Sushi is an easy thing to make for a packed lunch, if you have the right tools. I love my simple rice cooker, it does all the work! Then I toss the hot rice with seasoned vinegar (recipe to follow) and then I use this clever little sushi press I found and voila! instant love from my kids :)
For the sushi rice cook 1.5 cups of rice in 2 cups of water. In a large bowl mix 1/4 cup rice vinegar with 2 Tbs sugar and 1/2 tsp salt, stir until dissolved. Mix the hot rice into this seasoned vinegar. Stir to cool then use to mold your sushi. Wrap the sushi in Nori or sesame seeds or whatever you like. I put avocado and surimi inside but you can add almost anything!

Sushi is an easy thing to make for a packed lunch, if you have the right tools. I love my simple rice cooker, it does all the work! Then I toss the hot rice with seasoned vinegar (recipe to follow) and then I use this clever little sushi press I found and voila! instant love from my kids :)

For the sushi rice cook 1.5 cups of rice in 2 cups of water. In a large bowl mix 1/4 cup rice vinegar with 2 Tbs sugar and 1/2 tsp salt, stir until dissolved. Mix the hot rice into this seasoned vinegar. Stir to cool then use to mold your sushi. Wrap the sushi in Nori or sesame seeds or whatever you like. I put avocado and surimi inside but you can add almost anything!

Alfredo!

One of my son’s ordered Alfredo when we were on a skiing trip in December. He has been talking of it ever since so I finally got the hint and served it for dinner. No only was it easy, it was a great hit and there are so many ways you can embellish it. I does seem like a lot of butter, but it is worth the splurge. Enjoy!

Easy Alfredo

(adapted from The New York Times Cookbook)

I lb. pasta (you could go traditional an serve Fettuccine, but feel free to use what you like, we did it with bowties)

1/4 lb butter but in 8 parts

pepper

1 cup half-and-half (or just improvise as I did with cream and milk)

1/4 pound grated parmesan (this made me want a better grater!)

optional embellishments: bacon bits (or real bacon, or even prosciutto), peas, broccoli, spinach, etc.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. Drain and put back in the pan over low heat. Add the butter and grind a bunch of pepper over the pasta. Add the half-and-half and allow to heat up, stirring until it is mostly absorbed. Add the cheese and stir until well coated.

I served mine like this with the add-ons on the table so the kids could choose how to spruce it up.

Garlic Broccoli Pasta

Here is a simple but delicious all in one meal! My kids really enjoyed it.

Garlic Broccoli Pasta with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Parmesan

I small head broccoli, cut into a few wedges

1 lb pasta (I used mezze penne)

1-2 thick slices of crusty bread

1 Tbs butter

1 clove garlic (or one frozen cube)

1 Tbs butter

2 cloves garlic or two frozen cubes

1/2 cup cream

salt and pepper

Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt generously. Add broccoli (make sure it is large chunks so that it is easier to remove from the water when it is done cooking) and cook 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Mince.

Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package.

Meanwhile, put the bread slices into a food processor and process until fine. Melt 1 Tbs butter in a skillet, add 1 clove garlic (pressed or finely minced) and cook about 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs and toss until coated. Cook a minute or two more until lightly golden. Remove from heat.

In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbs butter, add the remaining 2 cloves garlic (pressed or finely minced) and cook until aromatic (about 1 minute). Add cream and stir well. Then add broccoli. Toss until well mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

When pasta is cooked, drain and add to sauce. Toss well. Serve topped with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

This was a super simple recipe, took about 5 minutes to prepare the dough, which I did before picking the kids up at school. Then it rises for about and hour and bakes for 30 minutes. I almost did not get a photo as the kids dove in right away- it smelled sooooo good cooking there was no resiting it once it came out of the oven! I used the Pizza Dough Flavor and Super Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Seriously Sharp Cheddar by Cabot). It was amazing!

 

No Knead Cheese and Garlic Flatbread

from King Arthur Flour

Dough

Filling & Topping

  • 2 cups diced cheese — cheddar, Monterey Jack, flavored cheddar, or your favorite
  • 4 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • pizza seasoning or your favorite dried herbs, to sprinkle on top

Directions

1) Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.

2) Combine all of the ingredients except the cheese and garlic, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.

3) Add the cheese and garlic, beating gently just to combine.

4) Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it’s become puffy.

5) While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

6) Sprinkle the dough with pizza seasoning, and/or the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.

7) Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

8) Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

9) To make crunchy bread sticks: Cut day-old bread into 1/2” slices. Lay the slices on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake them in a preheated 350°F to 400°F oven till they’re a light golden brown and crunchy, 15 to 25 minutes or so; keep your eye on them, as they brown quickly towards the end.

Yield: about 12 to 18 servings bread; or about fifty 6 1/2” bread sticks.

The Best Tuna Noodle Casserole

My kids love to eat this, and it is a great make ahead for busy days. For smaller families you can make the full recipe and freeze half (do it in two 8x8 pans instead of one 9x13) for another night.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

from Noreen Gilletz- The Pleasures of your Processor

1 package of Mac and Cheese (I like to use Annies Shells and Cheddar)

3 cups broad noodles (or a combo of small pasta, a good way to use up the ends of boxes)

1 onion

3 Tbs butter

1/4 lb cheddar cheese

3/4 milk

1 10oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 7oz cans of tuna, drained

salt and pepper

Cook the pasta together in salted boiling water. Drain and return noodles to pan.

In processor„ process onion with a few on/off pulses. Then add the cheese cut into 1-inch cubes. Process until finely chopped. Add to noodles along with the remaining ingredients (including the cheese packet from the Mac and Cheese box). Mix well. Pour into a greases 9x13 pan. Can be refrigerated here and baked later.

Bake uncovered at 350F. for 35 minutes.

If freezing half, when you want to bake it, drizzle with a bit of milk (about 1/4 cup) and bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes.

Easy Salmon Chowder

Here is the other recipe I got from the paper, also the Hartford Courant. This one needed more tinkering but it came out great!

Salmon Chowder

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, washed and chopped

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

1 Tbs olive oil

2 cups water

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs flour

1 12ox can evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups milk

1 15oz can salmon, bones and skin removed

salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and celery and cook until starting to soften. Add the potatoes and the water as well as a sprinkle of salt. Let cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour to make a roux. Cook for a minute or two and then add to the soup pot followed by the evaporated milk and the milk. Stir well and let cook just at a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the salmon and stir well to break up the big pieces. Do not let it boil. Cook for a few minutes and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as desired.

I served this with the Amish Pertzels and a big salad and it was a great hit, even with my pickiest eater (though she did need to sit on my lap before she would try it!).

Broccoli Soup with Anchoviy Crostini

This is a yummy recipe that comes from a great soup cookbook called Sensational Soups by Jeni Wright.

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Crostini

1 lb broccoli

4 canned anchovies, chopped (you’ll use the others for the crostini)

5-5.5 cups of broth (veggie or chicken)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

pepper

1/2-3/4 cup cream

Separate the stems from the florets, chop stems. Bring broth to a boil and add stems and anchovies, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add florets, 1/4 cup Parmesan and pepper. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes. (Here I let mine cool while I picked up the kids) Puree in a blender until smooth. Add cream and reheat without boiling. Serve hot with more cheese and crostini (below)

Anchovy Crostini

remaining anchovies

1 finely chopped garlic clove

1 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp vinegar

pepper

loaf of bread (I used my favorite Olive Oil Ciabatta)

grind into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Slice bread into thick slices (I did 8 and left a few plain for my little ones) and put under a broiler for 2 minutes. Spread with anchovy paste and serve as is or heat in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Coffee Blonde Brownies

Yummy yummy blondies with a rich coffee background, perfect for this snowy night!

Coffee Blonde Brownies

1 stick butter (4oz, 8 Tbs), melted

1 cup brown sugar

1.5 Tbs espresso powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 cup flour

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8x8 pan. In a medium sized bowl mix the melted butter and brown sugar. Add the coffee, salt and egg. Stir until smooth. Add the flour followed by chips and nut. Spread evenly in pan and bake for 20-22 minutes. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This would have been good to post for St Patrick’s Day but I am a day off (oh well!). It would also be good to serve for a March Madness Party so I am still in the clear! My favorite way to eat it is with Pretzel Chips, or a slice of warm baguette.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 can artichokes

1 10ox box frozen spinach

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

(optional) 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small saucepan place the spinach and artichokes along with the juice from the artichoke can. Heat until everything is very soft (about 5-8 minutes). Drain through a sieve.

Soften the cream cheese by microwaving on high for 1 minute. Place in a food processor along with drained artichoke/spinach mixture. Add remaining seasonings and blend until smooth.

Serve warm. You can pre-make this and place in an oven safe dish and reheat to serve. Serve with pretzels, chips, veggies, bread, etc.

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