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So, every once in a while I try to cook a real meal for my family. And believe it or not, we actually have dinner at our dinner table (that my husband built for us, I know I’m so lucky!!) as a family just about every night. We don’t really do the whole dinner in front of the TV or kids running around everywhere while they eat. When our meal is ready, everyone sits down together and we eat as a family. We talk about our day, we laugh, the boys tell jokes (try to at least, they are still working on that), we make goofy faces, and we find out what is going on with each other. This is really the only meal of the day that everyone is home (usually, sometimes dad has to work late) so we try to make the most of it.

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So when I do cook a real meal, here are some of the recipes that my family likes to eat!

Chicken Parm Meatballs with Pasta (or as a Sandwich) – **Corbin’s Favorite
Adapted from Rachel Ray

1-2 lbs. ground chicken

1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)

1 large egg

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling plus

For the grill seasoning, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs I usually just eyeball it and toss in the ingredients until I feel like I have the right consistency for my meatballs. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Form chicken mixture into medium to large size meatballs. Cooking time may vary a little depending on the size of your meatballs. I usually try to make mine into about 2-2.5 inch balls, maybe even a little bigger. Rachel Ray makes her ginormous!! She gets 12 meatballs out of this much chicken! Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on size.

For pasta: Bring large pot of water to boil, salt the water, add any pasta you like. Cook to your preference. (TIP: when boiling pasta, place a wooden spoon across top of pot of boiling water and it will keep it from boiling over)

For the sauce: McCormick Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce Mix Packets: Follow the directions on the back. I like this better than the tomato pasta sauce. It’s smoother. But you can also use your favorite spaghetti sauce.

Turkey Stuffin’ (Chicken Meatloaf) – We use chicken that’s why “chicken meatloaf” is in parentheses.
Adapted from Rachel Ray

Yields 4 servings
Cook Time: 60 minutes

7 tbs. butter divided
1 tbs. poultry seasoning (optional) – I don’t use this and it’s totally fine without it.
1 large onion cut small dice
1 bag stuffing squares – I use stouffer’s stuffing mix
5-6 celery stalks cut small dice
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock divided
3 to 3 ½ pounds ground turkey or chicken
2 eggs

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions, celery and bay leaf to the skillet, season with poultry seasoning, salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until the veggies are tender.
Add the stuffing cubes to the skillet and mix in about 2 to 3 cups of chicken stock to moisten. Take the bay leaf out of the skillet, remove the skillet from the heat and let the mixture cool, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, eggs and cooled stuffing mixture. Form the meat mix into 2 long loaves on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with EVOO and cook in the oven for about an hour, until brown and cooked through (165ºF internal temperature).

Chicken and Dumplings
Cook Time:30 minutes

2-4 pre-baked boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
1 quart chicken stock
Onion, 1/2 or ¼ chopped
Italian seasoning
Carrots 3-4, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Celery 3-4 stalks, chopped
Biscuit mix
4 tbsp. Butter
4 tbsp. flour

DIRECTIONS
Sauté onion, carrots, and celery until soft. Add shredded chicken, seasonings, and chicken stock.
Bring to simmer. In a small skillet melt 4 tbsp. Butter and mix in 4 tbsp. Flour to make rue. Add some of the stock from the other pan and whisk together.
Add rue to veggies and chicken mixture. Cover and let simmer for a little bit.
Cut biscuits into ¼ pieces. Add biscuits to mixture and cook for 10-12 minutes or until firm on inside.

Aunt Linda’s Potato Soup – **This one is a bit gluttonous
Served Well With Chicken Strips

Onions
1 cup milk
Carrots
Velveeta cheese
Potatoes (couple of lbs.)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
A couple of tbsp. of flour

DIRECTIONS
Chop onions, potatoes and shred carrots
Boil potatoes, onions, carrots, and bouillon cubes until tender
Combine flour and milk and mix until combined. Add milk mixture to slightly drained potatoes.
Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Add cheese to taste.
Salt and pepper to taste.

And I’ll throw in a dessert for good measure…I’m all about easy as you can see. So for the dessert we’ll go with a fruit “cobbler”.

Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler

1 box yellow cake mix, 1 stick of butter, 2 cans of cherry pie filling and pecans if you like. Dump the cherry pie filling in a crock pot, add the cake mix on top (do not mix),  and put pats of butter on the top of that. You don’t have to use a whole stick if you don’t want to. You can use anywhere from a 1/4 to a whole stick. Cook on low for 3 hours. This can also be made in the oven. For the oven cook on 350 for 45 mins to 1 hour.

 

I’m always on the lookout for new, yummy, EASY recipes that even my pickiest eater will love, especially during the summer! Why is it SO hard to cook during the summer!?  What are some of your go-to recipes? Fill me in! I need to add to my list.

 

xoxo,

your friendly neighborhood alamosa portrait photographer

C