Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cold Weather Dinners

Today is a very cold day where I live, single digits with a windchill on top. Brr!
Even though I don't love the cold, it's the prefect time for some great "warm-me-up" meals. So, I thought I'd share a few that I've made since the weather turned chilly.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - a favorite Wegmans' recipe found here.
     I should probably let you know right off the bat that these aren't "healthy" dinners, per say... this scalloped potatoes recipe uses a full quart of heavy cream! I'm sure there are lots of healthier recipes out there, but this one is so creamy and delicious that I can't turn it down.
     Even though the recipe doesn't call for it, I always add the ham.
     I like to pair it with green beans; and always a piece of peanut buttered bread - it's something my Mom always did.

Zuppa Toscana Soup - an Olive Garden copycat recipe found here.
     Ok, if you're on a diet then you might not like this post very much, because this recipe uses heavy whipping cream; but only a cup for a whole pot of soup...
     Rather than dicing the potatoes like Siggy Spice, I followed my sister's recommendation to slice them (she used to work at Olive Garden). She also said she usually omits the bacon - I know, "bacon makes everything better" right? But in this case, my Facebook friends and I agreed that it would be better without bacon.
     Finally, I decided to use a mild Italian sausage (since I don't usually like it hot) and it was perfect!
     I paired it with some warm, homemade bread.

Meatloaf and Mac&Cheese - these are homemade recipes that I haven't figured out exact measurements for, I usually just mix as I go... But I'll do my best to write it down for you below the photo.

For the 'base' of my meatloaf I follow the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook; also found here - 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 2/3 cup bread crumbs, and 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef.
After that, I add whatever I have that sounds good - seasonings, onions, carrots, bacon, etc.
Bake in a bread pan at 350° F until internal temperature reaches 160° F. When it's almost done (maybe 10 minutes left), I add ketchup and/or barbecue sauce to the top.

Homemade Mac&Cheese (the way my Dad likes to make it):
     Step 1 - Choose your favorite pasta noodle and cook about 8 oz. to your preferred done-ness.
                Drain and rinse with cold water, or mix a little butter in; set aside.
     Step 2 - Pour about a cup of milk into a  medium sauce pan; add about 4 tablespoons (half a stick) of butter; salt and pepper to taste; and, if you like, a bit of garlic powder and dried parsley.
                Heat on low-med until just boiling; reduce to low heat.
                Stir in 6-8 oz. of Sharp Cheddar Cheese one handful at a time; continue stirring until melted. (The mix as you go applies here. You may want your cheese mix creamier or thicker, so add milk and butter to thin or add cheese to thicken. Just remember to only add small amounts and stir continuously.)
     Step 3 - Combine pasta and cheese sauce, then pour into baking dish.
                Bake at 350° F for approximately 30 minutes.

And for the new recipe in the picture Sweet Potatoes & Pears! I found this recipe in a Redbook magazine that I get monthly (not sure how, because I never ordered it and no one has admitted buying it for me; but it's got my name and address on the label and I'm not complaining). Since I can't find it on their site, you can see it on my Pinterest board here. I also might have added a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to mine - yummy!

 Chicken Pot Pie - an "impossibly easy" Betty Crocker recipe found here.
     I mean, really, this recipe is a no-brainer. Grab a can of cream of whatever soup (or I used sausage gravy!), pick your veggies (whether fresh or frozen), add some cooked chicken, and pour the baking mix on top. I love how easy and tasty it is!

Thanks for checking things out - I hope these recipes help keep you a little warmer this winter!

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