Thursday, November 10, 2011

Food For Thought ~ Double Dinners

When dinnertime rolls around here at the Kellum house, I almost always have a meal in mind.  I like to make my dinner menu for the week on Sunday and then shop on Monday for the week.  So on those days (which fall few and far between, thank goodness!) when I don't have a plan, I feel completely at a loss!  

Recently I had a meal on the docket, but upon rounding up the ingredients for the dinner, I realized that I had used the can of diced tomatoes in a different dish that week.  That left me one ingredient shy of dinner.  Ugh.  I paced back and forth from the fridge to the pantry and back to the fridge trying to come up with Plan B ... something that didn't need canned tomatoes.  By that point, my creativity had evaporated and the kids were beginning the incessant, "What's for dinner?" chant.  Double ugh.

As I headed to the garage (not to hide from the kids, mind you) I was thrilled to find a freezer meal all ready to pop in the oven!  I actually have quite a few meals I have doubled up and slid in the freezer for this very reason.  When Mom doesn't feel like cooking!  

This is a post I did last year with a few double dinners ... and here's two more yummy ones for you to try!  (Be sure to check out this previous post for my tips on lining your freezer pan and storing your extra meal.)

Tamale Pie
(This recipe is from my dear friend, Anna Lee Walker.  I remember you making this for us ... just a few years ago.  Before we had kids.  So yeah ... it's been a little while.)

2 lbs ground beef (or turkey or 1 lb of each)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup corn meal
2 T sugar
2 T butter

In a large pot, cook the meat until no longer pink.  Drain off fat after cooking.  Add black beans, ketchup, salsa, corn and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Heat through until the cheese melted.  Divide equally between two 8x8 inch pans (one sprayed with cooking spray and the other lined with Press-n-Seal).

In the same large pot, melt the butter and add the remaining cheese, sugar and corn meal.  Heat until the cheese melts and the mixture looks crumbly.  Sprinkle the corn meal mixture over the meat in each dish.

Freeze one pan (or send along to a friend).  For the other pan, bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  

We like our Tamale Pie with a little dollop of sour cream and a green salad.


Penne & Sausage Casserole
(This recipe is from Taste of Home, June/July 2009.  Just a few typical adjustments.)

1 1/2 lbs penne pasta
1 lb Italian sausage
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 T olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 T oregano
2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained
3 T tomato paste
4 cups mozzarella, shredded

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Set aside.

In a large pot, cook sausage.  Drain off most of the fat.  Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic and oregano and cook until veggies are soft.  Add 1 cup of beef broth.  Bring to a boil and let simmer until reduced by half.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, remaining broth and sausage.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

This is a good time to wash the dishes ... there seems to be quite a few of them!

I prepared one 9x13 oval pan with cooking spray and then lined two 8x8 square pans to put in the freezer.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the large pan and 1/4 cup in each small pan.  Divide half of the pasta into the three pans.  Top the noodles with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce in the large pan and 1 1/4 cup in the small pans.  Top with half the cheese.  Repeat the layers:  remaining pasta, remaining sauce and remaining cheese.

Freeze the two smaller pans.  Cover the larger pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is fully melted.  Delicious with a side of veggies and garlic bread!


1 comment:

  1. MMM... love that Tamale pie... wish our kids liked it more, don't know why they don't...


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