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Food for the large family



Someone suggested that recipes for large families might be a good idea, so I went ahead and decided to write out recipes for our menu plan. Hope you like them.

Lasagna

I have been known to double this recipe and freeze one of them before baking. Works out well.

1 large onion, chopped up
24 oz can crushed tomatos
8 oz can tomato paste
1 c onion stock
4 cloves minced garlic
A whole mess of italian seasoning or some such.
Small box of lasagna noodles
1 lb italian sausage
1 c. parmesean cheese
2 c. ricotta cheese
2 beaten eggs
2 T chives
dash of fresh ground pepper
3 c. shredded mozzerella cheese


Preheat oven to 375 o

Combine tomato paste, crushed tomatos, and herbs in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer. While this is cooking, brown the italian sausage with the onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add to tomato sauce.

Combine ricotta cheese, chives, beaten eggs and pepper. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread 1/4 cup of sauce on the bottom, then add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread riccotta cheese mixture evenly over noodles, add about 1/2 the remaining sauce, then 1/2 the mozzerella cheese. Follow with a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles, and repeat the layers of riccotta cheese mixture and sauce. Add remaining mozzerella cheese, then cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 mintutes. After removing from oven let stand 15 minutes before serving.

To freeze: Spray a 9X13 pan with olive oil. Line it smoothly with aluminum foil, and spray or brush olive oil all over the foil to coat. Assemble the lasagna as directed, but instead of cooking it, cover it with aluminum foil and freeze it overnight. In the morning, you can take the pan out of the freezer, remove the lasagne from the pan, peel off the foil and then wrap the block very, very well with heavy cling wrap. (We usually buy the kind meant for restaurants, as it seems to be the cheapest and strongest). Pop it back in the freezer. The day before you want to use it, take it out of the freezer, unwrap it, and pop it back into the pan. Let it thaw and cook at 375 o for about an hour and 15 minutes or until you can stick a meat thermometer in the middle and have it come out 180 o . Why go to all the trouble of freezing it and taking it out of your pan? I don't know about you, but I tend to freeze several meals and I sure as shooting don't have an unlimited supply of lasagna pans!

Chicken Pot Pie

This is an insanely easy dish, but only serves four. Make two if you have more than four adults. It's also one of my wife's favorites -- Lord knows why. It also freezes well, as long as you make sure to drain the veggies very well.

For pie crust:
2 c. flour
1/3 c. shortening or butter
1 t salt
1/4 c. cold and I mean icy water
3 c. shredded chicken, cooked. (I often make this on a day I make chicken stock with a whole chicken, I go ahead and use the chicken. Great flavor)
2 1/2 c. mixed veggies (I admit to using 2 15 oz. cans of Veg-all. Make sure to drain it.)
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup.

To make the Pie Crust:

Combine salt and flour. Cut in butter or shortning until fine. Add cold water slowly until a stiff dough is formed. divide dough in half. Roll each half in a 12" circle. Use one circle to cover the bottom of deep 9" pie plate. Do not trim edges.

For Filling:

Combine chicken, veggies and cream of mushroom soup. (Gosh, that was hard, wasn't it?). Dump it all in the pie dish, cover the mess with the remaining circle of pie crust dough, fold the edged together and pinch together around the edges. This is a chance to make it look pretty, if you want. Cut a vent for steam to escape in the top of the pie. (I usually use a fork to poke the words I and You in it and cut a heart out in the center --nauseating, ain't I?). Cook for about 1/2 hour at 425 o or until a nice light brown.

Burritos

This is more or less how The Beast makes them, though he often embellishes the dish. If I wind up cooking on a burrito night, this is what I do. (If he discovers this, he is going to be horrified. He thinks recipes are for wimps). This is Yet Another Dish That Freezes Well. We usually freeze them in quart sized freezer bags to take to work for lunch.

2 lbs hamburger, or shredded chicken or beef
small can chopped green chili peppers
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp chili powder
dash salt and pepper
3 c. grated cheddar or montery jack cheese
2 15 oz cans of refried beans
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 large flour tortillas
Lettuce
Sliced Black olives
Sour Cream
Diced tomatos

Heat your refrieds. You can do this in a saucepan or in the microwave for about three minutes. (smile) I usually go the microwave route.

Brown meat with spices and the rest of the onions, garlic and chili peppers. Spread a tortilla with a a couple of tablespoons of refrieds, add about the same amount of the browned meat. fold in the sides loosely and roll loosely. We usually serve them three to an adult plate on a bed of shredded lettuce and tomatoes, garnished with salsa , sour cream and gorilla nostrils (that's OLQ's family code for sliced black olives). Obviously, this is a great dish to serve with Spanish Rice.

Clam Chowder

12 oz canned clams
4 cups potatoes, diced fine
2 cup chopped onions
4 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. salt
4 cups milk
2 cup cream
4 T. flour
Drain clams reserving juice. Combine onions, clam juice, potatos, salt and thyme in a pot. Simmer for about ten minutes until potatoes are tender. (Careful, this mixture burns easily!) Mash potatos and onions against the side of the pan with a fork. Add flour to milk and whisk until all lumps are gone. Add milk. clams and cream. Cook for about two minutes until mixture thickens. Serve immediately.

Cornish Game Hens

1 game hen per two people
2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt (depending on your iodine needs)
1 tsp pepper
Juice from 6 lemons
3 cloves garlic minced fine
6 T olive oil

Combine lemons, olive oil and garlic. Split game hens in half and place in gallon sized freezer bag. Add lemon juice mixture. Marinate 1/2 hour out of the fridge or two hours in the fridge, turning the bag over halfway through the mariating time.

Arrange on broiler pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 o for 45 minutes. Serve with wild rice or potatoes and a tossed salad.

Shepherd's Pie

When we make this recipe, we double it, because it heats up well for lunches. In case you've never encountered the dish, Shepherd's Pie is basically meat with mashed potatoes and creamed corn on top.
1 lb hamburger
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 tsp chili powder
dash of salt and pepper
2 cans creamed corn
10-12 medium potatoes
1/4 milk
4 T. butter
1/3 c. Sour Cream (we use reduced fat sour cream, for obvious reasons)
Peel and dice the potatos, and cook until tender. While the potatoes are cooking, brown hamburger with salt, pepper, onions, garlic and spices. Drain. By this time, the potatos should be tender enough to stick easily with a fork. Mash the potatoes with the milk, butter and sour cream adding salt to taste.

In a large baking dish, spread meat on the bottom, then spread mashed potatoes on top. Finally add creamed corn, spreading evenly. Bake at 400 o for about 20 minutes.

Mac-n-Cabot

Creation of the Goddess of Giggle. This is comfort food at its best and we all look forward to Mac-N-Cabot Nights mightily. It also freezes well, but no-one seems to have the self control necessary to pack up leftovers and freeze them. They tend to get eaten up.

2 16 oz. Packages of Elbow Macaroni/ medium shells or whatever medium size pasta you prefer.
¼ cup olive oil
1 med. Onion diced
5-6 cloves of fresh garlic
½ cup lightly salted butter
½- 2/3 cup flour
6 cups of milk
1 tsp. Ground mustard
2-3 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground pepper
2 lbs. Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
½ lb. Ritz or club crackers

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and put into 11"x15'"x2" pan. Coat with olive oil, and set aside. In a sauté pan, combine onions, garlic and a touch of olive oil. Cook until onions are just beginning to become transparent. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt butter in a 2 to 3 qt. Saucepan on medium-high heat. Whisk in flour until a thick paste is formed (almost doughy). Here's the hard part. Starting with a very small quantity (about 2 tbls.) and gradually increasing the amount, add milk while whisking vigorously. Make sure that the consistency is very smooth before adding each portion of milk. If this is not done correctly, you will have lumps of flour in your sauce. Take care to stir the bottom of the pan thoroughly to prevent the sauce from burning to the pan. Stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Continue stirring with the whisk until the mixture comes to a bubble, turn down heat slightly and keep stirring until the sauce becomes thick (about the consistency of a milkshake- not quite a McDonald's shake though). Melt in 1½ lbs. of the cheddar cheese gradually.

Pour sauce carefully over pasta (you may not need all the sauce, you don't want a soup- the extra sauce makes a great fondue for veggies or crackers) and mix well.

Spread remaining cheese evenly over casserole. Crush crackers and top casserole with cracker crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese bubbles and crackers begin to brown.

Serves 10-12

Chicken Curry

This is actually a perfect crock pot meal, for anyone who uses that most wonderful of kitchen implements. You have to have either a blender or a food processor for this recipe.

I've been experimenting, and this is what I've come up with. I expect I'll perfect it as time goes on. This recipe makes a LOT. It's good for company or if you like to have leftovers. If you don't have a 6 qt crock pot, you should half this recipe. I make this for a family of six and company, knowing that the leftovers will be lunches.

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
4 large potatoes, diced
4 c. milk
2 c. plain yogurt
3/4 c. raisins
2 large peaches or one large mango
1 15 oz can coconut milk
Olive oil for sauteing
2 large onions
5 large cloves garlic
6 T sliced fresh ginger
8 T curry powder
8 T. spring water
Whisk together coconut milk, milk and yogurt, and pour into a crock pot set on low. Add diced chicken and diced potatoes, stirring it in.

Grind together the raisins and the fruit, and add to the yogurt, chicken mixture.

Wash out your food processor, then grind together your onions, garlic and ginger. Saute until the mixture gets slightly darker. Then mix water and curry powder (if you really like HOT indian food, add some red pepper. But be careful. It can sneak up on you). Add to mixture in saute pan and simmer for awhile. The instructions on how to make curry that I ran across said to simmer "until it starts to smell really good". It sounds non-specific, but believe me, this is accurate. Your nose will know, 'cause you'll take in a deep breath and say to yourself, "DAMN, that smells GOOD."

When you get to that point, add the mixture to the stuff cooking in the crock pot. If you're cooking it on low, it needs to cook for about five hours (but can go longer). On high, you need to cook it at least three hours.

Serve over rice.

Spaghetti

This is the crock pot version. You can do this on the stove just as well, but use a big pot. I make this with the intention of freezing about 3/4 of this in meal sized portions. Oh, do chill the sauce before you try to freeze it. You don't want to melt the food in your freezer by putting it next to hot sauce!
2 lbs italian sausage, molded into balls
3 24 oz can of crushed tomatoes
15 oz tomato paste
6 cloves diced garlic
2 medium onions, diced
3 T oregano
2 T Thyme
2 T Basil
2 T Parsley
Crock Pot Version : Throw everything in a very large crock pot. Turn on low. Come back in six hours. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Manga!

Stove Version : Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. In a large pot, add crushed tomatoes, spices, onion garlic and a dash of salt and pepper, if you like. Simmer 1/2 hour. Bake sausage balls @ 375 o for 20 minutes. Combine meat balls and sauce. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. Manga!

Chicken Quesadillas

This recipe is quick, but it's one of those "serve immediately" deals or they get soggy. If you can make these on a griddle, you're ahead of the game.
1 lb chicken breasts
12 tortillas
2 cups cheddar or monterey jack cheese
4 cloves diced garlic
Salsa
Sour cream
Black Olives
1 medium onion, diced
3 t cumin
4 oz can green chili peppers
2 t. chili powder
dash of salt
Sprinkle spices on waxed paper. Coat chicken breasts in spice, then add another piece of waxed paper to top and pound with mallet to flatten. Brown chicken in a little bit of olive oil with garlic. chili peppers, and onions, then remove from pan and slice into strips.

Spread butter onto two tortillas, fill with lots of cheese, and about 1/6 of meat mixture. Cook on each side until brown. Cut into six or so pieces and serve with salsa, sour cream and black olives.

Salsa

15 oz. can diced tomatos or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper

3 cloves garlic

1/2 medium onion

Saute the onions and garlic. Combine with the tomatoes and jalapeno peppers in a saucepan and cook on low. This freezes well. Although I have not done so, I suppose the smart thing would be for me to make up about four times this recipe and freeze it in meal sized servings.



Yogurt Shake

1 c Milk
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c frozen strawberries or any other fruit you might like
2 T sugar
Throw everything in a blender and blend on high until smooth. This makes a great breakfast.


A portrait of the Goddess of Java rendered by the Goddess of Giggle

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