Category Archives: Easy Meals

Making Salad On-The-Go [Easy Meals]

Eating well with four active kids is a constant challenge for me. I find myself preparing them great meals, but neglecting myself or eating their leftovers. A schedule full of pick-ups and drop-offs also means that I’m eating a lot of meals on-the-go. I find it challenging to pack a lunch for myself. I don’t love sandwiches and oftentimes lunch on the run for me looks like crackers and string cheese – things I’ve purchased for the kids but don’t necessarily look forward to eating myself.

I had a great wrap in San Diego recently, and tried my own variation at home. I think I’ve figured out how to take a salad along with me. No fork required.

salad on a tortilla2 600×450 Making Salad On The Go [Easy Meals]

Takeaway Salad:

1 sprouted grain large tortilla
2 tbsp humus
1 cup salad greens
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup broccoli (mine was grilled, leftover from the previous night)
1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
1 tbsp shredded carrots
whatever other salad fixings you fancy
Spread the hummus onto the tortilla (this keeps the tortilla from getting soggy). Mix your salad in a bowl, and then place it in center of tortilla. Wrap it up like a burrito and seal with foil.

Leftover Relief [Easy Meals]

Hi. Welcome to the weekend after Thanksgiving. You probably don’t feel much like cooking, huh? You might even feel like you don’t want to cook again for oh, maybe the next decade. I feel you, brothers and sisters. I do.
But. You have Mouths to Feed. Mouths that are going to revolt at the mere suggestion of leftover turkey for dinner. When that happens—long about Saturday if your house is anything like my house—you can make this. It’s fast, it’s delicious, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Thanksgiving leftovers.
schooner tuna Leftover Relief [Easy Meals]

If you can find Neptuna, use it. It’s delicious and has great texture. Nobody paid me to say that, although I’m totally open to that idea.
So Not Your Mama’s Tuna and Noodles
1 lb – short dried pasta shape
2 tbls – olive oil
1 – red onion, diced
1 tsp – dried oregano
½ c – dry white wine
1 can – cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Most of a 3.5 oz jar – capers (no need to drain them)
1 c – pitted Nicoise olives, cut in half
7 or 8 – fresh basil leaves, chopped
About ½ c – flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 – lemon, juiced and zested (keep another lemon hanging around—you might need it)
2 cans – olive oil-packed tuna, flaked with a fork and half drained
2 c – cherry tomatoes, halved
Step 1: Start some well-salted water for the pasta.
Step 2: Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is just starting to turn clear-ish, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add the oregano (rub it a little between your fingers) and the wine and cook until the wine has almost completely cooked away. Stir in the beans, capers, olives, basil, parsley and lemon zest and juice.
Step 3: The water’s probably boiling by now. If you haven’t already, add the pasta and give it a stir. Cook until it’s done the way you like it then drain. Let a little of the cooking water hang around.
Step 4: Put the drained pasta to the skillet and stir. Gently stir in the tuna and tomatoes along with a little salt (watch it, the olives and capers are pretty salty) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Taste to see if you need more salt or more lemon juice. You want it nice and bright and briny.
Step 5: Serve to turkey-weary family.

Salad People

The first book I ever cooked from was a copy of The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. I stole it from my older, cooler sister when I was 16. Damn I loved that book. It had a cool California hippie vibe, fun drawings, and all the recipes were filled with cheese.

Moosewood1 Salad People
I think it’s time I got my sister a new copy.

Click here to view Bluehost Coupon Codes.

So there’s a certain symmetry to the fact that the first book my kid ever cooked from was also written by Mollie Katzen. She’s written a trio of great cookbooks for kids: Pretend Soup, Honest Pretzels, and Salad People. All of her recipes have picto-instructions in addition to the written ones, so even little kids who can’t read can follow along. Any of her books would make a great holiday gift for the foodie parents you know. (I swear nobody is paying me to say any of this. Hi Mollie!)

salad person in progress21 Salad People
My kid has been having Salad People over for lunch since she was two. In all that time I’m not sure she’s realized how many vegetables are involved.

Salad People

From the book of the same name by Mollie Katzen

1 – pear
1 ice cream scoopful – cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, flavored Greek yogurt, or hummus
Small bowlfuls – carrot ribbons, celery sticks, halved cherry tomatoes, quartered grapes, berries, orange sections, sliced black olives, capers, angel hair pasta or pasta shapes, string cheese, nuts—pretty much anything healthy you have hanging around
salad people ingredients Salad People
You don’t have to get this carried away. Three or four things would do just fine.

Step 1: Peel the pear and cut it in half. Scoop out the core with a melon baller.

Step 2: Place one of the pear halves on a plate, cut side down. That’s your Salad Person’s body. Put a scoop of cottage cheese just above it. That’s his face.

naked salad person Salad People
Naked Salad Person. I guess I should have warned you that this post is NC-17.

Step 3: Now comes the fun part. Decorate your Salad Person with all that stuff you assembled.

Know that you’re going to see some potentially disturbing flavor combinations. Look at it this way: you’re teaching your kid that pomegranate seeds are potentially gross with black olives. Although you might be surprised.

salad santa Salad People
Your Salad Person can go seasonal/slightly creepy—

salad rocker Salad People
—or rock and roll. My kid says this is Mr. S from School of Rock, shredding guitar. But I’m pretty sure it’s Jerry Garcia with a banjo.

salad santa no more Salad People
That Salad Santa didn’t have a chance. I’m so glad she ate his creepy eyes first.

pf icon small Salad PeoplePrint

Better Than Your Mother-In-Law’s Meatloaf [Easy Meals]

Happy Holiday season! No matter what you are celebrating, traditionally this is that time of year when family descends on you (or you have to trek over to visit them). And for all the togetherness and love and happiness (ahem) let’s not fool ourselves: This is the time of year when we need comfort food like we’ve never needed comfort food before.
And if the comfort food is easy to make with your kids (even younger kids can help with the measuring and cracking the eggs!) and will taste better than what your in-laws make? Well, that’s something you can take comfort in right away!
Better Than Your Mother-In-Law’s Meatloaf
(adapted from Lipton’s recipes)
1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Onion Soup Mix
2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 lb. each: ground pork and ground veal
1/2 c. plain dry bread crumbs (I like to substitute the same amount of plain dry oatmeal)
3 eggs
1/2 c. skim milk, with more in reserve
1/3 c. ketchup, with a few tablespoons of your favorite mustard mixed in
Step One: Preheat oven to 350.
Step Two: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands. If the mixture seems too dry, add more milk, a bit at a time.
meatloaf prep 600×450 Better Than Your Mother In Laws Meatloaf [Easy Meals]
Step Three: Place in oven-proof loaf pan. Smooth the top with your hands. Bake in the center rack, uncovered, for approximately an hour.
Step Four: Take out, let cool, slice and serve with mashed potatoes!

Crock Pot Pot Roast [Easy Meals]

Here’s my secret: I don’t love meat.

I can live on pasta and vegetables and a fish or two.

But my family are carnivores.

So I try to strike a balance. I make meat for them, something that makes a lot of leftovers and then I feel free to make meatless dishes for myself.

This recipe (which I got from Make It And Forget It! cookbook) works perfectly because it’s so easy, uses only two ingredients and makes a lot of meat. It’s like having your own cow in the backyard, practically. Assuming you like that kind of thing.

Crock Pot Pot Roast

4-5lbs. cut of pot roast. Ask the butcher for a cut that’s not too fatty.
16 oz. of barbecue sauce (I like Stubb’s)
Step One: Pour half the barbecue sauce on the bottom of the crock pot.

Step Two: Place roast in crock pot.

Step Three: Pour the rest of the barbecue sauce over the roast.

Step Four: Cook on low for 6 hours.

Slice and enjoy with a side vegetable or mashed potatoes.

order it online

Getting Out of the Rut: Sunday Suppers

I’m sure I’m not the only one. A rotation of meals, spun the same way, with maybe a few mix ups and a dinner out or a swing through the drive through, week in, week out.

My god, I’m flipping sick of it.

I use a blog reader and I have a folder for food blogs. Probably 2 dozen or more in there that I read regularly, every single day, or whenever there’s a new post. I star and favorite and email recipes to friends. Oh, yeah, I think….I am SO making that.

And then? I don’t. I don’t have all the ingredients. I’m too tired. The kid just wants a peanut butter sandwich. Wah, wah, wah, the list goes on and on. So I fall back on my tried and true. My usual. While there is nothing wrong, really with any of those things? I AM TIRED OF THEM.

So I’ve decided to take back my kitchen and start making things on my list. I’m challenging myself to do this for 8 weeks. On Sunday, prepare a dish that I’ve never made before. A main course, a side dish, a dessert. Something new and exciting.

I want to chronicle it here. I figure if I out myself to you all, I’m less likely to let myself be talked down with excuses. And? I’m challenging you all to do this with me. Let’s explore and have an adventure together!

This bouncy ball of energy is always somewhere in the kitchen with me.

My first dish is a variation of something I made last Sunday when I had the in laws (actually, ex in laws, but they’re still family) over. I made some potatoes, cooked and then mixed with cream and pepper-jack cheese. They were good, but they needed something more.

So, in walked bacon and cheddar. And that was good, but still not quite there yet. Onions and some green pepper and a quick roast in the oven to get some color (not to mention more flavor), and BOOM, we got a winner. I could not stop eating these things, even though I was already full from dinner.

I could eat another bowl of these right now.

Sunday Supper Side Dish – Cheesy Roasted Potatoes with Bacon

1 1/4 lbs potatoes – any kind, russet, red, Yukon Gold, whatever you got
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 lb pepper-jack cheese, sliced thin
1/4 lb cheddar cheese, sliced thin
**optional, but highly recommended – 2 tablespoons bacon fat and 4 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon
Step One: Take a large baking sheet and pour on 2 tablespoons of oil, or the bacon fat.

Step two: Place in oven and set temperature for 400.

Step three: While oven and pan is heating, dice up your potatoes and veggies.

Step four: Pull hot pan from oven and toss potatoes and veggies on it, carefully tossing them with the hot oil/bacon fat.

Step five: Roast in oven for approximately 20-30 minutes until potatoes are golden brown and veggies are roasted.

Step six: Turn off oven. Place your sliced cheese over the top of the potatoes and put pan back in oven for a couple minutes, until the cheese is completely melted.

Step seven: Stir potatoes until all are evenly coated.

Serve garnished with bacon crumbles.