind him.

Have a fabulous Monday, Folks!  We’ll see you Thursday if everyone is back on their feet again.


killer salsa

My favorite salsa recipe:

  • 8-10 cups of tomatoes, chopped and drained of juice (I use 10 cups)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2-4 jalapenos, chopped (I use 2)
  • cilantro, chopped 
  • 3 onions (small to medium), chopped 
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (this kicks a bit, which is why I only use 2 jalapenos)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup or less of white sugar
  • 6 oz. tomato paste

Throw everything in a large pot, simmer for at least one hour (or several intervals over a couple of days if you’re me and have crazy children WHO TOUCH EVERYTHING), and then ladle into hot jars and water bath for 20 minutes. I get 5 pints out of this batch… pretty small compared to some of the recipes out there.  But, it’s great for one day of salsa-making.  You can also put this straight in the fridge (without canning) for up to a month. I don’t recommend freezing salsa… it thaws a bit mealy and just isn’t quite the same level of awesomeness.  Use it immediately, or can it for the rest of the year.

Let me be frank here: I am no canning expert, and neither was your grandmother.  Hot water baths for canning salsa are ONLY OK if the recipe comes from a trusted canning and kitchen website.  Tomatoes themselves are acidic, as is the vinegar, but every other ingredient you add or subtract changes that pH level.  Even one little bell pepper.  I know.  It’s a little crazy… but you just want to be extra careful.  It’s going to be sitting on your shelf for up to a year and we want it to be yummy and safe.  When in doubt, use a pressure canner. 

That being said, this is a friend’s recipe I’ve used ever since I’ve been canning on my own… 5 years maybe?  I hot water bath this recipe- as listed- and have had no trouble with spoilage or anything else.  But, again, I am a mere farm maiden mortal. 

Happy salsa-making!

a couple of great websites for you:

http://www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm

http://www.freshpreserving.com/home.aspx

http://www.canningpantry.com/using-pressure-canners.html

http://www.simplycanning.com/pressure-canning.html


The night my car imploded, we were returning home from a rare night out over at a friend’s house.  We (4 adults and 6 children) had dinner, we played Wrestle (because who doesn’t), we talked cell phone coverage (because who doesn’t), and we decorated cookies.

Should you ever find yourself outnumbered by children, I highly recommend pulling out a container of plain sugar cookies and 3 bowls of icing, sprinkles, and marshmallows and yelling “Get after it!”  Pure genius. Best evening-with-company activity ever.  Children: happy while destroying while decorating while eating.  Parents: talking while supervising while eating.  Brilliant.

Even better genius if you use Shanda’s recipe.  I actually stopped mid-cookie, mouth-full to ask, “Um… what kind of sugar cookie is this?”  They are unbelievable. Seriously.

Shanda’s Frosting Cookies

Cream 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg.

Add 2 Tablespoons of milk, 1 Tablespoon of orange rind, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 cups of flour.

Chill.  Roll out.  Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.

It’s the orange rind.  It will change your world, my hand to heaven.

We’ve started a new tradition here in the Mulder household.  Once a week, I make dinner, feed the kids, we play with the kids, we put the kids in bed, and then Curt and I eat AFTER.  Like, at 8:30pm.  Alone.  It’s our at-home date night.  We were finding, like everyone else with jobs and kids and commutes and chores, that we were really tired at the end of the day and sometimes could barely work in 5 minutes of actual non-kid or household-related conversation.  We do have babysitters out here, and we use them… but it’s not something we do every week. This gives us a *free* night at home.  No one stealing my pop, no food flying off the high chair, no convincing anyone to eat 2 more bites.  Just adults.  It’s pretty rad.

Do you have a standing weekly or monthly date night pact?