Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Northern Cornbread

I have never made homemade cornbread before, I've always just bought the Marie Callendar's kind, but the last few bags of it I've bought have had a funny flavor. I saw this recipe in the Food Nanny Rescues Dinner cookbook and happened to have all of the ingredients for it on hand. I liked that it had a nice cakey consistency. It could have been a bit sweeter for our family, so I'm adjusting the recipe accordingly. All in all, this is much better than the store bought Cornbread mixes.

Northern Cornbread

adapted from The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner cookbook

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal (recipe called for white, but worked fine with yellow)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
3 1/2 teaspoons melted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with baking spray.

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt) in a medium mixing bowl.

In a small mixing bowl mix together milk, eggs, oil and melted butter, make sure to mix well to get the eggs incorporated into everything else. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. You don't want to overmix this mixture.

Pour the cornbread batter into the baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Ours was pretty brown after 35, I think 30 would have been closer for our oven. You want the cornbread to be lightly browned around the edges. You also want a toothpick inserted in the center of the cornbread to come out clean.

Serve with butter and honey.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is one of those recipes that every member of our family actually will eat without complaint. I started with a pretty basic Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe, but we don't eat any kind of fish at our house, so I substituted canned chicken (it would also be fabulous using one of those rotisserie chickens, or just chicken breasts or tenders) from Costco. There are many other things that I tweaked from there to get it just right, including halving the noodles while leaving the sauce the same, it just gives it a better casserole texture. I love how easy it is to substitute ingredients that you have on hand or that your family likes to this recipe. It's a quick, easy dinner idea. 

Chicken Noodle Casserole

1 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (the small one, I use the reduced fat)
1/2 cup sour cream (I always use light, get the Tilamook if you can, it's the best!)
1/3 cup milk (you can add up to 1/2 cup to make the desired consistency)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Best Foods light)
1 can chicken (from Costco, or use rotisserie or breasts)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (if your family doesn't like this, you can also use 1 can of corn or just plain peas)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice


3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (usually by the Chinese food)
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, spay an 8 x 8 casserole dish with baking spray.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.

While the noodles are cooking start the soup, sour cream, milk and mayonnaise heating over low heat. I usually use a largish saucepan, because after the noodles are done I add the noodles to the sauce. Make sure to stir this mixture regularly. Add the chicken, peas and carrots, 1 cup of cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to the soup mixture. Heat through. Add the cooked noodles and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and put the remaining cheese evenly on top. Sprinkle with the prepared topping and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Avocado Guacamole

Guacamole is one of our family's favorite things to eat on Mexican food. It's great on any kind of burrito, quesadilla or simply with chips. That being said, it seems like if we open a big thing of guacamole, it's not going to be finished and it's going to turn brown and be yucky. So, I was buying the 100 calorie packs of Wholy Guacamole, but then they changed them and the guacamole had a strange texture. I was way excited when I found this awesome recipe in the Food Nanny's new cookbook that I got for Christmas, I just knew it was going to be great and it was! The awesome thing about this recipe is that you can double, triple, quadruple, whatever you need to to get the amount of guacamole that you want. Next time I make it, I will probably tone down the garlic salt just a bit, but otherwise it was perfect. I can't wait to make it again! Don't forget to plan ahead for this one and have ripe avocados on hand.

One Avocado Guacamole
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner Again

1 Avocado, peeled, and pitted 
3 dashes hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 
1/2 fresh lime, juiced (I used a couple of dashes of lime juice you buy from the grocery store)
Fresh ground black pepper

Mash avocado, I put it in a bowl and mashed it with a fork. Place the mashed avocado in a small bowl. Mix in the hot sauce, garlic sauce and lime juice. Taste to adjust seasoning. Add  pepper to taste. Serve immediately. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Weeknight Spaghetti and Meatballs

It's January now, so the focus of the recipes on our blog is going to be simple, easy, healthy dinners. This is a recipe that I got from Cook's Country, I've changed it a bit to meet our family's needs and likes. I like to make it because it's fast and easy. Another of my favorite things about it is that you only need to dirty (and clean up) one pot. That makes it even faster and easier! I always half this recipe, and it feeds our family of four, we usually have leftovers for about 1 person as well.

Weeknight Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted from

1 pound hamburger (I use 93% lean)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS olive oil
1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
8 ounces spaghetti, broken in half (I use angel hair)
1/4 cup fresh basil (I buy this in tubes in the produce section)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to top

Combine the hamburger, salt, breadcrumbs, eggs and half the garlic in a medium bowl, kneading gently. Form mixture into 1 inch meatballs. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, I use a Chili pan, and place meatballs into heated pan. Cook the meatballs until they have gotten browned all over, which takes around 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate and cover. 

Place the remaining garlic into the pan and saute, just until fragrant, this only takes about 30 second. Add the tomatoes, water and spaghetti and allow to come to a boil. Cover pan, and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, or until the pasta begins to soften. Return the meatballs to the pan and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese.