Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oodles and Oodles of Tuna with Noodles

We have been really doing well with our 2009 quest to cook at home and take lunches to work. I have made meatloaf, marinated salmon, meatloaf, glazed tilapia, oven baked filet mignon (they had a special at the grocery store), pan browned turkey and swiss sammies with soup, spaghetti with garlic bread, chicken and rice casserole and more in the last two weeks. We are on a roll. Not only is our pocket book happier, but our waist lines are too. It's amazing how many extra calories make up the meals we eat out...even the meals we think aren't too bad for us.

Last week I made a comforting casserole- the Tuna Noodle Casserole. I know there are many foodies out there who love tuna and many who hate it. I am so happy that Derrick loves it as much as me, because I would be enjoying this dish all by my lonesome.

I found this version of the recipe on Pinch My Salt back in September. I heart it. It is comforting and wonderful and filled with tuna noodleness. It takes only minutes to throw this together and after half an hour of baking you are ready to enjoy. You can play up the veggies too if you like, substitute steamed brocolli for peas or add sliced mushrooms and sundried tomatoes if you like. I like it this classic way, but there is no reason it can't be tweaked for your liking.

Tuna Noodle Casserole (adapted slightly from Pinch My Salt Recipe)
4 cups spiral noodles, cooked according to directions and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup (you can you lowfat version)
1/2 cup milk
1 large can white albacore tuna in water, drained
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Cook pasta according to directions, drain.**
In bowl, mix together noodles, tuna, soup, milk, cheese and peas.
Pour into 9x9 glass baking dish.
Mix panko and butter together and spread over top of casserole.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Broil for 1 minute until panko is browned.
Serve immediately.
**To cook pasta, I place my noodles in a 4 cup glass pyrex measuring cup, add water and boil in microwave to make less mess. I then use the same measuring cup to measure my milk and later melt my butter to toss the panko in. This way you are only washing one bowl. Just a tip for you.**

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We Interrupt This Food Moment for an Important 2009 Message & Photos for My Mother in Law

Sorry to take a pause in my world of food, but I felt a 2009 post was needed. I am a little late as it is officially mid January, but here is it nonetheless.

2009 is going to be a great year. I can feel it. You see it is the year of the 30, at least that's what I'm calling it. That's right folks. I am turning 30, in August anyway. I am not sad or traumatized by this. It's life. 30 feels like a good age. 30 feels like adulthood. 30 feels like I am still younger than my husband (my halo is shining brightly).

2009 will also be the year of visiting friends and family whether in person, on the phone, in a hand written letter or all of the above. It means holding close to what is important- those we love.

2009 begins a year of saving. Saving money that is- cooking at home, taking lunches, more time at home and preparing more for our "future". Future could have multiple meanings if you read between the lines. Also something excited to try for in 2009. See this post for more info.

2009 marks a the year of a new trick. :) I am teaching myself to sew. My darling mother and father in law gave me a wonderful new toy for Christmas. A sewing machine! I am already finished with my first quilt top and exited to see what else I can do with the new Brother. My mom in law asked I post pictures of the quilt so here you go.

Finally 2009 marks a time with food. I plan to try new recipes (and cooking more at home will help with that) and will be sharing them with you here. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Here's to 2009. I wish you and yours all of God's blessings, good health, warm memories, and tasty treats!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ma Ma Ma Meatloaf

I have a friend who has never had meatloaf. How is that possible? I mean, I guess if you think about it the word meatloaf sounds kinda gross, but it is SO not gross. In fact, it is one of those comfort foods that is straightforward and simple, reminding me of my Aunt Brenda's cooking and the love she put into meals for us when I was little.

Now that the holidays are over, I have been cooking at home and packing lunches for me and D. It's a great way to save money and to eat well balanced meals. Meatloaf isn't fat free, but when paired with a veggie, salad or oven roasted all works out. I use lean beef and make my bread crumbs from fresh bread. Half way through the baking process I drain off most of the fat and I repeat that process right before serving. It's so yummy. Derrick loves it and I hope you will too.

Meatloaf Ingredients:
1.5 pounds of lean ground beef

1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

2/3 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup soft bread crumbs*

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce


Preheat oven to 350.

In small bowl mix together bread crumbs and milk, set aside.
In another small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup ketchup and 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, set aside.
In large bowl, with sturdy spoon mix together ground beef, egg, ketchup, W sauce and spices.
Fold in bread crumb mixture.
Pour meat mixture into loaf pan and press gently into pan.

Spoon ketchup mixture over top.

Bake for 45 minutes.
Pour off any fat.

Bake additional 25 minutes.

Again pour off any fat.

*to make 1 cup soft bread crumbs, I pulse 2 pieces of whole wheat bread in food processor until finely ground.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cresent Cinnamon Rolls with Buttered Milk Glaze

Happy New Year! I hope this post finds you well. Like you, we have been so busy with Christmas guests, hosting Christmas dinner at our house, New Year's events and the upcoming Cotton Bowl. Among my resolution to make a better effort to see family and friends, I plan to learn to quilt and post more frequently on this blog. In 2009, we plan to save money and its easier to save when you cook at home.

I made these cinnamon rolls the day after Christmas. I wanted to make cinnamon rolls, but I didn't want to wait 2 hours for the dough to rise, only to punch it out and let it rise again, leaving us with cinnamon rolls for lunch. I needed something quick. I had crescent roll dough and decided, "What the hay. If they aren't good, I will know not to make em again. If they rock, I might not punch dough, ever. " They were a huge hit. I wouldn't say they replaced scratch yeast cinnamon rolls, but they were yummy and fast and inexpensive to make. These are great for a quick breakfast and so easy kids can help.

Here's what you'll need:
Crescent Cinnamon rolls

2 cans of crescent roll dough(my hubby brought home the Pilsbury buttery & flaky kind, but any kind will do)
1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter melted (reserve 2 Tbsp. for glaze)
a bit of flour for your work surface

Buttered Milk Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. of melted butter mentioned above

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare a 9" diameter (or square) baking pan (I just sprayed with cooking spray).

Sprinkle work surface with flour.

Open both cans of crescent roll dough and flatten rectangles end to end, pinching edges together to form one large rectangle.

Brush over dough generously with melted butter.
Mix together cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle generously over buttered dough.

Tightly roll dough to form a log.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 2" pieces.
Lay face up in baking pan, keeping rolls close to each other.

Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown (I like mine a

While rolls are baking, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and reserved melted butter. When rolls are baked, drizzle glaze over the tops and serve immediately.

I warn you now, these are NOT low fat and they are addictive.
Be easy with the glaze because you could go into sugar shock.