"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beyond spaghetti

When it comes to mealtimes, I get bored really easily.  And ... I get burned out making meals that everyone walks away from with a sub par attitude.

I used to try all sorts of cool new things and then little kids would turn up their noses at marsala sauce with mushrooms, of all things.  I totally quit and vowed that once Newel and I were old folks, I'd make us fat cooking up a gourmet storm.

Then I let convenience slip in because I'm not great at spending a lifetime preparing one meal regardless if it's the pinnacle gathering time of our day.  And some evenings, time is short and the mom is stretched thin, regardless.

But things change, I guess, and nowadays I've got starved teens and little kids who understand that a turned up nose results in going without rather than a peanut butter alternative.  I'm still not good at slaving over food.  I like ease but I like quality ... and so do my customers.

Their only complaint?  There's a rumor goin' round that if they say they like something, they'll never see it again.  And if they say they don't ... they'll see it forever.

So, making sure my memory retains our favorites, I thought I'd post winning recipes on quiet Sunday evenings, to eventually be compiled into a family fave cookbook.  Fast, easy, uncomplicated, good ...

French Dip Sandwiches
(20 minutes max)

French bread loaf
Olive oil
Cheese of choice
"Carving Board" roast beef from the pre-packaged lunch meat grocery section
Onion soup mix
Raw veg with ranch dip or fruit salad on the side

Split the french bread loaf down the middle horizontally.  Brush both sides with olive oil and toast under the broiler.  Remove when toasted.  Layer both halves with cheese (kids love white american or munster, dad loves provolone or swiss).  Then top one side with the carving board roast beast. This is not the deli roast beef but a more rustic cut hanging in the boxed lunch meat section.  Hey ... I say, if you've got the time and a slicer, by all means make your own but this short cut was gourmet enough for us. Salt, pepper and put back in to melt the cheese to bubbly.

While all this toasting is going on, I boil four cups of water and a packet of onion soup mix.  Pour hot soup into individual ramekins (or bowls, cups, whatever).  Slice up some veggies (or fruit) on a tray. Set out dip.  Remove melted sandwich halves.  Put them together and slice into 6-8 pieces. 

This is a great one for Wednesday nights when you're trying to bust six kids out the door to church activities :) 

And ... be still my southern heart.  The new "everything in a jar" trend.  And don't I have dozens of these jam jars lining my storage room shelves!

Banana Puddin' in a Jar, ya'll
(15 minutes + 1 hour chill)

Vanilla Pudding made to package instructions
Sliced bananas
Vanilla waffers
Real whip cream (or that canned stuff if you're desparate)

Layer bananas, cookies and pudding in a jar x 2.  'Nuff said.  Top with real whip cream (small carton of whipping cream and sugar to taste -- whipped together).  Chill in the fridge for an hour.  I'm thinking these would also go great lidded and in lunch boxes to make a day really special.  But then, they might just eat the pudding and throw out the pb&j. Guess I'd best think this through.  After dinner however, they were a hit making each kid feel grown up with their own serving size.

I can't claim the origin of any of the recipes I'll be posting for my compilation.  They're just gathered over time.  But they're the ones that bring the kids to the table just a little faster than before.  Now let it not be whispered in hushed tones, "Don't say you like it or we'll never see it again."


  1. Coming up with meals is a challenge for me too - especially when you're pregnant. Dontcha think?

  2. Hey Marlowe, you must be feeling better if you are posting pics of food and talking recipes!! I need to get my recipes in order! I guess I would rather hunt for that recipe and strain the brain to remember the ingredients than organize them!! Both of these look yummy! Love all your pics and hope you aren't getting spring fever too soon! hugs, cathy

  3. Ooh, I have been away too long! I love your new header...gorgeous pictures!
    And what a wonderful idea about the cookbook. It is hard to make something everyone likes for dinner.