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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

While this dish is technically “real food” the amount of butter used is what keeps it from showing up on our table on a weekly basis. I personally love baked potatoes, and this variation with the slightly crispy skin on the bottom is just the bomb. And my husband and kids love them, too. You can play around with the toppings by trying grated cheese, green onions, sour cream, bacon (we were out of bacon so pictured is proscuitto), and/or butter. The end result works great as an appetizer, snack, side item, or tailgating dish!

Some recipes request that you scoop out most of the cooked potato before pan-frying them, but we do not think that is necessary. In our opinion the more potato there is, the better things are balanced out between the rich toppings and buttery, crispy crust. They turn out best with small to medium sized potatoes (which are currently in season here in N.C.!) although any size will work. (more…)

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It is apple season here in the Carolinas! Making homemade applesauce is somewhat of a special occasion around here since a healthy store-bought alternative (with no sugar added) can easily be found. I am not saying the store-bought stuff is nearly as good as the homemade version…just more convenient of course. Let’s just say that my husband and I do not regularly consume the little store-bought containers of applesauce, but all four of us fight over the last few drops if it is homemade! Plus making it yourself can be a fun activity (especially with kids), and luckily you can freeze the leftovers.

It is especially quick and easy to make this dish at home if you have one of these handy dandy apple slicers. You can find these inexpensive tools at most grocery stores (or Target), and they will easily cut your prep time in half. Not to mention they come in handy for just slicing apples for a snack (or even pears too!). (more…)

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I absolutely love this dish because everyone in my family (myself included) thinks it is delicious! I know I am not alone on my constant mission to find healthy, well-balanced dinners that all four of us can enjoy together (I am not a fan of making separate meals). And the best part about this dish is that once you do the hard part, which is detailed below, you can freeze the uncooked raviolis. Think of those nights when you have no plan for dinner or better yet when you are going out and need something quick for the babysitter to feed the kids. What do a lot of moms do? Throw some frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave for a few minutes. Now if you had some raviolis in your freezer, you could put forth almost the exact same effort by throwing a few in some boiling water for only 4 minutes (sans the sauce). Yes, that is all it takes for fresh pasta to cook…even when they start out frozen!

So, I highly recommend spending one Sunday afternoon making a big batch of these tasty treats. It will take some time and oh it will make a mess, but I promise it is definitely worth it. Plus, if you have kids I am sure they would LOVE to help you roll out the dough. You don’t even have to tell them that the yummy, sweet butternut squash inside the ravioli is actually a vegetable! (more…)

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This is one of those wonderful dishes where you can switch things up depending on what ingredients you have on hand. For example, you can use any type of sausage or bacon, but I still think the dish would be tasty even if you left the meat out all together. If you don’t have any shrimp you could throw in some other type of seafood instead. If you don’t like oysters (I fall in this department!) then not to worry. This is the type of dish where you can be creative and make substitutions as you see fit…and best of all enjoy the end result (and don’t forget to freeze the leftovers!).

When I recently made this dish I did not use sausage (we used bacon instead) and I did not add any of the extra black pepper or hot sauce. There is already a little red pepper in the Creole seasoning so that was the only source of heat in our dish. And to my surprise both of my girls ate (small amounts) of it when it was served. Point being – at least they didn’t hate it! When I first added the spices I took a bite and immediately thought it would be too spicy for them, but after the rice and liquids got cooking it really made the dish more palatable for those younger taste buds. So give it shot with your children before offering up a separate kid meal! (more…)

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This easy-to-make cold soup recipe is a twist on traditional gazpacho (which is made with tomatoes). We happen to love this version, and it is the perfect dish for a hot summer day. Cucumbers are still in season here in the Carolinas, and you certainly can’t beat using fresh local ingredients! (more…)

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Stocks (which are interchangeable with broths) are the base for many homemade soups and sauces. I used to always cook with store-bought chicken broth, but now there are several reasons why I prefer making it at home (using this recipe below that has been adapted from the Joy of Cooking). While it takes a little bit of time to cook, it is fairly easy to make, the end result has no sodium or preservatives, and it can be stored in the freezer. I usually divide up my finished stock into 1 or 2 cup sized Tupperware containers so I can easily pull out only what I need when it is time to use it.

Once you are done making this stock you also end up with a whole cooked chicken. Definitely don’t let that go to waste and plan something special like a chicken pasta dish, enchiladas, chicken fajitas, chicken salad, or even something like a chicken noodle soup recipe that utilizes both the stock and the chicken. The cooked chicken could also be frozen just like the stock. (more…)

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Making spaghetti sauce from scratch is surprisingly easy, and not surprisingly, delicious (especially if made with locally grown or homegrown tomatoes). While this dish takes a little bit of time to prepare, it takes very little skill. I recommend to double (or even triple) this recipe for lots of leftovers with little additional effort.  The extra sauce can be thrown in your freezer for another day. Now that I have spoiled my family by making this sauce with tomatoes from our garden, I am going to have to load up at the next farmer’s market and freeze enough sauce to last us until the next tomato season. Wish me luck with that one! (more…)

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