Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Banana Pancakes

This one is so easy, it really doesn't need an official recipe. And the best part is, the kids can help make the batter with only a little supervision. OH I ALMOST FORGOT - I'm a total pancake snob (thanks Dad) and I really enjoy these pancakes.

Serves 4

3 Bananas (the riper the better)
3 Cups Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix
2.25 Cups water

Mash the bananas (or better yet, give the kids a potato masher and let them do it), add the pancake mix and the water and stir. Best to get the water and mix combined yourself before you let the little ones stir it all together. Once the water isn't so splashy, give each kid a 20 second turn by all counting to 20 together.

Now just cook the pancakes!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Divine Chicken Divan

Okay, so this is one of Mom's recipes - though I've managed to simplify it into a quickie 30 minute meal:

* 1/2 chicken breast per person
* 1 cup cheddar cheese
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* Garlic Salt - Lawry's
* 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 1 tsp curry powder
* 1 tbs butter
* 1 tbs EVOO
* 1 package frozen broccoli
* Rice - White or Jasmine - 1/2 cup per person

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Sprinkle chicken with Lawry's garlic salt and place in between wax paper, or in a gallon freezer bag.
  2. Flatten chicken breast (I like to pound mine with a mini cast iron pan).
  3. Pan fry chicken in 1 tbs EVOO and a smidge of butter (about 3-4 min per side)
  4. Place in casserole dish
  5. In a med. size pan, heat Cream of Chicken soup, sour cream, mayonnaise and curry powder until warm, and pour over chicken breasts
  6. Cover with shredded cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs - top with small drops of butter or margarine
Serve with broccoli and rice, and hot sourdough rolls - or bread of your choice.

If your kids are like mine, they won't eat if the chicken has sauce on it, or if any food touches anything else. Improvise! I saved some cooked chicken before it was "sauced," and sliced that up for them. I let Rachel eat her rice with soy sauce, as is her favorite, and made Asian Veggies instead of broccoli tonight, because they LOVE the mini corn - and broccoli is still an option for us.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Avgolemono & Provolone Grilled Cheese

Kate didn't like the soup, but she did eat the grilled cheese - I think that to be more kid friendly, it would be better to cut down on the lemon juice. Of course if you're kids are big lemon fans, then go to town.

Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup from Real Simple)

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup long-grain rice
2 cooked chicken-breast halves, skin discarded and meat shredded
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Heat the broth and rice in a large saucepan to boiling. Reduce heat to simmering; cover and cook 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the chicken. Remove the soup from heat and cover. Whisk the eggs and lemon juice in a medium bowl until frothy. Remove about 1 cup hot broth from the soup and slowly add it to the eggs, whisking continually. Slowly stir the warmed eggs into the soup. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with a slice of lemon.

Grilled Cheese (see oven grilled cheese recipe)
Whole Grain Bread
Sliced Provolone

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm In! And it's all because of my oven grilled cheese sandwiches...

Oven grilled cheese is so easy, I don't know why I didn't think of it before my daughter's first birthday party.

bread (two slices per sandwich in whatever flavor goes with your cheese)
cheese (whatever kind you like - I like to combine flavors of cheese)
margarine or butter (I prefer soft margarine because its easier to spread)

1. Put a cookie sheet (or two) in the oven on a centered rack and preheat the oven to 450.

2. Spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread (this will be the outside).

3. Slice cheese (or unwrap the slices or whatever).

4. When the oven is heated, place ALL slices of bread on the cookie sheet margarine side down (this speeds up the process and eliminates the need to sit in the kitchen with an open oven flipping sandwiches).

5. Cover each slice of bread with one layer of cheese.

6. Close the oven and wait for the cheese to melt and the bread to toast (4-5 minutes).

7. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven, combine the slices of bread to make a sandwich and voila! You've got at least three perfectly grilled cheese sandwiches all at once!

Stay tuned for my favorite cheese and bread combos...

Planning Dinner Early - Chicken Parmesan

The girls are playing hooky today.

Rachel is humming Beethoven's 9th Symphony - thanks Little Einsteins. Ellie is building a house out of blocks. I'm wondering if I'm insane for keeping them home, but I'm feeling better and truth be told, I needed them today. Too many dreams of being out of control of my life. Time to do something about it.

So, what a better time to think about what's for dinner? I believe we'll have Chicken Parmesan today. I'm in the mood for a good, healthy meal with lots of options for eating. It'll take a good 1/2 hr to prepare, and another 15-20 minutes to cook - so this is a meal worth waiting for!

SO, here's the skinny:

* 1 chicken breast per person
* Egg Whites
* Bread Crumbs, toasted
* Herbs (oregano, garlic salt, lemon pepper to taste)
* 1 tbs butter
* Spaghetti Noodles
* Classico Pasta Sauce with Basil
* Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese to taste
  1. Mix toasted breadcrumbs with herbs, place on plate
  2. Dredge chicken in egg white and roll in breadcrumb mixture
  3. Pan sear chicken in EVOO and melted butter, approximately 3-4 minutes per side (Careful not to turn too frequently - if breadcrumbs come off, add more).
  4. Prepare Spaghetti Noodles and heat pasta sauce
  5. Place cooked spaghetti in a casserole dish
  6. Top with cooked, breaded chicken
  7. Pour over with pasta sauce
  8. Heap generous handfuls of cheeses
  9. Heat at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese melts
Devour with a tossed salad and fresh baguette

Election Night Pizza

Yesterday was a strange day. A restless day -- which when you're supposed to be resting is a challenge, indeed.

Never have I been more relieved when Perry called to tell me he was picking up Pizza... YAY!!!

Still, if you've got a finicky child, even Pizza can be difficult. So, what's a parent to do? Again, like we've mentioned before, presentation is everything. That is why we've invented: Pizza Fries

* Pizza w/ toppings of choice

Slice into thin strips
Arrange in a "Flower," "Sunshine," or "Child's Name" on plate.

Watch it be summarily devoured.

EVERYONE ate, and had peaches for dessert. Surprised? Not at all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What do do when they don't want what you've cooked?

This one used to run me around like a short order cook. One minute, they ask for something specific. By the time it's ready, you hear a chorus of: "I don't want that!"

Well, I'm guilty. I used to fall into the trap of answering, "Well, what do you want?"

No More!

I read something that changed my life, and made my daughter and I reach an understanding. This is the meal I affectionately refer to as "The Alternative."

A. You eat what we are eating - and by "We" I mean me, and whoever else wants what I've made. (Could be, but is not always Perry and Ellie.)

B. You get cold cereal.

I told Rachel that for the first time last night, while I presented her with Soup Night. She balked. We didn't have Chicken Noodle. (I'm aghast. I always have Chicken Noodle in the house. Except for last night. So, she was left with the option of Tomato, which she doesn't care for, and I KNOW that.)

Therefore, I said. Fine. No more throwing an endless supply of hot dogs at the girl. No more wasting money throwing away half of a kid's frozen dinner after she's picked at the chicken nuggets. If she doesn't eat the dinner I've served, she gets a nice bowl of cereal with milk.

And know what? She grinned at me. She chose her honey nut cheerios, and she went to town on them. At a whole bowl and asked for seconds, with a glass of orange juice. Well balanced in the morning, well balanced at night, too. WITHOUT THE FIGHT!

I'm on cloud nine. So, whoever the mom who gave me that idea, many thanks! It works!

Soup Night!

Well, last night was a meteorologist declared "Soup Night."

I love that. Fall's here. It's time for wonderful dinners that heat up your belly and give you the warm fuzzies. In my opinion, those are things like: Beef Burgundy, Mom's famous Chili, or my personal favorite, Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches -- which was last night's fare of choice.

* 1 can Campbells Tomato Soup
* 1 cup milk

Whisk milk into condensed soup, until blended. Heat over medium flame, until steaming hot.

* Buttered Bread
* American Cheese Slice (1 1/2 per sandwich)
* 2 slices crispy bacon per sandwich

Heat over medium flame until bread is golden brown and cheese melted.
Slice length wise with pizza cutter to make "Fun Strips!" for dipping!

(Wendy - please add your instructions for how to make multiple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches at once in the broiler. You're the genius who figured that one out while I bark at little girls to back away from the hot stove top!)

At any rate - scrumptious dinner, made fun for little girls by slicing the sandwiches into strips, using a pizza cutter. EXCELLENT for dipping.

Would Rachel eat her fun, dipping tomato soup and grilled cheese? NO. Did Ellie? ABSOLUTELY. She all but licked the bottom of the bowl.

So, now the question of the day is: How to avoid being a short order cook for your kids?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Well - that went pretty well with only minimal food "manipulation."

Due to the fact Perry (bless his heart) put the Taco Casserole in the oven without a generous topping of cheese, and neglected to add the sour cream which was sure to make the meal a hit... it didn't have the...um, visual that we were going for.

With my kids, it's all about the presentation. If it doesn't look good enough to eat, then you might as well not even try.

SO... instead, he made a quick adjustment, and served "Instant Daddy Burritos!"

* Flour Tortillas
* Prepared Refried Beans
* 3 Cheese Mexican Cheese

Wrap like a diaper, roll, and serve.

These were summarily devoured by both girls. Who knew?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Battling Post Halloween Sugar Rush - AKA Sunday

Well--it starts at the tender age of three.
I ask my DD what she wants for a snack, and she decides on a Reeses Peanut butter cup. What do I do to counteract this? I tell her to share. Aye yai yai. What is this world coming to! Now, my older DD insists on an equally sugary snack for herself.

But, that's what happens when the trick or treat bags are overflowing, we had nowhere near the amount of trick-or-treaters that we anticipated, and now...I've decided.

This is the week that I insist upon nutritious food for my family. Starting with Sunday. So - meal plan for the Ludwig Household:

Sunday: Taco Casserole with Spanish Rice
* 1 lb ground beef
* 1 pkg taco seasoning
* 1 can refried beans
* 1 can diced green chilis
* 1 can chopped black olives
* 1 jar salsa (El Torito)
* 1 container light Sour Cream
* 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 pkg fresh tortillas
* lemon pepper, garlic salt to taste
* 1 tbs EVOO

* 1 pkg Rice A Roni Spanish Rice
* 1 can chopped whole tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef with dash of lemon pepper and garlic salt. Drain, and prepare with taco seasonings, as instructed on package.

Prepare refried beans, by cooking in pan over medium heat. Add handful of shredded cheddar cheese, and about 1/3 jar of salsa. Stir until cheese is melted and remove from heat.

In a casserole dish, pour EVOO to grease bottom.

Layer pan in the following order:
* Tortilla
* Beans
* Ground Beef
* Chilis
* Sour Cream
* Olives
* Cheese
* Repeat until you reach the top of casserole dish.

Top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top cheese is nice and bubbly.

Serve with Rice A Roni Spanish Rice, cooked per instructions and enjoy!

This should have leftovers to spare, but I'll happily take suggestions for Tuesday/Wednesday.

Love, Ash