What I Had for Dinner

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There are a myriad of things simmering on my mind.

Honestly, it’s taking a while to process some of what God has been showing me, slowly pulling me through the looking glass {or the back of the wardrobe, if you will} … I don’t know if my heart is quite ready to put words to my thoughts and feelings… and when I’m finally sitting down sans children for the first time since 7am (it’s 11:45pm here now) – well, this cup of coffee can hardly get the cerebral juices flowing… 

So I’ll leave the deep end alone for now…

There’s a lot of heavy things going on in the world and sometimes I just miss the Food Network, if I may be honest.  Those days when I could just spend two hours sitting on the couch and watching Rachel Ray whip up something in half an hour – and with the enthusiasm of used car salesman holding a Chihuahua. (Do the math- that’s 3 episodes back-to-back with commercials.)

I cut my culinary teeth watching Rach and Paula and Alton and Giada.  I would cozy up to a bowl of chilled apple slices and a mound of real peanut butter while I watched… and learned.

How to use a santoku.  How to clean my wooden cutting board.  How to use a GB (garbage bowl) – and what EVOO was… What spices to use on fish, and how to smash garlic.

This was my world.  Oh how I loved it.

The world where I could {read: before.having.lots.of.children} experiment with new ingredients and enjoy spending an {uninterrupted} hour in the kitchen pouring love and effort into a beautiful dish.  

These days?  Unless I’ve planned ahead to throw something frugal, simple and in-bulk into the crockpot, then 4pm becomes the mad witching hour, where paces and pencils and various art projects are still spread all over the table and lunch dishes are still stacked up on the counter and children are cranky and hungry and my shoulders are laid low while at least one child is literally wrapped around one leg. 

No, really.

My dear friend told me today that I should start blogging about what’s for dinner, and I cringe to think that anyone would come lookin’ round these parts for inspiration!  Ha!

If you’re a family of 4.5 and love the Food Network, you’ll probably find nothing of value nosin’ around my kitchen…

But if you’re a tired, busy mama with a bunch of littles (who are growing and eating surprisingly more and more) and living on a budget?  Well, then maybe you’re still reading….

Without further adieu, I give you…. What I Had for Dinner (and all the other meals today as well.)…

Breakfast: Oven-Scrambled Eggs & Homemade Bread (from my Mama)
I have given up the skillet for this!!  We eat a LOT of eggs.  They are inexpensive and full of protein and nutrition  – and they’re so versatile.  BUT, I seriously dreaded the mess of the skillet, and trying to scramble 6-10 eggs in one pan, depending on how many people I’m feeding.  So now I do the oven-scramble method, and we love these:

– Whisk up eggs + a splash of milk in a bowl
– Add anything you like (we often throw in shredded cheese, frozen shredded potatoes, leftover ground beef or turkey, salsa – just about anything)
– Season with salt & pepper
– Pour into a buttered glass pan (I use 8×8)
– Place in 300 degree oven
– Check every 5 minutes or so and stir around egg mixture with a spoon, remove before overcooked

Lunch: Apple Slices & Peanut Butter with Granola Bars
This is pretty self explanatory.  Right now I can find organic apples by the bag at Walmart for a good price so I stock up and keep them in the refrigerator.  An awesome friend gave me an apple slicer/corer and it has changed my life.  Seriously.  I slice/core up 4-5 apples in a minute or less.  Cores are thrown in a bowl for the chickens and slices are divided up between kiddos and myself.  We only eat ‘real’ peanut butter, which has nothing but peanuts and salt.  (I don’t splurge on organic, and I always buy it in a glass jar, which I then re-use to freeze chicken stock or things like that.)  We sometimes make our own granola bars, but we had some store-bought ones this time that my Mom had given us – yippee!

Snack: Homemade Yogurt with Sliced Strawberries and Cereal
Another dear friend (God has blessed me with some amazing people) recently brought us a LOT of fresh, raw milk, so yesterday I used some to make yogurt, and then added honey and cinnamon.  Yum!  My crew (and myself included) can go through almost a quart of this in one sitting, so sliced strawberries makes it stretch a bit, and by just sprinkling some almond cereal on top, that box of cereal can last quite a while.  Homemade yogurt is runny (at least mine is), so we drink it in pretty tea cups (I mean, cool mugs for the boys) and call it Ukrainian style yogurt, because it’s exactly like what we ate, er uh, drank there.  The kids love it!

Supper: Tater Tot Casserole
Yep.  It’s not gourmet or necessarily healthy, although we are blessed with good, grass-fed beef (and venison from my Dad.)  But often it’s just a matter of getting an affordable, easy dinner on the table.  This is one of the easiest meals ever.  And my family loves it.  We had to leave the house almost as soon as Jeff got home this evening to go to choral practice, so this was an easy dinner to get us fed and out the door.  Want the recipe?

– 1 lb. ground beef (or venison or turkey)
–  1 can cream of chicken soup
– 1 can cream of mushroom soup (for my friends allergic to mushrooms use another can of cream of chicken or cream of celery)
– splash (1/2 to 3/4 cup?) milk
– 30 oz bag frozen tater tots

Brown the meat on the stove ( I season with salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder and dried onions).
Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 glass baking dish.
Pour cooked meat in bottom of dish, pour frozen tater tots on top of the meat.
In a large measuring cup or bowl, mix together the soups and milk, and pour over the meat and tater tots.
Cook at 350 for 30+ minutes, until tater tots are done and the dish is looking a little browned on top.
This recipe feeds my whole crew with enough left for Jeff’s lunch the next day… but I think we will be moving to two batches in the next few years! :)

So, that’s what I had for dinner – how about you?

3 thoughts on “What I Had for Dinner

  1. Jennifer

    It makes the casserole a little less economical – but we put a layer of green beans on top of the meat and a layer of cheese on top of the green beans before adding the tater tots. . . works a veggie in!

    Reply
  2. Lindsey

    We had: Egg flower soup (probably packed with MSG but it was on clearance and only required adding an egg), stir fry (usually made with tofu but I splurged on MEAT this time!), brown rice, and potstickers (my Costco impulse item). High salt but yummy and quick.

    Tonight- ham (found one on clearance 50% off, aren’t you glad I don’t go stealing all your clearance at HEB anymore?), roasted root vegetables, bread, and salad.

    Reply
    1. Shannon Post author

      Yum! Man, I totally forgot about how you guys always beat us to the HEB clearance items… I’d gladly take on the competition again if it would get you back here :)

      Reply

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