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Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

I’m trying out a new routine for three reasons.
One: yesterday was our first 100 degree day of the summer, and we have many summer days to go,
Two: I hate spending the evening cleaning up after making a big meal,
Three: hubby and I are lucky enough to both work at home every day.

The new routine? I am making lunch our big meal of the day (dinner, as my grandparents called it). I can use the oven or stove top as needed before the temps outside rise to the unbearable heat of the afternoon, and the cleanup after the big meal is done early in the day. We’ll have our lighter meal in the evening (what my grandparents called supper), consisting of big leafy salads filled with chopped veggies, hummus with pita bread and veggies, sandwiches, and anything else easy, fresh, and not requiring any heat preparation.
Corn Casserole
Corn casserole, Lemon Pepper Chicken, Tomatoes with Olive Oil

Today’s big noon-time meal was baked lemon pepper chicken (pre-seasoned and put in the oven straight from the freezer), fresh cherub tomatoes cut in half, seasoned with a tad of salt and drizzled with a good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and freshly baked corn casserole. I don’t know why I’ve never made corn casserole before. It was so creamy, gooey, and pure sweet deliciousness. I am giddy to have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, and that’s saying something since I haven’t been able to stomach leftover anything since being pregnant. All-in-all, today’s meal was a complete winner. Dessert was a nice helping of fresh cantaloupe and strawberries to finish the meal.

CORN CASSEROLE
Adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe on foodnetwork.com
Downloadable PDF of Corn Casserole recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the following:
    • One 15 1/4-ounce can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
    • One 14 3/4-can cream corn
    • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
    • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup margarine, melted (I used Smart Balance Light with Flax Oil)
    • 1 8-ounce package Jiffy brand corn muffin mix
  • Mixture should be a creamy consistency
  • Pour evenly into a greased 9×13 baking dish
  • Place in oven and bake 45 minutes or until edges turn a golden brown
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle top with 3/4 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, just enough to lightly cover the top
  • Return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes, until cheese is melted
  • Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before cutting to serve

I tried to lighten the recipe just a tad while maintaining the flavor, which is why I used nonfat Greek yogurt for half of the sour cream in the original recipe, as well as using half the butter, subbing in Smart Balance butter for the rest. I also didn’t put a ton of cheese on top – just enough to lightly cover the casserole. Trust me, there was no sacrifice in the flavor! It was so bright and fresh, gooey and delicious. The cheese didn’t overpower the rest of the dish in any way (because I hate it when cheese smothers the rest of the flavors). It was a perfect balance of flavors in an easy side dish to go along with the rest of the meal.

Corn Casserole

Downloadable PDF of Corn Casserole

And, in other news…we found out we’re having a boy! I’m so excited! With two stepdaughters, having a boy makes this experience a first for hubby, which is awesome. His name is Liam Edgar. I can’t wait to see his little face and hands and feet in about 18 weeks.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Farmer's Market Kids' Feast

Sometimes my kids just want chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese. It’s a kid classic comfort food dinner that my kids occasionally crave after some of the more adventurous dinners they love.

They gave me the request for this meal when they came for their weekend visit on Friday. With that in mind, I headed to my local farmer’s market early Saturday morning to buy the week’s necessities. While I was still in recovery from Thursday’s trip to urgent care, I managed to get everything I needed for the week, including a pound of chicken from Smith & Smith Farms, 1/2 pound of aged cheddar from Full Quiver Farms, and zucchini and onion from Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

Chicken

Cheddar

Zucchini

It makes me happy to show my stepdaughters that we can make homemade chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese from items found at our local farmers market. It lets them know there are a variety of places their food can come from, and how much fresher it tastes than the stuff out of a box in the frozen section of the grocery store, with a much smaller ingredients list (not to mention they can pronounce the ingredients). I’m not militant about everything that goes in their mouths, but I do like to ensure the majority of what I feed them is prepared at home with fresh, quality ingredients.

FARMERS MARKET CHICKEN NUGGETS
Downloadable PDF of Farmers Market Chicken Nuggets

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut 1 pound chicken breast into bite-sized pieces (about 2-inches)
  • In a medium bowl, mix together:
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Original Mrs. Dash Seasoning, or to taste (or use your own mix of seasonings)
  • Toss chicken nuggets in bread crumb mixture until well-coated
  • Place on lightly greased baking sheet
  • Spray lightly with olive oil
  • Bake for 12 minutes
  • Turn nuggets and bake another 10 minutes or until cooked through
  • Serve with favorite dipping sauce

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FARMERS MARKET CHEESE SAUCE FOR PASTA
Adapted from this recipe at Every Day Health

  • In a medium saucepan, heat until simmering:
    • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use unsweetened plain soy milk)
  • In a medium liquid measuring cup, whisk together:
    • 1/4 cup milk (again, I use unsweetened plain soy milk)
    • 3 Tablespoons flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic (or 1 large clove fresh minced garlic)
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • When milk is simmering, add flour mixture and whisk until smooth and milk has thickened
  • Add:
    • 1/4 pound shredded aged cheddar
  • Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth
  • Pour over 1 pound whole wheat pasta (I prefer corkscrew pasta so the ridges get filled with the sauce), and toss to coat

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FARMERS MARKET ZUCCHINI WITH ONION SAUTE

  • Thinly slice 4-5 small zucchini
  • Place zucchini in a colander, salt with kosher salt, and let sit over a bowl until it releases some liquid
  • Once some liquid has been released, rinse zucchini and pat dry
  • Chop 1/2 yellow onion
  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Cook chopped onion until soft, a few minutes
  • Add zucchini slices and cook until heated through
  • Add:
    • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage
    • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
  • Cook a couple minutes longer, stirring to mix the seasonings well with the zucchini

Farmer's Market Kids' Feast

Younger B exclaimed happily when she tasted the zucchini, immediately asking what was in it that made it so good. She was thrilled to hear it was the sage and marjoram (thank you GG for the starter plant!) from our front porch – my only two potted herbs thriving in the intense heat. Everyone in the family loves this comfort-food meal. It’s delicious and filling without all the junk food fillers.

What’s your family’s favorite comfort food dinner?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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