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, AllRecipes.com 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.

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Saturday Night: Chili Lime Meatballs accompanied by Browned Butter Noodles with Parmesan and mixed Vegetables

Ms. Foodie had a packet of Chili Lime seasoning in her store, so I decided to whip up some Ground Pork Meatballs with Red Onion, then create some sauce from some of the seasoning using Orange Juice and Honey.

With some Browned Butter Egg Noodles, Parmesan and mixed Vegetables as a side, the evening meal was Yumdilitious!

Comfort Food: Skillet-seared Salmon with Browned Butter Pasta and Peas

So three quarters of this meal involves butter and cheese: Comfort food much? NEVER too much. #foodie #ieatthereforeiam #comfortfood #fallmenu

I Eat, therefore I Am: Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God
had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity
.”
— Voltaire

Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

After all the SuperBowl food, Ms. Foodie needed a change of pace. Something light, yet filling. Thus, the perfect moment to try out this Spaghetti with Lemon and Kale recipe!

Ms. Foodie has been haunting the boards of Pinterest–next to food, it’s my latest obsession. So this gem from BevCooks looked appetizing, and more important, easy!

It was both, and with the touches of Lemon and Sunflower Seeds, made for a refreshing and stimulating meal.

That’s Amore!

Ms. Foodie turned the kitchen into Little Italy this weekend.

I made two Lasagnas for a going away party. One vegan/gluten-free, the other traditional, loaded with lots of meat and cheese. For the vegan Lasagna, my go-to source was AllRecipes.com; of course, Ms. Foodie added her own magic, but appreciated the help, as I’m a carnivore at heart.

The traditional Lasagna is a recipe that I keep perfecting over time, and it just gets better and better. One day I’ll share it… maybe–heh! heh!

The magic touch for both Lasagnas–Kale–a super food  that is heartier and just as healthy as spinach. It’s highly versatile, and has becomes a regular staple in Ms. Foodie’s kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Foodie also whipped up some Ground Chicken Marinara Sauce, and if I must say so myself, I put my foot in it!

Mr. Foodie agrees, as he forwent a fresh dinner for leftover Linguine with said Meat Sauce–I knew I married him for a reason…

 

Pasta with Florentine-Garlic Sauce

So what started out with a simple Garlic Butter Sauce recipe from AllRecipes.com, turned out to be a delicious Florentine-style addition to Angel Hair Pasta.

Taking their simple recipe, I increased the butter from 1/3 to 1/2 cup, added two cloves of garlic instead of one, and added sun-dried tomatoes, chopped mushrooms, and shredded kale.

Seasoned with dried Basil and Oregano to taste, Celery Salt, and Pepper, it made for a burst of extravagant flavor for the palate.

While that would have been a complete meal in and of itself, I decided to oven-broil some Rock Cod fillets, lightly basted in White Wine, Olive Oil, Curry Powder, Cumin and Minced Garlic.

This little addition was off the chain–and the entire meal took less than 40 minutes… Suhweet!

Meals on Veal: Ground Veal and Spinach Marinara Meat Sauce

Friday is quickie meal day.  After a week of life, the universe and everything, even Ms. Foodie doesn’t feel like slaving in the kitchen.  So if I don’t already have something prepared that I can reheat, I look for one of my One-Skillet or Kitchen Cabinet meals which emphasize using what’s in the house with little prep or cook time.

So Meat Sauce it is, but since I had some Ground Veal in the store, I decided to add this to my Meals on Veal repertoire. With the addition of frozen chopped spinach (also in the store), a new one-skillet meal is born!  I browned the Ground Veal in a non-stick pot with the chopped spinach, and seasoned with some fresh baby bells of assorted color, Basil, Oregano, minced onions, garlic powder, Fennel seed, Thyme,  ground pepper and Sea Salt.

Ms. Foodie tries to keep a pasta sauce in the store, and I pulled from that with the Four Cheese from the Whole Foods 365 Organic line.  Once the meat was browned and spinach melted, I poured in the sauce with an addition of Parmesan/Romano cheese for thickening, and about a cup of brown sugar.  Not only does it add a richer flavor to the meat, but it cuts the acidity of the tomato sauce.  I covered the pan and let these ingredients simmer and meld for about 30 minutes, then turn off heat and let the sauce sit for about 10 minutes more.

Trader Joe’s’ Mushroom-filled tortellini is the pasta of choice, on which I liberally poured the Veal and Spinach Marinara sauce.

And remember that Cheddar Cheese French loaf from the other day?  Well the leftovers warmed up nicely in the toaster oven to make a nice accompaniment to the Tortellini covered meat sauce.

And Veal still surprises me for its amazing lightness; yet still very filling.

Have a great weekend–eat well!

Longaniza Carbonara with Spinach is What’s for Dinner!

Jon’s Market in North Hollywood had their sample hawkers out today, and one meat rep had some delicious Longaniza sausage wrapped in a tortilla.  His selling point: A good Chorizo substitute with half the fat and more meat.  Being the carnivore that I am, more meat is always a good thing, so I was sold American!

Carbonara of any kind is soooo easy, and if you didn’t have to boil the pasta, could be considered a one-skillet meal.  As usual, I took a basic Carbonara recipe and did my own thing: used Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses and tossed in some  spinach.  I also cooked vermicelli-sized angel hair pasta instead of the standard length.  All-in-all, it came out great, especially complemented with a slice of garlic bread!

Hubby and I had a packed day, so it was nice to be able to whip up something and sit down to eat in 30 minutes.  Beats takeout, any day.