Shortcuts and Time Savers: Weekend Meals

Happy Hump Day! It may be Wednesday, but Ms. Foodie is already working for the weekend…

Ms. Foodie prefers quick and dirty for the weekend–that’s meals, not… get your mind out of the gutter!

As much as Ms. Foodie loves food, and loves the kitchen, I don’t want to spend all weekend there. So easy, one-dish meals, particularly ones that can be planned ahead of time, are always on the list. And as always, I’m not opposed to using other recipes as my launch pad.

My friend Terri Gibson posted this Pizza Casserole recipe on her Facebook page, and I immediately snagged it so that I could make it on Saturday. It looks complex, but like Pizza, it is sooo easy to prepare, and can even be prepared the night before, placed in the refrigerator, and cooked the next day. That might even be preferred, as the flavors get to merge and meld to make this already flavorful dish even better!

Pizza Casserole Collage

The original recipe is from Jinkyfer on her WordPress blog, “Recipes that Look and Sound Good“.  Jinkyfer doesn’t play, and all the recipes had me drooling. The only thing Ms. Foodie adjusted was the cook time. The recipe calls for 25 minutes, but I like my pizza and cheese crispy, yet gooey, so 45 minutes was a better measure.

For Sunday, was my go-to site, and Cheesy Pork Chop Casserole was on the menu. No measuring, no mixing, just real easy fixing, as the commercial goes. The most time took was peeling and slicing the potatoes–otherwise, gravy!

Desserts are also packaged into my weekend (unless I get a particular craving during the week), and this Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting from “Life’s Simple Measures” Blog could not be resisted.  Like the Pizza Casserole, it is extremely easy, even down to the Browned Butter Frosting. Ms. Foodie miscalculated on the Powdered Sugar, so I just added a bit of cornstarch to help the thickening.

Banana Bars Collage

Turned out beautiful, and the taste was scrumptious! It was moist and light, yet had that denseness that I love in Banana breads.

A Passion for Cupcakes!

So Ms. Foodie has been under the weather for a few days, but I managed to drag myself outside today for the grand opening of Passions Pastries & Cupcakery at their new location in Studio City!

I have known owner and chef Darlene Perry for years. Darlene and her sisters, “The Perry Sisters”,  are well-known in Gospel and R&B music circles. We all used to sing in a gospel choir together, and through mutual friends, have managed to keep up with each others happenings.

Darlene started her yummy venture in 2008 in her home kitchen, and was one of the featured chefs on Cupcake Wars, Season 3. She has expanded from a delectable selection of mini and regular-sized assorted cupcakes, to ice-box cakes, confections, sandwiches, and Seafood Gumbo–Hey, now!

The location at 11310 Ventura Boulevard is lovely and bright, with enough seating room for you to sit a spell, and enjoy your cupcake with a warm cup of Joe.

I sampled the Seafood Gumbo, and it was to die for! Spicy, and melt-in-your-mouth goodness that gives Stevie’s a run for their money.

But what I came for was the cupcakes, and nobody does it better! My personal favorite is the Sweet Potato, but I indulged and also bought an Ebony, a Carrot Cake, and a Red Velvet.

Now I don’t consider myself a Red Velvet fan, but Darlene does an incredible job of making it light, moist, with just the right hint of sweetness. I’ve had Red Velvet before that was cloying and overly sugary–this is anything but. So as long as Darlene is doing it, I can now count the Red Velvet among my favorites too!

And of course, she caters.  Pop by the storefront, or phone it in: (818) 506-8773 and (818) 985-2376.

If you love cupcakes, you’ll love Passions! Stop on by, and tell them Ms. Foodie Patootie sent you.